Sunday, June 1, 2014

Edward Snowden | The Man Behind the NSA Revelations

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30 May 2014

Bob and iON comment on the recent Brian Williams interview with Edward Snowden and say that the government has committed treason because they do not uphold the Constitution.

During the NBC interview, Edward Snowden revealed that he was trained by the US government as a spy—“a high-level cyber operative, someone who hacks into the military and civilian systems of other countries, to steal information or prepare attacks without leaving a trace.” Which would explain how he is able to access information at the NSA and avoid detection.

In one of his career stints, he was “chosen by the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy to teach cyber counterintelligence at their Chinese counterintelligence course.”

According to Snowden, he could have released the documents without revealing his identity but doing so would have meant a hardship for his colleagues as the government tried to determine the source of the leaks.

“He had not taken all possible steps to cover his tracks because he did not want his colleagues to be subjected to investigations or false accusations. He insisted that, using the skills he had acquired and given the incredibly lax NSA systems, he could have covered his tracks had he chosen to do so, even downloading as many top secret documents as he had done. But he had chosen instead to leave at least some electronic footprints to be discovered, which meant that remaining hidden was no longer an option.”

Another reason for identifying himself was that “he was determined to define himself in the eyes of the public rather than allow the government to define him.”


“I know the media personalizes everything, and the government will want to make me the story, to attack the messenger.”
Edward Snowden, No Place to Hide


For the inside story from the journalist who was there from the beginning and who was chosen by Snowden to reveal the documents and his story, see Glenn Greenwald’s book No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State. The quotes above are from the book.

Alternatively, The Snowden Saga: A Shadowland of Secrets and Light by Suzanna Andrews is an in-depth article in Vanity Fair.

Here’s what Greenwald, a journalist and former lawyer, wrote in No Place to Hide regarding the relationship between the established media and government:

“Worse, I knew that the [Washington] Post would dutifully abide by the unwritten protective rules that govern how the establishment media report on official secrets. According to these rules, which allow the government to control disclosures and minimize, even neuter, their impact, editors first go to officials and advise them what they intend to publish. National security officials then tell the editors all the ways in which national security will supposedly be damaged by the disclosures. A protracted negotiation takes place over what will and will not be published. At best, substantial delay results. Often, patently newsworthy information is suppressed. ”

“Then there’s the tone that establishment media outlets use to discuss government wrongdoing. The culture of US journalism mandates that reporters avoid any clear or declarative statements and incorporate government assertions into their reporting, treating them with respect no matter how frivolous they are. They use what the Post’s own media columnist, Erik Wemple, derides as middle-of-the-road-ese: never saying anything definitive but instead vesting with equal credence the government’s defenses and the actual facts, all of which has the effect of diluting revelations to a muddled, incoherent, often inconsequential mess. Above all else, they invariably give great weight to official claims, even when those claims are patently false or deceitful.”

In April, The Guardian and the Washington Post were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for their reporting on the NSA surveillance that the leaked documents from Edward Snowden brought to light.

The award recognized Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Barton Gellman, and Ewan MacAskill. Snowden first contacted Greenwald and then Poitras who later brought on Gellman from the Washington Post. MacAskill was added by the Guardian and later excepted by Snowden.

Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras are now part of a new suite of websites published by First Look media, founded by eBay chairman Pierre Omidyar. The website is called The Intercept and Greenwald and Poitras will continue to reveal more documents released by Snowden there.

The tens of thousands of top secret NSA documents that Snowden gave to Greenwald are being protected by Micah Lee. Meet the Man Hired to Make Sure the Snowden Docs Aren’t Hacked.

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