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U.S. NSA Records All Calls In Targeted Foreign Nation -Report


WASHINGTON, March 18 (Reuters) - The U.S. National Security Agency has created a surveillance system that can record all phone calls in a targeted foreign nation, allowing it to play back and listen to conversations up to 30 days later, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

The newspaper cited unnamed sources with direct knowledge of the system as well as documents supplied by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who since last year has leaked extensive data revealing sweeping American spying activities.

The voice interception program is known as MYSTIC and started in 2009, with its "retrospective retrieval" capability, called RETRO, reaching full strength in 2011 against the first target nation, the Post reported.

The newspaper said that at the request of U.S. officials, it was withholding details that could be used to identify the nation where the system is being used or others where it might be used in the future. The Post cited documents that envisioned similar U.S. spying operations in other nations.

A classified summary of the system said the collection effort was recording "every single" conversation nationwide in the first target country, storing billions of conversations in a 30-day rolling buffer that clears out the oldest calls as new ones are made, the Post reported.