New documents released by The Intercept show that the NSA is currently recording nearly every call made in the island nation of the Bahamas, along with comprehensive phone records from Mexico, Kenya, and the Philippines. The system is intended to track "international narcotics traffickers and special-interest alien smugglers," according to the documents, and is implemented using access obtained in cooperation with the DEA. The program is particularly notable for being largely unconnected to terrorism, as the Bahamas is seen by the State Department as posing little to no terrorist threat.
The news comes on the heels of a revelation in March that described a separate, still-unnamed country targeted for similarly comprehensive phone surveillance. The capability is known as "full-take recording," aiming to produce a complete copy of phone traffic within a given country, to be stored by the NSA for a full month after the fact. The system can reportedly handle over 100 million calls per day. According to the documents, "host countries are not aware of NSA’s SIGINT collection."