Report: The FBI Oversaw the NSA's Email Surveillance

Illustration for article titled Report: The FBI Oversaw the NSA's Email Surveillance

A newly declassified Justice Department report shows that the FBI has had a leading role in the NSA's email surveillance program.


The 231-page report, obtained by the New York Times, explains that "in 2008... the F.B.I. assumed the power to review email accounts the N.S.A. wanted to collect through the "Prism" system." It also developed the protocols that were used to ensure that the email accounts that were targeted didn't belong to U.S. citizens.

Then, in 2009, the FBI began to gather "copies of unprocessed communications gathered without a warrant to analyze for its own purposes." And in 2012, it began adding new email accounts and phone numbers to the NSA's data collection program for its own use.

It's worth noting that, in the report, Inspector General Michael Horowitz writes that the FBI was actually "doing a good job in making sure that the email accounts targeted for warrantless collection belonged to non-citizens abroad." So that's something.

The report does go some way in shedding light on the rather murky details of who was in charge of what when it came to the NSA's surveillance. But only some way: this report is heavily redacted, so there's much left undisclosed. Maybe some day, we'll understand the whole picture. Maybe. [NYT via Verge]



So this is a whole gigantic other group of people who knew what was going on? It's funny how people believe that the government is completely useless and could never keep anything a secret because whatever it is would be "too big" and "too many people would know", but then something like this happens and people still don't think anything shady ever happens in the government.