Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ-05) reintroduced the Fourth Amendment Restoration Act Wednesday, which seeks to prohibit warrantless surveillance of American citizens.
“We cannot continue to provide our government with clandestine spying powers that violate the Fourth Amendment rights of Americans,” Biggs said in a press release. “It’s imperative to have a surveillance apparatus to address national security concerns, but it also must protect Americans’ constitutional rights.”
On Monday, the office of the Inspector General at the National Security Agency (NSA) released a report showing that the agency failed to follow basic internal guidelines and court-ordered procedures in its surveillance of American citizens’ communications.
According to CNN, the report showed that the agency abused a loophole in Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). While Section 702 allows the government to collect such communications of foreign citizens on foreign soil without a warrant, it prohibits the government from doing so with American citizens. The loophole allows the NSA and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to use this section to collect American communications without a warrant if they believe “a query is reasonably likely to return foreign intelligence information.”
The inspector general’s report “revealed a number of concerns involving [U.S. person] identifiers used as query terms against FISA Section 702 data.” Furthermore, some of these NSA queries “did not always follow NSA procedural and policy requirements.” Among other discrepancies, information gathered on “selectors,” or particular search terms in an investigation, were not properly documented; in addition, the NSA’s internal query tools designed to automatically prevent the processing of queries involving any Americans associated with the selectors ultimately failed to do so, thus allowing Americans to be investigated and monitored.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s charge that the National Security Agency illegally spied on him and leaked his emails is enraging prominent liberals. Carlson sought “to sow distrust [of the NSA], which is so anti-American,” declared MSNBC analyst Andrew Weissman, formerly the chief prosecutor for Special Counsel Robert Mueller. CNN senior correspondent Oliver Darcy ridiculed Carlson for effectively claiming that “I’m not a crazy person overstating a case!”
When did the NSA become as pure as Snow White? Do pundits presume that there is a 24-hour statute of limitation for recalling any previously-disclosed NSA crimes and abuses?
The Carlson controversy cannot be understood outside the context of perennial NSA abuses. The NSA possesses a “repository capable of taking in 20 billion ‘record events’ daily and making them available to NSA analysts within 60 minutes,” the New York Times reported. The NSA is able to snare and stockpile many orders of magnitude times more information than did East Germany’s Stasi secret police, one of the most odious agencies of the post-war era.
Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act is up for an eight-year extension. And it’s high time to curb this government power. This is the section of U.S. law that allows feds to spy on Internet and telephone communications absent any open court warrant, so long as the surveillance is…