As recently as May, shortly after he retired as NSA director, Gen. Keith Alexander denied that Snowden could have passed FISA content to journalists.
âoeHe didnâ(TM)t get this data,â Alexander told a New Yorker reporter. âoeThey didnâ(TM)t touch â"â
âoeThe operational data?â the reporter asked.
âoeThey didnâ(TM)t touch the FISA data,â Alexander replied. He added, âoeThat database, he didnâ(TM)t have access to.â
Robert S. Litt, the general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said in a prepared statement that Alexander and other officials were speaking only about âoerawâ intelligence, the term for intercepted content that has not yet been evaluated, stamped with classification markings or minimized to mask U.S. identities.
Every step of the way, the NSA has been forced to go back and qualify its previous statements.
And not just statements to the American people, but to Congress as well.
One analyst rests her claim that a target is foreign on the fact that his e-mails are written in a foreign language, a quality shared by tens of millions of Americans. Others are allowed to presume that anyone on the chat âoebuddy listâ of a known foreign national is also foreign.
In many other cases, analysts seek and obtain approval to treat an account as âoeforeignâ if someone connects to it from a computer address that seems to be overseas. âoeThe best foreignness explanations have the selector being accessed via a foreign IP address,â an NSA supervisor instructs an allied analyst in Australia.
And these are the carefully vetted selectors that are being used to not-spy on Americans.
It might be faster for the NSA to just make a list of the things they haven't publicly lied about.
What a farce.