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Committee Chairman Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) (R) and ranking member Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) (L) preside over the second day of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan's confirmation hearings in front of the Senate Judiciary Commitee on Capitol Hill in
The latest document dump from the the Office of the Director of National Intelligence includes an order from the FISA court that allowed the NSA to collect an "expanded amount" of data from people's emails, despite the court's displeasure with the NSA's overreach and over-collection in another program.
The judge on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court recounted a litany of problems with the first, smaller program, including the NSA collecting more categories of information than had been approved by the court and sharing data more widely within the electronic eavesdropping agency than had been authorized. [...]

The programs let the NSA search for Americans who had electronic contact with people who were in turn linked to people hostile to the United States. At times, however, analysts queried the database with names that had not been found to be terrorists or foreign agents, the judge found.

The NSA was allowed to share criminal evidence with law enforcement agencies, but in other cases it was supposed to obscure email addresses to protect the identities of U.S. citizens because of the Fourth Amendment's protections against unreasonable searches.

Instead, Judge John Bates wrote about the first bulk collection program, "NSA analysts made it a general practice to disseminate to other agencies intelligence reports containing U.S. person information," such as their email addresses.

This isn't the first FISC ruling by Judge Bates to show a high degree of frustration and concern over violations by the NSA of the court's own rules. One intelligence reform bill, Sen. Patrick Leahy's, would help address some of the problems with the court, including enforcing more transparency on the court by declassifying all of its key findings since 2003, and also by creating a public advocate that could advise the court in certain cases.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed Nov 20, 2013 at 01:25 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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