Major global news outlets, including The New York Times, are identifying 29-year old ex-CIA computer technician Edward Snowden as the whistleblower who leaked documents to international newspapers to illustrate the unconstitutional and illegal surveillance of American citizens. He gave up a high income and powerful position to accepting the possibility of life imprisonment because he realized how out of control the central government has become and that the NSA was lying to even members of Congress during inquiries. He said in an interview with The Guardian:
… the NSA routinely lies in response to congressional inquiries about the scope of surveillance in America. 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 scrutinised most. We collect more digital communications from America than we do from the Russians.”
Elsewhere he said why you should care very deeply whether or not you are watched, even if you have nothing to hide:
Why should people care about surveillance?
Because even if you’re not doing anything wrong you’re being watched and recorded. The storage capability of the systems increases every year consistently by orders of magnitude where it’s getting to the point you don’t have to have done anything wrong. You simply have to eventually fall under suspicion by somebody – even by a wrong call. Then they can use the system to go back in time and scrutinise every decision you’ve ever made, every friend you’ve ever discussed something with and attack you on that basis to sort of derive suspision from an innocent life and paint anyone into context of a wrongdoer.
He said the capabilities that have not yet been disclosed are even more terrifying – that once a machine has been connected to the Internet, it can be specifically identified from that point forward.
When asked why he was effectively risking his life and giving up everything he had ever known to bring the actions to light, he said:
The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your emails or your wife’s phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards.
I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things … 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.
One of the editors for The Atlantic is now claiming that he overheard, and recorded part, of a conversation in which four intelligence officers in Washington were discussing how Snowden and the reporter to whom he leaked the story need to be, “disappeared”.
Personally, I think the man is a hero. If he ran for the Senate when he is eligible next year, I’d vote for him, even if I disagreed with him on most things. A person who is willing to sacrifice his entire life to stop a great evil, falling on his sword to save others, is the type of person you want in a leadership position. It’s time to take back the fourth amendment as well as pass a privacy amendment.