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NSA often broke privacy rules, audit shows

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Army Gen. Keith AlexanderThe National Security Agency broke privacy rules protecting communications on U.S. soil 2,776 times in one year, The Washington Post reported Friday.

A May 2012 NSA audit, leaked to the newspaper by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden earlier this summer, cited 2,776 incidents in the previous 12 months of unauthorized gathering, storage, contact or sharing of legally protected communications, the newspaper said.

The most serious incidents in the 12 months included a defiance of a court order and unauthorized use of data of about more than 3,000 Americans and green-card holders, said the Post, which accompanied its article with some of the documents it cited.

The violations cited in the audit occurred in just one year, but other documents indicate the NSA broke privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority every year since Congress granted the agency broad new powers in 2008, the Post said.

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