In Depth Review: New NSA Documents Expose How Americans Can Be Spied On Without A Warrant

Kurt Opsahl and Trevor Timm | Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) | June 21, 2013

The Guardian published a new batch of secret leaked FISA court and NSA documents yesterday, which detail the particulars of how government has been accessing Americans’ emails without a warrant, in violation of the Constitution. The documents lay bare fundamental problems with the ineffectual attempts to place meaningful limitations on the NSA’s massive surveillance program. 

Essentially, the new documents, dated July 2009 and approved in August 2010, detail how the NSA deals with the huge streams of information it receives during the collection program that gathers the content of email and telephone calls, allowing it to keep vast quantities of content it could never get with a warrant.  They may not be the current procedures - more on that in another blog post shortly.

The Guardian published two documents: one showing the procedures for determining if their target is foreign for purposes of surveillance under the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) and the other describing the NSA’s “minimization” procedures when they come across United States persons, which also sets out the myriad ways they can keep Americans’ communications instead of minimizing them.