Tag Archives: Edward Snowden

Russia will not sell Snowden to Trump; here’s why, by Alexander Mercouris

The NBC News story posted on SLL February 11 may have been either a trial balloon or an intelligence agency plant to “suggest” to the Russian government how to get back in the good graces of the US government. From Alexander Mercouris at theduran.com:

Russia denies NBC story based on US intelligence sources that Moscow is preparing to hand over Edward Snowden to the US in order to please Donald Trump.

On Friday 10th February 2017 NBC circulated a report the Russian government in order to improve relations with the Trump administration was preparing to hand Edward Snowden over to the US.

The report obviously worried Snowden himself, who tweeted that the report proved that he was not and never had been a Russian agent. That suggests that he took the report seriously.

Snowden should not be worried, since the report is groundless and is clearly a provocation. To see why it is only necessary to look at the NBC report itself, which makes it clear who is behind it

U.S. intelligence has collected information that Russia is considering turning over Edward Snowden as a “gift” to President Donald Trump — who has called the NSA leaker a “spy” and a “traitor” who deserves to be executed.

That’s according to a senior U.S. official who has analyzed a series of highly sensitive intelligence reports detailing Russian deliberations and who says a Snowden handover is one of various ploys to “curry favor” with Trump. A second source in the intelligence community confirms the intelligence about the Russian conversations and notes it has been gathered since the inauguration.
(bold italics added)

It turns out that the story does not originate in Russia. It originates with our old friends the ‘anonymous officials’ of the US intelligence community.

One of these officials claims that the story is based on “intelligence” of “Russian conversations” that the US intelligence community has ‘gathered since the inauguration”. We have no way of knowing at what level these “conversations” took place, assuming they took place at all, but it is inconceivable that the US intelligence community is genuinely informed of discussions within the top level of the Russian leadership – where such a question would be discussed – or if it is that it would publicise the fact by blurting the fact out to NBC.

To continue reading: Russia will not sell Snowden to Trump; here’s why

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Russia Considers Returning Snowden to U.S. to ‘Curry Favor’ With Trump: Official, by Cynthia McFadden and William Arkin

If Edward Snowden is returned to the US he deserves a hero’s welcome, but will probably be thrown in prison for a very long time. From Cynthia McFadden and William Arkin at nbcnews.com:

U.S. intelligence has collected information that Russia is considering turning over Edward Snowden as a “gift” to President Donald Trump — who has called the NSA leaker a “spy” and a “traitor” who deserves to be executed.

That’s according to a senior U.S. official who has analyzed a series of highly sensitive intelligence reports detailing Russian deliberations and who says a Snowden handover is one of various ploys to “curry favor” with Trump. A second source in the intelligence community confirms the intelligence about the Russian conversations and notes it has been gathered since the inauguration.

Snowden’s ACLU lawyer, Ben Wizner, told NBC News they are unaware of any plans that would send him back to the United States.

“Team Snowden has received no such signals and has no new reason for concern,” Wizner said.

Snowden responded to NBC’s report on Twitter and said it shows that he did not work with the Russian government.

“Finally: irrefutable evidence that I never cooperated with Russian intel,” Snowden said. “No country trades away spies, as the rest would fear they’re next.”

Edward Snowden ✔@Snowden
Finally: irrefutable evidence that I never cooperated with Russian intel. No country trades away spies, as the rest would fear they’re next. https://twitter.com/CNBCnow/status/830190986697523203
4:43 PM – 10 Feb 2017
14,458 Retweets 21,882 likes

Snowden’s Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, reacted to the report with dismay.

“There are no reasons to extradite Edward Snowden to the U.S.,” Kucherena said, according to TASS, the state-owned news agency. “This is some kind of speculation coming from so-called US special service sources. I think this topic was and remains on the political plane in the U.S., but it’s American special services that are puppeteering this story with sporadic information plants.”

“There is not the slightest reason to raise or discuss this topic in Russia,” Kucherena said.

To continue reading: Russia Considers Returning Snowden to U.S. to ‘Curry Favor’ With Trump: Official

The Surveillance State Did Not Disappear With The Trump Victory: “It Is Still Lurking And Completely Intact” by Jeremiah Johnson

This guy is not a particularly good writer, but he makes some important points about the surveillance state. From Jeremiah Johnson at shtfplan.com:

One of the things Donald Trump has really done correctly is to assess his future arena in the areas of intelligence-gathering and operational security. Trump wants to return to a “courier” method of transmitting sensitive information and classified documents for the purpose of reducing the amount of material that can be hacked or stolen. There is a subtlety about this for a caveat, in case the compliment has bloomed flowers in your thoughts: the NSA $50 billion facility for collection and storage of data in Utah won’t be shutting down anytime soon.

As Snowden’s exposes clearly pointed out, the government has clearly followed Petraeus’ glowing “internet of things” yellow brick road to form an integrated, interconnected surveillance state. All CCTV (closed circuit television) systems, all merchants with cameras, all law enforcement cameras…all of the camera surveillance systems everywhere are either tied into data collection immediately or can be accessed for use at a later time.

The latest “Jason Bourne” movie clearly illustrates how the government can utilize devices such as cellular telephones (especially the ones with cameras) to track movements, record conversations, and be a “piggyback” to relay information to a nearby computer or a camera. This isn’t the future: this is now.

There is an older piece written by Michael Snyder in June of 2013 entitled 27 Edward Snowden Quotes About U.S. Government Spying That Should Send a Chill Up Your Spine. The information in this article is directly from Edward Snowden that revealed exactly what the government has been doing regarding their total surveillance program. The surveillance did not occur overnight, and in the manner of the “frog in the cold-water kettle” by stretching out the time for putting it all into place, the stultified public’s focus was either diverted or bypassed entirely.

To continue reading: The Surveillance State Did Not Disappear With The Trump Victory: “It Is Still Lurking And Completely Intact”

 

Snowden Lashes Out At Congressional Report He Is Colluding With Russia, by Tyler Durden

Maybe they can blame Hillary Clinton’s election loss on a guy who hasn’t been in the US for over three years: Edward Snowden! From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

The anti-Russian propaganda launched into overdrive today with a two-for-one special.

First, the “CrowdStrike” cybersecurity firm run by an anti-Putin Russian Dmitri Alperovitch, alleged that the Russian hacking of the “elections” was similar to Russian hacking of Ukraine artillery units (CrowdStrike was the same company which immediately in the aftermath of the DNC hack also was the “experts” cited by everyone as evidence Putin was responsible for breaching the the Democrats’ server).

Then, according to newly declassified portions of a 37 page report by the House Intelligence Committee released on Thursday, it was none other than Edward Snowden – who lives in Russia under a 2013 asylum deal – that was again attacked by the US with accusations the former NSA contractor “had and continues to have contact” with Russian intelligence services. According to the report, the Pentagon found 13 undisclosed “high risk” security issues caused by Snowden’s disclosure to media outlets of tens of thousands of the U.S. eavesdropping agency’s most sensitive documents.

The report was announced in September, right before the premiere of Oliver Stone’s Snowden movie. Only the highlights were released to the public at the time, and Snowden likewise challenged them. The full report was published on Thursday, after it went through the redaction and declassification process.

If the Chinese or Russians obtained access to materials related to these issues, “American troops will be at greater risk in any future conflict,” the report said. “The committee remains concerned that more than three years after the start of the unauthorized disclosures, NSA, and the IC (Intelligence Community) as a whole, have not done enough to minimize the risk of another massive unauthorized disclosure,” the report said.

To continue reading: Snowden Lashes Out At Congressional Report He Is Colluding With Russia

 

Is This Why Snowden Had to Break the Law to Become an NSA Whistleblower? by Nick Bernabe

A persistent and pernicious lie has been that Edward Snowden could have gone through channels, voiced his concerns, and there would have been no negative repercussions. From Nick Bernabe at theantimedia.org:

(COMMONDREAMS) National Security Agency (NSA) inspector general George Ellard, an outspoken critic of whistleblower Edward Snowden, personally retaliated against another NSA whistleblower, Adam Zagorin reported at the Project on Government Overreach (POGO) on Thursday.

An intelligence community panel earlier this year found that Ellard had retaliated against a whistleblower, Zagorin writes, in a judgment that has still not been made public.

The finding is remarkable because Ellard first made headlines two years ago when he publicly condemned Snowden for leaking information about the NSA’s mass surveillance of private citizens, wherein Ellard claimed that Snowden should have raised concerns through internal channels. The agency would have protected him from any retaliation, Ellard said at the time.

Politico reported on Ellard’s 2014 comments:

“‘We have surprising success in resolving the complaints that are brought to us,’ he said.

“In Snowden’s case, Ellard said a complaint would have prompted an independent assessment into the constitutionality of the law that allows for the bulk collection of Americans’ telephone metadata. But that review, he added, would have also shown the NSA was within the scope of the law.

“‘Perhaps it’s the case that we could have shown, we could have explained to Mr. Snowden his misperceptions, his lack of understanding of what we do,’ Ellard said.”

Yet documents confirmed earlier this year that Snowden had, indeed, reported concerns to several NSA officials—who took no action and discouraged him from continuing to voice concerns. Moreover, as Snowden told Vice News:

“I was not protected by U.S. whistleblower laws, and I would not have been protected from retaliation and legal sanction for revealing classified information about law breaking in accordance with the recommended process.”

Ellard’s 2014 criticism of Snowden appears particularly threadbare after he has been found personally guilty of whistleblower retaliation.

To continue reading: Is This Why Snowden Had to Break the Law to Become an NSA Whistleblower?

He Said That? 12/7/16

This is an article from Turning Points [an offshoot of the New York Times], a magazine that explores what critical moments from this year might mean for the year ahead.

Edward J. Snowden, a former C.I.A. employee and National Security Agency contractor, leaked top-secret documents in 2013 that exposed the extent of the N.S.A.’s classified cybersecurity program, revealing that the agency was seizing the private communications records of hundreds of millions of people around the world. Mr. Snowden, who is living in asylum in Russia, is wanted in the United States on several charges, including two under the United States Espionage Act of 1917.

Speaking by video link during the Athens Democracy Forum in Greece, convened by The New York Times in September, Mr. Snowden said that his disclosures had improved privacy in the United States and that “being patriotic doesn’t mean simply agreeing with your government.”

Following is an edited excerpt from a discussion between Mr. Snowden and Steven Erlanger, The New York Times’s London bureau chief.

Q. There’s a campaign for President Obama to pardon you before he leaves office. For many people, you’re a whistle-blowing hero, and for many other people you’re a traitor who broke your oath and betrayed your country. Having knowingly broken the law and fled the jurisdiction of the American courts, why should you be granted asylum?

Snowden: Whether or not I should be granted a pardon is not for me to answer. By partnering with journalists, I sought to exercise our democratic system of checks and balances in a series of disclosures in 2013. The N.S.A.’s system of global mass surveillance was unlawful. And the courts agreed with me. Congress ultimately changed the law, putting new restrictions on the intelligence community’s powers.

I never published a single document on my own. I partnered with some of the most respected news outlets in the world: The Washington Post and The Guardian. These groups received the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for their reporting. This is why we have a free press in a democracy. The government has many great powers, particularly as they relate to the handling of state secrets, but it is the press that is charged with determining what information is truly within the public interest to know.

Daniel Ellsberg, a fellow whistle-blower who released the Pentagon Papers in 1971, put himself forward to the court, understanding that the history of civil disobedience is being willing to accept any punishment for the moral act of standing up against authority. Why would you not return to face a jury in America?

Snowden: Daniel Ellsberg himself has argued that I made the right decision not to present myself to the court. Things have changed since the 1970s, and today the law doesn’t allow you to make a defense against Espionage Act charges in front of the jury. I am legally prohibited from even speaking to the jury about my motivation.

Can there be a fair trial when you can’t put forward a defense? At the sentencing phase you can express to the judge why you did what you did, but that is not democratic. The jury system was created so you can discuss with your peers what you did, why you did it.

You’ve said that concrete improvements have transpired as a direct result of your revelations. Are you concerned that governments are still doing whatever they want to do by other means or that these results are transitory?

Snowden: Do I think things are fixed? No. Do I think that any whistle-blower, any single individual, can change the world? No, but I do believe that we have some oversight over our privacy rights now, and that things are improving in a material way. The United States has made some initial reforms, and European courts struck down the previous safe harbor agreement, where European companies handed over their citizens’ data to U.S. companies without any controls or guarantees of how that would be handled.

The U.S. has right now a two-tiered system of handling surveillance. If you’re a U.S. citizen, the government will go to a court to get a warrant before they spy on you. This is almost always a secret court called the FISA court, which in 33 years was asked roughly 34,000 times to authorize surveillance and only said no 11 times. They’re a rubber stamp. If you’re not a U.S. citizen, no warrant is required at all in most cases. That’s gotten a little bit better because some companies have actually begun resisting these demands. This is uncomfortable for some governments, but there is no question that this is very positive in terms of the protection of rights and the enforcement of due process around the world.

Stewart Baker, former general counsel for the National Security Agency, is against a pardon for you. He believes the benefits of the leaks could have been achieved with only three or four documents and that the flood of documents released harmed United States intelligence and national interests. Do you believe that if you’d leaked less you might have had the same effect?

Snowden: No. What he’s actually arguing here is not against me, it’s against journalism. He’s criticizing the journalists who continue to report on the archive and continue to break stories that are changing law and policy today.

What does it mean when we’re saying to journalists that it’s O.K. if they run the first three stories, but after they run the next three or the next 300, that’s too much? Who makes that decision? I believe that it should be the press. They’re the best placed to make those decisions, and that’s why we have the First Amendment.

I’m certainly with you there. You don’t speak a lot of Russian, and it’s not a place you particularly wanted to be. What do you do all day?

Snowden: I speak at conferences in Athens mostly.

It’s an income.

Snowden: No, but seriously, I’ve always been sort of an indoor cat. My life has been the internet. This is an explanation for why I was so moved by what I witnessed at the N.S.A. What we saw in 2013 wasn’t just about surveillance; it was about rights and democracy.

When many people think about privacy they think about their Facebook settings, but privacy is actually the fountainhead of all our rights. It is the right from which all others are derived and is what makes you an individual. It is the right to an independent mind and life.

Freedom of speech doesn’t have meaning without the protected space to speak freely. The same [goes] for freedom of religion: If you can’t decide for yourself what you want to worship, you’ll simply adopt whatever is popular or whatever the state religion is to avoid the judgment of others.

The less power you wield within society, the stronger your case for your personal privacy. If you’re an individual and you don’t really have any influence over anything, you are the target audience for which privacy was designed. If you’re a public official, if you enjoy an incredible amount of privilege and influence, transparency is intended for you. It’s the only way that we can hold you to the account of our standards and laws and be able to cast our votes in an informed way.

You’ve said that you think of yourself as still working for the United States. Could you explain what you mean by that?

Snowden: Being patriotic doesn’t simply mean agreeing with your government. Being willing to disagree, particularly in a risky manner, is actually what we need more of today. When we have this incredible, often fact-free environment where politicians can make claims and then they’re reported as truth, how do we actually steer democracy? If we have facts, we can help facilitate democracy, and this is my role.

Snowden: Petraeus disclosed more ‘highly classified’ information than I did, by Mallory Shelbourne

David Petraeus is one of the “special” people who can disclose government secrets and get his wrist slapped. Edward Snowden, living in excile in Russia, is not. From Mallory Shelbourne at thehill.com:

Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who shared classified information about the U.S. government’s surveillance programs with journalists, criticized the U.S. justice system Sunday for how it treats “well-connected” individuals.

Snowden cited the case of retired Gen. David Petraeus, who is being considered by President-elect Donald Trump for the position of secretary of State, as a prime example.

“We have a two-tiered system of justice in the United States, where people who are either well-connected to government or they have access to an incredible amount of resources get very light punishments,” said Snowden in an exclusive interview with Yahoo News published Sunday.

“Perhaps the best-known case in recent history here is Gen. Petraeus — who shared information that was far more highly classified than I ever did with journalists,” he said.

Petraeus pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge in 2015 for the mishandling of classified information.

“And he shared this information not with the public for their benefit, but with his biographer and lover for personal benefit — conversations that had information, detailed information, about military special-access programs, that’s classified above top secret, conversations with the president and so on,” he added.

“He never spent a single day in jail, despite the type of classified information he exposed,” Snowden said.

Snowden has sought asylum in Moscow, as he faces felony charges in America for espionage.

http://thehill.com/homenews/308693-snowden-petraeus-disclosed-more-highly-classified-information-than-i-did