Results from a new poll have shown that the majority of American people believe oversight of the US National Security Agency’s surveillance is not adequate
According to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll conducted August 9-10, only 18 percent of Americans say that “federal courts and rules in place by Congress provide adequate oversight” of the spying programs run by the US government’s premier spy agency.
The poll was conducted after US President Barack Obama offered a four-point reform package to increase the NSA’s transparency.
A controversial part of Obama’s reform package was the implication that James Clapper, the US spy master who lied to Congress about domestic surveillance, would head an “independent group” of “outside experts” to oversee US spying.
The HuffPost/YouGov poll showed that 43 percent of Americans rated Obama’s performance with regard to protecting their constitutional rights as “poor”, with 15 percent characterizing Obama’s performance as “only fair.”
The chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which is supposedly responsible to oversee the US government’s spying programs, told the Washington Post on Friday that the US secret court has limited ability to police US spying.
US District Judge Reggie B. Walton made the comments after an internal audit obtained by the Post showed the NSA has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since 2008 when it was granted broad surveillance powers by US lawmakers.
In one of the cases, the US spy agency did not inform the FISC about a new spying method for several months. The court ruled that the method had been unconstitutional after it learned about it.
Meanwhile, former NSA director Gen. Michael Hayden has indicated that the US spying practices will get worse as the NSA seeks to use its databases in more aggressive ways.
According to Hayden, the US spy agency would want to use an advanced algorithm to sieve through the vast amount of data it had collected on the American people. Such an algorithm would enable NSA operatives, for example, to read the email of every American citizen.