The Obama administration on Wednesday revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) improperly collected emails from people in the United States with no connection to terrorism beginning in 2008.
The NSA collected as many as many as 56,000 emails from Americans before the mistake was identified.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court concluded that the surveillance was unconstitutional after it was notified of it in 2011. In an 86-page opinion that was declassified on Wednesday, the court ordered the NSA to take steps to limit the information it collects and how long it keeps it.
In the opinion, Judge John D. Bates admonished the NSA for a ” substantial misrepresentation” of the scope of its surveillance.
Officials said the surveillance was inadvertent, and insisted that the agency ended it in 2011.