A secret court order requires one of America's largest telephone companies to hand over its data, its call data, to the United States government.
British newspaper The Guardian published a copy of the court order Wednesday night, revealing that the Verizon Corporation must provide telephone records for as many as 121 million domestic customers.
If you're a Verizon customer, this means the National Security Agency headquartered in Maryland knows who you are, who you're talking to and how long your call lasts. Such warrantless surveillance began under the Bush administration after the 9/11 attacks.
The secret program was exposed in 2006 and the following year Congress authorized the program under the supervision of a special court order, the FISA court, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, responsible for the secret order disclosed last night. It's the first we've seen that the Obama administration is continuing this Bush administration practice on such a massive scale.
In the video above Jimmy Gurule, a senior law enforcement official under President George Bush, speaks to CNN' Christiane Amanpour about these revelations.
Reporter Ali Hashem just left the flashpoint city of Qusayr and spoke to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour as he reached the Syria-Lebanon border.
“It's just a city of rubble,” Hashem told Amanpour. “I wasn't able even to find one place that wasn't destroyed.”
There are no opposition fighters left in Qusayr, according to Hashem.
“There is nothing that reflects that they are any kind of pockets of resistance in the city anymore,” he said. “There are no civilians in this city anymore.”
In the video above you can see Amanpour interview with Hashem and his full account of the devastation left in Qusayr.
Photojournalist Robert King has been covering the Syrian war and has even spent time in the flash-point city of Qusayr over the past year.
Most recently he's been in Aleppo, where he met with opposition snipers who've made it their job to try to pick off and kill Assad's forces.
"Residents of Aleppo [are] still cautiously carrying on their day-to-day lives the best they can in the midst of a war zone," King says. "But now that the battle has largely transformed into one fought by the snipers, the simple act of crossing the road can be deadly."
By Samuel Burke, CNN
Eighty thousand people have been killed in Syria’s grinding civil war; so too have scores of journalists, who have given their lives covering the carnage.
Among them, the legendary reporter Marie Colvin, who was killed telling us about the terrible plight of civilians during the siege of Homs last year.
Matching the pictures to Colvin's words was British photographer Paul Conroy. He was with her when she was killed, just hours after she called in one of her final reports to CNN. FULL POST
By Samuel Burke, CNN
China has long been North Korea’s strongest ally, but the alliance might be based on nothing more than nostalgia.
That’s according to Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell.
In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday, Campbell said that North Korea will be at the top of the agenda for U.S. President Barack Obama’s upcoming meeting with China's new President Xi Jinping, along with the issue of cyber security.
Campbell thinks Obama might have success on both fronts, not because of “great goodwill” between the U.S. and China, but mainly because he sees China “poorly positioned” on both fronts.
“People sometimes believe that there's a warm, flourishing relationship between North Korea and China,” Campbell said. “I don't think that's the case. In fact, I think the relationship is based more on a nostalgia for the Korean War and the long association of political parties.” FULL POST