Privacy Watchdog To Call NSA Phone Snooping Illegal

Swampland

A government watchdog said Thursday that the National Security Agency’s mass collection of phone records is illegal and should be shut down.

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board set up by Congress in 2007 says in its report that the program exposed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has “minimal” benefits for national security. The panel claims there’s no legal basis for the bulk collection of telephone records, concluding “we believe the program must be ended.”

“We have not identified a single instance involving a threat to the United States in which the program made a concrete difference in the outcome of a counterterrorism investigation,” the board says in the 238-page report.

The report goes a step farther than last month’s report from a panel appointed by President Barack Obama in rejecting the option to move bulk data out of the hands of the government and requiring communication providers or a third party to…

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