NSA head warns Freedom Act will make Americans less safe

By Ryan Maass  |  Sept. 25, 2015 at 12:21 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- U.S. National Security Agency director Adm. Michael Rogers told U.S. lawmakers on Thursday the end of bulk data collection will make it harder for his agency to do its job, particularly when time is of the essence.

The NSA is scheduled to formally end its practice of collecting bulk metadata on November 29. This consisted of recording calls between people, but not actual contents of those calls. Instead, the NSA will rely on the private sector to keep the data and turn it over following the presentation of a court order. Adm. Rogers says Americans will be less safe as a result.

"Right now, bulk collection gives us the ability to generate insights as to what's going on," Adm. Rogers said in a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.

Adm. Rogers then cited a National Academy of Sciences study released in January 2015, titled Bulk Collections of Signals Intelligence: Technical Options.

"There is no software technique that will fully substitute for bulk collection where it is relied on to answer queries about the past after new targets become known," the study concluded.

Adm. Rogers' testimony marks a rare contrast with the administration of President Barack Obama, which has supported limiting the NSA's surveillance capabilities.

The NSA has been a target of various political camps across partisan lines, with many opponents saying bulk data collection is a violation of civil rights.

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