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NSA: Disclosing How Many People It's Spying On is a Violation of Privacy

Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall asked the National Security Agency a simple question: just how many people inside the United States it is spying on.

But the answer is anything but simple:

The query bounced around the intelligence bureaucracy until it reached I. Charles McCullough, the Inspector General of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the nominal head of the 16 U.S. spy agencies. In a letter acquired by Danger Room, McCullough told the senators that the NSA inspector general “and NSA leadership agreed that an IG review of the sort suggested would itself violate the privacy of U.S. persons,” McCullough wrote.

Spencer Ackerman of Wired's Danger Room has the story: Link (Photo: Shutterstock


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"We can't discuss how many people's privacy we're invading because it would be an invasion of their privacy to do so."

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