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Edward Joseph Snowden, 29, knew full well the risks he had undertaken and the awesome powers that would soon be arrayed to hunt for him, reports the Washington Post.

Snowden spilled some of the most sensitive secrets of a surveillance apparatus he had grown to detest. By late last month, he believed he was already “on the X” — exposure imminent.

“I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions, and that the return of this information to the public marks my end,” he wrote in early May, before we had our first direct contact. He warned that even journalists who pursued his story were at risk until they published.

The Obama administration has said the programs were focused on the communications of people who were not American citizens. But Mr. Snowden asserted in a video interview, released by the Guardian newspaper of Britain on Sunday, that the scale of the surveillance was much broader and involved the recording of a vast array of communications in the United States and elsewhere.

Filmmaker Laura Poitras profiles William Binney, a 32-year veteran of the National Security Agency who helped design a top-secret program he says is broadly collecting Americans’ personal data.

The NSA’s advances have come in the form of programs like Hadoop, according to the Wall Street Journal, that enable intelligence agencies to cheaply amplify computing power through the Cloud. The new capabilities allowed officials to shift from being overwhelmed by data to being able to make sense of large chunks of it to predict events, the officials said.

Larry Smarr helped guide the development of the Optiputer, one of the key components of a new science architecture, based on shared databases for interactive collaboration. The ultimate goal of the Optiputer is to enable scientists to interactively visualize, analyze, and correlate petabytes of data from multiple storage sites connected to optical networks.

The OptIPuter is a personal supercomputer that instantaneously connects to global databases as fast as local hard drives. The OptIPuter uses dedicated (not shared) 10-GigE optical strands.

It uses a Glimmerglass optical switch to link those strands into the National LambdaRail (NLR).

Technology empowers both freedom and tyranny. Continual checks and balances is the price for a healthy democratic system.

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