Government to keep data on citizens with no terrorism ties26/03/2012 19:50
The U.S. intelligence community will be able to store information about Americans with no ties to terrorism for up to five years under new Obama administration guidelines.
Until now, the National Counterterrorism Center had to immediately destroy information about Americans that was already stored in other government databases when there were no clear ties to terrorism.
Members of Congress had called for expanding the center's record-retention authority, saying the intelligence community did not connect strands of intelligence held by multiple agencies that led up to the failed bombing attempt on a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas 2009.
"Following the failed terrorist attack in December 2009, representatives of the counter-terrorism community concluded it is vital for NCTC to be provided with a variety of data sets from various agencies that contain terrorism information," National Intelligence Director James R. Clapper Jr. said in a statement late Thursday. "The ability to search against these data sets 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."
The new rules, which replace guidelines issued in 2008, have privacy advocates concerned about the potential for data-mining information on innocent Americans.