Do you believe that the Patriot Act is being abused and that Congress is asleep at the switch in allowing NSA to grab phone data on millions of Americans? Reporters at The Wall Street Journal outline in detail for Americans that the simple redefinition of the word “relevant” by a secret court ruling unleashed the NSA on Americans.
The National Security Agency’s ability to gather phone data on millions of Americans hinges on a secret court ruling that redefined a single word: “relevant.”
This change—which specifically enabled the surveillance recently revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden—was made by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a group of judges responsible for making decisions about government surveillance in national-security cases. In classified orders starting in the mid-2000s, the court accepted that “relevant” could be broadened to permit an entire database of records on millions of people, in contrast to a more conservative interpretation widely applied in criminal cases, in which only some of those records would likely be allowed, according to people familiar with the ruling.