Before stepping down as the President of the United States, it seems Barack Obama has left a parting gift to Donald Trump as the latter prepared to enter the White House. Earlier today, Obama’s administration approved new procedures that will expand and improve the National Security Agency’s surveillance powers.
Earlier today, the White House approved new procedures for an executive order that will enable the NSA to share the private information that it collects from the public to all 16 agencies of the U.S. such as the CIA, DHS and DEA.
Prior to the approval of the procedures, the NSA analysts were only allowed to share information that have been deemed pertinent to certain agencies. Also, due to various restrictions, the analysts had to review the data first before handing them over to other members of the surveillance community.
But, through the new procedures, the NSA will no longer be barred by the restrictions in handling private information. In turn, the other surveillance agencies will have the freedom to easily access the information.
By removing these restrictions, the intelligence community of the U.S. will be able to work together freely in ensuring public safety that they need for their cases.
While civil rights advocates view the new procedures as a violation of privacy, expanding the surveillance powers of the intelligence agency has become necessary especially given the frequency of attacks carried out by extremists. Also Robert Litt, the general counsel of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper Jr., assured the public that despite the new regulation, the NSA and the other intelligence and security agencies will still operate within existing rules.
“This is not expanding the substantive ability of law enforcement to get access to signal intelligence,” Litt said according to the New York Times. “It is simply widening the aperture for a larger number of analysts, who will be bound by the existing rules.”