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December 15, 2017

Whistleblowers: FBI Using Loophole to Exploit NSA Program to Spy on Americans

You need a warrant to spy on Americans. But you need no warrant to spy on foreigners.

That sounds fine.

But whistleblowers tell Sara Carter that the FBI is exploiting this difference in how citizens are foreigners are treated to spy on citizens with no warrant.

The #Hack goes like this: Let's say the want to spy on you, but they have no probable cause to do so.

But then they find out you occasionally talk with a a foreign friend, let's say an Italian, you know from college.

So they fake up a reason to spy on the Italian and -- whoopsie! -- just happen to wind up surveilling you whenever you talk to your Italian friend.

And you were the target all along, of course.

So much here for the Weekly Standard to not report on.

The whistleblowers, who recently disclosed the program's process to Congressional oversight committees, say concern over the warrantless surveillance mounted when it was disclosed earlier this year that Obama officials had accessed and unmasked communications of members of President Trumpís 2016 campaign, allegedly without clear justification.

The process, known as 'reverse targeting,' occurs when intelligence and law enforcement officials use a foreign person as a legal pretense for their intended target, an American citizen, the officials stated...

The whistleblowers said the program established after the September 11, 2001, attacks has not been successful in preventing terror threats, but instead infringes on privacy rights and could easily be abused for political purposes. Those concerns were also voiced to then FBI Director James Comey in 2014, and alternative options for the program were discussed, a source with knowledge said. And now, those intelligence officials want lawmakers to conduct extensive investigations into the program.

"The program can be misused by anyone with access to it," said a former Intelligence official, with knowledge of the program. "There needs to be an extensive investigation of all the Americans connected to President Trump and the campaign who were unmasked in connection with the 2016 election."

FBI officials declined to comment for this story.

I'm not completely naive about espionage or playing loosey-goosey with rules when a genuine threat is being investigated.

I could support, or quietly tolerate, such violations of the law if the people doing so were doing it only in cases where a real threat to life or security interests existed.

But turning the NSA inside-out to spy on Americans for political reasons?

No, that hasn't been proven yet. But I don't think it will take that long to prove it.

One can only tolerate invasions of privacy if one trusts the people with the power to do so to restrain themselves from turning the exceptional case into the general rule -- taking it from "we'll violate this citizen's rights if there's a clear threat" to "we're just going to use this generally as a snooping tool, when we feel like it, like when there's a man running for president who must not be permitted to win and we need an insurance policy."


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posted by Ace at 05:46 PM

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