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Posts tagged ‘Snowden’

Mike Rogers: Snowden ‘Ran to Russia,’ Deserves No Amnesty.


Image: Mike Rogers: Snowden 'Ran to Russia,' Deserves No Amnesty

By Greg Richter

Two members of the House Intelligence Committee from opposing parties agreed Sunday that NSA leaker Edward Snowden should have stayed in the United States rather than fleeing to Russia.

Snowden addressed the British public via television on Christmas Day and talked to The Washington Post on Dec. 23. He said he is doing the work the government has failed to do.

“I’m not moved by the message at all,” Schiff said on “Fox News Sunday.”

“And I think there’s a real irony here that he’s giving this message from one of the foremost Big Brother states in the world, where he is living without any privacy, because there is no right or expectation of privacy in Russia whatsoever,” he said.

Schiff admitted that Snowden “has kindled an important public debate,” but he said it came from a “mixture of motivations.” Snowden should have stayed in the United States and been willing to stand up for his beliefs, he said.

Likewise, Rogers, appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” said Snowden “is somebody who had a troubled employment history, who ran to China and Russia.”

Snowden himself swiped at both parties in his Washington Post interview, in which he said he was “elected” to his post to “improve” the National Security Agency by Sen. Dianne Feinstein “when she asked softball questions” in committee hearings and by Rogers “when he kept these programs secret.”

Rogers argued that the programs that keep metadata on Americans’ phone and email communications were instituted after 9/11 because it was found that they could have prevented the worst act of terrorism on American soil. Members of relevant committees are briefed on everything, he argued.

Information is “well-overseen, locked away in a vault,” Rogers said, and there is oversight over who gets access.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Snowden’s Christmas Message Calls for ‘End to Mass Surveillance’.


Fugitive National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden has given a shocking “alternative” Christmas Day message in which he demanded an end to “mass surveillance” of Americans.

On a video released to Britain’s Channel 4, Politico reported that Snowden said Americans had recently learned that the government has “created a system of world-wide mass surveillance, watching everything we do.”

He went on, “Together we can find a better balance. End mass surveillance. Remind the government that if it really wants to know how we feel asking is always cheaper than spying.”

Wearing a black jacket and pink button-down shirt, the self-proclaimed whistleblower said that George Orwell’s classic book “1984” warned of the type of surveillance carried out by NSA, which has spied on millions of Americans by collecting mass phone data.

“Great Britain’s George Orwell warned us of the danger of this kind of information,” he said. “The types of collection in the book – microphones and video cameras, TVs that watch us – are nothing compared to what we have available today.

“We have sensors in our pockets that track us everywhere we go. Think about what this means for the privacy of the average person.”

Snowden made his controversial comments on Channel 4’s “Alternative Christmas Message” program, which is the station’s alternative to Queen Elizabeth II’s Christmas Day message to Britain. He follows in the footsteps of such luminaries as Ali G and Sharon Osbourne, who have also given the Christmas Day messages on Channel 4, according to the Daily Mail.

The former NSA contractor also warned on his video, “A child born today will never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves an unrecorded, unanalyzed thought. And that’s a problem because privacy matters, privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be.”

Snowden, who has leaked tens of thousands of pages of secret NSA documents, is currently in Russia, where he’s been given temporary asylum after fleeing the United States.

Earlier this month he gave a 14-hour interview to the Washington Post in which he claimed that his “mission’s already accomplished”because his mass leaking of classified material has caused a reassessment of U.S. surveillance policies.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Snowden to Wish World a Spy-Free Christmas in TV Broadcast.


Edward Snowden is all ready to wish the world a merry, surveillance-free Christmas.

The National Security Agency contractor-turned-whistleblower has prepared a Christmas day television message, which will air on Britain’s Channel 4reports The Guardian.

The station has a 20-year history of airing news-making figures giving holiday greetings as an alternative to the queen’s traditional Christmas day message.

Snowden recorded his short message in Russia, where he was granted temporary asylum after leaking NSA documents concerning surveillance of people’s telephone calls and Internet use in the United States and around the world.

In excerpts from his address, Snowden says the kinds of information author George Orwell meant when writing about “Big Brother” in the book “1984” is all around everybody in the modern world.

“The types of collection in the book — microphones and video cameras, TVs that watch us — are nothing compared to what we have available today,” Snowden says. “We have sensors in our pockets that track us everywhere we go. Think about what this means for the privacy of the average person.”

Further, Snowden says, “a child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all. They’ll never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves, an unrecorded, unanalyzed thought. And that’s a problem because privacy matters; privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be.”

The NSA leaker, who faces potential prosecution if he returns to the United States,  also speaks during the address about the recent review of the NSA’s actions and the recommendations that it not be allowed to collect and keep phone records in bulk.

“The conversation occurring today will determine the amount of trust we can place both in the technology that surrounds us and the government that regulates it,” Snowden says. “Together we can find a better balance, end mass surveillance, and remind the government that if it really wants to know how we feel, asking is always cheaper than spying.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Sandy Fitzgerald

Snowden to WashPost: My ‘Mission’s Already Accomplished’.


In his first face-to-face interview since Edward Snowden found asylum in Moscow, the National Security Agency leaker told the Washington Post his “mission is already accomplished,” as news reporters are validating his revelations and NSA policies are being reassessed.
Snowden also told the Post’s Barton Gellman — one of three reporters to whom he has leaked documents — that he has “no relationship with” nor “loyalties to” Russia or China.
“If I defected at all, I defected from the government to the public,” Snowden said.
The oath of allegiance he signed was “not an oath of secrecy,” Snowden said. It was “an oath to the Constitution. That is the oath that I kept.”
He declared victory over the NSA.
“For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished,” he said. “I already won. As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated. Because, remember, I didn’t want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself.”
Snowden insisted he is “working to improve” not destroy the NSA. Only because congressional and judicial overseers had not fulfilled their mandate — had, in fact, “abdicated their responsibility” — did he feel obligated to act.
Snowden wants the agency to pursue individual targeting rather than vacuum huge amounts of data, he told Gellman somewhere in Moscow.
“I don’t care whether you’re the Pope or Osama bin Laden. As long as there’s an individualized, articulable, probable cause for targeting these people as legitimate foreign intelligence, that’s fine,” he said. “I don’t think it’s imposing a ridiculous burden by asking for probable cause. Because, you have to understand, when you have access to the tools the NSA does, probable cause falls out of trees.”
Snowden insisted that he tried to dissent from within recalling that he told colleagues that “we are collecting more in the United States on Americans than we are on Russians in Russia.”
According to Snowden, “What the government wants is . . . total awareness. The question is, is that something we should be allowing?”
Snowden had recommended to superiors that the NSA adopt failsafe measures to require a second set of credentials for any attempt to access security and auditing controls. “Sure, a whistleblower could use these things, but so could a spy.”
After he himself removed a treasure drove of secrets, the NSA put these controls in place.
Gellman described Snowden as someone who does not like to talk about himself; as an “orderly thinker with an engineer’s approach to problem-solving.”He said Snowden was “relaxed and animated over two days of nearly unbroken conversation, fueled by burgers, pasta, ice cream and Russian pastry.”

Snowden, 30, described himself as goal-oriented, “ascetic,” and as someone who does not “have a lot of needs.”
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© 2013 NewsmaxWorld. All rights reserved.

By Elliot Jager

Snowden Criticizes Obama’s Surveillance Review Panel as Sham.


Image: Snowden Criticizes Obama's Surveillance Review Panel as Sham

By Sandy Fitzgerald

Former government contractor Edward Snowden, who’s been given asylum by Russia after leaking National Security Agency secrets, is criticizing a panel established by President Barack Obama’s to review U.S. surveillance programs as a sham designed to do nothing more than restore public confidence in spying activities.

“Their job wasn’t to protect privacy or deter abuses, it was to ‘restore public confidence’ in these spying activities,” Snowden said in an email exchange with Globo TV in Brazil, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.

The review panel last week recommended sweeping limits in the government’s surveillance programs, including requiring a court to sign off on individual searches of phone records and stripping the NSA of its ability to store that data collected from Americans.

In the email exchange with Globo, Snowden continued to defend his public release of classified information about NSA surveillance programs, describing himself again as a whistleblower and not traitor. Snowden, who earlier this year fled from his NSA job in Hawaii for Hong Kong, and later Russia, after handing over secret information to reporters, said he does not believe he would be treated justly if he returns to the United States because he has embarrassed the Obama administration and the U.S. intelligence community.

“It’s clear that I could not possibly get a fair trial in my country,” he insisted.

Snowden is reportedly seeking permanent asylum in several countries, including Brazil. For now, he lives in Russia under temporary asylum. But he denied in the interview that he has offered Brazil and other countries information about U.S. spying operations against them in return for asylum.

“I will never exchange information for asylum and I don’t think the Brazilian government would do that either,” Snowden reportedly told Globo. “A grant of asylum should always be a purely humanitarian decision . . . I will never cooperate with anyone outside of a lawful and appropriate manner.”

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Susan Rice: Snowden Doesn’t Deserve Amnesty.


Image: Susan Rice: Snowden Doesn't Deserve Amnesty

By Greg Richter

National Security Adviser Susan Rice kept her cards close when asked Sunday on “60 Minutes” whether the United States would consider granting secrets leaker Edward Snowden amnesty if he promised to stop revealing classified information.

But she didn’t sound very open to the idea.

“We don’t think that Snowden deserves amnesty. We believe he should come back, he should be sent back, and he should have his day in court,” Rice told CBS’s Lesley Stahl.

Snowden is believed to still have 1.5 million classified documents he has yet to share.

Snowden, who’s living in Russia under temporary asylum, said he stole and leaked the documents to let Americans know that their personal phone calls and emails were being collected and stored as part of the National Security Agency’s fight against terrorism.

Stahl asked Rice if it wasn’t worth giving Snowden something to prevent the release of more documents.

“Lesley, you know I’m not going to get into a negotiation with you on camera about something that sensitive,” Rice answered, adding that she is not aware of any proposed arrangement for amnesty from Snowden.

Pressed by Stahl about the fact that members of the intelligence community have been untruthful to the public both in congressional hearings and in the secret FISA court, Rice responded that in some cases false statements have been made inadvertently, but were corrected once the errors were discovered.

Rice was United States ambassador to the United Nations on Sept. 11, 2012, when the U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya, were attacked, leaving Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead.

It was Rice who was given the task of appearing on all five Sunday morning talk shows todefend the administration’s position that the attacks were the result of spontaneous riots sparked by an anti-Muslim video.

The talking points from which Rice spoke, reportedly written by the CIA, were wrong. President Barack Obama intended to name her secretary of state to replace Hillary Clinton, but her role in the Benghazi scandal squelched that. Instead, she was named national security adviser, and works from Henry Kissinger’s old office just up the hall from the Oval Office.

Rice told “60 Minutes” she agreed to step in for Clinton on the talk shows because the secretary had just gone through a stressful week.

“Secretary Clinton, as our chief diplomat, had to reach out to the families, had to greet the bodies upon their arrival at Andrews Air Force Base,” Rice said.

Rice also defends the administration’s controversial deal to ease sanctions against Iran in exchange for the country cutting back on its nuclear capabilities. Critics have said the deal allows Iran to remain near nuclear status.

“Let’s be clear,” Rice said. “There’s no trust. There’s no naivety. The question is if a policy designed to put maximum economic pressure on them actually has come to the point where they are choking.”

Iran’s currency and oil revenues are down 50 percent, Rice said, and inflation is up

“They’re hurting,” Rice said, “And the question is are they hurting enough so that they are going to be willing to make some very difficult decisions that they’ve resisted making thus far and give up in a verifiable way this nuclear program? The answer is we don’t know. But the other half of the answer is we have every interest in testing that proposition.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

NSA Panel Member: Edward Snowden Guilty of ‘Treason, High Crimes’.


National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden is guilty of treason and high crimes, a member of a White House panel examining the agency’s vast surveillance operations says.

“What Mr. [Edward] Snowden did is treason, was high crimes, and there is nothing in what we say that justifies what he did,” Richard Clarke, a former White House counterterrorism adviser, who is now an ABC News consultant, told the network news.

“Whether or not this panel would have been created anyway, I don’t know, but I don’t think anything that I’ve learned justifies the treasonous acts of Mr. Snowden.”

Earlier this week, the five-member panel of experts appointed by President Barack Obama recommended ending the NSA’s program that collects Americans’ telephone records, saying the practice does not prevent attacks but causes a “lurking danger of abuse.”

Snowden remains in Russia after downloading and stealing about 1.7 million confidential documents before he fled to Hong Kong and turned information over to former Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald and others.

One of the first major reports was about how the NSA has authority to store details such as origin, destination, and duration of calls from Americans. A federal judge ruled that the practice is unconstitutional, ABC reports.

Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul told CNN Wednesday that he thinks Director of National Intelligence James Clapper is guilty of “lying” to Congress about NSA surveillance programs.

Clapper at first told lawmakers that the NSA does not collect Americans’ information, and later admitted his statement was “clearly erroneous.”

“I think the law is the law and they both broke the law and one shouldn’t get off scot free,” Paul said.

A spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Saturday that U.S. contracting companies should be barred from passing sensitive data to the NSA, reports Reuters.

In addition, Hans-Peter Uhl, parliamentary spokesman on interior policy for Merkel’s conservative party, said the German government wants to monitor U.S. contracting companies, such as the one that hired Snowden, more closely in the future.

Among Snowden’s reports were documents showing the NSA has also tapped phones and emails in Europe, including Merkel’s cell phone, sparking outrage in Germany.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Sandy Fitzgerald

Putin Envies Obama: ‘He Can Get Away With’ Spying Revelations.


President Vladimir Putin says Moscow isn’t controlling National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, who has asylum in Russia.

Putin said at a news conference Thursday that any revelations published by Snowden must have come from materials he provided before landing in Russia.

He reaffirms that Russia made providing refuge to Snowden conditional on his halting what he called ant-American activities.

ObamaCareYou Can Win With The Facts 

Putin says he hasn’t met with Snowden and insists that Russian security agencies haven’t worked with him and have not asked him any questions related to NSA activities against Russia.

He says that NSA surveillance is needed to fight terrorism, but that rules and norms must be followed. He says that he “envies” President Obama because — referring to the Snowden revelations — “he can get away it it.”

Putin says that Russia hasn’t deployed missiles to its westernmost Baltic exclave, but sees it as a possible way of countering the U.S.-led missile defense system in Europe.

Putin was asked at a Thursday news conference about a report claiming that Moscow stationed its state-of-the art Iskander missiles in the Kaliningrad region that borders NATO and EU members Poland and Lithuania.

Both nations have expressed concern, and Washington warned Moscow against making destabilizing moves.

Putin says Russia has long considered the move, but adds that “we haven’t made the decision yet” on deploying them.

ObamaCare: You Can Win With The Facts 

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source: Newsmax.com

Brazil Will Not Grant Snowden Asylum.


Brazil has no plans to grant asylum to Edward Snowden even after the former U.S. National Security Agency contractor offered on Tuesday to help investigate revelations of spying on Brazilians and their president, a local newspaper reported.

The Folha de S.Paulo newspaper, citing unnamed government officials, said the Brazilian government has no interest in investigating the mass Internet surveillance programs Snowden revealed in June and does not intend to give him asylum.

In an “Open Letter to the Brazilian People” published by Folha and social media, Snowden offered to help a congressional probe into NSA spying on the country, including the personal communications of President Dilma Rousseff.

“I have expressed my willingness to assist wherever appropriate and lawful, but unfortunately the United States government has worked very hard to limit my ability to do so,” the letter said.

Snowden is living in Russia under temporary asylum that is due to expire in August. He had previously asked for asylum in Brazil, among other countries, but Brasilia did not answer his request. While Snowden stopped short of asking for asylum again in the letter, he suggested that any collaboration with Brazilian authorities would depend them granting him asylum.

“Until a country grants permanent political asylum, the U.S. government will continue to interfere with my ability to speak,” Snowden wrote.

The revelations of NSA spying damaged relations between the United States and Latin America‘s largest country and prompted Rousseff to cancel a state visit to Washington in October. The spying also led Rousseff to become a global advocate for curbs on Internet surveillance.

Evidence that the NSA monitored Rousseff’s email and cellphone, along with hacking the network of state-run oil company Petrobras, angered Brazilians and led the Senate to investigate the extent of U.S. spying. Some members of Brazil’s Congress have asked Russia for permission to interview Snowden but have received no reply, a congressional aide said.

In a Twitter message, Senator Ricardo Ferraço, chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, said “Brazil should not miss the opportunity to grant asylum to Edward Snowden, who was key to unraveling the U.S. espionage system.”

Other politicians, mainly opponents of Rousseff’s leftist government, said granting Snowden asylum would be counter-productive and would lead to further deterioration of ties with the United States, Brazil’s largest trading partner after China.

Rights watchdog Amnesty International said Brazil should give “full consideration” to Snowden’s claim for asylum.

“It is his right to seek international protection, and it’s also Brazil’s international obligation to review and decide on his request under the refugee convention,” Amnesty said in a statement.

A Brazilian foreign ministry spokesman said Brazil has never received a formal application for asylum from Snowden and thus had nothing to consider.

The original English version of Snowden’s letter was published on the Facebook page of David Miranda, partner of journalist and blogger Glenn Greenwald, who first brought the Snowden leaks to the world’s attention.

Miranda started a petition on the website Avaaz, pressing Rousseff to grant asylum to the “courageous” Snowden.

In his letter, Snowden praised Brazil’s efforts at the United Nations to limit excessive electronic surveillance.

Last month a U.N. General Assembly committee expressed concern at the harm such scrutiny, including spying in foreign states and the mass collection of personal data, might have on human rights, following a joint resolution introduced by Brazil and Germany.

On Monday, White House spokesman Jay Carney dismissed the suggestion that the United States could grant amnesty to Snowden if he turned over the documents in his possession.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source:  Newsmax.com

Scarborough: Court Ruling Could Prove Snowden ‘Has a Point’.


The leaks of classified National Security Agency information by former contractor Edward Snowden could have “a point” if the exposure of the NSA’s data collection program is upheld by the Supreme Court, TV talk show host Joe Scarborough said Tuesday.

“If, let’s say, this is held up to the United States Supreme Court. If somebody exposes, like, something that would be deeply offensive to James Madison and the framers of the Constitution, I think Edward Snowden has a point,” Scarborough said on hid MSNBCMorning Joe” program Tuesday.

The comment followed a ruling Monday by U.S. District Judge Richard Leon that the NSA’s mass collection of phone records is unconstitutional.

“If what the NSA did last year, what the government has been doing for some time, violates the most sacred tenets of the Constitution . . . does Edward Snowden then become a whistleblower?” Scarborough asked, suggesting that he could end up receiving certain protections under the Whistleblower Protection Act.

Until Leon’s ruling Monday, the NSA’s spying programs had never been challenged in open court, NY Magazine National Affairs Editor and MSNBC contributor John Heilemann observed on “Morning Joe.” He said Snowden exposed the NSA program so that it would be argued in an open court of law.

“He said he wanted to expose the program so that it could be challenged in open court, which had never been able to have been done before, because of the nature of the program. It’s now been challenged in open court,” Heilemann said.

The ruling was a “pretty stinging rebuke to the program,” he added.

“Edward Snowden, at least for today, stands pretty fairly vindicated, in terms of what he did, what he said he wanted to do. Now, seems like he can take a victory lap, at least one temporarily,” Heilemann said.

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By Wanda Carruthers

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