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The NSA Can Search Anything You Do, But Can’t Check Employees’ Own Emails

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James Gilbert

The NSA is constantly tapping your emails, Facebook messages, phone calls, and text messages. They can’t, however, search their agency’s own employees’ emails.

“There’s no central method to search an email at this time with the way our records are set up, unfortunately,” NSA Freedom of Information Act officer Cindy Blacker said to ProPublica’s Justin Elliot last week.

Despite the fact the NSA’s capabilities include quadrillions of operations per second, the agency does not possess the ability to check their own employees’ emails.

Is this a blunder on the NSA’s part, or is it an intentional design?

The agency says they don’t have the technology to search their own emails.

The system is “a little antiquated and archaic,” said Blacker.

Elliot inquired about the NSA’s employees and their emails last week:

“I filed a request last week for emails between NSA employees and employees of the National Geographic Channel over a specific time period. The TV station had aired a friendly documentary on the NSA and I want to better understand the agency’s public-relations efforts,” he wrote.

“A few days after filing the request, Blacker called, asking me to narrow my request since the FOIA office can search emails only ‘person by person,’ rather than in bulk. The NSA has more than 30,000 employees.

“I reached out to the NSA press office seeking more information but got no response.”

Many people doubt the NSA’s claim that the agency simply does not possess the technology to fulfill such a request.

“It’s just baffling,” says Mark Caramanica of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. “This is an agency that’s charged with monitoring millions of communications globally and they can’t even track their own internal communications in response to a FOIA request.”

If the NSA can spy on hundreds of millions of Americans at the same time, I’m sure they have the ability to search their own email databases.

Via ProPublica, Photo via Tumblr 

James Gilbert

James Gilbert

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