Photo depicting Internet spying
hat tip to reader Sua Sponte for the research
Concerns about government abuse of American’s 4th Amendment rights regarding the PRISM program may be overblown. PRISM might not be a spy program. It appears to be commonly-used software the government employs to collect data. That doesn’t change the fact that the government might be seriously abusing it.
The new evidence Snowden has given so far contains a lot of old news but it also includes the news that the government might have full access to the Internet communications of all US citizens within the US. Snowden was also able to obtain a top-secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) document demanding Verizon turn over call records between the US and abroad and here at home.
The primary evidence against the government comes from 41 slides of an NSA presentation which makes the government appear to be spying wantonly on Americans. We have seen five slides to date which prove nothing.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court document (FISA) obtained by Snowden ordered Verizon to turn over “on an ongoing daily basis […] all call detail records” for communications between the US and abroad and here at home. It is not known how he was able to procure this document. He might have had help from someone inside the agency.
Snowden claims that the US government is collecting American’s e-mails, videos, audios et al through an open backdoor to the communications transmitted by the major Internet providers. Silicone Valley is vigorously denying this. Transparency reports do however show they have given the government massive amounts of information.
According to extremetech, PRISM is a webdata management tool that is well-known in the industry. If this is the PRISM that Snowden is talking about as the government claimed today, it is only a tool, not a spy program. If the tool and the government program are one-and-the-same, then the “how” isn’t as important as the “what.”
The Guardian’s fact checking is somewhat in question as noted by the telegraph, a competing newspaper. Snowden is in China. Why China? Why did he say he earned 40% more than he did according to Booz Allen? The government is reporting that PRISM is the management tool that is commonly used and there is nothing secret about it.
It should be noted that Snowden only worked in the NSA for a few months and there is evidence that he orchestrated his getaway beforehand, indicating that this might have been a set up.
Snowden claimed he could hack into any American’s communications but testimony at today’s hearings indicate that is not the case.
Snowden appears to be a dishonest man and a liar.
Snowden swore an oath that he did not obey. Was there justification? We will soon find out. The Guardian and Washington Post are gradually releasing the presentation slides. There are 36 slides left to go, along with anything else Snowden might have stolen from NSA.
There is another twist to the story. The co-author of the Guardian article is Laura Poitras who was accused in 2004 of having advance knowledge of an ambush of US troops and doing nothing to warn the soldiers on November 20, 2004. Both Ms. Poitras and her co-author on the Snowden article, Glenn Greenwald, are anti-American. The guardian is certainly not pro-American.
Rep. Peter King said today that the reporter should be arrested. While I don’t agree with him, it is possible that these reporters are using this story for nefarious ulterior motives.
Before anyone minimizes PRISM, one has to acknowledge that members of Congress in both parties are claiming that this is a serious leak and Snowden must be tried as a traitor.
There is something to Snowden’s story, but what? Certainly, demonizing America is dangerous and puts us in harm’s way. Snowden is beginning to cause serious harm to our relations overseas. Today he told the Chinese Morning Post that the NSA has been hacking computers everywhere since 2009, including computers in China.
At the same time, we need to know more about what data the government is collecting and their justification for doing so.