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back to article Snowden: 'I have data on EVERY NSA operation against China'

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has claimed he taught a course in “cyber-counterintelligence” against China and has access to data on every active operation mounted against the People’s Republic by the US spy agency. In a lengthy interview with the New York Times, Snowden revealed more about his time at the National Security …

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Not exclusive.

They are both a target and a perpetrator.

The same applies to most countries now. Covert intelligence is just part of the standard national security and diplomatic package, as is putting on a show of outrage upon discovering your side has been a victim of the same methods you've been using on others. It's only spying if you get caught.

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Re: Not exclusive.

Has been for at least my lifetime, and probably that of many of my ancestors too.

What concerns me about Mr Snowden is that he may be getting too excited by the leaking and go beyond public interest (NSA spies on Americans shocker) to getting a bunch of people killed for acting within their own framework of morals and beliefs in the name of his own morals and beliefs.

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Re: Not exclusive.

You could be right. Until I read this article I thought that Snowden was more or less 100% right in what he did and that that the US throwing the espionage act at him was more than vindictive, but now I am not so sure.

It seems that he may be so wrapped up in his beliefs about what is right and wrong, and a general naiveness as to how the world works, that he has not kept a clear line between whistleblowing in the public interest versus holding information clearly of interest to other States.

He's now damaging his integrity with these latest revelations, so he is either so wrapped up in his halo that he can't see the sunshine or playing a very dangerous game of chess to persuade the Chinese to allow him to move there when his Russian visa expires next year, but that would just play into accusations of him being a spy, which indeed he may become if he hands the data over to the Chinese in the future as payment for them allowing him to go back to China.

Overall I supported his whistleblowing but he needs to be absolutely sure he's not aiding and abetting the Chinese.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not exclusive.

He still is 100% right.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not exclusive.

Well, personally, if I was in limbo, China would be a good choice if I had to choose somewhere to emigrate to...

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Re: Not exclusive.

@Suricou Raven: "Covert intelligence is just part of the standard national security and diplomatic package"

Not when it appears on the front page of the New York Times ..

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Re: Not exclusive.

"He's now damaging his integrity with these latest revelations,"

I have completely the opposite view. He is demonstrating his integrity.

"he needs to be absolutely sure he's not aiding and abetting the Chinese."

Yet the biggest enemy of the world is America.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not exclusive.

To give you another view, I'm quite sure that Hitler and Stalin also acted within their own framework of morals and beliefs. That doesn't mean that they were right, and shouldn't count as an excuse - not for them and not for the NSA.

Actually, the NSA has one big thing speaking against them: they worked against the will of the people, which is a no-no in a democracy. Hitler and Stalin didn't have to care about that, because they weren't in democracies. One could argue that the NSA is morally worse off than those dictators.

Yes, the relevations might get a few NSA workers killed. So what?

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Re: "wrapped up in [..] a general naiveness as to how the world works"

What exactly is that supposed to mean ?

Are you implying that Snowden should have said to himself : "I cannot stand this blanket surveillance state anymore, but everyone is doing it, so I'll just resign quietly and forget about the Constitution of my country" ?

Is that what you're saying ?

Because that's how it looks to me. And I disagree. We obviously need more naiveness.

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Oh the irony...

"Not when it appears on the front page of the New York Times ."

The New York Times is blocked in China.

...mine's the one with the Chinese z-visa in the pocket.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @AC 10:24 Not exclusive.

"Yes, the relevations might get a few NSA workers killed. So what?"

While you are free to agree or disagree with Snowden's actions, the politics and the methods of most of the Wests Intelligence Apparatus, I find your willingness to throw away human life, regardless of their employment, a little distasteful.

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Re: Not exclusive.

I'm quite sure that Hitler and Stalin ...

Thanks to Godwin's Law, such a comparison probably isn't going to garner you quite as many upvotes as you might have hoped. Save the Hitler comparisons for much later in the thread (assuming it's even appropriate there).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not exclusive.

Well, Snowden has just made himself wanted by the Chinese as well, and not by good means.

If he disappears, it may not be Gitmo where he'll show up again. As a matter of fact, he may never show up again at all, as he has now declared himself even a bigger danger to the US, and a much more desirable source of info for the Chinese.

Not his smartest move IMHO.

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Pint

Re: Not exclusive.

This is of course all interesting questions as the USA, China and Russia and their relations are so important for the future of this planet. Compared to Russia (or Japan) China has not been much of an Imperialist in its history. One thing you Americans seldom know is how the Russians adore you, that is the old image of you they still believe in. Next to you they adore the Germans, During the Cold War there was nothing similar in The Soviet Union to the Communist fear and paranoia in the USA. That was All American. I admit Cuba was scary stuff but perhaps one should remember Turkey too with the US bombs.

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Childcatcher

Re: Not exclusive.

Compared to Russia (or Japan) China has not been much of an Imperialist in its history.

Missed the part where they managed to hold on to their conquered territories, did you? Completely overlooked the whole "One China" principle (especially as it applies to Tibet). They have had much more practice than pretty much any other country I can think of in terms of ongoing imperialistic efforts, starting with Qin Shi Huang and going on up to the present day.

You are right, the comparison completely favors the Chinese in that they have been much better in their imperial aspirations in comparison to Japan and Russia.

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Re: Not exclusive.

"if I was in limbo, China would be a good choice if I had to choose somewhere to emigrate to..."

You wouldn't say that if you'd ever eaten the food there...

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acting within their own framework of morals and beliefs in the name of his own morals and beliefs.

>>...acting within their own framework of morals and beliefs in the name of his own morals and beliefs.<<

My post above currently stands at 6 up votes and 14 down votes. Interestingly, Europe upvoted and all the down votes appeared when USA came online. Not going to read anything into that, just noticed it and thought it worth mentioning.

As for the down votes, that's fine, disagree and have different opinions, but make *some* effort to argue them out! Which bit do you find against your world view enough to press a JavaScript button, but not enough to actually go so far as to type letters and form sentences for? No, seriously? I am happy to change my mind if convinced

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Re: Not exclusive.

I only find it fascinating how he was self-described as a systems administrator, now suddenly he is an information intelligence operative.

Even more fascinating, as when I met him in 2008, he was only a systems administrator.

And a prima donna.

With remarkably average skills as an SA.

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Re: Not exclusive.

"He's now damaging his integrity with these latest revelations,..."

Erm, his claims are so grandiose, compared to his prior description of his job as one of a systems administrator, as to appear to be an attempt at creating an insanity defense for himself.

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Re: Not exclusive.

"I have completely the opposite view. He is demonstrating his integrity."

As I said before, his integrity was well and truly gone on day one.

His credibility is now long gone as well.

I met him in 2008, he was a systems administrator. His original statements all said he was a systems administrator.

Now, suddenly, he's a seekret agent.

If so, then I'm the King of Scotland.

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Re: Not exclusive.

"Actually, the NSA has one big thing speaking against them: they worked against the will of the people, which is a no-no in a democracy."

FDR and Churchill did things against the will of the people and even stomped all over civil rights during WWII.

I guess we should all apologize to Japan and Germany, then surrender to them.

"Yes, the relevations might get a few NSA workers killed. So what?"

So nice of you to say so what to the death of US government workers. How about I volunteer your family for such a fate and say so what?

No, I wouldn't.

That is the difference between a civilized man and one who is not civilized.

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Re: "wrapped up in [..] a general naiveness as to how the world works"

"Are you implying that Snowden should have said to himself : "I cannot stand this blanket surveillance state anymore, but everyone is doing it, so I'll just resign quietly and forget about the Constitution of my country" ?"

Is there not a US Congress? Is there not a US press, rather than a foreign press?

Did he approach any Congressional leader?

First question: Yes. Second question: Yes. Third question: No.

He didn't approach any domestic press either.

Sorry, he's off for his own publicity.

His sudden self-elevation from a SA to network spook only proves it.

But then, I have met the man when he was sent to help recover US government networks from a PRC attack.

He was a prima donna then, he still is.

Only, his songs are off key by a *lot* now.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Oh the irony...

"The New York Times is blocked in China."

Erm, not for *all* Chinese networks. There are certain special purpose military networks that do not block anything.

I'll not comment beyond that, save that they know our networks as well.

Think of it as Spy vs Spy, only messier, but nobody so far has gotten badly hurt.

Well, save one Russian oil pipeline that was made with stolen Canadian designs that were, erm, altered at US counterintelligence behest.

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Re: @AC 10:24 Not exclusive.

"While you are free to agree or disagree with Snowden's actions, the politics and the methods of most of the Wests Intelligence Apparatus, I find your willingness to throw away human life, regardless of their employment, a little distasteful."

The funny thing is, ask any combat veteran if they find the willingness to throw away human life distasteful, they'd all find it extremely distasteful.

Even the enemy.

We'd have been happier if they simply decided to quit and go home.

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Re: Not exclusive.

That is roughly what St Julian of Assange said; they're informants, they knew what they were letting themselves in for.

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Re: @AC 10:24 Not exclusive.

The children that appear to defend this egregious crap are unlikely to ever see active duty, except on their screens when playing CoD.

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Re: Not exclusive.

Actually, it's only spying if you got SHOT.

I was once able to avoid assignment to a project in the PRC by (among other things) telling my manager I'd volunteer to report to the Defense Intelligence Agency about it if they made me go. They didn't.

A SMART adversary will always assume people it brings in so they can reveal secrets will also be stealing them; patriotic duty is not confined to nationals of any one country.

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Re: Not exclusive.

"Has been for at least my lifetime, and probably that of many of my ancestors too.

What concerns me about Mr Snowden is that he may be getting too excited by the leaking and go beyond public interest (NSA spies on Americans shocker) to getting a bunch of people killed for acting within their own framework of morals and beliefs in the name of his own morals and beliefs"

Indeed. Anyone who thinks this is new or confined to a single nation or other group of individuals (Deutsche Bundesbahn were up to it and a number of other German organisations) is clearly smoking the wrong pipe mixture:

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/davidblair/100242400/france-is-shocked-shocked-i-tell-you-that-america-would-spy-on-its-allies/

All that Snowden and the would be do-gooders succeed in doing is altering the playing field in the favour of those who oppose their home country. They should not be surprised when payback time arrives, which it will do, one way or another. Quite possibly in the form of a Chinese end.

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Re: Not exclusive.

getting a bunch of people killed for acting within their own framework of morals and beliefs in the name of his own morals and beliefs

Everyone "act[s] within their own framework of morals and beliefs", if they consider their actions at all. That's what morality entails: considering whether an action is good.1

Consequently, when two factions are opposed, there must be a conflict between their "morals and beliefs", except in the unlikely event that one or both factions is acting in an entirely unconsidered manner. Clearly that's not the case here, since both sides2 are presenting arguments justifying their positions.

Leaving aside the question of whether indeed anyone is "getting ... killed" as a direct result of Snowden's actions, the issue of conflicting "morals and beliefs" does not have any bearing on the morality (or, for that matter, ethical appropriateness) of Snowden's actions.

1Whether an unconsidered action can be moral or immoral is a matter of philosophical debate; Kant, for example, argued that morality only attaches when the actor is cognizant of the good or evil in an action.

2Really "all sides", since there are many positions on the matter.

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Anonymous Coward

Right then...

That's bullshit.

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I can't figure this guy out ...

Why would any .gov actually trust him?

More to the point, why would ANY human trust him?

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Re: I can't figure this guy out ...

Because he's telling the (unpalatable) truth?

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@deadlockvictim (was: Re: I can't figure this guy out ...)

Yeah, but ... is there any trust there?

Seriously, think about it.

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Re: @deadlockvictim (was: I can't figure this guy out ...)

There is no 'truth', everything isn't binary opposites in the world, in the analogue world it's all a murky mess. 'Truth' changes with time and perspective, walls are solid if you're 4 years old and a mass of nothingness and wave functions of you're a nuclear physicist. Both are true. There is your truth and my truth and lots of other truths, but with very few exceptions no absolute truths.

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Re: @deadlockvictim (was: I can't figure this guy out ...)

Hi Jake,

Trust on whose side? We have a guy who claims to be a whistleblower and who reveals claims about the American Government's dirty little secrets. Given their response to him, I trust what he says to be true. The American Government just doesn't annul people's passports for no good reason. They are angry with him. He has made his life miserable for he believes to be right.

He is calling the American Government's bluff by playing his China card. Since there is a good chance that he had access to this material, can the American Government afford not to trust what he says to be true?

Thanks for the downvote, btw.

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Facepalm

Re: I can't figure this guy out ...

"More to the point, why would ANY human trust him?"

Maybe you should switch the subtitling of your life to the one for the for the "hearing impaired".

Are your implying there are AIs on the loose?

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@deadlockvictim (was:Re: @deadlockvictim (was: I can't figure this guy out ...))

I did not downvote you. I don't use useless "thumbs" in this forum.

Enjoy your paranoia.

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Re: I can't figure this guy out ...

"Maybe you should switch the subtitling of your life to the one for the for the "hearing impaired".

See: http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/containing/594362

"Are your implying there are AIs on the loose?"

I'll leave that for amfM to answer ;-)

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Happy

@jake, why would any human trust him?

Is it because he doesn't continually come on here posting bullshit about his amazing life, his internal stomach based brewery, the way he makes cheese from his own milk, etc...?

Sorry, it just seems bizarre that you're questioning someone elses credibility....

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Re: I can't figure this guy out ...

Trust isn't binary.

I imagine a lot of people trust him to do the right thing for the public interest.

But even people who agree with what he is doing might not neccessarily trust him with their secrets.

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Re: I can't figure this guy out ...

" ... why would ANY human trust him?"

What's this, jake - a "No True Scotsman" argument? Anyone who would trust Snowden is not a human?

How low are going to stoop in your NSA/GCHQ apologism?

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Re: @deadlockvictim (was: I can't figure this guy out ...)

^^Slightly scary that 4 out of 11 people who expressed a preference think truth *is* absolute. I have to assume they're young and haven't tried living as a grown up yet.

Or maybe I'm wrong, it is *my* truth of course. And I'm prepared to discuss it - but just pressing downvote is easier than rational discussion, eh?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @deadlockvictim (was: I can't figure this guy out ...)

just pressing downvote is easier than rational discussion, eh?

No, more irritating (evil grin)

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Re: @deadlockvictim (was: I can't figure this guy out ...)

>>No, more irritating (evil grin)<<

I'll take that as one or more of...

1) I can't form an argument

2) You're the best Cliff, I stand no chance against your superior insight

3) I'm only 14 anyway and have the attention span of a....oooh look another button to click...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @deadlockvictim (was: I can't figure this guy out ...)

Cliff, sometimes humouring someone has a better outcome for all parties involved than jostling with them.

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Re: @deadlockvictim (was: I can't figure this guy out ...)

^^ Thanks for the kind advice, Anonymous Coward. I typically ignore the downvote keyboard warrior army, sometimes surprises me though that so many people can disagree with an idea or statement, yet offer no alternative. They can even do so as AC's if they don't have the courage of their convictions. The very lamest keyboard warrior army.

Not sure why, but I hope for better from The Reg readers, supposedly intelligent technologists. I guess I hope I can learn something from them if I'm so clearly wrong... but a downvote is barely even a synapse fire. Shame.

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Re: I can't figure this guy out ...

You bring to mind something I heard a female teenager say when, as an even younger male, I was waiting on a bus stop. There were two girls and one male. The latter appeared to be trying hard to persuade one of the femmes to go with her and accept into her body that portion of the male anatomy which transmits seed. "Of course I trust ya darlin; I trust ya from ere to ere" (Motioning from one ear to another, via the epiglottis.)

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Re: @deadlockvictim (was: I can't figure this guy out ...)

Indeed, and it is one mark of personality disorder when people see things in black and white. Cluster B, aka "the pests", a lot of whom seem to be here present.

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Re: @deadlockvictim (was: I can't figure this guy out ...)

"There is no 'truth', everything isn't binary opposites in the world, in the analogue world it's all a murky mess."

Indeed, and it is one mark of personality disorder when people see things in black and white. Cluster B, aka "the pests", a lot of whom seem to be here present.

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