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    FISA Court Reveal: NSA under Obama Illegally Spied on Americans

    FISA Court Reveal: NSA under Obama Illegally Spied on Americans

    FISA Court: Illegal searches constituted a “very serious Fourth Amendment issue,” yet media reaction subdued.

    A Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court ruling was declassified and released this week.

    The ruling reveals that the Obama administration engaged in widespread violation of NSA surveillance rules. The Obama administration was reprimanded by the FISA court for illegal searches that constitute “very serious Fourth Amendment issue.”

    According to previously classified documents, this admission of methodical and long-term violations of Americans’ Constitutional rights was made on October 26th of 2016.

    Circa reports:

    The National Security Agency under former President Barack Obama routinely violated American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Donald Trump was elected president last fall, according to once top-secret documents that chronicle some of the most serious constitutional abuses to date by the U.S. intelligence community.

    More than 5 percent, or one out of every 20 searches seeking upstream Internet data on Americans inside the NSA’s so-called Section 702 database violated the safeguards Obama and his intelligence chiefs vowed to follow in 2011, according to one classified internal report reviewed by Circa.

    The Obama administration self-disclosed the problems at a closed-door hearing Oct. 26 before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that set off alarm. Trump was elected less than two weeks later.

    The FISA court sanctioned administration officials and ruled that the searches constitute a “very serious Fourth Amendment issue.”

    Circa continues:

    The normally supportive court censured administration officials, saying the failure to disclose the extent of the violations earlier amounted to an “institutional lack of candor” and that the improper searches constituted a “very serious Fourth Amendment issue,” according to a recently unsealed court document dated April 26, 2017.

    From the FISA Court ruling:

    Upstream collections refers to data routes between computer networks as opposed to those communications intercepted by Internet service providers.   Even these collections and the distribution of collected and unmasked data, however, are not permitted to be handled in a manner that violates Americans’ Fourth Amendment privacy rights.

    PJ Media reports:

    As the FISA court explains, upstream collection refers to the interception of communications “as they transit the facilities of an Internet backbone carrier.” These are the data routes between computer networks. The routes are hosted by government, academic, commercial, and similar high-capacity network centers, and they facilitate the global, international exchange of Internet traffic. Upstream collection from the Internet’s “backbone,” which accounts for about 9 percent of the NSA’s collection haul (a massive amount of communications), is distinguished from interception of communications from more familiar Internet service providers.

    Upstream collection is a vital tool for gathering intelligence against foreign threats to the United States. It is, of course, on foreign intelligence targets — non-U.S. persons situated outside the U.S. — that the NSA and CIA are supposed to focus. Foreign agents operating inside the U.S. are mainly the purview of the FBI, which conducts surveillance of their communications through warrants from the FISA court — individualized warrants based on probable cause that a specific person is acting as an agent of a foreign power.

    . . . . In a nutshell, it is not possible to capture a single e-mail related to a single target as it transits the backbone routes (or “switches”) that connect networks. The NSA must instead capture packets of e-mail data — which include lots of e-mails beside the targeted e-mail. It sifts through these packets, finds and assembles the components of the email it was looking for, and then discards the rest. (A New York Times report by Charlie Savage earlier this week, in connection with a different FISA issue, provides a good explanation of this process.

    By contrast, the relevant discussion in the FISA court opinion of “multiple communications transactions,” or MCTs, is brief and heavily redacted — see the opinion at 15–16.) Even if the NSA does exactly what it is supposed to do (i.e., sift and discard), this means American communications are being seized and subjected to an inspection — however cursory — in the absence of any warrant, probable cause, or foreign-intelligence relevance.

    According to Circa, the ACLU responds to the “appalling lack of oversight” in our nation’s intelligence agencies.

    The American Civil Liberties Union said the newly disclosed violations are some of the most serious to ever be documented and strongly call into question the U.S. intelligence community’s ability to police itself and safeguard American’s privacy as guaranteed by the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections against unlawful search and seizure.

    “I think what this emphasizes is the shocking lack of oversight of these programs,” said Neema Singh Guliani, the ACLU’s legislative counsel in Washington.

    Watch the report:

    If you’ve noted that this is not being covered by the mainstream media, you’re not alone.

    Newsbusters notes:

    The lack of coverage by the Big Three, and the liberal media in general shows their bias against Trump and their favoritism to Obama. They rather focus on alleged accusations that so far have bared little fruit, instead of the legal opinion of federal judges exposing the highly illegal actions of a segment of President Obama’s administration.


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    guyjones | May 26, 2017 at 1:48 am

    What else is new? For the mainstream media and his fawning, lemming-like supporters, St. Obama — perenially egotistical, arrogant, self-congratulatory, petulant, attention-needing, lawless, and, incompetent — can never do any wrong. For Leftists, the emotional resonance of his ethnic composition precludes any rational assessment and critique of his loathsome persona and his disastrous tenure in office.

    guyjones | May 26, 2017 at 1:53 am

    And, now, the mainstream media fetes this lucre-loving hypocrite and his diva wife on their never-ending, perpetual vacation, as they jet from one exotic, exclusive resort locale to another. Recuperating so that, refreshed and rejuvenated, they can finally fight “income inequality.”

      Whitewall in reply to guyjones. | May 26, 2017 at 7:03 am

      Obama takes the big $$ from bankers after office, gets a big advance to “write his “mein kampf”, and now when it is revealed that Big Brother was watching you…Barack is Big Brother! With all this news about their “hero”, only extreme constipation must be keeping Liberals and progressives from erupting in righteous anger from being sold out.

        guyjones in reply to Whitewall. | May 26, 2017 at 7:18 am

        I recall the shock and surprise in some Leftist quarters upon St. Obama’s accepting an obscene $400,000 speaking fee from Wall Street bond firm Cantor Fitzgerald, post-presidency — these delusional naifs had never before pondered the transparent shallowness, self-serving, vain and hypocritical nature of their idol, so obvious to anyone possessing a modicum of objectivity and rationality before and after his tenure in office.

        After all of St. Obama’s ceaseless demagoguery about “spreading the wealth around,” “At some point, I think that you’ve made enough money, his constant vilification of “millionaires and billionaires,” and, his lecturing about “income inequality,” these fools were surprised to discover that he and his odious wife are rank hypocrites who enjoy accumulating wealth and the trappings of wealth as much as any free market-loving, private sector-toiling American.

      hrhdhd in reply to guyjones. | May 26, 2017 at 7:50 am

      Don’t worry–Gayle King, the objective and hard-hitting reporter, is there. She’ll keep us in the loop.

      notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to guyjones. | May 26, 2017 at 3:39 pm

      You mean the “Let them eat cake Michelle, and Barry?”

    ss396 | May 26, 2017 at 8:46 am

    I am reminded of a Doonesbury cartoon from back in the ’70s where that reporter guy was in Cambodia investigating Nixon’s secret bombings there. One of the villagers he interviewed said “Secret bombings? What secret bombings? Everyone around here knew about them.”

    During Obama’s war on white conservative Christians, we are now told that nearly every federal agency, including the NSA, was engaged in that fight.

    Gee – ya think?

    Hey NYT / WaPo / AP and all you broadcast media folks – none of this is news to us. Your surprise at it all only shows how much of a bubble you are in; how very little you actually know. Ben Rhodes had it right: you’re the equivalent of a bunch of twenty-somethings who have never been anywhere or done anything.

    rinardman | May 26, 2017 at 8:52 am

    Drive-by-media: It’s okay, the only people they were spying on was the basket of deplorables!

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