Ace says: Snowden’s Looking a Little Dodgy.
Of course, Ace is talking out of his ass, and doesn’t actually know anything. So let’s talk to a couple of people who actually do know their ass from a hole in the ground on the matter:
As US politicians and pundits push each other aside to tar and feather Ed Snowden for revealing some basic facts about NSA surveillance that the politicians and pundits themselves refused to call out for its clear abuse of basic 4th Amendment principles, two of the most important previous leakers of details of NSA surveillance have spoken out in support of Snowden. Thomas Drake, the former NSA employee who blew the whistle on NSA surveillance abuse (and faced decades in jail on trumped up charges that fell apart in court), has pointed out that Snowden’s revelations confirm his own claims from before:
The NSA programs that Snowden has revealed are nothing new: they date back to the days and weeks after 9/11. I had direct exposure to similar programs, such as Stellar Wind, in 2001. In the first week of October, I had an extraordinary conversation with NSA’s lead attorney. When I pressed hard about the unconstitutionality of Stellar Wind, he said:
“The White House has approved the program; it’s all legal. NSA is the executive agent.”
It was made clear to me that the original intent of government was to gain access to all the information it could without regard for constitutional safeguards. “You don’t understand,” I was told. “We just need the data.
Drake also highlights how he did use the “official” whistleblower channels that many are saying Snowden should have used, and look what happened to him:
I differed as a whistleblower to Snowden only in this respect: in accordance with the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act, I took my concerns up within the chain of command, to the very highest levels at the NSA, and then to Congress and the Department of Defense. I understand why Snowden has taken his course of action, because he’s been following this for years: he’s seen what’s happened to other whistleblowers like me.
By following protocol, you get flagged – just for raising issues. You’re identified as someone they don’t like, someone not to be trusted. I was exposed early on because I was a material witness for two 9/11 congressional investigations. In closed testimony, I told them everything I knew – about Stellar Wind, billions of dollars in fraud, waste and abuse, and the critical intelligence, which the NSA had but did not disclose to other agencies, preventing vital action against known threats. If that intelligence had been shared, it may very well have prevented 9/11.
But as I found out later, none of the material evidence I disclosed went into the official record. It became a state secret even to give information of this kind to the 9/11 investigation.
The end result was that his whistleblowing didn’t do much, but he got arrested because he accidentally kept an almost entirely meaningless document about meeting participants in his home. And, when he was arrested, for just having the list of meeting attendees, he was smeared for causing “exceptionally grave damage to US national security.”
There’s quite a bit more. Do click through and read the whole thing – especially if you’d like some actual information, rather than mainstream Blogosphere hot air being peddled by clueless Big Blogs, as you consider this issue.