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Snowden Reveals Classified Records to Hong Kong Newspaper as Leak Investigation Heats Up

Snowden Reveals Classified Records to Hong Kong Newspaper as Leak Investigation Heats Up

The public remains hotly engaged this week in a necessary debate over NSA domestic surveillance policies, coupled with the recent revelations of government abuses, like the IRS scandal and snooping on journalists.  Meanwhile Edward Snowden, the man who leaked the details behind the NSA’s PRISM program, remains in Hong Kong, awaiting whatever his fate may be.  A separate story seems to be unfolding, after Snowden shared classified records with the South China Morning Post that divulged the IP addresses of computers in Hong Kong and mainland China that were allegedly hacked by the NSA.

New details have also emerged about how Snowden pulled off the massive breach, shedding more light on the extent of the leaks and what documents he may have in his possession.

Snowden was carrying four computers when he arrived in Hong Kong – computers that gave him access to the information he purports to have, of which, according to Snowden and Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald, only a small portion has been shared with the public thus far.

We’ve learned that Snowden downloaded NSA documents onto a thumb drive, an item not usually permitted in the facility as standard course of procedure, but for approved exceptions.  That was a crucial discovery, as investigators have indicated that they now “know how many documents he downloaded and what server he took them from,” according to the LA Times.

Briefings between congressional members and intelligence officials earlier in the week have also revealed that Snowden attempted to access other areas of the NSA’s systems that he was not permitted to access.  “It was clear that he attempted to go places that he was not authorized to go, which should raise questions for everyone,” said Representative Mike Rogers, according to The Hill.

National security veterans have been skeptical that Snowden could have been the sole source of everything that has been leaked to date.  Many were surprised to see publication of the FISA court order in particular; one former US counterintelligence official noting that in all of its 35 year existence, there has never been a breach of the FISA court.  That document was not definitively attributed to Snowden in news reports, and Greenwald has declined to specify whether or not Snowden was the only source.  To date, there has been no confirmation that any others were involved.

Another point of focus has been the fact that Snowden actually only worked at Booz Allen for a few weeks before taking an unpaid leave.  When Snowden was no longer able to be located, his employer notified intelligence officials because of his high-level security clearance.

FBI Director Robert Mueller told House Judiciary Committee members that Snowden is now “the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation,” and intelligence officials are handling the matter as a possible case of foreign espionage.  While Snowden selected Hong Kong as his place of refuge for the time being, there is tremendous concern that he might be planning to defect to China and share some of our nation’s intelligence secrets.

From ABC News:

Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., told reporters today that investigators are trying to determine whether Snowden has links to any foreign nations.

“We need to ask a lot more questions about his motives, his connections, where he ended up, why he is there, how is he sustaining himself while he is there, and [if] the Chinese government [is] fully cooperating,” Rogers said. “I think those would be all great questions to chase down.”

Jeremy Bash, former CIA and Pentagon Chief of Staff, told ABC News today that the possibility of Snowden defecting to China, or even cooperating with Chinese officials, is a top concern for U.S. officials.

“He could do tremendous damage,” Bash said during an interview for the ABC News/Yahoo Power Players series. “I think if a foreign government learned everything that was in Edward Snowden’s brain, they would have a good window into the way we collect signals intelligence… He had access to highly classified information.”

Bloomberg News also described what such an investigation might typically entail.  Ironically, those details highlight the very nature of the issues Americans have been fervently debating.

In addition to interviews with Snowden’s relatives and co-workers, the investigation will include a review of all of his available e-mails, text messages, online postings, telephone calls and other communications, said the two U.S. officials and two former officials familiar with counterintelligence investigative procedures.

The inquiry will also seek to determine his movements by searching for geo-location records from mobile phones and other devices he used, the officials said. They all asked not to be identified discussing the loss of top-secret intelligence and possible avenues of investigation.

When the leak first went public, Snowden had parsed his words in his explanation of his choice of Hong Kong as his refuge, saying, “I mean, there are conflicts between the United States government and the Chinese PRC government but the peoples inherently, we don’t care.”  He has since told the South China Morning Post that he intends to let the people of Hong Kong decide his fate.

This is true; the people between countries don’t necessarily share any defined animosity.  However, the relationship between the governments of China and the US is a little more complicated than that.  And the history is very relevant in this case.

The reality is, the two countries have been engaged in an often tense back and forth exchange of cyber espionage for years.  Over the last several years, the US has ramped up defensive and offensive cybersecurity operations, in response to cyber espionage attacks from China on US national defense and economic targets, among others.

A report released by the Pentagon in May was more direct in its accusations against China, according to the Wall Street Journal.

While American officials have long charged that China is a top perpetrator of cyberespionage, a new Pentagon report goes a step further, blaming some cyberintrusions directly on the government and its military.

The report also outlined Chinese investments in new Navy ships, advanced fighter planes and so-called anti-access military systems—those aimed at keeping ships and other forces out of an area. The report said China’s cyberespionage was designed to benefit China’s defense and technology industry and to gain insight into U.S. policy makers’ thinking on China.

“China is using its computer network exploitation capability to support intelligence collection against the U.S. diplomatic, economic, and defense industrial base sectors that support U.S. national defense programs,” according to the report, an annual assessment prepared at the direction of Congress.

That report also detailed that Chinese hackers had gained access to the designs of more than two dozen major U.S. weapons systems, which included “those for combat aircraft and ships, as well as missile defenses vital for Europe, Asia and the Gulf,” according to NBC News.  An earlier report from private security company Mandiant also identified intrusions and theft of documents from over 100 companies, most of them in the US, perpetrated by China’s People’s Liberation Army.  Those incidents were confirmed by US officials.

That information came on the heels of the discovery that faculty members at Shanghai Jiaotong University in China had been collaborating for years with a People’s Liberation Army unit on technical research papers.

In a 2009 article published by the University of Southern California’s US-China Institute, James Lewis of the Center for Strategic and International Studies explained why China’s hacking is a primary security threat to the United States.

“[Hacking] already is a main security threat up there with terrorism,” Lewis says. “What people have trouble understanding sometimes is that it is a different type of security threat. Terrorists want to blow things up, while hackers want to commit espionage.”

Explosions are devastating of course, but cyber attacks could be even more disruptive and dangerous.  Espionage via hacking could jeopardize national security in many ways.

So what is the relationship between the Chinese government and Chinese hackers? Lewis thinks that the fact that there have been very few instances where the Chinese government has condemned the actions of its own hackers hints at their implicit approval.

“A lot of these hackers are in some ways linked to, or employed by the Chinese government… It’s not something that’s being done without the consent of the Chinese government,” Lewis says.

The type of information that is hacked is evidence suggesting that the Chinese government plays a role in these cyber attacks.

Snowden’s presence in Hong Kong, given the confidential NSA information to which he had access, highlights the concerns that China could potentially exploit him to gain more intelligence, thus elevating an already legitimate threat to US security.

And this is where the NSA leak story reached a potential turning point, spawning a related but separate story.

The cyber espionage  issue was compounded Friday when Snowden shared classified US government records with the Post, providing details about the specific alleged hacking targets and methods.  He also elaborated further, “We hack network backbones like huge Internet routers, basically that give us access to the communications of hundreds of thousands of computers.”

But Snowden also told the Post that he was not in the know on what the US was looking for, only that he thought it was wrong.  “I don’t know what specific information they were looking for on these machines, only that using technical exploits to gain unauthorised access to civilian machines is a violation of law. It’s ethically dubious.”

No mention from him in that interview of the cyber-attacks the US has been enduring at the hands of Chinese hackers.

The Global Times, a state-backed Chinese newspaper, ran an editorial Friday that seems to legitimize US concerns.  The Washington Post reported key quotes from the editorial.

“Snowden took the initiative to expose the U.S. government’s attacks on Hong Kong and the mainland’s Internet networks. This concerns China’s national interest,” the commentary said. “Maybe he has more evidence. The Chinese government should let him speak out and according to whether the information is public, use it as evidence to negotiate with the United States openly or in private.”

[…]

“Snowden took the initiative to expose the U.S. government’s attacks on Hong Kong and the mainland’s Internet networks. This concerns China’s national interest,” the commentary said. “Maybe he has more evidence. The Chinese government should let him speak out and according to whether the information is public, use it as evidence to negotiate with the United States openly or in private.”

The paper said that the Chinese government should not only consider Beijing’s relations with the United States but also the opinion of its domestic public, which the paper said would be unhappy if Snowden were sent back.

“We have realized the United States’ aggressiveness in cyberspace, we have realized that nine Internet companies have assisted the U.S. government in intelligence outsourcing,” said the paper known for a nationalist stance. “We have realized their hypocrisy in saying one thing and doing another, and we have realized their ruthlessness in doing what they please with no regard for other people.”

“China is a rising power, and it deserves corresponding respect from the United States,” it said.

Some of the sentiment in the editorial echoed that of Snowden himself, who told the Post earlier in the week that he went public about US hacking efforts against China to demonstrate “the hypocrisy of the US government when it claims that it does not target civilian infrastructure, unlike its adversaries”.  The disclosure not only concerned intelligence officials, but it also sparked an avalanche of criticism of the US from Chinese bloggers and on Chinese social media.

It is important to understand the complexities of the relationship between the US and China when it comes to the issue of cyber-espionage.  It is not a black and white issue, and the information currently being disclosed to the public represents a very one-sided picture that fails to provide any context of the challenges the US is facing in this cyber conflict.  It’s an ongoing conflict that could have at any time (and has, in some cases)  jeopardized our economic foundation, diplomatic relations, and military defenses and personnel.

Edward Snowden brought to the forefront of the public’s attention the activities and concerns about the NSA’s domestic surveillance policies.  Whether or not you agree with the methods in which he chose to do so, the nation is engaged in a necessary public debate about it.  This is a good thing.

Snowden could have stopped there and let the focus remain on that debate.  But for reasons known only to Edward Snowden, he then proceeded – from his refuge in Hong Kong – to share some of our nation’s classified information with contacts in a country against which the US is actively engaged in defending itself.  And that has spawned an entirely separate set of concerns.  And likely a separate debate over government secrecy and national security versus transparency in the midst of conflict between countries.

Perhaps as more of the facts come out, there will be reasonable explanations for these actions.  I can’t help but be skeptical, yet there is still so much we do not know.

But as this investigation progresses, we should be prepared to ask ourselves if we’re comfortable leaving the power to expose, and the discretion to know what needs exposing, solely in the hands of a single ex-NSA contracted systems administrator.  Edward Snowden is currently taking actions that will no doubt have consequences that will affect us all.  Whether the outcome is good or bad for the US remains to be seen.

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Comments

Snowden had to leave the country, otherwise he’ld be in a secret prison by now. A few ip’s are irrelevent. The real news is the wholesale lawlessness of the government in recording EVERYTHING! Hacking into private routers and switches? That’s not just spying, that’s hacking. The more that gets revealed the more disturbing this gets. Now it turns out the government really did back into a reporters computer so that they could see what “classified info” (what really happened in bhenghazi) was being released. There is nothing grey about this stuff. The NSA has gone rouge and turned against the American people, much like the IRS. The absolutely bat crazy stuff you have been hearing all seem to be true. Who would arm the Mexican drug cartels? I don’t know the same people who would sit there and watch while our embassy burned in Lybia. The same people who print trillions of dollars to help bankers recover their losses. The same people who apparently going around breaking into innocent Americans networks. The same people who are calling Snowden a traitor for exposing their lawless breaches of the 4th amendment.

The government doesn’t even have the pretense of following the law at this point. They just “classify” all their crimes and refuse to investigate.

    Well actually, the ‘lawless breaches’ were exposed long before Snowden ever came around. Some are only just catching up to it now because it’s the first time most have actually seen a FISA order.

    There IS a story there and bad NSA policy that many have been trying to get more attention on for years (see William Binney). Problem is, too many don’t get the facts right, so it’s been easy over the years for it to be entirely dismissed by those who don’t want us paying attention to it.
    http://www.zdnet.com/how-did-mainstream-media-get-the-nsa-prism-story-so-hopelessly-wrong-7000016822/

    I worked at AT&T years ago in data warehousing just before they were sued over the earliest iterations of this stuff. Iterations of it have been around a long time – search for that case, it’s an interesting read. The EFF and ACLU also followed suit. Same as we’re seeing today. It’s like Groundhog Day on this story. LOL

    The facts alone are bad enough, it doesn’t need any hyperbole. We need reporters to get it right so that we’re all having a discussion based on facts. The momentum is with us now on both sides – that wasn’t there from 2002 – 2006 when this issue was at its first peak. We need to get it right and take advantage of the momentum.

    As for Snowden, I’m glad we’re finally having a national discussion about the issue now. Especially with everything else going on with our government. At the same time though, the situation he’s put us in with China is not good. I don’t get into the hero or traitor thing – he’s neither to me. It just is what it is, though I strongly disagree with his decision to say and share the things he has with China. We need to keep the pressure on to have reviews and reform of the NSA policy. At the same time, It willing to ignore the China situation – I think we need to pay attention to that separately, because that has the potential to get very ugly for us. We didn’t have that twist the last time this story was in the news cycle, those whistleblowers remained in the US.

      correction: at the same time, I’m *not willing to ignore the China situation…

      imfine in reply to Mandy Nagy. | June 15, 2013 at 3:13 pm

      First of all their are substantial changes in what was previously known and what is known now. The key difference isn’t really that the NSA / FBI had tabs on the data feeds going into various providers, its a difference in what is being done with those feeds. It was thought they duped a feed, placed a filter on it and selected only the data streams they had a warrant for. It is now known that is not the case, they are simply dumping the feeds into a data warehouse. How do I know? There is a smoking gun, the Yottabyte(s) data warehouses they are building in Utah and elsewhere. You wouldn’t need that unless you were basically intercepting EVERYTHING for long term storage. This is the storage equivalent of putting a man on the moon. Before you didn’t have to worry too much because even if they did have the access, there was no way they could store all of it — NOW THEY CAN. That’s the difference.

      As for how I see the situation right now, You basically have a dead body on the ground, the NSA is holding a smoking gun and Snowden is yelling Murderer!! Maybe the NSA is actually innocent, but they have a lot of explaining to do, but given the evidence — Right now they should be treated as if they are in fact guilty (Prima Facia) till such time as their innocence can be proven. The same standard that everyone who fills out a tax return is held to.

      As for Snowden, he’s not a real issue for me. If he was really doing this to defect to China, realistically the only safe country for him on the planet given what he has done, the way he has done so would be the dumbest way to do so if in fact that was his intention. Simply providing simple evidence of his access to validate the legitimacy of his claims does not diminish his claims or his credibility. It is ridiculous to say because he gave up a few ip’s of compromised switches that he somehow made himself traitor. I thin kRush got it right, this is a small minded analysis of the situation, when what in the big picture this is starting to look like the building the infrastructure necessary for a coup.

        “It is now known that is not the case, they are simply dumping the feeds into a data warehouse.”

        If by “now” you mean “over a year ago when Binney said it at DefCon”, sure…

        These are two separate things. (Related, but separate).

        One can believe the NSA is grossly overreaching and be concerned about Snowden’s actions in China at the same time. And both can also be important stories at the same time. Covering the China security angle does not mean the NSA issue is not important. The two are not mutually exclusive.

        We are engaged in a long-standing active cyber conflict with China – their hackers have caused us harm. This is about more than just a few IPs (though in cyber defense, IPs can often essentially equate to military targets).

        Imagine for a moment it’s not Snowden. Imagine you wake tomorrow morning to hear news that some random IT geek from America traveled to China and showed them classified US defense records (by his own admission). Would it give one pause for concern? Would one think that’s something the press should pay attention to?

        It concerns me and I think it’s something that deserves my attention. And it shouldn’t be interpreted as hero vs traitor, it’s simply posing facts and questions that others aren’t focused on. I respectfully agree to disagree with those who say it’s not important.

          imfine in reply to Mandy Nagy. | June 16, 2013 at 4:17 pm

          I don’t believe you are concerned about what the NSA did. There really doesn’t seem to be much concern coming from you corner. I do see a lot of and puff about a few up addresses in China, but realistically this doesn’t alter the strategic or tactical picture in any shape or form. We hack China, they hack us.

          The only big I have seen Snowden actually do is alert us to the fact the NSA has been running a highly illegal conspiracy to sieze everyone’s correspondence and personal information. They have repeatedly lied about this under oath, and as further revelations have come out, Snowdens claims have been validated.

This is the biggest breach of national security data ever as I see it and the only positive may be that it would be enough to bring this administration down.

What a disaster the past four and a half years has been…

Nice report!

Snowden is obviously a Chinese spy who’s being allowed by them to stay “free and in the open” while he continues to further their objectives.

The story that he’s giving, and that Barry’s administration is promoting (that he’s a whistleblower), is the most unbelievable crock since Barry and Hillary were peddling “the video made them do it” fairy tale.

    Browndog in reply to Daedulus. | June 15, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Snowden is obviously a Chinese spy

    Obviously….

    ..The Chinese need to do a better job at training their spies.

    Nothing says “covert” like revealing yourself and your data to the press first.

Does nobody read USA Today? The surprising furor over NSA spying

Apparently not

    imfine in reply to Browndog. | June 15, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    They were wiretapping phone numbers that they found in the hands of terrorists. Eg, they get their hands a terrorist’s cell phone, they wiretapped all the people he talked to. That fundamentally different than recording everyone’s phone calls for deep storage. And yes I know that they CLAIM that they were only recording metadata, but given their taps and their now revealed storage capacities, I can’t say that isn’t the case.

    Oh, well then, let’s not bother being concerned.

    I mean, if the majority doesn’t care, why should we?

Juba Doobai! | June 15, 2013 at 11:39 am

Traitor!

Blow the whistle to your own countrymen. To China? Hell, no!

    “Blowing the whistle” is what you do to call attention to some horrible – probably unconstitutional – action by your government…

    What Snowden has done is more properly called “espionage”, what with his delivering classified documents to a semi-hostile foreign power.

The smart move would have been for Republicans in congress to publicly offer him protection to get him back in the country and have open hearings about the NSA data mining operations. Instead, you have republicans calling him a traitor and calling for his arrest. Are they deliberately trying to drive him to China?

    Because he IS a traitor. What part of “gave documents to china” are you not getting here? So what if he blew the whistle on the NSA’s spying! He is at least the THIRD person to say THESE EXACT THINGS in the last TWO FREAKING YEARS!!!

    What he’s done that is new, however, IS GIVE CLASSIFIED MATERIAL TO FREAKING CHINA!!!

    And the R’s COULDN’T have offered him safety ANYWAYS because he ran off and hid in China TWO ENTIRE WEEKS before the story came out from Greenwald.

    So think for just one second, ok? He is showing document to China… He has been out of the country for almost a month, with no means of getting these documents…

    Do you actually think he didn’t go to China with the full intent of handing this stuff over? Really?

      Sanddog in reply to Scott Jacobs. | June 15, 2013 at 3:46 pm

      Hon, the details he leaked about US government hacking operations in China came after the original story broke. After our feckless congressmen publicly called him a traitor. There was no public effort to bring him in and offer him protection and immunity from our government and Snowden seems to be bright enough to realize he needs some kind of protection.

      If Snowden’s intent was to defect to China, why did he contact a documentary filmaker and a Guardian journalist back in January? And seriously… why would China actually take him in? That would cause a massive shitstorm and China doesn’t want a political fight with the USA. I imagine Snowden is playing both sides right now in an effort to prevent extradition and stay out of jail.

      I really wish some of you showed just a little more concern about the massive and unprecedented violation of constitutional rights by this administration.

        “Hon, the details he leaked about US government hacking operations in China came after the original story broke”

        The story was that China had been hacking us. Snowden gave them proof of US hacking THEM. Just because all the people involved are the same doesn’t mean it is the same story…

        “There was no public effort to bring him in and offer him protection and immunity from our government and Snowden seems to be bright enough to realize he needs some kind of protection.”

        That’s because of going to a member of Congress with his information, he contacted newspapers. He could have had major hearings happening the next freaking day, but instead he did this…

        “And seriously… why would China actually take him in?”

        Because he’s handed them classified documents about our hacking efforts? Defectors always have to trade something in exchange for a country’s protection.

        “That would cause a massive shitstorm and China doesn’t want a political fight with the USA.”

        Is that why they’ve been hacking us for years? Because they don’t want to cause trouble?

        And don’t forget that when China’s President met with Obama (shortly after Snowden got to China, btw), he said almost exactly what Snowden did re: US hacking of China. You don’t think that’s… Odd?

        “I really wish some of you showed just a little more concern about the massive and unprecedented violation of constitutional rights by this administration.”

        THERE WE GO!!! I was wondering how long it would take for this ignorant canard to show up…

        I have said it before (said it on this blog, in fact), if ALL Snowden had done was rat out the NSA’s domestic spying, he’d be golden in my eyes – a hero, in fact. He’d be fairly unoriginal since at least two other people said the same thing years ago, but whatever…

        But that isn’t what he did, and you damned well know it – Snowden admits it himself!

        He went to a foreign power that is actively hostile to our interests and gave them classified information about something entirely unrelated to domestic spying.

        I would like to see the people responsible for the program tossed in prison – and if that includes Bush 43, then so effing be it. The entire thing is a massive violation of my privacy, and I am a RABID civil libertarian…

        YOU, hoever, seem entirely uninterested in the fact that a freaking system admin under the age of 30 is revealing HIGHLY sensitive and classified information to a hostile power for no better reason than HE THOUGHT IT WAS WRONG. He has damaged ACTUAL national security (unlike the NSA domestic spying, which is NOT about national security) and you idiots are calling him a HERO!!

        Ask yourself this – is Bradley Manning a hero?

        If your answer is “no he is not”, why is Snowden also not a hero when he has actually done something worse?

“Explosions are devastating of course, but cyber attacks could be even more disruptive and dangerous. Espionage via hacking could jeopardize national security in many ways.”

I pulled this particular quote to make a point about the dangers we face. “Explosions are devastating” to those injured and killed and to our freedoms, in that they are the pretext by which the government exerts its muscle to condition Americans to ever increasing layers of scrutiny, TSA, NSA, as by now we know. Administration policy dictates that we bend over backwards to advantage Islam among us, and coupled with mass immigration by which Islam roots and prospers here, the people’s historic freedoms correspondingly dwindle.

As another reader has noted, WE are being monitored but jihad factories, mosgues, are not.

Do you believe for one moment that if Kingdom Halls of the Jehovah’s Witnesses were spewing hatred and incitement to violence that THEY would not be monitored?

The danger China poses is of a different order in that it compromises our government’s ability to defend itself against — at present — threats of a more intangible nature; I far prefer our government being focused on reining in the China threat than pinning its laser beam on disarming the public in the effort to advantage Islam.

I’m more inclined to believe the Chinese have long ago hacked the NSA’s ability to hack, than I am to believe Snowden is giving up super secret methods of spying.

Then again, I don’t know. Nobody does.

Then again, the more we have emotional reactions to Snowden, the less we have rational reactions to the NSA….

…which has always been my point.

Mark Michael | June 15, 2013 at 4:01 pm

What has happened to Sharyl Attkisson’s computer concerns me a bit. In order for some agency – FBI has the authority to “wiretap” domestic lawbreakers, not NSA or the CIA – would require a warrant before it could be done. Since Attkisson was covering the Benghazi scandal, that’s a foreign issue and the FBI would have had to go to the FISC for its warrant. Did they do that – so that very sophisticated snooping on her machine was legal? I have not seen any news “leaks” by Obama admin. defenders implying that. [In other words, NSA’s metadata warehousing of massive amounts of Internet traffic and phone #’s would have alerted the NSA to who Attkisson was contacting overseas, within the government, former SEALs, agents and that would have prompted them to go to the FISC for actual reading of her emails and searching her computer as they did.]

Now, we’ve had IMO nothing but a whitewash and coverup from the administration w.r.t. Benghazi, so my instincts are to say that the probing of Attkisson’s computer was in that category too. It was a CYA exercise. The story about the president of CBS News privately discussing firing Attkisson – his brother works in the Obama NSC in that very area – is also disturbing to me.

Then, throw in the whole IRS tax-exempt organization – 20+people in DC headed up by that Lois Lerner and the 80+ in Cincinnati and others around the country – and how they targeted only conservative organizations for repeated submissions of highly detailed info – mostly relating to politics, running against Dem’s, etc. Then the auditing of the taxes of every major Romney donor – attempts to damage their businesses. It’s all a tiny bit disturbing to me.

Then, I do surely do recognize the threat that China, AQ, Iran, N. Korea pose to US national interests. We need a robust national defense effort to counter those foreign threats. That will indeed require monitoring Internet and phone traffic back into the US itself, since those foreign threats will often end up being here in the US. That’s unavoidable. The issue comes down to have the safeguards in place that somehow are free of capture by the administration in power that allows them to do unauthorized things. It’s too easy to appoint judges to the FISA Court who’ll be persuaded that access is needed when it’s a cover for domestic political spying or harassment of a politicized Big brother sort. Also, the handful of congressmen and Senators who are briefed by the CIA, NSA, NSC, Pentagon have a huge burden on their shoulders to truly understand the complexities of that whole security investigation apparatus. Pulling the wool over their eyes is way too easy IMO.

Why do journalists continue to use the Hong Kong and Mainland China dichotomy, as if Hong Kong were a separate state.
It is a city in China. Nothing more.

    It is, however, given a HUGE amount of freedom to rule itself as it likes – China’s government realizes that doing so brings in huge amounts of money for them.

    But yes, at the end of the day it is a full and proper part of China…

BannedbytheGuardian | June 15, 2013 at 8:56 pm

It is extremely bad on both sides of the Pacific.

Snowden is a traitor & the US does interference . (The latter we knew & the former is a new name in an old game. ) we just don’t know the extent.

Snowden is Lost . Like the TV series it will go on & on & he will never get off the island. The rest of the world accepts both US & China hack everything they want /can.

What the US does after the fact is the only thing still in play but there is no going back.

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