NSA Says It Investigates Its Violations of Privacy Rules

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House isn't commenting on the latest revelations about surveillance of Americans and foreigners by the National Security Agency.

According to documents that were leaked by Edward Snowden, and published today in The Washington Post, the agency has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since Congress granted it broad new powers in 2008.

Most of the infractions appear to involve unauthorized surveillance of Americans or foreign intelligence targets in the United States. The Post says they range from significant violations of law to typographical errors that resulted in unintended interception of U.S. emails and telephone calls.

The deputy legal director at the ACLU says the number of these incidents is "jaw-dropping." Jameel Jaffer says some of them "seem to have implicated the privacy of thousands or millions of innocent people."

In a statement, the NSA's director of compliance, John DeLong, says, "We want people to report if they have made a mistake or even if they believe that an NSA activity is not consistent with the rules."

An NSA spokeswoman says when the agency "makes a mistake in carrying out its foreign intelligence mission," it reports the issue to overseers and "aggressively gets to the bottom of it."

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