NSA Allowed To Search Domestic Email After 2011 Ruling
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration quietly won permission from a surveillance court in 2011 for the National Security Agency to search deliberately for Americans' communications in its huge databases of intercepted phone calls and emails, according to a published report.
The Washington Post reported Saturday that officials in 2011 got the court to lift the ban on those kinds of searches, which the court imposed in 2008 at the government's request. The court also extended the length of time the NSA is allowed to retain intercepted communications from five to six years.
The search authority has been used, the Post reported, noting that the permission to search and keep data longer expanded the NSA's authority in significant ways without public debate or any specific authority from Congress. The newspaper cited interviews with government officials and documents that include a recently released 2011 opinion by U.S. District Judge John D. Bates, then chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. (emphasis mine)
The court decision allowed the NSA "to query the vast majority" of its communications databases using the email addresses and phone numbers of Americans and legal residents without a warrant, according to Bates' opinion. The queries must be "reasonably likely to yield foreign intelligence information." And the results are subject to the NSA's privacy rules.
Read the rest here.
But, is the FISA Court a Constitutionally allowed entity? I don't think so...