Edward Joseph Snowden was born June 21, 1983, an American computer professional who leaked classified information from the NSA (National Security Agency) to the mainstream media beginning in June of 2013. Some called him a whistleblower patriot, but when he flew to Hong Kong in May of 2013, met with Russian diplomats and flew to Moscow, where he received asylum status, he became a traitor.
In June of 2013, the US Department of State revoked his passport and the US Department of Justice charged him with two counts of violation of the Espionage Act and theft of government property.
Snowden trained for a position in the CIA computer network security in 2006 and in 2007 he was assigned with diplomatic cover in Geneva, Switzerland as well as US mission to the United Nations. He became a top technical and cybersecurity expert in Switzerland and was assigned the CIA mission to support President Bush's 2008 NATO summit in Romania. In February 2009, Snowden resigned from the CIA. In the same year, Snowden became a contractor for Dell Computers, managing computer systems for multiple government agencies, assigned at Yokota Air Base near Tokyo, instructing officials and military officers how to defend their networks from Chinese hackers. During his four years at Dell, Snowden rose from supervising NSA computer system upgrades to working as an “expert in cyber counterintelligence at several US locations.
In 2011, he returned to Maryland, where he spent one year as lead technologist on Dell's CIA account. Snowden began downloading documents describing US government electronic spying programs while working for Dell in April 2012. Investigators estimated that out of 50,000 to 200,000 documents, Snowden gave journalist Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, most were copied while working at Dell.
Dell reassigned Snowden in March of 2011 to Hawaii as lead technologist to the NSA information-sharing office. His duty title was system administrator. He created a backup system for the NSA that was implemented nationwide. He had virtually unlimited access to NSA data.
Snowden began to express concern about constitutional violations committed by the NSA to several employees and two supervisors. According to an NSA spokeswoman, she stated that they had “not found any evidence to support Mr. Snowden's contention that he brought these matters to anyone's attention”.
In March 2014, during testimony to the European Parliament, Snowden wrote that before revealing classified information he had reported "clearly problematic programs" to ten officials, who he said did nothing in response. In a May 2014 interview, Snowden told NBC News that after bringing his concerns about the legality of the NSA spying programs to officials, he was told to stay silent on the matter.
Snowden first contacted Glenn Greenwald, journalist for The Guardian, in 2012. It was then he made the decision to leak classified documents from the NSA, and provided Poitras and Greenwald documents in New York City. Snowden communicated using encrypted email.
In May of 2013, Snowden was permitted temporary leave from his position at the NSA in Hawaii, and reason given was for treatment for his epilepsy. He gave an electronic interview with Poitras and Jacob Appelbaum, published weeks later by Der Spiegal.
On May 20, 2013, Snowden flew to Hong Kong. In 2014, NBC broke its first story about the leaked documents. The journalists earned the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for exposing “widespread surveillance” and the “extent of the government's spying”. The Guardian editor-in-chief, Alan Rusbridger, stated in November of 2013 that only one percent of the documents had been published.
It was revealed that the NSA was harvesting millions of email and instant messaging contact lists, searching email content, tracking and mapping the location of cell phones, undermining attempts at encryption via Bullrun and that the agency was using cookies to "piggyback" on the same tools used by internet advertisers "to pinpoint targets for government hacking and to bolster surveillance." The NSA was shown to be "secretly" tapping into Yahoo and Google data centers to collect information from "hundreds of millions" of account holders worldwide by tapping undersea cables using the MUSCULAR surveillance program.
NSA spent $52 billion in fiscal year 2013 to spy agencies that included US private tech companies for their communications networks.
Snowden stated in a January 2014 interview with German television that the NSA does not limit its data collection to national security issues, accusing the agency of conducting industrial espionage.
When Snowden, who believed what he did was right, met with representatives of human rights organizations in July of 2013, he stated:
The 4th and 5th Amendments to the Constitution of my country, Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and numerous statutes and treaties forbid such systems of massive, pervasive surveillance. While the US Constitution marks these programs as illegal, my government argues that secret court rulings, which the world is not permitted to see, somehow legitimize an illegal affair...
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."
Snowden has stated that whistleblowers in the past were destroyed and he wanted to demonstrate that they can win. That certainly was true of the whistleblowers of the Obama administration, despite being protected by the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989.
In December of 2013, Snowden was asked “who elected” him to expose the NSA surveillance program, and replied:
Dianne Feinstein elected me when she asked softball questions [in committee hearings]. Mike Rogers elected me when he kept these programs hidden... The FISA court elected me when they decided to legislate from the bench on things that were far beyond the mandate of what that court was ever intended to do. The system failed comprehensively, and each level of oversight, each level of responsibility that should have addressed this, abdicated their responsibility. It wasn't that they put it on me as an individual—that I'm uniquely qualified, an angel descending from the heavens—as that they put it on someone, somewhere … You have the capability, and you realize every other [person] sitting around the table has the same capability but they don't do it. So somebody has to be the first.In March of 2014, Snowden stated that he had reported policy or legal issues related to spy programs to more than 10 officials.
In January 2014, Snowden said his "breaking point" was "seeing the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, directly lie under oath to Congress. [Transcript, Courage Foundation]
In February 2014, former congressman, Ron Paul, began a petition urging the Obama administration to grant Snowden clemency. In the same year, President Jimmy Carter stated that if he were president he would “certainly consider” providing Snowden a pardon. Former US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, insinuated that she believed Snowden's motives are suspicious. She also stated that information he leaked has helped terrorists.
In May of 2014, US Secretary of State, John Kerry, stated that Snowden had “damaged his country very significantly” and “hurt operational security” by telling terrorists how to evade detection. Quite hypocritical from a man who provided false testimony during the Vietnam War about alleged 'atrocities' within his military operations there.
Snowden is a whistleblower that turned to traitorous actions, jeopardizing US national security and CIA operatives. He did so because he was afraid, from past actions by the federal government, that as a whistleblower he would become an enemy of the state and was in danger.
In an Oxford-style debate in February of 2014, Intelligence Squared debated in New York City entitled: “Snowden Was Justified”. After the debate, 54% found that Snowden was justified and 35% were against.
In June of 2013, Larry Klayman, founder of Judicial Watch, filed a lawsuit claiming that the federal government had unlawfully collected metadata for his telephone calls and was harassing him. In Klayman v. Obama, Judge Richard J. Leon, ruled the bulk metadata program to be probably unconstitutional. The ACLU filed a lawsuit against James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, for the same reason as Judicial Watch, in ACLU v. Clapper.
According to the Pew Research Center, July of 2014:
That is pretty much how the majority of Americans see the event.
joined the board of directors of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, co-founded by Daniel Ellsberg. Journalists Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras also chair the board. On February 18, 2014, Snowden was elected as Rector of the University of Glasgow. During that year, Snowden attended teleconferences concerning interactive technology.
The whole affair has created a 'Snowden Effect', where the public, already suspicious of federal government committing unconstitutional acts, and has been proven so on several occasions involving the Obama administration, has also prompted Apple Inc. to update its iOS 8 that encrypts all data inside it to protect is consumers. In addition, Apple no longer complies with NSA and law enforcement requests for user data, stating that it does not possess the key to unlock data on the iPhone. It has also been announced that Google's Android operating system would have encryption enabled by default in upcoming versions.
Snowden's emigration through Hong Kong inspired a production team to produce a low-budget five-minute film entitled Verax. A film entitled Snowden's Great Escape is scheduled for release this year. [January 2015]
The film documents that people who were contacting Snowden while in Hong Kong, stated he did not give any information to the Russians or anyone else except the journalists mentioned.
Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. What is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?Mark Alexander, Patriot Post, wrote an essay entitled: It's the Profiling, Stupid!
What should have been added to the essay was that the Obama administration excluded surveillance of mosques, centers for subversive and underground 'cell' activity of Islamic Jihadists. Those mosques and Muslim organizations like CAIR are designated by the IRS as non-profit institutions – but the Tea Party, a pro-constitution organization, was a target by the IRS.
Mark Alexander wrote:
If conscience was such a problem, Snowden could have taken any number of other jobs. He also had much better options than the Leftmedia to make his concerns known. If not the chain of command in place within the NSA, he likely would have received a fair hearing by approaching a senator opposing the NSA’s programs. Perhaps something can be learned from Snowden’s choice of Glenn Greenwald as the journalist to whom he would leak: Greenwald is a well-known hard-left attack dog and supporter of U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, currently facing court martial for having aided our enemies by leaking to WikiLeaks the largest trove of classified documents in U.S. history.The result because of Snowden's was that focus was upon himself instead of the NSA corruption scandal. This practice was already in place by the Bush administration before Obama took office; therefore it is not just pertaining to politics, but the unconstitutional acts of our federal government, as well as that it perceives that American citizens, in general, are more of a danger than Islamic Jihadists. If the Feds were serious about subversive activities endangering national security and welfare of the American people – there would not be ANY Islamic Jihad training camps and CAIR and other organizations would have lost their non-profit status as well as being shut down for subversion and fraud.
Viewing all of information and actions, I came to believe that Snowden changed from a patriotic whistleblower to a traitor because his stolen classified documents contained not just evidence of NSA illegal surveillance programs, but contained information that showed others how the system works – a boon for foreign espionage organizations, like China and Russia.
If Snowden was a sincere whistleblower and patriot, he would have contacted one of the US Senators in Congress that could be trusted not to cover up what was going on. He would have been protected by the oversight committee and highly sensitive information would not have gotten into the hands of those who mean US harm. As a side effect, Snowden furthered the distrust between Russia and the United States because of his asylum there and the capabilities of divulging classified documents that harmed our national security.
The original reason for what Snowden did was justifiable, but his ultimate actions became criminal and detrimental to national security and We the People. Now he bathes in the light of the media that exploits the affair.
Snowden's original idea of protecting fellow Americans became polluted when he abandoned his country and cooperated with other nation's officials in doing so.
In today's modern world, especially concerning progressives in the United States, the concept and designation of what a traitor is has been diluted, especially when it comes to the executive branch of the federal government. In view of the actions of Snowden, this is a case of someone who put himself before all else and the end result of his decisions and actions is traitorous. Of course, without a proper trial, this conclusion is based upon information known at this point. I am hoping, but it is false hope, that since Russia provided him asylum, that he did not divulge harmful information. It certainly has not boded well for relationship of the US and other nations, as the video pointed out.
Oliver Stone film, Pride, concerns Snowden.