Pentagon Papers Whistleblower Says Snowden Made the Right Call in Fleeing US

Photo Credit: The GuardianSnowden made the right call when he fled the U.S.

By Daniel Ellsberg. Many people compare Edward Snowden to me unfavorably for leaving the country and seeking asylum, rather than facing trial as I did. I don’t agree. The country I stayed in was a different America, a long time ago.

After the New York Times had been enjoined from publishing the Pentagon Papers — on June 15, 1971, the first prior restraint on a newspaper in U.S. history — and I had given another copy to The Post (which would also be enjoined), I went underground with my wife, Patricia, for 13 days. My purpose (quite like Snowden’s in flying to Hong Kong) was to elude surveillance while I was arranging — with the crucial help of a number of others, still unknown to the FBI — to distribute the Pentagon Papers sequentially to 17 other newspapers, in the face of two more injunctions. The last three days of that period was in defiance of an arrest order: I was, like Snowden now, a “fugitive from justice.”

Yet when I surrendered to arrest in Boston, having given out my last copies of the papers the night before, I was released on personal recognizance bond the same day. Later, when my charges were increased from the original three counts to 12, carrying a possible 115-year sentence, my bond was increased to $50,000. But for the whole two years I was under indictment, I was free to speak to the media and at rallies and public lectures. I was, after all, part of a movement against an ongoing war. Helping to end that war was my preeminent concern. I couldn’t have done that abroad, and leaving the country never entered my mind.

There is no chance that experience could be reproduced today, let alone that a trial could be terminated by the revelation of White House actions against a defendant that were clearly criminal in Richard Nixon’s era — and figured in his resignation in the face of impeachment — but are today all regarded as legal (including an attempt to “incapacitate me totally”).

I hope Snowden’s revelations will spark a movement to rescue our democracy…Read more from this story HERE.


Paper reveals NSA ops in Latin America

By Juan Forero. A Brazilian newspaper on Tuesday published an article it said is based on documents provided by the former American contractor Edward Snowden asserting that the United States has been collecting data on telephone calls and e-mails from several countries in Latin America, including important allies such as Brazil, Colombia and Mexico.

The paper, O Globo, based in Rio de Janeiro, says the documents show the National Security Agency amassed military and security data on countries such as Venezuela, an American adversary that has been accused of aiding Colombia’s Marxist rebels and maintaining close ties with Iran. But the documents also show that the agency carried out surveillance operations to unearth inside commercial information on the oil industry in Venezuela and the energy sector in Mexico, which is under state control and essentially closed to foreign investment.

U.S. officials have declined to address issues about intelligence gathering or the O Globo report, except to issue a statement saying that “we have been clear that the United States does gather foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations.”

The report on Tuesday came after O Globo on Sunday published a story contending that Brazil is a major target of the NSA’s international effort to monitor telecommunications. The newspaper said that in gathering data in Brazil, the NSA counted on the collaboration of American and Brazilian telecommunications companies, though O Globo did not name them.

The revelations of the American agency’s operations across a swath of Latin America coincided with news from Russia about where Snowden, who is believed to be at the Moscow airport, may be headed. A leading Russian lawmaker, Alexei Pushkov, said on Tuesday via his Twitter account that Snowden, who had been a contractor for the NSA, had accepted the offer of asylum that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro had made on Friday. Read more from this story HERE.


WikiLeaks: Snowden Has Not Accepted Asylum in Venezuela

By CBSDC/AP. WikiLeaks claims that National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden has not yet formally accepted asylum in Venezuela after a Russian lawmaker tweeted, then deleted minutes later, that Snowden accepted asylum from the South American country.

“The states concerned will make the announcement if and when the appropriate time comes. The announcement will then be confirmed by us,” WikiLeaks posted on Twitter.

The Associated Press reports that Russian lawmaker Alexei Pushkov initially tweeted that Snowden accepted Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s political asylum request.

“Predictably, Snowden has agreed to Maduro’s offer of political asylum. Apparently, this option appeared most reliable to Snowden,” Pushkov tweeted.

But the post was deleted minutes after Pushkov tweeted the information. Read more from this story HERE.


Edward Snowden: U.S., Israel ‘Co-Wrote’ Cyber Super Weapon Stuxnet

By Lee Ferran and Kirit Radia. The former National Security Agency contractor on the run from U.S. authorities halfway around the world said that Stuxnet, an unprecedented cyber weapon that targeted Iran’s nuclear program, was the product of a joint American-Israeli secret operation.

Before Edward Snowden became a household name, he conducted an interview via encrypted emails with cyber security expert Jacob Appelbaum and was asked about the game-changing computer code, according to the interview published in the German newspaper Der Spiegel Monday.

“NSA [U.S. National Security Agency] and Israel co-wrote it,” Snowden said.

Snowden said that the NSA regularly works with foreign governments and has a “massive body” called the Foreign Affairs Directorate to deal with international partners.

In the interview Snowden did not discuss Stuxnet further and, so far, none of the newspapers Snowden has worked with have published any documents directly relating to the cyber weapon. Read more from this story HERE.