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Thread: Obama Administration NSA Spying on Americans

  1. #81
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    Default Re: Obama seizing Verizon phone records

    Wow.. here's a stretch!


    Former CIA Officer: Intel Considering NSA Whistleblower ‘Potential Chinese Espionage’

    Posted: June 10, 2013 by AKA John Galt in "1984", America, American Freedom, American History, World Topics
    Tags: Barack Obama, China's Presdent Xi Jinping, Chinese Espionage, Comrad Obama, Crime, Democrats, Former CIA officer Bob Baer, free speech, Freedom, Freedom of Religion, Government Lies, hong kong, idiocracy, Ignorance, Information, liberal hate, liberal stupidity, NSA leaker Edward Snowden, Totalitarianism



    Former CIA officer Bob Baer said on CNN Sunday evening officials are speculating that Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing could be “potential Chinese espionage.” Snowden came forward yesterday and identified himself as the leaker of the NSA’s massive surveillance operation. '


    Snowden revealed he was currently located in Hong Kong.


    “It’s [Hong Kong's] not an independent part of China at all. I’ve talked to a bunch of people in Washington today, in official positions, and they are looking at this as a potential Chinese espionage case,” said Baer.


    When he was asked if there was a possibility to extradite Snowden, Baer responded, “We’ll never get him in China. They’re not about to send him to the United States and the CIA is not going to render him, as he said in the tape, is not going to try to grab him there.”


    President Obama recently met with China’s Presdent Xi Jinping where they discussed issues of cybersecurity.


    Baer said, ““It almost seems to me that this was a pointed affront to the United States on the day the president is meeting the Chinese leader,” Baer said, “telling us, listen, quit complaining about espionage and getting on the internet and our hacking. You are doing the same thing.”


    Read more here.
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    Default Re: Obama Administration Spying on Americans (NSA)




    Discredit and vilify the traitor...tell them he's now working for the PLA!
    Change is coming in ways you cannot imagine



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    Super Moderator and PHILanthropist Extraordinaire Phil Fiord's Avatar
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    Default Re: Obama Administration Spying on Americans (NSA)

    How is this for an interpretation of events.

    Benghazi has CIA pissed. With the Administration making the CIA mad, the dirt they have on Obama comes to surface but is not sticking, so CIA directs their asset, Snowden, to be the whistleblower. They wont grab him.

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    Default Re: Obama Administration Spying on Americans (NSA)

    I like your take on this Phil.... we can only hope you're right.

    Wouldn't THAT be a bit of irony?
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    Default Re: Obama Administration Spying on Americans (NSA)

    Edward Snowden: the whistleblower behind the NSA surveillance revelations

    Posted on June 10, 2013 by Land & Livestock Interntional, Inc.
    Series: Glenn Greenwald on security and liberty via The Guardian

    The 29-year-old source behind the biggest intelligence leak in the NSA’s history explains his motives, his uncertain future and why he never intended on hiding in the shadows
    Q&A with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: ‘I do not expect to see home again’






    Link to video: NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: ‘I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things’The individual responsible for one of the most significant leaks in US political history is Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.

    Snowden has been working at the National Security Agency for the last four years as an employee of various outside contractors, including Booz Allen and Dell.


    The Guardian, after several days of interviews, is revealing his identity at his request. From the moment he decided to disclose numerous top-secret documents to the public, he was determined not to opt for the protection of anonymity. “I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong,” he said.


    Snowden will go down in history as one of America’s most consequential whistleblowers, alongside Daniel Ellsberg and Bradley Manning. He is responsible for handing over material from one of the world’s most secretive organisations – the NSA.


    In a note accompanying the first set of documents he provided, he wrote: “I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions,” but “I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant.”


    Despite his determination to be publicly unveiled, he repeatedly insisted that he wants to avoid the media spotlight. “I don’t want public attention because I don’t want the story to be about me. I want it to be about what the US government is doing.”


    He does not fear the consequences of going public, he said, only that doing so will distract attention from the issues raised by his disclosures. “I know the media likes to personalise political debates, and I know the government will demonise me.”


    Despite these fears, he remained hopeful his outing will not divert attention from the substance of his disclosures. “I really want the focus to be on these documents and the debate which I hope this will trigger among citizens around the globe about what kind of world we want to live in.” He added: “My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them.”


    He has had “a very comfortable life” that included a salary of roughly $200,000, a girlfriend with whom he shared a home in Hawaii, a stable career, and a family he loves. “I’m willing to sacrifice all of that because I can’t in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building.”

    ‘I am not afraid, because this is the choice I’ve made’

    Three weeks ago, Snowden made final preparations that resulted in last week’s series of blockbuster news stories. At the NSA office in Hawaii where he was working, he copied the last set of documents he intended to disclose.


    He then advised his NSA supervisor that he needed to be away from work for “a couple of weeks” in order to receive treatment for epilepsy, a condition he learned he suffers from after a series of seizures last year.


    As he packed his bags, he told his girlfriend that he had to be away for a few weeks, though he said he was vague about the reason. “That is not an uncommon occurrence for someone who has spent the last decade working in the intelligence world.”


    On May 20, he boarded a flight to Hong Kong, where he has remained ever since. He chose the city because “they have a spirited commitment to free speech and the right of political dissent”, and because he believed that it was one of the few places in the world that both could and would resist the dictates of the US government.


    In the three weeks since he arrived, he has been ensconced in a hotel room. “I’ve left the room maybe a total of three times during my entire stay,” he said. It is a plush hotel and, what with eating meals in his room too, he has run up big bills.


    He is deeply worried about being spied on. He lines the door of his hotel room with pillows to prevent eavesdropping. He puts a large red hood over his head and laptop when entering his passwords to prevent any hidden cameras from detecting them.


    Though that may sound like paranoia to some, Snowden has good reason for such fears. He worked in the US intelligence world for almost a decade. He knows that the biggest and most secretive surveillance organisation in America, the NSA, along with the most powerful government on the planet, is looking for him.


    Since the disclosures began to emerge, he has watched television and monitored the internet, hearing all the threats and vows of prosecution emanating from Washington.


    And he knows only too well the sophisticated technology available to them and how easy it will be for them to find him. The NSA police and other law enforcement officers have twice visited his home in Hawaii and already contacted his girlfriend, though he believes that may have been prompted by his absence from work, and not because of suspicions of any connection to the leaks.


    “All my options are bad,” he said. The US could begin extradition proceedings against him, a potentially problematic, lengthy and unpredictable course for Washington. Or the Chinese government might whisk him away for questioning, viewing him as a useful source of information. Or he might end up being grabbed and bundled into a plane bound for US territory.


    “Yes, I could be rendered by the CIA. I could have people come after me. Or any of the third-party partners. They work closely with a number of other nations. Or they could pay off the Triads. Any of their agents or assets,” he said.


    “We have got a CIA station just up the road – the consulate here in Hong Kong – and I am sure they are going to be busy for the next week. And that is a concern I will live with for the rest of my life, however long that happens to be.”


    Having watched the Obama administration prosecute whistleblowers at a historically unprecedented rate, he fully expects the US government to attempt to use all its weight to punish him. “I am not afraid,” he said calmly, “because this is the choice I’ve made.”


    He predicts the government will launch an investigation and “say I have broken the Espionage Act and helped our enemies, but that can be used against anyone who points out how massive and invasive the system has become”.


    The only time he became emotional during the many hours of interviews was when he pondered the impact his choices would have on his family, many of whom work for the US government. “The only thing I fear is the harmful effects on my family, who I won’t be able to help any more. That’s what keeps me up at night,” he said, his eyes welling up with tears.
    ‘You can’t wait around for someone else to act’

    Snowden did not always believe the US government posed a threat to his political values. He was brought up originally in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. His family moved later to Maryland, near the NSA headquarters in Fort Meade.


    By his own admission, he was not a stellar student. In order to get the credits necessary to obtain a high school diploma, he attended a community college in Maryland, studying computing, but never completed the coursework. (He later obtained his GED.)


    In 2003, he enlisted in the US army and began a training program to join the Special Forces. Invoking the same principles that he now cites to justify his leaks, he said: “I wanted to fight in the Iraq war because I felt like I had an obligation as a human being to help free people from oppression”.


    He recounted how his beliefs about the war’s purpose were quickly dispelled. “Most of the people training us seemed pumped up about killing Arabs, not helping anyone,” he said. After he broke both his legs in a training accident, he was discharged.


    After that, he got his first job in an NSA facility, working as a security guard for one of the agency’s covert facilities at the University of Maryland. From there, he went to the CIA, where he worked on IT security. His understanding of the internet and his talent for computer programming enabled him to rise fairly quickly for someone who lacked even a high school diploma.


    By 2007, the CIA stationed him with diplomatic cover in Geneva, Switzerland. His responsibility for maintaining computer network security meant he had clearance to access a wide array of classified documents.


    That access, along with the almost three years he spent around CIA officers, led him to begin seriously questioning the rightness of what he saw.


    He described as formative an incident in which he claimed CIA operatives were attempting to recruit a Swiss banker to obtain secret banking information. Snowden said they achieved this by purposely getting the banker drunk and encouraging him to drive home in his car. When the banker was arrested for drunk driving, the undercover agent seeking to befriend him offered to help, and a bond was formed that led to successful recruitment.


    “Much of what I saw in Geneva really disillusioned me about how my government functions and what its impact is in the world,” he says. “I realised that I was part of something that was doing far more harm than good.”


    He said it was during his CIA stint in Geneva that he thought for the first time about exposing government secrets. But, at the time, he chose not to for two reasons.


    First, he said: “Most of the secrets the CIA has are about people, not machines and systems, so I didn’t feel comfortable with disclosures that I thought could endanger anyone”. Secondly, the election of Barack Obama in 2008 gave him hope that there would be real reforms, rendering disclosures unnecessary.


    He left the CIA in 2009 in order to take his first job working for a private contractor that assigned him to a functioning NSA facility, stationed on a military base in Japan. It was then, he said, that he “watched as Obama advanced the very policies that I thought would be reined in”, and as a result, “I got hardened.”


    The primary lesson from this experience was that “you can’t wait around for someone else to act. I had been looking for leaders, but I realised that leadership is about being the first to act.”


    Over the next three years, he learned just how all-consuming the NSA’s surveillance activities were, claiming “they are intent on making every conversation and every form of behaviour in the world known to them”.


    He described how he once viewed the internet as “the most important invention in all of human history”. As an adolescent, he spent days at a time “speaking to people with all sorts of views that I would never have encountered on my own”.


    But he believed that the value of the internet, along with basic privacy, is being rapidly destroyed by ubiquitous surveillance. “I don’t see myself as a hero,” he said, “because what I’m doing is self-interested: I don’t want to live in a world where there’s no privacy and therefore no room for intellectual exploration and creativity.”


    Once he reached the conclusion that the NSA’s surveillance net would soon be irrevocable, he said it was just a matter of time before he chose to act. “What they’re doing” poses “an existential threat to democracy”, he said.
    A matter of principle

    As strong as those beliefs are, there still remains the question: why did he do it? Giving up his freedom and a privileged lifestyle? “There are more important things than money. If I were motivated by money, I could have sold these documents to any number of countries and gotten very rich.”


    For him, it is a matter of principle. “The government has granted itself power it is not entitled to. There is no public oversight. The result is people like myself have the latitude to go further than they are allowed to,” he said.


    His allegiance to internet freedom is reflected in the stickers on his laptop: “I support Online Rights: Electronic Frontier Foundation,” reads one. Another hails the online organisation offering anonymity, the Tor Project.


    Asked by reporters to establish his authenticity to ensure he is not some fantasist, he laid bare, without hesitation, his personal details, from his social security number to his CIA ID and his expired diplomatic passport. There is no shiftiness. Ask him about anything in his personal life and he will answer.


    He is quiet, smart, easy-going and self-effacing. A master on computers, he seemed happiest when talking about the technical side of surveillance, at a level of detail comprehensible probably only to fellow communication specialists. But he showed intense passion when talking about the value of privacy and how he felt it was being steadily eroded by the behaviour of the intelligence services.


    His manner was calm and relaxed but he has been understandably twitchy since he went into hiding, waiting for the knock on the hotel door. A fire alarm goes off. “That has not happened before,” he said, betraying anxiety wondering if was real, a test or a CIA ploy to get him out onto the street.


    Strewn about the side of his bed are his suitcase, a plate with the remains of room-service breakfast, and a copy of Angler, the biography of former vice-president Dick Cheney.


    Ever since last week’s news stories began to appear in the Guardian, Snowden has vigilantly watched TV and read the internet to see the effects of his choices. He seemed satisfied that the debate he longed to provoke was finally taking place.


    He lay, propped up against pillows, watching CNN’s Wolf Blitzer ask a discussion panel about government intrusion if they had any idea who the leaker was. From 8,000 miles away, the leaker looked on impassively, not even indulging in a wry smile.


    Snowden said that he admires both Ellsberg and Manning, but argues that there is one important distinction between himself and the army private, whose trial coincidentally began the week Snowden’s leaks began to make news.


    “I carefully evaluated every single document I disclosed to ensure that each was legitimately in the public interest,” he said. “There are all sorts of documents that would have made a big impact that I didn’t turn over, because harming people isn’t my goal. Transparency is.”


    He purposely chose, he said, to give the documents to journalists whose judgment he trusted about what should be public and what should remain concealed.
    As for his future, he is vague. He hoped the publicity the leaks have generated will offer him some protection, making it “harder for them to get dirty”.


    He views his best hope as the possibility of asylum, with Iceland – with its reputation of a champion of internet freedom – at the top of his list. He knows that may prove a wish unfulfilled.


    But after the intense political controversy he has already created with just the first week’s haul of stories, “I feel satisfied that this was all worth it. I have no regrets.”
    Libertatem Prius!





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    Default Re: Obama Administration Spying on Americans (NSA)

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Fiord View Post
    How is this for an interpretation of events.

    Benghazi has CIA pissed. With the Administration making the CIA mad, the dirt they have on Obama comes to surface but is not sticking, so CIA directs their asset, Snowden, to be the whistleblower. They wont grab him.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Donaldson View Post
    I like your take on this Phil.... we can only hope you're right.

    Wouldn't THAT be a bit of irony?
    +1
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  7. #87
    Super Moderator and PHILanthropist Extraordinaire Phil Fiord's Avatar
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    Default Re: Obama Administration Spying on Americans (NSA)

    Thanks guys. It really is seeming to me that it is what I stated. Reading Ulsterman after coming to that possibility only increased the likelihood. It is theory and I do not care if it is ever proven, just that it happens.

    Obama stated a few days ago some thing that suggests he may not finish this term. I think its smoke though. A commenter to that article suggested it was like the guy with a 20 year bad heart in the Godfather thus a tactic to get his enemies off his back.

    It is also apparent the wh is in crisis mode.

    Now, the NSA thing is not really about Obama directly so they could not directly lie about it, so Obama admitted it. The thing is, this only made proof he approves of it. This will stick and I am seeing some very big turnarounds in favor in places he had blanket immunity.

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    Default Re: Obama Administration Spying on Americans (NSA)

    He is indeed "trying to get people off his back".

    It isn't gonna work this time.
    Libertatem Prius!





  9. #89
    Super Moderator and PHILanthropist Extraordinaire Phil Fiord's Avatar
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    Default Re: Obama Administration Spying on Americans (NSA)

    Interesting article in WaPo. Emphasis added by me.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/...287_story.html

    Code name ‘Verax’: Snowden, in exchanges with Post reporter, made clear he knew risks

    Edward Snowden reveals himself as NSA leaker.

    By Barton Gellman, Published: June 9 E-mail the writer




    He called me BRASSBANNER, a code name in the double-barreled style of the National Security Agency, where he worked in the signals intelligence directorate.
    Verax was the name he chose for himself, “truth teller” in Latin. I asked him early on, without reply, whether he intended to hint at the alternative fates that lay before him.

    Graphic


    NSA slides explain the PRISM data-collection program

    Timeline of surveillance

    A timeline of surveillance in the United States from 2001 to 2013: from the Patriot Act to the PRISM program.

    Special Report
    Who is Edward Snowden?

    Barton Gellman and Jerry Markon 8:42 AM ET
    The NSA contractor “wanted to expose the “surveillance state.”


    Hong Kong seen as unlikely refuge for ex-NSA contractor behind leaks

    Jia Lynn Yang 11:29 AM ET
    Justice Department could request extradition of self-declared leaker, according to treaty.


    From obscurity to notoriety, Snowden took an unusual path

    Ellen Nakashima JUN 9
    Daniel Ellsberg praises NSA leaker while others condemn him for revealing surveillance programs.


    What you need to know about Booz Allen Hamilton

    Matt DeLong 12:30 PM ET
    An employee at the center of the NSA leak controversy casts spotlight on government mega-contractor.








    Two British dissenters had used the pseudonym. Clement Walker, a 17th-century detractor of Parliament, died in the brutal confines of the Tower of London. Two centuries later, social critic Henry Dunckley adopted “Verax” as his byline over weekly columns in the Manchester Examiner. He was showered with testimonials and an honorary degree.


    Edward Joseph Snowden, 29, knew full well the risks he had undertaken and the awesome powers that would soon be arrayed to hunt for him. Pseudonyms were the least of his precautions as we corresponded from afar. Snowden was spilling some of the most sensitive secrets of a surveillance apparatus he had grown to detest. By late last month, he believed he was already “on the X” — exposure imminent. (This. He went whistleblower rather than be disappeared.)


    “I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions, and that the return of this information to the public marks my end,” he wrote in early May, before we had our first direct contact. He warned that even journalists who pursued his story were at risk until they published.


    The U.S. intelligence community, he wrote, “will most certainly kill you if they think you are the single point of failure that could stop this disclosure and make them the sole owner of this information.”

    I did not believe that literally, but I knew he had reason to fear. (In light of events of the last few years this writer should have been concerned for their life)


    A series of indirect contacts preceded our first direct exchange May 16. Snowden was not yet ready to tell me his name, but he said he was certain to be exposed — by his own hand or somebody else’s. Until then, he asked that I not quote him at length. He said semantic analysis, another of the NSA’s capabilities, would identify him by his patterns of language. (This is important as it shows the powers that be do use semantic analysis in practice)


    “You can’t protect the source,” he wrote, “but if you help me make the truth known, I will consider it a fair trade.” Later, he added, “There’s no saving me.”


    I asked him, at the risk of estrangement, how he could justify exposing intelligence methods that might benefit U.S. adversaries.


    “Perhaps I am naive,” he replied, “but I believe that at this point in history, the greatest danger to our freedom and way of life comes from the reasonable fear of omniscient State powers kept in check by nothing more than policy documents.” The steady expansion of surveillance powers, he wrote, is “such a direct threat to democratic governance that I have risked my life and family for it.” (Self explanatory)


    In an e-mail on May 24, he dropped a bombshell. Whistleblowers before him, he said, had been destroyed by the experience. Snowden wanted “to embolden others to step forward,” he wrote, by showing that “they can win.” He therefore planned to apply for asylum in Iceland or some other country “with strong internet and press freedoms,” although “the strength of the reaction will determine how choosy I can be.”

    He alluded to other options, aware that he had secrets of considerable financial value, but said, “I have no desire to provide raw source material to a foreign government.”


    To effect his plan, Snowden asked for a guarantee that The Washington Post would publish — within 72 hours — the full text of a PowerPoint presentation describing PRISM, a top-secret surveillance program that gathered intelligence from Microsoft, Facebook, Google and other Silicon Valley giants. He also asked that The Post publish online a cryptographic key that he could use to prove to a foreign embassy that he was the document’s source. (Smart guy here)


    I told him we would not make any guarantee about what we published or when. (The Post broke the story two weeks later, on Thursday. The Post sought the views of government officials about the potential harm to national security prior to publication and decided to reproduce only four of the 41 slides.)


    Snowden replied succinctly, “I regret that we weren’t able to keep this project unilateral.” Shortly afterward he made contact with Glenn Greenwald of the British newspaper the Guardian.


    We continued our correspondence. He was capable of melodrama but wrote with some eloquence about his beliefs. (subtle attempt to discredit Snowden when WaPo did not publish the whole story.)


    “The internet is on principle a system that you reveal yourself to in order to fully enjoy, which differentiates it from, say, a music player,” he wrote. “It is a TV that watches you. The majority of people in developed countries spend at least some time interacting with the Internet, and Governments are abusing that necessity in secret to extend their powers beyond what is necessary and appropriate.”


    What about legitimate threats to national security?


    “We managed to survive greater threats in our history . . . than a few disorganized terrorist groups and rogue states without resorting to these sorts of programs,” he wrote. “It is not that I do not value intelligence, but that I oppose . . . omniscient, automatic, mass surveillance. . . . That seems to me a greater threat to the institutions of free society than missed intelligence reports, and unworthy of the costs.” (Again, this is so very true. Prior to the Patriot Act we were attacked in our country and did not need to meta-mine the citizenry as a sum total.)


    Did he impute evil motives to his former colleagues, or the White House?



    “Analysts (and government in general) aren’t bad guys, and they don’t want to think of themselves as such,” he replied. But he said they labored under a false premise that “if a surveillance program produces information of value, it legitimizes it. . . . In one step, we’ve managed to justify the operation of the Panopticon” — an 18th-century design by British philosopher Jeremy Bentham for comprehensive surveillance of a prison population. (Again this is a very smart guy and he tells it true and with no malice. People who work in gov are not generally bad guys but are misguided with some tools.)


    On Thursday, before The Post published its first story, I made contact on a new channel. He was not expecting me there and responded in alarm.


    “Do I know you?” he wrote.


    I sent him a note on another channel to verify my digital “fingerprint,” a precaution we had been using for some time. Tired, I sent the wrong one. “That is not at all the right fingerprint,” he wrote, preparing to sign off. “You’re getting MITM’d.” He was talking about a “man in the middle” attack, a standard NSA technique to bypass encryption. I hastily corrected my error. (Serious real here)


    “The police already visited my house [in Hawaii] this morning” with questions on his whereabouts, he wrote, explaining his jitters. “It obviously has a profound and intimidating impact on my family.”


    Despite our previous dispute about publishing the PRISM document in full, Snowden said he did not intend to release a pile of unedited documents upon the world. “I don’t desire to enable the Bradley Manning argument that these were released recklessly and unreviewed,” he said. ( Not a bad guy)


    On Sunday afternoon, as his name was released to the world, Snowden chatted with me live from a Hong Kong hotel room, not far from a CIA base in the U.S. Consulate.(Ironic eh? Recall my theory)


    “There’s no precedent in my life for this kind of thing,” he wrote. “I’ve been a spy for almost all of my adult life — I don’t like being in the spotlight.”


    I asked him once more which of the two Veraxes he expected to become: the happy ending or life behind bars?


    “That’s up to the global public,” he typed back. “If asylum is offered, we’ll have the first example. If not, we’ll have the second. I am prepared for both.”(A pretty brave guy IMO)


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    Default Re: Obama Administration Spying on Americans (NSA)

    I think it's interesting that it was Obama the disillusioned the leaker. He thought that hope and change was the answer. Instead he found hopelessness and chains.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
    -- Theodore Roosevelt


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    Default Re: Obama Administration Spying on Americans (NSA)

    Some times it comes down to experience Mal. When someone votes they do so because they have been indoctrinated to do so. That's HOW I voted my first time. I was lucky, I woke up early on. Others rarely wake up, and still others take decades.
    Libertatem Prius!





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    Super Moderator and PHILanthropist Extraordinaire Phil Fiord's Avatar
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    Default Re: Obama Administration Spying on Americans (NSA)

    I was in a debate over this NSA matter yesterday before we had a name. The other party is an intelligent person and was 9 on 9-11-01. They were defending the Patriot Act for the tools it gave the fed to use. IN the back and forth it came to light that they had not researched this at all nor had an inclination to research anything political, but to their credit they stated they will not vote if they are not read up. Their source of their logic was a friend who uses tool from that kit.

    I was able to explain that due to their non proof and only defending the matter based on another opinion, they lost. They agreed but not willingly. I pointed out they are at a disadvantage because they never saw life as it was prior to the big change. I urged them to read and form their own opinion. They pretty much summed up as we ought to revise the Patriot Act and not repeal it. I disagree. Can it all.

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    Default Re: Obama Administration Spying on Americans (NSA)

    At this point, the NSA can suck my balls. They are reading everything that triggers something and I'm sure they get around to this place on occasion.

    If you are in intelligence agent reading my posts, looking for nefarious activity, you need to go home and wash your mouth out with a revolver. _YOU_ have become the problem. Not some nefarous "them" or "oh, it's not me, I'm a good guy", no, it's you.

    When you're spying on Americans, that is, real Americans, not muslims from Arab countries that got here a few years back, you've forfeited the moral high ground and the medicine has become worse than the illness.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
    -- Theodore Roosevelt


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    Default Re: Obama Administration Spying on Americans (NSA)

    Julian Assange praises whistleblower Edward Snowden who faces extradition from Hong Kong back to US over NSA revelations

    Fears for fate of Edward Snowden as politician warns that extradition treaty with the United States will be observed

    Sofia Mitra-Thakur , Tim Walker

    Hong Kong

    Monday 10 June 2013



    Related articles





    One of Hong Kong’s top politicians has advised the NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden to leave the city, where he is thought to be in hiding, saying he would not be safe from extradition to the US if he stayed.

    Regina Ip, chair of the pro-Beijing New People’s Party and formerly Hong Kong’s security secretary, said the city was “definitely not a safe harbour” for the NSA contractor, whom Washington lawmakers have demanded be returned to the US for prosecution.


    Ms Ip told reporters the city would be “obliged to comply with the terms” of the extradition treaty between Hong Kong and the US, which was signed in 1997, should the US submit an official extradition request. “It’s actually in his best interest to leave Hong Kong,” she said.


    Mr Snowden, 29, made his identity public on Sunday, after leaking details of the NSA’s vast electronic surveillance programme to The Guardian and The Washington Post. He said he had chosen to flee the US for Hong Kong due to its “commitment to free speech and the right of political dissent”.

    Speculation was rife about which of a string of luxury hotels near the city’s US consulate on Hong Kong Island Mr Snowden might be holed up in, after he mentioned that a CIA station was “just up the road”.

    Mr Snowden is reported to have left his “plush hotel” just three times in his three-week stay. He said he feared for his safety, worried that he could be rendered by the CIA or dealt with by the Chinese triads.

    Last night it became clear Mr Snowden had spent at least some of his time on Hong Kong’s mainland. The Independent spoke to duty manager Kevin Ko at the Mira Hotel, in the centre of Hong Kong’s Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district, who confirmed that a guest by the name of Edward Snowden had checked in at 6am on Monday but left shortly afterwards. Mr Ko was unaware of the notoriety of the Mira’s guest and was bemused by the attention the hotel was receiving. “We thought he was an ordinary guest,” Mr Ko said.

    In sharp contrast to the media scrum forming around Hong Kong’s top hotels, most people on the street were completely unaware of the former CIA technical agent, or the global interest that was forming around Hong Kong as a result. “You think an American spy has been staying there?” said a property consultant Lucifer Chung, who works in a building opposite the Mira. “No way. Everyone would know!”

    Julian Assange told Sky News that Snowden is a "hero". The WikiLeaks founder said the NSA whistle-blower was “in a very, very serious position, because we can see the kind of rhetoric that occurred against me and Bradley Manning back in 2010, 2011, applied to Snowden”.

    In the US, politicians’ condemnation of Mr Snowden was tempered by public support for his actions. Peter King, the Republican chairman of the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, demanded Mr Snowden’s extradition, saying in a statement: “The United States government must prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law.”

    Shawn Turner, a spokesman for the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, said Mr Snowden’s case had been referred to the US Justice Department for investigation. Mr Snowden’s last employer, the defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, released a statement promising to co-operate with any investigation.

    Rand Paul, a Republican senator, by contrast claimed he was considering suing the federal government for the intrusive surveillance programmes detailed in Mr Snowden’s leaks. At a White House press briefing, President Obama’s spokesman Jay Carney defended the administration’s record on transparency, calling its policies “broad and significant”, and saying Mr Obama “welcomes a debate” about the balance between privacy and security.

    But Mr Carney would not be drawn on the specifics of Mr Snowden’s case, despite a petition on the White House website calling for him to be pardoned, which had attracted some 16,000 signatures by lunchtime on Monday.

    Trevor Timm, executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, told The Independent: “There is a huge groundswell of support for Edward and what he did. People feel like they were kept in the dark about this massive surveillance programme, and he says he acted not for monetary gain, but to protect Americans’ rights.”

    Mr Snowden suggested he might seek asylum in Iceland, though the nation also has an extradition treaty with the US. On Sunday the Icelandic MP Birgitta Jonsdottir said she had begun work on an asylum application on Mr Snowden’s behalf, aided by Smari McCarthy of the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative. “We feel it is our duty to offer to assist Mr Snowden,” they said in a statement.

    The Progressive Change Campaign Committee has started a fund to cover Snowden’s potential legal costs.

    A whistleblower in quotes

    "I will be made to suffer for my actions, [but] I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law ... and irresistible executive powers that rule the world ... are revealed even for an instant.”

    "Yes, I could be rendered by the CIA ... or any of the third-party partners. They work closely with a number of other nations. Or they could pay off the Triads ... That is a concern I will live with for the rest of my life, however long that happens to be.”

    "I am not afraid, because this is the choice I’ve made. The only thing I fear is the harmful effects on my family, who I won’t be able to help any more.”

    "I had an authority to wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant to a federal judge or even the President, if I had a personal email.

    "You don’t have to have done anything wrong, you simply have to have eventually fall under suspicion ... and then they can use this system to go back in time and ... derive suspicion from an innocent life”
    Change is coming in ways you cannot imagine



    PREPARE TO ENDURE



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    Default Re: Obama Administration Spying on Americans (NSA)

    'Paranoid' worker who blew whistle on US internet snooping flees his Hong Kong hotel room: America's most wanted on the run as he reveals how he lined the door with pillows for fear of eavesdroppers


    • Edward Snowden, a former CIA technical assistant fled to Hong Kong
    • Leaked details of Prism, which he says harvests personal data from web
    • US government allegedly targeting Google, Facebook, Microsoft and others
    • 'What they're doing (poses) a threat to democracy,' Snowden says
    • He wants Hong Kong's free speech laws to save him from extradition
    • U.S. National Intelligence director says surveillance keeps America safe
    • Names Iceland as his destination of choice due to internet freedom


    By Matt Blake, Martin Robinson, Ian Drury and Jill Reilly
    PUBLISHED: 04:57 EST, 10 June 2013 | UPDATED: 13:14 EST, 10 June 2013

    The NSA whistle-blower behind one of the most explosive government leaks in US history has fled his Hong Kong hotel room just hours after revealing how he lined the door with pillows for fear of eavesdroppers.

    Former CIA technical assistant Edward Snowden exposed chilling details of a top-secret programme to harvest the personal data of millions of web users by one of the world's most notorious spy organisations.

    Until today his location was undisclosed - it was only known that he was hiding in a hotel in the city.

    But today an employee at the 5 star Mira Hotel in the Tsim Sha Tsui neighborhood said a guest by the name of Edward Snowden had checked out of the hotel this morning. She declined to give any further details.

    Snowden is now believed to be on the run after revealing he hoped to go to a country which encompassed his values of Internet freedom, naming Iceland.

    Speaking from his hotel room, Snowden told The Guardian he had only left his room three times since he arrived on May 20.
    He said his intense paranoia led him to line the door with pillows for fear of eavesdroppers.

    Snowden also revealed that he covered his head with a blanket when he communicates to muffle his voice.

    The 29-year-old admitted he does not 'expect to see home again' as politicians in both the US and China clamour for his extradition.

    'I think the sense of outrage that has been expressed is justified. It has given me hope that, no matter what happens to me, the outcome will be positive for America. I do not expect to see home again, though that is what I want,' he told the newspaper.

    But his flight to Hong Kong has sparked a diplomatic firestorm between America and China as politicians from both sides called for the American to face justice.



    Checked out: Today an employee at the 5* Mira Hotel in the neighborhood of Tsim Sha Tsui, said a guest by the name of Edward Snowden had checked out of the hotel this morning


    Caution: Snowden also revealed that he covered his head with a blanket when he communicates to muffle his voice



    Holed up: Speaking from his hotel room, Snowden admitted he had only left his room three times since he arrived on May 20

    Regina Ip, formerly the city's top security tsar, told reporters the city's administration was 'obliged to comply with the terms of agreements' with the US government, which included the extradition of fugitives.

    More...




    'It's actually in his best interest to leave Hong Kong,' she said, adding that she did not know whether the government had yet received an extradition request. 'I doubt it will happen so quickly,' she added.

    Hong Kong has the 'right of refusal when surrender implicates the 'defense, foreign affairs or essential public interest or policy' of the People's Republic of China. China itself has no extradition treaty with America at all.

    Snowden says he hopes to find shelter in Iceland - or, more realistically, its Hong Kong embassy - but he may be disappointed by the reception from a new government seen as less keen than predecessors to attract exiles and Internet renegades.


    Empty and on the market: Edward Snowden's former home in Waipahu, Hawaii, which he fled last month for Hong Kong so he could leak details about the U.S. government's secret surveillance programs



    Secrets: A neighbour said today that the garage at the home had boxes stacked floor to ceiling when Snowden was planning his escape


    The country of 320,000 people has served as the home base for the fundraising efforts of anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks and earlier earned a reputation as a safe haven by taking in American fugitive former chess champion Bobby Fischer in 2005.

    His case already echoes that of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange who took refuge in Ecuador's embassy in London last summer after Swedish authorities issued an international warrant for his arrest amid allegations of sexual assault. He has been hiding there ever since.

    However, Iceland's government of newly-elected conservative Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, may not be so generous to Snowden. While still untested, it is widely seen as closer to Washington than past administrations and less keen to foster the island country's cyber-haven image.

    Snowden has yet to make a formal application for asylum and would have to go to Iceland to make the request, said Kristin Volundarsdottir, head of Iceland's Directorate of Immigration. Gunnlaugsson's government did not otherwise comment on the case.

    'I would be very surprised if they (the government) would be eager to engage in any international disputes with the U.S. And it is pretty difficult to be granted asylum here,' said Stefania Oskarsdottir, lecturer in political science at the University of Iceland.

    'I think what this guy is saying is based on something he is imagining or hoping for rather than actual facts.'

    As a U.S. citizen, Snowden would not need a visa to enter Iceland, or its embassy, and could immediately apply for asylum.


    Message: 'I can't in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world,' Edward Snowden says

    He would be free to live in Iceland while immigration authorities decide his case, which could take more than a year, according to Helga Vala Helgadottir, a lawyer specialising in asylum cases.

    'The government is perceived as being less welcoming to asylum seekers,' said Helgadottir. While the decision rests with immigration authorities, Snowden could appeal to the interior ministry if his application were rejected.

    Iceland has an extradition treaty with the United States, but it is unclear whether it would cover any crimes that Snowden might be charged with.

    An Icelandic foundation championing free speech has offered to help him.

    'We have a lawyer, we have everything set up,' said Smari McCarthy, head of the International Modern Media Institute and a member of the Pirate Party, a movement that promotes Internet freedom and holds three seats in Iceland's 63-seat parliament.

    Meanwhile, the first call for Snowden's prosecution came from Republican Peter King, the chairman of a House Homeland Security subcommittee and a member of the Intelligence Committee.

    'If Edward Snowden did in fact leak the NSA data as he claims, the United States government must prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law and begin extradition proceedings at the earliest date,' King said in a written statement. 'The United States must make it clear that no country should be granting this individual asylum. This is a matter of extraordinary consequence to American intelligence.'

    The calls came as Snowden described how he fears he will be kidnapped and returned to America to face espionage charges and possible life in prison – or even murdered on Washington’s orders.

    'All my options are bad,' he told the Guardian. 'Yes, I could be rendered by the CIA. I could have people come after me. Or any of the third-party partners. They work closely with a number of other nations. Or they could pay off the Triads. Any of their agents or assets.



    'We have got a CIA station just up the road – the consulate here in Hong Kong – and I am sure they are going to be busy for the next week. And that is a concern I will live with for the rest of my life, however long that happens to be.'

    Revealing why he blew the whistle Snowden said: 'I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under.'

    The programme - codenamed Prism - gives officials easy access to data held by nine of the world’s top internet companies, including Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Skype.

    OUTSOURCED INTELLIGENCE: HOW LEAKER'S EMPLOYER BECAME RICH THANKS TO THE US GOVERNMENT

    Edward Snowden's employer, Booz Allen, has become one of the largest and most profitable firms in America thanks, almost exclusively, to a single paymaster: the US government.

    The defence contractor has served the US intelligence for almost a decade, providing manpower, advice and technology.
    Last year, reported The New York Times, the company was rewarded with $1.3 billion in return for its intelligence work - 23 per cent of its total revenue.

    With some 25,000 employees, Booz Allen is one of a handful of private defence contractors to which the US government has turned for help in tackling the threat of terrorism since 2001.

    Both the Bush and Obama administrations have preferred to outsource much of its back office intelligence work rather than carry it out in house.

    The government's relationships with such firms have been criticised for being too cosy with thousands of workers formally under the employ of the state now doing essentially the same work for outside companies.
    Indeed, James Clapper, Barack Obama's chief intelligence official, is a former Booz employee while the man who held the post under George W Bush, John McConnell, works there now.

    'The national security apparatus has been more and more privatized and turned over to contractors,' Danielle Brian, a government contract expert and executive director of the Project on Government Oversight, told the paper. 'This is something the public is largely unaware of, how more than a million private contractors are cleared to handle highly sensitive matters.'

    Booz has just signed a contract worth around $5.6 billion over five years with the Department of Defense.

    It reported revenues of $5.76 billion for the last tax year and was ranked No. 436 on Fortune’s list of the 500 largest public companies. The government provided 98 per cent of that revenue, the company said.

    While his decision to flee to Hong Kong is a gamble, its free speech laws mean he does have a slim chance of avoiding being swept back to America.

    The city signed an extradition treaty with the United States in 1997, just before Britain handed it back to China.

    Crucially, under the Fugitive Offenders (United States of America) Order, both Hong Kong and the US agree to extradite anyone who has committed a crime that is punishable by one year or more in prison in both countries. It is yet unclear whether he has broken any Chinese laws.

    They also have the right to say no to extradition if they believe that the attempt is 'politically motivated'. This means that they will protect free speech if a person is being arrested for their political opinions.

    The United States may have already approached Interpol or its consulate in Hong Kong to start proceedings. They will use the Espionage Act to gain warrants for his arrest.

    Hong Kong’s authorities can hold Snowden for 60 days, following a U.S. request that includes probable cause, while Washington prepares a formal extradition request.

    Explaining why he chose to go there Snowden, whose exact location in the city remains a mystery, said : 'Mainland China does have significant restrictions on free speech but the people of Hong Kong have a long tradition of protesting in the streets, making their views known,' Snowden, a U.S. citizen, said in a video interview posted on the Guardian's website.

    'I believe that the Hong Kong government is actually independent in relation to a lot of other leading Western governments,' he said from his hotel in the territory.

    He might be able to claim a lack of 'dual-criminality', because for a person to be extradited, the alleged act must be a crime in both countries.
    But experts say he is unlikely to be protected by Hong Kong.

    'They're not going to put at risk their relationship with the U.S. over Mr. Snowden, and very few people have found that they have the clout to persuade another country to go out of their way for them,' said Robert Anello, a New York lawyer who has handled extradition cases.
    'If you're an American citizen, fleeing the U.S. isn't such an easy thing,' he said.

    Only three months ago a former equities research analyst, Trent Martin, was extradited to New York to face charges of insider trading. He had been arrested in Hong Kong in December and has pleaded not guilty.

    Other suspects were extradited for smuggling charges, suspicion of violating controls on military exports, investment fraud charges and the alleged sale of illegal prescription drugs.

    Douglas McNabb, a Houston lawyer who specializes in extradition, said: ‘Probable cause won't be hard, McNabb said. 'This guy came out and said, “I did it.” His best defense would probably be that this is a political case instead of a criminal one.'

    But there is some hope for Snowden.

    In 2008, Hong Kong released without explanation an Iranian operative whom Washington had accused of trying to obtain embargoed airplane parts. Yousef Boushvash was in custody with a criminal complaint on file in New York, so his release angered U.S. officials.

    Jesselyn Radack, a former Justice Department lawyer who represents whistleblowers, said she expected prosecutors would 'try to indict him as soon as possible' with 'voluminous'.

    But she said Snowden fit the profile and legal definition of a whistleblower and should be entitled to protections under a federal law passed to protect people who reveal waste and abuse.


    Row: A security guard stands outside the US consulate in Hong Kong today, where inside officials will be trying to extradite Snowden back to the United States


    'He said very clearly in statements that he's given that he was doing this to serve a public purpose,' Radack said.

    Mr Snowden could face decades in jail if he is extradited from Hong Kong, said Mark Zaid, a lawyer who represents whistleblowers. And Senator Peter King, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, called for Mr Snowden to be ‘extradited from Hong Kong immediately . . . and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law’. He added: ‘I believe the leaker has done extreme damage to the US and to our intelligence operations.’

    He said he would ‘ask for asylum from any countries that believe in free speech and oppose the victimisation of global privacy’.

    Mr Snowden had been working at the NSA for the past four years as an employee of defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton after working for the CIA as a technical assistant, specialising in computer security. His role allowed him access to classified material. He said he had raised his concerns with his superiors, but had been ignored.

    They can check your WHOLE internet history. Edward Snowden speaks...


    He said: ‘I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong. I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions but I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant.

    ‘My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them.
    'What they're doing (poses) an existential threat to democracy,' he added.

    Damagingly for the British security services at GCHQ, Snowden claims that they compiled dossiers using Prism research on almost 200 occasions.
    'I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong'

    Edward Snowden


    Foreign Secretary William Hague will give a statement to the Commons on the issue this afternoon.

    Tory Sir Malcolm Rifkind, chairman of the committee of MPs and peers which oversees the work of the security services, said GCHQ would need authority for any request to monitor the emails of a UK citizen, even if the surveillance was carried out by the US agencies.

    Sir Malcolm told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: 'One of the big questions that's being asked is if British intelligence agencies want to seek to know the content of emails, can they get round the normal law in the UK by simply asking an American agency to provide that information?


    Defensive: Director of National Intelligence James R Clapper said in a statement Saturday that disclosures on intelligence gathering practices were 'reckless'





    Informant: The Director of National Intelligence James R Clapper, left, released a statement on PRISM, which is reported to have been used to gather information from the servers of companies like Facebook

    'The law is actually quite clear: if the British intelligence agencies are seeking to know the content of emails by people living in the UK, then they actually have to get lawful authority. Normally that means ministerial authority.'

    Sir Malcolm's Intelligence and Security Committee will carry out a visit to Washington this week to meet representatives from the CIA and NSA, which was arranged before the Prism disclosures.

    The former foreign secretary said it was 'perfectly well known' that 'in order to protect the public that does require, as President Obama said in Washington, some intrusion on privacy in certain circumstances'.

    Mr Snowden has said he was content to sever his ‘very comfortable life’, which included a six-figure salary, a girlfriend, a home in Hawaii and his family, to shine a light on the NSA’s widening surveillance net.

    He said: ‘I’m willing to sacrifice all of that because I can’t in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building.’

    NSA chiefs were ‘intent on making every conversation and every form of behaviour in the world known to them,’ he said.


    'Necessary': The top intelligence official, James R Clapper, said the NSA's intelligence measures, carried out at sites like this one in Maryland, were 'used to keep Americans safe'


    ‘I don’t want to live in a world where there’s no privacy and therefore no room for intellectual exploration and creativity. The government has granted itself power it is not entitled to.’

    A Hawaii real estate agent said on Sunday that Snowden and his girlfriend moved out of their home in a quiet neighborhood near Honolulu on May 1, leaving nothing behind.

    Q&A: WHY ARE SNOWDEN'S LEAKS SO IMPORTANT IN BRITAIN?

    What is the row all about?

    Spies at GCHQ are accused of receiving information from a US surveillance programme that monitors the internet activity of millions. The US National Security Agency uses a system called Prism, which harvests personal information from people outside the US.

    How does this involve GCHQ?

    Leaked documents show that on at least 197 occasions GCHQ agents compiled intelligence dossiers on UK citizens based on information from the US spying project.

    Why the furore?

    Requesting intercept data gathered by Prism allows GCHQ to bypass legal checks on obtaining personal material, such as emails, from internet firms outside the UK. Usually spy chiefs would need a warrant or court order.

    Why do they need this data?

    William Hague refused to confirm or deny details of the agency’s links to Prism, let alone whether he or other ministers had authorised spy chiefs to use it. But he insisted GCHQ was subject to ‘strict legal scrutiny’.

    However, it is no secret the Government believes monitoring citizens’ online activity could help thwart terror plots in Britain.

    How have critics reacted?

    Angrily. Privacy campaigners have claimed the revelations suggest the creation of a ‘snoopers’ charter by the back door’. MPs will today get the chance to grill Mr Hague on the issue.

    What do Google and Microsoft say?

    Both firms have strongly denied allowing the US government and NSA to access their servers.

    Century 21 real estate agent Kerri Jo Heim said that the owner of the house wanted the couple out so that the home could be sold.
    Heim says police came by on Wednesday to ask where the couple went. She told them she didn't know.

    Carolyn Tijing, who lived across the street from Snowden, says the couple had moving boxes lining their garage from floor to ceiling before leaving the neighborhood suddenly.

    According to The Guardian, Snowden copied the final set of documents he intended to disclose three weeks ago.

    He then told his boss and his girlfriend that he'd be away for a few weeks, keeping the reasons vague as only someone working in intelligence can, and on May 20, he boarded a plane to Hong Kong, where he remains in hiding.

    He said the former UK colony, now part of China, would resist any demands from the White House.

    He believes the US could begin extradition proceedings and he might be bundled on to a plane bound for the States – and certain imprisonment – or that he could be killed. He also thinks the Chinese government might seize him.

    Before making the leak three weeks ago, he told bosses he needed time off and his girlfriend that he was going away for work.

    Since arriving in Hong Kong he has left his hotel room just three times, but his location remains a mystery.

    He got his first NSA job working as a security guard at one of the agency's facilities at the University of Maryland before moving to the CIA to work on IT security. There, he rose quickly.

    He was given more and more access to top-secret documents as he climbed the ranks. Then in 2007, the CIA stationed him with diplomatic cover in Geneva, Switzerland, where he was responsible for maintaining computer network security and privy to more secrets than ever before.

    Snowden has good reason to be concerned. The NSA - the most powerful and secretive organization in the world - is hunting him down, having visited his home in Hawaii twice and already contacted his girlfriend.

    SECRET HISTORY: SCANDALS THAT HAVE ROCKED US SECURITY SERVICES

    1978: In response to outrage over spying on activists and other U.S. citizens, Congress passes the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. It creates a secret court to monitor spying within the United States. Known as the FISA court, its judges sign off on wiretapping and search warrants used against foreign agents and suspected spies and terrorists and Americans involved with them.
    September 2001: The shock of the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington pushes George W. Bush's administration to seek new powers to improve intelligence-gathering and prevent terrorism.

    October 2001: Congress and Bush rush the USA Patriot Act into law. It gives the government unprecedented authority to search, seize, detain or eavesdrop in pursuit of suspected terrorists. Because of privacy concerns, lawmakers make the eavesdropping provisions and other controversial aspects temporary, requiring renewal by Congress.

    December 2005: The New York Times reports that the National Security Agency is secretly eavesdropping on telephone calls and emails of Americans communicating with people outside the United States, without seeking warrants from the FISA court. What becomes known as 'warrantless wiretapping' began in 2002 under a presidential order. Critics call it unconstitutional, but the Bush administration says it's legal.

    March 2006: Congress votes to renew the Patriot Act, although lawmakers voice concerns about the government's broad powers to conduct surveillance and collect data.

    May 11, 2006: USA Today reports that the NSA is secretly collecting phone records of millions of Americans in a giant database. Some of the phone companies cited dispute the story.

    August 2006: A federal judge in Detroit rules that the NSA's warrantless surveillance program is unconstitutional because it infringes on free speech, privacy and the separation of powers. The program continues as the case is appealed.

    January 2007: Responding to the court challenge and lawmakers' concerns, Bush suddenly changes course. His administration announces it will begin seeking approval from the FISA court when eavesdropping on telephone calls between the U.S. and other countries in pursuit of terrorists.

    August 2007: Congress approves changes sought by the Bush administration to the FISA Act, officially allowing NSA eavesdropping on communications between an American and a suspect foreigner, without a FISA judge's approval.
    May 2011: Congress passes and Obama signs a four-year extension of Patriot Act provisions on record searches and roving wiretaps. Some lawmakers complain that the law doesn't do enough to protect Americans' privacy and the disagreement forces the renewal to the last minute.
    June 5, 2013: A British newspaper, The Guardian, reports that the NSA is collecting the telephone records of millions of American customers of Verizon under a top secret court order. Security experts say the records of other phone companies are also involved.
    June 6, 2013: The Guardian and The Washington Post report that the NSA and the FBI are tapping into U.S. Internet companies, including Google and Facebook, scooping out emails, photos and videos to track foreign nationals who are suspected of terrorism or espionage.

    That night, in a rare disclosure, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper reveals some information about the programs to counter what he says is the 'misleading impression' created by news coverage.

    Clapper says the government is prohibited from 'indiscriminately sifting' through the data and can only review it when the query involves a reasonable suspicion that a foreign terrorist organization is involved. Clapper says articles about the Internet program 'contain numerous inaccuracies' but does not specify what those might be.
    June 7, 2013: Obama defends the programs, saying he came into office with 'healthy skepticism' about them and has increased some safeguards to protect privacy. But he offers assurances that 'nobody is listening to your telephone calls' or reading citizens' emails. Obama says privacy must be balanced with security: 'We're going to have to make some choices as a society.'
    June 8, 2013: For the second time in three days, Clapper takes the unusual step of declassifying some details of an intelligence program in response to media reports. He says the government program for tapping into Internet usage is authorized by Congress, falls under strict supervision of a secret court and cannot intentionally target a U.S. citizen.

    Clapper says the data collection had the approval of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court and was done with the knowledge of Internet service providers. He says media revelations of government intelligence-gathering programs are reckless and give America's enemies a 'playbook' on how to avoid detection.
    June 9, 2013: Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old contractor who claims to have worked at the National Security Agency and the CIA allows himself to be revealed as the source of disclosures about the U.S. government's secret surveillance programs. Snowden tells The Guardian newspaper his 'sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them.'

    Source: Associated Press
    Change is coming in ways you cannot imagine



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    Default Re: Obama Administration Spying on Americans (NSA)

    Ron Paul praises Edward Snowden

    By Rachel Weiner, Published: June 10, 2013 at 4:42 pmE-mail the writer



    Edward Snowden, who appears to have donated to Ron Paul’s presidential campaign in 2012, has gotten some support from the former Texas congressman.

    “We should be thankful for individuals like Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald who see injustice being carried out by their own government and speak out, despite the risk,” said Paul in a statement on the Web site of Campaign for Liberty, his nonprofit. “They have done a great service to the American people by exposing the truth about what our government is doing in secret.” Glenn Greenwald is a reporter for the Guardian, which first published the story revealing the scope of the U.S. government’s surveillance programs.

    Snowden revealed himself on Sunday as the leaker of top-secret documents from the National Security Agency. Campaign finance records show that an “Edward Snowden” who appears to be the man self-identified as the leaker contributed $250 to Paul’s presidential campaign twice in 2012.

    In his statement, Paul condemned the secret collection of phone and Internet data that was exposed by Snowden’s leak. “The government does not need to know more about what we are doing,” he said. “We need to know more about what the government is doing.”

    Paul’s son Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has also seized on the issue and says he plans to launch a class-action lawsuit against the NSA.
    Change is coming in ways you cannot imagine



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    Default Re: Obama Administration Spying on Americans (NSA)

    Sen. Feinstein calls Snowden's NSA leaks an 'act of treason'

    By Jeremy Herb and Justin Sink - 06/10/13 06:19 PM ET



    Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on Monday said the 29-year-old man who leaked information about two national security programs is guilty of treason.
    Feinstein said former National Security Agency Edward Snowden she doesn’t see him as a hero or a whistle blower.

    “I don't look at this as being a whistleblower. I think it's an act of treason,” the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee told reporters. The California lawmaker went on to say that Snowden had violated his oath to defend the Constitution.

    “He violated the oath, he violated the law. It's treason.” (a daily occurance for mz fineswine)

    The Guardian reported that Snowden was a former CIA employee who had been working on an NSA contract for defense contractor Booz-Allen. He revealed to both that paper and the Washington Post details of a pair of NSA surveillance programs that culled phone records and internet data for study.

    A petition launched Sunday on the official White House site urged President Obama to give Snowden a full pardon.

    The Justice Department said over the weekend they were investigating Snowden's admission.

    “The Department of Justice is in the initial stages of an investigation into the unauthorized disclosure of classified information by an individual with authorized access,” said Nanda Chitre, a spokeswoman for the agency. “Consistent with long standing Department policy and procedure and in order to protect the integrity of the investigation, we must decline further comment.”

    On Sunday, Feinstein said she would be open to congressional inquiries into the NSA programs.

    “I’m open to doing a hearing every month, if that’s necessary,” she told ABC News.

    But, Feinstein said, “Here’s the rub: the instances where this has produced good — has disrupted plots, prevented terrorist attacks, is all classified, that’s what’s so hard about this.”
    Change is coming in ways you cannot imagine



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    Default Re: Obama Administration Spying on Americans (NSA)

    Under normal circumstances, I'd call for this guy to be hanged. But there are no longer "normal circumstances" reigning.

    Heroes and Villians

    The latest question the media is pushing on the sheep of America is a simple “Is Snowden a Hero or Traitor”?
    Let’s examine that question for a moment.
    First the question presupposes everything is ok, normal, performing normally and society hasn’t already gone off the deep end themselves.
    Second the definition of “Hero” is:

    1. A person, typically a man, who is admired for courage or noble qualities.
    2. The chief male character in a book, play, or movie, who is typically identified with good qualities.
    Third, the definition of “traitor” is:
    1. A person who betrays a friend, country, principle, etc.
    Those definitions are random from online dictionaries. But let’s dig deeper. Treason is a law term and it is specifically defined, not only in the United States Constitution but in many other countries’ important documents. Here’s the US version…. now please read the entire article, there’s a point here:
    Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
    The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.
    In the normal scheme of life, where the country is following the law, following the Constitution, following proper steps of law and using correct and legal checks and balances then releasing Classified information to the public is illegal. A person with access to such information is “signed off” or “read in” when they get their clearance. They usually sign a piece of paper saying they “understand” the ramifications of using it in an unofficial capacity.


    With that said, understand ANYONE with a clearance has access to ONLY that material required to do his or her job, not “anything” or “everything”. With me so far?
    Assuming the law is still being followed, not just by those with access to classified, but by those “in charge” then he is a traitor. Absolutely.
    But there are some problems here….


    So far in the past few months our country has broken its own laws.


    The IRS has been working diligently to prevent one side in the political spectrum from engaging opponents.


    The DOJ has run guns to illegals in Mexico causing the deaths of hundreds – likely in an attempt to out right ban guns.


    The DOJ has investigated journalists, taken phone records from innocent people (the parents of the Journalist in this case) and perhaps thousands from the Associated Press. A direct attack on the First Amendment and Fourth Amendments.

    Congress has attempted to ban weapons in America. A direct assault on the Second Amendment.


    Now… if you were a young man working for the CIA, then later as a contractor spying on Americas (something that has up until the Patriot Act been completely verboten) and were able to collect data, and realized that it was just plan wrong, what would you do? Quit your six figure job? Protest to your government bosses (and yes, contractors DO answer to government bosses, this writer has personal experience with this)? Would you go on about your day-to-day business and think nothing of it – or would it gripe at your conscious for the months you’re doing it?


    If you’re a principled person, and forgive this old man for saying so, but if you have a security clearance you must have some principles otherwise you wouldn’t get that clearance in the first place, then you might find a way to get out of doing the job, you might expose the problem, you might walk away and say nothing. There are plenty of options to anyone.


    But if your government has already proven itself untrustworthy are you going to trust your lot in life to taking it to a judge, a congressman or are you going to step across that line and tell the tale?


    America is a Free Country. Our Constitution is the Rule of Law and it is being bent, battered and broken on a daily basis by the very same people who are SWORN (there’s that “oath” thing again) to uphold that selfsame Constitution.


    Boys and Girls, students of history, my fellow Americans, it’s with a very heavy heart I submit to you that Snowden is no more a criminal than the very government that is usurping the Rights of the People.


    A government with the power to collect metadata from phone records and internet records does NOT need to listen to your voice conversations to be able to predict your behavior, thinking, or what your political background might be. They can collect enough data to know what you buy, where you go, with whom you speak on a daily or weekly basis, what guns you own (or don’t), to whom your political donations go, your public friends and no so public friends.


    This is an intrusion beyond anything that was capable in the past. If Hitler had this technology there’d be no Jews on the planet. In fact, there’d be no one but Germans if he had his chance.


    A government that has this kind of power without the oversight of good people like you and I – and make NO MISTAKE about this, WE are the GOOD GUYS, invariably WILL abuse that power. It is being abused even now. The NSA I’m sure will scoop this article up, like all others, collate, file and store it for future reference to be used against the author, the readers and anyone else that suits the administration in charge of this stored information.


    So, is the man a hero or a villain?


    The answer is simple… it “depends” on who is in charge. If We the People were in charge of the Government as we should be, he would be a Traitor. Since the government is no longer in the hands of the people, but the people are under the thumb of the government then there can be but one answer.





    June 11, 2013 - Posted by RickD | NSA, Second Amendment, Snowden, Survival, The Throes of Tyranny | DHS, NSA, Preparedness, Progressive Tyranny, Second Amendment, Snowden, Throes of Tyranny, Unconstitutional
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    Default Re: Obama Administration Spying on Americans (NSA)

    Using Metadata to Find Paul Revere


    London, 1772.
    I have been asked by my superiors to give a brief demonstration of the surprising effectiveness of even the simplest techniques of the new-fangled Social Networke Analysis in the pursuit of those who would seek to undermine the liberty enjoyed by His Majesty’s subjects. This is in connection with the discussion of the role of “metadata” in certain recent events and the assurances of various respectable parties that the government was merely “sifting through this so-called metadata” and that the “information acquired does not include the content of any communications”. I will show how we can use this “metadata” to find key persons involved in terrorist groups operating within the Colonies at the present time. I shall also endeavour to show how these methods work in what might be called a relational manner.


    The analysis in this report is based on information gathered by our field agent Mr David Hackett Fischer and published in an Appendix to his lengthy report to the government. As you may be aware, Mr Fischer is an expert and respected field Agent with a broad and deep knowledge of the colonies. I, on the other hand, have made my way from Ireland with just a little quantitative training—I placed several hundred rungs below the Senior Wrangler during my time at Cambridge—and I am presently employed as a junior analytical scribe at ye olde National Security Administration. Sorry, I mean the Royal Security Administration. And I should emphasize again that I know nothing of current affairs in the colonies. However, our current Eighteenth Century beta of PRISM has been used to collect and analyze information on more than two hundred and sixty persons (of varying degrees of suspicion) belonging variously to seven different organizations in the Boston area.


    Rest assured that we only collected metadata on these people, and no actual conversations were recorded or meetings transcribed. All I know is whether someone was a member of an organization or not. Surely this is but a small encroachment on the freedom of the Crown’s subjects. I have been asked, on the basis of this poor information, to present some names for our field agents in the Colonies to work with. It seems an unlikely task.


    If you want to follow along yourself, there is a secret repository containing the data and the appropriate commands for your portable analytical engine.
    Here is what the data look like.
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 StAndrewsLodge LoyalNine NorthCaucus LongRoomClub TeaParty Bostoncommittee LondonEnemies Adams.John 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 Adams.Samuel 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 Allen.Dr 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 Appleton.Nathaniel 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 Ash.Gilbert 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 Austin.Benjamin 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 Austin.Samuel 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 Avery.John 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 Baldwin.Cyrus 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 Ballard.John 0 0 1 0 0 0 0

    The organizations are listed in the columns, and the names in the rows. As you can see, membership is represented by a “1”. So this Samuel Adams person (whoever he is), belongs to the North Caucus, the Long Room Club, the Boston Committee, and the London Enemies List. I must say, these organizational names sound rather belligerent.
    Anyway, what can get from these meagre metadata? This table is large and cumbersome. I am a pretty low-level operative at ye olde RSA, so I have to keep it simple. My superiors, I am quite sure, have far more sophisticated analytical techniques at their disposal. I will simply start at the very beginning and follow a technique laid out in a beautiful paper by my brilliant former colleague, Mr Ron Breiger, called ”The Duality of Persons and Groups.” He wrote it as a graduate student at Harvard, some thirty five years ago. (Harvard, you may recall, is what passes for a university in the Colonies. No matter.) The paper describes what we now think of as a basic way to represent information about links between people and some other kind of thing, like attendance at various events, or membership in various groups. The foundational papers in this new science of social networke analysis, in fact, are almost all about what you can tell about people and their social lives based on metadata only, without much reference to the actual content of what they say.


    Mr Breiger’s insight was that our table of 254 rows and seven columns is an adjacency matrix, and that a bit of matrix multiplication can bring out information that is in the table but perhaps hard to see. Take this adjacency matrix of people and groups and transpose it—that is, flip it over on its side, so that the rows are now the columns and vice versa. Now we have two tables, or matrices, one showing “People by Groups” and the other “Groups by People”. Call the first one the adjacency matrix A and the second one its transpose, AT. Now, as you will recall there are rules for multiplying matrices together. If you multiply out A(AT), you will get a big matrix with 254 rows and 254 columns. That is, it will be a 254x254 “Person by Person” matrix, where both the rows and columns are people (in the same order) and the cells show the number of organizations any particular pair of people both belonged to. Is that not marvelous? I have always thought this operation is somewhat akin to magick, especially as it involves moving one hand down and the other one across in a manner not wholly removed from an incantation.


    I cannot show you the whole Person by Person matrix, because I would have to kill you. I jest, I jest! It is just because it is rather large. But here is a little snippet of it. At this point in the eighteenth century, a 254x254 matrix is what we call ”Bigge Data”. I have an upcoming EDWARDx talk about it. You should come. Anyway:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Adams.John Adams.Samuel Allen.Dr Appleton.Nathaniel Adams.John - 2 1 1 Adams.Samuel 2 - 1 2 Allen.Dr 1 1 - 1 Appleton.Nathaniel 1 2 1 - Ash.Gilbert 0 0 0 0 Austin.Benjamin 0 1 0 0

    You can see here that Mr Appleton and Mr John Adams were connected through both being a member of one group, while Mr John Adams and Mr Samuel Adams shared memberships in two of our seven groups. Mr Ash, meanwhile, was not connected through organization membership to any of the first four men on our list. The rest of the table stretches out in both directions.


    Notice again, I beg you, what we did there. We did not start with a “social networke” as you might ordinarily think of it, where individuals are connected to other individuals. We started with a list of memberships in various organizations. But now suddenly we do have a social network of individuals, where a tie in the network is defined by co-membership in an organization. This is a powerful trick.


    We are just getting started, however. A thing about multiplying matrices is that the order matters. It is not like multiplying two numbers. If instead of multiplying A(AT) we put the transposed matrix first, and do AT(A), then we get a different result. This time, the result is a 7x7 “Organization by Organization” matrix, where the numbers in the cells represent how many people each organization has in common. Here’s what that looks like. Because it is small we can see the whole table.
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 StAndrewsLodge LoyalNine NorthCaucus LongRoomClub TeaParty BostonCommittee LondonEnemies StAndrewsLodge - 1 3 2 3 0 5 LoyalNine 1 - 5 0 5 0 8 NorthCaucus 3 5 - 8 15 11 20 LongRoomClub 2 0 8 - 1 5 5 TeaParty 3 5 15 1 - 5 10 BostonCommittee 0 0 11 5 5 - 14 LondonEnemies 5 8 20 5 10 14 -

    Again, interesting! (I beg to venture.) Instead of seeing how (and which) people are linked by their shared membership in organizations, we see which organizations are linked through the people that belong to them both. People are linked through the groups they belong to. Groups are linked through the people they share. This is the “duality of persons and groups” in the title of Mr Breiger’s article.


    Rather than relying on tables, we can make a picture of the relationship between the groups, using the number of shared members as an index of the strength of the link between the seditious groups. Here’s what that looks like.



    And, of course, we can also do that for the links between the people, using our 254x254 “Person by Person” table. Here is what that looks like.

    What a nice picture! The analytical engine has arranged everyone neatly, picking out clusters of individuals and also showing both peripheral individuals and—more intriguingly—people who seem to bridge various groups in ways that might perhaps be relevant to national security. Look at that person right in the middle there. Zoom in if you wish. He seems to bridge several groups in an unusual (though perhaps not unique) way. His name is Paul Revere.


    Once again, I remind you that I know nothing of Mr Revere, or his conversations, or his habits or beliefs, his writings (if he has any) or his personal life. All I know is this bit of metadata, based on membership in some organizations. And yet my analytical engine, on the basis of absolutely the most elementary of operations in Social Networke Analysis, seems to have picked him out of our 254 names as being of unusual interest. We do not have to stop here, with just a picture. Now that we have used our simple “Person by Event” table to generate a “Person by Person” matrix, we can do things like calculate centrality scores, or figure out whether there are cliques, or investigate other patterns. For example, we could calculate a betweenness centrality measure for everyone in our matrix, which is roughly the number of “shortest paths” between any two people in our network that pass through the person of interest. It is a way of asking “If I have to get from person a to person z, how likely is it that the quickest way is through person x?” Here are the top betweenness scores for our list of suspected terrorists:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 round(btwn.person[ind][1:10],0) Revere.Paul Urann.Thomas Warren.Joseph Peck.Samuel 3839 2185 1817 1150 Barber.Nathaniel Cooper.William Hoffins.John Bass.Henry 931 931 931 852 Chase.Thomas Davis.Caleb 852 852

    Perhaps I should not say “terrorists” so rashly. But you can see how tempting it is. Anyway, look—there he is again, this Mr Revere! Very interesting. There are fancier ways to measure importance in a network besides this one. There is something called eigenvector centrality, which my friends in Natural Philosophy tell me is a bit of mathematics unlikely ever to have any practical application in the wider world. You can think of it as a measure of centrality weighted by one’s connection to other central people. Here are our top scorers on that measure:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 > round(cent.eig$vector[ind][1:10],2) Barber.Nathaniel Hoffins.John Cooper.William Revere.Paul 1.00 1.00 1.00 0.99 Bass.Henry Davis.Caleb Chase.Thomas Greenleaf.William 0.95 0.95 0.95 0.95 Hopkins.Caleb Proctor.Edward 0.95 0.90

    Here our Mr Revere appears to score highly alongside a few other persons of interest. And for one last demonstration, a calculation of Bonacich Power Centrality, another more sophisticated measure. Here the lower score indicates a more central location.
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 > round(cent.bonpow[ind][1:10],2) Revere.Paul Urann.Thomas Warren.Joseph Proctor.Edward -1.51 -1.44 -1.42 -1.40 Barber.Nathaniel Hoffins.John Cooper.William Peck.Samuel -1.36 -1.36 -1.36 -1.33 Davis.Caleb Chase.Thomas -1.31 -1.31

    And here again, Mr Revere—along with Messrs Urann, Proctor, and Barber—appears towards the top or our list.


    So, there you have it. From a table of membership in different groups we have gotten a picture of a kind of social network between individuals, a sense of the degree of connection between organizations, and some strong hints of who the key players are in this world. And all this—all of it!—from the merest sliver of metadata about a single modality of relationship between people. I do not wish to overstep the remit of my memorandum but I must ask you to imagine what might be possible if we were but able to collect information on very many more people, and also synthesize information from different kinds of ties between people! For the simple methods I have described are quite generalizable in these ways, and their capability only becomes more apparent as the size and scope of the information they are given increases. We would not need to know what was being whispered between individuals, only that they were connected in various ways. The analytical engine would do the rest! I daresay the shape of the real structure of social relations would emerge from our calculations gradually, first in outline only, but eventually with ever-increasing clarity and, at last, in beautiful detail—like a great, silent ship coming out of the gray New England fog.


    I admit that, in addition to the possibilities for finding something interesting, there may also be the prospect of discovering suggestive but ultimately incorrect or misleading patterns. But I feel this problem would surely be greatly ameliorated by more and better metadata. At the present time, alas, the technology required to automatically collect the required information is beyond our capacity. But I say again, if a mere scribe such as I—one who knows nearly nothing—can use the very simplest of these methods to pick the name of a traitor like Paul Revere from those of two hundred and fifty four other men, using nothing but a list of memberships and a portable calculating engine, then just think what weapons we might wield in the defense of liberty one or two centuries from now.


    Note: After I posted this, Michael Chwe emailed to tell me that Shin-Kap Han has published an article analyzing Fischer’s Revere data in rather more detail. I first came across Fischer’s data when I read Paul Revere’s Ride some years ago. I transcribed it and worked on it a little (making the graphs shown here) when I was asked to give a presentation on the usefulness of Sociological methods to graduate students in Duke’s History department. It’s very nice to see Han’s much fuller published analysis, as he’s an SNA specialist, unlike me.



    Posted by Kieran Healy Data, IT, Politics, R, Sociology
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    Default Re: Obama Administration Spying on Americans (NSA)

    More here:

    http://faculty.psdomain.ucdavis.edu/...onacichl87.pdf

    http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/polisci/f.../ps269/han.pdf

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betweenness_centrality

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013...acebook-google

    This is... amazing stuff.

    I figure now, anything I type, post, look at, who I talk to... doesn't matter now. No one has any secrets. So why should the government? LOL
    Libertatem Prius!





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