Aug 02 2013

NSA, Snowden, Congress and Presidential Temper Tantrums

(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

The US is very disappointed with Russia. Russia has granted Edward Snowden temporary asylum for one year and he has left the airport for an undisclosed location.

Edward Snowden asylum: US ‘disappointed’ by Russian decision

by  Alec Luhn in Moscow, Luke Harding, and Paul Lewis in Washington, The Guardian

White House says Moscow should hand back whistleblower and hints Barack Obama might boycott Vladimir Putin meeting

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the US was “extremely disappointed” by the decision, almost certainly taken personally by President Vladimir Putin. He said Moscow should hand Snowden back and hinted that Barack Obama might now boycott a bilateral meeting with Putin in September, due to be held when the US president travels to Russia for a G20 summit. [..]

With US-Russian relations now at a cold war-style low, Snowden slipped out of Sheremetyevo airport on Thursday afternoon. His lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, said Russia’s federal migration service had granted him temporary asylum for one year. Snowden had left the airport to stay at an undisclosed location with expatriate Americans, he added.

Putin made no immediate comment. But having weighed Russia’s options for some weeks, he appears to have decided that Snowden’s propaganda value outweighs any possible US repercussions. Obama’s already floundering attempts to “reset”, or improve, relations with Moscow are in effect over.

Back on Capitol Hill, senators from both sides of the aisle expressed their dismay over intelligence disclosures of NSA policies.

US senators rail against intelligence disclosures over NSA practices

by Spencer Ackerman, The Guardian

Officials say bulk phone records collection was not ‘the most important tool’ – contradicting previous statements to Congress

Two senators said they now planned to introduce new legislation before the August recess that would significantly transform the transparency and oversight of the bulk surveillance program. The chairman of the committee has already advocated for ending the bulk phone records collection and plans his own legislative push to shut it down.v[..]

Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat and chairman of the Senate judiciary committee, said: “We need straightforward answers, and I’m concerned we’re not getting them.”

Leahy, joined by ranking Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa, criticised director of national intelligence James Clapper for making untruthful statements to Congress in March about the bulk phone records collection on Americans, and NSA director Keith Alexander for overstating the usefulness of that collection for stopping terrorist attacks.

Grassley called Clapper’s recent apology to senator Ron Wyden and the intelligence community “especially disturbing”.

The Guardian’s Spencer Ackerman and investigative reporter James Branford joined Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! to discuss these latest developments.

Transcript for this segment can be read here

Testifying before the Senate on Wednesday, National Security Agency Deputy Director John Inglis conceded that the bulk collection of phone records of millions of Americans under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act has been key in stopping only one terror plot – not the dozens officials had previously said. Ahead of Wednesday’s Senate hearing, the Obama administration released three heavily censored documents related to its surveillance efforts, but the White House has refused to declassify the legal arguments underlying the dragnet or the original rulings by the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, on which the released order to collect phone records was based. Meanwhile, the head of the NSA, General Keith Alexander, was repeatedly interrupted by critics of government surveillance in a speech Wednesday before the Black Hat conference, a gathering of hackers and cybersecurity professionals in Las Vegas.

Transcript for this segment can be read here

How fast the US is fast becoming the 21st century;s Soviet Union.

1 comment

  1. TMC

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