Latest Snowden leak reveals NSA’s goal to continually expand surveillance abilities
In a mission statement last year the US National Security Agency described how it would continue to expand its power and assert itself as the global leader in clandestine surveillance, according to a new report based on the Edward Snowden leaks.
The five-page document brought to light Friday by the New York Times reveals the intelligence agency’s intention to “aggressively pursue legal authorities and a policy framework mapped more fully to the information age.” The spy agency sought the ability to trace “anyone, anywhere, anytime,” according to its 2012 mission statement.
Dated February 2012, the memo was written after PRISM and many of the other programs that have since outraged the public were implemented. It describes a four-year plan to push the NSA past its current status and into “the golden age of SIGINT,” code for signals intelligence.
“The interpretation and guidelines for applying our authorities, and in some cases the authorities themselves, have not kept pace with the complexity of the technology and target environments, or the operational expectations levied on NSA’s mission.”
The document, given the name “SIGINT Strategy 2012-2016,” falls short of explaining exactly how it would go about assuming more power, but does make clear that the so-called “culture of compliance” would not give up any concessions. The paper indicates NSA leaders communicated the need for more power in order to effectively carry out its duties.
NSA officials did note their plan to subvert cyber-security techniques so intelligence analysts are able to extract information on “anyone, anytime, anywhere.” Using both technical and human intelligence gathering methods, the mission statement sought to “revolutionize” data collection by influencing “the global commercial encryption market through commercial relationships” with more foreign partners.