NSA leak reveals citizen targets: "I hunt sys admins"

System administrators, tasked with the operation of computer systems, are unwitting potential targets for the NSA, new documents leaked by Snowden and detailed by The Intercept have revealed. According to these documents, the NSA targets the Facebook accounts and email addresses of sys admins, ultimately hacking into the systems they control — hence one of the posts in the document reading, "I hunt sys admins."

Several posts are contained within the document from 2012, and with them a picture is formed of the agency's surveillance efforts. System administrators involved with foreign Internet and communications operators are targeted to give the agency access to company emails and calls.

The NSA official who created the posts sought to create a database of international system administrators that could be potential agency targets. The sys admins are targeted only because of their possession of "keys to the kingdom", not because of suspected criminal activity. The document goes on to reveal the kind of information that can be potentially targeted on sys admins' computers.

According to The Intercept, there aren't details about how the NSA avoids targeting American sys admins, with the posts describing a method of finding such administrators by searching the Internet for people who are "probable" targets. There is talk in the document of creating a so-called master list of global system administrators for more convenient targeting by the NSA if the need should ever arise.

Interestingly enough, though the unnamed author of the leaked document does not agree with the sentiment, the posts show some of the agency's workers complain of a "dismal infrastructure" and glut of information resulting from the NSA's mass surveillance methods.

SOURCE: The Intercept