NSA will no longer collect digital communications of Americans, but not really

The National Security Agency (NSA) will no longer collect some emails and other digitalnsa-logo.jpeg communication of Americans, who “casually discuss foreign targets.” Specifically, the NSA is no longer using Section 702 of the FISA Act to collect information casually mentioning other conversations of foreign targets of the United States. Section 702 affords the NSA the ability to capture audio or digital communications of Americans on American soil when communicating with another on foreign soil, and when during the communication a third person (a foreign target) is mentioned, then they can do so without a warrant. They have been able to conduct full surveillance of all involved. This surveillance can then be used to create an even larger dragnet of Americans and foreign nationals, which theoretically could encompass the entire United States population.

So, while NSA has said it will pull back on 702, it has plenty of authority to continue spying on Americans. The spy agency can also use the Reagan-era executive order 12333 which still stands today and basically enables the NSA to spy on Americans. During the Obama Administration there was a push to rescind 12333; however, apparently, Obama enjoyed the ability to spy on Americans without a warrant.

702 is expected to expire at the close of this year unless Congress and President Trump decide to extend it. Though that is unlikely as it was 702 that was used to spy on Donald Trump when he was a candidate for president by the Obama Administration. This past weekend, Trump voiced his concern over mass surveillance in the United States and is looking to “find out what the hell is going on.” Meaning, he feels there is too much surveillance of Americans.

 

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Categories: Government

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