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Bryan Preston

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March 10, 2014 - 10:07 am
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With little fanfare and quite a bit of applause, NSA leaker Edward Snowden virtually took the stage and addressed the attendees of SXSW and the world. Snowden appeared live via satellite from an undisclosed location in Russia, using a greenscreen background evidently to conceal his whereabouts in Russia where he has been granted asylum since August 2013. Instead of revealing his location, Snowden used a graphic of the Declaration of Independence as his backdrop. The conversation was hosted via Google Hangouts.

The event began with a question: Why did Snowden choose to address SXSW? He answered that the technological leaders and developers represented at SXSW could enforce our privacy rights via technological standards.

Snowden advocated using end to end software encryption to defeat the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance. The aim, he said, is to make mass surveillance too expensive and difficult for government agencies to engage in.

Much of the conversation with Snowden veered off into the weeds of discussing the use of personal security apps to defeat the NSA. The technical ability to find, install and use those apps is beyond probably 98% or more Internet users at this point. One of the hosts suggested that Internet service companies could offer encrypted communications for an additional charge. Snowden countered that companies like Google could also elect not to hold the data they gather on users once that data’s business purpose has been fulfilled. Disposing of that data would render mass surveillance more difficult.

Snowden accused two American officials of doing more damage to national security via surveillance than anyone else: NSA directors Michael Hayden and Keith Alexander. Snowden said that both are guilty of reorienting the NSA from cyber defense to attack, compromising America’s edge in intellectual property and cyber security. Snowden argued that his leaks have not harmed national secuity, but have improved national security. Snowden and the ACLU chief technologist on the stage, Chris Soghoian, agreed that the U.S. government has prioritized data gathering over cyber security. This weakens our cyber security against geopolitical foes with extensive hacking and cyber attack capabilities, like China.

Snowden brought up two cases in which mass surveillance ended up missing obvious, reported terror threats. While the NSA was hacking Google to get at metadata, Snowden said, U.S. intelligence missed both the Boston bombers and the underwear bomber. In both of those cases, U.S. intelligence had been warned that the specific individuals were a threat. Yet no action was taken against them  to prevent their attacks. Meanwhile, NSA was scooping up metadata from Americans’ cell phones and Internet use. Soghoian said that the NSA knows who has called an abortion clinic or gay book store, but misses terrorists plotting attacks.

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Top Rated Comments   
You seem to be implying that some administration might use the NSA as a weapon against it's political opponents, but since no administration has ever used even the IRS as a weapon against it's political opponents, even a smidgen, that seems a little far fetched. I think you would have to agree.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Snowden accused two American officials of doing more damage to national security via surveillance than anyone else: NSA directors Michael Hayden and Keith Alexander. "

[Hayden:] "Also, if you want to be less well defended just let us know."

Only an utterly despicable and degenerate excuse for a human being would say something like that. It is functionally the equivalent of saying, "Nice family you got there, especially the children. It sure would be a shame if anything happened to them because you oppose or even question us". And here I thought Hillary was depraved with her, "What difference at this point does it make?" She is but a minor player in the depraved department compared to Hayden.

Alexander is a traitor. He swore an oath to uphold and defend the United States Constitution, but when he testified before Congress on June 18, he stomped on and shredded the United States Constitution and then lied to the U.S. Congress and the public about it.

In 1964, the NSA played a major, probably pivotal, role in expanding America's huge troop commitment to the Vietnam War, escalated within a few years to over half a million men, by providing "evidence" of a major North Vietnamese attack on the American destroyer USS Maddox during the "Gulf of Tonkin Incident".

Congress basically gave authorization for the then ensuing massive escalation of the Vietnam War with the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, a resolution based on ‘events’, part of which were highly exaggerated and part of which never happened. 50,000 more Americans then went on to die for nothing in large part due to the lying and/or incompetence of the NSA.

And the NSA did utterly nothing to prevent the deaths of around 3,000 Americans on September 11, 2001. Alexander claimed that the NSA has stopped over 150 terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, but when called on that claim, he changed it to 2 and could offer no substantiation for the one and very little for the other.

The NSA is yet another high cost government agency/plan that causes more damage than good. I do not think it would be at all unfair to say that the NSA is to security what ObamaCare is to medical care control - a weapon to be used against the American people. It is unfortunate to note that many Americans, on the right as well as on the left, seem to love that kind of thing.

* The NSA was formally established by Harry Truman in an October 24, 1952 memorandum that revised National Security Council Intelligence Directive 9. Since Truman's memorandum was highly classified, the existence of the NSA was not publicly known at that time. Due to its high secrecy, U.S. intelligence agencies would refer to the NSA as "No Such Agency".

(show less)
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Remember that J. Edgar Hoover used the FBI to gather dirt on the President and Congressmen to keep his job as long as he was alive, by using the blackmail that that trove of data facilitated.

The NSA has VASTLY more dirt and we have no clue who might be blackmailing whom to what ends. This threatens our entire world, not just the richest country in history. And there is no effective oversight at all. Snowden PROVED that just by the data he has delivered to responsible reporters
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (16)
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Go back a few years for perspective on Edward Snowden and players in the game.

ESPECIALLY the responses from "ethical - responsible" journalism "professionals". Cheered on and armed by their fraternal fellows entrenched in virtually ALL the civic institutions. Including, expecially, government. Who all seem to work from the same book of directions.

Enabled by that earlier, explosive, "leaking" of secret government papers to "ethical" journalists.

Jack Anderson who lit the fuse that Woodward and Bernstein, their quartermasters Ben Bradlee and Martha Graham, applied to their ammunition. Provided by "Deep Throat" who as "mole" was not what he
was reported to be.

THAT "leakage" to become the money spinner for them all. AND the model for future wannabees for fortune and fame from "investigative reporting"

Then consider the social, legal and government "Fundamental Transformations of the Nation" developing from that "leakage".

"Game-changing tactic" in their guerrilla war on the Constitutional Republic of the USA they called.The Revolution of the 1960s".

NOW in 2008 "outed" by the standard bearer of the "revolutionaries" as the FUNDAMENTAL TRANSFORMATION OF THE NATION". That earlier leaking their WMD that fundamentally damaged the USA.

For what is a fuindamental transformation of a nation but mass destruction?

So the question is WHY is Edward Snowden pilloried at every turn. WHY and HOW is he different from the "Hero" of the earlier leaking, Daniel Ellsberg? With the effects of his leaking the propagandists of that "revoluton" mythologise as Watergate?" Complete with angelic heroes and satanic villains.

Does anyone now remember Daniel Ellsberg's name and what his actions wrought. WHY he did what he did?

But seems there are NO Woodsteins among the current journalists. NO Ben Bradlees and Martha Grahams in today's "ethical - responsible journalism" to "investigate" the STORY of BH Obama and HIS particular "deep throats" among whom Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton.

WHY?
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Perfect headline for once. Couldn't agree more.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
I was curious about this logo, SXSW and this is what I found:

"South by Southwest - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_by_Southwest
Wikipedia
South by Southwest (SXSW) is a set of film, interactive, and music festivals and conferences that take place every spring (usually in March) in Austin, Texas, ..."

Also that Lady Gaga was a featured entertainer.

Good grief!....what's come over us that our very own transitory "hero" Edward Snowden and the rep from the ACLU, this Sogholian guy have chosen the SXSW venue as a platform? They couldn't find any other venue? No one else would finance this long distance Snowden telecast but this SXSW? This "Conference"?

Aside from the individual human tragedies which will slowly evolve from Snowden's defection to the self righteous do-gooders who are actually anarchists in drag, do any of the readers here question what they read?

What are ye a-smokin'?
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
There are a LOT of "Techie/Nerd" types who attend SXSW & these types are either programmers (who might be able to write the next encryption software to save us all from the NSA, TSA, FBI, CIA and/or any of the other "alphabet soup" agencies hell-bent on destroying the Constitution)...OR...are a part of the crowd that simply don't want "big brother" reading what's on their iPhone that have not CHOSEN to "Share" via Social Media. This is a legitimate "Conference" that has a large cross appeal, hence the "entertainment" component. Additionally, their main "Conference" (this one) is based in Austin (already a "tech hub"). Like the TED Conference, they have a main Conference & some smaller sort of "offshoot" ones. You would do well to use resources other than Wikipedia when researching such things.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
He's right, as long as you're not particular about which government it benefitted.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
These techno-kiddies at this SXSW no doubt have been slack-jawed in awe at actually seeing/hearing their Snowden guy speaking from [literally] behind the location concealment curtain with those levers and escaping steam hissing in the background.
The scary thing for thinking grown-up adults is that these eager adolescents will retain their adolescence almost indefinitely.
Not funny.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Snowden gives huge data dump to America's two biggest antagonists, Russia and China. I'm sure Snowden did so for the purest of motives.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's a very safe bet that here's an awful lot of stuff going on here that this Soghoian ACLU guy hasn't any clues about. He and Snowden will probably be very close business associates, if they aren't already, from what we can piece together here and there. They deserve each other.

Remember always that there are terrible balances which are decided upon and which are well beyond our [and even the media's] ken, we who aren't sitting behind those closed doors making those terrible decisions after debate about equally terrible options.

For example, apparently there is still a heated dispute whether or not Churchill knew that Coventry was to be bombed, or, did he think it was going to be London? The idea/issue behind that publicly unsettled dispute is that did or did not Ultra, the breaking of the Nazi code, disclose information in time which could have saved Coventry...or was it to be another blitz air raid on London? Suppose you, dear Reader, had to make such a decision knowing that you couldn't reveal the advance knowledge that Ultra provided via intercepted radio transmissions. Think about such stuff, even if it was "so yesterday".

And let's cool it here about these sensational aspects of Snowden, as sensationally awful as they may appear. He's probably basking in all of the publicity. No question that the media love it and him. No question Snowden has been damaging. OR....has he? How can we outsiders know?

As for that ACLU guy, Soghoian is concerned, we should all remember that it is the "Lawfare" waged by the likes of the ACLU and the C.A.I.R. with their shrill cries of "racism" and "prejudice" and "discrimination" which may very well be responsible for the politically correct reality that has resulted in everybody boarding a flight to anywhere must be frisked, when the proven Israeli style called "profiling" is obviously the most effective screening method. Hence, rather than screen a comparatively few thousand or hundred "profiled" internet connections and phone numbers between selected Muslim terrorists, we now must have gazillions of these connections vacuumed up by Snowden's former employers in order not to single out any set of folks as potential terrorists, lest we "discriminate". Lawfare is a powerful weapon skillfully used by the ACLU and the CAIR. And, that is shrilly protested also. Damned if they do, damned if they don't, eh?

Such is our World today. Lots of sides to everything.

(show less)
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Snowden accused two American officials of doing more damage to national security via surveillance than anyone else: NSA directors Michael Hayden and Keith Alexander. "

[Hayden:] "Also, if you want to be less well defended just let us know."

Only an utterly despicable and degenerate excuse for a human being would say something like that. It is functionally the equivalent of saying, "Nice family you got there, especially the children. It sure would be a shame if anything happened to them because you oppose or even question us". And here I thought Hillary was depraved with her, "What difference at this point does it make?" She is but a minor player in the depraved department compared to Hayden.

Alexander is a traitor. He swore an oath to uphold and defend the United States Constitution, but when he testified before Congress on June 18, he stomped on and shredded the United States Constitution and then lied to the U.S. Congress and the public about it.

In 1964, the NSA played a major, probably pivotal, role in expanding America's huge troop commitment to the Vietnam War, escalated within a few years to over half a million men, by providing "evidence" of a major North Vietnamese attack on the American destroyer USS Maddox during the "Gulf of Tonkin Incident".

Congress basically gave authorization for the then ensuing massive escalation of the Vietnam War with the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, a resolution based on ‘events’, part of which were highly exaggerated and part of which never happened. 50,000 more Americans then went on to die for nothing in large part due to the lying and/or incompetence of the NSA.

And the NSA did utterly nothing to prevent the deaths of around 3,000 Americans on September 11, 2001. Alexander claimed that the NSA has stopped over 150 terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, but when called on that claim, he changed it to 2 and could offer no substantiation for the one and very little for the other.

The NSA is yet another high cost government agency/plan that causes more damage than good. I do not think it would be at all unfair to say that the NSA is to security what ObamaCare is to medical care control - a weapon to be used against the American people. It is unfortunate to note that many Americans, on the right as well as on the left, seem to love that kind of thing.

* The NSA was formally established by Harry Truman in an October 24, 1952 memorandum that revised National Security Council Intelligence Directive 9. Since Truman's memorandum was highly classified, the existence of the NSA was not publicly known at that time. Due to its high secrecy, U.S. intelligence agencies would refer to the NSA as "No Such Agency".

(show less)
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Here's an interesting link:

"
Politics More: NSA Math History
The Founding Of The NSA Is An Awesome Story That Should Make Every American Proud
Walter Hickey

Jun. 10, 2013, 5:04 PM

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-founding-of-the-nsa-was-awesome-and-should-make-every-american-proud-2013-6#ixzz2vb368nyt"...end paste.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Interesting article.

According to the author, the NSA was a great organization that did wonderful amazing things between 1939 and 1950.

Of course all the wonderful things the author mentions happened before the NSA was established in 1952, but the NSA is great because it....it.... well, they would have won WWII if they had existed at the time.

That's the best the NSA can do? They were at their best before they existed?
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Snowden also admitted that other countries do what NSA does. Strange that he didn't talk about that during his interviews with Hans-Christian Ströbele on German TV. Of course, Mr. Brains couldn't check out Ströbele on Wiki to learn that this incredibly honorable man had been temporarily disbarred for smuggling messages from prison for the terrorist Red Army Fraction while he represented them. Ströbel has been using this against the US ever since, but I haven't heard him mention Russia's spy programs.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Remember that J. Edgar Hoover used the FBI to gather dirt on the President and Congressmen to keep his job as long as he was alive, by using the blackmail that that trove of data facilitated.

The NSA has VASTLY more dirt and we have no clue who might be blackmailing whom to what ends. This threatens our entire world, not just the richest country in history. And there is no effective oversight at all. Snowden PROVED that just by the data he has delivered to responsible reporters
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
You seem to be implying that some administration might use the NSA as a weapon against it's political opponents, but since no administration has ever used even the IRS as a weapon against it's political opponents, even a smidgen, that seems a little far fetched. I think you would have to agree.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
“There will be people here today and watching at home who believe that what [Snowden] did was wrong. But his disclosures have improved Internet security,” Soghoian said.

The jury is really still out on that. While it has increased the public knowledge of Internet security a lot of companies are rushing to jump on the bandwagon. It might take a while to figure out how (and if) things have actually improved. In the long run, probably.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
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