In 2013, Edward Snowden was an IT systems expert working under contract for the National Security Agency when he traveled to Hong Kong to provide three journalists with thousands of top-secret documents about U.S. intelligence agencies' surveillance of American citizens.
Before whistle-blower Edward Snowden became a household name, he was an anonymous source. The Washington Post's Barton Gellman recounts how he began corresponding with Snowden and the process of reporting on the government's Internet data mining program.
Shane Harris, an author and journalist who covers intelligence, surveillance and cybersecurity for a number of publications, says that the revelations about the NSA from Edward Snowden are nothing new, and that such programs have a significant recent history in the United States.
Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, the National Security Agency stepped up its efforts to collect intelligence domestically by filtering millions of phone conversations and e-mail messages. In his new book, The Shadow Factory, journalist James Bamford reveals that the ultra-secret agency has half a million people on its watch lists.
In 2005, The New York Times revealed that the National Security Agency had performed wiretaps and other surveillance without court orders. It was a story the Bush administration hoped to keep under wraps, says reporter Eric Lichtblau. Lichtblau's new book is Bush's Law.
In December, New York Times and Eric Lichtblau broke the news that the Bush administration had authorized a domestic eavesdropping program. Risen's new book is State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration.
James Bamford has investigated the inner-workings of the National Security Agency for his new book, Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency: From the Cold War Through the Dawn of a New Century (Doubleday). The book examines the Agency's past and its present activities including the ongoing hunt for the terrorist Osama bin Laden.