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Thu Aug 29, 2013, 06:39 AM

NSA Spying Abroad isn’t OK Either (Kurzman)


NSA Spying Abroad isn’t OK Either (Kurzman)
Posted on 08/29/2013 by Juan Cole

Many Americans were upset to learn this month that the National Security Agency is recording cellphone conversations in the United States, violating its mandate to operate only outside of the country.

According to an internal agency audit that was leaked to the Washington Post, almost all of these incidents involved what the NSA calls “roamers”: “Roaming incidents occur when valid foreign target selector(s) are active in the U.S. … Roamer incidents are largely unpreventable, even with good target awareness and traffic review, since target travel activities are often unannounced and not easily predicted.”

Debate over the “roamers” has focused on a narrow legal concern: Did the NSA overstep its authority by continuing to record the conversations of foreign targets once they arrived in the United States? The NSA’s chief compliance officer assured reporters that the agency erased the recordings as soon as it identified them as domestic calls.

In other words, the NSA labeled these foreigners as enough of a threat that it recorded their conversations. Then it let them in the country. Then, when the NSA realized they were in the country, it stopped recording their conversations. Really?

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