Two civil rights lawyers, Jennifer Granick and Christopher Sprigman, wrote a post in Forbes that lays out a description of NSA domestic spying, it’s implications, and why everyone should be fuming mad at the whole practice and everyone involved.
Now it’s pretty long, so here are the best parts:
The Distilled Truth
The Obama Administration repeatedly has assured us that the NSA does not collect the private information of ordinary Americans. Those statements simply are not true. We now know that the agency regularly intercepts and inspects Americans’ phone calls, emails, and other communications, and it shares this information with other federal agencies that use it to investigate drug trafficking and tax evasion.
Worse, DEA and IRS agents are told to lie to judges and defence attorneys about their use of NSA data, and about the very existence of the SOD, and to make up stories about how these investigations started so that no one will know information is coming from the NSA’s top secret surveillance programs.
The SOD receives intelligence intercepts … to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans. The SOD gets information from the NSA and shares it with, among other agencies, the IRS.
And this is where things get truly ugly. When agents receive SOD information and rely on it to trigger investigations, they are directed to omit the SOD’s involvement from investigative reports, affidavits, discussions with prosecutors and courtroom testimony. Agents are instructed to then use “normal investigative techniques to recreate the information provided by SOD.”
The Obvious Conclusion
This is outrageous conduct. It is the sort of thing you expect from the Chinese government, or one of the now-vanished governments of the Warsaw Pact. And there is no stronger proof of the dangers of the NSA’s domestic spying effort than the fact that the government has consistently lied about it and attempted to cover it up.
Their explanation of how the NSA uses “hard” and “soft” indicators to surveill certain “suspects” is worth the read alone.
Not to mention their simple solution: A Special Prosecutor “with wide power to subpoena Administration officials, and to bring criminal indictments where appropriate.”
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.