Well that's a relief. How else would we ever know when those NSA Spying Programs have step-over some vaguely-defined line, without their sternly encouraged "self-policing" efforts.
Maybe we can get Yogi Bear to guard the campers' Picnic Baskets too?
So how well have these NSA self-reporting efforts been working out ...
Report: NSA spying broke privacy rules many times
by Melanie Eversley, USA TODAY -- August 16, 2013
[...]If only there were a ref to call "Off-sides: 5 Yard Penalty on the Play" -- during those "rare" times?
In one instance, the news organization [Wash-Post] reports, the NSA decided that it was not necessary to report it had unintentionally taken part in surveillance of Americans. One example involved a mix-up in which the Washington area code 202 was mistaken for the Egypt telephone country code of 20, the Post reported. Another set of incidents involved unauthorized use of data concerning more than 3,000 Americans and green-card holders, according to the Post.
In a statement released Aug. 9 on its website, the NSA said that its staff members "are obligated to report when they believe NSA is not, or may not be, acting consistently with law, policy or procedure."
"We're a human-run agency operating in a complex environment with a number of different regulatory regimes, so at times we find ourselves on the wrong side of the line," a senior NSA official said in an interview, speaking to the newspaper with White House permission on the condition of anonymity.
But heh, they're only human: "Mistakes happen. It's no big deal." ... Besides they've got "obligations to report" those mistakes ...
Sometimes, maybe ... if they feel like it. When they get the time.
Here are some of the highlights from that little-noticed "NSA statement released Aug. 9, 2013" -- assuring us that oversight safeguards are in place ... and hey they got "NSA self-reporting" too -- it's "part of their culture" ...
The National Security Agency: Missions, Authorities, Oversight and Partnerships (pdf)
National Security Agency -- 9 August 2013
[pg 1]After multiple-reviews, and vorific vocal posturing from the opposing Coaches, the council of "Referee Replay Review" panel have issued their verdict, after much personal consternation:
This document is a step in that process, and is aimed at providing a mission, authorities, oversight and partnerships.
NSA Collection Authorities
NSA uses EO 12333 authority to collect foreign intelligence from communications systems around the world. Due to the fragility of these sources, providing any significant detail outside of classified channels is damaging to national security. Nonetheless, every type of collection undergoes a strict oversight and compliance process internal to NSA that is conducted by entities within NSA other than those responsible for the actual collection.
FISA regulates certain types of foreign intelligence collection including certain collection that occurs with compelled assistance from U.S. telecommunications companies. Given the techniques that NSA must employ when conducting foreign intelligence mission, NSA quite properly relies on FISA authorizations to acquire significant foreign intelligence information and will work with the FBI and other agencies to connect the dots between foreign-based actors and their activities in the U.S. The FISA Court plays an important role in helping to ensure that signals intelligence collection governed by FISA is conducted in conformity with the requirements of the statute. All three branches of the U.S. Government have responsibilities for programs conducted under FISA, and a key role of the FISA Court is to ensure that activities conducted pursuant to FISA authorizations are consistent with the statute, as well as the U.S. Constitution, including the Fourth Amendment.
Business Records FISA, Section 215
The Government cannot conduct substantive queries of the bulk records for any purpose other than counterterrorism. Under the FISC orders authorizing the collection, authorized queries may only begin with an "identifier," such as a telephone number, that is associated with one of the foreign terrorist organizations that was previously identified to and approved by the Court. An identifier used to commence a query of the data is referred to as a "seed." Specifically, under Court-approved rules applicable to the program, there must be a "reasonable, articulable suspicion" that a seed identifier used to query the data for foreign intelligence purposes is associated with a particular foreign terrorist organization. [...]
[...] The role of providers compelled to provide assistance by the FISC is identified separately by the Government as a specific facet of the lawful collection activity.
[...] The senior U.S. commander in Iraq credited signals intelligence with being a prime reason for the significant progress made by U.S. troops in the 2008 surge, directly enabling the removal of almost 4,000 insurgents from the battlefield.
The Oversight and Compliance Framework
NSA has an internal oversight and compliance framework to provide assurance that the NSA's activities -- its people, its technology, and its operations -- act consistently with the law and with NSA and U.S. intelligence community policies and procedures. This framework is overseen by multiple organizations external to NSA, including the Director of National Intelligence, the Attorney General, the Congress, and for activities regulated by FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
Compliance at NSA is overseen internally by the NSA Inspector
General and is also overseen by a number of organizations external to NSA, including the Department of Justice, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Oversight, the Congress, and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
In addition to NSA's compliance safeguards, NSA personnel are obligated to report when they believe NSA is not, or may not be, acting consistently with law, policy, or procedure. This self-reporting is part of the culture and fabric of NSA. If NSA is not acting in accordance with law, policy, or procedure, NSA will report through its internal and external intelligence oversight channels, conduct reviews to understand the root cause, and make appropriate adjustments to constantly improve.
"No Penalty on the Play. The forward progress of the ball stands."
No harm, No foul. It's only a game, right?
Who needs enforceable "rules and review procedures" ... when we got NSA self-reporting; ... and all those FISA Court rubber-stamps?
Hey, maybe we can get those NFL line-guards to call "Off-sides" on themselves too? ... it apparently works for the NSA ...