Clintonism In MilInt

Ken AshfordWiretapping & SurveillanceLeave a Comment

I’m a reasonably smart man, and I understand that the English is not an exact science, but this strikes me as utter bullshit.  From Congressional Quarterly:

“Contrary to popular belief, there is no absolute ban on [military] intelligence components collecting U.S. person information,” the U.S.Army’s top intelligence officer said in a 2001 memo that surfaced Tuesday.

Not only that, military intelligence agencies are permitted to “receive” domestic intelligence information, even though they cannot legally “collect” it,” according to the Nov. 5, 2001, memo issued by Lt. Gen. Robert W. Noonan Jr., the deputy chief of staff for intelligence.


“Remember, merely receiving information does not constitute ‘collection’ under AR [Army Regulation] 381-10; collection entails receiving ‘for use,’ ” he added. (Army Regulation 381-10, “U.S. Army Intelligence Activities,” was reissued on Nov. 22, 2005, but had not previously been disclosed publicly.) “Army intelligence may always receive information, if only to determine its intelligence value and whether it can be collected, retained, or disseminated in accordance with governing policy,”

The distinction between “receiving” and “collecting” seems “to offer considerable leeway for domestic surveillance activities under the existing legal framework,” wrote editor Steven Aftergood in Tuesday’s edition of Secrecy News.

“This in turn makes it harder to understand why the NSA domestic surveillance program departed from previous practice.”

Aftergood was alerted to the existence of the memo by another security expert, John Pike of, who thought that “there is enough ambiguity in the language that with a bit of creativity in managing the U.S. persons files there would have been not too much trouble” applying existing rules to the warrantless eavesdropping by the National Security Agency.