U.S. Government Denies Reports That NSA Listens To Domestic Calls Without Legal Authorization


Yesterday, a CNET story that alleged that the NSA disclosed during a secret Capitol Hill briefing that its analysts can listen to domestic phone calls “simply based on an analyst deciding that,” got a lot of play in the tech and political blogosphere. Today, however, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) released a statement that denounces this story as “incorrect.”

The CNET story was based on a comment by Rep. Jerrold Nadler who, according to the reporter, was told by the NSA that ” the contents of a phone call could be accessed ‘simply based on an analyst deciding that.'” If true, the idea that an analyst’s hunch was sufficient to listen to domestic phone conversations would have been quite a bombshell.

According to ODNI, “the statement that a single analyst can eavesdrop on domestic communications without proper legal authorization is incorrect and was not briefed to…

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