Published on
by
Common Dreams

Clapper Confesses: NSA Searching Americans' Calls and Emails

Letter to Senator Wyden exposes NSA overreach

During a January hearing, Senator Wyden had asked director of national intelligence James Clapper whether or not queries had been made into the communications of Americans. (Photo: CSPAN)

During a January hearing, Senator Wyden had asked director of national intelligence James Clapper whether or not queries had been made into the communications of Americans. (Photo: CSPAN)

Despite professions by intelligence officials that "backdoor" searches have been strictly limited to foreign individuals, reporting Tuesday has revealed that the NSA has also conducted warrantless searches of Americans' calls and emails.

In a letter sent to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) on Friday, the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper acknowledged,

There have been queries, using US person identifiers, of communications lawfully acquired to obtain foreign intelligence targeting non-US persons reasonably believed to be located outside the United States.

These queries were performed "pursuant to minimization procedures approved by the FISA court and consistent with the statute and the fourth amendment," Clapper said—referring to Section 702 of the Fisa Amendments Act (FAA), which gives the NSA authority to search without warrant the communications of foreign targets.

Last August it was revealed, through reporting by the Guardian based on documents obtained by whistleblower Edward Snowden, that a "previously undisclosed rule change" to Section 702 now permits NSA operatives to gather individual Americans' communications using their name or other identifying information.

At the time, Wyden denounced the rule change as a “backdoor search loophole."

Now, according to the Guardian's Spencer Ackerman, who broke the story, Clapper's letter marks the first time an intelligence official has confirmed the use of this legal authority to search for data related to "U.S. persons."

_____________________

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Share This Article

More in:
,