Tag Archives: Snowden

U.S. Government Sues Snowden Over Memoir Release

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The U.S. government took swift legal action against famed NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden after the release of his memoir, “Permanent Record.”

The government’s complaint, filed September 17th, alleges that Snowden, a former CIA employee and former contractor for the NSA, violated non-disclosure agreements with the NSA and CIA by publishing his book without first submitting it for prepublication review “in violation of his express obligations under the agreements he signed.” The government also claims that Snowden has violated NDAs by giving speeches without first providing materials for prepublication review. The book’s publishers are also named in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit does not seek a halt in publication, but it argues that all profits from “Permanent Record” belong to the government.

“Intelligence information should protect our nation, not provide personal profit,” G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said in a statement. “This lawsuit will ensure that Edward Snowden receives no monetary benefits from breaching the trust placed in him.”

The ACLU responded to the suit criticizing the prepublication review, claiming that it’s “a process that prohibits millions of former intelligence-agency employees and military personnel from writing or speaking about topics related to their government service without first obtaining government approval.”

“This book contains no government secrets that have not been previously published by respected news organizations. Had Mr. Snowden believed that the government would review his book in good faith, he would have submitted it for review. But the government continues to insist that facts that are known and discussed throughout the world are still somehow classified,” said Ben Wizner, an attorney for Snowden.

Snowden himself responded via Twitter that “It is hard to think of a greater stamp of authenticity than the US government filing a lawsuit claiming your book is so truthful that it was literally against the law to write.”

Snowden also wrote that “the very book the government does not want you to read just became the #1 best-selling book in the world.”

“Permanent Record” is available to purchase by clicking here.

Interview: ICloak CEO Eric Delisle on FBI, Apple and Zero Knowledge Systems

In an exclusive interview, Truth In Media’s Joshua Cook talks with ICLOAK founder and CEO Eric B. Delisle about the FBI, Apple and Zero Knowledge Systems.

In the interview, Delisle shares his thoughts with Cook about privacy and “zero knowledge” systems. Delisle also discusses with Cook his position on the FBI-Apple controversy and practical solutions on how to secure data from government spying.

(The encryption tool discussed in the interview is called ICLOAK Messages, which is free for anyone to use and it can be accessed from any web browser, including on a smartphone. It is currently in BETA and can be accessed at www.ICLOAK.me/im)

George Pataki Calls for Twitter CEO to Shut Down Edward Snowden’s Account

Former NSA contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden joined Twitter on Tuesday, and in addition to gaining 1 million followers in less than 24 hours after he posted his first tweet, his presence was openly criticized by one presidential hopeful who asked Twitter’s co-founder to shut down Snowden’s account.

GOP candidate and former New York Gov. George Pataki responded to Snowden’s first Tweet, which said, “Can you hear me now?” with criticism, calling Snowden a “traitor who put American lives at risk.”



Snowden is known for leaking documents which revealed that the U.S. government is spying on innocent Americans and collecting their phone records using the NSA’s mass surveillance program, which was once a guarded secret before Snowden’s actions exposed the agency.

[RELATED: Dishonesty, Deceptiveness, and Disservice – Why Snowden Chose to Become a Whistleblower]

Since the documents were published in June 2013, Snowden has yet to return to the United States and is currently in an undisclosed location in Russia. If and when he returns to the U.S., he will face felony charges of theft, “unauthorized communication of national defense information” and “willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person.”

In addition to retweeting comments from Twitter users who agreed with his original statement, Pataki posted a second tweet addressing Snowden, this time calling on Twitter co-founder and interim CEO Jack Dorsey to shut down Snowden’s account.

Dorsey did not respond to Pataki on Tuesday, but he did respond earlier to Snowden’s initial tweet, welcoming him to Twitter.

Dorsey also retweeted a tweet from Snowden, which addressed the label of “traitor.” The word was mentioned in each of the Tweets Pataki posted that referenced Snowden.

Pataki’s final tweet mentioning Snowden was in response to a user who said that a “great American company gives voices a chance to speak, not silences them.”

Investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald, who published documents leaked by Snowden in the The Guardian in 2013, chimed in on Twitter with posts that appeared to be aimed at Pataki’s comments.


After posting his first Tweet on Tuesday morning, Snowden gained 1 million followers in less than 24 hours. Greenwald noted that this was over 10 times more than Pataki, who currently has about 53,300.


Snowden also gained attention for following only one account on Twitter: the NSA. In addition to greatly surpassing Pataki in number of followers, Snowden also surpassed the NSA, which has less than 100,000.

New Documentary ‘Imminent Threat’ Calls for Alliance of Progressives and Libertarians

The documentary film Imminent Threat is hoping to increase dialogue regarding the impacts of the War on Terror and possibly foster alliances between the Progressive “Left” and Libertarian “Right.”

Imminent Threat examines Edward Snowden’s revelations about NSA spying, the drone war, the war on journalism and other threats to civil liberties. The film also aims to show how these threats to Americans’ rights were started during the Bush administration and expanded by the Democratic establishment under President Obama.

The film was released on September 4th and is directed by Janek Ambros and executive produced by Academy award nominee James Cromwell. Ambros has previously worked on documentaries covering current events, including 2012’s “Closing Bell”, which examined the 2008 financial collapse and bank bailout through the eyes of a Wall Street broker.


Truth In Media’s Derrick Broze caught up with Ambros to discuss his film and what he hopes to achieve.

Broze: What was the biggest challenge to making this film?

Ambros: Logistically, the biggest challenge of the film was getting all the stock footage. I wanted to use archival footage as a creative asset to the film to experiment with fast cutting, mostly influenced by Sergei Eisenstein and Thelma Schoonmaker. From there, I went on to try to break conventions of editing by freeze frames, sped up shots, dropping frames, dissolves, and various editing techniques.

Content wise, the most challenging was creating a more broad approach to the War on Terror. This isn’t necessarily an investigative documentary, but more a macro look at the longest and most ambiguous War on U.S. history and the impact on civil liberties and law. For this reason, structure (similar to structure of a thesis statement or even a narrative screenplay for that matter) was absolutely key and had to convey the overall point of these issues not being left vs right, rather establishment vs non-establishment

Broze: The film looks at a possible alliance between left and right. What were the challenges in approaching that situation?

Ambros: The most challenging was to remain totally neutral in terms of ‘progressives’ and ‘libertarian.’  The film purposely has three interviewees who are unabashed progressives and three libertarians. This, once again, was essential to make the point that these two cohorts can work together because they have so much overlap in terms of civil liberties and foreign policy.

Broze: Many Americans are familiar with the topics in the film, including the failures of the United State’s foreign policy, the impact of the War on Terror, and the Surveillance State revealed by Edward Snowden. However, unlike other nations, we do not see millions Americans marching in the streets calling for reform. Do you think there is apathy towards awareness of the issues raised in your film?

Ambros: The film focuses on legalities rather than morals. It points out that the Bill of Rights is being abused – whether or not the audience cares about that is hard for me determine. However, through the use of archival, music, atmosphere, and tone, the definitely attempts to convey the importance of civil liberties, rule of law, and a more limited foreign policy. Of course, I was not attempting to make propaganda, but this movie definitely has a point of view and I’ll be the first to admit it.

Broze: If there was to be an alliance of activists and citizens on the left and
right of the political spectrum, what issues do you think would unite these

Ambros: This is the most important element of the film because this is not talked about much. Other than Ralph Nader’s book, I haven’t seen much on the idea of an alliance between progressives and libertarians on specific issues. The issues they overlap on are civil liberties and limited foreign policy. After that, there is not much they agree on and they’re extreme opposites with economics — one more fearful of government, the other more fearful of corporations.

Broze: Is there hope to reform the growing American police and surveillance

Ambros: I think if there are more people willing to put aside differences and focus on specific issues on at a time, then there could be change. But until then, we’ll have the same monotonous argument between the left and right and nothing will ever get done, not just in terms of civil liberties and foreign policy, but in terms of a plan for the U.S. to move forward and
become a genuine leader in the world for peace and prosperity.

Imminent Threat is now available on iTunes and Amazon. 

U.S. and Europe Investigating Possible New NSA Whistleblower

New documents from the National Security Agency outline how the agency was spying on the most profitable companies in France for “economic intelligence” purposes.

The documents were shared with French outlets Libération and Mediapart, via WikiLeaks. The NSA was interested in companies that signed high-priced export contracts for industrial goods. France’s security agency Anssi said the agency may have spied on hundreds of companies.

TechCrunch reported:

“According to an economic espionage order, the NSA intercepted all French corporate contracts and negotiations valued at more than $200 million in many different industries, such as telecommunications, electrical generation, gas, oil, nuclear and renewable energy, and environmental and healthcare technologies.

A second economic espionage order called “France: Economic Developments” shows that information was then shared with other U.S. agencies and secretaries, including the Secretary of Energy, the Secretary of Commerce, the Federal Reserve and the Secretary of Treasury. Eventually, this data could have been used to help sign export deals.”

The latest document dump comes one week after WikiLeaks released documents proving that the NSA spied on France’s most recent presidents, including Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande.

Hollande said the spying was “unacceptable”. RT reported that the French justice minister said WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden could be offered symbolic asylum in the country.

Following the recent leaks, officials with the U.S. and Europe announced an investigation into the existence of second NSA whistleblower.

Reuters reports:

“The U.S. and European sources cautioned that they did not know for sure that Assange (Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks) had developed a source other than Snowden inside U.S. intelligence. Assange has been in contact with associates of Snowden and helped arrange for him to flee from Hong Kong to Russia, where he was later granted asylum.”

The existence of a second whistleblower was first noticed in late July 2014 as a 166-page document related to terrorism watch lists was released through The Intercept. TruthInMedia reported on the second whistleblower in October 2014:

“Michael Isikoff reported for Yahoo! News that the FBI searched the home of  a federal contracting firm employee suspected of being the source of documents provided to Jeremy Scahill, Ryan Devereaux and The Intercept. Scahill, Greenwald and film-maker Laura Poitras are the editors for the adversarial journalism site The Intercept, founded in February. Isikoff says that federal prosecutors in Northern Virginia have launched an investigation into the situation.

The document could not have come from whistleblower Edward Snowden, as it is dated August 2013, after Snowden left for Russia. At the time The Intercept only referred to the whistleblower as “a source in the intelligence community”.

The documentary Citizenfour also confirms the existence of the latest whistleblower. The film details the story of whistleblower Edward Snowden and his efforts to contact Laura Poitras. In the film journalist Glenn Greenwald tells Snowden about the second source.”

Whether a second whislteblower exists or may have already been arrested by the authorities remains to be seen. Americans concerned with the loss of privacy and growing surveillance state should remain vocal supporters of Edward Snowden and other whistleblowers that put their lives on the line in an attempt to reduce government tyranny.

American Government Hacked Phones, Planted Spyware in Google Phone Apps

A new document from whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals that the United States, Canada, and other so-called “Five Eyes” nations hacked weaknesses in one of the world’s most popular mobile browsers to access smartphone traffic. The hacking involved using apps in the Google and Samsung app stores.

Consistent with much of the Snowden revelations, the “mainstream” media has largely ignored the story.

According to the “Top Secret” document, the spying agnecies of Canada, the U.S., Britain, Australia and New Zealand started targeting the UC Browser in 2011 after it was discovered that a leak released details of millions of users. UC Browser is the most popular app in China and India.

The agencies stated goal was to exploit the weakness to collect data on suspected terrorists or intelligence targets. Some cases apparently involved implanting spyware on targeted smartphones.

The Five Eyes nations were looking to exploit similar leaks in other mobile apps. CBC reports that the document shows the surveillance agencies did not alert the companies or the public about weaknesses.

The latest document release from Snowden was reported by The intercept and Canada’s CBC.

Canada’s Communications Security Establishment surveillance agency refused to comment on the CBC report, while the British GCHQ stated that all surveillance programs are “carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework.” The U.S. National Security Agency and New Zealand surveillance agency did not respond to CBC News. Australia’s signals intelligence agency refused to comment.

Not everyone believes the government’s claims of accountability and promises that the program was only used in search of terrorists. Michael Geist, a professor at University of Ottawa and an expert on internet law, told the CBC “All of this is being done in the name of providing safety and yet … Canadians or people around the world are put at risk.”

The documents also reveal that the Five Eyes agreed not to spy on each others’ citizens and instead focused their attention on apps stores in France, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Cuba, Morocco, the Bahamas and Russia.

New Snowden Documents Reveal American and British Spies Hacked SIM Card Manufacturer

New documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden reveal the National Security Agency (NSA) and the British GCHQ hacked into a SIM card manufacturer in the Netherlands and now has access to encryption keys that allow monitoring of voice calls and metadata.

The Intercept released the new documents which detail the existence of the Mobile Handset Exploitation Team (MHET), a team formed in April 2010 to study and target cellphones and hack computer networks of manufacturers of SIM cards. The team specifically targeted  Gemalto, a SIM card manufacturer based in the Netherlands that produces SIM cards for 450 wireless companies, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. Gemalto has operations in 85 countries around the world. 

Internal slides from the NSA and GCHQ show that the team was after encryption keys that “live in” the SIM cards. By possessing these keys the spy agencies are able to access wireless networks without leaving any clues and without the need for a warrant. Beyond simply accessing current communications, accessing “authentication servers” allows the agencies to unlock past encrypted communications they may not have had the ability to decrypt. One agent wrote on a slide that he was “very happy with the data so far and [was] working through the vast quantity of product.”

The 2010 document refers to this as “PCS Harvesting at Scale,” or harvesting large amounts of encryption keys as the data passed between the wireless providers and the “SIM card personalisation centres,” such as Gemalto. The NSA boasted at having the ability to process 12 to 22 million keys per second. The spy agency was aiming to process more than 50 million per second. These keys are processed and made available for use against surveillance targets.

Indeed, the GCHQ specifically targeted individuals in key positions within Gemalto and began accessing their emails in hopes of following their trail into the SIM card manufacturers servers. The team of spies even wrote a script which allowed them to access private communications of employees for telecommunication and SIM “personalization” companies in search of technical terms that might be used in assigning encryption keys to cellphone customers.

Paul Beverly, a Gemalto executive vice president, told The Intercept he believed,“The most important thing for me is to understand exactly how this was done, so we can take every measure to ensure that it doesn’t happen again, and also to make sure that there’s no impact on the telecom operators that we have served in a very trusted manner for many years.”

More than likely the NSA and the GCHQ violated international law every time they covertly accessed the emails of employees in foreign nations. Dutch officials are already calling for an investigation into who knew the American and British agencies were conducting such a program, and if so, under what doctrine is such a policy allowed.

As Edward Snowden continues to unveil disturbing uses of surveillance against innocent users of the technology, it is important to remain educated and informed about the way global governments target their own citizenry. Learning to encrypt your communications and watch what you say on the phone becomes largely useless when the government has access to the SIM card itself. What is a free person to do in the Surveillance State of 2015? How can we find balance between freedom and security?

Leave your thoughts below.


British Spy Agency Hacking and Stealing Emails From NBC News, NY Times, Washington Post

Washington D.C.- Newly released National Security Agency documents obtained by whistleblower Edward Snowden show that during a 10 minute timespan in 2008, the UK’s GCHQ spy agency collected at least 70,000 emails from journalists at The Washington Post, The New York Times, NBC News and multiple overseas news organizations.

Just the latest in a string of releases revealing the massive capabilities of modern intelligence gathering organizations, the information is renewing fears of a massive security complex that is threatening the rights of private citizens as well as government watchdogs.

Interestingly, GHCQ listed investigative journalists as the second greatest threats to security, directly behind terrorist organizations.

Don’t expect outrage from the Obama Administration which itself has seized the private communications of reporters and hacked journalist’s phone lines and email.

On the other hand, it is interesting to see the outrage against the alleged North Korea hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment and the stealing of data from that private entertainment company. Meanwhile, it is unlikely that any person in Washington will call this an act of cyber warfare despite the fact that a foreign government used cyber technology to hack into the email accounts of American journalists.

In the video above Ben Swann goes into detail about these new revelations.

Snowden: Private Explicit Photos Often Shared By NSA Agents

In an interview published by The Guardian on Sunday, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden explained that sometimes racy images intercepted by the NSA were shared by analysts.

During the interview, which was conducted in Russia, Snowden said that some of the American military personnel working on the NSA’s programs were between 18 and 22 and did not always respect the privacy of those whose communications were intercepted.

“In the course of their daily work they stumble across something that is completely unrelated to their work, for example an intimate nude photo of someone in a sexually compromising situation but they’re extremely attractive,” he said. “So what do they do? They turn around in their chair and they show a co-worker. And their co-worker says: ‘Oh, hey, that’s great. Send that to Bill down the way.’ ”

Snowden said that type of sharing occurred once every couple of months and was “seen as the fringe benefits of surveillance positions.” He said that this was never reported and that the system for auditing surveillance programs was “incredibly weak.”

According to the New York Times, when asked for a comment, an N.S.A. spokeswoman, Vaneé Vines, said that the agency had zero tolerance for willful violations of authority or professional standards, and that it would respond as appropriate to any credible allegations of misconduct.

Watch Snowden explain his experience at 10:00 in the video below:

Spy Games: British Agency Has Hacking Tool to Control the Internet

British spy agency, GCHQ, has developed hacker tools to invade citizens’ privacy and control the Internet, according to documents released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The tools can seed the internet with false information, including the ability to manipulate the results of online polls, artificially inflate pageview counts on websites, “amplif[y]” sanctioned messages on YouTube, and censor video content judged to be “extremist.”

According to The Intercept, the tools were created by GCHQ’s Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG), and constitute some of the most startling methods of propaganda and internet deception contained within the Snowden archive. Previously disclosed documents have detailed JTRIG’s use of “fake victim blog posts,” “false flag operations,” “honey traps” and psychological manipulation to target online activists, monitor visitors to WikiLeaks, and spy on YouTube and Facebook users.

Here’s a list of how JTRIG describes its capabilities:

• “Change outcome of online polls” (UNDERPASS)

• “Mass delivery of email messaging to support an Information Operations campaign” (BADGER) and “mass delivery of SMS messages to support an Information Operations campaign” (WARPARTH)

• “Disruption of video-based websites hosting extremist content through concerted target discovery and content removal.” (SILVERLORD)

• “Active Skype capability. Provision of real time call records (SkypeOut and SkypetoSkype) and bidirectional instant messaging. Also contact lists.” (MINIATURE HERO)

• “Find private photographs of targets on Facebook” (SPRING BISHOP)

• “A tool that will permanently disable a target’s account on their computer” (ANGRY PIRATE)

• “Ability to artificially increase traffic to a website” (GATEWAY) and “ability to inflate page views on websites” (SLIPSTREAM)

• “Amplification of a given message, normally video, on popular multimedia websites (Youtube)” (GESTATOR)

• “Targeted Denial Of Service against Web Servers” (PREDATORS FACE) and “Distributed denial of service using P2P. Built by ICTR, deployed by JTRIG” (ROLLING THUNDER)

• “A suite of tools for monitoring target use of the UK auction site eBay (www.ebay.co.uk)” (ELATE)

• “Ability to spoof any email address and send email under that identity” (CHANGELING)

• “For connecting two target phone together in a call” (IMPERIAL BARGE)

While some of the tactics are described as “in development,” JTRIG touts “most” of them as “fully operational, tested and reliable.” It adds: “We only advertise tools here that are either ready to fire or very close to being ready.”

Cryptome: ‬Remaining Snowden docs will be released to avert ‘unspecified US war’ in July

Journalist Glen Greenwald has long touted that the next, yet-to-be-scene leaks from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden will be like the grand finale of a fireworks display.

But now a New York-based whistle-blowing site ‪Cryptome is saying that they will “aid and abet” the release of the remaining 57K to 1.7M withheld Snowden documents.

According to ‪Cryptome,  in July, everything will be dumped.

Cryptome is a repository for leaked and confidential documents co-founded by John Young, who confirmed with Vocativ that he intends to release them potentially around the beginning of a hacker and whistleblower conference this month in New York City called HOPE X, where Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg is the keynote speaker. (Possibly around July 18th.)

Apparently, the Cryptome team didn’t like that all the Snowden files were not dumped at once by Greenwald and the Guardian.

Cryptome urged in a blog post for Snowden to bypass Greenwald and mainstream media.

“Mr. Snowden, please send your 41 PRISM slides and other information to less easily cowed and overly coddled commercial outlets than Washington Post and Guardian,” wrote Cryptome’s founders.

Vocativ suspects that Cryptome may be working with Sarah Harrison, a young journalist who has worked with Snowden on behalf of WikiLeaks who may have the Snowden trove.

According to Cryptome, the content that will be released has serious implications. It may prevent a U.S. war.

Florida Judge Orders Release of Details on Stingray Cell Phone Tracking Technology

Tallahassee, Florida – On June 3 a Florida judge ruled in favor of the American Civil Liberties Union, forcing the release of  new documents related to police use of “stingray” cell phone tracking technology.

The ruling deals with a case where Tallahassee police used stingray to locate a suspected rapist’s apartment without first getting a warrant. When the police officer involved in tracking the suspect testified in court, the federal government stepped in to demand secrecy, the court obliged, closed the hearing and sealed the transcript. After the ACLU asked the judge to unseal the court transcript based on constitutional First Amendment access to court proceedings, the government attempted to invoke national security privilege by invoking the Homeland Security Act.

The ACLU was able to convince the judge to release the transcript, providing more details about the law enforcement tool that was first revealed last Summer by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The Stingrays work by mimicking a cellphone tower and tricking cell phones into registering their location and other identifying information with the device rather than cell phone towers in the area.

The new documents confirm that cell phones can be tracked as long as the phone is on, whether or not you are making or receiving calls. Also, the stingrays force cell phones to send data to the device “at full signal, consuming battery faster.”  For an activist or journalist a constantly dying battery could be a sign that you are being tracked.

The court transcript also reveals a case where the police drove around with a vehicle-based stingray until they located the apartment complex where their suspect was staying. Upon locating the complex the officers switched to a handheld device and went to “every door and every window in that complex” until the phone transmitting the signal was located. A police officer testified that as far back as 2007 the device were being used. He estimated between Spring of 2007 and August 2010 the police used the stingrays around “200 or more times.”

These latest details fill in the gaps regarding the United States’ governments growing obsession with spying on it’s own citizens. With the revival of the Domestic Extremism Task Force and the news that the Obama Administration is fighting the release of information about Stingrays, it is obvious the government views it’s citizens as worthy of constant surveillance and scrutiny.


Greenwald To Release Info on NSA Spying Targets

In an interview with Stephen Colbert, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald said there are still bombshells to be revealed about the National Security Agency’s spying.

“I genuinely believe that the story that is the biggest one and will have the biggest impact and will shape how the last 10 months are viewed by history is the story on which we’re currently working that will hopefully be ready within 4 to 8 weeks,” he said.

“One of the missing pieces is on whom is the NSA spying in America, who are they targeting and for what purpose. Who are these people that they view as sufficient threats that they read their e-mail. What’s the pattern of people. Are they political dissidents? Are they critics of U.S. foreign policy? Are they actual terrorists? And that’s the reporting that remains to be done,” he explained.

The piece like the rest of his articles related to the Edward Snowden leaks will be published in The Guardian newspaper.

Greenwald is also promoting his new book on the topic, entitled “No Place To Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the U.S. Surveillance State.”

In an excerpt published by The Guardian, Greenwald writes about the justification of spying: “A prime justification for surveillance – that it’s for the benefit of the population – relies on projecting a view of the world that divides citizens into categories of good people and bad people.”

He contends that the government has led the public to believe that its attention was focused on the “bad people,” but through the Snowden leaks that is simply not true.

“Collect it all, sniff it all, process it all, exploit it all. Not collect the communications of terrorists or just people doing bad things, but collect it all. They collect billions with a b of e-mails and cell phone calls every day,” explained Greenwald on “The Colbert Report.”

And logically, those all can’t be from Al-Queda.

The NSA’s focus on insane data collection should change, and it might. The House Judiciary Committee unanimously approved the USA Freedom Act, which would scale back the U.S. government’s domestic surveillance programs.

According to U.S. News & World Report, “If passed into law, the USA Freedom Act – as amended in committee – would allow the NSA to collect the phone records of individuals and two “hops” through their contacts if officials can convince a judge there’s reasonable suspicion a targeted individual is a terrorist. The bill would ban the government from invoking pen register or National Security Letter statutes to conduct bulk phone-record collection.”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)  said in a statement that the USA Freedom Act is a step in the right direction. But the proposed legislation does has its flaws.

“The USA FREEDOM Act includes a definition of call detail records which excludes cell site location data, a provision that will help safeguard the location privacy of millions of Americans from mass NSA surveillance. However, we remain concerned that the bill allows prospective collection—collection of records that have not yet been created—up to 180 days,” said the EFF.

The Center for Democracy & Technology wrote a letter calling out potential changes as well. (See letter PDF.) “While the bill makes significant progress    in ending bulk collection, we strongly    believe    that several technical corrections and clarifications to the bill are required if Congress is to help ensure the bill language is not misinterpreted and its stated goal of ending bulk collection is met.”

The USA Freedom Act now goes to the House. And we wait and speculate for Greenwald’s next article. Watch Part 1 and Part 2 of Glenn Greenwald’s interview.

NSA Chief: Federal legislation to end media leaks only weeks away

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 7, 2014–National Security Agency (NSA) chief executive General Keith Alexander addressed a cyber-security panel Tuesday where he proclaimed that “media leaks legislation” he introduced to prevent journalists from reporting on government surveillance programs like those leaked by Edward Snowden could reach the floor within a couple weeks.

“We’ve got to handle media leaks first,” Alexander said in report by the Guardian. “I think we are going to make headway over the next few weeks on media leaks.”

Alexander stood in support of the United Kingdom’s actions last summer when the British government detained Guardian Journalist Glenn Greenwald’s partner David Miranda on terrorism charges for carrying leaked data obtained by Snowden. He stated similar measures should be implemented in the USA.

“I think we are going to make headway over the next few weeks on media leaks. I am an optimist. I think if we make the right steps on the media leaks legislation, then cyber legislation will be a lot easier,” Alexander said.

Alexander has been pushing his idea for quite some time. “We ought to come up with a way of stopping it. I don’t know how to do that. That’s more of the courts and the policymakers but, from my perspective, it’s wrong to allow this to go on,” he told an official Defense Department blog in October.

Alexander, who is set to retire within the next few weeks, seems to have found his solution.

Follow Michael Lotfi on Facebook and on Twitter.

Republicans Debate Privacy VS. Security

All kinds of “conservatives” — establishment Republicans, libertarians and Tea Party members — are at CPAC. It is no surprise, then, that the attendees have conflicting ideas when it comes to privacy vs. security. This morning at CPAC panel debated security and privacy — which is more important, and is it possible to have a balance between both?

One of Ed Snowden’s allies, Bruce Fein, kicked off the conversation saying that Snowden is not a traitor, but a patriot. He said, “All of you in the audience, all of us up here, we have had our telephone calls collected and stored in a database, without any knowledge.”

He pointed out that the Constitutional right of Americans is to be left alone. “We don’t need to give a reason to be left alone. Rather, the government needs to give us a reason why we shouldn’t be left alone.”

The former Governor of Virginia, Jim Gilmore, vehemently disagreed with Fein and said, “Edward Snowden is a traitor.” He repeated, “Edward Snowden is a traitor. He betrayed our trust.”

Many in the audience booed at Gilmore during his remarks.

Charlie Kirk, the youngest individual on the panel, represented . He said, “Every single tweet, snap chat, and call is being collected and analysed. And when we’re in a culture where you’re being punished for what you believe… That should worry everyone.” The left has failed at the privacy argument, Kirk said. He pointed out that President Obama previously gave a speech where he stressed the importance of privacy, and then subsequently encouraged everyone to sign up for Obamacare on the federal exchange, which has been criticized for compromising citizens’ private information.

“There is a secrecy line that the government has crossed, especially with the younger generation,” Kirk said.

Follow Kristin on Facebook and Twitter.

Lawmakers: Snowden Has Aided Terrorists, Betrayed the US – No Evidence Given

Surely whistleblowers and intelligence community opponents have targets on their heads when it comes to dissenting opinions, but for whistleblower Edward Snowden, his target has grown much bigger in the past year. Aside from the redundant plea against government growth and surveillance, Snowden took up the task of putting words into actions against the increase of bureaucracy, and Snowden’s catching backlash.

Although undisclosed, House Intelligence Committee members have illustrated how the Pentagon is taking direct lash at Snowden’s actions. With the report being touted by members such as Dutch Ruppersberger and Mike Rogers, what’s known of it is little, but telling. Produced by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and other three-letter-agencies, lawmakers overlooking the report have called Snowden’s actions a “betrayal”.

Rep. Ruppersberger explained, “Snowden handed terrorists a copy of our country’s playbook and now we are paying the price, which this report confirms. His actions aligned him with our enemy.” Both Ruppersberger and Rogers joined other lawmakers last week at the White House for a briefing on the DIA report, being instructed on what and what not to disclose. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much to refute besides talking points.

Calling Snowden’s acts a betrayal to American interests, Rep. Rogers warned military personnel of a looming, greater risk. Going as far as saying Snowden’s snowstorm has tipped off American adversaries of counter-terrorism methods, despite no evidence, the two lawmakers dug even further saying NSA leaks hurt efforts against human and narcotics traffickers, cyber crime and weapons of mass destruction.

Along with the bold claims was relatively hot air, considering not one shred of information has been released backing what Ruppersberger or Rogers said. “No specific examples are actually given, and you will also notice in virtually every sentence includes the word ‘could’ — meaning real damage hasn’t actually occurred, they are just saying it potentially could happen,” wrote Trevor Timm of Freedom of the Press Foundation.

The secret report fails to be seen by any independent organization or individual unrelated to the Pentagon apparatus or Congressional staff, making the interpretations and claims one-sided at best. Claims like these from Rogers and Ruppersberger have been made before, ironically from Rogers in particular, regarding the NSA leaks. In July, Rep. Rogers was the one to throw out the “number 54” when describing how many terrorist attacks have been thwarted because of NSA surveillance.

Rogers said, “Fifty-four times this and the other program stopped and thwarted terrorist attacks both here and in Europe — saving real lives,” adding that what officials are dealing with is “real”. Yet with the statistics, reports and trumped fear by Rogers, his ultimate claim turned out to be half-truths and misleading reports.

Of course, until the classified information comes out showing Snowden’s unintended role in terrorist activities, no one besides the policymakers and bureaucrats making these claims can actually know.

NSA Officials Split Over Considering Amnesty For Snowden


National Security Agency (NSA) agent Rick Ledgett said he would consider giving whistle blower Edward Snowden amnesty — as long as the leaks stop. Snowden, who was charged with espionage after releasing classified NSA documents, is currently in Russia where he has asylum.

The whistle blower allegedly stole 1.7 million private NSA documents, but only released 58,000 of them to the press.

Ledgett, head of the NSA task force investigating Snowden’s leaks, said on “60 Minutes,” “My personal view is, yes, [amnesty is] worth having a conversation about.”

In order to consider amnesty, Ledgett said Snowden would need to return his stolen, extensive document stash. Ledgett said, “I would need assurances that the remainder of the data could be secured, and my bar for those assurances would be very high. It would be more than just an assertion on his part.”

But General Keith Alexander, NSA chief, does not agree — giving Snowden amnesty would set a dangerous precedent, he argued.

Also appearing on “60 Minutes,” Alexander said, “This is analogous to a hostage-taker taking 50 people hostage, shooting 10 and then say ‘You give me full amnesty and I’ll let the other 40 go.'” He said that if Snowden got amnesty, other individuals could become encouraged to release classified information and put US security at risk.

General Michael Hayden, former NSA chief, agrees with Alexander. He said, “I wouldn’t do it. That simply motivates future Snowdens.”

Amnesty would need to be approved by the Justice Department, which has not commented on the situation.

The “60 Minutes” special is a part of the NSA’s large effort to re-brand itself and rebuild its reputation in the wake of Snowden’s leaks. As a part of this attempt, government agents have been traveling to academic institutions around the country, asserting that surveillance is necessary to keep Americans safe.


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Only One Percent Of Snowden’s Leaks Published

The Guardian claims to have published only one percent of the material leaked by National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Snowden’s leaks revealed government spying by the United States and British governments.

Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian, said that although Snowden leaked about 58,000 files, his paper only published “about one percent” of the total material. “I would not expect us to be publishing a huge amount more,” Rusbridger said as he was questioned by Parliament’s home affairs committee.

The editor also insisted that The Guardian did not put national security at risk or assist terrorists, as some government officials have accused. Rather, Rusbridger argued that the leaks helped the public as a whole by igniting a world-wide conversation about government surveillance.

He said, “There is no doubt in my mind … that newspapers have done something that oversight has failed to do.”

Still, the British government was so convinced that the leaks aided terrorism that a criminal investigation was launched and David Miranda, the partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, was detained. The British government will not disclose much information about the case, including the specific offenses The Guardian allegedly committed.

Rusbridger went on to say that his newspaper has been under immense pressure from government officials: “I feel that some of this activity has been designed to intimidate the Guardian.” He argued that this would be “inconceivable” in America, where journalists are protected by the First Amendment.

Britain has no constitutional right to free speech. The Guardian is a relatively small publication, with circulation just under 200,000 (although its online presence is fairly sizable). The government treatment of the paper exposes the way the British government views free speech — the freedom of expression is tolerated, so long as it does not “threaten” the public good.


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Edward Snowden Gets New Job Maintaining Russia’s Largest Website

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden will now be working in website maintenance, according to his lawyer Anatoly Kucherena.

Although Kucherena would not reveal Snowden’s exact workplace for “security reasons,” he said Snowden would be working for “Russia’s largest website.”

Snowden starts his new job on Thursday.

Kucherena also revealed that Snowden is learning to speak Russian. The attorney said, “He is studying Russian now. As to his working in a Russian team, I’ve already said he is going to work in tech support of one of the largest companies. You should understand that this kind of job first of all requires one to have expertise in computer software and program.”

Kucherena would not disclose how much Snowden will be getting paid.

Snowden got temporary asylum in Russia on August 1 after reportedly spending about a month in the Moscow airport.

Kucherena said, “Snowden is staying in Russia in line with Russian law and he cannot travel abroad, as in this case he would lose his current status. In addition, according to the existing agreements, he cannot disclose classified information while staying in Russia.”

WikiLeaks Releases Video Of Snowden Speaking Out Against Govt. Surveillance

As we reported earlier this week, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden recently emerged from hiding to receive the Sam Adams Associates Integrity in Intelligence Award.


Now, video footage of Snowden speaking has been released on the WikiLeaks website.

The whistleblower asserted that when the U.S. government taps into phone and Internet connections around the world, we are “at risk of coming into conflict with our own government.”

Snowden said the spying puts “entire populations under sort of an eye that sees everything even when it’s not needed.” He continued, “They hurt our economy. They hurt our country. They limit our ability to speak and think and live and be creative, to have relationships and to associate freely.”

He slammed the U.S. government for attempting to punish him for the leaking. Government officials are “unwilling to prosecute high officials who lied to Congress and the country on camera, but they’ll stop at nothing to persecute someone who told them the truth,” he said.

On the day that the video was recorded, Snowden was given the Sam Adams Associates Integrity and Intelligence Award by a group of retired CIA officers. It is awarded each year to an individual who takes a stand against abuse of information gathering. Many of the award’s past recipients have been whistleblowers — in fact, the award itself is named after Vietnam whistleblower Samuel A. Adams. Wikileak’s Julian Assange received the award in 2010.