Senators demand that NSA fix inaccuracies in PRISM fact sheet (Update)

By on June 26, 2013, 5:14 PM

Update: The NSA has removed two fact sheets related to the PRISM program after receiving the complaint from senators Udall and Wyden, reports Politico. The fact sheets were intended to clarify and correct misinformation about the surveillance program.

National Security Agency Director General Keith Alexander responded to the complaint, conceding that the document could have been clearer, but did not admit that it was inaccurate.

After reviewing your letter, I agree that the fact sheet that the National Security Agency posted on its website on 18 June 2013 could have more precisely described the requirements for collection under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act.

View the full letter here.

The original story follows below.

Two U.S. senators have written to the director of the National Security Agency demanding corrections of “inaccurate” information pertaining to limitations of surveillance programs that was recently publicly published in a fact sheet.

Senators Ron Wyden (Democrat, Oregon) and Mark Udall (Democrat, Colorado) are both members of the senate intelligence committee. The two senators wrote to NSA director General Keith Alexander to express concerns about the fact sheet published by the NSA which they say falsely portrays the restrictions that are in place for the PRISM surveillance program, reports The Guardian.

In a letter to Alexander, Wyden and Udall wrote “We were disappointed to see that this fact sheet contains an inaccurate statement about how the section 702 authority has been interpreted by the US government.”

Unfortunately for the public, the senators say that they are unable to disclose which statements are inaccurate, as this would reveal classified information.

Tom Caiazza, a spokesman for Wyden, said that at this time they are only able to say that the fact sheet released by the NSA portrays protections for Americans’ privacy that are stronger than in reality.

Wyden and Udall are pushing for legislation that would disclose more information about government surveillance and how collected data is interpreted, and add restrictions to surveillance on Americans' phone records. Both senators have for years warned about broad government surveillance that overreaches the letter of the law.

"We believe the US government should have broad authorities to investigate terrorism and espionage, and that it is possible to aggressively pursue terrorists without compromising the constitutional rights of ordinary Americans," Wyden and Udall wrote to Alexander.




User Comments: 9

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MilwaukeeMike said:

Unfortunately for the public, the senators say that they are unable to disclose which statements are inaccurate, as this would reveal classified information.

Tom Caiazza, a spokesman for Wyden, said that at this time they are only able to say that the factsheet released by the NSA portrays protections for Americans? privacy that are stronger than in reality.

So there's even less protection for our privacy than they originally told us. But they can't tell us what they were wrong/deceiving/lying about because it's classified. So why bring it up at all? Why are two members of the intelligence committee all of a sudden trying to look like they're concerned with our privacy. (Not that they're going to do anything about it... but they want us to know they're concerned).

I looked it up, Mark Udall's term ends in 2014, so he's up for reelection. But Wyden has two years left. Maybe he just wants to get on the side of the people and try to distance himself from this whole thing.

Guest said:

This is nothing more than an attempt by a few senators to distance themselves from this NSA scandal. Democrats love to campaign against issues instead of actually being a leader, and solving the problem.

I find it funny that the very people who should know everything about programs like this(US senators), are now demanding new information as if they are completely shocked its going on. Ridiculous.

As Nancy Pelosi once said, "We must pass the bill, to see whats in it". These are the fearless leaders of America.

Puiu Puiu said:

Nothing new, move along

Staff
Jesse Jesse said:

So there's even less protection for our privacy than they originally told us. But they can't tell us what they were wrong/deceiving/lying about because it's classified. So why bring it up at all? Why are two members of the intelligence committee all of a sudden trying to look like they're concerned with our privacy.

I find it funny that the very people who should know everything about programs like this(US senators), are now demanding new information as if they are completely shocked its going on. Ridiculous.

If I could clarify a little... Mike, you are using the pronoun "they" indiscriminately. Udall and Wyden have been briefed on the PRISM program, and have noticed that what the NSA published publicly concerning protections for Americans' privacy is not accurate.

Because of this discrepancy, they are demanding that the NSA clarify the information that has been released publicly.

MilwaukeeMike said:

If I could clarify a little... Mike, you are using the pronoun "they" indiscriminately. Udall and Wyden have been briefed on the PRISM program, and have noticed that what the NSA published publicly concerning protections for Americans' privacy is not accurate.

Because of this discrepancy, they are demanding that the NSA clarify the information that has been released publicly.

I understand the discrepancy, but if the senators say they can't tell us what's inaccurate but they demand the NSA fix the inaccuracies, does that mean they expect the NSA to admit to their mistakes and share classified information in the process?

They can demand all they want from the NSA, but because the senators have already said it involves classified information, it sort of sounds like they are covering for the NSA ahead of time. When asked what part of the public releases were inaccurate they could have dodged the question and said the NSA knows what's inaccurate and the NSA should fix it. But instead they sort of gave the NSA an out by saying the 'inaccuracies are classified'.

I guess we'll have to wait and see if anything comes of this instead of just speculating on their intentions.

Staff
Jesse Jesse said:

But instead they sort of gave the NSA an out by saying the 'inaccuracies are classified'.

Keep in mind that this was all classified three weeks ago. The Director of the NSA, General Keith Alexander, and the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, chose to declassify information to dispel misinformation in the media.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

But instead they sort of gave the NSA an out by saying the 'inaccuracies are classified'.
So basically they have no choice but to retract their whole statement since it is classified. Any statement that is released whether accurate or inaccurate, will result in demand for removal. Once again they don't want us knowing the truth, because they know what it means for them personally (Oh I'm sorry I meant national security).

PinothyJ said:

As opposed to your government infringing on those very same rights...

spencer spencer said:

The house of cards is falling...slowly.

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