Category Archives: Whistleblowers

Glenn Greenwald: Empowering the ‘Deep State’ to Undermine Trump is Prescription for Destroying Democracy

Amy Goodman speaks to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, co-founder of The Intercept, about the deep state and the Trump administration. Greenwald recently wrote a piece titled: The Deep State Goes to War With President-Elect, Using Unverified Claims, as Democrats Cheer(Democracy Now!)

The Leakers Who Exposed General Flynn’s Lie Committed Serious — and Wholly Justified — Felonies

Glenn Greenwald writes for The Intercept:

[…] This episode underscores a critical point: The mere fact that an act is illegal does not mean it is unjust or even deserving of punishment. Oftentimes, the most just acts are precisely the ones that the law prohibits.

That’s particularly true of whistleblowers — i.e., those who reveal information the law makes it a crime to reveal, when doing so is the only way to demonstrate to the public that powerful officials are acting wrongfully or deceitfully. In those cases, we should cheer those who do it even though they are undertaking exactly those actions that the criminal law prohibits.

This Flynn episode underscores another critical point: The motives of leakers are irrelevant. It’s very possible — indeed, likely — that the leakers here were not acting with benevolent motives. Nobody with a straight face can claim that lying to the public is regarded in official Washington as some sort of mortal sin; if anything, the contrary is true: It’s seen as a job requirement.

Moreover, Gen. Flynn has many enemies throughout the intelligence and defense community. The same is true, of course, of Donald Trump; recall that just a few weeks ago, Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer warned Trump that he was being “really dumb” to criticize the intelligence community because “they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.”

It’s very possible — I’d say likely — that the motive here was vindictive rather than noble. Whatever else is true, this is a case where the intelligence community, through strategic (and illegal) leaks, destroyed one of its primary adversaries in the Trump White House.

But no matter. What matters is not the motive of the leaker but the effects of the leak. Any leak that results in the exposure of high-level wrongdoing — as this one did — should be praised, not scorned and punished.

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Trump Slams ‘Ungrateful Traitor’ Chelsea Manning Who Should ‘Never Have Been Released From Prison’

Tyler Durden reports for Zero Hedge:

Fox NewsTrump took to Twitter on Thursday morning, where in his first tweet he lashed out at Chelsea Manning, calling her an “ungrateful traitor” who should have never been released from prison.

“Ungrateful TRAITOR Chelsea Manning, who should never have been released from prison, is now calling President Obama a weak leader. Terrible!” he tweeted.

The reaction was prompted by Manning’s first column since former President Obama commuted her sentence for leaking classified documents, in which Manning said Obama had “few permanent accomplishments.”

“This vulnerable legacy should remind us that what we really need is a strong and unapologetic progressive to lead us. What we need as well is a relentless grassroots movement to hold that leadership accountable,” she wrote in The Guardian. “The one simple lesson to draw from President Obama’s legacy: do not start off with a compromise. They won’t meet you in the middle.”

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President Obama Commutes Sentence of Chelsea Manning: Interviews with Nancy Hollander, Chase Strangio, Jeremy Scahill and Kevin Gosztola

In the first interview, Amy Goodman speak with Nancy Hollander, Manning’s appellate attorney, and Chase Strangio of the ACLU, who represents Manning in a lawsuit against the Pentagon for denial of medical care related to her gender dysphoria. In the second she speaks to Jeremy Scahill, investigative reporter for The Intercept, who also discusses Edward Snowden. And in the third interview, Jaisal Noor speaks to Kevin Gosztola, managing editor of Shadow Proof managing, about Obama’s surprising and historic decision. (Democracy Now!/The Real News)

Obama Commutes Bulk of Chelsea Manning’s Sentence

Charlie Savage reports for The New York Times:

President Obama on Tuesday largely commuted the remaining prison sentence of Chelsea Manning, the army intelligence analyst convicted of an enormous 2010 leak that revealed American military and diplomatic activities across the world, disrupted the administration, and made WikiLeaks, the recipient of those disclosures, famous.

The decision by Mr. Obama rescued Ms. Manning, who twice tried to commit suicide last year, from an uncertain future as a transgender woman incarcerated at the male military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. She has been jailed for nearly seven years, and her 35-year sentence was by far the longest punishment ever imposed in the United States for a leak conviction.

Now, under the terms of Mr. Obama’s commutation announced by the White House on Tuesday, Ms. Manning is set to be freed on May 17 of this year, rather than in 2045.

The commutation also relieved the Department of Defense of the difficult responsibility of her incarceration as she pushes for treatment for her gender dysphoria — including sex reassignment surgery — that the military has no experience providing.

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Glenn Greenwald on Russia, Trump, the DNC Emails, Wikileaks, Snowden, Fake News and U.S. Media Culpability

Nermeen Shaikh and Amy Goodman speak with Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and co-founder of The Intercept Glenn Greenwald as the Senate Armed Services Committee holds a hearing on alleged Russian cyber-attacks. (Democracy Now!)

Chelsea Manning’s Attorney: Her Life Depends on Obama Taking Action Now

As President Obama’s term nears to a close, more than 100,000 people have signed a petition urging Obama to commute the sentence of Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning. In 2013, Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking more than 700,000 classified files and videos to WikiLeaks about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and U.S. foreign policy. Manning has been held since 2010 and been subjected to long stretches of solitary confinement and denied medical treatment related to her gender identity. In a letter to President Obama, Chelsea Manning wrote, “The sole relief I am asking for is to be released from military prison after serving six years of confinement as a person who did not intend to harm the interests of the United States or harm any service members. I am merely asking for a first chance to live my life outside the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks as the person I was born to be.” Amy Goodman speaks with Chase Strangio, staff attorney at the ACLU, who is representing Manning in a lawsuit against the Pentagon. (Democracy Now!)

Obama Refuses to Pardon Edward Snowden, Trump’s New CIA Pick Wants Him Dead

Alex Emmons and Naomi LaChance report for The Intercept:

Image result for pompeo snowdenPresident Obama indicated on Friday that he won’t pardon NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, even as President-elect Donald Trumpannounced his pick to run the CIA: Kansas congressman Mike Pompeo, who has called for “the traitor Edward Snowden” to be executed.

Pompeo has supported nearly unfettered NSA surveillance, has blamed Muslim leaders for condoning terror, and is one of the most hyperbolic members of Congress when it comes to describing the Islamic State, which he has called “an existential threat to America” and “the most lethal and powerful terrorist group ever to have existed.”

In an interview with Obama published on Friday, German newspaper Der Spiegel asked: “Are you going to pardon Edward Snowden?” Obama replied: “I can’t pardon somebody who hasn’t gone before a court and presented themselves, so that’s not something that I would comment on at this point.”

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Julian Assange: Why Wikileaks Published What We Have on the US Elections

Julian Assange writes:

Image result for Wikileaks hillary clintonIn recent months, WikiLeaks and I personally have come under enormous pressure to stop publishing what the Clinton campaign says about itself to itself. That pressure has come from the campaign’s allies, including the Obama administration, and from liberals who are anxious about who will be elected US President.

On the eve of the election, it is important to restate why we have published what we have.

The right to receive and impart true information is the guiding principle of WikiLeaks – an organization that has a staff and organizational mission far beyond myself. Our organization defends the public’s right to be informed.

This is why, irrespective of the outcome of the 2016 US Presidential election, the real victor is the US public which is better informed as a result of our work.

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Julian Assange Talks to John Pilger About the U.S. Election

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange speaks to veteran  journalist and documentary filmmaker John Pilger from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, summarising what can be gleaned from the tens of thousands of Clinton emails released by WikiLeaks this year. (Dartmouth Films/RT)

Trump Adviser Claims Assange Ally Warned Him About Leaked Clinton Emails

Peter Stone reports for The Guardian:

Image result for Roger StoneA key confidante of Donald Trump has provided new details about the “mutual friend” of Julian Assange who served as a back channel to give him broad tips in advance about WikiLeaks’ releases of emails to and from key allies of Hillary Clinton.

Roger Stone, a longtime unofficial adviser to the Republican presidential nominee, was briefed in general terms in advance about the sensitive and embarrassing leaked Democratic emails by an American libertarian who works in the media on the “opinion side”, he told the Guardian in an interview.

Stone claims his American source, whom he declined to identify, has met with Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, in London and is a “mutual friend” of Stone and Assange. The WikiLeaks source, Stone said, is not tied in any way to the Trump campaign but has served as a back channel for Stone, who is an outside adviser to the Republican presidential candidate, allowing the adviser to tweet and comment very broadly prior to some key WikiLeaks disclosures.

A source close to Trump Tower also told the Guardian that Stone once boasted to him of meeting with Assange himself and told the source, who is active in GOP political circles, that WikiLeaks would be “coming down like a ton of bricks” on Clinton. Stone adamantly denied meeting with Assange (“Your source is bullshitting u” he wrote in an email) or having any direct contact with Assange or anyone with WikiLeaks.

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A Peculiar Coincidence

Craig Murray writes:

Today, Swedish prosecutors were meant to question Julian Assange in the Ecuadorean Embassy, something for which the Assange legal team has been pressing for years. They believe that once this step has been taken, prosecutors will no longer be able to keep from the scrutiny of Swedish courts the fact that there is no viable evidence whatsoever to back up the ludicrous allegations which have been made.

Frustratingly, Swedish prosecutors cancelled the interview last week, with no explanation given. Anyone would think they do not wish the investigation to progress… Then this same day Assange’s internet access is cut, WikiLeaks say by a state actor. To add to this string of coincidence, at the same time Russia Today has its bank accounts frozen by the Royal Bank of Scotland, again without explanation

This series of events are all aimed at those who seek to counter the neo-con narrative pumped out by the state and corporate media. It could be coincidence, but it looks like co-ordinated clampdown to me.

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Washington Post Makes History: First Paper to Call for Prosecution of Its Own Source (After Accepting Pulitzer)

Glenn Greenwald writes for The Intercept:

Three of the four media outlets which received and published large numbers of secret NSA documents provided by Edward Snowden – The Guardian, The New York Times and The Intercept – have called for the U.S. government to allow the NSA whistleblower to return to the U.S. with no charges. That’s the normal course for a news organization, which owes its sources duties of protection, and which – by virtue of accepting the source’s materials and then publishing them – implicitly declares the source’s information to be in the public interest.

But not The Washington Post. In the face of a growing ACLU-and-Amnesty-led campaign to secure a pardon for Snowden, timed to this weekend’s release of the Oliver Stone biopic “Snowden,” the Post editorial page not only argued today in opposition to a pardon, but explicitly demanded that Snowden — their paper’s own source — stand trial on espionage charges or, as a “second-best solution,” “accept a measure of criminal responsibility for his excesses and the U.S. government offers a measure of leniency.”

In doing so, The Washington Post has achieved an ignominious feat in U.S. media history: the first-ever paper to explicitly editorialize for the criminal prosecution of its own paper’s source — one on whose back the paper won and eagerly accepted a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. But even more staggering than this act of journalistic treachery against their paper’s own source are the claims made to justify it.

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House Intel Panel Blasts Snowden In New Report, One Day Before Movie Release

Jenna McLaughlin reports for The Intercept:

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence urged President Barack Obama on Thursday not to pardon Edward Snowden, concluding in an unclassified summary of a two-year investigation that the former NSA contractor was “not a whistleblower” — echoing what White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said during a press briefing earlier in the week.

Edward Snowden is no hero — he’s a traitor who willfully betrayed his colleagues and his country. He put our service members and the American people at risk after perceived slights by his superiors,” said Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., in a statement about the report on Snowden’s disclosure of documents on NSA worldwide surveillance programs.

The entire panel — Democrats and Republicans alike — signed a letter sent directly to the president, asserting that Snowden is “not a patriot.” The unclassified summary of the report, disclosed alongside the letter, is just three pages long; the classified version is 36 pages with 230 footnotes.

The summary was released one day before the premiere of Oliver Stone’s movie about the NSA whistleblower.

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Snowden by Oliver Stone (Trailer)

Pardon Edward Snowden

Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch and Salil Shetty of Amnesty International write for The New York Times:

Edward J. Snowden, the American who has probably left the biggest mark on public policy debates during the Obama years, is today an outlaw. Mr. Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor who disclosed to journalists secret documents detailing the United States’ mass surveillance programs, faces potential espionage charges, even though the president has acknowledged the important public debate his revelations provoked.

Mr. Snowden’s whistle-blowing prompted reactions across the government. Courts found the government wrong to use Section 215 of the Patriot Act to justify mass phone data collection. Congress replaced that law with the USA Freedom Act, improving transparency about government surveillance and limiting government power to collect certain records. The president appointed an independent review board, which produced important reform recommendations.

That’s just in the American government. Newspapers that published Mr. Snowden’s revelations won the Pulitzer Prize. The United Nations issued resolutions on protecting digital privacy and created a mandate to promote the right to privacy. Many technology companies, facing outrage at their apparent complicity in mass surveillance, began providing end-to-end encryption by default. Three years on, the news media still refer to Mr. Snowden and his revelations every day. His actions have brought about a dramatic increase in our awareness of the risks to our privacy in the digital age — and to the many rights that depend on privacy.

Yet President Obama and the candidates to succeed him have emphasized not Mr. Snowden’s public service but the importance of prosecuting him.Hillary Clinton has said Mr. Snowden shouldn’t be brought home “without facing the music.” Donald J. Trump has said, “I think he’s a total traitor and I would deal with him harshly.”

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Lunch with the FT: Edward Snowden, the World’s Most Famous Whistleblower

Alan Rusbridger interviews Edward Snowden in a Moscow hotel room for the Financial Times:

James Ferguson's illustration of Edward SnowdenEdward Snowden has rounded on his hosts, attacking the Kremlin’s human rights record and implicating Russia in two of the US government’s latest major security hacks.

In a Lunch with the FT — carried below — he complained Moscow had “gone very far, in ways that are completely unnecessary, costly and corrosive to individual and collective rights” and added that his greatest loyalty was still to the US.

He described the leak last month of NSA espionage tools, potentially by Russia as an “implicit threat” to the US government. Efforts by hackers called the Shadow Brokers to auction off NSA computer code used to break into foreign networks were an attempt to show Washington how vulnerable it was, he added.

Snowden insisted that all dealings with Russian officials were conducted by his lawyer. “I don’t have a lot of ties to Russia and that’s by design because, as crazy as it sounds, I still plan to leave.”

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U.S. Army Pulls Training Slide Listing Hillary Clinton and David Petraeus as Examples of Insider Threats

Kevin Lilley reports for the Army Times:

A PowerPoint training slide listing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and retired Gen. David Petraeus among “insiders” who threatened national security was in use for 18 months at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, before Army officials pulled it out of circulation.

The image includes photos of Clinton and Petraeus along with Maj. Nidal Hasan (who shot and killed 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009), Aaron Alexis (who shot and killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard in 2013), Chelsea Manning (convicted in 2013 for leaking documents while an active-duty soldier) and Edward Snowden (who leaked classified National Security Agency surveillance information in 2013). It was posted Sunday on the U.S Army W.T.F! moments Facebook page.

The slide came to the attention of Army Training and Doctrine Command on Monday, TRADOC spokesman Maj. Thomas Campbell said, and it was pulled from the presentation, which is part of a quarterly training requirement, “promptly.”

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Evidence Points to Another Snowden at the NSA

James Bamford, author of The Shadow Factory, writes for Reuters:

In the summer of 1972, state-of-the-art campaign spying consisted of amateur burglars, armed with duct tape and microphones, penetrating the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee. Today, amateur burglars have been replaced by cyberspies, who penetrated the DNC armed with computers and sophisticated hacking tools.

Where the Watergate burglars came away empty-handed and in handcuffs, the modern- day cyber thieves walked away with tens of thousands of sensitive political documents and are still unidentified.

Now, in the latest twist, hacking tools themselves, likely stolen from the National Security Agency, are on the digital auction block. Once again, the usual suspects start with Russia – though there seems little evidence backing up the accusation.

In addition, if Russia had stolen the hacking tools, it would be senseless to publicize the theft, let alone put them up for sale. It would be like a safecracker stealing the combination to a bank vault and putting it on Facebook. Once revealed, companies and governments would patch their firewalls, just as the bank would change its combination.

A more logical explanation could also be insider theft. If that’s the case, it’s one more reason to question the usefulness of an agency that secretly collects private information on millions of Americans but can’t keep its most valuable data from being stolen, or as it appears in this case, being used against us.

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The NSA Leak Is Real, Snowden Documents Confirm

Sam Biddle reports for The Intercept:

On Monday, a hacking group calling itself the “ShadowBrokers” announced an auction for what it claimed were “cyber weapons” made by the NSA. Based on never-before-published documents provided by the whistleblower Edward Snowden, The Intercept can confirm that the arsenal contains authentic NSA software, part of a powerful constellation of tools used to covertly infect computers worldwide.

The provenance of the code has been a matter of heated debate this week among cybersecurity experts, and while it remains unclear how the software leaked, one thing is now beyond speculation: The malware is covered with the NSA’s virtual fingerprints and clearly originates from the agency.

The evidence that ties the ShadowBrokers dump to the NSA comes in an agency manual for implanting malware, classified top secret, provided by Snowden, and not previously available to the public. The draft manual instructs NSA operators to track their use of one malware program using a specific 16-character string, “ace02468bdf13579.” That exact same string appears throughout the ShadowBrokers leak in code associated with the same program, SECONDDATE.

SECONDDATE plays a specialized role inside a complex global system built by the U.S. government to infect and monitor what one document estimated to be millions of computers around the world. Its release by ShadowBrokers, alongside dozens of other malicious tools, marks the first time any full copies of the NSA’s offensive software have been available to the public, providing a glimpse at how an elaborate system outlined in the Snowden documents looks when deployed in the real world, as well as concrete evidence that NSA hackers don’t always have the last word when it comes to computer exploitation.

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What Julian Assange’s War on Hillary Clinton Says About WikiLeaks

Robert Mackay writes for The Intercept:

[…] It should come as no surprise to anyone who looks back at the founding principles of WikiLeaks that Assange — who has clearly stated his distaste for the idea of the former secretary of state becoming president — would make aggressive use of leaked documents to try to undermine her.

As Raffi Khatchadourian explained in a New Yorker profile of the WikiLeaks founder in 2010, “Assange, despite his claims to scientific journalism, emphasized to me that his mission is to expose injustice, not to provide an even-handed record of events.” To Assange, Khatchadourian wrote, “Leaks were an instrument of information warfare.”

In other words, Assange’s project has been from the start more like opposition research than dispassionate reporting. His goal is to find dirt in the servers of powerful individuals or organizations he sees as corrupt or dangerous, and bring them down by exposing it. As he memorably told Der Spiegel in 2010, “I enjoy crushing bastards.”

His recent focus on “crushing” Clinton but not Trump has led some to ask Assange if he is worried about helping to elect someone who might be even more hostile to him — let alone to the causes of justice and peace that have motivated Wikileaks’ previous disclosures. Asked recently by Amy Goodman of “Democracy Now” if he does prefer Trump over Clinton, Assange replied, “You’re asking me, do I prefer cholera or gonorrhea?”

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Trump Perfectly Illustrates the Flaws of NSA Surveillance

Conor Friedersdorf writes for The Atlantic:

[…] A few short years ago, when Edward Snowden revealed the extent of NSA surveillance on American citizens, corporations, and other institutions, NSA defenders insisted that the national security establishment can be trusted, and that civil libertarians were overly paranoid to worry that unprincipled elites would, sooner or later, exploit the era of mass surveillance to manipulate the political process.

With the Republican nominee for the presidency openly yearning for a foreign intelligence agency to hack a political rival, Trevor Timm, one of those civil libertarians, took the opportunity to issue a reminder: If elected to the presidency, “Trump would head a vast NSA apparatus he could turn on his political enemies.” This was, Timm wrote, “always the overarching concern about NSA: Even IF it’s not being abused now, the system would allow future leaders to wreak havoc.”

And the safeguards that NSA defenders always invoke?

“Hopefully if President Trump ever ordered the NSA to hack into the computer systems of domestic opponents or critics, NSA leaders would refuse,” Tim Leenoted at Vox. “But the president has the power not only to choose the NSA director but also to prosecute whistleblowers for leaking classified information. So we shouldn’t be too confident that internal resistance at the NSA would stop him.”

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Chelsea Manning faces solitary confinement and charges after suicide attempt

Nicky Woolf reports for The Guardian:

Chelsea Manning may face charges relating to a suicide attempt this year, which could lead to indefinite solitary confinement or transferral to a maximum-security facility, according to a civil rights group.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) announced on Thursday that Manning, who is serving a 35-year sentence in military custody for leaking state secrets to the whistleblowing site WikiLeaks, was under investigation for three charges related to her 5 July suicide attempt: “resisting the force cell move team”, “prohibited property”, and “conduct which threatens”.

Manning confirmed through her lawyers in July that she was receiving medical care after having tried to take her own life.

If convicted of these new “administrative offenses”, she faces punishment that could include solitary confinement for the rest of her sentence, reclassification as a maximum-security prisoner, and an addition of nine years to her sentence. It might also negate her possibility of parole, according to the ACLU.

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Edward Snowden Is Not Down With WikiLeaks’ Methods

David Meyer reports for Fortune:

WikiLeaks is on a bit of a roll at the moment, most notoriously with its release of thousands of emails and even voicemail recordings from the U.S. Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Democratic party’s donors.

It has also recently released emails from Turkey’s ruling party, prompting WikiLeaks’ blockage in that country, and tweeted out a link to an unredacted database of most female Turkish voters.

And Edward Snowden, the famous National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower, thinks Julian Assange’s whistleblowing pipeline is taking things too far.

“Democratizing information has never been more vital, and WikiLeaks has helped,” he tweeted. “But their hostility to even modest curation is a mistake.”

WikiLeaks lashed back, accusing Snowden of opportunism in the hope of winning a pardon from Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate. It also said that curation should not include “censorship of ruling party cash flows.”

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Chelsea Manning lawyers accuse prison officials of cutting contact with whistleblower after she is hospitalised

Heather Saul reports for The Independent:

manning.jpgLawyers representing Chelsea Manning have criticised the US military for allegedly cutting their contact with the imprisoned whistleblower amid concern over her health.

Manning, 28, was rushed to hospital this week. Unconfirmed reports suggested she had tried to take her own life.

The former US army soldier is serving a 35-year sentence at Fort Leavenworth military prison in Kansas for leaking over 700,000 classified documents to Wikileaks. She filed an appeal against her prison sentence in May.

A spokesperson for the US Army told the Associated PressManning was taken to hospital early on 5 July and has since returned to barracks. The spokesperson said Manning’s condition is being “monitored” but would not comment on why Manning needed to be treated in hospital.

 

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Washington Has Been Obsessed With Punishing Secrecy Violations — Until Hillary Clinton

Glenn Greenwald writes for The Intercept:

Secrecy is a virtual religion in Washington. Those who violate its dogma have been punished in the harshest and most excessive manner – at least when they possess little political power or influence. As has been widely noted, the Obama administration has prosecuted more leakers under the 1917 Espionage Act than all prior administrations combined. Secrecy in DC is so revered that even the most banal documents are reflexively marked classified, making their disclosure or mishandling a felony. As former CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden said in 2010, “Everything’s secret. I mean, I got an email saying ‘Merry Christmas.’ It carried a top secret NSA classification marking.”

People who leak to media outlets for the selfless purpose of informing the public – Daniel Ellsberg, Tom Drake, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden – face decades in prison. Those who leak for more ignoble and self-serving ends – such as enabling hagiography (Leon Panetta, David Petreaus) or ingratiating oneself to one’s mistress (Petraeus) – face career destruction, though they are usually spared if they are sufficiently Important-in-DC. For low-level, powerless Nobodies-in-DC, even the mere mishandling of classified informationwithout any intent to leak but merely to, say, work from home – has resulted in criminal prosecution, career destruction and the permanent loss of security clearance.

This extreme, unforgiving, unreasonable, excessive posture toward classified information came to an instant halt in Washington today – just in time to save Hillary Clinton’s presidential aspirations.

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The U.S. Military Is Building an Employee Database to Predict Traitors

Aliya Sternstein reports for Defense One:

A U.S. soldier in Baghdad, May 2007.The Defense Department is building a massive information-sharing system detailing national security personnel and individuals cleared for accessing U.S. secrets, to flag who among them might be potential turncoats or other “insider threats.”

The “DoD Component Insider Threat Records System” is part of the U.S.government’s response to the 2010 leaks of classified diplomatic cables by former Pfc. Chelsea Manning. A 2011 so-called WikiLeaks executive order called for an “insider threat detection” program.

A review of the 2013 Washington Navy Yard shootings found that the department still lacked “a centralized hub” to obtain a holistic view into potential threats, Defense spokeswoman Linda Rojas told Nextgovin an email.

Now, the Pentagon is establishing a team of “cross-functional experts” trained in cybersecurity, privacy, law enforcement, intelligence and psychology—aided by the new workflow technology—to help fill that gap, she said.

But some civil liberties advocates say this Defensewide insider threat analytics system could create a culture of mutual suspicion that silences whistleblowers.

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Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder: Edward Snowden Performed a ‘Public Service’

Matthew Jaffe reports for CNN:

Then-U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in May 2014 Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says Edward Snowden performed a “public service” by triggering a debate over surveillance techniques, but still must pay a penalty for illegally leaking a trove of classified intelligence documents.

“We can certainly argue about the way in which Snowden did what he did, but I think that he actually performed a public service by raising the debate that we engaged in and by the changes that we made,” Holder told David Axelrod on “The Axe Files,” a podcast produced by CNN and the University of Chicago Institute of Politics.

“Now I would say that doing what he did — and the way he did it — was inappropriate and illegal,” Holder added.

Holder said Snowden jeopardized America’s security interests by leaking classified information while working as a contractor for the National Security Agency in 2013.

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The Great Swiss Bank Heist

Patrick Radden Keefe reports for The New Yorker:

Hervé Falciani, who took client data from H.S.B.C., was indicted in Switzerland, jailed in Spain, and celebrated in France.A few days before Christmas in 2008, Hervé Falciani was in a meeting at his office, in Geneva, when a team of police officers arrived to arrest him. Falciani, who was thirty-six, worked for H.S.B.C., then the largest bank in the world. He was on the staff of the company’s private Swiss bank, which serves clients who are wealthy enough to afford the minimum deposit—half a million dollars—required to open an account. Falciani had been at H.S.B.C. for eight years, initially in Monaco and then in Geneva. He was a computer technician who helped supervise security systems for the handling of client data. He had grown up in Monaco, where as a young man he had worked as a croupier at the Casino de Monte-Carlo, and developed an excellent poker face. As the Swiss police escorted him from the building, he insisted that he had done nothing wrong.

Officers questioned Falciani at a nearby station. They were investigating a data theft from the bank. Since 1713, when the Great Council of Geneva banned banks from revealing the private information of their customers, Switzerland had thrived on its reputation as a stronghold of financial secrecy. International élites could place their fortunes beyond the reach of tax authorities in their own countries. For Swiss wealth managers, who oversaw more than two trillion dollars in international deposits, the promise to maintain financial privacy was akin to a religious vow of silence. Switzerland is the home of the numbered account: customers often specify that they prefer not to receive statements, in order to avoid a paper trail. In light of these safeguards, the notion of a breach at H.S.B.C. was shocking.

Police officials told Falciani that someone calling himself Ruben al-Chidiak had stolen client data from the bank. They weren’t sure how much information had been taken or how the theft had been engineered. But they suspected that Chidiak was a pseudonym, and that the real culprit was Falciani.

Falciani told the police that his job was to protect data: How could they accuse him of compromising such information? As darkness fell, he asked to go home. His wife, Simona, would be worried about him. The investigators released him, but instructed him to return for further questioning the next morning.

Falciani walked through streets strung with Christmas lights to his apartment, in a dingy building on the Rue des Mouettes. He and Simona packed a few bags, bundled their three-year-old daughter, Kim, against the cold, and prepared to flee the country. Despite his protests, Falciani had stolen the data.

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Source Reveals How Pentagon Ruined Whistleblower’s Life and Set Stage for Snowden’s Leaks

Amy Goodman speaks with John Crane, a former senior Pentagon official about how his superiors broke the law to punish a key National Security Agency whistleblower for leaking information about waste, mismanagement and surveillance. His account sheds light on how and why Edward Snowden revealed how the government was spying on hundreds of millions of people around the world. John Crane worked 25 years for the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, which helps federal employees expose abuse. He now says whistleblowers have little choice but to go outside the system, and is speaking out about what happened to NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, who revealed the existence of a widespread illegal program of domestic surveillance. Crane describes how in December 2010 Drake’s lawyers filed a complaint with the inspector general alleging he had been punished in retaliation for his whistleblowing, and that the crimes Drake was later charged with were “based in part, or entirely,” on information he provided to the Pentagon inspector general. Mark Hertsgaard recounts Crane’s story in his new book, Bravehearts: Whistle-Blowing in the Age of Snowden, and shows how Drake’s persecution sent an unmistakable message to Edward Snowden: Raising concerns within the system meant he would be targeted next. Edward Snowden has responded to Crane’s revelations by calling for a complete overhaul of U.S. whistleblower protections. “To me, the main issue is: Can we have a workable system that lets whistleblowers follow their own principled dissent without having them destroyed in the process?” asks John Crane. (Democracy Now!)