Activists are cheering for NSA leaker Edward Snowden, from Senator Rand Paul and WND publisher Joseph Farah on the right, to Katrina vanden Heuvel of The Nation magazine on the left. Yet a close analysis of his disclosures and the actions he took to protect himself point to a premeditated act of willful treason, not that of a whistleblower. This was the conclusion drawn at a National Press Club conference held on Monday held by Cliff Kincaid of America’s Survival.
Snowden’s disclosures, argues Kincaid, have put America and its allies in danger of further Russian aggression, Islamic terrorism, and Chinese cyber-warfare. He called for immediate hearings in Congress, arguing that Snowden’s disclosures:
- Provided highly classified intelligence information to Russia and China
- Have helped ISIS evade NSA surveillance
- Were designed to undermine the U.S.-Israeli intelligence-sharing relationship
- Made Israel more vulnerable to terrorist attacks
- Undermined the U.S. ability to monitor any nuclear deal Obama may make with Iran
Kincaid, a veteran media analyst and journalist, also argued for Congressional scrutiny of a suspected swap of foreign agents or spies, with convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout going back to Russia, in exchange for Snowden returning to the U.S. to face minor charges and arranging a plea deal to stay out of prison. Bout, who made a weapons deal with undercover DEA agents posing as communist terrorists, is serving a 25-year sentence in a U.S. federal prison. Attorney General Eric Holder has assured Snowden he won’t get the death penalty for violating the Espionage Act.
Kincaid, who just published the book, Back From the Dead: The Return of the Evil Empire, about a resurgent Russia, announced a forthcoming book entitled Blood on His Hands: The True Story of Edward Snowden. He said it is designed to counteract a slew of pro-Snowden books and movies being planned by the likes of Oliver Stone and others.
Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa, the highest-ranking official ever to have defected from the former Soviet bloc, provided a statement for the news conference, comparing Snowden to NSA defectors Bernon Mitchell, William Martin and Victor Norris Hamilton.
All three had unsuccessfully asked to leave Russia soon after their defection. After the Soviet Union collapsed, Hamilton surfaced in a Russian mental hospital. He had been missing for more than 20 years, but no one in the whole world noticed his disappearance. Let’s hope that Snowden, who also damaged the security of our country, will have the same fate.
Kincaid said the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the rise of ISIS, and increased cyber-attacks from China can all be traced back to Snowden’s disclosures. Meanwhile, media coverage in the U.S. has been focused on the NSA’s alleged interest in what ordinary Americans are saying and doing on the Internet.
Although the NSA programs are a subject of dispute in the courts, a bipartisan panel reviewed the Snowden revelations earlier this year and found that the NSA programs did not violate the Constitution. Furthermore, NSA advocates argue that its surveillance efforts were effective in thwarting terrorism. Kincaid noted that it was the NSA which carried out the successful Venona project, identifying Soviet agents in the U.S. Government during World War II. We need such an agency, he argued, at a time when infiltration of Western governments, including our own, is an obvious concern.
Snowden himself admitted that he took his job specifically to gain access to the secrets of the NSA spying program, which he then planned to share with the world. As quoted in the South China Morning Post shortly after he fled to China, he said, “My position with Booz Allen Hamilton granted me access to lists of machines all over the world the NSA hacked… That is why I accepted that position about three months ago.”
NSA surveillance of foreign leaders also raised eyebrows, but as Bernard Kouchner, the former French foreign minister, said at the time: “Let’s be honest, we eavesdrop, too. Everyone is listening to everyone else. But we don’t have the same means as the United States, which makes us jealous.”
Leaders and/or governments frequently mentioned as NSA targets by Snowden’s main media mouthpiece, Glenn Greenwald, are Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. There may be good reasons to listen in on their conversations. Rousseff is a former communist guerrilla with direct ties to Cuba and Fidel Castro. Her government has sought closer relations with Iran and communist China and is a member of the BRICS alliance that includes Russia. Meanwhile, Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorists have established bases in the tri-border region of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina.
While Merkel is touted as a conservative, she grew up in East Germany and worked on “agitation and propaganda” for East Germany’s communist youth organization. Is she a covert spy for Russia? According to a new biography, she is “hiding things” about her past. Questions were raised about former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder when he took a job with Russia’s Gaszprom energy conglomerate, run by former KGB pals of Vladimir Putin. Whether or not it is true of Merkel, Germany and other NATO nations are saturated with Russian spies so surveillance on their activities is only prudent.
Speaking of Germany, Snowden had a meeting with Hans Christian Ströbele in Moscow that was arranged by the Russian FSB, (formerly the KGB), which controls access to Snowden, according to the German newspaper Die Welt. Wikileaks even posted silent videos of the meeting. Ströbele is a radical leftist lawyer who formerly defended the murderous Baader-Meinhof Gang— aka the Red Army Faction (RAF). He calls the RAF “political prisoners.” Similar to the communist lawyer Lynne Stewart, who was convicted for carrying messages from her client, Blind Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, to his Egyptian terrorist network; Ströbele was sentenced to 10 months in prison for carrying messages from jailed RAF members to its allies outside. Ströbele is now on a parliamentary committee that oversees German intelligence, and is leading a campaign to give Snowden asylum in Germany.
To add to the evidence of FSB control of Snowden, Kincaid noted that Snowden’s lawyer in Russia is Anatoly Kucherena, a member of a board that oversees the FSB.
In short, Kincaid argued, the disclosures about NSA spying on domestic targets are overblown, with no charges of illegality having been proven, and there is genuine reason to believe that Snowden sought to discredit the agency by focusing on alleged domestic spying, while providing America’s enemies with the knowledge to avoid NSA monitoring and surveillance. “Selling Snowden as a whistleblower is one of the biggest frauds in history,” he said.
Real vs Fake Whistleblowers
Genuine Whistleblower Martin Edwin Andersen shared the dais with Kincaid. He calls Snowden “Leaker extraordinaire in the service of Vladimir Putin’s gulag.” Andersen is a former senior advisor for policy and planning in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. At DOJ he received stellar performance reviews until he began reporting rampant corruption in the Criminal Division’s international programs. Andersen disclosed that DOJ consultants in Haiti were living and sleeping with 14-year-old girls and giving away classified documents to friends in academia. He also fingered Robert K. Bratt, a senior DOJ Criminal Division manager with top secret clearances, who falsified documents to get two Russian women – who he met through an international dating service – visas, when one had already been denied by the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. Ironically, Bratt had been hired by then-Attorney General Janet Reno to “clean up” the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
Andersen faced over four years of harassment at the hands of DOJ for making these disclosures. This was during the Clinton Administration years between 1997 and 2001 when Eric Holder was Deputy A.G. Sound familiar? But Andersen never felt the need to flee to another country. Why should he? He was uncovering wrongdoing, not engaged in wrongdoing himself.
Andersen was ultimately vindicated by a DOJ Inspector General report, and received the U.S. Office of Special Counsel’s Public Servant Award but he has never fully recovered professionally from the ordeal. He contrasts his whistle blowing with Snowden:
Taking advantage of a security clearance whose rules Snowden took an oath to respect and using a set of talents which permitted him to rob some 1.7 million classified documents, this virtual Viet Cong knowingly grabbed bushels of top secret information that – rather than proving violations of citizen rights and federal law – included vital knowledge of legitimate, legal NSA operations meant to protect this country and its people.
Andersen adds that Snowden has created a dangerous precedent, which suggests, “…individuals in a bureaucracy should, from here on, be permitted to engage in criminality if they themselves disagreed with state policy, especially those that are highly unpopular or controversial measures… The slippery slope emerges when … hundreds of thousands of government workers of many different opinions, values and experiences begin to believe that any government policy about which they have significant disagreement can justifiably be thwarted by felony conduct.”
unequivocally and without hesitation, fully support without making any factual or legal distinction whatsoever, the illegal conduct of individuals such as … Snowden. Some… argue nothing more than policy rhetoric rather than the actual state of the law… While many could argue with the soundness of a policy that might involve surveillance of foreign leaders, there is no waste, fraud abuse or illegality (under US law) involved.
Andersen contrasted another whistleblower, Robert MacLean, with Snowden. In 2003, MacLean revealed that the Transportation Security Administration intended to cut some funds for Air Marshals’ long distance flight coverage in order to cover for questionable spending on certain “pork barrel” projects. At the same time the Marshals had been informed of a terrorist plot to hijack U.S. airliners in a large-scale international rerun of 9/11. MacLean’s disclosures shed light on a TSA action that itself was arguably a violation of federal law — TSA is supposed to give protective priority to “nonstop, long-distance flights” which are high security risks. Three years later, TSA fired MacLean for revealing information it retroactively classified as “sensitive.” In 2014, he is still battling TSA and his case has just been heard by the Supreme Court.