Congressmen Try to Stop NSA From Expanding Domestic Surveillance
"This radical policy shift by the NSA would be unconstitutional, and dangerous."
Yesterday, two representatives from the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee sent a letter to NSA director Michael Rogers asking him to discontinue plans to share data collected by domestic surveillance with other law enforcement agencies.
This year, the Obama administration has been working with the NSA to create new rules allowing domestic law enforcement agencies like the DEA and FBI to access data that the NSA collects through warrantless domestic surveillance. Previously, the NSA went through a “minimization” process in which they would remove personal data of private citizens before handing the data over. The new rules would allow domestic agencies direct access to the raw data.
”We are alarmed by press reports that state National Security Agency (NSA) data may soon routinely be used for domestic policing,” Representatives Blake Farenthold (Republican) and Ted Lieu (Democrat) wrote. “Domestic law enforcement agencies—which need a warrant supported by probable cause to search or seize—cannot do an end run around the Fourth Amendment by searching warrantless information collected by the NSA.”
“Our country has always drawn a line between our military and intelligence services, and domestic policing and spying,” Lieu and Farenthold wrote. “If media accounts are true, this radical policy shift by the NSA would be unconstitutional, and dangerous. The American people deserve a public debate.”
“Members of Congress are right to be concerned,” said Neema Singh Guliani, ACLU legislative counsel. “Under a policy like this, information collected by the NSA would be available to a host of federal agencies that may use it to investigate and prosecute domestic crimes. Making such a change without authorization from Congress or the opportunity for debate would ignore public demands for greater transparency and oversight over intelligence activities.”