NSA improperly collected U.S. phone records a second time | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


NSA improperly collected U.S. phone records a second time

The National Security Agency collected records about U.S. calls and text messages that it wasn’t authorized to obtain last year, in a second such incident, renewing privacy concerns surrounding the agency’s maligned phone-surveillance program, according to government documents and people familiar with the matter.

The previously undisclosed error, which took place last October, occurred several months after the NSA said it had purged hundreds of millions of metadata records it had amassed since 2015 due to a separate overcollection episode. Metadata include the numbers and time stamps of a call or text message but not the contents of the conversation.

The American Civil Liberties Union obtained the documents, which were reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit involving the surveillance program. They are heavily redacted internal NSA memos that discuss oversight of intelligence-collection activities.

“These documents only confirm that this surveillance program is beyond redemption and should be shut down for good,” Patrick Toomey, an ACLU staff attorney, said in a statement. “The NSA’s collection of Americans’ call records is too sweeping, the compliance problems too many, and evidence of the program’s value all but nonexistent. There is no justification for leaving this surveillance power in the NSA’s hands.”

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