More Snowden revelations

The Guardian has released video of the second part of the interview that Edward Snowden gave on June 6 to Glenn Greenwald. Laura Poitras, and Ewan MacAskill. (The first part can be seen here.) In this seven-minute clip, he explains what made him do what he did, saying, “I don’t want to live in a world where everything that I say, everything I do, everyone I talk to, every expression of creativity or love or friendship is recorded. And that’s not something I am willing to support, it’s not something I am willing to build, and its not something I am willing to live under. So I think anyone who opposes that sort of world has an obligation to act in the way they can.” He says he acted because the people who should have spoken up or stopped it did not do so.

Long before he became a household name and that video was made, he approached Poitras anonymously saying that he had information about the NSA. She contacted encryption and software engineer Jacob Appelbaum and together they had an encrypted email exchange to feel each other out. Appelbaum was concerned that this may have been a trap being set by the US government because of his activist work on behalf of WikiLeaks. So he and Snowden were both initially wary, wondering if each could trust the other.

You can also read the full exchange between Snowden and Poitras and Appelbaum that was published in Der Spiegel and is now available in English. They talk about some of the technical aspects of how the NSA works. Snowden confirms that the Stuxnet virus that attacked Iran was co-written by the US and Israel. He says that even the Queen of England communications are tapped into because who knows, she might be an al Qaeda mole. He also says that once you become a ‘target’, your computer effectively becomes the property of the NSA in that they keep track of everything that happens on it.

It is pretty disturbing stuff.

Meanwhile Eric Lichbau reports that the secret FISA court has issued rulings that “created a secret body of law giving the National Security Agency the power to amass vast collections of data on Americans while pursuing not only terrorism suspects, but also people possibly involved in nuclear proliferation, espionage, and cyber attacks.”

As he says, “Unlike the Supreme Court, the FISA court hears from only one side in the case — the government — and its findings are almost never made public.” So now we not only have a secret surveillance state, we are subjected to secret laws as well.

Meanwhile cartoonist Tom Tomorrow weighs in with his take on the media coverage of this story.