A Running List of What We Know the NSA Can Do. So Far.

The trove of documents leaked by Edward Snowden has revealed the elaborate tricks the NSA can use to monitor communications and data around the world. Here, a running list of things we now know the NSA can do, based on media reports and other publicly available documents -- so far. If we missed any, let us know in the comments page or by tweeting @brianlehrer.

Audio Pt 1: Shane Harris, Senior Writer at Foreign Policy and author of The Watchers, joined Brian Lehrer on 1/20 to discuss the list and provide context. Audio available to stream and download above.

Audio Pt 2: Shane Harris returns on 4/8/14 to update the list.

  • It can track the numbers of both parties on a phone call, as well location, time and duration. (More)
  • It can hack Chinese phones and text messages. (More)
  • It can set up fake internet cafes. (More)
  • It can spy on foreign leaders' cell phones. (More)
  • It can tap underwater fiber-optic cables. (Clarification: Shane Harris explains that there were reports the NSA was trying to tap directly into cables using submarines, but is now more likely trying to intercept information once it has reached land.) (More)
  • It can track communication within media organizations like Al Jazeera. (More)
  • It can hack into the UN video conferencing system. (More)
  • It can track bank transactions. (More)
  • It can monitor text messages. (More)
  • It can access your email, chat, and web browsing history. (More)
  • It can map your social networks. (More)
  • It can access your smartphone app data. (More)
  • It is trying to get into secret networks like Tor, diverting users to less secure channels. (More)
  • It can go undercover within embassies to have closer access to foreign networks. (More)
  • It can set up listening posts on the roofs of buildings to monitor communications in a city. (More)
  • It can set up a fake LinkedIn. (More)
  • It can track the reservations at upscale hotels. (More)
  • It can intercept the talking points for Ban Ki-moon’s meeting with Obama. (More)
  • It can crack cellphone encryption codes. (More)
  • It can hack computers that aren’t connected to the internet using radio waves. (Update: Clarification -- the NSA can access offline computers through radio waves on which it has already installed hidden devices.) (More)
  • It can intercept phone calls by setting up fake base stations. (More)
  • It can remotely access a computer by setting up a fake wireless connection. (More)
  • It can install fake SIM cards to then control a cell phone. (More)
  • It can fake a USB thumb drive that's actually a monitoring device. (More)
  • It can crack all types of sophisticated computer encryption. (Update: It is trying to build this capability.) (More)
  • It can go into online games and monitor communication. (More)
  • It can intercept communications between aircraft and airports. (More)
  • (Update 1/18) It can physically intercept deliveries, open packages, and make changes to devices. (More) (h/t)
  • (Update 1/18) It can tap into the links between Google and Yahoo data centers to collect email and other data. (More) (h/t)
  • (Update 4/2) It can monitor, in real-time, Youtube views and Facebook "Likes." (More)
  • (Update 4/2) It can monitor online behavior through free Wi-Fi at Canadian airports. (More)
  • (Update 4/2) It can shut down chat rooms used by Anonymous and identify Anonymous members. (More)
  • (Update 4/2) It can use real-time data to help identify and locate targets for US drone strikes. (More)
  • (Update 4/2) It can collect the IP addresses of visitors to the Wikileaks website. (More)
  • (Update 4/2) It can spy on US law firms representing foreign countries in trade negotiations. (More)
  • (Update 4/2) It can post false information on the Internet in order to hurt the reputation of targets. (More)
  • (Update 4/2) It can intercept and store webcam images. (More)
  • (Update 4/2) It can record phone calls and replay them up to a month later. (More)
  • (Update 6/2) It can harvest images from emails, texts, videoconferencing and more and feed it into facial recognition software. (More)

Did we miss any? Mischaracterize any capabilities? Let us know in the comments, or tweet @brianlehrer.