Edward Snowden Livechats Via Twitter About NSA's Criminal Actions While Holder Offers Plea Deal for Exposing Them

No, we don't get tired of this image. Why do you ask?The GuardianThis afternoon, the Free Snowden site, put together by the Courage Foundation to do exactly what the site’s name says, relayed questions sent via Twitter to National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden for responses. Then they hosted Snowden’s answers.

Some notable points:

  • Snowden thinks it’s possible for the United States to recover from the damage caused by the surveillance scandal with new laws and oversight. “We can correct the laws, restrain the overreach of agencies, and hold the senior officials responsible for abusive programs to account,” he writes.
  • America’s whistleblower protections are extremely weak in the national security arena. Snowden had no “official channels” to report this wrongdoing. “I still made tremendous efforts to report these programs to co-workers, supervisors, and anyone with the proper clearance who would listen,” he writes. “The reactions of those I told about the scale of the constitutional violations ranged from deeply concerned to appalled, but no one was willing to risk their jobs, families, and possibly even freedom … .”
  • He thinks it’s “interesting” that President Barack Obama gave his limp NSA reform speech prior to the release of the report by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board declaring that the NSA’s mass metadata collection system is illegal and should be stopped. “When even the federal government says the NSA violated the constitution at least 120 million times under a single program, but failed to discover even a single ‘plot,’ it’s time to end ‘bulk collection,’ which is a euphemism for mass surveillance,” he writes. “There is simply no justification for continuing an unconstitutional policy with a 0% success rate.”
  • He says he never stole anybody’s passwords or tricked coworkers to get access he shouldn’t have, contrary to reports.
  • He says not all spying is bad. He is against the indiscriminate mass surveillance of citizens who are not suspected of any wrongdoing. “This is a global problem, and America needs to take the lead in fixing it,” he writes. “If our government decides our Constitution’s 4th Amendment prohibition against unreasonable seizures no longer applies simply because that’s a more efficient means of snooping, we’re setting a precedent that immunizes the government of every two-bit dictator to perform the same kind of indiscriminate, dragnet surveillance of entire populations that the NSA is doing.”
  • Asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper under what conditions would he return to the United States, Snowden responded that he wants to, but the laws under which he’s charged forbid him from mounting a fair defense for his actions. Over at Politico, Eric Holder says the Department of Justice would offer Snowden a plea deal to return home, which sounds like a typical tone deaf response from our nation’s prosecutors.
  • When asked about the recent BuzzFeed piece where anonymous government intelligence officials said they wanted to kill Snowden, he responds he’s concerned “that current, serving officials of our government are so comfortable in their authorities that they’re willing to tell reporters on the record that they think the due process protections of the 5th Amendment of our Constitution are outdated concepts. These are the same officials telling us to trust that they’ll honor the 4th and 1st Amendments. This should bother all of us.” I would add that it’s also a concern that even a relatively young media outlet like BuzzFeed is already falling into the entrenched Washington media habit of allowing government officials anonymity — not for the purpose of providing valuable information the public deserves to know, but to attack others without having to risk any consequences.

Read the whole livechat here.

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  • Almanian (sans exclamation pt)||

    Yo - fuck tha NSA

  • sarcasmic||

    In reference to the alt-text, I'd rather see a picture of his girlfriend.

    Seriously.

  • RishJoMo||

    Sometimes man you jsut have to roll with the punches.

    www.Anon-Stuff.tk

  • ||

    NATIONAL FUCKING HERO

  • Adam.||

    Goddamn right. This guy was a fucking genius and risked everything for his principles. TRUE PATRIOT.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Plea deal? I imagine it'll be death by gas rather than the death by extraordinary rendition planned for him now.

  • Paul.||

    “that current, serving officials of our government are so comfortable in their authorities that they’re willing to tell reporters on the record that they think the due process protections of the 5th Amendment of our Constitution are outdated concepts. These are the same officials telling us to trust that they’ll honor the 4th and 1st Amendments.

    This is really a great response from Snowden. What more need be said?

  • Pro Libertate||

    What we really need is to fucking stop taking this wanton abuse of power like it's the way things should be. It isn't. It's not moral, it's not good, it's not useful. It's just the usual criminal behavior by Government Gone Wild.

  • Paul.||

    I believe one of our favorite H&R antagonist essentially believed in the thug/bully theory of government. The government should pass unconstitutional laws if there's a "compelling interest" and wait for the electorate to blink or resist (read: challenge it in court). If they don't, then it's constitutional and we move on.

  • Pro Libertate||

    There's a whole reason we have/had a Constitution--to set the limits on what government could do so we didn't have to revolt every other year. But the power hungry fight to destroy limited government at every turn, and our population simply isn't vigilant enough to block those evil fucks. Not to mention that today, unlike the past, it's not just a lack of vigilance. Now we have many citizens actively conniving towards our own destruction.

  • ||

    And these same people generally think it's too burdensome for consumers to have to be watchdogs on food producers, so we have to have an FDA to regulate what people are allowed to sell.

  • Paul.||

    I almost feel sorry for Snowden. Like, it's too bad he didn't do this under a Republican president. I'm convinced he'd have way more sympathy in the mainstream press.

  • bassjoe||

    I'm not sure about that, "respected" party elders -- Feinstein, McCain, etc. whom the media listen to -- would have closed ranks behind the Prez like they did with Obama.

  • ||

    Like he was born 200 years late or something.

    Every time he opens his mouth I feel like I'm listening to the reincarnation of James Madison or something.

  • Paul.||

    and were begun in response to a threat that kills fewer Americans every year than bathtub falls and police officers

    *boom* Is Snowden here all week?

  • Paul.||

    @midwire How quickly can the NSA, et. al. decrypt AES messages with strong keys #AskSnowden Does encrypting our emails even work?
    As I’ve said before, properly implemented strong encryption works. What you have to worry about are the endpoints. If someone can steal you keys (or the pre-encryption plaintext), no amount of cryptography will protect you.

    One of my favorite subjects. I really still don't believe the NSA is trying to crack the streams. I don't think they have the computing power or skill to do it. Which is why I strongly believe they're trying to either get (steal/force) access to the endpoints, or create new streams with back doors or built-in access.

    It's like that Black Hat conference where the really, really bright guy talked about how easy it was to pick locks on commercially available metal boxes. HIs talk was wonderfully fascinating, intelligent, and showed an encyclopedic knowledge of locks and lock types. At the end of the talk my first thought was, "Who's going to sit there and pick the lock on your metal box which weighs 1lb and can be carried out under my coat? I'm taking your box home and opening it with an angle grinder."

    This is what the NSA is doing, they don't care about your locks, they're simply going to take an angle grinder to the carriers servers and take your shit.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I've suspected that's where they're going, because the strong encryption appears to keep staying ahead of them.

  • bassjoe||

    Cryptographers are even planning for the day when quantum computing neutralizes today's cryptographic standards.

  • DJK||

    Yup. And there is where encryption really shines. Lattice-based encoding techniques are believed to be immune to attack by quantum computers. Even better, it's possible to easily detect eavesdropping by sending out some test qubits and seeing if they're disturbed during transmission.

  • Wintermute||

    The more I hear this young man say, the more impressed I am with his intelligence...and I'm very hard to impress in that department.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Don't be fooled. He's a high school dropout.

  • Ranter||

    That guys a patriot compared to the current turd inhabiting the oval office.

    How soon before we can start regretting the complete absence of morals all the power-enabling bootlickers have displayed in this situation?

  • Herb||

    "He says he never stole anybody’s passwords or tricked coworkers to get access he shouldn’t have, contrary to reports."

    Well, that settles it. Clearly, he's not guilty.

  • ||

    I continue to be deeply impressed by Snowden's level of intelligence, ethics, and eloquence.
    It's an honor to be living in an age where people like him still exist.

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