“I wrote about that “great leap forward” back in February. When the entire intelligence community became connected via its “intelligence Internet,” equipped with cloud technology provided by Jeff Bezos, the ability of IC personnel outside of NSA to retrieve unmasked data accelerated dramatically. The main thing that fell away was the literal need to put down an audit trail of positive permissions in order to do it.
The vulnerability of the FISA unmasking system has for a long time been the administrative arrangements, which allow for legal justification to be, in effect, checked in a box, or added in a perfunctory way after the fact. Since sometime in 2015, when the cloud-enabled intel Internet was up and running for all 17 agencies, the formal nod to even that perfunctory arrangement became little more than an annoying paperwork drill – for anyone who has the user permissions to retrieve unmasked data. It’s as if you, as a privileged system user, had to fill out a form and certify what you were doing with the results of your next Google search.”