Time for Answers from the NSA

It’s time to ask tough questions about the National Security Agency’s surveillance activities — even for conservatives who have given the NSA the benefit of every doubt up until now.

The Washington Post opened a can of worms last Friday when it reported that, in 2012, an internal NSA audit found that the agency had violated privacy rules 2,776 times within just one year. The audit counted only violations at NSA’s Washington facilities — nearly 20 other NSA facilities were not included. In the wake of the Post’s report, the NSA insisted that the violations were “inadvertent,” but it failed to explain why it had not shared the report with Senate Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein or other congressional oversight authorities.

Yet some NSA defenders continue to insist that nothing is wrong. Back in July, House Intelligence Committee chair Mike Rogers claimed that there have been “zero privacy violations” on the part of NSA. After the leaked audit made news on Friday, he retreated to saying that “there was no intentional and willful violation of the law...”

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