The NSA quietly posts annual transparency report

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The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) has quietly posted its inaugural transparency report on Tumblr yesterday, detailing information as it relates to the use of certain national security legal authorities by the NSA for calendar year 2013.

The report comes after President Obama directed the intelligence community to declassify and make public as much information about certain surveillance programs as possible.

Specifically, the report outlines information as it relates to the number of FISA orders, national security letters and requests for business records. Of particular interest is the number of targets under Section 702 of FISA – 89,138 – and the fact that it only took one order to reach those targets.

The Verge speculates this single order could be related to XKeyscore, a program described as a giant database of everything you’ve ever done online.

Even more telling, however, is the description of a “target.” As the post notes, a target could be an individual person, a group or an organization composed of multiple individuals or even a foreign power. Under that definition, the reported figures likely aren’t a good indication of the actual number of people the NSA targeted.

The report also indicates that, in some cases, one order can by its terms affect multiple targets. Alternatively, a target may be the subject of multiple orders.

The office promises to release similar information in the future on an annual basis.

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