Attorney General Eric Holder claimed that the information leaked about the massive surveillance program run by the National Security Agency (NSA) is “extremely damaging” to U.S. national security without explaining how it is actually damaging.
“The national security of the United States has been damaged as a result of those leaks,” Holder claimed at a United States-European Union ministerial meeting in Dublin on Friday.
“The safety of the American people and the safety of people who reside in allied nations have been put at risk as a result of these leaks,” Holder said, according to CNN.
The leak investigation is still underway, according to Holder, which is why no calls for arrest have been made as of yet.
During his remarks, Holder once again reiterated the government’s claim that information acquired through the NSA’s harvesting of every single phone record belonging to Americans from Verizon did not include the content of conversations or the identity of the callers.
“The government is prohibited from indiscriminately sifting through telephony metadata that is acquired under the program,” Holder claimed.
“The court only allows that data to be queried when there is a reasonable suspicion based on specific facts that the particular basis for the query is associated with a foreign terrorist organization,” he said.
However, the oversight of the program is all but completely non-existent and the government’s actual interpretations of the laws at issue are secret. We are simply told to believe their claims are accurate.
Holder said that PRISM was aimed only at “facilitating the acquisition of foreign intelligence information on targets outside the U.S.,” according to the Guardian.
The program is only used if it is “reasonably believed” that the “foreign target” of the surveillance is outside of the U.S. and suspected of being somehow involved in terrorism, cybercrime or nuclear proliferation, according to Holder.
Holder claimed that the use of the program was subject to “extensive oversight” and that “everything is done consistent with the law.”
The claims of extensive oversight have been questioned by individuals in the government.
These statements from Holder came after major officials in the European Union voiced concerns about the NSA program, particularly the recently uncovered and quite massive PRISM surveillance program.
European Commission Vice President Viviane Reding stated that the European Union has “serious concerns” about the NSA surveillance, especially the PRISM program, according to Politico.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel also seemed concerned, stressing the importance of transparency – something which the U.S. lacks completely, especially when it comes to this surveillance program – adding that she plans to discuss the PRISM program with Obama himself.
Interestingly, Reding’s spokeswoman said on Thursday that when drafting the EU data protection rules the European commission was faced with “intense U.S. lobbying,” according to the Guardian.
One part of the original draft of the rules setting strict conditions for the transfer of data to third countries was reportedly dropped after the U.S. lobbying effort.
Reding “emphasized that although national security considerations were vital, the rights of citizens were ‘non-negotiable’ and also dwelt on the point of the availability of legal redress,” according to the Guardian.
This article first appeared at End the Lie.
Madison Ruppert is the Editor and Owner-Operator of the alternative news and analysis database End The Lie and has no affiliation with any NGO, political party, economic school, or other organization/cause. He is available for podcast and radio interviews. Madison also now has his own radio show on UCYTV Monday nights 7 PM – 9 PM PT/10 PM – 12 AM ET. Show page link here: http://UCY.TV/EndtheLie. If you have questions, comments, or corrections feel free to contact him at [email protected]