Secret CIA ‘Bulk Collection’ Program which affects Americans that was entirely outside the statutory framework. Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., have called for new transparency about bulk surveillance conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency.
A letter declassified and shared with the public today revealed a secret bulk collection program and problems with how the agency searches and handles Americans’ information.
In a letter sent on April 13, 2021, the duo has requested the declassification of a report by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board on a CIA bulk collection program.
It mentioned “the CIA has secretly conducted its own bulk program,” authorized under Executive Order 12333, rather than the laws passed by Congress.
According to the notes, the program was “entirely outside the statutory framework that Congress and the public believe govern this collection and without any of the judicial, congressional or even executive branch oversight that comes from [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] collection.”
Senators Wyden and Heinrich in response to the newly declassified documents said, “FISA gets all the attention because of the periodic congressional reauthorizations and the release of DOJ, ODNI, and FISA Court documents. But what these documents demonstrate is that many of the same concerns that Americans have about their privacy and civil liberties also apply to how the CIA collects and handles information under the executive order and outside the FISA law. In particular, these documents reveal serious problems associated with warrantless backdoor searches of Americans, the same issue that has generated bipartisan concern in the FISA context.”
Wyden and Heinrich want more clarity from the CIA, which includes what sort of records were collected and the framework for the collection. The report also mentions problems with the CIA’s handling and searching of Americans’ information under the program.
The further wrote in the letter, “While we appreciate the release of the ‘Recommendations from PCLOB Staff’ which highlights problems associated with the handling of Americans’ information, our letter also stressed that the public deserves to know more about the collection of this information. The DNI and the CIA Director have started this process. We intend to continue to urge them to achieve the transparency the American people deserve.”
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