If you were watching CNN, they were saying the NSA is listening to your phone calls. It's reading your emails. When you call your grandma in Arkansas, the NSA knows. All total bulls - t. They made the public more concerned about the privacy issue than the legitimate facts should have done.
I think one of the most shocking things is how little our elected officials knew about what the NSA was doing. Congress is learning from the reporting and that's staggering. Snowden and [former NSA employee] William Binney, who's also in the film as a whistleblower from a different generation, are technical people who understand the dangers.
Even though we don't know which companies the NSA has compromised - or by what means - knowing that they could have compromised any of them is enough to make us mistrustful of all of them. This is going to make it hard for large companies like Google and Microsoft to get back the trust they lost. Even if they succeed in limiting government surveillance. Even if they succeed in improving their own internal security. The best they'll be able to say is: "We have secured ourselves from the NSA, except for the parts that we either don't know about or can't talk about.
Depending on the contemporary mood, Orwell oscillates from Saint George to George the Seer to George the Sage. What other thinker has been both so fervidly claimed and derided by both the left and right? Who else except Kafka do we credit with having seen the sinister future? When the NSA spying scandal broke in June, Amazon sales of Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four vaulted more than 6000 percent. The connection of Big Brother with the NSA might have been hysterical and spurious, but it was also testament to our sentimental, kneejerk affection for Orwell, to the fact that he remains the default scribe whenever our paranoia is fondled by the ominous machinations of realpolitik. The utter clarity and goodness of his intellect seem something of a miracle when one considers how many of his fellow writers botched the most pressing moral and political tests of their time. He could smell bullshit and blood a continent away: When a passel of leftist intellectuals was hailing the Soviet Union as humankind's only hope, Orwell was persistent in pointing out that Stalin was a monocratic lunatic.
Marketers use big data profiling to predict who is about to get pregnant, who is likely to buy a new car, and who is about to change sexual orientations. That's how they know what ads to send to whom. The NSA, meanwhile, wants to know who is likely to commit an act of terrorism - and for this, they need us.
There are a lot of things that I really question - the legality of the drone strikes, these NSA revelations. Jimmy Carter came out and said we don't live in a democracy. That's a little intense when an ex-president says that. So you know, he's got some explaining to do, particularly for a constitutional law professor.
You could watch entire villages and see what everyone was doing. I watched NSA tracking people's Internet activities as they typed. I became aware of just how invasive U.S. surveillance capabilities had become. I realized the true breadth of this system. And almost nobody knew it was happening.
They still have negligent auditing, they still have things going for a walk, and they have no idea where they're coming from and they have no idea where they're going. And if that's the case, how can we as the public trust the NSA with all of our information, with all of our private records, the permanent record of our lives?
The community of technical experts who really manage the internet, who built the internet and maintain it, are becoming increasingly concerned about the activities of agencies like the NSA or Cyber Command, because what we see is that defense is becoming less of a priority than offense.
Congress hasn't declared war on the countries - the majority of them are our allies - but without asking for public permission, NSA is running network operations against them that affect millions of innocent people. And for what? So we can have secret access to a computer in a country we're not even fighting?
A number of countries, including some who have loudly criticized the NSA, privately acknowledge that America has special responsibilities as the world's only superpower, that our intelligence capabilities are critical to meeting these responsibilities, and that they themselves have relied on the information we obtain to protect their own people.
The most striking thing Snowden has revealed is the depth of what the NSA and the Five Eyes countries [Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Great Britain, and the US] are doing, their hunger for all data, for total bulk dragnet surveillance where they try to collect all communications and do it all sorts of different ways. Their ethos is "collect it all."
Part of what we're trying to do is lay out what really happened. For example, I've been trying to get across that the intelligence leadership did not just keep the country in the dark. They actively misled the country on key issues. When you have someone who heads the NSA saying we don't hold data at all on US citizens, that's one of the most misleading statements I believe that's ever been made about surveillance policy. And I think that now we're starting to get that message across.
Suspicionless surveillance has no place in a democracy. The next 60 days are a historic opportunity to rein in the NSA, but the only one who can end the worst of its abuses is you. Call your representatives and tell them that the unconstitutional 'bulk collection' of Americans' private records under Section 215 of the Patriot Act must end.
The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your emails or your wife's phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards.
As the Ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, I have been briefed since 2003 on a highly classified NSA foreign collection program that targeted Al Qaeda. I believe the program is essential to US national security and that its disclosure has damaged critical intelligence capabilities.
To do that, the NSA specifically targets the communications of everyone. It ingests them by default. It collects them in its system and it filters them and it analyzes them and it measures them and it stores them for periods of time simply because that's the easiest, most efficient and most valuable way to achieve these ends. So while they may be intending to target someone associated with a foreign government, or someone that they suspect of terrorism, they are collecting YOUR communications to do so.
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. It is the first of many.
When the United States cannibalize dollars from the defensive business of the NSA, securing our communications, protecting our systems, patching zero-day vulnerabilities, and instead we're giving those dollars to be used for creating new vulnerabilities in our systems so that they can surveil us and other people abroad who use the same systems.
When the September 11th attacks happened, only about a year later, the crypto community was holding its breath because here was a time when we just had an absolutely horrific terrorist attack on U.S. soil, and if the NSA and the FBI were unhappy with anything, Congress was ready to pass any law they wanted. The PATRIOT Act got pushed through very, very quickly with bipartisan support and very, very little debate, yet it didn't include anything about encryption.
The program grew out of a desire to address a gap identified after 9/11 ... The program does not involve the NSA examining the phone records of ordinary Americans. Rather, it consolidates these records into a database that the government can query if it has a specific lead - phone records that the companies already retain for business purposes.
It is no surprise that the Republican-controlled Senate intelligence committee has once again caved in to the wishes of the White House and refused even to open an investigation. We cannot effectively legislate on the NSA spying issue if we do not know the facts, and we will not know them if the Republican-controlled intelligence committee persists in refusing to do its job.
The great fear that I have regarding the outcome for America of these disclosures is that nothing will change. [People] won't be willing to take the risks necessary to stand up and fight to change things And in the months ahead, the years ahead, it's only going to get worse. [The NSA will] say that because of the crisis, the dangers that we face in the world, some new and unpredicted threat, we need more authority, we need more power, and there will be nothing the people can do at that point to oppose it. And it will be turnkey tyranny.
We need the security standards to apply to the internet. We need to be able to trust that when we send our emails through Verizon, that Verizon isn't sharing with the NSA, that Verizon isn't sharing them with the FBI or German intelligence or French intelligence or Russian intelligence or Chinese intelligence.
When we talk about computer network exploitation, computer network attack, we're not just talking about your home PC. We're talking about your cell phone, and we're also talking about internet routers themselves. The NSA is attacking the critical infrastructure of the internet to try to take ownership of it. They hack the routers that connect nations to the internet itself.
The domestic NSA-led Surveillance State which Frank Church so stridently warned about has obviously come to fruition. The way to avoid its grip is simply to acquiesce to the nation's most powerful factions, to obediently remain within the permitted boundaries of political discourse and activism. Accepting that bargain enables one to maintain the delusion of freedom - "he who does not move does not notice his chains," observed Rosa Luxemburg - but the true measure of political liberty is whether one is free to make a different choice.
You know, we've been right on everything, haven't we? We told people about drones five years ago, didn't we? We told people about the NSA five years ago, didn't we? We told them about indefinite detention. We told them you can't come after the internet, that's unconstitutional. You can't do warrantless searches, that's unconstitutional.
I was right outside the NSA [on 9/11], so I remember the tension on that day. I remember hearing on the radio, 'the plane's hitting, ' and I remember thinking my grandfather, who worked for the FBI at the time, was in the Pentagon when the plane hit it... I take the threat of terrorism seriously, and I think we all do. And I think it's really disingenuous for the government to invoke and sort-of scandalize our memories to sort-of exploit the national trauma that we all suffered together and worked so hard to come through - and to justify programs that have never been shown to keep us safe, but cost us liberties and freedoms that we don't need to give up, and that our Constitution says we should not give up.
Every time I do an interview people ask similar questions, such as "What is the most significant story that you have revealed?" [... ] There really is only one overarching point that all of these stories have revealed, and that is-and I say this without the slightest bit of hyperbole or melodrama; it's not metaphorical and it's not figurative; it is literally true-that the goal of the NSA and it's five eyes partners in the English speaking world-Canada, New Zealand, Australia and especially the UK-is to eliminate privacy globally, to ensure that there could be no human communications that occur electronically, that evades their surveillance net; they want to make sure that all forms of human communications by telephone or by Internet, and all online activities are collected, monitored, stored and analyzed by that agency and by their allies. That means, to describe that is to describe a ubiquitous surveillance state; you don't need hyperbole to make that claim, and you do not need to believe me when I say that that's their goal. Document after document within the archive that Edward Snowden provided us declare that to be their goal. They are obsessed with searching out any small little premise of the planet where some form of communications might take place without they being able to invade it.