June 16, 2013
The National Security Agency has acknowledged in a new classified
briefing that it does not need court authorization to listen to domestic
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, disclosed this week that
during a secret briefing to members of Congress, he was told that the
contents of a phone call could be accessed “simply based on an analyst
If the NSA wants “to listen to the phone,” an analyst’s decision is
sufficient, without any other legal authorization required, Nadler said
he learned. “I was rather startled,” said Nadler, an attorney and
congressman who serves on the House Judiciary committee.
Not only does this disclosure shed more light on how the NSA’s formidable eavesdropping apparatus
works domestically, it also suggests the Justice Department has
secretly interpreted federal surveillance law to permit thousands of
low-ranking analysts to eavesdrop on phone calls.
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