Wired – February 23, 2021 09:10:15 The US government has reportedly been tapping into Americans’ cell phone and mobile phone tower data for a decade and has recently begun targeting the cell phone of prominent US politician Eric Schmidt, a report says.
The Washington Post said in a report on Wednesday that a secret report obtained by the paper alleges the National Security Agency has been gathering metadata for the last decade, as well as tapping the cell phones of US politicians and other officials.
The report also alleges that the NSA has tapped into cell towers that may be located in places such as New York, Washington DC, and Los Angeles.
The Post said the report is based on a leaked document titled “The Prism Program: Surveillance of Americans’ Cellphones and Mobile Phones” which outlines how the NSA’s mass surveillance program was revealed to the public in 2013.
The US Senate intelligence committee in October ordered a complete review of NSA programs.
In a statement, NSA spokesperson Dean Boyd told the Post: “The National Security Archive has been the recipient of these documents since 2008 and we have no knowledge of them or the contents of the report.”
“Our goal is to protect Americans’ privacy and ensure that government actions are lawful and proportionate,” he said.
“As such, we will review the allegations and determine if they are true.”
The NSA declined to comment to the Washington Post, but in a statement to Reuters it said: “We do not comment on specific investigations.””NSA has been working with partners in law enforcement, government agencies and private industry to ensure that our surveillance activities comply with the law and our legal obligations,” the statement said.
“We have never asked any American company or person to turn over any of their personal data.”
The Post reported on Wednesday in a piece titled “New NSA documents show the Prism program has a real impact” that the National Archives in Maryland is publishing the documents.
The article said the documents show that the government was also able to obtain the cell data of former president Barack Obama, former US Senator Elizabeth Warren, former vice president Joe Biden, former Republican presidential candidate Sarah Palin, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former president of France Nicolas Sarkozy, former head of the Central Intelligence Agency Keith Alexander, and the former head in the US Department of Homeland Security Richard Clarke.
It said the NSA also has the ability to access the phone and cell phone metadata of people associated with the Obama administration, including former Secretary James Clapper, former NSA Director Mike Rogers, former CIA Director John Brennan, and former director of the FBI James Comey.
The report also said that the US government also has access to cell phone records of other US officials.
“It is widely known that cell phone surveillance is one of the NSA programs that has made it possible to collect vast amounts of Americans telephone and data, but the full extent of this is not clear,” the report said.