The Senate report is called National Security Agency Surveillance Affecting Americans, and describes the results of its investigation into NSAs electronic surveillance practices and capabilities, especially involving American citizens, groups, and organizations.
Among its findings are:
Project MINARET, in which the NSA intercepted and disseminated international communications of U.S. citizens and groups whose names were supplied by other agencies and put on a watch list. Those listed were supposed to be linked to concerns about narcotics, domestic violence and antiwar activities.
It was part of an attempt to discover if there was a foreign influence on them, according to the Senate report. NSA personnel were instructed to keep the agencys name off any distributed reports in order to restrict the knowledge that NSA was collecting such information, the report said.
Operation SHAMROCK involved the collection of millions of international telegrams sent to, from or transiting the United States provided to NSA by the three major international telegraph companies. In some years NSA analysts reviewed 150,000 telegrams a month, according to the committee. What began at the end of World War II as an Army Signals Security Agency project to get access to foreign government messaging morphed into collecting calls from a watch list of Americans whose names were supplied by the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.
The CIA, the FBI and others joined in. Over one four-year period when the list had 1,200 names the committee said NSA distributed approximately 2,000 reports [the texts or summaries of intercepted messages] to the various requesting agencies as the result of inclusion of American names on the watch lists.
Any of this sound familiar?
This was the 1976 report, one of 14 from the Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, chaired by then-Sen. Frank Church (D-Idaho). One direct result of the Church committees activities, which began as a probe into domestic CIA activities in the 1960s and 1970s, was the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). President Jimmy Carter signed the bill into law in 1978.
That law, amended several times, has provided a legal foundation for NSAs operations. It also added judicial and congressional oversight of NSA with the establishment of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and the House and Senate intelligence committees. At the same time, it continued secrecy for operations necessary to carry out electronic surveillance to protect national security. It allowed intercepts abroad of foreign entities and individuals without a warrant when collecting foreign intelligence. When the target became a U.S. citizen or someone known to be in the United States, a warrant was required within 72 hours.
History does at times seem to repeat itself.
The rest is here: