The NSA: An Inside View
Many are concerned about the NSA listening to their phone calls and reading their email messages. I believe that most should not be very concerned because most are not sending email to intelligence targets. Email that isn’t related to intelligence is rarely viewed, and it’s even less often viewed if it’s from a US citizen. Every Agency employee goes through orientation, in which we are taught about the federal laws that govern NSA/US Cyber Command: Title 10 and Title 50. We all know that it’s illegal to look at a US citizen’s data without a court order. I use the term “look” deliberately: the Agency makes the distinction that looking at data is surveillance, while gathering it from locations outside the US is not. We gathered everything, and only looked at a tiny percentage of it.
I am okay with this distinction both because I don’t mind if my emails are copied to an Agency database and likely never read and because from a technical standpoint it would seriously impair our ability to spy if we couldn’t gather everything.* The Agency is an intelligence organization, not a law enforcement agency.