Monday, July 15, 2013

Among documents stolen by Edward Snowden is the detailed blueprint for how the NSA works. Uh oh!

Courtesy of Boston.com: 

Edward Snowden has very sensitive ‘‘blueprints’’ detailing how the National Security Agency operates that would allow someone who read them to evade or even duplicate NSA surveillance, a journalist close to the intelligence leaker said Sunday. 

Glenn Greenwald, a columnist with The Guardian newspaper who closely communicates with Snowden and first reported on his intelligence leaks, told The Associated Press that the former NSA systems analyst has ‘‘literally thousands of documents’’ that constitute ‘‘basically the instruction manual for how the NSA is built.’’ ‘

‘In order to take documents with him that proved that what he was saying was true he had to take ones that included very sensitive, detailed blueprints of how the NSA does what they do,’’ Greenwald said in Brazil, adding that the interview was taking place about four hours after his last interaction with Snowden.

I swear in my nine years of writing for this blog I have NEVER run across a story for which it was so difficult to form a definite opinion. Is Edward Snowden a champion for the rights of citizens to resist the government's efforts to spy on them? Or is he a traitor to the country and ultimately a dangerous threat to our security?

The article up above certainly reinforces the latter interpretation. Clearly if this "blueprint" falls into the hands of those who wish us harm, or simply want to find a way around our defenses, they would now have the means to do both.

And Greenwald's assurances that the data is encrypted does not exactly put my mind at ease.

Like I said yesterday, and for which I received aggressive blowback from some, IF Snowden's actions result in the end of the NSA data mining programs, or some modifications and assurances that it was no longer scooping up EVERYTHING we post or email online, he could well be ultimately considered a heroic champion for individual privacy.

However if these "blueprints" fall into the wrong hands, and there is some controversial information that it has already happened, then Snowden would rank right up there with Benedict Arnold and Aldrich Ames.

What is clear is that this is a story that is not yet finished, therefore making it impossible to determine how the final chapter will play itself out.

For those who view Snowden as a criminal, there is ample evidence to support that contention.

However there are those on the other side who view him as a hero. In fact heroic enough to have already been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

44 comments:

  1. Anonymous10:04 AM

    And in other news, George H. W. Bush, lock jaw with pippy long stockings on is being honoured in the white house by President Obama. FUCK ME!

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  2. Anonymous10:11 AM

    It is nice the irrelevant Sarah Palin will keep her mouth shut. I am so sick of the word "patriot" being misused.

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  3. Anonymous10:21 AM

    I view him as somewhat of a hero for the world and peace. If you take a long look at what wiki leaks has exposed you will find that their work is for citizens of the world, leakers exposing lies within their govt. There is no doubt, Snowden had to plan how he was going to leak his information and protect himself. We all know that with what is happening to Bradley Manning. I don't feel that Snowden is going to leak anything, or any Blueprints. If he has given sensitive information to Russia and China, its not anything that they don't already know.

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    1. Anonymous10:45 AM

      China and Russia have all they want. I didn't realize we didn't already know about the NSA data mining programs, private citizens situation. So I don't see how Snowden is doing anything positive for the good old US of A. I see him as a tool.

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    2. fromthediagonal11:57 AM

      anon@10:45... "I see him as a tool" you say and I agree. Moreover, he seems a tool with a big ego who wanted his own 15 minutes of fame a la Julian Assange.

      I do wonder about the background of all of this. Did he arrive at his perceived heroics by himself, or was he guided into that direction with promises of great fame and fortune, including protection etc.? I think the answers to these queries will be much more important than his actual hacking into the NSA systems.

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    3. Anonymous12:54 PM

      Totally agree, diagonal. Until we know who is funding and protecting Snowden, and who put him up to this, we will be missing the big picture.

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    4. Anonymous5:10 PM

      I agree it is good to know about Afghanistan and what the Palin's very dear close friend did. http://twitpic.com/4cvesf Has Sarah thanked Bradley Manning or praised him? No doubt she stands with the Nuge in the matter of Trayvon and she sees George Zimmerman as rill Amurikan.

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  4. Anonymous11:12 AM

    I'm with you Gryphen.. This story is too complex to kneejerk assume Snowden (and Greenwald, for that matter) are either "honorable whistleblowers" or "overtly treasonous"... Unless Snowden is masking one hell of a lot of malevolence, my guess the truth lies someone firmly in between.

    I do believe the administration has done themselves (and the US reputation) no favors in how they have handled this entire situation.

    I guess, like you, I shall have to wait and see what the next chapter will bring...

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  5. Anonymous11:24 AM

    I also want to add, had the Wiki Leaks video's not came out to the public, would the U.S. not have pulled out of Iraq? How about Ahgahanistan? It just proves to the world that there isn't any reason that so many people have lost their lives due to un-necessary wars and the money that u.s. politicians and govt. rack in for their personal gain. So yes! If not for Wiki leaks and Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, how are we to know how corrupt our govts. are? The NSA is probably the most corrupt organization and brought in by the Bush govt. so that they could make money within their 8 year corruptness. it's damn time we stand up to our government and how crooked they act. Without leakers we would never know.

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    1. Anonymous12:23 PM

      USA is still spending billions on non military contractors in Iraq. The war is not over, it's simply moved into civilian hands.

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    2. Anonymous12:55 PM

      "The war is not over, it's simply moved into civilian hands."

      Which is even more dangerous – and more expensive – for the US.

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    3. Anonymous12:57 PM

      Isn't that Republican to privatize war? How convenient, we don't even need to know all the wars we are fighting. The contractors will handle it and handle the press.

      I don't think anyone is against whistle blowers and leaks over all. They will never go away and no one will like it if it is it is a problem for their institution. Each situation is different. Something fishy about Snowden from day one. Who gives up their whole life to take the responsibility of being the sole keeper of such vital data? He is not the sharpest tool in the shed so I have a had time thinking things will work out so well for him. I just hope the consequences for us isn't fatal or drastic devastation of some type.

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    4. I sure do wish those 'leakers' would infiltrate the Koch brothers' organization and start spilling everything they're up to!

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    5. fromthediagonal2:20 PM

      to the anons above, and especially 12:57... I agree on all counts... does anyone remember the French Foreign Legion of yore? If you don't, please research! It was comprised of the misfits of its time. Now look at all of those so-called Private Contractors and see if you can tell the difference between the regular military and those "hired ones" most of whom served a tour or two "in the sandbox". The self described "bad asses" are making multiple amounts of money of those who signed up for a career in the military.
      Don't get me going!

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    6. Aragon64, I'm with you. Anyone who could get and release inside info from the Koch brothers org and ALEC, would be a hero to me.

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    7. fromthediagonal2:40 PM

      ...and aragon64@1:09... Your thoughts are mirroring mine, but there are many more "Kochs" in the works of these ' Masters of the Universe" International Corporations than we can imagine in our worst nightmares.

      Think about it!

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  6. Anonymous11:36 AM

    Hmmm... I wonder, if he REALLY has those blueprints, or if he just is bluffing. Only one way to find out, I guess, and it is not a pretty picture.

    Also wondering, just WHO has those blueprints now, if they truly exist outside the NSA - does Snowden have them in his possession, or does someone else have them? If someone else has them, what prevents THEM from duplicating/selling them to our enemies?

    What happens, if something happens to Snowden - be it a natural accident/sickness/death, or be it an 'accident'?
    A very, very dicey situation, IMHO.

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    1. Anonymous1:04 PM

      Don't you think they are already duplicated? Russia and China would want to have them for negotiations and manipulations. They would not want to pass them out willy nilly at this point. They may still be de-encrypting.

      As long as Snowden is in Russia he may be on cameras 24/7. Supposedly he and the Wikileak women are the only ones guarding these laptops?

      It sounds absurd if they think they are in control.

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  7. Anonymous11:58 AM

    For those who may be a bit confused about the agreement NOT to disclose classified information to unauthorized persons [which is an agreement that Snowden would have signed when he was granted a security clearance], here is a bit of information about the Standard Form 312, "Classified Information Nondisclosure Agreement."

    http://www.archives.gov/isoo/training/standard-form-312.html

    I suggest reading the actual language on the form as well. It is very simple ... Snowden has obviously BROKEN his written promise, and is thereby a self-admitted untrustworthy person. Right up there with Aldrich Ames, Gryff.

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    1. Anonymous1:09 PM

      I can understand other countries wanting our turncoats and their contraband. I don't understand why Snowden is not treated as an international criminal? He has a right to defend himself when he is charged. I just don't get how they can prove him to be a great patriot and that gibberish they talk.

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  8. Anonymous12:15 PM

    I have a proposal. Let's swap Snowden for George Zimmerman – sending Zimmerman to Russia/Putin, and having Putin put Snowden on a plane to return home for trial.

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  9. Anonymous12:21 PM

    Dude is just trying to pretend like he has more info so he doesn't end up as "the man without a country" that he currently is. Good thing SnowedThem never played poker because he would have always been handing his money over to someone else. Dude is stuck and will remain so for quite some time. We'll hear about him in 50 years, still living in the airport. He wasn't smart enough to realize what he was doing and then to realize the long term implications of his actions.

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    1. Anonymous12:58 PM

      "He wasn't smart enough to realize what he was doing and then to realize the long term implications of his actions."

      And that alone makes him worthless to Putin. Combine that trait with untrustworthiness and you can imagine how he could be on a plane heading out of there at some point.

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    2. We had a discussion at work about Snowden and we came to a consensus that he's a narcissist (like someone else we all know of here), who turned against a system he happily served until Obama came into office and who isn't as smart as he thinks he is. Where did he run to? Chinese territory (and we all know how expert they are at hacking people's electronics as soon as you enter their territory, if not before) and then Russia. And he's trying to get to other countries who are also not so great when it comes to openness and democracy...what does that tell you about him? If he had been smart, my coworker said that he should have flown straight to Argentina, which has no extradition agreements with anyone, according to my co-worker, and Snowden would have been relatively safe. He's a dope and he's going to keep up this I've got all these secrets ploys until he ticks off someone, like Putin, and becomes really sorry. He'd be safer if he just came home and surrounded himself with lawyers. Abroad, he's much less safe. And that was the consensus from a bunch of us at work in Washington, DC...just down the street from the NSA, the FBI, etc.

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    3. Anonymous1:48 PM

      Aragon-
      I agree.

      He went beyond whistleblower status almost from the beginning and is potentially threatening the security of our country, which infuriates me. Just who does this asshat think he is, to have the qualifications necessary to determine what information to release? It's not like he's got decades of experience in security, the military, or foreign relations to help him make appropriate judgements about the materials he supposedly has.

      I also think that he is being manipulated by some person or organization that has convinced him that he is on a par with Assange, which he is not. I suspect he has a lot less information than he claims (at least I HOPE he does!) and he certainly does not have the organizational structure set up that Assange did before he released anything.

      He's now dealing with crisis management instead of following a well-thought-out protocol for handling the information and his own future.

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    4. Anonymous2:51 PM

      Aragon64 .... agree

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  10. Anonymous12:26 PM

    I have a hard time seeing Snowden as a hero. I have a real problem with the way he has gone about leaking this information. It makes me very suspicious. I'm as suspicious of him and Greenwald as I am of the NSA
    If he had been some worker bee who had come across this information, felt strongly that it was wrong, and made it public, I'd feel like he had "done good". However, he took the job at Booze Allen for the sole purpose of stealing the information, ran to China and Russia who have historically not been our allies, and is now wanting to take refuge in Bolivia or Venezuela. Neither of those countries are our allies either. In fact, historically, if not our enemies, then countries that ain't our friends. I also have a huge problem with Greenwald. Why is he the one controlling this information in drips? Why not put it all out there? It makes Greewald and Snowden look like they have ulterior motives. And those motives don't look good to me. I sincerely believe they do not have the citizens of the USA in their best interests. I think they are willing to "destroy" the USA - even all the stuff that is good- to prove their point. This isn't a back and white issue. So many shades of gray......

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    1. Anonymous1:54 PM

      Yesss! This is the best explanation I've seen of how I have viewed this situation.

      From the very beginning, I've been suspicious of Greenwald's involvement, and those suspicions have only increased every time he opens his mouth.

      I don't think the purpose of this exercise has EVER been to expose some questionable practices of our government. There's a LOT more to this that we just don't know yet...and that scares the hell out of me.

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    2. Anonymous5:42 PM

      Agreed.

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  11. I tend to support Julian Assange, but not Edward Snowden. Julian is an Australian who never signed American confidentiality agreements. Edward did, violated the terms of his employment, and it seems he took the job knowing he would do exactly that. He’s not a whistleblower who stumbled onto illegal behavior, since it wasn’t illegal. He’s more of a traitor, I would think.

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    1. Anonymous1:56 PM

      I suspect that Snowden was manipulated from the beginning by someone who convinced him he could become famous and wealthy by stealing secret information and that was his intention from the start.

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    2. Anonymous7:14 PM

      I agree with you Darlene. Julian Assange just provides leakers information to the public. Why Edward has leaked his information may be because he is totally fed up with the American system how they spy on their own. I have to disagree with you tho on whether illegal behaviour by the U.S. govt. is true. I do believe that it is unlawful what the NSA is doing. But lets face it, this whole thing is to mostly embarrass the U.S. And from the Bush years I feel its about time the U.S. and the world deals with the raw crap that Bush sent out to the entire world. Many, many people throughout the world have been massively affected by the U.S. crash and I'd personally like to shove a hot rod right up every H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and mostly Dick Cheney. Who could believe that Obama had to praise this old bastard today at the white house?

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    3. Anonymous9:10 PM

      7:14 PM

      It would be good to put war criminals in jail. If not, we will get Snowdens. He may like Bush and put problems on his successor, the trouble is that the criminals just keep keepin' on. War criminals must be tried.

      No justice no peace.

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  12. Anonymous1:31 PM

    As far as I'm concerned Snowden is a traitor and Greenwald probably is, too. If he really has the documents he says he has, Snowden isn't going to get out of Russia alive. He is a fool.

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  13. If you are of the view that an intelligence data analyst who spent the time he was closest to anything remotely sensitive to how the NSA operate at an out-post in Switzerland has in his possession something that China & Russia doesn't already have, I suggest you abandon that naive mindset. Mr Snowden we now know is a social security hater, he'd rather a 80 yrs old grandmother go get a job as a hairdresser. We know he has great dislike for his present President, so we cannot rule out all these fact being responsible for his motive in doing what he's doing now, and what intended consequence he foresaw, which can only be the discrediting of the Obama administration, because another thing we now know for a fact is that he was a religious believer in everything he's now railing against when Mr Bush & Mr Cheney where in charge. So I submit to you Gryphen, please separate the fight we all must fight against the government doing a nosey on our noble privacy and the idolisation of a narcissism filled individual who's obviously being puppet managed by unsavoury characters that are way out of his mundane league

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  14. Anonymous1:50 PM

    All we can do is speculate, really. Anyone taking a hard position at this point is letting their personal bias fill in the blanks where the major facts are missing:

    What docs does he have?
    Who has gained access to the info?
    How can he protect the docs 24/7 without security?
    Is he aware of wireless technology being utilized to hack hard drives that are not even powered up?
    Who has the key to the encryption?
    How does he know whether or not he's been drugged via gas or thru food and compromised? There are other substances used in intel gathering that produce effects of S/T amnesia. One who is sleeping would never know they had been sedated.

    These types of operations that he claims to know about in entirety are almost always compartmentalized to prevent espionage and leakage. How does he manage to be in control of so many missions which have typically been under the control of much higher level military (full-bird colonel) or quasi-military career GS employees at a comparable scope of responsibility.

    Why Glenn Greenwald? He is a notorious hater of US Govt with an axe to grind because he was forced to move abroad in order to marry his lover. I still read GG and don't discount all of his research b/c I disagree with him politically on some issues. But he has his own motives and they're not always pro-America.

    What were the real reasons that Snowden for the timing and the decisions that he's made? There are some obvious holes in his story about his procurement of his last couple of jobs, so there's no way in hell he's told the truth about everything. But it's more likely that there is SOME truth than NONE.

    For the smartest guy in the room wherever he goes, it doesn't appear that he had a workable plan to be a bona fide whistleblower. What was his plan for an endgame? Who really cares how much $$$ he was making on a contract w BAH? Why all of the ego-driven propaganda from him on the front end? With a better plan, he could've released the same information anonymously with control of the message without resorting to threats to disseminate data that will possibly harm national security. I'm suspicious of his motives for wanting to BE the story by inserting himself into the story, instead of TELLING the story to those who could responsibly handle the matter and guarantee change if it warranted being changed.

    Just my opinion, which is skeptical, and still very open, but I'd expect some multi-level lies to be told on both sides, and for the real weak points in security to be blurred, minimized, and never documented. For whatever Snowden thinks he knows, he doesn't know everything. But if he threatens to harm our country's security in a way that harms a small ally of ours in the ME, then Snowden's buddy has done him a great disservice in leaving him exposed in South America. It will be much easier for Mossad teams to reach him there without the same repercussions that would occur if they *took him out* here stateside. Most countries have tighter control of the press than the US. Unless you know which sources to read and which of their stories are legit and which are disinfo, most international news travels through a filter before it's printed and disseminated, and then again when it is translated and redistributed. A big event might not be blacked out, but it can be filtered and *non covered* to the point that most will never know it happened or it's importance. Example: Ask 20 people what they know about 7/7. I rest my case.

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    1. Anonymous5:09 PM

      I had to Wiki it. I have no memory of the story. So I guess you're right.

      The 7 July 2005 London bombings (often referred to as 7/7) were a series of co-ordinated suicide attacks in London which targeted civilians using the public transport system during the morning rush hour.

      On the morning of Thursday, 7 July 2005, four Islamist home-grown terrorists detonated four bombs, three in quick succession aboard London Underground trains across the city and, later, a fourth on a double-decker bus in Tavistock Square. Fifty-two civilians and the four bombers were killed in the attacks, and over 700 more were injured.

      The explosions were caused by homemade organic peroxide–based devices packed into rucksacks. The bombings were followed exactly two weeks later by a series of attempted attacks.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/7_July_2005_London_bombings

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  15. I don't trust Snowden at all. He is in it for $$ and the glory while he attempts to hurt our country by providing security information to other countries. He is a traitor.

    As for the Nobel Peace Prize, he is not even in the same category as Malala who should win it now. She is making a positive difference in this world and is fighting a tough enemy who will continue to go after her and all those who follow her lead. I hope she stays safe for many years to come as she is a beacon of light in the Middle East.

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  16. Anonymous3:02 PM

    Is he aware of wireless technology being utilized to hack hard drives that are not even powered up?

    In his own head he is brilliant and would know all. For others he is either a complete sham, pretty stupid or combo of both. I think he saw too many Austin Power movies.

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  17. Anonymous3:12 PM

    we as americans deserve and have the right to know what is done in our name... you can't claim that it is for 'my safety' all the while denying me my basic right to privacy and free speech without fear of the government. Give me liberty or give me death!

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    1. Anonymous5:05 PM

      Hey, as long as you are a White male or white female, preferably blonde, with no foreign affiliations, you can have all of the privacy plus protection that your little white ass desires.

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    2. Anonymous5:43 PM

      The fourth estate has been slack. More peeps like Murdoch need to be exposed and put in jail. Since Bush, I thought it was common knowledge that Americans are spied on. Remember they were going to have letter delivery persons and utility workers report on us? As far as espionage on other countries, weapons and war, how could any country expose everything they do? Greenwald and Snowden are the faces for an agenda, someone needs to be a whistle blower on the whole operation. Once the Russians are done playing with him he needs to come back and answer for his crimes against Americans.

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  18. Anonymous4:55 PM

    Snowden et al are working the Founding Fathers rights theme. This goes along with the Republicans worrying about losing our 2nd Amendment rights.

    It was the Republicans that started this entire thing with the over reaction to 911. I didn't like it then and I don't like it now.

    Bottom line is that he broke the law and undermined our Nation's security. We all benefited from this security. Would you have given Hitler the location of our troops on D-Day because you didn't want so many of our boys killed at Normandy? Would you have given out the details of our weaponry against the Viet Cong because you don't like the profit made by the gun manufacturers?

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  19. Anonymous5:11 PM

    Snowden an Intelligence Analyst??? I don't think so. he may have had a TS clearance from his enlisted days but no sci (sensitive Compartmented Information). He is a bullshitter, my dear or a thief.

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