This undated photo provided by the National Security Agency (NSA) shows its headquarters in Fort Meade, Md.
This undated photo provided by the National Security Agency (NSA) shows its headquarters in Fort Meade, Md. - 
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This final note on the way out, which comes with the observation that things are not always as they seem.

The National Security Agency, for just one example. All-knowing, phone-logging, email-collecting -- you get the drift.

Except for this. Justin Elliott, a reporter at ProPublica, filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the agency last week, trying to get some emails for a story he's working on.

To which he got this response: "There's no central method to search an email at this time with the way our records are set up, unfortunately."

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Follow Kai Ryssdal at @kairyssdal