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NSA's Spying Includes Most US Emails That Cross Border
Anything going abroad about foreign targets intercepted
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 8, 2013 7:26 AM CDT
Updated Aug 8, 2013 8:00 AM CDT
The National Security Administration campus in Fort Meade, Md.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

(Newser) – The NSA is poring over pretty much all emails and texts sent across the border by Americans to look for information that might raise red flags, the New York Times reports. The revelation means that the NSA's surveillance of Americans is broader than was previously known: It's not just direct communication between an American and foreign targets that will be intercepted; it's any email or text about a such a target. As New York puts it, "If you mention a terrorist's email address or phone number to a friend overseas, the NSA intends to find out." The NSA temporarily copies most cross-border communications, the Times notes, and scans them.

The expanded surveillance was mentioned, but largely overlooked, in information released by Edward Snowden in June. The ACLU calls it "dragnet surveillance" that will cause ordinary people to hesitate before discussing sensitive topics or visiting controversial websites for fear they will be monitored. “Individually, these hesitations might appear to be inconsequential, but the accumulation of them over time will change citizens’ relationship to one another and to the government.” A former NSA general counsel cites an example of how it could be useful: Say intel officials knew al-Qaeda was using a particular phone number for a specific plot. “If someone is sending that number out, chances are they are on the inside of the plot, and I want to find the people who are on the inside of the plot."

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Showing 3 of 28 comments
1freeusa
Aug 8, 2013 9:57 PM CDT
Americans went to war overseas to overthrow governments that did to their people what our government is doing to us.......maybe its time for the american people to declare war on their government. (which is not their government anymore)
Lefty_Libby
Aug 8, 2013 4:15 PM CDT
Well, lots of my stuff goes back and forth to Canada. Bunch of old broads. Hope the NSA enjoys our Maxine cartoons and cat videos.
KronX7
Aug 8, 2013 12:33 PM CDT
George Bush would never have gotten away with this. They would have lynched him.