NSA sees huge spike in public records requests

BY newsdesk  November 18, 2013 at 2:59 PM EST


Video still from PBS NewsHour

The Edward Snowden saga has recently heaped attention onto the National Security Agency, which has seen an 888 percent increase in public records requests.

USA Today reported Monday that the increase is the largest the agency has ever seen. Those who request information receive a standard, pre-written letter saying “the NSA can neither confirm nor deny that any information has been gathered,” according to the paper.

“We’ve had requests from individuals who want any records we have on their phone calls, their phone numbers, their e-mail addresses, their IP addresses, anything like that,” Pamela Phillips, the chief of the NSA Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act Office, told USA TODAY.

Between October and December 2012, the NSA received 257 open-records request. When news outlets published Snowden’s leaks on June 6, the agency fielded more than 1,300 requests. More than 2,500 requests flowed into the NSA in the following three months.

The spike has “overwhelmed” Phillips’ staff, she said.

H/T Sam Lane