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national security

The U.S. government has charged a federal contractor with the theft of government property and removal of classified materials, including multiple top secret documents that would pose a threat to U.S. security if disclosed, the Justice Department said Wednesday.

The government produced the documents through "sensitive sources, methods and capabilities," and revealing the documents would expose those methods, the Justice Department said in a statement.

Summarizing its investigation of Edward Snowden, the House Intelligence Committee says the former National Security Agency contractor did tremendous damage to the U.S.

The committee published the summary findings of a two-year investigation today as a new film about Snowden opens across the country.

Snowden stole 1.5 million classified government documents that he had access to as an NSA contractor. He then fled to Russia via Hong Kong.

As NPR's David Welna reports,

High on a hill, in a leafy, residential neighborhood between Georgetown and the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., the Russian Embassy sits behind tall gates. It was right here, in the 1980s, at the height of the Cold War, that the FBI and the National Security Agency built a tunnel — a secret tunnel that started beneath one of the pleasant-looking houses lining Wisconsin Avenue and extended over to the neighboring embassy.

It was built so that American spies could eavesdrop on what was happening inside.

They connect via online services — especially Twitter — and in everyday life. Their ages range from 15 to 47, and their roles range from cheering attacks to plotting violence. And curbing their growth is a dynamic challenge without a simple solution: There are currently 900 active investigations into ISIS sympathizers in every American state.

Those are some of the findings of a new study that glimpses life "inside the bubble of American ISIS sympathizers, a diverse and diffuse scene that the FBI estimates include hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals."

A controversial government surveillance program has come to an end. As of midnight, the United States National Security Agency has stopped the bulk collection of the metadata from Americans' phone calls.

Jonathan Pollard is out of prison, if not totally free, after 30 years. He's on parole for another five years, during which he'll have to wear a GPS ankle bracelet, won't be able to give interviews, or leave for Israel, where he is considered a hero, and says he wants to live.

He also won't be able to use the internet without U.S. government scrutiny. Someone will point out: can any of us?

During a commencement address at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy today, President Obama will cast climate change as posing an "immediate risk to our national security."

NPR's Scott Horsley reports Obama is expected to tell graduates that the Coast Guard itself will have to adjust to the effects of rising sea levels. Scott filed this report for our Newscast unit:

From the moment she was taken into custody in 2012, outside a building that stores enriched uranium in Oak Ridge, Tenn., Sister Megan Rice has argued she has been driven by one thing — a desire to spread a message.

"And we all know that nuclear energy is linked inextricably with nuclear weapons," Rice told a group of activists in remarks captured on YouTube.

Prosecutors accused her of violating the Sabotage Act, intending to hurt the government's ability to wage war or defend itself.

Flickr Photo/Jeni Rodger

Facebook and Yahoo have joined Microsoft and Google in asking the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Court for permission to tell the public about personal information they give to spy agencies.

The big four companies are responding to persistent reports that spy agencies are using them to grab users’ personal information.

In the FISA court filings, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo and Google say their reputations have been damaged. They say only a small part of Internet traffic is being handed to spy agencies, and they want to give the public information to correct the record.

The Justice Department says it can’t allow that for national security reasons.

The companies say that gag order violates their free-speech rights. Microsoft and Google are asking the FISA court to allow oral arguments so that they can argue their case in public.

Flickr Photo/Chris Hardie

Reports from the New York Times, the Guardian and ProPublica cast light on how spy agencies are obtaining private data. The news organizations say the US National Security Agency is using covert partnerships with technology companies to weaken encryption software.

White House Photo/Pete Souza

President Obama is set to hold a news conference at the White House on Friday at noon P.T. — his first such formal give-and-take with the press corps since "NSA leaker" Edward Snowden started spilling secrets about National Security Agency surveillance programs in June.

Department Of Homeland Security: Necessary Or Needless?

Aug 8, 2013
Flickr Photo/US Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District

The vision of the Department of Homeland Security is to "ensure a homeland that is safe, secure and resilient against terrorism and other hazards." That's according to the mission statement on the Department of Homeland Security’s website.

Last month the Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napalitano resigned to take on the job of running California’s university system. There are now 15 vacant positions at the top of the department, a department that casts a wide net. Sure, you may think of anti-terror units when you think of homeland security but DHS combined 22 different federal departments when it was established in 2002. Ross Reynolds talks with author and fellow at the Center for Global Development Charles Kenny about why he thinks it is time to abolish the DHS.

The Pentagon's intelligence arm has "moderate confidence" that North Korea may have developed the technology to create nuclear weapons that are small enough to fit on a long-range missile.

NPR's Larry Abramson filed this report for our Newscast unit:

"The Defense Intelligence Agency assessment says such a weapon would probably not be very reliable. This is the first time the U.S. has concluded that Pyongyang's nuclear efforts have reached this point.

Mark Bowden On The Hunt For Bin Laden

Nov 15, 2012
Flickr Photo/Sajjad Ali Qureshi

One Sunday evening nearly a decade after the September 11 attacks, President Obama spoke from the White House to tell the world that the United States had carried out an operation that killed Osama bin Laden. The work to locate bin Laden took years, and ultimately led to a walled compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Mark Bowden is a national correspondent for The Atlantic magazine, contributing editor to Vanity Fair and author of "Black Hawk Down." He joins us to talk about "The Finish: The Killing of Osama Bin Laden," his insider account of the hunt for America’s most-wanted enemy.