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I hadn't seen any diary on this new scoop by Greenwald & Co. over at the Guardian

Revealed: The Top Secret Rules That Allow The NSA To Use USA Data Without A Warrant

These documents (Exhibit A here, and Exhibit B here) directly contradict assertions made by President Obama, and all other Congressional and Administration supporters of the NSA's surveillance powers.

What, I wonder, will be their excuse for this one?

[Added Content below...]

One of the most disturbing aspects of these documents is the fact that they explain quite clearly that--while Americans' domestic communications are officially proscribed from use without a warrant--the NSA has the legal authority to actually listen to, read, and otherwise totally access the exact same content they are prohibited from using, in order to determine whether, in fact, their subject is even a US citizen (engaged in purely domestic communications) to begin with!

"In the absence of specific information regarding whether a target is a United States person," it states "a person reasonably believed to be located outside the United States or whose location is not known will be presumed to be a non-United States person unless such person can be positively identified as a United States person."

If it later appears that a target is in fact located in the US, analysts are permitted to look at the content of messages, or listen to phone calls, to establish if this is indeed the case.

Not only that, but the rules make clear that if, in the course of listening in, etc. to determine whether or not the subject is a US subject (totally and completely), the NSA uncovers some other suspected criminal behavior (domestic or otherwise) then they are permitted to continue to use said surveillance without a warrant.
Even if upon examination a communication is found to be domestic – entirely within the US – the NSA can appeal to its director to keep what it has found if it contains "significant foreign intelligence information", "evidence of a crime", "technical data base information" (such as encrypted communications), or "information pertaining to a threat of serious harm to life or property".
I find the implications of this to be particularly disturbing, especially considering how completely capacious federal law has been interpreted recently. Particularly when it comes to so-called "computer crimes" and hacking, as the FBI consistently used the CFAA to prosecute whistleblowers, leakers, hackers, dissenters, and pranksters alike. With draconian sentences, such as those faced by Aaron Swartz, Bradley Manning, Andrew Aurenheimer, Barrett Brown, Jeremy Hammond, among countless others. The list will (probably already does) include Edward Snowden.

3:58 PM PT: Rec list? Thank you kindly, everyone, and sorry for the thin diary.

As I mentioned, Ive been a bit obsessive about following up on the latest developments and I wanted to get this out there as soon as I saw it. That being said, I will also be editing and updating this diary with direct links (hat tip to all comments speaking to this!), so as to make clear a few of the reasons why I believe this latest leak to be so important

First things first....I'm now adding direct links to the two documents in question, and will follow up with some more relating to the felony charges that have been brought forth by FBI using the CFAA...

Again, many many thanks!

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