NSA Sought Expanded Powers Last Year, New York Times Says

Officials at the U.S. National Security Agency pushed to expand its powers last year, the New York Times reported, citing a document it said was provided by former security contractor Edward Snowden.

Agency officials set an objective to “aggressively pursue legal authorities,” the newspaper said in a report published today. The five-page NSA document said existing U.S. laws weren’t adequate to meet the agency’s needs to conduct broad surveillance, according to the Times.

The document was written before Snowden, beginning in June, exposed programs the NSA uses to collect e-mail and telephone records of millions of Americans, sparking debate about the agency’s reach. Snowden remains in Russia under temporary asylum.

Vanee Vines, a spokeswoman for the NSA, in an e-mail today said the document procured by the Times “is designed to guide investments in future capabilities and close gaps in current capabilities.”

“We also build compliance into our systems and tools to ensure that the workforce operates within the law,” Vines said. “NSA tries to get in front of issues to better fulfill the foreign-intelligence requirements of the U.S. government.”

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