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Edward Snowden: the whistleblower behind the NSA surveillance revelations

Edward Snowden: the whistleblower behind the NSA surveillance revelations
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. Snowden will go down in history as one of America's most consequential whistleblowers, alongside Daniel Ellsberg and Bradley Manning. Despite his determination to be publicly unveiled, he repeatedly insisted that he wants to avoid the media spotlight. Despite these fears, he remained hopeful his outing will not divert attention from the substance of his disclosures. Related:  The Company and Friends

Bush-Era Whistleblower Russ Tice Claims the NSA Spied on Obama--and a Lot of Other Powerful People Although The Guardian made the shocking revelation earlier this month that the NSA has been collecting meta data on millions of Americans, it may come as an even bigger surprise who was among those millions. Russ Tice, a former intelligence analyst, alleged in an interview with Sibel Edmonds' Boiling Frogs podcast (launched by former FBI staffer and National Security Whistleblowers Coalition founder Sibel Edmond) that the agency has been spying on some of the most powerful people in the U.S. government. Approximately 48 minutes into the interview, Tice claimed that among the people his office surveilled was Barack Obama: "Here's the big one ... this was in summer of 2004, one of the papers that I held in my hand was to wiretap a bunch of numbers associated with a 40-something-year-old wannabe senator for Illinois... Tice was employed at various times by the Air Force, Office of Naval Intelligence, and the Defense Intelligence Agency. Tice praised Edward Snowden's exposure of PRISM.

Europe warns US: you must respect the privacy of our citizens | World news European Union officials have demanded "swift and concrete answers" to their requests for assurances from the US that its mass data surveillance programmes do not breach the fundamental privacy rights of European citizens. The European commission's vice-president, Viviane Reding, has sent a letter with seven detailed questions to the US attorney general, Eric Holder Jr, demanding explanations about Prism and other American data snooping programmes. Reding warns him that "given the gravity of the situation and the serious concerns expressed in public opinion on this side of the Atlantic" she expects detailed answers before they meet at an EU-US justice ministers' meeting in Dublin on Friday. In the letter, released to the Guardian, Reding details her serious concerns that the Americans are "accessing and processing, on a large scale, the data of EU citizens using major US online service providers". Reding laid out the seven questions she said needed to be answered:

Why The NSA's Secret Online Surveillance Should Scare You The reaction to the National Security Agency (NSA)’s secret online spying program, PRISM, has been polarized between seething outrage and some variant on “what did you expect?” Some have gone so far as to say this program helps open the door to fascism, while others have downplayed it as in line with the way that we already let corporations get ahold of our personal data. That second reaction illustrates precisely why this program is so troubling. The more we accept perpetual government and corporate surveillance as the norm, the more we change our actions and behavior to fit that expectation — subtly but inexorably corrupting the liberal ideal that each person should be free to live life as they choose without fear of anyone else interfering with it. Put differently, George Orwell isn’t who you should be reading to understand the dangers inherent to the NSA’s dragnet. You’d be better off turning to famous French social theorist Michel Foucault.

Icelandic WikiLeaks Collaborators Targeted by Obama Administration RT | June 21 2013 The Obama administration has admitted to spying on two Icelandic citizens with ties to WikiLeaks in the latest revelation pertaining to both the US government’s widespread surveillance practices and its war against the whistleblower website. Documents surfaced on Friday showing that the United States Department of Justice demanded that Internet giant Google provide federal investigators with the personal emails sent and received by two Icelanders once involved in WikiLeaks, an anti-secrecy website under investigation for publishing hundreds of thousands of classified US documents. Herbert Snorrason and Smári McCarthy, both known publically as one-time associates of the website, released Justice Department-issued search warrants and court orders for their Gmail accounts on Friday that had up until recently been kept under seal. “All this is pretty much par for the course; I had assumed that I was caught in the dragnet cast around Julian Assange,” Snorrason wrote. Pfc.

NSA surveillance challenged in court as criticism grows over US data program | World news Link to video: NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: 'I don't want to live in a society that does these sort of things' The first constitutional challenge to the widespread surveillance of US citizens disclosed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden was laid down on Tuesday, as international pressure on the Obama administration over the scale of the dragnet intensified. In a lawsuit filed in New York, the American Civil Liberties Union accused the US government of a process that was "akin to snatching every American's address book". On Capitol Hill, a group of US senators introduced a bill aimed at forcing the US federal government to disclose the opinions of a secretive surveillance court that determines the scope of the eavesdropping on Americans' phone records and internet communications. As the fallout from the revelations by Edward Snowden continued, the defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, said he ordered a wide-ranging review of the Defense Department's reliance on private contractors.

The Price of the Panopticon We privacy watchers and civil libertarians think this complacent response misses a deeply worrying political shift of vast consequence. While President Obama has conveniently described the costs of what appears to be pervasive surveillance of Americans’ telecommunications connections as “modest encroachments on privacy,” what we are actually witnessing is a sea change in the kinds of things that the government can monitor in the lives of ordinary citizens. The N.S.A. dragnet of “connection data” — who communicates with whom, where, how often and for how long — aims at finding patterns between calls or messages, and between parties with given characteristics, which correlate with increased odds of terrorist activity. These patterns can in turn cue authorities to focus attention on possible terrorists. The success rate in these operations is a matter of intense speculation, given the authorities’ closemouthed stance on the matter. The question, though, is what comes next?

The Anti-Empire Report #118 Source: William Blum Edward Snowden In the course of his professional life in the world of national security Edward Snowden must have gone through numerous probing interviews, lie-detector examinations, and exceedingly detailed background checks, as well as filling out endless forms carefully designed to catch any kind of falsehood or inconsistency. Yes, there was a sign they missed -- Edward Snowden had something inside him shaped like a conscience, just waiting for a cause. It was the same with me. My conscience had found its cause, and nothing that I could have been asked in a pre-employment interview would have alerted my interrogators of the possible danger I posed because I didn't know of the danger myself. So what is a poor National Security State to do? Eavesdropping on the planet The above is the title of an essay that I wrote in 2000 that appeared as a chapter in my book Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower.

The NSA's metastasised intelligence-industrial complex is ripe for abuse | Valerie Plame Wilson and Joe Wilson Let's be absolutely clear about the news that the NSA collects massive amounts of information on US citizens – from emails, to telephone calls, to videos, under the Prism program and other Fisa court orders: this story has nothing to do with Edward Snowden. As interesting as his flight to Hong Kong might be, the pole-dancing girlfriend, and interviews from undisclosed locations, his fate is just a sideshow to the essential issues of national security versus constitutional guarantees of privacy, which his disclosures have surfaced in sharp relief. Snowden will be hunted relentlessly and, when finally found, with glee, brought back to the US in handcuffs and severely punished. Prism and other NSA data-mining programs might indeed be very effective in hunting and capturing actual terrorists, but we don't have enough information as a society to make that decision. We are now dealing with a vast intelligence-industrial complex that is largely unaccountable to its citizens.