Today, Siobhan Gorman of The Wall Street Journal reported that the National Security Agency has assembled what some intelligence officials admit is a driftnet for domestic and foreign communications. According to Gorman: into the NSA’s massive database goes data collected by the Justice Department, Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Treasury. This information includes data about email (recipient and sender address, subject, time sent), internet searches (sites visited and searches conducted), phone calls (incoming and outgoing numbers, length of call, location), financial information (wire transfers, credit-card use, information about bank accounts), and information from the DHS about airline passengers.
The only problem is, the Total Information Awareness Program (TIA) was supposed to have been killed by Congress in 2003. The ACLU responded to the report and said it would be filing a FOIA request to get more information.
The American Civil Liberties Union responded today to a stunning new report that the NSA has effectively revived the Orwellian ““Total Information Awareness”” domestic-spying program that was banned by Congress in 2003. In response, the ACLU said that it was filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for more information about the spying. And, the group announced that it was moving its “Surveillance Clock” one minute closer to midnight.
“Congress shut down TIA because it represented a massive and unjustified governmental intrusion into the personal lives of Americans,” said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the Washington Legislative Office of the ACLU. “Now we find out that the security agencies are pushing ahead with the program anyway, despite that clear congressional prohibition. The program described by current and former intelligence officials in Monday’s Wall Street Journal could be modeled on Orwell’s Big Brother.”
The ACLU said the new report confirmed its past warnings that the NSA was engaging in extremely broad-based data mining that was violating the privacy of vast numbers of Americans.
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