Right, so remember that claim yesterday from Barack Obama about how there is no domestic surveillance program
? And remember in our post we noted that such a statement might come back to bite him, seeing that Snowden had leaked somewhere between 15,000 to 20,000 more documents to Glenn Greenwald and somewhere in there, it seemed like there was a decent chance there was evidence that Obama was lying? Right, so, funny story... this morning, James Ball and Spencer Ackerman over at the Guardian have published the details of a neat little loophole that does, in fact, give the NSA "authority" to run searches on Americans
without any kind of warrant. This is due to a "rule change" in 2011.
The focus here is on Section 702 under the FISA Amendments Act, which is the authority that the PRISM program is under. Ever since the initial leaks, the defenders of the NSA have repeatedly stated that 702 only applies to non-US citizens who are outside the US. But as the "update" above notes, there was a change to the rules in late 2011 which allows for queries on US persons. As Senator Wyden told the Guardian, this "loophole" now directly allows "warrantless searches for the phone calls or emails of law-abiding Americans."
This also seems reminiscent of our point on Wednesday, in which we noted that every time the NSA is asked about its ability
to spy on everyone, it answers about its authority
. And, here's evidence that it has clearly been given the "authority" to spy on Americans, contrary to the very clear language of the law.
Also, the timing of this seems interesting. Earlier, we'd noted that the NSA's massive data collection program, Stellar Wind, had been shut down in 2011
. And... right about that time suddenly a new law is put in place allowing 702 searches to happen on US persons? I'm sure that's just a complete coincidence...