The name of a sweeping and secretive NSA surveillance program is revealed in Deep State: Inside the Government Secrecy Industry, a new book by Marc Ambinder and D.B. Grady. “Ragtime” primarily involves collection of foreign counterterrorism communications as well as anti-nuclear proliferation information. A smaller component of the program, “Ragtime-P,” however, is the remnant of the original domestic monitoring program that has – ostensibly – since been brought under the law. The Washingtonian describes the method by which the NSA is permitted to use Ragtime to collect domestic intelligence, a method that may either be heartening or troubling, depending on your outlook.
Only about three dozen NSA officials have access to Ragtime’s intercept data on domestic counter-terrorism collection. That’s a tiny handful of the agency’s workforce, which has been pegged at about 30,000 people. As many as 50 companies have provided data to this domestic collection program, the authors report.