New revelations from inside sources and corroborating leaked documents from Edward Snowden suggest the NSA is more powerful than we ever knew. It turns out a surveillance system codenamed MYSTIC can record every single phone call made in a foreign country and store those recordings for 30 days. The Washington Post reports:
The National Security Agency has built a surveillance system capable of recording “100 percent” of a foreign country’s telephone calls, enabling the agency to rewind and review conversations as long as a month after they take place, according to people with direct knowledge of the effort and documents supplied by former contractor Edward Snowden.
We're talking about possibly billions of calls consisting of untold hours of private, personal conversations. Analysts are only able to listen to a miniscule percentage of these calls - less than one percent. But even that number is staggering. Apparently, millions of fragments of these conversations are kept long-term - perhaps even indefinitely.