NSA has a foreign intelligence mission

The Information Assurance mission confronts the formidable challenge of preventing foreign adversaries from gaining access to sensitive or classified national security information.

The Signals Intelligence mission collects, processes, and disseminates intelligence information from foreign signals for intelligence and counterintelligence purposes and to support military operations. This Agency also enables Network Warfare operations to defeat terrorists and their organizations at home and abroad, consistent with U.S. laws and the protection of privacy and civil liberties.

http://www.nsa.gov/about/mission/index.shtml

Senate votes to let the NSA keep spying on you without a warrant until 2017 per vote on Dec 28, 2012.

­Despite growing opposition to one of the most notorious and secretive US spying programs, the Senate voted 73-23 early Friday to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA.

First signed into law in 1978, FISA prescribes how the US government collects intelligence from foreign parties that may be detrimental to national security. Of particular significance, however, is the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, or FAA, which includes a provision that puts any US citizen engaged in correspondence with a person overseas at direct risk of being spied on.

Under the FAA, the government can eavesdrop on emails and phone calls made or received by Americans, as long as they reasonably suspect those conversations to include at least one person residing outside of the United States.

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