Pre-Encryption Access?

Steve Blank has speculated that the NSA has corrupted the Intel/Microsoft microcode update process.  Microsoft has already admitted they have been compelled by the US government to build a back door in to their chat service.  The chat service is encrypted, but not for the NSA.  Steve Blank believes the revelation that the NSA has “pre-encryption stage access to email on, including Hotmail” means they have a back door farther down in the stack.  He postulates the NSA can inject their own code in to the encrypted Intel microcode update packages.

If someone had speculated this sort of thing a year ago I would have labeled them a conspiracy loony and asked them to take off their tinfoil hat.  Now, I’m not so sure.