Hey, remember yesterday when I somewhat cynically tempered your expectations over the USA FREEDOM act?
For practical purposes, this does not limit the surveillance capabilities of the U.S. government much, especially since the NSA programs exposed by Snowden have likely not been curbed, and there’s no way of knowing their standing until the next Snowden comes along.
Well, big news: the next Snowden has come along and his name is, uh, Edward Snowden. Charlie Savage, et al., report for the New York Times:
Without public notice or debate, the Obama administration has expanded the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance of Americans’ international Internet traffic to search for evidence of malicious computer hacking, according to classified N.S.A. documents.
While the Senate passed legislation this week limiting some of the N.S.A.’s authority, it involved provisions in the U.S.A. Patriot Act and did not apply to the warrantless wiretapping program.
Many of the NSA programs exposed by Snowden operate under similar legal jurisdiction as this one, so the USA FREEDOM Act doesn’t apply to them, either.
[A sad trombone and slide whistle play as a gigantic “Mission Accomplished” banner unfurls behind the President.]