The National Security Agency has been recording and keeping the conversations from nearly every phone call in Afghanistan, according to WikiLeaks.
The anti-secrecy group’s claim on Friday came after two other news outlets had refused to publish the name of a single, given country under constant NSA surveillance after a request from the government.
“By denying an entire population the knowledge of its own victimisation, this act of censorship denies each individual in that country the opportunity to seek an effective remedy, whether in international courts, or elsewhere,” WikiLeaks Editor in Chief Julian Assange wrote on Friday.
The Washington Post and The Intercept have both reported that the NSA has a program to record and store the contents of virtually every phone call in a country. The Intercept named the Bahamas as one of two countries under the surveillance but declined to identify the other after being presented evidence of “specific, credible concerns that doing so could lead to increased violence.”
The WikiLeaks chief said he was unconvinced by those claims.
“The United States government’s claims to the media lack credibility,” he wrote.
The government has had more than enough time to make moves to prevent violence since the Post report in March, Assange added.
As such, “we believe any ongoing perceived risks to be fanciful or willfully embraced” by the government, Assange said. “But we also reject the implication that it is the role of the international press to protect U.S. assets from arrest for the mass infringement of the rights of another nation’s people.”
Unlike other NSA programs, the one reportedly being run in the Bahamas and Afghanistan record people’s entire conversations in order to review them later. The program was revealed in documents leaked by former government contractor Edward Snowden.