A report from the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday gives a much clearer look at how—and how much—information is gathered by the secret NSA programs recently brought to light in the Edward Snowden leaks.

While we already knew that the NSA permitted itself to access communications “two to three hops” away from suspected terrorists (which would encompass hundreds of millions of Americans), the WSJ reports that, through the cooperation of major telecom corporations, the NSA has the ability to sample from 75 percent of the nation’s Internet traffic.

The WSJ’s report relies on the testimony of multiple anonymous “current and former intelligence and government officials and people from companies that help build or operate the systems, or provide data.” These sources confirmed that, “in some cases, [the NSA] retains the written content of e-mails sent between citizens within the US and also filters domestic phone calls made with Internet technology.” Access to this information is granted at “more than a dozen” major Internet junctions on US soil, rather than sucked up exclusively from undersea or foreign cables.     

Leave a Reply