For Immediate Release

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Steve Smith, 212-549-2666, media@aclu.org

NSA Casts Massive Dragnet Over Americans’ International Communications

New Report Shows Spying Far More Extensive Than Previously Acknowledged

NEW YORK - The government is collecting and monitoring virtually all text-based electronic communication into and out of the United States, according to a new report from the New York Times. Jameel Jaffer, American Civil Liberties Union deputy legal director, made the following comments about the latest revelations:

“The program described by the New York Times involves a breathtaking invasion of millions of people’s privacy.  The NSA has cast a massive dragnet  over Americans’ international communications, collecting and monitoring virtually all of them, and retaining some untold number of them in government databases.  This is precisely the kind of generalized spying that the Fourth Amendment was intended to prohibit.”

“The government's scrutiny of virtually every international email sent by Americans will have extraordinary consequences for free expression. Americans will inevitably hesitate to discuss controversial topics, visit politically sensitive websites, or interact with foreigners with dissenting views. By injecting the NSA into virtually every cross-border interaction, the U.S. government will forever alter what has always been an open exchange of ideas.”

Earlier this year, the United States Supreme Court dismissed a challenge to the government’s surveillance program brought by the American Civil Liberties Union after the government contended that the plaintiffs’ allegations of a dragnet surveillance program were speculative.

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