CIA accused of spying on Americans without permission

CIA accused of spying on Americans without permission

Two United States (US) senators, Ron Wyden of Oregon and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, have expressed concern that the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is once again spying on Americans without their permission.

According to the details, Democratic Senators Ron Wyden and Martin Heinrich have accused the agency of “secret” surveillance without a warrant through a new program. In a letter to intelligence officials, the two Democrats demanded details of the program. Government data collection has been the subject of much controversy in the United States.

Officially, the CIA and the National Security Agency (NSA) are allowed to spy on other countries, and the CIA’s 1947 charter prohibits domestic espionage. But in 2013, whistleblower Edward Snowden unveiled information about the US government’s extensive surveillance program over the phone and the Internet.

The United States Secret Service’s program even removes people’s personal videos, photos and emails so that specific people can be tracked.

A Washington Post analysis found that about 90 percent of those monitored were “ordinary American citizens” who “fell into a trap set by the National Security Agency for someone else.”

Earlier, senior officials had denied the allegations, even swearing in front of Congress that they were deliberately collecting such data. The program, called Prism, was later declared illegal by a US court. However, a government watchdog revealed two attempts by the CIA to collect data that Senators Widen and Heinrich have now claimed could be used to spy on Americans again without a warrant.

The CIA on Thursday released documents about a program that had previously been kept secret, but refused to divulge a number of other documents, citing “sensitive procedures” by the agency.

But Wyden, from Oregon, and Heinrich, from New Mexico, say that by refusing to release the documents, the agency is undermining citizens’ rights in a democracy and that the move is detrimental to the long-term reputation of the intelligence community.

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said in a statement that “these reports raise serious questions about what information the CIA is gathering about us on a large scale.”

A CIA spokesman told BBC News on Friday that “while collecting information in any legal way, the CIA may inadvertently obtain information about Americans who have contacts with foreign nationals.”

The spokesman added that when the CIA collects information about Americans, it protects that information in accordance with the rules. He said that these regulations ensure limited use of data.

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