DOJ: U.S. government exceeded surveillance authority
The NSA says it is 'committed to upholding the law'
IDG News Service - The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) exceeded its surveillance authority of U.S. residents under a far-reaching telephone and Internet communications wiretap program, the U.S. Department of Justice said Thursday.
During routine oversight of the NSA surveillance program, DOJ and NSA officials "detected issues that raised concerns," the DOJ said in a statement.
"Once these issues were identified, the Justice Department ... took comprehensive steps to correct the situation and bring the program into compliance," the statement added. "The Justice Department takes its national security oversight responsibilities seriously and works diligently to ensure that surveillance under established legal authorities complies with the nation's laws, regulations and policies, including those designed to protect privacy interests and civil liberties."
The DOJ statement came after a New York Times report Wednesday saying the NSA in recent months has exceeded congressional limits on the surveillance program. The Times report, quoting unnamed government officials, said the spying was "significant and systemic" in its over-collection of U.S. residents' phone calls and e-mail messages.
The NSA appeared to deny that it overstepped its authority. The agency is "committed to upholding the law," said spokeswoman Judith Emmel. "Our intelligence operations, including procedures for collection and analysis, are in strict accordance with U.S. laws and regulations."
NSA intelligence programs are subject to oversight from the DOJ, Congress and the Office of the U.S. Director of National Intelligence, she added. "Our employees work tirelessly for the good of the nation, and serve this country proudly," she said.
The new information about the NSA surveillance program sparked criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the tech trade group, the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA).
Earlier this month, the DOJ filed a request for the dismissal of a lawsuit against the NSA for the surveillance program. CCIA President and CEO Ed Black said he was disappointed that the DOJ under President Barack Obama continues to defend the program.
"The new administration is not just defending those policies, but taking them a step further," Black said in a statement. "In its April court brief, the Obama DOJ argued that the government is completely immune from litigation for illegal spying and even that it can never be sued for violating federal privacy laws with surveillance techniques."
The CCIA called on Obama's administration to reverse course.
"President Obama appreciates more than most people how the Internet can be used as a tool to allow greater participation in a democracy," Black said. "That same tool could also be the greatest innovation for surveillance and repression in the wrong regime. Defending practices like this sets a dangerous precedent down the road and makes it easier for a government to expand the programs from surveilling terrorists to surveilling political opponents."
The ACLU requested that Congress launch an investigation of government surveillance programs. Congress passed the FISA Amendments ACT last July, which gave the government new spying powers, the ACLU noted.
"Congress was repeatedly warned that this type of abuse would be the obvious outcome of passing the FISA Amendments Act," Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office, said in a statement. "Congressional leadership promised after this law's passage that it would be re-examined. It's time to fulfill that promise and restore the checks and balances of our surveillance system. Warrantless surveillance has no place in an America we can be proud of."
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
If you use ‘password,’ one the worst passwords, as your password, fail to keep antivirus protection updated and don’t bother to deploy security patches to close critical vulnerabilities, then maybe you should consider working for the cybersecurity-clueless federal government; you’d fit right in, according to Senator Tom Coburn's cybersecurity and critical infrastructure report.
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- Changing the Way Government Works: Four Technology Trends that Drive Down Costs and Increase Productivity
- This paper discusses four technology-based approaches to improving processes and increasing
productivity while driving down department and agency costs.
- Pay-as-you-Grow Data Protection: IBM Tivoli's Full-featured Data Protection Suite for Small to Medium Businesses
- IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Suite for Unified Recovery gives small and medium businesses the opportunity to start out with only the individual solutions...
- Streamline Data Protection with IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Operations Center
- IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) has been an industry-standard data protection solution for two decades. But, where most competitors focus exclusively on Backup...
- Simplify and Consolidate Data Protection for Better Business Results
- Learn about IBM® Tivoli® Storage Manager Operations Center, which provides advanced visualization, built-in analytics and integrated workflow automation features that leapfrog traditional backup...
- HP HAVEn: See the big picture in Big Data
- HP HAVEn is the industry's first comprehensive, scalable, open, and secure platform for Big Data. Enterprises are drowning in a sea of data... All Government IT White Papers
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well...
- The New Way to Work Knowledge Vault This Knowledge Vault focuses on how, in today's increasingly virtual world, it's more important than ever to engage deeply with employees, suppliers, partners,...
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the...
- Containerization Options: How to Choose the Best DLP Solution for Your Organization This webcast outlines a framework for making the right choice when it comes to containerization approaches, along with the pros and cons of...
- Mobile Apps and Devices Slash Customer Cycle Time Consolidated Engineering Laboratories' field employees used to collect data on triplicate forms that were sometimes hard to read and difficult to manage. After...
- All Government IT Webcasts