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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof

Snowden Says: Mission Accomplished - During more than 14 hours of interviews, the first he has conducted in person since arriving here in June, Snowden did not part the curtains or step outside. Russia granted him temporary asylum on Aug. 1, but Snowden remains a target of surpassing interest to the intelligence services whose secrets he spilled on an epic scale.

Late this spring, Snowden supplied three journalists, including this one, with caches of top-secret documents from the National Security Agency, where he worked as a contractor. Dozens of revelations followed, and then hundreds, as news organizations around the world picked up the story. Congress pressed for explanations, new evidence revived old lawsuits and the Obama administration was obliged to declassify thousands of pages it had fought for years to conceal.
Taken together, the revelations have brought to light a global surveillance system that cast off many of its historical restraints after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Secret legal authorities empowered the NSA to sweep in the telephone, Internet and location records of whole populations. One of the leaked presentation slides described the agency’s “collection philosophy” as “Order one of everything off the menu.”  The Washington Post has more here.

U.N. Doubles Troops in South Sudan -
The new nation of South Sudan, created in an enormous international effort to end decades of conflict, moved closer to civil war on Monday, as the government vowed to storm cities under rebel control and the United Nations secretary general urged a major increase in peacekeepers to help protect tens of thousands of civilians.

With an estimated 45,000 people huddled at United Nations compounds in the country, desperate to escape clashes that have killed hundreds or many more in the last week and even overran a peacekeeping base, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on the Security Council to send a rapid wave of reinforcements, including attack helicopters and a near doubling of international forces. The NY Times has more here.


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