NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY (NSA) Headquarters
If reports are to be believed The National Security Agency the watchdog for the US government had started a program called MYSTIC way back in the year 2009. According to a new Edward Snowden leak reveals more details on the NSA’s bulk data collection practices for intelligence operations. Reports of the Washington Post published says that the NSA’s MYSTIC voice interception program began in 2009, with the agency developing a tool called RETRO which can access and record 100 % of all voice calls from a target country and retain them for upto a period of 30 days.
Calls can be recorded automatically and is stored for upto a month wherein the oldest records gets deleted when new recordings are added.
Unlike previous programs that reportedly only collected metadata, the program in question today captures the audio of every single call. What’s more, the NSA makes no effort to filter out US-based calls that are acquired incidentally as a result of the dragnet.
The Voice calls from American citizens in the targeted countries are also captured by the MYSTIC system, as the NSA apparently doesn’t attempt to filter them out. These calls are “acquired incidentally as a result of a collection directed against appropriate foreign intelligence targets.” Meanwhile, the NSA said that its intelligence gathering activities operate within the law.