by Seth Rosenblatt, Feb 3, 2014
“Currently, the tech company (Facebook) disclosures only reveal an imprecise summary: 12,000 to 12,999 user accounts requested by FISA content requests, for example, during July to December 2012. That number, by the way, represents the peak in a spike of affected accounts at Google. Other companies saw a similar rise in FISA requests during the same period. “
“American Civil Liberties Union attorney Alex Abdo acknowledged the reports were helpful, but that “they’re not nearly enough” for the public to evaluate the breadth and impact of government surveillance. “The limited information that can be gleaned from the reports suggests that the government is using its spying powers extremely broadly, likely infringing on the privacy rights of many innocent Americans. The administration should grant the companies’ requests to release more detailed reports, and Congress should require greater transparency and accountability when it comes to NSA surveillance,” Abdo said.
Across the board, all the charts show that NSA requests for data have not only increased over time, but that they spiked in requested information around a year ago.”
by Tom Carter, Global Research
July 23, 2013; Live Leak
“According to recent statistics, the FISA court has issued 33,942 warrants since the court began operating in 1979. It has denied the government’s request only 11 times. In other words, the government’s requests in this court are granted approximately 99.997 percent of the time and denied 0.003 percent of the time.”
“The secret FISA court system constitutes a menace of major proportions to the American and world public. Its trajectory further demonstrates the impossibility of imposing any reforms on the American military-intelligence complex.
Terrified of the possible emergence of mass opposition to its policies of plunder, war, and austerity, the capitalist class is deliberately building a police state. This regime cannot be reformed. It can be abolished and democratic rights secured only through the independent political intervention of the working class.”
Matt Bernius, Outside the Beltway, June 12, 2013
“From 2000 to 2012, we find that the FISA court denied 12 applications out of 21,914, and modified another 2% or 498 (note that in 2002, the FISA modifications were later overturned on appeal) applications. We also see that the government withdrew a total of 26 applications.
What is exceedingly clear from these numbers is that, in the vast majority of cases, FISA approves physical search and electronic surveillance applications with no changes. Looking at these numbers, it’s hard not to see the courts as something of a “rubber stamp.””
“Thanks to provisions in 2005’s USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act, the Justice Department also began to include information about requests for information about US citizens in the annual FISA Reports. These are requests made by the FBI to National Security Letter authorities. According to the Electronic Privacy Information Center, these are applications for an extraordinary search procedure which gives the FBI the power to compel the disclosure of customer records held by banks, telephone companies, Internet Service Providers, and others. These entities are prohibited, or “gagged,” from telling anyone about their receipt of the NSL, which makes oversight difficult. [source]”
Glenn Greenwald and James Ball, The Guardian, 20 June 2013
“Top secret documents submitted to the court that oversees surveillance by US intelligence agencies show the judges have signed off on broad orders which allow the NSA to make use of information “inadvertently” collected from domestic US communications without a warrant.
The Guardian is publishing in full two documents submitted to the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (known as the Fisa court), signed by Attorney General Eric Holder and stamped 29 July 2009. They detail the procedures the NSA is required to follow to target “non-US persons” under its foreign intelligence powers and what the agency does to minimize data collected on US citizens and residents in the course of that surveillance.
The documents show that even under authorities governing the collection of foreign intelligence from foreign targets, US communications can still be collected, retained and used.
The procedures cover only part of the NSA’s surveillance of domestic US communications. The bulk collection of domestic call records, as first revealed by the Guardian earlier this month, takes place under rolling court orders issued on the basis of a legal interpretation of a different authority, section 215 of the Patriot Act.”