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Report: Ordinary Americans caught up in data sweep

Report: 90% Of NSA Data Isn't From Intended Targets

WASHINGTON (AP) - When the U.S. National Security Agency intercepted the online accounts of legally targeted foreigners over a four-year period it also collected the conversations of nine times as many ordinary Internet users, both Americans and non-Americans, according to a probe by The Washington Post.

Nearly half of those surveillance files contained names, email addresses or other details that the NSA marked as belonging to U.S. citizens or residents, the Post reported in a story posted on its website Saturday night. While the federal agency tried to protect their privacy by masking more than 65,000 such references to individuals, the newspaper said it found nearly 900 additional email addresses that could be strongly linked to U.S. citizens or residents.

At the same time, the intercepted messages contained material of considerable intelligence value, the Post reported, such as information about a secret overseas nuclear project, double-dealing by an ostensible ally, a military calamity that befell an unfriendly power, and the identities of aggressive intruders into U.S. computer networks.

As an example, the newspaper said the files showed that months of tracking communications across dozens of alias accounts led directly to the capture in 2011 of a Pakistan-based bomb builder suspected in a 2002 terrorist bombing in Bali. The Post said it was withholding other examples, at the request of the CIA, that would compromise ongoing investigations.

The material reviewed by the Post included roughly 160,000 intercepted e-mail and instant-message conversations, some of them hundreds of pages long, and 7,900 documents taken from more than 11,000 online accounts. It spanned President Barack Obama's first term, 2009 to 2012, and was provided to the Post by former NSA analyst Edward Snowden.

The daily lives of more than 10,000 account holders who were not targeted were catalogued and recorded, the Post reported. The newspaper described that material as telling "stories of love and heartbreak, illicit sexual liaisons, mental-health crises, political and religious conversions, financial anxieties and disappointed hopes." The material collected included more than 5,000 private photos, the paper said.

The cache Snowden provided to the newspaper came from domestic NSA operations under the broad authority granted by Congress in 2008 with amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, according to the Post.

By law, the NSA may "target" only foreign nationals located overseas unless it obtains a warrant based on probable cause from a special surveillance court, the Post said. "Incidental collection" of third-party communications is inevitable in many forms of surveillance, according to the newspaper. In the case of the material Snowden provided, those in an online chat room visited by a target or merely reading the discussion were included in the data sweep, as were hundreds of people using a computer server whose Internet protocol was targeted.

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jebby1 July 06 2014 at 5:05 PM

Considering the Obama Administration proclivity for lying and misleading the American people, I'd say the likelihood that the NSA is spying on people who are politically opposed to Obama is probably 100%.


Flag Reply +95 rate up
30 replies
darkfree July 06 2014 at 5:10 PM

I guess they found out that most of us are very unhappy with this President.

Flag Reply +75 rate up
7 replies
loara71 July 06 2014 at 5:10 PM

I thought our trustworthy president came right out and said.......... "ordinary citizens are not spied on"....That's what I heard from his very own mouth."

Flag Reply +73 rate up
18 replies
BroPower July 06 2014 at 6:08 PM

Big Brother
Is watching you...
Or should I say -- Big bro..!
Looks like George Orwell was right.
The only difference is the year.
Trade out the year 1984 for 2014.
What happens next ..?
Read the book for yourself.!
Warning --- it ain't good.!
Especially if you are a Conservative.!

Flag Reply +70 rate up
5 replies
Wiley July 06 2014 at 5:10 PM

it is a shame and a shock as I find more and more proof that my own Gov is my enemy --

Flag Reply +53 rate up
9 replies
runswthscisors40 July 06 2014 at 5:15 PM

Little Boy to Obama: "My Daddy says you spy on us."..........Obama: "He's not your Daddy.".............

Flag Reply +45 rate up
4 replies
vietnamvet1967 July 06 2014 at 5:21 PM

Can we say Worse than Communist China here anymore on snooping

Flag Reply +34 rate up
3 replies
mldinc@aol.com July 06 2014 at 5:12 PM

I hope Obama spied on all those Europeans who absolutely love him. Let them have a good taste of America's 1st Black African American President.

Flag Reply +25 rate up
9 replies
Richard Miller July 06 2014 at 6:44 PM

If it is so good, lets see Lerner's emails

Flag Reply +24 rate up
1 reply
balaland Richard Miller July 06 2014 at 7:24 PM

John Boehner's conversations also, why not , It was OK to record Sterling, right......

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
slackwarerobert balaland July 07 2014 at 11:43 AM

as long as you have a warrant it was.

Flag 0 rate up
Roy July 06 2014 at 5:13 PM

If only they would use all that technology to find and stop Rachel from Card Services...

Flag Reply +18 rate up
4 replies
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