Former NSA Head Argues Government Secrecy Is The Same As Personal Privacy

Says Americans have no right to know what the NSA is doing
Nov 12, 2013

In a debate with one of the leading reporters to have been involved in the Edward Snowden leaks, former NSA head Michael Hayden argued, ridiculously, that government secrecy is akin to an individual’s private privacy, and so the American public should not be privy to the actions of the NSA.

Hayden was debating Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, blogger and best selling author Barton Gellman at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University in an event titled “Leakers or Whistleblowers? National Security Reporting in the Digital Age”.

The full debate is below:

When Gellman began to question Hayden’s assertions, calling them misleading, Hayden became noticeably uncomfortable and even angry, at one point shouting over the top of Barton.

In an egregious claim, Hayden stated:

“There are necessary secrets. Our society recognizes privacy or secrecy for a variety of institutions. We do priest/penitent. We do lawyer/client. We do husband/wife. I mean, we recognize that for the greater good, some things need to be kept out of the public domain. Those are more in the sense of personal privacy. But privacy to an individual is what secrecy is to a state. Both are necessary and both can be abused. Fully aware, alright, that both can be abused.”

Essentially, Hayden is claiming that the inalienable right of an individual to privacy, guaranteed to him or her under the Constitution, can be extended to government agencies, including the NSA – a patently absurd claim, particularly if the government is using secrecy as a cover for potentially illegal activity.

Hayden also renewed his personal hate campaign against Edward Snowden, claiming that Snowden accepted a role at the NSA with a “preconceived notion” that the agency was doing wrong and that he must expose it, rather than because he “discovered something which offended him.”

“The agencies weren’t doing anything illegal. They weren’t doing anything unconstitutional. They were just doing things that offended him.” Hayden stated.

Hayden has previously made this claim several times without backing it up, going as far as floating a conspiracy theory that Snowden was likely engaged in a “sustained, long-term campaign” to take information from the NSA, with the contractor moving from job to job to gain more access.

Meanwhile, back in reality, all public profiles of Snowden suggest that the exact opposite is true, that he was simply a patriot working for the government who discovered the NSA was engaged in a mass spying campaign against Americans.

Gellman, a former Washington Post reporter, was one of the only journalists to have had initial access to Snowden’s material, along with Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras. He led the revelations on the NSA’s mass spying program known as PRISM.

Hayden referred to Gellman’s actions as “the most destructive” in the whole affair, saying that the information was directly useful to terrorists targeting America.

“Many legitimate intelligence targets — we learned two days ago that Yahoo and Google are… WERE the internet providers of choice for terrorists world wide.”

Hmmm, okaaay. Al Qaeda uses Yahoo email. Really? And even if it does, good, that means they should be easily monitored.

Close to an hour into the debate Hayden lost it completely and began shouting at Gellman, stating “This was the most productive source of communications intelligence that NSA had. Your privacy was not involved — other than the fact that you use Google or Yahoo. But your emails, your accounts, were not the ones being accessed.”

When Gellman attempted to interject, Hayden bawled “No no. I chose my word… NO!!! I chose my words carefully. YOUR ACCOUNTS were not being accessed.”

In his response, Gellman noted that the NSA collects tens of millions of communications including those of innocent Americans and it is not the place of the NSA to assume that Americans should be happy with this, or that it should be kept secret.

As we have previously noted, Hayden has publicly declared that he would love to see Snowden placed on a US government kill list.

Hayden has previously made it known that he believes Snowden to be worse than any American “traitor” ever, including Benedict Arnold, for blowing the whistle on government spying. He has said that he does not see Snowden as a whistleblower because he has not “exposed any wrongdoing” by government.

Hayden has also described the former NSA contractor as a “morally arrogant defector” who will likely become an alcoholic.

Of course, it was Hayden who was overseeing warrantless wiretapping programs during his tenure at the NSA. He was the one in charge of spying on millions of Americans’ communications, relying on a truly twisted version of the law under the PATRIOT Act as cover for his actions.

Hayden was also the man who seriously argued that there was no mention of “probable cause” in the Fourth Amendment, insisting that only ‘reasonable search and seizure’ was required in violating the privacy of Americans.

Sorry, who is the “morally arrogant traitor” again?




Neocon Max Boot Hates Edward Snowden
November 4, 2013


Max Boot has it out for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The CFR neocon, a signatory to a screed calling for an invasion that ultimately killed more than a million Iraqis, is pissed about Snowden’s “A Manifesto for the Truth”published by German news magazine Der Spiegel.

“It scarcely seems possible, but Edward Snowden gets more odious by the day,” Boot writes for Commentary, a magazine produced by the American Jewish Committee. “It’s bad enough that he has leaked to the world top-secret details of highly sensitive and important NSA surveillance operations, thus doing more damage to American national security than a baker’s dozen of previous spies.”

But what really gets Boot’s goat is the prospect that Snowden is “hiding in Vladimir Putin’s Russia” and “he has the nerve to position himself as a saintly whistle-blower who is striking a blow for truth, justice, and the American way.”

In Boot’s highly polarized universe, Snowden has become a tool of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, the successor agency to the Soviet Union’s Committee of State Security, otherwise known as the KGB.

Boot fails to mention that Snowden has few options. He was offered asylum in Venezuela and Bolivia, countries helpless to prevent his rendition. Russia is safe, for now. This may not be the case a year from now when the former NSA analyst’s visa expires. Snowden is a political pawn with a shelf life.

But let’s put Putin aside. The real reason Boot and his cohorts loathe Snowden and want to see him returned to the United States to face the music is because his revelations endanger the so-called war on terror.

From his ivy tower at the Council on Foreign Relations, the senior fellow in national security studies has called for military interventions and routinely defends the massive and unprecedented Pentagon budgets required to kill people and break things in faraway lands, primarily lands occupied by Muslims and Arabs. He consistently calls for attacking Iran under the pretext that it will develop a nuclear weapon. He has defended Abu Ghraib torture, waterboarding, and other brutal excesses of the Bush administration.

The bellicose philosophy of Boot and the globalist neocons can be traced back in large part to Leo Strauss, a German–American political philosopher and classicist. For the Straussians, national security is merely a vehicle for a larger and more comprehensive agenda.

“Strauss thinks that a political order can be stable only if it is united by an external threat, and following Machiavelli, he maintains that if no external threat exists, then one has to be manufactured,” writes Shadia Drury. “Because mankind is intrinsically wicked, he has to be governed,” Strauss wrote. “Such governance can only be established, however, when men are united — and they can only be united against other people.” Strauss’ established governance, according to Drury, is made possible through “aggressive, belligerent foreign policy,” and “perpetual war, not perpetual peace, is what Straussians believe in.” According to Jim Lobe, “Strauss’ neoconservative students see foreign policy as a means to fulfill a ‘national destiny’ — as Irving Kristol defined it already in 1983 — that goes far beyond the narrow confines of a ‘myopic national security.’” (See myIran Attack — Turning America Into A Straussian Totalitarian State, posted in 2006.)

Edward Snowden blew the lid off a crucial element of the national security state. His continued revelations breaking down the Stasi surveillance state in America represent an intolerable crime for the apparatchiks of the new global order. For this inexcusable crime, he must be apprehended and made to suffer like Bradley Manning, the soldier who downloaded the 400,000 documents to Wikileaks that became known as the Iraq War logs. Part of that motherlode was the “collateral murder” helicopter attack in Iraq video that went viral on the internet.

The sort of governance envisioned by Boot and the neocons cannot be realized unless such brutality against official enemies is kept out of the public eye. It cannot become a reality unless the state has the capacity to engage in all-encompassing surveillance on the American people who may become at any moment the next terrorist threat.

Edward Snowden Releases “A Manifesto For The Truth”
November 3, 2013

While Edward Snowden may be reviled at the top echelons of Western developed nations and is wanted in his native US on espionage charges for peeling back the curtain on how the gargantuan government machine truly works when it is not only engaged in chronic spying on anyone abroad, but worse, on its own people, the reality is that his whistleblowing revelations have done more to shift the narrative to the topic of dwindling individual liberties abused pervasively in the US and elsewhere, than anything else in recent years. And alongside that, have led to the first reform momentum of a system that is deeply broken. Which also happens to be the topic of a five-paragraph opinion piece he released today in German weekly Der Spiegel titled “A Manifesto For The Truth” in which he writes that his revelations have been useful and society will benefit from them and that he was therefore justified in revealing the methods and targets of the US secret service.

In the Op-Ed we read that “Instead of causing damage, the usefulness of the new public knowledge for society is now clear because reforms to politics, supervision and laws are being suggested.”

RT addsSpying as a global problem requires global solutions, he said, stressing that “criminal surveillance programs” by secret services threaten open societies, individual privacy and freedom of opinion.

“Citizens have to fight against the suppression of information about affairs of essential importance for the public,” Snowden said in his five-paragraph manifesto. Hence, “those who speak the truth are not committing a crime.”
Even with the existence of mass surveillance, spying should not define politics, Snowden said.

We have a moral duty to ensure that our laws and values limit surveillance programs and protect human rights,” he wrote.

The type of persecution campaigns that governments started after being exposed, and threats of prosecution against journalists, who blew the whistle, were “a mistake” and did not “serve the public interest,” Snowden concluded.

But “at that time the public was not in a position to judge the usefulness of these revelations. People trusted that their governments would make the right decisions,” he said.

Needless to say, all of the above points are spot on, which is why one hopes that Snowden does not intend on returning to the US to defend himself with only truth and justice to lean on, because the US Judicial system is just as broken, if not more, as every other aspect of a tentacular government, intent on growing to even more epic proportions and silencing anyone and everyone who stands in its way.

This article by Edward Snowden was published Sunday in Der Spiegel.

In a very short time, the world has learned much about unaccountable secret agencies and about sometimes illegal surveillance programs. Sometimes the agencies even deliberately try to hide their surveillance of high officials or the public. While the NSA and GCHQ seem to be the worst offenders – this is what the currently available documents suggest – we must not forget that mass surveillance is a global problem in need of global solutions.

Such programs are not only a threat to privacy, they also threaten freedom of speech and open societies. The existence of spy technology should not determine policy. We have a moral duty to ensure that our laws and values limit monitoring programs and protect human rights.

Society can only understand and control these problems through an open, respectful and informed debate. At first, some governments feeling embarrassed by the revelations of mass surveillance initiated an unprecedented campaign of persecution to supress this debate. They intimidated journalists and criminalized publishing the truth. At this point, the public was not yet able to evaluate the benefits of the revelations. They relied on their governments to decide correctly.

Today we know that this was a mistake and that such action does not serve the public interest. The debate which they wanted to prevent will now take place in countries around the world. And instead of doing harm, the societal benefits of this new public knowledge is now clear, since reforms are now proposed in the form of increased oversight and new legislation.

Citizens have to fight suppression of information on matters of vital public importance. To tell the truth is not a crime.


Read: The Edward Snowden ” Solar Flare Killshot” Hoax

August 8, 2013

The Internet is ablaze with yet another baseless conspiracy theory that only serves to distract from real cover-ups and issues of genuine significance – the hoax that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden recently warned of a “solar flare killshot’ set to wipe out hundreds of millions of people in September.

Image: Edward Snowden

According to the original article, “Edward Snowden, hacker-fugitive and former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, revealed Tuesday that a series of solar flares is set to occur in September, killing hundreds of millions of people. Documents provided by Snowden prove that, as of 14 years ago, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) remote viewers knew that the event was inevitable. Ever since, the world’s governments have quietly been trying to prepare for the sweeping global famine to result.”

The story has since gone viral, appearing on countless forums and websites and attracting thousands upon thousands of comments.

Like all popular hoaxes, the story has a thin veneer of authenticity. The sun is set to exhibit some strange behavior as a result of a magnetic field flip that occurs around once every 11 years. This will cause a “feverish” peak in solar activity, leading to more solar flares and coronal mass ejections, potentially disrupting satellites and power grids on earth but not leading to the slaughter of hundreds of millions of people.

Given that there are so many actual cover-ups, scandals and issues of real significance that we could be concentrating on, it’s really quite disappointing that so many people have wasted their energy on something that is so transparently false. The hoax also serves to distract from Snowden’s authentic revelations about NSA surveillance.

The source of the story can be traced back to ‘The Internet Chronicle’, which if you read the site’s ‘about’ page is clearly a satirical website which disseminates false and overtly ludicrous stories.

The website jokes that it originated, “After crash landing in an asteroid December 30th, 1976, the alien husks of Chronicle editors rapidly adapted to Earth climates and bacterial flora. They are able to survive naturally in the wild and reproduce freely.”

“Receiving tweets twice daily via fax from religious advisers impregnates our right-wing furnace of hate, enabling us to bring you the most horrifyingly sensational headlines you’ve ever seen, or your money back – guaranteed!” states the website.

And if that wasn’t enough to convince you that the website is a hoax, just take a look at the other headlines featured on the front page, many of which are based on bizarre manufactured stories involving Edward Snowden.

– Vatican Forces Storm Dome of the Rock, Pope names Snowden Messiah

– Edward Snowden killed by drone strike on Ecuadorian embassy

– Snowden Reveals Second Shooter in Zimmerman Case

– Snowden Granted Sainthood

– NSA Whistleblower Ed Snowden: Saddam Hussein did WTC 7

– Obama Pardons Edward Snowden

Other hoax stories appear with headlines like ‘Paula Deen commits suicide at 66′ and ‘Wendy’s unveils new hacker theme for restaurants’.

The gullibility of thousands upon thousands of people in falling for such a patent hoax because they didn’t spend 30 seconds checking the source only provides the mainstream media with more ammunition to shoot down very real cover-ups and conspiracies, such as the death of Michael Hastings, by lumping in genuine issues with baseless conspiracy theories such as the Edward Snowden ‘solar killshot’ hoax.