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  1. Brace for controversy: Edward Snowden has written a memoir Permanent Record will go on sale in September. Enlarge / This is going to go down on your permanent record. McMillan Publishers Edward Snowden, the former CIA employee and National Security Agency contractor who spilled some of the deepest secrets of the US government's electronic surveillance operations, has written a memoir. Permanent Record, published by MacMillan Publishers' imprint Metropolitan Books, will go on sale on September 17, and it's now available for pre-orders—as Snowden himself announced via his Twitter account today. Snowden's memoir will be released simultaneously in more than 20 countries, and pre-orders are available in the US, the United Kingdom, and Germany. According to a Metropolitan spokesperson, "In Permanent Record, [Snowden] tells his story for the very first time, bringing the reader along as he helps to create [NSA's] system of mass surveillance, and then experiences the crisis of conscience that led him to try to bring it down." In a statement on the book, MacMillan CEO John Sargent said: Edward Snowden decided at the age of 29 to give up his entire future for the good of his country. He displayed enormous courage in doing so, and like him or not, his is an incredible American story. There is no doubt that the world is a better and more private place for his actions. Macmillan is enormously proud to publish Permanent Record. Snowden still faces prosecution in the United States. And despite Sargent's assertions, his legacy is up for debate. Many of the surveillance capabilities Snowden sought to expose as illegal have now been codified in US law. While phone call metadata is no longer directly collected by the NSA, the agency still has access to the data through phone companies, and broad Internet surveillance continues. The NSA has dropped "about" surveillance gathering under Section 702 of the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act—this initiative was collecting Internet traffic where specified identifiers are part of the content of messages, rather than related to the sender or recipient. But that ending appears to be largely due to technical issues, not because of any change in law. As an NSA spokesperson said in April 2017: After considerable evaluation of the program and available technology, NSA has decided that its Section 702 foreign intelligence surveillance activities will no longer include any upstream Internet communications that are solely "about" a foreign intelligence target... These changes are designed to retain the upstream collection that provides the greatest value to national security while reducing the likelihood that NSA will acquire communications of US persons or others who are not in direct contact with one of the Agency's foreign intelligence targets. While Snowden has been praised and supported by civil liberties advocates over the last five years, he has been excoriated by others who believe he did more damage to the US' national security than good for US citizens' privacy. Last year, when interviewed about Snowden's legacy, whistleblower advocate and national security lawyer Mark Zaid told Ars, "If he had only released the Verizon FISA order [regarding phone metadata collection]," he would have achieved just as much in affecting US surveillance policy. "He'd [still] be here in the US, and probably be in the US working for Google or Amazon, and writing a book," Zaid added. Well, now Snowden has written that book. He remains in exile in Moscow. Source: Brace for controversy: Edward Snowden has written a memoir (Ars Technica)
  2. Woman who helped hide Edward Snowden faces uncertain future and says she has no regrets. LEIPZIG, GERMANY – Refugee families located in Hong Kong that helped shelter Edward Snowden in 2013 are under crushing pressure to cooperate with local authorities or face deportation to their countries of origin, where they face an uncertain fate. However, despite years of what their lawyer calls intimidation and harassment by Hong Kong authorities, the refugees said they have no regrets in helping whistleblower Snowden in June 2013. “[Snowden] needed help and we helped him. And, yes, I would help him again,” said Vanessa Rodel, via a remote video link to a session here at 35c3. Rodel is one of two families Snowden stayed with in Hong Kong after leaving the United States. It was in Hong Kong where Snowden communicated with media outlets about the leaked secret documents that exposed the United State’s spying techniques. For years Hong Kong authorities appeared to care little about the families that helped Snowden, said Robert Tibbo, lawyer for Edward Snowden and the refugee families in Hong Kong. But soon after the fall 2016 release of Oliver Stone’s movie Snowden the Hong Kong authorities stepped up their inquiries into the Snowden refugee families. When the families declined to cooperate, Hong Kong authorities began harassing and intimidating his clients, Tibbo said during the session here Friday. “I don’t get any assistance from the Hong Kong government from 2016 on – when the government started questioning me about Edward Snowden,” Rodel said. “I told [authorities] I couldn’t answer any questions until I talked to my lawyer. After that, they stopped my assistance. It has become very hard for me to survive. It is not safe for me to live here in Hong Kong. I hope to move to Canada soon for my safety and freedom.” Two families (four adults and three stateless children) make up what is known as the “Snowden refugees”. For the past two years the families have been mostly stripped of their humanitarian support. Currently, Rodel is in the process of appealing against the Hong Kong government’s previously rejected asylum applications. Since 2016, Tibbo said things have become more difficult for him as well. Tibbo said that Hong Kong authorities were building an erroneous criminal case against him and at the same time withholding portions of fees owed to him by the courts dating back to 2012. He said he left the country in Nov. 2017 when he was told police visited his home looking for him. “They have made it harder for me to serve my clients, but not impossible,” he said. Meanwhile, asylum claims for the Snowden refugees have been filed through the Quebec Government. They are now before the Minister of Immigration, Tibbo said. Unfortunately, it is unclear when ruling by the Canadian government will come, Tibbo said. Those familiar with the matter suspect both the Hong Kong and Canadian government are being indirectly pressured by United States not to take immediate action in the matter of the Snowden refugees. “The Snowden refugees represent something every government is afraid of,” Tibbo said. “They have the moral strength and conscience to do the right thing despite being deprived of everything in Hong Kong. They don’t fear the government and are willing to protect whistleblowers. They represent a form of transparency and accountability.” Copious impassioned appeals to the Canadian government have been made, including one by Oliver Stone. In July he sent an open letter urging Canada to grant the Snowden refugee asylum. “Accepting these brave families will demonstrate to the world that Canada is a beacon of hope in these uncertain times,” Stone wrote. Meanwhile, Tibbo said the Canadian government is procrastinating, citing a need to screen the cases first. That could take up to 52 weeks, he said. If asylum is denied, Rodel said, she fears she will be returned to the Philippians. “There is no life waiting for me and my daughter [in the Philippians]. If I’m sent back to the Philippians me and my daughter will be killed.” During a question-and-answer round with Rodel an attendee asked, if you could go back in time would you help Snowden again? “I always say yes. I wanted to help him. For me it was the right thing to do. I didn’t do anything wrong. I just helped him. Yes, I would help him again.” source
  3. Internet paranoiacs drawn to bitcoin have long indulged fantasies of American spies subverting the booming, controversial digital currency. Increasingly popular among get-rich-quick speculators, bitcoin started out as a high-minded project to make financial transactions public and mathematically verifiable — while also offering discretion. Governments, with a vested interest in controlling how money moves, would, some of bitcoin’s fierce advocates believed, naturally try and thwart the coming techno-libertarian financial order. It turns out the conspiracy theorists were onto something. Classified documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden show that the National Security Agency indeed worked urgently to target bitcoin users around the world — and wielded at least one mysterious source of information to “help track down senders and receivers of Bitcoins,” according to a top-secret passage in an internal NSA report dating to March 2013. The data source appears to have leveraged the NSA’s ability to harvest and analyze raw, global internet traffic while also exploiting an unnamed software program that purported to offer anonymity to users, according to other documents. Although the agency was interested in surveilling some competing cryptocurrencies, “Bitcoin is #1 priority,” a March 15, 2013 internal NSA report stated. The documents indicate that “tracking down” bitcoin users went well beyond closely examining bitcoin’s public transaction ledger, known as the Blockchain, where users are typically referred to through anonymous identifiers; the tracking may also have involved gathering intimate details of these users’ computers. The NSA collected some bitcoin users’ password information, internet activity, and a type of unique device identification number known as a MAC address, a March 29, 2013 NSA memo suggested. In the same document, analysts also discussed tracking internet users’ internet addresses, network ports, and timestamps to identify “BITCOIN Targets.” The agency appears to have wanted even more data: The March 29 memo raised the question of whether the data source validated its users, and suggested that the agency retained bitcoin information in a file named “Provider user full.csv.” It also suggested powerful search capabilities against bitcoin targets, hinting that the NSA may have been using its XKeyScore searching system, where the bitcoin information and wide range of other NSA data was cataloged, to enhance its information on bitcoin users. An NSA reference document indicated that the data source provided “user data such as billing information and Internet Protocol addresses.” With this sort of information in hand, putting a name to a given bitcoin user would be easy. Error retrieving document: Error: Request has been terminated Possible causes: the network is offline, Origin is not allowed by Access-Control-Allow-Origin, the page is being unloaded, etc. The NSA’s budding bitcoin spy operation looks to have been enabled by its unparalleled ability to siphon traffic from the physical cable connections that form the internet and ferry its traffic around the planet. As of 2013, the NSA’s bitcoin tracking was achieved through program code-named OAKSTAR, a collection of covert corporate partnerships enabling the agency to monitor communications, including by harvesting internet data as it traveled along fiber optic cables that undergird the internet. Specifically, the NSA targeted bitcoin through MONKEYROCKET, a sub-program of OAKSTAR, which tapped network equipment to gather data from the Middle East, Europe, South America, and Asia, according to classified descriptions. As of spring 2013, MONKEYROCKET was “the sole source of SIGDEV for the BITCOIN Targets,” the March 29, 2013 NSA report stated, using the term for signals intelligence development, “SIGDEV,” to indicate the agency had no other way to surveil bitcoin users. The data obtained through MONKEYROCKET is described in the documents as “full take” surveillance, meaning the entirety of data passing through a network was examined and at least some entire data sessions were stored for later analysis. At the same time, MONKEYROCKET is also described in the documents as a “non-Western Internet anonymization service” with a “significant user base” in Iran and China, with the program brought online in summer 2012. It is unclear what exactly this product was, but it would appear that it was promoted on the internet under false pretenses: The NSA notes that part of its “long-term strategy” for MONKEYROCKET was to “attract targets engaged in terrorism, [including] Al Qaida” toward using this “browsing product,” which “the NSA can then exploit.” The scope of the targeting would then expand beyond terrorists. Whatever this piece of software was, it functioned a privacy bait and switch, tricking bitcoin users into using a tool they thought would provide anonymity online but was actually funneling data directly to the NSA. The hypothesis that the NSA would “launch an entire operation overseas under false pretenses” just to track targets is “pernicious,” said Matthew Green, assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University Information Security Institute. Such a practice could spread distrust of privacy software in general, particularly in areas like Iran where such tools are desperately needed by dissidents. This “feeds a narrative that the U.S. is untrustworthy,” said Green. “That worries me.” The NSA declined to comment for this article. The Bitcoin Foundation, a nonprofit advocacy organization, could not immediately comment. Although it offers many practical benefits and advantages over traditional currency, a crucial part of bitcoin’s promise is its decentralization. There is no Bank of Bitcoin, no single entity that keeps track of the currency or its spenders. Bitcoin is often misunderstood as being completely anonymous; in fact, each transaction is tied to publicly accessible ID codes included in the Blockchain, and bitcoin “exchange” companies typically require banking or credit card information to convert Bitcoin to dollars or euros. But bitcoin does offer far greater privacy than traditional payment methods, which require personal information up to and including a Social Security number, or must be linked to a payment method that does require such information. Furthermore, it is possible to conduct private bitcoin transactions that do not require exchange brokers or personal information. As explained in the 2009 white paper launching bitcoin, “the public can see that someone is sending an amount to someone else, but without information linking the transaction to anyone.” For bitcoin adherents around the world, this ability to transact secretly is part of what makes the currency so special, and such a threat to the global financial status quo. But the relative privacy of bitcoin transactions has naturally frustrated governments around the world and law enforcement in particular — it’s hard to “follow the money” to criminals when the money is designed to be more difficult to follow. In a November 2013 letter to Congress, one Homeland Security official wrote that “with the advent of virtual currencies and the ease with which financial transactions can be exploited by criminal organizations, DHS has recognized the need for an aggressive posture toward this evolving trend.” Green told The Intercept he believes the “browsing product” component of MONKEYROCKET sounds a lot like a virtual private network, or VPN. VPNs encrypt and reroute your internet traffic to mask what you’re doing on the internet. But there’s a catch: You have to trust the company that provides you a VPN, because they provide both software and an ongoing networking service that potentially allows them to see where you’re going online and even intercept some of your traffic. An unscrupulous VPN would have complete access to everything you do online. Emin Gun Sirer, associate professor and co-director of the Initiative for Cryptocurrencies and Contracts at Cornell University, told The Intercept that financial privacy “is something that matters incredibly” to the bitcoin community, and expects that “people who are privacy conscious will switch to privacy-oriented coins” after learning of the NSA’s work here. Despite bitcoin’s reputation for privacy, Sirer added, “when the adversary model involves the NSA, the pseudonymity disappears. … You should really lower your expectations of privacy on this network.” Green, who co-founded and currently advises a privacy-focused bitcoin competitor named Zcash, echoed those sentiments, saying that the NSA’s techniques make privacy features in any digital currencies like Ethereum or Ripple “totally worthless” for those targeted. The NSA’s interest in cryptocurrency is “bad news for privacy, because it means that in addition to the really hard problem of making the actual transactions private … you also have to make sure all the network connections [are secure],” Green added. Green said he is “pretty skeptical” that using Tor, the popular anonymizing browser, could thwart the NSA in the long term. In other words, even if you trust bitcoin’s underlying tech (or that of another coin), you’ll still need to be able to trust your connection to the internet — and if you’re being targeted by the NSA, that’s going to be a problem. NSA documents note that although MONKEYROCKET works by tapping an unspecified “foreign” fiber cable site, and that data is then forwarded to the agency’s European Technical Center in Wiesbaden, Germany, meetings with the corporate partner that made MONKEYROCKET possible sometimes took place in Virginia. Northern Virginia has for decades been a boomtown for both the expansive national security state and American internet behemoths — telecoms, internet companies, and spy agencies call the area’s suburbs and office parks home. Liberty Reserve website name seizure notice. Bitcoin may have been the NSA’s top cryptocurrency target, but it wasn’t the only one. The March 15, 2013 NSA report detailed progress on MONKEYROCKET’s bitcoin surveillance and noted that American spies were also working to crack Liberty Reserve, a far seedier predecessor. Unlike bitcoin, for which facilitating drug deals and money laundering was incidental to bigger goals, Liberty Reserve was more or less designed with criminality in mind. Despite being headquartered in Costa Rica, the site was charged with running a $6 billion “laundering scheme” and triple-teamed by the U.S. Department of Justice, Homeland Security, and the IRS, resulting in a 20-year conviction for its Ukrainian founder. As of March 2013 — just two months before the Liberty Reserve takedown and indictment — the NSA considered the currency exchange its No. 2 target, second only to bitcoin. The indictment and prosecution of Liberty Reserve and its staff made no mention of help from the NSA. Just five months after Liberty Reserve was shuttered, the feds turned their attention to Ross Ulbricht, who would go on to be convicted as the mastermind behind notorious darkweb narcotics market Silk Road, where transactions were conducted in bitcoin, with a cut going to the site’s owner. Ulbricht reportedly held bitcoins worth $28.5 million at the time of his arrest. Part of his unsuccessful defense was the insistence that the FBI’s story of how it found him did not add up, and that the government may have discovered and penetrated the Silk Road’s servers with the help of the NSA — possibly illegally. The prosecution dismissed this theory in no uncertain terms: Though the documents leaked by Snowden do not address whether the NSA aided the FBI’s Silk Road investigation, they show the agency working to unmask bitcoin users about six months before Ulbricht was arrested, and that it had worked to monitor Liberty Reserve around the same time. The source of the bitcoin and Liberty Reserve monitoring, MONKEYROCKET, is governed by an overseas surveillance authority known as Executive Order 12333, the language of which is believed to give U.S. law enforcement agencies wide latitude to use the intelligence when investigating U.S. citizens. Civil libertarians and security researchers have long been concerned that otherwise inadmissible intelligence from the agency is used to build cases against Americans though a process known as “parallel construction”: building a criminal case using admissible evidence obtained by first consulting other evidence, which is kept secret, out of courtrooms and the public eye. An earlier investigation by The Intercept, drawing on court records and documents from Snowden, found evidence the NSA’s most controversial forms of surveillance, which involve warrantless bulk monitoring of emails and fiber optic cables, may have been used in court via parallel construction. Patrick Toomey, an attorney with the ACLU’s National Security Project, said the NSA bitcoin documents, although circumstantial, underscore a serious and ongoing question in American law enforcement: Although an NSA document about MONKEYROCKET stated the program’s “initial” concern was counterterrorism, it also said that “other targeted users will include those sought by NSA offices such as Int’l Crime & Narcotics, Follow-The-Money and Iran.” A March 8, 2013 NSA memo said agency staff were “hoping to use [MONKEYROCKET] for their mission of looking at organized crime and cyber targets that utilize online e-currency services to move and launder money.” There’s no elaboration on who is considered a “cyber target.” Documents published with this story: Pages From OAKSTAR Weekly 2013-03-08 Pages From OAKSTAR Weekly 2013-03-15 Pages From OAKSTAR Weekly 2013-03-22 Pages From OAKSTAR Weekly 2013-03-29 Pages From OAKSTAR Weekly 2013-04-05 Pages From SECOND LOOK SSO20Mar2012 wStormbrewMap Entry From SSO News Entries From Sample SSO Accesses Entry From SSODictionary v1.0 Pages From OAKSTARSiteBook v1.0 Source
  4. Snowden Leaks Reveal NSA Snooped On In-Flight Mobile Calls NSA, GCHQ intercepted signals as they were sent from satellites to ground stations. GCHQ and the NSA have spied on air passengers using in-flight GSM mobile services for years, newly-published documents originally obtained by Edward Snowden reveal. Technology from UK company AeroMobile and SitaOnAir is used by dozens of airlines to provide in-flight connectivity, including by British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Lufthansa, and many Arab and Asian companies. Passengers connect to on-board GSM servers, which then communicate with satellites operated by British firm Inmarsat. "The use of GSM in-flight analysis can help identify the travel of a target—not to mention the other mobile devices (and potentially individuals) onboard the same plane with them," says a 2010 NSA newsletter. A presentation, made available by the Intercept, contains details of GCHQ's so-called "Thieving Magpie" programme. GCHQ and the NSA intercepted the signals as they were sent from the satellites to the ground stations that hooked into the terrestrial GSM network. Initially, coverage was restricted to flights in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, but the surveillance programme was expected to go global at the time the presentation was made. GCHQ's Thieving Magpie presentation explains how in-flight mobile works. Ars has asked these three companies to comment on the extent to which they were aware of the spying, and whether they are able to improve security for their users to mitigate its effects, but was yet to receive replies from Inmarsat or AeroMobile at time of publication. A SitaOnAir spokesperson told Ars in an e-mail: The Thieving Magpie presentation explains that it is not necessary for calls to be made, or data to be sent, for surveillance to take place. If the phone is switched on, and registers with the in-flight GSM service, it can be tracked provided the plane is flying high enough that ground stations are out of reach. The data, we're told, was collected in "near real time," thus enabling "surveillance or arrest teams to be put in place in advance" to meet the plane when it lands. Using this system, aircraft can be tracked every two minutes while in flight. If data is sent via the GSM network, GCHQ's presentation says that e-mail addresses, Facebook IDs, and Skype addresses can all be gathered. Online services observed by GCHQ using its airborne surveillance include Twitter, Google Maps, VoIP, and BitTorrent. Meanwhile, Le Monde reported that "GCHQ could even, remotely, interfere with the working of the phone; as a result the user was forced to redial using his or her access codes." No source is given for that information, which presumably is found in other Snowden documents, not yet published. As the French newspaper also points out, judging by the information provided by Snowden, the NSA seemed to have something of a fixation with Air France flights. Apparently that was because "the CIA considered that Air France and Air Mexico flights were potential targets for terrorists." GCHQ shared that focus: the Thieving Magpie presentation uses aircraft bearing Air France livery to illustrate how in-flight GSM services work. Ars asked the UK's spies to comment on the latest revelations, and received the usual boilerplate response from a GCHQ spokesperson: It is longstanding policy that we do not comment on intelligence matters. So that's OK, then. Source
  5. January 31, 2014 05:41 Edited time: January 31, 2014 06:21 Documents released by US whistleblower Edward Snowden show the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) used airport Wi-Fi to track passengers from around the world. Travelers passing through a major Canadian airport were potentially caught up in a vast electronic surveillance net, which allowed the nation’s electronic spy agency to track the wireless devices of thousands of airline passengers - even for days after they had departed the terminal, a document obtained by CBC News revealed. The document shows the spy agency was then able to track travelers for a week or more as the unwitting passengers, together with their wireless devices, visited other Wi-Fi "hot spots" in locations across Canada - and even across the border at American airports. The CBS report said any place that offered Wi-Fi internet access, including "airports, hotels, coffee shops and restaurants, libraries, ground transportation hubs" was vulnerable to the surveillance operation. After reviewing details of the leaked information, one of Canada's leading authorities on internet security says the secret operation was almost certainly illegal. "I can't see any circumstance in which this would not be unlawful, under current Canadian law, under our Charter, under CSEC's mandates," Ronald Deibert told CBC News: The CSES is specifically tasked with gathering foreign intelligence by intercepting overseas phone and internet traffic, and is forbidden by law from collecting information on Canadians - or foreigners in Canada - without a court warrant. As CSEC Chief John Forster recently stated: "I can tell you that we do not target Canadians at home or abroad in our foreign intelligence activities, nor do we target anyone in Canada. "In fact, it's prohibited by law. Protecting the privacy of Canadians is our most important principle." However analysts who have had access to the document say that airline passengers in a Canadian airport were clearly on the territory of Canada. CSEC spokesperson Lauri Sullivan told the Star, an online Canadian news outlet, that the “classified document in question is a technical presentation between specialists exploring mathematical models built on everyday scenarios to identify and locate foreign terrorist threats.” Disclosure of the program puts those techniques at risk, she said. Teaming up with NSA Early assessment of the leaked information indicates the passenger tracking operation was a trial run of a powerful new software program CSEC was developing with help from its American partner, the National Security Agency. The technology was to be shared with the so-called “Five Eyes” surveillance bloc composed of Canada, the United States, Britain, New Zealand and Australia. In the document, CSEC described the new spy technology as "game-changing," saying it could be used for powerful surveillance on "any target that makes occasional forays into other cities/regions." Sources told CBC News the “technologies tested on Canadians in 2012 have since become fully operational.” CSEC claims "no Canadian or foreign travellers' movements were 'tracked,'" although CBC News questioned in its report why the comment "put the word "tracked" in quotation marks." http://rt.com/news/canada-snowden-spying-nsa-airport-442 Not only US, UK, Canada but also most likely all other Anglo-American (AU, Ireland, NZ) Spy agencies involved in this shame, too :) Time will show.
  6. By Matthew Cole First published February 8th 2014, 1:14 am ritish spies have developed “dirty tricks” for use against nations, hackers, terror groups, suspected criminals and arms dealers that include releasing computer viruses, spying on journalists and diplomats, jamming phones and computers, and using sex to lure targets into “honey traps.” Documents taken from the National Security Agency by Edward Snowden and exclusively obtained by NBC News describe techniques developed by a secret British spy unit called the Joint Threat Research and Intelligence Group (JTRIG) as part of a growing mission to go on offense and attack adversaries ranging from Iran to the hacktivists of Anonymous. According to the documents, which come from presentations prepped in 2010 and 2012 for NSA cyber spy conferences, the agency’s goal was to “destroy, deny, degrade [and] disrupt” enemies by “discrediting” them, planting misinformation and shutting down their communications. Both PowerPoint presentations describe “Effects” campaigns that are broadly divided into two categories: cyber attacks and propaganda operations. The propaganda campaigns use deception, mass messaging and “pushing stories” via Twitter, Flickr, Facebook and YouTube. JTRIG also uses “false flag” operations, in which British agents carry out online actions that are designed to look like they were performed by one of Britain’s adversaries. In connection with this report, NBC is publishing documents that Edward Snowden took from the NSA before fleeing the U.S., which can be viewed by clicking here and here. The documents are being published with minimal redactions. The spy unit’s cyber attack methods include the same “denial of service” or DDOS tactic used by computer hackers to shut down government and corporate websites. Other documents taken from the NSA by Snowden and previously published by NBC News show that JTRIG, which is part of the NSA’s British counterpart, the cyber spy agency known as GCHQ, used a DDOS attack to shut down Internet chat rooms used by members of the hacktivist group known as Anonymous. Read the first NBC report on JTRIG and the Snowden documents. Read an earlier exclusive NBC report on the Snowden documents. Civil libertarians said that in using a DDOS attack against hackers the British government also infringed free speech by individuals not involved in any illegal hacking, and may have blocked other websites with no connection to Anonymous. While GCHQ defends the legality of its actions, critics question whether the agency is too aggressive and its mission too broad. Eric King, a lawyer who teaches IT law at the London School of Economics and is head of research at Privacy International, a British civil liberties advocacy group, said it was “remarkable” that the British government thought it had the right to hack computers, since none of the U.K.’s intelligence agencies has a “clear lawful authority” to launch their own attacks. “GCHQ has no clear authority to send a virus or conduct cyber attacks,” said King. “Hacking is one of the most invasive methods of surveillance.” King said British cyber spies had gone on offense with “no legal safeguards” and without any public debate, even though the British government has criticized other nations, like Russia, for allegedly engaging in cyber warfare. But intelligence officials defended the British government’s actions as appropriate responses to illegal acts. One intelligence official also said that the newest set of Snowden documents published by NBC News that describe “Effects” campaigns show that British cyber spies were “slightly ahead” of U.S. spies in going on offense against adversaries, whether those adversaries are hackers or nation states. The documents also show that a one-time signals surveillance agency, GCHQ, is now conducting the kinds of active espionage operations that were once exclusively the realm of the better-known British spy agencies MI5 and MI6. Intelligence officials defended the British government’s actions as appropriate responses to illegal acts. According to notes on the 2012 documents, a computer virus called Ambassadors Reception was “used in a variety of different areas” and was “very effective.” When sent to adversaries, says the presentation, the virus will “encrypt itself, delete all emails, encrypt all files, make [the] screen shake” and block the computer user from logging on. But the British cyber spies’ operations do not always remain entirely online. Spies have long used sexual “honey traps” to snare, blackmail and influence targets. Most often, a male target is led to believe he has an opportunity for a romantic relationship or a sexual liaison with a woman, only to find that the woman is actually an intelligence operative. The Israeli government, for example, used a “honey trap” to lure nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu from London to Rome. He expected an assignation with a woman, but instead was kidnapped by Israel agents and taken back to Israel to stand trial for leaking nuclear secrets to the media. The version of a “honey trap” described by British cyber spies in the 2012 PowerPoint presentation sounds like a version of Internet dating, but includes physical encounters. The version of a “honey trap” described by British cyber spies in the 2012 PowerPoint presentation sounds like a version of Internet dating, but includes physical encounters. The target is lured “to go somewhere on the Internet, or a physical location” to be met by “a friendly face.” The goal, according to the presentation, is to discredit the target. A “honey trap,” says the presentation, is “very successful when it works.” But the documents do not give a specific example of when the British government might have employed a honey trap. An operation described in the 2010 presentation also involves in-person surveillance. “Royal Concierge” exploits hotel reservations to track the whereabouts of foreign diplomats and send out “daily alerts to analysts working on governmental hard targets.” The British government uses the program to try to steer its quarry to “SIGINT friendly” hotels, according to the presentation, where the targets can be monitored electronically – or in person by British operatives. A slide from the documents taken from the NSA by Edward Snowden and obtained by NBC News. The existence of the Royal Concierge program was first reported by the German magazine Der Spiegel in 2013, which said that Snowden documents showed that British spies had monitored bookings of at least 350 upscale hotels around the world for more than three years “to target, search and analyze reservations to detect diplomats and government officials.” According to the documents obtained by NBC News, the intelligence agency uses the information to spy on human targets through “close access technical operations,” which can include listening in on telephone calls and tapping hotel computers as well as sending intelligence officers to observe the targets in person at the hotels. The documents ask, “Can we influence hotel choice? Can we cancel their visits?” The 2010 presentation also describes another potential operation that would utilize a technique called “credential harvesting” to select journalists who could be used to spread information. According to intelligence sources, spies considered using electronic snooping to identify non-British journalists who would then be manipulated to feed information to the target of a covert campaign. Apparently, the journalist’s job would provide access to the targeted individual, perhaps for an interview. The documents do not specify whether the journalists would be aware or unaware that they were being used to funnel information. The executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, Joel Simon, said that the revelation about “credential harvesting” should serve as a “wake up call” to journalists that intelligence agencies can monitor their communications. Simon also said that governments put all journalists at risk when they use even one for an intelligence operation. “All journalists generally are then vulnerable to the charge that they work at the behest of an intelligence agency,” said Simon. The journalist operation was never put into action, according to sources, but other techniques described in the documents, like the Ambassadors Reception computer virus and the jamming of phones and computers, have definitely been used to attack adversaries. In Afghanistan, according to the 2012 presentation, the British used a blizzard of text messages, phone calls and faxes to “significantly disrupt” Taliban communications, with texts and calls programmed to arrive every minute. In a set of operations that intelligence sources say were designed to stop weapons transactions and nuclear proliferation, JTRIG used negative information to attack private companies, sour business relationships and ruin deals. The British cyber spies also used blog posts and information spread via blogs in an operation against Iran. Other effective methods of cyber attack listed in the documents include changing photos on social media sites and emailing and texting colleagues and neighbors unsavory information. The documents do not give examples of when these techniques were used, but intelligence sources say that some of the methods described have been used by British intelligence to help British police agencies catch suspected criminals. The documents from 2010 note that “Effects” operations, GCHQ’s offensive push against Britain’s enemies, had become a “major part” of the spy agency’s business. The presentation from 2012 illustrates that two years later GCHQ had continued to shift its workload from defending U.K. cyber networks to going on offense -- targeting specific people or governments. The British government’s intelligence apparatus, which also includes MI5 and MI6, had a role in the 2010 Stuxnet computer virus attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, according to sources at two intelligence agencies. GCHQ would not comment on the newly published documents or on JTRIG’s “Effects” operations. It would neither confirm nor deny any element of this report, which is the agency’s standard policy. In a statement, a GCHQ spokesperson emphasized that the agency operated within the law. “All of GCHQ's work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework,” said the statement, “which ensure that our activities are authorized, necessary and proportionate, and that there is rigorous oversight, including from the Secretary of State, the Interception and Intelligence Services Commissioners and the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee. All of our operational processes rigorously support this position.” Journalist Glenn Greenwald was formerly a columnist at Salon and the Guardian. In late 2012 he was contacted by NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who later provided him with thousands of sensitive documents, and he was the first to report on Snowden’s documents in June 2013 while on the staff of the Guardian. Greenwald has since reported on the documents with multiple media outlets around the world, and has won several journalism awards for his NSA reporting both in the U.S. and abroad. He is now helping launch, and will write for, a new, non-profit media outlet known as First Look Media that will “encourage, support and empower … independent, adversarial journalists.” First published February 8th 2014, 1:14 am Matthew Cole . . Matthew Cole is an investigative producer for NBC News focusing on national security matters. He joined NBC News in 2013 after three years as an investigative producer for ABC News. He has reported from... Expand Bio http://www.nbcnews.com/news/investigations/snowden-docs-british-spies-used-sex-dirty-tricks-n23091
  7. February 04, 2014 22:42 The US National Security Agency likely collects intelligence on congressional lawmakers and members of their staff, a Justice Department official admitted at a committee hearing on Tuesday. Deputy Attorney General James Cole of the US Department of Justice testified during a House Judiciary Committee hearing which was examining proposals to reform the NSA surveillance policies that have been revealed in an ongoing series of disclosures since June. Among the most damning revelations leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden was the realization that the NSA indiscriminately forces companies to provide phone records belonging to millions of Americans. Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA.) pressed Cole Tuesday on whether the NSA dragnet includes the number codes that pertain to congressional offices. “Mr. Cole, do you collect 202-225 and four digits afterwards?” Issa asked, as quoted by the National Journal. “We probably do, Mr. Congressman,” Cole replied. “But we’re not allowed to look at any of those, however, unless we have reasonable, articulable suspicion that those numbers are related to a known terrorist threat.” This admission is not the first time members of Congress were given a clue that their activities might be being monitored. Earlier this month, Senator Bernie Sanders - an Independent who represents Vermont - sent a letter to the intelligence agency asking whether democratically elected legislators are being spied upon. Sanders included in his definition of spying “gathering metadata on calls made from official or person phones, content from websites visited or emails sent, or collecting any other data from a third party not made available to the general public in the regular course of business.” The agency replied to Sanders the next day with a somewhat cryptic response. “NSA’s authorities to collect signals intelligence data include procedures that protect the privacy of US persons. Such privacy protections are built into and cut across the entire process. Members of Congress have the same privacy protections as all US persons,” the NSA stated. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) used the same hearing to suggest that Glenn Greenwald - one of the few journalists who have published details on the Snowden leak - should be prosecuted. Rogers broached the issue multiple times, claiming that Greenwald is selling classified US intelligence secrets to news organizations. “For personal gain, he’s now selling his access to information, that’s how they’re terming it…A thief selling stolen material is a thief,” Rogers said after an exchange with FBI director James Comey. Greenwald has publicly asserted that he is in possession of a trove of documents leaked by Snowden, with stories based on those documents consistently appearing in international publications over the past six months. “If I’m a newspaper reporter for fill-in-the-blank and I sell stolen material is that legal because I’m a newspaper reporter?” Rogers asked. “If you’re a newspaper reporter and you’re hawking stolen jewelry, it’s still a crime,” Comey said reluctantly. He added that the issue of a journalist selling access to information was “a harder question” because of “First Amendment implications.” The hearing comes just one day after a group of Silicon Valley heavyweights revealed the scope of national security requests they received from the government. Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Tumblr have provided figures from 2012 and 2013 showing that tens of thousands of customer accounts were targeted over a six-month period. http://rt.com/usa/nsa-probably-congress-greenwald-arrest-651
  8. By Jay Syrmopoulos 2 days ago This past Sunday evening former NSA contractor Edward Snowden sat down for an interview with German television network ARD. The interview has been intentionally blocked from the US public, with virtually no major broadcast news outlets covering this story. In addition, the video has been taken down almost immediately every time its posted on YouTube. In contrast, this was treated as a major political event in both print and broadcast media, in Germany, and across much of the world. In the interview, Mr. Snowden lays out a succinct case as to how these domestic surveillance programs undermines and erodes human rights and democratic freedom. He states that his breaking point was seeing Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, directly lie under oath to Congress denying the existence of a domestic spying programs while under questioning in March of last year. Mr. Snowden goes on to state that, The public had a right to know about these programs. The public had a right to know that which the government is doing in its name, and that which the government is doing against the public. It seems clear that the virtual blackout of this insightful interview is yet another deliberate attempt to obfuscate the truth from the view of the American public. The media has continually attempted to shill the official government lies about mass domestic surveillance programs, justifying them as necessary to fight the War on Terror, while attempting to painting Mr. Snowden as a traitor. In regards to accusations that he is a traitor or a foreign agent, he states, If I am traitor, who did I betray? I gave all my information to the American public, to American journalists who are reporting on American issues. If they see that as treason, I think people really need to consider who they think theyre working for. The public is supposed to be their boss, not their enemy. Beyond that as far as my personal safety, Ill never be fully safe until these systems have changed. The attempt to bury this interview by the government/corporate symbiosis has extremely dark implications. Additionally, the fact that government officials have openly talked about assassinating Mr. Snowden cannot be taken lightly, and Mr. Snowden obviously takes these threats to his life very seriously. Sadly, the reality of the US government assassinating an American citizen is not beyond the realm of possibility in the age we live in. http://benswann.com/media-blacks-out-new-snowden-interview-the-government-doesnt-want-you-to-see/#ixzz2s0BPBRUm Edit: The video on this source is, unlike youtube videos, not uploadable however same original video can be watched here with English transcripts
  9. January 29, 2014 11:31 Edward Snowden has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by two Norwegian lawmakers, who say the NSA whistleblower contributed to transparency and global stability by revealing the depth and sophistication of the global surveillance apparatus. Snorre Valen and Baard Vegar Solhjell, parliamentarians from Norways Socialist Left Party, announced the nomination on Facebook on Wednesday. Noting that peace is more than simply the absence of war, the MPs said that Snowden had contributed to global security by revealing the nature and technological prowess of modern surveillance. The level of sophistication and depth of surveillance that citizens all over the world are subject to, has stunned us, and stirred debate all over the world. By doing this, he has contributed critical knowledge about how modern surveillance and intelligence directed towards states and citizens is carried out, a statement by the Norwegian MPs said. The legislators said Snowdens leaks may have damaged the security interests of several nations in the short-term, noting they do not necessarily support or condone all of the former NSA contractors disclosures. We are, however, convinced that the public debate and changes in policy that have followed in the wake of Snowden's whistle-blowing has contributed to a more peaceful, stable and peaceful world order. Each year the Norwegian Nobel Committee invites 'qualified people' from national assemblies and governments, courts, universities and former laureates to submit nominations. The deadline to nominate candidates for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize is Saturday. The winner is announced on the second Friday of October each year. In July, a Swedish sociology professor also nominated NSA leaker Snowden for the Nobel Peace Prize for his heroic effort at great personal cost. Professor Stefan Svallfors said giving Snowden the Nobel nod could save the prize from the disrepute incurred by the hasty and ill-conceived decision to give the 2009 award to Barack Obama. In 2013, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Hague-based Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons. OPCW inspectors entered Syria on October 1 to help implement a last minute plan hammered out by the United States and Russia which saw Syrian President Bashar Assad agree to destroy his chemical weapons stockpiles in order to avert US-led military strikes in the country. The Nobel Committee received far more criticism the previous year by opting to grant the European Union the peace prize "for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe." http://rt.com/news/snowden-nobel-peace-prize-norway-353
  10. Luke Harding Saturday 1 February 2014 He was politically conservative, a gun owner, a geek – and the man behind the biggest intelligence leak in history. In this exclusive extract from his new book, Luke Harding looks at Edward Snowden's journey from patriot to America's most wanted In late December 2001, someone calling themselves TheTrueHOOHA had a question. He was an 18-year-old American male with impressive IT skills and a sharp intelligence. His real identity was unknown. Everyone who posted on Ars Technica, a popular technology website, did so anonymously. TheTrueHOOHA wanted to set up his own web server. It was a Saturday morning, a little after 11am. He posted: "It's my first time. Be gentle. Here's my dilemma: I want to be my own host. What do I need?" Soon, regular users were piling in with helpful suggestions. TheTrueHOOHA replied: "Ah, the vast treasury of geek knowledge that is Ars." He would become a prolific contributor; over the next eight years, he authored nearly 800 comments. He described himself variously as "unemployed", a failed soldier, a "systems editor", and someone who had US State Department security clearance. His home was on the east coast of America in the state of Maryland, near Washington DC. But by his mid-20s he was already an international man of mystery. He popped up in Europe – in Geneva, London, Ireland, Italy and Bosnia. He travelled to India. Despite having no degree, he knew an astonishing amount about computers. His politics appeared staunchly Republican. He believed strongly in personal liberty, defending, for example, Australians who farmed cannabis plants. At times he could be rather obnoxious. He called one fellow-Arsian, for example, a "cock"; others who disagreed with his sink-or-swim views on social security were "fucking retards". His chat logs cover a colourful array of themes: gaming, girls, sex, Japan, the stock market, his disastrous stint in the US army, his negative impressions of multiracial Britain (he was shocked by the number of "Muslims" in east London and wrote, "I thought I had gotten off of the plane in the wrong country… it was terrifying"), the joys of gun ownership ("I have a Walther P22. It's my only gun but I love it to death," he wrote in 2006). In their own way, the logs form a Bildungsroman. Then, in 2009, the entries fizzle away. In February 2010, TheTrueHOOHA mentions a thing that troubles him: pervasive government surveillance. "Society really seems to have developed an unquestioning obedience towards spooky types… Did we get to where we are today via a slippery slope that was entirely within our control to stop? Or was it a relatively instantaneous sea change that sneaked in undetected because of pervasive government secrecy?" TheTrueHOOHA's last post is on 21 May 2012. After that, he disappears, a lost electronic signature amid the vastness of cyberspace. He was, we now know, Edward Snowden. Edward Joseph Snowden was born on 21 June 1983. His father Lonnie and mother Elizabeth – known as Wendy – were high-school sweethearts who married at 18. Lon was an officer in the US coastguard; Snowden spent his early years in Elizabeth City, on North Carolina's coast. He has an older sister, Jessica. When Snowden was small – a boy with thick blond hair and a toothy smile – he and his family moved to Maryland, within DC's commuter belt. As his father recalls, Snowden's education went wrong when he got ill, probably with glandular fever. He missed "four or five months" of class in his mid-teens. Another factor hurt his studies: his parents were drifting apart. He failed to finish high school. In 1999, aged 16, Snowden enrolled at Anne Arundel community college, where he took computer courses. In the aftermath of his parents' divorce, Snowden lived with a roommate, and then with his mother, in Ellicott City, just west of Baltimore. He grew up under the giant shadow of one government agency in particular. From his mother's front door, it takes 15 minutes to drive there. Half-hidden by trees is a big, green, cube-shaped building. An entrance sign off the Baltimore-Washington Parkway reads: "NSA next right. Employees only." The Puzzle Palace employs 40,000 people. It is the largest hirer of mathematicians in the US. For Snowden, the likelihood of joining was slim. In his early 20s, his focus was on computers. To him, the internet was "the most important invention in all human history". He chatted online to people "with all sorts of views I would never have encountered on my own". He wasn't only a nerd: he kept fit, practised kung fu and, according to one entry on Ars, "dated Asian girls". The 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq prompted Snowden to think seriously about a career in the military. "I wanted to fight in the Iraq war because I felt like I had an obligation as a human being to help free people from oppression," he has said. The younger Snowden was into computers, kung fu – and even tried his hand at amateur modelling. Photograph: © TheTrueHOOHA The military offered what seemed, on the face of it, an attractive scheme, whereby recruits with no prior experience could try out to become elite soldiers. In May 2004, Snowden took the plunge and enlisted, reporting to Fort Benning in Georgia. It was a disaster. He was in good physical shape but an improbable soldier, shortsighted and with unusually narrow feet. During infantry training, he broke both his legs. After more than a month's uncertainty, the army finally discharged him. Back in Maryland, he got a job as a "security specialist" at the University for Maryland's Centre for Advanced Study of Language. It was 2005. (He appears to have begun as a security guard, but then moved back into IT.) Snowden was working at a covert NSA facility on the university's campus. Thanks perhaps to his brief military history, he had broken into the world of US intelligence, albeit on a low rung. The centre worked closely with the US intelligence community, providing advanced language training. In mid-2006, Snowden landed a job in IT at the CIA. He was rapidly learning that his exceptional IT skills opened all kinds of interesting government doors. "First off, the degree thing is crap, at least domestically. If you 'really' have 10 years of solid, provable IT experience… you CAN get a very well-paying IT job," he wrote online in July 2006. In 2007, the CIA sent Snowden to Geneva on his first foreign tour. Switzerland was an awakening and an adventure. He was 24. His job was to maintain security for the CIA's computer network and look after computer security for US diplomats. He was a telecommunications information systems officer. He also had to maintain the heating and air-con. In Geneva, Snowden was exposed to an eclectic range of views. On one occasion, he gave an Estonian singer called Mel Kaldalu a lift to Munich. They had met at a Free Tibet event in Geneva; they didn't know each other brilliantly well, but well enough for Snowden to offer him a lift. They chatted for hours on the empty autobahn. Snowden argued that the US should act as a world policeman. Kaldalu disagreed. "Ed's an intelligent guy," he says. "Maybe even a little bit stubborn. He's outspoken. He likes to discuss things. Self-sustainable. He has his own opinions." The Estonian singer and the CIA technician talked about the difficulty pro-Tibet activists had in getting Chinese visas. Snowden was sceptical about the Beijing Olympics. Kaldalu said the Israeli occupation of Palestine was morally questionable. Snowden said he understood this, but viewed US support for Israel as the "least worst" option. Kaldalu suggested a "deconstructive" approach. The pair also discussed how rapid digital changes might affect democracy and the way people governed themselves. At the time, the figure who most closely embodied Snowden's rightwing views was Ron Paul, the most famous exponent of US libertarianism. Snowden supported Paul's 2008 bid for the US presidency. He was also impressed with the Republican candidate John McCain. He wasn't an Obama supporter as such, but he didn't object to him, either. Once Obama became president, Snowden came to dislike him intensely. He criticised the White House's attempts to ban assault weapons. He was unimpressed by affirmative action. Another topic made him even angrier. The Snowden of 2009 inveighed against government officials who leaked classified information to newspapers – the worst crime conceivable, in Snowden's apoplectic view. In January of that year, the New York Times published a report on a secret Israeli plan to attack Iran. The Times said its story was based on 15 months' worth of interviews with current and former US officials, European and Israeli officials, other experts and international nuclear inspectors. TheTrueHOOHA's response, published by Ars Technica, is revealing. In a long conversation with another user, he wrote the following messages: "WTF NYTIMES. Are they TRYING to start a war?" "They're reporting classified shit" "moreover, who the fuck are the anonymous sources telling them this? those people should be shot in the balls" "that shit is classified for a reason" "it's not because 'oh we hope our citizens don't find out' its because 'this shit won't work if iran knows what we're doing'" Snowden's anti-leaking invective seems stunningly at odds with his own later behaviour, but he would trace the beginning of his own disillusionment with government spying to this time. "Much of what I saw in Geneva really disillusioned me about how my government functions and what its impact is in the world. I realised that I was part of something that was doing far more harm than good," he later said. In February 2009, Snowden resigned from the CIA. Now he was to work as a contractor at an NSA facility on a US military base in Japan. The opportunities for contractors had boomed as the burgeoning US security state outsourced intelligence tasks to private companies. Snowden was on the payroll of Dell, the computer firm. The early lacunae in his CV were by this stage pretty much irrelevant. He had top-secret clearance and outstanding computer skills. He had felt passionately about Japan from his early teens and had spent a year and a half studying Japanese. He sometimes used the Japanese pronunciation of his name – "E-do-waa-do" – and wrote in 2001: "I've always dreamed of being able to 'make it' in Japan. I'd love a cushy .gov job over there." Japan marked a turning point, the period when Snowden became more than a disillusioned technician: "I watched as Obama advanced the very policies that I thought would be reined in." Between 2009 and 2012, he says he found out just how all-consuming the NSA's surveillance activities are: "They are intent on making every conversation and every form of behaviour in the world known to them." He also realised that the mechanisms built into the US system and designed to keep the NSA in check had failed. "You can't wait around for someone else to act. I had been looking for leaders, but I realised that leadership is about being the first to act." He left Japan for Hawaii in 2012, a whistleblower-in-waiting. Snowden's new job was at the NSA's regional cryptological centre (the Central Security Service) on the main island of Oahu, near Honolulu. He was still a Dell contractor, working at one of the 13 NSA hubs devoted to spying on foreign interests, particularly the Chinese. He arrived with an audacious plan to make contact anonymously with journalists interested in civil liberties and to leak them stolen top-secret documents. His aim was not to spill state secrets wholesale. Rather, he wanted to turn over a selection of material to reporters and let them exercise their own editorial judgment. According to an NSA staffer who worked with him in Hawaii and who later talked to Forbes magazine, Snowden was a principled and ultra-competent if somewhat eccentric colleague. He wore a hoodie featuring a parody NSA logo. Instead of a key in an eagle's claws, it had a pair of eavesdropping headphones, covering the bird's ears. He kept a copy of the constitution on his desk and wandered the halls carrying a Rubik's cube. He left small gifts on colleagues' desks. He almost lost his job sticking up for one co-worker who was being disciplined. In Hawaii, by early 2013, Snowden's sense of outrage was still growing. But his plan to leak appeared to have stalled. He faced too many obstacles. He took a new job with the private contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, yielding him access to a fresh trove of information. According to the NSA staffer who spoke to Forbes, Snowden turned down an offer to join the agency's tailored access operations, a group of elite hackers. On 30 March, in the evening, Snowden flew to the US mainland to attend training sessions at Booz Allen Hamilton's office near Fort Meade. His new salary was $122,000 (£74,000) a year, plus a housing allowance. On 4 April, he had dinner with his father. Lon Snowden says he found his son preoccupied and nursing a burden. "We hugged as we always do. He said: 'I love you, Dad.' I said: 'I love you, Ed.'" "My position with Booz Allen Hamilton granted me access to lists of machines all over the world [that] the NSA hacked," Snowden told the South China Morning Post, adding that this was exactly why he'd accepted it. He was one of around 1,000 NSA "sysadmins" allowed to look at many parts of this system. (Other users with top-secret clearance weren't allowed to see all classified files.) He could open a file without leaving an electronic trace. He was, in the words of one intelligence source, a "ghost user", able to haunt the agency's hallowed places. He may also have used his administrator status to persuade others to entrust their login details to him. Although we don't know exactly how he harvested the material, it appears Snowden downloaded NSA documents on to thumbnail drives. Thumb drives are forbidden to most staff, but a sysadmin could argue that he or she was repairing a corrupted user profile and needed a backup. Sitting back in Hawaii, Snowden could remotely reach into the NSA's servers. Most staff had already gone home for the night when he logged on, six time zones away. After four weeks in his new job, Snowden told his bosses at Booz that he was unwell. He wanted some time off and requested unpaid leave. When they checked back with him, he told them he had epilepsy (a condition that affects his mother). And then, on 20 May, he vanished. In December 2012, a reader pinged an email to Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald, one of the more prominent US political commentators of his generation, based in Brazil. The email didn't stand out; he gets dozens of similar ones every day. The sender didn't identify himself. He (or it could have been a she) wrote: "I have some stuff you might be interested in." "He was very vague," Greenwald recalls. This mystery correspondent asked Greenwald to install PGP encryption software on his laptop. Once up and running, it guarantees privacy (the initials stand for Pretty Good Privacy) for an online chat. Greenwald had no objections. But there were two problems. "I'm basically technically illiterate," he admits. Greenwald also had a lingering sense that the kind of person who insisted on encryption might turn out to be slightly crazy. A month after first trying Greenwald and failing to get a response, Snowden tried a different route. At the end of January 2013, he sent an email to Greenwald's friend and collaborator Laura Poitras, a documentary film-maker. She was another leading critic of the US security state – and one of its more prominent victims. For six years, between 2006 and 2012, agents from the Department of Homeland Security detained Poitras each time she entered the US. They would interrogate her, confiscate laptops and mobile phones, and demand to know whom she had met. They would seize her camera and notebooks. Nothing incriminating was ever discovered. Poitras became an expert in encryption. She decided to edit her next film, her third in a trilogy about US security, from outside America, and moved temporarily to Berlin. Snowden's email to Poitras read: "I am a senior member of the intelligence community. This won't be a waste of your time." (The claim was something of an exaggeration: he was a relatively junior infrastructure analyst.) Snowden asked for her encryption key. She gave it. "I felt pretty intrigued pretty quickly," Poitras says. "At that point, my thought was either it's legit or it's entrapment." The tone of the emails was serious, though there were moments of humour. At one point Snowden advised Poitras to put her mobile in the freezer. "He's an amazing writer. His emails were good. Everything I got read like a thriller," she recalls. Then Snowden delivered a bombshell. He said he had got hold of Presidential Policy Directive 20, a top-secret 18-page document issued in October 2012. It said that the agency was tapping fibre optic cables, intercepting telephone landing points and bugging on a global scale. And he could prove all of it. "I almost fainted," Poitras says. The source made it clear he wanted Greenwald on board. Poitras moved ultra-cautiously. It was a fair assumption that the US embassy in Berlin had her under some form of surveillance. It would have to be a personal meeting. In late March, she returned to the US and met Greenwald in the lobby of his hotel, the Marriott in Yonkers. They agreed that they needed to get hold of the national security documents: without them, it would be difficult to rattle the doors on these issues. Poitras had assumed that Snowden would seek to remain anonymous, but he told her: "I hope you will paint a target on my back and tell the world I did this on my own." By late spring 2013, the possibility of a meeting was in the air. Snowden intended to leak one actual document. The file would reveal collaboration between the NSA and giant internet corporations under a secret program called Prism. Poitras flew again to New York for what she imagined would be her meeting with a senior intelligence bureaucrat. The source then sent her an encrypted file. In it was the Prism PowerPoint, and a second document that came as a total surprise: "Your destination is Hong Kong." The next day, he told her his name for the first time. Poitras knew that if she searched Snowden's name on Google, this would immediately alert the NSA. Attached was a map, a set of protocols for how they would meet, and a message: "This is who I am. This is what they will say about me. This is the information I have." In mid-April, Greenwald received a FedEx parcel containing two thumb drives with a security kit allowing him to install a basic encrypted chat program. Snowden now contacted Greenwald himself. "I have been working with a friend of yours… We need to talk, urgently." The whistleblower finally had a direct, secure connection to the elusive writer. Snowden wrote: "Can you come to Hong Kong?" The demand struck Greenwald as bizarre. His instinct was to do nothing. He contacted Snowden via chat. "I would like some more substantial idea why I'm going and why this is worthwhile for me?" Over the next two hours, Snowden explained to Greenwald how to boot up the Tails system, one of the securest forms of communication. Snowden then wrote, with what can only be called understatement, "I'm going to send you a few documents." Snowden's welcome package was around 20 documents from the NSA's inner sanctuaries, most stamped Top Secret. At a glance, it suggested the NSA had misled Congress about the nature of its domestic spying activities, and quite possibly lied. "It was unbelievable," Greenwald says. "It was enough to make me hyperventilate." Two days later, on 31 May, Greenwald sat in the office of Janine Gibson, the Guardian US's editor in New York. He said a trip to Hong Kong would enable the Guardian to find out about the mysterious source. Stuart Millar, the deputy editor of Guardian US, joined the discussion. Both executives agreed that the only way to establish the source's credentials was to meet him in person. Greenwald would take the 16-hour flight to Hong Kong the next day. Independently, Poitras was coming along, too. But Gibson ordered a third member on to the team, the Guardian's veteran Washington correspondent Ewen MacAskill. The 61-year-old Scot and political reporter was experienced and professional. He was calm. Everybody liked him. Except Poitras. She was exceedingly upset. As she saw it, an extra person might freak out the source, who was already on edge. "She was insistent that this would not happen," Greenwald says. "She completely flipped out." He tried to mediate, without success. However, at JFK airport, the ill-matched trio boarded a Cathay Pacific flight. Poitras sat at the back of the plane. She was funding her own trip. Greenwald and MacAskill, their bills picked up by the Guardian, were farther up in Premium Economy. As flight CX831 took off, there was a feeling of liberation. Up in the air, there is no internet – or at least there wasn't in June 2013. Once the seatbelt signs were off, Poitras brought a present they were both eager to open: a USB stick. Snowden had securely delivered her a second cache of secret NSA documents. This latest data set was far bigger than the initial "welcome pack". It contained 3,000-4,000 items. For the rest of the journey, Greenwald read the latest cache, mesmerised. Sleep was impossible: "I didn't take my eyes off the screen for a second. The adrenaline was so extreme." From time to time Poitras would come up from her seat in the rear and grin at Greenwald. "We would just cackle and giggle like schoolchildren. We were screaming and hugging and dancing with each other up and down," he says. Their celebrations woke up some of their neighbours; they didn't care. The first rendezvous was in Kowloon's Mira hotel, a chic, modern edifice in the heart of the tourist district. Poitras and Greenwald were to meet Snowden in a quiet part of the hotel, next to a large plastic alligator. They would swap pre-agreed phrases. Snowden would carry a Rubik's cube. Everything Greenwald knew about Snowden pointed in one direction: that he was a grizzled veteran of the intelligence community. "I thought he must be a pretty senior bureaucrat," Greenwald says. Probably 60-odd, wearing a blue blazer with shiny gold buttons, receding grey hair, sensible black shoes, spectacles, a club tie. Perhaps he was the CIA's station chief in Hong Kong. The pair reached the alligator ahead of schedule. They sat down. They waited. Nothing happened. The source didn't show. Strange. If the initial meeting failed, the plan was to return later the same morning. Greenwald and Poitras came back. They waited for a second time. And then they saw him – a pale, spindle-limbed, nervous, preposterously young man. He was dressed in a white T-shirt and jeans. In his right hand was a scrambled Rubik's cube. Had there been a mistake? The young man – if indeed he were the source – had sent encrypted instructions as to how the initial verification would proceed: Greenwald: What time does the restaurant open? The source: At noon. But don't go there, the food sucks… Greenwald – nervous – said his lines, struggling to keep a straight face. Snowden then said simply, "Follow me." The three walked silently to the elevator. They rode to the first floor and followed the cube-man to room 1014. Optimistically, Greenwald speculated that he was the son of the source, or his personal assistant. If not, then the encounter was a waste of time, a hoax. Over the course of the day, however, Snowden told his story. He had access to tens of thousands of documents taken from NSA and GCHQ's internal servers. Most were stamped Top Secret. Some were marked Top Secret Strap 1 – the British higher tier of super-classification for intercept material – or even Strap 2, which was almost as secret as you could get. No one – apart from a restricted circle of security officials – had ever seen documents of this kind before. What he was carrying, Snowden indicated, was the biggest intelligence leak in history. Greenwald bombarded him with questions. His credibility was on the line. So was that of his editors at the Guardian. Yet if Snowden were genuine, at any moment a CIA Swat team could burst into the room, confiscate his laptops and drag him away. As he gave his answers, they began to feel certain Snowden was no fake. And his reasons for becoming a whistleblower were cogent, too. The NSA could bug "anyone", from the president downwards, he said. In theory, the spy agency was supposed to collect only "signals intelligence" on foreign targets. In practice this was a joke, Snowden told Greenwald: it was already hoovering up metadata from millions of Americans. Phone records, email headers, subject lines, seized without acknowledgment or consent. From this you could construct a complete electronic narrative of an individual's life: their friends, lovers, joys, sorrows. The NSA had secretly attached intercepts to the undersea fibre optic cables that ringed the world. This allowed them to read much of the globe's communications. Secret courts were compelling telecoms providers to hand over data. What's more, pretty much all of Silicon Valley was involved with the NSA, Snowden said – Google, Microsoft, Facebook, even Steve Jobs's Apple. The NSA claimed it had "direct access" to the tech giants' servers. It had even put secret back doors into online encryption software – used to make secure bank payments – weakening the system for everybody. The spy agencies had hijacked the internet. Snowden told Greenwald he didn't want to live in a world "where everything that I say, everything that I do, everyone I talk to, every expression of love or friendship is recorded". Snowden agreed to meet MacAskill the next morning. The encounter went smoothly until the reporter produced his iPhone. He asked Snowden if he minded if he taped their interview, and perhaps took some photos? Snowden flung up his arms in alarm, as if prodded by an electric stick. "I might as well have invited the NSA into his bedroom," MacAskill says. The young technician explained that the spy agency was capable of turning a mobile phone into a microphone and tracking device; bringing it into the room was an elementary mistake. MacAskill dumped the phone. Snowden's own precautions were remarkable. He piled pillows up against the door to stop anyone eavesdropping from outside in the corridor. When putting passwords into computers, he placed a big red hood over his head and laptop, so the passwords couldn't be picked up by hidden cameras. On the three occasions he left his room, Snowden put a glass of water behind the door next to a bit of tissue paper. The paper had a soy sauce mark with a distinctive pattern. If anyone entered the room, the water would fall on the paper and it would change the pattern. MacAskill asked Snowden, almost as an afterthought, whether there was a UK role in this mass data collection. It didn't seem likely to him. MacAskill knew that GCHQ had a longstanding intelligence-sharing relationship with the US, but he was taken aback by Snowden's vehement response. "GCHQ is worse than the NSA," Snowden said. "It's even more intrusive." The following day, Wednesday 5 June, Snowden was still in place at the Mira hotel. That was the good news. The bad news was that the NSA and the police had been to see his girlfriend, Lindsay Mills, back at their home in Hawaii. Snowden's absence from work had been noted, an automatic procedure when NSA staff do not turn up. Snowden agonised: "My family does not know what is happening. My primary fear is that they will come after my family, my friends, my partner." He admitted, "That keeps me up at night." But the CIA hadn't found him yet. This was one of the more baffling aspects of the Snowden affair: why did the US authorities not close in on him earlier? Once they had spotted his absence, they might have pulled flight records showing he had fled to Hong Kong. There he was comparatively easy to trace. He had checked into the $330-a-night Mira hotel under his own name. He was even paying the bill with his personal credit card. That evening, Greenwald rapidly drafted a story about Verizon, revealing how the NSA was secretly collecting all the records from this major US telecoms company. Greenwald would work on his laptop, then pass it to MacAskill. MacAskill would type on his computer and hand Greenwald his articles on a memory stick; the sticks flowed back and forth. Nothing went on email. In New York, Gibson drew up a careful plan for the first story. It had three basic components: seek legal advice; work out a strategy for approaching the White House; get draft copy from the reporters in Hong Kong. She wrote a tentative schedule on a whiteboard. (It was later titled The Legend Of The Phoenix, a line from 2013's big summer hit, Daft Punk's Get Lucky.) Events were moving at speed. MacAskill had tapped out a four-word text from Hong Kong: "The Guinness is good." This code phrase meant he was now convinced Snowden was genuine. Gibson decided to give the NSA a four-hour window to comment, so the agency had an opportunity to disavow the story. By British standards, the deadline was fair: long enough to make a few calls, agree a line. But for Washington, where journalist-administration relations sometimes resemble a country club, this was nothing short of outrageous. In London, the Guardian's editor-in-chief, Alan Rusbridger, headed for the airport for the next available New York flight. The White House sent in its top guns for a conference call with the Guardian. The team included FBI deputy director Sean M Joyce, a Boston native with an action-man resumé – investigator against Colombian narcotics, counter-terrorism officer, legal attaché in Prague. Also patched in was Chris Inglis, the NSA's deputy director. He was a man who interacted with journalists so rarely, he was considered by many to be a mythical entity. Then there was Robert S Litt, the general counsel to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Litt was clever, likable, voluble, dramatic, lawyerly and prone to rhetorical flourishes. On the Guardian side were Gibson and Millar, sitting in Gibson's small office, with its cheap sofa and unimpressive view of Broadway. By fielding heavyweights, the White House had perhaps reckoned it could flatter, and if necessary bully, the Guardian into delaying publication. Gibson explained that the editor-in-chief – in the air halfway across the Atlantic – was unavailable. She said: "I'm the final decision-maker." After 20 minutes, the White House was frustrated. The conversation was going in circles. Finally, one of the team could take no more. Losing his temper, he shouted, "You don't need to publish this! No serious news organisation would publish this!" Gibson replied, "With the greatest respect, we will take the decisions about what we publish." Over in Hong Kong, Snowden and Greenwald were restless. Greenwald signalled that he was ready and willing to self-publish or take the scoop elsewhere if the Guardian hesitated. Time was running out. Snowden could be uncovered at any minute. Just after 7pm, Guardian US went ahead and ran the story. That evening, diggers arrived and tore up the sidewalk immediately in front of the Guardian's US office, a mysterious activity for a Wednesday night. With smooth efficiency, they replaced it. More diggers arrived outside Gibson's home in Brooklyn. Soon, every member of the Snowden team was able to recount similar unusual moments: "taxi drivers" who didn't know the way or the fare; "window cleaners" who lingered next to the editor's office. "Very quickly, we had to get better at spycraft," Gibson says. Snowden now declared his intention to go public. Poitras recorded Greenwald interviewing him. She made a 12-minute film and got the video through to New York. In the Guardian US office, the record of Snowden actually speaking was cathartic. "We were completely blown away," Millar says. "We thought he was cool and plausible." When the moment arrived, with the video ready to go live, the atmosphere in the newsroom was deeply emotional. Five people, including Rusbridger, were in the office. The video went up about 3pm local time on Sunday 9 June. "It was like a bomb going off," Rusbridger says. "There is a silent few seconds after a bomb explodes when nothing happens." The TV monitors were put on different channels; for almost an hour they carried prerecorded Sunday news. Then at 4pm the story erupted. Each network carried Snowden's image. It was 3am in Hong Kong when the video was posted online. It was the most-viewed story in the Guardian's history. Snowden had just become the most hunted man on the planet. The chase was already on. Greenwald, in one of his many TV interviews, had been captioned by CNN as "Glenn Greenwald, Hong Kong" – a pretty big clue. The local Chinese media and international journalists now studied every frame of the video for clues. One enterprising hack used Twitter to identify the Mira from its lamps. And then Snowden vanished. • © Luke Harding 2014 This is an edited extract from The Snowden Files: The Inside Story Of The World's Most Wanted Man, by Luke Harding http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/01/edward-snowden-intelligence-leak-nsa-contractor-extract
  11. 26.01.2014 45 mins ago Fugitive former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has claimed that US government officials "want to kill me" in an exclusive interview which German television says it conducted in Moscow. German NDR television issued a further snippet ahead of a broadcast late Sunday in Europe of an exclusive interview with Snowden in which the intelligence whistleblower claims that US officials wanted him killed. "These people, and they are government officials, have said they would love to put a bullet in my head or poison me when I come out of the supermarket, and then watch as I die in the shower," he told NDR interviewer Hubert Seipel, who said the interview took place last Thursday. Snowden, who was granted temporary asylum in Russia in August, referred in the interview to a report by US website BuzzFeed of explicit threats against him from unnamed Pentagon and National Security Agency (NSA) officials. The former NSA contractor is wanted by US authorities on treason charges for disclosing details of a vast intelligence operation that monitored millions of phone calls and emails across the world. The interview was aired on German ARD television, of which NDR is a member, with a German-language voice-over late on Sunday, European time. In the ARD talkshow Günter Jauch run prior to the interview's ARD broadcast, former US ambassador to Berlin John Kornblum was asked where Snowden would be in 10 years time. Kornblum said he expected Snowden would return to the United States under a deal. "I believe there will be an arrangment," Kornblum said. Industrial espionage too? In an earlier snippet released online late on Saturday by the public broadcaster NDR, Snowden claimed that the NSA was involved in industrial espionage and did not limit its espionage to issues of US national security. "If there is information at [German electronics and engineering giant] Siemens that they think would be beneficial to the national interests, not the national security, of the United States, they will go after that information and they'll take it," Snowden said. NDR's interviewer Seipel, in a pre-broadcast interview in German also published online by NDR, said Snowden's sole "life insurance" was that he had entrusted journalists of the New York Times, Washington Post and Britain's Guardian with the material. At regular intervals, Seipel said, these media outlets triggered a series of "small thematic bombs." 'Very carefully' selected documents "The NSA is still trying to guess, how much material it involves. At the start there was talk of 200,000, then of 600,000 and now there are around 1.7 million documents," Seipel said. Snowden had "very carefully" selected documents that rather than focusing on individual persons, focused on the structure of the US secret services and alleged "violations," Seipel said. "He has shown what happens within this apparatus, also in connection with other services." "The accusation that he has endangered the lives of thousands of soldiers or secret service employees is in my view feeble-minded," Seipel said, adding that Snowden had a "very strong" sense of justice. "That [President Barack] Obama said he was not a patriot is for him, I think, quite difficult enough." Interview arranged via 'safeguards' The interviewer said Snowden was "very precise in what he says, but naturally was also very cautious" to avoid breaching the terms of his asylum in Russia. Seipel said the NDR team conducted the exclusive interview using three cameras and a microphone after organizing the meeting using encrypted phone calls and several other "safeguard measures." On Thursday, in a question-and-answer session on the "Free Snowden" website, the fugitive ruled out returning to the United States, where he said there was no chance of a free trial. http://www.dw.de/wanted-dead-by-us-officials-snowden-tells-german-tv/a-17388431 Also see: Snowden New Interview: U.S. Spy On Foreign Companies http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVW1laVQygc DW restricts "the interview" to German audience only. Youtube not publishing Uploaded "Snowden exklusiv -- Das Interview [ARD - 26.01.2014] - YouTube" This video has been removed because it is too long. Sorry about that. http: //www. youtube. com/watch?v=bLIq2tfWyvc However, Watch "Snowden Exklusiv (NDR, 26.01.14)" http://vimeo.com/85106649 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3bU8M3FgfE Original German Transcript http://www.presseportal.de/mobil/story.htx?nr=2648795 English Transcript Through Google Translator " Snowden exclusive" : the text of the interview of NDR author Hubert Seipel 26.01.2014 | 23:26 clock , NDR / The First ( ots) - NDR author Hubert Seipel has led the world's first television interview with Edward Snowden after his flight from Hong Kong. Here is the text of the 30 - minute version of the interview that the first "exclusive Snowden - the interview " under the title on Sunday night , 26 January has been shown at 23.05 clock . Free quotes when mentioning " Source: NDR" . Hubert Seipel (hereinafter abbreviated to HS) : Mr. Snowden , you have slept well the last few nights ? I 've read that you have asked for police protection. Are there any threats? Edward Snowden (hereinafter abbreviated as ES): There are significant threats , but I sleep very well. There was an article in an online portal called " buzzfeed " , were interviewed in the Pentagon officials and NSA National Security Agency . It has assured them anonymity so that they can say what they want, and who told the reporter that they want to kill me . These people - and there are government officials - have said they would chase me just like a bullet in the head or poison me when I come back from the supermarket, and watch me die then under the shower . HS : But luckily you are still alive . ES: Right, I 'm still alive and I do not have sleepless nights because I did what I thought was necessary. It was the right thing, and I will not be afraid . HS: The biggest fear that I have , as far as my revelations , you said , is that nothing changes . But meanwhile, there is a lively discussion about the position of the NSA , not only in America but also in Germany and in Brazil, and President Obama was forced to publicly justify what the NSA has since made ​​quite legally . ES: As a first reaction to the revelations , the government has set up as a kind of corral to the National Security Agency . Rather than get behind the public and to protect their rights , the politicians have brought to the security apparatus and its laws. That was an interesting way , but only the first reaction , since concessions have been made . The President has just said: "We have met the right level , there was no abuse," then he and his officials have admitted that it has effectively given abuse. There have been countless violations of the National Security Agency and other relevant bodies and authorities each year. HS : Is the talk of Obama the beginning of a serious regulation? ES: From the President's speech was clear that he wants to make minor changes in order to preserve authorities , we do not need . The President has formed a committee of officials belonging to his personal friends of members of the National Security and former members of the CIA - to conserve both from people who have every reason with these programs. But even they have found that these programs are worthless , that they have never prevented a terrorist attack in the U.S. and that they have at best a bit of benefit for other things. The Section 215 program, which is a huge data collection program - and that is mass surveillance program - has just found out that a wire transfer in the amount of $ 85,000 was discovered and stopped by a taxi driver in California. Specialists say that we do not need this type of review that we do not make these programs safely. Your maintenance is extremely expensive , and they are worthless . Experts say that you can change it. The National Security Agency is subject solely to the President . He can finish their action at any time or initiate a change. HS: President Obama has admitted that the NSA collects billions of data and stores . ES: Every time you call , write an email , transfer something , go with a mobile phone bus or dragging anywhere a card through a reader , you leave a trace , and the government has decided that it is a good idea , the everything to gain with these programs. Everything , even if you have never been suspected of a crime. Usually, the state goes to a judge who told him that someone is suspected of having committed a particular crime , there is an arrest warrant , and only then they use the official authority for the investigation. Today, the government is their authority and an already , before any investigation begins . HS : You have triggered this debate. The name of Edward Snowden now stands for the whistleblower in the Internet age . Until last summer, you have worked for the NSA and in that time you have secretly thousands of confidential documents from the NSA collected all over the world. What was the defining moment - or was it a longer period - why did you do it ? ES : I would say , a crucial point was when I saw how the director of National Intelligence , James Clapper , has lied under oath before Congress . There is no salvation for a secret service , who believes he can lie to the public and lawmakers who trust him and regulate his actions. When I saw that, it meant to me that I can not go back. There was no doubt . In addition, there was the creeping realization that no one would do differently. The public had a right to know of these programs. The public had a right to know what the government is doing in their name , and what the government is doing to the public. But neither the one nor the other , we were allowed to discuss . We were forbidden even to speak with our elected representatives about it or discuss these programs , and that is dangerous . The only test that we had came from a secret court , the Court Fizer , which is a kind of vicarious agent . If this includes when you go to work every day and sits down at his desk , one is aware of his power. That you could even listen to the President of the United States or a federal judge , and if you proceed with caution , no one will know because the only way how the NSA uncovers abuse, self- displays are . HS: For that matter, we speak not only of the NSA. There is a multilateral agreement for cooperation between the intelligence agencies. This alliance is known as the Five Eyes. Which intelligence agencies and countries belong to this alliance , and what is the goal? ES: The Five Eyes alliance is a kind of artifact from the period after the Second World War in which the English-speaking countries were the major powers , which came together to cooperate and share the cost of the infrastructure of the intelligence services. So we have the GCHQ in England , we have the NSA in the United States , and we have Canada C -Sec , we have the Australian Signals Intelligence Directorate and we have the New Zealand DSD Defence Signals Directorate The result has been for decades a kind of supra-national intelligence organization , the does not comply with the laws of their own countries. HS: In many countries , as well as in America, it is organizations like the NSA legally not allowed to spy on the citizens in their own country , the British officially allowed to spy on everyone , just not the British, but the NSA could spy on the British and vice versa so that they can exchange data . And so they follow the law officially . ES: If you ask the governments immediately thereafter , they will deny it and refer to the Agreement between the members of the Five Eyes , in which is that it does not spy on the citizens of the other country , but there are some sticking points . One is that the collection of data in them does not count as espionage. The GCHQ gathers an incredible amount of data a British citizen , just like the National Security Agency collects a tremendous amount of data on U.S. citizens. They claim that they monitor any targeted person within this data. You are not looking for U.S. or British citizens. In addition, the agreement , which says that the British are not U.S. citizens and the United States monitor any British citizen , is not legally binding. The actual contract document has separately then that the agreement is not legally binding . This Agreement may at any time be circumvented or broken. So if the NSA wants to spy on a British citizen , she can spy on him , and the data even left the British government , which shall not spy on its own citizens . Thus there is a kind of trade dynamics , but this is not open, it is more of a nudge and a wink . In addition, the monitoring and the abuse does not happen only when people look at the data , it is done by people collect the data at all. HS : How close is the cooperation of the German secret service BND with the NSA and the Five Eyes ? ES: I would describe as closely . In a written interview I did it first so expressed that the German and American intelligence go to bed together . I say this because they not only share information , but also share tools and infrastructure. They work against common targets , and therein lies a great danger. One of the major programs , serving in the National Security Agency to abuse , is the "X Key Score" . It is a technique with which you can search through all the data that is stored around the world every day of the NSA. HS: What would you do in their place with this instrument? ES: You could read every e -mail around the world . From each , of which one has the e- mail address, you can watch the traffic on any website , on any computer , any laptop that does one locate , you can follow from place to place all over the world . It is a one stop shop , over which one gets to all the information the NSA. Moreover, one can use X key score to track individuals. Let's say I 've ever seen and you found interesting , what you do , or you have access to something that interests me , let's say you work in a large German companies , and I want to get access to this network. I can your user name to find out on a website on a form somewhere , I can find out your real name , I can pursue relationships with your friends , and I can make something that is called a fingerprint , that is a network activity that is unique to you . That is, no matter where you go in the world , no matter where you try to get your online presence, to hide your identity , the NSA to find you. And everyone who is entitled to use this instrument or by the NSA shares its software can do the same. Germany is a country that has access to X Key score. HS : That sounds pretty scary . The question is : Returns the data BND German citizens to the NSA ? ES: Whether the BND does it directly or consciously - at least the NSA receives German data. Whether they are delivered , about that I may speak only when it was reported in the Shun about it because it was classified as secret , and it is dear to me if journalists decide what is in the public interest and what should be published. However, it is no secret that every country in the world has the data of its citizens in the NSA . Millions and millions and millions of data connections from the daily life of the Germans, if they use their phone , send SMS messages , visit web pages , buy things online - all this ends up at NSA . And since it seems likely that the BND is aware in some way. Whether he really actively provides information to , I can not tell . HS: The BND argues that something be done only by chance and that our filter does not work . ES : Right. They discuss two things. They say that they collect and filter data . That is, if the NSA a secret server installed in a German telecommunications provider or a German router hacking and traffic redirects in such a way that they can browse it , it is said: " When I realize that a German speaks with another German , I listen to " , but how will you know? You could say "well, these people speak the German language , this IP address appears to lead by a German company to another German company" , but that is not correct. And who would not drop all the traffic , because they are so get at people who are interested , the active use in Germany German lines of communication . If they say they do not spy on Germans intentionally , then so do not think that they do not collect German data , they do not mean that no records are made ​​or stolen. A promise , in which one crosses fingers behind his back , it can not rely on. HS: What about other European countries such as Norway and Sweden? We have a lot of underwater cables that run through the Baltic Sea . ES: This is a kind of extension of the same idea. If the NSA does not collect information on German citizens in Germany , it does it then , as soon as she leaves the German borders ? The answer is " yes". The NSA can intercept any communication that runs over the Internet , at various points . Maybe they see that in Germany , perhaps in Sweden , perhaps in Norway or Finland , perhaps in England , and perhaps in the United States. At every single place that runs through a German communication , it is intercepted and stored. HS: Let's talk about our southern neighbors , Italy , France and Spain? ES: It's the same deal worldwide . HS: NSA Spying at Siemens , Mercedes and other successful companies to use their advantage in technology and business for their own benefit ? ES : I again do not want to prejudge the journalists , but what I can say is : There is no doubt that the United States operate industrial espionage. If there is information at Siemens , from which they think that they are for the national interests of advantage, but not for the national security of the United States , they will chase and the information they get. HS: There is an old proverb that says " If anything is possible, it is done ." Does the NSA , which is technically possible? ES: The theme of the president has addressed last year . Then he said , just because we can do something - and there was a question that had been tapped the phone of Angela Merkel - just because we can do something does not mean we should do it too, and that is exactly what happened. The technical possibilities that lie in low safety standards of Internet protocols and mobile communication networks, were of intelligence used to create systems that see everything. HS: Nothing has the German government more angry than the fact that the NSA has apparently tapped over the last ten years, the home phone to German Chancellor Merkel. Suddenly the invisible monitoring combined with a known face and not with this opaque , shady terrorist background. Now Obama has promised to snoop no longer with Mrs. Merkel, which raises the question "Does the NSA intercepted already previous governments , including former Chancellor and when : when and how long they did it " ? ES: This is a particularly difficult question for me because there is information that necessarily have to be in the public interest in my opinion . However, as I already said , I would rather that journalists look at the material and decide whether the value of this information to the public is more important than the damage that the publication for the reputation of the members of the government means having issued this surveillance. What I can say is that we know that was monitored Angela Merkel of the National Security Agency . The question is , how logical it is to assume that it is the only member of the government , which was monitored. How likely is it that it is the only known German face, to which the National Security Agency has taken care of ? I would say it is not very likely that someone who cares about intentions of the German government only monitors Merkel and not their advisers , no other known members of the government , no minister or even members of municipal governments. HS: How do you get a young man from Elizabeth City , North Carolina at the age of 30 years, such a position in such a sensitive area ? ES: That's a very difficult question. Basically, I would say that the dangers of privatization of public tasks be identified. I used to work as a government employee for the Central Intelligence Agency , but I worked a lot more frequently than contractor in a private setting . This means that private , for-profit companies take over sovereign functions such as espionage , reconnaissance, infiltration of foreign systems. And anyone who can convince the private sector firms that he has the necessary qualifications , is set . Supervision is minimal and there is hardly tested . HS: Were you one of those classic computer kids , which has been sitting with bloodshot eyes the whole night in front of a computer, 12 or 15 years old and her father knocked on the door and said: "Do finally out of the light! " If you purchased your knowledge this way? ES: I definitely had - let's say - a deeply informal education, as far as my computer and electronics training. This has always been fascinating to me . Well, the description that the parents sent me to bed , it is already true . HS: If you look at the few public data of their lives , you discover that you are obviously in May 2004 wanted to join the special forces , to fight in Iraq. What has driven then ? Special forces , that is violently struggling and probably also kill . Have you ever been in Iraq? ES : Yes. What is interesting in terms of the special forces , but the fact that they really are not responsible for the direct contact for direct fights. Rather, they are intended to act forces reinforcing. They are used behind enemy lines . This is a special unit . It aims to help the local population to resist , and support the U.S. Armed Forces. I then thought for a fundamentally decent affair. In retrospect, the arguments for the use in Iraq were insufficiently justified with the result that all parties emerged from the damaged thing. HS: What happened after your adventure continues ? Did you stay there ? ES: No, I broke the legs in training and was discharged. HS: In other words, so it was a short adventure ... ES: ... Yes , a short one. HS : 2007 They were stationed for the CIA in Geneva, Switzerland . Why did you go to the CIA ? ES : I do not think I can say that. HS : Then we forget the question. But why the CIA ? ES : I think that I thus wanted to continue as effectively as possible to serve the public good. It is also in my other activities for the state in which I wanted to use my technical skills in the most difficult places I could find . And that's what gave me the CIA. HS: If you look at the so look what you've done: Special Forces CIA , NSA . This is not necessarily the way for a human or whistleblowers. What happened? ES: I think it shows , no matter how hard we strive to secure the state and is loyal to him , no matter how strongly you believe in the government's arguments , as it has been with me during the Iraq war of the case - you can learn and detect a difference between a reasonable for a state action and an actual wrongdoing. And I think I realized that a red line had been crossed. HS: Are you working at a private company called Booze Alan Hamilton for the NSA . The company is one of the big players in the business. What is the advantage to hire private companies to carry out a central task for the sovereign state? ES: The practice of allocating security authorities of the United States is a complicated matter . It is determined by various interests. Firstly, the number of direct employees of the State should be limited , on the other hand require the lobbyists of wealthy companies such as financial Booze Alan Hamilton took its toll . This creates a situation influence the policies of government in the private companies. And whose interests are very different from the interests of the general public . The consequences could be observed in Booze Alan Hamilton, where individuals can access millions of official acts. You can always leave the company. No reliability, no control. The government did not even know that the were gone. HS: In the end they ended up here in Russia. And the intelligence community suspects you that you have made a deal here . Asylum against secret information . ES: The head of the working group that examined my case , said in December that there is no evidence that I could get from outside help or even been instructed from the outside. I also made ​​a deal to carry out my mission. I worked alone . This is indeed the case . I worked alone , I needed help from anyone , I have no foreign governments any connections and I'm not a spy for Russia, China or any other country. If it is true that I am a traitor , who am I supposed to have betrayed ? I have everything that I know the American public , the American journalist given . If this is to be considered as treason , men should really ask who they work for . The public is , after all, their boss , not their enemy . HS: After your revelations , no European country was willing to take you . Where you have applied for asylum ? ES: The exact list I have not in mind because there were so many , but in any case France, Germany and the UK. Several European countries , all of which , unfortunately, felt it important to support the United States the political interests and do the right thing . HS : A response to the NSA spying is that countries such as Germany to do about thoughts to establish their own national networks to Internet companies are forced to keep data in their own country . ES: It will not stop them to continue their work , the NSA . Let's put it this way : The NSA goes where the data is . If she manages to gather news from the telecommunications networks of China, it probably will succeed her, get at Facebook messages in Germany . Ultimately , the solution is to put everything not in a walled garden . It is much better to back up data on an international level , as if everyone is trying the data back and one that tries to . The transfer of data is not the solution . The solution is to save the data. HS: President Obama are the messages this revelation at the moment seems relatively unimportant . He seems - along with the NSA - to be much more interested to take the bearer of this news. Obama has repeatedly asked the Russian president to make your delivery. Putin has rejected it looks like , as you will spend the rest of your life here in Russia. Is there a solution for this problem? ES : I think that it is becoming increasingly clear that these revelations have done no harm , but rather serve the public good . It will be difficult to continue a campaign against someone whom the public the opinion prevails that he is working for the public good . HS: In the New York Times had an editorial called for in the grace for you recently . The headline : "Edward Snowden whistleblower " and I quote : "The public was informed about how the agency exceeds the limits of its powers and abused. " And then it says : "President Obama should instruct his employees to set the slander Mr. Snowden's an end and to give him an incentive to come home ." Did you get a call? ES : I have yet to get a call from the White House and I do not sit on the phone and wait . Nevertheless, I would welcome the opportunity to talk about how we can bring this matter to a mutually satisfactory way to the end . I believe that there are cases in which what is legal is not necessarily right. There are enough examples in history in America and Germany , where the country's government acted within the law and still did wrong. HS: President Obama is obviously not quite convinced , he said , that you have committed three offenses. He said : " If you , Edward Snowden , stand by what you have done , you should come back to America and to answer with the help of a lawyer before the court ." Is this the solution? ES: What he did not say is that these are offenses for which I can not be heard before a court . I can not defend myself before a public court or convince the jury the fact that I had acted in their interests. The Espionage Act dates from 1918. Its goal was never to pursue journalistic sources , ie people that make the newspapers get information of general public interest . Rather, it was directed against people who sell the documents to foreign governments , blow up bridges, sabotage communication , and not against people who act in the public interest. It is significant that the President says that I am to answer before a court , even if he knows that such a process would only be a show trial . The conversation has arisen in the context of NDR documentation that will show the first in the spring. Information also available at www.NDR.de / snowden Press contact: NDR / The First Press and Information Iris Bents Phone: 040/4156 - 2304 Fax: 040/4156 - 2199 i.bents @ ndr.de http://www.ndr.de
  12. By Michael J de la Merced Jan 26, 2014, 06.18 AM IST DAVOS (Switzerland): Russia plans to extend its offer of asylum to Edward J Snowden beyond August, a Russian lawmaker said on Friday at the WEF here. The lawmaker, Aleksei K Pushkov, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in Russia's lower house of parliament, hinted during a panel discussion that the extension of temporary refugee status for Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor, might be indefinite. "He will not be sent out of Russia," Pushkov said. "It will be up to Snowden." He added that Snowden's father believes his son could not get a fair trial in the United States. Pushkov made his comments came against a backdrop of broad criticism of the American spying programs that have come to light since the summer. He pointed to the sheer volume of information that American authorities are able to gather. "The US has created a Big Brother system," Pushkov said. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/europe/Snowdens-asylum-may-be-extended-by-Russia/articleshow/29384008.cms
  13. 27 January 2014 Last updated at 13:10 GMT The BBC's Gordon Corera explains how agencies spy in the digital world The internet was designed to be free and open. Eight months after Edward Snowden's first leaks of classified information, is that still the case? The technology pioneers who designed the net's original protocols saw their creation as a way to share information freely across a network of networks. Yet Edward Snowden's leaks of classified documents from the US National Security Agency have revealed that American spies - and their British counterparts at GCHQ - now use that very same internet to sweep up vast amounts of data from the digital trail we leave every day. It isn't simply that they mine social media updates and the information we already give to companies. The NSA and GCHQ have allegedly tapped into the internet's structure. An ever-growing network Much like the universe in the aftermath of the Big Bang, the internet is expanding. From humble beginnings as a project within the US Department of Defense, the net has grown with each technological advance. This growth has required an ever-expanding physical infrastructure of routers, cables, data centres and other hardware. Between 1994 and 2013 they multiplied many times over. Internet backbone The giants of the net are companies and organisations that provide the so-called internet backbone, transferring data around the net over high capacity fibre optic cables. This map, made using data from Peer 1's Map of the Internet, shows the relative connectedness of organisations online. The biggest blobs - those with the most connections - are the backbone firms, dwarfing the likes of Google and Amazon. How data is transferred Almost everything we do online passes through a backbone company. If, for example, a student living in London sends an email to a friend in Brazil, the message will hop around the network and will often travel through a backbone firm like Level 3 Communications in the USA, which describes itself as "network provider for much of the world's communications infrastructure". So if the cables of firms like Level 3 were intercepted, the security agencies would have access to a huge amount of the world's internet traffic. In November 2013, the New York Times reported that the NSA may have accessed Google and Yahoo via Level 3's cables. In statement, the firm told the BBC: "We comply with applicable laws in each of the countries where we operate. In many instances, laws forbid us from revealing any details relating to our compliance, and make it a crime for us to discuss any required access to data. "Some media sources have incorrectly speculated that we have agreements with governments where we voluntarily provide access to network data even when we are not compelled to do so. That is incorrect. Customer privacy is paramount to our business. We do not allow unauthorised access to our network by any entity and will continue to operate our network to protect and secure our customers' data, while adhering to the laws that apply to Level 3 as well as all other telecommunications providers." Tapping cables Land-based cables are not the only physical access points for intercepting data. Snowden documents published in the Guardian last June indicate that the US and Britain's spy programmes aimed at "mastering the internet" include tapping the undersea cables through which data - and phone calls - flow. The documents claim GCHQ was able to monitor up to 600 million communications every day. The information describing internet and phone use was allegedly stored for up to 30 days in order for it to be sifted and analysed. GCHQ declined to comment on the claims but said its compliance with the law was "scrupulous". http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-25832341
  14. By Associated Press 30 minutes ago BERLIN (AP) — Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden claims in a new interview that the U.S. agency is involved in industrial espionage. German public television broadcaster ARD released a written statement before an interview airing Sunday night in which it quotes Snowden as saying that if German engineering company Siemens had information that would benefit the United States — but had nothing to do with national security needs — the National Security Agency would still use it. ARD did not give any further context and it was not clear what exactly Snowden accused the NSA of doing with such information. Snowden faces felony charges in the U.S. after revealing the NSA's mass surveillance program. He has temporary asylum in Russia. http://news.yahoo.com/german-tv-snowden-says-nsa-spies-industry-110712060--finance.html
  15. Documents that were leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden prove that the United States has been ruled by a race of tall, white space aliens who also assisted the rise of Nazi Germany in the 1930s. A Federal Security Services (FSB) report on the nearly two million highly classified top-secret documents obtained from the United States Department of Defense (DOD) run National Security Agency-Central Security Service (NSA/CSS) by the American ex-patriot Edward Snowden states that this information is providing “incontrovertible proof” that an “alien/extraterrestrial intelligence agenda” is driving US domestic and international policy. Snowden, who has been given asylum in Russia, leaked documents that a race of extraterestrial “tall whites” arrived on Earth, helped Nazi Germany build a fleet of advanced submarines in the 1930s, and then met in 1954 with President Dwight Eisenhower “where the ‘secret regime’ currently ruling over America was established. This FSB report warns that the ‘Tall White’ agenda being implemented by the ‘secret regime’ ruling the United States calls for the creation of a global electronic surveillance system meant to hide all true information about their presence here on earth as they enter into what one of Snowden’s documents calls the ‘final phase’ of their end plan for total assimilation and world rule.” The report further says that the U.S. government is embroiled in a “cataclysmic” power struggle between President Obama, who heads the alien shadow government, and some unknown force that opposed the U.S.-alien alliance. “Most to be feared by Russian policy makers and authorities, this [FSB] report concludes, is if those opposing the ‘Tall White’ ‘secret regime’ ruled over by Obama have themselves aligned with another alien-extraterrestrial power themselves.” Any good conspiracy theory needs a patina of truth, a bit of intellectual cover to camouflage the craziness. In this case, the whatdoesitmean.com/Fars story cites Paul Hellyer, the 1960s Canadian defense minister who is now a fervent UFO activist. Hellyer allegedly has confirmed the accuracy of Snowden’s UFO leaks. Source ======================== A rebuttal has been found, claiming the source is a "semi-official" news agency.
  16. Updated: 14:22, Friday January 24, 2014 The US government is seeking billions of dollars in penalties and damages from the company that did the background check on National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden. The US government is seeking billions of dollars in penalties and damages from the company that did the background check on National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden. The Justice Department, in its complaint, said US Investigations Services, the largest of several companies that have government contracts to investigate current and prospective federal employees, lied about 665,000 checks it conducted between March 2008 and September 2012. USIS devised an elaborate scheme in which the Virginia company told the government it had completed investigations of people whose backgrounds, in fact, had not been thoroughly vetted, according to the complaint, which was filed on Wednesday in a federal court in Alabama as part of an continuing civil lawsuit against the company. USIS set production quotas - monthly, quarterly and annual targets - and then used a process of 'dumping' or 'fishing' to submit incomplete background reports to meet the quotas, the Justice Department said. The company used a software system called Blue Zone to help run the fraudulent reports, according to the complaint. It said the US government's Office of Personnel Management relied on the reports to pay USIS. 'Due to its fraudulent conduct, USIS received millions of dollars that it otherwise would not have received had OPM been aware that the background investigations had not gone through the quality-review process required by the fieldwork contracts,' the Justice Department said in its complaint. The OPM oversees employment background checks and investigations for security clearances granted to federal employees. It does some of its own investigations but hires USIS and other companies to do most of them. USIS received more than $US2 billion ($A2.29 billion) from the OPM to conduct security checks in the four years covered by the Justice Department brief, according to USAspending.gov, a government website that compiles federal contracting data. Ellen Davis, a USIS spokeswoman, said in a statement that the alleged fraudulent behaviour was limited to 'a small group of individuals.' While the government doesn't say that USIS submitted a phoney security check on Snowden, that check was purportedly completed in 2011 during the time covered by the Justice Department brief. The 665,000 allegedly phoney background checks represented 40 per cent of all such checks conducted by USIS in that time for the federal government. The government also hired USIS to do the security check on Aaron Alexis, another contract employee, who shot and killed 12 people September 16 at the Washington Navy Yard. Snowden stole huge caches of classified digital data from the NSA and leaked them to news organisations before fleeing the country for Hong Kong last May. USIS executives joked about defrauding the government, according to internal company emails obtained by the Justice Department and contained in its brief. 'We all own this baby, and right now this is one ugly baby,' the company's vice president of field operations wrote in one email, according to the Justice Department. http://www.skynews.com.au/world/article.aspx?id=944598
  17. WASHINGTON Sun Jan 19, 2014 2:12pm EST A picture of Edward Snowden, a contractor at the National Security Agency (NSA), is seen on a computer screen displaying a page of a Chinese news website, in Beijing in this June 13, 2013 photo illustration. Credit: Reuters/Jason Lee (Reuters) - The head of the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee said on Sunday he is investigating whether former spy agency contractor Edward Snowden had help from Russia in stealing and revealing U.S. government secrets. "I believe there's a reason he ended up in the hands - the loving arms - of an FSB agent in Moscow. I don't think that's a coincidence," U.S. Representative Mike Rogers told the NBC program "Meet the Press," referring to the Russian intelligence agency that is a successor of the Soviet-era KGB. Snowden last year fled the United States to Hong Kong and then to Russia, where he was granted at least a year of asylum. U.S. officials want Snowden returned to the United States for prosecution. His disclosures of large numbers of stolen U.S. secret documents sparked a debate around the world about the reach of U.S. electronic surveillance. Rogers did not provide specific evidence to back his suggestions of Russian involvement in Snowden's activities, but said: "Some of the things we're finding we would call clues that certainly would indicate to me that he had some help." Asked whether he is investigating Russian links to Snowden's activities, Rogers said, "Absolutely. And that investigation is ongoing." Senator Dianne Feinstein, who heads the Senate Intelligence Committee, said on "Meet the Press" that Snowden "may well have" had help from Russia. "We don't know at this stage," Feinstein said. Feinstein said Snowden gained employment at the National Security Agency "with the intent to take as much material down as he possibly could." On the ABC program "This Week," U.S. Representative Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, also expressed his belief that Snowden had foreign help. "Hey, listen, I don't think ... Mr. Snowden woke up one day and had the wherewithal to do this all by himself," he said. "I personally believe that he was cultivated by a foreign power to do what he did," McCaul said. Asked whether he thought Russia was that "foreign power," McCaul said, "You know, to say definitively, I can't. I can't answer that." 'TOTALITY OF THE INFORMATION' Rogers indicated that the nature of the material that Snowden obtained suggested foreign involvement. "When you look at the totality of the information he took, the vast majority of it had to do with military, tactical and operational events happening around the world," he told the CBS program "Face the Nation." Michael Morell, the former deputy CIA director, said he shared Rogers' concern about what Russian intelligence services may be doing with Snowden. "I don't have any particular evidence but one of the things I point to when I talk about this is that the disclosures that have been coming recently are very sophisticated in their content and sophisticated in their timing - almost too sophisticated for Mr. Snowden to be deciding on his own. And it seems to me he might be getting some help," Morell said on "Face the Nation." Other U.S. security officials have told Reuters as recently as last week that the United States has no evidence at all that Snowden had any confederates who assisted him or guided him about what NSA materials to hack or how to do so. Snowden told the New York Times in October he did not take any secret NSA documents with him to Russia when he fled there in June 2013. "There's a zero percent chance the Russians or Chinese have received any documents," Snowden told the Times. In remarks aired on Sunday on ABC's "This Week," President Vladimir Putin discussed Snowden's freedom of movement in Russia and that the American would be free to attend the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympics. "Mr. Snowden is subject to the treatment of provisional asylum here in Russia. He has a right to travel freely across the country. He has no special limitation. He can just buy a ticket and come here," Putin said. (Reporting by Will Dunham, Toni Clarke and Susan Cornwell; Editing by Jim Loney and Chris Reese) http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/19/us-usa-security-snowden-idUSBREA0I0EW20140119
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