(NEWSER– The Washington Post is today revealing some big news on NSA surveillance—thanks, again, to Edward Snowden. An internal audit and other records handed to the paper by Snowden "earlier this summer" show that when it comes to snooping, the NSA hasn't always been playing by government rules. In the 12 months leading to May 2012, the agency breached privacy regulations some 2,776 times—and each previous year saw thousands of similar incidents, right back to when the agency's powers were expanded in 2008. The Postdescribes the bulk of the breaches as being related to surveillance that occurred within the US, either of Americans or foreign targets.

"Inadequate or insufficient research" related to wiretap targets was often to blame, the New York Times notes. The newspapers offer a few examples:

  • In 2008, the NSA accidentally intercepted a "large number" of calls from Washington, DC, because of a programming error; its 202 area code was mistaken for that of Egypt's international dialing code—20.
  • To wit, 10% of breaches were traced back to a typographical error.

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