NSA Defends Cellphone Tracking: Reagan Authorized It

Tracking Your Location Never Authorized by Congress

The NSA is tracking the locations of “hundreds of millions” of people worldwide using cellphone GPS. They said they weren’t in previous comments, but that was just one of many lies they got caught in. Now they’re defending it.

And, showing their predictable lack of shame, the NSA is now openly claiming that tracking everyone’s whereabouts by cellphone GPS is perfectly legal, not subject to court review, and authorized by an executive order that contains none of the following words: cellphone, GPS, or tracking.

It’s not surprising that they’re not mentioned, because when Ronald Reagan issued the order, in 1981, there were no cellular telephones in the United States, and there was no such thing as civilian GPS.

The convenience of blaming Reagan in this regard is that nobody can realistically call them on it. Congress never authorized the tracking, and it has become well established that US courts won’t hear lawsuits related to the violation of an executive order.

The excuse is essentially bulletproof, and the NSA could do essentially anything, insist Reagan said it was okay, and the simple fact that he didn’t is totally irrelevant.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.