Weakly defends NSA lies and misrepresntations
December 23, 2013
On Sunday, National Security Advisor Susan Rice told Leslie Stahl and 60 Minutes that the NSA did not lie to the American people. The agency “inadvertently made false representations” to the secret FISA court about illegally collecting data on hundreds of millions of Americans, according to Rice. She said the NSA has “discovered it and corrected it.”
In August, the secret FISA court handed down an 85-page ruling that criticized the NSA “for repeatedly misleading the court that oversees its surveillance on domestic soil, including a program that is collecting tens of thousands of domestic e-mails and other Internet communications of Americans each year.”
“The court is troubled that the government’s revelations regarding N.S.A.’s acquisition of Internet transactions mark the third instance in less than three years in which the government has disclosed a substantial misrepresentation regarding the scope of a major collection program,” former FISA court chief judge John D. Bates wrote in his ruling.
In addition to criticism by a former FISA judge, Congress has called out intelligence community director James Clapper for lying to Congress.
“Director Clapper’s willful lie under oath fuels the unhealthy cynicism and distrust that citizens feel toward their government and undermines Congress’ ability to perform its Constitutional function,” states a letter signed by Representatives Jim Sensenbrenner (R, WI), Darrell Issa (R, CA), Trent Franks (R, AZ), and other members of the House Judiciary Committee.
During a Senate hearing in March, Clapper lied under oath in response to a question posed by Senator Ron Wyden (D, OR). “In June 2013, after the Snowden leaks publicly exposed Clapper’s testimony as false, Clapper finally retracted his remarks,” the letter sent to the DOJ states.
National Security Advisor Susan Rice Offers Patently False Claims
Rice went on to claim wanton violations of the Fourth Amendment and the privacy of millions of Americans have prevented terrorist attacks. She made this assertion despite comments to the contrary by a member of a White House review panel on NSA surveillance.
Asked if the panel had discovered evidence that NSA surveillance had prevented terrorism, Geoffrey Stone, a University of Chicago law professor, said during an interview with NBC News last week that the panel had found none. The panel concluded the program was “not essential in preventing attacks.”
The White House panel said the telephone records collection program based upon a provision included in the Patriot Act had made “only a modest contribution to the nation’s security” and did not aid significantly in terror investigations. A footnote in the report states that “there has been no instance in which NSA could say with confidence that the outcome [of a terror investigation] would have been any different” without massive violations of the Fourth Amendment.
The report coincides with a judicial review by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon, who “ruled that the scheme of asking a secret judge on a secret court for a general warrant to spy on all American cellphone users without providing evidence of probable cause of criminal behavior against any of them is unconstitutional because it directly violates the Fourth Amendment,” writes Judge Andrew P. Napolitano.
“The reason for the Fourth Amendment requirement of individualized probable cause and specificity in the warrant is to prevent the very type of general warrant that the NSA has claimed is lawful,” Napolitano adds. “The reason for preventing general warrants is that they have become an instrument of tyranny.”