The Obama administration found itself defending — and beginning to explain — yet another surveillance effort after leaked documents revealed information about two secret National Security Agency intelligence-gathering programs.
On top of a Guardian newspaper report that revealed how authorities were collecting phone records from millions, a Washington Post report detailed another program that scours major Internet companies including Google and Facebook for data. A former senior NSA official confirmed to Fox News that the program was started in 2007 by the FBI and NSA and allows them to tap into top U.S. Internet companies to pull audio, video and other data.
While civil liberties groups cried foul over the program, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper issued a statement late Thursday decrying the leak of the materials. He called the disclosure of the program that allows the NSA to collect communications data from Internet companies “reprehensible” and said the phone-records monitoring leak could cause harm to the nation’s intelligence gathering activities.