What leaks have wrought: Manning sentenced; more NSA-spying details revealed

Former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning was sentenced today to 35 years in prison for handing over U.S. government and military material to WikiLeaks. Meanwhile, here’s another look at further developments related to the recent revelations about NSA spying — which were sparked by another now-famous source of leaks, former U.S. government tech contractor Edward Snowden.

The National Security Agency’s surveillance network can reach about 75 percent of U.S. Internet traffic, more than previously disclosed, the Wall Street Journal reports. The agency sometimes retains the content of emails between people inside the United States and filters Internet-based phone calls, said the newspaper, citing unnamed current and former officials.

Besides Prism, the program that collects data from Internet companies such as Apple, Facebook, Google, Yahoo and more, the other code names for the spying programs include Blarney, Fairview, Oakstar, Lithium and Stormbrew. The filtering and intercept programs are carried out by wireless providers such as AT&T and Verizon, according to the WSJ, and enabled by technology and equipment from companies such as Cisco Systems and Juniper Networks. All of the companies refused comment. Most of the companies that have been mentioned in connection with the NSA’s surveillance programs have maintained that they give up information only when legally compelled to do so.

The  government isn’t sure exactly what information Snowden took and are “overwhelmed” in trying to assess the damage, NBC News reports. As we mentioned yesterday, David Miranda, the partner of journalist Glenn Greenwald, was detained over the weekend at London’s Heathrow airport. Miranda’s laptop and other electronic equipment were confiscated. Greenwald was the reporter who wrote the first stories, published in the Guardian, about the NSA’s massive surveillance programs. According to NBC, the leaks by Snowden include information about data gathering by the U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Snowden, who has been granted asylum in Russia, is wanted by the U.S. government. Some see parallels between Snowden and Manning; some say it’s no wonder Snowden has fled the country, considering the reportedly poor treatment of Manning that included solitary confinement. Others say Snowden’s leaks have much more serious consequences for the U.S. government and its anti-terrorism efforts.


Photo: Bradley Manning wears handcuffs as he is escorted into a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., before a sentencing hearing Wednesday. Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for giving hundreds of thousands of secret military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks. (Patrick Semansky/Associated Press)


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