Secret Surveillance Court Rulings Allow NSA To Amass Vast Data Collections


In more than a dozen classified rulings, the federal surveillance court has created a secret body of law giving the National Security Agency the power to amass vast collections of data on Americans while pursuing not only terrorism suspects, but also people possibly involved in nuclear proliferation, espionage, and cyberattacks, the New York Times reports.

The rulings show that the 11-member Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) has become a parallel Supreme Court in the last six years, taking on a much more expansive role by regularly assessing broad constitutional questions and establishing important judicial precedents, with almost no public scrutiny, say current and former officials familiar with the classified decisions. The court has taken a relatively narrow area of the law used to justify airport screenings or drunken-driving checkpoints and applied it much more broadly to the wholesale collection of communications in pursuit of terrorism suspects.

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