The NSA has built up a secret database with “Google-like” features that allows nearly two dozen government agencies to search through 850 billion records, including calls, emails, and Internet chats. ICREACH has data on the private communication of foreigners and millions of Americans, according to documents released by Edward Snowden. ICREACH appears to have gone live in 2007 to “allow unprecedented volumes of communications metadata to be shared and analyzed,” as former NSA director Gen. Keith Alexander wrote in a letter to then-Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte. ICREACH is directly accessible to a number of domestic law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, CIA, and DEA. More than 1,000 U.S. analysts at 23 agencies have been granted access to this database, which can be used under the vague description of “foreign intelligence” purposes.
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