Trump, Hypocritically, Moves to Make Temporary Surveillance Powers Permanent

President Trump thinks surveillance is just “terrible.”

“You look at the extent of surveillance,” he laments. “Me and so many other people, it’s terrible.” 

Given these statements, and Vice President’s Pence’s assertion that the “American people have a right to know if there was surveillance of any private citizen in this country,” you would think that the Trump administration would want to get to the bottom of NSA reform. You would also think that they would demand that the NSA stop its warrantless spying on Americans and figure out how many Americans have been swept up in the agency’s dragnet.

But just this morning, the Trump administration doubled down on surveillance. 

Call for government surveillance reform

In an op-ed penned in The New York Times, the White House said it supports not just an extension but a permanent reauthorization of Section 702 — a surveillance authority that purports to authorize the surveillance of foreigners likely to communicate “foreign intelligence information” but actually surveils millions of Americans without a warrant.

After the op-ed was published, the new administration brazenly thumbed its nose at congressional overseers, Democrats and Republicans alike, reversing its commitment to provide Congress with an estimate of how many Americans have their information collected under Section 702. In a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats unequivocally stated that such information would not be forthcoming, providing no information on what has changed since last year when the intelligence agencies committed to providing it to Congress.

Congress should not take such disdain for its oversight role lightly, and we should not be fooled by the Trump administration’s justifications for its new position. Let’s start with the op-ed, authored by Thomas Bossert, a homeland security adviser to the president. The piece was riddled with errors and attempts to obfuscate.

Bossert fundamentally misconstrues the authority’s impact on Americans’ constitutional rights. One of his main contentions is that:

“…it does not permit the targeting of Americans. The authority expressly forbids intentional targeting of a United States person for surveillance.”

That might be comforting if it told the whole story about Section 702. The reality is that Section 702 was expressly designed to gather information about Americans. Indeed, Bossert admits that the existing law permits the FBI and other federal agencies to search through Section 702 information specifically looking for information about Americans. What he leaves out is that the FBI does this as a routine matter — no warrant or formal investigation required — in cases that have nothing to do with national security or terrorism. 

A declassified FISA court opinion from 2011 revealed that the government collected over 250 million internet communications alone under Section 702, the vast majority retained for five years by default. That means that the government likely retains over a billion communications under Section 702 at any given time — and there are estimates that roughly half of these files contain information about an American (which, again, are accessible to law enforcement agencies without a warrant). In light of this, Bossert’s claim that the authority is not about “targeting Americans” rings hollow.     

For further effect, he adds a whopper:

“Over nearly a decade of rigorous oversight, no intentional abuse of the Section 702 authority has ever been identified, and the government has quickly taken action to rectify unintentional mistakes.”

In fact, a litany of cases have revealed unlawful activity under Section 702. Just last month, a declassified opinion from the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court revealed a series of violations in complying with the law, including unlawful searches of Americans’ information, improper sharing of information with third parties, and a failure to appropriately handle attorney-client communications. The court did not know about many of these problems for years due to what it referred to as an “institutional” lack of candor. 

Bossert’s claims are even more unbelievable given that he points to the executive branch’s Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board as a source of oversight. Currently, the PCLOB has no chair, lacks a quorum, and for all intents and purposes has lain dormant due to the failure of President Trump — and before him, Obama — to appoint nominees. 

The next exaggeration:

“…Section 702, allows a federal court to approve and supervise, under specific conditions, the collection of information on foreign persons, in foreign countries, who happen to use American communications services and internet technology.”

The reality is that federal court oversight of Section 702 bears no resemblance to the court oversight applied to criminal investigations or even other forms of surveillance. Under Section 702, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court approves — in secret proceedings — the entire Section 702 program annually. The court never probes whether there is individual cause to surveil a specific person. This is akin to a judge signing off on thousands of wiretaps at once, based simply on an examination of the general procedures law enforcement commits to follow. 

Finally, Bossert tries to comfort the American people by suggesting that the Trump administration has voluntarily curbed its own surveillance activities.

“Under President Trump’s leadership, we have refined the application of this authority to target only those internet communications sent directly to or from a lawful foreign intelligence target. This smart choice will reduce incidental collection on Americans without sacrificing our security. We proposed, and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court approved, the new procedures, which achieve this goal and protect Americans’ privacy.”

It is true that the intelligence agencies recently adopted a policy limiting their Section 702 Upstream program — in which the government taps into the internet backbone and combs through Americans’ internet traffic for information associated with over 100,000 targets. But what Bossert omits is even more important: The administration has expressly said that it retains the right to restart this program and continues to perform other collection under Upstream.

 We cannot rely on President Trump’s NSA to police itself. Members of Congress should reject attempts, such as those contained in Senator Cotton’s most recent bill, to extend or make Section 702 permanent. And we should all raise our voices in demanding meaningful Section 702 reform now.

View comments (30)
Read the Terms of Use

Eli Samuel Goldman

It's actually more ironic than one might think that Trump originally complained about illegal video surveillance of the public (meaning himself, so he didn't get caught committing crimes and violating the rights of others) because the entire history of the show has been years and years of illegal video surveillance on a private citizen by Trump's people along with numerous strings of crimes against me and staged events in succession to make everything seem organic and not staged for years and to keep the show exciting for others..however the staged events were very real...they staged REAL events..real crimes against me, real sex, real everything ...all without my knowledge or consent that I was on a show.. I still don't know the details. And my guess after years trying to figure it all out is that this was based on a conversation I had over a phone with someone i never met. Unless she is the real Monica Jo Moore, who i met (supoosedly by coincidence) in a state I never then considered moving to (Oklahoma) years later. Arel Josephine Johnson (the phone girl) talks similarly in manner. ...On the phone Arel (or "Josie") pretended to be many things and role played. The hypothetical (pseudo-)contract/conversation ( I call it that, since it took place when I was half awake after days of being up in physical pain from Crohns Disease and was part sarcasm/absurdity, part " OK, I'll play along with this imaginary role," part history lesson, and part random brainstorming of how a reality show might be done based on the parameters and questions she asked. None of it was believable or serious to me...I was barely conscious. The next day I thought I framing the entire conversation and decided it was one of the more bizarre dreams I had had. And I think "the show" had been already going on long before since the strange events didn't start then, they started after Cynth went to NYC to be on AOL Goldrush hosted by Donald Trump, and then I coincidentally met Josie online down the road. Oddly Josie seemed to have the same skillsets as Monica verbally described bodily features, sick fixation with domination, "medical nerd" knowledge, and interests. Josie was already violating my rights even before the conversation. I know this in retrospect, as she knew misinterpreted details of my chats with Cynth and details of what I did in my home long before I ever had the conversation with her...so my rights were being violated long before the talk. And in fact the whole (what i now consider the) "Josie character" and the "Monica character" I believe are composite misconceptions of what I was thought to like, or respond to from (what im guessing is) misunderstood surveillance and illegal collection of old internet information on me. The only prior Josie I had known was purely over AOL in the mid90s, a redhead who flirted with me online during my Ex's cheating days. I had told her it reminded me of the comic book female bandmember (though I never read comics, I knew of it) and that I liked the name. (My parents had sold comics at one point) the Josie I met online in Vegas in the later-mid-2000s claimed to be puertorican/Irish and spoke articulately like she was in her 50s but claimed to be far younger and had a psychotic fixation with death, or thought I did and was trying to elicit a response. She brought up things that looking back I think she misinterpreted go relate to me in a negative way. Like numb fingers (relating to minor nerve damage in my left hand) but conversationally attributed to herself as did a young coworker at Claremore VA years later. She brought up the death at 28 years old of many in Rock music which I mentioned to Cynth in 1998 in chat, possibly relating to the chats Cynth printed out of us. (Hence possibly explaining the "rubycon" truck recently) ...my guess is I was wrongfully and illegally profiled long ago by my government because too many people in Government are clueless and mistake depression for terrorism, being victimized for being a victimizer, role-playing with a friend with spying by a foreign government, etc...and violate peoples rights and commit crimes agsinst our own citizenry. As to the odd conversation im guessing was taken as a contract .. My rights were already being violated and was under video surveillance prior to the conversation based on what I was shown in Claremore and remembéring her words back then. During the conversation I was in a near dream-state, sleep deprived for days and days due to excruciating Crohns Disease pains, and didn't take a single moment of it seriously. Had she told me she was a Hydra from the planet Zeblon3 and wanted to film Clint Eastwood's arm floating in a swimming pool, I might have joked that she should use an electric knife as laserbeams will couderize the wound and take away some of the realism of bloody Gore from the scene. In other words, I didn't take ANY of it seriously and have sometimes a strange sense of humor when I'm dehydrated and sleep deprived.

Eli Samuel Goldman

I LITTERALLY thought I imagined the entire conversation. I thought it was a weirds dream. And in another note: based on contract law requirements to constitute a contract, it couldn't be a valid contract. It didn't have all the elements that constitute a contractual offer and acceptance nor did the show start after but instead before any such conversation, and she was just covered her azz about it. Also I did not have full knowledge/understanding that there really was going to be a show, I was not into a physical state to enter into a contract, it violates numerous laws as stated and rights .. And many other reasons. She had already been survelling me and digging up info on me because I guess I was a curiosity to her and took a bizarre conversation meant to be ridiculous and decided it could make her wealthy (or wealthier, I'm guessing) if presented to the greediest most corrupt man on earth (Trump). ....I have to guess, because I don't KNOW how I ended up on a show. But I'm thinking it started out with entertaining a girl in chat/online out of boredom till physical pain subsided enough to fall asleep.

Eli Samuel Goldman

I LITTERALLY thought I imagined the entire conversation. I thought it was a weirds dream. And in another note: based on contract law requirements to constitute a contract, it couldn't be a valid contract. It didn't have all the elements that constitute a contractual offer and acceptance nor did the show start after but instead before any such conversation, and she was just covered her azz about it. Also I did not have full knowledge/understanding that there really was going to be a show, I was not into a physical state to enter into a contract, it violates numerous laws as stated and rights .. And many other reasons. She had already been survelling me and digging up info on me because I guess I was a curiosity to her and took a bizarre conversation meant to be ridiculous and decided it could make her wealthy (or wealthier, I'm guessing) if presented to the greediest most corrupt man on earth (Trump). ....I have to guess, because I don't KNOW how I ended up on a show. But I'm thinking it started out with entertaining a girl in chat/online out of boredom till physical pain subsided enough to fall asleep.

Anonymous

https://www.popdust.com/the-process-of-delivering-packages-is-going-to-change-completely-very--2366334580.html
https://connect.innovateuk.org/web/ayush1/~/405026/blogs/-/blogs/now-get-the-latest-updates-of-your-all-usps-packages-very-easily
http://smallbusiness.eu.org/what-you-can-get-online.html
https://www.minds.com/blog/view/710053559919452176
https://www.utest.com/articles/take-a-serious-step-to-stop-unsolicited-mail
http://www.witchhunteronline.com/top-5-famous-cities-of-us/
https://onmogul.com/stories/how-to-get-rid-of-oily-hairs-home-remedies
https://tackk.com/rkvd9v
https://www.sharecare.com/user/yotan-chi/blog/post/top-5-cities-to-travel-in-united-states
http://blog.ideafit.com/blogs/jhon-evans/top-5-places-to-eat-in-the-us
http://www.purevolume.com/BloggingandTech/posts/15535023/USPS+Customers+are+in+Trouble+%7C+They+Feel+Helpless++Body
https://pitchengine.com/usmap/9999/12/31/holiday-hours-of-top-5-restaurants-of-united/002519061499373625825
http://findnerd.com/list/view/Map-of-Florida-City-United-States/33492/
https://article.wn.com/view/WNATcbc2c995209ed1bd2c5d64e17b57fdb6/
http://www.i-am-bored.com/2017/06/top-5-places-for-shopping-in-the-us
https://www.theodysseyonline.com/top-5-restaurants-for-fast-food
http://allwomenstalk.com/p/593a793c977466c7578b456b
http://realtytimes.com/listings/item/1002947-top-5-things-to-do-in-alaska
https://www.behance.net/gallery/53618027/New-Jersey
https://penzu.com/public/365ac875
https://www.travelblog.org/North-America/United-States/Alaska/Alaskan-Highway/blog-969693.html
https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/community/forums/html/topic?id=70061c50-809b-40a3-a2ae-193dd45811e7
http://www.purevolume.com/listeners/robin10718/posts/6546402/Top+5+tourist+places+in+the+US
http://preview.quicktopic.com/share?s=mwLd
http://ayushi786.edublogs.org/2017/05/31/food-near-me/
https://uspstraking.shutterfly.com/23
https://uspstraking.shutterfly.com/24
http://blogs.rediff.com/ayushi786/2017/05/23/tourism-attraction-places-in-us/
http://blogs.rediff.com/ayushi786/2017/05/23/organization-in-us/
https://www.behance.net/gallery/52985693/National-Historic-Landmark-in-US
https://www.behance.net/gallery/52986901/Famous-Nicknames-in-US
https://www.kiwibox.com/ayushi786/blog/entry/140225203/top-10-retail-stores-in-us/
http://www.autism-community.com/forums/topic/download-map-templates-united-states/
https://www.kiwibox.com/ayushi786/blog/entry/140148507/12-most-branded-chains-for-food-in-usa/?pPage=0
http://ayushi786.edublogs.org/2017/05/18/top-10-places-in-us/
http://ayushi786.edublogs.org/2017/05/13/printable-united-states-maps/
https://www.kiwibox.com/ayushi786/blog/entry/140131487/map-of-united-states/?pPage=0
http://ayushi.kinja.com/us-map-cities-map-1795188365?rev=1494676515899
https://www.diigo.com/item/note/5zlnd/mi0v?k=c2ea277a47bc6784a4a1211ce3a5accf

Anonymous

Targeted individuals aren't writing about SURVEILLANCE being used as a weapon...

We are daily being assaulted by ACTUAL MICROWAVE, LASER weapons that the US government and the defense contractors DON'T want you and the rest of the country to know even exist.....

But they do....and they are painfully being used to gas, poison, assault, burn and slowly murder completely INNOCENT US citizens 24/7!!!

80% of the victims are defenseless women.

Dear God, please help us! Wake up America!!!

If you're in doubt of any of this accurate information...check out and google Targeted Individuals, or see the website..

biggerthansnowden.com

Please stop these crimes!!!

Anonymous

American citizens are being tortured every day by 21st century weapons including drones, laser, voice to skull and especially microwave weapons!

Many victims have been tested and have GPS tracking implants in their bodies as well as proven toxicology results with poisons such as arsenic and cyanide.

We need your help!

Law enforcement is sadly involved as they are either members of a "secret" society or are receiving financial payoffs to look the other way...

To expose these crimes against American citizens, this will require the exposure of this crime.

Please tell everyone you know about what is secretly going on here.

biggerthansnowden.com

Anonymous

Innocent "targeted individuals" have been fraudulently placed on a 'terrorist or blacklist" without our knowledge or consent...

This is how the criminals justify torturing innocent Americans, without any criminal record. We are women, men, the good, moral, educated, productive members of society.

Please ACLU..step up to the plate on this horrendous, criminal daily assault against American citizens.

We've all called you and reached out to you via email..yet you neglect to help us or expose this crime.

We need you!

Black Man in America

This goes waaaaaay deeper then Trump, let's be honest the president is merely a puppet and Congress has their hands all up his ass. This country has been built on lies and conspiracy from it's start. The government has been and will continue to do this as they see fit, anyone that has a brain or tries to speak the truth some how seems to be discredited by deformation of character or happen to end up dead while in perfect health. Overall I don't get why anyone is shocked by these HORRIBLE UNCONSTITUTIONAL tactics yet AGAIN.

Vicki B.

What DIFFERENCE does any of this overcompensating, overreactive SHIT they do now make? The most important person in my life was brutally murdered beFORE they did anything meaningful & they were WARNED DOZENS OF TIMES BEFORE IT HAPPENED THAT SOMETHING WAS GOING TO OCCUR. Hence the term "overcompensating" for what they ACTIVELY failed to do when they were warned time and time again. And so far, Richard Clarke is the only person who's ever made a formal apology to families of 9/11 victims for not doing anything, or as he put it "not doing enough." I don't think they did anything so of course it wasn't enough. They took it like they do everything and thought it was a big old joke until almost 3,000 people were murdered in the worst way I can even imagine (mostly bc we never had remains & continue to this day without his earthly remains.)
To me nothing anybody does will make a difference bc it needed to be made beFORE he died that way. None of this extreme action brings him back any more than the terrorists continued lives brings him back, but it's a lot more ANNOYing that they get to keep living while he stays dead.
And Donald Trump is the LAST person I'll ever think cares about Eric or any of the others who died. He implements a Muslim ban that includes everyone EXCEPT the countries of the people who killed Eric and the others. The guy who literally killed him was from United Arab Emirates and all his goons in crime were from Saudi Arabia, and Trump practically kissed the feet of the Saudi royal family. He doesn't give any more of a DAMN than they claimed Obama did about Saudi Arabia & 9/11 families.

Anonymous

I am a targeted individual, and am subjected to not only surveillance on my home and vehicle, but am also cyber-gangstalked via my cell, by those living nextdoor to me (have hacked my device & it has also been verified to me by 2 Charter employees that a second router was hard-wired into mine at my unit). Our gang stalking neighbors right next door contiually spray what smells like a pesticide into the ventiliation system (the turbine) , as she sits out on the deck. We are definitely being experimented on(it is so strong we can smell it on our skin) , & it is making us extremely ill. This is being done to us daily! I am a believer in Jesus and yes, i am a minority also. My stalking started in 1994.

Pages

Stay Informed