This is game over, people. This is Edward Snowden vindicated. Completely.
The National Security Agency has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since Congress granted the agency broad new powers in 2008, according to an internal audit and other top-secret documents.There's much, much more.
Most of the infractions involve unauthorized surveillance of Americans or foreign intelligence targets in the United States, both of which are restricted by law and executive order. They range from significant violations of law to typographical errors that resulted in unintended interception of U.S. e-mails and telephone calls.
The documents, provided earlier this summer to The Washington Post by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, include a level of detail and analysis that is not routinely shared with Congress or the special court that oversees surveillance. In one of the documents, agency personnel are instructed to remove details and substitute more generic language in reports to the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
P.S. If you were thinking of taking a vacation from DKos, now might be a good time to start it. The uglies will be out in wicked force today, and tomorrow...
Update: As David Mizner says in a comment at DGershon's post - there are many aspects to this story beyond my quick summary, including that NSA instructs employees on how to avoid oversight. We need to flesh out all of these aspects. (Marcy Wheeler will be very good for this.)
Updated II: Barton Gellman has posted NSA and WH responses to his story. And this:
The Obama administration referred all questions for this article to John DeLong, the NSA’s director of compliance, who answered questions freely in a 90-minute interview. DeLong and members of the NSA communications staff said he could be quoted “by name and title” on some of his answers after an unspecified internal review. The Post said it would not permit the editing of quotes. Two days later, White House and NSA spokesmen said that none of DeLong’s comments could be quoted on the record and sent instead a prepared statement in his name. The Post declines to accept the substitute language as quotations from DeLong. The statement is below.It's gettin' hot in here...
Update III: Because I have the feeling there's going to very soon be a UNIVERSE WIDE TRAVEL WARNING due to a terror threat uncovered by the NSA, I have to add a link to Ken Silverstein's Harpers story about the recent "Al Qaeda conference call." If you haven't seen it - you're not going to believe it.