The PJ Tatler

NSA Leaker a Soldier in the Ron Paul Revolution?

Campaign finance records show that the professed leaker of information about the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs likely donated to former Rep. Ron Paul’s (R-Texas) presidential campaign.

Records show a donation from an Edward Snowden in Columbia, Md., a community about eight miles from the NSA at Fort Meade, on March 8, 2012, for $250.

A May 6, 2012, record shows a May 6, 2012, contribution to Paul for $250 from an Edward Snowden in Waipahu, Hawaii. His job is listed as a “senior advisor.”

Booz Allen Hamilton, the contractor which employed Snowden for $200,000 a year, said in a statement yesterday that he hadn’t been with the company for long.

“Booz Allen can confirm that Edward Snowden, 29, has been an employee of our firm for less than 3 months, assigned to a team in Hawaii,” the NSA contractor said in a statement. “News reports that this individual has claimed to have leaked classified information are shocking, and if accurate, this action represents a grave violation of the code of conduct and core values of our firm. We will work closely with our clients and authorities in their investigation of this matter.”

Snowden was a technical assistant for the CIA before working for defense contractors. He told The Guardian that he supported a third-party candidate.

“A lot of people in 2008 voted for Obama. I did not vote for him. I voted for a third party. But I believed in Obama’s promises. I was going to disclose it [but waited because of his election]. He continued with the policies of his predecessor.”

Paul slammed the NSA programs in a post on his website today, calling the leaks “dramatic new evidence of illegal government surveillance of our telephone calls, and of the National Security Agency’s deep penetration into American companies such as Facebook and Microsoft to spy on us.”

“We should know by now that when it comes to government power-grabs, we never go back to the status quo even when the ‘crisis’has passed. That part of our freedom and civil liberties once lost is never regained,” Paul wrote. “…First the government listens in on all of our telephone calls without a warrant and then if it finds something it goes to a FISA court and get an illegal approval for what it has already done! This turns the rule of law and due process on its head.”

“The government does not need to know more about what we are doing. We need to know more about what the government is doing. We need to turn the cameras on the police and on the government, not the other way around. We should be thankful for writers like Glenn Greenwald, who broke last week’s story, for taking risks to let us know what the government is doing. There are calls for the persecution of Greenwald and the other whistle-blowers and reporters. They should be defended, as their work defends our freedom.”

Snowden is holed up in a hotel in Hong Kong, where he says his “primary fear is that they will come after my family, my friends, my partner. Anyone I have a relationship with.”

He and his girlfriend moved out of their home near Honolulu on May 1.

“The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your emails or your wife’s phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards,” he said.

“I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things. … I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under. … We have seen enough criminality on the part of government. It is hypocritical to make this allegation against me. They have narrowed the public sphere of influence.”

He said the crux of the leaks is showing “that the NSA routinely lies in response to congressional inquiries about the scope of surveillance in America.”

“I believe that when [senator Ron] Wyden and [senator Mark] Udall asked about the scale of this, they [the NSA] said it did not have the tools to provide an answer. We do have the tools and I have maps showing where people have been scrutinised most. We collect more digital communications from America than we do from the Russians.”

“We hack everyone everywhere. We like to make a distinction between us and the others. But we are in almost every country in the world. We are not at war with these countries,” Snowden continued. “You are not even aware of what is possible. The extent of their capabilities is horrifying. We can plant bugs in machines. Once you go on the network, I can identify your machine. You will never be safe whatever protections you put in place.”

Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971, said in a Guardian op-ed today “Snowden’s whistleblowing gives us the possibility to roll back a key part of what has amounted to an ‘executive coup’ against the US constitution.”

“In my estimation, there has not been in American history a more important leak than Edward Snowden’s release of NSA material – and that definitely includes the Pentagon Papers 40 years ago,” Ellsberg wrote. “…Neither the president nor Congress as a whole may by themselves revoke the fourth amendment – and that’s why what Snowden has revealed so far was secret from the American people.”


John Bolton: Snowden is Guilty of Treason