US drone strikes, which are carried out by the CIA, rely heavily on the National Security Agency’s ability to gather enormous quantities of email, phone calls and other forms of signals intelligence, the newspaper said, citing documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
The Post reported that it was withholding many details about the drone-strike missions at the request of US intelligence officials who are worried about potential damage to US national security.
According to the newspaper, the NSA helped pinpoint a senior al-Qaeda figure, Hassan Ghul, who was killed in a drone attack in Pakistan back in 2012.
The NSA did not deny the report but issued a statement, saying the spying operation was focused on suspected terrorists.
The Post reported that the super spy agency steals a substantial portion of the world’s email and instant messaging accounts, including the data of many Americans on the US soil.
“The collection program, which has not been disclosed before, intercepts e-mail address books and “buddy lists” from instant messaging services as they move across global data links.
Online services often transmit those contacts when a user logs on, composes a message, or synchronizes a computer or mobile device with information stored on remote servers,” the Post wrote.