В news The telecommunications company Verizon, from which the NSA received data from millions of calls from a wide variety of subscribers, got. Everything was done legally, on the basis of a court order - also, of course, a secret one. In the US, everything will soon be secret.
It was not just about Verizon. As transmits ITAR-TASS, the Washington Post newspaper reported that the NSA and the FBI have been getting direct access to Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube for several years now. "," Apple ". The article notes that within the framework of a top-secret program codenamed PRISM, special services collect audio and video files, photographs, electronic correspondence, documents and data about users’s connections to certain sites, which allows them to “follow the movements and contacts of various people”. True, "Apple", "Google", "Facebook" and "Yahoo" denied this information. And the director of US national intelligence, James Clapper, said that the media made "numerous inaccuracies" in publications. He stressed that the law allowing the special services to carry out such supervision allows them to act only in relation to people "who are not US citizens and are outside the country."
On this scandal would subside, but it was not there.
Human rights activists sounded the alarm, alarmists and journalists joined them, citizens remembered about the inviolability of personal life, freedom of speech, democracy, human rights, even the Constitution and some amendments to it - and it started.
The indignation of ordinary Americans is caused by the fact that the actions of the NSA and the FBI to collect data, which in the press are more often called “wiretapping”, were completely legitimate. Senior correspondent of the portal ThinkProgress.org at the center of the American Foundation for Progressive Action Zaid Jilani told about it "Voice of Russia".
Comrade Jilani says legitimacy is ensured by the anti-terrorism act passed by Congress in 2001. With 2008-2012, Congress endorsed the law without amending it. Senators made listening in the US legal.
"... No one would complain if the secret services found a particular person who would harm America and ask permission to watch him, but when they take millions of people under surveillance at the same time, I, as an American, feel that my personal space and my rights are not respected. I think that millions of Americans think so, regardless of their political preferences. ”
Against the immutability of the legal acts of the past, some congressmen are actively opposing. As reported "Vesti" With reference to ITAR-TASS, the American Democratic senator Mark Yudoll is one of the supporters of such changes. “We need to revise the“ Act on patriotism ”and somewhat limit the amount of information that the National Security Agency collects,” he said in an interview with the ABC television company. He noted: “We are fighting terrorism, which still poses a real threat, but we must comply with the Bill of Rights and the fourth amendment to the Constitution, prohibiting illegal searches and interception of postal correspondence.”
Comrade Yudolla was supported by the famous Republican senator Rand Paul, who stated in the program of the Fox television company that the secret programs of the NSA indicate an extremely widespread invasion of citizens' privacy.
However, the overwhelming majority of senators defend the actions of the Obama administration and the American special services. Among well-known supporters, Dianne Feinstein, chairperson of the intelligence committee, and Republican Senator John McCain, noted in an interview with CNN, should note that “if today was 12 September 2001 of the year, no such disputes would probably would arise. "
On the night of Monday, June 10, the “wiretapping” scandal was continued. It was announced by its initiator - Edward Snowden, an employee of “Booz Allen Hamilton”, a man who set himself the goal of combating injustice and deception created by the government. It was he who gave the British newspaper The Guardian a secret court decision, which was discussed above. The scandal began last week with the publication of the PRISM program.
Correspondents The Guardian Ian MacAskill and Glenn Greenwald talked with fellow Snowden in Hong Kong. The fighter for justice explained to journalists that the NSA had built a whole infrastructure that allows intercepting virtually all communications, and automatically. If I wanted, he remarked, to look at the email or calls of my wife, all I would have to do was use this interception technology. With it, you can get emails, passwords, telephone records, access to information on credit cards.
“I do not want to live in a society that does such things ... I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. This is not something that I am ready to support or with which I am ready to live. ”
But maybe this kind of observation, reporters said, was started in order to try to reduce the likelihood of terrorist attacks - such as the Boston one?
Here, according to Snowden, only “good, old-fashioned police work ...”
They asked Snowden and Manning. In his opinion, Bradley Manning was inspired by the idea of public good.
On the question of what will happen to him, Snowden answered concisely and sadly: "Nothing good."
According to him, he moved to Hong Kong because of the strong local traditions of free speech. The American said: “I think it’s really tragic that an American should go to a place that has the reputation of a less free country ... However, Hong Kong ... has strong traditions ... of freedom of speech."
The publication reminds that 29-year-old Snowden is a former technical assistant at the CIA. This person specifies that the NSA collects more digital information about America than about Russians.
To the question: “Did your family know what you were planning?” Snowden replied:
“No ... And now I’m most afraid that they’ll come for my family, my friends ... For any of those with whom I have a relationship ...”
He said that with this he would have to live the rest of his life. From now on, he is not going to communicate with them. The authorities will act aggressively against anyone who knows him.
Many people, Snowden told reporters, voted for Obama in 2008. But he voted for third parties. At the same time, he believed in Obama's promises. However, he continued the policy of his predecessor.
At the moment, Snowden hopes that the Hong Kong government will not deport him. He said that he intends to seek asylum in a country with nationwide values - for example, in Iceland. But, in general, he does not know what awaits him.
In another article, Glenn Greenwald, Ian McAskill, and Laura Poitras (The Guardian) remind that Snowden is the person responsible for one of the most significant leaks in the American political stories- Not only was a technical assistant at the CIA, but recently a defense contractor at Booz Allen Hamilton, but for the past four years he worked with the National Security Agency as an employee of various external contractors, including the mentioned Booz Allen and Dell. ".
"The Guardian" revealed his identity at his own request: "I have no intention to hide who I am, because I know that I have not done anything wrong."
Now Snowden will go down in history along with Daniel Ellsberg and Bradley Manning. After all, the NSA is one of the most closed organizations in the world.
Despite his desire for publicity, he insists that he wants to avoid media attention. “I do not want public attention because I do not want this story to be about me. I want her to be about the acts of the US government. ”
He also said: "... I know that the government will demonize me." He explained that the only reason for declassification was to inform the public about what is being done on his (society's) name and what is being done against him.
Snowden lived a “very comfortable life,” which included a salary of about $ 200.000 per year, a friend with whom he shared a house in Hawaii, a stable career, and a family he loved.
“I’m ready to sacrifice everything, because I cannot, with a clear conscience, allow the US government to destroy the privacy, freedom of the Internet and the basic rights of people around the world with this powerful surveillance machine, created in secret.”
Snowden's plan was like that.
Three weeks ago he made his final preparations. In the NSA office in Hawaii, he copied the last set of documents that he was about to disclose. Then he told his supervisor that he needed to leave for a couple of weeks - to undergo treatment for epilepsy. Collecting things, he told his girlfriend that he had to leave for a few weeks. 20 May he boarded a plane to Hong Kong. He chose this city because of his “energetic commitment to freedom of speech,” and also because he believed that it was one of the few places in the world that could resist the dictates of the US government.
He lives in a hotel - in constant fear of surveillance. He laid the door of his hotel room with pillows. He puts a big red hood on his head and on his laptop when he enters passwords. This is done so that possible hidden cameras do not shoot anything. This is not paranoia; Snowden has every reason for such concerns. After all, he worked with US intelligence for almost ten years.
It was once influenced by Iraq. In 2003, he enlisted in the US Army and began a training program to later join the special forces. He noted that his ideas about the purpose of the war were quickly dispersed. After breaking both legs in a training accident, he was demobilized.
He then got his first job at an NSA facility (security guard at a secret facility at the University of Maryland). From there, he moved to the CIA, where he worked on IT security. His knowledge of the Internet and the ability to computer programming allowed him to quickly make a career - for a person who at that time did not even have a high school diploma.
In 2007, the CIA placed him under diplomatic cover in Geneva. He was responsible for maintaining the security of the computer network. This meant that he was allowed access to a wide array of secret documents. It was this access, along with the fact that he spent almost three years among the CIA officers, sowed in his soul serious doubts about the correctness of all that he saw around him.
For example, the CIA tried to recruit a Swiss banker - in order to get the secret banking information. Snowden said they achieved this by trying to get a drunk banker and arranging for him to go home in his car. The banker was arrested for drunk driving. It was then that the secret agent made friends with him and offered to help. A relationship was formed, which further resulted in successful cooperation.
"Much of what I saw in Geneva really disappointed me ... I realized that I was part of something that does much more harm than good."
He left the CIA in 2009, and went to work for a private contractor, who assigned him to an NSA facility located at a military base in Japan. It was then, he said, that he watched Obama formulate the policy that Snowden believed should bring change.
But over the next three years, he only learned that the NSA, with its thirst for overwhelming observation, set out to know about every conversation and every act in the world.
Once he came to the conclusion that monitoring the NSA would soon be irrevocable. It is only a matter of time. “What they do,” he says, “is an existential threat to democracy.”
His fidelity to the freedom of the Internet, British journalists write, is reflected in the stickers on his laptop: “I support the rights on the Internet:“ Electronic Frontier Foundation ”. Or as evidence of free anonymity: the Tor Project.
To the question of journalists and the authenticity of his personality, he, without hesitation, provided his personal data, social security numbers, ID of the CIA and expired diplomatic passport. There is no quirk at all, correspondents write. "Ask him about something from his personal life, and he will answer." The Guardian journalists call this man "quiet, intelligent, calm and modest."
Julian Borger and Spencer Ackerman in The Guardian They write that Sean Turner, a spokesman for US National Intelligence Director James Clapper, said: "Anyone who has admission knows that he ... has obligations to protect classified information and comply with the law."
The US military company Booz Allen Hamilton issued a statement describing the disclosure of information by Snowden as “shocking” and undertook to cooperate with any investigation.
Meanwhile, Snowden received support from civic activists. Jessilin Radak, who had previously served as a lawyer as an informant, told Reuters that the Snowden case could be a "turning point".
Russell Theis, a former NSA analyst who blamed the agency in the middle of 2000 for going beyond the legal mandate, said: "This guy has more courage than everyone I know."
Julian Borger (The Guardian) said that the company “Booz Allen” with a capital of 6 billions of dollars and 25.000 employees are largely focused on data processing computer systems. Under the motto "Improving public safety with analytics," the company offers assistance in processing large amounts of data collected. The project line, which just reflects some of the functions of Snowden, who worked for the NSA, includes the development of what “allows organizations to process, interpret and use data arrays stored for several weeks or months.”
It must be recalled that the United States has an extradition treaty with Hong Kong.
"The Telegraph" Citing Reuters, writes that the NSA is now about to initiate a criminal investigation into the leak. Republican politicians in the United States are already calling for the extradition of Snowden.
Any harassment of Snowden is likely to fall under the 1917 espionage law of the year — it was this law that the US government used against other civilians who disclosed secret information without permission.
The United States and Hong Kong signed an extradition treaty back in 1996, one year before the former British colony was returned to China. The document came into force in 1998 year and provides that the Hong Kong authorities may detain a person for 60 days at the request of the United States - while Washington is preparing a formal request for extradition.
Lawyers with extradition experience say that it will be difficult for Snowden to bypass the treaty if the US government decides to prosecute it. “They (Hong Kong) are not going to jeopardize their relations with the United States because of Snowden ...” says Robert Anello, a New York lawyer who worked on extradition cases. Anello noticed:
"If you are an American citizen, then escaping from the United States is not an easy task."
Hong Kong is under the full control of China, and therefore the treaty also provides for the refusal of extradition, which could damage China’s defense, foreign affairs, essential public interest or politics.
In addition, the defense of Snowden, as advocates say, can be based on the absence of “double criminality”: for the person to be extradited, the alleged act should be a crime in both countries.
However, Anello believes that they will find a local law in Hong Kong that is “very similar” to the American Spying Act.
Observed and translated by Oleg Chuvakin
- especially for topwar.ru
- especially for topwar.ru