Timothy Lee: Watchdogs and Guard Dogs:
We now know that President Obama’s assurances that the NSA wasn’t “actually abusing” its surveillance programs are untrue. A leaked audit shows the NSA violated its own privacy rules, and in some cases the law, thousands of times over a one-year period. A lot of people are assuming this means the president was lying…. But there’s another possibility…. He might not have known about the extent of the NSA’s privacy problems until this week…. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, only learned about the NSA privacy audit when The Washington Post asked her staff about it. And the chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has admitted that the court has limited ability to police NSA misconduct. Moreover, an internal NSA document Edward Snowden provided to The Washington Post advises NSA analysts that “while we do want to provide our FAA overseers with the information they need, we DO NOT want to give them any extraneous information.” The “overseers” are the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Justice.