The U.S. National Security Agency released declassified records that show the spy agency broke rules in targeting specific citizen’s telephone records, and then proceeded to hide it from the courts overseeing the operation.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper released the records Tuesday in response to a series of lawsuits filed by privacy groups. The documents cover the four years stretching from 2006 to 2009.
NSA Director Keith Alexander admitted in one of the declassified documents that the NSA went beyond the authorities yielded to the agency by the courts “and some of these inconsistencies were not recognized for more than two and a half years.”
What the director is referring to is the agency running phone numbers against databases from May 2006 to January 2009 without a reasonable expectation that those numbers were connected to terrorists. The NSA waited to report the violations until five days before President Obama was sworn in.
NSA officials were also found to illegally add phone numbers to a list that received close attention.
The NSA’s surveillance activities have fallen under close scrutiny after Edward Snowden, a contractor, released a bevy of classified NSA documents to the The Guardian and the Washington Post.
Clapper released the records on the eve of the 9/11 anniversary — the terrorist attach that has since motivated the intensive domestic search for terrorists and the next attack.