In Slate, Robyn Greene wrote about the new procedures that will allow the NSA to share with other intelligence agencies the “raw intelligence” that it collects while conducting mass surveillance.
The previous procedures allowed for the NSA to share this information with other intelligence agencies, but only after it had been minimized to protect individuals’ privacy, and only if it was pertinent to their mission.
These new, more lax procedures are extremely troubling because thanks to legal loopholes, EO 12333 is used to scoop up billions of communications around the world every day, including those of Americans, without a warrant or any judicial—or even congressional—oversight. The idea behind EO 12333 was that it govern NSA collection of purely foreign communications. That collection didn’t need judicial or congressional oversight because if all the people in those communications were abroad, they weren’t entitled to the protections of our laws.
That all made sense when President Reagan signed the order, but today, the NSA uses EO 12333 to tap the cables that connect the internet across the world. An email I send from my office to a colleague just one floor down could travel between servers in Japan and Brazil before getting to its destination, and could get picked up by the NSA along the way as a “foreign communication.” Accordingly, the NSA has a virtually unchecked authority to warrantlessly collect Americans communications.