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Breaking: Feds charge NSA leaker Edward Snowden with espionage

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HERE‘s the deal:

Federal prosecutors have filed a sealed criminal complaint against Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked a trove of documents about top-secret surveillance programs, and the United States has asked Hong Kong to detain him on a provisional arrest warrant, according to U.S. officials.

Snowden was charged with espionage, theft and conversion of government property, the officials said….

Snowden flew to Hong Kong last month after leaving his job at an NSA facility in Hawaii with a collection of highly classified documents that he acquired while working at the agency as a systems analyst.

The documents, some of which have been published in The Washington Post and Britain’s Guardian newspaper, detailed some of the most secret surveillance operations undertaken by the United States and the United Kingdom, as well as classified legal memos and court orders underpinning the programsin the United States.

The 29-year-oldintelligence analyst revealed himself June 9 as the leaker in an interview with the Guardian and said he went to Hong Kong because it provided him the “cultural and legal framework to allow me to work without being immediately detained.”

Snowden subsequently disappeared from public view; it is thought that he is still in the Chinese territory. Hong Kong has its own legislative and legal systems but ultimately answers to Beijing, under the so-called “one country, two systems” arrangement.

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11 Comments

  1. Robert

    Isn’t it interesting how fast the Obama administration can move on people who aren’t big campaign donors. And to think so many people thought this guy was going to be the guy who would clean up Washington DC and bring America back to the moral standing we used to stand for.

    If only Edward Snowden had become a bankster instead of a tipster, he’d be rich and have got away with pulling off one of the biggest cases of fraud and theft in the history of our nation and the world. A crime so big it nearly destroyed the world economy and impacted millions of people’s lives, even to this day. And were still seeing the effects of their crimes as the Fed has to pump 85 billion dollars each month into Wall Street, to back out all those fraudulent derivative products, sold by some of the biggest donors to both the Democratic and Republican parties. The truth doesn’t set you free, big money does.

    Message to Edward, although there are many people who appreciate what you did, there’s more that see you as a traitor to the security of our nation. Because they believe everything they’re told and think trading their privacy for the illusion of safety is just the world we live in. One of the biggest story lines not in your favor is the thought that what this administration and those before it did is completely legal, because the people in charge of making the laws saw fit to make them legal, so people like you couldn’t make the claims you did several weeks back and get away with it. Edward, isn’t it odd how these same policy makers made what was once a war crime that would get the perpetrator executed as a war criminal, a practice known as water boarding, by renaming that practice “enhanced interrogation”. Thus allowing our nation to get away with the very same thing we as a nation sentenced people to death for nearly 70 years ago. Edward, to reach untouchable status in America, you must donate in a very big manner to the very people who can look the other way just as easily as they can throw the book at you. Even then you’re not safe, look at Kenny “Boy” Lay and Jeffrey Skilling. Good luck Edward.

  2. expdoc

    Robert,

    You cannot allow those sworn to secrecy to decide what will and will not be kept a secret.

    He deserved to be charged.

  3. Snowden is a hero and a patriot in my book. We live in an age where the civil liberties our forefathers fought so hard for are being eroded by the day. Freedom of Press, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Assembly are mere ghostly images of their original intent. We’ve woken up to an Orwellian Society of Fear where anyone is at the mercy of being labeled a terrorist for standing up for rights we took for granted just over a decade ago. Read about how we’re waging war against ourselves at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/09/living-in-society-of-fear-ten-years.html

  4. Robert

    expdoc, I think Brandt put it very nicely. As I said, water boarding was once a crime that got people executed. Not anymore, with the swipe of a pen, its legitimate now. Doesn’t make it right though. There are many things that our government has done right, for instance, the abolishment of slavery and ridding of the 3/5th’s laws of inequality, and the right of woman to vote and participate in the rule of our nation, the civil rights era laws, and the still in its infancy rights of homosexuals to be seen as valid contributing citizens with the same rights as their heterosexual counterparts.

    I suspect there are many Snowden’s about to come out of the cloak of secrecy, for the same reasons that Snowden did. The example of waterboarding above is enough of an example to show just how bankrupt our government has become at the behest of their corporate masters. This NSA spying has more to do with implementing the Orwellian Surveillance society than it has to do with terrorism. Why is it so difficult for people to see that? Prism and all the other programs being used to gather our every moment of life into a database, is just all the past attempts at getting this type system in place, except they created a better story line to do it, terrorism. The use of fear to get what governments want done is nothing new.

    We as citizens stand more of a chance of being shot in a movie theater or in a school or mall than we do being a victim of a Muslim based terrorist attack, but you’d think there’s a terrorists on every corner the way we are cowering as a nation. If this program was so successful in stopping attacks, why didn’t it stop the last attacks on people gathered in public places? The answer is because its not built for that purpose. It’s part of the Total Information Awareness program that was thought up long before 911 or even the tower bombings under the Clinton administration.

  5. Robert

    From Daniel Ellsburg – “The government claims it has a court warrant under Fisa – but that unconstitutionally sweeping warrant is from a secret court, shielded from effective oversight, almost totally deferential to executive requests. As Russell Tice, a former National Security Agency analyst, put it: “It is a kangaroo court with a rubber stamp.”

    What I find odd is how conservatives who think government can do nothing right, somehow believe this time they are. I’m not against effective intervention of terrorist activities. I welcome it. I just don’t think this Prism system is really about thwarting terrorism. I think it’s about keeping tabs on all of us, so that as the Surveillance Society becomes even more ingrained into our every day actions, dissent will become another concept of the past, like privacy is becoming now.

    http://news.firedoglake.com/2013/06/10/ellsberg-snowden-saving-americas-constitution/

  6. Craig Knauss

    Brandt,

    So Benedict Arnold was your hero?

    We won the Revolution because the vast majority of our founders kept their mouths shut. How would Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River have gone if the other side knew the colonists were coming? That successful crossing is one of the reasons you have your freedoms now. Think about that.

    The same applies to the Normandy invasion, as another good example.

  7. Robert

    I wish I was around on this board back when Mark Klein became the ATT whistleblower. I wonder if the supporters of Obama were outraged when basically the same kind of exposure was made back then.

    This program began in 2002. This story was in 2006.
    “What is the significance and why is it important to bring these facts to light?

    Based on my understanding of the connections and equipment at issue, it appears the NSA is capable of conducting what amounts to vacuum-cleaner surveillance of all the data crossing the internet — whether that be peoples’ e-mail, web surfing or any other data.”

    http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2006/04/70621

  8. Robert

    This case certainly is taking some odd twist. In a way, I can understand why Snowden is seeking safe haven in countries that have had testy relationships with the USA. It’s his only safeguard against a bullied extradition, which the USA has shown to be capable of. I suspect he will eventually either give up his citizenship and seek asylum or agree to extradition after his legal team has gathered enough information to provide effective representation. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/23/chuck-schumer-russia_n_3486621.html

    I’ve stated in the past I don’t buy every official news release from our governing officials and with good cause. We’re lied to all the time. For example, in The Week’s current edition, there’s a short article about a jet crash cover up from 1996. The investigation of TWA flight 800 is now being resurrected because several former NTSB investigators are citing evidence they were barred from using that contradicted the official story. A documentary will air on July 17. They claim the jet was brought down by an external detonation device. In other words, a missile launched from someones shoulder mounted device. If I recall correctly, there were claims made by people they saw the trail of missle before the crash.

    I also recall a case back in the late 90s, where a jet crashed into the ocean shortly after take off. In this situation, one of the pilots was a Muslim. It was said he was chanting prayers as the plane was deliberately taken into a nose dive. The official story never gave any credence to the strong possibility that same pilot took that jet down on purpose. I knew several commercial and passenger jet pilots back in those days. The common thought amongst pilots I knew and they knew, was the jet was brought down intentionally and it was being covered up. Official stories often times don’t correspond with the facts for purposes of not spooking the buying public, and in this case, to avoid causing a witch hunt of Muslim pilots. The strong probability that jet was deliberately crashed never made any traction in the news.

    Just saying, we’re lied to all the time by government officials. But I see many on this board, people who are intelligent and articulate, willingly carry the water for less than truthful investigations and outcomes. The retired NTSB officials raising the truthfulness of that investigation will be met with strong counter arguments, from the very sources they claim covered up the truth. That you can bet on.

  9. Craig Knauss

    Robert,

    While your anecdote about a Muslim pilot could possibly be true, don’t forget that most of the pilots of various Middle Eastern airlines, Asia Minor airlines, some African airlines, and the pilots from almost all of the “stan” countries are Muslim. Also Indonesia. And you know commercial airplanes have two pilots in the cockpit with dual controls. So while your story is remotely possible, it is very unlikely unless the co-pilot was in on the plot.

    BTW, how would they know he was chanting prayers as the plane took off?

  10. Robert

    I didn’t say as it took off. It was as it was going down. I remember distinctly hearing and reading about this story. My point here isn’t to demonize any religion. It’s to say we are lied to all the time. Yes, there are two pilots. If I recall right, the other pilot couldn’t get control back from the pilot that was aiming the plane down. I’m sure this jet was in full communication with the control tower. That’s how this information came out.

    Here’s info on the Egypt Air Line flight I am referring to.

    “As the crash occurred in international waters, the responsibility for investigating the accident fell to the Egyptian Civil Aviation Authority per International Civil Aviation Organization Annex 13. As the ECAA lacked the resources of the much larger American National Transportation Safety Board, the Egyptian government asked the NTSB to handle the investigation. Two weeks after the crash, the NTSB proposed handing the investigation over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as the evidence they had gathered suggested a criminal act had taken place and that the crash was intentional rather than accidental. This proposal was unacceptable to the Egyptian authorities, and as such the NTSB continued to lead the investigation. As the evidence of a deliberate crash mounted, the Egyptian government reversed their earlier decision, and the ECAA launched their own investigation. The two investigations came to very different conclusions: the NTSB found the crash was caused by deliberate action of the Relief First Officer Gameel Al-Batouti;[1] the ECAA found the crash was caused by mechanical failure of the airplane’s elevator control system.[2]”

    In this case, the NTSB came to a whole different conclusion than the Egyptian lead team. The Egyptian lead team had the final say so. They said it was an accident. So hence, the official story is quite possibly a lie.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EgyptAir_Flight_990

    Craig, you can believe everything you hear as official if it makes life easier for you. It doesn’t work for me. That doesn’t mean I see everything as a conspiracy. But if my own intuition and sense of somethings not right is tweeked, then I’m going to look at any official story coming out with a jaundiced eye.

  11. Lots of talk going on right now about recent revelations from Der Spiegel about Apple products having built in back door for NSA, of which Apple is denying.

    Here’s something to show what happens when you don’t play along with the govt wishes.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/the-story-of-joseph-nacchio-and-the-nsa-2013-6

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