The UK Guardian is making good on its promise to release more information provided by Edward Snowden, revealing a Powerpoint presentation marked top secret, used to train NSA analysts in using the vast data gathering resources the agency provides. Glenn Greenwald writes:
The files shed light on one of Snowden's most controversial statements, made in his first video interview published by the Guardian on June 10.
"I, sitting at my desk," said Snowden, could "wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email".
US officials vehemently denied this specific claim. Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee, said of Snowden's assertion: "He's lying. It's impossible for him to do what he was saying he could do."
But training materials for XKeyscore detail how analysts can use it and other systems to mine enormous agency databases by filling in a simple on-screen form giving only a broad justification for the search. The request is not reviewed by a court or any NSA personnel before it is processed.
XKeyscore, the documents boast, is the NSA's "widest reaching" system developing intelligence from computer networks - what the agency calls Digital Network Intelligence (DNI). One presentation claims the program covers "nearly everything a typical user does on the internet", including the content of emails, websites visited and searches, as well as their metadata. (snip)
XKeyscore provides the technological capability, if not the legal authority, to target even US persons for extensive electronic surveillance without a warrant provided that some identifying information, such as their email or IP address, is known to the analyst.
Among the many slides from the Powerpoint presentation, the article presents this:
As one slide indicates, the ability to search HTTP activity by keyword permits the analyst access to what the NSA calls "nearly everything a typical user does on the internet".
This looks like vindication for Snowden's claims. And it reveals that Big Brother is already here. Rep. Rogers needs to read this and respond.