Saturday, February 15, 2014

Holding Gov’t Hostage?

February 13, 2014 by  

A picture of Edward Snowden, a contractor at the National Security Agency (NSA), is seen on a computer screen displaying a page of a Chinese news website, in Beijing in this June 13, 2013 photo illustration. REUTERS/Jason Lee

Edward Snowden is best known for revealing to the public how intensely the US government is spying on its own citizens. But even more interesting is how he used this surveillance capacity to collect government information.
According to a classified briefing for members of Congress that took place on February 5, 2014, Snowden has compiled a huge phone book of absolutely every employee and official of the entire US Government that includes the names, home addresses, unlisted personal home telephone and personal cellular phone numbers, dates of birth and social security numbers of every person involved in any way, with any department of the US government. The files include elected officials, Cabinet appointees, judges, police officers, every government contractor and all employees of that contractor, reports TRN.
Snowden obtained the personal information of every bank corporation, their operating officers and their Boards of Directors, including all current and former members of the Federal Reserve; all personal information about anyone holding any type of government license including lawyers, stock brokers and commodities traders; and all the personal information of every non-bank corporation in the US, including their operating officers and Boards of Directors.
“He stole everything — literally everything,” a ranking DOD official told the Daily Caller.
Snowden has made it known that if he is arrested, if he vanishes, or if he dies from any cause whatsoever, ALL of the information in his possession will be published publicly.
Snowden used nothing but the inexpensive and widely available Webcrawler software to explore the NSA agency’s networks. Web crawlers, also known as spiders, move from website to website, following links embedded in each document, and can copy everything they encounter. According to the Guardian, Snowden is believed to have accessed about 1.7 million documents.
Copies of his encrypted data have already been distributed to more than 1,200 web sites around the world. Those sites have agreed to conceal the information until such time as contact with Snowden is “lost.” Once contact is lost, the sites have been told they will receive the Decryption keys via CD ROM, E-mail and P2P / Bit-Torrent file transfer. Once the decryption keys are sent, the sites have been instructed to wait a specific amount of time to confirm Snowden’s disappearance, arrest or death and upon expiration of that time period, to publish the decrypted materials. TRN reports:
“Making the situation all the more dire for the government is that Snowden has made clear he will release some of the information under certain “other” circumstances. For instance, if Martial Law is declared in the US or if any elections are canceled for any reason, all the government employee info goes out. If an economic collapse takes place, all the Banker/Stock Broker/Commodities Trader information goes out. If Corporations start hyper-inflating prices, all the information about them, their officers and Board of Directors will go out.”
Sources say the material Snowden copied includes information, possibly personnel names, on the CIA and other US intelligence agencies, such as the National Reconnaissance Center and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, which operate US image-producing satellites and analyze their data.
“Snowden literally has the most powerful people in the United States in an inescapable stranglehold. If any of the things articulated above take place, everyone throughout the country will know exactly who to blame and exactly where they live. One can only speculate that under the right conditions, it might not be long until those responsible for the problems of our country, faced consequences for their actions.”
The damage would be “of biblical proportions,” a US official said.
Yet, why should Americans have to wait until a calamity for such basic information to be published? The names of government servants should legally be considered public record, as a matter of course. Why do our unelected public servants feel so threatened about the idea of the American people knowing who they are and where they live? How many of them are acting in bad faith? Just knowing that we know who they are might cause “them” to behave.
Americans live under a shadowy rule where we don’t know who is who, or who is making the decisions. If you are a banker and you wanted to for example make money from insider trading related to 9/11, the public should know your name and address, so that the authorities know where to go to arrest you and question you to the extent of your pre-knowledge about that crime – and if they don’t, so the public can picket in front of your house until they do!
Snowden is being called a traitor and a spy but he has simply collected information. Snowden himself did not do any spying, he just had access to the information that the NSA had already collected, as part of his job as a system administrator whose job it was to maintain, reprogram or repair the software.
Snowden said he “clearly and unambiguously acted alone, with no help from anyone, much less a government.”
Michael Ratner writes in the Guardian that “the focus on Snowden’s singular case seriously deflects from the fact that the Obama administration has been a nightmare for whistleblowers and truth tellers, and that several others currently in prison or in exile deserve the same clemency or clear assurances they will not be prosecuted.”
Ratner believes that “all of these truth tellers exposed or published documents exposing government misdeeds and crimes. All of the disclosures were of information that was valuable to the public debate of US war tactics, intelligence gathering and privacy concerns, with no documentable damage to national security interests… Manning, Assange, and Hammond all did their civic duty by disclosing information on government overreaching. They all exhibited great moral courage in doing so. And they all deserve far more than unfair imprisonment and exile for the service they have done for the American people and for people all around the world.”
Among the unpublished material which Snowden acquired from classified government computer servers are documents reportedly containing the names and resumes of employees working for NSA’s British counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).
U.S. and British authorities say they are focused more on dealing with the consequences of the material he has released than trying to apprehend Snowden.
“All I can say right now is the US government is not going to be able to cover this up by jailing or murdering me,” Snowden said on June 17. “The truth is coming, and it cannot be stopped.”
Meanwhile the NSA is continuing to improve upon how effectively it spies on Americans.

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