Each week there are media reports publishing additional nuggets with regard to the NSA, Edward Snowden and Obama administration policy alterations. Well at least something is coming out, where we can take these nuggets and go further.
Edward Snowden gave an interview about his job assignments and the fact they he did in fact attempt to raise some hard questions about what the NSA was doing without the knowledge or approval of common citizens.
In the interview he did raise an issue that spoke to the fact he sent an email to the NSA’s Office of Legal Council questioning the legality of USSID18, which is spying on U.S. citizens. Interestingly, this has not been mentioned before where it appears he was in fact seeking a response from the lawyers about the law versus Executive Orders.
Senator Dianne Feinstein confirmed the email exchange of which to date there has been only one released.
On Thursday, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence posted on its website what it described as Snowden’s only correspondence with NSA’s Office of General Counsel. The email does not refer to any concerns about NSA surveillance programs. In the email, Snowden asks about a training session and whether presidential executive orders supersede federal laws.
The email was sent on April 5, 2013, at least three months after he first contacted documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras and four months after he contacted journalist Glenn Greenwald. Rick Ledgett, the NSA’s deputy director who is leading the internal investigation of Snowden’s leaks, told Vanity Fair the he first illegally downloaded documents in the summer of 2012.
Given the notion that Snowden did try to reach out in some form before he bailed out of the United States does add a new twist to the order of actions.
See full story and email exchange here.
Now we need to look deeper at what USSID18 is.
PROCEDURES GOVERNING THE
DOD INTELLIGENCE COMPONENTS
THAT AFFECT UNITED STATES PERSONS
This DoD regulation sets forth procedures governing the activities of DoD intelligence components that affect United States persons. It implements DoD Directive 5240.1, and replaces the November 30, 1979 version of DoD Regulation 5240.1-R. It is applicable to all DoD intelligence components.
Executive Order 12333, “United States Intelligence Activities,” stipulates that certain activities of intelligence components that affect U.S. persons be governed by procedures issued by the agency head and approved by the Attorney General. Specifically, procedures 1 through 10, as well as Appendix A, herein, require approval by the Attorney General. Procedures 11 through 15, while not requiring approval by the Attorney General, contain further guidance to DoD Components in implementing Executive Order 12333 as well as Executive Order 12334, “President’s Intelligence Oversight Board”.
Accordingly, by this memorandum, these procedures are approved for use within the Department of Defense. Heads of DoD components shall issue such implementing instructions as may be necessary for the conduct of authorized functions in a manner consistent with the procedures set forth herein.
This regulation is effective immediately.
This procedure governs the kinds of information about United States persons that may knowingly be retained by a DoD intelligence component without the consent of the person whom the information concerns. It does not apply when the information in question is retained solely for administrative purposes or is required by law to be maintained.
B. EXPLANATION OF UNDEFINED TERMS
The term “retention,” as used in this procedure, refers only to the maintenance of information about United States persons which ,an be retrieved by reference to the person’s name or other identifying data.
C. CRITERIA FOR RETENTION
1. Retention of information collected under Procedure 2. Information about United States persons may be retained if it was collected pursuant to Procedure 2.
2. Retention of Information Acquired Incidentally. Information about United States persons collected incidentally to authorized collection may be retained if:
a. Such information could have been collected intentionally under Procedure 2;b. Such information is necessary to understand or assess foreign intelligence or counterintelligence;
c. The information is foreign intelligence or counterintelligence collected from electronic surveillance conducted in compliance with this Regulation; or
d. Such information is incidental to authorized collection and may indicate involvement in activities that may violate federal, state, local, or foreign law.
3. Retention of information relating to functions of other DoD Components or non-DoD Agencies. Information about United States persons that pertains solely to the functions of other DoD Components or agencies outside the Department of Defense shall be retained only as necessary to transmit or deliver such information to the appropriate recipients.
4. Temporary retention. Information about United States persons may be retained temporarily, for a period not to exceed 90 days, solely for the purpose of determining whether that information may be permanently retained under these procedures.
5. Retention of other information. Information about United States persons other than that covered by subsections C.1. through 4., above, shall be retained only for purposes of reporting such collection for oversight purposes and for any subsequent proceedings that may be necessary.
D. ACCESS AND RETENTION
1. Controls on access to retained information. Access within a DoD intelligence component to information about United States persons retained pursuant to this procedure shall be limited to those with a need to know.
2. Duration of retention. Disposition of information about United States persons retained in the files of DoD intelligence components will comply with the disposition schedules approved by the Archivist of the United States for the files or records in which the information is retained.
3. Information acquired Prior to effective date. Information acquired prior to the effective date of this procedure may be retained by DoD intelligence components without being screened for compliance with this procedure or Executive Order 12333 (reference (a)), so long as retention was in compliance with applicable law and previous executive orders.
Read more here.
The question remains still on did Snowden and Greenwald cross the Rubicon? It launched a debate globally which is a huge benefit and we have come to learn more about the complicity of all internet tech companies hence. Let the roundtable discussions continue.