President Obama's much-anticipated speech about NSA surveillance reforms is going on now, and he's threading a tiny needle: cheerleading the agency's achievements, while vowing to end its mass-collections of phone records.
Just hours before President Obama's scheduled speech announcing changes to the NSA, the Guardian dropped another Edward Snowden-provided scoop: The NSA collects and stores an average of 194 million text messages per day from around the world, including from people who are not the targets of any investigation.
It's a small world, after all.
Another big Edward Snowden reveal: Between 2008 and 2011, the NSA and British surveillance group GCHQ targeted the Israeli Prime Minister, German government buildings in Berlin, officials from international charity organizations, heads of state from various African countries, and top-ranking European Union officials.
On Monday, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden penned an open letter to Brazil, praising the country for its strong response to the NSA's widespread data collection and offering to help investigate such programs if Brazil grants him permanent political asylum. Snowden is currently living in Russia on a one-year asylum.
Ostensibly concerned that terrorists would disguise themselves as gamers in order to secretly communicate, agents from the NSA, CIA, Pentagon and Britain's GCHQ have posed undercover in online realms like World of Warcraft, Second Life, and Xbox Live. In fact, the practice grew so popular with the spy agencies that a special "deconfliction" group was established to prevent the agents from inadvertently spying on or trying to recruit each other.
Now that NSA are the dirtiest three letters in Washington, it appears to be a much less fun place to work than before Edward Snowden detailed exactly the extent to which our communication devices are the agency's playground. According to a new report in the Washington Post, morale is down at the NSA, and its employees are angry at President Obama for not providing a pick-me-up.