When the first of two major reports about the NSA’s surveillance programs came out last week, it came out that the NSA had been intercepting communications from around the world.
The report was based on documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
The news broke the day after President Trump fired Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, who had overseen the surveillance programs.
A second report about the spying programs came from a group of lawmakers, including Republican Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon and Democrat Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont.
Both reports cited classified intelligence reports that showed that the agency was monitoring the communications of hundreds of millions of people in at least 10 countries, including the United States.
The reports claimed the NSA was using the program to track down and “suspect” targets, and were based on a set of highly classified “incidental collection” programs, according to The New York Times.
But the reporting of the NSA programs is still classified, and the classified intelligence was made public only after President Obama had left office.
The Obama administration has maintained that the surveillance was limited to overseas targets and that the intelligence came from the NSA.
In a statement last week after the second report was released, Obama said that the programs were “not authorized by law” and that he would “continue to work to ensure that the United Nations and its members, not the government, have access to this vital information.”
The Associated Press reports that the Senate Intelligence Committee is now looking into the NSA spying programs, as is the House Intelligence Committee.
Both committees are investigating whether the surveillance by the NSA and other intelligence agencies violates the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment.
The White House on Wednesday rejected any suggestion that the reports were the result of a concerted effort to manipulate the news cycle in order to discredit the programs.
“The President’s comments today were a statement of what the President has said for months about his Administration’s surveillance program, and his Administration is not in any way involved in influencing the media,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said.
“We are confident that our Intelligence Community will continue to follow all laws and policies governing the collection and use of Americans’ private communications.”