When it comes to tapping into U.S. telecommunications networks for surreptitious surveillance, the National Security Agency can?t be accused of not paying its way.
The government agency pays ?hundreds of millions of dollars a year? to U.S. telecommunications companies for the equipment and service required to intercept telephone calls, emails and instant messages of potential interest, according to a story in Thursday?s Washington Post.
For the current fiscal year, the NSA will pay $278 million for such access, and had paid $394 million in fiscal 2011, according to the Post.
Although previous news reports of NSA surveillance noted that the agency paid the costs for tapping into communications networks, the exact amount the agency has paid has not been cited before, according to the Post.