As the NSA surveillance saga turns, here are a few interesting stories:
• File this under “Seriously?”: The National Security Agency can scoop up plenty of others’ communications, from phone call to Internet-based data, but it says it can’t search its own employees’ email. The system is “a little antiquated and archaic,” an NSA spokeswoman tells ProPublica.
• All talk? Tech companies are protesting loudly, petitioning courts and writing President Obama as they demand permission to disclose more detailed information about their cooperation with the NSA’s Prism program. But Politico writes that the companies haven’t exactly put their money where their mouths are — at least, not according to the report (due Monday) of their second-quarter lobbying efforts. Only Facebook and Microsoft mentioned related laws such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in their latest reports, according to Politico. And one of Google’s outside lobbying shops made a brief mention of FISA.
• Mixed feelings: From a new poll by the Washington Post and ABC News: Nearly three-quarters of Americans say NSA surveillance is infringing on some Americans’ privacy, and nearly half say their own privacy is being violated. But 53 percent of the more than 1,000 adults polled believe former government tech contractor Edward Snowden, who leaked the documents that led to the revelations about the extent of the NSA’s spying, should be charged with a crime. Nearly half say Snowden’s whistleblowing has harmed national security. The poll of 1,002 adults was conducted by phone last week.
Photo of the National Security Agency building at Fort Meade, Md. (Associated Press archives)