XKeyscore Revealed: Guardian: “A top secret National Security Agency program allows analysts to search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals, according to documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden. The NSA boasts in training materials that the program, called XKeyscore, is its ‘widest-reaching’ system for developing intelligence from the internet.The latest revelations will add to the intense public and congressional debate around the extent of NSA surveillance programs. They come as senior intelligence officials testify to the Senate judiciary committee on Wednesday, releasing classified documents in response to the Guardian’s earlier stories on bulk collection of phone records and Fisa surveillance court oversight.”
Washington Responds: New York Times: “The Obama administration on Wednesday released formerly classified documents outlining a once-secret program of the National Security Agency that is collecting records of all domestic phone calls in the United States, as a newly leaked N.S.A. document surfaced showing how the agency spies on Web browsing and other Internet activity abroad. Together, the new round of disclosures shed even more light on the scope of the United States government’s secret surveillance programs, which have been dragged into public view and debate by leaks from the former N.S.A. contractor….”
A Weaker NSA Ahead? Associated Press: “Facing unexpectedly harsh opposition from both parties over a once-secret program that sweeps up the phone records of every American, the Obama administration said it wanted to work with lawmakers who seemed intent on putting limits on that authority. ‘We are open to re-evaluating this program in ways that can perhaps provide greater confidence and public trust that this is in fact a program that achieves both privacy protections and national security,’ Robert Litt, counsel to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, told skeptical members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The hearing came one week after a surprisingly close vote in the House that would have killed the phone surveillance program. It barely survived, but lawmakers promised that change was coming.”
It’s Wednesday. Welcome to the Slatest PM, where we’re rounding up the day’s top stories and wondering where the entire month of July went. Follow me, your afternoon news guide, on Twitter at @s_brodez and the whole team at @slatest.
Obama Defends Summers: New York Times: “President Obama on Wednesday offered a strong defense of his potential choice of Lawrence H. Summers to head the Federal Reserve, though he said no final choice had been made. Speaking to members of the House Democratic caucus on Capitol Hill, Mr. Obama said in answer to a “barbed question” from a lawmaker that he believed Mr. Summers, a former senior economic adviser to the president, had been maligned in the liberal news media, according to Representative Gerald E. Connolly, Democrat of Virginia, who took part in the meeting.”
MoneyBox: We Don’t Need a Brilliant Fed Chairman
Quit Napping, TSA: NBC News: “The chairman of a congressional subcommittee on oversight and management efficiency Wednesday called on the Transportation Security Administration to crack down on ‘the napping, the stealing, the tardiness, and the disrespect’ a day after a watchdog’s report revealed a spike in TSA misconduct. The TSA investigated and closed 9,622 cases of employee misconduct between the years 2010 and 2012, according to a report released Tuesday by the Government Accountability Office. The figure marked a 26 percent increase in misconduct cases in a three-year period.”
Snowden’s Father Thanks Russians: Associated Press: The father of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden said on Russian television that he is grateful to the Kremlin for protecting his son. Speaking on state Rossiya 24 television in remarks broadcast Wednesday, Lon Snowden of Allentown, Pennsylvania, thanked President Vladimir Putin and his government for the ‘courage’ they have shown in keeping his son safe. Addressing his son, Lon Snowden said that ‘your family is well and we love you.’ He added that ‘I hope to see you soon, but most of all I want you to be safe.’”
Kerry Makes Surprise Pakistan Visit: Reuters: “U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry landed in Pakistan late on Wednesday on an unannounced visit for talks with the nuclear armed country’s new government on ways to tame insurgents and stabilize neighboring Afghanistan. Kerry will try to put a fresh focus on a relationship severely strained by U.S. drone strikes which Pakistan says breach its sovereignty, and the raid by U.S. special forces which killed Osama bin Laden in a Pakistani town in 2011.”
BrowBeat: On the Origins of “Slutbag”
OJ Wins Parole: Associated Press: “O.J. Simpson has been granted parole on some charges stemming from his 2008 kidnapping and armed robbery convictions involving the holdup of two sports memorabilia dealers at a Las Vegas hotel room. The Nevada Board of Parole Commissioners on Wednesday released an order approving the former NFL star’s parole request. But the order doesn’t mean Simpson will be leaving Lovelock Correctional Center anytime soon. Because he was convicted on multiple charges, Simpson still faces at least four more years in prison on sentences that were ordered to run consecutively.”
Turkey Protests Flare Again: Reuters: “Turkish police fired teargas in Istanbul on Wednesday to disperse several hundred people protesting against the police crackdown on last month’s anti-government demonstrations, local media reported. Police blocked several hundred protesters in a busy street near Istanbul’s Taksim Square from marching in support of a teenage boy who is said to be in a coma after being hit in the head by a teargas canister during the unrest.”
A Few More Quick Hits from Slate:
- Weigel:Mike Rounds, the Republican Most Likely to Take Over a Democratic Senate Seat, and His Struggles With the Tea Party
- XX Factor: Do Uncircumcised Men Have Less Oral Sex?
- MoneyBox: Super Size the Minimum Wage
- Weigel: McCain Returns to Liberals’ Good Graces, Explains His Problem With Cruz and Paul
- Future Tense: Bradley Manning and the “Hacker Madness” Scare Tactic
- BrowBeat: You’re Doing It Wrong: Iced Coffee
That’s all for today. See you back here tomorrow. Until next time, tell your friends to subscribe, or simply forward the newsletter on and let them make up their own minds.