Thursday, January 23, 2014

PCLOB Report: NSA Actions Not In Compliance With US Law, May Be Unconstitutional

I didn't know President Obama had created a Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) as an alleged watchdog over the intrinsic conflicts between the surveillance state (once primarily the FBI; now mainly the NSA) and our constitutionally protected civil liberties (including, at least implicitly, privacy) embodied, among other places, in the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, until today, when PCLOB released a report (.pdf, 238pp). I say "alleged" because the Board voted 3-2 to release today's report along what can only reasonably be called partisan lines: the two NO votes were by former members of the Bush 43 Justice Department, which never met a civil liberty it didn't dislike.

Fortunately for my tired eyes, Bryan of Why Now? has collected, in one post, links to a number of important sources analyzing the report, and I am going to send you to him forthwith. Oh, maybe I'll suggest an order to read the posts and articles Bryan links: BBC, Lambert, Charlie Pierce, and last of all, emptywheel. It is rare indeed that I place emptywheel's material last, but it is a detailed indexed annotation of the report, and unless you read the report itself, you will have more context for EW's annotations if you read the other posts and articles first.

CORRECTION: the PCLOB was created by statute, 42 U.S.C. § 2000ee(c)(1).

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