world

U.S. whistleblower drops out of sight in Hong Kong as legal battles loom

43 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2013.

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

43 Comments
Login to comment

They will get him eventually, even though I wish that is not the case. Mr. Snowden believed the US public had a right to know what sort of operation the NSA engaged in and how it undermined basic freedoms and rights. I guess he saw it as duty to the American people vs duty to the government.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

This smacks of a massive DISINFO campaign than overstates actual capabilities to frighten the silly set. I find myself not caring one whit for Snowden's imaginary morals.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

He is probably hiding out on the Dark Side.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

New polls suggest a majority of Americans support what the government is doing.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Well, he did say he wanted the public to decide on it.

Some people suggest that the Chinese agents may have him. The Chinese government would be remiss not to be learning as much from him as possible regarding intelligence matters.

Regardless, another question remains: whether a 29-yr-old subcontractor who signed a non-disclosure agreement has a moral right to decide for himself what's not exactly illegal goes for the public's right to know, particularly when there are legal avenues for whistleblowers.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

He should not have to be the legal fall-guy to protect the interests of the American public. Lawyers might prosecute him "to the full extent of the law," but the American public will have thanks for his protective actions. Trial by jury might help balance the judicial process should he be extradited.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

I have the same position here as I do with the Manning case. He made a decision which he felt was morally justified but if found he will be tried and likely found guilty of violating non-disclosure agreements. That said the information isn't that surprising but no less disappointing. It should never be easy for a government to access private information on an individual, that is why the process by which authorities get warrants is supposed to require probable cause not mere suspicion.

New polls suggest a majority of Americans support what the government is doing.

That's disturbing.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

@lostrune2

He would not give information of that nature to the Chinese or anyone else. He is not sloppy like Manning was. He knows the appropriate audience and content.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

New polls suggest a majority of Americans support what the government is doing.

I heard of that poll. Very hard to believe! I wonder if those polled were aware that they have been spied on by Israeli companies.

The ones who should be in hiding are Obama, Clapper, and their friends. Obama campaigned clearly saying he would not do this. Clapper stated under oath that the US government was not doing this.

Snowden is a hero. Unfortunately, they will do everything they can to make sure he pays a heavy price... to send a clear message.

-10 ( +9 / -19 )

Bluescript: I wonder if those polled were aware that they have been spied on by Israeli companies.

I wonder if those opposed realize that they are standing next to people such as yourself.

5 ( +12 / -7 )

This dork knew what he was getting himself into so now he is a cry baby who will end up dead or in Guantanamo??

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

Cry baby? Where do you see him crying, Elbuda?

6 ( +8 / -2 )

"he had become disenchanted with President Barack Obama"

That's understandable. But then...

"I do not want to live in a world where everything I say or do is recorded"

Well, up until he pulled this stunt, he wasn't living in that kind of world, but when they find him, he probably will be.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

New polls suggest a majority of Americans support what the government is doing.

Was that the poll with a 9% response rate that mentioned that calls were tracked via “secret court orders.” ? Which basically translates into a low information/big government segment that felt comfortable telling a pollster that they support surveillance of phone records and e-mails. This morning Rasmussen had only 26% in favor of spying on us. What happened ? When people get educated to the reality that terrorists are not signing with Verizon and providing uniquely valuable information here I think there will be a genuinely substantial decrease in support with the next Republican administration.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Not to put on a tin hat, but if people believe the U.S. government isn't monitoring all communications in some form, they need to read more.

The NSA is building a super huge complex, in Nevada I believe, to store all the information it is collecting. Well, it can't store everything, but it will be able to store a lot...

The NSA is sometimes referred to as a huge vacuum cleaner that pulls in more information than it can actually deal with. So, it discards a majority of the information it collects . . . until the super huge complex is completed.

There are supposed to be taps on the underwater internet cables, so the NSA gets everything transmitted over the internet and through those cables.

I for one don't see a lot of issues with the NSA and this practice. The FBI and CIA are not interested in non-terrorists/criminals. They don't talk to local law enforcement, so the little or big laws that are broken and found out through NSA surveillance will not bring the police.

There is information out there that could be useful. For example, if the Boston bomber was taking calls with the terrorist in Europe, the NSA should know about it.

The problem is, the NSA knowing about it means nothing if the FBI and CIA don't also know. There has been a history with the NSA failing to provide valuable intel, for instance, they had information on the 9/11 bombers meeting to discuss using planes as bombs. A FBI agent was prevented legally from notifying the FBI of the information. The NSA just let them walk right into America.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Just imagine in a parallel world : where a Chinese man reveals similar secrets of Chinese Govt. Whole world would have come to appreciate and praise him and he will be on top of the list for a Nobel prize.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Lizz: This morning Rasmussen had only 26% in favor of spying on us.

Read the article from the LA Times. They break down the questions and answers.

We need to have this debate but I'm worried about paranoia from people who can only say, "The government is reading my emails." You'll note that Snowden only talks in generalities and I'm guessing that's for a reason. He wants people to use their imagination since that will be more of a sensational situation in their mind. It's pretty surprising how many people have come out to say they don't support it because "the government is listening to my phone conversations."

Since I've spent some time working online I know that what the government has is nothing compared to what big business has on you, and people willingly hand that over. Even with the phone metadata the government is only getting what Verizon already has. And to think they can take all of that information and create a way to spy on everyone is just impossible. We/'re probably talking about billions of Interactions per day, maybe more. People really need to be educated on what's happening, what can happen, and what's impossible.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Not to put on a tin hat, but if people believe the U.S. government isn't monitoring all communications in some form, they need to read more.

Yeah, they are doing it, but they have no business (or legal right) doing it without probable cause.

I for one don't see a lot of issues with the NSA and this practice. The FBI and CIA are not interested in non-terrorists/criminals.

I see someone who needs to read more...

There is information out there that could be useful. For example, if the Boston bomber was taking calls with the terrorist in Europe, the NSA should know about it.

Yeah, the NSA would know about all the calls between the alleged bombers and their FBI handlers. BTW, the spying was ongoing prior to the Boston bombing. And similar spying was also done prior to 911. Americans now have neither security nor freedom.

And here is something Snowden stated:

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

-13 ( +4 / -17 )

Some people suggest that the Chinese agents may have him. The Chinese government would be remiss not to be learning as much from him as possible regarding intelligence matters.

@lostrune2

He would not give information of that nature to the Chinese or anyone else. He is not sloppy like Manning was. He knows the appropriate audience and content.

Well, this story doesn't make sense. He said he may want to go to Iceland, so why didn't he go to Iceland? He planned this for years, then why go to Hong Kong that has an extradition treaty with the U.S.? Unless he knows there's someone there to protect him, and that's very possibly the Chinese government who could veto any Hong Kong extradition. He says he still has other stuff he hasn't yet disclosed. He could use that secret info to trade with China for protection.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Sorry folks, you work for the FBI, CIA, NSA it is like going to work for the mafia, you just don't go and work there and say, "Geez, I am tired of spying, killing, poisoning etc.." this just comes with the territory. So, just like in a gang, mafia, it is like blood in, blood out. You ain't gonna leave the CIA etc.alive. Why?? Well you just got way too many secrets etc..between your ears and they need to stay there for state security reasons, so this Snowden dude is no hero, he is no patriot. He is just one confused fool. And yes he is a cry baby, getting $200 K a year but now he feels it is his moral duty to be a whistle blower??? Try blowing whistles with the mafia and see what will happen. So my guess, the same will happen to this guy real soon. Folk, do not get me wrong, I have no love for the FBI, CIA etc..I am sure there are plenty of corrupt folk there too, but they have been there way, way before Mr.Obama came to the White House!!

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Well, Ecuador does have an embassy in Hong Kong.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Not to put on a tin hat, but if people believe the U.S. government isn't monitoring all communications in some form, they need to read more.

Yeah, they are doing it, but they have no business (or legal right) doing it without probable cause.

Spying like this has been happening since early WWI. It is done under the legal obligation of the government to protect its citizens.

I for one don't see a lot of issues with the NSA and this practice. The FBI and CIA are not interested in non-terrorists/criminals.

I see someone who needs to read more...

Hmm, try reading James Bamford, he has written extensively about the NSA and is a known authority on the NSA. His books are very disturbing, and he is pushing for more oversight. I read the Puzzle Palace maybe 25 years ago and have since read maybe four other books by Bamford about the NSA.

As discussed in the book, by presidential order, the NSA was authorized to track anyone with contact with a foreign national. Recent statements from the NSA try to downplay the authority to track not just Americans but also foreigners in the U.S. I don't believe it.

The problem is that the information collected is not used to protect Americans. The information isn't shared with other U.S. intelligence agencies. As a result, the CIA and FBI have to build competing systems that are very expensive. For example, the CIA would get half a call (only hear one person talking) and ask the NSA for the other half, and they would just refuse. The CIA built its own electronics interception capabilities. So, I am left to wonder what the NSA actually does.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

This guy is either very brave or very silly, time will show which.

Anyone who didnt think or consider the US was monitoring communications and keeping massive data bases was either very naive or very silly.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

"Regardless, another question remains: whether a 29-yr-old subcontractor who signed a non-disclosure agreement has a moral right to decide for himself what's not exactly illegal goes for the public's right to know, particularly when there are legal avenues for whistleblowers."

Those "legal avenues" wouldn't be run by government, would they? He may have signed a non-disclosure agreement, but I understand that we will have also sworn to defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies, domestic or foreign. A government that lies to its people might be considered an enemy. It has been established in the past that 'obeying orders' is no defense. It may turn out that those who are aware of government lies but do nothing are the more guilty.

Anyway, if, as we are often told, that those who have done nothing wrong have nothing to fear from surveillance, is it not also true that governments that have done nothing wrong have nothing to fear from whistleblowers?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Government spying should happen only after a court order approved by a judge after presentation of evidence. When I call family in the US from Japan, I am part of that metadata, and it pisses me off that the government is getting any kind of information at all about me and about my relatives. I haven't committed any crime, I haven't agreed to it, and they don't pay my phone bill, so I want them out of the picture.

I hope this guy gets a good lawyer and gets mild sentencing, though I'm afraid they'll string him up. It's too easy to build up hatred against him...easier than explaining how this crappy system became the law.

Snowden did commit a crime because he broke an agreement he had made, but frankly, without what he did, there would have been no possibility of a national debate on this issue. I'd like to see the whole thing shut down. Our tax dollars at work ... no thank you.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

They say they are only monitoring internet and email traffic to thwart terrorists... to do that they would need to have a system which could detect keywords... and words can be detected without the actual context being understood. They will be monitoring every man, woman and child in America, looking for those key words. They are also monitoring non US traffic too.

If I want to discuss things with my ex or my friends over Skype why should I have to worry that we could be being monitored by American spies. Millions use Skype, all over the world, what right does the NSA have to monitor it? Who do they think they are? We are having this same debate in the UK because of the rumour that GCHQ has been doing the same thing with the NSA's PRISM software.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

He doesn't look very Chinese, so how easy will it be for him to 'drop out of sight'?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There's plenty of guys who get jacked and get their front doors kicked in, occasionally even shot dead, just because they wrote the wrong word in an email or text message, or spoke the wrong word on their cell phone.

Then when it really matters, like in the Boston bombers, or the recent killers of a soldier in London, the security forces just totally fail.

Both the U.S. and Britain have got people banged up for years even without any kind of trial???

The listening systems and the people employed to use them cost big bucks.

What I want to know is who's spying on the gov't's to ensure they are only acting on our behalf and not against us????

6 ( +7 / -1 )

" The NSA is building a super huge complex, in Nevada I believe, to store all the information it is collecting. Well, it can't store everything, but it will be able to store a lot..."

It's in Utah.

This is called Civil Disobedience, just like what any government whistleblower does. And he should be commended by anyone who values liberty and the right to privacy. What the NSA and others do is essentially thought-policing.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Yeah, they are doing it, but they have no business (or legal right) doing it without probable cause.

And it started long before 9/11. Nothing to do with terrorism. The government can cook up an array of ways to retaliate against companies to punish them or the CEO for NSA participation refusal so I don't get the false equivalence between the state and Qwest, Google, etc.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I don't want my actions or words misused or misinterpreted.

At the same time, I don't feel I mind living in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. Do I? What is it that I have done or said that I don't want recorded? That we have done that we don't want recorded? What has this guy done? I guess perhaps there are some embarrassing things I have done that I would rather not made public. Phapping? If the government wants to snoop on our acts then, so what.

I may have done some illegal acts in my life and hypothetically, if the government had caught me, then good. There are very, very (I can only think of one) few laws that I disapprove of.

I am not sure of the cost benefit analysis though. It may well be a waste of money.

At the same time, what this guy did is largely, to give the government a taste of the same, and that sounds okay by me too. Why does the government need to keeps its actions unrecorded, unknown? If it were some specific covert operation against terrorists then that would loose the element of surprise. But this guy did not leak any such information. Did he?

I think that the government should be allowed to snoop as long as they are saying that they are doing it. Policemen are paid to keep an eye out on things. If they look with their eyes, that is okay. They say they are looking. But if they look at our facebook that is not? It is okay by me, at least if they admit to it.

I don't think that this guy should be prosecuted. He told the world that the US government is spying on our facebook/gmail etc. I presumed that they did without him telling me, but for those that did not, he did the world a service and the government should have admitted to it prior to his spilling the beans.

Why does he, why do people want the police to stay out of our facebook / gmail?

Why do people like privacy? Why is it considered a "right." Privacy is not something I am into. Privacy is boring. I consider myself dull too so, I might even be chuffed, like, "thanks for the interest," if anyone wanted to "invade my privacy."

1 ( +1 / -0 )

And just what is going to happen when millions of people start wearing Google Glasses? Like that TV show, what's it called, "Person of Interest?"

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Well you just got way too many secrets etc..between your ears and they need to stay there for state security reasons, so this Snowden dude is no hero, he is no patriot.

The secrets are not for state security, they are for corrupt government security. The government is acting against the people.

Try blowing whistles with the mafia and see what will happen.

The mafia go to jail.

Anyone who didnt think or consider the US was monitoring communications and keeping massive data bases was either very naive or very silly.

But interestingly, in March when Senator Ron Wyden asked director of national intelligence James Clapper during a Senate hearing: "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all from millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?"

Clapper's response (under oath): "No sir". [this guy belongs in jail] http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2013/jun/07/privacy-wyden-clapper-nsa-video

Then when it really matters, like in the Boston bombers, or the recent killers of a soldier in London, the security forces just totally fail.

Interesting, that. If Americans never faced things like the Boston bombing, they would never have accepting this NSA spying....hmmm....

If I have nothing to hide, I do not need to prove it to anyone. If the government thinks I have something to hide (probable cause) they need to prove it to a judge. The US is approaching dictatorship (has reached it?), considering the government can continue to get away with what it has been doing. Allowing them to spy on everyone will only make things worse for the entire country.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

Farmboy: When I call family in the US from Japan, I am part of that metadata, and it pisses me off that the government is getting any kind of information at all about me and about my relatives. I haven't committed any crime, I haven't agreed to it, and they don't pay my phone bill, so I want them out of the picture.

Have your family send you a wire transfer to your Japanese bank. Then compare that to your metadata.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I was going to say Snowden is looking at a long prism sentence, but then decided not to.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=87b_1370810696

Watch his interview. At least we have one of the story before the spin to make him a monster putting everyone in danger starts...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I have nothing against any government agency reading my emails or listening to my phone calls. However, I can think of a million ways they could spend their time more productively and with a much smaller burden on the taxpayer.

We need more people like Snowden, Manning and Assange - especially in Japan - to show up some of the atrocities, social crimes and lies that certain governments are committing.

Not mentioning any names, of course.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I guess perhaps there are some embarrassing things I have done that I would rather not made public.

No kidding. An NSA whistleblower that came out a few years ago claimed agents were getting kicks listening in on salacious or tantalizing phone calls (pillow tax, sex talk etc) that had been intercepted. A lot more fun than working to keep terrorists from penetrating our borders or tracking 2 deeply suspect Chechen brothers using cell phones to call back & forth to their family in Russia.

Laws don’t exist to protect the ‘powerful & corrupt’ - those people can take care of themselves. And yes, once morally bankrupt people move into the class of ‘powerful and corrupt’ we need to create laws around them to keep them from abusing power. It is the way civilized societies work.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@bertie

We need more people like Snowden, Manning and Assange - especially in Japan - to show up some of the atrocities, social crimes and lies that certain governments are committing.

Not mentioning any names, of course.

You mean like this? Not mentioning any names, but this would be a good start.

http://www.aolnews.com/2011/03/16/wikileaks-japan-was-warned-about-nuclear-plant-safety-cables-s/

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Super,

"Have your family send you a wire transfer to your Japanese bank. Then compare that to your metadata."

Exactly. Even transferring paltry sums from four figures upwards within EU countries involves scandalous official scrutiny with only slightly less personal intrusion than a rectal examination.

The US has been listening to everyone and everything since the end of WW2 - this is hardly news to most of us. Seriously people, you're happy with the likes of Google and Facebook storing and/or fondling your files but not the US government?

Is there much difference?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Is there much difference?

Yes, there is. If Google makes a mistake, they don't bring you in for questioning. Also, we know, more or less, what Google can legally do. They don't operate under secret laws, unless the government leans on them.

Nobody really knows the full extent of government operations, or their capabilities. We only know what they say, and the only people who are monitoring this are also part of the government. Democracies are to be run "with the consent of the governed." This isn't democratic, and it's going to bring us less, not more, security. Databases can be hacked. It's also a huge expense. With so many out of work, and with infrastructure in disrepair, I don't want my taxes going to fund Big Brother.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

He would be wise to go to Russia and his freedom. So America is doing all of the things the evil foe is to make Americans safe? Assassinations, wiretapping, no privacy and to have a big brother country. Slavery is Freedom, War is Peace and Ignorance is Strength. Big Brother is not in Russia or Mainland China but in America. Run dude! If they catch you it is torture and prison, they will make you an unperson.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Farmboy: Also, we know, more or less, what Google can legally do. They don't operate under secret laws, unless the government leans on them.

Did you hear about the Google Maps camera truck lifting information off of people's unsecured wifi? It was an accident, apparently.

Nobody really knows the full extent of government operations, or their capabilities. We only know what they say, and the only people who are monitoring this are also part of the government.

At the very least you should agree that the government, in order to function, is going to have to have at lease some degree of confidentiality. We're talking about how much is too much, not that any is too much.

Yes, there is. If Google makes a mistake, they don't bring you in for questioning.

Here's where logistics come into play. The type of system you are worried about would require massive, massive manpower. And with that would come the threat that someone would leak details. And these men would have to go out and interview their "mistakes." And those mistakes will finish the meeting and then pick up the phone to call a journalist. Mistakes are impossible to eliminate, even cops make them, but I don't think the system you fear so much is even possible no will it ever be.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites