What is The Deep Web?

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Possible Snowden Plea Deal Developing


For Washington Free Beacon reports: Federal prosecutors recently held discussions with representatives of renegade National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden on a possible deal involving his return to the United States to face charges of stealing more than a million secret NSA documents, according to U.S. officials.

 “It remains our position that Mr. Snowden should return to the United States and face the charges filed against him…”

Snowden is currently in Moscow under Russian government protection after fleeing Hawaii, where he worked in NSA’s Kunia facility, for Hong Kong in May 2013. U.S. officials have charged him with stealing an estimated 1.7 million documents from NSA Net and the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System (JWICS) and providing some materials to news outlets.

“…If he does, he will be accorded full due process and protections.”

— D.O.J. Spokesman Marc Raimondi

Discussions on Snowden’s return were held in the past several weeks between prosecutors in the Justice Department’s National Security Division and Plato Cacheris, a long-time Washington defense lawyer who in the past represented several U.S. spies, including some who reached plea bargains rather than go to trial. Read the rest of this entry »

Snowden Seeks Asylum in Sunny Brazil

RIOBrasília (AFP) – Former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, wanted by US authorities and currently living in Russia, said in a TV interview that he has applied for asylum in Brazil.

“I would love to live in Brazil,” Snowden told Brazil’s Globo TV on Sunday.

Snowden’s temporary asylum in Russia expires in August. Washington has revoked his US passport, so his travel options are limited.Edward-Snowden-asylum

Snowden, who was interviewed with reporter Glenn Greenwald by his side, said that he has formally asked several countries for asylum, including Brazil.

Greenwald is an American living in Brazil. He writes for The Guardian and has published much of the information that Snowden has leaked.

Brazil’s foreign ministry however has said that it has received no formal asylum request from Snowden…(read more)

AFP/ Yahoo News

E-mail that Snowden Sent to NSA Lawyers

Number of Emails From Snowden to the NSA Raising Concerns: One

Report: Snowden impersonated NSA officials to access some files

On Thursday, NSA released the email they said Snowden appeared to be referring to, which the agency says is the only communication from Snowden it could find raising any concerns. It was dated April 8, 2013, three months after Snowden first reached out to journalists anonymously.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Edward Snowden says he repeatedly raised constitutional concerns about National Security Agency surveillance internally, but an NSA search turned up a single email in which Snowden gently asks for “clarification” on a technical legal question about training materials, agency officials said Thursday.

Snowden, a former NSA systems administrator whose leaks have exposed some of the agency’s most sensitive spying operations, called himself a patriot in an interview this week with NBC NewsBrian Williams. He said he felt he had no choice but to expose what he considered illegal NSA surveillance by leaking secret details to journalists.

NSA officials have said he gained access to some 1.7 million classified documents, though it’s not clear how many he removed from the Hawaii facility where he worked as a contractor.

Asked by Williams whether he first raised his qualms with his bosses, he said, “I reported that there were real problems with the way the NSA was interpreting its legal authorities.” Read the rest of this entry »

[PHOTO] Snowden Taking A Selfie With Glenn Greenwald In A Moscow Reunion


Facebook/David Miranda

Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who first disclosed information leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, is in Russia today with Snowden.

[Glenn Greenwald‘s book: No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State is available from Amazon.com]

Greenwald’s partner, David Miranda, posted a pair of photos to Facebook — including a selfie of Greenwald, Snowden, Miranda, and documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras, who was also involved in the early disclosures. Read the rest of this entry »

Edward Jay Epstein: Was Snowden’s Heist a Foreign Espionage Operation?


Those who know the files he stole think he was working for a foreign power, perhaps Russia, where he now lives.

For the Wall Street Journal, Edward Jay Epstein writes:

Edward Snowden‘s massive misappropriations of classified documents from the inner sanctum of U.S. intelligence is mainly presented by the media as a whistleblowing story.

In this narrative—designed by Mr. Snowden himself—he is portrayed as a disgruntled contractor for the National Security Agency, acting alone, who heroically exposed the evils of government surveillance beginning in 2013.

The other way of looking at it—based on the number and nature of documents Mr. Snowden took, and the dates when they were taken—is that...(read more)

(may be behind paywall) WSJ.com

[VIDEO] Will: ‘Lenin Had a Name for People Like Edward Snowden — Useful Idiots’

Washington Post columnist George Will on “Fox News Sunday”:

Lenin, whose spirit still infuses the government of Russia had a name for people like Mr. Snowden – ‘useful idiots,’ he said, idealists so-called who served the interests of Lenin’s country,” Will said. “We don’t need to listen to Snowden anymore giving us lectures about the virtues of an open society when he chooses to go to earth in Putin’s Russia…”

Read the rest of this entry »

[VIDEO] Putin and Snowden Bromance, Live on Russian TV


“Does Russia intercept, store, or analyze in any way the communications of millions of individuals?”

Snowden also asked if increasing “the effectiveness of intelligence or law enforcement investigations” is justification for placing societies under surveillance.


“Our intelligence efforts are strictly regulated by our law. We don’t have mass system of such interception.And according to our law it cannot exist.”

“Our special services, thank God, are strictly controlled by the society and the law, and are regulated by the law.”

(read more) National Review Online

I Spent Two Hours Talking With NSA Senior Officials. Here’s What Has Them Hoppin’ Mad

NSA headquarters. Image: Wikimedia Commons

They Really Hate Snowden. Really. Hate Hate Hate Him.   NSA headquarters. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Steven Levy writes:  My expectations were low when I asked the National Security Agency to cooperate with my story on the impact of Edward Snowden’s leaks on the tech industry. During the 1990s, I had been working on a book, Crypto, which dove deep into cryptography policy, and it took me years — years! — to get an interview with an employee crucial to my narrative. I couldn’t quote him, but he provided invaluable background on the Clipper Chip, an ill-fated NSA encryption runaround that purported to strike a balance between protecting personal privacy and maintaining national security.

my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives.

“…my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives...I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide…”

Oh, and I was not permitted to interview my Crypto source at the agency’s headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland. I was crushed; I had grown obsessed with the vaunted triple fence surrounding the restricted area and had climactic hopes that I’d get inside. Instead, the meet occurred just outside the headquarters’ heavily guarded perimeter, at the National Cryptologic Museum. (I did buy a cool NSA umbrella in the gift shop.)

This time around, the NSA’s initial comeback was discouraging. The public relations person suggested that perhaps some unidentified officials could provide written responses to a few questions I submitted. A bit later, an agency rep indicated there was the possibility of a phone conversation. But then, rather suddenly, I was asked if I would be interested in an actual visit to meet with a few key officials. And could I do it… later that week?

Read the rest of this entry »

Government’s Eternal Excuses For Abuses of Power

Snowden should have known the Washington rule: Abuse power, and you’ll be protected by those with power. Expose abuse, and you’re on your own.

 writes:  If you’re part of the U.S. national security apparatus and you torture someone to death during an interrogation, you can rest easy. Two administrations have furnished get-out-of-jail-free cards absolving you of responsibility for your crime.

But if you’re part of that same U.S. national security apparatus and divulge to the American people information about government activities that are unauthorized, illegal, and quite possibly unconstitutional, you should expect no such mercy.

Commit crimes on behalf of the government? OK. Reveal secret abuses committed by the government? You must be joking. No one has been prosecuted for the dozens of detainees tortured to death by American military and intelligence personnel — but Edward Snowden faces certain indictment if he dares to return to American soil.

Read the rest of this entry »

Did Snowden Have Help Downloading Documents?


Catherine Herridge reports: The evidence surrounding the case of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden suggests he did not act alone when he downloaded some 200,000 documents, according to the Republican head of the House Intelligence Committee.

“We know he did some things capability-wise that was beyond his capabilities. Which means he used someone else’s help to try and steal things from the United States, the people of the United States. Classified information, information we use to keep America safe,”  Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., told Fox News.

Rogers, who receives regular briefings and has access to classified information about the Snowden investigation, says there are questions about the former contractor’s time in Hong Kong, and his alleged contact with a third party.

“There was some activity there in China about who he talked to and what was the purpose of his visit there, how was it arranged, how did he arrange a visa so quickly to Russia? Those kinds of questions have not been answered in a satisfactory way.”

But journalist Glenn Greenwald — who published Snowden’s leaks – described Rogers’ claims as baseless. Read the rest of this entry »

Whose Side Are You On, Germany?

BERLIN—The cover of this week’s Die Zeit, Germany’s leading newspaper, says it all: “Goodbye, Friends.”


Pacifism is part of Germany’s DNA. But so is confusion about its true friends and adversaries—like Snowden and the NSA.

 writes:  Illustrated by a broken heart half-painted with the German flag and the other with the American one, the image speaks to the widespread feelings of betrayal many Germans have expressed towards the United States in the wake of revelations made by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden about American spying operations abroad.

Never mind that the claim causing so much outrage—that the United States was sweeping up the personal data of tens of millions of European citizens—proved false. In reality, the records analyzed by the NSA were supplied to them by European intelligence agencies, and were collected in war zones and other locales abroad, not in Europe.

Read the rest of this entry »

A Government of Secrecy and Fear

When Do We Get Our Liberties Back?

 writes:  Every American who values the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, every American who enjoys the right to be different and the right to be left alone, and every American who believes that the government works for us and we don’t work for the government should thank Edward Snowden for his courageous and heroic revelations of the National Security Agency’s gargantuan spying operations. Without Snowden’s revelations, we would be ignorant children to a paternalistic government and completely in the dark about what the government sees of us and knows about us. And we would not know that it has stolen our freedoms.

When I saw Snowden’s initial revelation — a two-page order signed by a federal judge on the FISA court — I knew immediately that Snowden had a copy of a genuine top-secret document that even the judge who signed it did not have. The NSA reluctantly acknowledged that the document was genuine and claimed that all its snooping on the 113,000,000 Verizon customers covered by that order was lawful because it had been authorized by that federal judge. The NSA also claims that as a result of its spying, it has kept us safe. Read the rest of this entry »

Report: Snowden impersonated NSA officials to access some files

Report: Snowden impersonated NSA officials to access some files

Posted By Josh Peterson

Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden impersonated the electronic identities of top NSA officials in order to access the highly classified documents he leaked to the press, NBC News reports.

While the NSA says it doesn’t know exactly what Snowden took, reports the publication, it estimates that he stole as many as 20,000 documents from the agency.

By impersonating senior officials in the agency, Snowden was able to access documents not even available to him with his “top secret” clearance.

Read the rest of this entry »

NSA employees spied on their lovers using eavesdropping program

It was disclosed that the NSA had broken privacy rules on nearly 3,000 occasions over a one-year period.  Photo: REX FEATURES

It was disclosed that the NSA had broken privacy rules on nearly 3,000 occasions over a one-year period. Photo: REX FEATURES

NSA employees spied on their lovers using eavesdropping programme

Staff working at America’s National Security Agency – the eavesdropping unit that was revealed to have spied on millions of people – have used the technology to spy on their lovers.

It was disclosed that the NSA had broken privacy rules on nearly 3,000 occasions over a one-year period.  Photo: REX FEATURES

The employees even had a code name for the practice – “Love-int” – meaning the gathering of intelligence on their partners.

Dianne Feinstein, a senator who chairs the Senate intelligence committee, said the NSA told her committee about a set of “isolated cases” that have occurred about once a year for the last 10 years. The spying was not within the US, and was carried out when one of the lovers was abroad.

Read the rest of this entry »

NSA having flashbacks to Watergate era


WASHINGTON — The National Security Agency is facing its worst crisis since the domestic spying scandals four decades ago led to the first formal oversight and overhaul of U.S. intelligence operations.

Thanks to former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden’s flood of leaks to the media, and the Obama administration’s uneven response to them, morale at the spy agency responsible for intercepting communications of terrorists and foreign adversaries has plummeted, former officials say. Even sympathetic lawmakers are calling for new curbs on the NSA’s powers.

“This is a secret intelligence agency that’s now in the news every day,” said Michael Hayden, who headed the NSA from 1999 to 2005 and later led the CIA. “Each day, the workforce wakes up and reads the daily indictment.”

President Barack Obama acknowledged Friday that many Americans have lost trust in the nation’s largest intelligence agency. “There’s no doubt that, for all the work that’s been done to protect the American people’s privacy, the capabilities of the NSA are scary to people,” he said in a CNN interview.

Read the rest of this entry »

Edward Snowdens Real Impact



The assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy led directly to the passage of a historic law, the Gun Control Act of 1968. Does that change your view of the assassinations? Should we be grateful for the deaths of these two men?

Of course not. That’s lunatic logic. But the same reasoning is now being applied to the actions of Edward Snowden. Yes, the thinking goes, Snowden may have violated the law, but the outcome has been so worthwhile. According to Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who was one of the primary vehicles for Snowden’s disclosures, Snowden “is very pleased with the debate that is arising in many countries around the world on Internet privacy and U.S. spying. It is exactly the debate he wanted to inform.”

In this debate, Snowden himself says, those who followed the law were nothing better than Nazis: “I believe in the principle declared at Nuremberg, in 1945: ‘Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience. Therefore individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring.’ ”

To be sure, Snowden has prompted an international discussion about surveillance, but it’s worthwhile to note that this debate is no academic exercise. It has real costs. Consider just a few.

What if Snowden’s wrong? What if there is no pervasive illegality in the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs?

Read the rest of this entry »

Snowden: NSA targeted journalists critical of government after 9/11

Snowden: NSA targeted journalists critical of government after 9/11

By Jonathan Easley

Leaker Edward Snowden accused the National Security Agency of targeting reporters who wrote critically about the government after the 9/11 attacks and warned it was “unforgivably reckless” for journalists to use unencrypted email messages when discussing sensitive matters.

Snowden said in an interview with the New York Times Magazine published Tuesday that he came to trust Laura Poitras, the documentary filmmaker who, along with Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald, helped report his disclosure of secret surveillance programs, because she herself had been targeted by the NSA.

“Laura and [Guardian reporter] Glenn [Greenwald] are among the few who reported fearlessly on controversial topics throughout this period, even in the face of withering personal criticism, and resulted in Laura specifically becoming targeted by the very programs involved in the recent disclosures,” Snowden said for the article, a profile of Poitras.

Snowden didn’t detail how Poitras was targeted by the NSA surveillance programs he disclosed, but suggested the agency tracked her emails and cautioned other journalists that they could be under surveillance.

Read the rest of this entry »

Obama’s not to be trusted on foreign policy

Having declared an end tothe War on Terror, the US president no longer has any clear idea of his country’s global role


Barack Obama: since the president declared an end to the War on Terror, the US has retreated from 19 embassies  Photo: REUTERS

The West can no longer rely on American leadership in the world. For the remaining duration of the Obama administration, Washington’s judgment and effectiveness in foreign policy cannot be trusted. It is quite an achievement for the one remaining superpower to appear as ineffectual and wrong-footed as the United States has managed to do in the past week. But there it is. The president’s global strategy in his second term was based on two resounding premises. First, al‑Qaeda was “on the run” having been smashed by the killing of Osama bin Laden and the successful US drone operations in Pakistan: in May, Mr Obama gave a triumphal speech in which he declared the War on Terror officially over.

That was then. This is now: over the past week, 19 US embassies in the Middle East and North Africa had to be closed for a week, and diplomatic staff evacuated from Yemen because of “specific terrorist threats”. So who exactly is on the run? When the embarrassing contrast between this mass exit of the American presence and the “War on Terror (End of)” speech was pointed out, White House spokesmen clarified – as government spokesmen like to call it – what the president had said: it was al-Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan that had been all but defeated, not its franchise in Yemen, which was clearly still alive and kicking.

This clarification was followed shortly by the evacuation of diplomatic staff from Lahore in Pakistan due to – a specific terrorist threat. In his most recent comment, Mr Obama rephrased his dismissal of the Islamist forces: al-Qaeda may not be “on the run” but it is “on its heels”. (Meaning: still facing forward and able to fight?) More confusingly still, Mr Obama is apparently determined to return some Guantánamo prisoners to Yemen, where they will presumably add to the dangerous mix of jihadi terrorists.

Read the rest of this entry »

Putin Toys With Obama as Syria Burns and Snowden Runs Free

From Snowden to Syria, Russian President Putin does whatever he likes and the West plays to his tune. Garry Kasparov on the pathetic kowtowing to Putin—and the terrifying historical echoes of such behavior.


Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin sat across from each other at the G8 meeting last month in Northern Ireland, but their positions on Syria could not be further apart. The G8 statement on Syria that came out from the summit was a triumph for Putin and also a victory for what I would call “consensus through cowardice.” Getting rid of the murderous dictator Bashar al-Assad is not one of the document’s pledges. Incredibly, al-Assad is not even mentioned—no doubt at the insistence of his greatest supporter, Putin. For the sake of a hypocritical display of unity, Obama and the others signed a worthless statement that could have been written in the Kremlin.

President Barack Obama meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, on June 17, 2013. (Evan Vucci/AP)

Since the Russian connections of the Boston Marathon bombers came to light, the myth of common ground between Putin and the West has received a lot of lip service on both sides. It is useful to Putin both at home and abroad to maintain the illusion that he wants greater integration with Europe and better relations with the United States. In both places there have been recent moves to sanction the Kremlin and Putin’s thugs for human rights violations and criminal activity. Putin needs to show his allies he can still protect them.

This does not mean Putin will cede any ground on anything that matters to him, at least not while Obama and the rest fail to apply real pressure. The latest evidence is the bizarre affair of Edward Snowden, the American NSA employee who leaked classified information about domestic surveillance programs. Then he got on a flight from Hong Kong to Russia and according to reports he’s been sitting in Sheremetyevo airport since Sunday trying to figure out his next move. The U.S. wants Snowden extradited for espionage, and when someone else wants something it’s a chance for Putin to show what “cooperation” really means to him.

First came Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s statements that Snowden wasn’t technically in Russian territory while in the airport and, therefore, was outside of Russian jurisdiction. Of course Putin feels he has jurisdiction to send tanks into Georgia and military personnel into Syria, and Kremlin critics in London have the odd habit of being murdered. But not the Moscow airport—it’s out of reach! Even that legal loophole expired days ago, however, so now it’s just a matter of Putin wanting to squeeze the most attention and annoyance out of this little accident.

Will Obama and David Cameron pose for more photos with Putin while their dithering guarantees the destruction of the remaining moderate elements among the Syrian rebels?

Reflecting Putin’s opportunism, the Kremlin is now suggesting this situation is an opportunity to create an extradition treaty between Russia and the United States. This would be a grave blow to human rights, and the mere suggestion of such a thing illustrates the dangers of treating an authoritarian state like a democratic nation. An extradition pact assumes that the signatories play by similar rules of justice and have similar values. Imagine an agreement between North and South Korea in which Northerners escaping that colossal gulag were forced to return to misery and death simply because Pyongyang requested it. Putin would use such a treaty to persecute innocent Russians who have escaped his grasp by fleeing the country. Disobedient businessmen, disloyal functionaries, and opposition activists—these are the “criminals” the Kremlin wishes to pursue. An extradition treaty with a country that keeps political prisoners would be a moral outrage.

Read the rest of this entry »

EVEN BAMBI ISN’T SAFE! Snowden: Hey, I could have wiretapped anyone’s e-mails, including the president’s personal account

Snowden: I could have wiretapped anyone’s e-mails, including the president’s personal account « Hot Air

Snowden suggests he could have accessed the president’s personal e-mails. Is that crazy? I hope so. I don’t know. via  Hot Air

He says he was granted broad “wiretapping” authorities. In a video interview with The Guardian, Snowden claims to have had incredibly broad authority to wiretap Americans, saying “I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal e-mail.”

He also told WaPo reporter Bart Gellman that national intelligence wouldn’t stop at killing a reporter in the name of protecting especially sensitive information. Is that crazy? I hope so. Ithink so, simply because reporters who break big national-security stories aren’t known to disappear or meet with accidents. But I don’t know.

“I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions, and that the return of this information to the public marks my end,” [Snowden] wrote in early May, before we had our first direct contact. He warned that even journalists who pursued his story were at risk until they published.

The U.S. intelligence community, he wrote, “will most certainly kill you if they think you are the single point of failure that could stop this disclosure and make them the sole owner of this information.”

On the one hand, that sounds like a Ron Paul fan muttering under his breath. On the other hand, this guy’s scoop about PRISM has in fact been borne out as other government sources have confirmed the program’s existence. It’s hard to sneer at someone for being paranoid after he’s just exposed massive data-mining of Americans’ electronic communications. The one question to which I keep returning is how Snowden could have gotten hold of all this information. Could he really have done it all himself given his place in the natsec food chain? CIA officials are confused too:

For instance, Snowden said he did not have a high school diploma. One former CIA official said that it was extremely unusual for the agency to have hired someone with such thin academic credentials, particularly for a technical job, and that the terms Snowden used to describe his agency positions did not match internal job descriptions.

Snowden’s claim to have been placed under diplomatic cover for a position in Switzerland after an apparently brief stint at the CIA as a systems administrator also raised suspicion. “I just have never heard of anyone being hired with so little academic credentials,” the former CIA official said. The agency does employ technical specialists in overseas stations, the former official said, “but their breadth of experience is huge, and they tend not to start out as systems administrators.”

A former senior U.S. intelligence official cited other puzzling aspects of Snowden’s account, questioning why a contractor for Booz Allen at an NSA facility in Hawaii would have access to something as sensitive as a court order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

“I don’t know why he would have had access to those . . . orders out in Hawaii,” the former official said.

Snowden: I could have wiretapped anyone’s e-mails, including the president’s personal account « Hot Air

Could this guy really have done it all himself or did he have an accomplice further up the chain who wanted this to come out but wasn’t prepared to suffer for the disclosure? Snowden is a perfect leaker: He’s young and idealistic, which makes him more sympathetic to the public, and he’s unmarried and without children, so he has less to lose than someone older with more family obligations might. He may have agreed to take the fall in the name of exposing a government program to which he objected, and his accomplice may have agreed to provide him with the documents in return. (If you think it’s unlikely that a veteran analyst might suffer a crisis of conscience, meet William Binney.) I take it right now the FBI’s sifting through Snowden’s communications over the past year or so with NSA officials to see if he had any unusual recurring communications with anyone higher up. Or maybe I’m talking straight out of my ass and Snowden really did pull this off himself. That was my point up top — as a layman, there’s simply no way to know what’s likely or unlikely. Most conspiracy theorists latch on to outlandish explanations because, deep down, the conspiracy makes them feel better than the reality. I’m doing that too here. I’d rather believe Snowden was working with someone than that one rogue midlevel IT operative could tap the president’s secret GMail account or break open the inner sanctum of U.S. national security. We’ll see.

Exit question one: A guy with access to one of the NSA’s most sensitive tools tells them he needs a few weeks off to get treatment for his epilepsy, then hops a plane to Hong Kong(!) — and no one at the agency suspects anything until it’s too late? A point oft-repeated on Twitter yesterday after he outed himself is that the fact that he was able to pull this off at all kinda sorta explodes the NSA’s rationale for massive data-mining in the first place. Exit question two: Can we safely assume that, if we’re bugging more or less the entire Internet, we’re not in fact at China’s mercy when it comes to cyberespionage? Every week brings a new story about Beijing rifling through American businesses’ records; last week came news that the Obama and McCain campaigns were hacked by China in 2008. Why are they able to do that if the feds are so far ahead technologically that they can track a person’s movements virtually moment to moment from their data footprint? I realize the technology in data mining and hacker defense is different, but it’s weird to think the feds have all but mastered the former and yet trail in the latter to an almost catastrophic degree.


 via  Hot Air

Will Hong Kong Extradite Snowden?


The 29-year-old revealed large-scale surveillance of Internet user data by the National Security Agency, in a program known as PRISM, during an interview with the Guardiannewspaper — and has been holed-up in a comfortable hotel in the Chinese Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong for the past three weeks. The city undoubtedly has the “strong tradition of free speech” that Snowden asserts, but with its autonomy being gradually eroded, Hong Kong is hardly the most obvious beacon of freedom. Even if it were, there must be major doubt that Beijing would approve of the Hong Kong authorities offering Snowden a safe haven. It may frequently spar with Washington on a range of issues, but China has little to gain in blocking attempts to extradite a man swiftly soaring to the top of its rival superpower’s “most wanted” list.

Snowden, a former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, landed in Hong Kong on May 20. He subsequently revealed reams of classified information on the controversial and classified PRISM program, garnered from a government office in Hawaii. The revelations came just as new Chinese President Xi Jinping met Barack Obama for the first time over the weekend. The treatment of former intelligence officer Bradley Manning, kept in solitary confinement for much of his three years’ detention before finally coming to trial last week, as well as the ongoing pursuit of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, indicate that the White House is unlikely to go easy on attempts to bring Snowden back to U.S. soil.

Republicans have already called for his speedy repatriation to answer various charges, which could include treason and (à la Manning) aiding the enemy. Hong Kong and the U.S. maintain a bilateral extradition treaty signed in 1997. There are special exceptions for political crimes, but human-rights activists point to past extraditions from the territory apparently driven by pressure from Washington, most notoriously that of Libyan dissident Sami al-Saadi, who in 2004 was placed upon a secret rendition flight from Hong Kong to Tripoli, allegedly planned and executed by the U.K., U.S. and Libyan governments. (He is currently taking legal action after being tortured by the Gaddafi regime.) Some commentaries, like one written by James Fallows in the Atlantic, paint Hong Kong as a political cipher, acting at the beck and call of Beijing’s communist administration as well as obliging Western powers.

However, local experts emphasize Hong Kong’s legal independence. Professor Simon Young, director of Hong Kong University’s Centre for Comparative and Public Law, says he “doesn’t see any chance” that Beijing could assume jurisdiction of any proceedings relevant to the Snowden case. “Although Hong Kong is not bound by the Refugee Convention, a recent decision from our Court of Final Appeal held that the Hong Kong government must independently assess whether an individual’s refugee claim is well founded,” he tells TIME. In other words, all persons landing in Hong Kong with a bona fide claim to refugee status will not be returned to a place where they may be persecuted.

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Edward Snowden: I mistakenly believed…

…in Tiny Blue Fairies Magic Beans Unicorns Hope and Change Bambi Peter Pan Obama’s Promises

Edward Snowden, the self-revealed whistle-blower at the National Security Agency, explains that part of the reason he decided to come forward was because President Obama did not roll back the surveillance measures put into place by the Bush Administration.

“A lot of people in 2008 voted for Obama. I did not vote for him. I voted for a third party,” Snowden said in an interview with the Guardian. “But I believed in Obama’s promises. I was going to disclose it [but waited because of his election]. He continued with the policies of his predecessor.”

Snowden acknowledged that he watched Obama struggle as he attempted to justify the surveillance programs during his press conference on Friday.

“My immediate reaction was he was having difficulty in defending it himself,” Snowden said about Obama. “He was trying to defend the unjustifiable and he knew it.”

Snowden referred to a “grassroots movement” planning to take to the streets on July 4 in defense of the Fourth Amendment. The movement is called “Restore The Fourth Amendment,” and grew out of the Reddit community.

“I have been surprised and pleased to see the public has reacted so strongly in defence of these rights that are being suppressed in the name of security,” Snowden said in the interview.

via WashingtonExaminer.com.