This is a non-exhaustive list of media articles related to US, particularly NSA, surveillance. It is updated irregularly.

To opt out of proprietary services that let the US government spy on you, consider these free alternatives instead at PRISM-Break.org.


Date: August 15, 2013
Title: They know much more than you think
Reporter: James Bamford
Publication: The New York Review of Books
Summary: Today, as the Snowden documents make clear, it is the NSA that keeps track of phone calls, monitors communications, and analyzes people’s thoughts through data mining of Google searches and other online activity.

Date: August 10, 2013
Title: Lawmakers say obstacles limited oversight of NSA's telephone surveillance program
Reporter: Peter Wallsten
Publication: The Washington Post
Summary: The Obama administration points to checks and balances from Congress as a key rationale for supporting bulk collection of Americans’ telephone communications data, but several lawmakers responsible for overseeing the program in recent years say that they felt limited in their ability to challenge its scope and legality. Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. of Wisconsin, a key author of the law authorizing the bulk data surveillance, has in recent weeks become a critic. He said classified briefings for lawmakers were a “rope-a-dope operation” designed to silence “those who are on the trail of something that isn’t right” because rules restrict their ability to speak with other members and the public.

Date: August 9, 2013
Title: A Guide to What We Now Know About the NSA's Dragnet Searches of Your Communications
Reporter: Brett Max Kaufman
Publication: ACLU National Security Project
Summary: There are important details about the NSA surveillance programs that still need to be filled in. But a large amount of information is already in the public domain. What follows is an attempt to tie together many of the threads of the last two months' worth of disclosures, in order to get a big-picture look at what the NSA is doing, and how.

Advertisement

Date: August 8, 2013
Title: N.S.A. sifting broader set of data crossing U.S. border
Reporter: Charlie Savage
Publication: The New York Times
Summary: The National Security Agency is searching the contents of vast amounts of Americans’ e-mail and text communications into and out of the country, hunting for people who mention information about foreigners under surveillance, according to intelligence officials.

Date: August 7, 2013
Title: Exclusive: IRS manual detailed DEA's use of hidden intel evidence
Reporter: John Shiffman, David Ingram
Publication: Reuters
Summary: Details of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration program that feeds tips to federal agents and then instructs them to alter the investigative trail were published in a manual used by agents of the Internal Revenue Service for two years.

Advertisement

Date: August 5, 2013
Title: Exclusive: U.S. directs agents to cover up program used to investigate Americans
Reporter: John Shiffman, Kristina Cooke
Publication: Reuters
Summary: A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans. The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to "recreate" the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant's Constitutional right to a fair trial.

Date: August 4, 2013
Title: Members of Congress denied access to basic information about NSA
Reporter: Glenn Greenwald
Publication: The Guardian
Summary: Documents provided by two House members, Morgan Griffith and Alan Grayson, demonstrate how they are blocked from exercising any oversight over domestic surveillance.
Documents: (1) GOP Rep. Morgan Griffith's requests for NSA information. (2) Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson's requests for NSA information.

Advertisement

Date: August 3, 2013
Title: Other Agencies Clamor for Data N.S.A. Compiles
Reporter: Eric Lichtblau, Michael S. Schmidt
Publication: The New York Times
Summary: The National Security Agency’s dominant role as the nation’s spy warehouse has spurred frequent tensions and turf fights with other federal intelligence agencies that want to use its surveillance tools for their own investigations, officials say. Frustrated officials outside the security agency say the spy tools are not used widely enough.

Date: August 2, 2013
Title: FBI pressures Internet providers to install surveillance software
Reporter: Declan McCullagh
Publication: CNET
Summary: CNET has learned the FBI has developed custom "port reader" software to intercept Internet metadata in real time. And, in some cases, it wants to force Internet providers to use the software.

Advertisement

Date: August 1, 2013
Title: FBI taps hacker tactics to spy on suspects
Reporters: Jennifer Valentino-Devries, Danny Yadron
Publication: Wall Street Journal
Summary: FBI law-enforcement officials expand use of tools such as spyware as people under investigation 'go dark,' evading wiretaps

Date: July 31, 2013
Title: XKeyscore: NSA tool collects 'nearly everything a user does on the internet'
Reporters: Glenn Greenwald, Ewen MacAskill, Laura Poitras, Spencer Ackerman, Dominic Rushe
Publication: The Guardian
Summary: A top secret National Security Agency program allows analysts to search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals, according to documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Documents: XKeyscore presentation from 2008

Date: July 30, 2013
Title: Has the Gov't Lied on Snooping? Let's Go to the Videotape
Reporters: Kara Brandeisky, Stephen Suen
Publication: ProPublica
Summary: Since Edward Snowden leaked a trove of documents detailing the NSA's sweeping surveillance programs, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper acknowledged that part of his congressional testimony in March was "erroneous." But that's not the only questionable comment by administration officials about the programs. Here are six claims by administration officials about NSA surveillance that have been undermined by recent disclosures.

Advertisement

Date: July 15, 2013
Title: The crux of the NSA story in one phrase: 'collect it all'
Reporters: Glenn Greenwald
Publication: The Guardian
Summary: The actual story that matters is not hard to see: the NSA is attempting to collect, monitor and store all forms of human communication.

Date: July 11, 2013
Title: How Microsoft handed the NSA access to encrypted messages
Reporters: Glenn Greenwald, Ewen MacAskill, Laura Poitras, Spencer Ackerman, Dominic Rushe
Publication: The Guardian
Summary: Microsoft has collaborated closely with US intelligence services to allow users' communications to be intercepted, including helping the National Security Agency to circumvent the company's own encryption, according to top-secret documents obtained by the Guardian.

Advertisement

Date: June 27, 2013
Title: How the NSA is still harvesting your online data
Reporters: Glenn Greenwald, Spencer Ackerman
Publication: The Guardian
Summary: A review of top-secret NSA documents suggests that the surveillance agency still collects and sifts through large quantities of Americans' online data – despite the Obama administration's insistence that the program that began under Bush ended in 2011.

Date: June 20, 2013
Title: The top secret rules that allow NSA to use US data without a warrant
Reporters: Glenn Greenwald, James Ball
Publication: The Guardian
Summary: Top secret documents submitted to the court that oversees surveillance by US intelligence agencies show the judges have signed off on broad orders which allow the NSA to make use of information "inadvertently" collected from domestic US communications without a warrant.
Documents: (1) Procedures used by NSA to target non-US persons. (2) Procedures used by NSA to minimise data collected from US persons.

Advertisement

Date: June 19, 2013
Title: Web's Reach Binds N.S.A. and Silicon Valley Leaders
Reporter: James Risen, Nick Wingfield
Publication: The New York Times
Summary: When Max Kelly, the chief security officer for Facebook, left the social media company in 2010, he went to work for another giant institution that manages and analyzes large pools of data: the National Security Agency. Mr. Kelly’s move to the spy agency, which has not previously been reported, underscores the increasingly deep connections between Silicon Valley and the agency and the degree to which they are now in the same business. Both hunt for ways to collect, analyze and exploit large pools of data about millions of Americans.

Date: June 13, 2013
Title: FISC Will Not Object To Release of 2011 Court Opinion That Confirmed NSA’s Illegal Surveillance
Reporter: Sreeja VN
Publication: International Business Times
Summary: The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or FISC, ruled Wednesday that it has no objection to the release of a 2011 opinion of the court, which found that some of the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs under the FISA Amendments Act, were unconstitutional.

Advertisement

Date: June 8, 2013
Title: How the U.S. uses technology to mine more data more quickly
Reporters: James Risen, Eric Lichtblau
Publication: The New York Times
Summary: A revolution in software technology that allows for the highly automated and instantaneous analysis of enormous volumes of digital information has transformed the N.S.A., turning it into the virtual landlord of the digital assets of Americans and foreigners alike. The new technology has, for the first time, given America’s spies the ability to track the activities and movements of people almost anywhere in the world without actually watching them or listening to their conversations.

Date: June 6, 2013
Title: NSA Prism program taps in to user data of Apple, Google and others
Reporters: Glenn Greenwald, Ewen MacAskill
Publication: The Guardian
Summary: The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian.
Documents: Included in article.

Advertisement

Date: June 6, 2013
Title: In secret, court vastly broadens powers of N.S.A.
Reporters: Eric Lichtblau
Publication: The New York Times
Summary: In more than a dozen classified rulings, the nation’s surveillance court has created a secret body of law giving the National Security Agency the power to amass vast collections of data on Americans while pursuing not only terrorism suspects, but also people possibly involved in nuclear proliferation, espionage and cyberattacks, officials say. The rulings, some nearly 100 pages long, reveal that the court has taken on a much more expansive role by regularly assessing broad constitutional questions and establishing important judicial precedents, with almost no public scrutiny.

Date: June 5, 2013
Title: NSA collecting phone records of million of Verizon customers daily
Reporter: Glenn Greenwald
Publication: The Guardian
Summary: Top secret court order requiring Verizon to hand over all call data shows scale of domestic surveillance under Obama.
Documents: Read the Verizon court order in full here

Advertisement

Date: May 13, 2013
Title: U.S. seized phone records of AP staff
Reporter: Devlin Barrett
Publication: Wall Street Journal
Summary: The Justice Department seized records of 20 separate phone lines used by reporters or editors for the Associated Press, in a move that officials familiar with the case said was intended to gather information for a leak investigation involving a May 2012 AP story about a counterterrorism operation in Yemen. It isn't the first time the government has subpoenaed reporters' records in a leak investigation, but the breadth of AP phone logs sought went beyond the searches used by the Justice Department in known past cases.

Date: December 28, 2012
Title: Senator Ron Wyden's Speech to End the Warrantless Wiretap Program
Speaker: Senator Ron Wyden
Publication: EFF.org (YouTube)
Summary: On December 28, 2012, with the FISA Amendments Act set to expire in days, Senator Ron Wyden argues against the Bush-era warrantless spying program. Here is part of his speech, explaining how this surveillance program was put in place and why it must be stopped.

Advertisement

Date: September 27, 2012
Title: Feds snoop on social-network accounts without warrants
Reporter: Declan McCullagh
Publication: CNET
Summary: Justice Department report shows real-time surveillance targeting social networks and e-mail providers jumped 80 percent from 2010 to 2011. The ACLU says current law doesn't protect Americans' privacy.

Date: August 21, 2012
Title: What the manual by DOJ's top intelligence lawyer says about the FISA amendments act
Reporter: Julian Sanchez
Publication: Cato at Liberty (Cato Institute)
Summary: To a casual observer, debates about national security spying can seem like a hopeless game of he-said/she-said. Fortunately, there is an authoritative unclassified source that explains what the law means: the revised 2012 edition of National Security Investigations and Prosecutions by David S. Kris (who headed the Justice Department’s National Security Division from 2009–2011) and J. Douglas Wilson.

Advertisement

Date: April 23, 2012
Title: More Secrets on Growing State Surveillance: Exclusive with NSA Whistleblower, Targeted Hacker
Hosts: Amy Goodman, Juan Gonzalez
Guests: Jacob Appelbaum
Publication: Democracy Now

Advertisement

Date: April 20, 2012
Title: Whistleblower: The NSA Is Lying—U.S. Government Has Copies of Most of Your Emails
Hosts: Amy Goodman, Juan Gonzalez
Guests: William Binney, Jacob Appelbaum, Laura Poitras
Publication: Democracy Now
Summary: NSA whistleblower William Binney reveals he believes domestic surveillance has become more expansive under President Obama than President George W. Bush. He estimates the NSA has assembled 20 trillion "transactions" — phone calls, emails and other forms of data — from Americans. This likely includes copies of almost all of the emails sent and received from most people living in the United States. Binney talks about Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act and challenges NSA Director Keith Alexander’s assertion that the NSA is not intercepting information about U.S. citizens.

Advertisement

Date: September 6, 2011
Title: Top Secret America
Reporters: Dana Priest
Publication: Frontline (PBS)
Summary: Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Dana Priest traces the journey from 9/11 to the Marathon bombings and investigates the secret history of the 12-year battle against terrorism.

Date: May 27, 2011
Title: Senator Wyden warns of potential public backlash from allowing secret law
Speaker: Sen. Ron Wyden
Publication: Ron Wyden channel on YouTube
Summary: Speaking on the floor of the U.S Senate during the truncated debate on the reauthorization of the PATRIOT ACT for another four years, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) — a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence — warned his colleagues that a vote to extend the bill without amendments that would ban any Administration's ability to keep internal interpretations of the Patriot Act classified will eventually cause public outrage. Known as Secret Law, the official interpretation of the Patriot Act could dramatically differ from what the public believes the law allows. This could create severe violations of the Constitutional and Civil Rights of American Citizens.

Advertisement

Date: May 25, 2011
Title: How can Congress debate a secret law?
Authors: Sen. Ron Wyden, Sen. Mark Udall
Publication: The Huffington Post
Summary: Members of Congress are about to vote to extend the most controversial provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act for four more years, even though few of them understand how those provisions are being interpreted and applied. By far the most important interpretation of what the law means is the official interpretation used by the U.S. government and this interpretation is - stunningly -classified. It means that Congress and the public are prevented from having an informed, open debate on the Patriot Act because the official meaning of the law itself is secret.

Date: December 20, 2010
Title: Monitoring America
Reporters: Dana Priest, William M. Arkin
Publication: The Washington Post
Summary: Nine years after the terrorist attacks of 2001, the United States is assembling a vast domestic intelligence apparatus to collect information about Americans, using the FBI, local police, state homeland security offices and military criminal investigators. The system, by far the largest and most technologically sophisticated in the nation's history, collects, stores and analyzes information about thousands of U.S. citizens and residents, many of whom have not been accused of any wrongdoing.

Advertisement

Date: July 19, 2010
Title: A hidden world, growing beyond control
Reporters: Dana Priest, William M. Arkin
Publication: The Washington Post
Summary: These are some of the findings of a two-year investigation by The Washington Post that discovered what amounts to an alternative geography of the United States, a Top Secret America hidden from public view and lacking in thorough oversight. After nine years of unprecedented spending and growth, the result is that the system put in place to keep the United States safe is so massive that its effectiveness is impossible to determine.

Date: April 15, 2009
Title: Officials Say U.S. Wiretaps Exceeded Law
Reporters: Eric Lichtblau, James Risen
Publication: The New York Times
Summary: The National Security Agency intercepted private e-mail messages and phone calls of Americans in recent months on a scale that went beyond the broad legal limits established by Congress last year, government officials said in recent interviews.

Advertisement

Date: January 5, 2009
Title: Intelligence court rules wiretapping program legal
Reporters: Eric Lichtblau
Publication: The New York Times
Summary: A federal intelligence court, in a rare public opinion, is expected to issue a major ruling validating the power of the president and Congress to wiretap international phone calls and intercept e-mail messages without a court order, even when Americans' private communications may be involved. The decision marks the first time since the disclosure of the National Security Agency's warrantless eavesdropping program three years ago that an appellate court has addressed the constitutionality of the federal government's wiretapping powers.

Advertisement

Date: October 9, 2008
Title: Exclusive: Inside Account of U.S. Eavesdropping on Americans
Reporters: Brian Ross, Vic Walter, Anna Schecter
Publication: Nightline (ABC)
Summary: Despite pledges by President George W. Bush and American intelligence officials to the contrary, hundreds of US citizens overseas have been eavesdropped on as they called friends and family back home, according to two former military intercept operators who worked at the giant National Security Agency (NSA) center in Fort Gordon, Georgia.

Date: January 30, 2007
Title: FBI turns to broad new wiretap method
Reporters: Declan McCullagh
Publication: CNET
Summary: Instead of recording only what a particular suspect is doing, agents conducting investigations appear to be assembling the activities of thousands of Internet users at a time into massive databases, according to current and former officials. That database can subsequently be queried for names, e-mail addresses or keywords.

Advertisement

Date: December 16, 2005
Title: Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts
Reporters: James Risen, Eric Lichtblau
Publication: The New York Times
Summary: Months after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying, according to government officials.

Date: August 4, 2004
Title: Feds back wiretap rules for Internet
Reporters: Declan McCullagh, Ben Charny
Publication: CNET
Summary: Broadband providers and Internet phone services must comply with wiretapping requirements designed for the traditional phone network, the Federal Communications Commission said in a preliminary decision Wednesday. The 5-0 vote by the FCC is a major step toward regulations designed to help police and spy agencies eavesdrop on all forms of high-speed Internet access, including cable modems, wireless, satellite and broadband over power lines.