Enemy of the State: Europe alarmed over U.S. intel spy program

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From: http://theextinctionprotocol.wordpress.com/2013/06/12/enemy-of-the-state-europe-alarmed-over-u-s-intel-spy-program/

 

Enemy of the State: Europe alarmed over U.S. intel spy program

  
U.S. government official brands NSA whistleblower as a traitor. The question remains why are U.S. government agencies collecting so much private data on American citizens, as though there were all presumed ’enemies of the state’?
June 12, 2013 – WASHINGTON – The EU is demanding assurances that Europeans’ rights are not being infringed by massive, newly revealed US surveillance program. Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding plans to raise the concerns with US Attorney General Eric Holder on Friday. Last week a series of leaks by a former CIA worker led to claims the US had a vast surveillance network with much less oversight than previously thought. The US insists its snooping is legal under domestic law. The Obama administration is investigating whether the disclosures by former CIA worker Edward Snowden were a criminal offence. More revelations are promised to be released to the press in coming days about the extent of U.S. domestic spying. Mr. Snowden’s employer, defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, said on Tuesday it had fired the 29-year-old infrastructure analyst for violating its ethics code. Russia has offered Mr. Snowden political asylum in light of the recent revelations against the U.S. US officials say the snooping program known as Prism, revealed in last week’s leaks, is authorized under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). It gives the US National Security Agency (NSA) the power to obtain emails and phone records relating to non-US nationals. But details about the individuals targeted under the act remain secret, and there are concerns the NSA is overstepping its powers. Documents leaked to the Guardian and Washington Post newspapers claimed the US authorities had direct access to the servers of nine major US technology firms, including Apple, Facebook and Google. Mr. Snowden told the Guardian that individual operatives had the power to tap into anyone’s emails at any time. Although the firms have denied granting such access, saying they agreed only to legal requests, US officials have admitted Prism exists. And on Tuesday, Republican Senator Lindsay Graham said US surveillance of phone records allowed the government to monitor phone records for a pattern of calls, even if those numbers had no known connection to terrorism. One of the Guardian journalists who wrote the Prism stories, Glenn Greenwald, has promised “more significant revelations” to come. In the US, the controversy has focused on the possibility that conversations of US citizens may inadvertently be captured. But overseas, governments and activists point out that US law provides foreigners with no protection. The Liberation Daily in China has harsh words for President Obama: “Five years ago, Obama came to power waving an anti-George W Bush banner. Five years later, he is still exactly the same as George W Bush on invasion of privacy issues.” Russia’s Izvestiya compares the revelations to a dystopian novel: “The frightening reality of the 21st Century is that the world has become a house with glass walls, notions of ‘personal secrets’ and ‘confidential information’ are turning into fiction before our very eyes.” –BBC

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Edward Snowden, NSA files source: ‘If they want to get you, in time they will’ Source for the Guardian’s NSA files on why he carried out the biggest intelligence leak in a generation – and what comes next

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From: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/09/nsa-whistleblower-edward-snowden-why


Edward Snowden
 was interviewed over several days in Hong Kong by Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill.

Q: Why did you decide to become a whistleblower?

A: “The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your emails or your wife’s phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards.

“I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things … I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under.”

Q: But isn’t there a need for surveillance to try to reduce the chances of terrorist attacks such as Boston?

A: “We have to decide why terrorism is a new threat. There has always been terrorism. Boston was a criminal act. It was not about surveillance but good, old-fashioned police work. The police are very good at what they do.”

Q: Do you see yourself as another Bradley Manning?

A: “Manning was a classic whistleblower. He was inspired by the public good.”

Q: Do you think what you have done is a crime?

A: “We have seen enough criminality on the part of government. It is hypocritical to make this allegation against me. They have narrowed the public sphere of influence.”

Q: What do you think is going to happen to you?

A: “Nothing good.”

Q: Why Hong Kong?

A: “I think it is really tragic that an American has to move to a place that has a reputation for less freedom. Still, Hong Kong has a reputation for freedom in spite of the People’s Republic of China. It has a strong tradition of free speech.”

Q: What do the leaked documents reveal?

A: “That the NSA routinely lies in response to congressional inquiries about the scope of surveillance in America. I believe that when [senator Ron] Wyden and [senator Mark] Udall asked about the scale of this, they [the NSA] said it did not have the tools to provide an answer. We do have the tools and I have maps showing where people have been scrutinised most. We collect more digital communications from America than we do from the Russians.”

nsa whistleblowerSnowden is a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA

Q: What about the Obama administration‘s protests about hacking by China?

A: “We hack everyone everywhere. We like to make a distinction between us and the others. But we are in almost every country in the world. We are not at war with these countries.”

Q: Is it possible to put security in place to protect against state surveillance?

A: “You are not even aware of what is possible. The extent of their capabilities is horrifying. We can plant bugs in machines. Once you go on the network, I can identify your machine. You will never be safe whatever protections you put in place.”

Q: Does your family know you are planning this?

A: “No. My family does not know what is happening … My primary fear is that they will come after my family, my friends, my partner. Anyone I have a relationship with …

I will have to live with that for the rest of my life. I am not going to be able to communicate with them. They [the authorities] will act aggressively against anyone who has known me. That keeps me up at night.”

Q: When did you decide to leak the documents?

A: “You see things that may be disturbing. When you see everything you realise that some of these things are abusive. The awareness of wrong-doing builds up. There was not one morning when I woke up [and decided this is it]. It was a natural process.

“A lot of people in 2008 voted for Obama. I did not vote for him. I voted for a third party. But I believed in Obama’s promises. I was going to disclose it [but waited because of his election]. He continued with the policies of his predecessor.”

Q: What is your reaction to Obama denouncing the leaks on Friday while welcoming a debate on the balance between security and openness?

A: “My immediate reaction was he was having difficulty in defending it himself. He was trying to defend the unjustifiable and he knew it.”

Q: What about the response in general to the disclosures?

A: “I have been surprised and pleased to see the public has reacted so strongly in defence of these rights that are being suppressed in the name of security. It is not like Occupy Wall Street but there is a grassroots movement to take to the streets on July 4 in defence of the Fourth Amendment called Restore The Fourth Amendment and it grew out of Reddit. The response over the internet has been huge and supportive.”

Q: Washington-based foreign affairs analyst Steve Clemons said he overheard at the capital’s Dulles airport four men discussing an intelligence conference they had just attended. Speaking about the leaks, one of them said, according to Clemons, that both the reporter and leaker should be “disappeared”. How do you feel about that?

A: “Someone responding to the story said ‘real spies do not speak like that’. Well, I am a spy and that is how they talk. Whenever we had a debate in the office on how to handle crimes, they do not defend due process – they defend decisive action. They say it is better to kick someone out of a plane than let these people have a day in court. It is an authoritarian mindset in general.”

Q: Do you have a plan in place?

A: “The only thing I can do is sit here and hope the Hong Kong government does not deport me … My predisposition is to seek asylum in a country with shared values. The nation that most encompasses this is Iceland. They stood up for people over internet freedom. I have no idea what my future is going to be.

“They could put out an Interpol note. But I don’t think I have committed a crime outside the domain of the US. I think it will be clearly shown to be political in nature.”

Q: Do you think you are probably going to end up in prison?

A: “I could not do this without accepting the risk of prison. You can’t come up against the world’s most powerful intelligence agencies and not accept the risk. If they want to get you, over time they will.”

Q: How to you feel now, almost a week after the first leak?

A: “I think the sense of outrage that has been expressed is justified. It has given me hope that, no matter what happens to me, the outcome will be positive for America. I do not expect to see home again, though that is what I want.”

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NSA Whistleblower Reveals Identity: “I Do Not Expect to See Home Again”

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From: http://gizmodo.com/heres-the-guy-who-spilled-the-beans-on-the-nsa-512187779

An NSA employee working through outside contractors is the man behind the NSA leak. A former technical assistant for the CIA and current Booz Allen Hamilton employee, 29-year-old Edward Snowden worked with The Guardian to release his identity today.

Though he publicly disclosed numerous confidential documents, Snowden tells The Guardian:

I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong . . . I don’t want public attention [though] because I don’t want the story to be about me. I want it to be about what the US government is doing.

Snowden did contract work for the NSA in Hawaii where he lived “comfortably” with his girlfriend on a salary of about $200,000. He gathered the documents for the leak three weeks ago and then took two weeks off from the NSA, ostensibly to seek treatment for his epilepsy. Next he prepared to leave for Hong Kong. Snowden told The Guardian that he barely had to explain the trip or its motives to his girlfriend because his work in intelligence often necessitates secrecy. Snowden has been in Hong Kong ever since, a location he selected for its climate of free speech advocacy and its potential ability to resist U.S. mandates.

Working for Booz Allen Hamilton, and by extension the NSA, wasn’t necessarily the obvious path for Snowden, who admits that he was a lousy student and left high school to join the army. After a quiet childhood in Elizabeth City, NC and Fort Meade, MD (near NSA headquarters) Snowden wanted to fight in Iraq to help free others from oppression. But he was surprised at the attitudes he encountered in the Army, which he says reflected a desire to kill more than an ideological interest in liberation. Snowden broke both his legs in a training accident and was discharged. He became a security guard at an NSA facility and then joined the CIA in IT security.

Snowden is adamant that the leak and its consequences for him not overshadow thecontent of the documents he revealed. Along with the first set of documents he released,Snowden wrote:

I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions . . . [but] I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant.

Still he seems resigned to the fact that there will be consequences and that his actions have totally altered the course of his life.

I think the sense of outrage that has been expressed is justified. It has given me hope that, no matter what happens to me, the outcome will be positive for America. I do not expect to see home again, though that is what I want . . . The only thing I fear is the harmful effects on my family, who I won’t be able to help any more. That’s what keeps me up at night…

It’s a brave revelation, and a fascinating story. Be sure to check it out in its entirety here: [The Guardian]

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Snowden should be rewarded as a hero!

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From: http://www.iberianet.com/forum/snowden-should-be-rewarded-as-a-hero/article_aca959c4-e689-11e2-b8d1-0019bb2963f4.html

When National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed the criminal ways in which the U.S. government is violating the privacy rights of Americans, Big Government Democrats and Republicans immediately began to demonize him and canceled his passport while they strongarmed other countries into denying him asylum. A majority of visitors to LP.org, however, have praised Snowden as a hero and overwhelmingly advocated big, bold cuts to the government’s surveillance powers.
In poll results collected as of June 17, comprising 4,457 respondents (excluding the 695 who selected the “different combination” option), at least 88 percent advocated repealing the Patriot Act, the NDAA, FISA, and every other law that violates Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights, and at least 75 percent agreed that the NSA should be abolished.
At least 54 percent of those who took the poll thought that Snowden should be award! ed the Presidential Medal of Freedom for shining a spotlight on how our militaristic security state has grown unaccountably out of control.
The Libertarian Party is the only political party that has, since its founding 42 years ago, fought to restore the privacy rights established by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. By electing Libertarian candidates, the American people can reclaim their privacy and be free of the threat of warrantless searches by powerful and abusive government officials. http://x2t.com/4th
“Edward Snowden is a hero, not a criminal,” said Kenneth Kaplan, Libertarian Party candidate for governor of New Jersey. “If elected, I will sue the U.S. government on behalf of New Jersey residents and seek damages for violations of their Fourth Amendment rights.”
View the full poll results here. http://x2t.com/1/poll

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