The Broken Whistle-blower System in the US Government 

You could also entitle this, “Why Snowden Was Right to Leave the US.” Ex-US Official Reveals Risks Faced By Internal Govt. Critics – SPIEGEL ONLINE

Though Snowden figures prominently, this is really the story of Thomas Drake, and John Crane. They were two other whistle-blowers in the intelligence community, and they were destroyed because they thought the .gov should have to obey the law. (Though Snowden is more quotable than either of them.)

There are no incentives for people to stand up against an agency on the wrong side of the law today, and that’s got to change.

The article details 2 whistle-blowers in the US government – specifically in the intelligence community. And while they were both right – the .gov was wasting BILLIONS of taxpayer money spying on US citizens – the cover-up ended their careers and eliminated their pensions.

“When I was at NSA, everybody knew that for anything more serious than workplace harassment, going through the official process was a career-ender at best. It’s a part of the culture,” Snowden told SPIEGEL and the Guardian when asked about the Crane case. “If your boss in the mail room lies on his time sheets, the inspector general might look into it. But if you’re Thomas Drake, and you find out the president of the United States ordered the warrantless wiretapping of everyone in the country, what’s the inspector general going to do? They’re going to flush it — and you with it.”

Spiegel likes the current US President, but the undertones are clear; Obama is suffering from the same disease that Nixon had. (If the President does it, then it isn’t illegal.) And they stated – up front – that Obama is just plain wrong when he says Snowden could have “worked within the system.” They system would have chewed him up and spit him out – after 35 years in prison.

Don’t expect to see the US media cover this. It might tip the election in a way they don’t like.

Snowden gets the last word.

Even today, he says, there isn’t a single whistleblower from the intelligence community whose disclosures didn’t lead to retaliation.

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Daniel Ellsberg of the Pentagon Papers: Snowden would not get a fair trial

It is impossible for anyone inside the NSA (or CIA or whatever) to be a whistleblower. The levels of secrecy are written in law. In effect, there is no way to control the beast. Daniel Ellsberg: Snowden would not get a fair trial – and Kerry is wrong.

John Kerry’s challenge to Snowden to return and face trial is either disingenuous or simply ignorant that current prosecutions under the Espionage Act allow no distinction whatever between a patriotic whistleblower and a spy. Either way, nothing excuses Kerry’s slanderous and despicable characterizations of a young man who, in my opinion, has done more than anyone in or out of government in this century to demonstrate his patriotism, moral courage and loyalty to the oath of office the three of us swore: to support and defend the Constitution of the United States

Go read the whole thing.

Edward Snowden: Patriot or Traitor?

On general principles, I am opposed to government surveillance of me or any American (or most Europeans for that matter) that is not under the control of a court. And while the secret court protests that it is not a rubber stamp, that is exactly how they have acted. This isn’t a new thing. It goes back to Echelon which dates from the Clinton Administration. That’s why I have always found it difficult to accept the official line of Snowden as traitor. "Edward Snowden is a Patriot": Ex-NSA CIA, FBI and Justice Whistleblowers Meet Leaker in Moscow | Democracy Now!.

A group of whistle-blowers flew to Moscow to give Snowden an award.

They are former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, former FBI agent Coleen Rowley, former National Security Agency senior executive Thomas Drake, and former U.S. Justice Department ethics adviser Jesselyn Radack, now of the Government Accountability Project. On Wednesday, the group presented Snowden with an award from the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence.

The old East German secret police (Stazi – not exactly secret) essentially had a motto of “Know Everything.” Congress and the past several administrations have created a surveillance state that would have had the Stazi turning cartwheels. They know everything.

How often do you use your cell-phone? To check messages, to search the internet, to update Facebook, whatever. They know where you are, who you are with, everything. That is not the way America is supposed to be. But many things are not the way they are supposed to be.

Sam Adams wasn’t the guy from the Boston Tea Party. Ray McGovern explains.

He was given the account to count up how many communist forces were under arms in South Vietnam, and discovered in 1967 that there were twice as many as our generals in Saigon would admit to. They said there could be no more than 299,000 enemy under arms. The precision of that number, sound like 1,429 people gassed to death in Damascus? The specificity of the thing gives it away. In any case, he fought the good fight, but his uppers, the superiors, director helms, caved and would not tell the president the real story. And Sam went to his death with profound regret that he didn’t go outside of channels. He stayed inside channels, where he got diddled and diddled and diddled by the inspector general of the Pentagon, of the CIA. And had he spoken out in 1967, halfway through that war, those of you who know what the Vietnam Memorial looks like, the whole left part of that memorial wouldn’t be there, because there’d be no names to chisel into that granite. And Sam went to his early death with profound regret that he hadn’t spoken out.

Snowden Covered His Tracks – Others Probably Have Too

You can’t design a system that is secure from your administrators. Snowden suspected of covering electronic tracks – Yahoo! News.

The disclosure undermines the Obama administration’s assurances to Congress and the public that the NSA surveillance programs can’t be abused because its spying systems are so aggressively monitored and audited for oversight purposes: If Snowden could defeat the NSA’s own tripwires and internal burglar alarms, how many other employees or contractors could do the same?

I love it when people who have no idea how technology works, make pronouncements about it. Usually it is funny. In this instance it is just sad.

Governments Now Treating Journalists as Terrorists

So it is official, the west has morphed into the old Soviet Union. Mostly as a result of 9/11, but Echelon was signed into law by Clinton… Detainment of Glenn Greenwald’s partner an abuse of U.K. Terrorism Act

The short story is that the partner of one of the journalists working with Snowden has been detained in the UK. On suspicion of “terrorism.” Really, the crime is “embarrassing the powers-that-be.”

Everyone involved has earned the wrath of the UK and US governments. And those governments are acting like tyrannies the world over.

Poitras, who is not a terrorist, has lost count of the number of times she has been detained at airports for no apparent reason under laws aimed at stopping terrorism. This New York Times magazine story about the senseless travails the U.S. government has visited on her should disgust all freedom-loving Americans.

Welcome to the police state.

The security state that began in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks – something that once seemed as inconceivable as Americans engaging in government-approved torture – is no longer just a fearsome possibility.

We are living it.