Snowden hits back at Clinton – By Bradford Richardson – 10/17/15 05:38 PM EDT


Getty Images

National Security Agency (NSA) leaker Edward says Hillary Clinton is wrong to claim he could have come out under whistleblower protection laws.

“Sad to see Hillary repeat a false claim despite fact check. She could develop a reputation,” he tweeted on Friday.

Clinton claimed at the first Democratic primary debate that Snowden would have been protected if he had gone through the appropriate channels to reveal improper government practices.

But Snowden pointed to a PolitiFact statement rated “True” that says the Obama administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all previous presidential administrations combined.

Clinton doubled down on her stance at a New Hampshire rally on Friday, saying Snowden should be made to return to the United States to answer for his actions.

“I firmly believe that he could have gone public and released the information about the collection of information on Americans under whistleblower protection, and he could have done it within the tradition in our country that shields people who come forth acting out of conscience to present information they believe the public should have,” Clinton said.

The former secretary of State, who resigned from her position just months before Snowden stole and made public classified data on the U.S. government’s espionage practices, questioned the NSA contractor’s motives after he immediately fled to China and Russia after the 2013 leak.

Article continues:

http://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/257249-snowden-hits-back-at-hillary

Edward Snowden Takes Victory Lap in New York Times Op-Ed – By Margaret Hartmann June 5, 2015 2:29 a.m. 


Edward Snowden. Photo: The Guardian

Edward Snowden. Photo: The Guardian

It’s been exactly two years since Edward Snowden’s first leak about the NSA’s collection of phone metadata appeared in the press, and in an op-ed that appears in Friday’s New York Times, the former NSA contractor reflects on what he’s accomplished. Recalling his time preparing for the first leak with three journalists, he writes, “Privately, there were moments when I worried that we might have put our privileged lives at risk for nothing — that the public would react with indifference, or practiced cynicism, to the revelations. Never have I been so grateful to have been so wrong.”

Snowden goes on to note that the disclosures created a “change in global awareness,” and lauds the legal and technological steps taken against mass surveillance, particularly in the U.S.:

In a single month, the N.S.A.’s invasive call-tracking program was declared unlawful by the courts and disowned by Congress. After a White House-appointed oversight board investigation found that this program had not stopped a single terrorist attack, even the president who once defended its propriety and criticized its disclosure has now ordered it terminated.

This is the power of an informed public.

He concludes that while the right to privacy is still being threatened around the world, the disclosures continue to chip away at the surveillance state (hours earlier, the New York Times and Pro Publica published the results of a joint investigation based on Snowden’s trove of documents):

We are witnessing the emergence of a post-terror generation, one that rejects a worldview defined by a singular tragedy. For the first time since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, we see the outline of a politics that turns away from reaction and fear in favor of resilience and reason. With each court victory, with every change in the law, we demonstrate facts are more convincing than fear. As a society, we rediscover that the value of a right is not in what it hides, but in what it protects.

It’s an enticing thought, but U.S. politicians will probably redouble their fearmongering efforts as we get closer to the 2016 election.

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/06/snowden-takes-victory-lap-in-times-op-ed.html

After Snowden, The NSA Faces Recruitment Challenge – GEOFF BRUMFIEL MARCH 31, 2015 4:58 AM ET


Not many students have the cutting-edge cybersecurity skills the NSA needs, recruiters say. And these days industry is paying top dollar for talent.

Not many students have the cutting-edge cybersecurity skills the NSA needs, recruiters say. And these days industry is paying top dollar for talent. Brooks Kraft/Corbis

Daniel Swann is exactly the type of person the National Security Agency (NSA) would love to have working for it. A fourth-year concurrent bachelors-masters student at Johns Hopkins University, the 22-year-old has a bright future in cybersecurity.

And growing up in Annapolis, Maryland, not far from the NSA’s headquarters, Swann thought he might work at the agency, which intercepts phone calls, emails and other so-called “signals intelligence” from U.S. adversaries.

“When I was a senior in high school I thought I would end up working for a defense contractor or the NSA itself,” says Swann. Then, in 2013, NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked a treasure-trove of top-secret documents. They showed that the agency’s programs to collect intelligence were far more sweeping than Americans realized.

After Snowden’s revelations, Swann’s thinking changed. The NSA’s tactics, which include retaining data from American citizens, raise too many questions in his mind: “I can’t see myself working there,” he says, “partially because of these moral reasons.”

This year, the NSA needs to find 1,600 new recruits. Hundreds of them must come from highly specialized fields like computer science and mathematics. So far, it says, the agency has been successful. But with its popularity down, and pay from wealthy Silicon Valley companies way up, agency officials concede that recruitment is a worry. If enough students follow Daniel Swann, then one of the world’s most powerful spy agencies could lose its edge.

Article continues:

http://www.npr.org/2015/03/31/395829446/after-snowden-the-nsa-faces-recruitment-challenge

Edward Snowden Has Just One Regret – By Will Oremus FEB. 23 2015 5:24 PM


NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden says he doesn't care if people call him a traitor. Photo by Frederick Florin/AFP/Getty Images
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden says he doesn’t care if people call him a traitor.
Photo by Frederick Florin/AFP/Getty Images

A day after Citizenfour won the Oscar for best documentary feature, its subject, Edward Snowden, appeared on Reddit for an “Ask Me Anything” question-and-answer session.

One of the first things users asked the fugitive whistle-blower was what he thought of Oscars host Neil Patrick Harris’s pun about him Sunday night. (“Edward Snowden couldn’t be here, for some treason,” NPH had quipped.) Many of Snowden’s allies, including Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, slammed the one-liner as insulting and irresponsible. But Snowden himself took it in stride:

To be honest, I laughed at NPH. I don’t think it was meant as a political statement, but even if it was, that’s not so bad. My perspective is if you’re not willing to be called a few names to help out your country, you don’t care enough.

For what it’s worth, Greenwald—who joined Snowden and Citizenfour director Laura Poitras on the Reddit AMA—insisted on Reddit that he had laughed it off too, despite earlier calling it “stupid and irresponsible” to a BuzzFeedreporter.

Another top question for Snowden on Monday was potentially a little more substantive. Reddit user TheJackal8 asked him: “Mr. Snowden, if you had a chance to do things over again, would you do anything differently? If so, what?”

Snowden’s Girlfriend Lives With Him in Moscow (and His Life Isn’t Awful) – By Daniel Politi – OCT. 11 2014 7:33 AM


When Edward Snowden first started leaking NSA secrets last year one bit of the story that had nothing to do with national intelligence got lots of attention: he supposedly abandoned his girlfriend. Stories from the time noted how Snowden had lied to his girlfriend about the purpose of his Hong Kong trip, where he would eventually become the subject of an intense manhunt by media and U.S. officials alike. Her father, Jonathan Mills, even talked to media about how Snowden had left his daughter “to fend for herself.”

Fast forward a year and it turns out things are a bit more complicated. It seems Mills ended up reconciling with Snowden and she’s been living with him in Moscow since July, according to a new documentary that premiered in New York on Friday night. “The surprise revelation … upends the widespread assumption that Snowden had deserted Lindsay Mills and that she, in a fit of pique, fled Hawaii where they had been living to stay with her parents in mainland US,” notes the Guardian.

Citizenfour, which was filmed by Laura Poitras and uses all first-hand footage to tell Snowden’s tale, provides a rare glimpse into the whistleblower’s personal life, which he has long been reluctant to talk about. So why should we care about his girlfriend, who described herself as a “pole-dancing superhero” in a blog she took down shortly after Snowden started leaking information? Because it shows his life isn’t as awful as some might want to believe. Glenn Greenwald explains at the Intercept:

The fact that he is now living in domestic bliss as well, with his long-term girlfriend whom he loves, should forever put to rest the absurd campaign to depict his life as grim and dank. Snowden not only changed how the world thinks about a number of profoundly important political issues by defying its most powerful government, but then was able to build a happy, healthy and fulfilling life for himself. And if he can do that, so can other whistleblowers, which is precisely why so much effort has been devoted to depicting him in all sorts of false lights.

FBI moves to fire 11 whistleblowers, key senator fears retaliation – By Phillip Swarts Wednesday, October 1, 2014


"These whistleblowers never have the opportunity to make their case," said Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican. "It's stereotypical treatment of whistleblowers for the executive branch." (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Eleven whistleblowers in the FBI say the bureau is targeting them for termination in retaliation for their revelations about FBI wrongdoing, the top Republican on the Senate Committee on the Judiciary announced Wednesday.

The whistleblowers, who have spoken out about various problems and wrongdoing at the law enforcement agency, said they recently have been served with Loss of Effectiveness orders, warning that their performance is suffering and that they could soon be fired.

“These whistleblowers never have the opportunity to make their case,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican. “It’s stereotypical treatment of whistleblowers for the executive branch.”


SEE ALSO: Whistleblowers flood VA with lawsuits despite apology


The letters sent to the employees mark the first major case showing how new FBI Director James B. Comey may react to internal whistleblowers.

Mr. Grassley noted that the Loss of Effectiveness orders don’t allow employees an appeal and bypass the bureau’s Office of Professional Responsibility, which usually deals with employee matters.

“If these allegations are true, the FBI’s treatment of whistleblowers stands in stark contrast with how it treats agents who have been found by [internal investigators] to have committed actual, disciplinable offenses,” Mr. Grassleysaid in a September letter to the FBI director.

The senator cited the case of an FBI agent who was having a relationship with a foreign citizen and had divulged sensitive information. The agent was never sent a Loss of Effectiveness (LOE) letter, and the agent’s case was handled through the Office of Professional Responsibility, he said.

“There is serious cause for concern that the FBI’s use of LOEs may be similarly arbitrary and capricious in other cases as well as a tool of whistleblower retaliation,” Mr. Grassley wrote.

Officials at the FBI could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening.

Article continues:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/oct/1/fbi-whistleblowers-claim-retaliatory-targeting-for/

The Dark Secret of Juvenile Detention Centers – By Josh Voorhees SEPT. 3 2014 9:31 PM


Nine out of every 10 reporters of sexual abuse are males victimized by female staffers.

Photo by bigjohn36/Thinkstock

The perpetrators and victims of abuse behind bars aren’t always who you might think.

Photo by bigjohn36/Thinkstock

Thirty-two teens escaped from a Tennessee juvenile detention centerlate Monday night, taking advantage of an overnight shift change to leave the building before slipping underneath a chain-link fence to freedom. By the next evening, all but seven had either been caught by police or turned themselves in. “Was [the escape] a fluke? Was that planned? We don’t know yet,” said Rob Johnson, a spokesman for the state’s Department of Children’s Services. It wasn’t the first time that teens at the Woodland Hills Youth Development Center made a break for it. In May, a half-dozen escaped their bedrooms early one morning and made it to the facility’s outdoor courtyard before being convinced by staff to return to their rooms.

It’s too soon to speculate about what motivated the kids to escape. But while we await details, now is the perfect time to recount the troubling history of staff sexually abusing children in facilities like Woodland Hills. That’s not to suggest that misconduct is what motivated the kids to flee—we don’t know if it even played a role. Woodland Hills does, though, have a well-documented record of alleged sexual misconduct. This sort of abuse happens outside the country’s field of vision, behind fences and closed doors, where authorities can too easily brush aside allegations from troubled youth. That’s all the more reason to give the abuse a fuller accounting whenever news from a facility like Woodland Hills spills over (or in this case, under) its walls.

So, what has been going on at Woodland Hills? A 2010 investigation by theTennessean found a series of allegations that had gone largely uninvestigated and unpunished by authorities. One of the facilities’ kitchen employees, the newspaper discovered, had reportedly given a 17-year-old boy chlamydia, and later lived with a different male juvenile who she had been accused of abusing while he was in the facility. The woman was cleared in four separate state investigations despite failing a lie detector test. She was ultimately convicted only after she turned herself in to police. In another case uncovered by the paper, a different female guard went on to marry a former inmate after he was released from the facility. The woman kept her job even after her marriage came to light.

Such incidents are sadly common inside our juvenile justice system. In themost recent federal survey of detained juveniles, nearly 8 percent of respondents reported being sexually victimized by a staff member at least once in the previous 12 months. For those who reported being abused, two things proved overwhelmingly true, as they were in Woodland Hills: They were teenage boys, and their alleged assailants were female employees tasked with looking out for their well-being. Nine in 10 of those who reported being victimized were males reporting incidents with female staff. Women, meanwhile, typically make up less than half of a juvenile facility’s staff.

A WIRED EXCLUSIVE | Edward Snowden: The Untold Story – His MESSAGE ARRIVES on my “clean machine,” a MacBook Air loaded only with a sophisticated encryption package. “Change in plans,” my contact says. “Be in the lobby of the Hotel ______ by 1 pm. Bring a book and wait for ES to find you.” ¶ ES is Edward Snowden, the most wanted man in the world. For almost nine months, I have been trying to set up an interview with him


Screen Shot 2014-08-16 at Aug 16, 2014 5.28

—traveling to Berlin, Rio de Janeiro twice, and New York multiple times to talk with the handful of his confidants who can arrange a meeting. Among other things, I want to answer a burning question: What drove Snowden to leak hundreds of thousands of top-secret documents, revelations that have laid bare the vast scope of the government’s domestic surveillance programs? In May I received an email from his lawyer, ACLU attorney Ben Wizner, confirming that Snowden would meet me in Moscow and let me hang out and chat with him for what turned out to be three solid days over several weeks. It is the most time that any journalist has been allowed to spend with him since he arrived in Russia in June 2013. But the finer details of the rendezvous remain shrouded in mystery. I landed in Moscow without knowing precisely where or when Snowden and I would actually meet. Now, at last, the details are set.

Article continues:

 

http://www.wired.com/2014/08/edward-snowden/

Looking back in anger: One year of Snowden’s leaks – by Joshua Eaton July 31, 2014 5:00AM ET


As Snowden awaits Russian visa renewal, the world mulls role of NSA and expects further revelations from document trove

BARTON GELLMAN/GETTY IMAGES
 

One year ago, Russia granted Edward Snowden temporary asylum after a 39-day stay for the NSA whistleblower in the transit zone at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport. Snowden had become stranded there while trying to flee to Latin America, where several countries had offered permanent asylum after the U.S. government filed charges against him for making off with thousands of classified documents about its surveillance programs.

Since then, the Snowden story has unfolded in dramatic ways for a nonstop 12 months — as the world reacted to the vast amount of information that his files contained — sparking revelation after revelation about some of the nation’s most cherished secrets. It has also sparked a fierce policy debate over how to make intelligence organizations more accountable.

In the last six months alone, reports based on Snowden’s files have included important new details about how the NSA collects large amounts of American data under the guise of foreign surveillance. It has been shown that the NSA and Britain’s GCHQ targeted Muslim community leaders and online activists — possibly crossing the line between surveillance and censorship.

For many anti-secrecy activists and civil rights campaigners, the avalanche of stories over the past year has seemed to prove many of the things they had previously only suspected, when it came to surveillance actions and the way intelligence gathering was being used.

Snowden visa
Footage on a computer screen showing Edward Snowden’s one-year asylum permit at Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow on August 1, 2013.
STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images

“The primary significance, in my view at least, of the Snowden disclosures is that it … presented to the American public documents that were actually written by the government proving, in fact, that what we [the ACLU] had been saying was true,” said Kade Crockford, who directs the Technology for Liberty Project at the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts and edits its Privacy Matters blog.

Yet while the headlines have been dominated by Snowden’s leaks, much of his own life over the past 12 months has remained in the shadows. Earlier this month, his lawyers said they had filed for an extension of his asylum in Russia beyond the July 31 expiration. According to a recent interview in The Guardian, which along with The Washington Post first reported on the Snowden leaks, it appears he spends his time in Russia working on digital privacy tools, reading Dostoevsky and giving talks about surveillance via videoconference.

Article continues:

http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/7/31/snowden-awaits-leakscontinue.html

Before Snowden: The Whistleblowers Who Tried To Lift The Veil – by DAVID WELNA July 22, 2014 4:44 AM ET


Over the last dozen years, whistleblowers at the National Security Agency have had a rough track record, facing FBI raids and lawsuits.

Over the last dozen years, whistleblowers at the National Security Agency have had a rough track record, facing FBI raids and lawsuits.

NSA/Reuters/Landov

Seventy years old and on crutches, both legs lost to diabetes, Bill Binney worked at the National Security Agency nearly three decades as one of its leading crypto-mathematicians.

He then became one of its leading whistleblowers.

Binney recalls the July morning seven years ago when a dozen gun-wielding FBI agents burst through the front door of his home, at the end of a cul-de-sac a 10-minute drive from the NSA’s headquarters in Fort Meade, Md.

“I first knew that they were in there when they were pointing a gun at me as I was coming out of the shower,” Binney says.

Bill Binney (shown here in Berlin, Germany, on July 3) worked for the NSA for three decades before quitting after he discovered the agency was using software he created for domestic spying on U.S. citizens.i

Bill Binney (shown here in Berlin, Germany, on July 3) worked for the NSA for three decades before quitting after he discovered the agency was using software he created for domestic spying on U.S. citizens.

Kay Nietfeld/EPA/Landov

When I ask him why the agents were there, he replies: “Well, it was to keep us quiet.”

The NSA is overseen by Congress, the courts, and other government departments. It’s also supposed to be watched from the inside by its own workers.

But over the last dozen years, whistleblowers like Binney have had a rough track record.

Those who tried unsuccessfully to work within the system say Edward Snowden — the former National Security Agency contractor who shared top-secret documents with reporters — learned from their bitter experience.

For Binney, the decision to quit the NSA and become a whistleblower began a few weeks after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when he says he discovered the spy agency had begun using software he’d created to scoop up information on Americans — all without a court order.

“I had to get out of there, because they were using the program I built to do domestic spying, and I didn’t want any part of it, I didn’t want to be associated with it,” he says. “I look at it as basically treason. They were subverting the Constitution.”

Binney says he and two other NSA colleagues who also quit tried sounding the alarm with congressional committees. But because they did not have documents to prove their charges, nobody believed them. Snowden, he says, did not repeat that mistake.

“He recognized right away, it was very clear to me, that if he wanted anybody to believe him, he’d have to take a lot of documentation with him — which is what he did,” Binney says.

‘Your Life Is Never The Same’

And that’s why, he says, Snowden has had such an impact. Others have tried to work within the system. For example, computer expert Thomas Drake thought blowing the whistle on what he considered unconstitutional NSA programs would shake things up there. Instead, what got shaken up was his own life.

“The only person who was investigated, prosecuted, charged in secret, then was indicted, then ended up facing trial and 35 years in prison was myself,” he says.

Thomas Drake (also shown here in Berlin on July 3), another NSA whistleblower, was charged with violating the Espionage Act for showing unclassified NSA information to a reporter.i

Thomas Drake (also shown here in Berlin on July 3), another NSA whistleblower, was charged with violating the Espionage Act for showing unclassified NSA information to a reporter.

Adam Berry/Getty Images

Drake had taken his case both to the NSA and Congress. After concluding his complaints were going nowhere, he showed unclassified information from the NSA to a newspaper reporter. For that he was charged with violating the Espionage Act. The FBI raided his home, too — four months after Binney’s.

“Your life’s never the same. All your colleagues and people you used to work with all disappear. You’re persona non grata, you’re radioactive,” he says.

“On top of that, you’re spending tens of thousands of dollars defending yourself with a private attorney. So now you’re practically bankrupt, you’re declared indigent before the court, your family’s questioning who you are and what you’re up to and why you brought all this on us.”

The case against Drake fell apart days before he was to go to trial in 2011; he got off with a misdemeanor plea bargain and these days works at an Apple store. Like Binney, Drake thinks what happened to him was a cautionary tale for Snowden.

“Snowden carefully saw what happened to me and others, and it was clear … there was no other recourse,” he says.

Not everyone agrees.

Article continues:

http://www.npr.org/2014/07/22/333741495/before-snowden-the-whistleblowers-who-tried-to-lift-the-veil