The NSA intercepts more communications by regular American and non-American Internet users than legally targeted foreigners, an exclusive investigation by the Washington Post found.
The Washington Post reports:
Nine of 10 account holders found in a large cache of intercepted conversations, which former NSA contractor Edward Snowden provided in full to The Post, were not the intended surveillance targets but were caught in a net the agency had cast for somebody else.
Nearly half of the intercepted communications contained information such as names and email addresses that belonged to US citizens or residents, the Post found.
The surveillance files highlight a policy dilemma that has been aired only abstractly in public. There are discoveries of considerable intelligence value in the intercepted messages — and collateral harm to privacy on a scale that the Obama administration has not been willing to address.
While some communications intercepted provided detailed information that might have protected US national security by foreign terrorists, other files that were saved but deemed useless contained information highlighting daily lives of Internet users.