By Evan Perez
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 the telephone metadata, such as the numbers dialed, the length and time of the calls. The government says the NSA phone data collection operated under court supervision, and that the database is only accessed for specific searches in counterterrorism investigations.FULL STORY