Watchdog report says the NSA broke its own rules when spying on Americans

According to an unclassified version of the semi-annual report conducted by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) broke its own rules.

The report alleges that the agency went against its own guidelines in the application of a law that allows it to obtain sensitive data on American citizens.

Among other investigations, the Office of the Inspector General also examined the agency’s use of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which allows the secret collection of phone records and emails of U.S. nationals who are suspected of colluding with foreign powers, according to and RT report.

The report that was released on Monday discovered “critical control gaps” in the work of the NSA, adding that the surveillance “performed against FISA Section 702 data did not always follow NSA procedural and policy requirements.” 

The report alleged that the agency did not follow, in some instances, both court-approved procedures as well as its internal ones. In a statement that was given to the media on the issue, a spokesperson for the NSA said the agency would be “fully committed to the rigorous and independent oversight” it would receive from the OIG.

The OIG had made 13 recommendations on the issue, and seven of those were completed before the report was released. 

“NSA continues to employ measures to assist analysts in conducting their work compliantly with civil liberties and privacy protections,” the spokesperson continued. But some civil rights groups have been warning about the potential abuse of Section 702 by security services.

The American Civil Liberties Union said the section gives the U.S. government the authority to engage in “mass, warrantless surveillance” of both Americans and foreigners, as well as to use the information gathered to prosecute people for crimes that might have “nothing to do with” the security of the nation.




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