The Obama administration is now allowing the National Security Agency to share intercepted communication with "16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections," The New York Times reported.
These new rules, part of a larger trend of intelligence sharing between agencies, permit other agencies to search directly through the NSA's raw data, the Times reported. Previously, the NSA only shared information that was relevant, protecting the personal information and identities of other people.
While the expanded rules allow for a larger number of analysts to access the data, Robert Litt, the general counsel to the director of national intelligence, told the Times that this does not increase the "substantive ability of law enforcement to get access to signals intelligence."
Patrick Toomey, an attorney American Civil Liberties Union, told the Times he disagreed.
"Seventeen different government agencies shouldn't be rooting through Americans' emails with family members, friends and colleagues, all without ever obtaining a warrant," Toomey told the newspaper.