A new report from Reuters has revealed that the National Security Agency under former President Barack Obama continued to collect bulk phone records of an unspecified number of American citizens throughout 2016.
In total, it is estimated that more than 151 million records were collected, despite Congress passing a law to curb data collection in 2015.
A different report by Circa has revealed what Obama and his staff were using those records for. Circa maintains that the Obama administration was scouring the records for data on specific individuals and sharing their findings throughout the administration.
Journalist John Solomon wrote: “In all, government officials conducted 30,355 searches in 2016 seeking information about Americans in NSA intercept metadata, which include telephone numbers and email addresses. The activity amounted to a 27.5 percent increase over the prior year and more than triple the 9,500 such searches that occurred in 2013, the first year such data was kept.
“The government in 2016 also scoured the actual contents of NSA-intercepted calls and emails for 5,288 Americans, an increase of 13 percent over the prior year and a massive spike from the 198 names searched in 2013,” he continued.
“The searches ultimately resulted in 3,134 NSA intelligence reports with unredacted U.S. names being distributed across government in 2016, and another 3,354 reports in 2015,” Solomon added. “About half the time, U.S. identities were unredacted in the original reports while the other half were unmasked after the fact by special request of Obama administration officials.”
Conservative Tribune reports:
The report further revealed that among those unmasked names were campaign associates of then-candidate Donald Trump and transition officials of the president-elect’s team after the election, as well as other American citizens including members of Congress and their staffs, according to an official familiar with the intelligence reports coming out of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
“There is no doubt that there was a spike in the requests to search for Americans in the NSA database,” the unnamed official said, according to Circa. “It’s simply easier for people to make requests. And while we have safeguards, there is always concern and vigilance about possible political or prurient motives that go beyond national security concerns.”
Other unnamed intelligence officials confirmed the increase in requests for data on Americans, but declined to give any reasoning, save for pointing at a 2011 order from Obama that relaxed privacy protections on NSA data in the name of “national security.”
Are we even surprised to learn this? Obama is one of the biggest hypocrites. He promised to stop spying on the American people, but in the end he ramped up the programs more than ever.
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