June 10, 2013
Would you be willing to give up what Edward Snowden has given up? He has given up his high paying job, his home, his girlfriend, his family, his future and his freedom just to expose the monolithic spy machinery that the U.S. government has been secretly building to the world. He says that he does not want to live in a world where there isn't any privacy. He says that he does not want to live in a world where everything that he says and does is recorded. Thanks to Snowden, we now know that the U.S. government has been spying on us to a degree that most people would have never even dared to imagine. Up until now, the general public has known very little about the U.S. government spy grid that knows almost everything about us. But making this information public is going to cost Edward Snowden everything. Essentially, his previous life is now totally over. And if the U.S. government gets their hands on him, he will be very fortunate if he only has to spend the next several decades rotting in some horrible prison somewhere. There is a reason why government whistleblowers are so rare. And most Americans are so apathetic that they wouldn't even give up watching their favorite television show for a single evening to do something good for society. Most Americans never even try to make a difference because they do not believe that it will benefit them personally. Meanwhile, our society continues to fall apart all around us. Hopefully the great sacrifice that Edward Snowden has made will not be in vain. Hopefully people will carefully consider what he has tried to share with the world. The following are 27 quotes from Edward Snowden about U.S. government spying that should send a chill up your spine...
#1 "The majority of people in developed countries spend at least some time interacting with the Internet, and Governments are abusing that necessity in secret to extend their powers beyond what is necessary and appropriate."
#2 "...I believe that at this point in history, the greatest danger to our freedom and way of life comes from the reasonable fear of omniscient State powers kept in check by nothing more than policy documents."
#3 "The government has granted itself power it is not entitled to. There is no public oversight. The result is people like myself have the latitude to go further than they are allowed to."
#4 "...I can't in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they're secretly building."
#5 "The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything."
#6 "With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your e-mails or your wife's phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your e-mails, passwords, phone records, credit cards."
#7 "Any analyst at any time can target anyone. Any selector, anywhere... I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge, to even the President..."
#8 "To do that, the NSA specifically targets the communications of everyone. It ingests them by default. It collects them in its system and it filters them and it analyzes them and it measures them and it stores them for periods of time simply because that's the easiest, most efficient and most valuable way to achieve these ends. So while they may be intending to target someone associated with a foreign government, or someone that they suspect of terrorism, they are collecting YOUR communications to do so."
#9 "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 scrutinized most. We collect more digital communications from America than we do from the Russians."
#10 "...they are intent on making every conversation and every form of behavior in the world known to them."
#11 "Even if you're not doing anything wrong, you're being watched and recorded. ...it's getting to the point where you don't have to have done anything wrong, you simply have to eventually fall under suspicion from somebody, even by a wrong call, and then they can use this system to go back in time and scrutinize every decision you've ever made, every friend you've ever discussed something with, and attack you on that basis, to sort of derive suspicion from an innocent life."
#12 "Allowing the U.S. government to intimidate its people with threats of retaliation for revealing wrongdoing is contrary to the public interest."
#13 "Everyone everywhere now understands how bad things have gotten — and they’re talking about it. They have the power to decide for themselves whether they are willing to sacrifice their privacy to the surveillance state."
#14 "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."
#15 "I don't want to live in a world where there's no privacy, and therefore no room for intellectual exploration and creativity."
#16 "I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong."
#17 "I had been looking for leaders, but I realized that leadership is about being the first to act."
#18 "There are more important things than money. If I were motivated by money, I could have sold these documents to any number of countries and gotten very rich."
#19 "The great fear that I have regarding the outcome for America of these disclosures is that nothing will change. [People] won't be willing to take the risks necessary to stand up and fight to change things... And in the months ahead, the years ahead, it's only going to get worse. [The NSA will] say that... because of the crisis, the dangers that we face in the world, some new and unpredicted threat, we need more authority, we need more power, and there will be nothing the people can do at that point to oppose it. And it will be turnkey tyranny."
#20 "I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant."
#21 "You can't come up against the world's most powerful intelligence agencies and not accept the risk."
#22 "I know the media likes to personalize political debates, and I know the government will demonize me."
#23 "We have got a CIA station just up the road – the consulate here in Hong Kong – and I am sure they are going to be busy for the next week. And that is a concern I will live with for the rest of my life, however long that happens to be."
#24 "I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions, and that the return of this information to the public marks my end."
#25 "There’s no saving me."
#26 "The only thing I fear is the harmful effects on my family, who I won't be able to help any more. That's what keeps me up at night."
#27 "I do not expect to see home again."
Would you make the same choice that Edward Snowden made? Most Americans would not. One CNN reporter says that he really admires Snowden because he has tried to get insiders to come forward with details about government spying for years, but none of them were ever willing to...
As a digital technology writer, I have had more than one former student and colleague tell me about digital switchers they have serviced through which calls and data are diverted to government servers or the big data algorithms they've written to be used on our e-mails by intelligence agencies. I always begged them to write about it or to let me do so while protecting their identities. They refused to come forward and believed my efforts to shield them would be futile. "I don't want to lose my security clearance. Or my freedom," one told me.
And if the U.S. government has anything to say about it, Snowden is most definitely going to pay for what he has done. In fact, according to the Daily Beast, a directorate known as "the Q Group" is already hunting Snowden down...
The people who began chasing Snowden work for the Associate Directorate for Security and Counterintelligence, according to former U.S. intelligence officers who spoke on condition of anonymity. The directorate, sometimes known as “the Q Group,” is continuing to track Snowden now that he’s outed himself as The Guardian’s source, according to the intelligence officers.
If Snowden is not already under the protection of some foreign government (such as China), it will just be a matter of time before U.S. government agents get him.
And how will they treat him once they find him? Well, one reporter overheard a group of U.S. intelligence officials talking about how Edward Snowden should be "disappeared". The following is from a Daily Mail article that was posted on Monday...
A group of intelligence officials were overheard yesterday discussing how the National Security Agency worker who leaked sensitive documents to a reporter last week should be 'disappeared.'
Foreign policy analyst and editor at large of The Atlantic, Steve Clemons, tweeted about the 'disturbing' conversation after listening in to four men who were sitting near him as he waited for a flight at Washington's Dulles airport.
'In Dulles UAL lounge listening to 4 US intel officials saying loudly leaker & reporter on #NSA stuff should be disappeared recorded a bit,' he tweeted at 8:42 a.m. on Saturday.
According to Clemons, the men had been attending an event hosted by the Intelligence and National Security Alliance.
As an American, I am deeply disturbed that the U.S. government is embarrassing itself in front of the rest of the world like this.
The fact that we are collecting trillions of pieces of information on people all over the planet is a massive embarrassment and the fact that our politicians are defending this practice now that it has been exposed is a massive embarrassment.
If the U.S. government continues to act like a Big Brother police state, then the rest of the world will eventually conclude that is exactly what we are. At that point we become the "bad guy" and we lose all credibility with the rest of the planet.