Interim IG Report on Surveillance Program Released

03.31.09 | 2 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

When Congress amended the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act last year, it enacted a requirement that the Inspectors General of agencies that participated in the Bush Administration’s warrantless surveillance program must prepare a comprehensive review of that program, which was conducted from 2001 to 2007 outside of the FISA legal framework that normally regulates intelligence surveillance.

The final report of the Inspectors General, due in July 2009, is supposed to address “all of the facts necessary to describe the establishment, implementation, product, and use of the product of the Program,” among other things.  It “will include both unclassified and classified volumes.”

An interim report, completed last fall, has just been released.  The three-page letter report does not present any new findings, but rather lays out the scope of the ongoing review and the division of labor among five agency Inspectors General.

The subject matter of the review ranges widely from legal assessments of the Program (DoJ) to its technical operation (NSA) to communications with private-sector entities concerning the Program (ODNI) to the involvement of the Office of the Secretary of Defense (DoD) and the threat assessments supporting reauthorization of the Program (CIA).

Furthermore, “Each of the IG teams will be alert to other matters … that should be examined as part of a comprehensive review of the Program,” the interim report states.

The newly disclosed interim report was originally submitted to Congress in classified form last September.  An unclassified version of the report (which entailed the removal of one sentence) was prepared for the Senate Intelligence Committee in November.  But the unclassified report, dated November 24, 2008, was only approved for public release this week, in response to a request from Secrecy News.