National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward Snowden is letting the public know that the NSA keeps the vast amounts of data it collects longer than it lets on.
In response to a question from Glenn Greenwald about whether someone has a record of a person’s communications “or the actual content,” Snowden replied, “Both.”
“If I target, for example, an email address, for example, under FAA 702 [The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments, Section 702], and that email address sent something to you, Joe America, the analyst gets it,” Snowden said.
“‘All of it: IPs, raw data, content, headers, attachments, everything. And it gets saved for a very long time — and can be extended further with waivers rather than warrants,” he said.
Snowden’s response was given during a live Q&A with The Guardian and its online audience on Monday.
It is unclear for how long the government retains the vast amounts of information it collects through its various surveillance initiatives.
The procedures designed to minimize the collection of data on United States persons are themselves are secret.
Under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, however, the attorney general approves the procedures.
But if the NSA is getting waivers, especially if the agency has a policy that it might need to use the data in the future, those extensions could potentially continue indefinitely.