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Exposed: Military NSA violated its own lax surveillance rules — and covered it up

After yesterday’s revelations, did you think the news about warrantless spying on Americans couldn’t possibly get worse?

Well, you’re wrong. Today, there are more revelations about the spying program of the NSA, a branch of the U.S. military. These revelations are even worse than what came before.

What you read below takes for granted that which made Americans’ jaws drop two months ago: that the U.S. Government has been violating the Constitution by seizing and sifting through the private electronic communications of nearly everyone.

This morning, Barton Gellman of the Washington Post reveals a new internal NSA audit which shows:

  • The NSA violated its own internal rules for surveillance at least 2,776 times in 2012 in the Washington, DC area alone.

  • The President lied: The new documents flatly contradict President Barack Obama’s his White House press conference August 9, in which he declared that there are no abuses of the NSA surveillance program and that violations would be taken care of by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court:

    “And if you look at the reports — even the disclosures that Mr. Snowden has put forward — all the stories that have been written, what you’re not reading about is the government actually abusing these programs and listening in on people’s phone calls or inappropriately reading people’s emails. What you’re hearing about is the prospect that these could be abused. Now, part of the reason they’re not abused is because these checks are in place, and those abuses would be against the law and would be against the orders of the FISC.”

    This isn’t simply an untrue statement. It’s a lie because the President knew it to be untrue; when the Washington Post asked for a reaction before publishing its report, the Obama administration referred to statistics on the number of abuses of surveillance rules — abuses that President Obama told the nation did not exist.

  • There’s a coverup: for months the NSA kept ongoing violations of surveillance rules secret from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
  • The FISC was powerless to investigate it: the chief of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court indicated in a separate interview that even his special court, stuffed with judges sympathetic to warrantless surveillance, can’t verify the NSA’s claims. It is forced to trust the NSA’s claims that it is in compliance with internal rules.
  • Senate overseers didn’t know anything about it. Even Senator Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee and is supposed to be provided with the classified information necessary to oversee warrantless surveillance programs, “did not receive a copy of the 2012 audit until The Post asked her staff about it.”

No warrants. Authority abused. Unaccountability. Coverups. Lies.

Read the leaked report for yourself and find out more.

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