Posts Tagged ‘National Security Agency’

edward-snowden

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has been a Hawaii-stationed employee of security contractor Booz Allen Hamilton for less than three months.

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 defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, the Guardian reports.

Snowden is interviewed by journalist and blogger Glenn Greenwald in a nearly 13-minute video made available on the Guardian’s website.

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.

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 according to the Guardian, which after several days of interviews revealed his identity at his request.

“I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong,” Snowden said, according to the UK paper that broke his revelations about the extent of  National Security Agency spying on Internet usage in a top secret program code-named “Prism.”

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Snowden Snowballs Into Colossal Embarrassment for Obama and his Foreign Policy

Posted By Bridget Johnson On June 24, 2013 @ 8:09 pm In Politics | 27 Comments

Not even a week ago, President Obama was at the Berlin Wall vowing to scale back the U.S. arsenal in good faith that Moscow would follow suit in “negotiated cuts.”

Before that, Obama was meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping in Palm Springs for a bilateral sit-down that he confidently branded as a positive step forward in U.S.-China relations.

Buoyed by NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s revelations of U.S. intelligence activities and after reportedly milking the hard drives of four laptops he carried into his Hong Kong hotel, the Chinese government defied a Washington extradition request and let Snowden leave the former British territory.

Once safely at the airport in Moscow, his U.S. passport revoked, Snowden had cover from Russia as he obtained financial and legal assistance from WikiLeaks and petitioned Ecuador for asylum.

Even if the Ecuador claim is intended to throw pursuers off his trail, any number of countries less than friendly with the Obama administration may be lining up to give the former NSA contractor safe haven. Considering Snowden was charged under the Espionage Act, there are enough political loopholes in extradition treaties to ensure the administration will have a hard time getting him back.

And considering these disastrous turns for a president who declared first-term success in improving America’s image across the globe while resetting relations with old foes, America’s superpower image has taken a super hit with these Snowden snubs.

“We understand that he departed Hong Kong yesterday and that he arrived in Russia. Beyond that, I would refer you with regards to his whereabouts to Russian authorities,” a testy Jay Carney told reporters at the White House briefing today.

“I would say that we are, obviously, in conversations, and that we are working with them or discussing with them and — or rather, expecting them to look at the options available to them to expel Mr. Snowden back to the United States to face justice for the crimes with which he is charged,” Carney continued.

On Hong Kong, Carney gave a lengthy explanation of contacts the U.S. had with the special administrative region of China regarding the provisional arrest request.

“On June 17th, Hong Kong authorities acknowledged receipt of our request. Despite repeated inquiries, Hong Kong authorities did not respond with any request for additional documents or information, stating only that the matter was under review and refusing to elaborate. On June 21, Hong Kong authorities requested additional information concerning the U.S. charges and evidence. The U.S. had been in communication about these inquiries and we were in the process of responding to the request when we learned that Hong Kong authorities have allowed the fugitive to leave Hong Kong,” the press secretary said.

“We are just not buying that this was a technical decision by a Hong Kong immigration official. This was a deliberate choice by the government to release a fugitive, despite a valid arrest warrant. And that decision unquestionably has a negative impact on the U.S.-China relationship.”

Give past capitulations, the main question hanging in the air was what standing the U.S. has to express said displeasure with China and Russia in any meaningful way. Carney had “no presidential communications to report out,” indicating Obama had not intervened with his counterparts at the presidential level.

“But, obviously, we are communicating with our counterparts at the appropriate levels,” Carney added.

When pressed repeatedly for more information about what the U.S. has done and what actions it might be willing to take — would the U.S. force a plane carrying Snowden to land? — Carney referred back to his prepared statements about Washington’s outrage.

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul (R-Texas) said “a president that can talk more about diplomacy and maybe flex some muscles should.”

“This comes on the heels of the president’s trip to China and Russia. And look at the amount of respect that these two countries are paying to this president,” he added.

McCaul said at this point he could see using “a lot of legal pressure, a lot of economic, a lot of trade pressures” to get Snowden returned. “I think the only thing other than that that we could possibly do would be some sort of rendition, which I think would be very controversial.”

Other lawmakers tried dumping guilt on Russia. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) fired off a letter to Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak today urging Moscow “to apprehend [Snowden] and turn him over to United States authorities immediately.”

“The Snowden case is an important test of the ‘reset’ in relations between our two countries,” Graham wrote. “Mr. Snowden’s own statements have made clear his guilt. If our two nations are to have a constructive relationship moving forward, Russian cooperation in this matter is essential.”

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) urged Russia to turn over Snowden in a statement today.

“Edward Snowden is not a whistleblower worthy of protection, but a fugitive deserving of prosecution,” said Menendez. “He violated his sworn pledge to protect classified information. He jeopardized our national security. And he betrayed the trust of the American people. This man is no hero.”

Alexei Pushkov, the head of the International Affairs Committee in Russia’s Duma, was quoted by Reuters as saying, “Ties are in a rather complicated phase, and when ties are in such a phase, when one country undertakes hostile action against another, why should the United States expect restraint and understanding from Russia?”

The Kremlin claimed it had no prior knowledge of Snowden coming to Moscow or where he currently is — but also made clear that it won’t be jumping in to hand Snowden back to the U.S.

“Snowden did nothing illegal in Russia. There are also no orders for his arrest through Interpol to Russian law enforcement agencies,” RIA-Novosti news agency quoted an unnamed security official.

China’s state-run press agency Xinhua reveled in the moment by leading its site Monday evening with “White House expecting Russia to expel Snowden back to U.S.”

The story opened into a full package of pieces on the Snowden affair, including a Sunday commentary saying “Washington owes world explanations over troubling spying accusations.”

“In the past few months, U.S. politicians and media outlets have thrown out Internet spying accusations one after another against China, trying to make it as one of the biggest perpetrators of Internet spying activities. And those claims were even highlighted during a highly anticipated summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama held earlier this month in California, which had been designed to help the world’s two biggest economies to build a new type of major power relations,” the commentary said.
“The ball is now in Washington’s court. The U.S. government had better move to allay the concerns of other countries.”

Like clockwork, today The Moscow Times ran a photo of Obama at the Berlin Wall last week with the headline “Russia Could Stand in Way of Obama’s Nuclear Cuts.”


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URL to article: http://pjmedia.com/blog/snowden-snowballs-into-colossal-embarrassment-for-obama-and-his-foreign-policy/

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– Roger L. Simon – http://pjmedia.com/rogerlsimon –
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What Snowden Knew

Posted By Roger L Simon On June 24, 2013 @ 12:00 am In politics,Tea Party,terrorism | 116 Comments

I’m still a bit confused about the brouhaha surrounding Edward Snowden. I’m not sure what he has said that is really new. I mean, what did we think was going on in all those mammoth NSA installations? What were they doing with all those satellites revolving around our heads, collecting jelly beans?

I assumed they were gathering everyone’s emails, texts, phone calls, and just about any other form of information, digital or otherwise, known to man or woman. And, though I don’t think I’m particularly brilliant for doing so, I’ve been assuming that for some time. 1984 began for me in 1987 at the latest. (In case you didn’t realize it, the NSA has been around since1951! [1] Its origins under other names are yet earlier.)

I’m even unimpressed with the revelation that our tech giants — Google, Facebook, Apple, etc. — have been involved. Why wouldn’t they want to cooperate with government as they expand their server farms across miles of our country? It makes perfect business sense.

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t have a brief for Snowden. He seems to be a new form of narcissistic international creep, similar to Julian Assange of Wikileaks fame. I hope he gets dysentery in Ecuador or wherever he winds up.

But he may have done us a favor, putting an exclamation point on the activities of the NSA so there are no doubts. He also has made obvious the utter contempt with which Russia and China treat the Obama administration. (Evidently this was surprising to Dianne Feinstein [2] on Face the Nation Sunday. Go figure.)

Also interesting is that the heightened concern for our civil liberties under government digital surveillance crosses political and party lines. Given the plethora of scandals confronting the administration, this presents an opportunity for dialogue we haven’t had for many years. Who knows if it will happen?

But if it does, I hope it will be intelligent and substantive. These are not easy questions. Good reasons exist for government surveillance.

Most obvious of them is the threat and reality of Islamic terrorism, which, despite the death of bin Laden, does not seem to be going away. Quite the contrary. It appears to be growing rapidly and dangerously.

Currently, an entire tier of the Middle East — across Syria and Lebanon and, tangentially but significantly, Iraq — seems to be engaged in the umpteenth refighting of the Battle of Karbala, the brutal 680CE encounter which initiated the never-ending violence between Sunnis and Shiites that has lasted a mind-boggling thirteen plus centuries.

The current version has a death toll of a hundred thousand and counting. Who knows where and when it will end and whether, thanks to Hezbollah, al Qaeda/al Nusra and assorted similar maniacs, it will wash up on our shores?

Meanwhile, Iran (Syria and Hezbollah’s mentor) has a new “moderate [3]” president who evidently was involved in the bombing of the Jewish Center in Buenos Aires that killed 85. Rouhani (this new president) also credits the Mahdi — the Shiite messiah whose renewed presence allegedly signals global conflagration [4] — with his election. Furthermore, his son apparently committed suicide when he heard his father had signed on with the corrupt and fanatical Khomeini regime. Rouhani sounds about as “moderate” as Goebbels or Himmler.

Egypt, of course, is a madhouse and about to go under martial law [5] and, just yesterday, what the New York Times calls “militants” [6] (but the rest of us call the Taliban) dressed up as paramilitary police and murdered ten foreign mountain climbers, including one American, in North Pakistan.

And we all know about the Boston Bombers.

It’s endless, actually. But suffice it to say I’m not so keen on dismantling, or even much curtailing, the NSA. The IRS perhaps, but not the NSA.

Still, we have to figure out how to balance this. The Founding Fathers would have had no inkling of Ayman al-Zawahiri and his fanatical ideology (wait, I take that back — Jefferson might have), but we do have the Bill of Rights for a reason. We are defending something other than the right to shop at Costco.

I don’t have any answers. But I do know we have to talk about this urgently and publicly. Unfortunately, our president doesn’t seem to see this as pressing. He prefers to address the ever-important issue of “climate change.” [7] Heaven help us.

(Thumbnail on PJM homepage created using multiple Shutterstock.com [8] images.)

Article printed from Roger L. Simon: http://pjmedia.com/rogerlsimon

URL to article: http://pjmedia.com/rogerlsimon/2013/06/24/what-snowden-knew/

URLs in this post:

[1] 1951!: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Security_Agency

[2] Dianne Feinstein: http://www.cbsnews.com/face-the-nation/

[3] “moderate: http://iranian.com/posts/view/post/16234/jumpto/idcomment-26640

[4] global conflagration: http://www.wnd.com/2013/06/new-iran-president-thanks-messiah-for-victory/

[5] martial law: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-06-23/egypt-s-military-is-prepared-to-intervene-to-prevent-conflict

[6] “militants”: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/24/world/asia/gunmen-kill-climbers-in-northern-pakistan.html?_r=0

[7] “climate change.”: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/06/22/obamas-for-the-children-climate-change-video-announcement-only-a-few-hundred-views/

[8] Shutterstock.com: http://www.shutterstock.com

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