Saturday, December 28, 2013

How the Government May Be Getting a Big Boost From Edward Snowden's Revelations

I have been suspicious of Edward Snowden's "leaks" from the start.

On June 7, 2013 , in a post titled, Are the Data Collection Leaks Just a Set Up by the Government?wrote:
[I[t appears we have something of a limited hangout here by USG [regarding the Snowden leaks]. The purpose is unkown, though I suspect what may be going on is that the USG may be wanting to use in court cases some of the data they are collecting. BUT in order to do this, they have to acknowledge they have the data in the first place, which may be what the leak to Greenwald is all about (and the leaks to WaPo about USG tracking internet data).

Now that the public is aware this data is collected, Congress will hold hearings, not mind you, resulting in the end of the practice, but to ultimately set "guidelines" on when it can be used.

Let's see how this all plays out, but now that this data collection is being made public, to me the real danger is that the government is now going to be able to openly use it against its subjects--which may have been the purpose of the leaks in the first place.

In a recent interview with Firedoglake, NSA whistleblower William Binney explained the problem the government has if the public isn't aware of their snooping:
The FBI, Drug Enforcement Agency, and law enforcement, along with the NSA, are collecting information on Americans and then using that information to arrest people. “Parallel construction” is then used to “fabricate evidence” that is substituted with evidence that is subsequently collected legally and through mechanisms that have traditionally been an accepted part of criminal investigations.
In former senior NSA employee and whistleblower William Binney’s view, this is the “real problem.” It is occurring without a warrant and they can bring this information into court. He calls it the “planned program perjury policy right out of the Department of Justice.”

“They’re lying to the courts,” Binney explains. The government knows that they are lying when they say here is the evidence used to arrest these people.
In other words, at present the government can't reveal they are catching targets via NSA data collection. They have to cook up false information as to how they are catching people. The Snowden revelations may change this.

In a 54-page decision released Friday, a federal judge in New York ruled  the NSA data collection is legal .

 Throwing out a challenge from the ACLU, Judge William Pauley said the NSA’s practice of collecting millions of Americans’ phone records is constitutional, saying the program “…significantly increases the NSA’s capability to detect the faintest patterns left behind by individuals affiliated with foreign  terrorist organizations.”

There is no doubt the ACLU will appeal this decision to the Supreme Court. But if the Supremes come out in favor of the data collection, then the true result of the Snowden leaks will be more surveillance and surveillance data being used openly in courts against defendants. Very scary.

It should be remembered that the revelations that have been made by Snowden should not have come as a shock to the careful observer of the news. Everything Snowden revealed was understood to be going on  by those who pay attention. He revealed nothing new, other than a few specifics of what was already known in a general sense. Snowden's leaks were, however, picked up, for whatever reason, by mainstream media. Former CIA employee Anderson Cooper ran with the story at CNN for days.

Now the result is this federal court ruling. It will now go to the same Supreme Court that ruled Obamcare is constitutional. Heaven help us.

When Snowden recently said his work is done, he may have really meant it. If his true goal was to open up a major opportunity for the government to use its surveillance techniques directly and openly against us.


  1. "I have been suspicious of Edward Snowden's 'leaks' from the start."

    Likewise!..I exclaimed as I read your first sentence!

    While I love LRC, there has been an almost ubiquitous opinion running on that site from the start which portray Snowden as a hero. I think it is important to pause before heaping praise upon this "leaker" for the very reasons you state above. For me, the biggest clue in this regard was the media constantly propagating the story, ensuring that everyone knew about it. Stories do not get highlighted this way in the MSM without some ulterior motive, and I am grateful that EPJ has been- from day one- skeptical in this regard, as I have. Kudos!

  2. The shifty empire rolls on, and any subject who refuses to cooperate in it can die, go to jail, or fight for scraps on the margins of society.

    Well, probably not many readers of EPJ are enthusiastic supporters of the great Constitution, but anyone who is ought to reconsider. Here's a little exercise to encourage that.

    Imagine a movement in the USA to amend the Constitution such that slavery and involuntary servitude are abolished without qualification and without introducing anything improper to the amendment. There are several proposals for such an amendment, but two have garnered the most attention. Your task is to choose the one that is most likely to accomplish the goal of the movement.

    Proposal One

    Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

    Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

    Proposal Two

    Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall exist within the United States.

    Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

  3. MSM,FOX,MSNBC,Establishment Democrats, Establishment Republicans,Senate leadership,House leadership,Obama.etc....................

    Regardless.........this scenario wouldn't change the deplorable status(traitor) of those who sided with the state over the privacy of the people.
    The people are keeping score.

    1. If the people were actually keeping score, we wouldn't even be discussing the NSA or anything remotely like it.

    2. I didn't say they were DOING anything other than keeping score.
      But once that number is reached.....................................

  4. Quite frankly, i'm less trusting of Glenn Greenwald than i am of Edward Snowden.

    We KNOW that Ed Snowden is a statist. We may sometimes forget that Greenwald is not only a statist, but also now is looking forward to quite a lot of influence and money.
    If we accept for a moment the possibility that Snowden is for real, than Snowden has a hell of a lot more to lose than Greenwald does. Greenwald's career is made no matter what.

    1. I really have a hard time believing that Greenwald is in on the government's scheme. Given that the fact he is one of the few consistent liberals (they're aren't many) when it comes to civil liberties along with war since the Patriot Act's conception it's difficult to see that he would all of a sudden sell out now.

  5. I think you are half right. Snowden's story about how he got those documents doesn't make sense. He has an agenda, remember he used to work for the CIA. So did Obama and a lot of people in the media. I believe what's going on here is CIA attempting to take down their rival agency.

    Consider that Snowden has released much more than he needs to, if he only wanted to get some exposure and a court challenge to NSA's wiretapping. He has released embarrassing things about other governments and is causing an international scandal. Why would NSA do this if they just wanted their spying approved in a court? And what about the public backlash this is causing? People might start using encryption to counter the NSA, or pressure NSA's political friends to limit its powers.

    Finally Greenwald has promised a lot more to come. My bet is that this scandal will be in the headlines until there is serious limits imposed on the NSA. Once again the CIA will be top dog in the intelligence world.