The National Security Agency has overstepped its authority and broken privacy rules thousands of times every year since being given new surveillance powers by Congress in 2008, The Washington Post reported, citing an internal audit and other secret documents.
The documents, which the Post claims it received earlier this summer from NSA leaker Edward Snowden, detail how the controversial agency has crossed the line many times over in its collection of massive amounts of data from around the world.
Despite repeated claims by officials that the NSA does not spy on Americans, the Post reports that the bulk of the infractions involved improper surveillance of Americans or foreign targets in the U.S. Some of the infractions were inadvertent, caused by typographical errors resulting in U.S. calls or emails being intercepted. Others were more serious.
The Post reported that the most significant violations included the unauthorized use of information on more than 3,000 Americans and green-card holders. In another incident, the Post reported that a “large number” of calls from Washington were intercepted in 2008 after the Washington area code 202 was confused with the code 20, which is the code for dialing to Egypt.