THUNDER BAY – Edward Snowden has outed himself. Snowden has come forward as the whistleblower behind the UK Guardian story on the PRISM gathering of intelligence by the United States of Internet and Cell Phone data.
The Guardian‘s source for the leaks was a $200,000 a year contractor with the National Security Agency (NSA) who was working in Hawaii. Snowden has now relocated himself to Hong Kong. His former employer Booz Allen states, “Booz Allen can confirm that Edward Snowden, 29, has been an employee of our firm for less than 3 months, assigned to a team in Hawaii. News reports that this individual has claimed to have leaked classified information are shocking, and if accurate, this action represents a grave violation of the code of conduct and core values of our firm. We will work closely with our clients and authorities in their investigation of this matter”.
At issue here is the United States and PRISM where all international Internet and cell phone calls were in effect listed, and warehoused by the government. The United States Government has said this was for National Security reasons, and that no American citizens were in effect spied on.
However for Canadians, Brits, Australians, and all foreign nationals, their privacy appears to have been compromised by PRISM.
According to the Guardian Report, Snowden is currently in fear for his future and his life, but also at peace with the choice he has made to release the documents on U.S. electronic surveillance. He said he fully expects the U.S. government to seek punish him.
United States President Obama, states, “When I came into this office, I made two commitments that are more important than any commitment I made: Number one, to keep the American people safe; and number two, to uphold the Constitution. And that includes what I consider to be a constitutional right to privacy and an observance of civil liberties”.
The President was set to meet with Chinese President Xi and one of the topics was China’s reported mining of data and hacking into computers in the United States. Timing for the President of this information being leaked could not have come at a worse time.
President Obama, is now being called “President George W. Bush” in the British Tabloid Press.
“Now, the programs that have been discussed over the last couple days in the press are secret in the sense that they’re classified. But they’re not secret in the sense that when it comes to telephone calls, every member of Congress has been briefed on this program. With respect to all these programs, the relevant intelligence committees are fully briefed on these programs. These are programs that have been authorized by broad bipartisan majorities repeatedly since 2006.
“And so, I think at the outset, it’s important to understand that your duly elected representatives have been consistently informed on exactly what we’re doing,” continued the President. “Now, let me take the two issues separately. When it comes to telephone calls, nobody is listening to your telephone calls. That’s not what this program is about. As was indicated, what the intelligence community is doing is looking at phone numbers and durations of calls. They are not looking at people’s names, and they’re not looking at content. But by sifting through this so-called metadata, they may identify potential leads with respect to folks who might engage in terrorism. If these folks — if the intelligence community then actually wants to listen to a phone call, they’ve got to go back to a federal judge, just like they would in a criminal investigation”.
In obvious damage control mode, the President continued, “So I want to be very clear — some of the hype that we’ve been hearing over the last day or so — nobody is listening to the content of people’s phone calls. This program, by the way, is fully overseen not just by Congress, but by the FISA Court — a court specially put together to evaluate classified programs to make sure that the executive branch, or government generally, is not abusing them, and that it’s being carried out consistent with the Constitution and rule of law”.
All of the major Internet companies, Facebook, Google, Apple, have all denied any involvement in the supplying of access to the United States to gather data.