According to an internal audit and documents provided to The Washington Post by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, the NSA broke privacy rules or went beyond its authority thousands of times each year since 2008, the year Congress granted the agency broader powers. Unauthorized surveillance of Americans or foreign targets in the U.S. account for most of the infractions, which range from significant violations to typographical errors that led to unintended interceptions of phone calls or emails. And that's not all—the documents also describe agency personnel being instructed to scrub information from reports being handed to the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. In total, the audit, dated May 2012, counted 2,776 incidents of unauthorized interceptions, most of which were unintended.
BUSTED Patrick Semansky/AP