Washington, August 8 (RHC)– In the latest revelations about the National Security Agency’s sweeping surveillance, the New York Times reports the NSA is searching through the contents of vast troves of e-mail and text communications flowing into and out of the country.
An unnamed senior intelligence official told the newspaper that the NSA is not only intercepting the communications of U.S. citizens who are in touch with so-called foreign targets- — a practice that has been acknowledged publicly — they are also casting the net far wider to include those who cite information linked to foreign targets.
In order to carry out the surveillance, The New York Times reports the NSA is “temporarily copying and then sifting through the contents of what is apparently most e-mails and other text-based communications that cross the border.”
According to the unnamed official, after the communications are scanned for keywords or other red flags, those that do not raise alarms are deleted. The entire process takes seconds. The practice is touched on in a document leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to The Guardian about the NSA’s powers under the 2008 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.