The incredible thing about the information provided by Edward Snowden is that it shows just how incredibly broad and deep the U.S. government's surveilance programs are. There has hardly been a week in the past six months in which we haven't learned new information about what the government has been doing with our private information.

The problem with the information provided by Edward Snowden is that--because there is so much of it--it is easy to lose track of the big picture. One week we're learning about how the government is spying on allies overseas, the next week we're learning that the government is data-mining social media sites . . .it is somewhat overwhelming.

In this week's New Yorker, Ryan Lizza attempts to distill and contextualize a few of the more important revelations, and he pays particular attention to the gap between what the government has said it is doing and what it is actually doing. Also, he gives a fine overview of the responses to the revelations in the U.S. Senate--one of which would provide additional oversight, and one that would bestow its blessings upon current bad behavior. The article is worth reading.