Orwell would be proud. Deliberately buried in the Friday evening news cycle, Biden released an Executive Order with dramatic implications for how signals intelligence is collected on individuals throughout the world.
Specifically, Biden’s directive repeals restrictions on the use of signals intelligence collection (read: spying on you) implemented since the Obama Administration
The Executive Order of October 7, 2022 (Enhancing Safeguards for United States Signals Intelligence Activities), establishes enhanced safeguards for United States signals intelligence activities that supersede the safeguards for personal information collected through signals intelligence established by Presidential Policy Directive 28 of January 17, 2014 (Signals Intelligence Activities) (PPD-28). [White House]
So what was so problematic about the Presidential Policy Directive 28 that Biden Admin had to repeal? We encourage you to read the entire directive, but the following passage strikes us as interesting in light of the fact that Biden just repealed it:
The collection of signals intelligence shall be authorized by statute or Executive Order, proclamation, or other Presidential directive, and undertaken in accordance with the Constitution and applicable statutes, Executive Orders, proclamations, and Presidential directives.
(b) Privacy and civil liberties shall be integral considerations in the planning of U.S. signals intelligence activities. The United States shall not collect signals intelligence for the purpose of suppressing or burdening criticism or dissent, or for disadvantaging persons based on their ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion. Signals intelligence shall be collected exclusively where there is a foreign intelligence or counterintelligence purpose to support national and departmental missions and not for any other purposes.
(c) The collection of foreign private commercial information or trade secrets is authorized only to protect the national security of the United States or its partners and allies. It is not an authorized foreign intelligence or counterintelligence purpose to collect such information to afford a competitive advantage to U.S. companies and U.S. business sectors commercially.
(d) Signals intelligence activities shall be as tailored as feasible. In determining whether to collect signals intelligence, the United States shall consider the availability of other information, including from diplomatic and public sources. Such appropriate and feasible alternatives to signals intelligence should be prioritized.[Obama White House Archives]
What could the Biden Administration be gearing up for? Why would they want to relax restrictions on intelligence collecting? Are they planning escalation in Ukraine, escalation in their Domestic War on American Patriots, or both?
We will cover this story as it develops.