NSA leaker comes forward

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

The Washington Post is reporting Edward Snowden identified as source of NSA leaks:

Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old system administrator and former undercover
CIA employee, unmasked himself Sunday as the principal source of recent
Washington Post and Guardian disclosures about top-secret NSA programs,
denouncing what he described as systematic surveillance of innocent
citizens and saying in an interview, “it’s important to send a message
to government that people will not be intimidated.”

* * *

Snowden, whose full name is Edward Joseph Snowden, said he
understands the risks of disclosing the information, but that he felt it
was the right thing to do.

“I intend to ask for asylum from any
countries that believe in free speech and oppose the victimization of
global privacy,” Snowden told the Post. The Guardian was the first to
publicly identify Snowden. Both media organizations made his name public
with his consent.

“I’m not going to hide,” Snowden said Sunday
afternoon. “Allowing the U.S. government to intimidate its people with
threats of retaliation for revealing wrongdoing is contrary to the
public interest.”

“I’m not going to hide” and “I intend to ask for asylum" are contradictory statements, Mr. Snowden. True courage means turning yourself in to stand trial in the U.S.

Snowden expressed the hope that the NSA surveillance programs would
now be open to legal challenge for the first time. Earlier this year,
in Amnesty International V. Clapper, the Supreme Court dismissed a
lawsuit against the mass collection of phone records because the
plaintiffs could not prove exactly what the program did or that they
were personally subject to surveillance.

It appeared everyone had forgotten that the U.S. Supreme Court effectively ruled that no one has standing to legally challenge the electronic spy programs. Thanks for the reminder, WaPo. This past week the U.S. Supreme Court also permitted the government to take a DNA cheek swab as part of the routine collection of evidence in an arrest, along with your mug shot and finger prints. The U.S. Supreme Court will give carte blanche to the government with the invocation of the magic words "national security." The Court is not going to overturn its decision in Amnesty International V. Clapper.

Clapper, in an interview with NBC, targeted the leaker but also sought to spotlight the media who first reported the programs,
calling their disclosures irresponsible and full of “hyperbole.”
Earlier Saturday, he had issued a statement accusing the media of a
“rush to publish.”

“For me, it is literally — not figuratively —
literally gut-wrenching to see this happen because of the huge, grave
damage it does to our intelligence capabilities,” Clapper said.

On Sunday morning, Clapper got some backup from the chairs of the
House and Senate intelligence committees, who appeared jointly on ABC’s
“This Week” to espouse the values of the programs.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) had
harsh words for whoever is responsible for the leaks, and for the
journalist who first reported the NSA’s collection of phone records, the
Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald.

“He doesn’t have a clue how this thing works; nether did the person
who released just enough information to literally be dangerous,” Rogers
said, adding, “I absolutely think [the leaker] should be prosecuted.”

* * *

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)
agreed that whoever leaked the information should be prosecuted, and she
sought to beat back media reports that suggest the Obama administration
overplayed the impact of the programs.

* * *

“One of them is the case of David Headley, who went to Mumbai to the
Taj [Mahal] Hotel and scoped it out for the terrorist attack,” Feinstein
said. “The second is Najibullah Zazi, who lived in Colorado, who made
the decision that he was going to blow up a New York subway.”

Feinstein
noted that she could talk about those two cases because they have been
declassified, but she suggested the surveillance programs also assisted
in other terrorism-related cases.

That explanation wasn’t enough
to satisfy some critics of the programs. Her Senate Intelligence
Committee colleague, Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), agreed that the
so-called PRISM program — which taps into the Internet usage of
foreigners — has “been very effective.” But he said the collection of
Americans’ phone metadata has not proven so.

“It’s unclear to me
that we’ve developed any intelligence through the metadata program
that’s led to the disruption of plots that we couldn’t obtain through
other programs,” Udall said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Udall
and two Democrats from Oregon — Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley — have
emerged as key voices critical of the phone record collection.

Sen. Mark Udall also called for reopening the USA PATRIOT Act today. Senator calls for reopening of the Patriot Act. If that happens, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) will probably convince his colleagues to expand and extend the Act again. I have no reason to be optimistic.

UPDATE: Here is an interview of Edward Snowden by Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill in Hong Kong. NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: 'I do not expect to see home again'.

0 responses to “NSA leaker comes forward

  1. It would seem more stupidity than courage for Snowden to turn himself in and stand trial in the US. How would he even be able to mount a defense?