FBI Got 1K Tips a Year From NSA's Phone Program

Lawmakers divided over future of snooping
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 20, 2014 9:16 AM CST
FBI Got 1K Tips a Year From NSA's Phone Program
This Feb. 3, 2012 file photo shows Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) headquarters in Washington.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

In an effort to boost transparency, declassified documents on the NSA's phone program were released late Friday. And though the Wall Street Journal reports they were "frequently repetitive" and heavily redacted, they did contain some standout numbers: Specifically, that the NSA furnished the FBI with an average two tips a day in 2006. The next year, the NSA estimated that daily number rose to three, indicating a yearly total of more than 1,100; that pace continued until March 2009, at which time the references to the number of FBI tips in the documents end.

The Journal notes that the documents, which were revealed following President Obama's speech on an NSA overhaul, don't discuss the tips' quality or what types of inquiries they may have resulted in. That speech put a number of key decisions on snooping in the hands of Congress. Lawmakers appear to largely oppose the government's widespread phone data collection, but several leaders of both parties support it, the Washington Times notes. A joint statement from intelligence committee chairs Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, and Rep. Mike Rogers of the GOP: "We have carefully reviewed this program and have found it to be legal and effective." (Read more NSA stories.)

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