FISA Section 702 reauthorization approved by Congress – but What does that mean to John Q. Public?

The truth about warrantless and backdoor surveillance by the NSA, CIA, FBI & ODNI (aka #DeepState). It is unconstitutional.

As a direct result of Watergate, in December 1974, just four months after Nixon’s resignation, New York Times reporter Seymour Hersh revealed the existence of an illegal and long-running CIA intelligence program targeting U.S. citizens.

The Church committee hearings resulted in what we now call the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act which generated the requirement for the FISA court warrant system.
The new laws required adherence to the 4th Amendment and the approval of the court BEFORE any surveillance (including recordings or archiving of messages) could be conducted targeting a US Citizen. The new law was immediately violated by the NSA.
The NSA ignored the Church Committee and not only continued surveillance of US Citizens, but also commenced an enormous program to record their conversations and store their emails, texts and now even social media posts.
With the NDAA, Congress caved to #DeepState and authorized the NSA to keep these recordings and expand their reach. The daily unauthorized and malicious access of these records is the whole reason for people like Snowden.
With every renewal of the NDAA Congress has been “assured” of new procedures and protocols to prevent the unauthorized access to these records. These procedures and protocols have never been adequate or honored.

On Thursday morning at 7:33AM, our President @realDonaldTrump gave us hope that these gross violations of our rights and the Constitution would finally come to an end. It appeared that he would fulfill his campaign promise.


The President’s tweet made #DeepState furious. The vote on the NDAA in the House was suspended. At 9AM our President received a visit from the CIA. At 9:14AM a tweet was sent using @realDonaldTrump twitter account reversing the President’s promise.

The “fix” that the tweet refers to is nothing more than adding the words “pretty please” to the current protocols and procedures in place and never honored to prevent #DeepState from spying on anyone at anytime. Ask Admiral Rogers if you do not believe me.
Read both the Nunes and the Amash Amendments to curtail this illegal activity that Paul Ryan made sure were defeated prior to the re-authorization passing the House of Representatives unchanged.
The re-authorization will be passed by the Senate. The White House has confirmed the President will sign it. #DeepState won. #MAGA lost. The American people lost. Our elections will continue to be tampered with not by Russians, but by #DeepState.
Let that sink in a bit.
If you are fed-up with #DeepState violating our most basic rights and tampering with our elections, like they did to @realDonaldTrump.


The NSA’s most cherished mass-surveillance law, FISA 702 (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Section 702 – a shorthand name for a sweeping set of surveillance authorities, including the NSA’s warrantless mass-collection of international communications involving Americans), was in jeopardy of renewal recently in part by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes.  In recent months, congressional negotiators have been working on a bill codifying an umbrella of mass-surveillance activities known as Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. But Chairman Nunes threw a monkey wrench into the process, by initially pushing to include in the bill an unrelated a provision on so-called unmasking, the process that intelligence agencies use to reveal the names of U.S. persons who may be involved in crimes like spying.  Nunes was ultimately forced to strip the provision, which was far from the only hurdle the Section 702 reauthorization had to clear.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions directed Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand to make the reauthorization fight her top priority. Brand’s position in the department doesn’t typically involve national-security matters. But her time on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board has made her one of the department’s top advocates on national-security law. She met with members of the House and Senate, and conducted a media blitz.  Section 702 would have expired on Dec. 31, but Congress voted to extend that deadline to Jan. 19.

Since its passage in 2008, and particularly since Edward Snowden’s 2013 surveillance revelations shed significant light on its scope, critics have contended the measure is an unconstitutional end-run around the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.  Its vast collection of communications and associated data from major tech firms, known as PRISM, and its siphoning of the same in transit across the internet, known as Upstream, all occur without judicial review, let alone approval, of the National Security Agency’s targets. Instead, judges on a secret court annually review collection procedures—or, at least, how those collection procedures are supposed to work. [6]

Numerous instances of over-reach have been cited concerning the National Security Administration (NSA) data collection legality.

  • 1.  NSA illegally collected thousands of emails before Fisa court halted program
    Declassified court ruling from 2011 found government ‘disclosed substantial misrepresentation’ of data collection program [7]
  • 2. NSA concedes violating surveillance limits and pledges curbs on US email collection — NSA agrees to cease so-called ‘about’ surveillance under 2008 legal authority — But agency has not indicated whether such data collection will stop wholesale.  Though the NSA continues to defend the legality of the surveillance it is curbing, it conceded on Friday that the decision follows an internal review that determined it violated constraints agreed to with a secret surveillance court. It called those violations “inadvertent”. [8]
  • 3. N.S.A. Halts Collection of Americans’ Emails About Foreign Targets – It portrayed the decision, as an optional measure to protect Americans’ privacy, while not conceding a key point of its critics: that such “about” collection violated Americans’ constitutional rights to privacy. The decision is a major development in American surveillance policy. Privacy advocates have argued that the practice skirted or overstepped the Fourth Amendment. [9]

Under one aspect of the warrantless surveillance program, which Congress legalized with the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, telecommunications companies like AT&T and Verizon give the N.S.A. copies of internet messages that cross the international border and contain a search term that identifies foreigners overseas the government has targeted for surveillance; email addresses are one example. The agency calls this “upstream” collection.  Until 2013, it was not publicly known that the equipment installed on network switches was systematically sifting all cross-border internet traffic and sending to the N.S.A. messages containing such a targeted email address anywhere — not just emails to or from targets, but also between other people who talk about them. [6]

The NSA headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland.

Headquarters of the National Security Agency at Fort Meade, Maryland

A Brief History of the NSA: From 1917 to 2014

As you might expect from an intelligence organization, the National Security Agency has always done its best to avoid unwanted scrutiny from the American public.  So naturally, the NSA was more than a little “uncomfortable” when Edward Snowden exposed its most secret intelligence-gathering programs, including spying on allied government communications.  But the agency isn’t a stranger to intelligence leakers, and it isn’t really news that the NSA has been spying on people here in our own country. As a matter of fact, that’s precisely their job, and has been since President Harry Truman ordered the NSA into existence in 1952.

The Black Chamber

82 Years Before Edward Snowden, There Was Herbert O. Yardley — The AtlanticThe agency’s origins date back to July 1917, when a man named Herbert O. Yardley “the 1st Edward Snowden” became the head of the newly created Cipher Bureau of Military Intelligence.  Just three months before, the United States had declared war on Germany and its allies. The need for better communications intelligence couldn’t have been more plain. One of the major factors that brought the U.S. into the war was the infamous Zimmerman Telegram, in which the German Foreign Secretary attempted to entice Mexico into war against the U.S. When British codebreakers intercepted this message, it naturally inflamed the U.S. and proved the value of signals intelligence.

Herbert O. YardleyAfter the war ended in 1919, Yardley’s Cipher Bureau moved to New York City and shifted its focus from military to diplomatic intelligence. Its greatest success came in 1922, when its surveillance of Japanese communications helped American diplomats negotiate with Japan at the Washington Naval Conference on naval arms limitations.  The Cipher Bureau’s methods were somewhat questionable: deals with Western Union and other telegraph companies gave the Cipher Bureau unprecedented access to messages entering and exiting the United States. When Secretary of State Henry Stimson decided to close the agency in 1929, he cited moral opposition to its increasing surveillance, though his reasoning may also have been partly financial. In any case, Hoover’s administration did not see the need for peacetime surveillance and the agency was shuttered.

Cyber Bureau ends and SIS begins

In May 1929, five months before the end of the Cipher Bureau, the U.S. Army had decided to form its own agency independent of the State Department. The following year, William Friedman began building the Signal Intelligence Service (SIS). It’s unclear to what extent the end of the Cipher Bureau and the birth of the SIS are related, but in October 1929, Friedman went to New York to obtain the files Yardley’s agency had gathered.

Truman Library Photograph: President Harry S. Truman Signing National Security Act Amendment of 1949President Truman reorganized American signals intelligence under the National Security Agency (NSA) in 1952. In 1957, the NSA moved to Fort Meade in Maryland, where it is still based today.  The NSA began as a secret organization, half-jokingly referred to by many as “No Such Agency.” But as the NSA grew to a peak of more than 90,000 employees in 1969–making it the largest intelligence organization in the U.S., if not the world–it became harder to deny its existence.

Modern Evolution

In 1975, the NSA became a subject of the U.S. Senate Church Committee investigation. The committee’s findings exposed the NSA to public scrutiny for the first time. The investigation brought surprising revelations. Since 1945, the NSA had been spying on telegrams entering and leaving the U.S., including the correspondence of American citizens, under a program called Project SHAMROCK. Under Project MINARET, the NSA monitored the communications of civil rights leaders and opponents of the Vietnam War, including targets such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Mohammed Ali, Jane Fonda, and two active U.S. Senators. The NSA had launched this program in 1967 to monitor suspected terrorists and drug traffickers, but successive presidents used it to track all manner of political dissidents.


These findings led Congress to enact the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in 1978, which set guidelines for what the NSA could collect and how they could collect it. No longer could the NSA conduct warrantless surveillance on American citizens.

Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks the NSA launched a ‘data mining’ program in 2002 to compile and sift through electronic transaction data and President George W. Bush authorized the NSA to monitor the phone calls and emails of American citizens without a warrant from the intelligence court.  This program of warrantless gathering supposedly ended in 2007.

June 2013 returned the spotlight when NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the agency had been secretly gathering Internet and telephone data on millions of Americans as well as spying on allied leaders. [10]

The revelations from Edward Snowden showed that the state risks crossing ever more ethical and legal boundaries the European parliament completed its investigations into a long-suspected western intelligence partnership dedicated to global signals interception on a vast scale.

UKUSA agreement

Evidence had been taken from spies and politicians, telecommunications experts and journalists. In stark terms the report detailed a decades-old arrangement which had seen the US and the UK at first – later joined by Canada, New Zealand and Australia to make up the the so-called “Five Eyes” – collaborating to access satellites, transatlantic fibre-optic cables and radio signals on a vast scale.

This secretive (and consistently denied) co-operation was itself the product of a mutual agreement stretching back to the first world war, expanded in the second, and finally ratified in 1948 in the so-called UKUSA agreement. [11]

Next in series to pick up at UKUSA Agreement and Five Eyes.

Related ADN Articles:

US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) – About Queries and Warrants (or the lack thereof)

FISAgate: The Democratic Party is finally over, Deep State in a free-fall collapse


[1] Twitter – Navy Jack

[2] Twitter – Navy Jack

[3] Fox News

[4] Twitter – Donald J Trump

[5] Twitter – Donald J Trump

[6] Daily Beast

[7] Guardian

[8] Guardian

[9] New York Times

[10] Saturday Evening Post

[11] Guardian