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.