With billions in funding, the N.S.A. is able to spy with nearly unthinkable scope:

The N.S.A. hacked into target computers to snare messages before they were encrypted. In some cases, companies say they were coerced by the government into handing over their master encryption keys or building in a back door. And the agency used its influence as the world’s most experienced code maker to covertly introduce weaknesses into the encryption standards followed by hardware and software developers around the world.

The most disturbing message in this article to me, however, is the tacit message that current and future U.S. national security depends on the federal government's ability to know every communication and transaction that takes place online.

Maybe modern warfare hasn't changed all that much. This is the 21st century's take on carpet bombing.