Barack Obama’s White House administration, and more specifically, the National Security Agency, routinely spied on American citizens — on innocent American citizens, in violation of privacy laws — and failed to disclose the full extent of the spying, according to recently released documents that had been labeled top secret.
Well, well, well. Isn’t this an interesting twist in the whole political scene that’s anti-President Donald Trump, all the time? Seems the media’s darling Obama was engaged in some pretty seedy businsess — unlawful surveillance — and nobody knew much about it until the very end of campaign season, when Trump was about to be elected.
The revelations come as the left seems to be making a huge case against Trump and what he told Russians during a recent White House meeting.
They also come as John Brennan, former CIA chief, took to Capitol Hill to tell lawmakers he has concerns about what moves the Russians made to influence 2016 elections, and what Team Trump did or didn’t do to help them.
Look at this, from Circa:
“The National Security Agency under former President Barack Obama routinely violated American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Donald Trump was elected president last fall, according to once top-secret documents that chronicle some of the most serious constitutional abuses to date by the U.S. intelligence community.
“More than 5 percent, or one out of every 20 searches seeking upstream Internet data on Americans inside the NSA’s so-called Section 702 database violated the safeguards Obama and his intelligence chiefs vowed to follow in 2011, according to one classified internal report reviewed by Circa.
“The Obama administration self-disclosed the problems at a closed-door hearing Oct. 26 before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that set off alarm. Trump was elected less than two weeks later.”
And who’s involved specifically with this who secret spy gaming? The NSA, of course. But when it comes to the unmasking of Americans’ names, none other than John Brennan, the former CIA chief under Obama.
Seems Brennan’s not as squeaky-clean as he’d like to present.
Again, look at this Circa story:
“Former CIA director John Brennan confirmed he unmasked the identities of Americans in his testimony to the House Intelligence Committee. Upon questioning from Rep. Trey Gowdy, (R- SC) Brennan acknowledged he requested for U.S. citizen’s name to be unmasked and said that he did not unmask anyone on his last day at work, January 20.
“When asked if ambassadors requested names to be unmasked Brennan said that it may have “rang a vague bell,” but that he “could not answer with any confidence. …
“There is growing evidence the agency he oversaw has become one of the largest consumers of unmasked intelligence about Americans even though its charter prohibits it from spying on U.S. citizens.
“The CIA routinely searches data collected overseas on Americans by the National Security Agency, and frequently requests the names of intercepted U.S. persons to be unmasked, once-secret government documents reviewed by Circa show.
“In fact, the spy agency has become such a heavy consumer of unmasked American intelligence that it has its own separate rules for making such requests, and Brennan himself was required last September to submit an affidavit to a court declaring he would keep his agency from abusing such expanded access to Americans’ private information.
“Despite the declaration, there also is evidence that the CIA has broken its rules from time to time, a potential slight to Americans’ privacy protections, the documents show.”
Obama was a key player in loosening privacy rules in 2011 that kept hidden the names of those who were masked. The CIA and FBI subsequently took those loosened rules and ran with them, twisting them to their advantage to have access to more unredacted intel on Americans.
As Circa again noted:
“That led to a massive increase in both searches inside the NSAdatabase and the actual unmasking of Americans’ names in intelligence reports, and increased fears that such requests could be abused for political espionage.
“Making a request can be as easy as saying a name is needed to understand a report.
“In 2016, the NSA unmasked Americans’ names in intelligence reports more than 1,900 times and was asked to do more than 35,000 searches of intercepted data for information on U.S. persons or their actual intercepted conversations, according to data released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
“The searches for Americans’ names in the NSA database last year amounted to a three-fold increase over 2013. Officials note that their procedures for making such requests have undergone repeated court approvals.”
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