Secret documents provided by NSA leaker Edward Snowden showed that using a program code called “Dishfire,” the agency collected information on millions of people who were under no suspicion of illegal activity, they reported.
It allowed them to extract information on people’s travel plans, contact books, financial transactions and more, the report added.
An agency presentation from 2011 – subtitled “SMS Text Messages: A Goldmine to Exploit” – also revealed the program collected an average of 194 million text messages a day in April of that year, they said.
NBC News was unable to independently verify the report, which did not make clear whether the activities were ongoing.
On Friday, President Barack Obama was expected to announce that the federal government should not hold telephone metadata.