In Which I Agree with the ACLU

The National Security Agency illegally spied on American citizens, again.  This time occurred, last October, when the NSA

collected records about U.S. calls and text messages that it wasn’t authorized to obtain last year….


occurred several months after the NSA said it had purged hundreds of millions of metadata records it had amassed since 2015 due to a separate overcollection episode.

This flouting of law and of its instructions was no accident, not the second time.  It was deliberate.

An ACLU staff attorney, Patrick Toomey, said in part,

this surveillance program is beyond redemption and should be shut down for good.  The NSA’s collection of Americans’ call records is too sweeping, the compliance problems too many….

It appears that the NSA didn’t explicitly call for the data when it asked a (sadly name-redacted) telecommunications firm for legitimately collectable data; that firm “overprovided.”  The data, though, were “overprovided” for nine days before the NSA asked the company to…investigate…its delivery.  Nor is there evidence the NSA purged those overcollections.

Especially that last bit about compliance: the NSA, with this latest collection, has demonstrated that it considers laws, rules, constraints to be solely for the small people; they don’t apply to august entities like themselves.

Toomey is right, and I’ll go a ways further: the NSA should be shut down, the agency disbanded and withdrawn from the government’s books, and the personnel all returned to the private sector.

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