www.ofINTEREST.net

The focus with ..."of INTEREST"!? is to bring to you as much information, without taking sides, relating to the Subject matter links listed above and herein. You will have to decide! - www.ofINTEREST.net

www.AmericansNotWanted.com (click here)

The United States of America is undergoing CHANGE. Is it for the betterment of all, or just for those who are willing to play along? Why are U.S.A. citizens being driven into poverty, and who are the culprits? You will have to decide! - www.AmericansNotWanted.com

www.CorruptionCripples.com (click here)

Corruption does Cripples, and affects us all! Don't be silent, and know that there are others who share your thoughts of not accepting Corruption in any form or fashion by anyone - www.CorruptionCripples.com

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www.Houseless.org (click here)

Houseless, not homeless! It is in so many cases, a dwelling, structure, place, abode and so forth that is missing, not a connection with others. - www.Houseless.org

www.TruthExposedAndRevealed.com (click here)

Scripture, is the manual for those descended from Adam and Eve. There are many versions of Scripture, but are they all with Truth? Abba, Elohiym loves his creations, but lest us not be so bold as to forsake him. You will have to decide, but do so with help from true Scripture, not man's versions thereof! - www.TruthExposedAndRevealed.com

Yamal Peninsula - "End of the World" - UNEXPLAINED Crater closer to be Understood as SECOND crater is DISCOVERED [VIDEO/Pics] - www.ofINTEREST.net


Via
http://www.themoscowtimes.com/

Mystery Behind Giant Hole in Siberia Clearer as 2nd Discovered


Marya Zulinova / Governor of Yamal-Nenets Region's Press ServiceThe craters, believed to be formed by an underground explosion, are now filled with snow and ice.

Reindeer herders in Russia's Far North have discovered yet another mysterious giant hole about 30 kilometers away from a similar one found days earlier.

Located in the permafrost of the subarctic Siberian region of Yamal, which means "end of the earth" in the local Nenets language, both craters appear to have been formed in recent years and have icy lakes at their bases.

Scientists who examined the first hole theorized that it could have been created when a mixture of water, salt and gas exploded underground, the Siberian Times news site reported.

The area, which has one of Russia's richest deposits of natural gas, was covered by sea about 10,000 years ago, and vast salt deposits were left behind.

"Global warming, causing an alarming melt in the ice under the soil, released gas causing an effect like the popping of a Champagne cork," the news report said, citing an expert at the Subarctic Scientific Research Center.

The first hole is estimated to be about 50 meters wide and 70 meters deep, with water from melting permafrost cascading down its sides into the icy deposit below.

The second hole is "exactly" like the first one, but "much smaller," local lawmaker Mikhail Lapsui told the Interfax-Ural news agency. "Inside the crater itself, snow can be seen."


See also this article which is directly related:

UPDATED: First pictures from inside the "crater at the end of the world" [VIDEO/Pics]


UPDATED: First pictures from inside the "crater at the end of the world" [VIDEO/Pics] - www.ofINTEREST.net

Via

First pictures from inside the "crater at the end of the world"

By Anna Liesowska

Experts examine the newly-discovered hole in the earth in Siberia.

The crater has an icy lake at its bottom with water cascading down its eroding permafrost walls. Picture: Andrey Naumenko, 'Yamal-Region'

The crater on the Yamal Peninsula was caused by aliens, a meteorite, a stray missile, or an explosive gas cocktail released due to global warming, according to various theories in recent days.

Images of the remarkable phenomenon have gone round the world since The Siberian Times highlighted helicopter images of the giant hole earlier this week.

The first expedition to the scene - the scientists have just returned - took these epic pictures of the hole, including the darkening pattern on the inner rim.

Now they are using Russian satellite pictures to fix the moment when it suddenly formed.

They found the crater - around up to 70 metres deep - has an icy lake at its bottom, and water is cascading down its eroding permafrost walls.

It is not as wide as aerial estimates which suggested between 50 and 100 metres.






The first scientific expedition has just returned from the site, now the experts are working with satellite pictures to fix the moment when the crater has formed. Pictures: Marya Zulinova, press service of the Governor YaNAO

While the team insist that it is a 'natural phenomenon', they insist further study is essential to understanding the formation of the crater in lake-studded Yamal - a name which means 'end of the world' in the local tongue.

Andrey Plekhanov, Senior Researcher at the State Scientific Centre of Arctic Research, said: 'The crater has more of an oval than a circular shape, it makes it harder to calculate the exact diameter. As of now our estimates is about thirty metres.

'If we try to measure diameter together with soil emission, the so-called parapet, then the diameter is up to sixty meters.

"The crater is from 50 to 70 metres deep".

The first look down the crater. Picture: Andrey Naumenko, 'Yamal-Region'

The researchers were unable to make their way to the bottom of the lake, but did go inside the crater.
'There is ice inside the crater which gradually thaws under the sun.

"Also there is melted water flowing down from its sides, you can see water traces on the pictures. The crater is filled with ice by about eighty per cent."

He stressed: 'We are working with space photographs to figure out exact time of its formation.
'We have taken soil and ice samples which went straight to laboratories. We can be certain in saying that the crater appeared relatively recently, perhaps a year or two  ago; so it is a recent formation, we are not talking about dozen years ago.

'Could it be linked to the global warming? We have to continue our research to answer this question.
'Two previous summers - years 2012 and 2013 were relatively hot for Yamal, perhaps this has somehow influenced the formation of the crater.

"But we have to do our tests and research first and then say it more definitively".


The crater is filled with ice by about eighty per cent. Pictures: Marya Zulinova, press service of the Governor YaNAO

The best theory for now is that the crater was formed by internal - not external - forces.

'For now we can say for sure that under the influence of internal processes there was an ejection in the permafrost. I want to stress that it was not an explosion, but an ejection, so there was no heat released as it happened'.

Earlier scientists were sure there was burning visible on the sides of the crater.

'I also want to recall a theory that our scientists worked on in the 1980s - it has been left and then forgotten for a number of years.

'The theory was that the number of Yamal lakes formed because of exactly such natural process happening in the permafrost.

"Such kind of processes were taking place about 8,000 years ago. Perhaps they are repeating nowadays. If this theory is confirmed, we can say that we have witnessed a unique natural process that formed the unusual landscape of Yamal peninsula.







Experts examine the newly-discovered hole in the earth in Siberia. Pictures: Marya Zulinova, press service of the Governor YaNAO

'There was no traces of anthropogenic impact near the crater, just as there was no traces of human presence, except for very few sledge traces and of course reindeer traces.

'If it was a man-made disaster linked by gas pumping, it would have happened closer to the gas fields', Andrey Plekhanov told The Siberian Times. 

These are about 30 kilometres away. "Gas workers would have been on alert, letting us know about it immediately."

Denigrating speculation of aliens or UFOs he insisted: "There is nothing mysterious about it. There is no weird or unexplained feelings there, we came back safe and sound".

Despite this, he said: 'I've never seen anything like this, even though I have been to Yamal many times.'



The hole is in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous, some 30 kilometres from the Bovanenkovo gas field. Pictures: Marya Zulinova, press service of the Governor YaNAO

The crater is different from others on Yamal.

'There is nothing mysterious here, it is simply Mother Nature's law with its internal pressure and changes in temperatures', Andrey Plekhanov said.

Marina Leibman,Senior Researcher at the Earth's Cryosphere Institute of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said: "About the future of the crater - its walls are constantly thawing, water is gathering up and I suspect that it gets frozen at the bottom of the crater. If the water stream intensifies - for example because of the hot second part of July - then it won't have enough time to freeze. This will likely lead to a formation of a new lake."

Vladimir Pushkarev, Director of the Russian State Scientific Center of the Arctic Research, "It is an interesting phenomenon, there is every sense in continuing scientific work on it and right now we are discussing the best ways of exploring the site."

The hole is in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous, some 30 kilometres from the Bovanenkovo gas field.

Anna Kurchatova from the Sub-Arctic Scientific Research Centre thinks the crater was formed by a water, salt and gas mixture igniting an underground explosion, the result of global warming.

Gas accumulated in ice mixed with sand beneath the surface, and that this was mixed with salt - some 10,000 years ago this area was a sea.

Global warming, causing an "alarming" melt in the under soil ice, released gas causing an effect like the popping of a Champagne bottle cork, she suggests.

Yamal, a large peninsula jutting into Arctic waters, is Russia's main production area for gas supplied to Europe.



Three teens admit beating two homeless men to death with bricks in sickening attack after attacking DOZENS of other transients [VIDEO/Pics] - wwwofINTEREST.net


(AP) — Three teenagers ganged up on two homeless men and fatally beat them before leaving their bodies nearly unrecognizable, Albuquerque police said Sunday. (read more)

END TIMES? Massive, Unexplained Crater Appears at the "end of the world" in SIBERIA: Yamal, Russia [VIDEOs/Pics] - www.ofINTEREST.net


A nearly 80-metre-wide crater recently discovered in northern Siberia (video screenshot)

A massive, unexplained giant hole has appeared in northern Siberia, prompting wild speculation about meteors, UFOs, underground cities and more.

The most likely explanation is anything but supernatural, scientists say, but none the less extraordinary.

The Siberian Times first reported the hole – which is more than 79.25 metres or 260 feet across and of unknown depth – was spotted from helicopters flying over the gas-rich Yamal Peninsula.

A team of Russian scientists is on its way to investigate the crater, which is apparently large enough for several Mi-8 helicopters to fly into – although none have.

Conspiracy theory websites have speculated the crater was caused by alien spacecraft or related to the “hollow Earth” theory.
The region supplies a great deal of fuel to Europe, thus serves as a major influence and importance.

Mikhael Love, IIO




Via

Opinions divided over mysterious 80-metre wide crater in northern Siberia

July 16, 2014
Colin Cosier and Simon Morris

 
The hole at the "end of the world"

A large hole in Siberia spotted by helicopter, has prompted speculation about UFOs and meteors, but it's probably a feature formed by melting ice, says an Australian scientist.


A giant, mysterious crater in northern Siberia is probably a melted ice formation rather than a hole from a meteor, says an Australian polar scientist.

The Siberian Times reported the giant hole in the Yamal Peninsula - which reportedly translates to “end of the world” - is up to 80 metres wide and has an unknown depth.

A team of Russian scientists have been dispatched to investigate the crater but University of New South Wales polar scientist Dr Chris Fogwill says it’s likely to be a geological phenomenon called a pingo.

An image of the crater taken by an engineer in a helicopter. Photo: Screen grab

“Certainly from the images I’ve seen it looks like a periglacial feature, perhaps a collapsed pingo,” Dr Fogwill said.

Dr Chris Fogwill. Photo: Supplied

A pingo is a block of ice that’s grown into a small hill in the frozen arctic ground. The ice can eventually push through the earth and when it melts away it leaves an exposed crater. Dr Fogwill says the permafrost [frozen earth] can be hundreds of metres thick, allowing for large ice features.

“It’s just a remarkable land form.

“This is obviously a very extreme version of that, and if there’s been any interaction with the gas in the area, that is a question that could only be answered by going there,” Dr. Fogwill said. 

The Siberian hole appeared about 30 kilometres from Yamal's biggest gas field, Bovanenkovo, fuelling speculation there had been some sort of underground explosion.

That theory is supported by the fact the earth appears to have been push up from underground.

A Russian engineer reportedly filmed the hole from a helicopter and the vision has since been shared widely online.

Initial reports and comments labelled the video a fake.

But Dr Fogwill says pingos are a natural occurrence and can be so large they can been seen in satellite imagery in the arctic.

And global warming may mean more pingos in the future.

“We’re seeing much more activity in permafrost areas than we’ve seen in the historical past. A lot of this relates to this high degree of warming around these high arctic areas which are experiencing some of the highest rates of warming on earth,” Dr Fogwill said.

A team of Russian scientists was reported to be arriving at the site some time on Wednesday, 16, July 2014.



& Via
http://siberiantimes.com/home/

Large crater appears at the "end of the world"

By The Siberian Times reporter
15 July 2014

Mysterious 'gigantic' hole in remote region spotted by helicopters over gas-rich Yamal peninsula.

The crater is large enough for several Mi-8 helicopters to fly into it. Picture: Konstantin Nikolaev

The striking puncture in the earth is believed to be up to 80 metres wide but its depth is not estimated yet. A scientific team has been sent to investigate the hole and is due to arrive at the scene on Wednesday.

The cause of its sudden appearance in Yamal - its name means the 'end of the world' in the far north of Siberia - is not yet known, though one scientific claim is that global warming may be to blame.

There is additionally speculation it could be caused by a space object - perhaps a meteorite - striking earth or that it is a sinkhole caused by collapsing rock beneath the hole caused by as yet unknown factors.

The giant hole appeared close to a forest some 30 kilometres from Yamal's biggest gas field Bovanenkovo. Experts are confident that a scientific explanation will be found for it and that it is not - as one web claim suggested - evidence 'of the arrival of a UFO craft' to the planet.

A report and footage highlighted by Zvezda TV says the dark colour of the crater indicates 'some temperature processes', without explaining more what they may mean. Others say that the darkening around the inner rim indicates its formation was accompanied by severe burning scorching the edges.  
Some observers believe water or dry soil is seen falling into the cavity.





Initial reports and images were suspected to be fakes, but the hole is a real phenomenon and it is believed to have been formed around two years ago. Pictures: Konstantin Nikolaev

There is agreement that soil around the hole was thrown out of the crater, large enough for several Mi-8 helicopters to fly into it - not that they have. 

The expedition organised by the Yamal authorities includes two experts from the Centre for the Study of the Arctic and one from Cryosphere Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences. They plan to take samples of soil, air and water from the scene.

They will be accompanied by a specialist from the Emergencies Ministry.

A spokesman for the ministry's Yamal branch ruled out a meteorite but said it was too early to say what cause the gigantic hole in the earth. 

'We can definitely say that it is not a meteorite. No details yet,' said a spokesman. 

Initial reports and images were suspected to be fakes, but the hole is a real phenomenon and it is believed to have been formed around two years ago.

Engineer Konstantin Nikolaev from Yugra is one of those to have filmed it from a helicopter. 

Anna Kurchatova from Sub-Arctic Scientific Research Centre thinks the crater was formed by a water, salt and gas mixture igniting an underground explosion, the result of global warming. She postulates that gas accumulated in ice mixed with sand beneath the surface, and that this was mixed with salt - some 10,000 years ago this area was a sea.

Global warming, causing an 'alarming' melt in the permafrost, released gas causing an effect like the popping of a Champagne bottle cork, she suggests.

Given the gas pipelines in this region such a happening is potentially dangerous.




Sights of Yamal - aerial view of tundra, road to Bovanenkovo gas field, opening ceremony of the Bovanenkovo, and reindeers. Pictures: Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug administration

The Yamal Peninsula in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug is a strategic oil and gas bearing region of Russia.  

It is Russia's main production area for gas and the Bovanenkovo field is of central importance to gas supplies from Siberia to the world. 

The gas field was discovered in 1972 and developed by Gazprom starting production in 2012. The Yamal peninsula is bordered by the Kara Sea - Baydaratskaya Bay - to the west, and the Gulf of Ob on the east. It extends some 700 kilometres over mainly permafrost. 

The area is famous for its reindeer herds and migratory birds. 

The Nenets and Khanty reindeer herders hold about half a million domestic reindeer.

The remains of ancient woolly mammoths have been found in this enchanting territory.


NSA Targets citizens freedom who find INTEREST in Boing Boing, Tor ... [Deutsche VIDEO/Pics] - www.ofINTEREST.net



NSA=National Snooping Agency

Yes slaves, according to the NSA you DO NOT have any rights and/or freedoms to evade being spied upon, your privacy invaded and being wrongfully classed as trouble for those of profit/gain and/or control.

GET IT?

The following articles are with the oldest first except for the Washington Post one. (click on any image to see it larger)

Mikhael Love, IIO


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Snowden



Via

If you read Boing Boing, the NSA considers you a target for deep surveillance

First published 7:00 am Thu, Jul 3, 2014

 by Cory Doctorow

The NSA says it only banks the communications of "targeted" individuals. Guess what? If you follow a search-engine link to Boing Boing's articles about Tor and Tails, you've been targeted. Cory Doctorow digs into Xkeyscore and the NSA's deep packet inspection rules.  


In a shocking story on the German site Tagesschau (Google translate), Lena Kampf, Jacob Appelbaum and John Goetz report on the rules used by the NSA to decide who is a "target" for surveillance. 


 Since the start of the Snowden story in 2013, the NSA has stressed that while it may intercept nearly every Internet user's communications, it only "targets" a small fraction of those, whose traffic patterns reveal some basis for suspicion. Targets of NSA surveillance don't have their data flushed from the NSA's databases on a rolling 48-hour or 30-day basis, but are instead retained indefinitely. 

The authors of the Tagesschau story have seen the "deep packet inspection" rules used to determine who is considered to be a legitimate target for deep surveillance, and the results are bizarre. 


According to the story, the NSA targets anyone who searches for online articles about Tails -- like this one that we published in April, or this article for teens that I wrote in May -- or Tor (The Onion Router, which we've been posted about since 2004). Anyone who is determined to be using Tor is also targeted for long-term surveillance and retention.  


Tor and Tails have been part of the mainstream discussion of online security, surveillance and privacy for years. It's nothing short of bizarre to place people under suspicion for searching for these terms.
More importantly, this shows that the NSA uses "targeted surveillance" in a way that beggars common sense. It's a dead certainty that people who heard the NSA's reassurances about "targeting" its surveillance on people who were doing something suspicious didn't understand that the NSA meant people who'd looked up technical details about systems that are routinely discussed on the front page of every newspaper in the world.


But it's not the first time the NSA has deployed specialized, highly counterintuitive wordsmithing to play games with the public, the law and its oversight. From James Clapper's insistence that he didn't lie to Congress about spying on Americans because he was only intercepting all their data, but not looking at it all; to the internal wordgames on evidence in the original Prism leak in which the NSA claimed to have "direct access" to servers from Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple, etc, even though this "direct access" was a process by which the FBI would use secret warrants to request information from Internet giants without revealing that the data was destined for the NSA. 

I have known that this story was coming for some time now, having learned about its broad contours under embargo from a trusted source. Since then, I've discussed it in confidence with some of the technical experts who have worked on the full set of Snowden docs, and they were as shocked as I was. 

One expert suggested that the NSA's intention here was to separate the sheep from the goats -- to split the entire population of the Internet into "people who have the technical know-how to be private" and "people who don't" and then capture all the communications from the first group.


 Another expert said that s/he believed that this leak may come from a second source, not Edward Snowden, as s/he had not seen this in the original Snowden docs; and had seen other revelations that also appeared independent of the Snowden materials. If that's true, it's big news, as Snowden was the first person to ever leak docs from the NSA. The existence of a potential second source means that Snowden may have inspired some of his former colleagues to take a long, hard look at the agency's cavalier attitude to the law and decency. 

Update: Bruce Schneier also believes there is a second leaker

Update 2: Appelbaum and others have posted an excellent English language article expanding on this in Der Erste. -Cory Doctorow

About the Author

I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.






& Via

NSA trove shows 9:1 ratio of innocents to suspicious people in "targeted surveillance"

First published 7:16 am Sun, Jul 6, 2014
 

NSA data shows that 90 percent of people surveilled are innocent Americans whom the agency is legally prohibited from spying upon. Cory Doctorow looks at what the NSA means when it says "targeted."


The review was undertaken by Barton Gellman, Julie Tate and Ashkan Soltani for the Washington Post, working from a cache of previously undisclosed primary surveillance data that Edward Snowden took with him when he left the NSA.

In many cases, it's clear that the NSA has good reason to be concerned about its surveillance targets, but it's also clear that the collateral targets -- who far outnumber the first group -- have intimate, totally irrelevant information about their lives collected and retained by the spies, where it is routinely accessed by spies, analysts, and private-sector contractors. 

Almost everything in the NSA cache is haystack, in other words, with just a few needles. And the hay is deliberately collected and retained, even though it consists of things like love notes, baby pictures, medical records, and other intimate data belonging to people who are under no suspicion at all.

And while foreigners -- myself included -- are justifiably anxious about the possibility that the NSA faces no legal hurdles to collection of our data, it's significant that the NSA deliberately targets Americans in the USA and abroad. That's because the NSA is legally enjoined from spying on Americans, and the proof that the agency is flouting this prohibition is evidence of illegal activity and strengthens the case for more oversight, reform and intervention from the US Congress.

The NSA uses laughably sloppy tools for deciding whether a target is a "US person" (a person in the USA, or an American citizen abroad). For example, people whose address books contain foreign persons are presumed by some analysts to be foreign. Likewise, people who post in "foreign" languages (the US has no official state language) are presumed by some analysts to be non-US persons. 

When the NSA does determine that it is intercepting US persons' communications, it is required to take "minimization" steps on any data it retains. However, many of these minimization steps are likewise laughably inadequate -- for example, in early 2009, the files refer to "minimized U.S. president-elect," rather than Barack Obama, but you hardly need be a surveillance mastermind to make sense of this. 

The documents reveal how the controversial "section 702" of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act has become the go-to basis for surveillance, 702 further lowers the bar for conducting surveillance from the already generous height at which it had been previously set. In the cache, the Post reporters see evidence that analysts whose judicial surveillance authorization warrants have expired then switch to 702 as their basis for continuing spying, rather than demonstrating to a judge that their cause is good. 

Snowden says he released this cache to the Washington Post to better inform the debate about 702. The NSA's allies in Congress talk about 702 as something used in special cases and with due care. But it's clear from these documents that 702 is a legal back-door that lets spies avoid the very generous and casual oversight of the FISA court, a veritable rubberstamp factory that grants virtually every NSA request.
Last week's revelations about the NSA's "targeted" surveillance program showed us that NSA wordsmithing has distorted the word "targeted" beyond all recognition, but that was about a largely automated system that spied on people based on stupid, automated rules (albeit rules that a human being had created and put in place). 

In this story, we see that even when a trained NSA analyst is making individual, case-by-case decisions about which people to target, s/he can be expected to get it wrong nine times out of ten.
Nice shooting, Tex.
-Cory Doctorow


In NSA-intercepted data, those not targeted far outnumber the foreigners who are [Barton Gellman, Julie Tate and Ashkan Soltani/Washington Post]



Via

In NSA-intercepted data, those not targeted far outnumber the foreigners who are

Files provided by Snowden show extent to which ordinary Web users are caught in the net 

Target package prepared by the National Security Agency prior to the capture of Abu Hamza in January 2011

     July 5

Ordinary Internet users, American and non-American alike, far outnumber legally targeted foreigners in the communications intercepted by the National Security Agency from U.S. digital networks, according to a four-month investigation by The Washington Post.

Nine of 10 account holders found in a large cache of intercepted conversations, which former NSA contractor Edward Snowden provided in full to The Post, were not the intended surveillance targets but were caught in a net the agency had cast for somebody else.

Many of them were Americans. Nearly half of the surveillance files, a strikingly high proportion, contained names, e-mail addresses or other details that the NSA marked as belonging to U.S. citizens or residents. NSA analysts masked, or “minimized,” more than 65,000 such references to protect Americans’ privacy, but The Post found nearly 900 additional e-mail addresses, unmasked in the files, that could be strongly linked to U.S. citizens or U.S.residents.

The surveillance files highlight a policy dilemma that has been aired only abstractly in public. There are discoveries of considerable intelligence value in the intercepted messages — and collateral harm to privacy on a scale that the Obama administration has not been willing to address.

Among the most valuable contents — which The Post will not describe in detail, to avoid interfering with ongoing operations — are fresh revelations about a secret overseas nuclear project, double-dealing by an ostensible ally, a military calamity that befell an unfriendly power, and the identities of aggressive intruders into U.S. computer networks.

A breakdown of the cache of NSA-intercepted communications provided to the Washington Post by Edward Snowden

Months of tracking communications across more than 50 alias accounts, the files show, led directly to the 2011 capture in Abbottabad of Muhammad Tahir Shahzad, a Pakistan-based bomb builder, and Umar Patek, a suspect in a 2002 terrorist bombing on the Indonesian island of Bali. At the request of CIA officials, The Post is withholding other examples that officials said would compromise ongoing operations.

Many other files, described as useless by the analysts but nonetheless retained, have a startlingly intimate, even voyeuristic quality. They tell stories of love and heartbreak, illicit sexual liaisons, mental-health crises, political and religious conversions, financial anxieties and disappointed hopes. The daily lives of more than 10,000 account holders who were not targeted are catalogued and recorded nevertheless.

In order to allow time for analysis and outside reporting, neither Snowden nor The Post has disclosed until now that he obtained and shared the content of intercepted communications. The cache Snowden provided came from domestic NSA operations under the broad authority granted by Congress in 2008 with amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. FISA content is generally stored in closely controlled data repositories, and for more than a year, senior government officials have depicted it as beyond Snowden’s reach.

The Post reviewed roughly 160,000 intercepted e-mail and instant-message conversations, some of them hundreds of pages long, and 7,900 documents taken from more than 11,000 online accounts.

The material spans President Obama’s first term, from 2009 to 2012, a period of exponential growth for the NSA’s domestic collection.

Taken together, the files offer an unprecedented vantage point on the changes wrought by Section 702 of the FISA amendments, which enabled the NSA to make freer use of methods that for 30 years had required probable cause and a warrant from a judge. One program, code-named PRISM, extracts content stored in user accounts at Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook, Google and five other leading Internet companies. Another, known inside the NSA as Upstream, intercepts data on the move as it crosses the U.S. junctions of global voice and data networks.

No government oversight body, including the Justice Department, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, intelligence committees in Congress or the president’s Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, has delved into a comparably large sample of what the NSA actually collects — not only from its targets but also from people who may cross a target’s path.

A composite image of two of the more than 5,000 private photos among data collected by the National Security Agency from online accounts and network links in the United States. The images were included in a large cache of NSA intercepts provided by former agency contractor Edward Snowden. (Images obtained by The Washington Post)

Among the latter are medical records sent from one family member to another, résumés from job hunters and academic transcripts of schoolchildren. In one photo, a young girl in religious dress beams at a camera outside a mosque.

Scores of pictures show infants and toddlers in bathtubs, on swings, sprawled on their backs and kissed by their mothers. In some photos, men show off their physiques. In others, women model lingerie, leaning suggestively into a webcam or striking risque poses in shorts and bikini tops.

“None of the hits that were received were relevant,” two Navy cryptologic technicians write in one of many summaries of nonproductive surveillance. “No additional information,” writes a civilian analyst. Another makes fun of a suspected kidnapper, newly arrived in Syria before the current civil war, who begs for employment as a janitor and makes wide-eyed observations about the state of undress displayed by women on local beaches.

By law, the NSA may “target” only foreign nationals located overseas unless it obtains a warrant based on probable cause from a special surveillance court. For collection under PRISM and Upstream rules, analysts must state a reasonable belief that the target has information of value about a foreign government, a terrorist organization or the spread of nonconventional weapons.

Most of the people caught up in those programs are not the targets and would not lawfully qualify as such. “Incidental collection” of third-party communications is inevitable in many forms of surveillance, but in other contexts the U.S. government works harder to limit and discard irrelevant data. In criminal wiretaps, for example, the FBI is supposed to stop listening to a call if a suspect’s wife or child is using the phone.

There are many ways to be swept up incidentally in surveillance aimed at a valid foreign target. Some of those in the Snowden archive were monitored because they interacted directly with a target, but others had more-tenuous links.

If a target entered an online chat room, the NSA collected the words and identities of every person who posted there, regardless of subject, as well as every person who simply “lurked,” reading passively what other people wrote.

“1 target, 38 others on there,” one analyst wrote. She collected data on them all.

In other cases, the NSA designated as its target the Internet protocol, or IP, address of a computer server used by hundreds of people.

The NSA treats all content intercepted incidentally from third parties as permissible to retain, store, search and distribute to its government customers. Raj De, the agency’s general counsel, has testified that the NSA does not generally attempt to remove irrelevant personal content, because it is difficult for one analyst to know what might become relevant to another.

The Obama administration declines to discuss the scale of incidental collection. The NSA, backed by Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., has asserted that it is unable to make any estimate, even in classified form, of the number of Americans swept in. It is not obvious why the NSA could not offer at least a partial count, given that its analysts routinely pick out “U.S. persons” and mask their identities, in most cases, before distributing intelligence reports.

If Snowden’s sample is representative, the population under scrutiny in the PRISM and Upstream programs is far larger than the government has suggested. In a June 26 “transparency report,” the Office of the Director of National Intelligence disclosed that 89,138 people were targets of last year’s collection under FISA Section 702. At the 9-to-1 ratio of incidental collection in Snowden’s sample, the office’s figure would correspond to nearly 900,000 accounts, targeted or not, under surveillance.

‘He didn’t get this data’

U.S. intelligence officials declined to confirm or deny in general terms the authenticity of the intercepted content provided by Snowden, but they made off-the-record requests to withhold specific details that they said would alert the targets of ongoing surveillance. Some officials, who declined to be quoted by name, described Snowden’s handling of the sensitive files as reckless.

In an interview, Snowden said “primary documents” offered the only path to a concrete debate about the costs and benefits of Section 702 surveillance. He did not favor public release of the full archive, he said, but he did not think a reporter could understand the programs “without being able to review some of that surveillance, both the justified and unjustified.”

“While people may disagree about where to draw the line on publication, I know that you and The Post have enough sense of civic duty to consult with the government to ensure that the reporting on and handling of this material causes no harm,” he said.

In Snowden’s view, the PRISM and Upstream programs have “crossed the line of proportionality.”
“Even if one could conceivably justify the initial, inadvertent interception of baby pictures and love letters of innocent bystanders,” he added, “their continued storage in government databases is both troubling and dangerous. Who knows how that information will be used in the future?”

For close to a year, NSA and other government officials have appeared to deny, in congressional testimony and public statements, that Snowden had any access to the material.

As recently as May, shortly after he retired as NSA director, Gen. Keith Alexander denied that Snowden could have passed FISA content to journalists.
“He didn’t get this data,” Alexander told a New Yorker reporter. “They didn’t touch —”

“The operational data?” the reporter asked.

“They didn’t touch the FISA data,” Alexander replied. He added, “That database, he didn’t have access to.”

Robert S. Litt, the general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said in a prepared statement that Alexander and other officials were speaking only about “raw” intelligence, the term for intercepted content that has not yet been evaluated, stamped with classification markings or minimized to mask U.S. identities.

“We have talked about the very strict controls on raw traffic, the training that people have to have, the technological lockdowns on access,” Litt said. “Nothing that you have given us indicates that Snowden was able to circumvent that in any way.”

In the interview, Snowden said he did not need to circumvent those controls, because his final position as a contractor for Booz Allen at the NSA’s Hawaii operations center gave him “unusually broad, unescorted access to raw SIGINT [signals intelligence] under a special ‘Dual Authorities’ role,” a reference to Section 702 for domestic collection and Executive Order 12333 for collection overseas. Those credentials, he said, allowed him to search stored content — and “task” new collection — without prior approval of his search terms.

“If I had wanted to pull a copy of a judge’s or a senator’s e-mail, all I had to do was enter that selector into XKEYSCORE,” one of the NSA’s main query systems, he said.

The NSA has released an e-mail exchange acknowledging that Snowden took the required training classes for access to those systems.

‘Minimized U.S. president’

At one level, the NSA shows scrupulous care in protecting the privacy of U.S. nationals and, by policy, those of its four closest intelligence allies — Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
More than 1,000 distinct “minimization” terms appear in the files, attempting to mask the identities of “possible,” “potential” and “probable” U.S. persons, along with the names of U.S. beverage companies, universities, fast-food chains and Web-mail hosts.

Some of them border on the absurd, using titles that could apply to only one man. A “minimized U.S. president-elect” begins to appear in the files in early 2009, and references to the current “minimized U.S. president” appear 1,227 times in the following four years.

Even so, unmasked identities remain in the NSA’s files, and the agency’s policy is to hold on to “incidentally” collected U.S. content, even if it does not appear to contain foreign intelligence.

In one exchange captured in the files, a young American asks a Pakistani friend in late 2009 what he thinks of the war in Afghanistan. The Pakistani replies that it is a religious struggle against 44 enemy states. 

Startled, the American says “they, ah, they arent heavily participating . . . its like . . . in a football game, the other team is the enemy, not the other teams waterboy and cheerleaders.”

“No,” the Pakistani shoots back. “The ther teams water boy is also an enemy. it is law of our religion.”

“haha, sorry thats kind of funny,” the American replies.

When NSA and allied analysts really want to target an account, their concern for U.S. privacy diminishes. The rationales they use to judge foreignness sometimes stretch legal rules or well-known technical facts to the breaking point.

In their classified internal communications, colleagues and supervisors often remind the analysts that PRISM and Upstream collection have a “lower threshold for foreignness ‘standard of proof’ ” than a traditional surveillance warrant from a FISA judge, requiring only a “reasonable belief” and not probable cause.

One analyst rests her claim that a target is foreign on the fact that his e-mails are written in a foreign language, a quality shared by tens of millions of Americans. Others are allowed to presume that anyone on the chat “buddy list” of a known foreign national is also foreign.

In many other cases, analysts seek and obtain approval to treat an account as “foreign” if someone connects to it from a computer address that seems to be overseas. “The best foreignness explanations have the selector being accessed via a foreign IP address,” an NSA supervisor instructs an allied analyst in Australia.

Apart from the fact that tens of millions of Americans live and travel overseas, additional millions use simple tools called proxies to redirect their data traffic around the world, for business or pleasure. World Cup fans this month have been using a browser extension called Hola to watch live-streamed games that are unavailable from their own countries. The same trick is routinely used by Americans who want to watch BBC video. The NSA also relies routinely on locations embedded in Yahoo tracking cookies, which are widely regarded by online advertisers as unreliable.

In an ordinary FISA surveillance application, the judge grants a warrant and requires a fresh review of probable cause — and the content of collected surveillance — every 90 days. When renewal fails, NSA and allied analysts sometimes switch to the more lenient standards of PRISM and Upstream.

“These selectors were previously under FISA warrant but the warrants have expired,” one analyst writes, requesting that surveillance resume under the looser standards of Section 702. The request was granted.

‘I don’t like people knowing’

She was 29 and shattered by divorce, converting to Islam in search of comfort and love. He was three years younger, rugged and restless. His parents had fled Kabul and raised him in Australia, but he dreamed of returning to Afghanistan.

One day when she was sick in bed, he brought her tea. Their faith forbade what happened next, and later she recalled it with shame.

“what we did was evil and cursed and may allah swt MOST merciful forgive us for giving in to our nafs [desires]”

Still, a romance grew. They fought. They spoke of marriage. They fought again. 

All of this was in the files because, around the same time, he went looking for the Taliban. 

He found an e-mail address on its English-language Web site and wrote repeatedly, professing loyalty to the one true faith, offering to “come help my brothers” and join the fight against the unbelievers.
On May 30, 2012, without a word to her, he boarded a plane to begin a journey to Kandahar. He left word that he would not see her again.

If that had been the end of it, there would not be more than 800 pages of anguished correspondence between them in the archives of the NSA and its counterpart, the Australian Signals Directorate. 

He had made himself a target. She was the collateral damage, placed under a microscope as she tried to adjust to the loss.

Three weeks after he landed in Kandahar, she found him on Facebook.

“Im putting all my pride aside just to say that i will miss you dearly and your the only person that i really allowed myself to get close to after losing my ex husband, my dad and my brother.. Im glad it was so easy for you to move on and put what we had aside and for me well Im just soo happy i met you. You will always remain in my heart. I know you left for a purpose it hurts like hell sometimes not because Im needy but because i wish i could have been with you.”

His replies were cool, then insulting, and gradually became demanding. He would marry her but there were conditions. She must submit to his will, move in with his parents and wait for him in Australia. She must hand him control of her Facebook account — he did not approve of the photos posted there.

She refused. He insisted: “look in islam husband doesnt touch girl financial earnigs unless she agrees but as far as privacy goes there is no room….i need to have all ur details everything u do its what im supposed to know that will guide u whether its right or wrong got it” 

Later, she came to understand the irony of her reply: “I don’t like people knowing my private life.”

Months of negotiations followed, with each of them declaring an end to the romance a dozen times or more. He claimed he had found someone else and planned to marry that day, then admitted it was a lie. She responded:

“No more games. You come home. You won’t last with an afghan girl.”
She begged him to give up his dangerous path. Finally, in September, she broke off contact for good, informing him that she was engaged to another man.

“When you come back they will send you to jail,” she warned.

They almost did.

In interviews with The Post, conducted by telephone and Facebook, she said he flew home to Australia last summer, after failing to find members of the Taliban who would take him seriously. Australian National Police met him at the airport and questioned him in custody. They questioned her, too, politely, in her home. They showed her transcripts of their failed romance. When a Post reporter called, she already knew what the two governments had collected about her.

Eventually, she said, Australian authorities decided not to charge her failed suitor with a crime. Police spokeswoman Emilie Lovatt declined to comment on the case.

Looking back, the young woman said she understands why her intimate correspondence was recorded and parsed by men and women she did not know. 

“Do I feel violated?” she asked. “Yes. I’m not against the fact that my privacy was violated in this instance, because he was stupid. He wasn’t thinking straight. I don’t agree with what he was doing.”
What she does not understand, she said, is why after all this time, with the case long closed and her own job with the Australian government secure, the NSA does not discard what it no longer needs.

Jennifer Jenkins and Carol D. Leonnig contributed to this report.