Using EFTPOS (electronic funds transfer system at point of sale) in a store in Sidney, Dec. 11, 2012.  REUTERS/Tim Wimborne

Leaks to the press, like hillside rain tugged seaward by gravity, gather momentum only if the flow is steadily replenished.

After a major leak to the Guardian‘s Glenn Greenwald resulted in a scoop Wednesday about the National Security Agency’s harvesting of phone records, reporters instantly mined their back pages for leads and rang up their sources to amplify and extend his story, and went looking for leakers of their own. In other words, the press pack prayed for rain.

But before that scoop had run its course, Greenwald (and Ewen MacAskill) went to press with another revelation about the NSA’s Prism program, which collects email, chat, VOIP conversations, file transfers, photos, videos and more from Web users. A similar Washington Post piece by Barton Gellman and documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras beat the Guardian duo by a few minutes, a downpour in a very short time. The Guardian-Post overlap was so pronounced that it’s likely the two publications were nurtured by the same source, identified in the Post as “a career intelligence officer.”

Friday afternoon, Greenwald and MacAskill dropped another bombshell about Obama’s cyberattack plans in the Guardian. These aren’t leaks. This is a flood.