National Journal – How the NSA Used a ‘Loophole’ to Spy on Americans: “Technology Correspondent Brendan Sasso reports that Obama’s intel czar confirmed that they’re targeting U.S. communications: Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act gives the NSA broad power to listen in on phone calls and access emails. But the law covers only non-Americans located outside of the United States. … The statement confirms that the NSA has been taking advantage of a secret rule change first revealed by The Guardian in August, based on documents leaked by Edward Snowden. It’s unclear how many Americans have been affected by the surveillance, though the program is presumably much smaller than the NSA’s bulk collection of millions of phone records. But unlike that bulk data collection, Section 702 allows the NSA to listen to calls and read emails. The Democrats made a veiled swipe at President Obama, who had reassured Americans that “nobody is listening to your telephone calls.” “Senior officials have sometimes suggested that government agencies do not deliberately read Americans’ emails, monitor their online activity or listen to their phone calls without a warrant,” the senators said. “However, the facts show that those suggestions were misleading, and that intelligence agencies have indeed conducted warrantless searches for Americans’ communications.”
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