It’s uncertain how many times it has happened and we may never find out because an accurate count could compromise the national security of the United States. However, Robert Litt, from the Office of Director of National Intelligence, has admitted that there were some situations in which innocent citizens were mistakenly monitored.
Litt – cited by
the Post-Gazette - has stated that the emails and phone calls of innocent US citizens have been tracked without a warrant on several occasions when agencies investigated suspected terrorists.
The official has highlighted the fact that the “compliance incidents” have been “unintentional, accidental and not reflective of any intent to evade the statute.”
Litt added that it would be impossible for him to provide an estimate of how many individuals were implicated in such incidents without detailing the data collection process in a manner that would pose a threat to national security.
The Obama administration and US intelligence officials hope that the controversial surveillance law will be extended until 2017, a desire which they highlighted on Tuesday – the day that marked 11 years since the World Trade Center incidents back in September 2001.
According to Oman Tribune
, this is a top priority for the intelligence community.
On the other hand, some members of the Senate, such as Senator Ron Wyden, are displeased with the fact that citizens’ rights prohibiting warrantless surveillance have been violated. He believes that until these issues are addressed, the legislation should be extended only for a shorter period of time.
Wyden was also one of the thirteen senators who have sent a letter to James Clapper, the director of the National Intelligence agency, asking him to reveal an estimate number of the individuals who have been “mistakenly” monitored during law enforcement investigations.