Edward Snowden

What Did Edward Snowden Teach Us in Just One Year?


Remember when you weren't tired of this screenshot from his first interview?
The Guardian

Eariler, Ron Bailey noted that today is the one-year anniversary of the start of Edward Snowden's National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance leaks. The Electronic Frontier Foundation decided to take today's date, June 5 (or 6/5, if you will), and remind us all of 65 things we learned over the past year. Where were you when you first discovered that the NSA had all the command of PowerPoint of a small town bank manager?

Some top choices from the list:

1. We saw an example of the court orders that authorize the NSA to collect virtually every phone call record in the United States—that's who you call, who calls you, when, for how long, and sometimes where.

3. The NSA has created a "content dragnet" by asserting that it can intercept not only communications where a target is a party to a communication but also communications "about a target, even if the target isn't a party to the communication."

7. A leaked internal NSA audit detailed 2,776 violations of rules or court orders in just a one-year period.

11. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lied to Congress when asked directly by Sen. Ron Wyden whether the NSA was gathering any sort of data on millions of Americans.

19. The NSA "intercepts 'millions of images per day'—including about 55,000 'facial recognition quality images'"—and processes them with powerful facial recognition software.

27. NSA undermines the encryption tools relied upon by ordinary users, companies, financial institutions, targets, and non-targets as part of BULLRUN, an unparalleled effort to weaken the security of all Internet users, including you.

31. When the DEA acts on information its Special Operations Division receives from the NSA, it cloaks the source of the information through "parallel construction," going through the charade of recreating an imaginary investigation to hide the source of the tip, not only from the defendant, but from the court. This was intended to ensure that no court rules on the legality or scope of how NSA data is used in ordinary investigations.    

There's so, so much more at the full list. As above, each item on the list includes a link to the initial story providing more details.

Today, the Senate Select Intelligence Committee is having a hearing discussing the watered-down USA FREEDOM Act that provides some rather weak reforms. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (that would be Clapper) today tweeted its support of the act, which is a good indicator of how terrible it probably is.

NEXT: Highly Respected Prosecutor Hides Exculpating Evidence, Man Spends 24 Years in Jail for No Reason

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  1. What Did Edward Snowden Teach Us in Just One Year?

    That we are fucked?

    1. He taught us that Bush was wrong when he said the terrorists hated us for our freedom. If that were true, we’d be BFFs with the terrorists by now.

  2. Knowledge is Power.

  3. No bill is going to reign in the NSA. The only way to do that is abolish the agency. Move signals intelligence over the CIA. Eliminate the DIA and get the CIA out of the business of drone strikes and covert actions and back into the business of providing intelligence to national decision makers. Meanwhile, let the entire intel community stair at the corpse of the NSA and its various minions now slaving away under the CIA yoke as a reminder that abuses will sometimes be punished.

    1. So we’ll need a President whose name rhymes with Land Maul?

      1. I’m sorry, but I don’t really know if Darth Maul would be much of an improvement over the current regime.

        1. But then we’d have a security apparatus with only sixth, and since there can be only two, it would dramatically cut down on the cost of SigInt.

          Ok, I’m for it.*

          *As long as he doesn’t put Jar Jar Binks on the bottom of the ticket. It’d be like Biden never left.

          1. sixth= Sith. Fuck you, Apple.

            1. The Sixth Sith: I see bad people.

              1. The Sixth Sith’s Sixth Sheep’s Sick: Episode VI.

        2. Darth Maul is another boring, not-terribly competent character that gets attention because he looks good. Like some other Star Wars character.

          1. Don’t talk shit about Mace Windu!

            BTW, I went by air and space again yesterday. They just refuse to let me in with a baseball bat. Museums are bullshit.

            1. There was a gap in the plastic covering the Apollo 11 capsule when I went there once. I touched the actual capsule. Likely in violation of all possible law. It was awesome. Fucking Apollo 11.

              I plan to touch the remnants of Eagle, just as soon as Luna Disney opens.

              1. Congratulations. You contracted Space AIDS.

                1. Congratulations. You contracted Space AIDS.

                  Or the Venom symbiote…

                  *Googles furiously for Fantastic Four’s main help line*

                2. Keep me away from butter knives, then.

                3. You contracted Space AIDS.

                  Not space herpes but close enough to trigger a link:


              2. The hole was there yesterday just on the left side. I let Reason quickly go in and touch it before security said she couldn’t. It was pretty cool.

                She did the same over the little chains at the Jefferson Memorial and Lincoln Memorial. Nobody said a word at either of those places though. They would have had a riot on their hands with all the people cooing over her.

                1. Also, I saw government in action. There were crews of four painting the chains around the reflecting pool pathways. One guy painting chains with a roller. One guy holding the paint can. One guy moving a blanket so it didn’t drip on the grass (until they were 20 feet past) and a supervisor.

                  I was fucking impressed!

                  1. When I worked there, I remember vividly sitting on the Mall, looking up at the Washington Monument, and having an epiphany: The founders intentionally designed the government not to function very well. Not just the checks and balances but the seeming inability to do anything very quickly or efficiently. It helped that I was seeing the beast from within at the time.

                    I know most around here know that, but I’d never really thought about it that way until that moment.

                    1. After this thread, it will be renamed the Darth Mall.

                  2. Ha! Sounds exactly like the Navy.

                    1. Heaven forbid their jobs program would take a hit and they’d order powder-coated chains that never need paint.

                2. Did she touch the Moon? I seem to remember a piece of Moon rock you could touch. There’s one of those at the Cape, too.

                  1. I didn’t see no moon rock. But I touched one at the Cape before.

                    1. At the Apollo-Saturn V exhibit? That’s an amazing set up, walking under an actual Saturn V rocket.

            2. *cough*Boba Fett*cough*

              1. Of course, that’s precisely who I was talking about. What a joke.

                1. Oh shit. I completely forgot about him. For,obvious reasons.

                  1. He’s only memorable in the toy-licensing sense.

          2. Hey, Lando’s cape was totally awesome.

            1. But Lando was competent as a pilot and a city administrator. Windu was a mega-fuckup seeing as he was in two battles and got killed.

              1. Not to mention he totally spaced out on seeing Palpatine for what he really was or for seeing Annakin as the douchebag he was.

                1. Are… are you trying to make sense of George Lucas’s shit? Even the good movies were dumb, although they were at least entertaining. Why the fuck was Lando a general at the Battle of Endor?

                  1. Who wasn’t a general?

                    1. Admiral Akbar wasn’t. Neither was Luke Skywalker.

                    2. Luke is the anomaly, sense obviously being an admiral isn’t contradicting my point about everyone being a general except in the most literal and pointless sense.

                      Why did Luke get screwed? I mean, just sitting here, thinking about the movie as a movie, it doesn’t matter, but all those generals and admirals were getting paid a whole lot more than him. Why? I mean, he fucking blew up the Death Star.

                    3. Skywalker. The only jedi left (except for the three thousand other ones who spent that conflict in hiding) was only a Commander.

                    4. In hiding? I thought they were wiped out by the clones when Order 66 went out.

                  2. He got a field commission, duh! For, um…betraying the Rebels’ greatest heroes and getting Solo all frozen and shit.

                  3. How was it the “Battle of Endor” when the planet was named Endor. You mean to tell me the moon had the same name as the planet it circled?

                    Fucking bullshit.

                    1. It’s because of the Ewok Holocaust.

            2. Lando was great, although wearing Han’s clothes was a little weird.

              While we’re on the subject, I recently watched the original trilogy and what was Yoda/Obi-Wan’s plan? Why wasn’t Luke getting secret Jedi training from age 5 or 6? And why was Luke too old for Jedi Training but Leia is their other hope? Their twins for gods sakes and girls mature faster than boys, so if he’s too old, she’s way too old.

              1. I didn’t notice any particular aptitude for the Force with her, either. Luke had all those crazy skills, like zapping womp rats.

    2. Apparently you’re not aware that all intelligence agencies do only what they are tasked to do, and are only funded to do what they are tasked to do. The problem isn’t with the CIA, the DIA, the NSA, or any other Agency; the problem is with those doing the tasking. Abolishing an agency because they did exactly what the law and their Commander in Chief told them to do, is rather stupid.

      1. Apparently I am quite aware of that. And you show me where the NSA was ever tasked to do any of this? They certainly were not by the law or the Constitution. Where they by elected officials? Maybe. More likely these things were dreamed up by the agencies themselves and then rubber stamped by the elected officials.

        Do you really think George Bush sat in the Oval office and dreamed up these programs or did the NSA dream them up and sell them to Bush? Now that doesn’t relieve Bush or Obama of responsibility. But it puts responsibility on the NSA as well.

        It is not enough to go after the elected officials. They come and go. There will be a new crop of hoodlums in there every four to eight years. You have to go after the bureaucracy. You have to punish them in ways they will understand so that they no longer think it is such a good idea to dream up unconstitutional programs and sell them to their political masters.

        Abolish the NSA and make every single career NSA person go work for the CIA. It would be something the Intel community would never forget.

        1. I’m all for serious consequences, but how is putting the same people in another intelligence agency going to help? They’ll just do the same thing at the CIA.

          1. The silos hate each other.

    3. No bill is going to reign in the NSA. The only way to do that is abolish the agency

      Wouldn’t it take a bill to abolish it?

  4. He taught us that one can be simultaneously a shiftless high school dropout, a narcissist with delusions of grandeur and master spy.

    1. +1 Get Smart + Walter Mitty + Fast Times at Ridgemont High

  5. What Did Edward Snowden Teach Us in Just One Year

    That evil will always triumph, because good is dumb.

    1. +1 Lord Helmet

  6. You know who else taught us a few things about the power of the state…

    1. Tom Izzo?

    2. Chris Christie?

  7. He taught us that the NSA’s security protocols are on par with those of a three-year old setting up a database for his lemonade stand that he wants to keep secret from his sister.

    1. Yeah, we can totally trust them not to abuse or lose this information even though they allowed a single contractor to collect it all without them knowing about it.

      1. It’s incompetence on a level so extreme, and so critical, given the NSA’s charter, that they should’ve been canning people by the boatload. I’m not even addressing the politics or total illegality of their operations. I’m talking national security.

        One of the things we’ve learned from this revelation of total disregard for the Constitution and U.S. law that often escapes notice is that no one in DC seems to think failing utterly to protect what’s supposed to be highly classified data is important enough to fire anyone over.

      2. John, we’re getting settled in. You want to get that beer you offered some time ago? I’d be game any time from tomorrow on.

        1. That is awesome. I have to work this weekend. Lets try for next week sometime. Maybe Thursday or Friday. I will send you an email to the above address later. Can’t get to my email at the moment.

          1. No problem. I’ll be on the lookout for it.

  8. That John Kerry is a name-calling pussy?

  9. I went to a fund raiser for Justin Amash last night. He talked about the watered-down Freedom act. He pointed out that the original version (with teeth) had 150 co-sponsors, but that the revised denture-laden version not only lost almost all its co-sponsors, but that most of them actually voted against it. Telling…

  10. Hey, I hear Edward Snowden just took a dump. Why is there no coverage of it yet on this blog?

    1. Let me guess. Tulpa? Or some other bootlicker?

  11. We also learned that the neocons’ days of total control are numbered. Despite their mercilessly incessant propagandizing against Snowden in all the major outlets, a solid majority of Americans believe that Snowden did the right thing:


    Neocons want to make Americans willing to sacrifice their individual interests and freedom for the collective/state. The Snowden affair was a decisive litmus test of which way Americans would ultimately go, and it showed that the neocons failed. They will keep trying, but the strength and momentum are no longer on their side. It’s like trying to stop a tide.

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