I left the People's Republic of China for the sweet, more-expensive freedom of the United States at a ground-delayed 8 p.m. Sunday night; I touched down at Dulles at 9 p.m. the same day. That's one way of saying this space will only be half as busy as usual today—well, that, and the sob story about returning home to see that someone had stolen my bike's handlebars and brakes. But I'm back, and I have all kinds of gratitude to Emma Roller for keeping this blog humming in my absense.
Apparently, while I was out, Glenn Greenwald became the king of all media. The irony that I left China just as Edward Snowden took the news cycle there has been pointed out to me, though 1) I was in the PRC, not Hong Kong, and staying roughly as far from Hong Kong as New York is from Denver, and 2) it doesn't seem all that crazy that Snowden would hide out in HK for privacy reasons. The city doesn't fully sink into the mainland until 2047, I think.
Binyamin Appelbaum and Eric Lipton manage to profile the business of the NSA leaker in a few hours on a Sunday.
The government has sharply increased spending on high-tech intelligence gathering since 2001, and both the Bush and Obama administrations have chosen to rely on private contractors like Booz Allen for much of the resulting work.
Thousands of people formerly employed by the government, and still approved to deal with classified information, now do essentially the same work for private companies. Mr. Snowden, who revealed on Sunday that he provided the recent leak of national security documents, is among them.
Along the same lines, Alec MacGillis explains how Washington's security boom is churning out Snowdens.
Betsy Woodruff offers the very rare skeptical take on Kirsten Gillibrand's sexual assault bill.
And what else did I miss? Bachmann retiring, Lautenberg dying, mediocre jobs report, IRS scandal sort of slow-burning without any more heads rolling. Was that it?