April 16, 2009
Editor’s note: The NSA snooped on a Congressman in contact with an "extremist." Is it possible this "extremist" was of the anti-abortion, pro-gun sort the DHS warns us against?
The National Security Agency intercepted Americans’ e-mails and phone calls in recent months on a scale that went beyond limits set by Congress last year, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.
The problems were discovered during a review of the intelligence activities, the Justice Department said in a statement Wednesday night, and said they had been resolved.
Citing unnamed intelligence officials, the Times said the NSA had engaged in "’over-collection’ of domestic communications of Americans." Sources reportedly described the practice as varying from significant to systemic to unintentional.
The agency also tried to wiretap a member of Congress without a warrant, an intelligence official told the Times.
The NSA believed that the congressman, whose identity was not revealed, was in contact with an extremist who had possible ties to terror and was already under surveillance. The NSA then tried to eavesdrop on the congressman’s conversations, the Times said.
The NSA said in a statement Thursday morning that it is "committed to upholding the law."
"Our intelligence operations, including procedures for collection and analysis, are in strict accordance with US laws and regulations," said NSA spokeswoman Judith Emmel. "We maintain rigorous internal oversight mechanisms and are subject to external oversight … to ensure compliance with the law."