Mic Check: The NSA Has Been Breaking the Law Thousands Of Times a Year

1. The NSA Broke the Law Thousands Of Times a Year
 
The NSA breaks the law thousands of times every year, according to a Washington Post story published late on Thursday. The article, which is based on an NSA audit and documents from Edward Snowden, says the agency broke the law 2,776 times from May 2011 to May 2012. In one case, the NSA waited months to tell the court that supervises it about a new practice, which the court ruled unconstitutional. President Obama is creating a panel to supervise the government’s surveillance activities; it had better be more effective than the safeguards already in place.
 
More from around the web:
This one trick would make the NSA a lot more transparent (Atlantic).
 
More from PolicyMic:
The NSA Can Do Its Job Without Hacking Every One Of Your Emails (Alexander Richey)
 
 
2. Egypt Braces For a “Day of Anger”
 
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood party has called for a “Day of Anger” in response to a military crackdown on protesters that killed at least 638 on Wednesday. The military prepared for the demonstrations by stationing troops across Cairo and blocking the entrances to Tahrir Square. Let’s hope today’s protests don’t spiral out of control; Al Jazeera reports at least a dozen have died already.
 
President Obama showed his disapproval of the violence in Egypt by cancelling a joint military exercise, but it’s unlikely that anything short of cutting off aid will have an effect. And because the U.S. relies on Egypt as an ally in the Middle East and North Africa, the chances of that are pretty low.
 
More from around the web:
9 questions about Egypt you were too embarrassed to ask (WaPo).
 
• A photographer snapped a surreal photo of Egyptians at the beach while Cairo burns in the background (BuzzFeed).
 
More from PolicyMic:
Why Egypt’s Protests Could Turn Out Like Tiananmen Square (Rachel George)
 
 
3. Deadly Blast Kills 20 in Beirut
 
A car bomb killed at least 20 in Beirut on Thursday in one of the deadliest attacks on Lebanese soil since the civil war that ended in 1990. An unknown group of Sunni militants claimed responsibility for the bomb, which went off near a Hezbollah complex. “We... send a message to [Hezbollah chief] Hassan Nasrallah’s pigs,” said a masked man in a video. There’s a good chance the bomb was retaliation for Hezbollah’s support for Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. The attack is a dangerous sign that Syrian violence may continue to spill over into surrounding countries.
 
More from around the web:
• Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad joined Instagram. Here are his first photos (WaPo).
 
More from PolicyMic:
Why the Syrian Civil War Threatens to Drag Lebanon Down With It, Too (Bryant Harris)
 
 
4. The Syrian Electronic Army Strikes Again
 
A group of Syrian programmers called the Syrian Electronic Army hacked the Washington Post, CNN, and TIME on Thursday by taking over a content recommendation site used by major media outlets. For about 30 minutes, world news stories from the Post redirected to the homepage of the SEA. Earlier in the week, the Daily Beast scored an interview with one of the group’s operatives, a programmer known as “SEA the Shadow.” He says the SEA is made up of nine college-age kids who want foreign media to stop interfering in Syria. “There is no revolution in Syria, but terrorist groups killing people accusing Syrian Arab Army,” he says.
 
More from around the web:
A two-minute primer on the Syrian Electronic Army (WaPo).
 
Meet the rebel programmers who are taking on the Syrian Electronic Army (NPR).
 
More from PolicyMic:
• The Syrian Electronic Army Sent One Tweet – and Knocked $156 Billion Off the Stock Market (Gabriel Rodriguez)
 
 
5. Scientists Discover New South American Mammal
 
A team of Smithsonian scientists has discovered the first new species of carnivore from the Western hemisphere in 35 years, a cuddly-looking relative of the raccoon called an olinguito. The scientists compared olinguito DNA with five other raccoon relatives in order to confirm it is a new species. The curator of mammals at the National Museum of Natural History says this a huge discovery because scientists thought they had already discovered all the world’s carnivores.
 
More from around the web:
• In other awesome animal news, scientists have figured out how to make rabbits glow in the dark (NPR).
 
More from PolicyMic:
Hola, Olinguito! Meet South America's Cutest Discovery in 35 Years (Jonathan Robinson)
 
 
DESSERT
Learn about the magic behind your morning cereal (New Yorker).
 
• For fans of Orange is the New Black: Meet the real life Piper Chapman (NPR).
 
• This amazing map shows segregation and diversity in America (Slate).
 
• What Breaking Bad gets right and wrong about the meth business (WaPo).
 
15 historical complaints about young people ruining everything (Mental Floss).
 
 
Thanks for reading!
Nick
 
Want do you think about the topics in today’s Mic Check? Has the NSA crossed the line with its surveillance of U.S. citizens? Share your thoughts with me on Twitter @nicholascbaker.
 
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