NSA: We're too complex to comply with law, so we're destroying evidence in EFF lawsuit

FILE PHOTO  NSA Compiles Massive Database Of Private Phone Calls

The National Security Agency is using a new argument for not retaining the data it gathers about users' online activity: The NSA is just too complex.

From Andrea Peterson's report in the Washington Post this week, about a case brought forward by the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

The NSA argued that holding onto the data would be too burdensome. "A requirement to preserve all data acquired under section 702 presents significant operational problems, only one of which is that the NSA may have to shut down all systems and databases that contain Section 702 information," wrote NSA Deputy Director Richard Ledgett in a court filing submitted to the court.

The complexity of the NSA systems meant preservation efforts might not work, he argued, but would have "an immediate, specific, and harmful impact on the national security of the United States." Part of this complexity, Ledgett said, stems from privacy restrictions placed on the programs by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

[HT: Parker Higgins]