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Nsa Gathered Thousands of Americans' Emails Before Court Ordered It to Revise its Tactics

A lady monitoring someone's call.

As many as 56,000 domestic communications were monitored illegally each year from 2008 to 2011 by the U.S. National Security Agency, according to a 2011 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ruling.


The Obama administration on Wednesday declassified a 2011 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ruling that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) had illegally collected up to 56,000 "wholly domestic" communications each year since 2008.

In the ruling, Judge John D. Bates, the surveillance court’s chief judge at the time, sharply criticized NSA for intentionally misleading the court. "For the first time, the government has now advised the court that the volume and nature of the information it has been collecting is fundamentally different from what the court had been led to believe," Bates wrote. "The court is troubled that the government's revelations regarding NSA's acquisition of Internet transactions mark the third instance in less than three years in which the government has disclosed a substantial misrepresentation regarding the scope of a major collection program."

The declassification of the ruling marks the first time the government has released a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court opinion in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, which the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a year ago. The ruling was released along with several others related to NSA's collection program.

NSA noted that its regular reporting process had brought the collected communications to the court's attention.

From The Washington Post
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