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Published On: Sat, Jun 8th, 2013

James Clapper, US Intelligence head, points to ‘rush to publish’ on spy program, details sone PRISM and FISA rules

America’s top intelligence official is declassifying some details about the surveillance program in response to the backlash against the US government is monitoring internet and phone activity grows.

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James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, issued a statement in response to the leak of a secret court order which shows the US is storing information on millions of calls made by Americans each day.

Clapper said the programs are both longstanding and well-known to Congress, which he said is briefed twice a year about the surveillance activities approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court.

“Over the last week we have seen reckless disclosures of intelligence community measures used to keep Americans safe,” Clapper said in a statement. “In a rush to publish, media outlets have not given the full context – including the extent to which these programs are overseen by all three branches of government – to these effective tools.”

Clapper said the classified nature of the electronic surveillance programs prevents him from being able to correct specific errors in stories published about them.

“There are significant misimpressions that have resulted from the recent articles,” he said. “Not all the inaccuracies can be corrected without further revealing classified information.”

Clapper said he declassified a 2 1/2-page document with some new details about the program to “help dispel some of the myths and add necessary context to what has been published.”

From this new information:

  • PRISM is not an undisclosed collection or data mining program. It is an internal government computer system used to facilitate the government’s statutorily authorized collection of foreign intelligence information from electronic communication service providers under court supervision, as authorized…by FISA
  • …United States Government does not unilaterally obtain information from the servers of U.S. electronic communication service providers. All such information is obtained with FISA Court approval and with the knowledge of the provider
    based upon a written directive from the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence…
  • The Government cannot target anyone under the court-approved procedures for Section 702 collection unless there is an appropriate, and documented, foreign intelligence purpose for the acquisition (such as for the prevention of terrorism, hostile cyber activities, or nuclear proliferation) and the foreign target is reasonably believed to be outside the United States.
    We cannot target even foreign persons overseas without a valid foreign intelligence purpose.
  • Section 702 cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen, or any other U.S. person, or to intentionally target any person known to be in the United States. Likewise, Section 702 cannot be used to target a person outside the United States if the purpose is to acquire information from a person inside the United States.
  • Section 702 activities are not subject to internal and external oversight is similarly incorrect. Collection of intelligence information under Section 702 is subject to an extensive oversight regime, incorporating reviews by the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches.

Check it all out here

Below is Clapper’s statement:

DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE
WASHINGTON, DC 20511

June 8, 2013

DNI Statement on the Collection of Intelligence Pursuant to Section 702
of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act


Over the last week we have seen reckless disclosures of intelligence community measures used to keep Americans safe. In a rush to publish, media outlets have not given the full context–including the extent to which these programs are overseen by all three branches of government–to these effective tools.

In particular, the surveillance activities published in The Guardian and The Washington Post are lawful and conducted under authorities widely known and discussed, and fully debated and authorized by Congress. Their purpose is to obtain foreign intelligence information, including information necessary to thwart terrorist and cyber attacks against the United States and its allies.

Our ability to discuss these activities is limited by our need to protect intelligence sources and methods. Disclosing information about the specific methods the government uses to collect communications can obviously give our enemies a “playbook” of how to avoid detection. Nonetheless, Section 702 has proven vital to keeping the nation and our allies safe. It continues to be one of our most important tools for the protection of the nation’s security.

However, there are significant misimpressions that have resulted from the recent articles. Not all the inaccuracies can be corrected without further revealing classified information. I have, however, declassified for release the attached details about the recent unauthorized disclosures in hope that it will help dispel some of the myths and add necessary context to what has been published.

James R. Clapper, Director of National Intelligence

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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