Privacy board: NSA’s internet monitoring is legal

Privacy board says National Security Agency's massive collection of internet data is constitutional

FILE - This Thursday, June 6, 2013, file photo, shows a sign outside the National Security Administration (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md. The New York Times reported late Monday, March 24, 2014, that the Obama administration this week will propose that Congress overhaul the NSA's electronic surveillance program. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
FILE - This Thursday, June 6, 2013, file photo, shows a sign outside the National Security Administration (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md. The New York Times reported late Monday, March 24, 2014, that the Obama administration this week will propose that Congress overhaul the NSA's electronic surveillance program. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — An independent privacy and civil liberties board says the National Security Agency’s massive collection of internet data is constitutional and employs “reasonable” protections designed to ensure that private American communications are not misused.

In a report released Tuesday night, the bipartisan, five-member Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board examined a set of NSA surveillance programs disclosed by leaker Edward Snowden. The NSA uses court orders and taps on fiber optic lines to collect the data of foreigners living abroad when their emails, web chats, text messages and other communications traverse the U.S.

The collection inevitably sweeps in the communications of Americans with no connection to terrorism or foreign intelligence, but the board found that the NSA, FBI and other agencies take steps to protect the privacy of those people.

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