Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

article imageFiles show NSA collects more data on U.S. citizens than targets

By Greta McClain     Jul 6, 2014 in World
Newly released documents show that the communications of everyday Internet users were targeted by the National Security Agency (NSA) far more times than communications from legally targeted individuals.
The documents contain communications intercepted by the NSA and provided to the Washington Post by former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden. According to The Washington Post, 90 percent of the account holders mentioned in the released documents were not intended targets for surveillance.
Nearly half of the released surveillance files related to the communications contained the names, e-mail addresses or other identifying details that were marked by the NSA as belonging to U.S. citizens or residents. Although the majority of the files which contained references to individuals not legally targeted by the NSA were “masked" by NSA agents, some 900 other files were left unmasked and remained in the custody of agents.
Some of the files contained useful intelligence, including information on "aggressive intruders into U.S. computer networks" and "a secret overseas nuclear project," according to an NPR report. However, many of the files contain information such as the academic transcripts of schoolchildren, photos of children, medical records sent from one family member to another and job seekers resumes , all items that held no useful intelligence data.
Although the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) order issued by Federal Judge John D. Bates in 2010 allows the NSA to "conduct surveillance about 193 foreign governments, foreign factions, foreign-based political organizations and foreign entities such as the World Bank", it does not give the NSA authority to intercept communications from American citizens. In fact, the NSA's own FISA Fact Sheet states:
"The government may not target any U.S. person anywhere in the world under this authority, nor may it target a person outside of the U.S. if the purpose is to acquire
information from a particular, known person inside the U.S. Any inadvertently acquired communication of or concerning a U.S. person must be promptly destroyed if it is neither relevant to the authorized purpose nor evidence of a
Despite the regulations in place to prevent the storing of such information, the NSA's general counsel, Raj De, has publicly stated his agency does not generally attempt to remove irrelevant personal content. However, in a speech at Georgetown University in February 2013, De said:
Screen Capture
"Information to, from or about U.S. persons....acquired incidentally....there are specifically-tailored rules to address the collection, handling, use and destruction of such information consistent with the Fourth Amendment."
These latest documents provided by Snowden, as well as the inconsistent practices and comments made by senior officials within the NSA, continues to call into the question NSA collection methods and the legality of their handling practices when it relates to information obtained on U.S. citizens. Even more alarming is that according to an Office of the Director of National Intelligence Transparency Report released June 26, 2014, it states 89,138 people were targeted under FISA Section 702. If the Snowden documents are an accurate sample and there is a nine in ten incidental collection error, that would translate to nearly 900,000 accounts under surveillance that would not fall under legal surveillance definitions.
More about Nsa, National security agency, Spying, Surveillance, american citizens
More news from
Latest News
Top News