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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

N.S.A. Chief Denies Report On Social Network Spying

N.S.A. Chief Denies Report On Social Network Spying

Washington (AFP) – The head of the National Security Agency said Wednesday the secretive intelligence service does not compile data on Americans’ use of social networks, dismissing a media report as “wrong.”

General Keith Alexander told a Senate hearing that a New York Times article “jumped to the conclusion this was done on Americans, that’s not true.”

He told the Judiciary Committee that the N.S.A., which has been under fire following revelations about vast surveillance efforts which collect data on Americans, only uses social networks when it is investigating “someone who is part of a terrorist investigation.”

“The fact that people assume that we’re out there mapping the social networks of U.S. persons is absolutely wrong. What we do go after is those that are the subject of a terrorist investigation or something like that.”

Alexander said the agency can use social networks to “enrich” the information it has on a terrorist suspect.

“We don’t have the Facebook and other stuff on those people here in the U.S. It would have to come from the foreign side,” he said.

And if an investigation led back to an American, Alexander said, “then it would go over to the FBI. We are looking for the foreign nexus here, not the U.S. part.”

The New York Times reported Sunday that the N.S.A. since 2010 has created sophisticated graphs of some Americans’ social connections that can identify their associates, locations and other personal information.

The newspaper cited newly disclosed documents from former N.S.A. contractor Edward Snowden and interviews with officials.

The Senate panel called the hearing to consider the intelligence community’s use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, in light of the media revelations in recent months.

Committee chairman Senator Patrick Leahy said, “When you have all these revelations, it’s no surprise the intelligence community faces a trust deficit.”

“I think it’s time for a change,” Leahy said in opening the hearing. “And I think additional transparency and oversight are important parts of that change.”

Leahy has said he wants to end “bulk collection” of phone records along with other reforms affecting intelligence gathering.

Photo Credit: AFP/Paul J. Richards

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  • Richard L Bittner

    Now that Al Qaeda and any other enemy or potential enemyhas been fully alerted to the NSA stranglehold on the internet, the ANTI-TERRORISM justification for unwarranted domestic spying is no longer compelling. Why is President Obama insisting upon shoving domestic spying down our throats? Why is he orchestrating this phony charade of an “independent” review of domestic spying when there is no longer any credible anti-terrorism justification. What agenda is he pursuing here? He has adopted the positions of President(ugh) Bush on torture after campaigning against it. The secret spy courts were established MANY years before 9/11. Clinton was using torture by proxy. Only President Carter has spokenout against unWarranted domestic spying. The original NSA charter banned the NSA from domestic spying. This Ban MUST be restored. Anything less is UNAMERICAN and any judge or politician who

    • Richard L Bittner

      Whoops…Any judge or politician who supports unWarranted domestic spying should be removed from office. It is time to review this ENTIRE matter: patriot act..”homeland” security … torture..restoration of the Bill of Rights…not simply donestic spying…