recommended reading

Spy Chief Volunteers Numbers on Court-Ordered Surveillance Targets

J. Scott Applewhite/AP file photo

As part of President Obama’s nod to transparency in the wake of the Edward Snowden leaks on domestic surveillance, the nation’s top spy on Thursday announced that the public will soon gain access to an annual count of court-ordered national security letters that permit the National Security Agency to monitor certain electronic communications.

The same day The Washington Post published unprecedented details on the long-secret “black budget” of the U.S. Intelligence Community, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper released a statement saying that, consistent with Obama’s June transparency directive, “the DNI has determined, with the concurrence of the [Intelligence Community], that going forward the IC will publicly release, on an annual basis, aggregate information concerning compulsory legal process under certain national security authorities.”

Regulated and limited monitoring of domestic telephone and Internet traffic is permitted under the USA Patriot Act. Several members of Congress, after learning of the practice’s reach through news accounts of the leaks from Booz Allen Hamilton NSA contractor Snowden, have introduced bills to rein in the program.

The new numbers -- which will include how many Americans have been targeted in the prior 12 months -- will appear, as did the Thursday statement, on the IC tumblr site www.icontherecord.tumblr.com. The disclosure plan is “designed to provide immediate, ongoing and direct access to factual information related to the lawful foreign surveillance activities carried out by the U.S. Intelligence Community,” Clapper said.

“Our ability to discuss these activities is limited by our need to protect intelligence sources and methods,” he added. The spy court rulings and letters “are an important part of our effort to keep the nation and its citizens safe, and disclosing more detailed information about how they are used and to whom they are directed can obviously help our enemies avoid detection.”

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.