First on CNN: More on NSA surveillance programs to be declassified
July 29th, 2013
08:44 PM ET

First on CNN: More on NSA surveillance programs to be declassified

By Barbara Starr

The U.S. intelligence community plans to declassify additional information about surveillance programs of the National Security Agency, possibly as soon as Tuesday, CNN has learned.

A senior U.S. official tells CNN the information includes "white papers" on surveillance programs but also previously undisclosed information about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

The official declined to be identified because the information has not been made public yet and because of the sensitive nature of the information. He would not offer further details in advance of the declassification process, which could extend into later this week.

It is unclear how the additional information would be released.

This is all part of a "concerted" and "deliberate" effort to declassify additional information in the wake of the leaks by Edward Snowden, the official said.

The latest moves by the intelligence agency come as there is growing bipartisan pressure in Congress to pass legislation that would change or even end some of the NSA's surveillance efforts.

James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, has been trying to declassify at least some detailed case opinions by the Surveillance Court.

"I think there is a high likelihood of FISC opinions being declassified soon," the official said, although it does not appear the opinions themselves will be part of the upcoming declassification.

The aim is to publicly show once-secret FISC opinions dealing with the government's motions to get the court to approve surveillance beyond the collection of metadata and to move toward collecting actual content of communications.

Clapper and NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander have spoken publicly several times in recent weeks to explain the programs and try to garner support for them.

The official said beyond the additional declassification of documents, the terms "concerted" and "deliberate" best describe the intelligence community's post-Snowden effort to explain the programs to Congress and the American people to gather support for continuing the collection of data.

A DNI spokesman told CNN Monday, "The DNI is leaning forward and telling others to be more transparent as much as possible."

soundoff (95 Responses)
  1. Montague Parlor

    Now it's a race between who will release first, the NSA or Snowden.

    January 24, 2014 at 1:17 am | Reply
  2. Nodack

    Republicans consider it their Patriotic duty to distrust and dislike their government and anybody that supports the government is a traitor.

    The second Republicans are able to land a Republican back in the White House they will consider anybody that doesn't trust and support their government a traitor.

    December 27, 2013 at 12:48 pm | Reply
  3. Al Alias

    The problem is so very much worse than most people realize. Check this out:

    http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/library/se-ind-urban-surveillance-infrastructure/

    November 1, 2013 at 10:09 am | Reply
  4. Serious Talker

    I bet they won't admit to electronic harassment gang stalking that the mainstream media lies about saying it's delllusional from victims of this enhanced interrogation torture way worse then water boarding. Many of the people commiting horrible crimes like Aaron Alexis, Miriam Carrey, Jarrod Loughner, James Holmes, Christopher Droner etc... all appear to have had Truman Show Syndrome which is what the propagandists call electronic harassment gang stalking as a sick joke since President Harry Truman established the NSA. The movies Truman Show with Jim Carrey, A Beautiful Mind with Russel Crowe, The Nine's with Ryan Reynolds, The Mechianist with Christian Bale, The Game with Micheal Douglas etc... are all made to make gang stalking appear far fetched to average citizens who don't have a clue what a STA is inside the NSA or that they torture people for political beliefs that go against Karl Marx's communist manifesto.

    October 28, 2013 at 8:43 am | Reply
  5. rex edie

    i guess this is a start... hope its not just some pacification scheme. so that we will soon forget about it. snowden is a patriot...not an enemy of the people... unfortunately, he is now an enemy of the corporate state.

    July 30, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Reply
  6. splifferton

    Snowden the Traitor? How dare he release classified information to the US Government's enemies...the US people.

    July 30, 2013 at 11:17 am | Reply
  7. Chief Eagle

    Snowden is a global hero

    July 30, 2013 at 10:57 am | Reply
  8. denverboy

    And the Truth will set you free...except in Snowdens case it has caused him to run...Kinda intresting how that works in America....The truth is a Lie and the Lie is the Truth....What a totaly dysfunctional Government we have... and it started right around 9-11....Just has gotton more screwed up every year since then .. If they want to to the correct thing let it go . the Info is out there..It's Over already..The NSA is making public some of the same Information there trying to Nail Snowden on ....W.T.F. They unseal the info and still go after Snowden... kinda makes one wonder what this kid has that makes our Shadow Government so in edge....I just wonder...

    July 30, 2013 at 10:39 am | Reply
    • sandi

      no, its been in the various stages since the end of world war 2. From your local library, consider reading John Perkins book 'The Secret History of the American Empire' for the truth of it.

      August 1, 2013 at 11:06 am | Reply
  9. kaisersoze72

    II don't care what they declassify as long as they can do their job. Looky there, a 2nd jailbreak in as many weeks freeing members of Al-Qaeda. if the NSA isn't listening in on terrorist networks such as Al-Qaeda to prevent prison breaks such as this, then what the heck are they doing?!? Are they so wrapped up in trying to spy on their own that they don't have time for the real terrorists anymore? To me, this seems like they aren't doing such a good job of providing security when all these high level prisoners are getting out. Not to mention, a fair amount of the prisoners from the Abu Garib jailbreak last week were people we put in there. Aren't we concerned about keeping them behind bars?

    July 30, 2013 at 10:35 am | Reply
    • TIM

      Wow, you are the exact type of person the government loves. They feed you all the propaganda they want and you eat it all up. With every new threat of terroism announced, we see more and more of our freedoms taken away. It is not for our protection, it is for our subjugation. Do your research and you will see just how often the government announced something that was bad is now good or something that was good is now bad depending on the government's agenda at the time. But simpletons like you are the reason why the government continues to get away with turning us into a communist nation.

      July 30, 2013 at 11:07 am | Reply
      • kaisersoze72

        Sorry about that Tim, it's hard to convey sarcasm through writing. I was trying to point out that they are doing a p1ss poor job of international spying on terrorists to let two huge jailbreaks happen involving, what do you know, terrorists. I am sarcastically implying that how can they spy domestically when they can't even spy internationally. I personally despise data-mining on any account, retail or government. I never provide true information when filling out information for retail shopping "value" cards for the very reason that they are collecting information on the customer.
        it is rather insulting to everyone who served in the Iraq war to let a jailbreak of such high level Al Qaeda prisoners escape in Iraq. Why did we even incarcerate them when they were just going to go free anyways. And why wasn't the NSA listening in on their "chatter" to try and prevent this? It was a huge, coordinated effort on the terrorists part to pull this off. Someone had to be on the phone or using the internet to coordinate this and the NSA didn't pick up on this? Shame on them. And shame on the national media for not pressing an issue such as this. If the NSA can't do it correctly internationally, they shouldn't be doing it at all me thinks.

        July 30, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • rex edie

      the n s a ....primarily works within the bounds of the u.s. ( National) Security Agency .though im sure they get a share of world intel......... the CIA... Interpol...and most countries intelligence groups are the ones who are supposed to be watching the activities such as you mentioned. that's why this whole nsa... thing is a big pile of wasted time and money....

      July 30, 2013 at 1:23 pm | Reply
    • .

      Jailbreaks Mali , Libya, Nigeria also

      July 30, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Reply
  10. SEAL Team Alpha and Omega

    Good morning, Snowden. How's it going in Chickenville, Russia? Do you miss your father and other family members? Was your StOoPiD moronic decision to reveal classified information worth your now life of complete isolation until they bury your sorry ass at some point in the future? You are a traitor. Have fun never seeing anyone you cared about again in your life in a cave. Idiot.

    July 30, 2013 at 10:09 am | Reply
    • T. Lee

      .
      Yep
      .
      And given his father's recent comments – ask him to join you there – PERMANENTLY !!!

      July 30, 2013 at 10:21 am | Reply
    • Ok

      So the man released information on how the government was doing something illegal and you're taking it on him? Military has you screwed up. HOOORAAAAA

      July 30, 2013 at 10:23 am | Reply
      • Joe

        What Snowden did was illegal. There is no legitimate, legal way to do what he did. What NSA is doing at least has legal justification. And, you know, helps keep us all alive.

        July 30, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • ATPMSD

      Seems to me Congress is validating the argument that his is a whistleblower and not a traitor. They seem to feel the NSA was violating our rights, which is what Snowden argued from the beginning.

      July 30, 2013 at 10:42 am | Reply
    • denverboy

      Seal Team Alpha and Omega...

      So you are the begining and the end...bu no meat in the center ... Kinda just .. a plain loaf of bread then Hummm ???

      July 30, 2013 at 10:42 am | Reply
    • Duncan Donuts

      He did the American people a favor you imbecile! Boy are you brain washed! Lol. You don't know a good thing from a bad thing and you follow your "orders" like a trained animal. Try thinking for yourself and not the BS you're being fed.
      I'm a veteran, been there, done that...wake up...try thinking solo....if you can! Snowdon is a true American hero....do "they" have to tell you that before you can deduce that on your own! Lose the "Pack mentality" and grow some bawls!

      July 30, 2013 at 10:44 am | Reply
      • Keith Miller

        I'm a vet also of 23 years and still going, he is a TRAITOR, American Hero Wow not sure what country you served for

        July 30, 2013 at 11:23 am |
    • TIM

      SNOWDEN is a hero! He may be a traitor to the evil government but he is not a traitor to the American people. The USA betrayed its citizens which means the government is the traitor. They do not have Americans' best interest in mind, only what makes them more powerful. I applaud Snowden even more with your comments. He gave up his family and friends and everything he knew and loved to do the right thing. But one thing is certain, your remarks only prove that you are as evil as our government.

      July 30, 2013 at 11:13 am | Reply
    • Navyvet8192

      No matter where you go, you can ALWAYS find at least one poser troll, and Seal Team Alpha and Omega is ours!

      July 30, 2013 at 11:20 am | Reply
    • Onebigdog

      1st posing as SF is wrong, 2nd If you are SF and make opened remarks like this you should not be on a team. Change your name, and then post your remarks, people do not want to be associated with you as a group.

      July 30, 2013 at 7:06 pm | Reply
    • Mike the Massacred

      How ignorant you sound. Brainwashed by your profession. Read a book, most of your brothers tell their tales about how the mission seemed right at the time, but in hindsight they regret their doings. Fight to protect the people of USA, not support gov't when they consistantly violate personal privacies.

      Wake up "Alpha and Omega"... Youre sounding like a tool.

      August 1, 2013 at 4:45 am | Reply
  11. George

    It's a dirty shameful business they are doing to the American people.

    July 30, 2013 at 10:05 am | Reply
    • Duncan Donuts

      It sure is and if we don't shed some light on the positive thing that Snowdon did for us, he'll be put away and the spying crap on Americans will continue and get worse. As far as I can tell Snowden did nothing to jeopardize our national security UNLESS you consider alerting the American people that they're being spied upon a breach of national security, which I certainly do not!

      July 30, 2013 at 10:51 am | Reply
  12. Mr. Black

    So, does this mean the "U.S. intelligence community" can now be charged with treason? They should really leave Snowden alone at this point.

    July 30, 2013 at 9:46 am | Reply
    • SixDegrees

      No, it doesn't mean anything like that. The director of each intelligence agency has the power to declassify material at will. People at Snowden's level do not have this power, and remain bound by the terms of their security contract – which includes a long prison sentence for unauthorized disclosure, among other things.

      July 30, 2013 at 9:58 am | Reply
      • splifferton

        Better to live in ignorance...

        July 30, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • Duncan Donuts

      I I see our "U.S. intelligence community" as a trained vicious dog going after it's own people and being totally out of control
      and not knowing what it's true mission is. The "U.S. intelligence community" is supposed to work FOR US and NOT AGAINST US! Some how we have the tail wagging the dog.....and our "leaders" either don't know it OR don't care about it!.
      It's our responsibility to make them aware of the misuse that's going on. This is a throw-back to the "W" daze this country experienced for 8 miserable years.....Obama is to be held accountable for it too!

      July 30, 2013 at 10:58 am | Reply
  13. KEVIN

    I'm glad to see the NSA trying to keep things in check. But it truly is difficult for them. They are walking a tightrope btw. National Security and privacy. The cyber tech. is advancing so quickly it makes it so difficult to keep up to monitor the true bad guys. Just an example is that a terrorist can pose as anybody on the internet. Anybody; you, me and even your kids. It is a huge pain in the a** for them.

    July 30, 2013 at 9:45 am | Reply
    • splifferton

      There is no line between security and privacy. Once you touch the line that threatens the loss of privacy for innocent Americans, you lose, or more precisely WE lose.

      July 30, 2013 at 10:10 am | Reply
  14. us_1776

    The Nazi Security Agency trying to hide their secret agenda.

    .

    July 30, 2013 at 9:35 am | Reply
  15. Al

    Snowden did say that he was going to expose more, I guess the NSA want's to get it out there first before the Snowden stuff comes out.

    July 30, 2013 at 9:29 am | Reply
    • Duncan Donuts

      Excellent point! The NSA should be taken to task from the top down to it's very bottom! What is this country coming to when
      the privacy of it's own citizens is in jeopardy?....
      The climate in today's America is "What's good is bad and what's bad is good". It's time we get our collective heads screwed on straight before things get worse!

      July 30, 2013 at 11:06 am | Reply
  16. Keith Miller

    Another person who has not learned to shut the hell up, if he was not told to discuss this, than shut up Jess

    July 30, 2013 at 9:17 am | Reply
    • SixDegrees

      Not told by who? As director of the agency, Clapper has the ultimate authority to classify or declassify material as he sees fit. The buck stops with him.

      July 30, 2013 at 9:59 am | Reply
      • splifferton

        The guy who admitted to lying under oath? If the buck stopped with him he would be charged with lying under oath.

        July 30, 2013 at 10:16 am |
  17. aj

    Do we really even need the NSA? don't we have enough useless gov't agencies already? We could save billions of tax dollars per year. And I'd have more money to buy food for my little girl. damn 40% tax bracket

    July 30, 2013 at 9:03 am | Reply
    • Keith Miller

      And I know you have the super abiity to protect all the United States and can come even close to detecting atleast 1000 terriost cell, WOW your good and hired now get busy

      July 30, 2013 at 9:27 am | Reply
    • Chooch0253

      There is no 40% tax bracket you sock puppet.

      July 30, 2013 at 9:28 am | Reply
    • rick

      If it weren't for the NSA, Binladen would still be out there plotting to kill Americans!

      July 30, 2013 at 9:41 am | Reply
      • TIM

        Oh my god, that was the most ignorant comment I've heard so far. You actually believe that?!

        July 30, 2013 at 11:19 am |
      • Seal

        They didn't get him by collecting phone calls. They got him by following his courier. Remember they weren't even sure that he was really at this compound, if they heard calls and tracked them to that area they would have been sure.

        July 31, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
  18. Old Okie

    I just want them to admit that the IRS can get information from the NSA for suspected terrorist (Political Conservatives) and the people that they associate with so they can better target them.

    July 30, 2013 at 9:00 am | Reply
    • Chooch0253

      Typical rhetoric from a conservative. In case you have not seen any news except on Fox, conservative groups were not the only groups being "watched" by the IRS, so were liberal groups.

      July 30, 2013 at 9:30 am | Reply
  19. Dave Rogers

    Wow.

    If you're going to do a "reach out" to the citizens of the US, if you're going to try to make us feel better about the things our government does, you are going to have to stop being coy and clever. Not that it's necessary... The government is winning the propaganda war.

    Snowden claimed he could listen to Obama's personal phone calls...all of them. The government counters by denying that he could listen to calls, and they accuse him of espionage for saying it.

    They've got us talking about metadata, though... 80% of us don't even remember the issue, or how it came about. We have no idea of what Snowden leaked, and we're not going to learn anything now...

    ...because we think it's metadata.

    As nearly as I can tell, and I do try to be careful, Metadata only came up because that's what James Clapper lied about to Congress. Snowden claimed something else.

    Maybe the US government should deny Watergate while they're at it... that's something else Snowden didn't accuse them of. Get folks all riled up because of Watergate...call Snowden a traitor for revealing Watergate, and deny deny deny that the current administration had anything to do with Watergate.

    Stop worrying, oh US government... You preside over a nation of over fed house cats. You don't have to be nearly as clever as you are, and even the folks who get it are no threat to you.

    July 30, 2013 at 8:59 am | Reply
    • buckshot

      Exactly! Misdirection and lies have long been the primary tools of political forces. Clapper is a liar, yet his lies to Congress didn't result in his arrest. Amazing.

      July 30, 2013 at 10:08 am | Reply
  20. US Puppet State

    Wouldn't following the prescription in the Declaration of Independence and "throwing off" this government be a better idea?

    July 30, 2013 at 8:56 am | Reply
  21. Chris

    So people call snowden a traitor and now the US is releasing more of it because they got caught?

    July 30, 2013 at 8:56 am | Reply
  22. Jim Jones

    These are "JUST" the declassified "PROGRAMS" that the NSA has released. LOL

    July 30, 2013 at 8:55 am | Reply
  23. bb

    I take it from the quality of the comments here that people couldn't care less.

    July 30, 2013 at 8:48 am | Reply
  24. rollybobo

    The phone is 'blue'. 'blue'. is a fact about the phone, thatd be data if you saved that fact in a table about the phone. one atrribute of the phone is its 'color'. 'color' being an atrribute – that is metadata. Metadata is data about data.

    If the government is collecting information, like a phone can have a color, or a memory size, or a screen size....not the actual data, but the attribute list, then they are collecting metadata.

    but no, they are collecting data. Who you called, rather than the phone can make calls. Where you are, not thatGPS is an ability of your phone.

    They may not get that content of your phone call, but the phone number you called is not metadata, it is actual data.

    the problem with not having a free press is the government line ends up becoming the general understanding. you really cant repeat the government line verbatim, if you do, the facts end up becoming irrelevant.

    July 30, 2013 at 8:41 am | Reply
  25. GotOut

    Well, on behalf of the American people, I would just like to say, Baaaaaaaaa.

    July 30, 2013 at 8:34 am | Reply
  26. rondohouse

    the word metadata is being misused. They may be collecting the phone companies log data rather than getting your personal content on your phone, but that does not make it metadata. its real log data, not metadata.

    July 30, 2013 at 8:29 am | Reply
    • rondohouse

      p.s. reporters can change the meaning of a word....but what did you mean by this word? exactly...you dont know. just repeating the government line like a good little mouthpiece.

      July 30, 2013 at 8:30 am | Reply
  27. eric

    This is PR to appease those who aren't legitimately scared.

    July 30, 2013 at 8:28 am | Reply
  28. steezy

    So they are going to release data...so they can collect more data...Its crazy enough to work!!

    July 30, 2013 at 8:22 am | Reply
  29. John

    Barbara Starr is Austin Powers' mother.

    July 30, 2013 at 8:14 am | Reply
  30. Chris

    Didn't Mr. Snowden already declassify these programs?

    July 30, 2013 at 8:07 am | Reply
    • vbscript2

      Declassifying it means that it's no longer considered protected classified information. Leaking classified information doesn't declassify it. At present, what Snowden leaked is still treated by the government as Top Secret, Special Intelligence SCI, No Foreign disclosure.

      July 30, 2013 at 10:20 am | Reply
    • RBN

      No. Just because the rest of the world knows the sky is blue does not give our citizens the right say, or even recognize the fact, that it's blue. We told you it's green and that's what you have to live with because we classified the fact that it's blue. Just because you're the only people on the planet that doesn't know the truth doesn't mean it's not classified. I'm pretty sure our government has "classified" us as idiots.

      July 30, 2013 at 10:33 am | Reply
  31. 2plus2

    We as a society are being oppressed.

    July 30, 2013 at 8:04 am | Reply
  32. steve c

    We're suppose to buy into info cherry-picked by the NSA to be released? What a joke!

    July 30, 2013 at 1:52 am | Reply
    • maxine howard

      Yep, that is exactly what I thought when I read it! They could be concerned about Greenwald's testimony on Wed. as well.

      July 30, 2013 at 2:16 am | Reply
      • Sean

        Yeah they are going to pick through and let us know what they choose to be the truth..How can anyone believe what comes out?.This sentence says it all...

        {"I think there is a high likelihood of FISC opinions being declassified soon," the official said, although it does not appear the opinions themselves will be part of the upcoming declassification.}

        Ok...So we are told the FISC opinions are likely to be declassified, but they wont include the complete opinion of the FISC lol Only some opinions by the surveillance court will be chosen to be voiced and they get to pick which one? Whats the difference between this and Clapper telling me his opinion? He is just goin to find an opinion/result which ended up agreeing with the NSA's efforts.....

        Seriously, Did I read this wrong or are they just blatantly insulting the intelligence of the people in this country?

        July 30, 2013 at 10:51 am |
  33. California

    Forced to be transparent. How ironic.

    July 29, 2013 at 11:23 pm | Reply
  34. smdahl

    Let's see who this "reporter", Barbara Starr, really is:
    "Starr has received criticism for her reporting, having been called "a spokesperson for The Pentagon."[2][3]
    In June 2013 MSNBC reporter Chris Hayes ran a segment in which he argued that Starr's publication of leaked information was at least as potentially harmful to national security as those published by Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian. He noted the fact that, unlike with Greenwald, politicians and other prominent figures failed to call for Starr's prosecution on the basis that Starr's use of leaked information invariably favoured government interests, implicitly questioning Starr's independence and arguably even her integrity and status as a journalist."- wikipedia

    July 29, 2013 at 10:35 pm | Reply
  35. smdahl

    CNN forgot to mention the Clapper has lied under oath to the American people. But then CNN would be hypocritical if they pointed that little detail out. They also forgot to tell us who Clapper's commander-in-chief is, but we should all know that, shouldn't we?

    July 29, 2013 at 10:31 pm | Reply
    • Canada

      I was in disbelief when I saw that man lying to your people's faces. The fact he has received little to no back-lash is astonishing.

      July 30, 2013 at 8:04 am | Reply
    • jnpa

      Civilian employees do not have Commanders-in-Chief. That term applies to the military!

      July 30, 2013 at 8:10 am | Reply
  36. Lion Ewry

    Do a google on Data mining. Hell the NSA does not need to do this job. They can just outsource the job to corporations. These guys get Content and will sell that content to anybody.

    Someday some congressman's daughter is going to become a victom of these creeps---Then they will stop this BS.

    July 29, 2013 at 9:20 pm | Reply
    • Canada

      They would sell out their own sons and daughters to the interests of a bigger scheme.

      July 30, 2013 at 8:05 am | Reply
      • Lee

        Especially if that bigger scheme involved corporate money.

        July 30, 2013 at 9:46 am |
    • splifferton

      That or an angry spouse/ex is going to look up info on their significant other to track and murder them. But whatever, let's give up our privacy so that we don't have a 1 in billion chance of dying to a terrorist attack.

      July 30, 2013 at 10:15 am | Reply

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