National Security Agency found spying on Americans

April 16th, 2009 - 6:29 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Apr.16 (ANI): The National Security Agency has attracted criticism for intercepting Americans’ e-mails and phone calls in recent months on a scale that went beyond limits set by Congress last year, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

The problems were discovered during a review of the intelligence activities, the Justice Department said in a statement Wednesday night, and said they had been resolved.

Citing unnamed intelligence officials, the Times said the NSA had engaged in “‘over-collection’ of domestic communications of Americans.” Sources reportedly described the practice as varying from significant to systemic to unintentional.

The agency also tried to wiretap a member of Congress without a warrant, an intelligence official told the Times.

The NSA believed that the congressman, whose identity was not revealed, was in contact with an extremist who had possible ties to terror and was already under surveillance. The NSA then tried to eavesdrop on the congressman’s conversations, the Times said.

A bill passed by Congress in July 2008 authorizes U.S. intelligence agencies to eavesdrop without court approval on foreign targets believed to be outside the United States.

In its statement, the Justice Department said it has taken “comprehensive steps to correct the situation and bring the program into compliance.” (ANI)

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