The National Security Agency used "vast electronic spying apparatus to bolster security" at the Republican and Democratic National Conventions back in 2004, according to newly released documents provided by Edward Snowden to The Intercept.
According to the Intercept's documents, the NSA sent six employees from its Signals Intelligence Directorate to Boston and New York City ahead of the conventions to provide "SIGINT [signals intelligence] support to the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and other national agencies."
Patrick Toomey, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union's National Security Project, told the Intercept that "if NSA surveillance was used directly or indirectly to monitor protesters or domestic political activities, as opposed to detecting foreign threats, that would be a matter of serious concern.
"The public should know more about the nature of any NSA surveillance, whether it swept up the private communications of Americans, and whether law enforcement relied on that information to monitor people exercising their First Amendment rights."
Snowden also provided the Intercept with documents claiming Japan made covert deals with the NSA over the downing of Korean Airlines Flight 007 in 1983, securing the release of Japanese surveillance of Soviet communications.
The NSA did not provide a comment on either story. Neither the New York Police Department nor the Department of Homeland Security responded to requests for comment on the 2004 operation. An FBI spokeswoman could not comment on the allegations as she had no knowledge of the operation.
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