The Brennan Center recently submitted comments to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) on their plan to examine counterterrorism and surveillance activities conducted under Executive Order (EO) 12333. EO 12333 is the primary source of authority for intelligence activities overseas, and the NSA has revealed that its conducts the “majority” of its vast surveillance operations under the Order. However, there is little public information about how the NSA and other intelligence agencies interprets and exercises their powers under the Order, and what checks and balances are in place to protect privacy and civil liberties. The Brennan Center’s comments provide the Board with a list of issues and questions that, if appropriately addressed, will provide the public with a much-needed understanding of the inner workings of EO 12333.
The Brennan Center has previously submitted comments on the NSA’ s surveillance activities under both Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, and Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), part of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (FAA).