2005 December 16

NY Times Exposes Illegal NSA Spying on Americans by Bush Administration


The New York Times on this day exposed an illegal National Security Agency spying program, authorized by President George W. Bush — in violation of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The story ignited one of the major scandals surrounding the George W. Bush administration’s war on terror.

When news stories based on NSA documents, stolen and leaked by former NSA contract employee Edward Snowden, began to appear in 2013, it was apparent that this Times story reported only a part of the NSA’s secret and illegal spying. See the first of the Snowden-related articles on June 5, 2013.

Congress passed an intelligence reform law on June 2, 2015 that for the first time scaled back the government’s intelligence gathering powers. The new law prohibited the government from storing “bulk data” about the communications of Americans. Private communications companies store the data, and the government can only obtain specific records with a warrant from the FISA Court. Also, the law directed the NSA to declassify certain important decisions, adding a new degree of transparency to the FISA Court. Finally, private individuals will be able to appear before the FISA Court in particular cases and argue in favor of greater privacy protections.

Read about the scandal by the Times reporter who broke the story: Eric Lichtblau, Bush’s Law: The Remaking of American Justice (2008)

Get the full story of the Snowden revelations about the NSA: Luke Harding, The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man (2014)

Watch NSA expert James Bamford talk about the NSA: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Elb80xou8Zg

Timeline of NSA spyinghttps://www.eff.org/nsa-spying/timeline

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