The New York Times reports: The National Security Agency said Friday that it had halted one of the most disputed practices of its warrantless surveillance program, ending a once-secret form of wiretapping that dates to the Bush administration’s post-Sept. 11 expansion of national security powers.
The agency is no longer collecting Americans’ emails and texts exchanged with people overseas that simply mention identifying terms — like email addresses — for foreigners whom the agency is spying on, but are neither to nor from those targets.
The decision is a major development in American surveillance policy. Privacy advocates have argued that the practice skirted or overstepped the Fourth Amendment.
The change is unrelated to the surveillance imbroglio over the investigations into Russia and the Trump campaign, according to officials familiar with the matter. Rather, it stemmed from a discovery that N.S.A. analysts had violated rules imposed by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court barring any searching for Americans’ information in certain messages captured through such wiretapping. [Continue reading…]