The NSA is in possession of a powerful data mining tool, which it uses to record and analyse massive amounts of digital data, a key source of its intelligence.
The Guardian reportedly acquired top-secret documents about the NSA tool, called Boundless Informant, that details and maps by country the amount of information it collects from telephone and computer networks.
According to a snapshot of the data for March 2013, the NSA gathered 13.5 billion intelligence reports from Pakistan during the 30-day period. The largest amount of data was collected from Iran, at 14 billion reports. Jordan came third with 12.7 billion, Egypt fourth with 7.6 billion and India fifth with 6.3 billion.
On Friday, US President Barack Obama mounted a staunch defense Friday of the recently exposed spy agency surveillance programs, telling Americans “nobody is listening to your telephone calls.”
Obama though maintained that there was a trade off to be made between national security and people’s privacy, though he said it was right that the exact balance between the two should be publicly debated.