Thursday, May 29, 2014

Snowden Appears to have Lied About Trying to Address His Concerns Through Normal Channels

Big stuff folks.

I am going to talk about this more at length in my radio show this week but Snowden and Greenwald have both made a big deal about the idea that Snowden attempted to get his concerns raised through normal channels but no one listened. He said he sent an email with his concerns to the NSA Office of the General Counsel. He repeated this in his interview with Brian Williams on NBC.

The NSA could never find an email where Snowden raised his concerns. So after the interview, the NSA checked again and found only one email between Snowden and the NSA OGC. And you will see why they for the longest time didn't think this was what he was talking about, but apparently it is.

here is a link to the whole thing and a relevant excerpt:

Snowden posed a question on NSA training regarding the relative authority of laws and executive orders.
Snowden referred specifically to an intelligence directive requiring that NSA activities be "conducted in a manner that safeguards the constitutional rights of U.S. persons." Agency training for following the directive, Snowden said, appeared to give equal weight to federal law and executive orders. 
"I'm not entirely certain, but this does not seem correct, as it seems to imply executive orders have the same precedence as law," Snowden wrote. "Between (the orders) and laws, which have precedence?" 
The general counsel's office reply began, "Hello Ed," and continued, "Executive orders have the 'force and effect of law.' That said, you are correct that (they) cannot override a statute." 
The e-mail ended, "Please give me a call if you would like to discuss further."

Update: Snowden is now claiming that there are other emails, not to the OGC, but to the NSA Signals Intelligence Directorate expressing concern and that he verbally made expressions of concern to his colleagues and supervisors. The odd thing is that the email to the OGC is what he made such a big deal about on TV with Brian Williams. Why would he do that if the email to the Signals Directorate is the one that contains the real concerns.

Here is the transcript from this portion of the interview with Brian Williams:

In an exclusive interview with NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, Snowden said he had warned the NSA while working as an NSA contractor that he felt the agency was overstepping its bounds.
“I actually did go through channels, and that is documented,” he asserted. “The NSA has records, they have copies of emails right now to their Office of General Counsel, to their oversight and compliance folks, from me raising concerns about the NSA’s interpretations of its legal authorities. … The response more or less, in bureaucratic language, was, ‘You should stop asking questions.’” 

I will address this all on my show this week.