NSA: Suggestions of Massive Online Monitoring Inaccurate

Agency Says It Only Analyzes Fraction of Worldwide Online Communications
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The National Security Agency came to the defense of its info gathering under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which has been under fire following stories about the extent of its collection of online communications.

"The NSA does not sift through and have unfettered access to 75% of the United States' online communications," the NSA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

That was in reference to a Wall Street Journal article NSA said provides a "misleading" picture of its collection programs.

Using all of its authority, NSA says it "touches" about 1.6% of the world's Internet traffic, and that analysts only look at .00004% of that. NSA says it only obtains info as the result of e-mail addresses or phone numbers of non-U.S. persons "believed to possess or receive foreign intelligence information."

But it does concede that in targeting terrorists who are not U.S. "persons," NSA "may get both sides of a communications, but in that case must follow procedures to protect privacy.

NSA says, finally, that its FISA communications collection is "the most significant tool in the NSA collection arsenal for the detection, identification, and disruption of terrorist threats to the U.S. and around the world."