“The N.S.A. is not just intercepting the communications of Americans who are in direct contact with foreigners targeted overseas,” the August 8 story reported. “It is also casting a far wider net for people who cite information linked to those foreigners.”
Senior Obama administration officials — such as Director of National Intelligence James Clapper — had falsely denied the NSA even collected data on phone calls and Internet traffic on millions of Americans until whistleblower and former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed them to the press.
But the New York Times story revealed that the NSA is not merely collecting the information of Americans, it is also actively sifting through Americans' private Internet and e-mail messages. “The National Security Agency is searching the contents of vast amounts of Americans’ e-mail and text communications into and out of the country, hunting for people who mention information about foreigners under surveillance, according to intelligence officials.”
The Times' story flatly contradicts the public reassurances of President Obama just two days ago. “There is no spying on Americans,” Obama told NBC's Tonight Show host Jay Leno just two days before the Times story. “We don't have a domestic spying program.”
NSA surveillance information has also been shared with other U.S. agencies, such as the Drug Enforcement Agency, for domestic criminal prosecution, and has been for more than a decade.
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