Wednesday's Breakfast Briefing: NBC's long road to interviewing Snowden

Everything you need to know to start your day.

The difficult road to NBC News’ Snowden interview
NBC News used some cloak-and-dagger tactics of its own to secure an interview in Russia with former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, his first with a major media outlet since helping to reveal the US government’s dragnet of cyber-surveillance operations. NBC News officials travelled under assumed names - and lost their luggage - as they tried to stay one step ahead of the competition and Russian security personnel. In a clip released ahead of the Wednesday night broadcast, Snowden told Brian Williams that he was trained as a spy, refuting claims he was just a low-level hacker or technician.

Facebook asks for EU review of WhatsApp deal
In an unusual move, Facebook has asked European Union regulators to kick the tires on its $19 billion acquisition of messaging service WhatsApp. While the move could lead to an EU investigation of the deal, the largest acquisition of a startup in recent memory, it could also help Facebook avoid evaluations on a country-by-country basis.

New Microsoft chief vows to go ‘big’
Recently installed Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said at the Code conference on Tuesday night that it is time for his company to build "the next big thing" for the "post-post-PC world." He didn’t offer many specifics, but predicted the company’s next innovation would be created internally, not acquired. Google also made a splash at the conference by saying it will begin to test a fleet of driverless electric cars by the end of this year.

White House pitches foreign-policy reporters on Afghanistan plan
Here’s one way the White House pitches its foreign-policy strategy to the media. On Tuesday, President Barack Obama sat down for a 90-minute lunch with reporters who specialize in foreign affairs, such as David Brooks of The New York Times and Jeffrey Goldberg of Bloomberg. Later yesterday afternoon, the president addressed the media at large from the White House about plans to remove US troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2016.

FTC to Congress: Help consumers with Big Data
The Federal Trade Commission said in a report issued on Tuesday that Congress should give consumers tools to fight back against the collection of data about them and to correct erroneous information tallied by brokers who operate "largely in the dark." However, Bloomberg Businessweek noted that the government agency did not suggest slowing down data-collection.

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