The latest leaked governmental document provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden is the so-called "black budget" for the U.S. intelligence community's expenditures. The $52.6 billion budget contains so much sensitive information that the Washington Post, which broke the story, decided not to publish it in its entirety.
The Post's breakdown of the information does tell us, however, that the NSA received $10.3 billion for the 2013 fiscal year.
Of that, 429.1 million goes into research and technology. What are they researching? A summary of the budget penned by James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, also published by the Post, contains plenty of interesting, if vague, insights into the U.S. intelligence community (which comprises 16 agencies, including the NSA, the CIA and the FBI).
For example, the document, entitled "Congressional Budget Justification," states that "we are investing in groundbreaking cryptanalytic capabilities to defeat adversarial cryptography and exploit internet traffic."
That could mean better decryption techniques, which is significant because strong encryption is generally considered the best (and possibly only) way to keep your data safe from prying eyes.
But cryptanalysis means a lot more than just decryption. Read on for five good guesses as to what the NSA's "cryptanalytic capabilities" research is all about.