A couple weeks ago, we learned from leaked documents that the NSA has the capability to record an entire country’s calls, texts, and email in real time. That’s a hell of a capability, and those documents revealed that it was being used in one country. Now, thanks to a retired NSA leader, we know which country that is: Iraq.
In a curious turn of events, John “Chris” Inglis, who recently retired from the top civilian post, divulged the details of its sweeping surveillance program in a Los Angeles Times story by Ken Dilanian, who Glenn Greenwald calls “one of the most pro-NSA reporters in the country.” Retired Gen. David Petraeus, the former U.S. commander in Iraq, told the Times that the surveillance effort was “absolutely invaluable.” In a blog post, Greenwald goes on to say that the NSA — or rather the retired officer — revealed the details about Iraq “for no reason other than to make itself look good and to justify these activities.”
No matter what the reasoning was, it’s still pretty insane that the NSA can monitor every single phone call, text, and email in a country. They’re doing that with six countries now, according to the leaked documents. But it’s even more insane that friends of the NSA think fessing up to it is going to make the agency look good. [Los Angeles Times, The Intercept]