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"NSA wiretapping" and "NSA warrantless surveillance" redirect here.

For the related controversy about data-mining of domestic call records, see MAINWAY.

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The NSA was authorized to monitor, without obtaining a FISA warrant, the phone calls, Internet activity, text messages and other communication involving any party believed by the NSA to be outside the U.

S., even if the other end of the communication lay within the U. Critics claimed that the program was an effort to silence critics of the Administration and its handling of several controversial issues.

Under public pressure, the Administration allegedly ended the program in January 2007 and resumed seeking warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC).

In 2008 Congress passed the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which relaxed some of the original FISC requirements.

During the Barack Obama Administration, the NSA allegedly continued surveilling without warrants despite campaign promises to end the practice. The complete details of the executive order are not public, but according to administration statements, the authorization covers communication originating overseas from or to a person suspected of having links to terrorist organizations or their affiliates even when the other party to the call is within the US.

In April 2009 officials at the United States Department of Justice acknowledged that the NSA had engaged in "overcollection" of domestic communications in excess of the FISC's authority, but claimed that the acts were unintentional and had since been rectified. In October 2001, Congress passed the Patriot Act, which granted the administration broad powers to fight terrorism.

A week after the 9/11 attacks, Congress passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF), which inaugurated the "War on Terror". The Bush administration used these powers to bypass the FISC and directed the NSA to spy directly on al-Qaeda via a new NSA electronic surveillance program. This act was challenged by multiple groups, including Congress, as unconstitutional.

It later featured heavily in arguments over the NSA program. Reports at the time indicate that an "apparently accidental" "glitch" resulted in the interception of communications that were between two U. The precise scope of the program remains secret, but the NSA was provided total, unsupervised access to all fiber-optic communications between the nation's largest telecommunication companies' major interconnected locations, encompassing phone conversations, email, Internet activity, text messages and corporate private network traffic.

Soon after the 9/11 attacks President Bush established the President's Surveillance Program. FISA makes it illegal to intentionally engage in electronic surveillance as an official act or to disclose or use information obtained by such surveillance under as an official act, knowing that it was not authorized by statute; this is punishable with a fine of up to ,000, up to five years in prison or both.

As part of the program, the Terrorist Surveillance Program was established pursuant to an executive order that authorized the NSA to surveil certain telephone calls without obtaining a warrant (see 50 U. The Wiretap Act prohibits any person from illegally intercepting, disclosing, using or divulging phone calls or electronic communications; this is punishable with a fine, up to five years in prison, or both.

Bill Keller, the newspaper's executive editor, had withheld the story from publication since before the 2004 Presidential Election.

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