The Atlantic

Why Is Obama Expanding Surveillance Powers Right Before He Leaves Office?

It could be to prevent Trump from extending them even more.
Source: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

On Thursday, the Obama administration finalized new rules that allow the National Security Agency to share information it gleans from its vast international surveillance apparatus with the 16 other agencies that make up the U.S. intelligence community.

With the new changes, which were long in the works, those agencies can apply for access to various feeds of raw, undoctored NSA intelligence. Analysts will then be able to sift through the contents of those feeds as they see fit, before implementing required privacy protections. Previously, the NSA applied those privacy protections itself, before forwarding select pieces of information to agencies that might need to see them.

The updated procedures will multiply the number of intelligence analysts who have access to NSA surveillance, which is captured in large quantities and often isn’t subject to warrant requirements. The changes rankled privacy advocates, who oppose a broadening of surveillance powers—especially on the cusp of Donald Trump’s inauguration. Trump and Mike Pompeo, the president-elect’s nominee for CIA director, have made it clear that they think overzealous civil-liberties protections

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