They’re still trying to find something rotten inside Edward Snowden’s bottomless cup of NSA documents, and yet they’re coming up short every time. The Glenn Greenwald modus of hyping previously-known information or documents that aren’t nearly as outrageous as they’re made to appear has spread to other publications and other reporters. And as each Snowden bombshell fizzles under scrutiny, the reporters covering the beat seem to be getting more and more desperate.
While there still doesn’t appear to be anything rotten, there are definitely some dangerous items in Snowden’s thumbdrive goodie bag that have thankfully remained undisclosed. More on this presently.
The latest episode in this saga involved a single-day troika of articles from The Washington Post. Evidently, Snowden was able to get his hands on a document called the Black Budget, which sounds like something Tyrion Lannister might draw up for the Westeros treasury. In reality, it’s the entire budget for the intelligence community, which, until now, has been classified top secret. The reason for the secrecy is obvious since very specific and detailed intelligence operations are listed, along with the cost of each, totaling $52.6 billion for fiscal year 2013.
The first article that appeared on Thursday, by Barton Gellman and Greg Miller, was a general overview of the budget. Broadstroke takeaways include the fact that CIA, not NSA, has the largest budget within the intelligence community. We also learned that in 2012, NSA planned to launch a massive investigation to weed out any possible leakers. But the program wasn’t launched because the agency redirected its resources to investigating Wikileaks. In a way, Wikileaks created an opening for Snowden to exploit. Without Wikileaks, it’s possible he might’ve been swept up. (Speaking of Snowden and Wikileaks, I urge you to check out Joshua Foust’s article about the Wikileaks/Snowden/Russia connection.)
This Black Budget article raises some questions, naturally… [CONTINUE READING]