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NSA promises not to continue flouting surveillance rules

Updated: 2013-11-20 06:42
By Eileen Sullivan in Washington ( China Daily)

The US National Security Agency reported its own violations of surveillance rules to a US intelligence court and promised additional safety measures to prevent similar missteps over and over again, according to more than 1,000 pages of newly declassified files about the federal government's controversial program of collecting every US citizen's phone records during the past seven years.

According to court records from 2009, after repeated assurances the NSA would obey the court's rules, it acknowledged that it had collected material improperly. In one instance, the government said its violations were caused by "poor management, lack of involvement by compliance officials and lack of internal verification procedures, not by bad faith". In another case, the NSA said it improperly collected information due to a typographical error.

The intelligence court judge, US District Judge John D. Bates, said in the 2009 case that since the government had repeatedly offered so many assurances despite the problems continuing, "those responsible for conducting oversight at the NSA had failed to do so effectively". Bates called his conclusion "the most charitable interpretation possible".

NSA promises not to continue flouting surveillance rules