Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, disclosed this week
that during a secret briefing to members of Congress, he was told
that the contents of a phone call could be accessed “simply based
on an analyst deciding that.”
If the NSA wants “to listen to the phone,” an analyst’s decision
is sufficient, without any other legal authorization required,
Nadler said he learned. “I was rather startled,” said Nadler, an
attorney and congressman who serves on the House Judiciary
Not only does this disclosure shed more light on how the
NSA’s formidable eavesdropping apparatus works
domestically it also suggests the Justice Department has secretly
interpreted federal surveillance law to permit thousands of
low-ranking analysts to eavesdrop on phone calls.
I’m guessing we can look forward to the “We would never use this
power irresponsibly” arguments.
A bit of translation here:
Assume that the only safeguard applying “constitutional” protections in the surveillance process, the FISA “courts”, says it’s okay for NSA to trawl 200 million accounts for “metadata.” After that, any NSA analyst looking at the metadata (which includes connections between phone numbers – say, when you call Aunt Gertie) who decides that this connection looks suspicious can, without further ado. certainly without a warrant, listen to that phone call!”
So, do you feel your right to be secure in your person, property, papers, and effects is properly protected here?
Why, you must be a terrorist or something!
UPDATE: Nadler has retracted this, but I assume that he’s lying with the retraction, and inadvertently told the truth with his initial report.