July 18, 2014
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NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden recently gave an interview to The Guardian in which he held court on a wide array of issues surrounding the surveillance state. He also gave some insight into what it's like to have the world's digital communications at your fingertips — including nude pictures, which he says are treated as "fringe benefits" of being a spy.

You've got young enlisted guys, 18 to 22. They've suddenly thrust into a position of extraordinary responsibility, where they now have access to all of your private records. Now, in the course of their daily work, they stumble across something that is completely unrelated to their work in any sort of necessary sense. For example: an intimate nude photo of someone in a sexually compromising situation, but they're extremely attractive. So what do they do? They turn around in their chair, and they show their coworker. And their coworker says, "Oh, hey, that's great. Send that to Bill down the way." And then Bill sends it to George, George sends it to Tom, and sooner or later, this person's whole life has been seen by all of these other people. It's never reported. Nobody ever knows about it, because the auditing of these systems is incredibly weak. [The Guardian]

The moral of the story: don't send pictures of yourself having sex into the ether. But you knew that already. Right? (h/t BoingBoing) Ryu Spaeth

you're fired
11:21 a.m. ET
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More than 100 black religious leaders signed an op-ed published on Ebony's website Friday strongly discouraging their colleagues from supporting or endorsing Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump. The real estate mogul had announced he'll receive endorsements from a group of prominent black ministers Monday.

"By siding with a presidential candidate whose rhetoric pathologizes Black people, what message are you sending to the world about the Black lives in and outside of your congregations?" the op-ed read. "Which Black lives do you claim to be liberating?"

After several white people allegedly physically attacked a black protester at a Trump campaign rally in Birmingham, Alabama, on Nov. 21, the presidential hopeful said, "Maybe he should've been roughed up."

Some attending Monday's meeting have disputed Trump's endorsement claim, The Daily Beast reports. Read the full op-ed on Ebony here. Julie Kliegman

you used to watch me on my cell phone
10:52 a.m. ET
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The National Security Agency will end its program to collect Americans' phone records in bulk Sunday, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said Friday, The Washington Post reports.

The secret Patriot Act program was brought to light by whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013. Congress ordered it shut in June. Some Republican senators, including Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Tom Cotton (Ark.), had tried to delay the surveillance program's end in light of the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris, Politico reports.

The government has been testing a new system, which reportedly only allows intelligence officials to collect information on people and phones linked to foreign powers and terrorist groups. Julie Kliegman

POTUS speaks
10:34 a.m. ET
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President Obama condemned Friday's deadly shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in a statement Saturday.

"This is not normal. We can't let it become normal," he said. "If we truly care about this — if we're going to offer up our thoughts and prayers again, for God knows how many times, with a truly clean conscience — then we have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them. Period. Enough is enough."

Three people — one police officer and two civilians — died in the attack. Nine others were reportedly injured. Authorities took the suspected gunman, Robert Lewis Dear, into custody Friday night after an hours-long standoff with police.

"The last thing Americans should have to do, over the holidays or any day, is comfort the families of people killed by gun violence—people who woke up in the morning and bid their loved ones goodbye with no idea it would be for the last time," Obama said.

Read Obama's full statement on the shooting here. Julie Kliegman

Gun Violence
8:13 a.m. ET

Garrett Swasey, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs police officer who died Friday after responding to a shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic, had also been a champion figure skater, a university spokesman told The Denver Post.

Swasey, 44, and his partner won the junior dance competition at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in 1992, according to a Baltimore Sun article from that time. He had moved to Colorado Springs from Melrose, Massachusetts, to train in the 1980s, The Boston Globe reports.

A six-year veteran at the campus police department, Swasey also served as a co-pastor of a reformed Protestant church. He was married with two children.

"He was a great dad," David Swasey, the officer's father, told The Globe. "I mean, a super dad. Everybody in the police department loved him. Anybody who ever met him loved him. He was a great guy, a great person." Julie Kliegman

This just in
November 27, 2015
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Update 7:28 p.m.: After an hours-long standoff, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said the gunman involved in the Planned Parenthood shooting attacks is in custody. Police say that at least 11 people, including five police officers and civilians, have been transported to hospitals. It is unclear if there were any fatalities in the attacks.

Update 7:05 p.m.: Authorities are evacuating people from the Planned Parenthood building. Meanwhile, police say the standoff with the gunman, who reportedly brought "unspecified items" with him into the building, is ongoing.

Update 4:54 p.m.: After the most recent exchange of gunfire, a fourth officer was found wounded inside a Planned Parenthood clinic. In addition to the officers, police now say that civilians have been injured, and seven people have been transported to the hospital, although it is unclear if that number includes the police officers. While police previously said that the gunman involved was contained, they later confirmed they were still looking for the person.

On Friday afternoon, Colorado Springs police officers responded to reports of an active shooter at a Planned Parenthood clinic, reports the Associated Press, initially notifying residents and the media via Twitter to stay away from the scene because it was not secure. The gunman allegedly barricaded himself inside the building, reportedly injuring at least three police officers before he was eventually contained. Stephanie Talmadge

Only in America
November 27, 2015

A Columbia University student claims that she's been deeply traumatized by reading too many books about white people. Nissy Aya told a university panel that the school's required "core" courses forced her to look at history "through the lens of these powerful, white men." As a result of feeling "no power or agency as a black woman," she said, it will take her six years to graduate. The Week Staff

foreign policy woes
November 27, 2015
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This weekend, GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson will make a surprise trip to Jordan to tour a Syrian refugee camp, according to the New York Times. His advisers have framed the trip as an effort on Carson's behalf to improve his understanding of the refugee crisis, which has recently come under harsh criticism.

Prepared with Beanie Babies and soccer balls to distribute to the refugee children, Carson's trip will include a tour of the Azraq hospital and clinic near Amman. "I want to hear some of their stories," said Carson. "I find when you have firsthand knowledge of things as opposed to secondhand, it makes a much stronger impression."

Prior to the Nov. 13 terror attacks in Paris, Carson held strong leads in some state and national polls, but his support has waned as national security concerns mount and the neurosurgeon has come under intense fire for his lack of foreign policy knowledge. Last week, Carson's senior foreign policy adviser told the Times in an interview that "nobody has been able to sit down with him and have him get one iota of intelligent information about the Middle East." Stephanie Talmadge

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