CIA unveils new rules for collecting information on Americans

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By Jonathan Landay | LANGLEY, Va.

LANGLEY, Va. The Central Intelligence Agency on
Wednesday unveiled revised rules for collecting, analyzing and
storing information on American citizens, updating the rules for
the information age and publishing them in full for the first
time.

The guidelines are designed “in a manner that protects the
privacy and civil rights of the American people,” CIA General
Counsel Caroline Krass told a briefing at the agency’s
headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

The new rules were released amid continued public discomfort
over the government’s surveillance powers, an issue that gained
prominence following revelations in 2013 by former government
contractor Edward Snowden that the National Security Agency
(NSA) secretly collected the communications data of millions of
ordinary Americans.

The guidelines were published two days before President
elect-Donald Trump is sworn into office and may be changed by
the new administration. Trump has said he favors stronger
government surveillance powers, including the monitoring of “certain” mosques in the United States.

The CIA is largely barred from collecting information inside
the United States or on U.S. citizens. But a 1980s presidential
order provided for discrete exceptions governed by procedures
approved by the CIA director and the attorney general.

Known as the “Attorney General Guidelines,” the original
rules over time became a “patchwork of policies and procedures”
that failed to keep pace with the development of technology that
can store massive amounts of digital data, said Krass.

In 2014, legislation gave U.S. intelligence agencies two
years to develop procedures limiting the storage of information
on U.S. citizens.

The new procedures, under development for years, were signed
on Tuesday by CIA Director John Brennan and Attorney General
Loretta Lynch.

While the 1982 guidelines were made public two years ago,
sections were blacked out. The updated procedures were posted in
full for the first time on the CIA’s website on Wednesday.

The updated procedures include what the CIA must do when it
clandestinely obtains a computer hard drive holding millions of
pages of text, hours of videos and thousands of photos
containing information on foreigners and U.S. citizens.

Because extensive time and many analysts are required to
assess such large volumes of data, the new rules regulate the handling of material whose intelligence value cannot be promptly
evaluated.

They also regulate how such data can be searched and create
strict requirements for dealing with unevaluated electronic
communications, which must be destroyed no later than five years
after the are first examined.

The rules were unveiled a week after civil liberties groups
decried new guidelines approved by the Obama administration
expanding the NSA’s ability to share communications intercepts
with other U.S. intelligence agencies, including the CIA.

(Additional reporting by Warren Strobel)



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