11/9/17 – Incidental Collection

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Congress is poised to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.  If you travel abroad it could affect you.

Here’s what’s happening behind the headlines.

Section 702 allows NSA to eavesdrop on foreigners overseas without a warrant.  This is what spy agencies do.

Concerns arise over the incidental collection of communications inside the U.S. or of a U.S. person abroad.  Americans don’t lose their constitutional rights at home when they travel to another country.

According to the Director of National Intelligence’s transparency report, there were more than 106,000 targets the NSA collected against last year under 702.  Nearly 4,000 were U.S. persons.

Prohibitions prevent NSA from scouring the phone calls, emails, text messages and other communications of U.S. persons that were incidentally collected.  However, a loophole allows the FBI to rummage through this data.  It’s called a “back door” search.

Washington bureaucrats respond to this by saying, “Trust us.”

Should we?

This spring, the Foreign intelligence Surveillance Court blasted the NSA because 85 percent of its 702 database searches of Americans were improper.

An IG report on the handling of two similar programs – Sections 704 and 705 – found the NSA doesn’t monitor who accesses the protected data of U.S. persons.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act should be renewed.  But there must be stronger safeguards in place to protect against unconstitutional searches.

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