Tag Archives: NSA

Edward Snowden Deserves a Pardon, by David S. D’Amato

Edward Snowden deserves a pardon and every conceivable award that can be bestowed on a man. From David S. D’Amato at aier.org:

snowden

The global spotlight was cast upon Edward Snowden in 2013 after he blew the whistle on the National Security Agency’s (NSA) warrantless domestic surveillance programs. Working with The Guardian and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, Snowden famously (or infamously, depending on one’s point of view) revealed that the NSA was illegally gathering information on tens of millions of Americans—citizens who had been accused of no wrongdoing. Now, Snowden’s case is once again in the news, as President Trump recently told reporters that he will look carefully at “the Snowden situation,” going as far as polling his aides as to whether he should pardon the exiled whistleblower.

Snowden was a responsible whistleblower who took the role seriously and made careful, deliberate decisions in choosing the documents he would share with journalists. He performed this immeasurably brave act of public service at an enormous personal and professional cost. In an instant, he became one of the world’s most wanted individuals, reviled as a traitor by some of the most powerful and dangerous people in the world’s most powerful and dangerous government. “Having watched the Obama administration prosecute whistleblowers at a historically unprecedented rate,” Snowden understood the risks; he understood that the CIA or “[a]ny of their agents or assets” could come after him.

Known liar Michael Hayden, for example, has called Snowden a traitor and is sufficiently shameless to argue, “Whistleblowing requires someone to actually point out a violation of law and [Snowden] has not done that.” Of course, the programs Snowden exposed were in fact quite illegal and, according to many legal scholars, unconstitutional.

Hayden, whose career has seen him hold the top spot of Director at both the NSA and the CIA, intentionally misled Congress when he testified in 2007 on the CIA’s interrogation and detention program. James Clapper, who led the intelligence community under Obama, similarly lied to Congress when, replying to a question from Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), he stated under oath that the federal government does “not wittingly” collect “any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans.” Clapper, of course, knew he wasn’t telling the truth, but claimed that he “made a big mistake” and was thinking of another government surveillance program and “didn’t understand.”

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When There are No Consequences for Anything, by James Howard Kunstler

James Howard Kunstler asks a lot of good question, and wonders if William Barr, James Durham, and James Huber are taking a dive on their investigations (SLL predicted they would). From Kunstler at kunstler.com:

The Democratic Party with its deep state auxiliaries begins to look like a monstrous hybrid of Matt Taibbi’s fabled Vampire Squid and the skulking Kraken of the maelstrom, devouring the innards of our republic in its deep, dark depths one institution at a time while a storm rages on the surface and citizen’s eyelids flutter in horror, frozen like sleepers in the paralysis of a nightmare, at the rising havoc and ruin. Or, to put it plainly: what the fuck is going on in America?

Ongoing sedition is the answer, with fetid slime trails across the political landscape everywhere you look. We’re informed hours ago, for instance, that the top lawyers in Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel operation wiped all the records from their cell phones before the DOJ Inspector General could collect evidence of their communications from the SC team’s three-year exercise in overthrowing a president. How is that not an obstruction of justice, and who will answer for it?

That’s on top of many other bits of essential evidence in the RussiaGate coup and other perfidious acts mysteriously gone missing — Special Agent Joe Pientka’s original “302” document from the Flynn interrogation, thousands of Strzok-and-Page’s text messages, official verifications of the Steele Dossier submitted to the FISA court, communications between the FBI “small group” (Comey, McCabe, Priestap, Carlin, McCord, Baker, et al.) plus CIA Chief John Brennan and DNI James Clapper with Senators Burr and Warner on the Senate Intel Committee, communications between “whistleblower” Eric Ciaramella, Col. Alexander Vindman and House Intel Committee chair Adam Schiff, records of CIA prop Stephan Halper’s doings with the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment, all communication records between State Department official Jonathan Winer and British ex-spy Christopher Steele….

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‘The Day Has Arrived’ Snowden Hails Appeals Court Ruling Slamming NSA Metadata Harvesting as Illegal, by Svetlana Ekimenko

What Edward Snowden did was heroic and should be lauded, not punished. From Svetlana Ekimenko at sputniknews.com:

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on 2 September lauded the ruling by the US Court of Appeals that the mass surveillance programme conducted by the National Security Agency, including bulk collection of phone records, was illegal. The ACLU called described it as a “victory for our privacy rights”.

Former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee turned whistleblower Edward Snowden responded on Wednesday to a ruling by the US Court of Appeals that the US National Security Agency’s mass surveillance programme, including the bulk collection of citizens’ phone records, was illegal.

​The programme, believed to have been discontinued in 2015 when Congress passed the USA Freedom Act, had extended beyond the scope of what Congress allowed under a foundational surveillance law, ruled a panel of judges, acknowledging that it was possibly a violation of the US Constitution.

The former NSA contractor tweeted that he had been “charged as a criminal for speaking the truth”.

Snowden was referring to the trove of classified intelligence data detailing the sweeping American domestic surveillance programme that he had leaked in 2013 and for which he is wanted in the US on charges of espionage and treason.

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NSA’s Social Network Mapping is More Vast, Omnipresent and Horrifying Than Snowden Revealed, by Jake Anderson

The reality is even scarier than the headline. From Jake Anderson at themindunleashed.com:

This is shocking, and represents an ongoing existential threat to American citizens.

Most people know by now about the surveillance abuses perpetrated by the NSA earlier this century, but a new book about Edward Snowden suggests that the metadata collection programs introduced to us through previous whistleblowers and disclosures are part of a “live, ever-updating social graph of the US” that is ongoing and far vaster than we previously imagined.

The revelations come from journalist Barton Gellman, who described the content of his new book Dark Mirror: Edward Snowden and the American Surveillance State for Wired. The article, entitled “Inside the NSA’s Secret Tool for Mapping Your Social Network,” catalogs Gellman’s attempts to reveal more details about the programs Snowden first disclosed to the world.

What he found shocked him, and represents an ongoing existential threat to American citizens, he says.

Gellman says that originally he wanted to understand more about the logistics of the NSA phone records. The Snowden archive hints at but does not explain the details of the agency’s project pipelines.

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HUGE DEVELOPMENT: Following Last Week’s Release Attorney Clevenger Alleges Office of DNI Has Communications Between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks – Russia Collusion a Lie! by Joe Hoft

Seth Rich’s murder and his interactions with WikiLeaks need a thorough investigation. From Joe Hoft at thegatewaypundit.com:

Wow!

Draining the Intelligence Community Swamp, by Philip Giraldi

Even if a bunch of intelligence community operatives are fired, given Trump’s policy predilections, particularly his partiality towards Israel, the operatives will be replaced by Trump lackeys with similar views. Very little will change. From Philip Giraldi at unz.com:

The appointment of U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell as interim Director of National Intelligence (DNI), a position that he will apparently hold simultaneously with the ambassadorship, has been criticized from all sides due to his inexperience, history of bad judgement and partisanship. The White House is now claiming that he will be replaced by Texas Congressman John Ratcliffe after the interim appointment is over, though sources in Washington suggest that Ratcliffe might have some problems in being approved by Congress.

But such criticism, including my own, has somewhat missed the point, which is that what we are already seeing is a purge orchestrated by Grenell of federal employees in the White House and national security apparatus who are holdovers from the Obama Administration and who are therefore considered to be unreliable. That is why Grenell will continue to be ambassador as well as DNI as it is envisioned that his wrecking ball will have completed its task within six months and he will be able to return to Berlin, in spite of the fact that he is despised in Germany and many officials there even refuse to meet with him, which characteristically doesn’t appear to bother the White House at all.

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The Destruction of American Liberty, by Jacob G. Hornberger

Americans are not free, not even close. From Jacob G. Hornberger at fff.org:

The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, were a watershed event for the United States, not only because of the large death toll and property destruction but, more important, because they spelled the death knell for American liberty.

Americans had already lost a large portion of their freedom when the federal government was converted into what is called a “welfare state,” a governmental system that is based on the concept of mandatory charity. Examples of mandatory-charity programs include Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, farm subsidies, education grants, corporate bailouts, foreign aid, and every other program by which the government takes money from people to whom it belongs and gives it to people to whom it does not belong.

There is no way to reconcile a system of mandatory charity with the principles of a free society. A genuinely free society is one in which people are free to keep everything they earn and decide for themselves what to do with their own money. An unfree society is one in which the government mandates that people be good and caring to others.

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The Fatal Loop of Recursivity, by James Howard Kunstler

The intelligence agencies may have shot themselves in the foot by keeping records on everything and everybody. From James Howard Kunstler at kunstler.com:

Here’s one big reason that America is driving itself batshit crazy: the explosion of computerized records, emails, inter-office memos, Twitter trails, Facebook memorabilia, iPhone videos, YouTubes, recorded conversations, and the vast alternative universe of storage capacity for all this stuff makes it seem possible to constantly go back and reconstruct reality. All it has really done is amplified the potential for political mischief to suicide level.

It’s a major unanticipated consequence of the digital “revolution.” It has gotten us stuck looking backward at events, obsessively replaying them, while working overtime to spin them favorably for one team or the other, at the expense of actually living in real time and dealing with reality as it unspools with us. If life were a ballgame, we’d only be watching jumbotron replays while failing to pay attention to the action on the field.

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Alarm as Trump Requests Permanent Reauthorization of NSA Mass Spying Program Exposed by Snowden, by Jake Johnson

President Trump and company have never been big fans of civil liberties. From Jake Johnson at commondreams.org:

“The White House is calling for reauthorization of a program that security agencies have used to spy on innocent people, violate their privacy, and chill free speech.”

Former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden speaks via video link as he takes part in a round table meeting on March 15, 2019. (Photo: Frederick Florin/AFP/Getty Images)

Civil liberties groups and privacy advocates raised alarm Thursday after the Trump administration called on Congress to reauthorize an NSA mass surveillance program that was exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The New York Times, which obtained the Trump administration’s request to Congress, reported that “the administration urged lawmakers to make permanent the legal authority for the National Security Agency to gain access to logs of Americans’ domestic communications, the USA Freedom Act.”

“The law, enacted after the intelligence contractor Edward J. Snowden revealed the existence of the program in 2013, is set to expire in December, but the Trump administration wants it made permanent,” according to the Times.

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The intelligence community needs a house-cleaning, by Matt Taibbi

The intelligence community often disclosed to friendly media figures information it insists cannot be disclosed because it involves sources and methods. The lie is wearing thin. From Matt Taibbi at substack.com:

John Brennan and the CIA claim lives will be endangered if their work is declassified. That excuse only works so many times

If I told you, Id have to kill you.”

It’s been a tired pop-cliché meme for ages. Way back in 2000, when Adam Garcia tried to lay it on Piper Perabo in Coyote Ugly, she groaned, “That’s original.”

It drew eye rolls in Top Gun in 1986. Going back at least that far, we’ve known it’s usually bullshit when someone says they’re keeping a tantalizing secret from you for your own good.

Former CIA director John Brennan is pulling this stunt now, and the press is again taking him seriously, despite his proven unreliability.

Brennan has an elaborate history of lying to the public, most infamously about the CIA monitoring computers Senate staff were using to prepare a report on torture. When asked if it were true the CIA spied on congress as it was doing oversight of that agency, Brennan all but covered his heart. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” he told Andrea Mitchell in a panel discussion, shaking his head. “We wouldn’t do that!”

Brennan has always had stones. In the Senate computer case, he didn’t limit himself to making staunch verbal denials. His CIA also later produced a report clearing itself of said “potential unauthorized access” to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Brennan also once said there had not been a “single collateral death” in the drone assassination program; claimed (inaccurately, it seems) that Osama bin Laden used his wife as a human shield in his encounter with Navy Seals; and provided inaccurate information to congress about the efficacy of CIA enhanced interrogation programs.

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