NSA Chief Hints Snooping of E-Mail and Web Traffic

Tracking all of our online activity, just like our phone calls


The head of the National Security Agency hinted yesterday that logs of Americans' e-mail and Web site visits may be secretly vacuumed up by the world's most powerful intelligence agency.

During a U.S. Senate hearing, NSA director Keith Alexander was asked specifically about whether "e-mail contacts" are ingested under the Obama administration's secret interpretation of the Patriot Act's surveillance powers.

"I don't want to make a mistake" and reveal too much, Alexander said, adding that disclosing details about such surveillance would cause "our country to lose some sort of protection." It would be appropriate, he said, to discuss e-mail and other metadata surveillance in a "classified session" that senators are scheduled to attend today.