Rand Paul

Rand Paul: "It's Time to Trash the NSA's Mass Surveillance of Americans, For Good"

Writing in The Guardian

|

Director of Intelligence James Clapper now says the National Security Agency (NSA) should have been more open about the fact that they were spying on all Americans.

I'm glad he said this. But there is no excuse for lying in the first place.

When Senator Ron Wyden (a Democrat from Oregon) asked Director Clapper during an intelligence hearing in March of last year if the NSA was collecting the data of millions of Americans, the director lied under oath and denied the charge.

NEXT: Jacob Sullum in Forbes: The Surprising Truth About Meth

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. It is well established that requesting the a communication provider to give up metadata of a person (US or not) does not require a warrant. One might think that requesting the collection of all such metadata would be somehow different enough to require a warrant; one federal judge thought so and issued a warrant (subsequently stayed). It is not a slam dunk, however, as another federal judge found the Patriot Act Section 215 program constitutional. We might want to wait and see what the Supreme Court says to settle the question.

    As described, the metadata database, although it contains only 25% to 30% of all eligible data, has considerable technical merit from the government’s viewpoint: it is a single resource that may be searched to identify U. S. contacts of a known intelligence target, along with other secondary contacts. The alternative would be to subpoena the metadata from each carrier based on the targeted person’s ID, and then, based on searches of the data produced, issue additional subpoenas for metadata related to the targeted person’s contacts. This would extend a process requiring hours to one requiring days or weeks. This certainly could be significant if the goal was to prevent a targeted person and his or her contacts from completing a planned terrorist attack. Time would be less an issue, but still a consideration if the goal was to identify and track those responsible for an already completed attack.

  2. (Cont)
    The down side is existence of a large database of person tracking information under government control, something there is good reason to be concerned about; in the internet age it is trivial to find cases of federal and other governments using these powers wrongly. The metadata database does not spring into existence when providers deliver the data to the NSA. It already exists, and will continue to, independent of the government, in facilities of the communication and other service providers, for their business and facility management purposes. It can be searched, as described above, to whatever degree the government is able to obtain subpoenas.

    That said, it is not clear that the NSA has been a poor custodian of this data. The documents that Edward Snowden caused to be released, or that were declassified later, do not indicate systematic government (or government employee) misuse of data collected under either the Patriot Act or the FISA. Thet are consistent with testimony given to the Church Committee in 1975 by NSA Director Gen. Lew Allen as NSA Director and U. S. Attorney General Edward Levi. The FISA enacted in 1978 mainly limited the NSA to practices in use at the time. Unlike the document and presentation type data that Snowden took and gave to reporters, there do not seem to have been leaks of the intelligence data. It may be that President Obama’s interim approach of obtaining FISC warrants and limiting the search depth is about right.

    1. No evidence of abuse other than sharing info with LEOs at all levels of government for the prosecution of “crimes” that would have otherwise been undectectable due to the fact that no victims are created to complain about it. fact is millions of consenting adults break some law some where at some time and the ability to play getcha by a prohibitionist nanny-state and ruin the lives of hardworking constitutional law abiding citizens
      the NSA has never needed to exist nor should they be able to put our nation further into debt by forcibly extorting tax dollars from us then turning their weapons of mass destruction upon those footing the fucking bill.
      Eat shit and die you sockpuppet slaver fuck.

  3. Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson – “Gentlemen do not read each other’s mail.”

  4. The U.S. Patriot Act signed into law on Oct. 26, 2001, gives sweeping search and surveillance to domestic law enforcement and foreign intelligence agencies. Today this updated legislation threatens the basic rights of millions of law-abiding Americans. For all “online privacy” companies residing in the US, they MUST abide by its by laws and hand over information if requested with NO QUESTIONS ASKED!
    Please take a minute to visit and “Like” my page!
    http://www.americansrighttoprivacy.com

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.