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Friday, August 16, 2013

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof

Audit Finds NSA Broke Privavcy Rules Thousands of Times Per Year - The National Security Agency has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since Congress granted the agency broad new powers in 2008, according to an internal audit and other top-secret documents.
Most of the infractions involve unauthorized surveillance of Americans or foreign intelligence targets in the United States, both of which are restricted by statute and executive order. They range from significant violations of law to typographical errors that resulted in unintended interception of U.S. e-mails and telephone calls.

The NSA audit obtained by The Post, dated May 2012, counted 2,776 incidents in the preceding 12 months of unauthorized collection, storage, access to or distribution of legally protected communications. Most were unintended. Many involved failures of due diligence or violations of standard operating procedure. The most serious incidents included a violation of a court order and unauthorized use of data about more than 3,000 Americans and green-card holders.

In a statement in response to questions for this article, the NSA said it attempts to identify problems “at the earliest possible moment, implement mitigation measures wherever possible, and drive the numbers down.” The government was made aware of The Post’s intention to publish the documents that accompany this article online.  The Washington Post has more here.


Military Deployed in Cairo - The Egyptian military deployed around vital installations in Cairo, state media reported, before "Friday of Anger" protests called by backers of deposed President Mohamed Mursi.

Hundreds of people died and thousands were wounded on Wednesday when police cleared out two protest camps in Cairo set up to denounce the military's overthrow of Egypt's first freely elected president on July 3 and to demand his reinstatement.

The Health Ministry puts the death toll at 578. The Brotherhood says the government is hiding a much bigger number.

Dozens of armored vehicles will close off streets around part of northeastern Cairo where Islamists had staged protests demanding Mursi's reinstatement, the state news agency said. has more here.


CBC Pushes To Restore Voter Protections - A Congressional Black Caucus task force led by Reps. G.K. Butterfield and Bobby Scott is pushing to restore voter protections.

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) have finalized their voting rights wish list in hopes of rebuilding protections that were struck down by the Supreme Court this year.

Prominent members of the group have delivered their recommendations to House Democratic leaders, who in turn are spearheading the push to write legislation that would replace the system overturned by the high court in June.

The court ruled that a decades-old formula dictating which states must be subject to federal oversight under the Voting Rights Act was outdated, and therefore unconstitutional. has more here.


Quinn and de Blasio Tied in NY City Mayoral Race - The campaign to replace outgoing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is getting increasingly competitive on the Democratic side, as a new poll shows City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio neck-and-neck, with former Comptroller Bill Thompson not far behind.

Former Rep. Anthony Weiner is a distant fourth in the NBC 4/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll released Thursday.

Among likely Democratic primary voters, Quinn and de Blasio were tied at 24 percent, and Thompson got 18 percent. Weiner was at 11 percent, less than the 12 percent of likely voters who remain undecided. has more here.


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