On Monday, the office of the Inspector General at the National Security Agency (NSA) released a report showing that the agency failed to follow basic internal guidelines and court-ordered procedures in its surveillance of American citizens’ communications.
According to CNN, the report showed that the agency abused a loophole in Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). While Section 702 allows the government to collect such communications of foreign citizens on foreign soil without a warrant, it prohibits the government from doing so with American citizens. The loophole allows the NSA and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to use this section to collect American communications without a warrant if they believe “a query is reasonably likely to return foreign intelligence information.”
The inspector general’s report “revealed a number of concerns involving [U.S. person] identifiers used as query terms against FISA Section 702 data.” Furthermore, some of these NSA queries “did not always follow NSA procedural and policy requirements.” Among other discrepancies, information gathered on “selectors,” or particular search terms in an investigation, were not properly documented; in addition, the NSA’s internal query tools designed to automatically prevent the processing of queries involving any Americans associated with the selectors ultimately failed to do so, thus allowing Americans to be investigated and monitored.
A security firm claims that foreign hackers have infiltrated at least nine companies in several crucial sectors of the economy and government, including defense, energy, technology, and others, according to CNN.
Palo Alto Networks (PAN) shared the information on the breaches with CNN, showing that other affected sectors include education and healthcare. They say that the National Security Agency (NSA) is working with cybersecurity researchers to expose this and other ongoing efforts by foreign entities to hack American infrastructure. PAN’s report included information contributed by a division of the NSA which focuses exclusively on threats against American industrial defense bases by foreign hackers.
Examples of the breaches include the inconspicuous theft of passwords, with the goal of using these passwords to remain inside these networks for a prolonged period of time without anyone even being aware that there was a breach. This would allow hackers to freely receive sensitive data sent over basic communications such as email or information contained on internal storage drives.
Susan King is stepping down as dean of the University of North Carolina’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media.
The university announced the decision yesterday.
The Hussman School faced backlash from progressives after it apparently backed off from a plan to give Hannah-Jones tenure for her work as the Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism.