PRISM declassified by NSA to mitigate misimpressions and inaccuracies

By on June 10, 2013, 3:45 PM

Following the information released by whistleblower Edward Snowden, James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, decided it was necessary to declassify and release more information detailing the PRISM program in order to dispel “significant misimpressions” and inaccuracies spreading consequent to the leaked information.

In particular, Clapper calls attention to the oversight provided by the Legislative, Judicial, and Executive branches of the federal government, and criticizes the media for not giving the full context of these “effective tools.”

“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.”

Concerning Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, also known as PRISM, Clapper states that the program is vital to the United States’ ability to protect the nation and its allies, and disclosing the specific methods used to collect communications data is akin to giving “our enemies a ‘playbook’ of how to avoid detection.”

Amid public outcry about privacy and domestic surveillance, Clapper and the NSA seem to have deemed correcting the misimpressions and inaccurate reports more important for now, as he has declassified details about Section 702.

One of the more immediate points raised in the press release is that the U.S. government does not “unilaterally obtain information” from servers, meaning that they do not have unlimited and unregulated access as has been suggested, and that any information obtained by the government is done so with FISA Court approval.

Furthermore, according to the press release, PRISM has restrictions in place limiting the scope of individuals that can be targeted, requiring that certain parameters be met before information can be gathered. It cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen, or any person known to be in the United States, nor can a person be targeted “unless there is an appropriate, and documented, foreign intelligence purpose for the acquisition [of data] (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.”

User Comments: 10

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Guest said:

I don't buy this public relations nonsense.

"Hey, no you don't understand guys, everybody knows about it and we even got permissions from our moms"

Snowden clearly says that he could tap into anyone's information whenever he felt like it without many hoops to jump through.

Who do you believe? A guy with absolutely NOTHING to gain, or massive organization that has EVERYTHING to lose?

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Did anyone actually expect them to say anything other than what they released?

Win7Dev said:

Basically they are trying to cover up what they are doing. Not a surprise.

Guest said:


...any connection from outside to US might be a suspect to eavedropping. So sending email that connects to US based email provider put you on that list. Is you email US based or wait most of them are, I forgot.

Guest said:

This should have been declassified the day it was leaked. The simple fact it took a few days for them to declassify it leads me to believe - like all other controversial released documents - that they blacked out, adjusted verbiage, or simply removed sections of this order that the American public would be outraged to read.

I call BS on this.

This is OUR government, we are not it's people.

Heihachi1337 said:

Love this PR BS they are pulling.

Of course, anyone who thinks this is news needs to open their eyes. They've been doing this for far longer than they are letting on.

It's just too bad the only thing Americans will do is sit on their fat butts in the forums and whine instead of getting pitchforks and torches. Screw the "peaceful protest" and actually take a friggin stand and make damn sure our voices are heard. (oh wait, I guess that would be considered "terrorism")

2 people like this | Tygerstrike said:

I hate to be the devils advocate on this one, but....Have any of you even considered how many "Terror" based attacks this program has stopped? We only hear about the ones that got through. 9/11,OKC, name a few. How many attacks have the PROTECTED us against? Freedom isnt free. There is always SOME cost to it. Sometimes its monitary. Sometimes its a smaller freedom. Can any of us say that we DIDNT expect the govt to look at our calls? We walk around in public chattering like good little monkeys on our cellphones. We play with them in indefrence to anyone else around us. They have consumed our existance with constant checking of twit or FB. We put our lives out there to be examined. Why now some 15 years later are ppl getting worried what Uncle Sam might see or hear? Our lives have been at the govt finger tips since the web was introduced. To sit back now and cry that what the govt is doing is "unfair" or "wrong" seems a bit late. Not only that but it goes to show that if your one of those ppl, you have had your head in the sand for a very very long time. See its this, its ok that a private cellular company can collect all your personal information, everything from your SSN to who you call the most, but its not ok when the cell phone companies boss looks at the information. It doesnt make sense. Cellphones, internet, cable, well pretty much ANYTHING we do or enjoy is watched over by the Govt. To be shocked at this is to really show ignarance of the system you live in. Lots of Americans have died due to acts of terrorism. We had a war that was part exterminateion, part revenge for Daddy. The govt listening in or examing my emails,calls,texts doesnt really concern me. If it will save a small child from ever having to put on a pair of prosthetic legs because his were blown off. If it stops EVEN ONE psycho asshat from shooting up a school. If even ONE HUMAN LIFE is saved from them looking at my life, then I think its worth it. Look at your Mom or Dad, your little sister or favorite uncle. Then ask yourself, what would you give to keep them safe? Im sure then that the govt collecting metadata to root out terrorism seems a mighty small price to pay.

Guest said:

Anytime a Politician, their surrogates or any government agency opens their mouths, it lies, lies, lies, and more lies. They are professional liars.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

They are professional liars.
Thats a prerequisite for their position.

1 person liked this | coppersloane coppersloane said:

Freedom has a cost. Deal with it or get off social media. People share every goddamned detail of their lives on several social media sites at a time anyway. "Going to the bathroom now." "Had pork chops today!" "Wow, so pooped! Leaving work now!" Did people actually think intelligence agencies wouldn't jump all over this obsession with citizens sharing running commentaries of their lives? Laughable.

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