Thursday, May 11, 2006

Let's Play "Ask the NSA!"

Hmmm, let's just ask the NSA whether or not they're supposed to be gathering phone records of billions of domestic telephone calls.

First, the NSA's description of its own mission, which seems to suggest that it's focused on foreign, not domestic spying:

"The National Security Agency/Central Security Service (NSA/CSS) is the Nation's cryptologic organization. Its twofold mission is the protection of U.S. information systems and the production of foreign signals intelligence information. NSA/CSS is on the high-tech frontier of communications and data processing and is a major center of foreign language analysis and research within the U.S. government."

And, here's the question posed directly, on its FAQ page:

"Does NSA/CSS unconstitutionally spy on Americans?

No. NSA/CSS performs SIGINT operations against foreign powers or agents of foreign powers. It strictly follows laws and regulations designed to preserve every American's privacy rights under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Fourth Amendment protects U.S. persons from unreasonable searches and seizures by the U.S. government or any person or agency acting on behalf of the U.S. government."

So, sheesh, it seems like if the NSA is collecting that phone data without the supervision of any court or without any authority telling it that such searches and seizures are reasonable that the agency is, by its own definition, out of control.


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