Fri Aug 9, 2013 AT 6:00 AM EDT
The National Security Agency is combing the contents of Americans’ text and email messages sent across our borders for information on foreign citizens under surveillance, according to a new report. The New York Times revealed on Wednesday the N.S.A. is not just intercepting the communications of Americans who are in direct contact with foreigners targeted overseas, it is also casting a far wider net for people who cite information linked to those foreigners, like a little used e-mail address, according to a senior intelligence official. Meanwhile, given this unprecedented info grab by the government, USA Today suggests rather than forcing communications companies to turn over the data — why not pay them to store and search it?