In the past several days, there's been a steady flow of leaks about the National Security Agency and its secret surveillance activities, including the gathering of metadata on domestic and foreign telephone calls and the existence of PRISM, described in media reports as a top-secret data-mining program.
New developments are occurring on a daily basis. Here are a few we're watching right now:
-- A spokesman for the Director of National Intelligence has requested that a criminal probe be opened into leaks of classified material about secret surveillance programs, according to Reuters. A spokesman for DNI, Shawn Turner, tells the news agency that a "crimes report has been filed" by the NSA with the Department of Justice.
-- Shortly after DNI James Clapper issued a statement Saturday denouncing the news media for "reckless" and inaccurate reporting on the secret intelligence-gathering activities and defending their legality, Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague made similar remarks in an interview with the BBC.
Hague, referring to reports that the British government was working hand-in-hand with the U.S. and its alleged data-mining activities, said the two countries indeed shared intelligence. However:
"The idea that in GCHQ people are sitting around working out how to circumvent a U.K. law with another agency in another country is fanciful," he said, referring to Britain's equivalent of the NSA. "It is nonsense."
-- Some in Australia and New Zealand are wondering to what extent their governments might be cooperating with Washington's surveillance activities. Reuters reports that Canberra and Wellington are facing "awkward questions" from lawmakers.
-- On Saturday, The Guardian, in the latest of its reports on the surveillance activities, claims to have revealed the existence of a secret data-cataloging tool called Boundless Informant, which the newspaper says can produce a sort of country-by-country "heat map" detailing the "voluminous amount of information it collects from computer and telephone networks."