The National Security Agency goes beyond intercepting direct communications between Americans and foreign persons of interest, as government officials have previously acknowledged, by also collecting e-mail and text communications from Americans who may mention a foreign surveillance target, the New York Times reported Thursday.
A senior intelligence official told the Times the NSA is casting a net for Americans’ communications that may cite information connected to foreign targets, like an e-mail address.
A rule for carrying out Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act law, listed among documents leaked by former security contractor Edward Snowden and published by The Guardian on June 20, mentioned that the NSA “seeks to acquire communications about the target that are not to or from the target.” That rule hinted at the wider scope of NSA surveillance but has been largely overlooked, according to the Times.
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at email@example.com.