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Welcome to America, where the National Security Agency does whatever the hell they want.

An internal audit and top-secret documents obtained by the Washington Post reveal that the NSA has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since Congress granted the agency increased powers.

Surprising?

Most of the infractions involve unauthorized surveillance of Americans or foreign intelligence targets in the United States, both of which are restricted by statute and executive order. They range from significant violations of law to typographical errors that resulted in unintended interception of U.S. e-mails and telephone calls.

In all, the audit included 2,776 incidents of “unauthorized collection storage, access to or distribution of legally protected communications” between May 2011 and May 2012. According to the Post, the most serious incidents included a violation of a court order and unauthorized use of data about more than 3,000 Americans and green-card holders.

In response to the Washington Post revelations, the NSA had this to say:

“We’re a human-run agency operating in a complex environment with a number of different regulatory regimes, so at times we find ourselves on the wrong side of the line,” a senior NSA official said in an interview, speaking with White House permission on the condition of anonymity.

“You can look at it as a percentage of our total activity that occurs each day,” he said. “You look at a number in absolute terms that looks big, and when you look at it in relative terms, it looks a little different.”

Oh, really now? Read more about the audit, here.

SOURCE: Washington Post

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