Glenn Greenwald and the Guardian have another leak: Meet "Boundless Informant" the NSA tool that records and analyzes where NSA intelligence comes from, including over 3 billion pieces of intelligence from US computer networks in just a 30-day period.
This is a direct contradiction to the NSA's assurance to congress that it does not collect any type of data at all on millions of Americans. In fact, according to the NSA documents, America is one of its most surveilled countries behind Iran, Pakistan, Jordan, and other Mid-Eastern countries.
"The tool allows users to select a country on a map and view the metadata volume and select details about the collections against that country," the NSA factsheet obtained by The Guardian says about the program.
Metadata, which has been downplayed by security officials and politicians as not actually containing that much data, is in reality an incredibly useful tool for monitoring Internet users. As Jane Meyer points out in the New Yorker, Metadata can help you know who is being emailed and CC'd, where (not exactly, but pretty close) they are emailing from, and in what sequence emails are being sent.
Speaking with a former data system engineer, Meyer observes that "Metadata... can be so revelatory about whom reporters talk to in order to get sensitive stories that it can make more traditional tools in leak investigations, like search warrants and subpoenas, look quaint."
Boundless Informant shows that the NSA has been collecting metadata, on a massive scale, on Internet users inside of America. It also shows that the NSA, which has said it has no way to process all the information of Internet users (if they had it), has developed (and is improving) a system to do exactly that.
So who is leaking this information to Greenwald and why are they leaking it? The data shows that the NSA, while obviously spying on Americans, is also doing some pretty serious work on foreign soil, especially where America is supposedly looking for terrorists. Do they want to show off that the NSA is both covering its bases in terms of terrorism and not spying as much on tenuous allies like China and Russia, or is someone risking their freedom to expose the decline of civil liberties in the United States?
Or, alternately, is someone just hacking the NSA?
On top of that, can Greenwald ever come back to the United States without getting put in front of a grand jury and asked to name his source?
Update 3:00 PM: It's option #1. Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old technical assistant is the whistleblower.