The National Security Agency for years conducted searches of its phone-records database that violated privacy protections by not meeting a court-ordered standard, intelligence officials acknowledged Tuesday. They said the violations continued until a judge ordered an overhaul of the program in 2009.
The revelations called into question NSA’s ability to run the sweeping domestic surveillance programs it introduced more than a decade ago in the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks. Officials said the violations were inadvertent, because NSA officials didn’t understand their own phone-records collection program.
Top U.S. officials, including NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander, have repeatedly reassured lawmakers and the public that the phone-records program has been carefully executed under oversight from the secret national security court.
– WALL STREET JOURNAL