January 23rd, 2014
09:01 PM ET

Privacy Review Board: NSA phone records program illegal

An independent oversight board tasked with reviewing the National Security Agency's surveillance program has concluded the bulk collections of data is illegal and should end.

Privacy Board: NSA telephone records program illegal

Moreover, the board says, the NSA's bulk phone data collection program has been largely useless in thwarting terrorism.

"We have not identified a single instance involving a threat to the United States in which the program made a concrete difference in the outcome of a counterterrorism investigation," the board wrote in the report released Thursday.

The board said it had identified only one instance in which the program helped authorities identify a terrorist in the last seven years. But the board said law enforcement would have found the suspect anyway, even without the NSA program.

The board doesn't have any legal teeth, so its recommendations won't change government practices the way a court ruling might.

OutFront: Joining me now, Jesselyn Radack is a Legal Adviser to former NSA Contractor Edward Snowden; and Jeffrey Toobin is CNN's Senior Legal Analyst.

Filed under: News • NSA • NSA Leaker Edward Snowden
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Fred Griswold

    To me the problem is that they didn't tell us about it. The information the NSA gathered isn't particularly sensitive. All it is is records of what number called what other number and when, and probably a few other details like that. No recordings of the phone calls themselves. That's not near as sensitive as the info released by Bradley Manning. If they had just told us what they were doing, probably no one would have cared. As it is, it sounds like they'll have to scrap the whole program now. This is one of those instances where the cover-up is worse than the crime.

    January 24, 2014 at 6:28 pm | Reply

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