The permission was reportedly issued in January 2014, and aimed at developing advanced cyberweapons.
US President Barack Obama has created some exceptions for the National Security Agency (NSA) to take advantage of discovered internet security flaws, it has been claimed.
A decision taken in January 2014 means that the NSA can keep security flaws from the public or businesses in the event of ‘a clear national security or law enforcement need,’ the New York Times reported.
Obama’s broad-ranged decision could allow the NSA to continue exploiting security flaws both to crack encryption on the Internet and to develop advanced cyberweapons.
The latest revelations comes in the wake of allegations that the NSA was aware of the recent Heartbleed bug, and raises fears that the agency may exploit similar cases in name of national security.
The intelligence agency, however, denied all allegations that it had prior knowledge of Heartbleed or exploited the bug to gather confidential information as part of its surveillance programme.
Following the discovery of Heartbleed, businesses have been advised to check their servers to see if they had been using vulnerable OpenSSL versions, while US banks and other financial institutions have also been recommended to fix their computers to thwart attacks exploiting the flaw.