Right Hooks

NSA's 'Unintentional' Targets

Ordinary individuals under surveillance.

Jul. 7, 2014

According to documents taken by Edward Snowden, the overwhelming majority of Internet users scrutinized by the NSA are not the intended targets. “Nine of 10 account holders found in a large cache of intercepted conversations … were not the intended surveillance targets but were caught in a net the agency had cast for somebody else,” reports The Washington Post. All told, “The daily lives of more than 10,000 account holders who were not targeted are catalogued and recorded,” the Post adds. “At the 9-to-1 ratio of incidental collection in Snowden’s sample, the office’s figure would correspond to nearly 900,000 accounts, targeted or not, under surveillance.” That’s not to say the entire program is futile – terrorists Muhammad Tahir Shahzad and Umar Patek were nabbed with the help of these very methods, for example. However, the issue here is one of trust, and this administration has given us every reason to fear this type of behavior. More…

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