Tag Archive: Surveillence

Nov 18 2015

The Despicable Attack on Privacy Using the Paris Attack

Not surprising that after the failure of the intelligence to uncover the plot to kill and wound hundreds of people in Paris that the irrational finger pointing by blood thirsty, civil liberties hating neo-cons would begin. Of course, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is the prime target. The “Snowden Fault Game,” as Glenn Greenwald names it, …

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Jan 03 2014

Could Snowden Get a Fair Trial in the US

NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake and Jessalyn Raddack, Edward Snowden’s legal adviser appeared on Meet the Press, December 29, discussed the NSA leaks by Snowden and why they believe that he could not get a fair trial in this country.

In editorials over New Year’s Day, the New York Times and The Guardian called on President Barack Obama to grant Edward Snowden some form of clemency or a pardon to allow him to return home.

Edward Snowden, Whistle-Blower

By The New York Times Editorial Board

Considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight. He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service. It is time for the United States to offer Mr. Snowden a plea bargain or some form of clemency that would allow him to return home, face at least substantially reduced punishment in light of his role as a whistle-blower, and have the hope of a life advocating for greater privacy and far stronger oversight of the runaway intelligence community.  [..]

The shrill brigade of his critics say Mr. Snowden has done profound damage to intelligence operations of the United States, but none has presented the slightest proof that his disclosures really hurt the nation’s security. Many of the mass-collection programs Mr. Snowden exposed would work just as well if they were reduced in scope and brought under strict outside oversight, as the presidential panel recommended.

When someone reveals that government officials have routinely and deliberately broken the law, that person should not face life in prison at the hands of the same government. That’s why Rick Ledgett, who leads the N.S.A.’s task force on the Snowden leaks, recently told CBS News that he would consider amnesty if Mr. Snowden would stop any additional leaks. And it’s why President Obama should tell his aides to begin finding a way to end Mr. Snowden’s vilification and give him an incentive to return home.

Snowden affair: the case for a pardon

The Guardian Editorial, Comment is Free

Snowden gave classified information to journalists, even though he knew the likely consequences. That was an act of courage

Mr Snowden gave classified information to journalists, even though he knew the likely consequences. That was an act of some moral courage. Presidents – from Franklin Roosevelt to Ronald Reagan – have issued pardons. The debate that Mr Snowden has facilitated will no doubt be argued over in the US supreme court. If those justices agree with Mr Obama’s own review panel and Judge Richard Leon in finding that Mr Snowden did, indeed, raise serious matters of public importance which were previously hidden (or, worse, dishonestly concealed), is it then conceivable that he could be treated as a traitor or common felon? We hope that calm heads within the present administration are working on a strategy to allow Mr Snowden to return to the US with dignity, and the president to use his executive powers to treat him humanely and in a manner that would be a shining example about the value of whistleblowers and of free speech itself.

Attorney for Julian Assange and President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in New York discussed how the New York Times Editorial should have also supported other whistleblowers with Real News Network’s Jaisal Noor.



Full transcript can be read here

Aug 02 2013

NSA, Snowden, Congress and Presidential Temper Tantrums

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.

Jun 10 2013

NSA Whistleblower Comes Out of the Shadows

Despite the risks to his personal safety, the whistleblower who leaked the FISA court order and NSA surveillance programs to The Guardian has revealed himself. Prior to giving the tapes to columnist Glenn Greenwald, the 29 year old Edward Snowden chose to leave the US for Hong Kong because of it long history of respect for freedom of speech. Like six other whistleblowers, he expects that he will be charged by the Obama administration under the 1917 Espionage Act. In the 12 minute video that was produced and copyrighted* by American documentary film director and producer, Laura Poitras, he explains his decision to give the secret warrant and programs to Greenwald and leave the United States.

Edward Snowden: the whistleblower behind the NSA surveillance revelations

by Glenn Greenwald, Ewen MacAskill and Laura Poitras, The Guardian

The 29-year-old source behind the biggest intelligence leak in the NSA’s history explains his motives, his uncertain future and why he never intended on hiding in the shadows

The individual responsible for one of the most significant leaks in US political history is Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Snowden has been working at the National Security Agency for the last four years as an employee of various outside contractors, including Booz Allen and Dell.

The Guardian, after several days of interviews, is revealing his identity at his request. From the moment he decided to disclose numerous top-secret documents to the public, he was determined not to opt for the protection of anonymity. “I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong,” he said.

Snowden will go down in history as one of America’s most consequential whistleblowers, alongside Daniel Ellsberg and Bradley Manning. He is responsible for handing over material from one of the world’s most secretive organisations – the NSA.