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By Brahma Chellaney
Beijing's creeping aggression signals a challenge to U.S. presence in the Asian Pacific
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
A small federal panel that oversees privacy issues has been catapulted from a bureaucratic backwater into the political maelstrom roiled by leaks about the National Security Agency's domestic snooping.
The federal government used the Patriot Act more than 500 times from 2005 through 2011 to secretly obtain records from businesses, including bulk telephone and Internet data, and never once did the secret court charged with oversight turn them down, according to the latest document dump from U.S. spy agencies.
Americans must muster the courage to confront Big Brother's spying
The Obama administration is doing all it can, short of dispatching a squad of park rangers to barricade the justices' parking spaces, to prevent the Supreme Court from reviewing the National Security Agency's domestic spying enterprise. The administration's lawyers insist that lower courts can deal with the spy program, since the issue is too new to bother the high court with it. This is an argument too clever by half, since the administration further argues that lower courts have no jurisdiction in the first place.
The Obama administration's credibility on intelligence suffered another blow Wednesday as the chief of the National Security Agency admitted that officials put out numbers that vastly overstated the counterterrorism successes of the government's warrantless bulk collection of all Americans' phone records.
The Senate's senior lawmaker said Tuesday that it is time to repeal provisions of the Patriot Act that the intelligence community has relied on to collect all Americans' phone records, saying they are not making the country safer.
Government officials for nearly three years accessed data on thousands of domestic phone numbers they shouldn't have and then misrepresented their actions to a secret spy court to reauthorize the government's surveillance program, documents released Tuesday show.
The National Security Agency declassified three secret court opinions Wednesday showing how in one of its surveillance programs it scooped up as many as 56,000 emails and other communications by Americans not connected to terrorism annually over three years, revealed the error to the court — which ruled its actions unconstitutional — and then fixed the problem.
The Obama administration, under pressure from continued NSA leaks, declassified documents Wednesday showing the agency scooped up tens of thousands of emails and other online communications from Americans beginning in 2008 that it wasn't allowed to target, and was told to stop by the secret court that oversees the program.
Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden's illegal disclosures have renewed debate about intelligence and law enforcement efforts to protect the United States from international threats while safeguarding civil liberties at home.
James B. Comey Jr., a former George W. Bush administration official and now President Obama's nominee for FBI director, defended the approval by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of surveillance programs and dismissed arguments that the court was a "rubber stamp."
The Electronic Privacy Information Center said Thursday it will petition the U.S. Supreme Court to abolish the law that lets the National Security Agency collect data on Americans' telephone calls.
Microsoft is asking a court to let it disclose data on national security orders the company has received under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency, will give classified details of terrorist plots foiled with the help of the National Security Agency's broad data gathering about Americans' phone calls and online communications when he delivers rare open testimony to the House intelligence committee Tuesday.
The director of the National Security Agency insisted on Tuesday that the government's sweeping surveillance programs have foiled some 50 terrorist plots worldwide in a forceful defense echoed by the leaders of the House Intelligence Committee.