(NationalSentinel) Now some things are beginning to make sense.
After the Obama administration and Democrats wailed on the National Security Agency for using its Bush-era authority to scoop up nearly all electronic data on nearly every American, the former president gave the agency sweeping new authority to spy on personal communications during his final weeks in office.
The story did not get much play at the time, but in January The New York Times reported this:
In its final days, the Obama administration has expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections.
The new rules significantly relax longstanding limits on what the N.S.A. may do with the information gathered by its most powerful surveillance operations, which are largely unregulated by American wiretapping laws. These include collecting satellite transmissions, phone calls and emails that cross network switches abroad, and messages between people abroad that cross domestic network switches.
The change means that far more officials will be searching through raw data. Essentially, the government is reducing the risk that the N.S.A. will fail to recognize that a piece of information would be valuable to another agency, but increasing the risk that officials will see private information about innocent people.
Mind you, the NSA is “largely unregulated,” period. There are window-dressing ‘checks and balances’ – congressional oversight committees and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court, which essentially rubber-stamps every request for surveillance done in the name of national security.
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But to unshackle the agency’s minor limitations even further should be an outrage to all Americans – not just those in President Donald Trump’s corner.
Intelligence officials and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who at one time was a pretty good federal attorney, signed off on the new orders, which legal eagles in the intelligence community naturally justified as no big deal, just providing more room for more analysts to examine more information.
But Patrick Toomey, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, called the move an erosion of rules intended to protect the privacy of Americans when their messages are caught by the N.S.A.’s powerful global collection methods. He noted that domestic internet data was often routed or stored abroad, where it may get vacuumed up without court oversight.
“Rather than dramatically expanding government access to so much personal data, we need much stronger rules to protect the privacy of Americans,” Mr. Toomey said. “Seventeen different government agencies shouldn’t be rooting through Americans’ emails with family members, friends and colleagues, all without ever obtaining a warrant.”
Once again, the deep state – that shadow government you’ve always heard about – got another U.S. president to do its bidding.
And we’re sure private citizen Michael Flynn, a former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, would agree with Toomey, now that the IC recorded, then released, a private conversation he, as an American citizen supposedly protected from such disclosures, had with a Russian diplomat.
Notes PJ Media:
One of the things about the IC is that “existing rules” are made to be broken whenever one of its unaccountable minions feels like it; these are people who lie and cheat for a living. And the genius of the Democrats — something for the GOP to think about next time — is that they were able to leverage the transition in order to change as many rules and embed as many apparatchiks as possible before formally turning over the reins to the new kids.