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Surprise! The CIA has a secret stash full of data on Americans

Of course it does.

cia logo with blurred background
Image: KnowTechie

In case you were wondering: Yes, the CIA has a secret archive that it uses to hold intelligence data that it has collected on Americans. Now, two members of the Senate Intelligence Committee have sent a letter to the agency urging it to declassify the information.

According to a new report from AP, Senators Ron Wyden and Martin Heinrich sent a letter to intelligence officials back in April of 2021.

The letter was aimed to encourage the CIA to declassify a report from the Privacy & Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB). The report revealed that the CIA has a secret stash of data that it has collected on Americans.

letter to cia about data collection
A portion of the letter from Senators Wyden and Heinrich (Screenshot: KnowTechie)

The CIA has a foreign mission. That means that its primary responsibility is not to surveil Americans, but rather focus on foreign threats. But it looks like data on Americans tends to find itself in the crosshairs of the CIA incidentally.

Per the Senators’ request, the CIA has declassified the letter as well as a couple of PCLOB reports. Although, the agency has blacked out much of what is in the reports.

As with most things, declassification is not that simple

However, there is an included recommendation from the PCLOB. The recommendation revealed that analysts must have a “foreign intelligence purpose” when using CIA systems and information related to Americans.

But it also goes on to say that “analysts are not required to memorialize the justification for their queries.” And that has led to a loophole of sorts allowing the agency to collect data on Americans without true justification.

It’s shouldn’t really come as a surprise that the CIA has been collecting data on Americans. We learned that our data isn’t even safe from our own government. Remember when Edward Snowden leaked NSA intelligence on Americans?

And AP even points out that the CIA has been gathering intelligence on Americans since way back in the Vietnam War era.

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Staff writer at KnowTechie. Alex has two years of experience covering all things technology, from video games to electric cars. He's a gamer at heart, with a passion for first-person shooters and expansive RPGs. Shoot him an email at alex@knowtechie.com

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