Meet The NSA’s ‘Fat Finger’

Meet the NSA’s “Fat Finger” (Liberty Blitzkrieg, Aug 16, 2013):

James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, has acknowledged that the court found the NSA in breach of the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, but the Obama administration has fought a Freedom of Information lawsuit that seeks the opinion.

Generally, the NSA reveals nothing in public about its errors and infractions. The unclassified versions of the administration’s semiannual reports to Congress feature blacked-out pages under the headline “Statistical Data Relating to Compliance Incidents.”

From the Washington Post’s groundbreaking article from last evening

For those of you not familiar with Wall Street lingo, people in the financial industry refer to an outsized move in the markets resulting from a human error as a “fat finger,” ie someone pressed the wrong key when placing an order. Unfortunately for us all, it appears the NSA has a surveillance fat finger. Who would’ve guessed it!

In this case, I am referring to last night’s Washington Post article in which the paper reveals that the NSA intercepted a “large number” of calls within the Washington D.C. area supposedly because they mistook D.C.’s area code with the country code of Egypt. Um, ok.

However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are countless disturbing revelations outlined in this article, one that was based on documents provided by Edward Snowden, the gift that keeps on giving. Another disturbing fact is that the NSA appears to have purposely withheld information from the parties that are supposed to be overseeing it in order to hide its crimes. Oh, and Mr. President of Transparency Obama is fighting to prevent the public from seeing the opinion of the FISA court that states NSA activities are unconstitutional.  More from the Washington Post:

The documents, provided earlier this summer to The Washington Post by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, include a level of detail and analysis that is not routinely shared with Congress or the special court that oversees surveillance. In one of the documents, agency personnel are instructed to remove details and substitute more generic language in reports to the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

In one instance, the NSA decided that it need not report the unintended surveillance of Americans. A notable example in 2008 was the interception of a “large number” of calls placed from Washington when a programming error confused the U.S. area code 202 for 20, the international dialing code for Egypt, according to a “quality assurance” review that was not distributed to the NSA’s oversight staff.

In another case, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which has authority over some NSA operations, did not learn about a new collection method until it had been in operation for many months. The court ruled it unconstitutional.

The Obama administration has provided almost no public information about the NSA’s compliance record. In June, after promising to explain the NSA’s record in “as transparent a way as we possibly can,” Deputy Attorney General James Cole described extensive safeguards and oversight that keep the agency in check. “Every now and then, there may be a mistake,” Cole said in congressional testimony.

I suppose in NSA lingo “every now and then” means thousands of times a year.

“We’re a human-run agency operating in a complex environment with a number of different regulatory regimes, so at times we find ourselves on the wrong side of the line,” a senior NSA official said in an interview, speaking with White House permission on the condition of anonymity. Anonymity for them, transparency for us!

The NSA audit obtained by The Post, dated May 2012, counted 2,776 incidents in the preceding 12 months of unauthorized collection, storage, access to or distribution of legally protected communications.

The May 2012 audit, intended for the agency’s top leaders, counts only incidents at the NSA’s Fort Meade headquarters and other ­facilities in the Washington area. Three government officials, speak­ing on the condition of anonymity to discuss classified matters, said the number would be substantially higher if it included other NSA operating units and regional collection centers.

Despite the quadrupling of the NSA’s oversight staff after a series of significant violations in 2009, the rate of infractions increased throughout 2011 and early 2012. An NSA spokesman declined to disclose whether the trend has continued since last year.

No comment!

James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, has acknowledged that the court found the NSA in breach of the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, but the Obama administration has fought a Freedom of Information lawsuit that seeks the opinion.

Generally, the NSA reveals nothing in public about its errors and infractions. The unclassified versions of the administration’s semiannual reports to Congress feature blacked-out pages under the headline “Statistical Data Relating to Compliance Incidents.”

Full article here.

In Liberty,
Mike

1 thought on “Meet The NSA’s ‘Fat Finger’

  1. Meet the new world order. Just like the old one, only with much more advanced spying equipment.
    I wonder if any of our corrupt leaders are yet realizing private corporations are collecting this data, and that information on them is included. Imagine what J. Hoover would do with private information of world leaders……….
    This is so internecine……………

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