The NSA's "Boundless Informant" Collects 3 Billion Intelligence Pieces From US Computer Networks In One Month

Tyler Durden's picture

There's one reason why the administration, James Clapper and the NSA should just keep their mouths shut as the PRISM-gate fallout escalates: with every incremental attempt to refute some previously unknown facet of the US Big Brother state, a new piece of previously unleaked information from the same intelligence organization now scrambling for damage control, emerges and exposes the brand new narrative as yet another lie, forcing even more lies, more retribution against sources, more journalist persecution and so on.

The latest piece of news once again comes from the Guardian's Glenn Greenwald who this time exposes the NSA's datamining tool "Boundless Informant" which according to leaked documents collected 97 billion pieces of intelligence from computer networks worldwide in March 2013 alone, and "3 billion pieces of intelligence from US computer networks over a 30-day period."

This is summarized in the chart below which shows that only the middle east has more active NSA-espionage than the US. Also, Obama may not want to show Xi the activity heatmap for China, or else the whole "China is hacking us" script may promptly fall apart.

Using simple, non-AES 256 breaking math, 3 billion per month amounts to some 100 million intrusions into the US per day, or looked at from another perspective, just a little more than the "zero" which James Clapper vouched announced earlier today is the applicable number of US citizens falling under the NSA's espionage mandate: "Section 702 cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen, or any other U.S. person, or to intentionally target any person known to be in the United States." Oops.

But it gets worse for the NSA. As the Guardian reports, "Emmel, the NSA spokeswoman, told the Guardian: "Current technology simply does not permit us to positively identify all of the persons or locations associated with a given communication (for example, it may be possible to say with certainty that a communication traversed a particular path within the internet. It is harder to know the ultimate source or destination, or more particularly the identity of the person represented by the TO:, FROM: or CC: field of an e-mail address or the abstraction of an IP address). Thus, we apply rigorous training and technological advancements to combine both our automated and manual (human) processes to characterize communications – ensuring protection of the privacy rights of the American people. This is not just our judgment, but that of the relevant inspectors general, who have also reported this."

In other words, Americans are absolutely the target of billions of monthly intrusions, but said data "mining" is exempted because it is difficult to identify in advance if a US citizen is implicated in any metadata chain.

Only it isn't as it is the whole premise behind Boundless Informant.

An NSA factsheet about the program, acquired by the Guardian, says: "The tool allows users to select a country on a map and view the metadata volume and select details about the collections against that country."


The focus of the internal NSA tool is on counting and categorizing the records of communications, known as metadata, rather than the content of an email or instant message.


The Boundless Informant documents show the agency collecting almost 3 billion pieces of intelligence from US computer networks over a 30-day period ending in March 2013. One document says it is designed to give NSA officials answers to questions like, "What type of coverage do we have on country X" in "near real-time by asking the SIGINT [signals intelligence] infrastructure."


Under the heading "Sample use cases", the factsheet also states the tool shows information including: "How many records (and what type) are collected against a particular country."


A snapshot of the Boundless Informant data, contained in a top secret NSA "global heat map" seen by the Guardian, shows that in March 2013 the agency collected 97bn pieces of intelligence from computer networks worldwide.


Iran was the country where the largest amount of intelligence was gathered, with more than 14bn reports in that period, followed by 13.5bn from Pakistan. Jordan, one of America's closest Arab allies, came third with 12.7bn, Egypt fourth with 7.6bn and India fifth with 6.3bn. 


Next up: more NSA lies of course.

The disclosure of the internal Boundless Informant system comes amid a struggle between the NSA and its overseers in the Senate over whether it can track the intelligence it collects on American communications. The NSA's position is that it is not technologically feasible to do so.


At a hearing of the Senate intelligence committee In March this year, Democratic senator Ron Wyden asked James Clapper, the director of national intelligence: "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?"


"No sir," replied Clapper.


Judith Emmel, an NSA spokeswoman, told the Guardian in a response to the latest disclosures: "NSA has consistently reported – including to Congress – that we do not have the ability to determine with certainty the identity or location of all communicants within a given communication. That remains the case."


Other documents seen by the Guardian further demonstrate that the NSA does in fact break down its surveillance intercepts which could allow the agency to determine how many of them are from the US. The level of detail includes individual IP addresses.


IP address is not a perfect proxy for someone's physical location but it is rather close, said Chris Soghoian, the principal technologist with the Speech Privacy and Technology Project of the American Civil Liberties Union. "If you don't take steps to hide it, the IP address provided by your internet provider will certainly tell you what country, state and, typically, city you are in," Soghoian said.




At a congressional hearing in March last year, Alexander denied point-blank that the agency had the figures on how many Americans had their electronic communications collected or reviewed. Asked if he had the capability to get them, Alexander said: "No. No. We do not have the technical insights in the United States." He added that "nor do we do have the equipment in the United States to actually collect that kind of information".

Turns out they do, and that perjury in the US is now merely another facet of the "New Normal." Plus what difference does it make that yet another member of the most transparent administration perjured themselves. Then again, when the head of the Department of Justice is being investigated for lying to Congress under oath, one can only laugh.

That laughter risks becoming an imbecilic cackle when reading the following veiled threat to the Guardian from the NSA's Judith Emmel: "The continued publication of these allegations about highly classified issues, and other information taken out of context, makes it impossible to conduct a reasonable discussion on the merits of these programs."

In other words, the best discussion is one that would simply not take place as reporters should promptly stop actually reporting, and fall back to their New Normal role of being access journalists to important people (see Andrew Ross Sorkin's rise to fame on... nothing) with zero critical insight or investigative effort. Or else...

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TeamDepends's picture

Cheers to all of us on the red list!

FinalCollapse's picture

Fuckers! Time to impeach that MotherFucker-in-Chief.

BoNeSxxx's picture

Christ just erect a fence around my house and come on inside already. The games of make believe are getting old. Fuckers.

Zer0head's picture

the rise of the Nazis a history in posters from 1933 to 1939


compare and contrast

F. Bastiat's picture

The German National Socialists were legit.  Hussein Obama is an affirmative action joke who can't even put together a sentence without a fucking teleprompter.

Not only does my cat have a superior moral structure to Hussein Obama, I suspect that he has an IQ at least as high, if not higher, than most of Hussein's worshipers.

LetThemEatRand's picture

And he was a fucking male cheerleader.  Oh, that was the other guy.  Get a grip Bastiat.  Obama is not calling the shots.  He's a figurehead and he was put in place precisely to make you hate him, just like the mindless windshield cowboy born again with a silver spoon he replaced.  You see, the idea is to get guys like you to focus on the figurehead rather than the guys calling the shots.  Seems to work quite well, doesn't it.

AlaricBalth's picture

Section 702 of FISA states that the government is not authorized to "intentionally target" a person within the US.

Seems to me the government is using the power of exponentiation to get around the law. How many of you remember "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon"? The theory is, that any two people on Earth are, on average, about six acquaintance links apart. Imagine "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" on steroids as the NSA's massive supercomputers link, by association, everyone globally.

In essence, the government may be targeting Mr. X in Pakistan, for example, and then consequently search for any and all associations of Mr X. Once those various associations are identified then the government discovers new associations. And so on and so on...

Eventually, through exponentiation, the government has "unintentionally" gathered information on practically everyone in the US, although no one was specifically targeted.

9 Mr. X's to the 9th power is over 387 million people.

macholatte's picture

not authorized to "intentionally target" a person within the US.


Maybe it's not even that complicated. They target everyone and by default are not picking on anybody so they are not "intentionally targeting" a person.


AlaricBalth's picture

I agree that the government hides behind that word “targeting,” which doesn’t do anything substantive to prevent the NSA from reading American communications without a warrant. Yet the target must originate outside US soil. Once information on a target has been gathered, where that information leads is fair game. They are utilizing a loophole in the FISA law large enough to drive a truck through. Which is why they used the term "targeting" rather than "targeting, querying and searching".

My point being, if you have enough targets (the base number for the exponential operation), then the exponent, or power number, determines how large a population can be searched within the letter of the FISA law. As I said, it is a loophole which was inserted into Section 720 to circumvent the protections they claim are codified into FISA. The government virtually assured the inevitable spying on US citizens while being able to claim protections were written into the law.

Fish Gone Bad's picture

If a person has close friends, they probably do not communicate over cell phones, but actually talk face to face. To hear those conversations requires craftwork, not computers.  The computers are needed to sweep up all the kids playing GTA for the 5th time. 

I appreciate TPTB keeping the streets clean of home grown terrorists.  If anyone that reads this wants to impress me.  Seriously.  The Food for Less in my fathers neighborhood on Indian/Alessandro in Moreno Valley, CA 92553 is just getting ransacked all the time.  Please help the people running the store.  I might make this worth to you.



Au Member's picture
This might be total bollocks but here's an article on govt spying: DHS insider: It’s about to get very ugly

GetZeeGold's picture



We the people.....are the enemies of the state.


I vote we do Agenda reverse.


I also vote we turn the UN into a soup kitchen.....then it can finally do some real good for humanity.

francis_sawyer's picture

"You see, the idea is to get guys like you to focus on the figurehead rather than the guys calling the shots.."


Ha! That's a good one... While it's probably true [on the surface], what usually happens when somebody, like francis_sawyer, actually DOES focus on the "guys" calling the shots?... (Such as, the asymmetrical makeup of the Bilderbergs, CFR, Trilateral Commission, BIS, IMF, 'families' who are shareholders of the [non]Federal [non]Reserve, and most of the top spots in banking, MSM, jurisprudence, & political activism)...

I'll tell you what happens... <FUCKING CRICKETS>... Or worse, 'censorship' accompanied by a lot of consternation, disambiguation, & finger wagging by sychophant saps...


"You're focusing on the wrong people"... Right SMG?... Riiiiight!... It's the goddamned evil Bangladeshis...

Terminus C's picture

Fuckin Bangladeshis...  I always knew they were out to get us.

I have been mulling on why in both the Christian and Muslim faith, usury was considered a sin.  Was this an intentional design of a new system of control, or a reaction to an old one. 

john39's picture

God is no dummy...  usury= enslavement by satan and his soulless minions.

francis_sawyer's picture



I simply take the posture that it is impossible for 'good' to exist without 'evil' [or, vice versa]... Yin/Yang yada yada...

One cannot destroy EITHER... Or, more succinctly, when one DOES destroy BOTH, then they have finally evolved...

So all I ever really do is to look at the 'BALANCE' at any given moment of time... Things will never, really, become balanced because if you consider the forces to be a pendulum swinging back & forth, then that implies motion... Therefore, 'balance' is fleeting...

These concepts should not be difficult to understand [which is why & get a kick out of my many critics who get all lathered up when I make the attempt to simply 'identify' what the imbalances are at any given moment]...

john39's picture

up to the present, it would certianly seem the case that neither good nor evil could ever fully vanquish the other...  but, if you are watching the big picture, and i know that you are, you can see that the 'new world order' is, in essence, the final push for one side to overcomethe other and eliminate the 'duality' that has been in place for all of recorded history.  my guess is that, in this final push, the forces of darkness extend themselves just 'that much' too far, permitting the golden age spoken of by the mayans and so many other mystics (of many faiths and races) to finally come about... 

in any event, we shall see soon enough.

francis_sawyer's picture

you can see that the 'new world order' is, in essence, the final push for one side to overcomethe other and eliminate the 'duality' that has been in place for all of recorded history.


Absolutely!... & that is why the NWO will ultimately fail...

Homernomics's picture

I'm not worried, this boy has it all under control.  Nothing bad will happen to us.


Just f'n frightening.


Homernomics's picture

I'm not worried, this boy has it all under control.  Nothing bad will happen to us...


...just f'n frightening.


francis_sawyer's picture

I don't like to get into the topic of "faith" or "religion" because the correlations always get confounded...


The only thing I can say [which is painting with a very broad brush]... Is that ALL 'religions', IMO, have their own version of subjugation...

- Usury

- Guilt

- Misogyny

I can't really even say 'Buddhism' or the other more 'pacifist', per se, religions escape this idea of 'control' [in practice]... Breed a legion of 'pacifists' & whgat do you end up with?... A flock of sheep...

Any 'religion' must at least pretend to have a 'higher cause' in mind... The difference [in the above examples] Mostly comes down to:

What are your essential 'flaws' that you're using RELIGION as a shield to hide behind?


john39's picture

the problem with organized religions is that they are subject to infiltration and corruption...  take Christianity for example... most have no idea what the early teachings of Christianity were... very little in common with what is taught today...      Even later teachings, such as the prohibition of usury, are now noticeably absent.   Michael Hoffman recently wrote an extensive piece on usury and Christianty:

francis_sawyer's picture

Understanding modern day 'Christianity' is like trying to understand jazz & blues music through the eyes & wisdom of Justin Beiber...

illyia's picture

Michael Ruppert covered this whole ball of goo in the late 1990s and early 2000s. His work is maintained, in archive, on his relatively ancient site "From the Wilderness". Although it now seems quaint, there is much good information and history, most of which has never seen the light of the MSM.

He covered PROMIS software (the predecessor to all these monitoring software types) as well as MK Ultra and several other programs. He has an interesting story, but the isolation and separation from credibility drove him somewhat crazy - emotionally, at least.

I mention him because, like Greenwald and Assange, he took the risk of telling the truth and was willing to pay the price.

Like the Tylers, the truth was more important, freedom more valuable, than his social standing.

Ruppert's latest site:

Pants McPants's picture

I was a big MCR fan a few years ago; he definitely opened my eyes to a lot of things, most notably 9/11, the war on drugs, and PROMIS software.

Too bad the guy went off the deep end, though.  While I could care less about his personal transgressions he lost all credibility with me when he jumped on the Obama bandwagon in 2008.  I haven't visited his site since.

That said, I wish him well.  He always struck me as someone who was too smart to succumb to the left/right paradigm., but alas...

Black Swan 9's picture

I don't think he's succumbed to that.. and I don't think he's crazy now; He's just made (a sort of) peace with the things he can't control, and probably just wants to find some happiness and less frustration in the time he has left on this planet. I don't know anyone who worked harder and spent more time, trying to expose so much within the legal framework of the system, and outside, and he felt their wrath.. It's amazing he wasn't suicided or Wellstoned, and that, I'm sure he realizes.. So he did what he could, and I have no judgement against him for pulling out of this real world chaos, nightmare. He will also be in my top ten heroes, alongside of JFK, Bradley Manning, Marine Maj Gen Smedley Butler, etc.

For anyone unfamiliar with Ruppert, his book, "Crossing the Rubicon", and the doc featuring him, "Collapse" (based on his book by the same name) are worthwhile.. If you want to learn more.

Wilcat Dafoe's picture

Hagmann is a Mossad asset.

I don't mean probably.


I mean he is.   And a rather shitty one.

spine001's picture

Listening on off cell phones. You forget that it is technically feasible to listen in conversations over cell phones that are even turned off. Only privacy you could have is by taking the battery off. Something you can not do with iphones. If it is feasible explain to me why wouldn't they be doing it on selected targets? Remember that the revolution comes from the low cost of a terabyte of storage, now around 10 usd. Voice recording takes only 8Kbps per second. This means around 11,000 days of conversations on one terabyte disk only. From a position of totalitarianism you could even say that it would be criminal negligence to not do it if it could potentially save one person's life. The, real problems arise to light, only when you start extrapolating the costs of that life in terms of freedom and liberty for the rest of the people and the inevitable abuses of power that allowing that power to exist will have both on the people wielding that power as in the people being "protected". The funny thing is that all this is known to be the second and third order objectives of terrorist activities, what they truly want is to drive governments to these activities, because they know it ends up destroying them... The US is letting terrorists win, I amvery dissapointed at the level of strategic intelligence of our leaders, both on the ecvonomic and political sides. They shouls consult wit a Bobby Fisher type thinker to u derstand why you don't just act to prevent the consequences of the first move of your opponent, since that is exactly what he/she wants you to do, and this incredibly stupid reaction in a chess vame is what we are doing in real life, foolish. I do hope thst intellihent analyst reads this looking for a threat an is able to interpret my words and trigger some smart actions before it is too late, we are letting them win where it matters most, destroying the MORAL of our people and their trust and loyalty to our government. Why, may I ask?

disabledvet's picture

like your style 001. "why" you ask? because winning has nothing to do with "this." let alone "morals" or "morale." this is all about POWER...real and perceived. How do you prevent the first move you ask? By bringing in the LAWMAN. You're going to need one heck of lawman though...

RafterManFMJ's picture

If a person has close friends, they probably do not communicate over cell phones, but actually talk face to face. To hear those conversations requires craftwork, not computers.

Someone explain to me how this Amish guy is allowed to use a computer.  You can post on ZH, yet not own any shiny buttons?

Paveway IV's picture

Obama warned all us little people yesterday: 

"...If you can't trust not only the executive branch, but don't trust congress and don't trust federal judges to make sure we're abiding by the constitution, due process and the rule of law... then, we're gonna have some problems here..."

Looks like we're going to have some problems here. 

James_Cole's picture

Yeah, what's all this crap about trust anyway? Why would I trust any government? Either they're honest or they're not. Fuck trust. 

The executive, judicial and congress have all been caught flagrantly breaking the constitution - why on Earth would ANYONE trust anything they say? 

Liars want you to trust them, honest folks don't need your 'trust.' 

Fish Gone Bad's picture

There are always lines and always sides.  Those on your side you give them a break, do them a favor.  The others?  They get punished.  Trust is for friends.

The choice is actually not black/white.  The very act of choosing is a Heisenburg Uncertainty Principle Problem.  The very act changes you.


viahj's picture

the problem with this is not that the mic was turned off from deviating from an approved script (as the rules were known), but that the approved script could not contain elements of the Constitution.

jeff montanye's picture

good point james cole.  speaking of trusting institutions, i saw a very interesting article about a german man who said his wife, who was working at the sixth biggest private bank in germany, was involved in a money laundering and tax evasion enabling scheme involving her bank and swiss accounts. he was somehow found to be "paranoid" and forcibly committed to an insane asylum for years (still there i believe).  

turns out the bank later investigated his claims, found considerable merit in them, fired his wife and others, but never mentioned it to authorities regarding the incarcerated man.  all this is now coming to light and may bring down the government of bavaria:

Rustysilver's picture


I think he was released but spend about 5 years.

phoolish's picture

Who is the "we" that are going to have "problems here?"

I don't trust any of those as it is.


Lore's picture




"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." - Lord Acton

P.S.  The duration of this post was 2min35sec.

Fish Gone Bad's picture

100 million intrusions into the US per day

I can't help but think the people they are looking for just do not exist online.  The people actually do exist, they just figured out how crafty others can be and did not network their computers.  Oh my god I think I just gave away some kind of secret decoder ring secret.

Fish Gone Bad

Yes_Questions's picture



These programs are a massive giveaway to companies that did not have access to information beyond purchasing habits, magazine subscriptions, zip code, and other generic stuff like one's demographic profile.


But, starting on 9/12/2001, a US population, by and large united by the propaganda of the Terrorists, proudly said "look at me, rule me out, I'm one of the good guys and have nothing to hide" and willingly opened themselves up to electronic surveillance.  

The information is used to take the pulse of the Population.  The TEA Party was duly absorbed into a Republican brand quickly for a reason.  Occupy was marginalized and met with violence, for the same reason. ANY kind of Truther is met with ridicule, too, all for one reason.


Control.  The owner's strive to maintain it, and in so doing, will unravel millenniums of dominance.  

This is a new age.




spentCartridge's picture

 ... not authorized to "intentionally target" a person within the US.

The key thing here, of course, is the distinction/definition of the word 'person' and which US, there are at least two entities claiming to be 'US', the quoted statement is referring to. 

Black Swan 9's picture

That's how police checkpoints slowly became accepted after initial outrage in the 1980's, by "randomly" stopping every 5th car or whatever.

spinone's picture

Who cares?  Its unenforceable.  Are you going to sue the NSA for violating the law?

Wilcat Dafoe's picture

You labor under the misconception they give a shit what the "law" says.

F. Bastiat's picture

I certainly agree that Gyorgy Schwartz is one of the pillars upon which the marxist delusions of Hussein Obama so precariously rest.

prains's picture

Work? It's pretty much DNA code now, saturated propaganda has them baffled, the noise is overwhelming

F. Bastiat's picture

I doubt that half of Hussein's regime can even pronounce DNA. Much less DeoxyriboNucleicAcid.

The average IQ of the Hussein's regime is probably somewhere around 80.  And that's being awfully generous.

LetThemEatRand's picture

The Bernanke scored perfect on the SAT.  I agree that O is not a rocket scientist and he got into Harvard for reasons that have little to do with his IQ, but he's surrounded by very intelligent people.  Idiots don't get away with what they've gotten away with for all of these decades.  Don't underestimate your enemy.

F. Bastiat's picture

Oh, I don't under-estimate them for a second, but I also recognize that there are relatively few of them in the country.  100 or less hardcore neo-marxist neo-Bolshevik types,  in my estimation.  Gyorgy Schwartz, Cass Sunstein, Peter Orszag, Bill Ayers, etc.