The NSA Was Recording Phone Calls

Remember when Mr. Obama said the National Security Agency (NSA) wasn’t listening to your phone calls:

The president added that the “hype” surrounding the NSA revelations is largely unwarranted. He said that “nobody is listening to your phone calls” and that if the feds decided to actually listen in, they would have to go back and ask for a warrant from a FISA court judge by showing probable cause.

Turns out he was lying:

The National Security Agency has acknowledged in a new classified briefing that it does not need court authorization to listen to domestic phone calls, a participant said.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, disclosed on Thursday that during a secret briefing to members of Congress, he was told that the contents of a phone call could be accessed “simply based on an analyst deciding that.”

If the NSA wants “to listen to the phone,” an analyst’s decision is sufficient, without any other legal authorization required, Nadler said he learned. “I was rather startled,” said Nadler, an attorney and congressman who serves on the House Judiciary committee.

Not only does this disclosure shed more light on how the NSA’s formidable eavesdropping apparatus works domestically, it also suggests the Justice Department has secretly interpreted federal surveillance law to permit thousands of low-ranking analysts to eavesdrop on phone calls.

So much for needing a warrant from a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court judge. It’s nice to know that the NSA not only has a widespread surveillance system but they have no oversight. This story just gets better and better.