Obama administration asserts broad surveillance powers

Ellen Nakashima and Robert Barnes

Washington Post
August 10, 2013

The Obama administration on Friday asserted a bold and broad power to collect the phone records of millions of Americans in order to search for a nugget of information that might thwart a terrorist attack.

In a 22-page “white paper,” the Justice Department for the first time detailed its legal rationale for a massive National Security Agency data collection program that it claimed is both constitutional and subject to federal oversight.

The report, which echoes assertions the administration has made to Congress, said the law and subsequent court decisions bestow broad power on the government to seek telephone records “relevant” to investigations of suspected terrorism.

“Relevance,” the paper stated, is “a broad standard that permits discovery of large volumes of data in circumstances where doing so is necessary to identify much smaller amounts of information within that data that directly bears on the matter being investigated.”

Full article here

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