US President Barack Obama, earlier this month, defended the surveillance programme, Prism.
The secret US court has given permission to the National Security Agency (NSA) to use information collected ‘inadvertently’ from Americans while spying on abroad targets without a warrant, according to the new documents revealed.
The Guardian published two documents submitted to the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, dubbed the Fisa court, signed by Attorney General Eric Holder and signed on July 29, 2009.
The news paper reported that US communications can still be collected, retained and used even under authorities governing the collection of foreign intelligence from foreign targets.
Obama said "Nobody is listening to your telephone calls. That’s not what this programme’s about."
He also said that US citizens and residents were not targeted in the programme.
However, the new documents reveal that the NSA can collect and retain the information of phone calls and e-mails of Americans.
Citing one court order, the Guardian reported that if the NSA has no specific information on a person’s location, analysts are free to presume they are overseas.
According to the news paper, the document states that in the absence of specific information regarding whether a target is a US person, a person reasonably believed to be located outside the country or whose location is not known will be presumed to be a non-US person unless such person can be positively identified as a US person.