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FROM THIS EPISODE

Since 9/11, America's National Security Agency has built a massive, online intelligence apparatus in the name of protecting the nation.  Is it too successful for America's own good?  Revelations about spying on foreign leaders are spreading outrage around the world—although former leaders of many countries admit they do it, too. We look at the continuing fallout of leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Also, Syria's Assad meets a chemical weapons deadline, and the FDA's new rules for painkillers that can lead to abuse and addiction.

Banner image: A computer with a series of numbers and the logo of the United States' NSA is seen in this multiple exposure illustration taken in Frankfurt October 28, 2013. Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

Producers:
Caitlin Shamberg
Christian Bordal
Lata Pandya

Making News Syria's Assad Meets Chemical Weapons Deadline 7 MIN, 43 SEC

Syria has not yet destroyed all its deadly chemical weapons, but it has made the machinery to manufacture them "inoperable." The UN's Organization for the prohibition of Chemical Weapons says the Assad regime has met the deadline set forth in agreements with the US and Russia. The ongoing civil war is another matter. Patrick McDonnell, Beirut Bureau Chief for the Los Angeles Times, has more.

Guests:
Patrick McDonnell, Los Angeles Times (@mcdneville)

Main Topic How Much Spying Is Too Much? 35 MIN, 34 SEC

President Obama has told German Chancellor Angela Merkel he didn't know her cell phone was tapped by America's National Security Agency and that he's put a stop to it. All government leaders know that nations spy on their friends as well as their enemies, but they also know the key is not to get caught. Now, due to revelations by former contractor Edward Snowden, America's National Security Agency is being called "out of control." The NSA says that everyone does it, but that may not catch on. Some indignant members of Congress are demanding reform. Has eavesdropping technology outrun the law? Have revelations about the past damaged diplomatic relations with the powerhouse of the European Union? Is the biggest problem the spying or the leaks that revealed it?

Guests:
Josef Joffe, Die Zeit (@DieZeit)
Joe Wippl, Boston University
Henry Farrell, George Washington University (@henryfarrell)
Stewart Baker, Steptoe & Johnson (@stewartbaker)

Today's Talking Point Tighter FDA Regulations on Prescription Painkillers 7 MIN, 40 SEC

For 15 years, increased usage of Vicodin, Oxycontin and similar medications has led to reports that narcotic painkillers cause abuse and addiction. Some members of Congress have proposed new restrictions. Drug company lobbyists have fought back, while patient groups and medical providers have been divided. Now the Food and Drug Administration has recommended new rules for prescriptions of painkillers containing Hydrocodone be re-classified as Schedule II, rather than Schedule III drugs. Lisa Girion of the Los Angeles Times explains what that means.

Guests:
Lisa Girion, Los Angeles Times (@lisagirion)

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