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FBI, CIA Join NSA In "Backdoor" Searches On Americans
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2 Jul 2014 02:34 AM EST

Thousands of Americans were targets of so-called “backdoor” warrantless surveillance by the NSA and other intelligence agencies last year, according to a letter sent to Senator Ron Wyden.

The missive, written by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) to the Senator in response to a question posed earlier this month, is plainspoken. The Office also stated that the searches in question are not based on an exploited legal “loophole.”

The House recently voted to curtail such searches by defunding them.

Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act allows the government to collect information on foreign targets that are, to use its own language, “reasonably believed to be outside of the U.S. at the time of collection.” It can’t target United States persons by law, and it isn’t allowed to reverse-target — picking a foreign target with the hopes of picking up the communications of someone thought to be in the United States.

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