Bombshell: Low-level NSA agents can wiretap anyone, even the president, sans warrant
Revelation came to light last week following briefing by Jerrold Nedler.
Representative Jerrold Nadler told members of Congress in a briefing last week that the National Security Agency can listen to phone calls without a warrant. The statement is consistent with the claims of Edward Snowden that the NSA surveillance is broad and lacks meaningful oversight.
Anyone from you to the president can be wiretapped.
In the United States, listening to a phone call without a warrant is illegal, however according to Nadler's testimony, the NSA does not concern itself with such trivialities.
Instead, the simple decision of an analyst is all that's needed.
Nadler said he was surprised to learn that an analyst's decision is all that was required. "I was rather startled," he told Congress.
Nadler is also an attorney and serves on the house Judiciary Committee.
Last Thursday he had an exchange with FBI Director, Robert Mueller. According to Mueller during that exchange, the government needs "a special, a particularized order from the FISA court directed at rhat particular phone of that individuals."
Nadler followed up by asking if information in that procedure is classified.
"I don't think so," Mueller answered.
The bombshell: "Then I can say the following," Nadler said. "We heard precisely the opposite at the briefing the other day. We heard precisely that you could get the specific information from that telephone simply based on an analyst deciding that... In other words, what you just said is incorrect. So there's a conflict."
In plain English, somebody is lying.
If Nadler's belief is correct, then it confirms some of what Edward Snowden was saying, that many analysts (although not all) had the ability to wiretap phone calls. Snowden said that he could "wiretap anyone from you or your accountant to a federal judge to even the president." And he could do it from his home in Hawaii.
The power to eavesdrop extends beyond phone calls, but also includes text messages, emails, and instant messages.
According to William Binney, a former NSA technical director who gave an interview to Daily Caller, the NSA records the phone calls of 500,000 to one million people who are on its "target list." And possibly more. 'They look through these phone numbers and they target those and that's what they record,' Binney told the DailyCaller.
It is unclear if the targets of these communications are within the United States, although they are supposed to be foreigners only. However, if the NSA "unintentionally" targets a caller in the United States, then the tap is perfectly legal, according to their interpretation. According to the NSA, they can determine if a caller is foreign or domestic with at least a "51 percent reliability."
This is probably also a lie. An agency that has the ability to wiretap anyone, including the president, should also have the ability to determine if a phone call is foreign or domestic.
It's also difficult to imagine that low-ranking employees of the NSA with the power to wiretap calls from their homes aren't ever going to abuse their power.
After all, people in positions of trust within the government never abuse their power.
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
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