N.S.A. Gathers Data on Social Connections of U.S. Citizens

WASHINGTON — Since 2010, the National Security Agency has been exploiting its huge collections of data to create sophisticated graphs of some Americans’ social connections that can identify their associates, their locations at certain times, their traveling companions and other personal information, according to newly disclosed documents and interviews with officials.

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This slide from an N.S.A. PowerPoint presentation shows one of the ways the agency uses e-mail and phone data to analyze the relationships of foreign intelligence targets.

The spy agency began allowing the analysis of phone call and e-mail logs in November 2010 to examine Americans’ networks of associations for foreign intelligence purposes after N.S.A. officials lifted restrictions on the practice, according to documents provided by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor...

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