In (Part I) I wondered — kinda between humming and out-loud — about the limited scope of ACLU’s FOIA request from NSA, CIA, ODNI, FBI and DOD for “all agreements … other arrangements with foreign countries concerning the sharing … of foreign-intelligence surveillance data” which is “acquired through or derived from electronic surveillance.”
Limited because the risk to civil/constitutional rights the request attempts to assess is less in routine sharing of national security data and more inherent to cross border law enforcement operations. FBI is the only agency in the FOIA request; its CD investigations are separate from criminal investigations and outside the scope of the request. Note that any IC element, not just the FBI, can get raw NSA SIGINT (here for a quick and dirty and may be slightly arousing and not nauseating summary) which it can use/share/abuse outside of the scope of FOIA request. This nicely segues to cross the border law enforcement activities.
Mutual Law Enforcement Agreements (MLA) and MLA under Treaties (MLAT) have recently come under scrutiny for the potential to bypass judicial control of international surveillance requests. Hey — ACLU where is thy head buried?!
That is just the legally permissive information flow/chain from national security grade safeguards to IC element (although not all NSA or SCI/need to know data is raw or shared wholesale with every element) to non-intelligence side of every member.
From there, that and any other data (including US citizens’) held by any of those agencies can get entangled in, or pass through an MLA or MLAT sanctioned operation where data sharing procedural and judicial controls are practically nill due to lack of accountability, audit trails and a number of domestic and international weak links .
The risks areas can be broken down into process, misalignment of mission/purpose/goals, culture and incentives. The impact though can be grave with severe national and international repercussions for national security, human life, crime, law and order, and diplomatic relations.
And above all: integrity, trust and credibility, a hardly and often never recoverable from damage. Which makes part III very interesting. Not that this one wasn’t.
I thought I can fit it all in 2 parts but it is 3. 2 or 3 what is in a number — or 2 anyways?