“A Massive Surveillance State”: Glenn Greenwald Exposes Covert NSA Program Collecting Calls, Emails

We speak with Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald, who broke the story Thursday that the National Security Agency has obtained access the central servers of nine major internet companies — including Google, Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo and Facebook. The Guardian and the Washington Post revealed the top secret program, code-named PRISM, after they obtained several slides from a 41-page training presentation for senior intelligence analysts. It explains how PRISM allows them to access emails, documents, audio and video chats, photographs, documents and connection logs that allow them to track a person or trace their connections to others. One slide lists the companies by name and the date when each provider began participating over the past six years. “Hundreds of millions of Americans, and hundreds of millions — in fact billions of people around the world — essentially rely on the internet exclusively to communicate with one another,” Greenwald says. “Very few people use landline phones for much of anything. So when you talk about things like online chat, and social media messages, and emails, what you’re really talking about is the full extent of human communication.” This comes after Greenwald revealed Wednesday in another story that the NSA has been collecting the phone records of millions of Verizon customers. “They want to make sure that every single time human beings interact with one another … that they can watch it, and they can store it, and they can access it at any time.”

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As U.S. Deploys Patriot Missiles and F-16s to Jordan, Could Syrian Conflict Engulf the Middle East?

Pro-government Syrian forces have seized control of the key border town of Qusair, which had been controlled by rebel fighters for the past year. This comes as the United Nations accuses both sides of the Syrian conflict of reaching “new levels of brutality.” Since fighting broke out over two years ago in Syria, more than 80,000 people have been killed and another 1.6 million Syrian refugees have fled. We’re joined by longtime foreign correspondent Patrick Cockburn of The Independent, who recently returned from Syria where he reported on how the conflict is spreading across the Middle East. Cockburn warns that pending global peace talks will have no effect without a ceasefire on the ground. “The best you could really hope for at this stage is a ceasefire, get the level of violence down, and then later you might have talks of sharing power,” Cockburn says. “But you are not going to have that at the moment.”

Are the FBI and IRS Secretly Reading Your Email Without a Warrant?

The American Civil Liberties Union has obtained documents revealing that the FBI and IRS may be reading emails and other electronic communications of U.S. citizens without obtaining a warrant. This comes just as reports have emerged that the Obama administration is considering approving an overhaul of government surveillance of the Internet. The New York Times reported the new rules would make it easier to wiretap users of web services such as instant messaging. “The FBI wants to be able to intercept every kind of possible communication,” says attorney Ben Wizner, director of the ACLU’s Speech Privacy and Technology Project. “The FBI basically wants to require all of these companies to rewrite their code in order to enable more government surveillance. … And in order to accomplish that, they would make the whole internet less secure.”

Pentagon Study Finds 26,000 Military Sexual Assaults Last Year, Over 70 Sex Crimes Per Day

A shocking new report by the Pentagon has found that 70 sexual assaults may be taking place within the U.S. military every day. The report estimates there were 26,000 sex crimes committed in 2012, a jump of 37 percent since 2010. Most of the incidents were never reported. The findings were released two days after the head of the Air Force’s sexual assault prevention unit, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, was arrested for sexual assault. We air highlights from Tuesday’s Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on military sexual assault and speak with Anu Bhagwati, executive director and co-founder of Service Women’s Action Network. “The numbers are outrageous and I think we’ve reached a tipping point,” Bhagwati says. “The American public is furious.”

As US Moves to Arm Syrian Rebels, Questions Raised About Reports of Chemical Weapons Attack

The Obama administration is reportedly close to begin arming Syrian rebels with “lethal weaponry” in their fight against President Bashar al-Assad. The Washington Post reports President Obama will make a final decision in the coming weeks on what one official described as “assistance that has a direct military purpose.” Syrian rebels have already asked Western backers for anti-tank weapons and surface-to-air missiles. This comes as Israel and U.S. sources have accused the Syrian government of using chemical weapons. On Tuesday, President Obama said chemical-weapon use in Syria would be a “game-changer.” We speak to Tracey Shelton, a GlobalPost senior correspondent covering Syria. Her most recent article is “Syria: The Horrific Chemical Weapons Attack that Probably Wasn’t a Chemical Weapons Attack.” Last month, Shelton won a George Polk award for “communicating the human tragedy of the conflict in Syria in a way that is impossible to ignore or forget.”