Newly revealed NSA program collects ‘nearly everything a user does on the internet’

Slide from the XKeyscore presentation obtained by the Guardian.

A new report from Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald says a National Security Agency program collects ‘nearly everything a user does on the internet.’

The program, called XKeyscore, allows searches without requiring the approval of a court or any NSA personnel before it is processed. Leaker Edward Snowden provided Greenwald with a presentation by the NSA on the XKeyscore.

The files shed light on one of Snowden’s most controversial statements, made in his first video interview published by the Guardian on June 10.

“I, sitting at my desk,” said Snowden, could “wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email”.

U.S. officials vehemently denied this specific claim. Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee, said of Snowden’s assertion: “He’s lying. It’s impossible for him to do what he was saying he could do.”

But training materials for XKeyscore detail how analysts can use it and other systems to mine enormous agency databases by filling in a simple on-screen form giving only a broad justification for the search.

The report comes as the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is hearing from top intelligence brass about previous Guardian stories. Update: Sen. Al Franken pushed NSA leaders at the hearing today.

Also, Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger did a Reddit AMA and answered questions about his newspaper’s NSA stories.