NSA: Search Our Own Emails? We Actually Can't

ProPublica's Freedom of Information Act request gets the brush-off

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 23, 2013 2:46 PM CDT

(Newser) – The NSA's mighty information-gathering powers apparently do not extend to its own employees' inboxes. ProPublica filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the spy agency, asking for all emails between its employees and the National Geographic Channel, which has aired some decidedly NSA-friendly documentaries. The agency refused, saying it had "no central method to search an email at this time with the way our records are set up," describing the record system as "a little antiquated."

Needless to say, ProPublica isn't exactly buying that; writer Justin Elliott points out that major corporations and government agencies conduct bulk email searches all the time. "It's just baffling," says a rep from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. "This is an agency that's charged with monitoring millions of communications globally, and they can't even track their own internal communications." Edward Snowden once boasted that, as an NSA contractor, he could have read the email of President Obama himself. Click for the full story.

This June 6, 2013, file photo shows the sign outside the National Security Administration (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md.
This June 6, 2013, file photo shows the sign outside the National Security Administration (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
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