US intelligence to store information on Americans without terror ties

Last Updated: Fri, Mar 23, 2012 08:08 hrs

Washington: American intelligence will be now able to store information about Americans with no ties to terrorism for upto five years under new Obama administration guidelines.

"Following the failed terrorist attack in December 2009, representatives of the counterterrorism community concluded it is vital for NCTC to be provided with a variety of datasets from various agencies that contain terrorism information," Fox News quoted Director of National Intelligence James Clapper's statement, as saying.

"The ability to search against these datasets for up to five years on a continuing basis as these updated guidelines permit will enable NCTC to accomplish its mission more practically and effectively," he added.

The new rules replace the 2008 guidelines under which the National Counterterrorism Center so far had to destroy immediately information about Americans that already was stored in government databases.

"It is a vast expansion of the government's surveillance authority," Marc Rotenberg, Electronic Privacy Information Center's executive director said of the five-year retention period.

The Obama administration said the new rules include strong safeguards for privacy and civil liberties as well.

The NCTC was created after the 9/ 11 attacks as the central U.S. organization to analyze and integrate intelligence regarding terrorism. 

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