Two days of leaks have revealed that the secretive National Security Agency (NSA) is collecting data on not only every phone call made in the United States, but is surveilling a large portion of the Internet at all times, culling information on virtually everything from email to video watching preferences to Skype conversations.
What followed was a series of overt lies, vague denies, and finally simple anger. Google, one of the companies implicated in the Powerpoint presentation, claimed the whole thing was untrue and that Google had never given the NSA the backdoor that the presentation confirms is very real.
President Obama shrugged off the program, insisting that spying on pretty much everyone at all times “protects your civil liberties” and that the program wasn’t really “secret,” even though it was kept a secret for several years and is stamped “Top Secret” right at the top.
The most telling statements came from James Clapper, however, the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). Clapper confirmed the presentation’s authenticity, condemning the leak as “reprehensible,” and then insisting the program was important to “protect our nation.”
Clapper followed up a de facto admission of the authenticity of the Powerpoint document with lies of his own that totally contradict the presentation itself, insisting that the PRISM scheme is “subject to oversight by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court,” when the NSA file made it clear the whole point of PRISM was to allow broad surveillance of everybody without FISA getting in the way.