The NSA Is Recording "Virtually All" Cell Phone Calls In The Bahamas: New Snowden Docs

The Intercept reveals an alleged NSA program called SOMALGET, that intercepts, records, and archives the audio of cell phone calls made to and from the Bahamas.

The reach of the National Security Agency is wider than previously thought, according to a report from The Intercept. Citing new documents provided by Edward Snowden, the news site--cofounded by Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian reporter who broke the news of the NSA's PRISM program--revealed an alleged secret government program that is recording "virtually every cell phone conversation" to and from the Bahamas.

The report, coauthored by Greenwald, said the program, codenamed SOMALGET, monitors calls without the consent or knowledge of the Bahamian government. The NSA has purportedly accessed a backdoor to the country's cellular network via the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's legally obtained access. Unlike the first set of documents leaked by Snowden, SOMALGET goes beyond the collection of metadata, and instead intercepts, records, and archives the audio of calls, which can be replayed for up to a month, according to the site.

An alleged memo from the NSA’s International Crime & Narcotics division from 2012Image: The Intercept

SOMALGET falls under the purview of a broader NSA program called MYSTIC, which, according to The Intercept, has been used to gather metadata in five countries: the Bahamas, Mexico, Kenya, the Philippines, and one country it did not name over concerns of possible increased violence. In the Bahamas and the unnamed country, the NSA has the capability to record audio of calls, according to the news site.

[Image: Flickr user Trish Hartmann]

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