Edward Snowden, a Russian Spy?
On January 19, 2014 Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representative Mike Rogers intimated in a national forum that Edward Snowden was working in concert with the Russian government when he chose to expropriate NSA documents revealing U.S. spyware activities.
The New York Times reported shortly after the legislators' comments that there is no evidence even hinting that Edward Snowden was working with the Russians or any other intelligence agency.
Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representative Mike Rogers say it is suspicious that Mr. Snowden has Russian protection. Ms. Feinstein and Mr. Rogers should reconsider their comments in view of the facts.
After the State Department revoked Mr. Snowden's passport, he became a stateless person and was thus unable to fly anywhere except back home to face criminal indictments. Edward Snowden had been seeking asylum in a South American country.
Representative Rogers and Senator Feinstein's musings are not germane to most Americans' concerns which are the knowledge that the government has been surreptitiously gathering intimate information on all citizens.
President Obama Supports NSA Surveillance Practices
In spite of advice to the contrary President Obama has decided to allow the NSA metadata collection program to proceed mostly as structured.
Within the NSA critique, "Liberty and Security in a Changing World ," interested parties will find the following admonition:
we endorse a broad principle for the future: as a general rule and without senior policy review, the government should not be permitted to collect and store mass, undigested, non-public personal information about US persons for the purpose of enabling future queries and data-mining for foreign intelligence purposes. (p.17)Citizen vigilance is critical because:
... we cannot discount the risk, in light of the lessons of our own history, that at some point in the future, high-level government officials will decide that this massive database of extraordinarily sensitive private information is there for the plucking. Americans must never make the mistake of wholly “trusting” our public officials. As the Church Committee observed more than 35 years ago, when the capacity of government to collect massive amounts of data about individual Americans was still in its infancy, the “massive centralization of . . . information creates a temptation to use it for improper purposes, threatens to ‘chill’ the exercise of First Amendment rights, and is inimical to the privacy of citizens.” (p.114)The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board stated January 23, 2014 that the intrusive NSA metadata collection system has minimal terrorist prevention value, is illegal and should closed.
The Perils of Trusting Intelligence Agencies
It was either faulty or contrived intelligence that persuaded Congress to authorize the Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002. Senator Feinstein and Representative Mike Rogers supported the resolution and their vote along with others was predicated on the following intelligence:
Whereas the efforts of international weapons inspectors, United States intelligence agencies, and Iraqi defectors led to the discovery that Iraq had large stockpiles of chemical weapons and a large scale biological weapons program, and that Iraq had an advanced nuclear weapons development program that was much closer to producing a nuclear weapon than intelligence reporting had previously indicated;It has been verified that the weapons of mass destruction described as the cause for action did not exist.
Sundus Shaker Saleh, an Iraqi refugee and mother of four, has filed a complaint against George W. Bush, Richard B. Cheney, Donald H. Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Colin L. Powell and Paul Wolfowitz.
Sundus Shaker Saleh alleges that the defendants:
broke the law in conspiring and committing the crime of aggression against the people of Iraq. Defendants planned the war against Iraq as early as 1998; manipulated the United States public to support the war by scaring them with images of “mushroom clouds” and conflating the Hussein regime with al-Qaeda; and broke international law by commencing the invasion without proper legal authorization.There is truth in the Saleh complaint.