Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.
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The Guardian newspaper reports that the National Security Agency was collecting and analyzing e-mail metadata from Americans in bulk. So the agency could know who Americans were e-mailing, who was emailing back, and which IP addresses were used, which could also give away physical locations.
But according to documents obtained by the newspaper, the actual content was off limits. The newspaper reports that the program started under former President George W. Bush's administration, and continued under President Barack Obama, until 2011 when it was stopped for "operational and resource reasons," according to a statement to the paper from the director of communications for national intelligence.
Meanwhile, the man who's been spilling the NSA's secrets, Edward Snowden, is still reportedly living out of a suitcase in the transit zone of the Moscow airport, where he has been for days.
During his trip to Senegal Thursday, Obama said he did not talk to Russian or Chinese leaders about turning Snowden over because, "I shouldn't have to."
He was also fairly dismissive of the man who's hemorrhaging U.S. secrets, if not about the information he may possess.
"I am not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker," Obama said Thursday. "I continue to be concerned about the other documents he may have. That's part of the reason why we'd like to have Mr. Snowden in custody."
Rumors have been flying that Snowden may be making a run for Ecuador, but officials there say they never cleared any asylum request from him. There was some thought that Ecuador would acquiesce given its desire to continue receiving favorable trade benefits and tens of millions of dollars in U.S. aid, but officials from the country's leftist government told Reuters Thursday that Ecuador would forgo the benefits "unilaterally and irrevocably." They even offered to give the U.S. millions in aid to fund "education about human rights," to help "avoid violations of privacy, torture and other actions that are denigrating to humanity."
File that in the column for critics who say the Obama administration has been too focused on the legal charges involving this matter, and not enough on the diplomacy needed to get him in U.S. custody.
Meanwhile, the man who's breaking all these stories for The Guardian - Glenn Greenwald - said there is now a campaign to smear him. Greenwald said several reporters have been given information about his background in an attempt to make him look bad.
He said the negative press would not stop him.