News

NSA May Have Collected Tens of Thousands of Emails of Americans

NSA May Have Collected Tens of Thousands of Emails of Americans

Newly released documents show that the NSA unintentionally collected tens of thousands of email communications. Photo: Associated Press/Charles Dharapak

U.S. intelligence officials released new documents on Wednesday showing that the National Security Agency may have unintentionally collected as many as 56,000 emailed communications of Americans per year between 2008 and 2011.

The officials revealed the documents as part of an effort to explain how the NSA spotted, and then fixed, technical problems which led to the inadvertent collection of emails of American citizens without warrants.

The move is the Obama administration’s latest response to continuing controversy over alleged electronic eavesdropping excesses by the NSA.

The documents included a formerly “top-secret,” but newly-declassified ruling by the ultra-secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in which the court itself, in an obscure footnote, estimates, based on data supplied by NSA, that between 2008 and 2011, the agency might have unintentionally collected as many as 56,000 emailed communications of Americans in each of those three years.

U.S. intelligence officials who agreed to answer questions about the documents’ contents told reporters the domestic emails were collected in the execution of a program designed to target the emails of foreign terrorism suspects.

According to the officials and a court document which the administration released, the NSA decided to “purge” the material after discovering it was inadvertently collected.

Details about the secretive surveillance programs have been brought to light in recent months by fugitive U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, who leaked classified documents to media outlets.

(This story has been corrected to clarify in first and fourth paragraphs that figure given is per year)

Latest Stories

today in Entertainment

Today in entertainment history: April 23

elvis2

A look at the Hollywood headlines of years past.

yesterday in Local, Surrounding Counties

Orange County Man Sentenced for Medicaid Scam

Orange County Sheriff's Department Patch

More than $18,000 lost

yesterday in Sports

Spurs Popovich named NBA Coach of the Year

popovich

Gregg Popovich was voted NBA Coach of the Year, becoming a three-time winner of the award.

yesterday in Viral Videos

Action Movie Kid flies to school

Action Kid Flies

Who needs a school bus when your dad is an animator?

yesterday in Entertainment

Alicia Silverstone courts controversy in new book for moms

alicia

The clueless star criticizes everything from vaccination to potty-training. Her methods may surprise you.