Electronic Frontier Foundation Lawsuit Leads NSA to Declassify Docs

By Jennifer Moire 

In a day of fast moving news regarding the National Security Agency‘s domestic surveillance program,a new wire report reveals that a lawsuit brought by the privacy group the Electronic Frontier Foundation forced the U.S. to declassify some of the documents related to the spying program.

The NSA declassified three secret court opinions showing how it collected as many as 56,000 emails and other communications by Americans with no ties to terrorism annually over three years, according to the Associated Press. A secret court assigned to monitor surveillance activities struck down the activities in 2011.

In terms of a percent of overall traffic, the number of read emails is quite small, however, it’s still a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

In other NSA news today, the Wall Street Journal says that the spy agency can now tap as much as three-fourths of domestic Internet traffic, working with major telecommunications firms, such as AT&T to look at communications that begin or end abroad.

These programs, with code names like Blarney, Oakstar and Lithium, filter and gather information from AT&T at dozens of Internet junctions in the U.S.  Previously, it was thought that these sorts of data collection points took place under the sea or where foreign cables enter the country.

Finally, Pfc. Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison today for leaking tens of thousands of documents regarding the Iraq War to Wikileaks.

In a statement, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange called the sentence a “tactical victory.”

“This hard-won minimum term represents a significant tactical victory for Bradley Manning’s defence, campaign team and supporters.”

“At the start of these proceedings, the United States government had charged Bradley Manning with a capital offence and other charges carrying over 135 years of incarceration. His defence team is now appealing to the US Army Court of Criminal Appeals in relation to this sentence and also for due process violations during the trial.

“While the defence should be proud of their tactical victory, it should be remembered that Mr Manning’s trial and conviction is an affront to basic concepts of Western justice. On Mr Manning’s arrest in May 2010, he was immediately subjected to punitive incarceration by the US government, which was found to be ‘cruel, inhumane and degrading’ by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez, and even found to be unlawful by US military courts.”