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Fri Dec 26, 2014, 04:54 PM

ACLU accuses NSA of using holiday lull to ‘minimise impact’ of documents

Source: The Guardian

ACLU accuses NSA of using holiday lull to ‘minimise impact’ of documents

Nicky Woolf in New York
theguardian.com, Friday 26 December 2014 20.25 GMT

The National Security Agency used the holiday lull to “minimise the impact” of a tranche of documents by releasing them on Christmas Eve, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said on Friday.

The documents, which were released in response to a legal challenge by the ACLU under the Freedom of Information Act, are heavily – in some places totally –redacted versions of reports by the NSA to the President’s Intelligence Oversight Board dating back to 2007.

A court ordered the documents released this past summer, and a 22 December deadline for that release was agreed upon, according to Patrick Toomey, a staff attorney at the ACLU’s national security project, because the NSA said it needed “six or seven months” to complete its review and redaction process.

A spokesperson for the NSA said that the 22 December deadline, “which was agreed to by all parties,” was met.

But according to Toomey, the ACLU didn’t receive the documents until “late in the day on the 23rd” – the NSA sent them by FedEx late on the 22nd – and the NSA didn’t publicly release them until Christmas Eve. “I certainly think the NSA would prefer to have the documents released right ahead of the holidays in order to have less public attention on what they contain,” Toomey said.

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Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/dec/26/aclu-nsa-documents-christmas-eve-lessens-impact

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