Obama: We need new thinking for new era
04:13 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

Two documents describe scope of NSA data collection programs

Their release is part of pledge by Obama adminstration to be transparent

Critics have argued that the data collection violates privacy rights

Washington CNN  — 

The Obama administration released two documents on Friday describing the scope of National Security Agency data collection programs, a bid to quiet criticism they violate privacy rights.

An NSA memorandum describes the beginnings of the agency’s collection of so-called telephone metadata of nearly every American under a provision of the Patriot Act, and the agency’s monitoring of foreign Internet traffic.

The agency says in the memo that its systems monitor 1.6% of the world’s Internet traffic, and its analysts review .00004% of global traffic.

Published accounts drawn from leaked documents provided by admitted NSA leaker Edward Snowden have portrayed a much broader eavesdropping system under section 702 of the Patriot Act.

Another document from the Justice Department describes the legal basis for collecting