Tag: Edward Snowden

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I am disturbed by the Julian Assange case,  The Department of Justice seeks to extradite Julian Assange from the UK to stand trial in the United States espionage charges.  The facts as I understand them are that Julian Assange ran a Web site called Wikileaks that exposed documents he received from other sources such as […]

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Richard Epstein reviews how the new film The Post portrays the Supreme Court’s free speech jurisprudence in the Pentagon Papers case.

Powell Aide: Snowden “Pure as a Driven Snow”


SnowdenSnowden “more helpful than dangerous” says ex-Colin Powell Chief of Staff:

The leaks from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden about US worldwide surveillance have helped rather than harmed America, and the leaks haven’t endangered lives.

Lawrence “Larry” Wilkerson, the former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell in the last Bush administration, said that he believed Snowden’s assertions that he leaked out of concern for the US breaking both domestic and international law.

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I use adblock. I recommend it. It makes ads go away. I worry sometimes if I’m not doing something stupid to websites I should be supporting–I’d like to be able to find out, I’m not too unreasonable or entitled… What I am is yellderly, only I don’t yell. I’ll get back to this later. I […]

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Ok, now, firstly, a caveat: This come from an interview he gave with The Moscow Tribune. I have no idea how reputable this publication is. The only English-language sites I’ve seen where the story’s been picked up are somewhat … I guess “sketchy” would be the word I’d choose? Still, it appears to be a […]

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Snowden in Full


398px-Edward_Snowden-2Ask me the narrow question of whether Edward Snowden did the right thing in revealing the NSA’s metadata collection programs on American citizens, and I’ll answer in the affirmative: such a program strikes me as a blatant violation of the 4th Amendment and — based on admittedly imperfect information — a poor use of the NSA’s skills and resources. Ask what I think of Snowden himself and my opinions have been negative ever since he first ran off to Hong Kong and Russia.

Regardless, one could plausibly argue that Snowden did the right thing in leaking the information, while still holding his self-preservation in contempt; he did the right thing for a while … until he started doing the wrong thing to cover himself. Well, Snowden’s not done leaking and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to justify his behavior at all:

American and British Intelligence secretly tapped into live video feeds from Israeli drones and fighter jets, monitoring military operations in Gaza, watching for a potential strike against Iran, and keeping tabs on the drone technology Israel exports around the world.

Snowden: Hero or Villain?


398px-Edward_Snowden-2The reverberating headline, it seems, is “Without Snowden, there would be no Freedom Act.” Snowden leaked all of the stuff about the phone records that created the public outrage. This ultimately applied the appropriate level of political pressure to put a stop to much of the things we all seem to find objectionable about the NSAs domestic spying activities. Thus, Snowden is a hero, and a deal should be struck to allow him to come home.

That seems to be a fine line of reasoning. But I can’t get past one simple thing: what Snowden did was illegal, and as near as I am aware, remains illegal. I’m not convinced he should be stood up before a firing squad, but shouldn’t he face some consequences? Maybe his two-year exile to Russia is enough? What do you say?

The Libertarian Podcast: Epstein on the NSA Ruling


On this week’s installment of The Libertarian podcast, we’re diving into the Second Circuit’s recent ruling on NSA Metadata collection. Was the court right to hold that the program exceeds the authority given by the Patriot Act? Should Americans be concerned about an intrusive intelligence apparatus? Is Edward Snowden a hero? And what does Richard think of Rand Paul’s views on the tradeoff between security and liberty? Listen in below (or by subscribing through iTunes or your favorite podcast player) to find out.

Snowden, Eminem, and New Zealand’s Election


402px-Edward-Snowden-FOPF-2014In his relentless drive for relevancy, NSA-leaker Edward Snowden has injected himself into New Zealand’s politics on the eve of its general election. Appearing on Monday via video link at an event hosted by fellow fugitive Kim Dotcom — who is wanted by U.S. prosecutors on piracy charges — Snowden alleged that Prime Minister John Key and senior government officials lied to the public about the activities of New Zealand’s spy agency, the Government Communications and Security Bureau (GCSB).

Snowden — who was joined by the reporter-activist Glenn Greenwald and Julian Assange of WikiLeaks fame — claimed that the GCSB was planning to implement a system of mass surveillance of its citizens with the help of the NSA. According to Snowden, the GCSB “is directly involved in the untargeted, bulk interception and algorithmic analysis of private communications sent via internet, sattelite, radio and phone networks”.

How does Snowden claim to know this? As an NSA analyst, he had access to a mass communication tool known as “XKEYSCORE” that the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand use to share data. The government has been quick to repudiate the veracity of the allegations regarding this specific program. After Snowden attempted to substantiate his claims with stolen NSA files, Key declassified relevant documents.

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According to the Washington Post, a four-month investigation shows that the NSA collected (and kept) data from more American citizens than it did foreigners. The Post reviewed about 160,000 email and instant message intercepted by the NSA along with 7,900 other documents. Nine out of ten of the accounts involved were not legitimate targets, but […]

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Some Friendly Advice For National Security Hawks


Since Edward Snowden’s leaks and subsequent defection, there’s been a raging debate on the Right about the proper role of our nation’s intelligence services. Those who favor broader powers and a more active role for these services have been on the defensive.

nrol-39-nothing-beyond-our-reachWhile I count myself as among the critics of such programs – as much because I believe they’re ineffective as that they’re dangerous – I share the hawks’ concern for my fellow citizens’s safety: I don’t want my loved ones or countrymen blown up by Islamic fanatics any more than the next guy.* Keeping us safe and in peace requires a lot of work, including some degree of surveillance. As national security is one of the core responsibilities of the Federal Government, our intelligence services bear an incredible burden.

An Outrageous Gesture from the Pulitzer Prize Committee — John Yoo


I’m not surprised that the Pulitzer Prize committee gave the Washington Post and The Guardian US a prize for pursuing the sensationalistic story of Edward Snowden —even though the story is a disaster for the country. Unlike some on both the right and the left, I do not see Snowden as any kind of hero. He should be returned to the United States for prosecution. It is another sign of this Administration’s weakness in foreign affairs that it cannot persuade other countries to turn him over.

I don’t, however, think we need to automatically read the prize as a vindication of Snowden’s crimes. Awarding a prize to a newspaper that covered a hurricane or runs a photo of a grisly crime does not somehow justify the underlying tragedy. Yes, there is a difference here, in that the harm comes from the public release of the material. I’m not sure, however, that the distinction between the event itself and publicity is key.