Government To Declassify How Many People Were Targeted By The NSA In 2012

    August 30, 2013
    Zach Walton
    Comments are off for this post.

Earlier this month, President Obama outlined four ways that he would like to reform the NSA and FISA court. A big part of those reforms was increased transparency, and it looks we’ll finally be getting a little more transparency.

On the new (and hilarious) NSA tumblr blog, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper announced a plan to annually release data pertaining to the number of people and businesses targeted by the NSA. Of course, we won’t get actual numbers as the government will only be publishing aggregate figures, much like what Facebook published earlier this week.

Unlike Facebook and other tech companies, however, the government’s list of published figures will be much broader in scope. Here’s everything you can expect to see in the upcoming report:

  • FISA orders based on probable cause ( Titles I and III of FISA, and sections 703 and 704).
  • Section 702 of FISA
  • FISA Business Records (Title V of FISA).
  • FISA Pen Register/Trap and Trace ( Title IV of FISA)
  • National Security Letters issued pursuant to 12 U.S.C. § 3414(a)(5), 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681u(a) and (b), 15 U.S.C. § 1681v, and 18 U.S.C. § 2709.
  • You might be disappointed that the government will only be publishing aggregate figures, but Clapper argues that it’s for the good of the nation:

    FISA and national security letters are an important part of our effort to keep the nation and its citizens safe, and disclosing more detailed information about how they are used and to whom they are directed can obviously help our enemies avoid detection.

    Everything that has been leaked by Snowden thus far was kept secret for the good of the nation, but said leaks seem to have had no impact yet. The real bad guys – the ones who would actually do the nation harm – aren’t using Facebook or Google+ to plan out attacks. Sure, the NSA might catch wind of a plot from a really stupid terrorist, but recent leaks suggest that they’re just scooping up data indiscriminately without a lot of oversight.

    Of course, the government should be commended for being even a little more transparent. It’s just unfortunate that transparency was only ever discussed once the Snowden leaks thoroughly embarrassed the government.

    Once the document is published, we’ll be sure to bring you all the information it contains. Just don’t expect a lot of startling revelations. After all, the NSA’s “ability to discuss these activities is limited by [its] need to protect intelligence sources and methods.”

    [Image: IC On The Record]

    • Dustin

      Having a hard time believing anything Clapper says.

    • Reality

      Check out the Clapper video on You Tube. It will inspire all the confidence in the world in what he has to say. After all, he was just so truthful.

      Anyone who believes anything they tell us is a fool. Just watch the video and you will understand.

    • Williams

      “It was everybody.”

    • http://Mabuzi.com Kevin

      I say well done Americans you are fighting back. Awesome to see.

      • Reality

        Nothing has changed and we will not get the real numbers. Who are you kidding? If people will not get in an uproar over all the blatant lies about 9/11, then in the end nothing will come of this effort. Heck, most people haven’t even read the commission report or the patriot acts. They talk about things they have no real knowledge of.

        My advice to the public is to read the commission report, dig into 9/11, and read the patriot acts. Ask a ton of questions. The truth is there, but you will not like what you find. You will become greatly disillusioned. We have been living a lie for the past 12 years and are continuing to live a lie.

        Sad thing is that this is just the beginning.