2014 - 2015

Materials presented in chronological order.

Nakashima, Ellen, and Greg Miller. "Obama Calls for Significant Changes in Collection of Phone Records of U.S. Citizens." Washington Post, 17 Jan. 2014. []

In a speech at the Justice Department on 17 January 2014, President Obama "directed that from now on, the government must obtain a court order for each phone number it wants to query in its database of records. Analysts will be able to review phone calls that are two steps removed from a number associated with a terrorist organization instead of three. And he ordered a halt to eavesdropping on dozens of foreign leaders and governments that are friends or allies." See also, Mark Landler and Charlie Savage, "Obama Outlines Calibrated Curbs on Phone Spying," New York Times, 18 Jan. 2014.

Sanger, David E., and Thom Shanker. "N.S.A. Choice Is Navy Expert on Cyberwar." New York Times, 30 Jan. 2014. []

On 30 January 2014, President Obama nominated Vice Adm. Michael S. Rogers as the new NSA director. Rogers is now the head of Fleet Cyber Command. The administration's choice for NSA deputy director is Rick Ledgett, "the N.S.A. official who has been heading the task force assessing the damage done by the revelations of Edward J. Snowden."

Byman, Daniel, and Benjamin Wittes. "Reforming the NSA: How to Spy After Snowden." Foreign Affairs 93, no. 3 (May-Jun. 2014): 127-138.

"[I]ncreasing the transparency of the NSA and boosting oversight of its activities will have serious operational consequences.... But conducting intelligence in public, at least to a certain degree, will help preempt scandals and allow the NSA to educate policymakers and journalists about what it does and why."

Savage, Charlie. "Redactions in U.S. Memo Leave Doubts on Data Plan." New York Times, 7 Sep. 2014, A17. []

"The Justice Department has released a newly declassified version of a May 2004 legal memo approving" NSA's "Stellarwind program, a set of warrantless surveillance and data collection activities" authorized by President George W. Bush after the 9/11 attacks. "A more heavily redacted version ... had been released in 2011.... The new version includes previously censored references to the existence of the data collection related to Americans' phone calls and emails.... However, the government continued to redact crucial portions" that would answer "What prompted the Justice Department to conclude in early 2004 that one aspect of the program ... was illegal -- even though it permitted other aspects, like warrantless wiretapping and the bulk collection of Americans' phone records, to continue?"

Steinhauer, Jennifer, and Jonathan Weisman. "U.S. Surveillance in Place Since 9/11 Is Sharply Limited." New York Times, 2 Jun. 2015. []

On 2 June 2015, the U.S. Senate approved the USA Freedom Act "curtailing the federal government's sweeping surveillance of American phone records, and President Obama signed the measure hours later." The storage of bulk collection of phone records "now shifts to the phone companies, and the government must petition" the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) "for permission to search them." See also, Mike DeBonis, "Congress Turns Away from Post-9/11 Law, Retooling U.S. Surveillance Powers," Washington Post, 2 Jun. 2015.

Savage, Charlie. "Surveillance Court Rules That N.S.A. Can Resume Bulk Data Collection." New York Times, 1 Jul. 2015, A19. []

The FISCruled on 29 June 2015 that NSA "may temporarily resume its once-secret program that systematically collects records of Americans' domestic phone calls in bulk.... The program lapsed on June 1, when ... Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, expired. Congress revived that provision on June 2 with a bill called the USA Freedom Act, which said the provision could not be used for bulk collection after six months."

Dilanian, Ken. "Rare US Success in Syria, Iraq: Finding Senior Militants.'" Associated Press, 28 Sep. 2015. []

According to U.S. officials, a manhunt by the CIA, NSA, and JSOC "has been methodically finding and killing senior militants in Syria and Iraq.... In an effort that ramped up over the last year, intelligence analysts and special operators have harnessed an array of satellites, sensors, drones and other technology to track and kill elusive militants across a vast, rugged area of Syria and Iraq."

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