Updates to stories previously covered at Homeland Stupidity include spying, spying and more spying.
The National Security Agency has run out of power, causing it to implement severe power-saving measures across the Fort Meade, Md., complex from which it runs acres of computing equipment to collect and process signals intelligence. Now, the NSA has implemented rolling blackouts and scheduled shutdowns of computer equipment to help keep it running at all. But it still hasn’t arranged for more power to be brought into the complex, despite having known about the problem for years.
Speaking of the NSA, last week the federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned an August 2006 decision that held that the NSA’s terrorist surveillance program was unconstitutional. The program monitors telephone calls and other communications entering and exiting the U.S. which the government says may have a connection to terrorists. The decision was overturned because the plaintiffs could not prove they had been directly affected by the program. Lawsuits related to the program remain alive in the Ninth Circuit.
In 2005, the Department of Defense was caught running an intelligence program which was collecting information on peaceful anti-war protesters. Much of the improperly collected data originated with the Department of Homeland Security. The database was cleaned up and later shut down. The Department of Defense Inspector General released a report (PDF) on the Threat and Local Observation Notice program saying that it complied with relevant law, though some information was improperly collected. But even though the database was shut down, NORTHCOM plans to bring back something like it.