NSA claims legal grounds for international cellphone tracking


New revelations in a report by the Wall Street Journal show that the NSA's infrastructure to spy on Americans is bigger than once thought.


Sean Gallup

The National Security Agency cited a sweeping presidential executive order on surveillance as justification for its massive cellphone tracking program that was recently revealed from the Snowden leaks. 

The NSA claimed that the cellphone surveillance program is not subject to the US intelligence court, but instead is regulated by the inspectors general, those inside the Obama administration and select lawmakers, according to the Associated Press.

The executive statement the NSA cites hails to a Ronald Reagan-era executive order, writes EnGadget.com, which allowed the collection of any foreign intelligence information relevant to national safety through means "consistent with applicable United States law." You can read it here. 

The newly revealed program collects over five billion records daily from cellphones all over the world, as well as the locations of these mobile devices, according to leaks published by the Washington Post.

Some data coming from American citizens is also collected in the process. 

"It is not ubiquitous," NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines said in a statement, according to the Associated Press. "NSA does not know and cannot track the location of every cell phone."

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