Approximately ten minutes before 6 p.m. on a Friday, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a trove of declassified documents relating to the National Security Agency's collection of telephone metadata.
The documents being released today comprise orders from the FISC approving the National Security Agency’s (NSA) collection and use of telephony metadata under Section 501. These orders provide additional information regarding the controls imposed by the FISC on the processing, dissemination, security and oversight of telephony metadata acquired under Section 501. This includes the Court’s imposition of additional controls in response to compliance incidents that were discovered by NSA and then reported to the FISC.
So, basically: the documents that authorized, refined and renewed the metadata collection program as time went on. Today the President vowed to scale back the telephone data collection program from three-hops to two-hops from a desired target, and changed the restrictions on accessing the bulk data collection database to require judicial approval. It's interesting to note that, in one 2006 court document, the NSA argued to the FISC they would provide three phone numbers to the FBI every day. Now, the NSA collects hundreds of thousands of text messages a day.
This perfectly timed Friday evening news dump didn't exactly set the NSA document wonks off on Twitter. "Happy Friday, jerks," one said.
You can make your way through the documents here at your leisure.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.