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)

Recent News

13 mins ago in Entertainment

Changes are coming to Twitter

Fresh
twitterREUTERS

User names and attachments - including photos and videos - will no longer count towards the length of a tweet, but the 140-character limit will stay.

27 mins ago in Entertainment

‘Pink Panther’ star Burt Kwouk dies at 85

Fresh
burtkwoukREUTERS

He also starred in numerous films, among them three James Bond movies including "Goldfinger."

2 hours ago in Viral Videos

WATCH: ‘Chewbacca Mom’ and ‘Star Wars’ director J.J. Abrams take a drive

Fresh
19-overlay-7

Just three happy Chewbaccas having fun in a car together.

5 hours ago in Entertainment

Tyler Perry moving to a farm

tylerperry942732378140

The actor and filmmaker is planning to turn his new home in Georgia into a farm after cashing in on the record-breaking sale of his Atlanta mansion.

5 hours ago in Music

Ozzy gets a train

ozzy420467453452

The rocker is to have a Midland Metro tram named after him in his native Birmingham, England, and Ozzy will meet the caboose on Thursday.