Maybe they’ve went a bit overboard——
The volume of NSA contacts collection is so high that it has occasionally threatened to overwhelm storage repositories, forcing the agency to halt its intake with emergency detasking orders. Three NSA documents describe short-term efforts to build an across-the-board technology throttle for truly heinous data and longer-term efforts to filter out information that the NSA does not need.
The example cited in the article:
In fall 2011, according to an NSA presentation, the Yahoo account of an Iranian target was "hacked by an unknown actor," who used it to send spam. The Iranian had "a number of Yahoo groups in his/her contact list, some with many hundreds or thousands of members."So, these idiots stop monitoring an Iranian target (i.e. a suspicious person of interest who is a citizen of a hostile power) because the boner-pill ads are using up too much storage space, but they continue their illegal surveillance of millions of honest American citizens??
The cascading effects of repeated spam messages, compounded by the automatic addition of the Iranian's contacts to other people's address books, led to a massive spike in the volume of traffic collected by the Australian intelligence service on the NSA's behalf.
After nine days of data-bombing, the Iranian's contact book and contact books for several people within it were "emergency detasked."
I'm not sure where these people belong: in prison, or in a lunatic asylum.