Posted by lahar9jhadav on June 7, 2013
Q: Why did you decide to become a whistleblower?
A: “The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your emails or your wife’s phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards.
“I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things … I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under.”
Q: But isn’t there a need for surveillance to try to reduce the chances of terrorist attacks such as Boston?
A: “We have to decide why terrorism is a new threat. There has always been terrorism. Boston was a criminal act. It was not about surveillance but good, old-fashioned police work. The police are very good at what they do.”
Q: Do you see yourself as another Bradley Manning?
A: “Manning was a classic whistleblower. He was inspired by the public good.”
Q: Do you think what you have done is a crime?
A: “We have seen enough criminality on the part of government. It is hypocritical to make this allegation against me. They have narrowed the public sphere of influence.”
Q: What do you think is going to happen to you?
A: “Nothing good.”
Q: Why Hong Kong?
A: “I think it is really tragic that an American has to move to a place that has a reputation for less freedom. Still, Hong Kong has a reputation for freedom in spite of the People’s Republic of China. It has a strong tradition of free speech.”
Q: What do the leaked documents reveal?
A: “That the NSA routinely lies in response to congressional inquiries about the scope of surveillance in America. I believe that when [senator Ron] Wyden and [senator Mark] Udall asked about the scale of this, they [the NSA] said it did not have the tools to provide an answer. We do have the tools and I have maps showing where people have been scrutinised most. We collect more digital communications from America than we do from the Russians.”
nsa whistleblower Snowden is a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA
Q: What about the Obama administration’s protests about hacking by China?
A: “We hack everyone everywhere. We like to make a distinction between us and the others. But we are in almost every country in the world. We are not at war with these countries.”
Q: Is it possible to put security in place to protect against state surveillance?
A: “You are not even aware of what is possible. The extent of their capabilities is horrifying. We can plant bugs in machines. Once you go on the network, I can identify your machine. You will never be safe whatever protections you put in place.”
Q: Does your family know you are planning this?
A: “No. My family does not know what is happening … My primary fear is that they will come after my family, my friends, my partner. Anyone I have a relationship with …
I will have to live with that for the rest of my life. I am not going to be able to communicate with them. They [the authorities] will act aggressively against anyone who has known me. That keeps me up at night.”
Q: When did you decide to leak the documents?
A: “You see things that may be disturbing. When you see everything you realise that some of these things are abusive. The awareness of wrong-doing builds up. There was not one morning when I woke up [and decided this is it]. It was a natural process.
“A lot of people in 2008 voted for Obama. I did not vote for him. I voted for a third party. But I believed in Obama’s promises. I was going to disclose it [but waited because of his election]. He continued with the policies of his predecessor.”
Q: What is your reaction to Obama denouncing the leaks on Friday while welcoming a debate on the balance between security and openness?
A: “My immediate reaction was he was having difficulty in defending it himself. He was trying to defend the unjustifiable and he knew it.”
Q: What about the response in general to the disclosures?
A: “I have been surprised and pleased to see the public has reacted so strongly in defence of these rights that are being suppressed in the name of security. It is not like Occupy Wall Street but there is a grassroots movement to take to the streets on July 4 in defence of the Fourth Amendment called Restore The Fourth Amendment and it grew out of Reddit. The response over the internet has been huge and supportive.”
Q: Washington-based foreign affairs analyst Steve Clemons said he overheard at the capital’s Dulles airport four men discussing an intelligence conference they had just attended. Speaking about the leaks, one of them said, according to Clemons, that both the reporter and leaker should be “disappeared”. How do you feel about that?
A: “Someone responding to the story said ‘real spies do not speak like that’. Well, I am a spy and that is how they talk. Whenever we had a debate in the office on how to handle crimes, they do not defend due process – they defend decisive action. They say it is better to kick someone out of a plane than let these people have a day in court. It is an authoritarian mindset in general.”
Q: Do you have a plan in place?
A: “The only thing I can do is sit here and hope the Hong Kong government does not deport me … My predisposition is to seek asylum in a country with shared values. The nation that most encompasses this is Iceland. They stood up for people over internet freedom. I have no idea what my future is going to be.
“They could put out an Interpol note. But I don’t think I have committed a crime outside the domain of the US. I think it will be clearly shown to be political in nature.”
Q: Do you think you are probably going to end up in prison?
A: “I could not do this without accepting the risk of prison. You can’t come up against the world’s most powerful intelligence agencies and not accept the risk. If they want to get you, over time they will.”
Q: How to you feel now, almost a week after the first leak?
A: “I think the sense of outrage that has been expressed is justified. It has given me hope that, no matter what happens to me, the outcome will be positive for America. I do not expect to see home again, though that is what I want.”
“These are routine orders, nothing new,” Drake says. “What’s new is we’re seeing an actual order. And people are somehow surprised by it. The fact remains that this program has been in place for quite some time. It was actually started shortly after 9/11. The PATRIOT Act was the enabling mechanism that allowed the United States government in secret to acquire subscriber records from any company.”
Binney, who worked at nearly 40 years at the NSA and resigned shortly after the 9/11 attacks, says: “NSA has been doing all this stuff all along, and it’s been all the companies, not just one. And I basically looked at that and said: If Verizon got one, so did everybody else. Which means that they’re just continuing the collection of this kind of information of all U.S. citizens.”
“The government is using provisions of the Patriot Act and the FISA Amendments Act to regularly track all of the calls of millions of ordinary Americans and to spy on an unknown number of Americans’ international calls and emails. A Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order published by The Guardian indicates that a Verizon subsidiary is handing over the phone records of all of its customers to the National Security Agency on an ongoing basis. And a newly revealed NSA program—called PRISM—can access data from nine major internet companies, giving the government ready access to our emails, chats, Skype calls, and more.
This unprecedented surveillance strikes at the core of our right to free speech, association, and privacy. On June 10, 2013, the ACLU filed a motion with the FISA Court seeking the release of its secret opinions that enable the mass acquisition of phone records. The next day, we filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the phone tracking program. Read on to learn more about the program and what we’re doing to stop it.”
Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian journalist who broke the NSA surveillance story earlier this month, joins us one day after both President Obama and whistleblower Edward Snowden gave extensive interviews on the surveillance programs Snowden exposed and Obama is now forced to defend. Speaking to PBS, Obama distinguished his surveillance efforts from those of the Bush administration and reaffirmed his insistence that no Americans’ phone calls or emails are being directly monitored without court orders. Greenwald calls Obama’s statements “outright false” for omitting the warrantless spying on phone calls between Americans and callers outside the United States. “It is true that the NSA can’t deliberately target U.S. citizens for [warrantless] surveillance, but it is also the case they are frequently engaged in surveillance of exactly that kind of invasive technique involving U.S. persons,” Greenwald says. After moderating Snowden’s online Q&A with Guardian readers, Greenwald says of the whistleblower: “I think what you see here is a person who was very disturbed by this massive surveillance apparatus built in the U.S. that spies not only on American citizens, but the world with very little checks, very little oversight. He’s making clear his intention was to inform citizens even at the expense of his own liberty or even life.”
WILLIAM BINNEY: NSA WHISTELBLOWER
AMY GOODMAN: If you would briefly, though I don’t like to have you relive this, tell us what actually happened to you, with the FBI raiding your home.
WILLIAM BINNEY: Well, they came in, and there were like 12 FBI agents with their guns drawn, and came in. My son opened the door, let them in, and they pushed him out of the way at gunpoint. And they came upstairs to where my wife was getting dressed, and I was in the shower, and they were pointing guns at her, and then they—one of the agents came into the shower and pointed a gun directly at me, at my head, and of course pulled me out of the shower. So I had a towel, at least, to wrap around, but—so that’s what they did.
And then they took me out and interrogated me on the back porch. And when they did that, they tried to get me—they said they wanted me to tell them something that would be—implicate someone in a crime. And I said, well, I didn’t—I thought they were talking about someone other than the President Bush, Dick Cheney and Hayden and Tenet, so I said I didn’t really know about anything. And they said they thought I was lying. Well, at that point, “OK,” I said, “I’ll tell you about the crime I know about,” and that was that Hayden, Tenet, George Bush, Dick Cheney, they conspired to subvert the Constitution and the constitutional process of checks and balances, and here’s how they did it. And I talked about program Stellar Wind, all the data coming in, about how they managed to graph it and also how they bypassed the courts. They didn’t tell the courts about this program, and they didn’t solicit any approval from the courts. And they also only told four people initially in Congress, that were the—they were the chiefs and deputies of the Intelligence Committee. That was on the House. That was Porter Goss and Nancy Pelosi. I don’t remember the Senate side. But when you do that and—I mean, Senator Rockefeller, when he got briefed into those programs in 2003, said he wasn’t capable of understanding any of it, because he wasn’t—he wasn’t a technician, he wasn’t a lawyer, so he couldn’t do anything about it. That was in his handwritten note to Dick Cheney. So, I mean, it was clear they were doing something that was unconstitutional and against any number of laws that existed at the time.
complete interview here
PRISM scandal: tech giants flatly deny allowing NSA direct access to servers
Executives at several of the tech firms said they had never heard of PRISM until they were contacted by the Guardian
Two different versions of the PRISM scandal were emerging on Thursday with Silicon Valley executives denying all knowledge of the top secret program that gives the National Security Agency direct access to the internet giants’ servers.
The eavesdropping program is detailed in the form of PowerPoint slides in a leaked NSA document, seen and authenticated by the Guardian, which states that it is based on “legally-compelled collection” but operates with the “assistance of communications providers in the US.”
Each of the 41 slides in the document displays prominently the corporate logos of the tech companies claimed to be taking part in PRISM.
However, senior executives from the internet companies expressed surprise and shock and insisted that no direct access to servers had been offered to any government agency.
The top-secret NSA briefing presentation set out details of the PRISM program, which it said granted access to records such as emails, chat conversations, voice calls, documents and more. The presentation the listed dates when document collection began for each company, and said PRISM enabled “direct access from the servers of these US service providers: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Paltalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple”.
Senior officials with knowledge of the situation within the tech giants admitted to being confused by the NSA revelations, and said if such data collection was taking place, it was without companies’ knowledge.
An Apple spokesman said: “We have never heard of PRISM. We do not provide any government agency with direct access to our servers and any agency requesting customer data must get a court order,” he said.
Joe Sullivan, Facebook’s chief security officer, said it did not provide government organisation with direct access to Facebook servers. “When Facebook is asked for data or information about specific individuals, we carefully scrutinise any such request for compliance with all applicable laws, and provide information only to the extent required by law.”
A Google spokesman also said it did not provide officials with access to its servers. “Google cares deeply about the security of our users’ data. We disclose user data to government in accordance with the law, and we review all such requests carefully. From time to time, people allege that we have created a government ‘backdoor’ into our systems, but Google does not have a ‘back door’ for the government to access private user data.”
Microsoft said it only turned over data when served with a court order: “We provide customer data only when we receive a legally binding order or subpoena to do so, and never on a voluntary basis. In addition we only ever comply with orders for requests about specific accounts or identifiers. If the government has a broader voluntary national security program to gather customer data we don’t participate in it.”
A Yahoo spokesman said: “Yahoo! takes users’ privacy very seriously. We do not provide the government with direct access to our servers, systems, or network.
Within the tech companies, and talking on off the record, executives said they had never even heard of PRISM until contacted by the Guardian. Executives said that they were regularly contacted by law officials and responded to all subpoenas but they denied ever having heard of a scheme like PRISM, an information programme internal the documents state has been running since 2007.
Executives said they were “confused” by the claims in the NSA document. “We operate under what we are required to do by law,” said one. “We receive requests for information all the time. Say about a potential terrorist threat or after the Boston bombing. But we have systems in place for that.” The executive claimed, as did others, that the most senior figures in their organisation had never heard of PRISM or any scheme like it.
The chief executive of transparency NGO Index on Censorship, Kirsty Hughes, remarked on Twitter that the contradiction seemed to leave two options: “Back door or front?” she posted.
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