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WillyT's Journal
WillyT's Journal
November 3, 2013

White House, Lawmakers Reject Clemency For Edward Snowden - AP/SFExaminer

White House, lawmakers reject clemency for Edward Snowden
By The Associated Press/SFExaminer


The White House and the heads of the intelligence committees in Congress are rejecting a plea for clemency by National Security Agency-contractor-turned-fugitive Edward Snowden.

White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer says no such offers are being discussed. He tells ABC's "This Week," that Snowden should return to the U.S. and face charges, which include leaking classified information.

That sentiment is echoed by the committee chairmen, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California and Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan.

Rogers calls clemency for Snowden a "terrible idea." Feinstein says Snowden broke the law, when he could have privately reported his revelations to her committee.


Link: http://www.sfexaminer.com/sanfrancisco/white-house-lawmakers-reject-clemency-for-edward-snowden/Content?oid=2618757

November 3, 2013

Troubling Disclosures Are Likely To Change How The NSA Does Its Spying - LATimes

Troubling disclosures are likely to change how the NSA does its spying
Revelations about National Security Agency snooping on foreign allies and domestic tech giants is expected to lead to new limits on American spying.

By Ken Dilanian and Jessica Guynn
November 3, 2013, 8:00 a.m.


WASHINGTON — After decades of pushing the boundaries of electronic espionage, the National Security Agency finds itself exposed as never before, and the anything-goes ethos of secret surveillance may never be the same.

New limits on America's global surveillance operations are almost certain thanks to leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden showing that the spy agency eavesdropped on dozens of foreign leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other close allies.

"This is going to change the way the NSA does business for decades to come," said Stewart Baker, a former NSA general counsel who writes frequently about intelligence matters.

America's allies are embarrassed and angry, demanding curbs on U.S. spying in their countries. At home, Silicon Valley technology giants are in open revolt and are lobbying to outlaw key surveillance programs after learning that the NSA has broken into their communications links abroad to vacuum up their customers' private data.

Obama administration officials and leading lawmakers, who staunchly defended the NSA after Snowden began leaking classified documents that were disclosed June, have begun to distance themselves from the agency.

"In some cases, some of these actions have reached too far, and we are going to try to make sure it doesn't happen in the future," Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Friday in London.

In an interview with the new Fusion television network last week, President Obama said...


More: http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-fg-nsa-spying-20131103,0,2119933.story#axzz2jWK0v86n

November 3, 2013

And Again...

15 Ways The United States Is The Best (At Being The Worst)
Maxwell Strachan, Alissa Scheller & Jan Diehm - HuffPo
Posted: 10/29/2013 10:26 am EDT | Updated: 10/29/2013 5:59 pm EDT

More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/29/american-exceptionalism_n_4170683.html?utm_hp_ref=business

November 2, 2013

'Let Me Knock That Down Right Away'

Debbie Wasserman Schultz On Bill Maher's Obamacare Lie Claim: 'Let Me Knock That Down Right Away'
The Huffington Post | By Chris Gentilviso
Posted: 11/02/2013 5:28 pm EDT


Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) denounced the notion that President Barack Obama had lied about Americans' ability to maintain their health insurance under Obamacare.

In a Friday appearance on HBO's "Real Time With Bill Maher," Wasserman Schultz batted down Maher's suggestion that "the ship has sailed" on Obama's "credibility."

"It was not a lie, let’s just be very clear," Wasserman Schultz said. "So let me knock that down right away. When the president and myself and every other Democrat that talked about that if you like your health care, you can keep it, that was referring to the overwhelming majority of Americans who had health care.”

During his Wednesday speech in Boston, Obama attempted to clarify the controversy surrounding a wave of cancellation notices received by employees of small businesses and individuals purchasing their own plans. The president argued that "you're going to get a better deal."

"If you're getting one of these letters, just shop around in the new market place," he said. "That's what it's for."

Maher worked off that point...


Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/02/debbie-wasserman-schultz-bill-maher_n_4205123.html

November 2, 2013

Amid NSA Spying Revelations, Tech Leaders Call For New Restraints On Agency - WaPo

Amid NSA spying revelations, tech leaders call for new restraints on agency
By Craig Timberg and Ellen Nakashima - WaPo
Published: October 31 | Updated: Friday, November 1, 6:34 AM


Mounting revelations about the extent of NSA surveillance have alarmed technology leaders in recent days, driving a renewed push for significant legislative action from an industry that long tried to stay above the fray in Washington. After months of merely calling for the government to be more transparent about its surveillance requests, tech leaders have begun demanding substantive new restraints on how the National Security Agency collects and uses the vast quantities of information it scoops up around the globe, much of it from the data streams of U.S. companies.

The pivot marks an aggressive new posture for an industry that often has trod carefully in Washington — devoting more attention to blunting potentially damaging actions than to pushing initiatives that might prove controversial and alienate users from its lucrative services.

Six leading technology companies — Facebook, Google, Apple, Yahoo, Microsoft and AOL — sent a letter to two senators and two congressmen on Thursday reflecting the sharpening industry strategy. The letter praised a bill the lawmakers have sponsored that would end the bulk collection of phone records of millions of Americans and create a privacy advocate to represent civil liberties interests within the secretive court that oversees the NSA.

“Transparency is a critical first step to an informed public debate, but it is clear that more needs to be done,” said the letter, which was sent to Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee; Sen. Michael S. Lee (R-Utah), a judiciary committee member; and Reps. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) and F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wisc.), who are on the House Judiciary Committee. “Our companies believe that government surveillance practices should also be reformed to include substantial enhancements to privacy protections and appropriate oversight and accountability mechanisms for those programs.”

Although historically wary of Washington...


More: http://tinyurl.com/mjqkd9n

November 2, 2013

Snowden Willing to Help Germans Investigate U.S. Spying - Gawker

Snowden Willing to Help Germans Investigate U.S. Spying


The relationship between the United States and the strongest country in Europe continues its downward plunge: Asked about the ongoing investigation by Germany into U.S. spying, NSA leaker Edward Snowden said he would be willing to assist and provide clarification about leaked documents that have already proved disastrous to the diplomatic standing of the U.S. in Germany.

"I hope that when the difficulties of this humanitarian situation have been resolved, I will be able to cooperate in the responsible finding of fact regarding reports in the media, particularly in regard to the truth and authenticity of documents," Snowden wrote in a letter that was given to German lawmaker Hans-Christian Stroebele.

Stroebele met with Snowden on Thursday in an undisclosed location in Moscow, as Germany continues its investigation. If convinced of the authenticity of the documents, German officials could explore the possibility of criminal charges against NSA spies, as spying from within German territory is illegal.

In the letter, which was addressed to both the German parliament and the public prosecutor, Snowden wrote that he looks "forward to speaking with you in your country when the situation is resolved." Snowden is not allowed to leave Russia as per the terms of his temporary visa. If he were to ever attempt to travel to Germany, then the true strength of the U.S.- German relationship would be tested as Snowden tried to avoid extradition.

His lawyer however, doesn't think this bars him from testifying to against the U.S. "Within the framework of international agreements Snowden can give testimony in Russia but this should be decided by the German authorities," Anatoly Kucherena told a Russian radio station.


More: http://gawker.com/snowden-willing-to-help-germans-investigate-u-s-spying-1457288556

November 2, 2013

No Morsel Too Minuscule for All-Consuming N.S.A. - NYT

No Morsel Too Minuscule for All-Consuming N.S.A.
Published: November 2, 2013


When Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary general, sat down with President Obama at the White House in April to discuss Syrian chemical weapons, Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and climate change, it was a cordial, routine exchange.

The National Security Agency nonetheless went to work in advance and intercepted Mr. Ban’s talking points for the meeting, a feat the agency later reported as an “operational highlight” in a weekly internal brag sheet. It is hard to imagine what edge this could have given Mr. Obama in a friendly chat, if he even saw the N.S.A.’s modest scoop. (The White House won’t say.)

But it was emblematic of an agency that for decades has operated on the principle that any eavesdropping that can be done on a foreign target of any conceivable interest — now or in the future — should be done. After all, American intelligence officials reasoned, who’s going to find out?

From thousands of classified documents, the National Security Agency emerges as an electronic omnivore of staggering capabilities, eavesdropping and hacking its way around the world to strip governments and other targets of their secrets, all the while enforcing the utmost secrecy about its own operations. It spies routinely on friends as well as foes, as has become obvious in recent weeks; the agency’s official mission list includes using its surveillance powers to achieve “diplomatic advantage” over such allies as France and Germany and “economic advantage” over Japan and Brazil, among other countries.

Mr. Obama found himself in September standing uncomfortably beside the president of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, who was furious at being named as a target of N.S.A. eavesdropping. Since then, there has been a parade of such protests, from the European Union, Mexico, France, Germany and Spain. Chagrined American officials joke that soon there will be complaints from foreign leaders feeling slighted because the agency had not targeted them.

James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, has repeatedly dismissed such objections as brazen hypocrisy from countries that do their own share of spying. But in a recent interview, he acknowledged that the scale of eavesdropping by the N.S.A., with 35,000 workers and $10.8 billion a year, sets it apart. “There’s no question that from a capability standpoint we probably dwarf everybody on the planet, just about, with perhaps the exception of Russia and China,” he said.


More: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/03/world/no-morsel-too-minuscule-for-all-consuming-nsa.html?_r=0&pagewanted=all

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