NSA WHISTLEBLOWN: America Just Swallowed The Red Pill, About To Learn How Deep The Rabbit Hole Goes


THE GUARDIAN: The individual responsible for one of the most significant leaks in US political history is Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Snowden has been working at the National Security Agency for the last four years as an employee of various outside contractors, including Booz Allen and Dell. The Guardian, after several days of interviews, is revealing his identity at his request. From the moment he decided to disclose numerous top-secret documents to the public, he was determined not to opt for the protection of anonymity. “I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong,” he said. Snowden will go down in history as one of America’s most consequential whistleblowers, alongside Daniel Ellsberg and Bradley Manning. He is responsible for handing over material from one of the world’s most secretive organisations – the NSA. In a note accompanying the first set of documents he provided, he wrote: “I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions,” but “I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world I love is revealed for even an instant. MORE

MORNING CALL: The father and stepmother of Edward Snowden, the man who said he leaked news of the government’s classified surveillance program, live in Upper Macungie Township and were visited this afternoon by two people who identified themselves as FBI agents. Karen Snowden, 48, said the couple had been “bombarded” by media, including ABC’s “Good Morning America,” since the story broke Sunday. Cordial, but firm, she refused to offer any information about her stepson, including whether he ever lived in the Lehigh Valley. She and her husband, Lonnie Snowden, 52, would be making a public statement, she said, but were not planning to do so today. MORE

THE GUARDIAN: Edward Snowden is a very modern spy – neither gun-blazingly dashing nor cat-strokingly sinister. He is young, tech-savvy, quietly articulate and intensely interested in human rights. His work did not involve high-speed car chases or elaborate gadgets – just a desk and a computer. Using these simple tools he could spy on anyone, anywhere.

There are many people like him, and they are, on his account, potentially frightening figures. “We hack everyone everywhere,” he told the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald in the foreign hotel where he has taken refuge. “I had the authorities to wiretap anyone – you, a federal judge, to even the president if I had a personal email.” He describes a “horrifying” infrastructure where he and other analysts could intercept the vast majority of human communications around the world.

And now Edward Snowden has gone and blown it open – literally. He has stepped out of the shadows and revealed himself to be the source of the Guardian’s string of recent disclosures of what the National Security Agency has been up to in recent years – some of it ostensibly legal. He asserts that the NSA has routinely misled the people who are supposed to oversee its actions. He is only too aware that he has himself broken the law by going public with his concerns and that the consequences could well be personally extremely uncomfortable. His actions make him a different kind of frightening figure – to those whose methods he is now directly challenging. MORE

FORBES: On Sunday evening Icelandic member of parliament Birgitta Jonsdottir and Smari McCarthy, executive director of the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, issued a statement of support for Snowden, the Booz Allen Hamilton staffer who identified himself to the Guardian newspaper as the source of a series of top secret documents outlining the NSA’s massive surveillance of foreigners and Americans. “Whereas IMMI is based in Iceland, and has worked on protections of privacy, furtherance of government transparency, and the protection of whistleblowers, we feel it is our duty to offer to assist and advise Mr. Snowden to the greatest of our ability,” their statement reads. “We are already working on detailing the legal protocols required to apply for asylum, and will over the course of the week be seeking a meeting with the newly appointed interior minister of Iceland, Mrs. Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir, to discuss whether an asylum request can be processed in a swift manner, should such an application be made.” It’s not yet clear whether Snowden has officially applied for asylum in Iceland. A press contact for the Icelandic Ministry of Interior, which handles asylum requests, said that he hadn’t yet seen an application from Snowden and that the ministry couldn’t comment until one was received. MORE

THE GUARDIAN: On Friday, President Obama was closeted in talks with President Xi Jinping of China. With a record that includes drone attacks, the continued incarceration of terror suspects at Guantánamo, the building of a massive NSA data centre in Utah and this latest story about Prism, Obama can claim very little of the ground once owned by the leader of the free world, let alone a Democrat president. It is striking how the west and China are moving incrementally towards each other, especially in the practice of mass surveillance. But unlike the Chinese, for the moment at least, we have the option to oppose what’s happening. MORE

This is quite possibly the bravest thing ever done in the history of courage. A line has been drawn: You are either on the side of Freedom/Transparency/Democracy, not to mention the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, or you are on the side of the forces of darkness. Which side are you on?

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