Edward Snowden, Democracy and NSA Spying

Edward Snowden, Democracy and Spying
Edward Snowden and the NSA

Did Edward Snowden risk everything, including his democracy, with his allegations of widespread spying techniques used by the NSA? Five billion records per day are tracked by the NSA from locations and cell phone use worldwide. According to Snowden documents, US and foreign cell phones are tracked.

This lets the United States Intelligence track individuals and their travels and/or relationships. A large database stores this information and, under new projects, the NSA created a system to analyze such data, and in their observation and use of tools, possess this surveillance for spying on anyone, at anytime.The NSA taps into cables which connect networks, and then they inherit this information ‘incidentally’.  It is not as though they are tracking you personally. They just happen upon it. What then? Data is collected from the millions of Americans traveling abroad.

US officials state such programs are lawful and their intentions are not to trace movements, and expose the people in any way or any hidden relationships they might have. The reason for collection of bulk records is for national security. Did Edward Snowden threaten our national security or democracy from his knowledge and inner workings of the NSA? Robert Litt oversees the NSA office and says no one is collecting information, intentionally, from cellphones in the US.

CO-TRAVELER, the most powerful analytical tool, allows the NSA to see if known intelligence targets meet up with unexpected targets, or unknown associates. This CO-TRAVELER is a global tool and the government tracks locations from business meetings, doctor visits, hotels and homes to other private spaces. According to Chris Soghoian, a technologist with the ACLU, says, “The laws of physics don’t let you keep it private.” He is referring to private locations when using cell phones. Edward Snowden documents may show details of intelligence activity.

The NSA doesn’t know what it might need, so it keeps all of it. A lawyer said, with NSA permission, that the agency wants outside US data and this data collected does not come under the 4th Amendment, which helps to protect Americans from unreasonable searches and seizures. The basics of these tools for analysis include date, time, and location of phones.

Words like BREW, ARTIFICE and WOLFPOINT describe data collection through telephone links. The cell tower is identified, letting the NSA know the cell phone’s location. The NSA has access to many carriers through roaming, in essence, more carriers are accessed, even though they don’t do business with them. The NSA describes the techniques for tracking as becoming more difficult when customers use two mobile carriers.

The CO-TRAVELER uses its smarts, so when anonymity is sought, either by disposables and switching, it can sense when a new number connects after another was used for the last time. Also, when phone devices are used near each other, such as travelers, this can then be determined to be a possible relationship.

Asylum is the word used to describe what Americans pursue when they violate the 100-year old Espionage Act. Russia gave Edward Snowden asylum and this is where he now resides. Obama’s administration has charged twice the amount of persons than all the previous administrations combined. The message from others charged with this crime don’t come back to the US. President Obama did campaign on – and pledged to the American people – a new era of government transparency. The Justice Department states it does not target whistle-blowers and that they cannot tolerate federal employees disclosing information to the media not intended or classified.

The Justice Department maintains the whistle-blower is not the owner of  information belonging to the government. Daniel Ellsburg, a military analyst and former whistle-blower – famous for exposing Pentagon Papers back in 1971 – has said, “I hope Snowden’s revelations will spark a movement to rescue our democracy, but he could not be part of that movement, had he stayed here.”

Snowden’s revelations of widespread espionage by the NSA has put him on Barbara Walters most fascinating list of 2013. She wanted him to be at the top of her list, she leaked out, but ABC news did not allow it.

Written by Kim Troike






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