Late Saturday night, the Washington Post dropped a bombshell of a report related to a trove of documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.
The documents included 160,000 e-mail and instant-message conversations intercepted by the NSA, as well as 7,900 documents taken from more than 11,000 online accounts. The Washington Post says that the information spans from 2009 to 2012.
In the Post‘s analysis, “nearly half” of the files contained details that the NSA had marked as belonging to US citizens or residents, which the agency masked, or “minimized,” to protect those citizens’ privacy. Still, despite the 65,000 minimized references to Americans that the Post found in the cache, 900 additional e-mail addresses were found unmasked “that could be strongly linked to US citizens or US residents.”
The Post did not reproduce any of the intercepted communications.
The paper does describe some of the valuable information that the NSA was able to gather in the sweeping surveillance method.
Fresh revelations about a secret overseas nuclear project, double-dealing by an ostensible ally, a military calamity that befell an unfriendly power, and the identities of aggressive intruders into US computer networks,” are all contained within the communications that Snowden leaked.
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