Everything Edward Snowden Said Is True, Everything Obama/Clapper/NSA Has Said Is A Lie; The Internet Is A Trap; The Terrorists Have Won

THE GUARDIAN: A top secret National Security Agency program allows analysts to search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals, according to documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden. The NSA boasts in training materials that the program, called XKeyscore, is its “widest-reaching” system for developing intelligence from the internet.

The files shed light on one of Snowden’s most controversial statements, made in his first video interview published by the Guardian on June 10. “I, sitting at my desk,” said Snowden, could “wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email”. US officials vehemently denied this specific claim. Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee, said of Snowden’s assertion: “He’s lying. It’s impossible for him to do what he was saying he could do.”

But training materials for XKeyscore detail how analysts can use it and other systems to mine enormous agency databases by filling in a simple on-screen form giving only a broad justification for the search. The request is not reviewed by a court or any NSA personnel before it is processed. XKeyscore, the documents boast, is the NSA’s “widest reaching” system developing intelligence from computer networks – what the agency calls Digital Network Intelligence (DNI). One presentation claims the program covers “nearly everything a typical user does on the internet”, including the content of emails, websites visited and searches, as well as their metadata. Analysts can also use XKeyscore and other NSA systems to obtain ongoing “real-time” interception of an individual’s internet activity. MORE

CNN: But, and here’s where Greenwald’s story Wednesday is important – the question is not whether [files of every American’s Internet activity] are viewed as an official policy, but if they can be. Snowden told Greenwald that they can be. “I, sitting at my desk certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone,” Snowden said in an interview with The Guardian. Members and supporters of the national security apparatus disputed that. “Edward Snowden has been completely vindicated by the documents and by the disclosures, as a completely honest whistleblower, one of the most significant whistleblowers in American history,” said Greenwald. Meanwhile Snowden remains a man without a country, spending his 39th day in the Moscow airport as the NSA continues to try to explain how there are controls – even as Snowden’s existence proves there quite obviously are not. MORE

THE NEW YORKER: One thing that many in the Administration have assured us since N.S.A. documents leaked by Edward Snowden first came to light is that we should not worry about metadata. On Wednesday, in time for a Senate hearing, the Administration released more documents having to do with a secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court order to Verizon to hand over information on millions of calls to and from Americans. (Senator Al Franken called it “Ad-hoc transparency”) This metadata told the N.S.A. what numbers called what numbers, when, for how long, and what cell towers the callers were near. This was something that the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, had specifically told the Senate was not happening—a lie Snowden caught him in. Its defense since then has been that the collection of telephone metadata is simultaneously a negligible detail and absolutely crucial, the only thing keeping more planes from hitting New York. Officials from the President on down keep talking as if the only issue was whether the N.S.A. was listening in on phone calls. The XKeyscore presentation shows how empty those words are. MORE