Ever since the Snowden's leak started some months ago to appear I've been awaiting for NSA's counter-strike.
I believe this is it.
I have the feeling that this "news" is a set-up. It's designed to accomplish 3 missions at the same time:
This may be the start of NSA's worldwide diversion campaign, to shift the focus away from NSA to Assange.
By "leaking out" Assange's "wiretapping news" online, for just a couple of hours, followed by a sudden removal of all evidences, NSA is betting that the dog and pony show would piqued the interests of many.
The fact that the Wired magazine has that piece of "news" covered so prominently means that NSA's tactic is working very, very well.
Not only Assange has become a really "evil dude", people will no longer believe all subsequent disclosures from whistle blowers, no matter who they are.
And that plays into NSA's hand --- for people won't believe any more news from the Snowden files, no matter how damaging they are.