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Miller writes: "Among the possible outcomes: U.S. officials could choose to interrogate him for details on the classified information he acquired, Hong Kong could turn him over to the U.S., or he could be granted him asylum."

U.S. National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden is pictured during an interview with the Guardian in his hotel room in Hong Kong Sunday. (photo: Ewen MacAskill/Guardian UK)
U.S. National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden is pictured during an interview with the Guardian in his hotel room in Hong Kong Sunday. (photo: Ewen MacAskill/Guardian UK)


Four Things to Know About Surveillance Leaker Edward Snowden

By Zeke J Miller, TIME Magazine

10 June 13

 

dward Snowden, the 29-year-old defense contractor who leaked classified documents on U.S. government surveillance programs, revealed himself Sunday afternoon in interviews with the Guardian and the Washington Post.

Snowden, an employee of Booz Allen Hamilton for the past three months, moved to a Hong Kong hotel on May 20, after accessing a trove of classified information from a government office in Hawaii with the intent to reveal information on the controversial classified programs, the Guardian reported.

Last week the British paper revealed details on two classified programs - one pertaining to the seizure of all telephone metadata in the U.S. and another dealing with an effort to monitor Internet activities overseas using the resources of American technology firms. The Post revealed information about the second program, called PRISM. Both papers confirmed that Snowden passed them the information.

1. Snowden was previously a technical officer for the CIA and worked at the National Security Agency (NSA) as an employee of Dell, a private contractor, before being hired by Booz Allen as an infrastructure analyst for the NSA in Hawaii.
According to the Guardian, Snowden told supervisors he was seeking treatment for epilepsy and told his girlfriend he would be away for a few weeks before traveling to Hong Kong along with the government secrets he hoped to release. Snowden told the paper that he decided to come forward with the documents because "I don't want to live in a world where there's no privacy and therefore no room for intellectual exploration and creativity."

2. Snowden voted for a third party in 2008, he told the Guardian, but believed in Obama to put an end to some of the surveillance practices.
Instead, after a review Obama continued the program, according to administration officials, adding in additional layers of review to prevent abuse. Snowden told the Guardian that he "got hardened" after he "watched as Obama advanced the very policies that I thought would be reined in."

3. Snowden claimed vast powers to both initiate surveillance and shut down the U.S. programs.
"I had full access to the full rosters of everyone working at the NSA, the entire intelligence community, and undercover assets all around the world," he told the Guardian. In a video posted on the website, Snowden claimed that "any analyst at any time can target anyone ... I, sitting at my desk, certainly have the authorities to wiretap anyone - from you or your accountant, to a federal judge, to even the President."

Additionally he claimed he said he could shut down the entire system in an afternoon if he wanted to. The revelation that Snowden was a contractor with that wide-ranging access to some of the most closely guarded U.S. government programs is sure to provoke a re-examination of the explosion of contractors filling traditional government jobs in defense and intelligence agencies.

4. Snowden told the Post "I'm not going to hide," but his future is uncertain.
Hong Kong and the U.S. maintain a bilateral extradition treaty, but it includes exceptions for political crimes. It is unclear how the Chinese government, which maintains significant influence in the Special Administrative Region, will react to Snowden's presence or how it will treat him. He told the Post that he is seeking "asylum from any countries that believe in free speech and oppose the victimization of global privacy."

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence said Sunday that the investigation has been referred to the Department of Justice. Among the possible outcomes: U.S. officials could choose to interrogate him for details on the classified information he acquired, Hong Kong could turn him over to the U.S., or he could be granted him asylum.


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+43 # tbcrawford8 2013-06-10 10:58
Does anyone think that some of our young people are trying to get our attention? I'm hearing, "Something is not working in America. Our democracy is no longer; the American dream is shattered. Our future is disenfranchised ." Perhaps we should listen more carefully to these growing cries: It is wrong to shoot children from a helicopter. It is wrong to spy on our own. It is wrong to vilify refugees, to spurn the homeless. We are hated by many in the world for taking over the wealth of other nations, of impoverishing individuals for the sake of global corporate self-indulgence , for killing endlessly with impunity and ultimately destroying our planet...Where is compassion? All our power when we cannot believe it will ultimately protect us from life's threats, is impotence.
 
 
+13 # reiverpacific 2013-06-10 12:00
@ "tbcrawford".
You might as well expect compassion from Roland Freisler, Pinochet or the still living Rios Mott, as from the US Military and justice department in the Corporate State, the farther right it slides.
It's going to take a huge groundswell from below.
We of the remaining left/progressiv e now have quite a bit of common ground with the Libertarians in our quest for freedom if we can establish some solidarity with them. The Rethugs and Tea Bags are too far gone.
Even my American wife is getting disgusted with Ob' and she was pretty enthusiastic about a more progressive second term.
We need to pull together here!
Wonder how many more courageous, trained and skilled technically adept young people like Snowden and Manning will emerge as the jackboot heel of state vengance comes= out from the shadows and stomps more and more clearly into it's dark spotlight?
They can't plug up the dike forever!
 
 
+9 # born1929 2013-06-10 12:35
Masterfully understated tb ... Your list, though far from complete, portends the collapse of what used to be known and revered as Democracy, and a fearfully uncertain future for the people of the United States ... including the perpetrators of our demise, those who are temporarily gaining treasure and power from the societal dislocations for which they are resopnsible.
Stan Levin
 
 
+15 # fredboy 2013-06-10 13:24
Isn't it interesting how two slight young men have the courage to speak up, while millions of macho tough guys are afraid to do so and cower at the whim of command? Somebody with psych training needs to interpret this.
 
 
+5 # reiverpacific 2013-06-10 18:04
Quoting fredboy:
Isn't it interesting how two slight young men have the courage to speak up, while millions of macho tough guys are afraid to do so and cower at the whim of command? Somebody with psych training needs to interpret this.

Good, almost tragicomic picture of the Macho tough guys with "Foreheads villainous low" and of course no idea of what true courage and integrity might be -I've confronted quite a few of them in the past. A good analogy indeed.
They are the guys that love to hurl out clichés like "If they want my gun, they can pry it from my cold, dead hand" and whose idea of activism is to drag their well-greased arsenals out of their basements, dig bunkers and challenge the government to "Bring it on (like Dimwits did)".
A possible parallel might be, "The meek shall inherit the earth (or at least expose the power-brokers).
 
 
+2 # JSRaleigh 2013-06-10 14:06
A caveat & some troubling aspects I don't think have received sufficient attention.

Caveat - Item #3 - "Snowden claimed" ... I'm going to wait until I see a bit more evidence to back up his claims.

I'm sure the NSA, CIA and a host of other alphabet acronymic government agencies are snooping into our private lives, and have never shown any reluctance to do so - this goes far back beyond the Bush II administration; back to the very creation of the CIA & NSA. But, I'm not sure they're going to share the power with a high-school dropout contract computer tech.

Troubling aspects ...

1. I've seen where Snowden claimed to have the information he released as early as 2006. Why did it take him so long? Was it any less of an assault on the Constitution back then?

Why now? Why not sooner?

2. What do the multi-national communications & information technology corporations cooperating with the NSA et al get in return?

What's the quid pro quo? How do they use the same "meta-data" the NSA is mining for their own benefit?

3. Contractors. The NSA, who is already all but unaccountable to the American people, is using contractors to run this data mining operation.

Who else is Booz Allen Hamilton selling our "meta-data" to? At what price and at what cost?
 
 
+4 # fuzzbuzz 2013-06-10 15:08
1. Where did you see that claim? He stated that he worked for BAH for 3 months. BAH confirmed.

2. Umm..favoritism ? Looking the other way from, say, tax evasion, among other crimes (Apple, the largest corporation in the world until recently, pays less than 0.1% in taxes - a fact that is widely known and documented. Look for "Double Irish with a Dutch sandwich" for details)

You're forgetting that at the core of all involved parties (be it government or corporation) are people. It's obviously easier for the powerful entities to work together against the people, not against each other.

Obviously bending over to the government buys you favors with the government, that's just common sense, and underlies essentially all forms of corruption.


3. I don't know if "selling" was the issue here. I haven't seen mention of information being "sold" by anyone to anyone (though that wouldn't actually surprise me. It's an easy way to make money)

No matter who exactly collects and stores that information, be it government or corporation or contractor, at the very end, there will always be a IT person sitting on a keyboard. It won't be politicians or CEOs or lawyers doing that work. You're obviously going to need to pay those technicians a decent chunk of money to suppress their morality.


With a technical background, I can tell you that it's EXTREMELY easy to collect/store/a nalyze this information, so much so that the intelligence agencies would be crazy NOT to do it.
 
 
+1 # fuzzbuzz 2013-06-10 15:08
I think Snowden's story is very plausible, and in fact I don't see anything surprising about it. Similar revelations were made, and confirmed, previously (e.g. carnivore, magic lantern, ECHELON + others).
 
 
+2 # Bruce Gruber 2013-06-10 14:35
Is it possible that Paulson, Bernanke,Dimon and their ilk may have been recorded ... and that their insider dealings could be parlayed into public mass executions for the trillions of dollars in equity loss to the nation and deaths of untold victims of the hedge-concept of survivalism rampant throughout the land? Who's got the tapes? Where are the REAL Woodward and Bernstein?
 
 
+2 # RMDC 2013-06-11 04:45
There are about a million people with top security clearance. They all have access to so-called classified information, systems, or technology. It is just surprising that there are not more leakers. There should be more. The national security system is in reality run by private corporations like Booz Allen who are in it for the money. They hire talented computer geeks with very little understanding about who they are hiring. The loyality of these empolyees is also based on money. Snowden at 29 was earning $200k. That's enough to keep most people quiet. But the real point is how much control these people have over the US regmie and its secret and illegal operations.

I hope Snowden stimulates a tidal wave of leaks. I hope it all comes out.
 
 
-1 # Walter J Smith 2013-06-11 07:06
What Snowden has done is heroic, and he will, like Prometheus, have his liver eaten out eternally.

But can someone tell me what the heck this means: "He told the Post that he is seeking "asylum from any countries that believe in free speech and oppose the victimization of global privacy."

Seeking asylum from any countries that believe in free speech? And also oppose the victimization of global privacy? Is he running from what he claims to be defending? Has he lost his bananas?
 

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