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The Fifth Amendment – National Constitution Center

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Aug 312015
 

Grand Jury Protection: The Fifth Amendment requirement that serious federal criminal charges be started by a grand jury (a group of citizens who hear evidence from a prosecutor about potential crimes) is rooted in English common law. Its basic purpose is to provide a fair method for beginning criminal proceedings against those accused of committing crimes. Grand jury charges can be issued against anyone except members of the military, who are instead subject to courts-martial in the military justice system.

To avoid giving government unchecked powers, grand jurors are selected from the general population and their work, conducted in secret, is not hampered by rigid rules about the type of evidence that can be heard. In fact, grand jurors can act on their own knowledge and are free to start criminal proceedings on any information that they think relevant.

It is these broad powers that have led some critics to charge that grand juries are little more than puppets of prosecutors. Grand juries also serve an investigative role-because grand juries can compel witnesses to testify in the absence of their lawyers.

A significant number of states do not use grand juries, instead they begin criminal proceedings using informations or indictments. The right to a grand jury is one of only a few protections in the Bill of Rights that has not been applied to the states by the Fourteenth Amendment.

Protection against Double Jeopardy: This portion of the Fifth Amendment protects individuals from being twice put in jeopardy of life or limbthat is, in danger of being punished more than once for the same criminal act. The U.S. Supreme Court has interpreted the double jeopardy clause to protect against a second prosecution for the same offense after acquittal or conviction and against multiple punishments for the same crime. Like other provisions in the Bill of Rights that affect criminal prosecutions, the double jeopardy clause is rooted in the idea that the government should not have unlimited power to prosecute and punish criminal suspects. Rather, the government gets only one chance to make its case.

Right against Self-Incrimination: This provision of the Fifth Amendment is probably the best-known of all constitutional rights, as it appears frequently on television and in movieswhether in dramatic courtroom scenes (I take the Fifth!) or before the police question someone in their custody (You have the right to remain silent. Anything you do say can be used against you in a court of law.). The right protects a person from being forced to reveal to the police, prosecutor, judge, or jury any information that might subject him or her to criminal prosecution. Even if a person is guilty of a crime, the Fifth Amendment demands that the prosecutors come up with other evidence to prove their case. If police violate the Fifth Amendment by forcing a suspect to confess, a court may suppress the confession, that is, prohibit it from being used as evidence at trial.

The right to remain silent also means that a defendant has the right not to take the witness stand at all during his or her trial, and that the prosecutor cannot point to the defendants silence as evidence of guilt. There are, however, limitations on the right against self-incrimination. For example, it applies only to testimonial acts, such as speaking, nodding, or writing. Other personal information that might be incriminating, like blood or hair samples, DNA or fingerprints, may be used as evidence. Similarly, incriminating statements that an individual makes voluntarilysuch as when a suspect confesses to a friend or writes in a personal diaryare not protected.

Right to Due Process: The right to due process of law has been recognized since 1215, when the Magna Carta (the British charter) was adopted. Historically, the right protected people accused of crimes from being imprisoned without fair procedures (like indictments and trials, where they would have an opportunity to confront their accusers). The right of due process has grown in two directions: It affords individuals a right to a fair process (known as procedural due process) and a right to enjoy certain fundamental liberties without governmental interference (known as substantive due process). The Fifth Amendments due process clause applies to the federal governments conduct. In 1868 the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment expanded the right of due process to include limits on the actions of state governments.

Today, court decisions interpreting the Fourteenth Amendments due process right generally apply to the Fifth Amendment and vice versa.

Takings Clause: The takings clause of the Fifth Amendment strikes a balance between the rights of private property owners and the right of the government to take that property for a purpose that benefits the public at large. When the government takes private property, it is required to pay just compensation to the property owner for his or her loss. The takings power of the government, sometimes referred to as the power of eminent domain, may be used for a wide range of valid public uses (for a highway or a park, for example). For the most part, when defining just compensation, courts try to reach some approximation of market value.

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The Fifth Amendment – National Constitution Center

Fifth Amendment | Wex Legal Dictionary / Encyclopedia | LII …

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Aug 312015
 

The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides, “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

The clauses incorporated within the Fifth Amendment outline basic constitutional limits on police procedure. The Framers derived the Grand Juries Clause and the Due Process Clause from the Magna Carta, dating back to 1215. Scholars consider the Fifth Amendment as capable of breaking down into the following five distinct constitutional rights: grand juries for capital crimes, a prohibition on double jeopardy, a prohibition against required self-incrimination, a guarantee that all criminal defendants will have a fair trial, and a promise that the government will not seize private property without paying market value. While the Fifth Amendment originally only applied to federal courts, the U.S. Supreme Court has interpreted the Fifth Amendment’s provisions as now applying to the states through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Grand juries are a holdover from hundreds of years ago, originating during Britain’s early history. Deeply-rooted in the Anglo-American tradition, the grand jury originally served to protect the accused from overly-zealous prosecutions by the English monarchy.

Congressional statutes outline the means by which a grand jury shall be impaneled. Ordinarily, the grand jurors are selected from the pool of prospective jurors who potentially could serve on a given day in any juror capacity. At common-law, a grand jury consists of between 12 and 23 members. Because the Grand jury was derived from the common-law, courts use the common-law as a means of interpreting the Grand Jury Clause. While state legislatures may set the statutory number of grand jurors anywhere within the common-law requirement of 12 to 23, statutes setting the number outside of this range violate the Fifth Amendment. Federal law has set the federal grand jury number as falling between 16 and 23.

A person being charged with a crime that warrants a grand jury has the right to challenge members of the grand juror for partiality or bias, but these challenges differ from peremptory challenges, which a defendant has when choosing a trial jury. When a defendant makes a peremptory challenge, the judge must remove the juror without making any proof, but in the case of a grand juror challenge, the challenger must establish the cause of the challenge by meeting the same burden of proof as the establishment of any other fact would require. Grand juries possess broad authority to investigate suspected crimes. They may not, however, conduct “fishing expeditions” or hire individuals not already employed by the government to locate testimony or documents. Ultimately, grand juries may make a presentment. During a presentment the grand jury informs the court that they have a reasonable suspicion that the suspect committed a crime.

The Double Jeopardy Clause aims to protect against the harassment of an individual through successive prosecutions of the same alleged act, to ensure the significance of an acquittal, and to prevent the state from putting the defendant through the emotional, psychological, physical, and financial troubles that would accompany multiple trials for the same alleged offense. Courts have interpreted the Double Jeopardy Clause as accomplishing these goals by providing the following three distinct rights: a guarantee that a defendant will not face a second prosecution after an acquittal, a guarantee that a defendant will not face a second prosecution after a conviction, and a guarantee that a defendant will not receive multiple punishments for the same offense. Courts, however, have not interpreted the Double Jeopardy Clause as either prohibiting the state from seeking review of a sentence or restricting a sentence’s length on rehearing after a defendant’s successful appeal.

Jeopardy refers to the danger of conviction. Thus, jeopardy does not attach unless a risk of the determination of guilt exists. If some event or circumstance prompts the trial court to declare a mistrial, jeopardy has not attached if the mistrial only results in minimal delay and the government does not receive added opportunity to strengthen its case.

The Fifth Amendment protects criminal defendants from having to testify if they may incriminate themselves through the testimony. A witness may “plead the Fifth” and not answer if the witness believes answering the question may be self-incriminatory.

In the landmark Miranda v. Arizona ruling, the United States Supreme Court extended the Fifth Amendment protections to encompass any situation outside of the courtroom that involves the curtailment of personal freedom. 384 U.S. 436 (1966). Therefore, any time that law enforcement takes a suspect into custody, law enforcement must make the suspect aware of all rights. Known as Miranda rights, these rights include the right to remain silent, the right to have an attorney present during questioning, and the right to have a government-appointed attorney if the suspect cannot afford one.

If law enforcement fails to honor these safeguards, courts will often suppress any statements by the suspect as violative of the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination, provided that the suspect has not actually waived the rights. An actual waiver occurs when a suspect has made the waiver knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily. To determine if a knowing, intelligent and voluntary waiver has occurred, a court will examine the totality of the circumstances, which considers all pertinent circumstances and events. If a suspect makes a spontaneous statement while in custody prior to being made aware of the Miranda rights, law enforcement can use the statement against the suspect, provided that police interrogation did not prompt the statement.

After Congress passed the Crime Control and Safe Streets Act, some felt that the statute by implication overruled the requirements of Miranda. Some scholars also felt that Congress constitutionally exercised its power in passing this law because they felt that Miranda represented a matter of judicial policy rather than an actual manifestation of Fifth Amendment protections. In Dickerson v. United States the U.S. Supreme Court rejected this arguments and held that the Warren Court had directly derived Miranda from the Fifth Amendment.

The guarantee of due process for all citizens requires the government to respect all rights, guarantees, and protections afforded by the U.S. Constitution and all applicable statutes before the government can deprive a person of life, liberty, or property. Due process essentially guarantees that a party will receive a fundamentally fair, orderly, and just judicial proceeding. While the Fifth Amendment only applies to the federal government, the identical text in the Fourteenth Amendment explicitly applies this due process requirement to the states as well.

Courts have come to recognize that two aspects of due process exist: procedural due process and substantive due process. Procedural due process aims to ensure fundamental fairness by guaranteeing a party the right to be heard, ensuring that the parties receive proper notification throughout the litigation, and ensures that the adjudicating court has the appropriate jurisdiction to render a judgment. Meanwhile, substantive due process has developed during the 20th century as protecting those right so fundamental as to be “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.”

While the federal government has a constitutional right to “take” private property for public use, the Fifth Amendment’s Just Compensation Clause requires the government to pay just compensation, interpreted as market value, to the owner of the property. The U.S. Supreme Court has defined fair market value as the most probable price that a willing but unpressured buyer, fully knowledgeable of both the property’s good and bad attributes, would pay. The government does not have to pay a property owner’s attorney’s fees, however, unless a statute so provides.

In Kelo v. City of New London, the U.S. Supreme Court rendered a controversial opinion in which they held that a city could constitutionally seize private property for private commercial development. 545 U.S. 469 (2005).

See constitutional amendment.

See constitutional clauses.

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Fifth Amendment | Wex Legal Dictionary / Encyclopedia | LII …

NSA – New Jersey 101.5

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Aug 292015
 

President Barack Obama speaks to the media on Friday, Aug 7, 2015, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

A federal appeals court on Friday ruled in favor of the Obama administration in a dispute over the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of telephone data on hundreds of millions of Americans.

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Eliminating the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of Americans’ telephone records will make the U.S. less safe, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Wednesday.

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The White House wants the National Security Agency to get out of the business of sweeping up and storing vast amounts of data on Americans’ phone calls.

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A sharply divided government task force that reviewed the National Security Agency’s surveillance program for four months has urged President Barack Obama to shut down the agency’s bulk collection of phone data and purge its massive inventory of millions of Americans’ calling records.

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Seeking to calm a furor over U.S. surveillance, President Barack Obama on Friday called for ending the government’s control of phone data from hundreds of millions of Americans and immediately ordered intelligence agencies to get a secretive court’s permission before accessing such records.

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President Barack Obama is expected to endorse changes to the way the government collects millions of Americans’ phone records for possible future surveillance, but he’ll leave many of the specific adjustments for Congress to sort out, according to three U.S. offi

National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden says his “mission’s already accomplished” after leaking NSA secrets that have caused a reassessment of U.S. surveillance policies.

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President Barack Obama is meeting with members of an intelligence task force to discuss their recommendations on how to modify the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs.

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President Barack Obama is meeting today with executives from leading technology companies, including Google, Twitter and Apple.

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A federal judge ruled Monday that the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of phone records violates the Constitution’s ban on unreasonable searches, but put his decision on hold pending a near-certain government appeal.

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NSA – New Jersey 101.5

NSA Spying | Electronic Frontier Foundation

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Aug 272015
 

The US government, with assistance from major telecommunications carriers including AT&T, has engaged in massive, illegal dragnet surveillance of the domestic communications and communications records of millions of ordinary Americans since at least 2001. Since this was first reported on by the press and discovered by the public in late 2005, EFF has been at the forefront of the effort to stop it and bring government surveillance programs back within the law and the Constitution.

History of NSA Spying Information since 2005 (See EFFs full timeline of events here)

News reports in December 2005 first revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been intercepting Americans phone calls and Internet communications. Those news reports, combined with a USA Today story in May 2006 and the statements of several members of Congress, revealed that the NSA is also receiving wholesale copies of American’s telephone and other communications records. All of these surveillance activities are in violation of the privacy safeguards established by Congress and the US Constitution.

In early 2006, EFF obtained whistleblower evidence (.pdf) from former AT&T technician Mark Klein showing that AT&T is cooperating with the illegal surveillance. The undisputed documents show that AT&T installed a fiberoptic splitter at its facility at 611 Folsom Street in San Francisco that makes copies of all emails web browsing and other Internet traffic to and from AT&T customers and provides those copies to the NSA. This copying includes both domestic and international Internet activities of AT&T customers. As one expert observed, this isnt a wiretap, its a country-tap.

Secret government documents, published by the media in 2013, confirm the NSA obtains full copies of everything that is carried along major domestic fiber optic cable networks. In June 2013, the media, led by the Guardian and Washington Post started publishing a series of articles, along with full government documents, that have confirmed much of what was reported in 2005 and 2006 and then some. The reports showed-and the government later admittedthat the government is mass collecting phone metadata of all US customers under the guise of the Patriot Act. Moreover, the media reports confirm that the government is collecting and analyzing the content of communications of foreigners talking to persons inside the United States, as well as collecting much more, without a probable cause warrant. Finally, the media reports confirm the upstream collection off of the fiberoptic cables that Mr. Klein first revealed in 2006. (See EFFs How It Works page here for more)

EFF Fights Back in the Courts

EFF is fighting these illegal activities in the courts. Currently, EFF is representing victims of the illegal surveillance program in Jewel v. NSA,a lawsuit filed in September 2008 seeking to stop the warrantless wiretapping and hold the government and government officials behind the program accountable. In July 2013, a federal judge ruled that the government could not rely on the controversial “state secrets” privilege to block our challenge to the constitutionality of the program. On February 10, 2015, however, the court granted summary judgment to the government on the Plaintiffs allegations of Fourth Amendment violations based on the NSAs copying of Internet traffic from the Internet backbone. The court ruled that the publicly available information did not paint a complete picture of how the NSA collects Internet traffic, so the court could not rule on the program without looking at information that could constitute state secrets. The court did not rule that the NSAs activities are legal, nor did it rule on the other claims in Jewel, and the case will go forward on those claims.This case is being heard in conjunction with Shubert v. Obama, which raises similar claims.

In July, 2013, EFF filed another lawsuit, First Unitarian v. NSA, based on the recently published FISA court order demanding Verizon turn over all customer phone records including who is talking to whom, when and for how longto the NSA. This so-called metadata, especially when collected in bulk and aggregated, allows the government to track the associations of various political and religious organizations. The Director of National Intelligence has since confirmed that the collection of Verizon call records is part of a broader program.

In addition to making the same arguments we made in Jewel, we argue in First Unitarian that this type of collection violates the First Amendment right to association. Previously, in Hepting v. AT&T,EFF filed the first case against a cooperating telecom for violating its customers’ privacy. After Congress expressly intervened and passed the FISA Amendments Act to allow the Executive to require dismissal of the case,Hepting was ultimately dismissed by the US Supreme Court.

In September of 2014, EFF, along with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho, joined the legal team for Anna Smith, an Idaho emergency neonatal nurse, in her challenge of the government’s bulk collection of the telephone records of millions of innocent Americans. In Smith v. Obama, we are arguing the program violated her Fourth Amendment rights by collecting a wealth of detail about her familial, political, professional, religious and intimate associations. In particular, we focus on challenging the applicability of the so-called third party doctrine, the idea that people have no expectation of privacy in information they entrust to others.

First Unitarian v. NSAEFFs case challenging the NSAs phone metadata surveillance Jewel v. NSAEFFs case challenging the NSAs dragnet surveillance Hepting v. AT&TEFFs case that challenged AT&Ts complicity in illegal NSA spying Smith v. ObamaEFF’s appeal with the ACLU of an Idaho nurse’s challenge to the NSA’s phone metadata surveillance.

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NSA Spying | Electronic Frontier Foundation

Freedomtexas.org – Texas Secession, Texas independence …

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Aug 172015
 

TEXANS, ITS TIME SOMEONE SPEAKS THE TRUTH

I know that this article will catch lots of grief and criticism, but I and millions of Texans are fed up with the rhetoric, misleading reporting, and just plain naivete or stupidity of the press in the handling of Obama and the present Islamist situation we have in this world.

Every day we actually watch the truth of the Muslim world on TV. My God, when you see it, how can you not believe it? Radical Islam has declared war worldwide! Now, from Bill OReilly to our local news reporters, everyone – including the retired generals interviewed about the subject – all say the same thing: We cannot understand why Obama does not do more about the violence from Islamist radicals. We dont understand why Obama will not engage. Why does Obama want to raise taxes and continue to write mandates through executive orders that harm America? All I hear is that he is a good family man, and nice guy, and maybe he just doesnt understand.

Fellow Texans, he not only understands, but he knows exactly what he is doing! Did you read his book Dreams From My Father? He hates America! He hates a red Texas. He is a supporter of the Muslim religion. He orchestrated the Arab Spring and covered it up with a move for democracy. Those countries wouldnt know democracy if they stepped in it! It was a takeover by the Muslim Brotherhood, and was supported by Obama. The political correctness and nice guy reporting must stop, and people better wake the hell up because we are sliding into a cesspool that we will never get out of.

Obama is a socialist, Islamist apologist, America-hating radical who is pulling off what he told all of us when he got elected the first time: We will fundamentally change America. Can everyone wake up and see that he is doing exactly that?

To the Governor of Texas, the legislature in Texas, the spineless Congress in Washington DC: I know the majority of you only care about power, money, and your next elected office, but you damn well better start telling the truth about Obama, his administration, and his ultimate goal of destroying America, or as they say in the not listened too part of America, the you-know-what will hit the fan! We common everyday folks can see through this like a glass door and will not stay quiet any longer!

When the SHTF scenario begins – and it will – all of you from the press to the sitting elected plutcocrats will have no one to blame but yourselves. We all know that you will label patriots as home-grown terrorists, right wing radicals, Bible toting gun lovers, but, in reality, they are good people who saw through the BS of this government a long time ago; people who will not give up their freedom and liberty at any cost. It will be the People who understand that Obama and his minions are evil!

We in Texas demand of those who can make a difference: stand up! Take care of Texas by getting us out of this situation. The next two years of this administration will cause the fall of all the states and the US government, or worse yet, a civil war that will make the Civil War of 1861 look like a skirmish!

Can we return to a small government led by and founded on the God-given rights as laid out by our Founding Fathers? Will you say the truth of the real evil that runs DC now? Will you stop lying to the people who know that what you say are lies? If not, people of Texas, it is time to get off the couch, take firm action with our elected leaders, and do not surrender our beloved home, our Texas, to those that lie and refuse to act!

Deny this if you will, but most know it to be true. Those that know will be enough to change things. I believe that, because there is nothing else left to believe in anymore!

God Bless Texas, Cary Wise Freedom Texas

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Freedomtexas.org – Texas Secession, Texas independence …

Edward Snowden – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Aug 152015
 

Edward Snowden Born Edward Joseph Snowden (1983-06-21) June 21, 1983 (age32) Elizabeth City, North Carolina, U.S. Residence Russia (temporary asylum) Nationality American Occupation System administrator Employer Booz Allen Hamilton Kunia, Hawaii, US (until June 10, 2013) Knownfor Revealing details of classified United States government surveillance programs Title Rector of the University of Glasgow Term February 18, 2014 present Predecessor Charles Kennedy Criminal charge Theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information, and willful communication of classified intelligence to an unauthorized person (June 2013). Awards Sam Adams Award,[1] Right Livelihood Award (2014)[2] Stuttgart Peace Prize (2014)[3]

Edward Joseph “Ed” Snowden (born June 21, 1983) is an American computer professional, former CIA employee, and former government contractor who leaked classified information from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013. The information revealed numerous global surveillance programs, many run by the NSA and the Five Eyes with the cooperation of telecommunication companies and European governments.

Snowden was hired by Booz Allen Hamilton, an NSA contractor, in 2013 after previous employment with Dell and the CIA.[4] On May 20, 2013, Snowden flew to Hong Kong after leaving his job at a NSA facility in Hawaii and in early June he revealed thousands of classified NSA documents to journalists Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Ewen MacAskill. Snowden came to international attention after stories based on the material appeared in The Guardian and The Washington Post. Further disclosures were made by other newspapers including Der Spiegel and The New York Times.

On June 21, 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice unsealed charges against Snowden of two counts of violating the Espionage Act and theft of government property.[5] On June 23, he flew to Moscow, Russia, where he reportedly remained for over a month. Later that summer, Russian authorities granted him a one-year temporary asylum which was later extended to three years. As of 2015, he was still living in an undisclosed location in Russia while seeking asylum elsewhere.[6]

A subject of controversy, Snowden has been variously called a hero, a whistleblower, a dissident, a patriot, and a traitor. His disclosures have fueled debates over mass surveillance, government secrecy, and the balance between national security and information privacy.

Edward Joseph Snowden was born on June 21, 1983,[7] in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.[8] His maternal grandfather, Edward J. Barrett,[9][10] was a rear admiral in the United States Coast Guard who became a senior official with the FBI and was in the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 when it was struck by an airliner hijacked by al-Qaeda terrorists.[11] Edward’s father, Lonnie Snowden, a resident of Pennsylvania, was also an officer in the Coast Guard,[12] and his mother, Elizabeth B. Snowden, a resident of Ellicott City, Maryland, is chief deputy at the United States District Court for the District of Maryland.[13][14][15] His older sister, Jessica, became a lawyer at the Federal Judicial Center in Washington. “Everybody in my family has worked for the federal government in one way or another,” Snowden told James Bamford in a June 2014 interview published two months later in Wired. “I expected to pursue the same path.”[16] His parents divorced in 2001,[17] and his father remarried.[18] Friends and neighbors described Snowden as shy, quiet and nice. One longtime friend said that he was always articulate, even as a child.[14] “We always considered Ed the smartest one in the family,” said his father, who was not surprised when his son scored above 145 on two separate IQ tests.[16] Snowden’s father described his son as “a sensitive, caring young man” and “a deep thinker.”[19]

In the early 1990s, while still in grade school, Snowden moved with his family to Maryland.[20]Mononucleosis caused him to miss high school for almost nine months.[16] Rather than return, he passed the GED test[21] and enrolled in Anne Arundel Community College.[13] Although Snowden had no bachelor’s degree,[22] ABC News reported that he worked online toward a master’s degree at the University of Liverpool in 2011.[23] In 2010, while visiting India on official business at the U.S. embassy,[24] Snowden trained for six days in core Java programming and advanced ethical hacking.[25] Snowden was reportedly interested in Japanese popular culture, had studied the Japanese language,[26] and worked for an anime company domiciled in the U.S.[27][28] He also said he had a basic understanding of Mandarin Chinese and was deeply interested in martial arts; at age 20, he listed Buddhism as his religion on a military recruitment form, noting that the choice of agnostic was “strangely absent.”[29] Snowden told The Washington Post that he was an ascetic, rarely left the house and had few needs.[30]

Before leaving for Hong Kong, Snowden resided in Waipahu, Hawaii, with his longtime girlfriend, Lindsay Mills.[31] According to local real estate agents, they moved out of their home on May 1, 2013.[32] Mills had reportedly blogged on March 15, 2013 that the couple had “received word that we have to move out of our house by May 1. E is transferring jobs.”[33] In October 2014, Glenn Greenwald reported at The Intercept that Mills had moved to Moscow in June 2014 to live with him and that Snowden was “now living in domestic bliss.”[34] Snowden’s Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena added that the couple visits Russian cultural sights together but that Mills does not live in Russia full-time due to visa restrictions.[35][36]

Snowden has said that in the 2008 presidential election, he voted for a third-party candidate. He has stated he had been planning to make disclosures about NSA surveillance programs at the time, but he decided to wait because he “believed in Obama’s promises.” He was later disappointed that President Barack Obama “continued with the policies of his predecessor.”[37]

A week after publication of his leaks began, technology news provider Ars Technica confirmed that Snowden, under the pseudonym “TheTrueHOOHA,” had been an active participant at the site’s online forum from 2001 through May 2012, discussing a variety of topics.[38] In a January 2009 entry, TheTrueHOOHA exhibited strong support for the United States’ security state apparatus and said he believed leakers of classified information “should be shot in the balls.”[39] However, in February 2010, TheTrueHOOHA wrote, “Did we get to where we are today via a slippery slope that was entirely within our control to stop? Or was it a relatively instantaneous sea change that sneaked in undetected because of pervasive government secrecy?”[40]

In accounts published in June 2013, interviewers noted that Snowden’s laptop displayed stickers supporting internet freedom organizations including the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Tor Project.[21] Snowden considers himself “neither traitor nor hero. I’m an American.”[41]

In 2014 Snowden stated that “women have the right to make their own choices” and supported providing “a basic income for people who have no work, or no meaningful work”.[42]

On May 7, 2004, Snowden enlisted in the United States Army Reserve as a Special Forces candidate through its 18X enlistment option, but he did not complete the training.[7][43] He said he wanted to fight in the Iraq War because he “felt like [he] had an obligation as a human being to help free people from oppression.”[21] Snowden said he was discharged after breaking both legs in a training accident.[44] He was discharged on September 28, 2004.[45]

He was then employed for less than a year in 2005 as a “security specialist” at the University of Maryland’s Center for Advanced Study of Language, a non-classified facility.[46] In June 2014, Snowden told Wired that this was “a top-secret facility” where his job as a security guard required a high-level security clearance, for which he passed a polygraph exam and underwent a stringent background check.[16]

In 2006, after attending a job fair focused on intelligence agencies, Snowden was offered a position at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA),[16] which he joined.[47] He was assigned to the global communications division at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.[16]

In May 2006, Snowden wrote in Ars Technica that he had no trouble getting work because he was a “computer wizard.”[29] After distinguishing himself as junior man on the top computer team, Snowden was sent to the CIA’s secret school for technology specialists, where he lived in a hotel for six months while studying and training full-time.[16]

In March 2007,[16] the CIA stationed Snowden with diplomatic cover in Geneva, Switzerland, where he was responsible for maintaining computer network security.[48] Assigned to the U.S. mission to the United Nations, Snowden was given a diplomatic passport and a four-bedroom apartment near Lake Geneva.[16] According to Greenwald, while there Snowden was “considered the top technical and cybersecurity expert” in that country and “was hand-picked by the CIA to support the president at the 2008 NATO summit in Romania.”[49] Snowden described his CIA experience in Geneva as “formative,” stating that the CIA deliberately got a Swiss banker drunk and encouraged him to drive home. Snowden said that when the latter was arrested, a CIA operative offered to help in exchange for the banker becoming an informant.[50]Ueli Maurer, President of the Swiss Confederation for the year 2013, in June of that year publicly disputed Snowden’s claims. “This would mean that the CIA successfully bribed the Geneva police and judiciary. With all due respect, I just can’t imagine it,” said Maurer. The revelations were said to have come at a sensitive time as the U.S. was pressing the Swiss government to increase banking transparency.[51] In February 2009, Snowden resigned from the CIA.[40]

In 2009, Snowden began work as a contractor for Dell,[21] which manages computer systems for multiple government agencies. Assigned to an NSA facility at Yokota Air Base near Tokyo, Snowden instructed top officials and military officers on how to defend their networks from Chinese hackers.[16] During his four years with Dell, he rose from supervising NSA computer system upgrades to working as what his rsum termed a “cyberstrategist” and an “expert in cyber counterintelligence” at several U.S. locations.[52] In 2011, he returned to Maryland, where he spent a year as lead technologist on Dell’s CIA account. In that capacity, he was consulted by the chiefs of the CIA’s technical branches, including the agency’s chief information officer and its chief technology officer.[16] U.S. officials and other sources familiar with the investigation said Snowden began downloading documents describing the government’s electronic spying programs while working for Dell in April 2012.[53] Investigators estimated that of the 50,000 to 200,000 documents Snowden gave to Greenwald and Poitras, most were copied by Snowden while working at Dell.[4]

In March 2012, Dell reassigned Snowden to Hawaii as lead technologist for the NSA’s information-sharing office.[16] At the time of his departure from the United States in May 2013, he had been employed for 15 months inside the NSA’s Hawaii regional operations center, which focuses on the electronic monitoring of China and North Korea,[4][54] the last three of which were with consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton.[55][56] While intelligence officials have described his position there as a “system administrator,” Snowden has said he was an “infrastructure analyst,” which meant that his job was to look for new ways to break into Internet and telephone traffic around the world.[57] On March 15, 2013three days after what he later called his “breaking point” of “seeing the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, directly lie under oath to Congress”[58]Snowden quit his job at Dell.[59] Although he has stated that his “career high” annual salary was $200,000,[60] Snowden said he took a pay cut to work at Booz Allen,[61] where he sought employment in order to gather data and then release details of the NSA’s worldwide surveillance activity.[62] According to a Reuters story by Mark Hosenball, while in Hawaii, Snowden “may have persuaded between 20 and 25 fellow workers” to give him their logins and passwords “by telling them they were needed for him to do his job as a computer systems administrator.”[63] NBC News reported that the NSA sent a memo to Congress and “[w]hile the memo’s account is sketchy, it suggests that, contrary to Snowden’s statements, he used an element of trickery to retrieve his trove of tens of thousands of classified documents.”[64][65][66] This report was disputed,[67] with Snowden himself saying in January 2014, “With all due respect to Mark Hosenball, the Reuters report that put this out there was simply wrong. I never stole any passwords, nor did I trick an army of co-workers.”[68][69] The day after Snowden publicly took responsibility for the NSA surveillance revelations, Booz Allen terminated his employment “for violations of the firm’s code of ethics and firm policy.”[70]

A former NSA co-worker told Forbes that although the NSA was full of smart people, Snowden was “a genius among geniuses,” who created a backup system for the NSA that was widely implemented and often pointed out security bugs to the agency. The former colleague said Snowden was given full administrator privileges, with virtually unlimited access to NSA data. Snowden was offered a position on the NSA’s elite team of hackers, Tailored Access Operations, but turned it down to join Booz Allen.[71]

A source “with detailed knowledge on the matter” told Reuters that hiring screeners for Booz Allen had found some details of Snowden’s education that “did not check out precisely,” but decided to hire him anyway; Reuters stated that the element which triggered these concerns, or the manner in which Snowden satisfied the concerns, were not known.[22] The rsum stated that Snowden attended computer-related classes at Johns Hopkins University. A spokeswoman for Johns Hopkins said that the university did not find records to show that Snowden attended the university, and suggested that he may instead have attended Advanced Career Technologies, a private for-profit organization which operated as “Computer Career Institute at Johns Hopkins.”[22] The University College of the University of Maryland acknowledged that Snowden had attended a summer session at a UM campus in Asia. Snowden’s rsum stated that he estimated that he would receive a University of Liverpool computer security master’s degree in 2013. The university said that Snowden registered for an online master’s degree program in computer security in 2011 but that “he is not active in his studies and has not completed the program.”[22]

Snowden said that, using “internal channels of dissent”, he had told multiple employees and two supervisors about his concerns that the NSA programs were unconstitutional. An NSA spokeswoman responded, saying they had “not found any evidence to support Mr. Snowden’s contention that he brought these matters to anyone’s attention”.[30] Snowden elaborated in January 2014, saying “[I] made tremendous efforts to report these programs to co-workers, supervisors, and anyone with the proper clearance who would listen. The reactions of those I told about the scale of the constitutional violations ranged from deeply concerned to appalled, but no one was willing to risk their jobs, families, and possibly even freedom to go to through what [Thomas Andrews] Drake did.”[69][72] In March 2014, during testimony to the European Parliament, Snowden wrote that before revealing classified information he had reported “clearly problematic programs” to ten officials, who he said did nothing in response.[73] In a May 2014 interview, Snowden told NBC News that after bringing his concerns about the legality of the NSA spying programs to officials, he was told to stay silent on the matter. Snowden said:

The NSA has recordsthey have copies of emails right now to their Office of General Counsel, to their oversight and compliance folks from me raising concerns about the NSA’s interpretations of its legal authorities. I had raised these complaints not just officially in writing through email, but to my supervisors, to my colleagues, in more than one office. I did it in Fort Meade. I did it in Hawaii. And many, many of these individuals were shocked by these programs. They had never seen them themselves. And the ones who had, went, “You know, you’re right. But if you say something about this, they’re going to destroy you”.[11]

In May 2014, U.S. officials released a single email that Snowden had written in April 2013 inquiring about legal authorities but said that they had found no other evidence that Snowden had expressed his concerns to someone in an oversight position.[74] In June 2014, the NSA said it had not been able to find any records of Snowden raising internal complaints about the agency’s operations.[75] That same month, Snowden explained that he himself has not produced the communiqus in question because of the ongoing nature of the dispute, disclosing for the first time that “I am working with the NSA in regard to these records and we’re going back and forth, so I don’t want to reveal everything that will come out.”[76]

In his May 2014 interview with NBC News, Snowden accused the U.S. government of trying to use one position here or there in his career to distract from the totality of his experience, downplaying him as a “low level analyst.” In his words, he was “trained as a spy in the traditional sense of the word in that I lived and worked undercover overseaspretending to work in a job that I’m notand even being assigned a name that was not mine.” He said he’d worked for the NSA undercover overseas, and for the DIA had developed sources and methods to keep information and people secure “in the most hostile and dangerous environments around the world. So when they say I’m a low-level systems administrator, that I don’t know what I’m talking about, I’d say it’s somewhat misleading.”[11] In a June interview with Globo TV, Snowden reiterated that he “was actually functioning at a very senior level.”[77] In a July interview with The Guardian, Snowden explained that, during his NSA career, “I began to move from merely overseeing these systems to actively directing their use. Many people dont understand that I was actually an analyst and I designated individuals and groups for targeting.”[78] Snowden subsequently told Wired that while at Dell in 2011, “I would sit down with the CIO of the CIA, the CTO of the CIA, the chiefs of all the technical branches. They would tell me their hardest technology problems, and it was my job to come up with a way to fix them.[16]

Of his time as an NSA analyst, directing the work of others, Snowden recalled a moment when he and his colleagues began to have severe ethical doubts. Snowden said 18- to 22-year-old analysts were suddenly “thrust into a position of extraordinary responsibility, where they now have access to all your private records. In the course of their daily work, they stumble across something that is completely unrelated in any sort of necessary sensefor example, an intimate nude photo of someone in a sexually compromising situation. But they’re extremely attractive. So what do they do? They turn around in their chair and they show a co-worker and sooner or later this person’s whole life has been seen by all of these other people.” As Snowden observed it, this behavior was routine, happening “probably every two months,” but was never reported, being considered among “the fringe benefits of surveillance positions.”[24]

The exact size of Snowden’s disclosure is unknown,[79] but Australian officials have estimated 15,000 or more Australian intelligence files[80] and British officials estimate at least 58,000 British intelligence files.[81] NSA Director Keith Alexander initially estimated that Snowden had copied anywhere from 50,000 to 200,000 NSA documents.[82] Later estimates provided by U.S. officials were on the order of 1.7 million,[83] a number that originally came from Department of Defense talking points.[84] In July 2014, The Washington Post reported on a cache previously provided by Snowden from domestic NSA operations consisting of “roughly 160,000 intercepted e-mail and instant-message conversations, some of them hundreds of pages long, and 7,900 documents taken from more than 11,000 online accounts.”[85] In June 2015, Vice News reported that, according to a declassified U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency report obtained in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, Snowden took 900,000 Department of Defense files, more than he downloaded from the NSA.[84]

In March 2014, Army General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the House Armed Services Committee, “The vast majority of the documents that Snowden exfiltrated from our highest levels of security had nothing to do with exposing government oversight of domestic activities. The vast majority of those were related to our military capabilities, operations, tactics, techniques and procedures.”[86] When retired NSA director Keith Alexander was asked in a May 2014 interview to quantify the number of documents Snowden stole, Alexander answered, “I don’t think anybody really knows what he actually took with him, because the way he did it, we don’t have an accurate way of counting. What we do have an accurate way of counting is what he touched, what he may have downloaded, and that was more than a million documents.”[87]

According to Snowden, he did not indiscriminately turn over documents to journalists, stating that “I carefully evaluated every single document I disclosed to ensure that each was legitimately in the public interest. There are all sorts of documents that would have made a big impact that I didn’t turn over”[88] and that “I have to screen everything before releasing it to journalists If I have time to go through this information, I would like to make it available to journalists in each country.”[62]

In June 2014, the NSA’s recently installed director, U.S. Navy Admiral Michael S. Rogers, stated that while some terrorist groups had altered their communications to avoid surveillance techniques revealed by Snowden, the damage done was not significant enough to conclude that “the sky is falling.”[89] Nevertheless, in February 2015, Rogers said that Snowden’s disclosures has a “material impact” on the NSA’s ability to “generate insights as to what counterterrorism, what terrorist groups around the world are doing.”[90]

In April 2015 the Henry Jackson Society, a British neoconservative think tank, published a report claiming that Snowden’s intelligence leaks negatively impacted Britain’s ability to fight terrorism and organized crime.[91][92]Gus Hosein, executive director of Privacy International, criticized the report and said it “presumes that the public are idiots and that we only became concerned about privacy after Snowden.”[93]

The New York Times’ James Risen reported that Snowden’s decision to leak NSA documents “developed gradually, dating back at least to his time working as a technician in the Geneva station of the CIA.”[94] Snowden first made contact with Glenn Greenwald, a journalist working at The Guardian, in late 2012.[95] He contacted Greenwald anonymously as “Cincinnatus”[96] and said he had “sensitive documents” that he would like to share.[97] Greenwald found the measures that the source asked him to take to secure their communications, such as encrypting email, too annoying to employ. Snowden then contacted documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras in January 2013.[98] According to Poitras, Snowden chose to contact her after seeing her New York Times documentary[99] about NSA whistleblower William Binney. The Guardian reported that what originally attracted Snowden to both Greenwald and Poitras was a Salon article written by Greenwald detailing how Poitras’ controversial films had made her a “target of the government.”[97][100]

Greenwald began working with Snowden in either February[101] or April 2013, after Poitras asked Greenwald to meet her in New York City, at which point Snowden began providing documents to them.[95]Barton Gellman, writing for The Washington Post, says his first “direct contact” was on May 16, 2013.[102] According to Gellman, Snowden approached Greenwald after the Post declined to guarantee publication within 72 hours of all 41 PowerPoint slides that Snowden had leaked exposing the PRISM electronic data mining program, and to publish online an encrypted code allowing Snowden to later prove that he was the source.[102]

Snowden communicated using encrypted email,[98] and going by the codename “Verax”. He asked not to be quoted at length for fear of identification by stylometry.[102]

According to Gellman, prior to their first meeting in person, Snowden wrote, “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.”[102] Snowden also told Gellman that until the articles were published, the journalists working with him would also be at mortal risk from the United States Intelligence Community “if they think you are the single point of failure that could stop this disclosure and make them the sole owner of this information.”[102]

In May 2013, Snowden was permitted temporary leave from his position at the NSA in Hawaii, on the pretext of receiving treatment for his epilepsy.[21] In mid-May, Snowden gave an electronic interview to Poitras and Jacob Appelbaum which was published weeks later by Der Spiegel.[103]

After disclosing the copied documents, Snowden promised that nothing would stop subsequent disclosures. In June 2013, he said, “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. Truth is coming, and it cannot be stopped.”[104]

On May 20, 2013, Snowden flew to Hong Kong,[88] where he was staying when the initial articles based on the leaked documents were published,[105] beginning with The Guardian on June 5.[106] Greenwald later said Snowden disclosed 9,000 to 10,000 documents. [107]

Within months, documents had been obtained and published by media outlets worldwide, most notably The Guardian (Britain), Der Spiegel (Germany), The Washington Post and The New York Times (U.S.), O Globo (Brazil), Le Monde (France), and similar outlets in Sweden, Canada, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and Australia.[108] In 2014, NBC broke its first story based on the leaked documents.[109] In February 2014, for reporting based on Snowden’s leaks, journalists Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Barton Gellman and The Guardians Ewen MacAskill were honored as co-recipients of the 2013 George Polk Award, which they dedicated to Snowden.[110] The NSA reporting by these journalists also earned The Guardian and The Washington Post the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service[111] for exposing the “widespread surveillance” and for helping to spark a “huge public debate about the extent of the government’s spying”. The Guardian’s chief editor, Alan Rusbridger, credited Snowden, saying “The public service in this award is significant because Snowden performed a public service.”[112]

The ongoing publication of leaked documents has revealed previously unknown details of a global surveillance apparatus run by the United States’ NSA[115] in close cooperation with three of its Five Eyes partners: Australia (ASD),[116] the United Kingdom (GCHQ),[117] and Canada (CSEC).[118]

The Guardian’s editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger said in November 2013 that only one percent of the documents had been published.[119] Officials warned that “the worst is yet to come”.[120][121]

Media reports documenting the existence and functions of classified surveillance programs and their scope began on June 5, 2013, and continued throughout the entire year. The first program to be revealed was PRISM, with reports from both The Washington Post and The Guardian published an hour apart. PRISM allows for court-approved direct access to Americans’ Google and Yahoo accounts.[113][122][123] The Post’s Barton Gellman was the first journalist to report on Snowden’s documents. He said the U.S. government urged him not to specify by name which companies were involved, but Gellman decided that to name them “would make it real to Americans.”[124] Reports also revealed details of Tempora, a British black-ops surveillance program run by the NSA’s British partner, GCHQ.[122][125] The initial reports included details about NSA call database, Boundless Informant, and of a secret court order requiring Verizon to hand the NSA millions of Americans’ phone records daily,[126] the surveillance of French citizens’ phone and internet records, and those of “high-profile individuals from the world of business or politics.”[127][128][129]XKeyscore, an analytical tool that allows for collection of “almost anything done on the internet,” was described by The Guardian as a program that “shed light” on one of Snowden’s most controversial statements: “I, sitting at my desk [could] wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email.”[130]

It was revealed that the NSA was harvesting millions of email and instant messaging contact lists,[131] searching email content,[132] tracking and mapping the location of cell phones,[133] undermining attempts at encryption via Bullrun[134][135] and that the agency was using cookies to “piggyback” on the same tools used by internet advertisers “to pinpoint targets for government hacking and to bolster surveillance.”[136] The NSA was shown to be “secretly” tapping into Yahoo and Google data centers to collect information from “hundreds of millions” of account holders worldwide by tapping undersea cables using the MUSCULAR surveillance program.[113][114]

The NSA, the U.S. CIA and GCHQ spied on users of Second Life and World of Warcraft by creating make-believe characters as a way to “hide in plain sight.”[137] Leaked documents showed NSA agents spied on their “love interests,” a practice NSA employees termed LOVEINT.[138][139] The NSA was also shown to be tracking the online sexual activity of people they termed “radicalizers,” in order to discredit them.[140] The NSA was accused of going “beyond its core mission of national security” when articles were published showing the NSA’s intelligence-gathering operations had targeted Brazil’s largest oil company, Petrobras.[141] The NSA and the GCHQ were also shown to be surveilling charities including UNICEF and Mdecins du Monde, as well as allies such as the EU chief and the Israeli Prime Minister.[142]

By October 2013, Snowden’s disclosures had created tensions[143][144] between the U.S. and some of its close allies after they revealed that the U.S. had spied on Brazil, France, Mexico,[145] Britain,[146] China,[147] Germany,[148] and Spain,[149] as well as 35 world leaders,[150] most notably German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said “spying among friends” was “unacceptable”[151] and compared the NSA with the Stasi.[152] Leaked documents published by Der Spiegel in 2014 appeared to show that the NSA had targeted 122 “high ranking” leaders.[153]

The NSA’s top-secret “black budget,” obtained from Snowden by The Washington Post, exposed the “successes and failures” of the 16 spy agencies comprising the U.S. intelligence community,[154] and revealed that the NSA was paying U.S. private tech companies for “clandestine access” to their communications networks.[155] The agencies were allotted $52 billion for the 2013 fiscal year.[156]

An NSA mission statement titled “SIGINT Strategy 2012-2016″ affirmed that the NSA plans for continued expansion of surveillance activities. Their stated goal was to “dramatically increase mastery of the global network” and “acquire the capabilities to gather intelligence on anyone, anytime, anywhere.”[157] Leaked slides revealed in Greenwald’s book No Place to Hide, released in May 2014, showed that the NSA’s stated objective was to “Collect it All,” “Process it All,” “Exploit it All,” “Partner it All,” “Sniff it All” and “Know it All.”[158]

Snowden stated in a January 2014 interview with German television that the NSA does not limit its data collection to national security issues, accusing the agency of conducting industrial espionage. Using the example of German company Siemens, he stated, “If there’s information at Siemens that’s beneficial to US national interestseven if it doesn’t have anything to do with national securitythen they’ll take that information nevertheless.”[159] In August 2014, German national newspaper Die Welt reported that, in the wake of Snowden’s revelations and in response to an inquiry from the Left Party, Germany’s domestic security agency Bundesamt fr Verfassungsschutz (BfV) investigated and found no “concrete evidence” (Konkrete Belege) that the U.S. conducted economic or industrial espionage in Germany.[160]

In February 2014, during testimony to the European Union, Snowden said of the remaining “undisclosed programs”: “I will leave the public interest determinations as to which of these may be safely disclosed to responsible journalists in coordination with government stakeholders.”[161]

In March 2014, documents disclosed by Glenn Greenwald writing for The Intercept showed the NSA, in cooperation with the GCHQ, has plans to infect millions of computers with malware using a program called “Turbine.”[162] Revelations included information about “QUANTUMHAND,” a program through which the NSA set up a fake Facebook server to intercept connections.[162]

According to a report in The Washington Post in July 2014, relying on information furnished by Snowden, 90% of those placed under surveillance in the U.S. are ordinary Americans, and are not the intended targets. The newspaper said it had examined documents including emails, message texts, and online accounts, that support the claim.[163]

In an August 2014 interview, Snowden for the first time disclosed a cyberwarfare program in the works, codenamed MonsterMind. The program would “automate the process of hunting for the beginnings of a foreign cyberattack”. The software would constantly look for traffic patterns indicating known or suspected attacks. What sets MonsterMind apart was that it would add a “unique new capability: instead of simply detecting and killing the malware at the point of entry, MonsterMind would automatically fire back, with no human involvement”. Snowden expressed concern that often initial attacks are routed through computers in innocent third countries. “These attacks can be spoofed. You could have someone sitting in China, for example, making it appear that one of these attacks is originating in Russia. And then we end up shooting back at a Russian hospital. What happens next?”[16]

Snowden’s identity was made public by The Guardian at his request on June 9, 2013.[101] He explained: “I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong.”[21] He added that by revealing his identity he hoped to protect his colleagues from being subjected to a hunt to determine who had been responsible for the leaks.[164] According to Poitras, who filmed the interview with Snowden in Hong Kong, he had initially not wanted to be seen on camera, because “he didn’t want the story to be about him.”[165] Poitras says she convinced him it was necessary to have him give an account of the leaked documents’ significance on film: “I knew that the mainstream media interpretation would be predictable and narrow, but because to have somebody who understands how this technology works, who is willing to risk their life to expose it to the public, and that we could hear that articulated, would reach people in ways that the documents themselves wouldn’t.”[165] Snowden explained his actions saying: “I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things [surveillance on its citizens] I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them.”[166] In a later interview Snowden declared:

For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished. I already won. As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated. Because, remember, I didn’t want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself. All I wanted was for the public to be able to have a say in how they are governed.[30]

Snowden said that in the past, whistleblowers had been “destroyed by the experience,” and that he wanted to “embolden others to step forward” by demonstrating that “they can win.”[167] In October, Snowden spoke out again on his motivations for the leaks in an interview with The New York Times, saying that the system for reporting problems does not work. “You have to report wrongdoing to those most responsible for it,” Snowden explained, and pointed out the lack of whistleblower protection for government contractors, the use of the 1917 Espionage Act to prosecute leakers, and his belief that had he used internal mechanisms to “sound the alarm,” his revelations “would have been buried forever.”[94][168]

In December 2013, upon learning that a U.S. federal judge had ruled the collection of U.S. phone metadata conducted by the NSA as likely unconstitutional, Snowden stated: “I acted on my belief that the NSA’s mass surveillance programs would not withstand a constitutional challenge, and that the American public deserved a chance to see these issues determined by open courts today, a secret program authorized by a secret court was, when exposed to the light of day, found to violate Americans’ rights. It is the first of many.”[169]

In January 2014, Snowden said his “breaking point” was “seeing the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, directly lie under oath to Congress.”[58] This referred to testimony on March 12, 2013three months after Snowden first sought to share thousands of NSA documents with Greenwald,[95] and nine months after the NSA says Snowden made his first illegal downloads during the summer of 2012[4]in which Clapper denied to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that the NSA wittingly collects data on millions of Americans.[170] Snowden said, “Theres no saving an intelligence community that believes it can lie to the public and the legislators who need to be able to trust it and regulate its actions. Seeing that really meant for me there was no going back. Beyond that, it was the creeping realization that no one else was going to do this. The public had a right to know about these programs.”[171] In May 2014, Vanity Fair reported that Snowden said he first contemplated leaking confidential documents around 2008, but that “Snowden held back, in part because he believed Barack Obama, elected that November, might introduce reforms.”[4] Snowden stated that he had reported policy or legal issues related to spying programs to more than 10 officials, but as a contractor had no legal avenue to pursue further whistleblowing.[172]

In May 2013 Snowden took a leave of absence, telling his supervisors he was returning to the mainland for epilepsy treatment, but instead left Hawaii for Hong Kong[173] where he arrived on May 20. Snowden told Guardian reporters in June that he had been in his room at the Mira Hotel since his arrival in the city, rarely going out.[59] On June 10, correspondent Ewen MacAskill said “He’s stuck in his hotel every day; he never goes out. I think he’s only been out about three times since May 20th and that was only briefly.”[174] Mira staff told Wall Street Journal reporters, however, that Snowden did not check in to the hotel until June 1.[59][175]

Snowden vowed to challenge any extradition attempt by the U.S. government, and engaged a Canadian, Hong Kong-based human rights lawyer Robert Tibbo, as his legal adviser.[176][177][178] Snowden told the South China Morning Post that he planned to remain in Hong Kong until “asked to leave,”[179] adding that his intention was to let the “courts and people of Hong Kong” decide his fate.[180] While in Hong Kong Snowden told the Post that “the United States government has committed a tremendous number of crimes against Hong Kong. The PRC as well,”[181] going on to identify Chinese Internet Protocol addresses that the NSA monitored and stating that the NSA collected text-message data for Hong Kong residents. Glenn Greenwald explained the leak as reflecting “a need to ingratiate himself to the people of Hong Kong and China.”[182]

In late August, the Russian newspaper Kommersant reported that Snowden was living at the Russian consulate shortly before his departure from Hong Kong to Moscow.[183] Ben Wizner, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and legal adviser to Snowden, said in January 2014, “Every news organization in the world has been trying to confirm that story. They haven’t been able to, because it’s false.”[184] Likewise rejecting the Kommersant story was Anatoly Kucherena, who became Snowden’s lawyer in July 2013, when Snowden asked him for help with seeking temporary asylum in Russia.[185] Kucherena stated that Snowden “did not enter into any communication with our diplomats when he was in Hong Kong.”[186][187] In early September 2013, however, Russian president Vladimir Putin said that, a few days before boarding a plane to Moscow, “Mr. Snowden first appeared in Hong Kong and met with our diplomatic representatives.”[188] In June 2014, investigative journalist Edward Jay Epstein wrote that a U.S. official had told him that on three occasions in June 2013, Snowden had been observed on CCTV cameras entering the Hong Kong tower where the Russian consulate is located.[59]

On June 22 (18 days after publication of Snowden’s NSA documents began), U.S. officials revoked his passport.[189] On June 23, Snowden boarded the commercial Aeroflot flight SU213 to Moscow, accompanied by Sarah Harrison of WikiLeaks.[190][191] Hong Kong authorities said that Snowden had not been detained as requested by the United States, because the United States’ extradition request had not fully complied with Hong Kong law,[192][193] and there was no legal basis to prevent Snowden from leaving.[194][195][Notes 1] On June 24, U.S. State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said “we’re just not buying that this was a technical decision by a Hong Kong immigration official. This was a deliberate choice by the government to release a fugitive despite a valid arrest warrant though the Privacy Act prohibits me from talking about Mr. Snowden’s passport specifically, I can say that the Hong Kong authorities were well aware of our interest in Mr. Snowden and had plenty of time to prohibit his travel.”[198] That same day, Julian Assange said that WikiLeaks had paid for Snowden’s lodging in Hong Kong and his flight out.[199]

In October 2013, Snowden said that before flying to Moscow, he gave all the classified documents he had obtained to journalists he met in Hong Kong, and did not keep any copies for himself.[94] In January 2014, he told a German TV interviewer that he gave all of his information “to American journalists who are reporting on American issues.”[58] During his first American TV interview, in May 2014, Snowden said he had protected himself from Russian leverage “by destroying the material that I was holding before I transited through Russia.”[11]

On June 23, 2013, Snowden landed at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo international airport.[200] WikiLeaks stated that he was “bound for the Republic of Ecuador via a safe route for the purposes of asylum.”[201] Snowden had a seat reserved to continue to Cuba[202] but did not board that onward flight, saying in a January 2014 interview that he was “stopped en route” despite an intention to be “only transiting through Russia.” He stated, “I was ticketed for onward travel via Havanaa planeload of reporters documented the seat I was supposed to be inbut the State Department decided they wanted me in Moscow, and cancelled my passport.”[184] He said the U.S. wanted him there so “they could say, ‘He’s a Russian spy.'”[203] Greenwald’s account differs on the point of Snowden being already ticketed. According to Greenwald, Snowden’s passport was valid when he departed Hong Kong but was revoked during the hours he was in transit to Moscow, meaning “he could no longer get a ticket and leave Russia.” Snowden was thus, Greenwald says, forced to stay in Moscow and seek asylum.[204]

According to one Russian report, Snowden planned to fly from Moscow through Havana to Latin America; however, Cuba informed Moscow it would not allow the Aeroflot plane carrying Snowden to land.[205] Anonymous Russian sources claimed that Cuba had a change of heart after receiving pressure from U.S. officials,[206] leaving him stuck in the transit zone because at the last minute Havana told officials in Moscow not to allow him on the flight.[207]Fidel Castro called claims that Cuba would have blocked Snowden’s entry to his country a “lie” and a “libel.”[202]The Washington Post said “[t]hat version stands in contrast to widespread speculation that the Russians never intended to let the former CIA employee travel onward.”[208] Russian president Putin said that Snowden’s arrival in Moscow was “a surprise” and “like an unwanted Christmas gift.”[209] Putin said that Snowden remained in the transit area of Sheremetyevo, noted that he had not committed any crime in Russia, and declared that Snowden was free to leave and should do so.[210] He denied that Russia’s intelligence agencies had worked or were working with Snowden.[209]

Following Snowden’s arrival in Moscow, the White House expressed disappointment in Hong Kong’s decision to allow him to leave,[211] with press secretary Jay Carney stating, “We very clearly believe that Mr. Snowden ought to be returned to the United States to face the charges that have been set against him,”[212] and the director of the State Department’s press office concurred: “We are deeply disappointed by the decision of the authorities in Hong Kong to permit Mr. Snowden to flee despite a legally valid U.S. request to arrest him for purposes of his extradition under the U.S.-Hong Kong Surrender Agreement. We hope that the Russian Government will look at all available options to return Mr. Snowden back to the U.S. to face justice for the crimes with which he’s charged.”[198] An anonymous U.S. official not authorized to discuss the passport matter told AP Snowden’s passport had been revoked before he left Hong Kong, and that although it could make onward travel more difficult, “if a senior official in a country or airline ordered it, a country could overlook the withdrawn passport.”[213] In a July 1 statement, Snowden said, “Although I am convicted of nothing, [the US government] has unilaterally revoked my passport, leaving me a stateless person. Without any judicial order, the administration now seeks to stop me exercising a basic right. A right that belongs to everybody. The right to seek asylum.”[214]

After Snowden received asylum in Russia, international criminal defense lawyer Douglas McNabb commented that “absent of Mr. Snowden attempting to travel to Latin America, as long as he stays in Russia, hes apparently safe.”[215]Julian Assange agreed with this assessment, saying in a December 2013 Rolling Stone interview, “While Venezuela and Ecuador could protect him in the short term, over the long term there could be a change in government. In Russia, he’s safe, he’s well-regarded, and that is not likely to change. That was my advice to Snowden, that he would be physically safest in Russia.”[173] According to Snowden, “the CIA has a very powerful presence [in Latin America] and the governments and the security services there are relatively much less capable than, say, Russia…. they could have basically snatched me….”[216]

Four countries offered Snowden permanent asylum: Ecuador, Nicaragua, Bolivia, and Venezuela.[215]ABC News reported that no direct flights between Moscow and Venezuela, Bolivia or Nicaragua exist, and that “the United States has pressured countries along his route to hand him over.” Snowden explained in July 2013 that he decided to bid for asylum in Russia because he did not feel there was any safe travel route to Latin America.[217] Snowden said he remained in Russia because “when we were talking about possibilities for asylum in Latin America, the United States forced down the Bolivian Presidents plane”, citing the Morales plane incident. On the issue, he said “some governments in Western European and North American states have demonstrated a willingness to act outside the law, and this behavior persists today. This unlawful threat makes it impossible for me to travel to Latin America and enjoy the asylum granted there in accordance with our shared rights.”[218] He said that he would travel from Russia if there was no interference from the U.S. government.[184]

In an October 2014 interview with The Nation magazine, Snowden reiterated that he had originally intended to travel to Latin America: “A lot of people are still unaware that I never intended to end up in Russia.” According to Snowden, the U.S. government “waited until I departed Hong Kong to cancel my passport in order to trap me in Russia.” Snowden added, “If they really wanted to capture me, they would’ve allowed me to travel to Latin America, because the CIA can operate with impunity down there. They did not want that; they chose to keep me in Russia.”[219]

On July 1, 2013, president Evo Morales of Bolivia, who had been attending a conference of gas-exporting countries in Russia, suggested during an interview with Russia Today that he would be “willing to consider a request” by Snowden for asylum.[220] The following day, Morales’ plane en route to Bolivia was rerouted to Austria and reportedly searched there after France, Spain and Italy denied access to their airspace.[221] U.S. officials had raised suspicions that Snowden may have been on board.[222] Morales blamed the U.S. for putting pressure on European countries, and said that the grounding of his plane was a violation of international law.[223]

In April 2015, Bolivia’s ambassador to Russia, Mara Luisa Ramos Urzagaste, accused WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange of putting Morales’s life at risk by intentionally providing to the United States false rumors that Snowden was on the Morales’s plane. Assange responded that the plan “was not completely honest, but we did consider that the final result would have justified our actions. We can only regret what happened.”[224]

Snowden applied for political asylum to 21 countries.[225] A statement attributed to him contended that the U.S. administration, and specifically Vice President Joe Biden, had pressured the governments to refuse his asylum petitions. Biden had telephoned President Rafael Correa days prior to Snowden’s remarks, asking the Ecuadorian leader not to grant Snowden asylum.[226] Ecuador had initially offered Snowden a temporary travel document but later withdrew it;[227] on July 1, President Rafael Correa said the decision to issue the offer had been “a mistake.”[228]

In a July 1 statement published by WikiLeaks, Snowden accused the U.S. government of “using citizenship as a weapon” and using what he described as “old, bad tools of political aggression.” Citing Obama’s promise to not allow “wheeling and dealing” over the case, Snowden commented, “This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile.”[229] Several days later, WikiLeaks announced that Snowden had applied for asylum in six additional countries, which WikiLeaks declined to name “due to attempted U.S. interference.”[230]

The French interior ministry rejected Snowden’s request for asylum, saying, “Given the legal analysis and the situation of the interested party, France will not agree.”[231] Poland refused to process his application because it did not conform to legal procedure.[232]Brazil’s Foreign Ministry said the government “does not plan to respond” to Snowden’s asylum request. Germany, Finland and India rejected Snowden’s application outright, while Austria, Ecuador, Norway and Spain said he must be on their territory to apply.[233] Italy cited the same reason in rejecting his request,[234] as did the Netherlands.[235] In November 2014, Germany announced that Snowden had not renewed his previously denied request and was not being considered for asylum.[236]

Putin said on July 1, 2013, that if Snowden wanted to be granted asylum in Russia, he would be required to “stop his work aimed at harming our American partners.”[237] A spokesman for Putin subsequently said that Snowden had withdrawn his asylum application upon learning of the conditions.[238]

In a July 12 meeting at Sheremetyevo Airport with representatives of human rights organizations and lawyers, organized in part by the Russian government,[239] Snowden said he was accepting all offers of asylum that he had already received or would receive in the future, noting that his Venezuela’s “asylee status was now formal.”[240] He also said he would request asylum in Russia until he resolved his travel problems.[241] Russian Federal Migration Service officials confirmed on July 16 that Snowden had submitted an application for temporary asylum.[242] On July 24, Kucherena said his client “wants to find work in Russia, travel and somehow create a life for himself.” He said Snowden had already begun learning Russian.[243]

Amid media reports in early July 2013 attributed to U.S. administration sources that Obama’s one-on-one meeting with Putin, ahead of a G20 meeting in St Petersburg scheduled for September, was in doubt due to Snowden’s protracted sojourn in Russia,[244] top U.S. officials repeatedly made it clear to Moscow that Snowden should immediately be returned to the United States to, in the words of White House press secretary Jay Carney, “face the charges that have been brought against him for the unauthorized leaking of classified information.”[245][246][247] Snowden needed asylum, according to his Russian lawyer, because “he faces persecution by the U.S. government and he fears for his life and safety, fears that he could be subjected to torture and capital punishment.”[248]

In a letter to Russian Minister of Justice Alexander Konovalov dated July 23,[249]U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder sought to eliminate the “asserted grounds for Mr. Snowden’s claim that he should be treated as a refugee or granted asylum, temporary or otherwise.” Holder asserted that the theft and espionage charges against Snowden do not carry the possibility of a death penalty and that the United States would not seek the death penalty “even if Mr. Snowden were charged with additional death penalty-eligible crimes.” Holder said Snowden is free to travel from Moscow despite the June 22 revocation of his U.S. passport. He is, Holder explained, immediately eligible for a “limited validity passport” good for direct return to the United States. Holder also assured Konovalov that Snowden would not be tortured. “Torture is unlawful in the United States,” Holder wrote. “If he returns to the United States, Mr. Snowden would promptly be brought before a civilian court convened under Article III of the United States Constitution and supervised by a United States District Judge. Mr. Snowden would be appointed (or if so chose, could retain) counsel.”[250] The same day, the Russian president’s spokesman reiterated the Kremlin’s position that it would “not hand anyone over”; he also noted that Putin was not personally involved in the matter as Snowden “has not made any request that would require examination by the head of state” and that the issue was being handled through talks between the FSB and the FBI.[251]

In March 2015, journalist Glenn Greenwald reported at The Intercept that Sigmar Gabriel, Vice-Chancellor of Germany, told him the U.S. government had threatened to stop sharing intelligence if Germany offered Snowden asylum or arranged for his travel there.[252]

On June 14, 2013, United States federal prosecutors filed a criminal complaint against Snowden, charging him with theft of government property, and two counts of violating the Espionage Act through unauthorized communication of national defense information and “willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person.”[5][249] Each of the three charges carries a maximum possible prison term of ten years. The charge was initially secret and was unsealed a week later.

Snowden was asked in a January 2014 interview about returning to the U.S. to face the charges in court, as Obama had suggested a few days prior. Snowden explained why he rejected the request: “What he doesn’t say are that the crimes that he’s charged me with are crimes that don’t allow me to make my case. They don’t allow me to defend myself in an open court to the public and convince a jury that what I did was to their benefit. So it’s, I would say, illustrative that the President would choose to say someone should face the music when he knows the music is a show trial.”[58][253] Snowden’s legal representative, Jesselyn Radack, wrote that “the Espionage Act effectively hinders a person from defending himself before a jury in an open court, as past examples show,” referring to Thomas Drake, John Kiriakou and Chelsea Manning. Radack said that the “arcane World War I law” was never meant to prosecute whistleblowers, but rather spies who sold secrets to enemies for profit. Under this law, she states, “no prosecution of a non-spy can be fair or just.”[254]

Snowden left the Moscow airport on August 1 after 39 days in the transit section. He had been granted temporary asylum in Russia for one year;[255] the asylum grant can be extended indefinitely on an annual basis.[256] According to his Russian lawyer, Snowden went to an undisclosed location kept secret for security reasons.[257] In response to the asylum grant, the White House stated that it was “extremely disappointed,” and cancelled a previously scheduled meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.[258][259] Additionally, Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham urged President Obama to boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, but House Speaker John Boehner, also a Republican, rejected that idea as “dead wrong.”[260]

In late July 2013, Lon Snowden said he believed his son would be better off staying in Russia, and didn’t believe he would receive a fair trial in the U.S.[261] In mid-October, he visited his son in Moscow, later telling the press that he was pleased with Edward’s situation, and still believed Russia was the best choice for his asylum, saying he wouldn’t have to worry about people “rushing across the border to render him.” Snowden commented that his son found living in Russia “comfortable,” and Moscow “modern and sophisticated.”[262] Snowden’s Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, announced on October 31 that his client had found a website maintenance job at one of Russia’s largest websites, but refused to identify the site for “security reasons.” Jesselyn Radack, one of Snowden’s American lawyers, said she was “not aware” of any new job.[263] Asked about this by The Moscow Times in June 2014, The Guardian correspondent Luke Harding replied, “Kucherena is completely unreliable as a source. We [The Guardian] did the rounds of Russian IT companies when he made that claim last year and none of themnone of the big ones, at leastconfirmed this.”[264]

Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, who had traveled to Russia to give Snowden a whistleblower award, said that Snowden did not give any storage devices such as hard drives or USB flash drives to Russia or China, and that the four laptops he carried with him “were a ‘diversion’ and contained no secrets.” U.S. officials said they assumed that any classified materials downloaded by Snowden had fallen into the hands of China and Russia, though they acknowledged they had no proof of this.[265] In an October 2013 interview, Snowden maintained that he did not bring any classified material into Russia “because it wouldn’t serve the public interest.” He added, “There’s a zero percent chance the Russians or Chinese have received any documents.”[94] In June 2015, however, The Sunday Times reported that British government officials anonymously claimed to the paper that Russia and China had cracked an encrypted cache of files taken by Snowden, forcing the withdrawal of British spies from live operations.[266] The BBC also stated that their sources told them British intelligence assets had been moved as a precaution after the Snowden leaks.[267] Several prominent media outlets and persons have disputed the validity of The Sunday Times’s story. The Intercept’s Greenwald said the report had “retraction-worthy fabrications,” and “does […] nothing other than quote anonymous British officials,” and notes that parts of the Times’s report was removed from the original post without the Times saying it did so;[268]The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple stated that CNN reporter George Howell may have unknowingly damage the report’s credibility in an on-air interview with the story’s lead author Tom Harper “by asking obvious questions about the story.”[269]

WikiLeaks released video of Snowden on October 11 taken during the Sam Adams Award reception in Moscow, his first public appearance in three months. Former U.S. government officials attending the ceremony said they saw no evidence Snowden was under the control of Russian security services. The whistleblower group said he was in good spirits, looked well, and still believes he was right to release the NSA documents.[270] In the video, Snowden said “people all over the world are coming to realize” that the NSA’s surveillance programs put people in danger, hurt the U.S. and its economy, and “limit our ability to speak and think and live and be creative, to have relationships and associate freely” as well as putting people “at risk of coming into conflict with our own government.”[271]

On October 31, German lawmaker Hans-Christian Strbele traveled to Moscow to meet with Snowden, whom he invited to testify before the German parliament to assist investigations into NSA surveillance of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone since 2002.[272][273][274] After the visit, Snowden indicated a willingness to testify, though not from Moscow as Germany requested. Snowden said he would rather give testimony before the U.S. Congress, his second choice being Berlin.[275]

Also in October, journalist Glenn Greenwald commented on Snowden’s Russian asylum: “[Snowden] didn’t choose to be there. He was trying to get transit to Latin America, and then the U.S. revoked his passport and threatened other countries out of offering Snowden safe passage.”[276] WikiLeaks representative Sarah Harrison, who accompanied Snowden from Hong Kong to Moscow, left Russia in early November after waiting until she felt confident he had “established himself and was free from the interference of any government.”[277]

On December 17, 2013, Snowden wrote an open letter to the people of Brazil offering to assist the Brazilian government in investigating allegations of U.S. spying, and added that he continued to seek, and would require, asylum.[278] Snowden wrote, “Until a country grants permanent political asylum, the U.S. government will continue to interfere with my ability to speak going so far as to force down the Presidential Plane of Evo Morales to prevent me from traveling to Latin America!”[279] Brazil had been in an uproar since Snowden revealed that the U.S. was spying on Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, her senior advisors, and Brazil’s national oil company, Petrobras.[280] Rousseff and officials of the Brazilian foreign ministry said in response that they could not consider asylum for Snowden because they had not received any formal request.[281] A representative of the foreign ministry said that a fax requesting asylum had been sent to the Brazilian embassy in Moscow in July but it had not been signed and could not be authenticated.[282] David Miranda, the Brazilian partner of Glenn Greenwald, launched an internet petition urging the Brazilian president to consider offering Snowden asylum.[283]

Snowden met with Barton Gellman of The Washington Post six months after the disclosure for an exclusive interview spanning 14 hours, his first since being granted temporary asylum. Snowden talked about his life in Russia as “an indoor cat,” reflected on his time as an NSA contractor, and discussed at length the revelations of global surveillance and their reverberations. Snowden said, “In terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished I already won. As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated.”[30] He commented “I am not trying to bring down the NSA, I am working to improve the NSA I am still working for the NSA right now. They are the only ones who don’t realize it.” On the accusation from former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden that he had defected, Snowden stated, “If I defected at all, I defected from the government to the public.”[30] In 2014, Snowden said that he lives “a surprisingly open life” in Russia and that he is recognized when he goes to computer stores.[203]

According to BuzzFeed, in January 2014 an anonymous Pentagon official said that he wanted to kill Snowden, claiming that By [Snowden] showing who our collections partners were, the terrorists have dropped those carriers and email addresses.”[284] Other intelligence analysts expressed their anger to BuzzFeed as well, with an Army intelligence officer complaining that Snowden’s leaks had increased his “blindness” and expressing his hope that Snowden would be killed in a covert way. When asked about the BuzzFeed story, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said death threats were “totally inappropriate” and had no place in our discussion of these issues.”[285]

On Meet the Press in late January 2014, speculation arose from top U.S. officials in the House and Senate Intelligence Committees that Snowden might have been assisted by Russian intelligence,[286] prompting a rare interview during which Snowden spoke in his defense. He told The New Yorker “this ‘Russian spy’ push is absurd,” adding that he “clearly and unambiguously acted alone, with no assistance from anyone, much less a government.”[184]The New York Times reported that investigations by the NSA and the FBI “have turned up no evidence that Mr. Snowden was aided by others.”[287] Days later, Feinstein stated that she had seen no evidence that Snowden is a Russian spy.[288] Germany’s Der Spiegel suggested the accusations were part of a “smear campaign” by U.S. officials. For Snowden, the smears did not “mystify” him; he said that “outlets report statements that the speakers themselves admit are sheer speculation.”[289]

In late January 2014, US attorney general, Eric Holder in an interview with MSNBC indicated that the U.S. could allow Snowden to return from Russia under negotiated terms, saying he was prepared to engage in conversation with him, but that full clemency would be going too far.[290]

Snowden’s first television interview[291] aired January 26, 2014 on Germany’s NDR. In April 2014, he appeared on video from an undisclosed location during President Putin’s live annual Q&A exchange with the public. Snowden asked, “Does Russia intercept, store, or analyzein any waythe communications of individuals?” Putin replied, “Russia uses surveillance techniques for spying on individuals only with the sanction of a court order. This is our law, and therefore there is no mass surveillance in our country.”[292] Reactions were split. Critics said it looked like a “highly-scripted propaganda stunt for Vladimir Putin”[293] and that Snowden is “bought and paid for entirely by the Russians.”[293][294] Snowden insisted his question was designed to hold the Russian president accountable.[295] In an op-ed for The Guardian, Snowden said his question was intended “to mirror the now infamous exchange in US Senate intelligence committee hearings between senator Ron Wyden and the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, about whether the NSA collected records on millions of Americans, and to invite either an important concession or a clear evasion.” Snowden called Putin’s response “evasive”.[296] A few days later, The Daily Beast reported that Snowden himself “instantly regretted” asking Putin the “softball question”, which was crafted with several of his key advisers, and that he was mortified by the reaction. Ben Wizner, one of Snowden’s legal advisers, told the Beast that Snowden hadn’t realized how much his appearance with Putin would be seen as a Kremlin propaganda victory. “I know this is hard to believe,” Wizner acknowledged. “I know if I was just watching from afar, I’d think, ‘Wow, they forced him to do this.’ But it’s not true. He just fucking did it.”[297] Asked six months later about the incident, Snowden conceded, “Yeah, that was terrible! Oh, Jesus, that blew up in my face. And in the United States, what I did appearing at that Putin press conference was not worth the price.”[219]

In March 2014, the international advocacy group European Digital Rights (EDRi) reported that the European Parliament, in adopting a Data Protection Reform Package, rejected amendments that would have dropped charges against Snowden and granted him asylum or refugee status.[298]

In May 2014, NBC’s Brian Williams presented the first interview for American television.[299] In June, The Washington Post reported that during his first year of Russian asylum, Snowden had received “tens of thousands of dollars in cash awards and appearance fees from privacy organizations and other groups,” fielded inquiries about book and movie projects, and was considering taking a position with a South African foundation that would support work on security and privacy issues. “Any moment that he decides that he wants to be a wealthy person,” said Snowden’s attorney Ben Wizner, “that route is available to him,” although the U.S. government could attempt to seize such proceeds.[300]

Also in May, the German Parliamentary Committee investigating the NSA spying scandal unanimously decided to invite Snowden to testify as a witness.[301] In September, opposition parties in the German parliament filed constitutional complaints to force the government to let Snowden testify in Berlin. Snowden had refused a proposed video conference from Moscow, saying he wants to testify only in Berlin and asking for safe conduct.[302][303][304]

On July 13, 2014, The Guardian published its first story based on an exclusive, seven-hour interview newly conducted with Snowden in a Moscow city centre hotel. Snowden condemned the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill announced to the UK’s House of Commons on July 10[305] bolstering the state’s right to keep personal data held by Internet and phone companies. Snowden said it was very unusual for a public body to pass such emergency legislation except during total war. “I mean we don’t have bombs falling. We don’t have U-boats in the harbor. It defies belief.”[306] The Daily Mail reported that Snowden had “caused fury” by attacking Britain. “His critics said the new surveillance Bill was being pushed through Parliament today largely because of his treachery in leaking Britain’s spy secrets.”[307] On July 13 and 17, The Guardian posted video clips, of about 2 minutes[306] and 14 minutes[308] in length, excerpted from the full interview. On July 18, The Guardian published a nearly 10,000-word “edited transcript” of their Snowden interview.[78] A year after arriving in Moscow, Snowden said he is still learning Russian. He keeps late and solitary hours, effectively living on U.S. time. He does not drink, cooks for himself but doesn’t eat much. “I don’t live in absolute secrecy,” he says. “I live a pretty open lifebut at the same time I don’t want to be a celebrity.” He does not work for a Russian organization, yet is financially secure thanks to substantial savings from his years as a well-paid contractor and more recently numerous awards and speaking fees from around the world.[24]

On August 7, 2014, six days after Snowden’s one-year temporary asylum expired, his Russian lawyer announced that Snowden had received a three-year residency permit. “He will be able to travel freely within the country and go abroad,” said Anatoly Kucherena. “He’ll be able to stay abroad for not longer than three months.” Kucherena explained that Snowden had not been granted political asylum, which would allow him to stay in Russia permanently but requires a separate process.[309] “In the future,” he added, “Edward will have to decide whether to continue to live in Russia and become a citizen or to return to the United States.”[310] In May 2015, The New York Times reported, “Snowden’s main source of income is speaking fees, which have sometimes exceeded $10,000 for an appearance.”[311]

A subject of controversy, Snowden has been variously called a hero,[312][313][314] a whistleblower,[315][316][317][318] a dissident,[319] a patriot,[320][321][322] and a traitor.[323][324][325][326] His release of NSA material was called the most significant leak in U.S. history by Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg,[327][328] who said, “Snowden’s disclosures are a true constitutional moment” enabling the press to hold the Executive branch of the U.S. federal government accountable, while the legislative and judiciary branch refused to do so.[329] On January 14, 2014, Ellsberg posted to his Twitter page: “Edward Snowden has done more for our Constitution in terms of the Fourth and First Amendment than anyone else I know.”[330]

On June 9, 2013, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper condemned Snowden’s actions as having done “huge, grave damage” to U.S. intelligence capabilities.[331] On June 27, 2013, The Monterey Herald reported that the United States Army had barred its personnel from access to parts of the website of The Guardian after that site’s revelations of Snowden’s information about global surveillance.[332] The entire Guardian website was blocked for personnel stationed throughout Afghanistan, the Middle East, and South Asia.[333]

Journalist Naomi Wolf in June 2013 questioned the authenticity of Snowden’s story. She elucidated her “creeping concern that the NSA leaker is not who he purports to be, and that the motivations involved in the story may be more complex than they appear to be”, and in what was called a “conspiracy theory”, presented a series of questions concerning the official narrative. “From the standpoint of the police state and its interests,” she asks, “why have a giant Big Brother apparatus spying on us at all times unless we know about it?”[334][335][336]

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NSA infiltrates links to Yahoo, Google data centers …

 NSA  Comments Off on NSA infiltrates links to Yahoo, Google data centers …
Aug 082015
 

The National Security Agency has secretly broken into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the world, according to documents obtained from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and interviews with knowledgeable officials.

By tapping those links, the agency has positioned itself to collect at will from hundreds of millions of user accounts, many of them belonging to Americans. The NSA does not keep everything it collects, but it keeps a lot.

According to a top-secret accounting dated Jan. 9, 2013, the NSAs acquisitions directorate sends millions of records every day from internal Yahoo and Google networks to data warehouses at the agencys headquarters at Fort Meade, Md. In the preceding 30 days, the report said, field collectors had processed and sent back 181,280,466 new records including metadata, which would indicate who sent or received e-mails and when, as well as content such as text, audio and video.

The NSAs principal tool to exploit the data links is a project called MUSCULAR, operated jointly with the agencys British counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters . From undisclosed interception points, the NSA and the GCHQ are copying entire data flows across fiber-optic cables that carry information among the data centers of the Silicon Valley giants.

The infiltration is especially striking because the NSA, under a separate program known as PRISM, has front-door access to Google and Yahoo user accounts through a court-approved process.

The MUSCULAR project appears to be an unusually aggressive use of NSA tradecraft against flagship American companies. The agency is built for high-tech spying, with a wide range of digital tools, but it has not been known to use them routinely against U.S. companies.

In a statement, the NSA said it is focused on discovering and developing intelligence about valid foreign intelligence targets only.

NSA applies Attorney General-approved processes to protect the privacy of U.S. persons minimizing the likelihood of their information in our targeting, collection, processing, exploitation, retention, and dissemination, it said.

In a statement, Googles chief legal officer, David Drummond, said the company has long been concerned about the possibility of this kind of snooping and has not provided the government with access to its systems.

We are outraged at the lengths to which the government seems to have gone to intercept data from our private fiber networks, and it underscores the need for urgent reform, he said.

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NSA infiltrates links to Yahoo, Google data centers …

Tax Havens offshore services trust services asset …

 Tax Havens  Comments Off on Tax Havens offshore services trust services asset …
Aug 082015
 

OFFSHORE INVESTORS

Are you interested in finding out more about the world’s leading financial centers? Do you want to learn about the tax laws governing foreign investment by US taxpayers? Tom Azzara, the author of “TAX Havens of the World” (300 pages) and The Tax Haven Reporter, is based in Nassau, Bahamas, and has been reading and writing about tax havens and tax laws for 20 years.Both publications have been in continuous production since 1985.

Over the last15 years, Tom has registered more than 1,300 International Business Companies (IBCs) in the Caribbean. Anguilla is an ideal tax-free haven for foreign and Americans alike. Offshore banks and offshore companies can trade in the US stock market free of capital gains taxes under the Statutory US tax Code. An IBC can receive US Bank CD interest or treasury bond interest 100% free from all taxes – US and other. Americans who live offshore more than 330 days of the year can exclude up to $80,000 in foreign earned income (i.e., salary) too.

Beginning in 2001, we began forming IBCs out of the Crown Colony/Overseas Territoryand no tax haven of Anguilla – 150 miles east of Puerto Rico. The Anguilla IBC Ordinance of 2,000 has some distinct advantages over the new Bahamas IBC ACT, 2,000. Call me at 514-667-7068, and we’lldiscuss withyou what they are!

We’ve formed more than 290 Anguillian IBCs since the beginning of 2001, as many clients prefer the less overregulated legislation in this British overseas territory.

Have you visited Anguilla? It’s beautiful, and no traffic jams – ever!

“tax offences cannot be investigated”

quote the government of Anguilla (1-1-2001)

Like Montserrats Confidentiality Ordinance of 1985, Anguillas Confidential Relationships Ordinance 1981 provides stringent penalties for the improper release of confidential information, whether by private individuals or public officials.

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Tax Havens offshore services trust services asset …

Human Genetic Engineering Pros And Cons

 Human Genetic Engineering  Comments Off on Human Genetic Engineering Pros And Cons
Jul 312015
 

Human Genetic Engineering Pros And Cons 3.78/5 (75.54%) 1970 votes

Many human genetic engineering pros and cons are there that have stayed the same since its introduction to humanity. When the humans started harnessing the atomic powers, then just few years later they also start recognizing the effects of human genetic engineering on mankind. Many scientists have a belief that gene therapy can be a mainstream for saving lives of many people. A lot of human genetic engineering pros and cons have been involved since the evolution of genetic engineering. Mentioned below are some important advantages or pros of genetic engineering:

Other human genetic engineering pros and cons include the desirable characteristics in different plants and animals at the same time convenient. One can also do the manipulation of genes in trees or big plants. This will enable the trees to absorb increased amount of carbon dioxide, and it will reduce the effects of global warming. However, there is a question from critics that whether man has the right to do such manipulations or alterations in the genes of natural things.

With human genetic engineering, there is always a chance for altering the wheat plants genetics, which will then enable it to grow insulin. Human genetic engineering pros and cons have been among the concern of a lot of people involved in genetic engineering. Likewise the pros, certain cons are there of using the genetic engineering. Mentioned below are the cons of human genetic engineering:

The evolution of genetic engineering gets the consideration of being the biggest breakthroughs in the history of mankind after the evolution of atomic energy, and few other scientific discoveries. However, human genetic engineering pros and cons together have contributed a lot in creating a controversial image of it among the people.

All these eventualities have forced the government of many countries to make strict legislation laws to put restrictions on different experiment being made on human genetic engineering. They have made this decision by considering different human genetic engineering pros and cons.

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Human Genetic Engineering Pros And Cons

Fifth Amendment | United States Constitution | Britannica.com

 Fifth Amendment  Comments Off on Fifth Amendment | United States Constitution | Britannica.com
Jun 222015
 

Fifth Amendment,amendment (1791) to the Constitution of the United States, part of the Bill of Rights, that articulates procedural safeguards designed to protect the rights of the criminally accused and to secure life, liberty, and property. For the text of the Fifth Amendment, see below.

Similar to the First Amendment, the Fifth Amendment is divided into five clauses, representing five distinct, yet related, rights. The first clause specifies that [n]o person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger. This grand jury provision requires a body to make a formal presentment or indictment of a person accused of committing a crime against the laws of the federal government. The proceeding is not a trial but rather an ex parte hearing (i.e., one in which only one party, the prosecution, presents evidence) to determine if the government has enough evidence to carry a case to trial. If the grand jury finds sufficient evidence that an offense was committed, it issues an indictment, which then permits a trial. The portion of the clause pertaining to exceptions in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia is a corollary to Article I, Section 8, which grants Congress the power [t]o make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces. Combined, they justify the use of military courts for the armed forces, thus denying military personnel the same procedural rights afforded civilians.

The second section is commonly referred to as the double jeopardy clause, and it protects citizens against a second prosecution after an acquittal or a conviction, as well as against multiple punishments for the same offense. Caveats to this provision include permissions to try persons for civil and criminal aspects of an offense, conspiring to commit as well as to commit an offense, and separate trials for acts that violate laws of both the federal and state governments, although federal laws generally suppress prosecution by the national government if a person is convicted of the same crime in a state proceeding.

The third section is commonly referred to as the self-incrimination clause, and it protects persons accused of committing a crime from being forced to testify against themselves. In the U.S. judicial system a person is presumed innocent, and it is the responsibility of the state (or national government) to prove guilt. Like other pieces of evidence, once presented, words can be used powerfully against a person; however, words can be manipulated in a way that many other objects cannot. Consequently, information gained from sobriety tests, police lineups, voice samples, and the like is constitutionally permissible while evidence gained from compelled testimony is not. As such, persons accused of committing crimes are protected against themselves or, more accurately, how their words may be used against them. The clause, therefore, protects a key aspect of the system as well as the rights of the criminally accused.

The fourth section is commonly referred to as the due process clause. It protects life, liberty, and property from impairment by the federal government. (The Fourteenth Amendment, ratified in 1868, protects the same rights from infringement by the states.) Chiefly concerned with fairness and justice, the due process clause seeks to preserve and protect fundamental rights and ensure that any deprivation of life, liberty, or property occurs in accordance with procedural safeguards. As such, there are both substantive and procedural considerations associated with the due process clause, and this has influenced the development of two separate tracks of due process jurisprudence: procedural and substantive. Procedural due process pertains to the rules, elements, or methods of enforcementthat is, its procedural aspects. Consider the elements of a fair trial and related Sixth Amendment protections. As long as all relevant rights of the accused are adequately protectedas long as the rules of the game, so to speak, are followedthen the government may, in fact, deprive a person of his life, liberty, or property. But what if the rules are not fair? What if the law itselfregardless of how it is enforcedseemingly deprives rights? This raises the controversial spectre of substantive due process rights. It is not inconceivable that the content of the law, regardless of how it is enforced, is itself repugnant to the Constitution because it violates fundamental rights. Over time, the Supreme Court has had an on-again, off-again relationship with liberty-based due process challenges, but it has generally abided by the principle that certain rights are implicit in the concept of ordered liberty (Palko v. Connecticut [1937]), and as such they are afforded constitutional protection. This, in turn, has led to the expansion of the meaning of the term liberty. What arguably began as freedom from restraint has transformed into a virtual cornucopia of rights reasonably related to enumerated rights, without which neither liberty nor justice would exist. For example, the right to an abortion, established in Roe v. Wade (1973), grew from privacy rights, which emerged from the penumbras of the constitution.

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Fifth Amendment | United States Constitution | Britannica.com

Government Explains Away Fourth Amendment Protection for …

 Fourth Amendment  Comments Off on Government Explains Away Fourth Amendment Protection for …
Jun 092015
 

People have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their private digital communications such as email, and therefore the Fourth Amendment protects those communications. It’s a simple extension of the Supreme Courts seminal 1967 ruling in Katz v. United States that the Fourth Amendment protected a telephone conversation held in a closed phone booth. But in a brief recently filed in a criminal terrorism case arising from surveillance of a United States citizen, the government needs only a few sentences to argue this basic protection doesnt apply, with potentially dramatic consequences for the rest of us.

United States v. Mohamud

Mohamed Mohamud is a Somalia-born naturalized U.S. citizen who was convicted in 2012 of plotting to detonate a car bomb at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Oregon. Shortly after he was arrested, he was given notice by the government that it had used evidence obtained under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) against him.

But it wasnt until after Mohamud was convicted and just a few weeks before he was to be sentenced that the government belatedly gave him notice for the first time that it had also used evidence derived under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act (FAA). The government continues to withhold the details of the FAA surveillance, forcing Mohamud (and other defendants receiving delayed FAA notice) to raise generalized challenges to the constitutionality of the FAA based only on what is publicly known about Section 702 surveillance. Mohamud did exactly that in April, raising several legal challenges to the FAA and arguing he should receive a new trial.

The Governments Talking to a Foreigner Exception to the Fourth Amendment

While theres a lot unknown about Section 702 surveillance, we do know it authorizes the targeting of foreigners even when this targeting results in the incidental collection of constitutionally protected Americans communications. As a result, the government can acquire the contents of Americans e-mails, VOIP calls, chat sessions, and more when they communicate with people outside the US.

In its recently filed response to Mohamuds motion to suppress and for new trial, the government concedes for the sake of argument that an American whose communications are incidentally collected as part of Section 702 surveillance has constitutional interests at stake. So far so good; these constitutional interests are in fact at the core of what the Supreme Court describes as the Fourth Amendments protection of the privacy and security of individuals against arbitrary invasions by governmental officials. But then the government dismisses this fundamental protection with one staggeringly broad passage:

The Supreme Court has long held that when one person voluntarily discloses information to another, the first person loses any cognizable interest under the Fourth Amendment in what the second person does with the information. . . . For Fourth Amendment purposes, the same principle applies whether the recipient intentionally makes the information public or stores it in a place subject to a government search. Thus, once a non-U.S. person located outside the United States receives information, the sender loses any cognizable Fourth Amendment rights with respect to that information. That is true even if the sender is a U.S. person protected by the Fourth Amendment, because he assumes the risk that the foreign recipient will give the information to others, leave the information freely accessible to others, or that the U.S. government (or a foreign government) will obtain the information.

It is true that individuals assume the risk that the people they communicate with will turn over a recording to the government. So, for example, in the cases the government cites in the passage above, United States v. White and Hoffa v. United States, the Supreme Court found there is no Fourth Amendment violation if you have a private conversation with someone who happens to be a government informant and repeats what you said to the government or even surreptitiously records it. In those instances, individuals misplaced confidence that people they are communicating with wont divulge their secrets is not enough to create a Fourth Amendment interest.

But the government stretches these cases far beyond their limits, arguing that its own incidental collection of an Americans communications while targeting a foreigner is the same as having that person repeat what the American said to the government directly, even though it is the government that is eavesdropping on the conversation. In essence, when you communicate with someone whose communications are being targeted under the FAA, you have no Fourth Amendment rights. Under this reasoning, any time you send an email to someone in another country, you assume the risk that your intended recipient may be a foreigner and that the government can obtain the contents of the email without a warrant.

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Government Explains Away Fourth Amendment Protection for …

Bitcoin: Bitcoin: In Search Of Purpose – Forbes

 Bitcoin  Comments Off on Bitcoin: Bitcoin: In Search Of Purpose – Forbes
Jun 062015
 

Silk Road kingpin Ross Ulbrichts recent conviction and life sentence was more than simply a crackdown on a massive online black market for illegal drugs. It was a nail in the coffin of the radical new cryptocurrency Bitcoin, as Bitcoin was the glue that held Silk Road together.

Or was it? How significant the rise and fall of Silk Road was for Bitcoin is a matter of some debate, as is the purpose of Bitcoin itself. Controversy, however, is nothing new for Bitcoin. In fact, it seems the story of this digital currency consists of nothing but controversy.

In fact, perhaps the greatest challenge for Bitcoin is divining the technologys true purpose. Early innovators often espoused radical Libertarian goals for revolutionizing the banking system and with it, the world economy. By disintermediating third parties, Bitcoin promised to usher in a new world order of free market commerce.

Only the Bitcoin story didnt work out that way. Bitcoin soon became a haven for criminals not just Silk Road, but any number of money launderers and other shady types who gravitated toward an anonymous, relatively safe method for conducting financial transactions, in particular across national borders.

Because of its openness, Bitcoin will continue to be used by shady actors, explains Nathaniel Popper, New York Times reporter and author of Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money. In some ways, the good comparison is cash. Bitcoiners love saying the main medium for illicit transactions is still probably $100 bills because it can be an anonymous form of transacting thats untraceable, and Bitcoin still has that quality as well.

In fact, just this week news came to light that an Australian company paid hackers a ransom in Bitcoin. Clearly, Bitcoin is the extortionists currency of choice, as it combines the anonymity of cash with the global convenience of traditional wire transfers.

If Bitcoins true purpose is to facilitate criminal activity, then perhaps Bitcoin itself is or should be illegal. However, the US Government for its part pointed out that Bitcoin in and of itself wasnt illegal, but clearly required regulation. Theres no way the good attributes of Bitcoin will succeed without a strict regulatory regime, points out Clay Nelson, until recently the Director of Business Development for Bitcoin startup BitPay.

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Bitcoin: Bitcoin: In Search Of Purpose – Forbes

How the Tech Behind Bitcoin Could Stop the Next Snowden …

 Bitcoin  Comments Off on How the Tech Behind Bitcoin Could Stop the Next Snowden …
Jun 042015
 

Slide: 1 / of 1 .

Caption: Getty Images

The National Security Agency knows Edward Snowden disclosed many of its innermost secrets when he revealed how aggressive its surveillance tactics are. What it doesnt know is just how much information the whistleblower took with him when he left.

For all of its ability to track our telecommunications, the NSA seemingly has little clueexactly what documents, or even how many documents, Snowden gave to the media.Like most large organizations, the NSA had tools in place to track who accessed what data and when. But Snowden, a system administrator, apparently was able to cover his tracks by deleting or modifying the log files that tracked that access.

An Estonian company called Guardtimesays it has a solution to that: using the same ideas that underpin the digital currency Bitcoin, the company says it can ensure no one can alter digital files, not even an organizationsmost senior executives or IT managers. The idea is to stop the next Snowden in his tracks by making it impossible to tamper with data, such as the NSA log files, in secret.

To prevent people from spending a single bitcoin twice, all transactions are recorded in a global, distributed ledger called the blockchain. All copies of the bitcoin client software include a copy of the blockchain, and falsifying the ledger would require controlling at least half of all the copies in existence.

Guardtimes Black Lantern uses the same idea applied to any chunk of data, such as an access log file or the data gathered by Internet of Things sensors. The blockchain could then be distributed to every executive, or even every employee, to ensure no one person can alter it. It doesnt encrypt the data, but it can let you know if someone has tampered with it.

Had the NSA been using Black Lantern, the agency would have been able to detect Snowdens activities early on, or at least would have much better idea of what Snowden took, says Guardtime CTO Matt Johnson, a former agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations agent and defense contractor.

It keeps honest people honest, he says. It makes it impossible for them to lie.

Theres irony in a former federal law enforcement officerpitching a bitcoin-style decentralized cryptography system as a way ofsecuring the NSAs data. Bitcoin proponents praise the blockchain as a way for citizens to hide their online tracks from the government; but Guardtime shows how the same technology could be used as a tool for surveillance.

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How the Tech Behind Bitcoin Could Stop the Next Snowden …

The NSA wants front door access to your encrypted data

 NSA  Comments Off on The NSA wants front door access to your encrypted data
Apr 142015
 

Last December, I had the opportunity to travel to the Netherlands to meet with multiple European tech companies, web hosts, and other infrastructure providers. The topic of intelligence agency backdoors and US corporate involvement with such policies came up more than once, often in not-entirely-friendly ways. Its therefore refreshing to see the head of the NSA, Admiral Michael S. Rogers, state up front that the NSA isnt interested in a backdoor solution to digital surveillance. Instead, he wants a so-called front-door solution which could be even worse.

Instead of handing the NSA a unilateral window into encrypted communications taking place at Google or Apple, Rogers suggested a future in which the encryption keys to access such information would be divided between at least two groups possibly more. In the simplest example, Google would retain half the key, while the NSA held the other half. Thus, the agency wouldnt be able to unilaterally snoop inside anyones files it would need Googles support.

I dont want a back door, Rogers, the director of the nations top electronic spy agency, said during a speech at Princeton University, according to the Washington Post. I want a front door. And I want the front door to have multiple locks. Big locks.

The first problem with Rogers proposed front-door solution is that its a meaningless feel-good measure given the current regulatory structure of our national security system. Before the Snowden leaks, Google, Microsoft, and other digital providers were forbidden from disclosing that theyd received national security letters, even in aggregate. Thanks to Snowden, we now know that Yahoo went to bat for users, challenging the legality and authority of the NSA and lost, every time.

Giving half a key to Google or Yahoo would be meaningless unless the company possesses the authority to refuse to use it. In theory, the court system offers robust oversight of how such capabilities are used. In practice, the FISA court has operated more like a rubber stamp body than an organization devoted to judicial oversight. The government, as a whole, doesnt currently have a great track record of respecting suspects rights the FBI is on record as ordering local police departments to drop cases rather than disclose how secret stingray hardware may have been used in ways that fundamentally violate those suspects Fourth Amendment rights.

The other systemic problem with Rogers suggestion is that it assumes a degree of trust between corporations and government at a time when such good feelings are at an all-time low. The NSA has demonstrated no practical ability to differentiate between friend and foe. Its decision to hoover up data running across Googles transatlantic cables may have been legal, but it illustrated a total lack of respect for Google and a willingness to resort to extrajudicial methods when it was convenient.

The NSA could avoid this problem by sharing the key with government-appointed escrows rather than corporations, but this simply hides the process from public view. Thats already extremely problematic.

The technological problems with the NSAs front-door policy are formidable. The divide the key among trusted parties, approach isnt new the NSA proposed exactly this method of securing its ill-fated Clipper Chip in the early 1990s. At the time, the newly-formed EFF and other consumer advocacy agencies battled the NSAs proposed system, noting that it exposed citizens to increased surveillance while providing no assurance that the cryptographic standard, dubbed Skipjack, was actually secure.

Many of these questions would remain in any escrow system the government dreamed up today. The basic question is, is it possible to design a completely secure system to hold a master key available to the U.S. government but not adversaries, said Donna Dodson, chief cybersecurity adviser at the Commerce Departments National Institute of Standards and Technologies. Theres no way to do this where you dont have unintentional vulnerabilities.

Hackers, generally speaking, dont go after the code itself or attempt to brute-force it instead, they work to compromise the organizations that hold the keys, or find other avenues of attack. Splitting the key into parts is only an advantage if the parts cant be combined or analyzed for clues to the final key structure. In order to function properly, every escrow needs to be secure, and every one-time access key needs to be destroyed.

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The NSA wants front door access to your encrypted data

Almost a quarter of UK firms 'whittle down tax bills' using tax havens and loopholes, says new analysis

 Tax Havens  Comments Off on Almost a quarter of UK firms 'whittle down tax bills' using tax havens and loopholes, says new analysis
Apr 142015
 

By City & Finance Reporter for the Daily Mail

Published: 17:06 EST, 13 April 2015 | Updated: 17:06 EST, 13 April 2015

Almost a quarter of British firms are paying far lower taxes than the rates demanded by the countries in which they operate, an international study has suggested.

Analysis of more than 1,000 listed companies by MSCI found a tax gap of 56billion from firms using tax havens and loopholes to whittle down their bills.

By comparing the overall tax payments of the companies against the corporation tax rates levied in the countries where they did business, the investment research group was able to determine how many companies were scrimping on payments.

Tax loophole: Almost a quarter of British firms are paying far lower taxes than the rates demanded by the countries in which they operate, an international study has suggested

In the UK, 16 of the 71 included businesses had a tax gap of more than 10 per cent, it said.

MSCI director Linda-Eling Lee said these firms faced the prospect of falling profits if the tax loopholes were closed, as well as reputational risk if they are exposed for minimising tax.

The findings will inflame the debate around the issue of legal but dubious avoidance of tax.

The Government has sought to lead an international crackdown on what it sees as immoral tax dodging by multinational firms.

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Almost a quarter of UK firms 'whittle down tax bills' using tax havens and loopholes, says new analysis

Ukraine-NATO Cooperation Deal: Ukraine parliament renounced countrys non-aligned status last year – Video

 NATO  Comments Off on Ukraine-NATO Cooperation Deal: Ukraine parliament renounced countrys non-aligned status last year – Video
Apr 112015
 



Ukraine-NATO Cooperation Deal: Ukraine parliament renounced countrys non-aligned status last year
Ukraine looks to be making its next steps towards closer intergration with NATO, with the country's prime minister saying that the government is set to sign two agreements on military cooperation…

By: UKRAINE TODAY

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Ukraine-NATO Cooperation Deal: Ukraine parliament renounced countrys non-aligned status last year – Video

Virgin Islands vacationers possibly exposed to deadly pesticide

 Islands  Comments Off on Virgin Islands vacationers possibly exposed to deadly pesticide
Apr 112015
 

Government officials are trying to track down vacationers who stayed at villas in the Virgin Islands who may have been exposed to a deadly pesticide.

Local officials said methyl bromide is suspected to have been used improperly several times in the U.S. Virgin Islands, in different parts of the island; even the governor said his condominium complex was fumigated with it in 2013, without his knowledge.

Investigators are still trying to piece together exactly what happened at the Sirenusa resort, where a Delaware family’s vacation in paradise turned into a nightmare. Theresa Devine and Steve Esmond and their two children fell gravely ill and suffered seizures; two brothers, ages 14 and 16, remain in comas.

But this was likely not an isolated incident. Local authorities here tell CNN there is evidence methyl bromide was used at least twice at the gated Sirenusa resort on St. John by the pest control company Terminix. They also say Terminix used the pesticide across the islands on different occasions.

Dawn Henry, the commissioner designee of the local Department of Planning and Natural Resources, or DPNR, said that while investigating what happened, the agency found methyl bromide was likely also used last fall at the same Sirenusa resort, as well as in a vacation villa in St. Croix and in two nontourist locations.

Methyl bromide is banned from indoor use, and is only approved as an agricultural pesticide. Other pest control companies on the Virgin Islands were found in possession of methyl bromide and officials said they are checking records to see whether it was used improperly. Ken Mapp, the governor of the Virgin Islands, said it was.

“What these companies did or appear to have been doing is clearly a violation of the law and they’ll be held accountable for it,” Mapp said. He said he learned his own complex was fumigated with methyl bromide in 2013, but said there have been no additional reports of people falling ill.

Authorities are trying to track down anyone who has stayed at the affected villas or who might have been exposed.

Terminix issued a statement saying it is “committed to performing all work … in a manner that is safe for our customers, employees, the public and the environment” and is “looking into this matter internally, and cooperating with authorities.”

When CNN visited the Terminix office on St. Thomas, which is corporate-owned, an employee refused to comment, and another employee closed the door.

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Virgin Islands vacationers possibly exposed to deadly pesticide

GOP hopefuls flock to NRA cattle call

 Second Amendment  Comments Off on GOP hopefuls flock to NRA cattle call
Apr 112015
 

Updated at 6:15 p.m.

Nearly all of the 2016 GOP presidential hopefuls wereonstage Friday attheNational Rifle Association’s annual leadership conference in Nashville, a GOP cattle-call of sortsthat gavethepotential candidates a chance to trumpet their Second Amendment bona fides.

Attendees heardfrom a majority of the GOP’s first- and second-tier presidential primary contenders, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, former Texas governor Rick Perry, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and businessman Donald Trump.

Notable absences? Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, both of whom have a prickly relationship with the NRA and were not invited to attend — Paul because of his affiliation with another gun-rights group and Christie who scores low on the NRA’s scorecard. Paul told Bloomberg that it was the group’s loss, not his: “To not be invited, probably, will serve more to cast aspersions on their group than it would on me. Because my record’s pretty clear. It probably looks a little bit petty for them not to invite a major candidate because I raised money for other Second Amendment groups.”

For those candidates who made the cut, today wasa critical campaign stop. The Post’s David A. Fahrenthold reported on the role of gun rights in the GOP last month:

Even for those who dont own [guns],they are a bellwether of individual liberty, a symbol of what big government wants and shouldnt have. … As the 2016 campaign gets going, guns and hunting will inevitably be part of its political theater. That may offer a chance for longtime gun-owning candidates to stand out….Already, on the campaign trail, several contenders have used their support for guns as a way to signal broader conservative bona fides. In a party full of internal arguments, this is one thing few will argue with.

Find the speech highlights below.

Bobby Jindal

Biggest applause line: “You sometimes get the idea that president Obama and Hillary Clinton believe that these are just crazy right-wing ideas…But these are not the ideas of a right wing conspiracy. These are the pillars of our nation. And thats why I was glad to write the law in Congress after Hurricane Katrina ensuring that never again can the government seize your firearms after a disaster.”

Biggest flop: “I remember the days when Hollywood actually liked the First Amendment. Well maybe they havent read the First Amendment lately. Theyre too busy dealing with record-low movie attendance.”

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GOP hopefuls flock to NRA cattle call

Ep 70: Frontline Perspective on the Government’s War on Liberty – Video

 Liberty  Comments Off on Ep 70: Frontline Perspective on the Government’s War on Liberty – Video
Apr 082015
 



Ep 70: Frontline Perspective on the Government's War on Liberty
The Peter Schiff Show Podcast – Episode 70 http://www.USTaxFreeZone.com SIGN UP FOR MY FREE NEWSLETTER: http://www.europac.net/subscribe_free_reports.

By: Peter Schiff

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Ep 70: Frontline Perspective on the Government’s War on Liberty – Video




Pierre Teilhard De Chardin | Designer Children | Prometheism | Euvolution | Transhumanism