June 11, 2013
The NSA Utah Data Center is scheduled to come up LIVE in September of this year. More than $2 billion have been spent to create a network that can analyze yottabytes of information daily.
According to an governmental information website about the NSA, with regard to private data being surveilled, “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.”
The NSA claims that “domestic surveillance plays a vital role in our national security by maintaining a total information awareness of all domestic activities by using advanced data mining systems to ‘connect the dots’ to identify suspicious patterns.”
The Homeland Security Presidential Directive 6 (HSPD6) grants the NSA authority to screen information “to protect against terrorism” while collecting and disseminating “information about suspected foreign and domestic terrorists.”
The NSA readily admits to spying on Americans and creating a national citizen database for “security reasons” that is comprised of:
• internet searches
• websites visited
• emails sent and received
• social media activity (Facebook, Twitter, etc)
• blogging activity including posts read, written, and commented on
• videos watched and/or uploaded online
• photos viewed and/or uploaded online
• music downloads
• mobile phone GPS-location data
• mobile phone apps downloaded
• phone call records
• text messages sent and received
• online purchases and auction transactions
• bookstore receipts
• credit card/ debit card transactions
• bank statements
• cable television shows watched and recorded
• commuter toll records
• parking receipts
• electronic bus and subway passes / Smartpasses
• travel itineraries
• border crossings
• surveillance cameras
• medical information including diagnoses and treatments
• prescription drug purchases
• guns and ammunition sales
• educational records
• arrest records
• driver license information
Edward Snowden, the whistleblower who revealed the surveillance practices of the National Security Agency (NSA) is staying in Hong Kong, hoping to be granted asylum.
For now, Snowden will be able to remain in Hong Kong for 90 days from his arrival on May 20th.
Regardless if the US seeks extradition, Snowden could benefit from a loophole in the law that would extend the process through the court system for years.
Because of a treaty , having suspected criminals extradited internationally could become complicated.
The US must charge Snowden with a crime and meet the guidelines for “dual criminality” in order to have jurisdiction over Snowden while he is in Hong Kong.
After the 90 days are up, the courts in Hong Kong can decide to allow Snowden to remain through court orders.
However, the Chinese government could choose to hand Snowden over because of the controversial nature of having him in their country.
Glenn Greenwald, journalist that brought Snowden’s story to the mainstream media explained : “It’s very difficult for me to assess that choice because it was a very personal mix of factors that he took into account when deciding where he wanted to go, so if his only goal had been how can I best evade arrest, there probably would have been other better places for him to go.”
House Representative Peter King warned that “”no country should be granting this individual asylum.”
Senator Dianne Feinstein has condemned Snowden as a traitor.
Speaking on mainstream television, Feinstein said: “I don’t look at this as being a whistleblower. I think it’s an act of treason. He violated the oath [to the Constitution], he violated the law. It’s treason.”
House Representative Adam Schiff stated that “there’s very little trust in the government, and that’s for good reason. We’re our own worst enemy.”
An anonymous source and senior intelligence official relayed that the NSA will not cease using programs like PRISM to spy on Americans; regardless of their exposure to their secret operations.
Stewart Baker, former general counsel for the NSA revealed that Snowden simply “was able to move to a thumb drive to exfiltrate could also be exfiltrated by Russian or Chinese hackers.”
Baker confirmed that the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) are questioning Snowden’s family and friends “gain insight into his motivation and mind-set, to include communications, emails, phone calls, writings” and decipher if he is in contact with “a foreign power or had been recruited by an intelligence service.”
Chinese bloggers have rallied to Snowden’s defense, stating in online posts that “this is the definition of heroism. Doing this proves he genuinely cares about this country and about his country’s citizens. All countries need someone like him!”
A petition on WeThePeople.gov has begun that demands President Obama pardon Snowden.
The effort is gaining ground as signatures are mounting. So far, 27,000 people have signed the petition with an estimate 1,000 per hour pushing the petition up in the rankings.