The National Security Agency has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since Congress granted the agency broad new powers in 2008, The Washington Post reported Thursday, according to the Washington Post.
On Thursday, the Washington Post posted on its website a selection of documents it said had been provided by Edward Snowden, who fled the US in June after providing documents detailing NSA surveillance programs to the Guardian and Washington Post newspapers.
An internal audit dated May 2012 counted 2,776 incidents over the previous 12 months of unauthorized data collection. The rate of violations grew significantly each quarter, from 546 in the second quarter of 2011 to 865 in the first quarter of 2012, according to the BBC.
In one instance, the agency intercepted calls from Washington because of confusion between area codes of D.C. and Egypt. Another time, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ruled a method of data collection unconstitutional — but only after it had been in use for months, according to the report, as reported by Politico.
President Obama recently vowed to provide more transparency and oversight in the process, but has not bowed to calls to fundamentally change the surveillance programs. Some in Congress, like Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., and leaders of the congressional intelligence committees, have described the collection efforts as critical to national security, according to Fox News.