The Washington Post has published an exclusive report about the US National Security Agency’s surveillance activities, but withheld information of “considerable intelligence value,” including a secret overseas nuclear project.
The Post said the report, which was published on Saturday, is based on a four-month investigation of a large collection of communications intercepted by the NSA from US digital networks.
The newspaper said it obtained the intercepted conversations from former NSA surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The investigation shows that communications intercepted by the NSA mostly belong to ordinary Internet users rather than targeted foreigners.
“Nine of 10 account holders found in a large cache of intercepted conversations… were not the intended surveillance targets but were caught in a net the agency had cast for somebody else,” the Post said.
Nearly half of the files “contained names, email addresses or other details that the NSA marked as belonging to U.S. citizens or residents,” it said.
The Post said that at the request of CIA officials it has withheld some valuable information.
It said the files also contained “discoveries of considerable intelligence value,” including “fresh revelations about a secret overseas nuclear project, double-dealing by an ostensible ally, a military calamity that befell an unfriendly power, and the identities of aggressive intruders into U.S. computer networks.”
The US daily stated that the “surveillance files highlight a policy dilemma that has been aired only abstractly in public.”
The paper said it reviewed some 160,000 emails and instant-message conversations and 7,900 documents taken from more than 11,000 online accounts, gathered between 2009 and 2012