This is the NSA's equivalent of "the dog ate my homework," I guess.
The superspying agency is facing lawsuits over surveillance it conducted on just about everyone, and it's being asked to hand over information. But the NSA says it can't, because its system is too complex to stop it from deleting its own data.
A judge had ruled that the NSA had to preserve data under Section 702 of the Amendments Act to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
But the NSA argued that holding onto the data would be too burdensome. "A requirement to preserve all data acquired under section 702 presents significant operational problems, only one of which is that the NSA may have to shut down all systems and databases that contain Section 702 information," wrote NSA Deputy Director Richard Ledgett in a court filing submitted to the court.
The group that filed the lawsuit, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, raised concerns over that answer.
"To me, it demonstrates that once the government has custody of this information even they can't keep track of it anymore even for purposes of what they don't want to destroy," she said in an interview.
Keep an eye on the NSA on my site. And to protect yourself, here's how to hide your private messages from the NSA.