Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.
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Americans have been told, over and over again, that the National Security Agency is not tracking them online, or looking at the contents of their e-mails. But apparently it can, according to a new report by Glenn Greenwald for The Guardian newspaper, using more information from stranded former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
The report claims that the NSA has a program called XKeyscore that stores virtually all of a user's online activity in a database.
It is not supposed to be used domestically on Americans – but The Guardian says it could be, without any prior warrant necessary.
Private correspondence, political views, health records – all of it could be in a database, and a snap to search.
The news of XKeyscore broke just as senators grilled some of the nation's top intelligence officials about why they need such potentially invasive programs to keep Americans safe.
"The phone records of all of us in this room, all of us in this room, reside in a NSA database. I've said repeatedly just because we have the ability to collect huge amounts of data does not mean we should be doing so," Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, said at the hearing.
Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee tried to understand how the NSA could know so much about private citizens, and still go unchecked by those elected to represent Americans.
Senator Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper” Wednesday that a newly declassified document provided evidence of how the intelligence community has misled Congress about the National Security Agency’s massive surveillance programs.
“In the document that was declassified today, it talked about how the bulk collection of e-mail was a vital capability,” Wyden said. “And Senator (Mark) Udall (D-Colorado) and I believed early on that that was not the case. We kept pressing the point. We were able to show that it was in effect worthless. That's the reason that it was eliminated. And yet the intelligence community, when they first described it a few days ago, they said it was for operational reasons.”
Wyden said that “on issue after issue, too many of the leaders in the intelligence community have not just kept the Congress in the dark; the Congress have been given inaccurate statements and in effect been actively misled.”
By CNN Chief Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper
The White House says the administration has completed an investigation into the 2001 massacre of hundreds of Taliban prisoners by a CIA- and U.S. Special Forces-backed Afghan warlord and his fighters - and concluded that no U.S. personnel were involved.
“At the president’s direction, the U.S. government has looked into the facts of the 2001 Dasht-e-Leili massacre and we have concluded that no American troops were involved in this incident,” National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden told CNN Tuesday.
When it was pointed out that her statement left an opening for the involvement of other Americans, such as CIA officers, Hayden got back to CNN Wednesday with a more expansive statement, asserting that "No U.S. personnel were involved in this incident.”