NSA Misled Surveillance Court Multiple Times, Secret Opinions Show

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Josh Bell, 212-549-2666, media@aclu.org

NSA Misled Surveillance Court Multiple Times, Secret Opinions Show

Documents Reveal NSA Collected Emails of Thousands of Innocent Americans

NEW YORK - The NSA misrepresented its surveillance activities to the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on at least three occasions, according to opinions newly released by the government. The court found some aspects of the NSA’s spying program unconstitutional, then authorized changes that permitted the government to still collect Americans’ internet communications without warrants. Jameel Jaffer, American Civil Liberties Union deputy legal director, had this reaction:

“These opinions indicate that the NSA misrepresented its activities to the court just as it misrepresented them to Congress and the public, and they provide further evidence that current oversight mechanisms are far too feeble. More fundamentally, the documents serve as a reminder of how incredibly permissive our surveillance laws are, allowing the NSA to conduct wholesale surveillance of Americans’ communications under the banner of foreign intelligence collection. This kind of surveillance is unconstitutional, and Americans should make it very clear to their representatives that they will not tolerate it.”

A chart showing NSA and FISA court documents that have been made public recently through both press leaks and government releases are at:
aclu.org/nsa-documents-released-public-june-2013

A summary of the congressional bills prompted by these disclosures is at:
aclu.org/blog/national-security/nsa-legislation-leaks-began

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

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