The Washington Post is
running a terrific article in which former NSA contractor
Edward Snowden explains why he revealed how far the NSA and
other federal agencies had gone toward constructing a national
security surveillance state. Short answer: Because it’s
unconstitutional. The Post interviewed Snowden for 14
hours in Moscow and he comes off much better than the pack of liars
who run the NSA or the enablers who “oversee” its activities in
Congress or in the Administration.
And by liars, I mean Director of National Intelligence James
Clapper who lied to Congress
about the NSA’s bulk collection of data involving essentially every
American’s phone calls. By liars, I mean NSA Director
Keith Alexander, and Congressional Intelligence Committee
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Rep. Mike
Rogers (R-Mich.) who all claimed that the massive phone
surveilance program was crucial to disrupting more than 50
President Obama described the NSA’s bulk data collection as a
“circumscribed, narrow” program that thwarted at least 50 terror
threats. “Lives have been saved,” asserted the president.
In fact, the new report from President’ Obama’s handpicked
review committee earlier this week flatly said that the NSA’s
dragnet spying program was “not
essential to preventing attacks” and that “there has been no
instance in which NSA could say with confidence that the outcome
[of a terror investigation] would have been any different” without
From the Post article:
“For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s
already accomplished,” [Snowden] said. “I already won. As soon as
the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been
trying to do was validated. Because, remember, I didn’t want to
change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if
it should change itself.”
“All I wanted was for the public to be able to have a say in how
they are governed,” he said…
The pack of liars accuses Snowden of breaking his oath to the
NSA and calls him a traitor who
should be hanged.
“The oath of allegiance is not an oath of secrecy,” he said.
“That is an oath to the Constitution. That is the oath that I kept
that Keith Alexander and James Clapper did not.”
Correct. The Post further reports:
Snowden is an orderly thinker, with an engineer’s approach to
problem-solving. He had come to believe that a dangerous machine of
mass surveillance was growing unchecked. Closed-door oversight by
Congress and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court was a
“graveyard of judgment,” he said, manipulated by the agency it was
supposed to keep in check. Classification rules erected walls to
prevent public debate.
Toppling those walls would be a spectacular act of transgression
against the norms that prevailed inside them. Someone would have to
bypass security, extract the secrets, make undetected contact with
journalists and provide them with enough proof to tell the
The NSA’s business is “information dominance,” the use of other
people’s secrets to shape events. At 29, Snowden upended the agency
on its own turf.
“You recognize that you’re going in blind, that there’s no
model,” Snowden said, acknowledging that he had no way to know
whether the public would share his views….
Six months ago, a reporter asked him by encrypted e-mail why
Americans would want the NSA to give up bulk data collection if
that would limit a useful intelligence tool.
“I believe the cost of frank public debate about the powers of
our government is less than the danger posed by allowing these
powers to continue growing in secret,” he replied, calling them “a
direct threat to democratic governance.”
In the Moscow interview, Snowden said, “What the government
wants is something they never had before,” adding: “They want total
awareness. The question is, is that something we should be
Snowden likened the NSA’s powers to those used by British
authorities in Colonial America, when “general warrants” allowed
for anyone to be searched. The FISA court, Snowden said, “is
authorizing general warrants for the entire country’s metadata.”
The difference with the NSA’s possession of the data, Snowden
said, is that government has the power to take away life or
At the NSA, he said, “there are people in the office who joke
about, ‘We put warheads on foreheads.’ Twitter doesn’t put warheads
It is way the past time for Clapper and Alexander to be fired
and tried for lying to Congress and to the American people.
act immediately on legislation to restore Fourth Amendment
protections against government agents spying on Americans.
The whole Post article is well worth your attention and
I’ll say it again: Thank
you Edward Snowden.
from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/24/edward-snowden-understands-constitution