Bloomberg is reporting that the NSA may have paid off companies for illegal access by sharing intelligence data.
Thousands of technology, finance and manufacturing companies are working closely with U.S. national security agencies, providing sensitive information and in return receiving benefits that include access to classified intelligence, four people familiar with the process said.http://www.bloomberg.com/...
I think the operative question is what kind of information is being exchanged. If the NSA is providing financial companies with insider stock information, that would go a long way to explaining many of the income inequality problems in the country.
Academic studies have shown that it is almost impossible to beat the market making stock picks. With insider information you can beat the market, but at the cost of creating an inefficient and unstable marketplace (for examples of this see generally the crash of 1929). You also give money and influence to idiots who's only qualifications are they espouse views the NSA wants to hear and are willing to cut deals with the NSA.
This is how you create a global system where financial leaders find it more important to adhere to ideology than to do whatever is pragmatically going to work best.