Tag Archives: Edward Snowden

Guardian will not be intimidated over NSA leaks, Alan Rusbridger tells MPs

by Nick Hopkins and Matthew Taylor, The Guardian, 12/3/13

Editor tells parliamentary committee that stories revealing mass surveillance by UK and US have prompted global debate

The Guardian has come under concerted pressure and intimidation designed to stop it from publishing stories of huge public interest that have revealed the “staggering” scale of Britain’s and America’s secret surveillance programmes, the editor-in-chief of the newspaper has said.

Giving evidence to a parliamentary committee about stories based on the National Security Agency leaks from the whistleblower Edward Snowden, Alan Rusbridger said the Guardian “would not be put off by intimidation, but nor are we going to behave recklessly”.

He told MPs that disclosures from the files had generated a global debate about the powers of state agencies, and the weaknesses of the laws and oversight regimes they worked within.

“In terms of the broader debate, I can’t think of a story in recent times that has ricocheted around the world like this has and which has been more broadly debated in parliaments, in courts and amongst NGOs,” he said.

“The roll call of people who have said there needs to be a debate about this includes three presidents of the United States, two vice-presidents, generals, the security chiefs in the US [who] are all saying this is a debate that in retrospect we had to have.”

During an hour-long session in front of the home affairs select committee, Rusbridger also:

• Said the Guardian had consulted government officials and intelligence agencies – including the FBI, GCHQ, the White House and the Cabinet Office – on more than 100 occasions before the publication of stories….

continue reading and follow links at The Guardian

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NSA Not Only Spies on Americans, but Shares the Information with Israel

By Delinda C. Hanley, The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Oct.-Nov. 2013

Many Americans were not surprised by recent revelations, based on documents taken by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden, that the NSA is spying on them. The widespread use of undercover agents, informants and surveillance in Muslim-American communities has been well publicized. In the months after the Sept. 11 attacks, President George W. Bush authorized eavesdropping on domestic telephone, Internet and e-mail communications of Americans and others inside the U.S. without court approval.

Information about Bush’s “Terrorist Surveillance Program” was leaked to USA Today and The New York Times in 2006. Americans learned that telecommunications companies, including AT&T, MCI, Sprint, Verizon and BellSouth, were handing over to the NSA personal and business phone records for tens of millions of Americans. Defending his eavesdropping program, Bush insisted that the NSA was limited only to monitoring international phone and e-mail communications linked to people with connections to al-Qaeda. “In other words,” he explained, “one end of the communication must be outside the United States.” Records of domestic calls—those that originate and terminate within U.S. borders—were believed to be private.

Under U.S. law, the NSA cannot legally target U.S. citizens—although the agency has done precisely that and has been rebuked by federal judges for doing so. The program was criticized and challenged as illegal because the NSA had not obtained warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Court. Bush’s program was discontinued in 2007.

According to a stunning series of reports, first published on June 5 by The Guardian, The Washington Post and other media outlets, under President Barack Obama the NSA has continued collecting the phone records of millions of Americans….

The most damaging of all the Snowden revelations was the news that in March 2009—two months after President Obama took office—the NSA agreed to provide all this intelligence data to a foreign country: Israel. As a Sept. 11 Guardian article described it: ”Details of the intelligence-sharing agreement are laid out in a memorandum of understanding between the NSA and its Israeli counterpart that shows the U.S. government handed over intercepted communications likely to contain phone calls and e-mails of American citizens. The agreement places no legally binding limits on the use of the data by the Israelis.”…

read more at The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

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Whistleblowers as Modern Tricksters

by John Grant, This Can’t Be Happening, 8/4/13

Every generation occupies itself with interpreting Trickster anew.

-Paul Radin

America 2013 is a far cry from the days of Patrick Henry (“Give me liberty or give me death!”) and even the days of Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers. It’s a brave new world 30 years beyond Orwell’s imagined dystopia 1984 .

While we may have had the cathode ray tube then, the technology of the 1960s and 1970s had more in common with the slowness of media in the 18th century than it does with today’s media/surveillance reality. Daniel Ellsberg could not have imagined the internet and that a war could be entirely managed and operated within the confines of an alternate cyber universe. One of the first visions of today’s internet reality was notably published in 1984: William Gibson’s sci-fi classic Neuromancer.

Within this mind-boggling, ever-growing maze, it’s interesting to inject the time-honored archetype of the trickster, famous as edgy and playful figures in Norse and Native American myth. Lewis Hyde, author of Trickster Makes This World: Mischief, Myth, and Art, puts it this way: “If the confidence man is one of America’s unacknowledged founding fathers, then instead of saying there are no modern tricksters one could argue the opposite: trickster is everywhere.” Caveat emptor — buyer beware.

We’re now told any technology operating with a computer chip can be hacked into and controlled from a remote spot — including cars. My reaction to that is: You gotta be kidding! We’re also informed there exists 300 types of drones, which are flying robots able to do things most of us can’t even imagine. Our soldiers (oops, I mean warriors) will soon be equipped with on-board computer glasses linked to command and intelligence support elements — that is, they’ll be armed humans a hiccup away from the cyborgs of science fiction.

Manning PR comp 3_0

A smart young veteran who had the identical job as Bradley Manning in Iraq once told me — a tech-ignorant, flesh-and-blood Vietnam veteran — the entire war in Iraq was recorded and tracked in cyberspace on the internet. “The whole war is secret!” he told me with an amazed chuckle.

It’s clear to many Americans the combination of post-911 fear, the militarization of sophisticated technology and a runaway regime of secrecy has led to a dangerous condition of permanent war in which our military is outrunning the capacity for responsible democratic decision-making. As outgoing President Eisenhower warned in 1961, the Military-Industrial Complex is now running the show, and the idea of citizen-based democracy is a feel-good myth incessantly flogged with the tools of Public Relations. Real democracy cannot exist in such a context.

The fact is, our military and its powerful civilian supporters deal with the American public and the rest of the world in two very distinct modes: Secrecy or Public Relations. Serious journalists and their critical sources — ie. Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden — work the no-man’s-land between these two distinct modes. We have now reached the point the government is seriously gunning for those working in this no-man’s-land….

continue reading at This Can’t Be Happening

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Snowden Files: Loophole Makes All Emails, Phone Calls Subject

By James Ball, Spencer Ackerman, The Guardian UK, 9/11/13, at Reader Supported News

The National Security Agency has a secret backdoor into its vast databases under a legal authority enabling it to search for US citizens’ email and phone calls without a warrant, according to a top-secret document passed to the Guardian by Edward Snowden.

The previously undisclosed rule change allows NSA operatives to hunt for individual Americans’ communications using their name or other identifying information. Senator Ron Wyden told the Guardian that the law provides the NSA with a loophole potentially allowing “warrantless searches for the phone calls or emails of law-abiding Americans”.

The authority, approved in 2011, appears to contrast with repeated assurances from Barack Obama and senior intelligence officials to both Congress and the American public that the privacy of US citizens is protected from the NSA’s dragnet surveillance programs.

The intelligence data is being gathered under Section 702 of the of the Fisa Amendments Act (FAA), which gives the NSA authority to target without warrant the communications of foreign targets, who must be non-US citizens and outside the US at the point of collection.

The communications of Americans in direct contact with foreign targets can also be collected without a warrant, and the intelligence agencies acknowledge that purely domestic communications can also be inadvertently swept into its databases. That process is known as “incidental collection” in surveillance parlance.

But this is the first evidence that the NSA has permission to search those databases for specific US individuals’ communications….

continue reading at Guardian UK

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