Senators To NSA: Your 'Fact Sheet' Isn't Factual; Can You Tell Us The Truth For Once?

from the look-at-that dept

We recently wrote about the NSA's highly questionable "talking points" about the various NSA surveillance programs that have leaked. Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall -- who have long been leading the fight to get people to understand how the NSA was spying on Americans -- have now sent a letter to NSA boss Keith Alexander saying that the "facts" in the NSA's "fact sheets" do not, in fact, appear to be factual, and asking him to correct the errors.
We were disappointed to see that this fact sheet contains an inaccurate statement about how the section 702 authority has been interpreted by the US government. In our judgment this inaccuracy is significant, as it portrays protections for Americans' privacy as being significantly stronger than they actually are. We have identified this inaccurate statement in the classified attachment to this letter.

We urge you to correct this statement as soon as possible. As you have seen, when the NSA makes inaccurate statements about government surveillance and fails to correct the public record, it can decrease public confidence in the NSA's openness and its commitment to protecting Americans' constitutional rights. Rebuilding this confidence will require a willingness to correct misstatements and a willingness to make reforms where appropriate.
Later in the letter, they also point to another "misleading" statement, amusingly using a letter that the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) sent to Wyden and Udall two years ago. This was back when they two were asking the DNI to at least reveal how many Americans had their info collected, and the DNI responded that "...it is not reasonably possible to identify the number of people located in the United States whose communications may have been reviewed...." Now Wyden and Udall are using that line to show that the latest "fact sheet" must be wrong:
Separately, we note that this same fact sheet states that under section 702, "Any inadvertently acquired communication of or concerning a US person must be promptly destroyed if it is neither relevant to the authorized purpose nor evidence of a crime." We believe that this statement is somewhat misleading, in that it implies that the NSA has the ability to determine how many American communications it has collected under section 702, or that the law does not allow the NSA to deliberately search for the records of particular Americans. In fact, the intelligence community has told us repeatedly that it is "not reasonably possible to identify the number of people located in the United States whose communications may have been reviewed under the authority" of the FISA Amendments Act.
So, basically: were you lying to us then, or are you lying to us now?

We'll see what the NSA's response is, but I imagine it will likely involve more lying.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    icon
    Akari Mizunashi (profile), Jun 25th, 2013 @ 5:12am

    American people to Senators: please stop passing laws which leave open-ended interpretations for its readers.

    Had you done your job right in the first place, none of this would have been an issue.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Jun 25th, 2013 @ 5:28am

    We'll see what the NSA's response is, but I imagine it will likely involve more lying.

    A lot of [REDACTED] brackets or shitloads of black ink. Isn't it time to reboot such agencies? Seems the current structure is not engaged in actually following the Constitution..

     

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    •  
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      Anonymous Howard (profile), Jun 25th, 2013 @ 7:27am

      Re:

      Reboot?

      rm -rf /
      kill -9 -1

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jun 25th, 2013 @ 7:41am

      Re:

      A lot of [REDACTED] brackets or shitloads of black ink.

      Those senators are cleared to know just about anything as they're part of the committee that has oversight for the NSA. One would think with how upset they sound, it would be very unwise for the NSA to continue to lie to them as they are basically like a judge at this point. They are more or less collecting evidence to be used against whoever is sponsoring the acts they feel are illegal or against the spirit of the law.

      Think NSA = Prenda and Wyden/Udall = Judge Otis Wright. Something is about to give and there hopefully wont be enough popcorn in the world to enjoy it. The big problem here is it's a full committee rather than just Wyden/Udall and some of the members seem content turning a blind eye...

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 25th, 2013 @ 10:33am

        Re: Re:

        And the rest of the senators in the committee is the reason why you will be wrong. Udall and Wyden are by far a minority. Most of the others seem to think that Udall and Wyden are extreme communist traitors to make a throwback to McCarthy.

         

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    Zakida Paul (profile), Jun 25th, 2013 @ 6:51am

    It has got to be said

    "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act" - George Orwell

     

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    Transmitte, Jun 25th, 2013 @ 7:55am

    Again, persons in high places lying to officials and getting nothing more than called out on it. If the average person lied to them, jail time would be served post haste.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Samuel Kephart, Jun 25th, 2013 @ 7:56am

    Freedom on the Rocks - Federal Tyranny versus Terrorism

    Tired of your rights being exploited by the NSA?

    Hereís the REAL problem: Freedom on the Rocks - Federal Tyranny versus Terrorism will give you the true scope, intent and end-goal of the NSAís digital dragnet:

    http://www.argusleader.com/article/20130620/VOICES05/306200011/My-Voice-Freedom-Rocks-fe deral-tyranny-versus-terrorism

    Hereís the solution (at least individually). Itís a free Digital Privacy Black Paper; it shows you, with simple technical references and resources, how to disappear yourself and your personal communications from the prying eyes and master data recorders of the NSA and other elements of our intrusive national security apparatus. Enjoy!

    https://s3.amazonaws.com/sm-cdn/reports/NSA-Black-Paper.pdf

    Please pass this onto your friends, family, and business associates.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      PRMan, Jun 25th, 2013 @ 9:41am

      Re: Freedom on the Rocks - Federal Tyranny versus Terrorism

      Not a honeypot. No really. Not at all. There is no way the NSA would be watching this document. Carry on.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 25th, 2013 @ 9:18am

    there shouldn't be any 'can you tell us the truth for once' there should be 'you will tell us the truth or else!'

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 25th, 2013 @ 10:37am

    Wyden needs to run for president. Although he does a lot of good in Congress, he is way too restricted and outnumbered to accomplish enough there. He needs to be at the helm.

     

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      John Fenderson (profile), Jun 25th, 2013 @ 10:54am

      Re:

      I think I disagree. Being President is not being "at the helm". As an individual, you have more power than if you're a Congressman, but Congress as a whole is more powerful than the Presidency.

      In any case, it doesn't matter much who's in office (in any branch). The problem is systemic.

       

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    sorrykb (profile), Jun 25th, 2013 @ 10:51am

    Senators To NSA: Your 'Fact Sheet' Isn't Factual; Can You Tell Us The Truth For Once?

    NSA to Senators: Yes.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Obama Lied & Privacy Died..., Jun 25th, 2013 @ 2:19pm

    As the earlier Techdirt article (Video: Candidate Obama Debates President Obama on Civil Liberties & Government Surveillance) shows, the lying goes all the way to the top. Obama Lied & Privacy Died.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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