Two interesting things happened Wednesday in the ever-evolving Edward Snowden-National Security Agency saga.
1. The government — for the sake of transparency — released documents outlining the basics of the programs to collect phone metadata. This leak, as you might recall, was the opening number of the Snowden Saga. As described by The New York Times, the documents "said the government may access the logs only when an executive-branch official determines that there are 'facts giving rise to a reasonable, articulable suspicion' that the number searched is associated with terrorism." Or basically, what we've known from the leaks and the administration's response to said leaks. The only news here was in the headline.
2. What makes that first bit of news particularly interesting is this other development Wednesday: The Guardian dropped another bomb, revealing a program called XKeyscore, which "allows analysts to search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing e-mails, online chats, and the browsing histories of millions of individuals," as The Guardian learns via Snowden. Basically, the whole of the Internet is open to the NSA's systems. The amount of data the program selects is so large that it can only be stored for three or five days; metadata persists for a month. Data deemed "interesting" is set aside for longer storage.