US Terror Agency Will Keep Data on Citizens Longer

NCTC can hold it 5 years now, instead of 180 days
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 22, 2012 6:29 PM CDT
Attorney General Eric Holder has signed off on the new counterterrorism rules.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

(Newser) – The latest privacy flap: New rules will permit a federal counterterrorism agency to hang onto private data collected on US citizens—even those with no known ties to terror groups—for five years instead of 180 days, report the Washington Post and New York Times. The rules approved by Eric Holder and the Justice Department are designed to give new leeway to the National Counterterrorism Center to aggressively mine the data.

  • Pro: “On Day 1, you may look at something and think that it has nothing to do with terrorism," says one intelligence official. "Then six months later all of a sudden it becomes relevant.”
  • Con: “We’re all in the dark, and for all we know it could a be a rerun of Total Information Awareness, which would have allowed the government to make a computerized database of everything on everybody,” says the director of the Center for National Security Studies. TIA was a program proposed under George W. Bush that Congress watered down, explains the Times.

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