Chinese state media claims U.S. NSA infiltrated country’s telecommunications networks

chinese-state-media-claims-us.-nsa-infiltrated-country’s-telecommunications-networks

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[–]asdfasdfasdfas11111 722 points723 points724 points 2 (154 children)

That's not really what the leak revealed though. The NSA does full stack intelligence on foreign soil, which includes actual comms/payloads, metadata, network information, geolocation, ELINT, SIGINT etc. Basically anything they can do to listen or locate. The vast majority of what Snowden leaked was concerning sources and methods for these capabilities on foreign soil.

In terms of domestic surveillance, a very small number (relatively speaking) of leaked documents showed that when one side of a communications intercept was known to be a US citizen, the collection was limited to metadata only. Even if the other side was on foreign soil. It also showed that in instances where one side of an intercept was discovered to be a US citizen (eg, by accident), the NSA would seek a retroactive FISA warrant, as allowed by US law.

Say what you will about metadata and FISA courts, but the Snowden leaks actually showed that the NSA was following the law and beyond that had an entire framework in place which intended to avoid situations where US citizens might be involved, because it meant they would be burdened by additional due process. It was shown that even when they were accidentally swept up in surveillance, the NSA was nowhere near as far up the ass of any US citizen as a lot of people in the cybersecurity field had previously assumed.

I will refrain from speculating about Snowden's real motivations here. Just correcting a bit of pervasive misinformation.

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