Interview: Dan Coats Extends NSA Surveillance

Some background information – because it gets a bit muddled to me as well… I prefer bullet points for this kid of stuff, but let me know if you prefer another method of explanation! Above, I speak to Sean Thomas of RT Intl to provide my analysis of this move and its implications!

  • Patriot Act (passed to gather intelligence on terror-tied individuals or communications) had a provision called Freedom Act.
  • Freedom Act authorized mass surveillance to collect information and was known to gather information on communications of Americans that likely had few to no ties to terrorism.
  • In reality, NSA so overwhelmed with info and as an agency without prosecutorial powers typically didn’t use this information for prosecution or dissemination to any agency. Prior to December 2016, NSA contained, tossed or held onto this information without any further evidence of threat to United States. ie – no harm to American people, even those surveilled, who had no terrorism ties. (In my opinion, I don’t care what they hear from me because I’m not doing anything wrong..)
  • November 2016 – Trump is elected President.
  • December 2016 – James Clapper, Obama’s Dir. of National Intelligence, signs memo stating that all (irrelevant and unused) NSA surveillance of Americans be AUTOMATICALLY DISSEMINATED TO THE CIA AND THE FBI (the same FBI that used political surveillance to undermine Trump campaign associates).
  • January 3, 2017 – Loretta Lynch (AG) approves the Clapper memo to automatically force the NSA to share ALL surveillance info on Americans with CIA and FBI. (um, why? NSA is tasked with assessing which surveillance poses threats to Nat’l Sec and they’d provide DOJ with that info/evidence… so why demand all surveillance automatically?)
  • This memo was supposed to be classified until December 31, 2041
  • The memo was declassified by the Trump Administration around JULY 2019 and no media reported this.
  • July/August 2019 – Dan Coats, NOW Dir. of Natl Intelligence (Clapper’s old gig) “resigns” (most rumors stating he was forced to resign and had falling outs with Trump Admin).
  • Dan Coats last day in office as a “member of Trump Admin” is August 15, 2019.
  • August 15, 2019 – Dan Coats requests “on behalf of Trump Admin” to reauthorize FREEDOM ACT to allow NSA to continue gathering US civilian data (which, because of Clapper and Lynch) to automatically be handed to CIA and FBI…
  • Media reports that “Trump Administration” requested the extension because, while, technically that IS accurate, Coats was on his way out… so why use him?… was it a final middle finger to Trump? Or did Trump use Coats on his last day to pass a controversial program that many say the NSA wasn’t even using anymore? If so, why? Trump’s been pretty outspoken against it and the NSA hasn’t been implicated in anything shady as of late – unlike the FBI who is far far more dangerous having prosecutorial powers (ie – the power to arrest and lock you up or put you on black lists etc… the NSA has no prosecutorial powers).

Here’s the Declassified Memo.

So, am I wrong? or would that mean – Coats just asked for Congress to indefinitely authorize the CIA and FBI/DOJ to automatically get ALL mass surveillance that the NSA would normally store for itself to assess threats…? So instead of 1 agency that barely uses the program (NSA), it would be 3 – 2 of those with questionable practices over the past few years. I’m kind of not OK with this, and I’d be amazed if Trump used a fired DNI to request this on his last day out.. But I could be wrong. I’ll be sure to keep an eye on what happens in Congress with this request, but let’s all keep praying for our leaders. The President knows what’s happening even when it’s not reported.

But more importantly than that, are we asking more questions? Certainly it’s no longer politically correct to ask questions about things that aren’t part of the acceptable narratives. That doesn’t mean we don’t, at least, ask.

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Jennifer Breedon DeMaster

Jennifer Breedon DeMaster is a Federal Law and International Law Attorney, Author, Public Speaker, and Media Commentator.

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