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Explaining why Reality Winner is still in prison with Kerry Howley: podcast and transcript – NBC News

In the summer of 2017, a 25-year-old government contractor exposed detailed evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Reality Winner printed out classified U.S. Intelligence documents, hid the papers in her pantyhose as she left work and then put them in the mail to The Intercept. The report they published was the first piece of concrete evidence shared with the public proving that the United States possessed tangible evidence that Russians hackers attacked American voting systems.

After The Intercept published the story complete with scans of the original papers authorities immediately traced the leak back to Reality Winner. She was arrested, denied bail and is now serving five years in a federal prison. Kerry Howley wrote an in-depth profile of Reality Winner for New York Magazine and joins to share the compelling story of who Winner is, why she did it and the severe treatment she's received at the hands of the United States government.

KERRY HOWLEY: It's about, in the wake of 9/11, this massive secret state that we build that's outside of democratic processes. It's not accountable to anyone. We don't even know what it costs necessarily. That's massively geographically distributed and involves 100,000 of our fellow Americans who go to work every day and can't tell their families what they do. And it's like, who are those people, right? And we picture 60-year-old white men who are grim in suits. But no, there are people like Reality Winner. There are young people, people who have been pulled into this world that's completely hidden.

CHRIS HAYES: Hello and welcome to Why Is This Happening? with me, your host, Chris Hayes.

So, there's basically three prongs to Russian interference in the 2016 election two of which we basically have comprehensive knowledge about (or a lot of knowledge about), and one of which remains somewhat murky and occluded.

The first is the hacking of emails, right? They hacked the DNC server, they hacked John Podesta's email who's the campaign chair, I think, for the Hillary Clinton campaign. Those emails then were distributed via WikiLeaks and they drove huge amounts of press coverage, were very damaging to the Clinton campaign. We know about that thanks to both forensic reports from private firms, from statements put up by the intelligence agencies, and also most comprehensively the Mueller indictments that walk through the hacking operation.

There's also the kind of bot network, the Internet Research Agency, which was doing all this stuff on social media, trolling and running Facebook ads, and even in some crazy cases organizing groups of demonstrators, like of Americans from their headquarters in St. Petersburg, I believe. So, that's one

And then the third is in some ways like the most ominous but also the one that's been the least transparently discussed and that is Russian hackers probing various U.S. elections systems. We have some information about that. Some has been made public, some has been made sort of half-public. There's this thing that keeps happening in which the government will say that [the Russians] attempted to penetrate certain election systems, and then not tell us which ones or to what extent.facet.

And the first time that we really learned about the attempts by Russian hackers to get into election software which, let's just keep in mind that this is real kind of apocalyptic stuff, right? I mean, a foreign intelligence apparatus penetrating the software upon which U.S. votes are registered is really scary stuff. I mean, you could imagine them deleting and mass voter registrations causing chaos. You could imagine them in the most extreme setting, changing vote tallies.

None of that happened as far as we know, evidence that any of that happened but they were rooting around those systems, and the degree to which they were able to penetrate them remains somewhat unclear. And in the summer of 2017, June 2017, there was an article about this effort. It was sort of the first big published article, and it appeared in a publication called The Intercept.

The Intercept was an interesting place for it to appear. The Intercept was founded in 2014. It was bankrolled by Pierre Omidyar, who is the billionaire who made a bunch of money in eBay, and its of first three big flagship founders were Laura Poitras, who's a filmmaker who documented Edward Snowden's time in that Hong Kong hotel room. If you've ever seen a movie about that, it's incredible. Glenn Greenwald, who was the person who got the Snowden documents. And Jeremy Scahill, longtime reporter and writer who worked for The Nation, among other places.

And the sort of editorial perspective of the publication has always been deeply skeptical of the intelligence apparatus, intelligence officials, the U.S. military industrial complex has championed whistleblowers folks like Edward Snowden. That term is obviously loaded when you're talking about Edward Snowden, but from their perspective, he's a whistleblower.

And there had also been, I think, sort of prominent editorial voices there: Greenwald chief among them, had been very skeptical of stories about Russian election interference and manipulation, that that should be taken with a grain of salt, that perhaps it was being overstated and manipulated. And so when this story appeared in The Intercept, it was both a huge scoop.

The story had actual U.S. intelligence documents that showed that Russian hackers had attempted this spear phishing which is the way they got into Podesta's email against a variety of American election software firms. Again, big deal, and it was the first, if I'm not mistaken, first time that we really had concrete evidence that there was tangible intelligence info that the U.S. government had possession of that showed the scope of the ambitions of what Russian hackers were doing in 2016.

That story was published. It was very notable and interesting. It appeared in The Intercept when what it demonstrated seemed to be in some tension with the kind of posture of some of the most prominent editorial voices there. And then a few days later, the person who leaked this information, a contractor with the NSA, a woman by the name Reality Winner, was arrested by the FBI. She was denied bail and ultimately sentenced to five years in federal prison.

Now, what she did was a violation of law. It was classified information that she leaked. That's illegal, but the treatment of her has been honestly insane. There is no credible evidence that the publishing of this information harm national security in any way. In fact, a lot of it hasn't been made public subsequently. In fact, there's a good case to be made it's information we should know as an informed public.

She is serving a five year sentence in federal prison and she is a really interesting case because she's the kind of person that you could imagine being kind of cause clbre as happens often with whistleblowers. People who come forward to distribute information they feel the government is hiding that the public should know about. But she's a strange case because she doesn't have a kind of natural ideological cohort backing her.

The folks on the left, who are very skeptical of intelligence agencies, and the so-called deep state, fit awkwardly with what she was trying to demonstrate in her leak, which was to convince the folks at The Intercept that the Russia thing is real. It's really happening. They really, really did do some gnarly stuff and you should take this seriously. So, there's not this sort of like built-in kind of base to support Reality Winner on the elements on the left ideological spectrum, that have been the sort of base for support of intelligence, whistleblowers and leakers.

And on the right, she was showing that Russia really was putting it some on the scale on behalf of Donald Trump. And there's no ideological appetite on that side either.

And so her case, I think, has been caught in this kind of shameful limbo. And what's been done to her is just to my mind, insane. I mean, what she did was rash. It was impulsive, it was a violation of both the law and what the oath she had taken in her job. All of that is unquestionably true, but five years in federal prison for what she did is just an unbelievable penalty.

And the government's treatment of her, as you'll hear in this conversation, has been just relentlessly punitive at every single turn. And the human story of who she is and why she did what she did is a super compelling one. I first kind of came upon the full human story in this fantastic profile that was written about her back in 2017 by a phenomenal nonfiction writer named Kerry Howley. It's called Who Is Reality Winner? And subsequently Kerry wrote a screenplay about Reality Winner that has now been acquired, and I think it's going to go into production. It can be an upcoming film called Winner.

And I had been wanting for a while to take a deep dive on Reality Winner's case, because it's stands at the nexus of so many of the issues that kind of run through our discourse right now about who to trust, about the so-called deep state, about the ways in which career government officials are wrestling with the Trump era and the Trump moment and when to go against their bosses and when to make information public and what we know and don't know and what secrets lurk out there. All of which kind of hangs over the entirety of our political discourse in the moment of Trump, particularly in the wake of the manipulation of the 2016 election and the criminal sabotage conducted by a foreign intelligence agency in Russia.

So, Kerry Howley very kindly agreed to come on the podcast and talk about who Reality Winner is, what happened to her, what her story is and I think it is both an incredible story about the moment we're in in this country and also just a really, I think, moving human story about the complex motives that go into a person who decides to take a risk like Reality Winner did.

I want to just start at the most basic level with the story because I think the details of it are not very well known despite the fact they are fascinating and unnerving in many ways. Maybe just tell me: Who is Reality Winner?

KERRY HOWLEY: Right. Reality Winner was a 25-year-old NSA contractor working in Iranian aerospace at NSA, Georgia in Augusta. One day she walked into her job and she had come across a document that detailed Russian election interference at a level of detail that we hadn't yet seen publicly at that point.

She prints it out, that document, folds it up, put it in her pantyhose and walked out, and sometime later mailed it to The Intercept, where it was subsequently published and she's currently serving a sentence of 63 months in a maximum security in Fort Worth for that crime.

CHRIS HAYES: That is a pretty long sentence.

KERRY HOWLEY: It's the longest sentence ever for a leak prosecution...

CHRIS HAYES: The longest ever?

KERRY HOWLEY: Yes.

CHRIS HAYES: Let's go back. I mean, the first thing when I heard about this story, and this is a dumb surface thing, but her name. The first thought was like, "Who is the kind of person who's named Reality and to which household does a baby come that then gets named Reality?"

KERRY HOWLEY: I think that has actually been a problem for raising awareness of Reality's case and the analysis does tend to stop there. Like, really? In this age in which everything seems so absurd we're going to add the name Reality Winner to the pile? But another hilarious aspect of this is that she has a sister named Brittany. Brittany and Reality. Her father gave her that name. Her parents had decided that her mother would get to name the first and her father would name the second.

The larger question of who is Reality Winner is a fascinating character study. I mean, as soon as I started researching this, I was hit with just how hilarious this person is. The legal documents that I was accessing just to begin the story, to begin the process of telling the story, involved her FBI interrogation. She's hilarious in her FBI interrogation. Her Facebook messages, which were brought up in court with her sister are very funny.

She's a vegan, she's a social justice activist. She is a gun rights supporter. She's just one of these millennials who crosses lines, right? She doesn't fit easily into any particular box. That made her really fun to write about.

CHRIS HAYES: How did she end up working as a contractor for the NSA?

KERRY HOWLEY: That's a really good question. And it's really the animating question, I think, of the profile and in some ways the film. How does this person who is so invested in social justice, thinks of herself as someone who raises awareness about all these causes, about what she has great anxiety, like global warming and Syrian War orphans and African elephants? How does this person end up, not just at the NSA, but a contractor for the NSA?

It's a very complicated question to answer. It starts with her joining up with the Air Force, which is something that I think she saw as a humanitarian act. She didn't see the goals of her idealistic humanitarianism and joining up with the military to be intention at all. And I don't think many people in Kingsville, Texas, where she's from necessarily do.

And so she signs up and she ends up actually in the drone program. She's trying to go abroad. She ends up a linguist. So, the Air Force trains her as a linguist. She's fluent in Farsi, Dari, and Pashto...

CHRIS HAYES: Wait, let me just stop you there. I mean, the armed services always need more people who speak languages like those. It's very hard to train people to speak them because those languages are difficult to learn if you're a native English speaker, and the world of people that can train and learn Dari and Pashto is fairly small. It's not like learning Spanish. She must have some considerable aptitude if she's able to acquire some level of mastery or competence in those.

KERRY HOWLEY: Absolutely. I mean, I think she was very good at her job. All of this is classified. It's very hard to get people to talk about their participation in the drone program. But those who would talk to me said things like, "She was excellent and very professional," and she clearly had an aptitude for languages and she had this job where all day long she's listening to communications and she knows she's eavesdropping on people in Pakistan, transcribing. And those translations were used for military actions, right? People, it seems, would have died due to her translations. It's a very serious, troubling job that I think caused her a lot of anxiety and guilt.

CHRIS HAYES: She goes into the air force with this kind of... She's someone who's very animated by social justice, really cares about global causes particularly, she goes into the Air Force with a kind of view that this would be a means to that end. She ends up training as a linguist and then she's surveilling folks in Pakistan and using the product of that surveillance to target people that will then be blown up by airstrikes.

KERRY HOWLEY: Yes, and I think her vision had been, "Okay, I'm going to go in for a little while. I'm going to learn these languages and then I'm not going to use these languages to eavesdrop. I'm going to use them to go over to Pakistan and work in a refugee camp," or some direct kind of helping.

CHRIS HAYES: She saw this as sort of a step on the way and then she has these language skills and she can go help these folks directly.

KERRY HOWLEY: I think so, and she's constantly trying to deploy. She's trying to go abroad, but there just isn't that opportunity. When she finally gets out, she's searching, and this later it comes up in her trial. When the DOJ attempts to characterize her as some nefarious terrorist sympathizer, she's searching for jobs in Afghanistan and Pakistan with nonprofits, but she doesn't have a college degree because she's gone straight into the Air Force.

KERRY HOWLEY: And there is this pipeline from the military into these contractor jobs because these military contractors are always desperate for people who have security clearance. When she cannot find a job that she wants, she ends up at this contractor, which was never, I don't think, the future she envisioned herself.

CHRIS HAYES: Wow. That's fascinating. She gets these language skills. She's on the drone program. She wants to go do nonprofit working. She ends up sort of through this kind of inertia.

KERRY HOWLEY: Right, this conveyor belt, this machine. Yeah.

CHRIS HAYES: Because they need people that are already... have clearance, and she finds herself doing... What is the work that she does for the NSA contractor?

KERRY HOWLEY: What we know is that she was working in the field of Iranian aerospace. I don't know more than that or really what even that means.

CHRIS HAYES: She's there. At this point, do we know what her sort of feelings are about, I don't know, the war on terror, the American state, the American military industrial complex, her role in all of it? Does she have kind of... in the case of, say, Edward Snowden, there's this kind of trajectory of a kind of dawning awareness in which he starts out thinking like, "I'm gung-ho about this," and then being, "There's serious abuses and this is too much." And kind of having this sort of crisis of conscience. Does she have an arc like that here?

KERRY HOWLEY: It's not so clear. I mean, I think it's complicated. I think that she was deeply troubled by atrocities that she was listening to and hearing about that were committed by ISIS. In some way she saw herself as protecting the vulnerable when she was at the NSA... or in the drone program, excuse me. But she also... she was no fan of Donald Trump. She mostly had very progressive politics. She has this compulsion to help. She's one of these people who is constantly trying to improve everywhere she is.

She's not great at compartmentalizing. She, like many 25-year-olds, believes very strongly in her own capacity to see right from wrong. And that is really... it's a great character to write because if you are determined to improve everyone you meet and every situation you find yourself in, that's a recipe for conflict. And it's like a disaster for the NSA, which depends on conformity and compartmentalization.

CHRIS HAYES: Yeah. The whole point is you do what you're told and you do it competently and quietly, but you're not like... no one's looking for Joan of Arc, right?

KERRY HOWLEY: Right.

CHRIS HAYES: ... in those situations, that's not what you're looking for.

KERRY HOWLEY: I think one of the things that attracted me to this story is ... I can remember being 25 and the intellectual rigidity of that time. It's a time, I think, of great intellectual fulfillment and certainty, and to confront a 25-year-old with a question of, "Are you going to respect the oath you made to this federal agency or an obligation you think you have to the American electorate?" I think that's a great burden to put on an intellectually engaged 25-year-old.

CHRIS HAYES: Why is that the question she faces?

KERRY HOWLEY: The document she came across detailed a spear phishing attack on a provider of election software which had been successful. The Russian intelligence had attained login credentials and was then able to email a bunch of state level election officials. And this was a time we forget that this ever happened but this was a time when people on the left and the right were saying things like, "There is no hard evidence that the Russians attempted to interfere in our election." She was hearing that on Fox News, which was played consistently at her job at NSA Augusta, to the point where she actually filed a formal complaint asking them to change the channel.

CHRIS HAYES: Are you serious?

KERRY HOWLEY: Yes. This is her, right? She gets to a place and she's like, "Things need to change."

CHRIS HAYES: Like, for instance, "You need to shut off the Trump TV on my television."

KERRY HOWLEY: Yeah. She's also hearing it at The Intercept, which is a publication that she was following. She asked for a transcript of a podcast that The Intercept had done in which someone states, "Literally there's no hard evidence that the Russians have attempted to interfere in our election." And so you can see one way to tell this story is that she was responding to that statement.

CHRIS HAYES: Around what time is this, that this is happening?

KERRY HOWLEY: This was May 2017.

CHRIS HAYES: Right. What's frustrating about that is that it had been pretty well established by May 2017. You've got the intelligence agencies saying back in 2016 that that's their determination, but I can understand people being skeptical of them. But you also have private security actors who say pretty quickly, "Look, we've done a forensic review and the Russians were in these systems, they were definitely in the DNC." There's a fair amount of evidence by May 2017, but it's an important point I just want to stay on, which is that there are lots of people denying that for a very long period of time, on the left and on the right.

KERRY HOWLEY: Right. And the Obama administration I think was... they were worried about being too loud about this, because they didn't want to be seen as sewing paranoia about the election in a way that looked like they were trying to rig things for Hillary Clinton. And so they would send out these very vague notices to state level election officials, "Be on high alert," the kind of thing where it's like you're getting a notification to change your password, but what really didn't came across was a level of specificity that was new.

And, in fact, after the document appeared, the Election Assistance Commission which is the federal agency whose job it is to communicate with state level election officials sent out an alert saying, Hey, look at this. This is new to us. State level election officials were upset, they said, No one told us about this attack and we would've like to have known about it.

CHRIS HAYES: So her specifically, you're saying she's watching Fox News and she's listening to The Intercept podcast, and The Intercept had some folks who are skeptical about Russian interference. She gets a transcript of a podcast in which someone is saying there is no hard evidence, and then she comes across this not just hard evidence, but truly astoundingly unnerving hard evidence which is like, they didn't just get into the inbox of a dude named John Podesta (which itself was massively destructive to the entire election) but a log in into an election software company. It's pretty scary stuff.

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KERRY HOWLEY: Yeah. The potential to change voter rolls is scary, and I think she felt... What she said during her FBI interrogation was, "I can't believe this wasn't already out there, that someone else hadn't already leaked it."

CHRIS HAYES: And it's funny because subsequently there's been reporting on precisely this, independent of her leak. Right? It has sort of come out through different reporting, that it's been the subject of tremendous controversy. You have a situation in Florida in which Bill Nelson was running for Senate and sort of said... mentioned offhandedly that their state election system had been penetrated, or at least attempted to be penetrated, and people were like, What are you talking about crazy old man? And then it turned out that he was right.

KERRY HOWLEY: Yeah. Yeah. If you talk to election security experts, they'll say, This is precisely the kind of thing we've been worrying about publicly for a long time, but nobody listens because who wants to talk about election... people get bored immediately when you say the words "election security." But this idea of the vulnerability of vendors apparently had been a weakness that people knew about, and now those experts can say, Look, it's actually happened, here's the evidence.

CHRIS HAYES: Is it an impulsive situation where she prints this thing out? Is it a plant? Is it, she's like, I'm going to set these people right ? Because what's so crazy to me about this leak is that she is trying to correct the false sense of media figures that she trusts. She's like, No, you guys, I like you and you're right about so many things, but you're wrong about this and I want to just show you that you're wrong.

KERRY HOWLEY: Yeah. My impression and something that she does say in a jailhouse phone call is that it was impulsive, but I think we can say it was impulsive and came from good intentions.

CHRIS HAYES: Right. I guess my point is that she's a strange sort of figure because this is not whistle blowing, in the sense she's not like, Oh, look at this abuse that's happening in the surveillance agency I live in. Or like, Look at these civilians that we the U.S. government killed. It's, No, actually the attack against the Americans by the Russians is a real thing, you skeptics of Russian interference.

KERRY HOWLEY: Right. And I think it's been really frustrating to her family that not only other leakers like say, Petraeus, or the president has also shared classified information, have not been punished in the same way.

CHRIS HAYES: Yeah. We should say the president is different constitutionally because all classification authority flows from him, so he can declassify anything he wants to.

KERRY HOWLEY: Sure. But take the example of Petraeus. He was charged with a misdemeanor and never did any jail time. Other people, like say, Michael Cohen or Maria Butina people who did not have the best of intentions have done less jail time or been sentenced to less jail time, and I think that's been of great frustration to her and her family.

CHRIS HAYES: I want to get into the chain of events that led to her arrest and sentencing and we'll do that after this break.

So she prints this out, she smuggles it out and what does she do with the printout?

KERRY HOWLEY: She snail mails it to The Intercept.

CHRIS HAYES: And they get it and they write a story based on it?

KERRY HOWLEY: They get it, and this becomes quite murky, we've never gotten a full accounting of what happened and why, but... I'm not an investigative reporter but my understanding is when you get a leaked document, you never share the image of that document with the agency from which it was leaked, because that has traceable information.

CHRIS HAYES: Right.

KERRY HOWLEY: That someone at The Intercept sent an image of the document to a contractor who was then legally obligated to show it to the NSA, which then immediately located Reality. Only a few people had printed this out. Only one of those people had downloaded a transcript from The Intercept. And...

CHRIS HAYES: She did that on her government account, on her contractor account?

KERRY HOWLEY: I believe so.

CHRIS HAYES: Oh, God. There's traceable information because there's actually... My understanding is there's a security system on the printer. That it's built in. That there's traceable signals embedded in the document that say who printed out the thing.

KERRY HOWLEY: Yeah, that's my impression too. So it's not entirely clear why that happened from a publication that prides itself on supporting whistleblowers, and of course was founded with the intention of disseminating information that Snowden had acquired, but she was basically immediately apprehended after that.

CHRIS HAYES: So in the course of reporting, they share the document; the document makes its way back to the NSA. The NSA does not have a very tough detective trail to trace down until they find that this contractor who's working for them in Augusta, Georgia printed this out and apparently leaked it. What's the timing between... from how long The Intercept gets it to her being arrested?

KERRY HOWLEY: I think it's a while before The Intercept publishes it because they think it's probably fake, because it's postmarked Augusta. I think it took them a while to trust that this was legitimate. But once they published it, it was a matter of hours before [the authorities] were at her house.

CHRIS HAYES: Oh wow. So it gets published and they're there in a matter of hours.

KERRY HOWLEY: I think so.

CHRIS HAYES: What is the government... what do they charge her with and what's the case like that they build against her?

KERRY HOWLEY: They charge her with willful retention and transmission of national defense information, which is under the Espionage Act which is, of course, an act intended to punish spies, but which really the Obama administration used very zealously to punish whistleblowers and leakers. And so she has almost no opportunity to mount a defense because, under this act, intention doesn't matter. She's already confessed in her laundry room to the FBI...

CHRIS HAYES: Wait

Kerry Howley and all they have to do is... She confessed.

CHRIS HAYES: Wait. OK, let's step back. She confesses in her laundry room? Take me through that.

KERRY HOWLEY: They show up at her door... It's a riveting transcript, which has actually been turned into a stage play in which she's really charming, and funny and intelligent and vulnerable, but she deflects for a while and then she says basically, I felt helpless. I wanted to know why this information hadn't already been leaked.

And so, when it comes time to mount a defense, there's very little available to her defense team. And every motion they made to kind of broaden the case to questions of the First Amendment was rejected, so she basically had to take a plea deal because they were seeking a full 10 years.

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Explaining why Reality Winner is still in prison with Kerry Howley: podcast and transcript - NBC News

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New Maryland Bill Will Make Possession of Ransomware Illegal – CryptoVibes

A new bill introduced in the Maryland Senate aims to make the possession of ransomware illegal in the state.

In May 2019, the city of Baltimore experienced its biggest run-in with ransomware. One of the largest municipalities in the city was attacked by ransomware and malicious actors asked for 13 Bitcoins to release their systems. They held the data of the city hostage for about 3 weeks after which the authorities had to pay the cryptocurrency amount and regain access to their systems. This was the second time in one year that the citys IT infrastructure was attacked.

Now, Democratic State Senator Susan Lee has introduced a new bill that would make the possession of ransomware a crime. However, to protect cybersecurity researchers who may have access to such software, Lee wrote that the crime would be applicable only when a person holds the ransomware with an intent to harm another computer, system or database. Though the bill isnt enough to stop cryptojacking, it gives legal backing to the prosecutors and law enforcement who get hold of such malicious actors.

Even though cryptojacking and ransomware are two of the biggest threats to computer systems these days, there are very few states in the US that have adequate legislation to deal with them. The growing number of criminal activities in these two sectors has created big problems IT infrastructure operators.

Cybersecurity research firm Proofpoint recently reported that about half of US organizations were victims of phishing and ransomware in 2019. Even though the FBI is trying to ramp up its preparedness to handle cybercrime, they is yet to catch up with the consistently increasing number of victims.

Security researchers pointed out a large number of malware that are being used to operate ransomware attacks. Even the NSA was attacked by hackers called Shadow Brokers who then sold the hacking tools used by the government agency on the dark web. A malware called Robinhood targeted Baltimore. Other prominent malicious software on the market are Wannacry, Ryuk, and Eternal Blue, the NSAs own tool.

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New Maryland Bill Will Make Possession of Ransomware Illegal - CryptoVibes

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Microsoft patches Windows 10 after NSA finds vulnerability

Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft Corp., pauses while speaking during a Microsoft product event in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019.

Mark Kauzlarich | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The National Security Agency alerted Microsoft in recent weeks to a significant issue affecting its Windows 10 operating system, ubiquitous within corporations and among consumers, two senior federal cybersecurity officials told CNBC.

The flaw affected encryption of digital signatures used to authenticate content, including software or files. If exploited, the flaw could allow criminals to send malicious content with fake signatures that make it appear safe. The finding was reported earlier by The Washington Post.

"Patching like this, in general, should always be important, but the fact that the NSA is the one that disclosed this to Microsoft as well gave it some more importance," said Satnam Narang, a senior research engineer with cybersecurity company Tenable. Attackers often will steal security certificates in order to send a victim a malicious file that appears to be trustworthy, but with this flaw, the attacker can simply spoof the Microsoft certificate, making the process much easier, Narang said.

It is unclear how long the NSA knew about the flaw before reporting it to Microsoft. The cooperation, however, is a departure from past interactions between the NSA and major software developers such as Microsoft. In the past, the top security agency has kept some major vulnerabilities secret in order to use them as part of the U.S. tech arsenal.

In a statement, Microsoft declined to confirm or offer further details. "We follow the principles of coordinated vulnerability disclosure as the industry best practice to protect our customers from reported security vulnerabilities. To prevent unnecessary risk to customers, security researchers and vendors do not discuss the details of reported vulnerabilities before an update is available."

Jeff Jones, a senior director at Microsoft said in a statement Tuesday: "Customers who have already applied the update, or have automatic updates enabled, are already protected. As always we encourage customers to install all security updates as soon as possible." Microsoft told CNBC that it had not seen any exploitation of the flaw "in the wild," which means outside a lab testing environment.

"I do want to stress that this information just dropped in the last hour, and it is still pretty fresh. So we are trying to fully grasp how this plays into the grand scheme of things," said Narang at Tenable, who wrote further about the flaw in a blog post today. "In the grand scheme of things, this is just another tool in the toolbox for attackers."

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Microsoft patches Windows 10 after NSA finds vulnerability

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NSA tips off Microsoft to security flaw | TheHill – The Hill

The National Security Agency (NSA) found and notified Microsoft of what it called a serious vulnerability inthe company's Windows 10 operating system that could potentially expose computer users to significant breaches, surveillance or disruption, officials announced Tuesday.

The public disclosure is unlike the NSA's usual approach of using such flaws to build hacking toolsthat allow the agency to spy on adversaries networks, according to The Washington Post. Rather, officials released a fix.

This is ... a change in approach ... by NSA of working to share, working to lean forward, and then working to really share the data as part of building trust, Anne Neuberger, director of the NSAs Cybersecurity Directorate, which was launched in October, told the Post.

The NSA discovered an error in the Microsoft code that verifies digital signatures, which could enable a hacker to forge the signature and breach a computer.

The patch is the only comprehensive means to mitigate the risk, the NSA's statement read. While means exist to detect or prevent some forms of exploitation, none of them are complete or fully reliable.

Microsoft said it addressed the flaw promptly andreleased a security updateTuesday. Customers who have already applied the update, or have automatic updates enabled, should be protected.

Microsoft told the Post that it has seen no active exploitation of the flaw.

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NSA tips off Microsoft to security flaw | TheHill - The Hill

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NSA goes public with Windows security vulnerability – Technical.ly DC

The Fort Meade, Maryland-based National Security Agencys cybersecurity work typically operates out of view. After all, it famously earned the nickname No Such Agency.

But this week, the NSA went public with a security flaw it found. The serious vulnerability was flagged in Microsoft products including Windows 10 and Server 16. The bug traces to a weakness in a cryptography function that verifies whether a system is downloading software that is legitimately from Microsoft.

You can use that weakness to make Windows [10] systems download and install software that appears to be coming from Microsoft that is not, said Edward Stanford, CTO of Columbia-based Zuul, which works with customers on certificate management and cryptography management for industrial controls and Internet of Things systems.

This could lead attackers to develop new exploits that take control of systems. The NSA alerted Microsoft to the vulnerability, and the company released a patch to fix systems. NSA then went public with a key message: Update systems with a patch.

This is bad, Stanford said. If you do it right then you can take over most networks or computers that are Windows-based. The faster they get patched, the less true that statement will be.

This could affect a broad group of systems, from personal laptops to corporate servers. But installing a patch on a home laptop is a fix on a different scale from making sure an entire companys network is protected.

Now that its a widely known exploit, everyones got to defend against it. Most home systems have an easy button, most corporate systems dont, Stanford said. However, he said of the company systems, that doesnt mean it cant be done.

Plenty of companies have been taking action, as well, including Columbia-based cybersecurity company Tenable,which works with released plugins to identify the vulnerability.

This vulnerability, and the attention its received from various government agencies, is unprecedented. It calls into question our very trust in todays digital world the trust that our encoded communications are secure, said Renaud Deraison, cofounder and CTO of Tenable, in a statement. We implore organizations to patch their systems immediately.

For NSA, the public announcement isnt unprecedented, but its also not a move thats made often. For one, that indicates the severity of the threat posed by the vulnerability. At the same time, Wired noted that its distinct from how the NSA approached a hacking tool known as EternalBlue, which also centered on a Microsoft vulnerability. In that case, NSA did not disclose the flaw publicly. This squares with actions of an intelligence agency looking to gain an edge on the cyber battlefield. But it was later leaked online, and used in attacks. Going forward, NSA Cybersecurity Directorate head Anne Neuberger told reporters this week that the agency will disclose more findings to the public.

Stanford said this weeks public disclosure shows a willingness by NSA to embrace another part of its mission: protecting the countrys infrastructure.

Im really glad they stepped up, saw a problem and helped everyone fix it, he said.

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NSA goes public with Windows security vulnerability - Technical.ly DC

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Edward Snowden – Wikipedia

American whistleblower and former National Security Agency contractor

Edward Joseph Snowden (born June 21, 1983) is an American whistleblower who copied and leaked highly classified information from the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013 when he was a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee and subcontractor. His disclosures revealed numerous global surveillance programs, many run by the NSA and the Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance with the cooperation of telecommunication companies and European governments, and prompted a cultural discussion about national security and individual privacy.

In 2013, Snowden was hired by an NSA contractor, Booz Allen Hamilton, after previous employment with Dell and the CIA.[1] Snowden says he gradually became disillusioned with the programs with which he was involved and that he tried to raise his ethical concerns through internal channels but was ignored. On May 20, 2013, Snowden flew to Hong Kong after leaving his job at an 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 publications including Der Spiegel and The New York Times.

On Snowden's 30th birthday, June 21, 2013, the United States Department of Justice unsealed charges against Snowden of two counts of violating the Espionage Act of 1917 and theft of government property,[2] following which the Department of State revoked his passport.[3] Two days later, he flew into Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport, where Russian authorities noted that his U.S. passport had been cancelled, and he was restricted to the airport terminal for over one month. Russia later granted Snowden the right of asylum with an initial visa for residence for one year, and repeated extensions have permitted him to stay at least until 2020. In early 2016, he became the president of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, a San Francisco-based organization that states its purpose is to protect journalists from hacking and government surveillance.[4] As of 2017 he is married and living in Moscow.[5][6]

On September 17, 2019, his memoir Permanent Record was published.[7] On the first day of publication, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a civil lawsuit against Snowden over publication of his memoir, alleging he had breached nondisclosure agreements signed with the U.S. federal government.[8] Former The Guardian national security reporter Ewen MacAskill called the civil lawsuit a "huge mistake", noting that the "UK ban of Spycatcher 30 years ago created huge demand".[9][10] The memoir was listed as no. 1 on Amazon's bestseller list that same day.[11] In an interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! on September 26, 2019, Snowden clarified he considers himself a "whistleblower" as opposed to a "leaker" as he considers "a leaker only distributes information for personal gain".[12]

Edward Joseph Snowden was born on June 21, 1983,[13] in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.[14] His maternal grandfather, Edward J. Barrett,[15][16] a rear admiral in the U.S. Coast Guard, became a senior official with the FBI and was at the Pentagon in 2001 during the September 11 attacks.[17] Snowden's father, Lonnie, was also an officer in the Coast Guard,[18] and his mother, Elizabeth, is a clerk at the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.[19][20][21][22][23] His older sister, Jessica, was a lawyer at the Federal Judicial Center in Washington, D.C. Edward Snowden said that he had expected to work for the federal government, as had the rest of his family.[24] His parents divorced in 2001,[25] and his father remarried.[26] Snowden scored above 145 on two separate IQ tests.[24]

In the early 1990s, while still in grade school, Snowden moved with his family to the area of Fort Meade, Maryland.[27] Mononucleosis caused him to miss high school for almost nine months.[24] Rather than returning to school, he passed the GED test[28] and took classes at Anne Arundel Community College.[21] Although Snowden had no undergraduate college degree,[29] he worked online toward a master's degree at the University of Liverpool, England, in 2011.[30] He was interested in Japanese popular culture, had studied the Japanese language,[31] and worked for an anime company that had a resident office in the U.S.[32][33] 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."[34] In September 2019, as part of interviews relating to the release of his memoir Permanent Record, Snowden revealed to The Guardian that he married Lindsay Mills in a courthouse in Moscow.[7]

Snowden has said that, in the 2008 presidential election, he voted for a third-party candidate, though he "believed in Obama's promises." Following the election, he believed President Barack Obama was continuing policies espoused by George W. Bush.[35]

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.[28] A week after publication of his leaks began, Ars Technica confirmed that Snowden had been an active participant at the site's online forum from 2001 through May 2012, discussing a variety of topics under the pseudonym "TheTrueHOOHA."[36] In a January 2009 entry, TheTrueHOOHA exhibited strong support for the U.S. security state apparatus and said leakers of classified information "should be shot in the balls."[37] However, Snowden disliked Obama's CIA director appointment of Leon Panetta, saying "Obama just named a fucking politician to run the CIA."[38] Snowden was also offended by a possible ban on assault weapons, writing "Me and all my lunatic, gun-toting NRA compatriots would be on the steps of Congress before the C-Span feed finished."[38] Snowden disliked Obama's economic policies, was against Social Security, and favored Ron Paul's call for a return to the gold standard.[38] In 2014, Snowden supported a basic income.[39]

Feeling a duty to fight in the Iraq War to help free oppressed people,[28] Snowden enlisted in the United States Army Reserve on May 7, 2004, and became a Special Forces candidate through its 18X enlistment option.[40] He did not complete the training[13] because he broke both legs in a training accident,[41] and was discharged on September 28, 2004.[42]

Snowden was then employed for less than a year in 2005 as a security guard at the University of Maryland's Center for Advanced Study of Language, a research center sponsored by the National Security Agency (NSA).[43] According to the University, this is not a classified facility,[44] though it is heavily guarded.[45] In June 2014, Snowden told Wired that 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.[24]

After attending a 2006 job-fair focused on intelligence agencies, Snowden accepted an offer for a position at the CIA.[24][46] The Agency assigned him to the global communications division at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.[24]

In May 2006, Snowden wrote in Ars Technica that he had no trouble getting work because he was a "computer wizard".[34] After distinguishing himself as a junior employee 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.[24]

In March 2007, the CIA stationed Snowden with diplomatic cover in Geneva, Switzerland, where he was responsible for maintaining computer-network security.[24][47] Assigned to the U.S. Permanent Mission to the United Nations, a diplomatic mission representing U.S. interests before the UN and other international organizations, Snowden received a diplomatic passport and a four-bedroom apartment near Lake Geneva.[24] 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".[48] 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.[49] 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.[50] In February 2009, Snowden resigned from the CIA.[51]

In 2009, Snowden began work as a contractee for Dell,[52] 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.[24] Snowden looked into Mass surveillance in China prompted him to investigate and then expose Washington's mass surveillance programme after he was asked in 2009 to brief a conference in Tokyo.[53] 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.[54] 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.[24] 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.[52] 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.[1]

In March 2012, Dell reassigned Snowden to Hawaii as lead technologist for the NSA's information-sharing office.[24] At the time of his departure from the U.S. 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,[1] the last three of which were with consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton.[55] 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.[56] On March 15, 2013 three days after what he later called his "breaking point" of "seeing the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, directly lie under oath to Congress"[57] Snowden quit his job at Dell.[58] Although he has said his career high annual salary was $200,000,[59] Snowden said he took a pay cut to work at Booz Allen,[59] where he sought employment in order to gather data and then release details of the NSA's worldwide surveillance activity.[60] An anonymous source told Reuters that, while in Hawaii, Snowden may have persuaded 2025 co-workers to give him their login credentials by telling them he needed them to do his job.[61] The NSA sent a memo to Congress saying that Snowden had tricked a fellow employee into sharing his personal public key infrastructure certificate to gain greater access to the NSA's computer system.[62][63] Snowden disputed the memo,[64] saying in January 2014, "I never stole any passwords, nor did I trick an army of co-workers."[65][66] Booz Allen terminated Snowden's employment on June 10, 2013, one month after he had left the country.[67]

A former NSA co-worker said that although the NSA was full of smart people, Snowden was a "genius among geniuses" who created a widely implemented backup system for the NSA and often pointed out security flaws 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.[64] An anonymous source later said that Booz Allen's hiring screeners found possible discrepancies in Snowden's resume but still decided to hire him.[29] Snowden's rsum stated that he 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 that operated as the Computer Career Institute at Johns Hopkins University.[29] The University of Maryland University College 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 was inactive as a student and had not completed the program.[29]

Snowden has said that he had told multiple employees and two supervisors about his concerns, but the NSA disputes his claim.[68] 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 through what [Thomas Andrews] Drake did."[66][69] 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.[70] 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. He asserted that the NSA had copies of emails he sent to their Office of General Counsel, oversight and compliance personnel broaching "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."[17]

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.[71] 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.[72] 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."[73]

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."[17] In a June interview with Globo TV, Snowden reiterated that he "was actually functioning at a very senior level."[74] 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."[75] 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."[24]

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 happened routinely every two months but was never reported, being considered one of the "fringe benefits" of the work.[76]

The exact size of Snowden's disclosure is unknown,[77] but Australian officials have estimated 15,000 or more Australian intelligence files[78] and British officials estimate at least 58,000 British intelligence files.[79] NSA Director Keith Alexander initially estimated that Snowden had copied anywhere from 50,000 to 200,000 NSA documents.[80] Later estimates provided by U.S. officials were on the order of 1.7 million,[81] a number that originally came from Department of Defense talking points.[82] 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."[83] A U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency report declassified in June 2015 said that Snowden took 900,000 Department of Defense files, more than he downloaded from the NSA.[82]

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."[84] When asked in a May 2014 interview to quantify the number of documents Snowden stole, retired NSA director Keith Alexander said there was no accurate way of counting what he took, but Snowden may have downloaded more than a million documents.[85]

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"[28] 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."[60] Despite these measures, the improper redaction of a document by the New York Times resulted in the exposure of intelligence activity against al-Qaeda.[86]

In June 2014, the NSA's recently installed director, U.S. Navy Admiral Michael S. Rogers, said 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."[87] Nevertheless, in February 2015, Rogers said that Snowden's disclosures had a material impact on the NSA's detection and evaluation of terrorist activities worldwide.[88]

On June 14, 2015, UK's Sunday Times reported that Russian and Chinese intelligence services had decrypted more than 1 million classified files in the Snowden cache, forcing the UK's MI6 intelligence agency to move agents out of live operations in hostile countries. Sir David Omand, a former director of the UK's GCHQ intelligence gathering agency, described it as a huge strategic setback that was harming Britain, America, and their NATO allies. The Sunday Times said it was not clear whether Russia and China stole Snowden's data or whether Snowden voluntarily handed it over to remain at liberty in Hong Kong and Moscow.[89][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] Gus Hosein, executive director of Privacy International, criticized the report for, in his opinion, presuming that the public became concerned about privacy only after Snowden's disclosures.[92]

Snowden's decision to leak NSA documents developed gradually following his March 2007 posting as a technician to the Geneva CIA station.[93] Snowden first made contact with Glenn Greenwald, a journalist working at The Guardian, on December 1, 2012.[94][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 article about NSA whistleblower William Binney.[99] What originally attracted Snowden to both Greenwald and Poitras was a Salon article written by Greenwald detailing how Poitras's controversial films had made her a target of the government.[97]

Greenwald began working with Snowden in either February[100] or April 2013, after Poitras asked Greenwald to meet her in New York City, at which point Snowden began providing documents to them.[94] Barton Gellman, writing for The Washington Post, says his first direct contact was on May 16, 2013.[101] 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.[101]

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.[101]

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."[101] 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."[101]

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.[28] In mid-May, Snowden gave an electronic interview to Poitras and Jacob Appelbaum which was published weeks later by Der Spiegel.[102]

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."[103]

On May 20, 2013, Snowden flew to Hong Kong,[104] 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 for having 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 four Five Eyes partners: Australia's ASD,[116] the UK's GCHQ,[117] and Canada's CSEC.[118]

On June 5, 2013, media reports documenting the existence and functions of classified surveillance programs and their scope began and continued throughout the entire year. The first program to be revealed was PRISM, which allows for court-approved direct access to Americans' Google and Yahoo accounts, reported from both The Washington Post and The Guardian published one hour apart.[113][119][120] Barton Gellman of The Washington Post 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."[121] Reports also revealed details of Tempora, a British black-ops surveillance program run by the NSA's British partner, GCHQ.[119][122] 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,[123] the surveillance of French citizens' phone and Internet records, and those of "high-profile individuals from the world of business or politics."[124][125][126] 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."[127]

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,[128] and revealed that the NSA was paying U.S. private tech companies for clandestine access to their communications networks.[129] The agencies were allotted $52 billion for the 2013 fiscal year.[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 accessing 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 CIA and GCHQ spied on users of Second Life, Xbox Live and World of Warcraft, and attempted to recruit would-be informants from the sites, according to documents revealed in December 2013.[137][138] Leaked documents showed NSA agents also spied on their own "love interests," a practice NSA employees termed LOVEINT.[139][140] The NSA was shown to be tracking the online sexual activity of people they termed "radicalizers" in order to discredit them.[141] Following the revelation of Black Pearl, a program targeting private networks, the NSA was accused of extending beyond its primary mission of national security. The agency's intelligence-gathering operations had targeted, among others, oil giant Petrobras, Brazil's largest company.[142] The NSA and the GCHQ were also shown to be surveilling charities including UNICEF and Mdecins du Monde, as well as allies such as European Commissioner Joaqun Almunia and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.[143]

In October 2013, Glenn Greenwald said "the most shocking and significant stories are the ones we are still working on, and have yet to publish."[144] In November, The Guardian's editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger said that only one percent of the documents had been published.[145] In December, Australia's Minister for Defence David Johnston said his government assumed the worst was yet to come.[146]

By October 2013, Snowden's disclosures had created tensions[147][148] between the U.S. and some of its close allies after they revealed that the U.S. had spied on Brazil, France, Mexico,[149] Britain,[150] China,[151] Germany,[152] and Spain,[153] as well as 35 world leaders,[154] most notably German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said "spying among friends" was unacceptable[155][156] and compared the NSA with the Stasi.[157] Leaked documents published by Der Spiegel in 2014 appeared to show that the NSA had targeted 122 high-ranking leaders.[158]

An NSA mission statement titled "SIGINT Strategy 2012-2016" affirmed that the NSA had plans for continued expansion of surveillance activities. Their stated goal was to "dramatically increase mastery of the global network" and to acquire adversaries' data from "anyone, anytime, anywhere."[159] 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."[160]

Snowden said 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 said, "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."[161] 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 that the U.S. conducted economic or industrial espionage in Germany.[162]

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."[163]

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.[164] Revelations included information about QUANTUMHAND, a program through which the NSA set up a fake Facebook server to intercept connections.[164]

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.[165]

In an August 2014 interview, Snowden for the first time disclosed a cyberwarfare program in the works, codenamed MonsterMind, that would automate detection of a foreign cyberattack as it began and automatically fire back. "These attacks can be spoofed," said Snowden. "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?"[24]

Snowden first contemplated leaking confidential documents around 2008 but held back, partly because he believed the newly elected Barack Obama might introduce reforms.[1] After the disclosures, his identity was made public by The Guardian at his request on June 9, 2013.[100] "I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded," he said. "My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them."[104]

Snowden said he wanted to "embolden others to step forward" by demonstrating that "they can win."[101] He also said that the system for reporting problems did not work. "You have to report wrongdoing to those most responsible for it." He cited a lack of whistleblower protection for government contractors, the use of the Espionage Act of 1917 to prosecute leakers, and his belief that had he used internal mechanisms to "sound the alarm," his revelations "would have been buried forever."[93][166]

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 said, "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."[167]

In January 2014, Snowden said his "breaking point" was "seeing the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, directly lie under oath to Congress."[57] This referred to testimony on March 12, 2013three months after Snowden first sought to share thousands of NSA documents with Greenwald,[94] and nine months after the NSA says Snowden made his first illegal downloads during the summer of 2012[1]in which Clapper denied to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that the NSA wittingly collects data on millions of Americans.[168] Snowden said, "There's 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."[169] In March 2014, Snowden said he had reported policy or legal issues related to spying programs to more than ten officials, but as a contractor had no legal avenue to pursue further whistleblowing.[70]

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[170] 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. On June 10, correspondent Ewen MacAskill said Snowden had left his hotel only briefly three times since May 20.[171]

Snowden vowed to challenge any extradition attempt by the U.S. government, and engaged a Hong Kong-based Canadian human rights lawyer Robert Tibbo as a legal adviser.[1][172][173] Snowden told the South China Morning Post that he planned to remain in Hong Kong for as long as its government would permit.[174][175] Snowden also told the Post that "the United States government has committed a tremendous number of crimes against Hong Kong [and] the PRC as well,"[176] 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 said Snowden was motivated by a need to "ingratiate himself to the people of Hong Kong and China."[177]

After leaving the Mira Hotel, Snowden was housed for two weeks in a number of apartments by other refugees seeking asylum in Hong Kong, an arrangement set up by Tibbo to hide from the US authorities.[178][179]The Russian newspaper Kommersant nevertheless reported that Snowden was living at the Russian consulate shortly before his departure from Hong Kong to Moscow.[180] 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."[181] Likewise rejecting the Kommersant story was Anatoly Kucherena, who became Snowden's lawyer in July 2013 when Snowden asked him for help in seeking temporary asylum in Russia.[182] Kucherena said Snowden did not communicate with Russian diplomats while he was in Hong Kong.[183][184] In early September 2013, however, Russian president Vladimir Putin said that, a few days before boarding a plane to Moscow, Snowden met in Hong Kong with Russian diplomatic representatives.[185]

On June 22, 18 days after publication of Snowden's NSA documents began, officials revoked his U.S. passport.[186] On June 23, Snowden boarded the commercial Aeroflot flight SU213 to Moscow, accompanied by Sarah Harrison of WikiLeaks.[187][188] Hong Kong authorities said that Snowden had not been detained for the U.S. because the request had not fully complied with Hong Kong law,[189][190] and there was no legal basis to prevent Snowden from leaving.[191][192][Notes 1] On June 24, a U.S. State Department spokesman rejected the explanation of technical noncompliance, accusing the Hong Kong government of deliberately releasing a fugitive despite a valid arrest warrant and after having sufficient time to prohibit his travel.[195] That same day, Julian Assange said that WikiLeaks had paid for Snowden's lodging in Hong Kong and his flight out.[196]

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 kept no copies for himself.[93] In January 2014, he told a German TV interviewer that he gave all of his information to American journalists reporting on American issues.[57] During his first American TV interview, in May 2014, Snowden said he had protected himself from Russian leverage by destroying the material he had been holding before landing in Moscow.[17]

In January 2019, Vanessa Rodel, one of the refugees who had housed Snowden in Hong Kong, and her 7-year-old daughter were granted asylum by Canada. Five other people who helped Snowden still remain in Hong Kong awaiting a response to their asylum request.[197]

On June 23, 2013, Snowden landed at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport.[198] WikiLeaks said he was on a circuitous but safe route to asylum in Ecuador.[199] Snowden had a seat reserved to continue to Cuba[200] but did not board that onward flight, saying in a January 2014 interview that he intended to transit through Russia but was stopped en route. He asserted "a planeload of reporters documented the seat I was supposed to be in" when he was ticketed for Havana, but the U.S. cancelled his passport.[181] He said the U.S. wanted him to stay in Moscow so "they could say, 'He's a Russian spy.'"[74] Greenwald's account differed 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, preventing him from obtaining a ticket to leave Russia. Greenwald said Snowden was thus forced to stay in Moscow and seek asylum.[201]

According to one Russian report, Snowden planned to fly from Moscow through Havana to Latin America; however, Cuba told Moscow it would not allow the Aeroflot plane carrying Snowden to land.[183] Russian newspaper Kommersant reported that Cuba had a change of heart after receiving pressure from U.S. officials,[202] leaving him stuck in the transit zone because at the last minute Havana told officials in Moscow not to allow him on the flight.[203] The Washington Post contrasted this version with what it called "widespread speculation" that Russia never intended to let Snowden proceed.[204] Fidel Castro called claims that Cuba would have blocked Snowden's entry a "lie" and a "libel."[200] Describing Snowden's arrival in Moscow as a surprise and likening it to "an unwanted Christmas gift,"[205] Russian president Putin said that Snowden remained in the transit area of Sheremetyevo Airport, had committed no crime in Russia, was free to leave and should do so.[206] Putin denied that Russia's intelligence agencies had worked or were working with Snowden.[205]

Following Snowden's arrival in Moscow, the White House expressed disappointment in Hong Kong's decision to allow him to leave.[207][208][195] An anonymous U.S. official not authorized to discuss the matter told AP Snowden's passport had been revoked before he left Hong Kong, but that a senior official in a country or airline could order subordinates to overlook the withdrawn passport.[209] U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that Snowden's passport was cancelled "within two hours" of the charges against Snowden being made public[3] which was Friday, June 21.[2] In a July 1 statement, Snowden said, "Although I am convicted of nothing, [the U.S. 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."[210]

Four countries offered Snowden permanent asylum: Ecuador, Nicaragua, Bolivia, and Venezuela.[211] No direct flights between Moscow and Venezuela, Bolivia or Nicaragua existed, however, and the U.S. pressured countries along his route to hand him over. Snowden said in July 2013 that he decided to bid for asylum in Russia because he felt there was no safe way to reach Latin America.[212] 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 President's 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."[213] He said that he would travel from Russia if there was no interference from the U.S. government.[181]

Four months after Snowden received asylum in Russia, Julian Assange commented, "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."[170] 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...."[214]

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."[215]

On July 1, 2013, president Evo Morales of Bolivia, who had been attending a conference in Russia, suggested during an interview with Russia Today that he would consider a request by Snowden for asylum.[216] The following day, Morales's plane, en route to Bolivia, was rerouted to Austria and landed there, after France, Spain, and Italy denied access to their airspace. While the plane was parked in Vienna, the Spanish ambassador to Austria arrived with two embassy personnel and asked to search the plane but they were denied permission by Morales himself.[217] U.S. officials had raised suspicions that Snowden may have been on board.[218] 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.[219]

In April 2015, Bolivia's ambassador to Russia, Mara Luisa Ramos Urzagaste, accused Julian Assange of inadvertently putting Morales's life at risk by intentionally providing to the U.S. false rumors that Snowden was on Morales's plane. Assange responded that "we weren't expecting this outcome. The result was caused by the United States' intervention. We can only regret what happened."[220][221]

Snowden applied for political asylum to 21 countries.[222][223] 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.[224] Ecuador had initially offered Snowden a temporary travel document but later withdrew it,[225] and Correa later called the offer a mistake.[226]

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."[227] Several days later, WikiLeaks announced that Snowden had applied for asylum in six additional countries, but declined to name them, alleging attempted U.S. interference.[228]

After evaluating the law and Snowden's situation, the French interior ministry rejected his request for asylum.[229] Poland refused to process his application because it did not conform to legal procedure.[230] Brazil's Foreign Ministry said the government planned no response to Snowden's asylum request. Germany and India rejected Snowden's application outright, while Austria, Ecuador, Finland, Norway, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain said he must be on their territory to apply.[231][232][233] In November 2014, Germany announced that Snowden had not renewed his previously denied request and was not being considered for asylum.[234] Glenn Greenwald later reported 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.[235]

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."[236] A spokesman for Putin subsequently said that Snowden had withdrawn his asylum application upon learning of the conditions.[237]

In a July 12 meeting at Sheremetyevo Airport with representatives of human rights organizations and lawyers, organized in part by the Russian government,[238] Snowden said he was accepting all offers of asylum that he had already received or would receive. He added that Venezuela's grant of asylum formalized his asylee status, removing any basis for state interference with his right to asylum.[239] He also said he would request asylum in Russia until he resolved his travel problems.[240]Russian Federal Migration Service officials confirmed on July 16 that Snowden had submitted an application for temporary asylum.[241] On July 24, Kucherena said his client wanted to find work in Russia, travel and create a life for himself, and had already begun learning Russian.[242]

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,[243] top U.S. officials repeatedly made it clear to Moscow that Snowden should immediately be returned to the United States to face charges for the unauthorized leaking of classified information.[244][245][246] His Russian lawyer said Snowden needed asylum because he faced persecution by the U.S. government and feared "that he could be subjected to torture and capital punishment."[247]

In a letter to Russian Minister of Justice Aleksandr Konovalov dated July 23, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder repudiated Snowden's claim to refugee status, and offered a limited validity passport good for direct return to the U.S.[248] He further asserted that Snowden would not be subject to torture or the death penalty, and would receive trial in a civilian court with proper legal counsel.[249] The same day, the Russian president's spokesman reiterated that his government would not hand over Snowden, noting that Putin was not personally involved in the matter and that it was being handled through talks between the FBI and Russia's FSB.[250]

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 of 1917 through unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person.[2][248] 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.[57][251]

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." She said that the "arcane World War I law" was never meant to prosecute whistleblowers, but rather spies who betrayed their trust by selling secrets to enemies for profit. Non-profit betrayals were not considered.[252]

On September 17, 2019, the United States filed a lawsuit against Snowden for alleged violations of non-disclosure agreements with the CIA and NSA.[253] The complaint alleges that Snowden violated prepublication obligations related to the publication of his memoir Permanent Record. The complaint lists the publishers Macmillan and Holtzbrink as relief-defendants.[254]

On June 23, 2013, Snowden landed at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport aboard a commercial Aeroflot flight from Hong Kong.[255][187][256] On August 1, after 39 days in the transit section, he left the airport and was granted temporary asylum in Russia for one year.[257] A year later, his temporary asylum having expired, Snowden received a three-year residency permit allowing him to travel freely within Russia and to go abroad for up to three months. He was not granted permanent political asylum.[258] In January 2017, a spokesperson for the Russian foreign ministry wrote on Facebook that Snowden's asylum, which was due to expire in 2017, was extended by "a couple more years".[259][260] Snowden's lawyer Anatoly Kucherena said the extension was valid until 2020.[261]

As of October 2019, Snowden had been granted permanent residency in Russia, which is renewed every three years. He secretly married Lindsay Mills in 2017. By 2019 he no longer felt the need to be disguised in public and lived what was described as a "more or less normal life", able to travel around Russia and make a living from speaking arrangements (locally and over the internet). His memoir Permanent Record was released internationally, and while U.S. royalties were expected to be seized, he was able to receive the advance.[6] According to Snowden, "One of the things that is lost in all the problematic politics of the Russian government is the fact this is one of the most beautiful countries in the world" with "friendly" and "warm" people.[6] In another interview, Snowden went on to say: "There's a way to criticize the Russian government's policies without criticizing the Russian people who are ordinary people, who just want to have a happy life; they just want to do better. They want the same things that you do."[262]

A subject of controversy, Snowden has been variously called a hero,[263][264][265] a whistleblower,[266][267][268][269] a dissident,[270] a patriot,[271][272][273] and a traitor.[274][275][276][277] Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg called Snowden's release of NSA material the most significant leak in U.S. history.[278][279]

Numerous high-ranking current or former U.S. government officials reacted publicly to Snowden's disclosures.

In the U.S., Snowden's actions precipitated an intense debate on privacy and warrantless domestic surveillance.[294][295] President Obama was initially dismissive of Snowden, saying "I'm not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker."[296][297][298] In August 2013, Obama rejected the suggestion that Snowden was a patriot,[299] and in November said that "the benefit of the debate he generated was not worth the damage done, because there was another way of doing it."[300]

In June 2013, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont shared a "must read" news story on his blog by Ron Fournier, stating "Love him or hate him, we all owe Snowden our thanks for forcing upon the nation an important debate. But the debate shouldn't be about him. It should be about the gnawing questions his actions raised from the shadows."[301] In 2015, Sanders stated that "Snowden played a very important role in educating the American public" and that although Snowden should not go unpunished for breaking the law, "that education should be taken into consideration before the sentencing."[302]

Snowden said in December 2013 that he was "inspired by the global debate" ignited by the leaks and that NSA's "culture of indiscriminate global espionage ... is collapsing."[303]

At the end of 2013, however, The Washington Post noted that the public debate and its offshoots had produced no meaningful change in policy, with the status quo continuing.[139]

In 2016, on The Axe Files podcast, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said that Snowden "performed a public service by raising the debate that we engaged in and by the changes that we made." Holder nevertheless said that Snowden's actions were inappropriate and illegal.[304]

In September 2016, the bipartisan U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence completed a review of the Snowden disclosures and said that the federal government would have to spend millions of dollars responding to the fallout from Snowden's disclosures.[305] The report also said that "the public narrative popularized by Snowden and his allies is rife with falsehoods, exaggerations, and crucial omissions."[306] The report was denounced by Washington Post reporter Barton Gellman, who called it "aggressively dishonest" and "contemptuous of fact."[307]

In August 2013, President Obama said that he had called for a review of U.S. surveillance activities before Snowden had begun revealing details of the NSA's operations,[299] and announced that he was directing DNI James Clapper "to establish a review group on intelligence and communications technologies."[308][309] In December, the task force issued 46 recommendations that, if adopted, would subject the NSA to additional scrutiny by the courts, Congress, and the president, and would strip the NSA of the authority to infiltrate American computer systems using backdoors in hardware or software.[310] Panel member Geoffrey R. Stone said there was no evidence that the bulk collection of phone data had stopped any terror attacks.[311]

On June 6, 2013, in the wake of Snowden's leaks, conservative public interest lawyer and Judicial Watch founder Larry Klayman filed a lawsuit claiming that the federal government had unlawfully collected metadata for his telephone calls and was harassing him. In Klayman v. Obama, Judge Richard J. Leon referred to the NSA's "almost-Orwellian technology" and ruled the bulk telephone metadata program to be probably unconstitutional.[312] Snowden later described Judge Leon's decision as vindication.[313]

On June 11, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, alleging that the NSA's phone records program was unconstitutional. In December 2013, ten days after Judge Leon's ruling, Judge William H. Pauley III came to the opposite conclusion. In ACLU v. Clapper, although acknowledging that privacy concerns are not trivial, Pauley found that the potential benefits of surveillance outweigh these considerations and ruled that the NSA's collection of phone data is legal.[314]

Gary Schmitt, former staff director of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, wrote that "The two decisions have generated public confusion over the constitutionality of the NSA's data collection programa kind of judicial 'he-said, she-said' standoff."[315]

On May 7, 2015, in the case of ACLU v. Clapper, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit said that Section 215 of the Patriot Act did not authorize the NSA to collect Americans' calling records in bulk, as exposed by Snowden in 2013. The decision voided U.S. District Judge William Pauley's December 2013 finding that the NSA program was lawful, and remanded the case to him for further review. The appeals court did not rule on the constitutionality of the bulk surveillance, and declined to enjoin the program, noting the pending expiration of relevant parts of the Patriot Act. Circuit Judge Gerard E. Lynch wrote that, given the national security interests at stake, it was prudent to give Congress an opportunity to debate and decide the matter.[316]

On June 2, 2015, the U.S. Senate passed, and President Obama signed, the USA Freedom Act which restored in modified form several provisions of the Patriot Act that had expired the day before, while for the first time imposing some limits on the bulk collection of telecommunication data on U.S. citizens by American intelligence agencies. The new restrictions were widely seen as stemming from Snowden's revelations.[317][318]

Hans-Georg Maaen, head of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Germany's domestic security agency, speculated that Snowden could have been working for the Russian government.[319][320] Snowden rejected this insinuation,[321] speculating on Twitter in German that "it cannot be proven if Maaen is an agent of the SVR or FSB."[322]

Crediting the Snowden leaks, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted Resolution 68/167 in December 2013. The non-binding resolution denounced unwarranted digital surveillance and included a symbolic declaration of the right of all individuals to online privacy.[323][324][325]

Support for Snowden came from Latin American leaders including the Argentinian President Cristina Fernndez de Kirchner, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, Bolivian President Evo Morales, Venezuelan President Nicols Maduro, and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega.[326][327]

In an official report published in October 2015, the United Nations special rapporteur for the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of speech, Professor David Kaye, criticized the U.S. government's harsh treatment of, and bringing criminal charges against, whistleblowers, including Edward Snowden. The report found that Snowden's revelations were important for people everywhere and made "a deep and lasting impact on law, policy and politics."[328][329] The European Parliament invited Snowden to make a pre-recorded video appearance to aid their NSA investigation.[330][331] Snowden gave written testimony in which he said that he was seeking asylum in the EU, but that he was told by European Parliamentarians that the U.S. would not allow EU partners to make such an offer.[332] He told the Parliament that the NSA was working with the security agencies of EU states to "get access to as much data of EU citizens as possible."[333] The NSA's Foreign Affairs Division, he claimed, lobbies the EU and other countries to change their laws, allowing for "everyone in the country" to be spied on legally.[334]

In July 2014, Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, told a news conference in Geneva that the U.S. should abandon its efforts to prosecute Snowden, since his leaks were in the public interest.[335]

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McKean County man serves and protects as a dog handler in the U.S. Navy – Olean Times Herald

Master-at-Arms 3rd Class James Lingerfelter has found a way to combine a love of animals and an interest in law enforcement in a job that takes him around the world.

Lingerfelter is a dog handler with the U.S. Navy, currently stationed in Italy, but from there he can be deployed with his canine to support missions in places across Europe or in Asia or Africa.

A 2015 Kane (Pa.) Area High School graduate, Lingenfelter enlisted in the U.S. Navy in August 2015.

I wanted to use the Navy as a stepping stone to get into the Pennsylvania State Police, a goal which Lingenfelter said is still his ambition. He enlisted to be a master-at-arms military police in the U.S. Navy.

For me, I always liked dogs and animals in general, said Lingenfelter, who is an outdoorsman who enjoys hunting and fishing. He learned to hunt with dogs when he was growing up and finds that the drive hunting dogs have is the same that military dogs have.

Its just one big game for them, he said.

The dog that Lingenfelter is currently working with is a 3-year-old German shepherd named Vicki that has been with the Navy in Italy since February 2016.

This was her first command, he noted.

One big misconception he encounters is that military dogs follow their handlers, but that is not the case, Lingenfelter said. He explained that when he leaves NSA Naples, Vicki will stay there, and he will be paired with a new dog at his next assignment.

The military canines are trained to find various substances, a task which can also be used for deterrence purposes, he said, explaining that when people see one of the dogs at work, it keeps them on their toes.

Lt. Commander Lenaya Rotklein, a public relations officer with the Navy, explained that military working dogs (MWD) receive special training for different tasks that can include drug detection, finding explosives and even finding humans.

Lingenfelter said he is proud to serve the nation and explained that what makes him really proud is being able to do things that most people wouldnt, especially the work he does with the military working dogs.

He is a protector part of a group that is putting ourselves in harms way so other people dont have to. In his role as a dog handler, his team looks for potential dangers before sending others in to the front line.

Being a dog handler is a different specialization than he was in when he first enlisted.

Lingenfelter went to naval boot camp in October 2015, then on to Texas for technical school, where he learned his job of master-at-arms. He graduated from technical school that December and reported to Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain at the beginning of 2016.

He stayed at NSA Bahrain for two years, working in antiterrorism and force protection, then reported to NSA Naples in February 2018. He spent a year doing law enforcement and force protection.

At the beginning of 2019, I started volunteering in my off-duty hours going into the kennels.

During that time, Lingenfelter was getting to know the military dog system better and prove myself to the handlers that were my mentors.

In June, he was sent for a handlers course in Texas. He graduated in August and reported back to Italy.

Im still feeling it out and Im loving every bit of it because its so brand new to me, Lingenfelter said.

Lingenfelter may be traveling the world now, but he still has strong ties to McKean County.

His mother and father, Donna and Philip Lingenfelter, live in Kane, and his wife, Taylor, lives in Bradford.

His mother was originally from Shinglehouse and his father from Emporium.

We moved to Kane when I was about 5 years old, he said.

Being away from rural Pennsylvania for a year at a time makes him more aware of his love for the area when he visits.

Its such a beautiful place that we live in, Lingenfelter said.

Being home also reminds him why his work in the military is so important: We do the things that we do in order so that we can have that at home.

Lingenfelter noted he was big into football when he was in high school, serving as a starter for three years, a defensive MVP in District 9 his senior year and an all-star player in 2013 and 2014. He played in the Big 30 All-Star Charities Classic football game in 2015 and was a defensive MVP for the Big 30 team.

He wrestled and played baseball in Kane as well.

Originally posted here:

McKean County man serves and protects as a dog handler in the U.S. Navy - Olean Times Herald

Posted in NSA

The Decade We Learned Theres No Such Thing as Privacy Online – VICE

In the past ten years, we lost hope in American politics, realized we were being watched on the internet, and finally broke the gender binary (kind of). So many of the beliefs we held to be true at the beginning of the decade have since been proved to be falseor at least, much more complicated than they once seemed. The Decade of Disillusion is a series that tracks how the hell we got here.

The last decade has seen no limit of scandals highlighting how personal privacy in the internet era doesnt actually exist. Whether were talking about wireless carriers selling your daily location data to any nitwit with a nickel, or incompetent executives leaving consumer data openly exposed on the Amazon cloud, calling the last decade ugly would be an understatement.

Whats more the government, utterly captured by the industries its supposed to hold accountable, has proven feckless in the face of the threat. The United States still lacks any meaningful law governing behavior in the internet era, and the glaring lack of accountability couldnt have been made any more obvious over the last ten years.

2010: The Rise of the Internet of Very Broken Things

During the late 90s and early aughts, internet of things evangelists routinely heralded a hyper-connected future, where everything from your refrigerator to your tea kettle would be connected to the internet. The end result, they promised, would be unprecedented convenience and a Jetsons-esque future, contributing to a simpler, more efficient existence.

The end result wasnt quite what was advertised.

A lack of any meaningful privacy or security safeguards quickly ruined the party, turning the IoT revolution into the butt of endless jokes. Throughout the decade, evidence emerged that everything from your smart television to your kids WiFi-enabled Barbie doll was easily hackable, showcasing that the smarter choice is often dumber, older tech.

May 2013: Edward Snowden reveals the NSA's surveillance dragnet

Snowden, the most famous whistleblower of a generation, gave thousands of classified NSA documents to journalists Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras. The documents showed in great detail how the post 9/11 intelligence apparatus was collecting data in bulk on American citizens and people around the world through programs like PRISM, XKeyscore, LoveINT, and a host of others. The revelations showed that the NSA had backdoors into the databases of many of Silicon Valley's largest companies, that it was surveilling world leaders and American allies, and that the U.S. government's surveillance state had become ever present in American life.

Snowden's revelations were published over the course of yearsthis slow drip of information kept Snowden, NSA surveillance, and privacy in the news, making it an ongoing national conversation over the entire decade.

August 2013: Hackers steal the data of 3 billion Yahoo users

In September 2016, as the company attempted to sell itself to Verizon, Yahoo belatedly revealed it had been the victim of a series of major hacks in 2013 and 2014. After initially claiming that 500 million users were impacted, it would later acknowledge that the hack impacted roughly 3 billion users, the biggest data breach in U.S. history.

Yahoo would ultimately have to pay a $35 million penalty to the Securities and Exchange Commission for pretending the hacks never happened, and another $80 million as part of a class action settlement. But as with most punishment, much of the money went to lawyers, and the penalties paled in comparison to the money made from monetizing user data.

2017: Congress helps big telecom kill FCC privacy rules

Big telecom has always had a flippant relationship when it comes to respecting your private data. For years ISPs quietly monetized your every online click, and have even charged customers significantly more if they wanted their privacy respected. In 2014, Verizon was busted modifying user data packets to covertly track users around the internet without telling them.

In 2016 the FCC under Tom Wheeler tried to do something about it, passing some modest broadband privacy rules that would have forced ISPs to be transparent about what data was collected and sold, and to whom. The rules would have also required that consumers opt in before ISPs and mobile carriers could share and sell more sensitive financial data.

But in 2017 the House and Senate voted to eliminate those rules at the behest of industry, opening the door to years of additional abuse by the sector.

March 2017: The Equifax hack heard around the world

The last decade saw no shortage of breaches that exposed mountains of personal data, be it the hack of Marriott (500 million customers), Adult Friend Finder (412.2 million users) or EBay (145 million). But none highlighted corporate incompetence or government fecklessness quite like the 2017 hack of Equifax, which exposed the financial data of 145 million Americans.

In part because data would later reveal that Equifax knew about the vulnerability and did nothing about it. But also because the punishment doled out by the FTCwhich included a $125 cash payout that disappeared when consumers went to collect itshowcased a feckless government incapable and unwilling to seriously rein in corporate Americas incompetence and greed.

2018: Facebook lets Cambridge Analytica abuse your private data

While Cambridges abuse of Facebook data was first reported in 2015, it wasnt until 2018 that people realized the full scope of the problem. For years Facebook casually allowed third-party app-makers unfettered access to consumer datasets, allowing outfits like Cambridge to weaponize your personal information in the lead up to the 2016 election.

Privacy experts like Gaurav Laroia tell Motherboard that pound for pound, no event in the last decade had as much of an impact on public perception as Facebooks epic face plant.

The Cambridge Analytical scandal had the right combination of scale, malfeasance, and consequence to sear into everyday Americans how companies like Facebook sell access to our personal information and how dangerous that can be, Laroia said.

That a researcher was able to take the profile information of tens of millions of Americans and sell it to an unscrupulous company with little consequence, in violation of an agreement with Facebook, showed how industry self-regulation has failed and why the government must act to protect our privacy, he added.

2019: Wireless carriers busted selling your cell phone location data

Thanks in no small part to Congress decision to kill FCC broadband privacy rules in 2017, theres been little penalty for telecom giants that abuse your private information. Case in point: Motherboards blockbuster January, 2019 investigation showing that wireless carriers routinely sell your every waking movement to a wide variety of often dubious middlemen.

The investigation resulted in numerous calls for action by politicians like Senator Ron Wyden, though to date nobodybe it the FCC or Congresshas actually lifted a finger to stop the practice or forced the deletion of decades worth of your daily location data.

The decades theme couldnt be more obvious: either via corruption, incompetence, or apathy, giant corporations routinely pay empty lip service to consumer privacy, before engaging in face plant after face plant. Just as often, the governments response to a chorus line of piracy scandals has ranged from underwhelming to nonexistent.

Part of the problem is US regulators enjoy a tiny fraction of the resources given to privacy regulators overseas, and thanks to industry lobbying, the U.S. still lacks any kind of meaningful privacy law for the internet era. While efforts are afoot to change that, a cross-industry coalition of lobbyists is working hard to ensure this dysfunctional status quo never changes.

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The Decade We Learned Theres No Such Thing as Privacy Online - VICE

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NSA O’Brien on North Korea: ‘We Have a Lot of Tools in Our Toolkit’ – MRCTV

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National Security Advisor Robert OBrien said Sunday the U.S. was closely monitoring developments in North Korea and was concerned about the situation, but also had a lot of tools in our toolkit and was able to bring more pressure to bear in the event of a provocation.

MRCTV Reader,

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NSA O'Brien on North Korea: 'We Have a Lot of Tools in Our Toolkit' - MRCTV

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On CAA and Article 370, former NSA Shivshankar Menon warns India of international isolation – Scroll.in

Former National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon on Friday said that the Citizenship Amendment Act and the withdrawal of special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution had led to India being isolated from the international community, even by its traditional allies, the Hindustan Times reported.

There has been no meaningful international support for this series of actions, apart from a few committed members of the diaspora and a ragtag bunch of Euro MPs from the extreme right, Menon said at an event in New Delhi. He said many world leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and even King Harald V of Norway have criticised Indias actions.

Merkel had on November 1, during a visit to India, said that the present situation in Kashmir is not sustainable.

We seem to know that we are isolated, Menon said, referring to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankars decision to skip a meeting with the foreign affairs committee in the United States due to the presence of Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, who has been critical of Indias actions in Kashmir.

Menon added that Jayapals resolution on Kashmir, urging India to end the communications blockade as quickly as possible, and ensure religious freedom for all, had been now has 29 co-sponsors, including Republican Party members. He said this list includes the only Indian-origin lawmaker who attended the Howdy Modi conference in September, Raja Krishnamoorthi.

Menon said that India was violating Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which it had signed, by passing the Citizenship Amendment Act. We seem to be in violation of our international commitments, he said. You must consider the political and other consequences of being perceived as violators of international law.

The former national security advisor said that India, along with Pakistan, now has an image of a religiously driven and intolerant country. We have gifted our adversaries platforms from which to attack us, he added.

The Citizenship Amendment Act, approved by Parliament on December 11, makes citizenship smoother for refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered the country before December 31, 2014. The Act has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims, leading to protests against it. At least 26 people have died so far in protests against the Act, which have turned violent at times.

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On CAA and Article 370, former NSA Shivshankar Menon warns India of international isolation - Scroll.in

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NSA ‘cautious’ response to UK farm funding – The Scottish Farmer

SHEEP FARMERS are 'not feeling at all reassured' about the UK government's long-term plans for agricultural support.

The National Sheep Association 'cautiously' welcomed Westminster's announcement regarding funding for agriculture in coming years, but noted that it indicated a reduction in 2021/22.

We welcome the announcement of allocated agricultural funding in 2020," said NSA chief executive Phil Stocker. "Knowing the money is ring fenced and secure offers reassurance for our industry in the coming year as the Government strives to build strong and reliable free trade agreements with the EU and other countries, which benefit industry and support UK production.

However, this is just the first year of a significant transition, and we are not feeling at all reassured by the indicated reduction of funds allocated for 2021/2022," said Mr Stocker. "We are still facing much uncertainty about whether beneficial trade agreements can be struck in time and, if not, we will again be facing the detrimental prospect of WTO tariffs from the beginning of 2021.

Seeing allocated support dropping during that period of uncertainty is not desirable and we hope Government will recognise this and deliver on its promises of stability throughout 2020 and to recognise the important and valuable work our farmers are doing already to provide public goods and food security for the country.

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NSA 'cautious' response to UK farm funding - The Scottish Farmer

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Jewel v. NSA: On to the Ninth Circuit: 2019 Year in Review – EFF

Jewel v. NSA, EFFs landmark case challenging NSAs mass spying moved forward in 2019, setting up a crucial decision for the Ninth Circuit in 2020. Weve pursued this case for over a decade because we believe that mass surveillance, like all general search and seizure schemes, is both illegal and unconstitutional. The case arises from general seizures and searches conducted through three NSA surveillance programs: the NSAs current Upstream tapping of the Internet backbone, its past actions collecting Internet metadata and its discontinued mass telephone records collection, purportedly authorized by section 215 of the Patriot Act. Congress just shamefully kicked debate on reauthorization of section 215 until March, 2020, even though it was stopped in 2018 after concerns of massive overcollection by the secret FISA Court and has never helped catch a terrorist.

In 2019, we had bad news and good news on the litigation front.

The bad news came in April, when the District Court ruled that, despite the enormous amountof direct and circumstantial evidence showing our clients communications likely swept up by the NSA dragnet surveillance to establish legal standing,no public court can rule on whether this surveillance is legal. The Court agreed with the government that our claims were caught in a state secrets privilege Catch-22: no one can sue to stop illegal surveillance unless the court first determines that they were certainly touched by the vast surveillance mechanisms of the NSA. But the court cannot decide whether any particular persons email, web searches, social media or phone calls were touched by the surveillance unless the government admits it which the government will not do. This circular ruling matched an earlier ruling by the District Court under the Fourth Amendment, and, at long last, set both of these rulings up for review by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

We made three key arguments in our opening briefs, filed in September:

We didnt go to the Ninth Circuit alone, though. In early October six amicus briefs were filed in support of our case:

The governments responsive briefs are due in early December, with our final briefs likely due in January. Were hopeful that the Ninth Circuit will recognize the importance of the case and hold a hearing in the Spring.

This article is part of our Year in Review series. Read other articles about the fight for digital rights in 2019.

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Jewel v. NSA: On to the Ninth Circuit: 2019 Year in Review - EFF

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Popular messaging app is UAE spy tool, developed by firm employing ex-NSA and Israeli intel officers – Haaretz

A messaging app downloaded by millions of users in the United Arab Emirates and abroad is actually a spying tool used by the Emirati government, which limits the use of Whatsapp and Skype, according to an investigative report published Monday.

According to the New York Times report, ToTok, which has been available for a few months and became the most downloaded social app in the United States last week, was covertly launched by DarkMatter, an Abu Dhabi-based cyber intelligence and hacking company that is thought to have lured former Israeli intelligence officers to work for it by offering enormous salaries.

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The FBI is reportedly investigating the firm for cybercrimes.

The paper describes the move as the "latest escalation in a digital arms race among wealthy authoritarian governments," adding that "governments are pursuing more effective and convenient methods to spy on foreign adversaries, criminal and terrorist networks, journalists and critics."

At the end of last week, both Google and Apple made the app unavailable without providing explanations for the move.

Meanwhile, however, ToTok became one of the 50 most popular free apps in Saudi Arabia, the U.K., India, Sweden and other countries.

DarkMatter, a cybersecurity company formed in 2015 in Abu Dhabi, part of the United Arab Emirates, officially limits itself to cyber defense. But according to a Reuters expose published earlier this year, DarkMatter provides hacking services to the UAE intelligence agency against Western targets, journalists and human rights activists.

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The company operates an office in Cyprus, which among other things employs Israeli software developers. A source in the Israeli cyber intelligence sector previously told Haaretzthat the company was"taking these young people to Cyprus, buying them off with huge salaries."

In March, The New York Times reported that in 2017 the Israelicyber intelligence company NSOsuffered a wave of employee departures, all veterans of theIDFs vaunted 8200 unit.A private investigator retained by NSO to discover what was behind the exodus found they had all gone to Cyprus. They worked at a research facility in a building owned by a company affiliated with DarkMatter, the Times said.

DarkMatter was founded and is led by Faisal Al Bannai, who also established Axiom Telecom, one of the Gulfs biggest sellers of mobile phones. His father is a general in the UAE military.Reuters has reported that Al Bannai has visited Israel several times for business and met with Israeli cybersecurity executives.

On at least two occasions, Israeli companies have sold tracking technology to the UAE. As far as is known, both contracts were cleared by Israels Defense Ministry.

In the first, it was revealed in 2016 that the Gulf country had bought technology from NSO that was used to break into the iPhone of the Emirati human rights activist and government opponent Ahmed Mansoor, who was subsequently arrested and tortured.

A year earlier, it was reported that AGT International, a company controlled by Mati Kochavi, an Israeli, had been contracted to develop a smart-city project in Abu Dhabi. The technology would enable the government to monitor citizens.

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Popular messaging app is UAE spy tool, developed by firm employing ex-NSA and Israeli intel officers - Haaretz

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No Surprise: Judge Says US Government Can Take The Proceeds From Snowden’s Book – Techdirt

from the contracts,-man dept

Back in the fall, we noted that, even if we thought it was silly, under existing law, it seemed highly likely that the DOJ would win its lawsuit against the publisher for Ed Snowden's memoir, Permanent Record. As I noted at the time, the government and the intelligence community in particular take the issue of "pre-publication review" incredibly seriously. Basically, if you take a job in the intel community, you sign a lifelong contract that says if you ever publish a book about anything regarding the intelligence community, you have to submit it for pre-publication review. Officially, this is to avoid classified information showing up in a book. Unofficially, it also gives the US government a sneak peek at all these books, and sometimes (it appears) allows them to hide stuff they'd rather not be public.

As I noted when the lawsuit was filed, there is another ongoing lawsuit challenging pre-publication review requirements on 1st Amendment grounds -- but given the state of the law today, it seemed pretty clear that Snowden would lose this case. And, that's exactly what's happened. Judge Liam O'Grady (who seems to end up with all sorts of high profile cases) easily ruled in favor of the government last week. In short, the court says: an unambiguous contract is an unambiguous contract.

The plain meaning of the contracts set forth above require prepublication review of a signatory's public disclosure which refer to, mention, or are based upon, classified information or intelligence activities or materials. The contractual language here is clear, and this Court is therefore legally barred from accepting extrinsic evidence of course of performance, course of dealing, and common trade practices.

That was in response to Snowden's legal team from the ACLU trying to seek discovery to get more evidence to support his case before it went up for dismissal. No go. In the end, a contract is a contract:

The terms of these Secrecy Agreements are clear, and provide that he is in breach of his contracts and the fiduciary duties identified therein if his public disclosures include the type of information and materials the contracts required to be submitted for prepublication review. Specifically, the CIA Secrecy Agreement requires prepublication review of "any writing... which contains any mention of intelligence data or activities, or contains any other information or material that might be based on" certain information, which was "received or obtained in the course of [CIA] employment... that is marked as classified or [known to be classified or known to be in the process of classification determination]."... Similarly, the NSA Secrecy Agreement require prepublication review of "all information or materials... prepared for public disclosure which contain or purport to contain, refer to, or are based upon protected information," which is "[i]nformation obtained as a result of [a] relationship with NSA which is classified or in the process of a classification determination," including but "not limited to, intelligence and intelligence-related information."... Because there is no genuine dispute of material fact that Snowden publicly disclosed the type of information and materials described above in Permanent Record and his speeches, the Government is entitled to summery judgment on both Counts.

As Snowden pointed out when this happened, all this has really done is to draw more public attention to his book, of course. But, I can see from the DOJ's viewpoint that it may have felt that if it didn't go after Snowden and Macmillan for this, then others might question why they had to go through pre-publication review as well.

Filed Under: cia, doj, ed snowden, liam o'grady, nsa, permanent record, prepublication reviewCompanies: macmillan

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No Surprise: Judge Says US Government Can Take The Proceeds From Snowden's Book - Techdirt

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Turkish Pro-Government Daily Yeni Akit: ‘The "Great Satan" [The U.S.] Is Occupying The World With Bases’ – Middle East Media Research…

A December 26, 2019 article in the Turkish daily Yeni Akit, titled "There Is No Place Left That They Have Not Messed Up! The 'Great Satan' Is Occupying The World With Bases" read: "The U.S., which brings disasters to the places it sees with drunken shouts of 'we are bringing humanity!' and is turning the Middle East into a place of fire, has 800 military bases around the world." The article gives a list of the major U.S. military bases in the Middle East and elsewhere.[1]

Turkish media have been discussing the U.S. bases in Turkey following Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoan's statement in a December 15, 2019 interview that "if it needs to be shut down, we will shut down Incirlik [Airbase]. If it needs to be shut down, we will shut down Krecik [Radar Station]" (see MEMRI TV Clip No. 7661 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoan: We Have The Authority To Shut Down U.S.-Run Airbase, Radar Station In Turkey; If Measures Such As Sanctions Are Taken Against Us, We Will Respond As Necessary, December 15, 2019).

Following is the text of the Yeni Akit article:

"There Are About 180,000 Military Personnel At These Bases, With 60,000 To 70,000 In The Middle East"

"In recent years, despite having bases covering regions including Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria, the U.S. has approximately 800 bases around the world, some of which are small radar stations, others are the size of cities. Maintaining these bases costs 200 billion dollars. According to data from the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. bases cost 749 billion dollars in 2018.

"The U.S. bases include all U.S. military structures connected to the Department of Defense, from enemy observation points to naval supply points, from training bases to radar bases. There are about 180,000 military personnel at these bases, with 60,000 to 70,000 in the Middle East. These numbers become more important when it is understood that they are found primarily in 17 countries that have permanent bases, and approximately 70 countries in total."

"In The List Of Countries With U.S. Bases, Turkey Comes Ninth With Nine Military Structures"

"It appears that the basic reason why the number of U.S. bases is so high is that the U.S. rarely abandons a base that it establishes in a country. The U.S.'s Ramstein base in Germany is an example of this. This base, which the U.S. established in 1949 after the Second World War, still serves the U.S. Air Force and, with 53,000 personnel, it is the U.S.'s largest base outside of its territory.

"Aside from Ramstein, the U.S. has 87 more bases in Germany. Germany is also the country, aside from the U.S., that has the most U.S. bases. After Germany comes Japan with 86, South Korea with 64, Italy with 29, and the U.K. with 16. In the list of countries with U.S. bases, Turkey comes ninth with nine military structures. Incirlik Airbase is the largest and most well-known military structure in Turkey. There are about 2,500 personnel and units belonging to the U.S. Air Force at the base, which was established in the 1950s after Turkey joined NATO."

"The U.S.'s Colossal Bases That Are Spreading Around The World Are Frequently Protested"

"The U.S.'s colossal bases that are spreading around the world are frequently protested, with 70,000 people demonstrating in Okinawa, Japan in 2018 and thousands of people in front of Germany's Ramstein Airbase. According to data from the U.S. Department of Defense, while the capacity of the existing bases is 21 percent more than the need, 30 percent of the infrastructure of these bases is weak or collapsing. The annual cost of only the unused bases is more than $500 million.

"The large, permanent bases around the world are as follows:

"Afghanistan: Bagram Air Base, Camp Dwyer, Camp Leatherneck, FOB Delaram, Kandahar Int. Airport, Shindand Airbase.

"Bahrain: NRCC Bahrain, NSA Bahrain.

"Belgium: USAG Benelux, USAG Brussels.

"Bulgaria: Aitos Logistics Center, Bezmer Air Base, Graf Ignatievo Air Base, Novo Selo Range.

"Cuba: Guantanamo Bay.

"Djibouti: Camp Lemonnier.

"Germany: Campbell Barracks, Landstuhl Medical Center, NATO Base Geilenkirchen, Panzer Kaserne, Patrick Henry Village, Ramstein AB, Spangdahlem Air Base, USAG Ansbach, USAG Bamberg, USAG Baumholder, USAG Darmstadt, USAG Garmisch, USAG Grafenwoehr, USAG Heidelberg, USAG Hessen, USAG Hohenfels, USAG Kaiserslautern, USAG Mannheim, USAG Schweinfurt, USAG Stuttgart, USAG Wiesbaden.

"Greece: NSA Souda Bay.

"Greenland: Thule Air Base, Guam, Andersen AFB, Naval Base Guam, Naval Forces Marianas.

"Iraq: Camp Baharia, Camp Banzai, Camp Bucca, Camp Fallujah, Camp Taji, Camp Victory, COP Shocker, FOB Abu Ghraib, FOB Grizzly, FOB Sykes, Joint Base Balad, Victory Base Complex.

"Italy: Aviano AB, Camp Darby, Caserma Ederle, NAS Sigonella, NSA Gaeta, NSA La Maddalena, NSA Naples.

"Japan: Camp Courtney, Camp Foster, Camp Fuji, Camp Gonsalves, Camp Hansen, Camp Kinser, Camp Lester, Camp McTureous, Camp S.D. Butler, Camp Schwab, Camp Zama, Fleet Activities Okinawa, Fleet Activities Sasebo, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Fort Buckner, Kadena Air Base, MCAS Futenma, MCAS Iwakuni, Misawa Air Base, Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Torii Station, Yokota Air Base, Yontan Airfield.

"Kosovo: Camp Bondsteel.

"Kuwait: Ali Al Salem Airbase, Camp Arifjan, Camp Buehring, Camp Doha, Camp New York, Camp Patriot, Camp Spearhead, Camp Virginia.

"Kyrgyzstan: Transit Center at Manas.

"The Netherlands: Joint Force Command, USAG Schinnen.

"Peru: Naval Medical Research Unit Six.

"Portugal: Lajes Field, Porto Riko, Fort Buchanan.

"Qatar: Al Udeid Air Base.

"Saudi Arabia: Eskan Village Air Base, King Abdul Aziz Air Base, King Fahd Air Base, King Khalid Air Base, Riyadh Air Base.

"Singapore: COMLOG WESTPAC.

"South Korea: Camp Carroll, Camp Casey, Camp Castle, Camp Eagle, Camp Hovey, Camp Humphreys, Camp Market, Camp Red Cloud, Camp Stanley, Fleet Activities Chinhae, K-16 Air Base, Kunsan Air Base, Osan Air Base, USAG Daegu, USAG Yongsan.

"Spain: Morn Air Base, Naval Station Rota.

"Turkey: Incirlik Air Base, Izmir Air Base.

"United Kingdom: RAF Alconbury, RAF Croughton, RAF Fairford, RAF Lakenheath, RAF Menwith Hill, RAF Mildenhall."

[1] Yeniakit.com.tr/haber/karistirmadiklari-yer-kalmadi-buyuk-seytan-dunyayi-uslerle-isgal-ediyor-979714.html, December 26, 2019.

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Turkish Pro-Government Daily Yeni Akit: 'The "Great Satan" [The U.S.] Is Occupying The World With Bases' - Middle East Media Research...

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Is this What the Huawei P40 Pro Will Look Like? – Gizchina.com

Is this What the Huawei P40 Pro Will Look Like?

The surfacing of renders for the upcoming Huawei P40 series has almost become a daily occurrence and today is no different. Thus lets have a look at the latest ones coming from the TargetYouTube.

According to the website, the Huawei P40 Pro will look a lot like the latest Samsung Galaxy Note 10 at the front. This means we find a punch-hole camera in the upper part of the display. Now, while the Chinese phone maker has been using larger notches in their latest flagships, the punch-hole camera is definitely where the mobile industry is going in 2020; thus its plausible the P40 Pro will adopt it as well.

Additionally, the smartphone also appears to feature a curved display to achieve that full-screen look without bezels. As always, some will love this design, while other will prefer a flat display.

Moving onto the back of the phone. We find the camera module design weve seen in so many renders in these past weeks. This consists in a rectangular camera bump with at least five image sensors; accompanied by a large dual LED flash.

Specs wise, the P40 Pro by Huawei is expected to pack the latest Kirin 990 5G SoC. A chipset that uses the industrys most advanced 7nm + EUV manufacturing process and integrates 5G modem into the chip for the first time. As that werent enough, its also the worlds first mobile chip with more than 10.3 billion transistors.

The smartphone will also support SA and NSA dual-mode 5G, a technology that increases the coverage area over NSA-only phones.

Finally, according to Chinese media, the Huawei P40 Pro is expected to launch in March of next year.

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Is this What the Huawei P40 Pro Will Look Like? - Gizchina.com

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Former NSA Director Cooperating With Probe of Trump-Russia Investigation – The Intercept

Retired Adm. Michael Rogers,former director of the National Security Agency, has been cooperating with the Justice Departments probe into the origins of the counterintelligence investigation of the Trump presidential campaigns alleged ties to Russia, according to four people familiar with Rogerss participation.

Rogers has met the prosecutor leading the probe, Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham, on multiple occasions, according to two people familiar with Rogerss cooperation. While the substance of those meetings is not clear, Rogers has cooperated voluntarily, several people with knowledge of the matter said.

Rogers, who retired in May 2018, did not respond to requests for comment.

The inquiry has been a pillar of Attorney General William Barrs tenure. He appointed Durham to lead the inquiry last spring, directing him to determine whether the FBI was justified in opening a counterintelligence investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and alleged links between Russia and the Trump campaign, among other matters. What began as a broad review has turned into a criminal investigation, according to the New York Times. Barr has described the use of undercover FBI agents to investigate members of the campaign as spying.

Last week, a separate, nonpartisan review of the investigation by the Justice Department inspector general concluded that while the FBI and Justice Department committed serious errors in their applications to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, the investigation was opened properly and without political bias. Barr and Durham took the unusual step of publicly disagreeing with some of the inspector generals conclusions, with Barr describing the FBIs justification for the inquiry as very flimsy.

Rogerss voluntary participation, which has not been previously reported, makes him the first former intelligence director known to have been interviewed for the probe.

Hes been very cooperative, one former intelligence officer who has knowledge of Rogerss meetings with the Justice Department said.

Politico and NBC News have previously reported that Durham intends to interview both former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. It is unclear if that has happened. Brennan and the Justice Department declined to comment. Clapper could not be reached for comment.

The Times reported on Thursday that Durham is examining Brennans congressional testimony and communications with a focus on whatthe former CIA directormay have told other officials about his views on the so-called Steele dossier, a set of unverified allegations about links between Russia, Trump, and his campaign compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele.

Rogers is no stranger to the controversy surrounding the 2016 election. Shortly after Trump won the presidency, Rogers traveled to Trump Tower in New York, where he provided an unsolicited briefing to the then president-elect. Rogers informed Trump that the NSA knew that the Russians interfered in the election, according to three people familiar with the briefing. Despite delivering what Rogers told a confidant was bad news, Trump would keep Rogers on as NSA director while dismissing Brennan and Clapper.

In January 2017 just before Trump took office, the intelligence community released an unclassified assessment concluding that Russia interfered in the election. The assessment was based on a combination of intelligence collected and reviewed by the NSA, CIA, and FBI.

Russias initial purpose, the assessment found, was to undermine confidence in American democracy, but the effort ultimately focused on damaging Hillary Clintons campaign in an effort to help elect Trump. While all three intelligence agencies agreed on that aspect of the assessment, the CIA and FBI expressedhigh confidence that the Russian government sought to help Trump win by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him, while Rogerss NSA had only moderate confidence in that finding.

Trump entered his presidency deeply suspicious of the U.S. intelligence community and skeptical of the assessment. He has spent much of his administration claiming that he is the victim of a deep-state coup, beginning with the counterintelligence investigation into his presidential campaign. He has downplayed the intelligence communitys conclusions about Russias responsibility for hacking the Democratic National Committee computer system and providing internal emails to WikiLeaks, which published them beginning in July 2016, instead affirming conspiracy theories that blame Ukraine for stealing the emails.

A year into the Trump administration, in February 2018, Rogers testified at a Senate hearing that the White House had given the NSA no orders or instructions for countering further Russian election meddling.

President Putin has clearly come to the conclusion that theres little price to pay and that therefore I can continue this activity, Rogers said. Clearly, what we have done is not enough.

Four months later in Helsinki, Trump said that he confronted the Russian president about meddling in the election. But Vladimir Putin denied that his government was involved, and Trump said he believed him, directly contradicting Rogers and the other U.S. intelligence directors.

Rogers was concerned that his testimony before Congress drew the presidents ire, according to a former Trump White House official who spoke with Rogers earlier this year.

He asked if the president was mad at him, the former official said. I told him, No way, the president has always liked you.

The White House declined to comment.

Durhams inquiry into the origins of the Russia probe has perpetuated the bitter partisan conflict fueled earlier by special counsel Robert Muellers investigation. Among Muellers key findings was that Russias military intelligence unit, the GRU, stole Clinton campaign manager John Podestas emails, along with emails from the DNC, and delivered them to WikiLeaks. The Mueller investigation led to federal indictments or guilty pleas from 34 people and three companies, but concluded that there was insufficient evidence to charge anyone in the Trump campaign with coordinating with the Russian government.

Yet the Mueller probe, the recent inspector generals report, and now the Durham investigation have done little to bridge the yawning political divide between Trump and his supporters, who continue to see him as the victim of a politically motivated witch hunt, and career intelligence and national security officials, who view the Durham investigation as an effort to punish those who led U.S. efforts to investigate Russias election meddling. In May, Trump gave Barr the unprecedented authority to review and declassify intelligence related to the Russia investigation, further inflaming national security veterans.

Durhams investigation has also sought information from foreign governments. This summer, Barr and Durham traveled to Italy to request information from Italian intelligence officials about Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese professor who first told a Trump campaign adviser that the Russians had dirt on Clinton in the form of stolen emails. That claim played a central role in the FBIs decision to open an investigation into the Trump campaign. But in the conservative press and the right-wing social media ecosystem, Mifsud was portrayed as part of an Obama administration plot to entrap and frame Trump. The inspector generals report concluded that there is no evidence that Mifsud had any affiliation with the FBI.

Barrs visit to Italy coincided with Trumps offer to trade congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine for that countrys help in pursuing the unsupported allegations that Ukraine hacked the DNC and framed Russia. Trumps efforts to solicit a favor from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that Zelensky publicly announce an investigation into purported Ukrainian-backed hacking and look into alleged corruption by Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joseph Biden on behalf of Bidens son Hunter led to Trumps impeachment in the House of Representatives this week.

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Former NSA Director Cooperating With Probe of Trump-Russia Investigation - The Intercept

Posted in NSA

NSA has been lying to the courts all along, says whistleblower, as judges give warrantless surveillance the thumbs-up – RT

The National Security Agency can gather the data of US citizens without a warrant - as long as it gathers this data by mistake, a court has ruled. However, this suits the agency just fine, whistleblower William Binney told RT.

The NSA is permitted to gather data on US citizens abroad, or foreign connected Americans at home. The dragnet surveillance operation necessary to gather this information also sucks up data on millions of Americans with no foreign contacts, a process critics say is unconstitutional.

On Wednesday, the 2nd Court of Appeals in New York declared this incidental collection of information permissible. The NSA has maintained that it is incapable of separating properly and improperly gathered data, but former NSA Technical Director William Binney told RT that this is simply untrue.

Theyve been lying to the courts all along, Binney said. Theyve had the capability to sort that stuff out. Its just that they dont want to.

This gives them power over everyone, the ability to look into political opponents like they did with President Trump, he continued.

While the court ruling gives the NSA free rein to suck up data on Americans phone and internet communications, it did not authorize the US other intelligence and law enforcement agencies to dig through this data. However, according to a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court ruling issued last year, the FBI accessed this data trove some 3.1 million times in 2017.

Its agents did so without proper warrants, and on persons unrelated to ongoing criminal cases, as explicitly forbidden by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. In at least one case, the FBI illegally accessed the data of a suspect before seeking a warrant to spy on them legally.

Wednesdays court ruling concerned Agron Hasbajrami, a US permanent resident who was arrested en route to Turkey in 2011. The government claimed that Hasbajrami was travelling to Pakistan to join a terrorist organization. Hasbajrami claims that the government illegally accessed NSA data to build its case against him.

The court did not issue a ruling on this data access, instead punting the decision back down to a lower court to examine the Fourth Amendment implications.

Hasbajramis case is rare, in that he was informed that the evidence against him was collected by the NSA. Defendants are usually kept in the dark when clandestine agencies do the investigating.

The CIA, the FBI, the DEA and other law enforcement people have access to that data to search for common crime within the United States, Binney said. And they use it against US citizens in criminal courts without telling anyone in the court, or anyone else in the court, lawyers included.

So theyre fundamentally violating the rights of thousands of US citizens every year...without any oversight whatsoever.

The existence of the NSAs mass surveillance program was revealed in 2013 by former agency contractor Edward Snowden. Though the agency has reportedly ended its phone spying program, the espionage charges against Snowden remain in place, and Snowden himself remains in Moscow, where he has been granted asylum.

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NSA has been lying to the courts all along, says whistleblower, as judges give warrantless surveillance the thumbs-up - RT

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Government can seize all profits from Edward Snowden’s book – We Are The Mighty

Edward Snowden won't see any of the proceeds from his new memoir instead, the US government is entitled to seize the profits, a federal judge ruled Dec. 17, 2019.

Snowden's memoir, "Permanent Record," describes his work as a contractor for the National Security Administration and his 2013 decision to leak government secrets, including the fact that the NSA was secretly collecting citizens' phone records. Snowden has lived in Moscow since 2013, where he has been granted asylum.

The US sued Snowden on the day his memoir was published in September, alleging that he violated contracts with the NSA by writing about his work there without pre-clearance.

Judge Liam O'Grady made a summary judgement in favor of the US government on Dec. 17, 2019, rejecting requests from Snowden's lawyers to move the case forward into the discovery stage. O'Grady ruled that Snowden violated his contracts, both with the publication of the memoir and through other public speaking engagements in which he discussed his work for the NSA.

"Snowden admits that the speeches themselves purport to discuss intelligence-related activities," O'Grady wrote in his decision, adding that Snowden "breached the CIA and NSA Secrecy agreements."

In recent years, Snowden has maintained his criticisms of US surveillance while also turning his attention to big tech companies. In November, he decried the practice of aggregating personal data, arguing that Facebook, Google, and Amazon "are engaged in abuse."

This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter.

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Government can seize all profits from Edward Snowden's book - We Are The Mighty

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$0.39 EPS Expected for National Storage Affiliates Trust (NYSE:NSA) This Quarter – Riverton Roll

Analysts forecast that National Storage Affiliates Trust (NYSE:NSA) will post earnings of $0.39 per share for the current quarter, according to Zacks. Three analysts have made estimates for National Storage Affiliates Trusts earnings, with estimates ranging from $0.38 to $0.40. National Storage Affiliates Trust posted earnings per share of $0.37 during the same quarter last year, which would indicate a positive year over year growth rate of 5.4%. The company is expected to report its next quarterly earnings results on Monday, February 24th.

According to Zacks, analysts expect that National Storage Affiliates Trust will report full year earnings of $1.53 per share for the current fiscal year, with EPS estimates ranging from $1.52 to $1.54. For the next fiscal year, analysts expect that the firm will post earnings of $1.62 per share, with EPS estimates ranging from $1.61 to $1.64. Zacks earnings per share averages are an average based on a survey of sell-side research analysts that cover National Storage Affiliates Trust.

National Storage Affiliates Trust (NYSE:NSA) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, October 31st. The real estate investment trust reported ($0.20) EPS for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.39 by ($0.59). National Storage Affiliates Trust had a negative return on equity of 1.45% and a negative net margin of 4.87%. The firm had revenue of $101.34 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $100.49 million. During the same period last year, the business earned $0.36 earnings per share. The firms revenue for the quarter was up 18.7% compared to the same quarter last year.

A number of research firms have recently issued reports on NSA. Morgan Stanley lifted their price target on National Storage Affiliates Trust from $27.00 to $32.00 and gave the company an equal weight rating in a report on Monday, September 16th. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of National Storage Affiliates Trust from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Tuesday, December 3rd. BMO Capital Markets restated a hold rating and issued a $26.00 price objective on shares of National Storage Affiliates Trust in a research report on Thursday, October 31st. ValuEngine downgraded shares of National Storage Affiliates Trust from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Wednesday, September 4th. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co reiterated a buy rating on shares of National Storage Affiliates Trust in a research report on Monday, December 9th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the companys stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $33.83.

Shares of NYSE NSA traded up $0.02 during midday trading on Thursday, reaching $32.76. 4,971 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 534,123. National Storage Affiliates Trust has a 12 month low of $25.11 and a 12 month high of $35.76. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.26, a quick ratio of 0.64 and a current ratio of 0.64. The stocks 50-day simple moving average is $32.98 and its 200-day simple moving average is $32.19. The firm has a market cap of $1.93 billion, a PE ratio of 23.71, a PEG ratio of 4.17 and a beta of 0.29.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, December 31st. Shareholders of record on Friday, December 13th will be paid a $0.33 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, December 12th. This is a boost from National Storage Affiliates Trusts previous quarterly dividend of $0.32. This represents a $1.32 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 4.03%. National Storage Affiliates Trusts dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 95.65%.

A number of institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its position in shares of National Storage Affiliates Trust by 3.3% during the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 6,624,526 shares of the real estate investment trusts stock worth $191,714,000 after purchasing an additional 213,375 shares during the period. State Street Corp raised its stake in shares of National Storage Affiliates Trust by 3.1% in the 3rd quarter. State Street Corp now owns 3,143,735 shares of the real estate investment trusts stock valued at $104,906,000 after purchasing an additional 93,419 shares during the period. Invesco Ltd. lifted its holdings in shares of National Storage Affiliates Trust by 228.9% in the second quarter. Invesco Ltd. now owns 2,041,493 shares of the real estate investment trusts stock valued at $59,081,000 after purchasing an additional 1,420,851 shares in the last quarter. Nuveen Asset Management LLC bought a new stake in shares of National Storage Affiliates Trust in the second quarter valued at about $45,783,000. Finally, Renaissance Technologies LLC boosted its position in shares of National Storage Affiliates Trust by 5.4% during the second quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 1,527,814 shares of the real estate investment trusts stock worth $44,215,000 after buying an additional 78,100 shares during the period. 92.95% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About National Storage Affiliates Trust

National Storage Affiliates Trust is a Maryland real estate investment trust focused on the ownership, operation and acquisition of self storage properties located within the top 100 metropolitan statistical areas throughout the United States. The Company currently holds ownership interests in and operates 709 self storage properties located in 35 states and Puerto Rico with approximately 44.9 million rentable square feet.

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$0.39 EPS Expected for National Storage Affiliates Trust (NYSE:NSA) This Quarter - Riverton Roll

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