I have mentioned stellar wind before. I thought this deserved its own post…
NSA inspector general report on email and internet data collection under Stellar Wind – full document
Top-secret draft report from 2009 by the NSA’s inspector general shows development of ‘collection of bulk internet metadata’ under program launched under Bush
• NSA collected US email records in bulk for more than two years under Obama.
Honestly this is Pulitzer Prize winning material. It makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Ok… Not really but close. NSA collected US email records in bulk for more than two years under Obama
The Obama administration for more than two years permitted the National Security Agency to continue collecting vast amounts of records detailing the email and internet usage of Americans, according to secret documents obtained by the Guardian.
The documents indicate that under the program, launched in 2001, a federal judge sitting on the secret surveillance panel called the Fisa court would approve a bulk collection order for internet metadata “every 90 days”. A senior administration official confirmed the program, stating that it ended in 2011.
The collection of these records began under the Bush administration’s wide-ranging warrantless surveillance program, collectively known by the NSA codename Stellar Wind.
According to a top-secret draft report by the NSA’s inspector general – published for the first time today by the Guardian – the agency began “collection of bulk internet metadata” involving “communications with at least one communicant outside the United States or for which no communicant was known to be a citizen of the United States”.
Eventually, the NSA gained authority to “analyze communications metadata associated with United States persons and persons believed to be in the United States”, according to a 2007 Justice Department memo, which is marked secret.
The Guardian revealed earlier this month that the NSA was collecting the call records of millions of US Verizon customers under a Fisa court order that, it later emerged, is renewed every 90 days. Similar orders are in place for other phone carriers.
••••••••History of the Spooks••••••••
On March 24, 2009, the National Security Agency’s inspector general issued a 51-page draft report on the President’s Surveillance Program, the warrantless authority under which NSA had collected phone records and email since 2001. This year, the report, classified as top secret, was leaked to the Guardian by NSA defector Ed Snowden. On Thursday, the Guardian published it.
The Guardian’s correspondents, Glenn Greenwald and Spencer Ackerman, see the report as further evidence of runaway government surveillance. They note that the program extended data collection to U.S. persons, that its use of email metadata went beyond billing records, and that surveillance continued after President Bush left office. “NSA collected US email records in bulk for more than two years under Obama,” says the Guardian’s headline.
But in many ways, the story told in the report is really about the mellowing of the surveillance state. An ill-defined, unilaterally imposed, poorly supervised spying operation was gradually brought under control. The surveillance program didn’t just become domestic. It became domesticated.