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BJP among six political parties allowed for NSA surveillance

BJP among six political parties allowed for NSA surveillance

Washington: India's ruling BJP was among six political parties in the world that America's National Security Agency or NSA was allowed to spy upon, according to classified documents reportedly leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

According to documents made public by Washington Post on Monday, BJP is listed along with the Pakistan People's Party and Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood among outfits for whom the NSA had sought permission to carry out surveillance.

The document includes 193 foreign governments and other entities that America's Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court said the NSA could spy on "for the purpose of gathering foreign intelligence." The list includes India.

"Virtually no foreign government is off-limits for the National Security Agency, which has been authorized to intercept information 'concerning' all but four countries, according to top-secret documents," The Post reported.

The four countries exempt from surveillance are Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The NSA was also allowed to spy on the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

"The NSA is not necessarily targeting all the countries or organizations identified in the certification, the affidavits and an accompanying exhibit; it has only been given authority to do so," The Post said.

Without specifically responding to questions related to surveillance on India and the BJP, NSA spokesperson Vanee Vines told PTI that the agency collects foreign intelligence based on specific intelligence requirements set by the President, the Director of National Intelligence, and departments and agencies through the National Intelligence Priorities Framework.

Snowden leaked thousands of classified documents to the media, uncovering global snooping by US agencies and triggering an outrage worldwide.

In a comment to the Washington Post Jameel Jaffer, Deputy Legal Director for the American Civil Liberties Union, said, "These documents show both the potential scope of the government's surveillance activities and the exceedingly modest role the court plays in overseeing them."

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