back to article Ex-CIA techie Edward Snowden: I am the NSA PRISM deepthroat

A former CIA technician has broken cover to reveal himself as the mole who leaked information about PRISM - the US government's massive web surveillance programme. Edward Snowden, 29, outed himself as the source of revelations that the National Security Agency (NSA) has tapped up American internet giants for data on foreigners …

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  1. ceesboog
    Happy

    Edward Snowden should get 2 Four Freedoms Medals

    Edward Snowden who provided the info from NSA should get the Four Freedoms Medal/Award for:

    freedom of speech and expression — everywhere in the world.

    freedom from fear — which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor — anywhere in the world.

    (From Franklin Delano's Roosevelt's speech to Congress January 6, 1941)

    Because like Franklin D. Roosevelt said on March 4, 1933 the Only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

    If we should fear our goverments, those are just dictators, and we should get rid of those, everywhere in the world.

    1. Professor Clifton Shallot

      Re: Edward Snowden should get 2 Four Freedoms Medals

      "If we should fear our goverments, those are just dictators, and we should get rid of those"

      What's most depressing is how many people seem to want this sort of government.

      1. ceesboog
        Big Brother

        Re: Edward Snowden should get 2 Four Freedoms Medals

        They seem to want, because they don't know what this sort of goverment wants of them.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Edward Snowden should get 2 Four Freedoms Medals

      Until the Fifth Freedom is invoked.

    3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Edward Snowden should get 2 Four Freedoms Medals

      > provided the info from NSA

      i.e. he took a position of trust, and betrayed that trust.

      He can prate on about his principles, and how he doesn't want it to be "about him", but he clearly has no qualms about breaking signed promises when he feels like it, so his principles are somewhat flexible.

      I might have had some regard for him if he'd dug this info up through diligent investigation, as it is he's just another "look how clever I am, I know all about the baaaaaad man" Assange wannabe. Was anyone really surprised by the information that the spy services are spying on us?

      1. Squander Two

        Re: Edward Snowden should get 2 Four Freedoms Medals

        Just to be clear, do you oppose all whistleblowers?

      2. BillG Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Edward Snowden should get 2 Four Freedoms Medals

        he clearly has no qualms about breaking signed promises when he feels like it, so his principles are somewhat flexible.

        I'd say Snowden clearly has qualms about Obama breaking the law when he feels like it, so Snowden's principles are somewhat intact.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Edward Snowden should get 2 Four Freedoms Medals

          Obama (and the NSA et al) did not break the law. **THAT'S** the problem!

          1. btrower

            Re: Edward Snowden should get 2 Four Freedoms Medals

            Re: "Obama (and the NSA et al) did not break the law. **THAT'S** the problem!"

            I get your point. However, when the Constitution is in conflict with a law the federal government had no right to pass in the first place, the Constitution trumps that law. None of the three branches of the federal government has a legal authority to alter the Constitution either in letter or spirit. They do not have a true legal right to do what they are doing. Whether or not they are ever charged and tried does not effect the fact that illegal search is ... wait for it ... illegal.

            Let's face it, this administration has blithely set themselves up as prosecutor, judge and jury in capital cases and does not even allow the victim to know they are under investigation before sentence is pronounced and they are executed. This is illegal under any legal regime of which I am aware. It is certainly against U.S. Law.

            There is so much wrong with this. How can you effectively exercise a right to associate with people when the government monitors everything you do and has deemed some people 'enemy combatants' and no longer protected by the law? If people realize that the label can be slapped on them just for sending a Birthday card, it has a chilling effect to say the least.

            If they are willing to actually kill people without a trial, they won't be afraid to peek in on your Email.

            They have told us that it is up to them to determine what their powers are and that is is all legal. It is not true just because they said so. Legislation that is fundamentally illegal is null and void. You not only have a right to resist such legislation. You have a duty.

            1. Squander Two

              Re: Edward Snowden should get 2 Four Freedoms Medals

              Furthermore, the US has laws in place specifically to protect and reward whistleblowers, precisely to enable good people to expose wrongdoing without having to fear loss of livelihood, intimidation of their family, etc. So the American legal framework already recognises that doing what's right trumps a contract of employment.

            2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: btrower Re: Edward Snowden should get 2 Four Freedoms Medals

              Let's cut through the rest of the male bovine manure of your post and get right to the point:

              "....If they are willing to actually kill people without a trial, they won't be afraid to peek in on your Email....." If you mean "targetted assassination", such as a drone strike, then they have a very good reason to carry one out, usually as a result of intelligence gathering. They have no reason to look in your email other than using it as a case study for paranoid delusions.

              1. Intractable Potsherd

                Re: btrower Edward Snowden should get 2 Four Freedoms Medals @ Matt Bryant

                Matt, do you have to be an apologist for the government and security forces *every* time? I know you think it makes you a realist, but it really doesn't.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                WTF?

                Re: btrower Edward Snowden should get 2 Four Freedoms Medals

                ""....If they are willing to actually kill people without a trial, they won't be afraid to peek in on your Email....." If you mean "targetted assassination", such as a drone strike,"

                Same thing. Exactly the same thing.

            3. Intractable Potsherd

              Re: Edward Snowden should get 2 Four Freedoms Medals

              " Legislation that is fundamentally illegal is null and void. You not only have a right to resist such legislation. You have a duty."

              Yes, this. Until more people understand this, the world will go to hell in a handbasket. We need more courageous people with the knowledge of these wrongdoings to stand up and be counted. A morally bad law is not a law that must be followed.

          2. ceesboog
            Big Brother

            Re: Edward Snowden should get 2 Four Freedoms Medals

            “Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. ”

            ― George Orwell

            There's written law and moral law!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Edward Snowden should get 2 Four Freedoms Medals

          "qualms about Obama breaking the law"

          No laws were broken, and everything was signed off by congress. The only person who broke laws here is Snowden. He may feel justified in doing so, but that doesn't make it right.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Edward Snowden should get 2 Four Freedoms Medals

            @AC

            Bah!

            So following that logic, when Hitler passed laws condemning millions to death, the SS were in the clear because they were obeying the Law.

            Or perhaps you prefer the notion that it was right that Mandela spent all those years in prison, after all- he did break the Laws of the apartheid regime? (!!!!!)

            Bad Laws should be opposed & exposed for what they are.

          2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

            Re: AC@13:27

            "The only person who broke laws here is Snowden. He may feel justified in doing so, but that doesn't make it right."

            No, what you mean to say is that doesn't make it legal. Whether or not it's right is a separate, and much less black and white, consideration.

          3. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

            Re: Edward Snowden should get 2 Four Freedoms Medals

            "No laws were broken, and everything was signed off by congress. "

            This is not true, these programs are illegal, and exceed even the (already excessive) authorization provided by the law. If you look at the legal fantasies used to justify these programs (which were leaked), they are quite spurious, use circular logic, and very unusual definitions for terms (which do not match the normal or legal definition of these terms.) These activities are unconstitutional, and any law that permits them is unconstitutional.

        3. ceesboog
          Big Brother

          Re: Edward Snowden should get 2 Four Freedoms Medals

          “In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

          ― George Orwell

      3. The BigYin

        Re: Edward Snowden should get 2 Four Freedoms Medals

        Do you work for the NHS?

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Edward Snowden should get 2 Four Freedoms Medals

        "he took a position of trust, and betrayed that trust."

        Just like his employers. So I guess they're even.

        "Was anyone really surprised by the information that the spy services are spying on us?"

        Oh, so no harm done, then? Make up your mind.

      5. Bronny

        Re: Edward Snowden should get 2 Four Freedoms Medals

        So, if a doctor or health authority was hiding excessive deaths due to a dodgy surgeon you'd be happy for all concerned to hide behind their contract of employment and feel no moral urgency to whistleblow? You do realise you don't sign away your soul when working for a company don't you? You still have moral duties a functioning member of society, dont you? Or are you a robot?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Edward Snowden should get 2 Four Freedoms Medals

      You see that's where it goes wrong. You should start thinking about the world as it is, rather than how you would like it to be.

  2. Arctic fox
    Headmaster

    Land of the Free?

    It is highly ironic that so many years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the USSR that US governments are now subjecting their own citizens to the kind of intrusive surveillance that was common practice in the old Soviet Union - and are using pretty much the same justifications for it as the Soviet Communist Party used in its time.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Land of the Free?

      It's been going on, in one form or another, for at least 30 years. It really isn't news.

      And the UK has similar systems in place, it's not just the USA treating her people like criminals.

      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        Re: Land of the Free?

        "It's been going on, in one form or another, for at least 30 years. It really isn't news."

        We were routinely taught about the NSA listening to all phone calls in the US during Civil Defence lectures in the university, back in the '80s in Moscow. I believe most of the Americans never even heard of the NSA's existence back then...

        Funny that, eh?

      2. jason 7
        Mushroom

        Re: Land of the Free?

        Oh indeed. Personally as a Brit that's had to sit and see folks from the US laugh at us for our UK Govt. announcing new monitoring initiatives I find this quite frankly hilarious.

        Especially when the same folks covered their ears when I said they would be naive to think the same wasn't happening to them.

        "They wouldn't dare cos we got ourselves a constitution, democracy and guns buddy!"

        Yeah see how that worked out for you. Just as powerless as the rest of the world's citizens. At least mine had the decency and courage to let me know it was snooping.

        Welcome to the real world!

        Now we'll get loads of talk about "rising up and taking back our gubmint!" except nothing will happen as this is nowhere near as important an issue as the banning of 16oz sodas to the average American.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Land of the Free?

        RE:"It's been going on, in one form or another, for at least 30 years. It really isn't news. And the UK has similar systems in place, it's not just the USA treating her people like criminals.

        This does not excuse our government's behavior one whit. As an American, I am furious.

    3. Elmer Phud Silver badge

      Re: Land of the Free?

      " that US governments are STILL subjecting their own citizens to the kind of intrusive surveillance"

      McCarthyism never died

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Land of the Free?

      There is nothing ironic about it. People get the governments that survive.

      All open governments are destroyed by hostile foreign ones.

      1. Intractable Potsherd

        Re: Land of the Free? @AC 11:15

        "All open governments are destroyed by hostile foreign ones."

        Are you going to back that up with evidence?

    5. Wade Burchette

      Re: Land of the Free?

      One of the US's founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, said "any society that will give up a little bit of liberty to gain a little bit of security will deserve neither and lose both". I am amazed at how willingly people give up their privacy and liberties all in the name of protection.

      Which reminds me of another quote, this one from Shakespeare: "And many strokes, though with a little axe, hew down and fell the hardest-timbered oak." A little bit of our rights cut off here, a little bit there, and eventually we will have no rights.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Wade Burchette Re: Land of the Free?

        "One of the US's founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, said "any society that will give up a little bit of liberty to gain a little bit of security will deserve neither and lose both"....." Gee, never heard that canned quote bleated before. Tell you what, I'll give you the staple response as you seem new to this whole debating thing - "the price of liberty is eternal vigilance", Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence. Now, we could run through the usual counters on did Jefferson mean that it was the free that needed to keep an eye on their government, or was it that the government had to keep an eye out to threats to the people, but as it's your first time why don't you try posting some original thought as to what Jefferson may have meant? And I mean original as in not just canned quotes, thanks.

        1. CJM
          Big Brother

          Re: Wade Burchette Land of the Free?

          "Now, we could run through the usual counters on did Jefferson mean that it was the free that needed to keep an eye on their government, or was it that the government had to keep an eye out to threats to the people"

          Regardless, I'm pretty sure that Jefferson didn't mean that governments should key an eye on their people... Especially not such an invasive eye...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Wade Burchette Land of the Free?

          "but as it's your first time why don't you try posting some original thought as to what Jefferson may have meant?"

          Jefferson was a slaver. Thus, his opinions on liberty are about as worthless as they get.

      2. Ledswinger Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Land of the Free?@Wade Burchette

        "I am amazed at how willingly people give up their privacy and liberties all in the name of protection."

        When were they given an informed choice?

        Quite amusing to read Obama's comments reported last Friday that that "as a society we're going to have to make some choices". The choices have already been made on society's behalf, without their knowledge or consent, and the choice that has been made is that the government's "needs" trump those of the people. All major, established political parties in most large countries support widespread communications interception, so even if the existing government are thrown out, the next one will be equally incompetent, corrupt, and controlling. Throw in the mass surveillance with the outing of the malignant Bildaberg group, and the consipracists appear to have been proven 100% correct in almost all matters.

        Who's going to give you your freedom back? Certainly won't be anybody you can vote for.

    6. alain williams Silver badge

      Re: Land of the Free?

      ... and the sort of surveillance that was frequently, and rightly, denounced as being oppressive.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Land of the Free?

      It's funny how these articles go to such painstaking extremes to not mention Obama's involvement and guilt.

      1. Nasty Nick
        Meh

        Re: Land of the Free?

        Doh Hoh Ho Ho ho - not. Tea Party Troll, but as usual they come without even bearing the obligatory crumpets.

        The same MO as Eden on MS, but not as amusing.

        Anyhow, this snooping has being going on forever under various guises (and Presidents both red and blue), and news of this capability has been public domain for many years (e.g: James Bamford's "Body of Secrets..) for anyone who could be bothered to look.

        It comes with the territory really. Go back as far as you like, and you'll find with easy to use centralized comms of any technology comes centralized snooping. Simples.

      2. jason 7
        Meh

        Re: Land of the Free?

        Obama's guilt?

        Why he's just the same as Bush before or Romney had he won. As I mentioned, Democrat or Republican, at their core they are the same corporate sponsored lapdogs.

        Do you seriously think that if the Republicans get back into office next time they will be switching off all these systems? Like hell they will. I don't think you'll be seeing any great server bonfires around the country.

        Plus I'm sure Obama inherited a lot of snooping systems from the previous administration.

        Look at us here in the UK. Before the last election the Tories manifesto was very anti Labour's new IT snooping bill. But just a few weeks after they got into office it was all "Oh actually this looks a jolly useful idea!"

        Whoever you vote for.....

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Land of the Free?

        When I first heard of the NSA intercept operations, Reagan was in power. This issue transcends party politics as the industrial-military complex is unelected and does whatever it wants.

  3. lansalot
    Thumb Up

    I love this...

    Cracking comment from Booze Allen:

    "..and if accurate, this action represents a grave violation of the code of conduct and core values of our firm."

    Yes. Doing the right, moral thing, and exposing serious wrongdoing??? Fucking outrageous !! Goes against everything Booze Allen stands for.

    Cover-ups for all !

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I love this...

      However shooting Afghan civilians and the odd wedding party is right in line with Booze Allen's company policy.

  4. Andy Roid McUser
    Big Brother

    hotel reservation

    Let's hope Edward didn't book his hotel reservation online.. or by phone.. or use his credit card... without a disguise and a fake passport.

    no matter how brave/foolish he was.. He'll be strung up for this no matter where he hides. The Americans take a dim view on a lot of stuff.. breaking ranks is high up on that list.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: breaking ranks

      If Jefferson and Madison were alive today they'd both be in jail.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: hotel reservation

      You aren't joking. I would rather smoke endless cigarettes through a luminous balaclava atop a stepladder in the middle of no man's land.

    3. Tom 13

      Re: breaking ranks is high up on that list.

      So you think he did this entirely without permission, including international phone calls to the Guardian, and still managed to run off to Hong Kong?

      Fat chance that. The deal was supposed to be that the NSA listened to everything except US phone calls. So I'd expect a conversation with the Guardian to be picked up by the NSA. And if it mentioned PRISM, I would expect that would have raised lots of red flags and been quickly escalated up the chain.

      Somebody gave at least tacit approval. Possibly as payback for the Intelligence community being thrown under the bus for the murder of the American Ambassador in Benghazi.

      Yeah, I'm engaging in dark thinking here. Probably a lot of that ahead.

  5. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Bin Laden Athletic 4, USA 1

    Another own goal by the US team.

    This is not news to the so called "enemies of the US" - you'd have to be really stupid to have believed that the US wasn't monitoring all communications and Internet transmissions after the laws put in place after 9/11. So who's surprised and shocked by this "revelation" - yes, well that would be the average American who champions freedom and democracy throughout the world ... and is now finding out that they've lost it at home.

    The irony here is that the American Government policies like these have done more to harm the USA than anything that Osama Bin Laden could have possible imagined doing. What does this say about Americans? We're afraid now, we're scared ... and our own government has made us this way.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Bin Laden Athletic 4, USA 1

      So who's surprised and shocked by this "revelation"

      I dunno. You *should* be surprised I guess. You can say *I always suspected this* of course. But suppose a close family member who has the habit of coming home late at night suddenly turns up in the latest hardcore skin flick you downloaded. That's good for some level of surprise at least.

      1. Michael Hawkes
        Holmes

        Re: Bin Laden Athletic 4, USA 1

        If your family member was coming home late at night with people you suspect are pr0n stars, then you shouldn't be very surprised.

    2. jason 7
      Unhappy

      Re: Bin Laden Athletic 4, USA 1

      I've always said terrorists have never taken away any of my freedoms, just my government.

      To be honest I reckon most of it is a smokescreen for building a huge monitoring network so the ruling corporations/financial institutions can do full profiling of us all to weed out those it wants to live/work/consume and those that can wither and die in the cold.

      1. Tom 13

        Re: smokescreen for building a huge monitoring network so the ruling corporations/financial

        You really need to take off the tinfoil hat.

        Google have already done that, and you've freely given them your information.

  6. ceesboog
    Headmaster

    War on Terror or war on us?

    War on terror: if terrorism is a form of warfare and war terrorizes then exactly what is a war on terror?

    http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/66186/john-mueller-and-mark-g-stewart/hardly-existential

    Get real:

    State Department USA , vicitims 2003 Terrorism 625 people worldwide of which 35 Americans

    AIDS 3 million worldwide

    cars 43.200 USA alone

    So why some much $$^$^$^$ money on terror instead on car/road safety and AIDS??

    Why George W. Obama, tell me why ?

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: War on Terror or war on us?

      "....vicitims 2003 Terrorism 625 people worldwide of which 35 Americans...." Go check the numbers for 9/11, it seems to have skipped your blinkered and myopic notice that they were just a bit higher than 35.

      "....AIDS 3 million worldwide.....cars 43.200 USA alone...." Ignoring the billions spent annually all over the World on healthcare and car safety, the simple truth is society accepts a certain amount of accidental and medical deaths as inevitable, but does not accept that deaths due to terrorism are equally acceptable. And why should they? If you drive carefully then it massively reduces your risk of dying in a traffic accident. If you are careful about your sexual habits then it also massively reduces your chances of catching AIDS. But suicide bombers don't stop to ask their victims if they voted for Obama, are card-carrying members of the ACLU or even if they are good Muslims, they simply kill as many civilians as they can. In the case of suicide bombings in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan it is (and was) predominantly Muslim on Muslim killings and nothing to do with us in the West.

      1. btrower

        Re: War on Terror or war on us?

        Re: predominantly Muslim on Muslim killings and nothing to do with us in the West

        Thinking like that is what got us into this mess. The mechanisms used to harm other people can also be turned against you. Even if they could not, some of us feel a sense of responsibility for the world beyond our doors.

        I have lived in the armed camps that are 'gated communities'. You may be safe inside, but once it gets to that point you are really just in a fancy prison. If it harms another, it harms thee and me.

        1. ceesboog
          Happy

          Re: War on Terror or war on us?

          So you think Muslims are the only problem? Here the only solution, from a Muslim:

          http://bsimmons.wordpress.com/2007/07/11/khudayr-taher-europe-and-america-should-deport-all-muslims-including-myself/ 2007 yeah I have my own *Prism*

          But I don't think Muslims are the only problem, do you?

      2. Magister

        Re: War on Terror or war on us?

        >>Go check the numbers for 9/11, it seems to have skipped your blinkered and myopic notice that they were just a bit higher than 35<<

        The death figures quoted in the OP were for 2003; the attack on the WTC was in 2001. Perhaps it might have been appropriate to quote figures for several years; but even it had included those, the number of deaths by an act of terrorism are still proportionally lower than almost any other cause.

        It's worth noting that the Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004 resulted in the death of 227,000 people (according to official figures; it might have been higher). That is a shocking number; but what is astonishing is how short an amount of time it took for the human race to make up that loss of life. Based upon the population growth rate of the last decade, it would have taken a little over 26 hours.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Magister Re: War on Terror or war on us?

          ".....It's worth noting that the Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004 resulted in the death of 227,000 people....." The tsunami was an act of nature (or "God", if you are that way inclined), and there was only so much that could be done to alleviate it. Whilst a terrible tragedy, lives were saved and deaths were prevented. What you lot are suggesting is tantamount to NOT taking any tsunami precautions and NOT allowing hospitals to treat the victims of a tsunami.

          Terror is not an act of nature or "God", but is often dressed up in an excuse of holy action. It is often preventable, so why should we accept even a single death due to terror? Are you saying that if you had known about the 9/11 attacks in advance you would have just shrugged and said "WTH, it will only be 3,000-odd dead, more than that die on the highways every month"? How about the Boston Marathon bombing? It "only" killed two people, are you saying we should just accept that because 227,000 died in a tsunami?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Magister War on Terror or war on us? @Matt Bryant

            " Are you saying that ...."

            Magister made a pertinent observation about the severity of newsworthy events in the grand scheme of things. To extend that into some strawman is pointless and inflammatory, albeit a familiar tactic of yours.

            1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: Magister War on Terror or war on us? @Matt Bryant

              "Magister made a pertinent observation....." He made an observation, I merely pointed out that his example was a natural disaster, and therefore unavoidable, whereas terrorism is very man-made and therefore very detectable and avoidable. Your failure to see that whilst bleating on about strawmen simply exposes the determination you have to keep wearing your blinkers.

          2. ceesboog
            Meh

            Re: Magister War on Terror or war on us?

            >>>>Are you saying that if you had known about the 9/11 attacks in advance you would have just shrugged and said "WTH, it will only be 3,000-odd dead, more than that die on the highways every month"?<<<<

            That's just what George W. said...or I'm I being rude now?

          3. Intractable Potsherd

            Re: "[T]he Boston Marathon bombing ... 'only' killed two people ...

            "... are you saying we should just accept that?"

            Well, yes, I do say that. It was nothing more than a domestic murder. It should not be treated any differently that the idiots that go out on shooting sprees. The fact that the reason they did it may have some Islamic aspects is utterly irrelevant. The same applies to the brutal little shits that killed the soldier here - murder, not terrorism. No special measures needed at all.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: War on Terror or war on us?

        Ok then I'll bite.

        Do kids ask to be abducted and murdered by paedophile serial killers? Because if you live in the USA, that is more likely to happen than for your kids to be killed by islamic extremists. Or any other extremists, come to that.

        So the NSA are watching everything everyone does. And if some miscreant in Boston is planning to blow up a couple of pressure cookers and kill 3 people, there will be helicopters, fighter jets and half the police in the state there in no time.

        But if they notice some child porn fiend grooming some kid he's about to abduct, rape and murder, they won't use this information to collar him and save your kids, because he's American and has constitutional rights?

        For f*cks sake. If you're happy they are spying on you anyway, why not let them use what they find to foil any type of serious crime? Why the obsession with muslims and terrorists????

        The answer is because this is nothing to do with terrorism, it is everything to do with keeping the prols in line, just like any other mass surveillance - Stasi, Securitate, etc.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: War on Terror or war on us?

          ".....For f*cks sake. If you're happy they are spying on you anyway, why not let them use what they find to foil any type of serious crime?....." Don't be silly, they already are. The US has used the NSA's listening tech to tap mobile calls between drug cartel members in South America for decades. In the UK, we have a sanctioned "cyber-unit" that does nothing other than track peados through their Internet activity, and shares it with other international forces including the FBI. Welcome to the party, pull up a chair, you've got a lot of catching up to do.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: War on Terror or war on us?

        "....vicitims 2003 Terrorism 625 people worldwide of which 35 Americans...." Go check the numbers for 9/11, it seems to have skipped your blinkered and myopic notice that they were just a bit higher than 35.

        Any maybe you didn't notice that 9/11 happened in 2001, not 2003?

        The same is true of "The Troubles" in N. Ireland. In the 30 years from 1968 to 1998 there were ~ 3000 people killed in terrorist-related incidents, at least half of whom could not be described as "innocent civilians" since they chose to be involved, by joining a terrorist organisation, or the police/army, or other high-profile group.

        During those same 30 years ~3000 people died in car accidents in N. Ireland, which is around the UK per-capita rate, and less than half the French death rate for the same period. I never heard of anyone unwilling to visit NI (or France) through fear of being killed in a car crash.

        People die, every day. It isn't always their fault, and there is often nothing they can do about it.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: War on Terror or war on us?

          ".....Any maybe you didn't notice that 9/11 happened in 2001, not 2003?....." Which would imply the anti-terror measures brought in after 9/11 were very effective and that you are therefore endorsing such measures as PRISM? Thanks.

          "....People die, every day. It isn't always their fault, and there is often nothing they can do about it." That doesn't mean you should just accept all deaths as unavoidable, otherwise we wouldn't have any form of car safety.

          1. ceesboog
            WTF?

            Re: War on Terror or war on us?

            And you think they didn't have such spy-progs before 2003?

            Why didn't those PREVENT 9/11? Or they just let it go?

            Creepy aint it?

            Didn't everyone in the world wonder why Superman, Bruce Willis (sorry Bruce), the X-men or another prevent it?

            Again WHY George W.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      All About MONEY

      * Money for the defense porkers (which Booze is one of). More terror, more war, more money.

      * Control of the populace to ensure they don't rebel against the money crimes of the 1%.

      Besides, who gains and who loses from these messages ? Cloud computing loses, M$ gains. Who gains from the Manning/Assange thing ? Well, the arab tyrants lost to some degree.

      Ever considered this being a big show for the plebs ? "Authenticated" by stories of "torture against an American soldier" ?

      Ever considered the Vanunu thing was a big show ? To "authenticate" them having nukular beans.

      First rule of message analysis: Use Brain.

    3. Fat Northerner

      Re: War on Terror or war on us?

      You won't get an answer.

      Thankfully, neither of us are hypocrites.

      I support the oppression of foreigners to get oil, and have no problem therefore criticising the government if they don't secure it.

      I do however stand side by side with your stated intent to not hold it against the government, when your children and or mother dies for the lack of fuel for an ambulance. Your stance has principles I could only wish for.

    4. jason 7

      Re: War on Terror or war on us?

      Malaria would decimate any on that list.

  7. Cliff

    such shock and horror

    I really am surprised that this seems to be such a shock to everybody. Can you really imagine any organisation whose whole raison d'etre is to spot and gather information not spy and gather all the information it can in this cost effective and practical manner from servers in their own jurisdiction? Of course they do, in their place you would too. Getting caught was an error, but it's hardly shocking is it?

    1. btrower

      Re: such shock and horror

      Re: in their place you would too

      Speak for yourself. I would not. I do not want to live in a police state; not even as one of the police.

      Eventually they will come for you, even if you are one of them.

      1. Don Jefe
        Stop

        Re: such shock and horror

        Here the thing. The Constitution 'they' are currently using for toilet paper guarantees innocence until proven guilty. That concept is drilled into us from a young age (even through TV and movies). By and large I think most Americans behave with that concept in mind. While many of us had suspicions 'they' had us under surveillance there was no proof. Now we have proof and a plea of guilty from the perpetrators & it is perfectly within rights and expectations to expect the people to be angry and demand change.

        Everything is turned around and the people are paying more attention to the law than those who we elect to uphold it.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Don Jefe Re: such shock and horror

          ".....guarantees innocence until proven guilty....." The presumption of innocence does not stop the police from investigating you as a suspect. What your paranoid delusions of grandeur are insisting on is the equivalent of saying the police have to walk around blindfolded and only take off their blindfolds when they are dealing with convicted criminals, otherwise they might see innocent people. You are not that important, get over yourself.

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

            Re: Don Jefe such shock and horror

            "innocence until proven guilty"

            I have a real problem with this phrase because it presumes you are guilty before you've even started.

            How about 'innocent unless proven guilty'

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: such shock and horror

      "Can you really imagine any organisation whose whole raison d'etre is to spot and gather information not spy and gather all the information it can"

      It turns out that in acceptable settings, there is something called "Law" and "Constitution".

      Thank you for phoning in from North Korea. HTH.

  8. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    Happy

    Guilt by association.

    "a known terrorist in Yemen calls someone in the U.S., why did he call them and what happened when the person in U.S. starts making calls elsewhere in the U.S.?" he asked. "On the surface it looks like the emergence of a terrorism cell." - NSA Spokesperson.

    So all the terrorists have to do now is start prank-calling folks in the US to bring down civilization?

  9. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Re: Version 1.0

    ".....So all the terrorists have to do now is start prank-calling folks in the US to bring down civilization?" They could try and dilute NSA activity by creating as many false positives as possible, yes. But, the scheme has a certain (smoking) hole in it - the caller has to give up there location, and once the NSA have investigated a few of the calls, spotted the hoax and realised there is no more value to listening to Mr Jihadi, that is when they start lining up a drone strike on him. I would therefore suggest the prank calls idea would not be very popular after a few smoking craters.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Version 1.0

      Drone use is hugely overrated & isn't quite as common as Call of Duty would have you believe so I don't think the "smoking craters" argument will hold much water....

      If he's in a tower block in the middle of a city, then I don't think they'll bother. Or he could just give a few "hot" phones to friends, runners etc & get them to sit in the local school, hospital, mosque, shopping centre etc. & dial out.

      Just think of the chaos & witch hunts they could cause by calling employees of the very agencies that are trying to monitor them!

      Paris because she likes "ickle planes" too.....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Version 1.0

      What a brilliant way out of the recession. I think this is an attempt to earn the us, massive international dialing charges.

  10. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    WTF?

    LOL!

    This guy gave up what he claims was a $200k contracting role in Hawaii so he can go live in Iceland!?!? ROFLMAO!

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Where are the Snowdens of yesteryear?

      That's the difference between decent people and yourself, Matty.

      And it's Hong-Kong btw.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

        Re: Destroyed All Braincells Re: Where are the Snowdens of yesteryear?

        "That's the difference between decent people and yourself....." Decency is an opinion, and seeing as I hold your opinion in about as much esteem as a three-year-old's, I would have to suggest you mistook me for someone that was bothered.

        ".....And it's Hong-Kong btw." Proof that the sheeple just don't bother reading before they bleat! He has been discussing asylum with Iceland, it's all over the Web, maybe you should try reading for once instead of being spoonfed your ideas? Try here, they don't use too many long words that might trouble you:

        http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/06/09/edward-snowden-guardian-interview/2405873/

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Decency is an opinion"?

          I happen to disagree. But if morality is relative, as you claim, why draw a distinction between the "evil Islamist terrorists" and "American freedom fighters"? Suicide bombers claim the moral high ground, after all. And the US has killed more innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan than were killed in 9/11.

          1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            Stop

            Re: AC Re: "Decency is an opinion"?

            "I happen to disagree....." Good for you! I would actually encourage your forming your own opinions as long as they are based on facts, not whimsy.

            ".....And the US has killed more innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan than were killed in 9/11." And you have some collateral to back up that claim (and not the debunked Lancet articel, I hope)? They vast majority of civilian deaths in both countries were Muslim on Msulim violence. In Iraq, including the actual Invasion and going up to the withdrawl, Allied forces accounted for less than 20% - even during the open warfare stage - of all Iraqi civilian deaths, the rest were all Iraqi-on-Iraqi violence:

            http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/surprising-study-on-terrorism-al-qaida-kills-eight-times-more-muslims-than-non-muslims-a-660619.html

            http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/jan/14/al-qaeda-hurts-muslims-most/

            http://www.rediff.com/news/slide-show/slide-show-1-victims-of-terror-attack-remain-overwhelmingly-muslim/20120801.htm#1

            www.iraqbodycount.org/

      2. Tom 13

        Re: And it's Hong-Kong btw.

        Looks like Matt read the article and you skipped it.

        Hiding out in Hong Kong while requesting diplomatic immunity from Iceland. So yes the alleged final destination is Iceland.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Choose Iceland over Hawaii

      well Iceland isn't full of Americans at least ...

    3. Schultz
      Thumb Down

      Re: LOL!

      "This guy gave up what he claims was a $200k contracting role in Hawaii so he can go live in Iceland!?!? ROFLMAO!"

      Yea, it was the selfless and idealistic people like you, Matt, who built civilization, conquered tyranny, and founded the US.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Schutz Re: LOL!

        ".....Yea, it was the selfless and idealistic people like you, Matt, who built civilization, conquered tyranny, and founded the US." Oh puh-lease! Even from the very start, the States were built by rogues and entrepreneurs and some of the most rabid capitalists going! Thomas Jefferson wasn't some goodie-two-shoes type, he was a hard-nosed businessman with thousands of acres of slave-worked plantations. John Hancock was a merchant and one of the wealthiest men in the Colonies, coming from an elite Boston family. Even the much lauded JFK came from another elite Boston business family that made their money from saloons and politics. Sorry to burst your bubble but the States weren't built on love, understanding anbd sweet thoughts, there was always the firm hand of hard-nosed capitalism in the background, and often in the foreground.

  11. 404 Silver badge

    The Experts

    Over the weekend were claiming 'he was just an IT Admin, had limited access".

    I about fell over - IT Admins access whatever they like on their networks, whenever they want to. So much ignorance out there.

    Now whether he's some kind of hero, I'd say yes, exposing the bastards for what they are is a good thing at any time. Obama will get him somehow, hard, just to scare anybody who might consider exposing the Feds in the future. Remember that guy that was fired at the EPA a few years back? He was fired for announcing methods - how the Romans would visit a troublesome town and crucify the first people they saw - it made other towns thoughtful.

    To think I was paranoid before...

    1. JimmyPage Silver badge
      Stop

      @404

      If IT Admins can access whatever they want, it's a shit organisation.

      1. 404 Silver badge
        Go

        Re: @JimmyPage

        I agree, the US Government is a shit organization.

        Cheers!

        ;)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Experts

      Not necessarily, there are many types of admins in today's world ranging from help desk to security administration. At the NSA security compartmentalization is actually deployed, so it is possible that indeed Snowden did have limited access.

      We all knew that electronic communication was being tracked, many just never thought that their information was being captured and analyzed. In the US, many who would not normally object are still very angry about how the Obama administration abused IRS data to cripple/squelch its political opposition (illegal, and immoral). Obama himself has only paid lip service to the issues, he does not appear interested in really investigating or cleaning up, therefore he is minimally complicit if not involved. What has happened is beginning to look much worse than Watergate.

      1. Tom 13

        Re: beginning to look much worse than Watergate.

        It looked worse than Watergate as soon as Benghazi ended. The stories about James Rosen and the AP spying are just the spark that lit the fuse on the IRS scandal.

        From where I'm sitting, it looks like all hell is about to break loose in our government. Not a pretty thought. When giants rumble, little people like me get trampled.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dead man walking

    That's what this guy is. Whether you think what he did was right or wrong (was he a patriot or traitor) he is now a dead man. The USA has no issue with kidnap, torture or murder.

    1. Aldous
      Stop

      Re: Dead man walking

      Why bother? The damage is done and if he wind's up dead all the loonies will spring forth going "CONSPIRACY!!!!11". If they wanted him dead they could get him extradited for treason and kill him legally.

      Much much easier to discredit someone or nab them on a legality (Assange) and a lot less attention grabbing. State sponsored assassination's tend to be done by Predators and not James Bond

  13. JimmyPage Silver badge
    FAIL

    Six degrees of Kevin Bacon ...

    The more data that is hoovered up (strangely appropriate term, given the circumstances) then eventually *everybody* will be connected to *everybody else*.

    At which point it becomes pretty useless.

    1. Fat Northerner

      Re: Six degrees of Kevin Bacon ...

      That is logical. Do you think perhaps piping it to dev \ null would be useful? What are your views?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wouldn't feel safe in HK if I was him, in my experience that town tends to attract the kind of transient scumbags who wouldn't have many problems with offing someone for a few thousands HK dollars.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Doubtful....

      If he is actually anywhere near Hong Kong.

  15. All names Taken
    Paris Hilton

    Maybe, just maybe ...

    ... it is easier to record everything and then analyse it later?

    Just think of all the hassle of having to record this from that making sure it is the person named in the "intercept order/instruction".

    It just seems far, far, far easier to record everyfink then analyse later?

    No?

    1. Squander Two

      Re: Maybe, just maybe ...

      Yes, obviously it's easier. It would also be easier for the police to slash the murder rate in half by instituting a rigidly enforced curfew on anyone not currently at or on their way to work. The reason we don't do that is that the point of the law is not to make life easy for the authorities. Quite the opposite.

  16. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge
    Big Brother

    On your feet or on your knees?

    This is further curtailment of freedoms in the name of alleged safety from terrorism.

    I grew up with the constant shadow of the IRA - but it never led to this, it was life as usual.

    I'd much rather die on my feet than live on my knees.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: On your feet or on your knees?

      ".....I grew up with the constant shadow of the IRA......." Then GCHQ already WERE doing this, back in the day when there we no mobile phones and one NATIONAL landline phone company.

    2. Captain Hogwash

      Re: I grew up with the constant shadow of the IRA - but it never led to this, it was life as usual.

      As far as you know.

      1. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge

        Re: I grew up with the constant shadow of the IRA - but it never led to this, it was life as usual.

        Nope, it was policy. The IRA wanted it to be a war UK gov did not want it as a war as it would lend legitamacy to the IRA.

        So it was a policy of ignore the terrorists and starve them of the extra publicity.

        1. jason 7

          Re: I grew up with the constant shadow of the IRA - but it never led to this, it was life as usual.

          Yes always amazed at the change of policy from the IRA days to today.

          Back then it was a day or two of outrage in the press then all back to normal. No one panicked, no one said we should live in fear, just carry on and ignore it as best you can.

          I think that method was far more preferable. This is why I have always felt this change of policy has little to do with actually defending us from terrorists. It's more about legitimising snooping and restrictions on liberty for average citizens.

          Odd that all during the Cold War we were kind of under the impression that our Governments felt the old Soviet way was the wrong way but probably in secret they were very envious of what the Soviet regime had created.

        2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: I grew up with the constant shadow of the IRA - but it never led to this, it was life as usual.

          > So it was a policy of ignore the terrorists

          Nonsense, they were monitored, infiltrated, and frequently stopped before they did anything. Sometimes at the last minute, because the police needed evidence that they were doing something so had to wait to catch them red-handed (an inappropriate phrase in the circumstances, I suppose) .

          They weren't ignored, just dealt with without theatre, while people got on with their lives.

        3. JimmyPage Silver badge

          Re: Ignore the terrorists ...

          in a way, I believe that's what happened. The IRA spent the best part of 20 years bombing the population of the UK, who in that time did absolutely nothing whatsoever to indicate they had any interest in the problem.

          I started Uni, sharing with an Irish chap in 1984. The Grand Hotel bombing happened, and he pointed out that a week later - as usual - absolutely no one had asked him anything about "the troubles".

          The same will happen with Islamic terrorists. The great British Public will simply astound them with their total and utter lack of desire to learn anything about their "cause".

          Willful, pigheaded ignorance - that's how we will beat them.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    he's safe in Hong Kong

    on second thoughts - no.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: he's safe in Hong Kong

      look out for that 'resurfacing on the highway' notice...

      what bump? ....

  18. Anomalous Cowshed

    Democracy and the US

    Is it controversial if I say that the US has never been a champion of freedom and democracy in most people's minds, more a champion of a higher standard of living and the prospect of huge portions of food, which to many people around the world, for many years, was/is still an ideal. As for America being the champion of democracy...this is like saying that Rome was the champion of democracy, and that when it invaded your region and slaughtered everybody in your town, this was being done for democracy. It wasn't, but it brought a certain standard of living which many people found very appealing, with the promise of bigger portions of food, which to many people around the world at the time, was an ideal.

    1. jason 7
      Unhappy

      Re: Democracy and the US

      Yes the US government system wasn't actually created to "get stuff done for the common man".

      It was to keep power to the land owning/trading elite. Something it still does very well today. Basically Democrat or Republican, the corporate/1% agenda carries on regardless.

      After all, what can the average American do? Come next election, vote Republican?

      Yeah...okayyyyyyyy

      However, it is much the same in most western 'democracies' now. All the parties have been bought and paid for.

      I really don't know how we can change it. It's rigged very heavily against us.

      1. btrower

        Re: Democracy and the US

        @jason 7

        Re: "I really don't know how we can change it. It's rigged very heavily against us."

        It is. However, we have things that they do not have: numbers and legal justification. I am quite certain that the lower courts, at least in Ontario, are pretty good still. We do still have the ability to speak right now. We should not give it all up without a fight. Eventually, more people will join the fray.

      2. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: I really don't know how we can change it. It's rigged very heavily against us

        We could vote UKIP ....

        Then again something similar happened in 1930's Germany....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is it controversial if I say that the US has never been

      In Britain or most of Massachusetts? Certainly not. Amongst the people the IRS has been harassing the last 4 years?

      I think I'd rather wear orange in an Irish pub on St. Patty's day than start that argument.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Echelon reloaded?

    as title

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Echelon reloaded?

      our current version of Echelon is maybe a lot more inclusive and caring and sharing. The European Parliament did issue a half-hearted report on Echelon in the 1990's. Then Europe seemed to go suspiciously quiet, as though maybe it was invited to join the information stealing party. Pure speculation on my part based upon silence and reading of stuff here http://database.statewatch.org/article.asp?aid=2771

      (The Statewatch website mentioned changes over the years to the Commission 1995 Directive on data protection and the Commission 1997 Directive on personal data and privacy - which did have strong protection and a strong case-law - and are now possibly weaker...?)

      Note also that Statewatch has had some 'fun' in the past with various EU governments misplacing presumably not-important documents and notes on exactly this telecoms interception matter, http://database.statewatch.org/article.asp?aid=6626

    2. AbortRetryFail

      Re: Echelon reloaded?

      Indeed. It's somewhat ironic that PRISM turned out to be everything that the conspiracy theorists believed ECHELON to be.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Courageous and principled

    What this guy has done seems rather closer to the spirit and letter of the US constitution than the actions of those who run systems such as Prism - "against all enemies, foreign and domestic" seems especially apt. That he's put his hand up to it and stood behind his actions publicly makes it all the more admirable.

    Obama's "modest encroachment" on privacy seems almost written to be countered by Franklins "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety", while William Hague's advisors must have misunderstood 1984 when they penned his "nothing to fear" line this week - I don't think I've ever heard something quite so chillingly put.

    No doubt there'll be plenty queueing up to denounce what Edward Snowden has done, in the same way they queued up to character assassinate Bradley Manning, Julian Assange and a long, long list of others down the years. But while it's easy enough to see the arguments as to why such actions can be seen as a betrayal, it's becoming harder to write the betrayers off as cranks and narcissists when what they reveal should anger us far, far more deeply than it seems to do. The supposed 'democracy' we have becomes more of an illusion with every illiberal government programme revealed, with sows ears turned into silk purses by the PR industry, government policy along with our privacy and so-called freedom sold to the highest bidder without further discussion. The downward spiralling freedom we have starts to look a lot more like the freedom of cattle than the liberty of Franklin and his cronies.

    If the mass of public opinion is really delusional enough to swallow the spin and seriously conclude that Edward Snowden is the villain of this piece, we're fucked.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Courageous and principled

      ".....we're fucked." So how exactly are you "fucked" by any of this? In fact, how is any of the paranoid sheeple bleating on here in any way, shape or form personally affected by even the worst exaggerations made about PRISM? You aren't, so please go get a grip and do something useful instead of wasting bandwidth.

      1. Don Jefe

        Re: Courageous and principled

        You are correct Matt. We are fucked because there are so many who think as you.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Don Jefe Re: Courageous and principled

          "...... We are fucked because there are so many who think as you." You mean you are fucked because there are people that have actually gotten out in the World, got a sense of perspective, and don't get all their views fed to them by Indymedia or Oprah, and will tell you when you are talking out of your rectum. Enjoy!

          1. James Hughes 1

            Re: Don Jefe Courageous and principled

            I have a sense of perspective - perhaps better than yours Matt. I don't watch Oprah, BGT, The Voice, XF etc.

            And yet this stills seems, to me, to be a invasion of privacy, and the start of a slippery slope that it will be quite difficult to get off. Not sure what to do about it either.

            Can I suggest Matt, that instead of insulting people with your comments, you actually think about things before you post. I mean REALLY think about them. Think things through, assess the consequences (which could be good or bad). Try thinking outside the box, past the press releases. Seems to me (and it is just my opinion, which I am sure you will feel entitled to insult) that you are using insulting arguments to make you point, rather than coherent arguments.

            1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: James Haven't Got A Clue Hughes Re: Don Jefe Courageous and principled

              "I have a sense of perspective...." Well congratulations to you, now all you have to work on is the idea that you may have to accept other people may have experiences that lead them to a different perspective. Some of them are going to have a lot more experience. Merely insisting that you have exclusive access to a perspective is not going to convicne anyone without a little meat to your arguments, and currently you're barely serving up soya.

              "......perhaps better than yours.....and the start of a slippery slope....." And there's the point that blows a massive hole in your bigheadedness - some of us have been debating this klind of stuff for almost forty years and we weren't even the first to start discussing it. Pull up a chair, junior, this ain't the start of the slope in any way at all. This isn't even the main slope, this is just a little off-piste action. You may have noticed that the US didn't collapse into some form of fascist dictatorship forty years ago and - sorry to ruin your apocalyptical fantasy - it won't now.

              ".....you actually think about things before you post. I mean REALLY think about them.....rather than coherent arguments....." Well, thanks for your kind concern, Jimmy, but please don't be too offended when I suggest you are not the only one with the sole ability to think. Unless you have something new to add to the conversation, and you do seem to be just as short of actual arguments as the rest of the sheeple, just insisting the sky is falling is not going to impress. Do try harder.

          2. hplasm Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Don Jefe Courageous and principled

            Matt Bryant.

            You are talking out of your rectum.

      2. An nonymous Cowerd

        Re: Courageous and principled

        I am personally limited by the PRISM and related activities. I can't tell you how I'm limited, but I am.

        PRISM by its very existence is destroying democracy by not allowing many world societies to ever change. It has the potential to lock the society at the current level.

        The PRISM technologies are used, including using the PRISM APIs, by every tin-pot dictator and undemocratic monster out there - Iran, Syria Russia, all the 'stans (inclusing those that boil people alive) etc

        PRISM type technology allows targetting individuals, communities, by keyword searches in a database. It allows 3am boot-down-doors, it allows more subtle denial of renewal of housing benefit to category X (who PRISM knows are its enemies) it allows bad things to be done by not necessarily the current US government but by a future more sinister one, it allows these bad things to be done by any state that implements PRISM technologies, which last time I checked was most worldwide states from Netherlands to Malawi for gods sake.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: An nonymous Cowerd Re: Courageous and principled

          "I am personally limited by the PRISM and related activities....." Hmmm, and the proof of that is..... "..... I can't tell you how I'm limited, but I am....." Yeah. That's a bit like the black guys that claim they can never get a job 'cos all white people are racist, innit.

          ".....PRISM by its very existence is destroying democracy by not allowing many world societies to ever change....." How? Please do supply some actual proof of the dastardly machinations of PRISM, otherwise we might be left susepcting it is nothing more then melodramatic bleating.

          ".....The PRISM technologies are used, including using the PRISM APIs, by every tin-pot dictator and undemocratic monster out there - Iran, Syria Russia...." LOL! As if the NSA would be sharing any surveillance tech with Iran, Syria or even Russia! What complete cobblers.

          ".....PRISM type technology....." Oh, so it's not actually PRISM, it's other peoples' code that is in no way related to PRISM but does a similar job in your view? So you're trying to blame the US for all the surveillance capabilities of all the dictators in the World? OK, I think your credibility didn't just hit zero, it went negative.

          New sheeple, please!

        2. Tom 13

          Re: not necessarily the current US government but by a future more sinister one

          I actually have difficulty conceiving of a more sinister one than currently occupies the WH and the Senate, but then all you socialists told me I was suppose to like the Hope and Change he was bringing to the world.

          I could conceivably support a PRISM like data mining operation target only at terrorists with protections for average people. It might or might not actually have those protections but since it is secret we can't know that. The problem is that I look at Benghazi, James Rosen, the AP wiretapping, Fast and Furious, and the IRS vs TEA Party scandal and find that I can't believe anything the people who ought to know the details of these things are saying. And I can't believe they will refuse to use that data mining for oppression of their political enemies as opposed to the terrorists trying to kill us. The whole thing with continuing to classify the Ft. Hood shooting as "workplace violence" instead of the obvious terrorist attack that it was doesn't help matters. Neither does the FBI shooting the associate of the Boston Bomber when they found him in Florida. For as much as I expect that after detention and questioning (and still 60/40 on whether the whole trial/military tribunal thing would have been necessary) I would have wanted him up against the wall for the firing squad, there is something terribly unseemly about the way that went down. Almost like they knew more and didn't want a chance on something else damaging leaking out. And I really don't like having to entertain those kinds of thoughts about my government.

          1. Intractable Potsherd

            Re: Fort Hood shooting

            No, it was not terrorism, any more than the Boston Bombing or the murder of the soldier in the UK the other week was. It was no more terrorism than any event involving a nutter with a gun/knife/van/pressure cooker/can of petrol killing lots of people in a house/school/on the streets.

            The number of things attributed to terrorism needs to be reduced, not multiplied. Terrorism is rare, and not worth making a fuss about.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    US Family Life... vs.... The Land of the Free... vs... The War Against Terror....

    TWAT is a never ending made-up war. It can't be won. Not even with all civil liberties wiped out.. Surveillance culture is here to stay... Because that's how the TWATS in the US elite view our world. I wish I could persuade the powers that be to stop... Convince them that it will never work. But what are the chances they'd listen? The sacrifices imposed on citizens liberties will always be greater than the return on terrorists stopped. Plus, always using Terror as the bottom line excuse for shifting control is nothing more than the pursuit of tyrannical power. But we Americans are blind and can't see this... It is our 1984!

    I have to laugh at how many Asians and South Americans and even middle easterners that I meet who aspire to live in the US. They have no idea. Only the elites get looked after in America. You can graft, but if you're not smart enough, talented enough, rich enough or corrupt enough, it'll be a challenge. The average person paying forty-grand a year for college to get a head start faces 'nothing good'. Matters are compounded by the fact that students cannot write off student debt in bankruptcy should they fail to find work after graduating. How many folks aspiring to be Americans understand these hidden pitfalls?

    America feeds itself on debt and debt can be a form of slavery. Meanwhile a huge proportion of income taxes disappear on the defence budget. What about $ to ensure ones city or neighbourhood is safe? How long can this game keep going? How long can the US keep printing dollars to pay for its excesses? At some point we will surely move to a basket of currencies and the US dollar will become marginalized. By then China's ascent will be assured. Does that mean that we'll all be working for China, as the banned 'Citizens Against Government Waste' Ad on YouTube posits? Perhaps! The Ad is thought provoking...

    If you Fall Down in America expect little help from the Fed. Whereas if you're a TBTF bank or the Car Industry expect to get a free hand-out every time. This type of socialist capitalism is brutally unfair! It is killing family life stone dead. I see impoverished families in many other parts of the world living happier. With dwindling resources, economic costs of climate change, and cronyist capitalism, I don't ever see the US returning to its former glory... Not in real terms. Sorry if this makes for uncomfortable reading! But big investors including Jim Rogers and deep thinkers such as Taleb preach this gospel nearly every day!

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: US Family Life... vs.... The Land of the Free... vs... The War Against Terror....

      "TWAT is a never ending made-up war. It can't be won...." I would suggest 9/11 and many other terror attacks were not "made-up". As to whether it can be "won" is a debateable point - you cannot stop an idea, but you can make it unpopular to the point where it is unfeasible for those that think it to continue. You are correct in that TWAT cannot be won, but then the best strategy for terror is containment. Covincing Abdul the jihadi he is better off by just forgetting his plans for a global Islamic caliphate and instead getting a job and raising a family is what we should be aiming for. As an example, you could say the Brits never "defeated" the IRA, but - through a drawn-out strategy of grinding down the IRA's resources and will to continue - the IRA decided to negotiate and everyone eventually won.

      "....The sacrifices imposed on citizens liberties will always be greater than the return on terrorists stopped......" Complete cobblers. For a start, you would need some means of comparing the "pain" introduced by reductions in liberties versus the "saving" from stopping terror attacks. Do I value my email privacy more than the life of a victim of a terror attack? How about if the victim is someone close to me? It was very hard to justify the expense and reduction in liberties of the British campaign against the IRA in Northern Ireland whilst it was ongoing, but people in Belfast will tell you they are glad it was done as they now value the peace.

      Simply pretending terrorism will go away if we do nothing is worse than sticking your head in the sand.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: US Family Life... vs.... The Land of the Free... vs... The War Against Terror....

        "I would suggest 9/11 and many other terror attacks were not "made-up"

        ...You've made my point for me. Even with all the billions, plus all the warning signs, we missed both events, and now we're going to add even more billions to this 'Burn After Reading' farce? For how long? Until we're bankrupt as a country fiscally and morally? You're making assumptions that boosting these intelligence systems will achieve something. Yet all the increased funding after 9/11 didn't prevent Boston. They failed because their emotional intelligence systems failed . They screened one of the bombers but let him back in despite being warned. If anything they need to boost old-school intelligence methods instead of broad spying.

        "Simply pretending terrorism will go away if we do nothing is worse than sticking your head in the sand."

        I was talking about quality of life in America, in particular family life. Maybe you missed my point? Terror is about creating fear rather than the number of casualties. How many of us on US soil are actually in direct danger from a terror attack as opposed to the affects of crime in our cities? In short, where is the real threat to the average America today? At least half my fiends and family have been victims of gun violence. Sadly, a few were shot and killed. All of us were living in middle class neighbourhoods. We're the richest country in the world, so how is this possible? For starters police forces in many sates have been decimated by cut-backs. Moreover, its far too easy to get access to guns. The stats don't lie, the average person is more likely to be shot or killed in a hold-up than affected by Terrorism.... You are buying into the fear or a shill from DC!

  22. John Deeb
    Boffin

    pointer

    Everyone point to "evil government" but as far as rational analysis goes everything points to companies like Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft setting up some internal servers for NSA to tap into any requestion information (easier than sending it with express mail I suppose).

    So NSA, the White House AND all major ISP's and solution providers are all together out to invade your privacy with this scheme! Perhaps you can't vote in another government but you can change all the services and proxies you're using pretty easily. And that's where our response should lie, not for the government to fix it or undo anything but for the people to become smarter!

  23. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    I wish Edward all the luck in the world.

    Sadly, I think he will need all that and more.

    Though it shames me, I must confess, he is far braver than I am.

  24. DF118
    Boffin

    James Clapper

    Dear Reg, I feel the need to point out that you in turn need to point out that James Clapper (or Lieutenant General James Clapper as he was previously known) is a military man through and through. Not that this should ordinarily be a problem for ordinary Americans. After all having someone like him in his position as string-puller-in-chief of the NSA is no doubt a great benefit to foreign intelligence gathering. Sadly it's not just foreign intelligence they've been gathering and what we're really looking at with James Clapper is the face of the American military spluttering with rage because it has been caught red-handed spying on Americans.

  25. MacroRodent Silver badge
    FAIL

    Why Hong Kong?

    What I don't get is why he first went to Hong Kong and revealed himself, and then said he plans to apply for asylum in Iceland. Now it is far more dangerous for him to travel. Should have flown to Iceland first. Or did he board the wrong plane by mistake?

  26. All names Taken
    Paris Hilton

    As Winston ...

    ... Churchill wrote and John McGuinness and Michael Dunlop spoke:

    We have surmounted all the perils and endured all the agonies of the past. We shall provide against and thus prevail over the dangers and problems of the future, withhold no sacrifice, grudge no toil, seek no sordid gain, fear no foe. All will be well. We have, I believe, within us the life-strength and guiding light by which the tormented world around us may find the harbour of safety, after a storm-beaten voyage.

  27. DougS Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Bush said of terrorists: "they hate us for our freedom"

    If he was right, they should no longer hate us, because we resolved that problem by eliminating our freedom!

  28. ceesboog
    Stop

    Pardon for Edward Snowden on whitehouse site

    Pardon for Edward Snowden on whitehouse site

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/pardon-edward-snowden/Dp03vGYD

    and don't forget

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/free-bradley-manning/6qFjYRhj

  29. radioeme
    Thumb Up

    And TV series Person of Interest is fictional?

    And TV series Person of Interest is fictional?

  30. Imsimil Berati-Lahn
    Facepalm

    oh my! how splendidly re-entrant.

    The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

    H. L. Mencken

    But now the government has been unmasked as the biggest hobgoblin of all.

    Whatever are we to do?!

    <headless chicken dance... ooh, ooh, Mister Peevly >

  31. MACWINLINO
    Mushroom

    Past Repeating Its Self

    Amazing how different civilizations all eventually go down the same path. Paranoia, taking away civil liberties from its people etc.

    *No I am not saying this is what the world is doing*

    If this is the information that we know, imagine what we don't!

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Has anyone else noticed that the US & UK are using each other as the legal vehicle for this. Both are saying they can legally watch other countries' communications, as it's illegal to infringe the privacy of their own nationals.

    BOTH are saying this, and in the same speeches, saying how naturally if any concerns arise from each other's monitoring, they would share such information pursuant to the 'special relationship'. Rest of Europe are NOT happy at all about this, and I can see serious political conseqences.

    I mean, how on earth can we have any legitimacy, throughout NATO, G8, and the security council and have the audacity to lecture the rest of the world on censorship and human rights.

    What with the whole lobbying scandal in the UK, the economic raping by the banks, the US political system; the inescapable conclusion is that our countries are governed and underpinned by nothing more than self-serving, corrupted criminals. Same with Russia, but at least they're quite open about the fact, and do not hesitate to chase their domestic opposition around the world with hit squads.

    However much they control this in the media at the moment, history will recall this scandal as a shocking act by our generation.

    1. All names Taken
      Paris Hilton

      Nice one mate - but the victor always writes or re-writes history.

      Remember the army killing civilians in Manchester, or of state sponsored ethnic cleansing?

      Sad :-(

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