NSA Over-surveillance

Here in 2022, we have a newly declassified 2016 Inspector General report—”Misuse of Sigint Systems”—about a 2013 NSA program that resulted in the unauthorized (that is, illegal) targeting of Americans.

Given all we learned from Edward Snowden, this feels like a minor coda. There’s nothing really interesting in the IG document, which is heavily redacted.

News story.

EDITED TO ADD (11/14): Non-paywalled copy of the Bloomberg link.

Posted on November 11, 2022 at 6:25 AM8 Comments


Rot November 11, 2022 11:40 AM

I don’t see the value in further legitimizing the notion that the problem with NSA surveillance is targeting U.S. persons in search queries as opposed to them collecting mass amounts of data on U.S. persons in the first place.

Ted November 11, 2022 2:58 PM

As Drake would say…
I know when that IG hotline bling
That can only mean one thing

It’s interesting that this report (IV-13-0077) isn’t on the NSA IG Reports site yet. It must be freshly released. There are 60+ reports available there for 2013.

Coming from a large organization, it’s good to see concerns are being reported and hopefully addressed.

Some more tidbits from the report

“We believe that for at least the last four months he has been violating [redacted] by collecting or attempting to collect [redacted] without approval from the proper [redacted] … We believe that since October 2011 he has collected or attempted to collect a large volume of phone numbers without any foreign intelligence purpose.” (p266)

“He also told the OIG that his project may not be worth documenting except ”as a bad choice of judgment.”” (p56)

A response from [Redacted👀] on p390.

SpaceLifeForm November 11, 2022 8:58 PM

@ Ted


A few wks before @Snowden’s leaks were published, 2 NSA employees contacted NSA IG to blow the whistle on unauthorized surveillance

IG substantiated it

. . .

Then-NSA IG George Ellard sent a memo to the NSA’s Signal Intelligence Director saying the analyst may have violated two provisions of FISA and clearly violated NSA internal policies and procedures related to the collection of US persons comms.

Ted November 12, 2022 12:20 AM


Jason Leopold, FOIA terrorist indeed. lol.

That’s such a good thread.

“The IG also called to attn a lack of oversight by NSA officials who told the IG they were aware of the analyst’s project but didn’t understand what he was doing.”

It’d be awesome if we could get an even more colorful New Yorker-type write-up on this event. I know the NSA went Bloomberg. Still any day we get more (lawful) information is a good day.

J November 13, 2022 1:39 AM

Did it just not occur to anyone writing these laws to include a penalty clause?

“Those found to have violated this section shall be guilty of a felony and imprisoned for not less than five years…”

Or did they just stick their fingers in their ears and sing “La lala la, they’d never do that!”? All the laws for little people have penalty clauses. J.

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