Tag: intelligence

Federal court says NSA’s domestic spying is illegal

Leaked information on NSA surveillance is only the tip of the iceberg. Domestic intelligence gathering operations are much more pervasive than most Americans realize, several U.S. senators say.
Leaked information on NSA surveillance is only the tip of the iceberg. Domestic intelligence gathering operations are much more pervasive than most Americans realize, several U.S. senators say.

Will Congress tackle meaningful reform of Patriot Act?

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Putting domestic surveillance and national security in a historical context, a panel of federal judges this week said the bulk collection of telephone data by U.S. spy agencies is illegal.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals said that Section 215 of the Patriot Act doesn’t authorize the government to gather Americans’ sensitive information on such a massive scale.

The case was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Civil Liberties Union in June 2013, immediately after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden disclosed the existence of the program. Continue reading “Federal court says NSA’s domestic spying is illegal”


Senate timidly moves to curb NSA snooping

Sen. Mark Udall.
Sen. Mark Udall.

Sen. Mark Udall votes against measure, says more far-reaching reform is needed

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — A bill that would take baby steps toward curbing the excessive spying by U.S. intelligence agencies passed through a Senate committee this week, but the measure doesn’t go far enough, according to Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), who has proposed legislation that would would rein in the dragnet collection of phone records, provide safeguards for warrantless wiretapping under the FISA Amendments Act, and create a constitutional advocate to protect privacy rights in cases before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Udall voted against the bill, saying that Americans need more protection from snooping government agencies.

“The NSA’s ongoing, invasive surveillance of Americans’ private information does not respect our constitutional values and needs fundamental reform – not incidental change,” Udall said. “Unfortunately, the bill passed by the Senate Intelligence Committee does not go far enough to address the NSA’s overreaching domestic surveillance programs. ” Continue reading “Senate timidly moves to curb NSA snooping”

Lawmakers want to curb spy agency abuses

Congress to consider intelligence-gathering reforms.

Reforms needed to restore public confidence

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers from the U.S. House and Senate want to ban bulk collection of Americans’ records, shield Americans from warrantless searches of their communications and install a constitutional advocate to argue significant cases before the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court.

The Intelligence Oversight and Surveillance Reform Act would halt the erosion of constitutional liberties resulting from invasive surveillance activities and the secret legal interpretations that have allowed this surveillance to proliferate, according Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and other supporters of the bill, including Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.). Continue reading “Lawmakers want to curb spy agency abuses”

Are intel chiefs are exaggerating effectiveness of spy programs?

It turns out the spy agencies are collecting all sorts of bulk data, including emails.

Spy chiefs need to be held accountable for their claims, Sens. Wyden and Udall say

By Summit County Voice

FRISCO — U.S. Intelligence officials have overstated the effectiveness of their bulk data collection in testimony to Congress, Sen. Mark Udall said this week, warning that policy makers shouldn’t accept all the statements made by spy agencies at face value.

In a joint statement on the recent disclosure by intelligence officials that the NSA operated a bulk email records collection program under the authority of the Patriot Act until 2011, Udall (D-Colo.) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said intelligence agencies’ assessments of the usefulness of particular collection programs — even significant ones — are not always accurate.

“Intelligence officials have noted that the bulk email records program was discussed with both Congress and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court,” Wyden and Udall said. “In our judgment it is also important to note that intelligence agencies made statements to both Congress and the Court that significantly exaggerated this program’s effectiveness. This experience has also led us to be skeptical of claims about the value of the bulk phone records collection program in particular,” the lawmakers said. Continue reading “Are intel chiefs are exaggerating effectiveness of spy programs?”

Senators seek more transparency on NSA spying

U.S. Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO)
U.S. Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) continues to press for more transparency on government data collection and other secret intelligence programs.

Letter to intel chief seeks details on bulk data gathering

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — The buik collection of data by the U.S. intelligence apparatus could enable the government to thwart laws designed to protect the privacy of medical and financial records. The recently revealed intelligence activity could have a significant impact on Americans’ privacy and civil liberties, according to a bipartisan group of 25 United States senators.

The lawmakers, including Colorado Democrat Mark Udall, last week sent a letter to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, asking him to publicly provide information about the duration and scope of the bulk phone-records collection program and provide examples of its effectiveness in providing unique intelligence, if such examples exist.

The senators said reliance on secret law to conduct domestic surveillance activities raises serious civil liberty concerns and all but prevents the public from engaging in an informed national security and civil liberty debate. Continue reading “Senators seek more transparency on NSA spying”