NSA Misrepresented Scope of Data Collection to Secret Court
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Obama administration on Wednesday declassified opinions from a secret court that oversees government surveillance showing the National Security Agency was broadly collecting domestic Internet communications of Americans and misrepresenting the scope of that effort to the court.
The three opinions include one from October 2011 by U.S. District Judge John Bates, who scolded government lawyers that the NSA had, for the third time in less than three years, belatedly acknowledged it was collecting more data than it was legally allowed to.
The focus of the opinion was the government's admission that for three years, under its authority to monitor foreign communications, it had been collecting information beyond what it gets from Internet service providers, and included sets of data that were entirely domestic.
The NSA said the collection was a mistake that went beyond its authority under Section 702 of the Patriot Act, and resulted from technological limitations the agency faced in its computers.