Report Nsa Exceeded Congressional Limits

04.16.09 | FL News Team

The National Security Agency may have trodden all over your constitutional rights by intercepting private e-mail messages and phone calls in recent months.  Anonymous government intelligence officials told "The New York Times" the NSA was "overcollecting" the domestic communications of Americans. They say the NSA stepped outside the limits delineated by Congress last year.

The sources describe the practice as significant and systemic, although one of them said it was believed to have been unintentional. The legal and operational problems surrounding the NSA's surveillance practices are being scrutinized by the Obama administration, Congressional intelligence committees and a secret national security court. 
Some government officials worry a growing controversy over the practices could damage the credibility of legitimate intelligence-gathering efforts. In response to inquiries by "Times" reporters, the Justice Department acknowledged that there had been problems with the NSA surveillance operation, but added they had been resolved. Attorney General Eric Holder went to the national security court to seek a renewal of the program, but only after safeguards had been put into place.
Congress passed a bill in July 2008 enabling U.S. intelligence agencies to conduct warrantless wiretapping on foreign targets believed to be living outside the country. Critics complain this allowed the unconstitutional eavesdropping of phone calls and e-mails of Americans. It is not clear to what extent the agency may have eavesdropped on Americans without proper court authority, rather than simply obtained access to the e-mails or listened in on conversations. 
The 2008 bill was introduced after controversy arose over a warrantless domestic spying program conducted under former President George W. Bush's administration and revealed in 2005.