Most NSA Data From Ordinary Users

The Washington Post has uncovered that the National Security Agency collects data on significantly more ordinary users than legal foreign targets when it intercepts communications. In conversations provided by Edward Snowden, nine out of ten account holders in NSA-intercepted communications were not the intended legal target. The NSA catalogued and saved immense amounts of intimate data from “incidental third parties,” from suggestive photos of women in lingerie to smiling toddlers to personal love letters. The revealing amount of personal information from ordinary internet users, including American citizens, seriously challenges the way the NSA has claimed to conduct communications-interception programs, like PRISM and Upstream. Snowden's leak also directly contradicts government officials' claims that he would not have had access to this type of data. Former NSA Director Gen. Kieth Alexander even said in May “They didn’t touch the FISA data.That database, he [Snowden] didn’t have access to.” This most recent cache of intercepted conversations suggests that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence's “transparency report” from June 26 was amiss. That stated 89,138 people were targets of PRISM and Upstream surveillance last year, but the Snowden-leaked data suggests the number is closer to 900,000.