After a week of explosive disclosures, former NSA officials come out to say what the highly secretive agency does, and does not, do. Eli Lake reports.
by Eli Lake, The Daily Beast:
One of the most startling disclosures from Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked top secret documents to The Guardian and The Washington Post was that he could tap into the private email of any American citizen—even President Obama—from his desk station in Hawaii.
Former top NSA officials interviewed by The Daily Beast Tuesday, however, say Snowden’s claim that systems administrators like himself could eavesdrop on U.S. citizens is incorrect, and that any NSA employee that targeted even a foreign source for personal reasons would be stripped of clearances and fired on the spot.
“Not all analysts have the power to target anything,” Snowden told The Guardian in an interview posted Sunday. “But I, sitting at my desk, had the authority to wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant to a federal judge to even the president if I had a personal email.”
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