Jacob Sullum on the NSA's Online Dragnet


Senate Intelligence Committee

The targets of the warrantless wiretaps authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Survelllance Act are supposed to be foreigners located outside of the United States, and the purpose of the surveillance is supposed to be the acquisition of "foreign intelligence information," implying that the targets are suspected spies or terrorists. But judging from a recent analysis by The Washington Post, Jacob Sullum writes, about half of the people whose communications the National Security Agency intercepts are U.S. citizens or legal residents, and the vast majority are innocent bystanders.