WASHINGTON (AP):The Obama administration has given up more of its surveillance secrets, acknowledging that it was ordered to stop scooping up thousands of Internet communications from Americans with no connection to terrorism, a practice it says was an unintended consequence when it gathered bundles of Internet traffic connected to terror suspects.
One of the documents that intelligence officials released Wednesday came because a court ordered the National Security Agency (NSA) to do so. But it's also part of the administration's response to the leaks by analyst-turned-fugitive Edward Snowden, who revealed that the NSA's spying programs went further and gathered millions more United States (US) communications than most Americans realised.
The NSA declassified three secret court opinions showing how it revealed to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that one of its surveillance programs may have collected and stored as many as 56,000 emails and other communications by ordinary Americans annually over three years.
The court ruled the NSA actions unconstitutional and ordered the agency to fix the problem, which it did by creating new technology to filter out buckets of data most likely to contain US emails, and then limit the access to that data and destroy it every two years, instead of every five years, as mandated by the court for other US records gathered by the NSA.