The Guardian columnist broke another major story about the NSA on Wednesday, this one detailing an Internet surveillance program that allows the powerful agency to spy on the emails, Web chats and search histories of millions of Americans without prior authorization.
The National Security Agency is a “supercomputing powerhouse” with machines so powerful their speed is measured in thousands of trillions of operations per second. The agency uses those machines to sift through unimaginably large troves of data its surveillance programs capture. But ask the NSA, as part of a FOIA request, to do a seemingly simple search of its own employees’ email? The agency says it doesn’t have the technology.
Among the snooping revelations of recent weeks, there have been tantalizing bits of evidence that the NSA is tapping fiber-optic cables that carry nearly all international phone and Internet data.But like other aspects of NSA surveillance, virtually everything about this kind of NSA surveillance is highly secret and we’re left with far from a full picture.