In mid-2006, Edward Snowden landed a job in IT at the CIA. In 2007, the CIA sent Snowden to Geneva on his first foreign tour to Switzerland; he was 24 and a young man on his way up. His job was to maintain security for the CIA’s computer network and also to monitor computer security for US diplomats. He was also a telecommunications information systems officer! His political views at that time were most closely matched to Ron Paul whose 2008 bid for the Presidency he supported.
In 2009, he quit the CIA and went to work for the NSA facility in Japan on a U.S. military base there. At that point, the intelligence task for private contractors was booming and Dell was one of those companies who were on the receiving end of some of those tasks. Edward Snowden was working for Dell. Between 2009 and 2012, he has stated that he found out just how intense the NSA’s surveillance activities are: “They are intent on making every conversation and every form of behaviour in the world known to them.”
The next stop was Hawaii and while he was still with Dell his new job was at the NSA’s regional cryptological centre (the Central Security Service) on the main island of Oahu, near Honolulu. He arrived there not with the plan to spill secrets wholesale but to find a select group of reporters and turn over some select material to them to let them use their editorial judgment and let them go from there. But his plan to leak stuff did not work out.
His next step was to move from Dell to a company called Booze Allen Hamilton in early 2013. This company was going to have a goldmine of information. According to an NSA staffer who talked to Forbes magazine Edward Snowden had turned down an offer to be part of the agency’s special access operations, which if you joined them were a bunch of elite hackers.
He logged on an April night when most of the staff had gone home for the night. At that point, he could remotely reach into the NSA’s servers. Four weeks into his new job he told his bosses he was not well. He said he wanted time off and requested unpaid leave. On May 20th, he dropped out of sight.
Guardian editor columnist Glenn Greenwald received an anonymous e-mail in Dec. 2012 from someone who made the offer “I have some stuff you might be interested in.”
Snowden tried a different route a month later. Her name was Larua Poitras. She was a friend of Greenwald’s and a leading critic of the US security state for good reasons; she herself had been detained by the DHS every time she tried to enter the country.
Snowden’s email to Poitras bluntly stated that “This won’t be a waste of your time.” Intrigued she listened and albeit nervous as she was sure she herself was under surveillance.
Then came the stunning revelation that said he had got hold of “Presidential Policy Directive 20, a top-secret 18-page document issued in October 2012.
It said that the agency was tapping fibre optic cables, intercepting telephone landing points and bugging on a global scale.” He claimed he could prove all of it. At that Poitras said, “I almost fainted!” Snowden informed her he wanted the target to be on his back.
Again he contacted Glenn Greenwald telling him he had been in touch with his friend Laura and at that point Greenwald did talk to Snowden for two hours and Snowden sent him material to read. Mr Greenwald now was intrigued enough to agree that he and Laura and a third person by the name of Ewen MacAskill.
When they finally met up with Snowden they were not expecting him to look the way he did. They had imagined someone older. Then his age and looks seemed to not matter anymore because he had in his possession “tens of thousands of documents taken from NSA and GCHQ’s internal servers. Most were stamped Top Secret. Some were marked Top Secret Strap 1 – the British higher tier of super-classification for intercept material – or even Strap 2, which was almost as secret as you could get”.
Only a few restricted security officials had ever laid eyes on this material. After all that, it was decided he was the real deal and everything moved quickly. After some drama with the NSA and the Whitehouse at 7 o’clock pm the Guardian US went ahead and ran the story.
Snowden now declared his intention to go public and the video of him being interviewed went public on Sunday June the 9th. When the video exploded on every network and then online it was the most viewed video in Guardian history! What was Edward Snowden’s reward for exposing all? He is now one of the most-wanted men on the planet!
He wants to come home but cannot unless amnesty is granted. All this for exposing that our government that was trampling on the Bill of Rights! The whistleblower, Edward Snowden sacrificed his freedom and possibly his life for our freedom. He has not seen his family or girlfriend in several years because of what he did.
“I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things … I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under,” a disillusioned Edward Snowden said.
“Any analyst at any time can target anyone. Any selector. Anywhere,” Snowden stated in a video on the Guardian’s website. “I, sitting at my desk, had the authority to wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant to a federal judge to even the president if I had a personal email.”
The 4th Amendment is an amendment to the United States Constitution and part of the Bill of Rights. It prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and requires any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause. The definition of the word espionage means giving secret or classified information to the enemy. Edward Snowden shared his information with the American people, his indictment for espionage could reveal that the US Government views you and me as the enemy.
Former Representative Ron Paul believes the government operates largely in secret while seeking to know everything about our private lives – without probable cause and without a warrant. The government does not need to know more about what we are doing. We need to know more about what the government is doing,” he said. “We should be thankful for individuals like Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald who see injustice being carried out by their own government and speak out, despite the risk. They have done a great service to the American people by exposing the truth about what our government is doing in secret.
Edward Snowden whom some call a traitor and some call a hero. I will not call him either because I believe he loved his country and wished to reveal the truth. I will call him patriotic and since when is it a crime to expose a crime?
He did the right thing as this is what our forefathers would have done and if neither the right, the left or anyone else wishes to acknowledge that then they do not know the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
The foundation of our freedoms enshrined in the Bill of Rights still remains under threat. We have come a long way, but the threat to our privacy still remains. Edward Snowden stated recently that “we have learned that our government intentionally weakens the fundamental security of the Internet with “back doors” that transform private lives into open books. Metadata revealing the personal associations and interests of ordinary Internet users is still being intercepted and monitored on a scale unprecedented in history: As you read this online, the United States government makes a note.”
Snowden is prone to being hopeful since Senator Rand Paul and others in the U.S. Senate that are civil rights advocates who took a stand and forced Section 215 of the Patriot Act to expire and that a federal judge ruled that the NSA’s collection of phone metadata is illegal. In the month of June 2015 on a Thursday he stated to the New York Times that “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,” Snowden said.
In reaction to the federal judges ruling he also said, “This is significant and the importance of it in the United States’ legal and policy communities really can’t be overstated.”
Perhaps with any luck Edward Snowden can come home to a society that has defeated the NSA monster and the Bill of Rights has prevailed.
Lincoln Chafee who is the ex-governor and senator of Rhode Island said in a speech he prepared to announce his bid to run for President in 2016, “Our sacred Constitution requires a warrant before unreasonable searches, which includes our phone records….Let’s enforce that and while we’re at it, allow Edward Snowden to come home. “Our sacred Constitution requires a warrant before unreasonable searches, which includes our phone records… Let’s enforce that and while we’re at it, allow Edward Snowden to come home.”
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