Obama Admin Unveils Spying Justification

The Obama administration on Friday released white papers in an apparent attempt to justify the National Security Agency’s dragnet surveillance of Americans.

The release came the same day Obama admitted at a press conference that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden “triggered a much more rapid” dialogue on the agency’s spying programs.

One section explains that the agency “touches” 1.6% of Internet traffic per day:

Also outlined is the agency’s justification of its bulk collection of Americans’ “telephony metadata” as the Associational Tracking Program under section 215 of the Patriot Act.

However, as Cindy Cohen of the Electronic Frontier Foundation points out,

The Guardian‘s Spencer Ackerman explained further on the Associational Tracking Program, which “authorizes the government to acquire ‘tangible things’ that are ‘relevant’ to an investigation”:

Cohen adds that

Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said, “The way the government is interpreting relevance, anything and everything they say is relevant becomes relevant.”


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