The Bush administration built an unprecedented surveillance operation to pull in mountains of information far beyond the warrantless wiretapping previously acknowledged, a team of federal inspectors general reported Friday, questioning the legal basis for the effort but shielding almost all details on grounds they're still too secret to reveal.The report, compiled by five inspectors general, refers to "unprecedented collection activities" by U.S. intelligence agencies under an executive order signed by President George W. Bush after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.Well, that's good I guess...wait, wait, what? "Continued" use? But here's the punchline.
Just what those activities involved remains classified, but the IGs pointedly say that any continued use of the secret programs must be "carefully monitored."
The IG report said that President Bush signed off on both the warrantless wiretapping and other top-secret operations shortly after Sept. 11 in a single presidential authorization. All the programs were periodically reauthorized, but except for the acknowledged wiretapping, they "remain highly classified."
The report says it's unclear how much valuable intelligence the program has yielded. The report, mandated by Congress last year, was delivered to lawmakers Friday.
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