January 26, 2022

The National Security Agency Illegally Gathered Thousands of Emails from Americans

The National Security Agency (NSA) collected as many as 56,000 emails from Americans over three years. During this time the NSA collected Internet communications from fiber optic cables, and in the process, gathered thousands of emails and other Internet activities by Americans. NSA said that such collections were inadvertent.

The violation was discovered in 2011. The Americans who were spied upon did not have any ties to terrorism, according to the documents that were declassified by the Obama administration on August 21, 2013. James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, declassified these documents after a directive by President Barack Obama to try to reduce the growing public consternation over the government’s enormous surveillance programs. This information, instead of reducing the increasing concerns, would only add more fuel to the fire as more and more people are now aware that our nation is becoming a surveillance or a police state.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) that supervises NSA surveillance programs had ruled the program unconstitutional, forcing the NSA to change its practices. The chief judge of the court, John Bates,  stated in his ruling that it was the third instance in less than three years in which the NSA had disclosed a substantial misrepresentation regarding the scope of the program.

Anita Kumar and Lesley Clark wrote an article entitled “Surveillance program nets Americans emails´” which was published on The Miami Herald on August 22, 2013. They explained in the article that Democratic and Republican legislators reacted with great concerns at this news. Senator Tom Udall, Democrat from New Mexico, stated the following: “Mass collection of Americans emails without a warrant is unacceptable, and I believe it is unconstitutional. We need to ensure the government is focused on foreign threats and terrorism, not mass collection of communication by innocent American citizens.”

The reporters stated that Senator Bob Corker, Republican from Tennessee and the top Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, wrote a letter on August 22, 2013 to President Obama asking for a briefing for senators by September 13 of all surveillance programs. Senator Corker stated the following: “Given the scope and scale of the disclosures to date, and a significant likelihood of more to come, it is now all the more important that the administration come to Congress and provide a full accounting of the totality of these efforts.”

On August 21, 2013 The Wall Street Journal reported that former officials of intelligence agencies have revealed that our government have built a surveillance system with the capacity to reach as much as 75% of the U.S. Internet traffic and that, in some cases, it retains the content. President Obama has refused the request by many in Congress to overhaul Section 702 of the 2008 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments. This law permits the NSA to search vast databases of individual Americans emails without court warrants. This is, of course, another violation of the Constitution by President Obama.

The Obama White House tried to contain the damage from these alarming revelations. Deputy White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest insisted that the federal government does not spy on Americans. The Obama administration for many months decided not to make this information public, insisting that each branch of government was properly informed about American phone and Internet surveillance programs. Who can trust the Obama White House when it is repeatedly lying as well as engaging in cover-ups of all of these illegal spying activities.

It looks more and more that our nation is using the same tactics done by the KGB in the Soviet Union or the Stasi secret police of East Germany or Seguridad del Estado, the secret police of Cuba. Our nation is looking more like the Big Brother society described in George Orwell novel 1984.