In 2000, NSA made it clear it wouldn’t be shackled by the U.S. Constitution

NSA 'Transition 2001', December 2000

An NSA memo written in December 2000 expressed ambivalence about the impact of the Fourth Amendment on the agency’s ability to gather electronic signals intelligence. While paying lip service to the protection of the Constitution, the agency underlined that it would need a “powerful, permanent presence on a global telecommunications network that will host the ‘protected’ communications of Americans” — the implication being that the NSA’s “presence” (read: surveillance) on the network would inevitably expose U.S. citizens’ communications to government scrutiny. In other words, the global nature of the network would mean that the NSA would no longer be able to draw any sharp differentiation between domestic and foreign communications.

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