US citizen Kenneth Bae, accompanied by his sister Terri, speaks to the media during a news conference after he and fellow  prisoner Matthew Todd Miller landed aboard a US air force jet at McChord Field at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. Photograph: Anthony Bolante/Reuters

Two Americans freed from North Korea stepped off a plane into the welcoming arms of family yesterday after the surprise involvement of the top-ranking(...)

People carry food packages  in the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp near Damascus yesterday. Yarmouk  is the largest of the Palestinian refugee camps in Syria. Photograph: Sana/EPA

As Syrian peace talks continued in Geneva yesterday, Damascus was criticised by US defence secretary Chuck Hagel for failing to hand over the bulk of (...)

Did US president Barack Obama really not know about the NSA monitoring of world leaders’ phones? And if he didn’t know, what is the point of snooping on allies, such as Germany’s Angela Merkel? Photograph: Thomas Peter/Reuters

Democrats and Republicans in the US having similar opinions? Yes, it has come to this. Thanks to the latest batch of revelations about the National Se(...)

General Keith Alexander (L), director of the National Security Agency (NSA) testifies at a House Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington today.  Director of National Intelligence James Clapper watches on. Photograph: Jason Reed/Reuters.

The US National Security Agency director has defended the spy agency as acting within legal boundaries, amid a public uproar over the collection of Am(...)

John Zangas, who identified himself as a federal employee, protests against the current government shutdown at the US Capitol in Washington yesterday. Photograph: Reuters.

The White House has urged Republicans to put to a vote a budget reopening the US government – without conditions attached delaying President Barack Ob(...)

When US National Security Agency director general Keith Alexander was asked a year ago if the Bluffdale centre would hold the data of Americans, he replied no: “We don’t hold data on US citizens.” Photograph: Jason Reed/Reuters

At the Husband and Wife lingerie store in Bluffdale, Utah, in Mormon country – where babies are welcome amid the sex toys and the motto is “Classy, ta(...)

The National Security Agency campus in Fort Meade, Maryland. The agency has secretly circumvented or cracked much of the digital scrambling that protects global commerce, e-mails, phone calls, medical records and web searches, according to newly disclosed documents. Photograph: Government handout via The New York Times

The National Security Agency routinely violated court-ordered privacy protections between 2006 and 2009 by examining phone numbers without sufficient (...)

 President Barack Obama boards Marine One to fly to Camp David yesterday at Andrews AirForce Base. Photograph: Getty

President Barack Obama’s top national security advisers met at the White House last night to discuss the potential threat of terrorist attacks that ca(...)

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in this still image taken from video during an interview by the Guardian in his hotel room in Hong Kong on June 6th, 2013.

A US spy programme that sweeps up vast amounts of electronic communications survived a legislative challenge in the House of Representatives, the firs(...)

US president Barack Obama and Chinese president Xi Jinping walk the grounds at the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage in California on Saturday. Photograph: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

The acid that corroded George W Bush’s presidency was fear – spreading it and succumbing to it. You could see the fear in his eyes, the fear that froz(...)