I know it isn’t polite to say I told you so, but last year many of us warned that the Bush administration’s proposed amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act would increase domestic surveillance of American citizens. Congressional Republicans and a minority of Democrats didn’t heed those warnings, though, and in some cases ridiculed the critics of the FISA amendments.
Look what the New York Times reported on Wednesday:
The National Security Agency intercepted private e-mail messages and phone calls of Americans in recent months on a scale that went beyond the broad legal limits established by Congress last year, government officials said in recent interviews.
Several intelligence officials, as well as lawyers briefed about the matter, said the N.S.A. had been engaged in “overcollection” of domestic communications of Americans. They described the practice as significant and systemic, although one official said it was believed to have been unintentional.
I agree with Charles Lemos:
I’m shocked, shocked, I tell you. Massive domestic spying without meaningful oversight in the United States. No limits on surveillance power, what a grand idea.
Barack Obama voted for the bad FISA compromise, even though many of his supporters warned that the oversight provisions were inadequate. I expect his administration to do something to correct the abuses.
Josh Orton noted today that the Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division, David Kris, promised during his confirmation hearings “to get to the bottom of the FISA amendments act” and “to see how best to make any necessary improvements.” Sounds like he has his work cut out for him.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, says her committee will investigate the alleged violations by the National Security Agency.
UPDATE: Read this post by mcjoan for more good links and analysis.
Also, the New York Times reported that a member of Congress was wiretapped. Spencer Ackerman narrows the list of possible targets down to 27 members of Congress.