Ed Snowden testified (via video, of course) for the Council of Europe, the "top human rights body" of Europe, and told them that the NSA spied on various human rights groups
, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.
He told council members: "The NSA has specifically targeted either leaders or staff members in a number of civil and non-governmental organisations … including domestically within the borders of the United States." Snowden did not reveal which groups the NSA had bugged.
The assembly asked Snowden if the US spied on the "highly sensitive and confidential communications" of major rights bodies such as Amnesty and Human Rights Watch, as well as on similar smaller regional and national groups. He replied: "The answer is, without question, yes. Absolutely."
Of course, one of the things that's bugged me most of all about the response from NSA defenders is the typical line: "we're not listening to you talk to your grandmother" or whatever similar line may be. But, as more and more revelations have come out, they get closer and closer to the kinds of communications I actually do have on a regular basis. Talking to sources working on interesting technology projects, talking to human rights and civil society groups around the globe. Spying on journalists. Each day there's more and more evidence that while the NSA might not care about some mythical person talking to his or her mythical grandmother, it is very much collecting all sorts of information that those very same people thought were private -- and which clearly have nothing to do with national security.