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Live: The whistleblower behind the biggest intelligence leak in NSA history is answering your questions about the NSA surveillance revelations – follow it live now ( guardian.co.uk
What would you say to others who are in a position to leak classified information that could improve public understanding of the intelligence apparatus of the USA and its effect on civil liberties?
What evidence do you have that refutes the assertion that the NSA is unable to listen to the content of telephone calls without an explicit and defined court order from FISC?
This country is worth dying for.
Binney, Drake, Kiriakou, and Manning are all examples of how overly-harsh responses to public-interest whistle-blowing only escalate the scale, scope, and skill involved in future disclosures. Citizens with a conscience are not going to ignore wrong-doing simply because they’ll be destroyed for it: the conscience forbids it. Instead, these draconian responses simply build better whistleblowers. If the Obama administration responds with an even harsher hand against me, they can be assured that they’ll soon find themselves facing an equally harsh public response.
This disclosure provides Obama an opportunity to appeal for a return to sanity, constitutional policy, and the rule of law rather than men. He still has plenty of time to go down in history as the President who looked into the abyss and stepped back, rather than leaping forward into it. I would advise he personally call for a special committee to review these interception programs, repudiate the dangerous «State Secrets» privilege, and, upon preparing to leave office, begin a tradition for all Presidents forthwith to demonstrate their respect for the law by appointing a special investigator to review the policies of their years in office for any wrongdoing. There can be no faith in government if our highest offices are excused from scrutiny – they should be setting the example of transparency.
Is encrypting my email any good at defeating the NSA survelielance? Id my data protected by standard encryption?
Encryption works. Properly implemented strong crypto systems are one of the few things that you can rely on. Unfortunately, endpoint security is so terrifically weak that NSA can frequently find ways around it.
US officials say this every time there’s a public discussion that could limit their authority. US officials also provide misleading or directly false assertions about the value of these programs, as they did just recently with the Zazi case, which court documents clearly show was not unveiled by PRISM.
Journalists should ask a specific question: since these programs began operation shortly after September 11th, how many terrorist attacks were prevented SOLELY by information derived from this suspicionless surveillance that could not be gained via any other source? Then ask how many individual communications were ingested to acheive that, and ask yourself if it was worth it. Bathtub falls and police officers kill more Americans than terrorism, yet we’ve been asked to sacrifice our most sacred rights for fear of falling victim to it.
Further, it’s important to bear in mind I’m being called a traitor by men like former Vice President Dick Cheney. This is a man who gave us the warrantless wiretapping scheme as a kind of atrocity warm-up on the way to deceitfully engineering a conflict that has killed over 4,400 and maimed nearly 32,000 Americans, as well as leaving over 100,000 Iraqis dead. Being called a traitor by Dick Cheney is the highest honor you can give an American, and the more panicked talk we hear from people like him, Feinstein, and King, the better off we all are. If they had taught a class on how to be the kind of citizen Dick Cheney worries about, I would have finished high school.
Edward, there is rampant speculation, outpacing facts, that you have or will provide classified US information to the Chinese or other governments in exchange for asylum. Have/will you?
This is a predictable smear that I anticipated before going public, as the US media has a knee-jerk «RED CHINA!» reaction to anything involving HK or the PRC, and is intended to distract from the issue of US government misconduct. Ask yourself: if I were a Chinese spy, why wouldn’t I have flown directly into Beijing? I could be living in a palace petting a phoenix by now.
Ed Snowden, I thank you for your brave service to our country.
Some skepticism exists about certain of your claims, including this:
I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone, from you, or your accountant, to a federal judge, to even the President if I had a personal email.
Do you stand by that, and if so, could you elaborate?
Yes, I stand by it. US Persons do enjoy limited policy protections (and again, it’s important to understand that policy protection is no protection – policy is a one-way ratchet that only loosens) and one very weak technical protection – a near-the-front-end filter at our ingestion points. The filter is constantly out of date, is set at what is euphemistically referred to as the «widest allowable aperture,» and can be stripped out at any time. Even with the filter, US comms get ingested, and even more so as soon as they leave the border. Your protected communications shouldn’t stop being protected communications just because of the IP they’re tagged with.
More fundamentally, the «US Persons» protection in general is a distraction from the power and danger of this system. Suspicionless surveillance does not become okay simply because it’s only victimizing 95% of the world instead of 100%. Our founders did not write that «We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all US Persons are created equal.»