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KILLER_CLOWN 11-01-2013 02:28 PM

Snowden Says He’s Willing to Assist Investigations Spurred by NSA Leaks
In the short-term, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden appears unlikely to travel to Germany in order to testify about his knowledge of how the U.S. spy agency has used its surveillance capabilities to bulk-collect the communications of the nation’s people, including the personal cell phone of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“Though the outcome of my efforts has been demonstrably positive, my government continues to treat dissent as defection, and seeks to criminalize political speech with felony charges that provide no defense. However, speaking the truth is not a crime. I am confident that with the support of the international community, the government of the United States will abandon this harmful behavior.” –Edward Snowden

However, in an open letter delivered to the German government on Friday, Snowden—still living under temporary asylum in Russia—indicated he is willing to assist the investigation of alleged spying once the “difficulties” of his personal situation are resolved.

According to the Associated Press, Germany’s Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich, said Friday that he “will try and find a way for Edward Snowden to speak to German officials” if the whistleblower is willing and able to “provide details about the NSA‘s activities” concerning the alleged surveillance. How that might be accomplished remains unclear.

As the Guardian reports:

Action is under way in the Bundestag to commission a parliamentary investigation into US intelligence service spying and a German politician met Snowden in Moscow on Thursday to discuss the matter.

Hans-Christian Ströbele, the veteran Green party candidate for Berlin’s Kreuzberg district, reported that the US whistleblower was prepared in principle to assist a parliamentary inquiry.

But Ströbele warned of the legal complications that would come with Snowden leaving Russia, where he has been granted asylum after leaking documents on mass NSA surveillance. Witnesses to parliamentary enquiries are usually given the financial support and legal protection required for them to travel to Germany.

Snowden provided Ströbele with the typed letter, the full content of which follows:

To whom it may concern,

I have been invited to write to you regarding your investigation of mass surveillance.

I am Edward Joseph Snowden, formerly employed through contracts or direct hire as a technical expert for the United States National Security Agency, Central Intelligence Agency, and Defense Intelligence Agency.

In the course of my service to these organizations, I believe I witnessed systemic violations of law by my government that created a moral duty to act. As a result of reporting these concerns, I have face a severe and sustained campaign of persecution that forced me from my family and home. I am currently living in exile under a grant of temporary asylum in the Russian Federation in accordance with international law.

I am heartened by the response to my act of political expression, in both the United States and beyond. Citizens around the world as well as high officials – including in the United States – have judged the revelation of an unaccountable system of pervasive surveillance to be a public service. These spying revelations have resulted in the proposal of many new laws and policies to address formerly concealed abuses of the public trust. The benefits to society of this growing knowledge are becoming increasingly clear at the same time claimed risks are being shown to have been mitigated.

Though the outcome of my efforts has been demonstrably positive, my government continues to treat dissent as defection, and seeks to criminalize political speech with felony charges that provide no defense. However, speaking the truth is not a crime. I am confident that with the support of the international community, the government of the United States will abandon this harmful behavior. I hope that when the difficulties of this humanitarian situation have been resolved, I will be able to cooperate in the responsible finding of fact regarding reports in the media, particularly in regard to the truth and authenticity of documents, as appropriate and in accordance with the law.

I look forward to speaking with you in your country when the situation is resolved, and thank you for your efforts in upholding the international laws that protect us all.

With my best regards,

Edward Snowden

And Reuters reports, that even though Snowden would like to speak with German officials or travel to Germany when opportunity allows, he indicated that he “would rather go before the U.S. Congress, or a committee of the U.S. Congress and lay the facts on the table.”

For the moment, however, with a standing warrant for his arrest, Snowden is unlikely to return to the U.S. until he is offered assurances that he would face a fair hearing. Given the treatment of other whistleblowers by the Obama administation, defenders of Snowden have said it would be irresponsible and dangerous for him to return.

In an op-ed that appeared in Guardian Friday morning, Harvard Law professor Yochai Benkler, who directs the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, called on members of Congress to grant Snowden amnesty for his disclosure of the NSA documents, arguing:

Congress has in its power the ability to bring home the man without whom all the abuses, errors, and oversight workarounds would have continued unchecked. Five years ago, when Congress passed the Amendments Act, the legislature included in that statute a set of provisions that immunized the telecommunications companies that cooperated with the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program from civil suits by citizens whose rights had been violated and from states that wanted to investigate or sanction these companies. That provision was roundly criticized by civil liberties advocates, but it does provide a legislative model for what Congress could now do to protect Snowden from criminal or civil liability arising from his disclosures.

Critics say that Snowden broke the law and should pay the price; they argue that facing the consequences is what civil disobedience requires; that is what we learned from Martin Luther King, they say. But do they really believe that ultra-segregationist Bull Connor‘s arrests in the civil rights era were justified?

Critics will also say that giving Snowden immunity encourages future leakers and whistleblowers to the detriment of national security. It is, however, highly unlikely that a future whistleblower or leaker will take the chance that their disclosures will so transform public attitudes that they could become the subject of a congressional amnesty. And if a precedent is indeed set, what exactly is wrong with the possibility of amnesty for people who break the law in good conscience to disclose practices that, once exposed, are outlawed or abandoned by Congress, the courts, or the executive itself?

Donger 11-01-2013 02:33 PM


Originally Posted by KILLER_CLOWN (Post 10147147)
However, speaking the truth is not a crime.

Actually Eddie, in your case, yes. Yes it is.

planetdoc 03-07-2014 08:28 PM

Snowden Gives Testimony To European Parliament Inquiry Into Mass Surveillance

some highlights


Originally Posted by snowden
The NSA granted me the authority to monitor communications world-wide using its mass surveillance systems, including within the United States. I have personally targeted individuals using these systems under both the President of the United States' Executive Order 12333 and the US Congress' FAA 702. I know the good and the bad of these systems, and what they can and cannot do, and I am telling you that without getting out of my chair, I could have read the private communications of any member of this committee, as well as any ordinary citizen. I swear under penalty of perjury that this is true.


Originally Posted by snowden
The surest way for any nation to become
subject to unnecessary surveillance is to allow its spies to dictate its policy.

The right to be free unwarranted intrusion into our private effects -- our lives and
possessions, our thoughts and communications -- is a human right. It is not granted by national governments and it cannot be revoked by them out of convenience.

Are there adequate procedures in the NSA for staff to signal wrongdoing?


Originally Posted by snowden
- Unfortunately not...

Do you feel you had exhausted all avenues before taking the decision to go public?


Originally Posted by snowden
Yes. I had reported these clearly problematic programs to more than ten distinct officials, none of whom took any action to address them. As an employee of a private company rather than a direct employee of the US government, I was not protected by US whistleblower laws, and I would not have been protected from retaliation and legal sanction for revealing classified information about lawbreaking in accordance with the recommended process.

It is important to remember that this is legal dilemma did not occur by mistake. US
whistleblower reform laws were passed as recently as 2012, with the US Whistleblower
Protection Enhancement Act, but they specifically chose to exclude Intelligence Agencies from being covered by the statute. President Obama also reformed a key executive Whistleblower regulation with his 2012 Presidential Policy Directive 19, but it exempted Intelligence Community contractors such as myself. The result was that individuals like me were left with no proper channels.


Originally Posted by snowden
In the United States, we use a secret, rubber-stamp Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that only hears arguments from the government. Out of approximately 34,000 government requests over 33 years, the secret court rejected only 11.


Originally Posted by snowden
Let's explore it. We learned only days ago that the GCHQ compromised a popular Yahoo service to collect images from web cameras inside citizens' homes, and around 10% of these images they take from within people's homes involve nudity or intimate activities. In the same report, journalists revealed that this sort of webcam data was searchable via the NSA's XKEYSCORE system, which means the GCHQ's "light oversight regime" was used not only to capture bulk data that is clearly of limited intelligence value and most probably violates EU laws, but to then trade that data with foreign services without the knowledge or consent of any country's voting public. We also learned last year that some of the partners with which the GCHQ was sharing this information, in this example the NSA, had made efforts to use evidence of religious conservatives' association with sexually explicit material of the sort GCHQ was collecting as a
grounds for destroying their reputations and discrediting them. The "Release
to Five Eyes" classification of this particular report, dated 2012, reveals that the UK government was aware of the NSA's intent to use sexually explicit material in this manner, indicating a deepening and increasingly aggressive partnership. None of these religious conservatives were suspected of involvement in terrorist plots: they were targeted on the basis of their political beliefs and activism, as part of a class the NSA refers to as "radicalizers."

I wonder if any members of this committee have ever advocated a position that the NSA,
GCHQ, or even the intelligence services of an EU member state might attempt to construe as "radical"? If you were targeted on the basis of your political beliefs, would you know? If they sought to discredit you on the basis of your private communications, could you discover the culprit and prove it was them? What would be your recourse?
And you are parliamentarians. Try to imagine the impact of such activities against ordinary citizens without power, privilege, or resources.


Originally Posted by snowden
To directly answer your question, yes, global surveillance capabilities are being used on a daily basis for the purpose of economic espionage. That a major goal of the US Intelligence Community is to produce economic intelligence is the worst kept secret in Washington.

Brock 03-07-2014 08:35 PM

Yep. Nothing but a traitor.

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