DiFi calls him a traitor.
What more evidence do we need? She's been in the pocket of the defense/intel complex since, like, forever.
Jeffrey Toobin, writing in The New Yorker
, calls Snowden "a grandiose narcissist who deserves to be in prison."
The American government, and its democracy, are flawed institutions. But our system offers legal options to disgruntled government employees and contractors. They can take advantage of federal whistle-blower laws; they can bring their complaints to Congress; they can try to protest within the institutions where they work. But Snowden did none of this.
Toobin is an asshole. He wants you to ignore the fact that Russell Tice did try these avenues and he got royally screwed
. We've seen plenty of evidence that the Obama administration (like the Bush administration before it) does everything it can to make life miserable for whistleblowers, even when the whistleblowers try to play by the rules.
Look at what happened to William Binney
, who exposed an ultra-expensive NSA program called Trailblazer -- a program which simply did not work:
They blackballed us for no work, they raided our homes, they tried to frame us three different times on charges. The fortunate part was that I found data that showed evidence of malicious prosecution, so they backed off all of that. If they hadn’t, they would have been exposed in court.
Toobin's idiocy reminds me of Anatole France's famous observation: "In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets, and steal loaves of bread." If you hope to expose governmental wrongdoing in modern America, the law, in its majestic equality, gives you the perfect right to reveal what you know -- but only
to the perpetrators themselves, and only
if you are willing to endure severe retaliation.
Much of what I wrote in earlier posts requires revision. PRISM does indeed fit into the overall NSA scheme to scoop up all electronic communications. William Binney explains:
I just saw the report, and I wasn’t aware of that program. But I figured it was going on, because they were just another source of input of information. The telecoms were giving NSA access to their communication lines. The Narus devices that the NSA put in different rooms around the AT&T fiber-optic network, or Verizon’s network, couldn’t collect everything. They could get most of it, but they couldn’t get it all. So in order to get all the data, they had to go to the service providers to fill in the blanks. That’s what the PRISM program is for—to fill in the blanks. It also gives the FBI basis for introducing evidence into court.
Let's pause here. What are these "Narus devices"? Narus is an Israeli-founded company which functioned as part of Israel's notorious Unit 8200
Verint and Narus created programs which offered the NSA backdoors to all the major U.S. telecommuications and technology companies including Facebook, Microsoft, Google. That’s how the companies could deny that they explicitly knew or approved of PRISM’s harvesting their data:
Both Verint and Narus were founded in Israel in the 1990s. Both provide monitoring and intercept capabilities to service providers and government organizations, promoting claims that their equipment can access and retain large amounts of information on a vast number of targets.
From Robert Poe of Wired:
Narus’ product, the Semantic Traffic Analyzer, is a software application that runs on standard IBM or Dell servers using the Linux operating system. It’s renowned within certain circles for its ability to inspect traffic in real time on high-bandwidth pipes, identifying packets of interest as they race by at up to 10 Gbps.
“*Anything that comes through (an internet protocol network), we can record,” Steve Bannerman, marketing vice president of Narus, a Mountain View, California company, said. “We can reconstruct all of their e-mails along with attachments, see what web pages they clicked on, we can reconstruct their (voice over internet protocol) calls.”
With a telecom wiretap the NSA only needs companies like Microsoft, Google, and Apple to passively participate while the agency to intercepts, stores, and analyzes their communication data. The indirect nature of the agreement would provide tech giants with plausible deniability.
And having a foreign contractor bug the telecom grid would mean that the NSA gained access to most of the domestic traffic flowing through the U.S. without technically doing it themselves.
So the NSA's mad plan to record everything everywhere gave Israel complete access to all American communications. If you complain about that situation, you're an anti-Semite. If you are an insider and you complain (as Toobin suggests) to the "proper authorities," they will fire you and frame you. If you are an insider and you tell the public what's really
going on, Diane Feinstein will call you a traitor -- and the Obama crew will do to you what they did to Bradley Manning. Or worse.
Get the picture?
The government and it's spokespersons -- such as former NSA head Michael Hayden
-- want us to believe that Uncle doesn't access the information it scoops up unless the target is a terrorist. The problems with this statement should be obvious:
1. How to prove it? How to double-check? Our democratic system is based on the widely-understood principle that power corrupts. No-one can be fully trusted. According to biographer Curt Gentry, J. Edgar Hoover always denied running a massive illegal wiretapping operation -- yet he did just that
. If Hoover could lie, Hayden can lie.
2. The FISA law of 2008 allows intelligence collection for any reason
. Nothing in the wording stipulates "terrorists only," although the targeted individuals are supposed to be foreign nationals. See for yourself.
(Scroll down to section 702.)
3. If the American government has no intent to use domestic data, then why is the NSA collecting and retaining it?
(File this last question under D for "Duh.")
4. We don't know if the Israelis are mirroring each day's electronic "take." (If so, I'd like to know where they're storing the stuff.) The strictures that bind us do not bind them.
5. Even if Hayden describes the situation accurately, he can only speak about the past and the present. The system allows for massive future
abuses, especially if the populace grows restless and rebellious. (The citizenry may one day have good reason to flirt with rebellion. We don't know what the future holds.)