The documents assert that mandate baldly. A legal factsheet from the NSA, dated June 2013, states that the FISA, which requires judicial oversight over spying on Americans, “only regulates a subset of the NSA’s signals intelligence activities. NSA conducts the majority of its SIGINT activities solely pursuant to the authority provided by Executive Order 12333.”
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The $52.6 billion “black budget” for fiscal 2013, obtained by The Washington Post from former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, maps a bureaucratic and operational landscape that has never been subject to public scrutiny.