What Your "Startlingly Intimate, Voyeristic" NSA File Looks Like

Tyler Durden's picture

A few days ago, we asked a simple rhetorical question: "Are you targeted by the NSA?"

The answer, sadly for those reading this, is very likely yes, as it was revealed that as part of the NSA's XKeyscore program "a computer network exploitation system, as described in an NSA presentation, devoted to gathering nearly everything a user does on the internet" all it takes for a user to be flagged by America's superspooks is to go to a website the NSA finds less than "patriotic" and that user becomes a fixture for the NSA's tracking algos.

So assuming one is being tracked by the NSA - or as it is also known for politically correct reasons "intercepted" - as a "person of interest" or worse, just what kind of data does the NSA collect? The latest report by the WaPo titled "In NSA-intercepted data, those not targeted far outnumber the foreigners who are" sheds much needed light on just how extensive the NSA's data collection effort is.

According to WaPo, the files on intercepted Americans "have a startlingly intimate, even voyeuristic quality. They tell stories of love and heartbreak, illicit sexual liaisons, mental-health crises, political and religious conversions, financial anxieties and disappointed hopes. The daily lives of more than 10,000 account holders who were not targeted are catalogued and recorded nevertheless."

The Post reviewed roughly 160,000 intercepted e-mail and instant-message conversations, some of them hundreds of pages long, and 7,900 documents taken from more than 11,000 online accounts.

Remember when the NSA said they only target foreigners, and only those who are of particular actionable interest? They lied.

Nine of 10 account holders found in a large cache of intercepted conversations, which former NSA contractor Edward Snowden provided in full to The Post, were not the intended surveillance targets but were caught in a net the agency had cast for somebody else.


Many of them were Americans. Nearly half of the surveillance files, a strikingly high proportion, contained names, e-mail addresses or other details that the NSA marked as belonging to U.S. citizens or residents. NSA analysts masked, or “minimized,” more than 65,000 such references to protect Americans’ privacy, but The Post found nearly 900 additional e-mail addresses, unmasked in the files, that could be strongly linked to U.S. citizens or U.S.residents.

Going back to "your" file:

Taken together, the files offer an unprecedented vantage point on the changes wrought by Section 702 of the FISA amendments, which enabled the NSA to make freer use of methods that for 30 years had required probable cause and a warrant from a judge. One program, code-named PRISM, extracts content stored in user accounts at Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook, Google and five other leading Internet companies. Another, known inside the NSA as Upstream, intercepts data on the move as it crosses the U.S. junctions of global voice and data networks.

It gets worse, because that bed-wetting habit you kicked in the 2nd grade? The NSA knows all about it.

Among the latter are medical records sent from one family member to another, résumés from job hunters and academic transcripts of schoolchildren. In one photo, a young girl in religious dress beams at a camera outside a mosque.


Scores of pictures show infants and toddlers in bathtubs, on swings, sprawled on their backs and kissed by their mothers. In some photos, men show off their physiques. In others, women model lingerie, leaning suggestively into a webcam or striking risque poses in shorts and bikini tops.

How many Americans may be tracked by the NSA at any one time? Turns out ther answer is lots:

The Obama administration declines to discuss the scale of incidental collection. The NSA, backed by Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., has asserted that it is unable to make any estimate, even in classified form, of the number of Americans swept in. It is not obvious why the NSA could not offer at least a partial count, given that its analysts routinely pick out “U.S. persons” and mask their identities, in most cases, before distributing intelligence reports.


If Snowden’s sample is representative, the population under scrutiny in the PRISM and Upstream programs is far larger than the government has suggested. In a June 26 “transparency report,” the Office of the Director of National Intelligence disclosed that 89,138 people were targets of last year’s collection under FISA Section 702. At the 9-to-1 ratio of incidental collection in Snowden’s sample, the office’s figure would correspond to nearly 900,000 accounts, targeted or not, under surveillance.

And tangentially, for those who are urging the NSA to release Lois Lerner's emails, all it would take are a few keystrokes:

If I had wanted to pull a copy of a judge’s or a senator’s e-mail, all I had to do was enter that selector into XKEYSCORE,” one of the NSA’s main query systems, [Edward Snowden] said.

What the file would likely reveal is all the dirt the US intelligence apparatus had on said (Supreme Court) judge or senator, or IRS employee. After all, what better way to keep the system of "checks and balances" in check than to have dirt on all the key places of leverage.

The WaPo has released a sterilized example of what a "target package" looks like for any given individual.

All of the above would be stunning... if it wasn't for a culture in which FaceBook has made the exhibitionist stripping of one's privacy and disclosure of every last piece of "intimate" personal information a daily chore. It is in this world, sadly, where the most recent confirmation of just how expansive Big Brother is, will merely be granted with a yawn by the vast majority of the population.

Finally, here's a thought for the cash-strapped US government: when the Fed is no longer able to monetize the US deficit, the NSA can just hire Goldman to IPO the NSA "social network." It should raise at least a few hundred billion in cash.

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praxis's picture

Stasi, eat your heart out...

Newsboy's picture

Can I get mine through a Freedom of Information request?

RevRex's picture

Mine says "tells truth about why 2nd Amendment is in U.S. Constitution".....

Four chan's picture

mine says desires to blow up the fed with a dirty bomb while snorting anthrax and listening to megadeath.

and mass murdering a crave case of sliders in my nuclear powered car alciada would love because its a 

toyota and looks like a wmd hit it with a licence plate saying dont tread on me from the militia state.

Payne's picture


Troy Ounce's picture



Well, the NSA is, together with FaceBook, Microsoft, Google, etc, a subsidary of the US Department of Defense.

sleigher's picture

Is it true that the word viagra in emails triggers their (NSA) filters?  

Gen. Keith Alexander's picture

Folks, I'm booking speaking engagements where I discuss the future of cyber-security.  Please google my name and contact my people if you have interest.

I also have a book deal in the works!

TeamDepends's picture

Shoot, one time I poured mustard on myself and screamed, "I'm the god damn Mustard Man!"  Hope they don't have that.

Troll Magnet's picture

Let's not forget who also has unfettered access to all this data: ISRAEL.

You know, because they own America..err, I mean, they're our best friends.

Headbanger's picture

The terrorists won.


Caviar Emptor's picture

Funny that the Tea Party glorifies what really was A False Flag Operation: American colonists dressed as Indians attacking British private property.

SWRichmond's picture

They (NSA) hate us for our freedom.

Scarlett's picture

So, how did the Stazi boys end up once again?  

COSMOS's picture


Thank god my face was not showing in this video, but I will never know what the security camera footage shows from the club, I hear the NSA has a direct link to it.

At least we all know or home computer video cams and microphone are compromised by the NSA even when they are turned 'off'

Thank god for my constitutional rights and all the govt employees who have sworn to uphold them.

chumbawamba's picture

Actually, I saw your face a bunch of times when the camera zoomed in on you going down variously.

Don't worry, your secret is safe with me, ZH, and the NSA.

I am Chumabwamba.

COSMOS's picture

Should I tell them I bit off your little prick, or do you want to bill that to your insurance company as the sex change operation you always wanted Mr. -wanka?  You can write off the trip to Mallorca and the club surgery/trauma as health related expenses on your taxes for your permanent -wanked off job.

You are ChumbNoWanka

chumbawamba's picture

Haha, you got owned, you little tink.

I am Chumbawamba.

GetZeeGold's picture



Could we please see Obama's file?


I'd finally like to know what I'm really dealing with here.

MeBizarro's picture

The US Constitution applies to FSB employees and/or affliates?  Who knew. 

jeff montanye's picture

 the one(s) they took which they hated (freedom from unwarranted search, freedom of speech and assembly, rights to due process and speedy criminal trial by jury, among others)  

the u.s.a. was never the paradise of liberty that the propaganda made it out to be, but things, ironically, have truly gotten worse since "we" "won" the "cold war".  the mic and the national security state needed a new reason for being. israel had helpful suggestions. in finding it,via 9-11, they found they could strip the constitiution bare and install a real fascist state. 

TheReplacement's picture

A false flag means an attempt to frame another party for the action.

The patriots dressed as indians were not trying to frame the indians.  They were trying to hide their identity.

You need to go to another school.  Your professors are lying to you.  You are being ripped off of your tuition. 

If you are not a student, my apologies.  I gave you the benefit of the doubt.  In this case, go to hell you lying piece of shit.  Maybe by the time you get there you can keep that traitor Alexander company.

shovelhead's picture

They attacked the tax that was going to be attached to that private property once it left the ship, thereby making it a public matter.

The attempt to disguise themselves as Indians was to cover their faces in paint thus avoiding detection of their true identities. Some colonists wore no disguise at all as a symbol of defiance. It was not an attempt to blame Indians. Nobody would believe that one for an instant.

In fact, the new Tea Act of 1773 would lower tea prices to match Dutch smugglers tea prices who paid no tax but in return, gave a monopoly to East India Co.s importation of tea to the colonies but with the old Townsend Acts tea tax intact. The monopoly aspect was another colonist complaint adding fuel to the fire.

The issue wasn't the cost of tea, but the same old complaint of Parliament's levying taxes without colonist representation in that body.

The modern Tea Party's appropriation of that symbolic act is quite proper when one considers that no true representation of the will of the people exists in Washington today.

You disagree?

Manthong's picture

The fact that Clapper (amongst others) is not behind bars right now is an insult to the concept of justice in the United States (not to mention an insult to Martha Stewart).


Gaius Frakkin' Baltar's picture

"justice in the United States"

Hahaha... good one.

silver4me's picture

@Gen. Keith Alexander

My take is you're working for .gov still or just trying to make more $ talking and writing books. Would you not be a terrorist if you leaked anything that was secret?

I really hope you are doing this for the people in your country rather than the few who run it.

TheReplacement's picture

General Alexander and James Clapper ran organizations that have violated the constitution they swore an oath to uphold and protect.  They have terrorized the world with their big brother technology and all seeing eye.  They have participated in operations that ultimately led to the execution, without trial or charge, of American citizens.  They have violated untold millions of human rights. 

Ipso facto, General Alexander and James Clapper are terrorists.  As such, it is clearly legal to exectute them without trial, as per President Obama's previous examples.

Is there any flaw in this logic?



Manthong's picture


See HH below..  against all enemies, foreign and domestic;”

They are domestic enemies, not of the State but of the Constitution.

TeamDepends's picture

While it's true Clapper fails miserably as a government automaton, it can not be denied he was a genius inventor.http://www.ask.com/youtube?q=%22clapper%22+commercial&v=Ny8-G8EoWOw&qsrc...

BraveSirRobin's picture

Did not the Supreme Court find a right to "privacy" in Roe vs. Wade? So, this right to privacy only extends to abortion, but in no other sphere of life? 

I am tired of all the double speak and hypocracy. Oh, and Clapper has lied to congress on multiple occassion. I would either have him arrested by Capitol police next time he set foot in congress, and/or impeach him and have him removed from office. 

Finally, if some one is a lawyer, I thought it was illegal for the NSA to collect information of on US citizens within the United States. That was the perview of the FBI, and they needed a warrant.

disabledvet's picture

This is an interesting question/point actually. "Do you have a right to be safe in your personage" and under Roe v Wade one could argue indeed "women do."

We still have to start getting all the facts vis a vis the purpose behind all this mass data collection...how and in what form it is shared and with whom for example.

"Information exchanges" have been around since the 80's. Are we gambling on nuclear aircraft carriers and "troop dispositions" now?

Chupacabra-322's picture

@ The Replacement,

You can throw Criminal at large Michael Hayden into that mix. Wonder where his next "speaking" engagement is at ?

dellievan's picture

Could we honest citizens be heartened by the fact that pre 9-11  .gov was collecting minimal data on it's populace.  In fact  .gov was vigorously given information about a select group of Saudi's who were being instructed on flight simulator jet take offs,  but emphatically resisting landing instruction.

I think we overestimate the competence of our dear leaders.  The Utah filing cabinet is essentially a needle in 100,000 hay stacks technology.

 All the bad ones they will get for their hundereds of billions will be the likes of the idiot pressure cooker bombers.  (said with deep respect for the victims of that incident)

disabledvet's picture

The argument here seems to be "ignore the media" as well. He whole basis of an information exchange is to break down the barrier between the. Government and the loonies in charge of time warner etc. "just call it sharing."

Only a fool pays for cable. The jury is still out on AT&T et al...but they all have admitted to spying on foreign nationals "for their Government" as well as being forced into the data gathering business by these same Governments.

These are private networks...recognized in law as such and subject to probable cause and the need to obtain a search warrant. Is the probable cause "the Taliban might be here"???

That sounds like Chief Justice Taney to me.

TheReplacement's picture

I was only speaking hypothetically of course.  Remember, they were only following orders and we all know from history that it is okay to do anything if you are following orders.

Phuk u's picture

No they just stiffen up a little.

Frankie Carbone's picture

Conjunctions such as 




trigger NSA sensors, as does using more than one period or comma in a post or email. 

hedgeless_horseman's picture



America was supposed to be a Constitutional Republic, governed by laws such as The Constitution.  Here is the Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.




Considering the Congressional Oath of Office....

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.



Or these United States Military oaths...

"I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God." (Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962).


"I, _____ (SSAN), having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God." (DA Form 71, 1 August 1959, for officers.)





It appears that our congressional leaders and military officers, such as General Keith Alexander and his comrades, have failed us all in the worst of ways.

I don't know what my NSA profile says, nor do I really care, because at least I didn't swear to God to support and defend the Fourth Amendment, then spend my career destroying it, like General Alexander.

hedgeless_horseman's picture



Why wasn't the NSA tracking the Five Dancing Israelis?

The New York Times reported Thursday that a group of five men had set up video cameras aimed at the Twin
Towers prior to the attack on Tuesday, and were seen congratulating one another afterwards.