The National Security Agency created a “secret backdoor” so its massive databases could be searched for the contents of U.S. citizens’ confidential phone calls and e-mail messages without a warrant, according to the latest classified documents leaked by Edward Snowden. A report in the Guardian on Friday quoted Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who serves on the Senate Intelligence Committee, as saying the secret rule offers a loophole allowing “warrantless searches for the phone calls or emails of law-abiding Americans.”
In reality, though, the Obama Justice Department has devised secret interpretations of FAA 702 carving out loopholes in what were intended to be strict privacy safeguards.
Another directive signed by Attorney General Eric Holder indicates the NSA can keep encrypted data it intercepts forever — giving its supercomputers plenty of time in the future to attempt a brute force attack on master encryption keys it’s unable to penetrate today.
Today’s disclosures appear to be at odds with what President Obama has said over the last two months in defense of NSA surveillance.