Liberty Planet Weblog

NSA Admits: ‘We Do Store All Your Data But We Don’t Look At It All’

Posted on: August 1, 2013

The Director of National Intelligence released three declassified “in the interests of transparency” documents this morning that authorized and explained the bulk collection of phone data – one of the secret surveillance programs that Snowden revealed. As Reuters reports, much of what is contained in the documents has already been divulged in public hearings by intelligence officials but the National Security Agency’s “Bulk Collection Program,” carried out under the U.S. Patriot Act, is now in the open. Have no fear though, “Although the programs collect a large amount of information, the vast majority of that information is never reviewed by anyone in the government,” the report said. As Senator Patrick Leahy commented, “what has to be of more concern in a democracy is whether the trust of the American people is beginning to wear thin.”

Via Reuters,

As Congress increasingly scrutinizes U.S. surveillance programs, the government on Wednesday released declassified documents on the mass collection of telephone data in a rare glimpse into the world of intelligence gathering.

The U.S. Director of National Intelligence released three declassified documents that authorized and explained the bulk collection of phone data, one of the secret surveillance programs revealed by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

The declassification was made in the “interest of increased transparency,” the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said in a statement.

The documents released on Wednesday include 2009 and 2011 reports on the National Security Agency’s “Bulk Collection Program,” carried out under the U.S. Patriot Act.

In addition, they include an April 2013 order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which directed communications company Verizon to hand over data from millions of Americans’ telephone calls and described how that data should be stored and accessed.

“Although the programs collect a large amount of information, the vast majority of that information is never reviewed by anyone in the government, because the information is not responsive to the limited queries that are authorized for intelligence purposes,” the 2009 report said.

“The patience of the American people is beginning to wear thin,” said Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont. “What has to be of more concern in a democracy is whether the trust of the American people is beginning to wear thin.”

The intelligence officials said they were open to changing the surveillance programs.

“NSA needs access to telephony and email transactional information in bulk so that it can quickly identify the network of contacts that a targeted number or address is connected to.”

Source: Zero Hedge

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