Request For Deep Dive 2 Review Declassification
WASHINGTON - The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has a secret, hidden and undisclosed massive data center that is currently storing information collected from U.S. citizens without a warrant according to two Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee who revealed the information on Thursday.
Senators Ron Wyden of Oregon and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico sent a letter to top intelligence officials requesting more details on the 'Deep Dive II' program to be declassified on April, 2021. The letter was declassified on Thursday and released by the Central Intelligence Agency with large portions of the letter redacted.
Wyden and Heinrich said the program is operating "outside the statutory framework that Congress and the public believe govern this collection". Deep Div II 'part of a set of studies by a watchdog board 'scrutinizing intelligence community operations under Executive Order 12333', rules for intelligence activities that has not been regulated by congress by statute according to the New York Times.
The watchdog, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, as well as its staff members all have access to classified information according to the New York Times report.
Kristi Scott, the CIA's privacy and civil liberties officer put out a statement saying, "CIA recognizes and takes very seriously our obligation to respect the privacy and civil liberties of U.S. persons in the conduct of our vital national security mission. CIA is committed to transparency consistent with our obligation to protect intelligence sources and methods".
The CIA released a multiple recommendations issued by an oversight panel known as the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board about the program that the CIA used to search the Deep Dive 2 database for information, much of which had been redacted. The document stated that CIA analysts who used the program were confronted with a pop up box warning the analysts that seeking any information from American citizens, or other people who are covered by privacy laws require a foreign intelligence purpose.
"However, analysts are not required to memorialize the justification for their queries" the board stated.
In 2013, Wyden asked the (then director of National Intelligence) James Clapper if the NSA had collected 'any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans" to which Clapper first responded with "no" and then later said "not wittingly".
Later that same year, ex systems administrator Edward Snowden revealed the NSA had access to huge amounts of data taken from U.S. internet service providers (ISPs) and logged calls from American telecommunication providers. The revelation prompted Clapper to write a letter of apology to the Senate Intelligence Committee saying that his earlier response to Wyden was "clearly erroneous".
The letter written by Wyden and Heinrich revealed that the CIA's bulk collection program that took information from internet and telecommunications companies operates outside of laws that have been passed and reformed by Congress, but instead is governed by the authority of Executive Order 12333, which is an order that broadly governs the activity of the intelligence community and was first signed in 1981 by President Ronald Reagan.
"It is critical that Congress not legislate without awareness of a ... CIA program, and that the American public not be misled into believe that the reforms in any re-authorization legislation fully cover the IC’s collection of their records" the letter from the senators stated. The dots before 'CIA program' indicate that there was a redaction before those words.
Although intelligence agencies must obey specific guidelines on both the handling and destruction of sensitive data from American citizens, the laws in place have been reshaped over the years in response to local threats regarding domestic spying within the homeland.
During the civil rights movement, the FBI had spied on DR. Martin Luther King. During the Vietnam war the CIA ran an operation called 'Operation Chaos', which investigated the movement that was opposing the war at that time in order to discern whether the movement had links to foreign countries.
Patrick Toomey, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union said in a statement, "These reports raise serious questions about the kinds of information the CIA is vacuuming up in bulk and how the agency exploits that information to spy on Americans. The CIA conducts these sweeping surveillance activities without any court approval, and with few, if any, safeguards imposed by Congress".