Privacy Oversight Board Turns Its Sights On The Real Problem: Executive Order 12333

from the about-time dept

We've written plenty of times about the dangers of Executive Order 12333, which is the Presidential order signed by Ronald Reagan that gives the NSA tremendously broad powers of surveillance, so long as the work is done overseas. And as long as information is collected overseas, it is used to spy on many Americans. Senators Wyden and Udall have implied that Executive Order 12333 enables the CIA to get around prohibitions on spying on Americans, and just last week a (recent) former top State Department Official, John Napier Tye, revealed that the real surveillance powers happen under Executive Order 12333 -- and the other programs we've all been debating (Section 702 and Section 215) are merely used to "backfill" what can't be collected under EO12333.

The Washington Post has now revealed that the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board is turning its attention to EO 12333 -- which is important. Unlike Sections 215 and 702, Congress doesn't (currently) have any oversight over activities done under EO 12333. Basically, there is no oversight at all. The Congressional intelligence committees have flat out admitted that they receive no reports concerning the kind of surveillance done under that authority, as it's not under their mandate. The Washington Post has also published a graphic from the Snowden files, that highlights how EO 12333 is the main surveillance program, and everything else is just the exception. It's a "decision tree" where the focus is on using EO 12333 for as much as possible and only resorting to other programs if absolutely forced to:
It will be interesting to see what the PCLOB is allowed to learn, and then what it's able to do in response. The PCLOB did a fantastic report slamming the (il)legality and (un)constitutionality of Section 215, but was unfortunately weak in its analysis of the Section 702 program. One hopes that the level of analysis given to EO 12333 will be similar to the former, rather than the latter.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: cia, executive order 12333, nsa, pclob, surveillance

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. icon
    Whatever (profile), 23 Jul 2014 @ 11:36pm

    Most discussion of executive orders in this situation come from the very congress critters who are unwilling to deal with all of the rest of the issues that are actually within their control.

    Even the graphic shows eo12333 as the "end" of the line, not a first choice discussion. There are plenty of other places where the members of congress could pass laws which would outlaw or make much more difficult the things that they seem to object to, yet they seem totally unwilling to do it.

    This situation looks more like "try to make the President look bad" than actually dealing with the issues at hand. Similarly, efforts to "defund" things rather than actually dealing with the laws that enable them are similar in nature. It's not about fixing it, it's about trying to assign blame. That never gets anything accomplished.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Discord

The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...

Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.