“On at least one occasion,” the intelligence shop has approved Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) to say, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court found that “minimization procedures” used by the government while it was collecting intelligence were “unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment.” Minimization refers to how long the government may retain the surveillance data it collects. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution is supposed to guarantee our rights against unreasonable searches.The FISA Amendments Act is up for reauthorization this year, and the administration is pushing it hard. Wyden has, for well over a year, been attempting to bring to light various ways in which the government is overstepping the bounds of established law in conducting domestic surveillance. This is one more example. The ODNI says that the violation that the FISA Court found has been "remedied," but Wyden remains concerned.
Wyden does not specify how extensive this “unreasonable” surveillance was; when it occurred; or how many Americans were affected by it.
In what he calls the “back door searches” loophole, Wyden says the government could gather large amounts of e-mails and phone call data, then sift through them to pinpoint the communications of individual Americans, an aide explained.The issues raised by Wyden clearly need to be debated in public, on the Senate floor and in the press. That's more than Wyden's Intelligence Committee chair, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, has been willing to do thus far on the issue. This admission from the ODNI to Wyden might help change that.
“This law clearly has had a bigger privacy impact than most people realize,’’ Wyden said Friday. “In particular, I believe that the “back door searches” loophole needs to be closed.”