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The Privacy And Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) has released its report on the National Security Agency’s program of collecting bulk phone call records. Thirteen U.S. Senators asked the PCLOB to investigate two NSA programs (referred to as section 215 and 702 of the USA PATRIOT Act) and the operation of the FISA court. The Board was asked to provide an unclassified report “so that the public and the Congress can have a long overdue debate” about the privacy issues raised. This Report contains the results of the Board’s 215 program study as well as its analysis and recommendations regarding the FISC’s operation. The Board recommends that “The government should end its Section 215 bulk telephone records program.”
- Report on the Telephone Records Program Conducted under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act and on the Operations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Privacy And Civil Liberties Oversight Board, David Medine, Chairman. [238pp, PDF, 2MB] (January 23, 2014).
- Statement by Elisebeth Collins Cook [dissent]
- Statement by Rachel Brand [dissent]
- Watchdog Report Says N.S.A. Program Is Illegal and Should End, By Charlie Savage, New York Times (Jan. 23, 2014)
The report also scrutinizes in detail a handful of investigations in which the program was used, finding “no instance in which the program directly contributed to the discovery of a previously unknown terrorist plot or the disruption of a terrorist attack.”
Still, in her dissent, Ms. Cook [Elisebeth Collins Cook, member of the Board] criticized judging the program’s worth based only on whether it had stopped an attack to date.