NSA said it is authorized under section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to target non-U.S. persons who are reasonably believed to be located outside the U.S. The controversial part, criticized by many rights groups, is that the communications of U.S. persons are sometimes incidentally acquired in targeting the foreign entities.
In those cases, approved minimization procedures, which control the acquisition, retention, and dissemination of any information of a U.S. person, are used to protect the privacy of that person, NSA said.
"We do not need to sacrifice civil liberties for the sake of national security; both are integral to who we are as Americans," the unsigned document stated.
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