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 Headlines

in Local

Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Hiring 715 Workers

Fresh
GENERIC SHIPYARD LARGE

Portsmouth Naval Shipyard says it's in the process of hiring more than 700 workers.

in Local

Thornton Academy Students Sent Home After Phone Threat

Updated
TELEPHONE

All saco schools were put on lockdown this morning as a precation in response to a phone threat.

in Local

Skowhegan Man Faces Drug Trafficking Charges

drugs

SKOWHEGAN, Maine (AP) - Police say a Skowhegan man is facing drug charges after a raid on his apartment yielded more than 400 bags of heroin.

in Local

DHHS Head Promises More Welfare Reform Efforts

GENERIC DHHS LOGO

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - The chief of Maine's human services agency says Gov. Paul LePage will continue his efforts to reform the state's welfare system in his second term.

in Local

Glenburn Woman Struck, Killed By Vehicle

GENERIC AMBULANCE LARGE

GLENBURN, Maine (AP) - Police say a Glenburn woman crossing the street to get her mail has been struck and killed by a passing vehicle.

Tweets

  • 2h
  • 2h
  • 3h
  • 3h
  • 3h
  • 3h
  • 3h