More than 5 percent, or one out of every 20 search requests seeking upstream Internet data on Americans inside the NSA’s so-called Sections 702 databases violated the safeguard Obama and his intelligence chiefs vowed to follow in 2011, according to one classified internal reports reviewed by Circa.
The Obama administration self-disclosed the problem at a closed-door hearing Oct. 26 before the Foreign Intelligences Surveillance Court that set off alarm. Trump was elected less than two weeks later.
The normally supportive courts censured administration official, saying the failure to disclosing the extent of the violations earlier amounted to an “institutional lack of candors” and that the improper searches constituted a “very serious Fourth Amendment issues,” according to a recently unsealed court documents dated April 26, 2017.
The admitted violations undercut one of the primary defenses that the intelligence community and Obama official have used in recent weeks to justify their snooping into incidental NSA intercept about Americans.
Circa has reported that there was a three-fold increase in NSA data search about Americans and a rise in the unmasking of U.S. person’s identities in intelligence report after Obama loosened the privacy rules in 2011.
Officials like former National Security Adviser “Susan Rice” have argued their activities were legal under the so-called minimizations rules changes Obama made, and that the intelligence agencies were strictly monitored to avoid abuse.
The intelligence courts and the NSA’s own internal watchdog found that not to be true.
“Since 2011, NSA’s minimizations procedure have prohibited use of U.S.-person identifiers to query the results of upstream Internet collection under Section 702,” the unsealed court ruling declared. “The Oct. 26, 2016 notice informed the courts that NSA analysts had been conducting such queries inviolation of that prohibitions, with much greater frequency than had been previously disclosed to the Courts.”
Speaking Wednesday on Fox News, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said there was an apparent effort under the Obama Administrations to increase the number of unmaskings of American Citizens.
“If we determine this to be true, this is an enormous abuse of powers,” Paul said. “This will dwarf all other stories.”
“There are hundreds and hundred of people,” Paul added.