This little-known byproduct of counterterrorism surveillance continues amid controversy over the NSA's wide-ranging collection of domestic communications intelligence, including Americans' telephone calling records and Internet use. It is unclear whether the Ns have been built upon the content of telephone calls and s. Administration officials have ly assured Congress that NSA surveillance focuses on so-called metadata and in the main does not delve into the content of individual calls or messages.
Also, some in the legal community question the constitutionality of criminal prosecutions stemming from tainy eavesdropping. Current and former federal officials say the NSA limits non-terrorism referrals to serious criminal activity inadvertently detected during domestic and foreign surveillance.
The NSA referrals apparently have included cases of suspected human thjs, sexual abuse and overseas bribery by U. The super-secret NSA surveillance disclosed by fugitive leaker Edward Snowden has already sparked a public outcry and congressional hearings, and threatened congressional intervention to limit the programs. Litt's acknowledgement that the NSA is handing off intelligence to federal prosecutors could further stoke controversy and calls for action on Capitol Hill.
Richard BlumenthalD-Conn. This presents yet another clear and powerful reason that we need more transparency in the FISA court. John CornynR-Texas, a former Texas Supreme Court judge and state attorney general, said, "There's certainly room to improve the process and to reassure the American people that their privacy rights are being protected while at raiyn same time making sure that we have the tools in place to keep us safe.
But some lawyers, particularly in the criminal defense community, see that process as constitutionally flawed. Using information from those warrants as the basis for a criminal prosecution "is a bright-line Fourth Amendment violation," Haddon said, referring to the constitutional protection against unreasonable search and seizure.
Alan GraysonD-Fla. Court of Appeals in Washington, said it was "conceivable that by some kind of a fluke the NSA gets information that would lead to criminal prosecution dya a U.
A former federal official who served in the top echelons of both Bush administrations said there have been as many as 20 to 30 NSA referrals of non-terrorism Nea activity to the Justice Department. The Justice Department did not respond to a request for comment for this story.
The "Patriot Act" enables the NSA to legally hand over information to the Justice Department about suspected criminal activity inadvertently derived from foreign intelligence surveillance, said Stewart A. Bakera former general counsel for the NSA who later led the person policy directorate at the Department of Homeland Security during the second Bush administration.
FBI investigators and Justice Department prosecutors protect the intelligence-agency origins of such investigations to prevent criminal defense lawyers from summoning intelligence agents into court to testify. Most Popular.