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Edward Snowden Unveiled as Source Behind the NSA Leaks

Edward Snowden Unveiled as Source Behind the NSA Leaks

The Guardian today unveiled the identity of the individual who provided National Security documents that sparked a firestorm of media attention and scrutiny of how the agency collects and utilizes the intelligence it collects from a multitude of commercial sources.

https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/343799572012875776

From the Guardian:

The individual responsible for one of the most significant leaks in US political history is Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Snowden has been working at the National Security Agency for the last four years as an employee of various outside contractors, including Booz Allen and Dell.

The Guardian, after several days of interviews, is revealing his identity at his request. From the moment he decided to disclose numerous top-secret documents to the public, he was determined not to opt for the protection of anonymity. “I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong,” he said.

Over the latter half of the week, Glenn Greenwald at the Guardian has exposed a court order requiring Verizon to hand over the call data of millions of Americans.  The outlet followed that report with the revelation that the National Security Agency is collecting information from a number of major internet companies through a program called PRISM.

Edward Snowden, the individual who leaked the information about these programs to The Guardian, is now being compared to Bradley Manning and Daniel Ellsberg as “one of America’s most consequential whistleblowers.”

Greenwald himself has been the subject of a private government security contractor, having been a research target of HB Gary Federal in 2011.  That company had been engaged in an effort, albeit an overzealous and likely unethical one, to expose those who had been assisting Wikileaks.

But in recent days, as more information comes out about the programs revealed by The Guardian, we’re learning that not all of the activities have exactly been so secret.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper responded that the “reckless disclosures” have caused damage to the nation’s intelligence activities, saying that the disclosure “threatens potentially long-lasting and irreversible harm to our ability to identify and respond to the many threats facing our nation.”

Clapper also indicated that the PRISM program itself is not confidential, saying “Prism is not an undisclosed collection or data mining program, but rather, a program that gathers intelligence information from tech companies – under court supervision – that has been “widely known and publicly discussed since its inception in 2008.”

While the programs and activities revealed this past week are all quite concerning, to say the least, it remains to be seen where the full truth and all of the facts reside amidst all of the recent media attention.  As the media storm subsides, and all of the documents and already publicly available information has been fully digested and interpreted, a clearer picture is sure to emerge that will allow readers to accurately understand the facts as well as the risks on all sides of the debate.

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Comments

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | June 9, 2013 at 4:07 pm

One reasonable interpretation of Greenwald’s “Courage is contagious” tweet is that he’s got more stuff from other whistleblowers. Should be interesting.

This story would have no legs at all, but for the recent disclosures by other agencies of information about private individuals to their political enemies.

great unknown | June 9, 2013 at 4:27 pm

Per Clapper, PRISM is “widely known.” Then what, exactly, is the “damage” caused by the “reckless disclosures”?

Don’t the DNI speechwriters have proofreaders? Maybe they should let the supercomputers check the statements first.

Please don’t compare this to that POS treasonous soldier Bradley Manning. It’s not close to the same thing.

    Sanddog in reply to janitor. | June 9, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    Manning did a mass release of anything classified he could get his hands on because he is a nasty little weasel who didn’t fit in so he wanted to strike back.

And also, with all due respect to the Guardian, in the media marketing scramble for audience and advertising, this stuff should not obfuscate the issues involving Benghazi, the IRS, and other wrongdoing by the administration.

    JerryB in reply to janitor. | June 9, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    Bingo. The Administration is going to steer the focus to Snowden, and the lapdog media will fall in line. It may be up to the blogs to keep the focus where it belongs: on the corrupt Administration.

    Observer in reply to janitor. | June 9, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    The Benghazi cover-up, the IRS scandal, the illegal recess appointments, the illegal “Dream” Act executive order, and now the illegal spying on millions of innocent Americans are all a part of the same story: the Obama administration’s abuse of power.

Snowden deserves the Nobel for this … not that jackass Odumbo. As he stated, this is just the tip of the iceberg and one can only imagine what else is out there.

Hey DJ … cue up that Odumbo speech at Ohio State. I need a good laugh:). Now … if we can only get someone to release Odumbo’s real birth certificate, passport history, and college applications and transcripts.

Of course, America needs to be protected from its enemies.
But what is PRISM actually accomplishing?

Did it stop the Boston bombing?
Did it stop Benghazi?
Has any attacker been caught/prosecuted?
Has Iran’s nuclear program been arrested?
Has Al Qaida really been leveled?
Are our few remaining allies really safe?
Has it kept the Russians from filling the international vacuum Obama has created?

DHS stockpiling ammo + reports of domestic detention centers + armored vehicles + IRS + DOJ + Fast & Furious + an administration thumbing its nose at every precept of the Constitution . . . who is the ‘enemy’ PRISM is targeting?

Americans!
(and all the wrong ones . . . was Corzine indicted?)

Obama said he would fundamentally transform this country.
No one was listening.

Snowden is courageous – demonstrating a keen sense of principle and patriotism.

Congress and the courts had better wake up.

Edward Snowden: A TRUE AMERICAN HERO AND PATRIOT. Best of luck to you, and thanks for exposing the actions of the authoritarian jackals in the out-of-control, lawless US government.

byondpolitics | June 9, 2013 at 5:11 pm

With respect to “harming national security” I’m reminded of the argument that people give to individuals: if you’re doing it right, you’ve got nothing to hide. Maybe our intelligence organizations should be smarter instead of heavy-handed thugs.

JackRussellTerrierist | June 9, 2013 at 5:16 pm

Bravo, Mr. Snowden. My hat is off to you and I am grateful to you for your courage. Thank you.

he gets my ‘Patriot’ of the century award . He’s shown us all what ‘They’ are . An they are not to be trusted one bit .

I would like to encourage Senator Cruz and or Senator Paul to fly to Hong Kong and meet with this guy and work out a way for him to be protected in the US and not have to defect to Hong Kong (China) or anywhere else.

Exposing this NSA program took balls of steel and did us all a great service. He should not live in fear for his life or safety.

theduchessofkitty | June 9, 2013 at 5:30 pm

To early for me to say what this puts him under, but I can tell you one thing: he’s going to regret coming out.

If you think THIS government will not retaliate against him through his family and friends, not to mention other things they can do to him, then I have a bridge to sell you.

    The Chinese might want to pick his brain, too. He’s probably taken a boat to Singapore by now, and will be off somewhere else with a new identity posthaste.

Do not fear. John Boehner is on the case.

Oregon Mike | June 9, 2013 at 6:06 pm

The problem is not so much the mining of the metadata, see: John Yoo’s comments at: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/350498/nsas-surveillance-no-clear-constitutional-violations-john-yoo, as it is that the bastards in office won’t feel any constraints to stop with that, see Mark Steyn at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/350537/all-seeing-state-mark-steyn.

    JerryB in reply to Oregon Mike. | June 9, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    Classic Steyn, from your link: “When the state has the capability to know everything except the difference between right and wrong, it won’t end well.”

casualobserver | June 9, 2013 at 7:56 pm

Unlike some others here, I can’t get behind Snowden just yet. Too many things about this episode have a slight smell to them. He first runs to Hong Kong, essentially China. He then chooses Greenwald as his tool for getting the information out. It appears he never tried appropriate whistleblower channels or even considered them – I’m only going by having seen what is written and having listened to the Guardian clip/interview.

I’ll wait for more information to come out before I will put him into some favorable category, like hero or other. Right now my gut says he’s more interested in harming than informing. He comes across more as an Assange (his own version of judicious releases) than Manning (just a vengeful information dump to whoever would take it). That’s not to say Assange is heroic, but he was methodical just as Snowden appears to be.

stevewhitemd | June 9, 2013 at 8:16 pm

I am very concerned about this. Commenter ‘casualobserver’ above expresses a number of my thoughts.

But here’s the bottom line: when the Bush administration was pushing similar intel gathering programs, it wasn’t at the same time using the IRS to attack its (many) political enemies. How many times did Cindy Sheehan get audited? None. How many progressive organizations were stymied in their applications for tax exemptions? None. How many times did Medea Benjamin get her passport yanked after flying off to a country that was hating on us? Zero.

In other words, we had some basic trust that the government, always bumbling and stumbling, at least understood the difference between right and wrong, and was trying to gather intel in an honest attempt to protect us.

Perhaps the people at NSA still believe that. But what about Champ and his people? What about the Democrats who are running in 2016 (Hillary, Warren, Biden, etc). How many of them will respect the use of intel and not use government as a tool to strike at their perceived political enemies?

That trust is fragile. Now it’s been strained and may be broken.

That is why so many people believe PRISM is automatically wrong, when perhaps it isn’t. That is why no one really believes that the NSA is gathering data just to keep terrorists from attacking us — after all, we’ve seen what the IRS is doing (and the lead person in that caper now runs the IRS office in charge of ObamaCare).

Mr. Snowden and Mr. Greenwald are not heroes. Greenwald is a nasty, bigoted, hard-core leftist who wants America ‘transformed’ into a socialist (and perhaps Bolshevik) state. He’s not my hero.

    heimdall in reply to stevewhitemd. | June 9, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    The problem with what the Guardian is doing now is exactly the opposite of what I would expect a leftist to do (at least American ones). By bringing Obama’s administration under further fire and scrutiny, it harms the democrats throughout the country and helps the GOP. This may actually put the senate back in GOP hands and give the presidency to them as well on sheer strength of all the scandals.

    This spying on Americans might be the final straw that snaps the LIV’s out of their stupor.

BannedbytheGuardian | June 9, 2013 at 8:38 pm

I am much more with CaualObserver than most on this issue.

I would not trust the Guardian one inch. Now they have set up in NY as the repository of all sources as to bring down – not just they Obama Admin ( who are just collateral damage ) but America.

Don’t believe me .? These are the exact same British elite that nurtured the USSR spies that went right to the very top . Oxford & Cambridge educated , Kensington addresses , private elite schools & & general clammy looking. This Snowden guy is exactly their mirror image.

Hong Kong? Oh the irony is too much.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to BannedbytheGuardian. | June 9, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    If Snowden had waited to go to Iceland before outing himself, he would have had more credibility. As it stands, I doubt he is still free. He is likely on his way to Beijing with secrets that he will share with people who are guilty of intellectual theft on a massive scale. Every bit of technologically advanced military hardware the Chicoms have comes from us, and they are taking a threatening posture with it.

    It’s better to wait to see what this guy and Greenwald next reveals. The guy says he didn’t take stuff to harm people but the program. Trust, but verify.

BannedbytheGuardian | June 9, 2013 at 8:46 pm

Steve – you wrote exactly what I was hoping to say , but could not because I am not American.

I did a left flank attack hoping to cut off the clammy British.

Get rid of the Guardian . Do not visit their site. They are evil.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | June 9, 2013 at 8:46 pm

This ex-CIA guy says that by doing the interview in Hong Kong, the whole thing may have been organized by China as a way to tell Obama to stop blaming China for all the hacking.

http://therightscoop.com/former-cia-operative-u-s-will-never-get-edward-snowden-from-china-theres-not-a-chance/

    Well, either way, if the NSA IS doing this, then they need to STOP. We have protections as citizens under the 4th amendment that the government is illegally violating and it doesn’t change if it comes from the Chinese or not.

[…] we find ourselves today, applauding Snowden for releasing the PRISM information but angry at him for his elite world view. Snowden could have released all his information in 2012 […]

BannedbytheGuardian | June 10, 2013 at 5:18 am

Hehe . I am right . the guy shopped his story round & there waiting in Ny with nothing to do but feel superior – the Guardian.

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