U.S. News


NSA May Be Ending Contested Surveillance Program

The government started using the program to monitor Americans' calls and texts in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Posted at 1:44 PM, Mar 05, 2019

The NSA has stopped using a contested surveillance program to monitor Americans' calls and texts. That's according to Luke Murry, who is House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's national security adviser. 

The government started using the program to analyze Americans' domestic phone records in 2001 as a way to help find conspirators in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. 

Whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed the existence of the program in 2013, leading to concerns about privacy. The program was then replaced in 2015 with the USA Freedom Act. That program's up for reauthorization at the end of this year. 

That's where Murry comes in. During a podcast for national security website Lawfare, Murry said the Trump administration may not re-up the surveillance program, and, in fact, it hadn't even really been used in recent months. 

Murry also mentioned "technical irregularities" the NSA found. The database was contaminated with data from calls and texts the agency didn't have the authority to collect. The issue led to a massive dump of information. The NSA disclosed the purge last year. 

It's not clear if those irregularities led to the disuse of the program. The NSA hasn't responded to requests for comment on the situation.