By the numbers: The NSA's super-secret spy program, PRISM

In a bombshell scoop, the Washington Post is reporting that the National Security Agency (NSA) has gained direct access to the servers of nine prominent Internet companies, enabling the spy agency to track e-mails, photographs, and video, among other forms of digital communciation.

The highly classified program, known as PRISM, has emerged as a central tool in the NSA's arsenal and, according to documents detailing the program's operation, is run with the assistance of the Silicon Valley tech companies it targets. The exposure of the program -- which was also reported by the Guardian -- is the latest in a string of reports detailing government snooping that have reignited the debate in Washington over the proper balance between privacy and national security.

To put that debate in perspective, here's how PRISM stacks up by the numbers based on what we've learned today:

1,477: The number of times data obtained via PRISM has been cited in the president's daily intelligence briefing.

1 in 7: The proportion of NSA intelligence reports using raw material from PRISM.

77,000: The number of intelligence reports that have cited PRISM.

2,000: The number of PRISM-based reports issued per month.

24,005: The number of PRISM-based reports issued in 2012 alone, which was a 27 percent increase from the previous year.

9: The number of tech companies whose servers NSA has access to via PRISM.

6: The number of years PRISM has been in operation.

2: The number of presidential administrations PRISM has operated under.

51 percent: The minimum confidence of a target's "foreignness" when an NSA analyst uses PRISM.

248 percent: The increase in 2012 in the number of Skype communications intercepted via PRISM

131 percent: The increase in 2012 in PRISM requests for Facebook data.

63 percent: The increase in 2012 in PRISM requests for Google data.

$20 million: The annual cost of PRISM.

$8 billion: The estimated annual budget of the NSA.

35,000 to 55,000: The estimated number of employees at the NSA.

0: The number of times Twitter has agreed to participate in PRISM.

1: The number of ad campaigns by Microsoft, the first company to agree to participate in PRISM, in which the company declares "your privacy is our priority."

Here's that ad:

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images


An OKCupid profile for a certain newly single world leader

Username: NastoyashiVVP



Height: 5'8 (Fine, 5'5)

Body type: Athletic

Diet: Healthy, tested for poison

Smokes: Nyet

Drinks: Socially, with friends and assorted flunkies

Drugs: Definitely not

Religion: Russian Orthodox

Sign: Libra

Job: President of Russia

Income: Rather not say

Children: 2 daughters. No, you cannot meet them.

Pets: "Bigger, stronger, faster" than yours

Speaks: Russian, German, some English


My self-summary: The world's only true democrat, treasure hunter, animal lover.

What I'm doing with my life: Restoring Russia to its rightful position of global leadership

I'm really good at: Sovereign democracy, political technology, winning elections by staggering margins, suppressing hooliganism, judo, hockey, cruising on my big trike, tickling the ivories, shooting whales (but only for a good cause)

The first things people usually notice about me: Raw charisma, piercing blue eyes that reveal my soul, pecs, the fact that I'm the president

Favorite books, movies, shows, and music: Ernest Hemingway, anything with Steven Seagal or Gérard Depardieu, Larry King Live, the Beatles (not ABBA!). Also not a big fan of punk.

The six things I could never do without: Being the leader of Russia, my siloviki posse, my photo team, outdoor sporting equipment, my watch collection, the mansion I am definitely not building on the Black Sea

The most private thing I'm willing to admit: My prime minister gets on my nerves sometimes

You should message me if: You want to see the other side of those Kremlin walls