The National Security Agency can gather the data of US citizens without a warrant – as long as it gathers this data by mistake, a court has ruled. However, this suits the agency just fine, whistleblower William Binney told RT.
The NSA is permitted to gather data on US citizens abroad, or “foreign connected” Americans at home. The dragnet surveillance operation necessary to gather this information also sucks up data on millions of Americans with no foreign contacts, a process critics say is unconstitutional.
On Wednesday, the 2nd Court of Appeals in New York declared this “incidental collection” of information permissible. The NSA has maintained that it is incapable of separating properly and improperly gathered data, but former NSA Technical Director William Binney told RT that this is simply untrue.
“They’ve been lying to the courts all along,” Binney said. “They’ve had the capability to sort that stuff out. It’s just that they don’t want to.”
“This gives them power over everyone, the ability to look into political opponents like they did with President Trump,” he continued.
While the court ruling gives the NSA free rein to suck up data on Americans’ phone and internet communications, it did not authorize the US’ other intelligence and law enforcement agencies to dig through this data. However, according to a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court ruling issued last year, the FBI accessed this data trove some 3.1 million times in 2017.