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Snowden Divulges New Details of NSA Surveillance Capabilities

The Guardian via Getty Images(LONDON) -- National Security Agency intelligence leaker Edward Snowden has done it again.  He has divulged details of a still-top-secret NSA program in documents provided to The Guardian, the same British newspaper that published his first series of revelations.

The newspaper says the so-called “XKeyscore” program basically allows U.S. analysts to snoop on “nearly everything a user does on the Internet” in real time.

The program gathers data, including emails being written, phone calls, social network activity, websites being visited and words being searched, via 150 sites around the world.

The NSA doesn’t deny XKeyscore’s existence and actually acknowledges the program, calling it “lawful.”

The agency released a statement saying, “NSA’s activities are focused and specifically deployed against -- and only against -- legitimate foreign intelligence targets in response to requirements that our leaders need for information necessary to protect our nation and its interests.  Public release of this classified material about NSA collection systems, without context, does nothing more than jeopardize sources and methods, and further confuse a very important issue for the country.”

The agency statement goes on to say, “Allegations of widespread, unchecked analyst access to NSA collection data are simply not true.  Access to XKEYSCORE, as well as all of NSA’s analytic tools, is limited to only those personnel who require access for their assigned tasks.”

The agency statement notes that “as of 2008, there were over 300 terrorists captured using intelligence generated from XKeyscore."

Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald says allowing a government agency to “engage in these extraordinary activities” means they can do whatever they want with no accountability.

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