National Security AgencyThe United States’ shadowy center of electronic and cyber espionage has instructed its staff that its intelligence-gathering foreign targets “should be treated with dignity and respect,” according to a new policy directive. The directive, issued as internal guidance this summer, is for the NSA’s prestigious Signals Intelligence, or SIGINT, division, which is responsible for covert surveillance and data collection around the world.
“In recognition that SIGINT activities must take into account that all persons should be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their nationality or where they live,” it says. previously unannounced instructionsWhich was released by NSA Director General Paul Nakasone.
“Mass surveillance is fundamentally incompatible with basic human rights and democracy.”
Civil liberties experts say the PR-friendly directive is an attempt to placate European partners and US critics amid a congressional debate about reauthorizing the NSA’s sweeping surveillance powers. Experts also pointed out the absurdity that the NSA, an intelligence agency that specializes in electronic espionage, including intercepting text messages and emails, could do so honorably.
“It’s like a statement from the CIA that going forward they will only give water to people with dignity and respect,” Evan Greer, director of the digital rights advocacy group Fight for the Future, told The Intercept. “Mass surveillance is fundamentally incompatible with basic human rights and democracy.”
The NSA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Last month, President Joe Biden’s own adviser recommended To place certain limits on the warrantless surveillance programs of the US intelligence community. However, the administration rejected proposals that the US had to obtain a warrant before checking some of the information collected from Americans. The so-called Section 702 information, the repository of surveillance data established in the wake of the September 11 attacks, gets its name from the legal provision that authorizes it — the same law being debated in Congress and among privacy advocates.
NSA’s instructions are as follows executive Order Issued by Biden in October 2022 titled “Enhancing Safeguards for United States Intelligence Activities”. That directive, along with other requirements from the Biden administration, seeks to provide the same privacy and civil liberties protections to foreign intelligence targets — even targets such as Russian President Vladimir Putin.
However, experts say the security measures are largely aimed at placating critics in Congress and Europe, where NSA surveillance is a serious issue. European governments and leaders were outraged when NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed the spy agency’s staggering power and lack of scrutiny.
Sean Witka, senior policy counsel for the civil liberties advocacy group Demand Progress, told The Intercept, “The US government can do this without any independent investigation, regardless of scale or threat to privacy.” Wants to be able to do warrant espionage.” “The government is setting up Potemkin villages to try to trick Europe—and the American people—into thinking that the U.S. government’s out-of-control spying is somehow fixed, despite the fact that Congress hasn’t been given any serious consideration.” There hasn’t been a chance to do reform – against which, it should be noted, the government is lobbying fiercely now, and has been throughout the year.