90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Monday, June 10, 2013

Leaker Wanted To Expose ‘Surveillance State,’ May Be Prosecuted

The National Security Agency has asked the Justice Department to begin a criminal investigation of 29-year-old Edward Snowden.

Snowden has come forward as the person who leaked documents about the extensive surveillance of domestic communications the NSA conducts as it hunts down terrorists.

Snowden is currently seeking asylum in Hong Kong. He was a high school dropout and soldier before he became an intelligence analyst for the NSA.

The Guardian newspaper in Britain was the first to report Snowden’s identity.

Read More:

Wall Street Journal (opinion) “Real damage was done last week by Edward Snowden, who on Sunday claimed credit for leaking the secrets he learned while working for NSA contractors. Every time we tell terrorists how we can detect them, we encourage them to find ways to avoid detection.”

New York Times “Then the United States must set up a strategy for prosecuting a man whom many will see as a hero for provoking a debate that President Obama himself has said he welcomes — amid already fierce criticism of the administration’s crackdown on leaks.”

Guest:


Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • http://www.facebook.com/ed.devereaux Ed Devereaux

    He ran to China, that does not make him a whistle blower, but makes him a traitor. 

    • Vanessa D

      Please explain your definition of the word “traitor.”

  • J Frog

    I remember in 2008 when State Dept. employees were found illegally perusing celebrity’s and politician’s passport applications.  I remember when Robert Bork’s video rentals were leaked to the press.  I remember when Sen. Harry Reid, during the election, claimed to know how much tax Mitt Romney paid on his personal tax returns.  When stored data exists, it tends to leak out and be used in nefarious ways.

  • Unterthurn

    In Germany it was reported the NSA has enough storage to keep files of every person’s communications that they will make for the next 100 years who lives on Earth. This includes Facebook posts, Google searches, emails, telephone calls, etc. And if a person they define/label as suspicious they can then call up their data file and sieve through it for what they need. That is scary!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ed.devereaux Ed Devereaux

    Sounds like the guest is trying to justify his support of the president. A “secret court” worries me more then the surveillance. So now that it is legal it is ok? So if Zimmerman is found not guilty because of Florida’s “Stand you ground” law does that make the killing of that kid ok. 

  • sam

    Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.  Ben Franklin

  • lexpublius

    Ever heard of Orwell’s book, “1984″?

    I am waiting for delivery of my web cam kit from Uncle Sam along
    with an Executive Order threatening me with prison if I fail to install
    it in my bedroom, bathroom, living room, kitchen, patio, car, garage,
    garden, office, etc., and to notify them if there are any other areas
    they should be monitoring even if not on the list.  ANDThis is not news; it just shows that the majority does not pay attention. James Risner published a NYTimes story 6 years ago that exposed this Government spying; and, he was not first — Art Bell documented it on his show well before 1998. Anyone who is surprised about this has been asleep at the wheel OR is part of mainstream BRAINWASHED America.The authors of A STILL SMALL VOICE: The Vatican, the USA, and Israel in Bible Prophecy fully documented the cozy relationship between the USA and CHINA — the Chinese will NOT protect Edward Snowden — if he’s so smart, why couldn’t he figure that out? And why risk life in prison to expose an open secret ANYWAY??? He is not a hero; he’s probably seeking personal attention.

  • J_abbey

    Mr Snowden reveals something more troubling than that the US is collecting “metadata”.  That is the extensive access that he (and presumably thousands of others) had to internal communications.  Although it is presumably illegal for the US Government to monitor domestic communications without a warrant, it is not at all clear that there is anything that prevents “casual” or “unintentional” eavesdropping on law-abiding citizens.  In my view, that is the real danger to building a data-mining infrastructure: not what it is intended for (catching terrorists), but instead what it could be used for.
    Doesn’t anyone remember J. Edgar Hoover?

  • Jesse

    It strikes me that there’s an element of fantasy in the whistleblower Snowdon’s assertion that the general public should decide whether this level of data-mining is appropriate. As a high level intelligence official, doesn’t he know that that’s not how laws are enforced in this country? For the record, I oppose the NSA’s broad snooping.
    -Jesse
    Vermont

  • Heteromeles

    Considering what happened to Julian Assange, I can see why Snowdon went to Hong Kong.  It’s a balance of power thing.

    As for illegal spying, that’s been conducted in the US since the 1920s, I believe (I don’t have Weiner’s history of the FBI to hand, but Hoover did black bag ops for most of the 20th Century, as did the CIA). 

    No, the problem here is that this methods are illegal for a reason.  This isn’t about someone whining that we’re fighting by Marquis of Queensbury rules in a street fight. 

    Rather, illegal wiretapping has, for decades, proved to be a crappy way of getting evidence and convictions, let alone preventing crime.  It’s rather better for things like blackmail, extortion, and harassment.

    I happen to agree with Mr. Snowdon, but I’d add that it isn’t the principle of the thing, it’s the efficacy of the thing.  Empowering a bunch of peeping toms with petty vendettas and whacked-out conspiracy theories is never a good way to run any spy agency, anywhere in the world.  Unfortunately, it’s too often the norm in the US, but that doesn’t mean we should protect it.

  • Lisa Pineau

    Political posturing more than substance is the cause of concern expressed by those who should know better.  National security is the one responsibility all Americans agree is national government responsibility.  This requires minor intrusion of privacy for those who call or receive calls from overseas numbers attached to overseas suspected terrorists.  Further, without names attached, a database of phone numbers in the US hardly involves invasion of privacy.  Don’t senators realize they threaten the fabric of our traditional two-party system by such extremism?  They should be explaining national security means and ends to the American public, not fostering drama that makes issues of concern out of nothing.  They are still displaying that ancient policy of “uniting to take down the other party” far beyond what can possibly help the nation.  Tackle/take-down mentality in Washington DC wastes money and turned out to be nationally damaging long ago.  Wiser elected officials needed.

  • Lisa Pineau

    Suggest Solzhenitsyn for real-world Orwell.  Great to notice national events and people affected but histrionics only cloud.  President Obama is the first president in many years to actually welcome national conversation and is changing the landscape of American democracy for the better as a result; your comments would have found little base in those years.  Your friends are in the White House, little you know it.

    • SteveTheTeacher

       The degree to which some people can be deceived by the words of those in power, even in the face of  contradictory actions, is disturbing. 

      What is the meaning of a National Conversation?

      Has President Obama put his universal domestic surveillance or drone killing programs on hold while we hold our national conversation?

      Has President Obama opened up these programs to full public scrutiny?

      Has President Obama empowered a process by which the outcomes of a national consensus regarding these programs will direct the policy decisions regarding these programs?

      It sounded nice to hear President Obama comment that there should be a national conversation regarding universal domestic surveillance of all phone calls and internet.  It also sounded nice to hear President Obama state that people should  listen to what Media Benjamin had to say when she protested his previously covert drone killing program at the National Defense University.

      Nevertheless, President Obama’s administration is investigate the charges that can be brought against  Edward Snowden and, perhaps, Glen Greenwald, and  Media was forceably removed from President Obama’s press conference.  Phone surveillance and PRISM continue as you read this (I’m undoubtedly moving up the ranks on President Obama’s target list) and days after his press conference President Obama authorized drone strikes which killed several small children in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  

      President Obama presents the issue of universal surveillance as one of security versus privacy.  Yet I share the concern of those aware of this countries sordid history of COINTELPRO and targeting of activists – witness the recent FBI target of those affiliated with the Occupy Movement.  All it takes is getting one well positioned government functionary upset, and they have the record of all your communications and internet browsings throughout your life to use against you.

      President Obama uses flowery language in referring to his military actions as part of a “Just war.” Nevertheless, murder is murder, and nobody, not even President Obama, has the right to kill innocent civilians just because they were near other people he wanted to kill.  According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, President Obama has given authority for the launch of over 300 drone strikes which have killed several hundred civilians including over 150 children.  President Obama, like President Bush before him, is a war criminal.  I will continue to work to bring these men to trial for their crimes against humanity.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

August 20 Comment

James Foley Remembered For His ‘Extraordinary Courage’

U.S. officials have confirmed the authenticity of a video showing the beheading of the American journalist.

August 20 5 Comments

L.A. Moves To Arrest Fewer Misbehaving Students

The change in the school district's policy is the culmination of a long fight by judges, government officials, advocates and attorneys.

August 19 5 Comments

Abandoned Homes In Buffalo, N.Y. Selling For $1

Instead of tearing the homes down, city officials are selling them for $1, as part of the "Urban Homestead Program."

August 19 Comment

A Look At U.S. Military Options In Iraq

Retired Admiral William Fallon, who was head of United States Central Command during the Iraq War, discusses the current conflict.