National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden has been given one year temporary political asylum in Russia. Snowden has reportedly already left the Moscow airport where he has been holed up for over a month. On Wednesday, The Guardian newspaper revealed details about another secret NSA program based on leaked documents provided by Snowden. The program, XKeyscore, allows analysts to search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals giving NSA analysts real-time access to "nearly everything a typical user does on the internet." To discuss these latest developments, Democracy Now! is joined by Spencer Ackerman, national security editor at The Guardian.
Ackerman weighs in on the significance of the Obama administration’s declassification of documents on Wednesday and their significance:
SPENCER ACKERMAN: "It’s tremendous. Two of the documents were fabled instances of oversight that the NSA and the Obama administration have cited to show that Congress has been fully on board with these programs from the start. When you look at what members of Congress who weren’t on the secret intelligence committees in the House and Senate actually saw in these documents, it immediately starts off by talking about the threat of terrorism, the legacy of 9/11, and then describing that there are some bulk collection programs of phone records. And they never say in the documents that these are all Americans’ phone records, that these collection programs occur without any suspicion of any American to any act of terrorism or espionage, which is what the underlying statute authorizing them says. They’re four pages long. The Obama administration and the NSA issued them right before key surveillance votes. And this is what they now turn around and say amounted to congressional oversight and knowledge of these programs."
A full transcript of the discussion is available online at Democracy Now!.