According to the Guardian, a United Kingdom newspaper and website that has been given exclusive interviews with whistleblower Edward Snowden about the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance program, there are several things every American should know about the spy program.
“There is very little information on private individuals the intelligence service does not have access to,” Snowden told the Guardian.
“The reality is this: If an NSA, FBI, CIA or DIA analyst has access to query raw SIGINT (signals intelligence) databases, they can enter and get results for anything they want. Phone number, email, user ID, cell phone handset ID (IMEI), and so on, it’s all the same. The restrictions against this are police based, not technically based, and can change at any time. Additionally, audits are cursory, incomplete, and easily fooled by fake justifications,” Snowden told the Guardian.
“If I target an email address, for example under FAA 702, and that email address sent something to you, Joe America, the analyst gets it. All of it. IPs, raw data, content, headers, attachments, everything. And it gets saved for a very long time – and can be extended further with waivers rather than warrants.”
Snowden balked at the notion he was a spy for the Chinese. “The U.S. media has a knee-jerk ‘Red China’ reaction to anything involving Hong Kong or the People’s Republic of China, and is intended to distract from the issue of U.S. government misconduct. Ask yourself: if I were a Chinese spy, why wouldn’t I have flown directly to Beijing? I would be living in a palace petting a phoenix by now.”
Snowden, a 29-year-old former NSA contractor, said any assertion that he was a spy for the Chinese was a “predictable smear” campaign against him and ruined any chances he had for a fair trial.
He made these revealing comments during an online question and answer session last Monday hosted by The Guardian’s website http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/17/edward-snowden-nsa-files-whistleblower.
“I have had no contact with the Chinese government,” Snowden said. “I only work with journalists.” He noted that he waited to release the sensitive information hoping that President Obama would right the surveillance wrongs.
“Obama’s campaign promises and election gave me faith that he would lead us toward fixing the problems he outlined in his quest for votes. Many Americans felt similarly. Unfortunately, shortly after assuming power, he closed the door on investigating systemic violations, deepened and expanded several abusive programs, and refused to spend the political capital to end the kind of human rights violations like we see at Guantanamo, where men still sit without charges,” the Guardian reported.
“All I can say right now is the U.S. government is not going to be able to cover this up by jailing or murdering me. Truth is coming, and it cannot be stopped.
“If the Obama administration responds with an even harsher hand against me, they can be assured that they’ll soon find themselves facing an equally harsh public response.