NSA scans 75 percent of US Internet traffic through teleco, deals

Josh Peterson Tech Editor
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The National Security Agency is cataloging more information about Americans than is admitted by Washington, The Wall Street Journal reports.

With the help of U.S. telecommunications carriers, the NSA scans 75 percent of all U.S. Internet traffic, which includes contents of emails and domestic digital phone calls by foreigners and Americans.

The report seemingly contradicts the narrative put forth by the Obama administration, senior U.S. intelligence officials and various members of Congress about the agency’s content collection activities.

All have been careful to speak specifically about PRISM and BLARNEY, the agency’s phone and Internet metadata collection programs, denying that these programs collect the contents of emails and phone calls.

The metadata of an email, for example would include the email addresses of the sender and the recipient of the message.

“But other programs, such as these listed above, were clearly about actual content as well,” wrote TechDirt’s Mike Masnick, speaking of NSA programs codenamed Fairview, Oakstar, Lithium and Stormbrew.

Former AT&T technician Mark Klein, the original NSA whistle-blower, first warned in 2006 of a secret room at an AT&T facility in San Francisco where the NSA was scanning through raw Internet data.

The Washington Post and The Guardian previously published classified information provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden about how NSA analysts can access information filtered through PRISM, and the agency’s programs that hack the Internet’s backbone networks.

The Guardian also reported on XKeyscore, another program that allows NSA analysts to quickly access private emails collected by the agency.

Anonymous U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News that they are “overwhelmed” trying to figure out how much classified data Snowden took from the agency.

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