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Government Privacy United States

Snowden Says No One Listened To 10 Attempts To Raise Concerns At NSA 273

Posted by timothy
from the in-violation-of-the-go-along-to-get-along-directive dept.
As reported by the Washington Post, Edward Snowden denies in no uncertain terms the idea that he failed to go through proper channels to expose what he thought were troubling privacy violations being committed by the NSA, and that he observed as a contractor employed by the agency. The article begins: "[Snowden] said he repeatedly tried to go through official channels to raise concerns about government snooping programs but that his warnings fell on the deaf ears. In testimony to the European Parliament released Friday morning, Snowden wrote that he reported policy or legal issues related to spying programs to more than 10 officials, but as a contractor he had no legal avenue to pursue further whistleblowing." Further, "Elsewhere in his testimony, Snowden described the reaction he received when relating his concerns to co-workers and superiors. The responses, he said, fell into two camps. 'The first were well-meaning but hushed warnings not to "rock the boat," for fear of the sort of retaliation that befell former NSA whistleblowers like Wiebe, Binney, and Drake.' All three of those men, he notes, were subject to intense scrutiny and the threat of criminal prosecution."
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Snowden Says No One Listened To 10 Attempts To Raise Concerns At NSA

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    • by houstonbofh (602064) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @07:53PM (#46442349)
      Other than it says it was from the Washington Post... http://www.washingtonpost.com/... [washingtonpost.com]
      • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

        by wjcofkc (964165)
        I more than suspect they all read very similar. As far as I am concerned as long as the actual "link" is denies in no uncertain terms the idea that he failed to go through proper channels it's up for grabs. Get a grip.
        • by Xest (935314) on Monday March 10, 2014 @04:06AM (#46443819)

          Well Fox News and the Daily Mail have a track record of lying about Snowden, The Daily Mail still makes claims that he's a Russian agent even though even the NSA themselves accept that he is not.

          As such, better to play itself and not waste time with those with a track record of lying about this particular topic no? especially when there's an alternative with a slightly better track record mentioned in the summary itself (and more interesting detail FWIW).

          So it may be up for grabs for you, but for myself and I suspect many other's it's far more preferable to have sources that don't have track records of actually outright lying about shit all the time, especially on the subject in question.

  • Washington Post Link (Score:5, Informative)

    by Nuke Bloodaxe (582098) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @07:51PM (#46442335) Homepage
  • by mellon (7048) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @07:51PM (#46442337) Homepage

    ...the more star systems will slip through your fingers!

    Seriously, if this is true, it's a pretty good illustration of why tin-pot dictators throwing the book and the kitchen sink at whistleblowers are a far more serious security threat than the whistleblowers themselves.

    • Whistleblowers are not a problem; they are the solution.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 09, 2014 @08:10PM (#46442435)

        And where's the justice for the people who ARE the problem?

        Where are the charges of perjury before congress? Of subverting the constitution of the united states? Arguably, of treason, given the massive damage done to the reputation and interests of the US by the actions supported by a few individuals?

        We know that individuals who have done one millionth of what the NSA has done have met harsh punishment at the hands of the law. Where's the punishment here?

        Ah yes, I forgot. Laws only apply to the "little people".

        • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @08:28PM (#46442509) Journal

          And where's the justice for the people who ARE the problem?

          Before we can get justice we need to look for the root of the problem ...

          Who are the one keep electing those assholes into Washington D.C. ?

          We, the people.

          Who are the one letting the government destroying the liberty of the country ?

          We, the people.

          What kind of justice you are after ?

          After all, we do deserve the very kind of government that we keep on electing.

          • by Immerman (2627577) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @09:12PM (#46442689)

            >After all, we do deserve the very kind of government that we keep on electing.

            Only if there's a viable alternative. At present we have two parties that are both owned, for the most part, by the same people, and kept in power by gerrymandering and the systemic weakness of first-past-the-post elections. Given the realities on the ground it's no wonder that the third party candidates tend to be extremists and nutters that don't actually expect to get elected - no responsible individual would choose "third-party politician" as a career path unless they had a size large ace up their sleeve.

            • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @10:19PM (#46442923) Journal

              At present we have two parties that are both owned, for the most part, by the same people, and kept in power by gerrymandering and the systemic weakness of first-past-the-post elections.

              Further, the people in control of the major parties themselves cheat when someone not of their faction tries to go the primary/caucus root. They change rules in midstream, miscount, break meeting rules, physically attack supporters of opponents, pass out bogus delegate slates, and a host of other dirty tricks.

              For a list of the things the Republican have done to just one challenger in the last two cycles, check out the archives of any of the several sites where Ron Paul supporters congregate. (For example, The Daily Paul.) [slashdot.org]

              The Democrats do this as well. (The riots in Chicago in 1968 were largely a public reaction to the party machine repelling a primary effort by Gene McCarthy, popular with the antiwar movement, in favor of Hubert Humphrey. The Paul/Romney nomination battle was eeriely similar.)

            • by phantomfive (622387) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @10:21PM (#46442929) Journal
              That's our fault too. Try getting people to vote for a third party, even here on Slashdot, and they'll start giving you arguments that amount to, "the wrong lizard might get in."
              • by Immerman (2627577) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @11:13PM (#46443143)

                Not entirely - a great deal of the problem is our parents, and their parents (,and ..., but you get the idea). Once duopoly seizes control of a first past the post system it becomes increasingly difficult to oust them. Especially when the lizards are busy demonizing each other as hard as they can and adopting positions so extreme that their "opponent" need not worry about losing votes to a non-lizard.

                The one ray of hope I see is that over half the population doesn't vote at all in any given election, properly leveraged even half of them could throw an election to a dark horse, the question is how to do so. I have a couple ideas -
                - Organize festivals near polling places to encourage non-voters to come out for the food/music/etc, then encourage them to "Vote out the Sock Puppets" as long as they're in the right place anyway.
                - Start a truly new party, something different enough to actually catch people's imagination. Perhaps a direct-democracy party with serious penalties for candidates that don't do as their constituency tells them. After all we've got plenty of different "proof of concept" direct democracies in the world - there's no reason we have to overthrow the government to institute them for real, we could instead implement it as a new faction within the existing system.

                • by pspahn (1175617) on Monday March 10, 2014 @12:44AM (#46443405)

                  Start a truly new party, something different enough to actually catch people's imagination. Perhaps a direct-democracy party with serious penalties for candidates that don't do as their constituency tells them.

                  I gave this some thought a few years ago. I could build a simple application that would allow constituents to vote on any random congressional bill. I would then use this as my primary campaign strategy. "Don't vote for me, vote for you." I would vow to vote the way my constituents wanted me to. Pretty damn simple, really.

                  I started to think further, and that it's kind of a problem I don't have the perfect political background. People would dig up dirt on me and that's not too fun. Then I thought, why would it matter? They're not voting for me, they're voting for themselves!

                  I think there are definitely some congressional districts that would like this type of approach, but probably not many. I think it would be an interesting thing to do, though, simply for the potential advancements to democracy thanks to the digital age. Hell, the number of signatures needed to run is not really that many. Maybe I'll do it, but probably better for someone with more financial freedom than myself to give it a shot.

          • But, but... (Score:5, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 09, 2014 @09:15PM (#46442701)

            If you don't vote Republican, those darned Libruhls are dun gonna make yer kids gay!

            If you don't vote Democrat, you're a fucking bigoted idiot!

            And if you vote Libertarian, you're some kind of anarchist lunatic!

            After all, we do deserve the very kind of government that we keep on electing.

            No, no, it's the fault of those people, don't you see? If only we didn't have to deal with that other party!

          • by deego (587575) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @09:46PM (#46442789)

            Many slashdotters defend "We the people" saying that people have no choice. They claim, for example, both Dems and Reps. take turns tightening the noose whereas people actually like liberty.

            The fact is that Dems. and Reps. *both* are very sensitive to opinion polls.

            The problem *is* We the people. The fact that we slashdotters don't realize in our slashdot bubble is that a *majority* of population does believe that TSA is necessary, and that TSA are good for the nation.

            So, I agree. Ultimately, the real problem is not Dems or Reps. It's We the People. By and large, the policies of countries do tend to reflect what We the People believe.

            You can't excuse the populace as a whole and simply blame the "system."

            • The majority of the people believe the TSA is necessary because that is what they have been told.

            • by penix1 (722987)

              The fact is that Dems. and Reps. *both* are very sensitive to opinion polls.

              Umm... No they aren't or they would pay attention to the polls that rate Congress in the single digits to lower teens.

            • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

              by rtb61 (674572)

              Sensitive to opinion polls. Seriously after the Ukraine crap and the "Fuck the EU" statement, when the truth has been exposed, the US government just stands right up and waffles the bullshit they planned regardless of the truth of a conspiracy to overthrow a foreign government already having being exposed and US mainstream media carries the exact same bullshit as if it was the truth (even when the last few remaining US politicians question it and have a government official spout more bullshit right in thei

            • by rastos1 (601318)

              The fact is that Dems. and Reps. *both* are very sensitive to opinion polls.

              The problem *is* We the people.

              The problem is that in order for democracy to work, the public has to be educated, informed and act rationally. The current system does not really make an educated society a high priority goal and it absolutely works hard against informed and rational decision making at poll booth.

              • by mwvdlee (775178)

                In order for a democracy to work, the public has to have a choice.
                The US two-party system pretty much guarantees the public has very little choice.
                Similar like having an economy with only two competitors pretty much guarantees consumers get shafted.

          • by Jeremi (14640) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @09:51PM (#46442807) Homepage

            Who are the one keep electing those assholes into Washington D.C. ?

            We, the people.

            You're right, of course, but on the other hand any process that involves collective decision-making by 130 million people is bound to act more like a one-move-per-year version of Twitch Plays Pokemon [twitch.tv] than any kind of particularly rational decision-making.

            Add to that the amount of money and effort that is regularly channeled towards manipulating the voting public towards the ends desired by those with resources to do so, and it's impressive that the system works even as well as it does.

            But I wouldn't blame the system's deficiencies on individual voters -- the fact is that any individual or like-minded community of voters could in fact do a better job for their particular needs, but at the national level, at least, coherent communities of voters tend to largely cancel each other out, leading to unpredictable results. Which I suppose leads us to the argument that more power should be delegated to lower levels of government rather than the Federal level...

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by VortexCortex (1117377)

            Before we can get justice we need to look for the root of the problem ...

            As a cyberneticist I have analyzed the problem using Information Theory as applied to the flow of information between multi-scale complexity information pools (of which everything from atoms to brains to agencies to governments can be classified).

            The root of the problem is information disparity. Secrets themselves. The larger and more complex the information pool the more important it is for other pools to be fully aware of its internal state in order to maintain autonomy.

          • by sjames (1099)

            The problem is that we keep getting a 'choice' between death or bungee. Quit blaming the victim and look in to that problem.

            • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Monday March 10, 2014 @12:03AM (#46443319) Journal

              Quit blaming the victim and look in to that problem.

              Dear Sir,

              If those asshole has fooled us, the People, once , yes, I agree with you, that We the People are the victims.

              But how many times the assholes have fooled us, and how many times We, the People keep on electing them back into Washington, D.C. ?

              Already how many times, Sir ? And how many ***MORE*** times are We, the People, willingly to be fooled ?

              Does this come to mind, Sir?

              Fool me once, shame on you.

              Fool me twice, shame on me

              • by sjames (1099)

                How many times has there been a choice with a chance in hell of winning that wasn't one of the assholes?

                Many Americans aren't fooled. They vote while holding their nose. They vote for the crook to keep the racist out, etc.

                • Here we go again, can't vote for them because they have no chance of winning.

                  You need to start voting for the third guy anyway, it's the only way to break the cycle. if no one votes the thirds guy, then no one thinks he has a chance. Enough people have to go first, and make it look possible.

                  The part where you're being played, is the part where they make you think that every election you fail to vote an established party, your country is DOOMED, forever. The best part is you keep falling for it every time.

                  Th

                • by neiras (723124)

                  They vote while holding their nose. They vote for the crook to keep the racist out, etc.

                  Voting while holding your nose? Please. It's all about picking the right political brand so that you feel validated in your peer group. Americans want to be on the winning team and beat the "other guys".

                  If your choices are "crook" and "racist", your system needs breaking.

            • 'Victims' aren't people who keep voting for the same two parties over and over. How do people live with themselves when they vote for evil, even if it's a 'lesser evil'? It would make me want to vomit.

              • by sjames (1099)

                So you recommend voting for the greater evil? Or not voting (and getting chewed out for being 'lazy')?

                There's those who choose to go a bit more extreme, but they tend to end up surrounded by FBI and SWAT, often on trumped up charges.

                • So you recommend voting for the greater evil? Or not voting (and getting chewed out for being 'lazy')?

                  *sigh* Really? While you were listing all the things I could possibly recommend, you seem to have neglected the possibility of voting for third parties, as 'useless' as people think that is. Still, it's more worthwhile than voting for known evils, it's more rational (if you want to increase the probability that things will change), it's more principled, and it sends a message to the two major evils if enough people do it.

          • by dbIII (701233)

            Who are the one keep electing those assholes into Washington D.C. ? We, the people.

            Personally I think not enough of you people are getting off your arses to vote - hence more arseholes get in. If US politics had more of a level playing field instead of being a game for the rich and obsessed there may be a bit less foul play.

          • All you need to do is write and call your congressmen regularly. They're self-interested enough to defend their reelection chances if they're getting enough flak for their votes. But, since Americans don't give a fuck (and the polls prove it), most bureaucrats have made the prudent and pragmatic decision to push domestic spying rather than risk an unseen breach and be the fall guy.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 09, 2014 @08:33PM (#46442533)

      Tarkin. Lord Tarkin. Among other inaccuracies.

    • Cost effectiveness (Score:5, Interesting)

      by whoever57 (658626) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @08:37PM (#46442555) Journal

      Perhaps the criticsm of the NSA should focus on the very poor use of resources. Billions of dollars are used to spy on US citizens with no benefits, while the administration appears to have been caught completely unprepared for the events in Crimea.

      Perhaps a re-allocation of those resources would be beneficial to US interests.

      Unless, of course, the real reason for the spying on US citizens has nothing to do with terrorism and everything to do with suppressing free speech and legal dissent.

      • by mellon (7048)

        You say "the real reason" as if there could only ever be one reason for doing something...

      • the administration appears to have been caught completely unprepared for the events in Crimea.

        How do you know that the events in Crimea aren't occurring the way the US administration wants?

      • by gIobaljustin (3526197) on Monday March 10, 2014 @03:01AM (#46443685) Homepage

        Perhaps the criticsm of the NSA should focus on the very poor use of resources.

        No. We must focus on the fact that they're infringing upon our freedoms. As soon as you make it about efficacy, you start to seem as if you're saying it would be okay if the programs were effective, and that is simply not true. The US is supposed to be the land of the free and the home of the brave, so freedom should reign above all.

      • by tukang (1209392)
        Or maybe the gov't genuinely believes these programs are necessary and the parties profiting from these programs are good snakes oil salesmen. After all, the gov't spends tens of billions each year, so you can bet whoever is at the receiving end of that will do whatever they can to keep the cash flowing. Never attribute to malice that which can be attributed to stupidity.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 09, 2014 @07:52PM (#46442347)

    He exposed a situation that HAD TO BE ignored "for the good of the surveillance effort and thus, the country" - had they admitted it, it would have to be shut down.

    Instead they've managed to kind of slide on the issue of legality, nobody is taking it up with the SCOTUS successfully because "nobody has grounds" to sue without being able to prove damages (due to the secrecy, catch 22 et al) so basically, the NSA strategy of "ignore it until the next war or administration" seems to be successful at least in keeping the sword of judicial damocles off their heads.

    What use is whistleblowing if they're able to ignore the law and the 9 robed wizards don't wish to enforce the law? None. "Checks and balances" is now "blank checks"

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 09, 2014 @08:06PM (#46442405)

      Furthermore, once you've realized this IS NOT the first time the US intelligence agencies have LIED to protect themselves "and the country by extension",
      (Pearl Harbor, USS Maddox, JFK, RFK, USS Liberty, Iran/Contra, 9/11, Iraq, UBL etc etc) and that this "protect the quo, for the nation" attitude has supplanted
      the checks and balances *and truth* that USED to run our country prior to the cold wars of monkey business...

      how do you hold your head up and wave the flag, knowing all that? An honest man can't.

  • sounds like challenger where it takes a big event to get the PHB's to under stand what the issues really are.

  • by tomhath (637240) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @08:24PM (#46442485)
    Basically he says that he told his supervisors that, in his opinion, a spy agency shouldn't be spying. To back up that opinion he states that he doesn't know of any good that has come from the intelligence collection. And now he wonders why people at the spy agency where he worked told him to go back to his desk and do his job.
    • by vux984 (928602) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @08:58PM (#46442641)

      Basically he says that he told his supervisors that, in his opinion, a spy agency shouldn't be spying.

      So if a general decides to annex kansas and a soldier objects you are going to post that he "basically told his supervisors that in his opinion a military organization shouldn't be conducting military operations." and his opinion should be ignored.

      Yeah, good grasp of the situation. The NSA is a spy agency, with specific objectives. Their activities were so far removed from those objects that they are completely unjustifiable, and a collossal waste of effort and money.

    • Basically he says that he told his supervisors that, in his opinion, a spy agency shouldn't be spying.

      A spy agency, which is part of the government, shouldn't be violating people's fundamental rights, nor should it be violating the very constitution that it's supposed to be bound to. A mere straw man.

      But hey, I guess we shouldn't tell murderers not to murder, or act outraged when they do. Because that's what it's all about, right?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 09, 2014 @08:26PM (#46442491)

    From the article: "Both Obama and his national security adviser, Susan E. Rice, have said that Snowden should return to the United States and face criminal sanctions for his actions."

    Perhaps the Obama administration could set an example of following US law by appointing a special prosecutor to investigate the legality of the recent revelations? It's always good to practice what you preach!

  • Satellite and radar warfare. Used against the American people and non-terrorists populations globally.

    http://www.wikileaks-forum.com... [wikileaks-forum.com]

  • by russotto (537200) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @10:52PM (#46443059) Journal

    ...are those connected directly to /dev/null. There was no "right way" (in the eyes of the US Government) for Snowden to do anything about these programs, because (again in the eyes of the US Government) these programs are perfectly fine.

    To object to the way Snowden did things, suggesting there was a better, effective, way of doing it that he somehow overlooked, is pure disingenuousness on the part of President Obama.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 09, 2014 @11:19PM (#46443161)

    I remember the Drake story. The US Government basically ignored its own constitution, the District Attorney changed from prosecutor to persecutor, and he was told to either shut up or face 40 years in jail. Similarly, his home phone was bugged, people followed him, the IRS was knocking on his door every day, his family faced challenges (one was at college, had to meet with the dean on trumped up charges). The government went *WAY* over the line, and did not seem to mind (and he was only interested in keeping the 'guaranteed constitutional' parts of 'THIN THREAD' within the program). His boss and several others insisted that they ignore the 'spy on Americans without judicial oversight' part and it went well beyond 'you are fired'.

  • This is a Snowden video interview:
    http://www.isidewith.com/news/... [isidewith.com]

    I don't know if that has been posted here before nor if the claim that NONE of US media have published this or if it was removed from YouTube shortly after publishing.
    For what it's worth. Informative for sure, seen as it stands.

  • by skiminki (1546281) on Monday March 10, 2014 @02:02AM (#46443577)

    and the whistleblower candidate will be properly flagged, monitored, caught in action, and silently jailed before he/she manages to release anything to the public.

  • That... (Score:5, Funny)

    by 101percent (589072) on Monday March 10, 2014 @03:11AM (#46443711)
    I guess he is the only person they weren't listening to.

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