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Guardian: NSA tool collects 'nearly everything a user does on the internet'

July 31, 2013 - Ben Klein
Glenn Greenwald writing in The Guardian today has a story about the N.S.A. program XKeyscore with slides from within the government agency provided by Edward Snowden that "...allows analysts to search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals".

"The NSA boasts in training materials that the program, called XKeyscore, is its "widest-reaching" system for developing intelligence from the internet.

The latest revelations will add to the intense public and congressional debate around the extent of NSA surveillance programs. They come as senior intelligence officials testify to the Senate judiciary committee on Wednesday, releasing classified documents in response to the Guardian's earlier stories on bulk collection of phone records and Fisa surveillance court oversight.

The files shed light on one of Snowden's most controversial statements, made in his first video interview published by the Guardian on June 10.

"I, sitting at my desk," said Snowden, could "wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email".

US officials vehemently denied this specific claim. Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee, said of Snowden's assertion: "He's lying. It's impossible for him to do what he was saying he could do."

But training materials for XKeyscore detail how analysts can use it and other systems to mine enormous agency databases by filling in a simple on-screen form giving only a broad justification for the search. The request is not reviewed by a court or any NSA personnel before it is processed."

Slides from the XKeyscore presentation from 2008 are available here.

 
 

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