Snowden Docs Reveal Massive Surveillance Dragnet in Canada

Jan 28, 2015 at 10:28 AM ET

New documents from Edward Snowden shared with Canada’s CBC News reveal the extent of Canada’s surveillance operations. It turns out that the NSA isn’t the only agency that spies on its citizens—Canada’s intelligence agency, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), does it, too.

The CSE operation, titled Levitation, “sifts through millions of videos and documents downloaded online every day by people around the world,” the CBC reports.

Leaked documents in 2013 revealed that Canada had its own “NSA-style surveillance system,” but today’s disclosures offer much more information about the project and the types of information the government is collecting.

The intended goal of Levitation is to uncover potential terrorist plots, but as with any surveillance operation, the analysts routinely pulled up personal information on ordinary, peaceful citizens. According to the documents, less than 0.0001 percent of the total collected traffic contained any sort of “interesting download events.”

One analyst apparently even joked “about being overloaded with innocuous files such as episodes of the musical TV series Glee in their hunt for terrorists.”