Selective Outrage Syndrome on display

Chris Wysocki ponders why the Left is not outraged over this news

Here comes Barack Obama, openly admitting he’s listening to our phone calls, reading our emails, tracking our cell phones, and scanning our license plates. All without a warrant. Not even one of those super-secret fig-leaf warrants from a FISA court. And nobody says “boo,” because he’s The One, and he craps unicorns or something.

The Obama administration has conducted warrantless searches of Americans’ communications as part of the National Security Agency’s surveillance operations that target foreigners located outside of the U.S., the administration’s top intelligence official confirmed in a letter to Congress disclosed Tuesday.

The recent acknowledgement of warrantless searches on Americans offers more insight into U.S. government surveillance operations put in place after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The government has broadly interpreted these laws to allow for the collection of communications of innocent Americans, practices the Obama administration maintains are legal.

“Senior officials have sometimes suggested that government agencies do not deliberately read Americans’ emails, monitor their online activity or listen to their phone calls without a warrant,” Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Mark Udall of Colorado said in a joint statement. “However, the facts show that those suggestions were misleading, and that intelligence agencies have indeed conducted warrantless searches for Americans’ communications.”

Obama lied? Say it ain’t so!

Hmmm, Liberals were OUTRAGED, outrageously outraged even when Bush spied on Americans. Yet when Obama does it, no big deal. What is the deal? Well, it is simply Selective Outrage Syndrome at work. Liberals become outraged when Republicans say, or do certain things, but seem care free when Democrats do the very same things, or even when they do worse. S.O.S is just another of the Liberal Maladies I have diagnosed over the last 18 years.

Rand Paul Leads 350,000 Plaintiffs In Federal Lawsuit Against Obama Regime Over NSA Surveillance

‘Rand Paul v. Barack Obama’ Lawsuit Hits Federal Court With 350,000 Plaintiffs, As U.S. Senator Sues White House And Intelligence Chiefs Over NSA Surveillance – Daily Mail

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is making good on his promise to sue the Obama administration over what he calls ‘precisely the kind of overreach we fought a revolution over.’ His targets are the National Security Agency, the FBI and other federal government offices that snoop on private communications at home and abroad.

With former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli as his lead attorney, Paul is filing suit Wednesday morning in Washington, D.C. federal court along with the conservative FreedomWorks organization.

The legal action, officially titled ‘Rand Paul v. Barack Obama,’ will hit the court running with at least 350,000 plaintiffs, according to a source close to the process. Paul is aiming for 10 million, judging from a message on two websites run by his political staff.

‘When we learned that the NSA was collecting the phone data of every American last year,’ the senator said in a video message Tuesday night to supporters, ‘it posed a serious Constitutional question: Do we no longer have a Fourth Amendment?’

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The lawsuit will argue that the president ‘has publicly refused to stop a clear and continuing violation of the Fourth Amendment,’ Paul said in a statement from his political action committee. ‘I expect this case to go all the way to the Supreme Court and I predict the American people will win.’

President Obama is named as a defendant, along with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Director of the National Security Agency Gen. Keith Alexander, and FBI Director James Comey.

A White House National Security Council Staff spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

But Obama said during a lengthy January 17 speech about U.S. signals intelligence gathering – an oration that might be a preview of the government’s courtroom defense – that ‘the men and women of the intelligence community, including the NSA, consistently follow protocols designed to protect the privacy of ordinary people.’

‘They’re not abusing authorities in order to listen to your private phone calls or read your emails,’ the president insisted.

His press secretary, Jay Carney, followed up ten days later with assurance during a daily briefing that ‘to the extent that the NSA collects information, it is focused on valid foreign intelligence targets and not the information of ordinary Americans.’

‘Look,’ he told reporters, ‘I mean, terrorists, proliferators, other bad actors use the same communication tools that others use.’

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Sen. Paul’s objection focuses on the so-called bulk phone-record ‘metadata’ that the NSA gathers routinely. The data includes phone numbers, dates, times, and the durations of calls.

National security analysts say the massive tranches of data can be helpful when terrorism suspects are identified, because they allow investigators to establish who they have been talking to – and when.

Paul’s legal advisers thought about filing suit in a Kentucky federal court, MailOnline’s source said, but decided on Washington, D.C. because its judges are accustomed to sifting through the thorny issues surrounding whether a class-action group deserves to be ‘certified’–if, that is, its members have standing to sue.

He plans a press conference in front of the federal courthouse on Wednesday morning to boast that he’s protecting the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment from the White House’s national security apparatus.

‘The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated,’ that Amendment reads in part.

The senator first forecast his legal action in late December, and told the Fox News Channel that since the Obama administration ‘has used the IRS to go after people… we wonder if they would use the NSA that way.’

‘Everybody who has a cellphone would be eligible’ to become a plaintiff, he said.

That interview came on the same day the NSA convinced a top-secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act judge to green-light its metadata collection for a new 90-day period.

That program, the subject of worldwide leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, has won reauthorization at least 36 times during the past seven years.

Paul’s odd mix of libertarian crusade and conservative button-pushing isn’t new, and it might become the norm on the right as more Republicans try to find common ground between what amount to warring cousins.

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‘Libertarian, or liberty, doesn’t mean libertine,’ the GOP presidential hopeful told a red-meat right-wing crowd at a D.C. gala last week.

‘To many of us,’ he said, playing deftly to a room full of social conservatives, ‘Libertarian means freedom and liberty. But we also see freedom needs tradition.’

The speech came an hour after a lobbyist was heard introducing him to friends during a pre-dinner reception as a ‘Libertarian rock star.’

But Paul cautioned that ‘I don’t see libertarianism as, “you can do whatever you want”.’

Now the federal legislator is applying that message to the executive branch of government, and hoping the judicial branch will see things his way.

But while his lawsuit percolates, Freedomworks president Matt Kibbe will manage the plaintiff-lists and turn them into a political mobilizing tool.

‘If you use a phone, you should care about this case,’ Kibbe said Tuesday, adding that his group’s 6 million members stand behind the legal effort.

Names are initially collected on websites run by PaulPAC, the Kentucky senator’s Political Action Committee, and by his political campaign – presumably one now engaged in planning for the 2016 presidential race.

Both websites ask Web surfers to ‘sign below and join my class-action lawsuit and help stop the government’s outrageous spying program on the American people.’

They also ask for donations.

‘After you sign up, please make a generous donation to help rally up to ten million Americans to support my lawsuit to stop Big Brother,’ a message reads.

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*VIDEO* Jon Stewart Mocks President Asshat’s Rambling NSA Speech


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H/T ClashDaily

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Breaking News: Mike Huckabee no longer my least favorite Republican

Nope! That honor goes to Rep, Peter King (A) Asshole

Via Politico:

Rep. Peter King took swings at fellow Republican Sen. Rand Paul on Monday, saying he does not deserve to be in Congress and that he is stoking “paranoia” among Americans.

The New York Republican pointed to the debate over the National Security Agency’s surveillance, which King supports but Paul criticizes, as an example of why he believes the senator doesn’t belong in Congress.

“We can have honest differences about what [NSA’s] policies are, but what Rand Paul is creating is hysteria,” King said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Monday. “When Rand Paul is comparing [NSA Director] Gen. [James] Clapper to [leaker Edward] Snowden, saying Clapper belongs in jail with Snowden, talking about how all phone calls are being listened to, trying to create this paranoia among Americans that the NSA is spying on everyone, the fact is he has not been able to cite one abuse by the NSA.”

King said the Kentucky Republican “creates this illusion” of spying in an attempt to play off Americans’ fear in an “offensive” way.

“The same reason he was saying he was worried about the CIA using drones to kill Americans in Starbucks. He is playing on some sort of … fear mongering, isolationism,” King said. “Rather than using intelligent arguments, as people could well do, he is resorting to fear, he’s appealing to the lowest common denominator. And I find that very offensive.”

King seems to be attacking Paul, and Ted Cruz, and every other Conservative in the GOP. I would remind Rep. King that he has no friends at MSNBS, and his political grandstanding is pretty damned offensive to many Conservatives. And, I might also remind King that Sen.Paul deserves to be in Congress because the people of Kentucky elected him. And, I would add that I am not so eager to trust the government NOT to take liberties with out liberties.

Obama’s NSA Disguised Itself As Google To Spy On Americans

NSA Disguised Itself As Google To Spy, Say Reports – Cnet

Here’s one of the latest tidbits on the NSA surveillance scandal (which seems to be generating nearly as many blog items as there are phone numbers in the spy agency’s data banks).

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Earlier this week, Techdirt picked up on a passing mention in a Brazilian news story and a Slate article to point out that the US National Security Agency had apparently impersonated Google on at least one occasion to gather data on people. (Mother Jones subsequently pointed out Techdirt’s point-out.)

Brazilian site Fantastico obtained and published a document leaked by Edward Snowden, which diagrams how a “man in the middle attack” involving Google was apparently carried out.

A technique commonly used by hackers, a MITM attack involves using a fake security certificate to pose as a legitimate Web service, bypass browser security settings, and then intercept data that an unsuspecting person is sending to that service. Hackers could, for example, pose as a banking Web site and steal passwords.

The technique is particularly sly because the hackers then use the password to log in to the real banking site and then serve as a “man in the middle,” receiving requests from the banking customer, passing them on to the bank site, and then returning requested info to the customer – all the while collecting data for themselves, with neither the customer nor the bank realizing what’s happening. Such attacks can be used against e-mail providers too.

It’s not clear if the supposed attack in the Fantastico document was handled by the NSA or by its UK counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). The article by the Brazilian news agency says, “In this case, data is rerouted to the NSA central, and then relayed to its destination, without either end noticing.”

“There have been rumors of the NSA and others using those kinds of MITM attacks,” Mike Masnick writes on Techdirt, “but to have it confirmed that they’re doing them against the likes of Google… is a big deal – and something I would imagine does not make [Google] particularly happy.”

Google provided a short statement to Mother Jones reporter Josh Harkinson in response to his questions on the matter: “As for recent reports that the US government has found ways to circumvent our security systems, we have no evidence of any such thing ever occurring. We provide our user data to governments only in accordance with the law.” (The company is also trying to win the right to provide more transparency regarding government requests for data on Google users.)

CNET got a “no comment” from the NSA in response to our request for more information.

As TechDirt suggests, an MITM attack on the part of the NSA or GCHQ would hardly be a complete shock. The New York Times reported last week that the NSA has sidestepped common Net encryption methods in a number of ways, including hacking into the servers of private companies to steal encryption keys, collaborating with tech companies to build in back doors, and covertly introducing weaknesses into encryption standards.

It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to obtain a fake security certificate to foil the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) cryptographic protocol that’s designed to verify the authenticity of Web sites and ensure secure Net communications.

Indeed, such attacks have been aimed at Google before, including in 2011, when a hacker broke into the systems of DigiNotar – a Dutch company that issued Web security certificates – and created more than 500 SSL certificates used to authenticate Web sites.

In any case, the purported NSA/GCHG impersonation of Google inspired a rather clever graphic by Mother Jones, one that might even impress the rather clever Doodlers at Google:

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Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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NSA Bugged UN Headquarters In New York City According To Der Spiegel

NSA Bugged UN Headquarters In New York City, Claim New Documents Released By Ed Snowden – Daily Mail

The U.S. National Security Agency bugged the United Nations’ New York headquarters, Germany’s Der Spiegel weekly said on Sunday in a report on U.S. spying that could further strain relations between Washington and its allies.

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Citing secret U.S. documents obtained by fugitive former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, Der Spiegel said the files showed how the United States systematically spied on other states and institutions.

The UN did not directly comment on Monday on the hacking reports, saying only that international treaties protect its offices and all diplomatic missions from interference, spying and eavesdropping.

Der Spiegel said the European Union and the U.N.’s Vienna-based nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), were among those targeted by U.S. intelligence agents.

In the summer of 2012, NSA experts succeeded in getting into the U.N. video conferencing system and cracking its coding system, according one of the documents cited by Der Spiegel.

‘The data traffic gives us internal video teleconferences of the United Nations (yay!),’ Der Spiegel quoted one document as saying, adding that within three weeks the number of decoded communications rose to 458 from 12.

U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said Monday that ‘the inviolability of diplomatic missions, including the United Nations and other international organizations, whose functions are protected by the relevant international conventions like the Vienna Convention, has been well-established international law.’

Haq added, ‘Therefore, member-states are expected to act accordingly to protect the inviolability of diplomatic missions.’

The 1961 Vienna Convention regulates diplomatic issues and status among nations and international organizations.

Among other things, it says a host country cannot search diplomatic premises or seize its documents or property.

It also says the host government must permit and protect free communication between the diplomats of the mission and their home country.

However, wiretapping and eavesdropping have been rampant for decades, most dramatically between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

The report said internal files also show the NSA spied on the EU legation in New York after it moved to new rooms in autumn 2012. Among the documents copied by Snowden from NSA computers are plans of the EU mission, its IT infrastructure and servers.

According to the documents, the NSA runs a bugging program in more than 80 embassies and consulates worldwide called ‘Special Collection Service’. ‘The surveillance is intensive and well organized and has little or nothing to do with warding off terrorists,’ wrote Der Spiegel.

Snowden’s leaks have embarrassed the United States by exposing the global extent of its surveillance programs. Washington has said its spies operate within the law and that the leaks have damaged national security.

A week ago Britain, a staunch U.S. ally in the intelligence field, detained the partner of a Brazil-based journalist working for London’s Guardian newspaper who has led coverage of Snowden’s leaks. British police said documents seized from David Miranda were ‘highly sensitive’ and could put lives at risk if disclosed.

The Guardian last week destroyed computer equipment containing Snowden files after it was threatened with possible legal action by senior British government advisers.

In an open letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron published on Sunday, editors of leading Nordic newspapers said Miranda’s detention and moves against the Guardian were ‘undermining the position of the free press throughout the world’.

‘(We are) deeply concerned that a stout defender of democracy and free debate such as the United Kingdom uses anti-terror legislation in order to legalize what amounts to harassment of both the paper and individuals associated with it,’ said the letter from Sweden’s Dagens Nyheter, Finland’s Helsingin Sanomat, Denmark’s Politiken and Norway’s Aftenposten.

Earlier this month, U.S. President Barack Obama announced plans to limit U.S. government surveillance programs, saying the United States could and should be more transparent.

The issue has also become a hot topic in Germany before an election next month. Some reports have suggested that German intelligence agents have cooperated with U.S. spies.

There could be a voter backlash if it emerges that Chancellor Angela Merkel, tipped to win a third term, knew more about such cooperation than she has so far acknowledged.

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NSA-Nazis Overstepping Legal Authority Thousands Of Times A Year

NSA Broke Privacy Rules Thousands Of Times Per Year, Audit Finds – Washington Post

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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.

Most of the infractions involve unauthorized surveillance of Americans or foreign intelligence targets in the United States, both of which are restricted by statute 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.

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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.

In one instance, the NSA decided that it need not report the unintended surveillance of Americans. A notable example in 2008 was the interception of a “large number” of calls placed from Washington when a programming error confused the U.S. area code 202 for 20, the international dialing code for Egypt, according to a “quality assurance” review that was not distributed to the NSA’s oversight staff.

In another case, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which has authority over some NSA operations, did not learn about a new collection method until it had been in operation for many months. The court ruled it unconstitutional.

The Obama administration has provided almost no public information about the NSA’s compliance record. In June, after promising to explain the NSA’s record in “as transparent a way as we possibly can,” Deputy Attorney General James Cole described extensive safeguards and oversight that keep the agency in check. “Every now and then, there may be a mistake,” Cole said in congressional testimony.

The NSA audit obtained by The Post, dated May 2012, counted 2,776 incidents in the preceding 12 months of unauthorized collection, storage, access to or distribution of legally protected communications. Most were unintended. Many involved failures of due diligence or violations of standard operating procedure. The most serious incidents included a violation of a court order and unauthorized use of data about more than 3,000 Americans and green-card holders.

In a statement in response to questions for this article, the NSA said it attempts to identify problems “at the earliest possible moment, implement mitigation measures wherever possible, and drive the numbers down.” The government was made aware of The Post’s intention to publish the documents that accompany this article online.

“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 with White House permission on the condition of anonymity.

“You can look at it as a percentage of our total activity that occurs each day,” he said. “You look at a number in absolute terms that looks big, and when you look at it in relative terms, it looks a little different.”

There is no reliable way to calculate from the number of recorded compliance issues how many Americans have had their communications improperly collected, stored or distributed by the NSA.

The causes and severity of NSA infractions vary widely. One in 10 incidents is attributed to a typographical error in which an analyst enters an incorrect query and retrieves data about U.S phone calls or e-mails.

But the more serious lapses include unauthorized access to intercepted communications, the distribution of protected content and the use of automated systems without built-in safeguards to prevent unlawful surveillance.

The May 2012 audit, intended for the agency’s top leaders, counts only incidents at the NSA’s Fort Meade headquarters and other ­facilities in the Washington area. Three government officials, speak­ing on the condition of anonymity to discuss classified matters, said the number would be substantially higher if it included other NSA operating units and regional collection centers.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who did not receive a copy of the 2012 audit until The Post asked her staff about it, said in a statement late Thursday that the committee “can and should do more to independently verify that NSA’s operations are appropriate, and its reports of compliance incidents are accurate.”

Despite the quadrupling of the NSA’s oversight staff after a series of significant violations in 2009, the rate of infractions increased throughout 2011 and early 2012. An NSA spokesman declined to disclose whether the trend has continued since last year.

One major problem is largely unpreventable, the audit says, because current operations rely on technology that cannot quickly determine whether a foreign mobile phone has entered the United States.

In what appears to be one of the most serious violations, the NSA diverted large volumes of international data passing through fiber-optic cables in the United States into a repository where the material could be stored temporarily for processing and selection.

The operation to obtain what the agency called “multiple communications transactions” collected and commingled U.S. and foreign e-mails, according to an article in SSO News, a top-secret internal newsletter of the NSA’s Special Source Operations unit. NSA lawyers told the court that the agency could not practicably filter out the communications of Americans.

In October 2011, months after the program got underway, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ruled that the collection effort was unconstitutional. The court said that the methods used were “deficient on statutory and constitutional grounds,” according to a top-secret summary of the opinion, and it ordered the NSA to comply with standard privacy protections or stop the program.

James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, has acknowledged that the court found the NSA in breach of the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, but the Obama administration has fought a Freedom of Information lawsuit that seeks the opinion.

Generally, the NSA reveals nothing in public about its errors and infractions. The unclassified versions of the administration’s semiannual reports to Congress feature blacked-out pages under the headline “Statistical Data Relating to Compliance Incidents.”

Members of Congress may read the unredacted documents, but only in a special secure room, and they are not allowed to take notes. Fewer than 10 percent of lawmakers employ a staff member who has the security clearance to read the reports and provide advice about their meaning and significance.

The limited portions of the reports that can be read by the public acknowledge “a small number of compliance incidents.”

Under NSA auditing guidelines, the incident count does not usually disclose the number of Americans affected.

“What you really want to know, I would think, is how many innocent U.S. person communications are, one, collected at all, and two, subject to scrutiny,” said Julian Sanchez, a research scholar and close student of the NSA at the Cato Institute.

The documents provided by Snowden offer only glimpses of those questions. Some reports make clear that an unauthorized search produced no records. But a single “incident” in February 2012 involved the unlawful retention of 3,032 files that the surveillance court had ordered the NSA to destroy, according to the May 2012 audit. Each file contained an undisclosed number of telephone call records.

One of the documents sheds new light on a statement by NSA Director Keith B. Alexander last year that “we don’t hold data on U.S. citizens.”

Some Obama administration officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, have defended Alexander with assertions that the agency’s internal definition of “data” does not cover “metadata” such as the trillions of American call records that the NSA is now known to have collected and stored since 2006. Those records include the telephone numbers of the parties and the times and durations of conversations, among other details, but not their content or the names of callers.

The NSA’s authoritative def­inition of data includes those call records. “Signals Intelligence Management Directive 421,” which is quoted in secret oversight and auditing guidelines, states that “raw SIGINT data… includes, but is not limited to, unevaluated and/or unminimized transcripts, gists, facsimiles, telex, voice, and some forms of computer-generated data, such as call event records and other Digital Network Intelligence (DNI) metadata as well as DNI message text.”

In the case of the collection effort that confused calls placed from Washington with those placed from Egypt, it is unclear what the NSA meant by a “large number” of intercepted calls. A spokesman declined to discuss the matter.

The NSA has different reporting requirements for each branch of government and each of its legal authorities. The “202” collection was deemed irrelevant to any of them. “The issue pertained to Metadata ONLY so there were no defects to report,” according to the author of the secret memo from March 2013.

The large number of database query incidents, which involve previously collected communications, confirms long-standing suspicions that the NSA’s vast data banks – with code names such as MARINA, PINWALE and XKEYSCORE – house a considerable volume of information about Americans. Ordinarily the identities of people in the United States are masked, but intelligence “customers” may request unmasking, either one case at a time or in standing orders.

In dozens of cases, NSA personnel made careless use of the agency’s extraordinary powers, according to individual auditing reports. One team of analysts in Hawaii, for example, asked a system called DISHFIRE to find any communications that mentioned both the Swedish manufacturer Ericsson and “radio” or “radar” – a query that could just as easily have collected on people in the United States as on their Pakistani military target.

The NSA uses the term “incidental” when it sweeps up the records of an American while targeting a foreigner or a U.S. person who is believed to be involved in terrorism. Official guidelines for NSA personnel say that kind of incident, pervasive under current practices, “does not constitute a… violation” and “does not have to be reported” to the NSA inspector general for inclusion in quarterly reports to Congress. Once added to its databases, absent other restrictions, the communications of Americans may be searched freely.

In one required tutorial, NSA collectors and analysts are taught to fill out oversight forms without giving “extraneous information” to “our FAA overseers.” FAA is a reference to the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which granted broad new authorities to the NSA in exchange for regular audits from the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and periodic reports to Congress and the surveillance court.

Using real-world examples, the “Target Analyst Rationale Instructions” explain how NSA employees should strip out details and substitute generic descriptions of the evidence and analysis behind their targeting choices.

“I realize you can read those words a certain way,” said the high-ranking NSA official who spoke with White House authority, but the instructions were not intended to withhold information from auditors. “Think of a book of individual recipes,” he said. Each target “has a short, concise description,” but that is “not a substitute for the full recipe that follows, which our overseers also have access to.”

Julie Tate and Carol D. Leonnig contributed to this report.

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