When NSA contractor Edward Snowden downloaded tens of thousands of top-secret documents from a highly secure government network, it led to the largest leak of classified information in history — and sparked a fierce debate over privacy, technology and democracy in the post-9/11 world.
Now, in United States of Secrets, FRONTLINE goes behind the headlines to reveal the dramatic inside story of how the U.S. government came to monitor and collect the communications of millions of people around the world—including ordinary Americans—and the lengths they went to trying to hide the massive surveillance program from the public.
Part One | May 13, 2014 at 10pm
In 2013, Edward Snowden downloaded tens of thousands of top-secret documents from a highly secure government computer network. The revelations that followed touched off a fierce debate over the massive surveillance operations conducted by the National Security Agency. Now, FRONTLINE investigates the secret history of the unprecedented surveillance program that began in the wake of September 11th and continues today. Through exclusive interviews with intelligence insiders, cabinet officials and government whistle-blowers, part one reveals how the U.S. government came to monitor the communications of millions of Americans and to collect billions of records on ordinary people around the world.
Part Two | May 20, 2014 at 10pm
In the second part of “United States of Secrets,” FRONTLINE explores the role of Silicon Valley in the National Security Agency’s dragnet. As big technology companies encouraged users to share more and more information about their lives, they created a trove of data that could be useful not simply to advertisers, but also to the government. The revelations of NSA contractor Edward Snowden would push Silicon Valley into the center of a debate over privacy and government surveillance.