How the NSA's Surveillance Procedures Threaten Americans' Privacy

Documents obtained by the journalist Glenn Greenwald and released yesterday by The Guardian show how the National Security Agency has implemented the FISA Amendments Act, a 2008 law that substantially expanded the government's surveillance authority. A few of us at the ACLU have now had an opportunity to review the documents and to write a short analysis of them, which you can read here. We write:

Newly released documents confirm what critics have long suspected—that the National Security Agency, a component of the Defense Department, is engaged in unconstitutional surveillance of Americans' communications, including their telephone calls and emails. The documents show that the NSA is conducting sweeping surveillance of Americans' international communications, that it is acquiring many purely domestic communications as well, and that the rules that supposedly protect Americans' privacy are weak and riddled with exceptions.

We've had less than a day to review the documents, and we may eventually expand (or amend) the analysis we're releasing today. We thought it important, though, to publish our first reactions.

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Sam Kephart

Google and Facebook are flat-out lying about the depth to which the NSA is "hard-wired" into their infrastructure.

Want the REAL story about what the NSA is doing with your life and communications, read Freedom on the Rocks - Federal Tyranny versus Terrorism:

Terance Healy

I have reported illegal surveillance of this nature to the ACLU since 2007. They have repeatedly IGNORED my pleas for help to escape the intrusioon. Ask your Philadelphia office how many people interviewed me regarding my request for help. I begged and pleaded. They say they didn;t have the staff in Philly. They destroyed my life over 8 years. 18 judges denied m,yu rights and violated jurisdiction and the law to destroy every aspect of my life. I didn;t commit suicide though. and they have not yet relented.


Officer Google says "Tell the government".


How do I set up a Microsoft Web Outlook account to view the documents in the link?

John G.

Quick question: how can the president claim that no one looks at our emails , when you need to look at the content of these emails in order to establish whether the exceptions for preservation or deletion of the data apply?

So, NSA can keep the data indefinitely, until they "positively" verify that no exception applies, and in order to do so they must first look at the content of our electronic communications. Thus, looking at the content is a prerequisite for deleting our personal data from their databases. This is ridiculous!


Outstanding. I watched a lecture by whistleblower Binney given at MIT last year who was followed up with some comments given by an ACLU representative. Her comments were mildly disturbing in that she blew off the concern over a "big brother" surveillance state instead focusing on the threat of someone at the DMV gaining access to your info. I was alarmed by her dismisive tone regarding the more obvious and immediate threat. I sincerely hope that the ACLU remains true to principle and does not fall victim to internal partisans or establishment pressure.


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matt hatcher

Snowden is a patriot whistle blower.hunt down the traitors who implemented this policy and prosicute them for treason and electronically quartering soldiers during peace time. death is to good for those traitors. god bless and protect this patriot.


Then why don't you act? File a lawsuit against the NSA for violation the 4th amendment and infringing upon the rights of all Americans. Ask for a restraining order at minimum to prevent further illegal eavesdropping, and ask that a special prosecutor be assigned to fully investigate the President's role in all of this.


What happened to the 4th Amendment? Why no class action lawsuit? Are we on the road to a totalitarian state? And what's up with Dianne Feinstein? She used to be OK but now has completely lost it.


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