NSA officials objected to the agency’s telephone-record collecting and tried to curb the program in 2009. Years before Edward Snowden leaked information about the NSA’s controversial surveillance program, officials within the agency had a “secret internal debate” over it, according to the AP. A group of dissenting NSA officials wanted to change the bulk phone collection and switch to a method that would let agency employees send queries to telephone companies as needed. However, the Justice Department said that change could not occur without changing the law, and “key members of Congress had no interest in modifying a law that the public—and many lawmakers—did not realize was being used to justify bulk phone collection,” reports the AP. “It’s possible that the entire Snowden leak might have been diverted if the NSA had listened to these objections,” said intelligence expert Steven Aftergood.
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