Edward Snowden: Liar.

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Does anyone find it the least bit troubling that Edward Snowden, hero to both the Left and Right (the Left because they see his actions as a smack to the military/intelligence industrial complex and love a good black helicopter conspiracy; the Right, because they are assured, despite the evidence, that the NSA is reading their emails and wantonly violating their 4th Amendment rights), seems to have lied about everything on his way to a job with the NSA and even after, continues to lie?

I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while. I was finally spurred on by Snowden’s most recent slap in the face to America: His tongue in cheek questioning of Russian arch-villain Vladimir Putin during a game show in Russia.

The article states: Snowden asked Putin if Russia had similar surveillance programs as the United States–referring to the mass collection and storage of data from individuals around the world. 

Putin responds:

We don’t have a mass system of such interception, and according to our law, it cannot exist,” he said. “But we do not have a mass scale uncontrollable efforts like that, I hope we won’t do that and we don’t have as much money as they have in the States, and we don’t have these technical devices that they have in the States…Our special services, thank God, are strictly controlled by the society and by the law and regulated by the law and society.

All of which of course, lies, to be sucked up by the vacuous sorts that populate today’s America. If Snowden’s appearance on a game show asking a question such as this of Putin does not offend an American, I question that person’s patriotism. If that person gives me a quote about patriotism being the last refuge of scoundrels, well, I say the first refuge of a scoundrel is cowardice masquerading as patriotism. Don’t tell me Snowden’s actions are those of a patriot.

Snowden must not care about such people as Alexander Litvinyenko, Russian defector and former FSB agent who fled to England following his accusations that the Russian government conducted a Black Flag attack against an apartment building that killed 300 Russians and that he claimed was a pretext for subsequent Russian attacks against Chechnya. In 2006, someone administered a to Litvinyenko a lethal dose of the radioactive isotope, Polonium 210. He was in Britain at the time he received the poison.

But Snowden didn’t ask Putin about this case, nor why MI6’s (Britain’s domestic intelligence service) only suspect in the murder is the deputy of the Russian state Duma, and former KGB agent Andrey Lugovoy. The British government requested extradition of Lugovoy; Russia refused.

Andrey Lugovoy: Suspected Nuclear Assassin

The Russian government is well on its way to building a fascist state, and if one reads the comments posted by Americans in articles about Snowden, it’s easy to see that these Americans fully support the fascists and criminals running the show is Moscow. Putin has surrounded himself with former KGB cadre, well versed, indeed possibly the best in human history, at media manipulation, psychological operations, propaganda, and pulling the strings of foreign societies in order to steer them in a desired direction. I can see from the comments in these articles that here in America, we’ve raised a whole new generation of duped. The future seems bleak. The strength of any democracy is a strong, self-sufficient and enlightened middle class. That is crumbling before our eyes, but it’s not the financial realm that worries me.

Let me address an issue that’s been nagging me since Snowden leaked the intelligence: Few, if any, have a clear picture of what the NSA does. Snowden alleges the NSA violates constitutional rights, yet courts have  not established consensus on the matter. The Supreme Court has refused to hear cases concerning NSA collection until lower courts hear the cases first. Before you waste your time worrying about what the NSA could do, worry about what other agencies can do. I know people who’ve had their entire bank accounts reduced to zero from thousands of dollars by state tax agencies for failure to pay taxes. No warrant. No trial. No face to face talks with agents of the state. Now that’s real power, not theory and conjecture. Pay your taxes. Moreover, the stories he relates are well covered in books which are years, even decades old. First, there’s The Puzzle Palace, by James Bamford. Then there’s Chatter, published in 2006 and written by Patrick Radden Keefe. I highly recommend Chatter, as it is written more recently than The Puzzle Palace. I myself can stomach Bamford only in small doses. NSA has in recent years cut off his access to interviews so now Bamford has declared war on the agency and never misses a chance to rip them ,droning on about the danger of metadata while never mentioning that virtually every major business collects metadata, and blaming NSA, not Snowden, for so much data being stolen by Snowden from NSA. Nor does Bamford’s impotent self-awareness remind him that the reams of reports he gathered from the government about NSA under the Freedom of Information Act, some which included info on himself, may be indicative that rule of law is still being observed in some branches of government. But he has to make money some how.  Keefe is extremely balanced in his analysis and writes that during all of his investigations, he constantly encountered the same problem we see with the issue of Snowden: The stories and accusations were always veiled behind conspiratorial theory, not hard evidence. The NSA could read my email. The NSA may have dirt on the Supreme Court Justices, that’s why the court has refused to hear recent cases bought against the agency. Possibly, the NSA brought down David Petraeus.

Even if there are illegalities revealed by Snowden’s massive leak, Snowden had no way to know the all of the contents of the materials he leaked–there’s hundreds of thousands of documents. Oddly enough, some of the documents leaked by Snowden are actually court documents authorizing NSA activities; he probably didn’t even know they were in his leaked material, given that it’s impossible he reviewed all of it.  Allowing that there may be illegalities, Snowden essentially carpet bombed and entire town to kill one terrorist. Americans simply do not understand their own laws, the legal system, or the bureaucracies of government. Of this, I am a first hand witness. how many times I’ve been told by a suspect I had in custody that I’d made a terrible mistake, because I hadn’t read them their rights. Miranda Rights, that is. They had no clue as to what those rights entailed and when they were due them. Most Americans probably couldn’t name all 50 states on a map. Because we as a people are failing, and yes the government too. And when the government of a democracy fails, we can blame the people, just as when it succeeds we can give them credit. But seeing the bogeyman in every government activity hides the reality: Government is mostly inept and inefficient, not razor sharp and ultra-capable.

The NSA’s technical capabilities are not representative of what it actually does, anymore than the ability of the typical beat cop to use his gun and knowledge of forensic technology means that cops murder people in back alleys just to steal their wallet and drugs, despite the growing belief in this paradigm by a large portion of Americans. 99% of Americans couldn’t even tell you what metadata is. Yet, they’ll post internet memes on Facebook about the NSA finally getting a peek at the Constitution because someone emailed it. None of those people seem to know or be concerned about the fact that Facebook, Google, Twitter and various other social media and advertising companies all use metadata collection. Ever hear of a HTTP cookie? Geez people. This is ancient news. While I was researching this post on Reuters, a pop-up window explained to me that Reuters uses cookies to make my life better. Not as cool as black helicopters. Here’s the disclaimer on their “cookie consent” panel.

Thomson Reuters, with help from our site partners, collects data about your use of this site. We respect your privacy and if you would like to limit the data we collect please use the control panel below. Changing these setting may reduce news story suggestions made to you, or alter the type of advertising you receive while on our sites. To find out more about how Thomson Reuters uses data please visit our privacy policy .

Repeat this until you understand it: The NSA does not read your email, the NSA does not read your email…Unless it has a warrant based on probable cause on a foreign national. If you don’t think it’s a good idea we be able to listen in on and track people in Bangladesh plotting to blow up American airplanes and Soldiers, you’re insane, not a champion of liberty. Those who think the NSA should give up this capability basically want the NSA to give up capabilities that every other advanced nation has. And those nations don’t have nearly the number of legal protections for citizens that the US does. In other words, despite what Putin tells you, the Russian security services, the FSB, has more power in regards to Russian citizens than the NSA has ever had in regards to Americans. American intelligence spies on allies? This is news? Ancient news, yes. Written about decades ago.  How can one be a whistleblower on information on which whistles were blown so long ago?
Sift through the thousands of documents on the internet, I mean documents released directly from American intelligence or State Department servers, to Bradley Manning or Edward Snowden. Find me one, just one, document that relates directly the contents of a conversation or an email from a US citizen that does not involve a foreign national. Where are Petraeus’ emails? The supreme court justices’? You’ll find generalities and inane information–because the NSA was not reading Petaeus’ email. It was the FBI, not the NSA that looked at Petraeus’ email. But any company’s network technician has the ability to mine old Outlook emails for examination. This was not hyper-advanced technology, nor was it the NSA.  And the NSA is most assuredly are not reading the emails of the pimply-faced computer geek with a GED, no job, and thousands of hours logged on YouTube. But when Russia releases its own intercepts of the cell phone conversations of our ambassadors, where’s the outrage?

We’re fully hypnotized by the decades of propaganda handed us from foreign intelligence services and our own intelligentsia. The end of course, is not far off, and the self-immolation has already begun. Defected Russian agents, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and others who lived under the Soviet regime were routine agape at the credulity and instinct to self destruct in the West, the urgent desire in the West to give away everything that had been built.

But enough of this. What I really want to talk about is the trail of lies that Snowden left behind him. All through Snowden’s life and career there is evidence of his lying and fibbing to get what he wants. Some of these stories are admitted lies on his part. Others are suspicious to those who know better.

Let’s look at the questionable statements or activities by Snowden:

  • It’s believed that Snowden used to post under the screen name, The TrueHOOHA on Ars Technica. On the forum at Ars Technica, Snowden, writing anonymously, says that those who leak classified information should be “shot in the balls.” He criticizes the NY Times for repeatedly running stories about leaked classified reports.


Narcissist: Snowden was looking to feel important long before his days at NSA


  •  Snowden recruited into the US Army in the 18 X program, in which people can enter the Army for Special Forces training. He did not complete the training, and was discharged. Snowden says he broke both his legs in a training accident. Sure he did.
  • Snowden is obsessed with making up implausible stories. He stated that while he worked for the CIA, that the CIA got a Swiss banker drunk, and after his arrest told him that the CIA would help him if he’d cooperate in advancing American interests.  Ueli Maurer, the Swiss Federal Council President says this story is dubious.
  • While working as a system admin for the CIA, he was suspected of trying to access classified systems he was not authorized to view. Snowden says he was trying to report flaws in the system; again making himself out to be the hero.
  • Snowden says he specifically sought employment at NSA so that he could leak intelligence. How can a person be justified in leaking when they seek to release info of which they can’t possibly know the content?
  • Snowden, in a fantastically selfish act, obtained the passwords of 20-25 coworkers at NSA, telling them he needed them as part of his job as an admin. He used these passwords to obtain the classified data with which he later helped the Russians, but which harmed Americans. Snowden, again lying, says he didn’t steal passwords. Multiple reports say he did. He wants us to believe he’s a super hacker. In reality he’s a schemer who threw people he worked with under the bus to satisfy his massive ego. And he continues to lie about it.
  • Apparently, Snowden was never even qualified to have the job he used to shaft America. His resume claimed he took  computer classes at John Hopkins University and the University of Maryland. He claimed he was close to getting a Master’s degree. None of it was true. 

But of course, Americans now obsessed with conspiracy believe what Snowden says about the NSA. They also believe what this GED-holding liar says about the Constitutionality of it all, as if he’s now not only a master spy, but a legal expert. Snowden, like Putin, masterfully plays to the psychic infantalism so common in America, particularly on the internet and in the minds of those who favor Ron Paul.

29 thoughts on “Edward Snowden: Liar.

    ajmacdonaldjr said:
    April 19, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    apollonian said:
    April 19, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    Snowden Is Hero, Evermore And Justifiably Celebrated

    Magus: ck http://www.fromthetrenchesworldreport.com/putin-controls-the-fate-of-ukraine-but-who-controls-putin/78831, and there are many, many other stories/articles too, demonstrating it’s really well-known Putin works for same old banker oligarchs.

    Regarding “Conspiracy” Subject:

    Have u read US Declaration of Independence by Tom Jefferson?–it’s literally a carefully detailed conspiracy theory–consp. theory is INTEGRAL and essential to everything USA is all about, and esp. the Constitution, the Bill of Rights written to preclude the consp. actions which were detailed by Jefferson.

    Have u hrd about New Testament of the Christian Bible?–it’s all about how Pharisees and Sadducees conspired to murder TRUTH and Christ, noneother than God the Son. Consp. theory is integral and essential not only to USA but to entire Western Culture.

    Did u hear about the LIBOR conspiracy whence big banks rigged int. rates?–have u hrd about any prosecution against these big banks and bankers?

    Do u understand what the US Federal Reserve Bank is and does?–it literally (legally) COUNTERFEITS the money supply, by means of a printing press and also computer digitalization. Ck Mises.org, RealityZone.com for expo on Fed fraud–there are many other sites too for good expo on Fed fraud.

    Did u hear about the infamous Gulf of Tonkin incident whence US Navy and gov. LIED and said they were attacked by N. Vietnamese patrol boats?

    Did u hear about the JFK assassination–and other assassinations?–do u think they were products of conspiracy?

    Have u hrd about “fast & furious” scandal whence Obongo Justice dept. sent weapons to arm Mexican drug cartel(s)?

    How about the present IRS conspiracy against conservative political groups, like the T-party?–do u think that was conspiratorial?

    Indeed, Isn’t the IRS itself just a conspiracy against US Const.?

    Did u hear about Iran-Contra, back in 80s whence cocaine, the onset of the newest development of “crack,” smokeable cocaine–and cheap too–was brought in to USA, sold, and proceeds going to arm CIA and US mercenaries in Cent. America?

    Have u hrd about Fukushima, Japan, whence the state and other authorities are lying about the amount of radiation contamination which is steadily being dumped into Pacific ocean, etc.

    And I’m sure Snowden is sinner no less than u or me, eh?–but he did good job exposing NSA and ZOG, I’d say–and lots of others too. Don’t doubt lots of people were prejudiced against Snowden at first, influenced by the Jews-media, but many of those people have now come-over to idea Snowden did us all a great svc.–maybe it’s u who’s a little slow on the up-take?

    magus71 responded:
    April 19, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    So collecting metadata is “spying”? I love how this starts with the word “spying” without defining that. And so does the leaker.

    Then he goes into an explanation of metadata, which is much more inane than “spying”. The scary music and insinuation are very artistic however.

    He says it’s metadata, he explains it. Collecting metadata is not illegal. Almost every big company on the internet does it.

    He’s found his market after making a career with the NSA; now he collects a pension and money for interviews and books.

    There’s nothing revalatory about this story or Snowden’s. The NSA collects electronic data, along with Facebook. It doesn’t read emails. Name one American in jail because of NSA. Not even Snowden is in jail.


    apollonian said:
    April 19, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    Collecting meta-data is illegal search-seizure, invasion of privacy, and spying, indeed, by its very nature, un-questionably–ck the US Constitution. NEWSFLASH: the oligarchs behind Google and Facebook are ZOG, LITERALLY–they’re the SAME PEOPLE.

    HOW do u know whether NSA or anyone “reads e-mails”? U ask about naming Americans in jail due to NSA spying?–ck http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/05/us-dea-sod-idUSBRE97409R20130805

    T. J. Babson said:
    April 19, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    Magus, you need to stop believing the Obama administration’s lies.

    Last week, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper sent a brief letter to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, in which he admitted that agents of the National Security Agency (NSA) have been reading innocent Americans’ emails and text messages and listening to digital recordings of their telephone conversations that have been stored in NSA computers, without warrants obtained pursuant to the Constitution. That the NSA is doing this is not newsworthy—Edward Snowden has told the world of this during the past 10 months. What is newsworthy is that the NSA has admitted this, and those admissions have far-reaching consequences.

    Since the Snowden revelations first came to light last June, the NSA has steadfastly denied them. Clapper has denied them. The recently retired head of the NSA, Gen. Keith Alexander, has denied them. Even President Obama has stated repeatedly words to the effect that “no one is reading your emails or listening to your phone calls.”


    In his letter to Wyden last week, Clapper not only implicitly acknowledged that Snowden was correct all along, but also that he, Clapper, lied to and materially misled the Senate Intelligence Committee, and that the NSA is in fact reading emails and listening to phone calls without obtaining the second warrant it has been claiming it obtains.

    One wonders whether Obama was duped by Clapper when he denied all this, or whether he just lied to the American people as he has done in the past.

    One also wonders how the government could do all this with a straight face. This is the same government that unsuccessfully prosecuted former New York Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens twice for lying to a congressional committee about the contents of his urine. Shouldn’t we expect that Clapper be prosecuted for lying to a congressional committee about the most massive government plot in U.S. history to violate the Fourth Amendment? Don’t hold your breath; the president will protect his man.


    T. J. Babson said:
    April 19, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    Snowden, in an act of great personal sacrifice and historic moral courage, directly refuted Clapper by telling reporters that the NSA possessed not just metadata but also content—meaning the actual emails, text messages, and recordings of telephone calls. He later revealed that the NSA also has the content of the telephone bills, bank statements, utility bills, and credit card bills of everyone in America.

    In his letter to Wyden last week, Clapper not only implicitly acknowledged that Snowden was correct all along, but also that he, Clapper, lied to and materially misled the Senate Intelligence Committee, and that the NSA is in fact reading emails and listening to phone calls without obtaining the second warrant it has been claiming it obtains.


    T. J. Babson said:
    April 19, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    “Senior officials have sometimes suggested that government agencies do not deliberately read Americans’ emails, monitor their online activity or listen to their phone calls without a warrant,” Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Mark Udall of Colorado said in a joint statement. “However, the facts show that those suggestions were misleading, and that intelligence agencies have indeed conducted warrantless searches for Americans’ communications.”


    magus71 responded:
    April 19, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    If an American is emailing or talking on a phone with a foreign national whom the NSA is tracking, then yes, the emails *may* have been read by NSA.

    What emails do you think NSA is reading?

    Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Mark Udall of Colorado said in a joint statement. “However, the facts show that those suggestions were misleading, and that intelligence agencies have indeed conducted warrantless searches for Americans’ communications.”

    What are those facts. These things are complicated. I, as a police officer, was authorized under certain circumstances to conduct warrantless searches. Actually I conducted *far* more legal, warrantless searches than with a warrant.

    Can someone give me an example of a person who’s been unjustly and materially harmed by NSA? Not just possibilities. I can do so with the IRS and state tax services. I can even do so with local police agencies. But where is the American victim of NSA? Perhaps evidence was gathered secretly by the NSA and passed on to other agencies. Was the evidence real? made up?

    In my own experience it was far easier to collect intelligence as a police officer than with the federal government. I could make any willing person a source. The bureaucracy in the fed barely makes it worth the effort. And only a scant few are capable and authorized to collect it. Not to mention the fact that signals intel is notoriously overrated. The best intel is human intelligence and it’s what America lacks. NSA couldn’t protect a military base my unit was at from getting hit with a massive car bomb, a dozen suicide bombers pouring inside and killing a soldier in my unit. One good human source would have shut the whole operation down.

    magus71 responded:
    April 19, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    NSA DOES NOT have the email contents of everyone in America. They MAY have metadata on every transaction, and I’m sure they have the emails of Americans talking with known terrorists, but they don’t have all emails.

    We need to talk about what the law says. And the law allows them to collect metadata. Just like Facebook. And our banks, and Target stores. If we don’t like that, the law needs to be changed, but we also need to realize that our enemies use this capability so we’ll be behind them on this.

    Bill said:
    April 20, 2014 at 12:54 am

    This post hurts on so many levels. I respect you too much to direct any snark your way, but there’s no unsnarky way to make this one point – He exposed this huge spying infrastructure that most technical people knew existed but the govt pretty much beat around the bush about – IF it’s so effective and necessary, why the hell could’ they have tracked him? They could have. It actually took more work to not notice what he did then the reverse. But arrogance and incompetence at the managerial level (no, I’m not saying NSA cryptographers are incompetent, far from it, but the brass is chock full of a lot of it) let this happen. James Jesus Angleton is rolling over in his grave. All the trickery the Soviet union employed to trick us in the cold war and we let all of our secrets walk out the front door with a computer consultant? No kidding, I read Spy Wars and Legend again over the past few months just so i could refresh my memory but also feel the nostalgia from when we had intelligence agencies that weren’t jokes.

    Yes, there are agencies much scarier than the NSA – that’s an argument that they all need trimmed down to nothing not that it’s ok b/c Johnny is worse. But let’s get back tot he missing and purpose blah blah blah. We can argue authorizations all day, one thing there is 0 argument about is that a whole lot of money was spent to undermine security on the internet. Put a backdoor in my router so you can peep in and the same back door can be used by anyone else that wants to give it a try.

    I’ll stop before getting myself in trouble, but I don’t give a rat’s butt about the NSA would they not work to undermine security across the board. I’m not scared of some PhD using my dossier to get even with me. What I am scared of is say, hell, I don’t know, ICE agents using govt surveillance equipment to run my license , run background checks etc. I’d be worried about how people like Snowden get past our security measures and can walk out with a document trove like that. I could stop you from doing it in countless other settings, it’s hard to see how they couldn’t here, other than just being careless. And keep in mind Snowden is hardly some MIT educated whiz kid. He was a SharePoint administrator . I’m not dogging SharePoint admins, my wife is one, but this whole thing of painting him as some super genius that busted through the security is BS – he walked in through the front door. That matters b/c if he was a genius that tricked everyone, ok, sh*t happens. If he walked out of there with everything undetected using a skill set that can be obtained very easily with widely accessible books and training – then it points to how pathetic the controls were in place there.

    And (again, this sounds snarky but I don’t mean it to), I agree they don’t have the email contents of every american. But they have a lot of it – not just stuff related to terrorists. They have the contents of emails of many ‘hot chicks’ employees wanted to date. They have the contents of emails of current boyfriends of ex-girlfriends of employees. They have a whole lot that’s not necessary and they miss a whole lot. Some terrorist activity is going to happen, I’ll give you that – but 9/11 (I know, that’s too old school to be fair) and the Boston Marathon , what’s it good for? And if it’s necessary, why do we need all the theatre that goes on with the TSA?

    Snowden isn’t a hero by any stretch, and the NSA isn’t as bad as a lot of people are making it out to be. But there’s still a lot of wasted effort that could be directed to making the intent more secure (you simply can’t argue the NSA is interested in doing that – that makes their jobs harder) instead of less secure and there’s a lot of dishonesty from our elected officials around it. Less than 5 years ago I admired the hell out of the NSA and really wanted to work there, now I wouldn’t dream of it (which isn’t a problem b/c I probably couldn’t get hired anyway). Snowden showed how bad our internal controls are and how easy it is for counter-intel to get at our secrets – yes that’s bad, but the fact he was able to demonstrate it is the true sin here. And not a single person fired over it from last count unless I missed something – just like 9/11, just like the Boston Marathon….

    magus71 responded:
    April 20, 2014 at 1:10 am

    Local cops can run backgrounds on you with your plates.

    Ok so Snowden showed a weakness in the system–by committing a crime. That’s like saying Clyde Barrow was a hero because he showed the weakness in banks’ security.

    magus71 responded:
    April 20, 2014 at 1:20 am

    Is anyone here at all concerned with Snowden’s interactions with Putin? Or is that all swept under the rug since he “helped” so many Americans. Putin did what Clapper did–but it’s ok.

    Bill said:
    April 20, 2014 at 2:30 am

    I think I miscommunicated my points entirely. I’m not pro-snowden at all. Snowden showed weaknesses in the system that terrify me – how he disclosed them is a separate issue altogether. I don’t think Snowden was a hero or a villain – at best I’m inclined to give him a pass legally to get him back in the country but even that’s riddled with problems. Local cops can run my plates, and I’m fine with it in general. If one did it b/c I was banging his ex-girlfriend and he was trying to ‘get as much on me as he could’ I’d be completely not ok with it. it’s not the running of the plates so much as what it’s done for. Govt power shouldn’t be used to settle scores but I don’t see at this point how that can be stopped. If we have to have all of this, then there should be a lot stricter controls on it. Hell Private industry has MUCH Stricter rules around HIPPA and SOX that they’ll be put through hell for violating then the NSA did with Snowden. yes, it worries me that a low level flunky with very little technical sopshitication got to the point he could do this. What would a very well trained spy with a PHD in computer science have been able to do? Beats me but quite a bit.

    Bill said:
    April 20, 2014 at 2:43 am

    On the Putin thing, I’m not sure if it was you or somewhere else that called him a 19th century bully. Yes, it worries the hell out of me. That was the whole reason for my Angleton reference – I’m not Foreign Affairs expert like McCain or Kerry, but it seems for quite a while, we’ve had two paths with Putin, both of which sucked – and we keep taking the worse of the two.

    Since I’m so longwinded and scatterbrained (admittedly, it’s a big weakness of mine 😉 ) I’ll take another stab at it being as succinct as possible. It wasn’t the program itself that worries me. It’s mainly that the NSA worked aggressively to undermine the security of the internet which is a big deal now. By forcing backdoors all over the place, they made the internet much weaker. That weakened security for the US. We didn’t vote on that, most people don’t understand how bad it was and i can’t see how it’s the proper function of their job. If they crack codes or spend zillions on the Utah Data center to buy supercomputers to crack strong crypto, that’s fair game. putting in intentional vulnerabilities that bypass the strength of crypto b/c the math behind crypto work is BS. The computer industry worked hard, very hard to build trust to the point people trusted the internet. Right as cloud computing started to take off, we have to content with this crap. Will it kill it? Doubtfully, but it was a bad unnecessary unproductive distraction. To what end? There are a zillion other ways that would work to target ‘bad guys’ But writing f*cking malware and infecting computers with it, malware that often spreads to untargeted people’s machines, sorry man, I can’t say that’s ok.

    If the issue at hand is a referendum on Putin or Snowden, consider your vote seconded. We run in different circles and I don’t hear the hero worship that you seem to be hearing but I have no doubt there’s a lot of it. I hear Righties, other than the really fringe Glenn Beck part of it calling for his head. All the National Security Hawkish cons I have heard are calling him a traitor and or calling for the death penalty if we can get him. I don’t hear the lefties making much of a big deal of it b/c (I suspect it’s Obama time, when team Red gets in they’ll be screaming bloody murder about it). I hear a lot more people arguing what you are than the converse. But anecdotal evidence isn’t worth much and it’s hardly scientific.

    Lastly though, the fact some guy like this can steal that much data should be terrifying. It should have caused very serious changes (and I’m sure some were made, a lot happens in the dark with intel agencies). Look at what Hansen had to go through to get data out. Snowden did the equivalent of a Bing search and dumped the results to USB sticks. You can absolutely stop that from happening. HIPPA laws require you keeping a record of everyone who puts eyes on PHI (granted many places are pretty sloppy about it) but every client I’ve had did just that. And they had proactive policy in place to detect erratic or troubling search patterns – searches for stuff outside of your job duties. The NSA either didn’t have them in place, didn’t take it seriously or knew but didn’t give a f*ck. That doesn’t indemnify snowden, I think the expression is “A pox on both of their houses” – that works for me.

    magus71 responded:
    April 20, 2014 at 2:52 am

    Mostly what I’m concerned about, Bill, is rule of law. if the NSA made technical or tactical errors, that is one thing. But some of the comments coming out on the internet–the vast majority of them are pro-Snowden. The allegations are that NSA routinely and wantonly breaks the law. I am ardently opposed to that message. I’m going to write a post breaking down the logical issues at stake; as you note, there are vast technical issues, as well as moral, legal and security problems. But I see too many libertarians being very dogmatic on this and other similar issues.

    All in all, local cops have far more impact on us than the NSA.

    T. J. Babson said:
    April 20, 2014 at 3:10 am

    Magus, let’s take this step by step.

    Step 1: Did Clapper lie to Congress? Yes or no?

    magus71 responded:
    April 20, 2014 at 3:15 am

    Yes, Clapper lied. Then he committed another crime by telling the truth.

    magus71 responded:
    April 20, 2014 at 3:25 am

    My questions:

    Step 1: Is it against the law for the NSA to collect metadata?

    T. J. Babson said:
    April 20, 2014 at 4:04 am

    Step 1: Is it against the law for the NSA to collect metadata?

    Yes. Like the CIA, the NSA is not supposed to be targeting Americans.

    Binney: Stellar Wind was the basic reason I left the NSA in 2001. That’s when they started to take the program that I created to do social network reconstruction of anybody in the world, and direct it against everybody in the United States. That means they were basically putting a PEN register on every phone number in the United States. They call it trace-and-tap, where they put this device on your line and I can monitor who you call, how long you call them.

    reason: And the NSA, statutorily, is not supposed to be looking at things within the United States except under very rare or very specific circumstances.

    Binney: A warrant built on probable cause.


    magus71 responded:
    April 20, 2014 at 6:11 am


    Binney may have been a good cryptographer, but he’s not a legal mind. If the FBI were doing it, would he feel better? No one, not cops, not Facebook, not NSA, needs probable cause for metadata. Metadata is like having a cop sit outside a house and records who enters it–no warrant required; or like reading the outside of an envelope. The legality of envelope mail meta data collection was decided decades ago in United States v. Choate, in which the court allowed the US Postal Service to record the addresses on the outside of envelopes. The courts rules that NSA can collect this data from Verizon, for instance. As I noted, the court ruling paper work on this is actually in the files that Snowden stole, and available for the world to see. But of course this is not harped on in the media because it doesn’t make for a great story.


    The metada issue was recently settled specifically and the ruling was that it is legal.

    “Judge Pauley argued that under the Supreme Court case of Smith v. Maryland, which was decided in 1979, the metadata program does not violate the Fourth Amendment because the NSA collects the metadata from the telephone companies of the targets; the NSA does not monitor the phone itself. In Smith, the court held that the defendant did not have a “reasonable expectation of privacy” (the standard for a Fourth Amendment claim) in the phone numbers he had dialed, because by dialing them he communicated them to the phone company. So the police could install a device called a pen register at the telephone company’s premises to record those phone numbers….but it can’t learn much more about you using the metadata program than it could learn using the pen register in Smith. The difference between then and now lies in the number of people whose data can be searched at reasonable cost to the government, not the amount of information obtained about any individual.”.


    The PRISM program does require a warrant, and PRISM monitors foreign national phone calls. PRISM enables NSA to look at the content of email with a warrant. The metadata collection program does not.

    T. J. Babson said:
    April 20, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Magus, the NSA was created to spy on foreign governments, not on Americans.

    More significantly, Truman’s memo, along with a Department of Defense directive, established NSA, and transformed communications intelligence from a military activity divided among the three services to a unified national activity.3 Thus, the first sentence states that “The communications intelligence (COMINT) activities of the United States are a national responsibility.”

    The memorandum instructs the Special Committee to issue a directive to the Secretary of Defense which defines the COMINT mission of NSA as being to “provide an effective, unified organization and control of the communications intelligence activities of the United States conducted against foreign governments.” Thus, “all COMINT collection and production resources of the United States are placed under his operational and technical control.”


    T. J. Babson said:
    April 20, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Step 2: Can you give even one example of a terrorist plot that was foiled because of metadata collection?

    T. J. Babson said:
    April 20, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    Here NSA data is covertly used to prosecute Americans for non-terrorist crimes. Then the investigative trail is “re-created.” This is unacceptable.

    (Reuters) – A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.

    Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin – not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.

    The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to “recreate” the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant’s Constitutional right to a fair trial. If defendants don’t know how an investigation began, they cannot know to ask to review potential sources of exculpatory evidence – information that could reveal entrapment, mistakes or biased witnesses.

    “I have never heard of anything like this at all,” said Nancy Gertner, a Harvard Law School professor who served as a federal judge from 1994 to 2011. Gertner and other legal experts said the program sounds more troubling than recent disclosures that the National Security Agency has been collecting domestic phone records. The NSA effort is geared toward stopping terrorists; the DEA program targets common criminals, primarily drug dealers.

    “It is one thing to create special rules for national security,” Gertner said. “Ordinary crime is entirely different. It sounds like they are phonying up investigations.”


    magus71 responded:
    April 20, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    “Step 2: Can you give even one example of a terrorist plot that was foiled because of metadata collection?”

    According to the director of the NSA, 50 plots have been foiled, 10 of which were targeting the American homeland. Given this, and putting yourself in the seat of the NSA director, what would you advocate for? The argument is between theory and what is really happening. Yes, this could be abused. But as the director notes, this is not an off the book program. You have in the past accused NSA of going rogue. He refutes that. From the controls I know of, he is telling the truth.

    Yet again, Snowden lied about this aspect of this case. He says no terror plots were ever stopped. With Snowden’s extensive experience in intelligence I guess he knows that. Oh wait. He was never involved in the gathering of intelligence, analysis, or operations. He knows less than the Guardian, which has actually read all the documents he released. He probably hasn’t read them all. You really believe Snowden over a 4 star general? Is Snowden the only morally upright person in the entire realm of intelligence? Maybe, just maybe, he’s the rogue.


    The IRS has your SS#, date of birth, name, address, the place you work. Right now, half of IRS employees could take out multiple credit cards in your name. Theoretically.

    As for the cases you point to in which NSA passes info to other agencies, this again is just like law enforcement. It is jurisdictional. Suppose as a police officer I happen upon evidence of a plot to bomb a federal building while I am investigating a local burglary. That is in the jurisdiction of the FBI. I would not investigate this myself, but would pass my findings to the FBI.

    With the DEA situation, NSA is getting this info while monitoring foreign nationals. If they are looking at an Afghan warlord selling opium and obtain info that the opium is landing in Miami and a guy named Joe Smith is going to pick it up, they will pass this info on.. And they should. Let’s change the venue; instead of drugs, make it weapons or terrorists shipped to Miami. DEA deals with those too. Do you not want DEA to know about this?

    VXXC said:
    April 20, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    Snowden is a narcissistic little punk, a traitor, a user, a sociopath.

    NSA is not Americas foe, nor is it close to being predatory or lawless. Try other Alphabet soup, plenty of villains there…

    [I’ve thought you know this entire Snowden was a bit of a move on Red Empire Pentagon, NSA…but that’s speculation].

    Russia is being run by “well versed, indeed possibly the best in human history, at media manipulation, psychological operations, propaganda, and pulling the strings of foreign societies in order to steer them in a desired direction. ”

    Well they’ve had a lot a expert coaching from the actual best. Who aren’t in Russia.

    Putin isn’t our problem, nor is the Ukraine. Putin is a more traditional Russian Ruler acting for his countries interests, as should ours. But he’s not even on our top 50 problems list.

    Magus you are concerned with the Rule of Law. You may want to examine what that means, we have more laws than can be counted. If you mean public decency, order, safety, and the important and sane laws then fine. If you mean America’s actual insane and pornographic, bizarre Kritarchy – you may want to consider that our laws have become an Immune-Virus, bewildering even the most committed defenders as to who is friend or foe and what must be done. None from the Husband to the Constable to the Soldier to the Spy can act in the performance of his duties without fear of prosecution.

    ROE didn’t come from RU, or Libertarians, or any of them. It came from Lawyers and hence it’s legal force. As did the case law that paralyzed American Law Enforcement for decades.
    I think you’ll find it followed the exact same pattern.

    The American People are hopeless: No, they’re worth saving but can’t be in the decision loop for what defenders have to do on any variety of matters. To sum a long story a high trust culture trusted the wrong people, and we’ve never had these ancient maladies of predatory government before and inherited no immunities. Yes those who haven’t taken the Oath and shouldered the burdens do not and aren’t capable of understanding what is necessary.

    And sorry they gotta be out of the decision loop concerning: our people and nation’s survival.

    They can make decisions on matters important to them, such as who to vote for on American Idol or what Sports Team to Root for..and so on. Anything to do with survival, defense, and related matters such as indeed finance shall have to be In Loco Parentis for a time.

    I’m certain you’ve noticed that explaining certain matters to the average American adult has the same net yield as explaining it to a child: Null except you frighten them and you’ve wasted time.

    Or we don’t make it. And neither do they. I’d say we could hope for Brazil Favelas and endure but the debt/fiat bombs make mere subsistence an untenable plan.

    Happy Easter and Ciao.

    T. J. Babson said:
    April 20, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    “According to the director of the NSA, 50 plots have been foiled, 10 of which were targeting the American homeland.”

    He has admitted he lied about this.

    The two lawmakers also proposed a special advocacy office with appellate powers to be part of the proceedings in the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, and requiring the court to release secret opinions that lay out major interpretations of law.

    Mr. Leahy, who has been a chief critic of the NSA, asked Gen. Alexander to admit that only 13 of the 54 cases had any connection at all to the U.S., “Would you agree with that, yes or no?”

    “Yes,” Gen. Alexander replied in a departure from normal practice.

    Administration officials giving testimony to Congress, even when asked to confine themselves to a simple yes or no, rarely do.

    In response to a follow-up question, Gen. Alexander also acknowledged that only one or perhaps two of even those 13 cases had been foiled with help from the NSA’s vast phone records database. The database contains so-called metadata — the numbers dialing and dialed, time and duration of call — for every phone call made in or to the U.S.

    Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/oct/2/nsa-chief-figures-foiled-terror-plots-misleading/#ixzz2zRmxUMSA
    Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

    magus71 responded:
    April 20, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    To me, saying he lied is like calling metadata collection “spying”. Technically the case, but as the general term is used, not correct. You keep saying he and Clapper lied; why would they tell the truth later? Do you think they were mistaken, as opposed to lied? Funny thing is, Leahy knows the answers before he asks the question. Why? Because Congress knows all about these programs already. But unlike intelligence directors, they’re elected officials and thus have to put on a good show for votes.

    So, 54 cases of terrorism were stopped by the NSA. 13 of them with metadata. Does this jive with Snowden’s 0 cases foiled?

    Please read the following link. I believe the stories about NSA are victim of massive over generalization, an understandable lack of knowledge, both subtle and general about NSA’s capabilities and day to day operations, and a predisposition in modern America for conspiracy.

    Click to access GC_Georgetown.pdf

    magus71 responded:
    April 20, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    Also TJ, using the term “lied” in this venue falls under the same forum as other crimes: Intent matters. For instance, if I take a pen off your desk, move to another room, write a not for ten minutes, then return the pen, did I steal your pen?

    In a legal sense, no, because there was no intent to deprive you permanently of your pen.

    Don’t think it’s a bit disingenuous that people are scrubbing hours of testimony and coming up with one sentence to crush someone on? I mean, I expect this from lawyers, but no from people concerned with truth. Both Alexander and Clapper made several long winded and detailed statements, both technical and legal.

    JC said:
    April 24, 2014 at 2:07 am

    I appreciate this post. As an attorney who specializes in appellate law, and who is currently writing a book on the Constitution, I thought Snowden’s actions incredibly bizarre. After all, what kind of weirdo goes to China and then to Russia to make a statement on civil liberties? Someone with a Kim Kardashian-sized need for attention, I guess. Interestingly, in Klapper v. Amnesty International, the Supreme Court tossed the case involving the PRISM program because Amnesty International couldn’t demonstrate any actual damage from having their meta data collected. Furthermore, in US v. Miller, the Court determined that the 4th amendment didn’t apply because business records held by a third party, such as is the case with phone records, isn’t with the amendment’s scope. Simply put, phone records aren’t the people, houses, papers or affects necessary to implicate an unreasonable seizure.

    Though I’ve never been able to get beyond Snowden’s general weirdness, so many people were freaking and shrieking and making such wild claims that I didn’t really want to dismiss such impassioned concerns. Maybe, I thought there was something that I was missing, so I had questions that no one could seem to answer. You, however, did a really good job of filling me in about some of the details that’s enabled me to decide unequivocally that, yes, Edward Snowden is as strange as I’d initially thought, You’re absolutely right that in having Snowden appear on a recorded video to ask an obviously loaded question, Putin played him like a cheap bass drum. And my god, that glamour shot of him you included above looks like something the police would post on line to lure pedophiles out of hiding. Thanks, man. I’ll be back in the future to see more of your work.

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