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New Report Released Detailing Illegal Actions of NSA Program
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A report from a watchdog group has concluded that the National Security Agency’s program that collected phone call records is illegal, aided slightly in counterterrorism efforts and should be stopped, according to The New York Times.

The report is supposed to be released today and is 238 pages in length. It was conducted by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, which was made independent by Congress in 2007.

  
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President Obama’s administration has claimed that the phone call collection program has been useful and lawful. At the same time, the administration has said that the program does cause potential abuse.

The New York Times gained access to the report prior to its release. The report states that the program “lacks a viable legal foundation under Section 215, implicates constitutional concerns under the First and Fourth Amendments, raises serious threats to privacy and civil liberties as a policy matter, and has shown only limited value. As a result, the board recommends that the government end the program.”

The board consists of five members, with two of them dissenting from the idea that the program is actually illegal. The panel did come to unanimous decisions regarding 10 other recommendations made by the report. These recommendations include deleting phone records that are raw after three years, which would be down from five years, and securing access to searches.

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The board said that the program violated the Electronic Communications Privacy Act as well.

“It may have been a laudable goal for the executive branch to bring this program under the supervision” of the court, according to the report. “Ultimately, however, that effort represents an unsustainable attempt to shoehorn a pre-existing surveillance program into the text of a statute with which it is not compatible.”



The program is also criticized for multiple uses of the program to collect data. The panel found “no instance in which the program directly contributed to the discovery of a previously unknown terrorist plot or the disruption of a terrorist attack.”



 

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