In the first bombshell Snowden-enabled report last week, the Guardian revealed Wednesday a secret court order showing the National Security Agency and the FBI sought and received an order to acquire all available Verizon call data on millions of customers for a three-month period beginning April 25. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said after that revelation that the court order was a regular reauthorization of a court order issued for the past seven years.
The Guardian and the Washington Post published a slide show Thursday describing the NSA's PRISM program. The slides boasted of real-time surveillance capabilities to snoop through emails, searches, documents and chats provided by nine major partnering companies, including Apple, Yahoo!, Google and Microsoft.
The tech companies have all denied participation in the program. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Larry Page each put out adamant denials. It's unclear if they are lying, if the NSA exaggerated its capabilities in the leaked documents or if the businessmen's words were carefully chosen to mislead readers.
The Guardian reported Saturday the U.S. government collects 3 billion pieces of information within the U.S. each month, a statistic that was inconveniently placed on a map of the world, which the paper reprinted, showing intelligence hauls for other countries.
Although highly embarrassing to the Obama administration, which the president formerly said would be the most transparent in history, the leaks have not harmed security at all, Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald said during an appearance Sunday on ABC's "This Week."
"Unfortunately, since the government hides virtually everything that they do at the threat of criminal prosecution, the only way for us to learn about them is through these courageous whistle-blowers who deserve our praise and gratitude and not imprisonment and prosecution," Greenwald said in the TV appearance.