NSA officials ‘not always accurate’ in public statements over surveillance

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/02/senators-wyden-udall-nsa-surveillance

Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, members of NSA oversight panel, question claims on scope and utility of programs

in Washington
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 2 July 2013

Two US senators on the panel overseeing the National Security Agency said intelligence officials were “unable” to demonstrate the value of a secret surveillance program that collected and analyzed the internet habits of Americans.

Senators Ron Wyden (Democrat, Oregon) and Mark Udall (Democrat, Colorado), the chief inquisitors of US intelligence officials during the current surveillance scandal, added a sharp warning late Tuesday that senior intelligence officials “are not always accurate” in their public statements about the scope and utility of their wide-ranging surveillance efforts.

Wyden and Udall were specifically reacting to a program, revealed last week by the Guardian, that gathered and analyzed bulk internet “metadata” records from Americans, such as the subject lines of their email communications and their internet protocol (IP) addresses, detailing where their devices accessed the internet. Senior intelligence officials told the Guardian that the program ended in 2011.

“We were very concerned about this program’s impact on Americans’ civil liberties and privacy rights, and we spent a significant portion of 2011 pressing intelligence officials to provide evidence of its effectiveness,” Wyden and Udall said in a statement late Tuesday, the first senators to acknowledge the internet metadata collection. “They were unable to do so, and the program was shut down that year.”

Shawn Turner, the chief spokesman for director of national intelligence James Clapper, who is currently under congressional fire over the truthfulness of his testimony on the surveillance efforts, told the Guardian last week that the Obama administration unilaterally ended the program for “operational and resource reasons”.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/02/senators-wyden-udall-nsa-surveillance

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