There have long been whispers that the Obama administration was both handsy and sloppy when it came to disseminating personal information of US citizens.
We now have confirmation that it’s not just mere conjecture. Those that feel that big brother has been too rambunctious are clearly onto something.
The Hill passes along the details of some recently declassified documents that shed a less than flattering light on the previous administration.
The National Security Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation violated specific civil liberty protections during the Obama years by improperly searching and disseminating raw intelligence on Americans or failing to promptly delete unauthorized intercepts, according to newly declassified memos that provide some of the richest detail to date on the spy agencies’ ability to obey their own rules.
The memos reviewed by The Hill were publicly released on July 11 through Freedom of Information Act litigation by the American Civil Liberties Union.
Alright, so what’s the big deal about that? As ACLU staff attorney Patrick Toomey points out, a whole lot.
“Americans should be alarmed that the NSA is vacuuming up their emails and phone calls without a warrant,” said Patrick Toomey, an ACLU staff attorney in New York who helped pursue the FOIA litigation. “The NSA claims it has rules to protect our privacy, but it turns out those rules are weak, full of loopholes, and violated again and again.”
Some observers have attempted to brush aside the findings from the documents as the missteps have impacted less than 1 percent of the total info. We’ll let Retired House Intelligence Committee chairman Pete Hoekstra have the last word on that.
“If I were still in Congress today, I might vote with the people today to shut the program down or curtail it,” Hoekstra, who has been tapped by Trump to be ambassador to the Netherlands, said in an interview.
“One percent or less sounds great, but the truth is one percent of my credit card charges don’t come back wrong every month. And in my mind one percent is pretty sloppy when it can impact Americans’ privacy.”
Shutting down the program seems unlikely at this stage of the game, but we’ll echo Hoekstra’s sentiments that curtailing should be on the table at this point.
Errors such as this wouldn’t fly in the private sector, and entire departments would be thoroughly cleaned up as a result. Why should we expect any less when it comes to our government?
Source: The Hill