An analysis of the US government’s spying on Americans shows no indication of any reforms to end the bulk collection of phone records by the National Security Agency
The Obama administration has done nothing to change its domestic spying practices, despite public statements by Attorney General Loretta Lynch and a congressional investigation, a new analysis shows.
The analysis, by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a Washington-based privacy advocacy group, shows the government continued to use bulk data collection for law enforcement purposes for years, including through 2016.
It also shows the NSA continues to use the information gathered to target journalists, researchers and political opponents.
EPIC’s analysis comes as Lynch’s office is reviewing the government’s handling of the FBI’s investigation into leaks by former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
Lynch’s office said earlier this month it will take into account the results of the investigation into the leaks.
“The FBI will review all of the information collected and will provide its final report in early March,” Lynch’s press secretary, Peter Carr, told reporters at a news conference.
Earlier this month, Lynch said the Justice Department would review the “unacceptable” use of data gathered by the agency, which the NSA maintains is a legal and essential tool in the fight against terrorism.
‘There’s no evidence’ the NSA collected any journalists’ phone records.
A spokeswoman for Lynch declined to comment.
The analysis comes days after the White House said it had agreed to meet with the FBI and the NSA.
But in an email to reporters, a White House official said Lynch’s order to review the agency’s surveillance practices was in response to a series of media reports, not an order from the attorney general.
“There’s absolutely no evidence that the government has been collecting any journalists or anyone else’s phone records,” the official said.
“The only way to learn that is to take the government at its word.”
The FBI and NSA have been working on a series to make changes to their surveillance practices since former Director James Comey said the government was ending bulk collection in 2016, which was one of the major stories of the year.
In March, President Donald Trump signed a memorandum directing the FBI to begin a review of the agency.
Flynn resigned from the agency last week after it was revealed he misled Vice President Mike Pence about his communications with Russia’s ambassador.