The National Security Agency came to the
defense of its info gathering under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act,
which has been under fire following stories about the extent of its collection
of online communications.
"The NSA does
not sift through and have unfettered access to 75% of the United States' online
communications," the NSA and the Office of the Director of National
That was in
reference to a Wall Street Journal article NSA said provide a "misleading"
picture of its collection programs.
NSA said that using
all its authority, NSA "touches" about 1.6% of the world's Internet
traffic, and that analysts only look at .00004% of that. NSA says it only
obtains info as the result of e-mail addresses or phone numbers of non-U.S.
persons "believed to possess or receive foreign intelligence
But it does concede
that in targeting terrorists who are not U.S.
"persons," NSA "may get both sides of a communications, but in
that case must follow procedures to protect privacy.
NSA says, finally,
that its FISA communications collection is "the most significant tool in
the NSA collection arsenal for the detection, identification, and disruption of
terrorist threats to the U.S. and around the
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