CIA unveils new rules for collecting information on US citizens

January 19, 2017 9:00 pm

This AFP file photo taken on September 14, 2016 shows CIA Director John Brennan speaking during a panel discussion at the Center for Strategic and International Studies(CSIS) in Washington, DC.

The outgoing administration of President Barack Obama has imposed new privacy guidelines on the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that are designed to limit its use of information on American citizens.
The CIA published the new privacy rules on Wednesday, less than two days beforef Donald Trump’s presidency.
The updated procedures include what the CIA must do when it collects, stores and analyzes information on Americans.
The rules, under development for 2 years, were signed on Tuesday by CIA Director John Brennan and Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
The guidelines are designed “in a manner that protects the privacy and civil rights of the American people,” CIA General Counsel Caroline Krass told a briefing at the agency’s headquarters in Langley, Virginia.
The new restrictions will force the CIA, whose mission is to focus on foreign targets, to dispose of the personal data of Americans it comes across during its probes within five years.
The new rules were released amid continued concern over the US government’s mass surveillance programs, an issue that gained prominence after intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed in 2013 that the NSA secretly collected the communications data of millions of ordinary Americans.
Snowden, who worked for the CIA before being hired by an NSA contractor, revealed numerous global surveillance programs that the US government conducted with the cooperation of telecommunication companies and European governments.
The incoming Trump administration can change the new rules. The president-elect has said he favors stronger government surveillance powers, including the monitoring of “certain” mosques in the .   
But Trump has also had a tense relationship with the CIA and other intelligence agencies following his election victory. The CIA reported last month that Russian hackers had intervened in the US presidential election to help Trump defeat his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
Trump had rebuffed the CIA report that Russia was behind the hacks or was trying to help him win, but accepted the findings earlier this month, though he still rejects allegations that the cyber attacks led to his victory.
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