The National Security Agency (NSA) on Christmas Eve released a grip of compliance reports that detail its own admitted failures to always operate inside the orbit of the law.
The reports spanned a 12 year period, from 2001 to 2013. According to the agency, Executive Order 12333 — a controversial Regan-era law — “requires” the NSA to detail and report “intelligence activities they have reason to believe may be unlawful or contrary to Executive Order or Presidential Directive.”
The reports, released in response to a Freedom of Information Act suit from the American Civil Liberties Union, are heavily redacted. That said, they still contain a wealth of information about what sort of errors the NSA makes, both on purpose and not. The language is, naturally, quite dry, but there is still much to glean from the reports, including what sort of compliance issues the NSA encounters, how often, and the mix between accidental, and willful issues.