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United States Privacy Security

NSA Says Snowden Emails Exempt From Public Disclosure 231

Posted by samzenpus
from the for-our-eyes-only dept.
AHuxley (892839) writes "The Desk reports on a FOIA request covering "... all e-mails sent by Edward Snowden" and the NSA's refusal to release all documents. "The National Security Agency has acknowledged it retains a record of e-mail communications from former contractor turned whistleblower Edward Snowden, but says those records are exempt from public disclosure under the federal Freedom of Information Act. In a letter responding to a June 27 FOIA request from The Desk, the NSA’s chief FOIA officer Pamela Phillips wrote that while the agency has retained records related to Snowden’s employment as a contractor, they are being withheld from public examination because, among other things, releasing the records 'could interfere with law enforcement proceedings, could cause an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, could reveal the identities of confidential sources or would reveal law enforcement techniques and procedures.' Other records are being withheld because those documents were 'also found to be currently and properly classifiedand remains classified TOP SECRET, SECRET and CONFIDENTIAL.' The letter marks the first time the NSA has publicly acknowledged retaining communication and employment records related to Snowden’s time as a contractor."
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NSA Says Snowden Emails Exempt From Public Disclosure

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  • by jeIIomizer (3670945) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @12:56PM (#47443551)

    And yet they don't seem to have any problem violating the fundamental rights of nearly everyone in and outside the US.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 13, 2014 @01:19PM (#47443679)

    He's already released a few, didn't he? The result was NSA-apologists calling him a liar and saying he made it all up.

  • by Collective 0-0009 (1294662) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @01:26PM (#47443709)
    At this point, there are numerous things happening such as laws, inquiries, public debate, and policy changes that are all due to Snowden's release of information. I feel that he has brought to the forefront an important issue and revealed things that the public needed to know. I can understand to some degree that people don't like how he did it, but given the machine that is the government, I don't doubt that this was the only way to bring about such changes (or at least debate and knowledge).

    After a bit of a cool down period, I don't hear nearly as much hate for Snowden. Libertarians, Republicans, Democrats and all other flavors should want a more open government. The government does also need to keep some things secret. This gives them a reason, the means, and a public grant of power to keep things from public knowledge. Some times the only way to circumvent that power is through a leak/whistle blower.

    As far as this story, the public needs to pressure the government to keep no more secrets about Snowden. The cover of endangering certain sources or resources is no longer being accepted as we have seen little damage and much good from the release. It's time the US Government come clean and it's time we tell them that we demand it.
  • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @02:01PM (#47443905) Homepage Journal

    Who said anything about "revolution"? That just brings you trouble, and causes more harm to innocents.

    Just don't lay any special claim by "citizenship" - that is a parlour trick to keep you in harness, to keep you a "house negro".

  • Re:Misuse of FOIA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ddt (14627) <ddt@davetaylor.name> on Sunday July 13, 2014 @02:09PM (#47443947) Homepage

    Second off, this story (and the multitude of Greenwald/Snowden cult of personality reposters) is missing the most important thing in the NSA's response, the last sentence:

    “For your information, there are no emails indicating that Mr. Snowden contacted agency officials to raise concerns about NSA programs.”

    You'd have a great point if there were any reason we could trust the NSA. They could be lying outright, or they could be doing it the DC way, which is telling the truth in a misleading way, by overlooking the fact that he approached them in person about it instead of in written form, which I certainly would have, as I'd be nervous as shit about writing an email like that.

    He's no patriot, he's just a cowardly little shit.

    He gave up his girlfriend and cushy job, he exposed clear evidence of violation of international treaties and the US Constitution by the world's dominant superpower, and then he endured being stuck in the Moscow Airport (there isn't enough Prozac in the world to make this OK) and is now stuck in Russia, which I assure you, is a severe downgrade from Hawaii. There's nothing cowardly about all that.

  • by Imrik (148191) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @02:10PM (#47443955) Homepage

    Revolution can come in many forms, a widespread change in voter behavior could be described as a revolution.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 13, 2014 @02:40PM (#47444165)

    It has already been explained to you in dozens articles how the NSA's activities violate the spirit of the constitution and how they violates people's privacy. You just hand wave it all away and appeal to the authority of judges, completely ignoring the intent of the founders (the courts are not the be-all end-all of the constitution) and ignoring the fact that the courts can be wrong.

    Numerous people have debunked your garbage time and time again. What's the point? The only point in responding to you is to let other people know using logic against you is pointless, because you're an authoritarian to the core.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 13, 2014 @03:18PM (#47444381)

    No. He already said why. He didn't take anything with him beyond Hong Kong and there is no reason tothink he could have had the foresight to take the emails at the time he took the other documents. The fact we're attacking him over what is trivial compared to the crimes he's brought us should send up a red flag. They are distracting us and the administration, prior administration, and at least some of those in congress amongst others should be charged with treason and in prison. Unfortunately our system doesn't work in such a way that true justice can be realized. Those accused tend to be those who are the enemy of the state (people in power) or simply being taken advantage of for poitical gain (Aaron Swartz, Bernie S, etc).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 13, 2014 @03:19PM (#47444389)

    Since you want to limit this to the intent of the Founders, could you quote the section of the US Constitution that establishes the right to privacy?

    If the constitution does not say that the government has the power to do something, then it doesn't. Furthermore, the 4th amendment places limitations upon the government that may have been necessary due to earlier sections of the constitution. The limitations placed on the government's powers enable a greater degree of privacy to exist. The right to privacy is the default, and it is also implicit.

    General warrants are unconstitutional. Further, it's plainly obvious that this practice would have been explicitly forbidden had it been used against the founders, similar to how practices were. There's no way this *is not* unconstitutional in a place that's often called "the land of the free." You disagree with me because, deep in your heart, you'd rather be living in North Korea. Why not just admit it and try to move there?

    You are apparently a part of the "Americans must die bravely from terrorist bombings in shopping malls or we aren't free" crowd.

    A more accurate phrasing of that would be, "Americans, between risking death and losing fundamental freedoms, should do the former." You disagree. You are an authoritarian scumbag. Why not just admit what everyone already knows?

    Like many on Slashdot you probably confuse liberty with license

    Like all of your kind, you confuse license with liberty.

  • by vux984 (928602) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @03:19PM (#47444391)

    Isn't it ... "odd" ... that Snowden could manage to steal 1.7 million documents, but apparently didn't manage to get copies of his own emails showing his alleged attempts to raise the issues through official channels?

    a) Because when I suspect my employer of illegal wrong doing doing I always write an email? Oh, wait, no, we're trained that those sorts of inquiries are supposed to go through channels without permanent records for legal liability reasons. You can argue that that's a bad thing, but that's reality in a LOT of places.

    b) While I'm sure he'd have been capable of snagging his email, maybe it simply didn't occur to him.

    You don't think it could be because even if he did "raise the issue" of legality he was given the reasons why they were legal and chose to steal the documents anyway?

    If your argument is that Snowden didn't keep and release them because they would contradict and harm his 'narrative', then why is the NSA not bending over backwards to get them out there?

    The NSA should be happy to provide us with such a relevant record that details their dutiful adherence to the law, and how they conscientiously explained to Snowden why he was mistaken in raising concerns.

    If you really beleive what you wrote, why do think the NSA is refusing to release them?

    And if you really believe what what the NSA was doing was legal, how do you reconcile that with the general consensus that a great deal of what they were doing was not, in fact, legal.

  • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @03:38PM (#47444493)

    I care more about my children's survival than Thomas Jefferson cared about my kids' survival.

  • Really? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dega704 (1454673) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @03:43PM (#47444523)
    Well the government has made one thing very clear. They believe that they are the only beings on earth that are entitled to privacy or secrecy, and they are entitled to ALL of it while simultaneously violating everyone else's eight ways till friday.
  • by Zero__Kelvin (151819) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @03:43PM (#47444529) Homepage
    You are a citizen who cares more about your children's survival than the survival of Freedom and the well being of millions. In other words you aren't merely part of the problem, you are the problem.
  • by jeIIomizer (3670945) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @04:05PM (#47444633)

    Delusional? The NSA is violating people's rights and the highest law of the land, and it's happening right this instant. Are you saying that it is not happening? If not, then how is he delusional? If you allow it to happen, and they continue doing it, then you don't really have those freedoms, now do you?

  • by vux984 (928602) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @04:17PM (#47444697)

    Snowden said he wrote emails that he can't produce despite taking almost two million documents. You can't explain that away since you are directly challenging him.

    Ok, I'll stipulate that he claims he wrote them.

    All this while intending to make the claim that he was a "whistle blower" on the US? And he forget the whistle he claims to have blown, repeatedly, while there? That doesn't wash.

    I honestly and sincerely don't even see it as related. He may not even anticipated that someone would challenge. He was seeking to establish beyond credible doubt that the NSA was doing XYZ. That is "the story" he was looking to tell. That someone would try to argue that a big part of the story would be "hey, can you prove you tried to tell someone inside, first" possibly didn't even enter into his mind.

    In the big picture, it doesn't even matter. What matters is what the NSA was doing, not how vigorously Snowden tried to change it from within first.

    Regardless of how important this particular detail is to you, its at best a tangential detail to the main story.

    Its just a small minded distraction to try and divert attention from the main story. Like obsessing over Julian Assange's significant personal flaws instead of focusing on the actual wiki leaks leaks.

    Maybe because they don't exist?

    That doesn't fly within this thread of the sub-argument.

    You'd stipulated they DID exist and contained the NSA's response that they were legal. You can't now argue that maybe they didn't exist, at least not within this sub-thread.

    Or they discuss classified programs that are still classified?

    They could redact them. Even if they were just "walls of black ink", they would establish that they existed.

    I expect that the NSA has done that in the proper forums for discussing classified matters: in meetings with the administration, in closed sessions of Congress, and before the courts in closed hearings.

    You are contorting like an acrobat. You are arguing that "if they exist, the NSA is rightfully keeping them secret, therefore we should assume Snowden is lying about their existence, and that they don't exist". That's not even coherent.

    Seems to me then, its perfectly reasonable to accept Snowden's claim they exist.

    Which "general consensus" is that?

    Lets see:
    the 5 member Privacy and Civil liberties Oversight Board created by Congress ruled them illegal.

    The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled them illegal.

    United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled them illegal.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/... [bloomberg.com]

    http://www.wired.co.uk/news/ar... [wired.co.uk]

    http://www.wired.com/2013/12/b... [wired.com]

    And even the NSA itself, has ADMITTED substantial wrongdoing.

    http://thehill.com/policy/tech... [thehill.com]

    "The one on Slashdot?"

    Yeah, sure, the one on slashdot too. ::eyeroll::

  • by grcumb (781340) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @05:06PM (#47444923) Homepage Journal

    You are a citizen who cares more about your children's survival than the survival of Freedom and the well being of millions. In other words you aren't merely part of the problem, you are the problem.

    You could happily sit in the company of many of history's great men. The too were willing to sacrifice countless lives for some lofty goal.

    Is there any benefit too small, in your mind, for my kids to die supporting it?

    It's worth noting that most revolutions happen when the only way remaining to provide for and protect one's children is to take up arms or man the barricades.

    ... And most of them are won by the side most able to protect its children.

  • by rtb61 (674572) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @07:25PM (#47445533) Homepage

    You seem to have forgotten that the NSA were doing a damn sight more than just gathering phone metadata. That's the only thing the US government is willing to discuss with a US agency even when the head of that agency perjured himself to the US government in a public hearing under oath. Metadata, metadata, that's now just a pretend catch cry to make it look like the government is doing something about an out of control agency.

    They were intercepting everything thing they could, internet communications, email, cell phone calls, land line calls, hacking computer networks, purposefully weakening internet securing to keep the hacking easy, disrupting encryption methods and basically trying to get all the electronic data they could get on everyone . They specifically targeted US politicians and look how well that worked out for them, now it ho hum metadata from US politicians and ignore the perjury, ignore politically targeted wire tapping, pretend it all never happened, now why are they really doing that, what is the NSA keeping secret about the politicians that are meant to control the NSA.

  • by Gravis Zero (934156) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @11:49PM (#47446651)

    "would reveal law enforcement techniques and procedures"

    in other words, it would expose your illegal activities. gotcha.

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