EPIC said that NSA denied the request on Nov. 21 arguing that it doesn’t have to release the document because it is a confidential presidential communication and contains information that is classified “Secret” and “Top Secret” by the agency. NSA said disclosure of the order could “reasonably be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security.” The agency said EPIC could file an appeal with the NSA/Central Security Service denial and EPIC said it plans to do so. The privacy group said it is litigating similar FOIA requests with NSA, including the release of NSPD 54, a 2008 presidential directive setting out the NSA’s cyber security authority. The group called NSA a “black hole for public information about cyber security” in an official statement to Congress earlier this year. National Security Agency whistle blower William Binney said in Mid July that the U.S. government is secretly gathering information “about virtually every U.S. citizen in the country”, in “a very dangerous process” that violates Americans’ privacy.
Former President George W. Bush signed a presidential order in 2002 allowing the National Security Agency (NSA) to monitor without a warrant the international (and sometimes domestic) telephone calls and e-mail messages of hundreds or thousands of citizens and legal residents inside the United States. The program eventually came to include some purely internal controls -- but no requirement that warrants be obtained from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court as the 4th Amendment to the Constitution and the foreign intelligence surveillance laws require.
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