George W. Bush first authorized NSA to collect bulk phone and internet records
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has decided to declassify more information on the National Security Agency (NSA) spying, showing it started in October 2001
On Saturday, James Clapper declassified more documents that outline how the NSA was first authorized to start collecting bulk phone and Internet records in the hunt for al-Qaeda terrorists and how a court eventually gained oversight of the program.
The declassification came after the Justice Department complied with a federal court order to release its previous legal arguments for keeping the programs secret.
James Clapper explained in a statement Saturday that President George W. Bush first authorized the spying in October 2001, as part of the Terrorist Surveillance Program, just after the September 11 attacks. President Bush disclosed the program in 2005. The Terrorist Surveillance Program – which had to be extended every 30-60 days by presidential order – eventually was replaced by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a law that requires a secret court to approve the bulk collection.
He also released federal court documents from successive intelligence directors arguing to keep the programs secret, after a California judge this fall ordered the administration to declassify whatever details already had been revealed as part of the White House’s campaign to justify the NSA surveillance.
Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden first made the surveillance programs public in leaks to the media.
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