Jason Leopold Profile picture
Nov 1 18 tweets 12 min read
NEW #FOIA SCOOP/🧵Took me 6 yrs to pry this out of NSA

A few wks before @Snowden's leaks were published, 2 NSA employees contacted NSA IG to blow the whistle on unauthorized surveillance

IG substantiated it

W/@KatrinaManson @WilliamTurton @rj_gallagher
bloomberg.com/news/articles/… ImageImageImageImage
This NSA report, which, including supplemental material, totals more than 400 pages, has never been disclosed before nor have the details related to this incident. It is a missing piece of history and is extremely noteworthy.

2/
On March 12, 2013, @RonWyden asked then DNI James Clapper at a congressional hearing if NSA was collecting data on Americans

“No sir,” Clapper said. “Not wittingly.”

A couple wks earlier, an NSA analyst began to raise red flags about unauthorized surveillance activities

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This NSA employee, ID'd in the IG report as a global network analyst & referred to as "the source," spent the next several months trying to get NSA officials to address concerns abt another employee's SIGINT project that targeted a "large volume" of US persons phone numbers

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The global network analyst provided NSA officials with detailed info & data about how the other analyst's project was violating NSA surveillance rules and possibly the law. But the global network analyst was ultimately rebuffed.

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So on May 7, 2013, just about a month before the first stories based on @Snowden docs about NSA's vast surveillance programs, were pubbed, the global network analyst and another NSA employee contacted the IG

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There is no indication in the IG report that the events are related to NSA activities and programs revealed in the Snowden docs. However, the IG investigation occurred during a period in which the NSA was under intense pressure to address alleged wrongdoings.  

6/
The NSA employee who was accused of wrongdoing and collecting "a large volume" of US person phone numbers with "no foreign intelligence purpose" became highly defensive during the IG's probe.

This is an email he sent in June 26, 2013, a few weeks after @Snowden disclosures

7/ ImageImageImage
The NSA employee who was accused of wrongdoing and collecting "a large volume" of US person phone numbers with "no foreign intelligence purpose" became highly defensive during the IG's probe.

This is an email he sent in June 26, 2013, a few weeks after @Snowden disclosures

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The NSA IG spent 3 years investigating whistleblowers allegations and whether the senior analyst violated the law by wrongfully collecting US persons' communications.

A year into the investigation, the whistleblower reached out to the IG again.

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In late December 2015, the NSA IG concluded its investigation and presented the findings to the analyst accused of improperly collecting US persons' comms. The analyst provided a point by point rebuttal which is heavily redacted.

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The NSA IG completed it's report in February 2016 and substantiated all of the whistleblowers' allegations.

The IG also called to attn a lack of oversight by NSA officials who told the IG they were aware of the analyst's project but didn't understand what he was doing.

11/ ImageImageImageImage
Then-NSA IG George Ellard sent a memo to the NSA's Signal Intelligence Director saying the analyst may have violated two provisions of FISA and clearly violated NSA internal policies and procedures related to the collection of US persons comms.

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It's unknown if the analyst was ever held accountable.

The NSA would not respond to detailed questions. Instead, the agency issued a statement to Bloomberg.

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.@RonWyden, who has spearheaded surveillance reforms, told Bloomberg this previously unreleased NSA IG report "further confirms that intelligence agencies sometimes commit abuses and violations."

14/
Finally, we reached out to @Snowden and shared the report with him because the timing of the allegations and the IG investigation are noteworthy as it relates to his revelations of surveillance absues at the agency

He told Bloomberg in a statement through his lawyer:

15/15 Image

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More from @JasonLeopold

Dec 2
A #FOIAFriday 🧵

2 yrs ago this month, I obtained via FOIA the criminal referral the IG for the Intelligence Community sent to FBI related to Trump's phone call w/Ukraine’s Pres. Volodymyr Zelensky, a conversation that sparked impeachment proceedings

1/
buzzfeednews.com/article/jasonl…
I sued CIA, ODNI and DOJ for a copy of the criminal referral on Trump. Although, ODNI turned over its copy, CIA issued me a GLOMAR and DOJ did not turn over its copy nor did it produce copy of any declination memo.

2/
DOJ's explanation about its search for those records raised questions and so we challenged the integrity of its search for responsive records.

Last month, DOJ finally explained how it conducted the search & provided new details abt how it handled the Trump criminal referral
3/ ImageImage
Read 5 tweets
Nov 11
NEW: Another #FOIAFriday @business SCOOP

A previously undisclosed FTC-ordered audit of Twitter’s privacy & data controls missed failures later exposed by a whistleblower--raising q's about oversight of major tech platforms

By @leah_nylen & me
bloomberg.com/news/articles/… ImageImageImage
The 2021 external audit, obtained by Bloomberg News in response to a #FOIA request, concluded that the company had appropriate safeguards. Months later, the company’s cybersecurity chief had left and alleged that Twitter’s practices were marred by “egregious deficiencies.”
Ernst & Young certified that Twitter’s information security program was appropriate for the company’s size and that its “security controls meet or exceed the protections required” by the FTC's 2011 consent decree
Read 6 tweets
Nov 9
NEW: In response to my/@business #FOIA lawsuits against NARA for docs related to the retrieval of Trump presidential records from Mar a Lago, the agency just released 75 pages & withheld more than 900 pgs citing ongoing investigation, et al.
archives.gov/foia/15-boxes

1/
There is nothing earth shattering in these newly released records. It shows NARA officials corresponding about the docs & discussing how to respond to press queries and devising a press management plan back in February related to the 15 boxes NARA retrieved.

2/
NARA also released this part of an email chain.

The email was turned over to us and other requesters last month

bloomberg.com/news/articles/…
Read 4 tweets
Nov 9
Justice Department, GSA working on common standards for #FOIA tech

The FOIA community is developing new technology standards to help improve FOIA processes and standardize common services like case management tools across government. federalnewsnetwork.com/agency-oversig…
The identification of new technologies comes as more than a dozen agencies prepare to migrate off of FOIAonline.gov. The Environmental Protection Agency is planning to sunset FOIAonline at the end of 2023.
OIP is also now working on an interactive “FOIA wizard” that will help users navigate FOIA.gov, according to Bobak Talebian, director of OIP.
Read 4 tweets
Oct 15
NEW: I obtained 900 pages of docs via #FOIA from USSS about the lead up to Jan 6

One USSS intel advisory says Proud Boys "has not been known to engage in civil disobedience and their demonstrations have ended without incidents or arrests”
W/@MikeDorning
bloomberg.com/news/articles/…
A Secret Service Protective Intelligence & Assessment division officer said in a report at 9:56 am on Jan. 6, 2021 that 10K people were waiting in line to go through magnetometers.

And...
The Secret Service waited until a month after the Jan 6 attack on the Capitol to prepare and disseminate intel briefs for it's officers about Proud Boys & other extremist groups.
Read 6 tweets
Oct 5
BIG #FOIA SCOOP: Among the excuses Trump offered after FBI found classified docs at MAL, is GSA packed the boxes

But these docs-including PICS of pallets Trump's team packed, stacked & shrink wrapped-I obtained from GSA tells another story.

w/@jackgillum bloomberg.com/news/articles/… ImageImageImageImage
What we have here in this incrediby detailed 165 page cache of emails, contracts, invoices, is the entire backstory from Jan through Sept 2021 of how GSA assisted the outgoing Trump transition team with SHIPPING pallets of boxes to MAL and a storage facility. ImageImageImage
Trump's outgoing transition got $2.6M -$2M & change for Trump and $520K for Pence -- to set up office space in Arlington and MAL and purchase supplies, pay staff, pay for shipping, packing etc ImageImage
Read 11 tweets

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