The National Security Agency violated privacy protections between 2006 and 2009 when it collected phone records from millions of Americans by failing to meet court-ordered standards, U.S. officials told the Wall Street Journal Tuesday:
The revelations called into question NSA’s ability to run the sweeping domestic surveillance programs it introduced more than a decade ago in the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks. Officials said the violations were inadvertent, because NSA officials didn’t understand their own phone-records collection program.
“There was nobody at the NSA who had a full understanding of how the program worked,” said an intelligence official.
Top U.S. officials, including NSA Director Keith Alexander, have repeatedly reassured lawmakers and the public that the phone-records program has been carefully executed under oversight from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court court.
James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, released a statement on new unclassified documents revealing the violations of privacy here.
Igor Bobic is the assistant editor of Talking Points Memo, helping oversee the site’s coverage of politics and policy in Washington. While originally from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Igor feels best at home on the beaches of Southern California. He can be reached at email@example.com.