NSA Official Likens Phone Data Collection Checks to “Stop and Frisk”


The National Security Agency’s top lawyer compared the NSA telephone metadata collection program to the controversial “stop-and-frisk” practice used by law enforcement officers, saying the agency uses that same standard to choose which phone numbers to query in its database, McClatchy Newspapers report. “It's effectively the same standard as stop-and-frisk,” Rajesh De said to explain the evidentiary use of “reasonable and articulable suspicion” to identify which phone numbers to target from the agency's huge database of stored cellphone records. De made the comment during a rare hearing of the federal Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, which Congress created in 2004 to oversee the government's expanded intelligence collection operations but which until yesterday had never held a substantive hearing. The comparison to stop-and-frisk was the latest in questionable analogies that intelligence officials have used in an effort to explain the agency's metadata collection programs since former defense contractor Edward Snowden revealed their existence in June.

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