UPDATE 1-NSA surveillance covers 75 percent of U.S. Internet traffic -WSJ

Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:48pm EDT

(Adds NSA's comment, paragraphs 6-7)

Aug 20 (Reuters) - The National Security Agency's surveillance network has the capacity to reach around 75 percent of all U.S. Internet communications in the hunt for foreign intelligence, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

Citing current and former NSA officials, the newspaper said the 75 percent coverage is more of Americans' Internet communications than officials have publicly disclosed.

The Journal said the agency keeps the content of some emails sent between U.S. citizens and also filters domestic phone calls made over the Internet.

The NSA's filtering, carried out with telecom companies, looks for communications that either originate or end abroad, or are entirely foreign but happen to be passing through the United States, the paper said.

But officials told the Journal the system's broad reach makes it more likely that purely domestic communications will be incidentally intercepted and collected in the hunt for foreign ones.

In response to a request for comment, NSA said its intelligence mission "is centered on defeating foreign adversaries who aim to harm the country. We defend the United States from such threats while fiercely working to protect the privacy rights of U.S. persons.

"It's not either/or. It's both," NSA said in an email statement to Reuters.

The Journal said that these surveillance programs show the NSA can track almost anything that happens online, so long as it is covered by a broad court order, the Journal said.

Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor, first disclosed details of secret U.S. programs to monitor Americans' telephone and Internet traffic earlier this summer. (Reporting by Michael Erman; Editing by Philip Barbara)

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Comments (5)
Zelgath wrote:
Just how stupid are people? I accept people have different levels of intelligence. My knowledge of knowing what to say to beautiful women ZERO. However, you ever wonder why radio and television stations do an emergency broadcast, they are required to by law so the government knows they can use it in an emergency. The internet was created so NATO could talk to each other. It didnt become trendy until Windows. There are roughly 10 hubs all internet traffic travels through in the US. I worked at Bell Labs I made one set of boards for the US Military and another for Verizon and AT & T. I believe beyond all doubt the government can read anything it wants to on the internet. I have no reason to believe Snowdin is lying. 75% that number seems awfully low, I would expect 100% access to internet and zero to intranets, so unless their is 25% traffic on intranets I find this article hard to swallow.

Aug 21, 2013 1:04am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Monarke wrote:
You left out the part where the NSA is wire tapping POTS private telephone lines and have had phone tapping stations set up since the George Bush years.

Aug 21, 2013 2:39am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Monarke wrote:
@Zelgath and the “grapevine” (before ethernet) was used by Xerox…. Did you know that Intel, Digital Equipment Corporation and Xerox invented the Ethernet. I remember when there were both Grapevine and Arpanet servers in the Xerox software testing lab in El Segundo California

Aug 21, 2013 2:42am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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