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NSA Snoops Used Wiretapping Program to Hunt Iranian Spies, Terrorists

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The US National Security Agency (NSA) used its program of recording domestic phone records to search for agents of Tehran and "associated terrorist organizations," local media reported citing secret documents.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The program was created after the September 11, 2001, aircraft attacks to find extremist cells hiding in the United States.

The New York Times cited in its Wednesday report an August 2010 letter from the Justice Department to Judge John Bates, the former presiding judge of the intelligence court.

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The letter "contained information the government usually redacts when declassifying such documents: the full name of the intelligence court order in place for the program at the time, which included the listing of Iran and the names of the companies," the newspaper reported.

In 2013, former NSA contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed long-term US intelligence service data collection on domestic and international targets, including top officials. The revelations led to a national and global public outcry.

The release of The New York Times report comes following a thaw in relations between Iran and the West, after the two sides agreed on a deal ensuring the safe nature of Tehran’s nuclear program and the lifting of sanctions.

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