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This site is the inspiration of a former reporter/photographer for one of New England's largest daily newspapers and for various magazines. The intent is to direct readers to interesting political articles, and we urge you to visit the source sites. Any comments may be noted on site or directed to KarisChaf at gmail.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Pulling the plug on the NSA’s metadata collection -- By David Medine and Patricia Wald, The Washington Times

Review of program’s key section reveals disparity between authorization, operation 

This photo provided by The Guardian Newspaper in London shows Edward Snowden, who worked as a contract employee at the National Security Agency, on Sunday, June 9, 2013, in Hong Kong. USIS, the company that handled a background check on National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden allegedly defrauded the government by submitting at least 665,000 investigations that had not been properly completed, and then tried to cover it up when the government suspected what was going on. (AP Photo/The Guardian)In the months since Edward Snowden's unauthorized release of information about National Security Agency (NSA) programs involving collection of data on Americans at home and foreigners abroad, there has been a long overdue debate about the legality, as well as the need and desirability, of these programs.

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, an independent, bipartisan agency created by Congress and reporting to both the president and Congress, as well as to the public, just completed a seven-month extensive review of the most controversial of the programs, the Section 215 counterterrorism program of the Patriot Act.

Under Section 215, the NSA may collect records on calls made by virtually all Americans, accessible for three-tiered queries by NSA analysts based upon a determination that a particular number may be affiliated with terrorism.

The dialing and receiving numbers, the time and duration of calls made by Americans (though not the content), are amassed and retained for up to five years, even though the vast majority have no connection to terrorism.

The revelation of the Section 215 program has provoked intense debate about whether it is a relatively harmless invasion of Americans' privacy and civil rights necessary to protect their security. Heated debates have also arisen about the value and necessity of collecting this kind of bulk data on all Americans.
It was in this vortex that the oversight board conducted its inquiry, at the behest of 13 members of Congress and President Obama, to provide an independent look at the legality, value, and privacy and civil liberties implications of the program.

We examined the history and operation of the Section 215 program, its statutory foundations and the constitutional issues it raises. Our analysis of the program's statutory basis — the most detailed on record to date — led us to conclude that a series of fundamental disparities between the operation of the program and the language in Section 215 makes reconciliation of the two impossible under traditional rules of statutory construction.

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