A sign stands outside the National Security Administration (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md. The Obama administration has defended the National Security Agency's need to collect telephone records of U.S. citizens, calling such information "a critical tool in protecting the nation from terrorist threats."
The National Security Agency broke several privacy rules thousands of times and went above and beyond its legal authority after it was given new powers in 2008, according to top secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden, The Washington Post reported Thursday. According to the Post, most of the breaches were unauthorized surveillance of Americans or foreign intelligence targets in the U.S. The White House said in a statement Friday, however, that the leaked documents tell a different story and rather "demonstrate that the NSA is monitoring, detecting, addressing and reporting compliance incidents." It also reiterated what Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein has said: that the committee hasn't found any instances of the NSA intentionally abusing its authority. Snowden, meanwhile, a former NSA contractor, has been granted temporary asylum in Russia after leaking documents on the NSA's secret data surveillance program to Western media.Get More at NBC News