Snowden leaks: NSA 'can collect all calls in foreign nation'

Mystic slideshow cover A briefing document on the system, Mystic, reportedly shows a cartoon wizard with a mobile phone on his staff

The US government has reportedly built a system that can record every phone call made over a month in an undisclosed foreign country.

The National Security Agency (NSA) programme was created in 2009, the Washington Post reported.

Fugitive intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, who leaked details of the system, promised more revelations.

Civil liberties groups called the report "chilling", but US officials would not comment.

An NSA cover slide used for an internal briefing on the system, known as Mystic, shows a cartoon wizard wielding a staff with a mobile phone at the top.

'Time machine'

Mystic is the only known US surveillance programme to capture every single call across a nation's telephone network, according to the Washington Post.

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden appears by remote-controlled robot at a TED conference in Vancouver on 18 March 2014 Edward Snowden promised more revelations, as he appeared remotely at a conference in Vancouver

The newspaper said that, at the request of US authorities, it would not name the foreign country, or others where the system's use was envisaged.

It reported that a classified summary of the system suggested billions of conversations were being captured in a 30-day rolling buffer that clears out the oldest calls as new ones are made.

When asked about the report at his daily briefing, White House spokesman Jay Carney said: "We don't, as a general rule, comment on every specific allegation or report."

But civil liberties activists said it was "a truly chilling revelation".

"It's one that underscores how high the stakes are in the debate we're now having about bulk surveillance," Jameel Jaffer, of the American Civil Liberties Union, told Reuters news agency.

Meanwhile, Mr Snowden appeared on Tuesday in the form of a remotely controlled robot at the influential TED conference in Vancouver, Canada.

"There are absolutely more revelations to come," said the former NSA contractor, who fled to Russia last year.

"Some of the most important reporting to be done is yet to come."

More US & Canada stories


Features & Analysis

  • Man holding lipWitch hunt

    The country where a blasphemy charge is a death sentence

  • Espresso cupNews quiz

    Which city serves the strongest cup of coffee?

  • Irvine WelshDeaf ears

    Five famous Scots who can't vote in the Scottish referendum

  • Electric chairReturn of 'the chair'

    Five people talk about their roles in Tennessee's execution debate

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Canada.Hidden rail trip

    Canada's tiny, two-car shuttle is a train lover's dream with scenic views


  • A cargo shipThe Travel Show Watch

    It is not cheap or glamorous - so why are people choosing to travel by cargo ship?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.