Big budget, big reveal. New classified documents leaked by former CIA analyst Edward Snowden reveal the nation’s intelligence agency and the National Security Agency recently launched aggressive “offensive cyber operations” against foreign computer networks. The cyber warfare program is just one of many details included in the 178-page, $52.6 billion budget document disclosed today by The Washington Post. The document also reveals the U.S. intelligence community had concerns about leaks, or even sabotage, by employees and contractors well before Snowden defected to Russia via Hong Kong, taking reams of classified information with him. The leaked budget gives a rare glimpse inside the world’s most extensive intelligence program, revealing details even lawmakers have struggled to piece together in recent years.
Mandela goes home. A South African hospital released Nelson Mandela over the weekend, even though he continues to need intensive care. Mandela, the country’s first black president, spent the last three months battling a lung infection. Officials and family members have remained tight-lipped about the 95-year-old statesman’s prognosis, although health experts say his outlook is not good. Now that he’s been released from the hospital, tribal leaders from his home village say he should return there, where he can “be among the spirits of his ancestors.” His family has rejected that suggestion, saying he will remain in Johannesburg, where he can receive better medical care.
Fire fight. California’s Rim fire, raging at the edge of the Yosemite National Park, continues to grow, but firefighters say they are making headway against the blaze. The fire now covers 348 square miles and is 40 percent contained. Firefighters predict they won’t have it fully contained until Sept. 20. The fire has destroyed 111 structures so far, 11 of which were homes. But officials report no loss of life. Fighting the fire has so far cost $60 million in state and federal funds.
Tough (free) sell. The National Christian Foundation is close to finding a new owner for a Massachusetts prep school campus once destined to be the home of a college named after C.S. Lewis. The 217-acre campus is owned by the Green Family, which also owns the Hobby Lobby craft store chain. The family initially wanted the campus to go to an exclusively Christian organization, but the foundation now charged with giving it away says it will consider applicants that might use the property for secular purposes as well. The foundation, which has handled property transactions for the Greens before, says it has narrowed its search to two or three candidates, which could be announced within the month. The property was once home to Northfield Mount Hermon school, founded by D.L. Moody. The school moved out in 2005, leaving 42 buildings vacant. Phoenix-based, for-profit college Grand Canyon University agreed to take the campus last year but quickly backed out after assessing how much additional work the property needed to get it ready for occupancy.