Top secret documents passed to The Guardian by Edward Snowden show the National Security Agency has a “secret backdoor” into its databases that allows its agents to search U.S. citizens’ email and phone calls without a warrant or other oversight.
The U.S. Congress—one of the branches intended by America’s founders to balance the president’s power—is showing just as much and in some cases more interest in preserving a growing culture of secrecy as its executive counterpart, says Steven Aftergood, secrecy researcher at the Federation of American Scientists.
Doctors and scientists working for the Food and Drug Administration became targets of surveillance and some lost their jobs after blowing the whistle on the agency’s approval of medical devices that they believed were not safe for public use.
The Bush administration’s domestic spying program has depended on the willing participation of America’s telecommunications giants, and all but one, Qwest, were willing to comply. Truthdig contributor Onnesha Roychoudhuri investigates the complex world of national security and regulation to find out whether Qwest’s extraordinary bad luck in recent years has been more than a coincidence—and what it means for what’s left of your privacy.