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Edward Snowden – Simple English Wikipedia, the free …

Edward Joseph Snowden (born 21 June 1983) is a former contractor who worked for the National Security Agency (NSA) of the United States. He released top secret NSA documents. His job at the NSA allowed him access to them. He has said, “I do not want to live in a world where anything I do or say is recorded.”

Snowden traveled to Moscow after giving the documents to American journalists in Hong Kong. He had asylum in Russia for one year. Then he was granted permission to stay in the country for three more years.[2] This has increased tensions between Russia and the United States.

In 2013 Snowden was voted Person of the Year by The Guardian.[3]

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Edward Snowden Fast Facts – CNN

Mother: Elizabeth Snowden, federal court administrator

Other Facts:Dropped out of high school.

The Guardian reported that in 2009, Snowden got the first of several jobs with private contractors that worked with the National Security Agency (NSA).

Timeline:May 7, 2004 – Enlists in the Army Reserve as a Special Forces candidate.

September 28, 2004 – Is discharged from the Army Reserve without completing any training.

2013 – Works for Booz Allen Hamilton for less than three months, assigned to a team in Hawaii. Snowden is terminated on June 10, 2013.

May 20, 2013 – Snowden leaves for Hong Kong.

June 9, 2013 – Booz Allen Hamilton releases a statement confirming that Snowden has been an employee of their firm for almost three months.

June 17, 2013 – During a live online chat, the person identified as Snowden by Britain’s Guardian newspaper insists that US authorities have access to phone calls, e-mails and other communications far beyond constitutional bounds.

June 21, 2013 – Federal prosecutors unseal a complaint filed in US District Court in Virginia on June 14, 2013, charging Snowden with espionage and theft of government property.

June 22, 2013 – A senior US administration official says the United States has contacted authorities in Hong Kong to seek the extradition of Snowden.

June 23, 2013 – A source tells CNN that the US government has revoked Snowden’s passport.

July 24, 2013 – Russian news media reports that Russia has approved documents that would allow Snowden to enter the rest of the country while his temporary asylum request is considered.

August 1, 2013 – Kucherena tells CNN that Snowden’s application for political asylum for a year has been approved and he has left the Moscow airport.

October 31, 2013 – Snowden’s attorney Kucherena tells CNN that his client has been hired by an unnamed Russian website.

November 3, 2013 – A letter, purportedly written by Snowden, is published in the German magazine Der Spiegel. The letter, titled “A Manifesto for the Truth” says, “mass surveillance is a global problem and needs a global solution.”

August 7, 2014 – Snowden’s attorney announces that Snowden has been granted an extension to stay in Russia for three more years.

July 28, 2015 – The White House rejects a petition to pardon Snowden and maintains its position that Snowden should return to the United States. The petition contains over 167,000 signatures supporting Snowden.

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Edward Snowden: Leaks that exposed US spy programme – BBC News

Edward Snowden, a former contractor for the CIA, left the US in late May after leaking to the media details of extensive internet and phone surveillance by American intelligence. Mr Snowden, who has been granted temporary asylum in Russia, faces espionage charges over his actions.

As the scandal widens, BBC News looks at the leaks that brought US spying activities to light.

The scandal broke in early June 2013 when the Guardian newspaper reported that the US National Security Agency (NSA) was collecting the telephone records of tens of millions of Americans.

The paper published the secret court order directing telecommunications company Verizon to hand over all its telephone data to the NSA on an “ongoing daily basis”.

That report was followed by revelations in both the Washington Post and Guardian that the NSA tapped directly into the servers of nine internet firms, including Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, to track online communication in a surveillance programme known as Prism.

Britain’s electronic eavesdropping agency GCHQ was also accused of gathering information on the online companies via Prism.

Shortly afterwards, the Guardian revealed that ex-CIA systems analyst Edward Snowden was behind the leaks about the US and UK surveillance programmes.

He has been charged in the US with theft of government property, unauthorised communication of national defence information and wilful communication of classified communications intelligence.

The GCHQ scandal widened on 21 June when the Guardian reported that the UK spy agency was tapping fibre-optic cables that carry global communications and sharing vast amounts of data with the NSA, its US counterpart.

The paper revealed it had obtained documents from Edward Snowden showing that the GCHQ operation, codenamed Tempora, had been running for 18 months.

GCHQ was able to boast a larger collection of data than the US, tapping into 200 fibre-optic cables to give it the ability to monitor up to 600 million communications every day, according to the report.

The information from internet and phone use was allegedly stored for up to 30 days to be sifted and analysed.

Although GCHQ did not break the law, the Guardian suggested that the existing legislation was being very broadly applied to allow such a large volume of data to be collected.

GCHQ and NSA eavesdropping on Italian phone calls and internet traffic was reported by the Italian weekly L’Espresso on 24 October. The revelations were sourced to Edward Snowden.

It is alleged that three undersea cables with terminals in Italy were targeted. Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta called the allegations “inconceivable and unacceptable” and said he wanted to establish the truth.

After fleeing to Hong Kong, Edward Snowden told the South China Morning Post that the NSA had led more than 61,000 hacking operations worldwide, including many in Hong Kong and mainland China.

He said targets in Hong Kong included the Chinese University, public officials and businesses.

“We hack network backbones – like huge internet routers, basically – that give us access to the communications of hundreds of thousands of computers without having to hack every single one,” Mr Snowden was quoted as saying.

Claims emerged on 29 June that the NSA had also spied on European Union offices in the US and Europe, according to Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine.

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The magazine said it had seen leaked NSA documents showing that the US had spied on EU internal computer networks in Washington and at the 27-member bloc’s UN office in New York.

The paper added that it had been shown the “top secret” files by Edward Snowden.

One document dated September 2010 explicitly named the EU representation at the UN as a “location target”, Der Spiegel wrote.

The files allegedly suggested that the NSA had also conducted an electronic eavesdropping operation in a building in Brussels, where the EU Council of Ministers and the European Council were located.

It is not known what information US spies might have obtained. But observers say details of European positions on trade and military matters could be useful to those involved in US-EU negotiations.

The German government summoned the US ambassador on 24 October – a very unusual step – after German media reported that the NSA had eavesdropped on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone.

The allegations dominated an EU summit, with Mrs Merkel demanding a full explanation and warning that trust between allies could be undermined. She discussed the matter by phone with US President Barack Obama. He assured her that her calls were not being monitored now and that it would not happen in future. But the White House did not deny bugging her phone in the past.

Past surveillance by secret police – whether Nazi or communist – has made Germans very sensitive about privacy issues. Mrs Merkel grew up in the former East Germany, where the Stasi spied on millions of citizens.

France’s President Francois Hollande meanwhile expressed alarm at reports that millions of French calls had been monitored by the US.

The Guardian later reported that the NSA had monitored the phones of 35 world leaders after being given their numbers by another US government official. Again, Edward Snowden was the source of the report.

A total of 38 embassies and missions have been the “targets” of US spying operations, according to a secret file leaked to the Guardian.

Countries targeted included France, Italy and Greece, as well as America’s non-European allies such as Japan, South Korea and India, the paper reported on 1 July.

EU embassies and missions in New York and Washington were also said to be under surveillance.

The file allegedly detailed “an extraordinary range” of spying methods used to intercept messages, including bugs, specialised antennae and wire taps.

The Guardian report also mentioned codenames of alleged operations against the French and Greek missions to the UN, as well as the Italian embassy in Washington.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said that activities to protect national security were “not unusual” in international relations.

US allies in Latin America were angered by revelations in Brazil’s O Globo newspaper on 10 July that the NSA ran a continent-wide surveillance programme.

The paper cited leaked documents showing that, at least until 2002, the NSA ran the operation from a base in Brasilia, seizing web traffic and details of phone calls from around the region.

US agents apparently joined forces with Brazilian telecoms firms to snoop on oil and energy firms, foreign visitors to Brazil, and major players in Mexico’s drug wars.

Mexico, Brazil, Colombia and Chile all demanded answers from the US.

But the revelations on Latin America kept coming, and in September more specific claims emerged that emails and phone calls of the presidents of Mexico and Brazil had been intercepted.

Also, the US had been spying on Brazil’s state-owned oil firm Petrobras.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff cancelled a state visit to the US in the most high-profile diplomatic move since the scandal hit.

Documents leaked to the Washington Post in mid-August suggested the NSA breaks US privacy laws hundreds of times every year.

The papers revealed that US citizens were inadvertently snooped on for reasons including typing mistakes and errors in the system,

In one instance in 2008, a “large number” of calls placed from Washington DC were intercepted after an error in a computer program entered “202” – the telephone area code for Washington DC – into a data query instead of “20”, the country code for Egypt.

Later in August, the Washington Post reported that US spy agencies had a “black budget” for secret operations of almost $53bn in 2013.

In January 2014, the Guardian newspaper and Channel 4 News reported that the US had collected and stored almost 200 million text messages per day across the globe.

A National Security Agency (NSA) program is said to have extracted and stored data from the SMS messages to gather location information, contacts and financial data.

The documents also revealed that GCHQ had used the NSA database to search for information on people in the UK.

The programme, Dishfire, analyses SMS messages to extract information including contacts from missed call alerts, location from roaming and travel alerts, financial information from bank alerts and payments and names from electronic business cards, according to the report.

Through the vast database, which was in use at least as late as 2012, the NSA gained information on those who were not specifically targeted or under suspicion, the report says.

The revelations came on the eve of an expected announcement by President Obama of a response to recommendations by a US panel on ways to change US electronic surveillance programmes.

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Edward Snowden (@Snowden) | Twitter

Speaking truth to power a phrase, we often use. #AsmaJahangir lived,practiced till her last breath. Questioned mullahs, military, judges, politicians, all the powerful;defended downtrodden. Faced threats & attacks. Was never afraid.What a hero. We have to contend with a void. pic.twitter.com/NFamtObL0s

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Edward Snowden (@Snowden) | Twitter

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Edward Snowden: I got a security clearance faster than half …

Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked classified intelligence to reporters in 2013, taunted the Trump administration for taking over a year to obtain permanent security clearances for some of the presidents top advisers.

I got a security clearance faster than half of this White House, Mr. Snowden, 34, tweeted Monday.

Mr. Snowdens razzing came in response to recent news reports involving President Trumps administration and its inability so far to obtain permanent security clearances for dozens of White House officials and political appointees, including Jared Kushner, the presidents son-in-law and close adviser, and Rob Porter, the recently terminated White House staff secretary.

More than a year into the Trump administration, upwards of 40 people have relied on temporary security clearances granting them interim access to classified information pending the results of ongoing FBI-conducted background checks, Mr. Kushner and Mr. Porter included, The Washington Post and CNN both reported Friday.

The White House has defended the delayed turnaround in Mr. Kushners case as completely normal. Skeptics have pointed at past reports involving his previously undisclosed conversations with former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyack, however, as well as other incidents that could potentially complicate his ability to clear any hurdles keeping him from a permanent security clearance.

Mr. Snowden enlisted in the U.S. Army in May 2004, but he broke both of his legs during basic training and was discharged four months later. He took a job the following year as a security guard at a NSA facility, albeit after obtaining a high-level security clearance upon passing a polygraph examination and background check, Wired reported previously. He subsequently worked for the CIA and had been employed as a NSA contractor holding a top-secret security clearance when he began leaking classified intelligence in 2013, including documents exposing the extent of the U.S. intelligence communitys international surveillance operations.

Mr. Snowden was charged with espionage by the Obama administration in connection with leaking classified intelligence, but was granted asylum by Russia in 2013 and has avoided prosecution by residing there ever since.

Mr. Trump was highly critical of Mr. Snowden before taking office, and he previously called him a traitor, a disgrace, a coward, a piece of human garbage, a liar and a fraud and a spy who should be executed, among other unpleasantries.

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Edward Snowden, after months of NSA revelations, says his …

MOSCOW The familiar voice on the hotel room phone did not waste words.

What time does your clock say, exactly? he asked.

He checked the reply against his watch and described a place to meet.

Ill see you there, he said.

Edward Joseph Snowden emerged at the appointed hour, alone, blending into a light crowd of locals and tourists. He cocked his arm for a handshake, then turned his shoulder to indicate a path. Before long he had guided his visitor to a secure space out of public view.

During more than 14 hours of interviews, the first he has conducted in person since arriving here in June, Snowden did not part the curtains or step outside. Russia granted him temporary asylum on Aug.1, but Snowden remains a target of surpassing interest to the intelligence services whose secrets he spilled on an epic scale.

Late this spring, Snowden supplied three journalists, including this one, with caches of top-secret documents from the National Security Agency, where he worked as a contractor. Dozens of revelations followed, and then hundreds, as news organizations around the world picked up the story. Congress pressed for explanations, new evidence revived old lawsuits and the Obama administration was obliged to declassify thousands of pages it had fought for years to conceal.

Taken together, the revelations have brought to light a global surveillance system that cast off many of its historical restraints after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Secret legal authorities empowered the NSA to sweep in the telephone, Internet and location records of whole populations. One of the leaked presentation slides described the agencys collection philosophy as Order one of everything off the menu.

Six months after the first revelations appeared in The Washington Post and Britains Guardian newspaper, Snowden agreed to reflect at length on the roots and repercussions of his choice. He was relaxed and animated over two days of nearly unbroken conversation, fueled by burgers, pasta, ice cream and Russian pastry.

Snowden offered vignettes from his intelligence career and from his recent life as an indoor cat in Russia. But he consistently steered the conversation back to surveillance, democracy and the meaning of the documents he exposed.

For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the missions 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 didnt want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself.

All I wanted was for the public to be able to have a say in how they are governed, he said. That is a milestone we left a long time ago. Right now, all we are looking at are stretch goals.

Going in blind

Snowden is an orderly thinker, with an engineers approach to problem-solving. He had come to believe that a dangerous machine of mass surveillance was growing unchecked. Closed-door oversight by Congress and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court was a graveyard of judgment, he said, manipulated by the agency it was supposed to keep in check. Classification rules erected walls to prevent public debate.

Toppling those walls would be a spectacular act of transgression against the norms that prevailed inside them. Someone would have to bypass security, extract the secrets, make undetected contact with journalists and provide them with enough proof to tell the stories.

The NSAs business is information dominance, the use of other peoples secrets to shape events. At 29, Snowden upended the agency on its own turf.

You recognize that youre going in blind, that theres no model, Snowden said, acknowledging that he had no way to know whether the public would share his views.

But when you weigh that against the alternative, which is not to act, he said, you realize that some analysis is better than no analysis. Because even if your analysis proves to be wrong, the marketplace of ideas will bear that out. If you look at it from an engineering perspective, an iterative perspective, its clear that you have to try something rather than do nothing.

By his own terms, Snowden succeeded beyond plausible ambition. The NSA, accustomed to watching without being watched, faces scrutiny it has not endured since the 1970s, or perhaps ever.

The cascading effects have made themselves felt in Congress, the courts, popular culture, Silicon Valley and world capitals. The basic structure of the Internet itself is now in question, as Brazil and members of the European Union consider measures to keep their data away from U.S. territory and U.S. technology giants including Google, Microsoft and Yahoo take extraordinary steps to block the collection of data by their government.

For months, Obama administration officials attacked Snowdens motives and said the work of the NSA was distorted by selective leaks and misinterpretations.

On Dec. 16, in a lawsuit that could not have gone forward without the disclosures made possible by Snowden, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon described the NSAs capabilities as almost Orwellian and said its bulk collection of U.S. domestic telephone records was probably unconstitutional.

The next day, in the Roosevelt Room, an unusual delegation of executives from old telephone companies and young Internet firms told President Obama that the NSAs intrusion into their networks was a threat to the U.S. information economy. The following day, an advisory panel appointed by Obama recommended substantial new restrictions on the NSA, including an end to the domestic call-records program.

This week is a turning point, said the Government Accountability Projects Jesselyn Radack, who is one of Snowdens legal advisers. It has been just a cascade.

They elected me

On June 22, the Justice Department unsealed a criminal complaint charging Snowden with espionage and felony theft of government property. It was a dry enumeration of statutes, without a trace of the anger pulsing through Snowdens former precincts.

In the intelligence and national security establishments, Snowden is widely viewed as a reckless saboteur, and journalists abetting him little less so.

At the Aspen Security Forum in July, a four-star military officer known for his even keel seethed through one meeting alongside a reporter he knew to be in contact with Snowden. Before walking away, he turned and pointed a finger.

We didnt have another 9/11, he said angrily, because intelligence enabled warfighters to find the enemy first. Until youve got to pull the trigger, until youve had to bury your people, you dont have a clue.

It is commonly said of Snowden that he broke an oath of secrecy, a turn of phrase that captures a sense of betrayal. NSA Director Keith B. Alexander and Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., among many others, have used that formula.

In his interview with The Post, Snowden noted matter-of-factly that Standard Form 312, the classified-information nondisclosure agreement, is a civil contract. He signed it, but he pledged his fealty elsewhere.

The oath of allegiance is not an oath of secrecy, he said. That is an oath to the Constitution. That is the oath that I kept that Keith Alexander and James Clapper did not.

People who accuse him of disloyalty, he said, mistake his purpose.

I am not trying to bring down the NSA, I am working to improve the NSA, he said. I am still working for the NSA right now. They are the only ones who dont realize it.

What entitled Snowden, now 30, to take on that responsibility?

That whole question who elected you? inverts the model, he said. They elected me. The overseers.

He named the chairmen of the Senate and House intelligence committees.

Dianne Feinstein elected me when she asked softball questions in committee hearings, he said. Mike Rogers elected me when he kept these programs hidden. … The FISA court elected me when they decided to legislate from the bench on things that were far beyond the mandate of what that court was ever intended to do. The system failed comprehensively, and each level of oversight, each level of responsibility that should have addressed this, abdicated their responsibility.

It wasnt that they put it on me as an individual that Im uniquely qualified, an angel descending from the heavens as that they put it on someone, somewhere, he said. You have the capability, and you realize every other [person] sitting around the table has the same capability but they dont do it. So somebody has to be the first.

Front-page test

Snowden grants that NSA employees by and large believe in their mission and trust the agency to handle the secrets it takes from ordinary people deliberately, in the case of bulk records collection, and incidentally, when the content of American phone calls and e-mails are swept into NSA systems along with foreign targets.

But Snowden also said acceptance of the agencys operations was not universal. He began to test that proposition more than a year ago, he said, in periodic conversations with co-workers and superiors that foreshadowed his emerging plan.

Beginning in October 2012, he said, he brought his misgivings to two superiors in the NSAs Technology Directorate and two more in the NSA Threat Operations Centers regional base in Hawaii. For each of them, and 15 other co-workers, Snowden said he opened a data query tool called BOUNDLESSINFORMANT, which used color-coded heat maps to depict the volume of data ingested by NSA taps.

His colleagues were often astonished to learn we are collecting more in the United States on Americans than we are on Russians in Russia, he said. Many of them were troubled, he said, and several said they did not want to know any more.

I asked these people, What do you think the public would do if this was on the front page? he said. He noted that critics have accused him of bypassing internal channels of dissent. How is that not reporting it? How is that not raising it? he said.

By last December, Snowden was contacting reporters, although he had not yet passed along any classified information. He continued to give his colleagues the front-page test, he said, until April.

Asked about those conversations, NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines sent a prepared statement to The Post: After extensive investigation, including interviews with his former NSA supervisors and co-workers, we have not found any evidence to support Mr. Snowdens contention that he brought these matters to anyones attention.

Snowden recounted another set of conversations that he said took place three years earlier, when he was sent by the NSAs Technology Directorate to support operations at a listening post in Japan. As a system administrator, he had full access to security and auditing controls. He said he saw serious flaws with information security.

I actually recommended they move to two-man control for administrative access back in 2009, he said, first to his supervisor in Japan and then to the directorates chief of operations in the Pacific. Sure, a whistleblower could use these things, but so could a spy.

That precaution, which requires a second set of credentials to perform risky operations such as copying files onto a removable drive, has been among the principal security responses to the Snowden affair.

Vines, the NSA spokeswoman, said there was no record of those conversations, either.

U.S. would cease to exist

Just before releasing the documents this spring, Snowden made a final review of the risks. He had overcome what he described at the time as a selfish fear of the consequences for himself.

I said to you the only fear [left] is apathy that people wont care, that they wont want change, he recalled this month.

The documents leaked by Snowden compelled attention because they revealed to Americans a history they did not know they had.

Internal briefing documents reveled in the Golden Age of Electronic Surveillance. Brawny cover names such as MUSCULAR, TUMULT and TURMOIL boasted of the agencys prowess.

With assistance from private communications firms, the NSA had learned to capture enormous flows of data at the speed of light from fiber-optic cables that carried Internet and telephone traffic over continents and under seas. According to one document in Snowdens cache, the agencys Special Source Operations group, which as early as 2006 was said to be ingesting one Library of Congress every 14.4 seconds, had an official seal that might have been parody: an eagle with all the worlds cables in its grasp.

Each year, NSA systems collected hundreds of millions of e-mail address books, hundreds of billions of cellphone location records and trillions of domestic call logs.

Most of that data, by definition and intent, belonged to ordinary people suspected of nothing. But vast new storage capacity and processing tools enabled the NSA to use the information to map human relationships on a planetary scale. Only this way, its leadership believed, could the NSA reach beyond its universe of known intelligence targets.

In the view of the NSA, signals intelligence, or electronic eavesdropping, was a matter of life and death, without which America would cease to exist as we know it, according to an internal presentation in the first week of October 2001 as the agency ramped up its response to the al-Qaeda attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

With stakes such as those, there was no capability the NSA believed it should leave on the table. The agency followed orders from President George W. Bush to begin domestic collection without authority from Congress and the courts. When the NSA won those authorities later, some of them under secret interpretations of laws passed by Congress between 2007 and 2012, the Obama administration went further still.

Using PRISM, the cover name for collection of user data from Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple and five other U.S.-based companies, the NSA could obtain all communications to or from any specified target. The companies had no choice but to comply with the government’s request for data.

But the NSA could not use PRISM, which was overseen once a year by the surveillance court, for the collection of virtually all data handled by those companies. To widen its access, it teamed up with its British counterpart, Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, to break into the private fiber-optic links that connected Google and Yahoo data centers around the world.

That operation, which used the cover name MUSCULAR, tapped into U.S. company data from outside U.S. territory. The NSA, therefore, believed it did not need permission from Congress or judicial oversight. Data from hundreds of millions of U.S. accounts flowed over those Google and Yahoo links, but classified rules allowed the NSA to presume that data ingested overseas belonged to foreigners.

Persistent threat

Disclosure of the MUSCULAR project enraged and galvanized U.S. technology executives. They believed the NSA had lawful access to their front doors and had broken down the back doors anyway.

Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith took to his companys blog and called the NSA an advanced persistent threat the worst of all fighting words in U.S. cybersecurity circles, generally reserved for Chinese state-sponsored hackers and sophisticated criminal enterprises.

For the industry as a whole, it caused everyone to ask whether we knew as much as we thought, Smith recalled in an interview. It underscored the fact that while people were confident that the U.S. government was complying with U.S. laws for activity within U.S. territory, perhaps there were things going on outside the United States … that made this bigger and more complicated and more disconcerting than we knew.

They wondered, he said, whether the NSA was collecting proprietary information from the companies themselves.

Led by Google and then Yahoo, one company after another announced expensive plans to encrypt its data traffic over tens of thousands of miles of cable. It was a direct in some cases, explicit blow to NSA collection of user data in bulk. If the NSA wanted the information, it would have to request it or circumvent the encryption one target at a time.

As these projects are completed, the Internet will become a less friendly place for the NSA to work. The agency can still collect data from virtually anyone, but collecting from everyone will be harder.

The industrys response, Smith acknowledged, was driven by a business threat. U.S. companies could not afford to be seen as candy stores for U.S. intelligence. But the principle of the thing, Smith said, is fundamentally about ensuring that customer data is turned over to governments pursuant to valid legal orders and in accordance with constitutional principles.

Warheads on foreheads

Snowden has focused on much the same point from the beginning: Individual targeting would cure most of what he believes is wrong with the NSA.

Six months ago, a reporter asked him by encrypted e-mail why Americans would want the NSA to give up bulk data collection if that would limit a useful intelligence tool.

I believe the cost of frank public debate about the powers of our government is less than the danger posed by allowing these powers to continue growing in secret, he replied, calling them a direct threat to democratic governance.

In the Moscow interview, Snowden said, What the government wants is something they never had before, adding: They want total awareness. The question is, is that something we should be allowing?

Snowden likened the NSAs powers to those used by British authorities in Colonial America, when general warrants allowed for anyone to be searched. The FISA court, Snowden said, is authorizing general warrants for the entire countrys metadata.

The last time that happened, we fought a war over it, he said.

Technology, of course, has enabled a great deal of consumer surveillance by private companies, as well. The difference with the NSAs possession of the data, Snowden said, is that government has the power to take away life or freedom.

At the NSA, he said, there are people in the office who joke about, We put warheads on foreheads. Twitter doesnt put warheads on foreheads.

Privacy, as Snowden sees it, is a universal right, applicable to American and foreign surveillance alike.

I dont care whether youre the pope or Osama bin Laden, he said. As long as theres an individualized, articulable, probable cause for targeting these people as legitimate foreign intelligence, thats fine. I dont think its 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.

Everybody knows

On June 29, Gilles de Kerchove, the European Unions counterterrorism coordinator, awoke to a report in Der Spiegel that U.S. intelligence had broken into E.U. offices, including his, to implant surveillance devices.

The 56-year-old Belgian, whose work is often classified, did not consider himself naive. But he took the news personally, and more so when he heard unofficial explanations from Washington.

Everybody knows. Everybody does Keith Alexander said that, de Kerchove said in an interview. I dont like the idea that the NSA will put bugs in my office. No. I dont like it. No. Between allies? No. Im surprised that people find that noble.

Comparable reactions, expressed less politely in private, accompanied revelations that the NSA had tapped the cellphones of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. The blowback roiled relations with both allies, among others. Rousseff canceled a state dinner with Obama in September.

When it comes to spying on allies, by Snowdens lights, the news is not always about the target.

Its the deception of the government thats revealed, Snowden said, noting that the Obama administration offered false public assurances after the initial reports about NSA surveillance in Germany The U.S. government said: We follow German laws in Germany. We never target German citizens. And then the story comes out and its: What are you talking about? Youre spying on the chancellor. You just lied to the entire country, in front of Congress.

In private, U.S. intelligence officials still maintain that spying among friends is routine for all concerned, but they are giving greater weight to the risk of getting caught.

There are many things we do in intelligence that, if revealed, would have the potential for all kinds of blowback, Clapper told a House panel in October.

They will make mistakes

U.S. officials say it is obvious that Snowdens disclosures will do grave harm to intelligence gathering, exposing methods that adversaries will learn to avoid.

Were seeing al-Qaeda and related groups start to look for ways to adjust how they communicate, said Matthew Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center and a former general counsel at the NSA.

Other officials, who declined to speak on the record about particulars, said they had watched some of their surveillance targets, in effect, changing channels. That evidence can be read another way, they acknowledged, given that the NSA managed to monitor the shift.

Clapper has said repeatedly in public that the leaks did great damage, but in private he has taken a more nuanced stance. A review of early damage assessments in previous espionage cases, he said in one closed-door briefing this fall, found that dire forecasts of harm were seldom borne out.

People must communicate, he said, according to one participant who described the confidential meeting on the condition of anonymity. They will make mistakes, and we will exploit them.

According to senior intelligence officials, two uncertainties feed their greatest concerns. One is whether Russia or China managed to take the Snowden archive from his computer, a worst-case assumption for which three officials acknowledged there is no evidence.

In a previous assignment, Snowden taught U.S. intelligence personnel how to operate securely in a high-threat digital environment, using a training scenario in which China was the designated threat. He declined to discuss the whereabouts of the files, but he said that he is confident he did not expose them to Chinese intelligence in Hong Kong. And he said he did not bring them to Russia.

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Edward Snowden takes on Joe Scarborough over Nunes memo

Whistleblower Edward Snowden has weighed in on a debate between MSNBC host Joe Scarborough and writer Jay Caruso over the controversial GOP memo that was made public last week.

On Friday, the House Intelligence Committee released the memo, whichwasdrafted bythe staff of Republican Representative Devin Nunes. Itallegesthe FBI and Department of Justice did not provide adequate information to a judge when they sought to renew a court warrant for surveillance of Carter Page, a foreign policyadviser for the Trump campaign.

In an unlikely debate on the memos release, Scarborough found himself on the receiving end of a tweet from Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractorwho sought political asylum in Russia following his leaking of documents that exposed the breadth of the NSAs masssurveillance program.

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Edward Snowden responded to MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough on Twitter after the latter criticized his approach to national security as “reckless.” The Guardian via Getty Images

Sharing aNational Revieweditorial,Scarborough tweeted on Sunday: A disappointing @ NRO editorial trying to explain away Trump and Nunes war on the Justice Department and FBI. It even applauds exposing the FISA process for a partisan memo that only hurts Trumps cause. What a long way from the #NeverTrump cover.

Caruso hit back at Scarboroughs tweet: This is a mischaracterization of what they wrote. The key paragraph says all the information should be released so the public knows what happened.

Not to be outdone, Scarborough replied: All the information should be released….My God. You now embrace Edward Snowdens reckless approach toward national security matters like FISA? How illuminating.

After his name wasdragged into the debate, Snowden himself responded to Scarborough, apparently shutting down the debate, Mediaite reported.

Dear Joe, with respect, that “reckless” approach led to the largest reform of unconstitutional domestic surveillance since 1978, and the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service journalism. If that’s what recklessness looks like, we could use a hell of a lot more of it, he wrote.

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Edward Snowden takes on Joe Scarborough over Nunes memo

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February 6, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Edward Snowden  Comments Closed

Even Edward Snowden Is Slamming the Devin Nunes Memo

Edward Snowden is the latest to weigh in on U.S. Representative Devin Nunes push to release a formerly classified memo suggesting the F.B.I and Justice Department abused their authority to spy on former Trump campaign advisor Carter Paige. Snowdens rise to fame and perspective on the matter comes courtesy of his 2013 leaking of top-secret N.S.A. documents detailing a broad domestic and international spying program orchestrated by the U.S. Government.

#TBT: I required the journalists who broke the 2013 domestic spying stories (as a condition of access) to talk with gov in advance of publication as an extraordinary precaution to prevent any risk of harm. Turns out our standard of care was higher than the actual Intel committee. https://t.co/ATzLQGqkeo

And while Snowden says he took the precaution of making journalists who published information from his 1.5 million files talk to the members of the intelligence community to prevent harm, Nunes reportedly took no such measures.

Mr. Nunes has not read the warrant from which the memo is said to be drawn, wrote Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Matthew Rosenberg, in a New York Times report on Nunes. The Justice Department considers such warrants extremely sensitive and allowed only one Democrat and one Republican from the [Ways and Means] committee, plus staff, to view it. Rather than do so himself, Mr. Nunes designated Representative Trey Gowdy of South Carolina to be the Republican reader.

The memo, warrant and related investigation are all directly tied to F.B.I. reports of Russian meddling in the 2016 Presidential Election. In addition to serving as Trumps campaign advisor, Paige met with two men who were charged with working as agents for Russian intelligence in New York. Donald Trump, who won the election and has been accused of collusion with Russian operatives, signed off on releasing the memo. Trump granted the release against what the F.B.I. called grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memos accuracy.

Trump then took to Twitter to note (in the third person) that the memo he signed off on releasing totally vindicates him.

This memo totally vindicates Trump in probe. But the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on. Their was no Collusion and there was no Obstruction (the word now used because, after one year of looking endlessly and finding NOTHING, collusion is dead). This is an American disgrace!

Among other things, that led to Snowden calling out the very House Intelligence Committee he asked journalists to talk to in 2013.

Turns out our standard of care was higher than the actual Intel committee, Snowden tweeted, after it was all but confirmed Nunes push to publicize the memo would be successful.

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Even Edward Snowden Is Slamming the Devin Nunes Memo

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February 4, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Edward Snowden  Comments Closed

Edward Snowden: Here’s how we take back the Internet | TED Talk

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February 2, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Edward Snowden  Comments Closed

Edward Snowden – Simple English Wikipedia, the free …

Edward Joseph Snowden (born 21 June 1983) is a former contractor who worked for the National Security Agency (NSA) of the United States. He released top secret NSA documents. His job at the NSA allowed him access to them. He has said, “I do not want to live in a world where anything I do or say is recorded.” Snowden traveled to Moscow after giving the documents to American journalists in Hong Kong. He had asylum in Russia for one year. Then he was granted permission to stay in the country for three more years.[2] This has increased tensions between Russia and the United States. In 2013 Snowden was voted Person of the Year by The Guardian.[3] Media related to Edward Snowden at Wikimedia Commons

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July 14, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Edward Snowden  Comments Closed

Edward Snowden Fast Facts – CNN

Mother: Elizabeth Snowden, federal court administrator Other Facts:Dropped out of high school. The Guardian reported that in 2009, Snowden got the first of several jobs with private contractors that worked with the National Security Agency (NSA). Timeline:May 7, 2004 – Enlists in the Army Reserve as a Special Forces candidate. September 28, 2004 – Is discharged from the Army Reserve without completing any training. 2013 – Works for Booz Allen Hamilton for less than three months, assigned to a team in Hawaii. Snowden is terminated on June 10, 2013. May 20, 2013 – Snowden leaves for Hong Kong. June 9, 2013 – Booz Allen Hamilton releases a statement confirming that Snowden has been an employee of their firm for almost three months. June 17, 2013 – During a live online chat, the person identified as Snowden by Britain’s Guardian newspaper insists that US authorities have access to phone calls, e-mails and other communications far beyond constitutional bounds. June 21, 2013 – Federal prosecutors unseal a complaint filed in US District Court in Virginia on June 14, 2013, charging Snowden with espionage and theft of government property. June 22, 2013 – A senior US administration official says the United States has contacted authorities in Hong Kong to seek the extradition of Snowden. June 23, 2013 – A source tells CNN that the US government has revoked Snowden’s passport. July 24, 2013 – Russian news media reports that Russia has approved documents that would allow Snowden to enter the rest of the country while his temporary asylum request is considered. August 1, 2013 – Kucherena tells CNN that Snowden’s application for political asylum for a year has been approved and he has left the Moscow airport. October 31, 2013 – Snowden’s attorney Kucherena tells CNN that his client has been hired by an unnamed Russian website. November 3, 2013 – A letter, purportedly written by Snowden, is published in the German magazine Der Spiegel. The letter, titled “A Manifesto for the Truth” says, “mass surveillance is a global problem and needs a global solution.” August 7, 2014 – Snowden’s attorney announces that Snowden has been granted an extension to stay in Russia for three more years. July 28, 2015 – The White House rejects a petition to pardon Snowden and maintains its position that Snowden should return to the United States. The petition contains over 167,000 signatures supporting Snowden.

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July 7, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Edward Snowden  Comments Closed

Edward Snowden: Leaks that exposed US spy programme – BBC News

Edward Snowden, a former contractor for the CIA, left the US in late May after leaking to the media details of extensive internet and phone surveillance by American intelligence. Mr Snowden, who has been granted temporary asylum in Russia, faces espionage charges over his actions. As the scandal widens, BBC News looks at the leaks that brought US spying activities to light. The scandal broke in early June 2013 when the Guardian newspaper reported that the US National Security Agency (NSA) was collecting the telephone records of tens of millions of Americans. The paper published the secret court order directing telecommunications company Verizon to hand over all its telephone data to the NSA on an “ongoing daily basis”. That report was followed by revelations in both the Washington Post and Guardian that the NSA tapped directly into the servers of nine internet firms, including Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, to track online communication in a surveillance programme known as Prism. Britain’s electronic eavesdropping agency GCHQ was also accused of gathering information on the online companies via Prism. Shortly afterwards, the Guardian revealed that ex-CIA systems analyst Edward Snowden was behind the leaks about the US and UK surveillance programmes. He has been charged in the US with theft of government property, unauthorised communication of national defence information and wilful communication of classified communications intelligence. The GCHQ scandal widened on 21 June when the Guardian reported that the UK spy agency was tapping fibre-optic cables that carry global communications and sharing vast amounts of data with the NSA, its US counterpart. The paper revealed it had obtained documents from Edward Snowden showing that the GCHQ operation, codenamed Tempora, had been running for 18 months. GCHQ was able to boast a larger collection of data than the US, tapping into 200 fibre-optic cables to give it the ability to monitor up to 600 million communications every day, according to the report. The information from internet and phone use was allegedly stored for up to 30 days to be sifted and analysed. Although GCHQ did not break the law, the Guardian suggested that the existing legislation was being very broadly applied to allow such a large volume of data to be collected. GCHQ and NSA eavesdropping on Italian phone calls and internet traffic was reported by the Italian weekly L’Espresso on 24 October. The revelations were sourced to Edward Snowden. It is alleged that three undersea cables with terminals in Italy were targeted. Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta called the allegations “inconceivable and unacceptable” and said he wanted to establish the truth. After fleeing to Hong Kong, Edward Snowden told the South China Morning Post that the NSA had led more than 61,000 hacking operations worldwide, including many in Hong Kong and mainland China. He said targets in Hong Kong included the Chinese University, public officials and businesses. “We hack network backbones – like huge internet routers, basically – that give us access to the communications of hundreds of thousands of computers without having to hack every single one,” Mr Snowden was quoted as saying. Claims emerged on 29 June that the NSA had also spied on European Union offices in the US and Europe, according to Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine. Media playback is unsupported on your device The magazine said it had seen leaked NSA documents showing that the US had spied on EU internal computer networks in Washington and at the 27-member bloc’s UN office in New York. The paper added that it had been shown the “top secret” files by Edward Snowden. One document dated September 2010 explicitly named the EU representation at the UN as a “location target”, Der Spiegel wrote. The files allegedly suggested that the NSA had also conducted an electronic eavesdropping operation in a building in Brussels, where the EU Council of Ministers and the European Council were located. It is not known what information US spies might have obtained. But observers say details of European positions on trade and military matters could be useful to those involved in US-EU negotiations. The German government summoned the US ambassador on 24 October – a very unusual step – after German media reported that the NSA had eavesdropped on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone. The allegations dominated an EU summit, with Mrs Merkel demanding a full explanation and warning that trust between allies could be undermined. She discussed the matter by phone with US President Barack Obama. He assured her that her calls were not being monitored now and that it would not happen in future. But the White House did not deny bugging her phone in the past. Past surveillance by secret police – whether Nazi or communist – has made Germans very sensitive about privacy issues. Mrs Merkel grew up in the former East Germany, where the Stasi spied on millions of citizens. France’s President Francois Hollande meanwhile expressed alarm at reports that millions of French calls had been monitored by the US. The Guardian later reported that the NSA had monitored the phones of 35 world leaders after being given their numbers by another US government official. Again, Edward Snowden was the source of the report. A total of 38 embassies and missions have been the “targets” of US spying operations, according to a secret file leaked to the Guardian. Countries targeted included France, Italy and Greece, as well as America’s non-European allies such as Japan, South Korea and India, the paper reported on 1 July. EU embassies and missions in New York and Washington were also said to be under surveillance. The file allegedly detailed “an extraordinary range” of spying methods used to intercept messages, including bugs, specialised antennae and wire taps. The Guardian report also mentioned codenames of alleged operations against the French and Greek missions to the UN, as well as the Italian embassy in Washington. US Secretary of State John Kerry said that activities to protect national security were “not unusual” in international relations. US allies in Latin America were angered by revelations in Brazil’s O Globo newspaper on 10 July that the NSA ran a continent-wide surveillance programme. The paper cited leaked documents showing that, at least until 2002, the NSA ran the operation from a base in Brasilia, seizing web traffic and details of phone calls from around the region. US agents apparently joined forces with Brazilian telecoms firms to snoop on oil and energy firms, foreign visitors to Brazil, and major players in Mexico’s drug wars. Mexico, Brazil, Colombia and Chile all demanded answers from the US. But the revelations on Latin America kept coming, and in September more specific claims emerged that emails and phone calls of the presidents of Mexico and Brazil had been intercepted. Also, the US had been spying on Brazil’s state-owned oil firm Petrobras. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff cancelled a state visit to the US in the most high-profile diplomatic move since the scandal hit. Documents leaked to the Washington Post in mid-August suggested the NSA breaks US privacy laws hundreds of times every year. The papers revealed that US citizens were inadvertently snooped on for reasons including typing mistakes and errors in the system, In one instance in 2008, a “large number” of calls placed from Washington DC were intercepted after an error in a computer program entered “202” – the telephone area code for Washington DC – into a data query instead of “20”, the country code for Egypt. Later in August, the Washington Post reported that US spy agencies had a “black budget” for secret operations of almost $53bn in 2013. In January 2014, the Guardian newspaper and Channel 4 News reported that the US had collected and stored almost 200 million text messages per day across the globe. A National Security Agency (NSA) program is said to have extracted and stored data from the SMS messages to gather location information, contacts and financial data. The documents also revealed that GCHQ had used the NSA database to search for information on people in the UK. The programme, Dishfire, analyses SMS messages to extract information including contacts from missed call alerts, location from roaming and travel alerts, financial information from bank alerts and payments and names from electronic business cards, according to the report. Through the vast database, which was in use at least as late as 2012, the NSA gained information on those who were not specifically targeted or under suspicion, the report says. The revelations came on the eve of an expected announcement by President Obama of a response to recommendations by a US panel on ways to change US electronic surveillance programmes.

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March 22, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Edward Snowden  Comments Closed

Edward Snowden (@Snowden) | Twitter

Speaking truth to power a phrase, we often use. #AsmaJahangir lived,practiced till her last breath. Questioned mullahs, military, judges, politicians, all the powerful;defended downtrodden. Faced threats & attacks. Was never afraid.What a hero. We have to contend with a void. pic.twitter.com/NFamtObL0s

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March 1, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Edward Snowden  Comments Closed

Edward Snowden: I got a security clearance faster than half …

Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked classified intelligence to reporters in 2013, taunted the Trump administration for taking over a year to obtain permanent security clearances for some of the presidents top advisers. I got a security clearance faster than half of this White House, Mr. Snowden, 34, tweeted Monday. Mr. Snowdens razzing came in response to recent news reports involving President Trumps administration and its inability so far to obtain permanent security clearances for dozens of White House officials and political appointees, including Jared Kushner, the presidents son-in-law and close adviser, and Rob Porter, the recently terminated White House staff secretary. More than a year into the Trump administration, upwards of 40 people have relied on temporary security clearances granting them interim access to classified information pending the results of ongoing FBI-conducted background checks, Mr. Kushner and Mr. Porter included, The Washington Post and CNN both reported Friday. The White House has defended the delayed turnaround in Mr. Kushners case as completely normal. Skeptics have pointed at past reports involving his previously undisclosed conversations with former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyack, however, as well as other incidents that could potentially complicate his ability to clear any hurdles keeping him from a permanent security clearance. Mr. Snowden enlisted in the U.S. Army in May 2004, but he broke both of his legs during basic training and was discharged four months later. He took a job the following year as a security guard at a NSA facility, albeit after obtaining a high-level security clearance upon passing a polygraph examination and background check, Wired reported previously. He subsequently worked for the CIA and had been employed as a NSA contractor holding a top-secret security clearance when he began leaking classified intelligence in 2013, including documents exposing the extent of the U.S. intelligence communitys international surveillance operations. Mr. Snowden was charged with espionage by the Obama administration in connection with leaking classified intelligence, but was granted asylum by Russia in 2013 and has avoided prosecution by residing there ever since. Mr. Trump was highly critical of Mr. Snowden before taking office, and he previously called him a traitor, a disgrace, a coward, a piece of human garbage, a liar and a fraud and a spy who should be executed, among other unpleasantries.

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February 18, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Edward Snowden  Comments Closed

Edward Snowden, after months of NSA revelations, says his …

MOSCOW The familiar voice on the hotel room phone did not waste words. What time does your clock say, exactly? he asked. He checked the reply against his watch and described a place to meet. Ill see you there, he said. Edward Joseph Snowden emerged at the appointed hour, alone, blending into a light crowd of locals and tourists. He cocked his arm for a handshake, then turned his shoulder to indicate a path. Before long he had guided his visitor to a secure space out of public view. During more than 14 hours of interviews, the first he has conducted in person since arriving here in June, Snowden did not part the curtains or step outside. Russia granted him temporary asylum on Aug.1, but Snowden remains a target of surpassing interest to the intelligence services whose secrets he spilled on an epic scale. Late this spring, Snowden supplied three journalists, including this one, with caches of top-secret documents from the National Security Agency, where he worked as a contractor. Dozens of revelations followed, and then hundreds, as news organizations around the world picked up the story. Congress pressed for explanations, new evidence revived old lawsuits and the Obama administration was obliged to declassify thousands of pages it had fought for years to conceal. Taken together, the revelations have brought to light a global surveillance system that cast off many of its historical restraints after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Secret legal authorities empowered the NSA to sweep in the telephone, Internet and location records of whole populations. One of the leaked presentation slides described the agencys collection philosophy as Order one of everything off the menu. Six months after the first revelations appeared in The Washington Post and Britains Guardian newspaper, Snowden agreed to reflect at length on the roots and repercussions of his choice. He was relaxed and animated over two days of nearly unbroken conversation, fueled by burgers, pasta, ice cream and Russian pastry. Snowden offered vignettes from his intelligence career and from his recent life as an indoor cat in Russia. But he consistently steered the conversation back to surveillance, democracy and the meaning of the documents he exposed. For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the missions 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 didnt want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself. All I wanted was for the public to be able to have a say in how they are governed, he said. That is a milestone we left a long time ago. Right now, all we are looking at are stretch goals. Going in blind Snowden is an orderly thinker, with an engineers approach to problem-solving. He had come to believe that a dangerous machine of mass surveillance was growing unchecked. Closed-door oversight by Congress and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court was a graveyard of judgment, he said, manipulated by the agency it was supposed to keep in check. Classification rules erected walls to prevent public debate. Toppling those walls would be a spectacular act of transgression against the norms that prevailed inside them. Someone would have to bypass security, extract the secrets, make undetected contact with journalists and provide them with enough proof to tell the stories. The NSAs business is information dominance, the use of other peoples secrets to shape events. At 29, Snowden upended the agency on its own turf. You recognize that youre going in blind, that theres no model, Snowden said, acknowledging that he had no way to know whether the public would share his views. But when you weigh that against the alternative, which is not to act, he said, you realize that some analysis is better than no analysis. Because even if your analysis proves to be wrong, the marketplace of ideas will bear that out. If you look at it from an engineering perspective, an iterative perspective, its clear that you have to try something rather than do nothing. By his own terms, Snowden succeeded beyond plausible ambition. The NSA, accustomed to watching without being watched, faces scrutiny it has not endured since the 1970s, or perhaps ever. The cascading effects have made themselves felt in Congress, the courts, popular culture, Silicon Valley and world capitals. The basic structure of the Internet itself is now in question, as Brazil and members of the European Union consider measures to keep their data away from U.S. territory and U.S. technology giants including Google, Microsoft and Yahoo take extraordinary steps to block the collection of data by their government. For months, Obama administration officials attacked Snowdens motives and said the work of the NSA was distorted by selective leaks and misinterpretations. On Dec. 16, in a lawsuit that could not have gone forward without the disclosures made possible by Snowden, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon described the NSAs capabilities as almost Orwellian and said its bulk collection of U.S. domestic telephone records was probably unconstitutional. The next day, in the Roosevelt Room, an unusual delegation of executives from old telephone companies and young Internet firms told President Obama that the NSAs intrusion into their networks was a threat to the U.S. information economy. The following day, an advisory panel appointed by Obama recommended substantial new restrictions on the NSA, including an end to the domestic call-records program. This week is a turning point, said the Government Accountability Projects Jesselyn Radack, who is one of Snowdens legal advisers. It has been just a cascade. They elected me On June 22, the Justice Department unsealed a criminal complaint charging Snowden with espionage and felony theft of government property. It was a dry enumeration of statutes, without a trace of the anger pulsing through Snowdens former precincts. In the intelligence and national security establishments, Snowden is widely viewed as a reckless saboteur, and journalists abetting him little less so. At the Aspen Security Forum in July, a four-star military officer known for his even keel seethed through one meeting alongside a reporter he knew to be in contact with Snowden. Before walking away, he turned and pointed a finger. We didnt have another 9/11, he said angrily, because intelligence enabled warfighters to find the enemy first. Until youve got to pull the trigger, until youve had to bury your people, you dont have a clue. It is commonly said of Snowden that he broke an oath of secrecy, a turn of phrase that captures a sense of betrayal. NSA Director Keith B. Alexander and Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., among many others, have used that formula. In his interview with The Post, Snowden noted matter-of-factly that Standard Form 312, the classified-information nondisclosure agreement, is a civil contract. He signed it, but he pledged his fealty elsewhere. The oath of allegiance is not an oath of secrecy, he said. That is an oath to the Constitution. That is the oath that I kept that Keith Alexander and James Clapper did not. People who accuse him of disloyalty, he said, mistake his purpose. I am not trying to bring down the NSA, I am working to improve the NSA, he said. I am still working for the NSA right now. They are the only ones who dont realize it. What entitled Snowden, now 30, to take on that responsibility? That whole question who elected you? inverts the model, he said. They elected me. The overseers. He named the chairmen of the Senate and House intelligence committees. Dianne Feinstein elected me when she asked softball questions in committee hearings, he said. Mike Rogers elected me when he kept these programs hidden. … The FISA court elected me when they decided to legislate from the bench on things that were far beyond the mandate of what that court was ever intended to do. The system failed comprehensively, and each level of oversight, each level of responsibility that should have addressed this, abdicated their responsibility. It wasnt that they put it on me as an individual that Im uniquely qualified, an angel descending from the heavens as that they put it on someone, somewhere, he said. You have the capability, and you realize every other [person] sitting around the table has the same capability but they dont do it. So somebody has to be the first. Front-page test Snowden grants that NSA employees by and large believe in their mission and trust the agency to handle the secrets it takes from ordinary people deliberately, in the case of bulk records collection, and incidentally, when the content of American phone calls and e-mails are swept into NSA systems along with foreign targets. But Snowden also said acceptance of the agencys operations was not universal. He began to test that proposition more than a year ago, he said, in periodic conversations with co-workers and superiors that foreshadowed his emerging plan. Beginning in October 2012, he said, he brought his misgivings to two superiors in the NSAs Technology Directorate and two more in the NSA Threat Operations Centers regional base in Hawaii. For each of them, and 15 other co-workers, Snowden said he opened a data query tool called BOUNDLESSINFORMANT, which used color-coded heat maps to depict the volume of data ingested by NSA taps. His colleagues were often astonished to learn we are collecting more in the United States on Americans than we are on Russians in Russia, he said. Many of them were troubled, he said, and several said they did not want to know any more. I asked these people, What do you think the public would do if this was on the front page? he said. He noted that critics have accused him of bypassing internal channels of dissent. How is that not reporting it? How is that not raising it? he said. By last December, Snowden was contacting reporters, although he had not yet passed along any classified information. He continued to give his colleagues the front-page test, he said, until April. Asked about those conversations, NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines sent a prepared statement to The Post: After extensive investigation, including interviews with his former NSA supervisors and co-workers, we have not found any evidence to support Mr. Snowdens contention that he brought these matters to anyones attention. Snowden recounted another set of conversations that he said took place three years earlier, when he was sent by the NSAs Technology Directorate to support operations at a listening post in Japan. As a system administrator, he had full access to security and auditing controls. He said he saw serious flaws with information security. I actually recommended they move to two-man control for administrative access back in 2009, he said, first to his supervisor in Japan and then to the directorates chief of operations in the Pacific. Sure, a whistleblower could use these things, but so could a spy. That precaution, which requires a second set of credentials to perform risky operations such as copying files onto a removable drive, has been among the principal security responses to the Snowden affair. Vines, the NSA spokeswoman, said there was no record of those conversations, either. U.S. would cease to exist Just before releasing the documents this spring, Snowden made a final review of the risks. He had overcome what he described at the time as a selfish fear of the consequences for himself. I said to you the only fear [left] is apathy that people wont care, that they wont want change, he recalled this month. The documents leaked by Snowden compelled attention because they revealed to Americans a history they did not know they had. Internal briefing documents reveled in the Golden Age of Electronic Surveillance. Brawny cover names such as MUSCULAR, TUMULT and TURMOIL boasted of the agencys prowess. With assistance from private communications firms, the NSA had learned to capture enormous flows of data at the speed of light from fiber-optic cables that carried Internet and telephone traffic over continents and under seas. According to one document in Snowdens cache, the agencys Special Source Operations group, which as early as 2006 was said to be ingesting one Library of Congress every 14.4 seconds, had an official seal that might have been parody: an eagle with all the worlds cables in its grasp. Each year, NSA systems collected hundreds of millions of e-mail address books, hundreds of billions of cellphone location records and trillions of domestic call logs. Most of that data, by definition and intent, belonged to ordinary people suspected of nothing. But vast new storage capacity and processing tools enabled the NSA to use the information to map human relationships on a planetary scale. Only this way, its leadership believed, could the NSA reach beyond its universe of known intelligence targets. In the view of the NSA, signals intelligence, or electronic eavesdropping, was a matter of life and death, without which America would cease to exist as we know it, according to an internal presentation in the first week of October 2001 as the agency ramped up its response to the al-Qaeda attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. With stakes such as those, there was no capability the NSA believed it should leave on the table. The agency followed orders from President George W. Bush to begin domestic collection without authority from Congress and the courts. When the NSA won those authorities later, some of them under secret interpretations of laws passed by Congress between 2007 and 2012, the Obama administration went further still. Using PRISM, the cover name for collection of user data from Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple and five other U.S.-based companies, the NSA could obtain all communications to or from any specified target. The companies had no choice but to comply with the government’s request for data. But the NSA could not use PRISM, which was overseen once a year by the surveillance court, for the collection of virtually all data handled by those companies. To widen its access, it teamed up with its British counterpart, Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, to break into the private fiber-optic links that connected Google and Yahoo data centers around the world. That operation, which used the cover name MUSCULAR, tapped into U.S. company data from outside U.S. territory. The NSA, therefore, believed it did not need permission from Congress or judicial oversight. Data from hundreds of millions of U.S. accounts flowed over those Google and Yahoo links, but classified rules allowed the NSA to presume that data ingested overseas belonged to foreigners. Persistent threat Disclosure of the MUSCULAR project enraged and galvanized U.S. technology executives. They believed the NSA had lawful access to their front doors and had broken down the back doors anyway. Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith took to his companys blog and called the NSA an advanced persistent threat the worst of all fighting words in U.S. cybersecurity circles, generally reserved for Chinese state-sponsored hackers and sophisticated criminal enterprises. For the industry as a whole, it caused everyone to ask whether we knew as much as we thought, Smith recalled in an interview. It underscored the fact that while people were confident that the U.S. government was complying with U.S. laws for activity within U.S. territory, perhaps there were things going on outside the United States … that made this bigger and more complicated and more disconcerting than we knew. They wondered, he said, whether the NSA was collecting proprietary information from the companies themselves. Led by Google and then Yahoo, one company after another announced expensive plans to encrypt its data traffic over tens of thousands of miles of cable. It was a direct in some cases, explicit blow to NSA collection of user data in bulk. If the NSA wanted the information, it would have to request it or circumvent the encryption one target at a time. As these projects are completed, the Internet will become a less friendly place for the NSA to work. The agency can still collect data from virtually anyone, but collecting from everyone will be harder. The industrys response, Smith acknowledged, was driven by a business threat. U.S. companies could not afford to be seen as candy stores for U.S. intelligence. But the principle of the thing, Smith said, is fundamentally about ensuring that customer data is turned over to governments pursuant to valid legal orders and in accordance with constitutional principles. Warheads on foreheads Snowden has focused on much the same point from the beginning: Individual targeting would cure most of what he believes is wrong with the NSA. Six months ago, a reporter asked him by encrypted e-mail why Americans would want the NSA to give up bulk data collection if that would limit a useful intelligence tool. I believe the cost of frank public debate about the powers of our government is less than the danger posed by allowing these powers to continue growing in secret, he replied, calling them a direct threat to democratic governance. In the Moscow interview, Snowden said, What the government wants is something they never had before, adding: They want total awareness. The question is, is that something we should be allowing? Snowden likened the NSAs powers to those used by British authorities in Colonial America, when general warrants allowed for anyone to be searched. The FISA court, Snowden said, is authorizing general warrants for the entire countrys metadata. The last time that happened, we fought a war over it, he said. Technology, of course, has enabled a great deal of consumer surveillance by private companies, as well. The difference with the NSAs possession of the data, Snowden said, is that government has the power to take away life or freedom. At the NSA, he said, there are people in the office who joke about, We put warheads on foreheads. Twitter doesnt put warheads on foreheads. Privacy, as Snowden sees it, is a universal right, applicable to American and foreign surveillance alike. I dont care whether youre the pope or Osama bin Laden, he said. As long as theres an individualized, articulable, probable cause for targeting these people as legitimate foreign intelligence, thats fine. I dont think its 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. Everybody knows On June 29, Gilles de Kerchove, the European Unions counterterrorism coordinator, awoke to a report in Der Spiegel that U.S. intelligence had broken into E.U. offices, including his, to implant surveillance devices. The 56-year-old Belgian, whose work is often classified, did not consider himself naive. But he took the news personally, and more so when he heard unofficial explanations from Washington. Everybody knows. Everybody does Keith Alexander said that, de Kerchove said in an interview. I dont like the idea that the NSA will put bugs in my office. No. I dont like it. No. Between allies? No. Im surprised that people find that noble. Comparable reactions, expressed less politely in private, accompanied revelations that the NSA had tapped the cellphones of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. The blowback roiled relations with both allies, among others. Rousseff canceled a state dinner with Obama in September. When it comes to spying on allies, by Snowdens lights, the news is not always about the target. Its the deception of the government thats revealed, Snowden said, noting that the Obama administration offered false public assurances after the initial reports about NSA surveillance in Germany The U.S. government said: We follow German laws in Germany. We never target German citizens. And then the story comes out and its: What are you talking about? Youre spying on the chancellor. You just lied to the entire country, in front of Congress. In private, U.S. intelligence officials still maintain that spying among friends is routine for all concerned, but they are giving greater weight to the risk of getting caught. There are many things we do in intelligence that, if revealed, would have the potential for all kinds of blowback, Clapper told a House panel in October. They will make mistakes U.S. officials say it is obvious that Snowdens disclosures will do grave harm to intelligence gathering, exposing methods that adversaries will learn to avoid. Were seeing al-Qaeda and related groups start to look for ways to adjust how they communicate, said Matthew Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center and a former general counsel at the NSA. Other officials, who declined to speak on the record about particulars, said they had watched some of their surveillance targets, in effect, changing channels. That evidence can be read another way, they acknowledged, given that the NSA managed to monitor the shift. Clapper has said repeatedly in public that the leaks did great damage, but in private he has taken a more nuanced stance. A review of early damage assessments in previous espionage cases, he said in one closed-door briefing this fall, found that dire forecasts of harm were seldom borne out. People must communicate, he said, according to one participant who described the confidential meeting on the condition of anonymity. They will make mistakes, and we will exploit them. According to senior intelligence officials, two uncertainties feed their greatest concerns. One is whether Russia or China managed to take the Snowden archive from his computer, a worst-case assumption for which three officials acknowledged there is no evidence. In a previous assignment, Snowden taught U.S. intelligence personnel how to operate securely in a high-threat digital environment, using a training scenario in which China was the designated threat. He declined to discuss the whereabouts of the files, but he said that he is confident he did not expose them to Chinese intelligence in Hong Kong. And he said he did not bring them to Russia.

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February 11, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Edward Snowden  Comments Closed

Edward Snowden takes on Joe Scarborough over Nunes memo

Whistleblower Edward Snowden has weighed in on a debate between MSNBC host Joe Scarborough and writer Jay Caruso over the controversial GOP memo that was made public last week. On Friday, the House Intelligence Committee released the memo, whichwasdrafted bythe staff of Republican Representative Devin Nunes. Itallegesthe FBI and Department of Justice did not provide adequate information to a judge when they sought to renew a court warrant for surveillance of Carter Page, a foreign policyadviser for the Trump campaign. In an unlikely debate on the memos release, Scarborough found himself on the receiving end of a tweet from Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractorwho sought political asylum in Russia following his leaking of documents that exposed the breadth of the NSAs masssurveillance program. Keep up with this story and more by subscribing now Edward Snowden responded to MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough on Twitter after the latter criticized his approach to national security as “reckless.” The Guardian via Getty Images Sharing aNational Revieweditorial,Scarborough tweeted on Sunday: A disappointing @ NRO editorial trying to explain away Trump and Nunes war on the Justice Department and FBI. It even applauds exposing the FISA process for a partisan memo that only hurts Trumps cause. What a long way from the #NeverTrump cover. Caruso hit back at Scarboroughs tweet: This is a mischaracterization of what they wrote. The key paragraph says all the information should be released so the public knows what happened. Not to be outdone, Scarborough replied: All the information should be released….My God. You now embrace Edward Snowdens reckless approach toward national security matters like FISA? How illuminating. After his name wasdragged into the debate, Snowden himself responded to Scarborough, apparently shutting down the debate, Mediaite reported. Dear Joe, with respect, that “reckless” approach led to the largest reform of unconstitutional domestic surveillance since 1978, and the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service journalism. If that’s what recklessness looks like, we could use a hell of a lot more of it, he wrote.

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February 6, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Edward Snowden  Comments Closed

Even Edward Snowden Is Slamming the Devin Nunes Memo

Edward Snowden is the latest to weigh in on U.S. Representative Devin Nunes push to release a formerly classified memo suggesting the F.B.I and Justice Department abused their authority to spy on former Trump campaign advisor Carter Paige. Snowdens rise to fame and perspective on the matter comes courtesy of his 2013 leaking of top-secret N.S.A. documents detailing a broad domestic and international spying program orchestrated by the U.S. Government. #TBT: I required the journalists who broke the 2013 domestic spying stories (as a condition of access) to talk with gov in advance of publication as an extraordinary precaution to prevent any risk of harm. Turns out our standard of care was higher than the actual Intel committee. https://t.co/ATzLQGqkeo And while Snowden says he took the precaution of making journalists who published information from his 1.5 million files talk to the members of the intelligence community to prevent harm, Nunes reportedly took no such measures. Mr. Nunes has not read the warrant from which the memo is said to be drawn, wrote Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Matthew Rosenberg, in a New York Times report on Nunes. The Justice Department considers such warrants extremely sensitive and allowed only one Democrat and one Republican from the [Ways and Means] committee, plus staff, to view it. Rather than do so himself, Mr. Nunes designated Representative Trey Gowdy of South Carolina to be the Republican reader. The memo, warrant and related investigation are all directly tied to F.B.I. reports of Russian meddling in the 2016 Presidential Election. In addition to serving as Trumps campaign advisor, Paige met with two men who were charged with working as agents for Russian intelligence in New York. Donald Trump, who won the election and has been accused of collusion with Russian operatives, signed off on releasing the memo. Trump granted the release against what the F.B.I. called grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memos accuracy. Trump then took to Twitter to note (in the third person) that the memo he signed off on releasing totally vindicates him. This memo totally vindicates Trump in probe. But the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on. Their was no Collusion and there was no Obstruction (the word now used because, after one year of looking endlessly and finding NOTHING, collusion is dead). This is an American disgrace! Among other things, that led to Snowden calling out the very House Intelligence Committee he asked journalists to talk to in 2013. Turns out our standard of care was higher than the actual Intel committee, Snowden tweeted, after it was all but confirmed Nunes push to publicize the memo would be successful.

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February 4, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Edward Snowden  Comments Closed

Edward Snowden: Here’s how we take back the Internet | TED Talk

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February 2, 2018  Tags:   Posted in: Edward Snowden  Comments Closed


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