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NSA Intercepts of the Private Telephone Calls and E-Mail Messages of Americans Are Broader Than Previously Acknowledged

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

In the New York Times piece below, we learn that an email database used by the NSA is called PINWALE.

Back in 2006, William M Arkin, a Washington Post blogger, published a list of hundreds of terms that were allegedly associated with NSA projects. Along with the list, he wrote:

I could write volumes about the research efforts and the software programs and tools used to process the mountains of information the NSA and other agencies ingest. No doubt over the coming days and weeks, more will be written. For today though, I provide a pointer, based upon my research, of software, tools and intelligence databases that I have been able to identify in government documents relating to data mining, link analysis, and ingestion, digestion, and distribution of intelligence. My hope would be that other journalists and researchers will follow the leads.

PINWALE was one of the designators on that list. (Arkin’s original story, Telephone Records are just the Tip of NSA’s Iceberg, is no longer available on the Washington Post’s site. Copies exist here and here.)

Keep Arkin’s list in mind as we learn a little bit about PINWALE. It’s just a drop in a sea of black surveillance and data mining projects. Who knows how long the list actually is…

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

FYI: The following link will bring up much of what’s on Cryptogon that’s related to mass surveillance: NSA AND (ECHELON OR MAIN CORE OR Narus OR Klein OR Tice)

Via: New York Times:

The National Security Agency is facing renewed scrutiny over the extent of its domestic surveillance program, with critics in Congress saying its recent intercepts of the private telephone calls and e-mail messages of Americans are broader than previously acknowledged, current and former officials said.


The agency’s monitoring of domestic e-mail messages, in particular, has posed longstanding legal and logistical difficulties, the officials said.

Since April, when it was disclosed that the intercepts of some private communications of Americans went beyond legal limits in late 2008 and early 2009, several Congressional committees have been investigating. Those inquiries have led to concerns in Congress about the agency’s ability to collect and read domestic e-mail messages of Americans on a widespread basis, officials said. Supporting that conclusion is the account of a former N.S.A. analyst who, in a series of interviews, described being trained in 2005 for a program in which the agency routinely examined large volumes of Americans’ e-mail messages without court warrants. Two intelligence officials confirmed that the program was still in operation.

Both the former analyst’s account and the rising concern among some members of Congress about the N.S.A.’s recent operation are raising fresh questions about the spy agency.

This article was posted: Wednesday, June 17, 2009 at 8:31 am

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