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NSA Releases Some Files On Electronic Surveillance

Reporters on the national security beat are sifting through about 1,000 pages of newly declassified documents that the National Security Agency released late Monday.

The heavily redacted records, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in a statement, "demonstrate the care with which NSA's foreign intelligence collection ... is run, managed, and overseen."

But NPR's Carrie Johnson tells our Newscast Desk that they include a judge's ruling that the government repeatedly exceeded its authority for collecting so-called metadata from Americans' emails and other electronic communications.

The Associated Press leads its story about the documents this way:

"The National Security Agency reported its own violations of surveillance rules to a U.S. intelligence court and promised additional safety measures to prevent similar missteps over and over again."

The Washington Post takes this approach:

"The documents also describe the NSA's failure to abide by court-imposed rules to protect Americans' privacy, and show that the agency was more interested in collecting cell site location data than it had previously acknowledged."

According to The New York Times, "many of the documents have historic significance, showing how Bush administration surveillance programs that were initially conducted without court oversight and outside statutory authorization were brought under the authority of the surveillance court and subjected to oversight rules."

The NSA's surveillance programs have come under intense scrutiny since early June, when former NSA contractor Edward Snowden began leaking tens of thousands of records about the agency's activities.

Links to the NSA documents are part of this post on the Office of the Director of National Intelligence's Tumblr page.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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