The Spectacle Blog

Evidence of Massive Online Surveillance, Other NSA Documents Leak

By on 6.27.13 | 1:15PM

Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald have both been promising that their revelations about the NSA will continue. Now another round of leaks has hit the web.

Are you an American? Did you send an email between 2001 and 2011? The Guardian has bad news if you did. Glenn Greenwald and Spencer Ackerman report:

The internet metadata of the sort NSA collected for at least a decade details the accounts to which Americans sent emails and from which they received emails. It also details the internet protocol addresses (IP) used by people inside the United States when sending emails – information which can reflect their physical location. It did not include the content of emails.

“The internet metadata collection program authorized by the Fisa court was discontinued in 2011 for operational and resource reasons and has not been restarted,” Shawn Turner, the Obama administration's director of communications for National Intelligence, said in a statement to the Guardian.

“The program was discontinued by the executive branch as the result of an interagency review,” Turner continued. He would not elaborate further.

But while that specific program has ended, additional secret NSAdocuments [sic] seen by the Guardian show that some collection of Americans' online records continues today. In December 2012, for example, the NSA launched one new program allowing it to analyze communications with one end inside the US, leading to a doubling of the amount of data passing through its filters.

But wait! There's more! Did you use the Internet in the last 24 hours? Of course you did! You are right now! More bad news:

On December 26 2012, SSO announced what it described as a new capability to allow it to collect far more internet traffic and data than ever before. With this new system, the NSA is able to direct more than half of the internet traffic it intercepts from its collection points into its own repositories. One end of the communications collected are inside the United States.

The NSA called it the “One-End Foreign (1EF) solution”. It intended the program, codenamed EvilOlive, for “broadening the scope” of what it is able to collect. It relied, legally, on “FAA Authority”, a reference to the 2008 Fisa Amendments Act that relaxed surveillance restrictions.

This new system, SSO stated in December, enables vastly increased collection by the NSA of internet traffic. "The 1EF solution is allowing more than 75% of the traffic to pass through the filter,” the SSO December document reads. "This milestone not only opened the aperture of the access but allowed the possibility for more traffic to be identified, selected and forwarded to NSA repositories."

It continued: “After the EvilOlive deployment, traffic has literally doubled.”

How did we get to this point? Part of the answer can be found in these DoJ and NSA memos making the case for greater NSA surveillance power. Note that this was after The New York Times’ 2005 expose of domestic surveillance (delayed a year per then-NSA Director Michael Hayden’s request) and USA Today’s 2006 coverage of AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein, who alleged systematic analysis and archiving of Internet traffic.

Looks he just might have been onto something.

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