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United States Privacy Security

NSA Says Snowden Emails Exempt From Public Disclosure 231

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 @01:56PM (#47443551)

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

    • by Jeremiah Cornelius ( 137 ) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @02:18PM (#47443673) Homepage Journal

      No longer inhabits the constitutional legal framework of its purpose or foundation.

      It is an illegal institution, with no basis for either loyalty or obedience.

      • by DoofusOfDeath ( 636671 ) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @02:44PM (#47443789)

        America no longer has distributed agriculture or fuel production. A revolution, however warranted, would lead to an unimaginable amount of freezing and starvation within the first two winters, I'd wager.

        • by KiloByte ( 825081 ) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @02:51PM (#47443837)

          Are there any Indians left you could mooch from during these two winters?

        • 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".

        • by Imrik ( 148191 ) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @03:10PM (#47443955) Homepage

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

        • America no longer has distributed agriculture or fuel production. A revolution, however warranted, would lead to an unimaginable amount of freezing and starvation within the first two winters, I'd wager.

          And yet, in Thomas Jefferson's view, would be well worth the cost, and is far more than an order of magnitude (in years) overdue.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

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

            • by Zero__Kelvin ( 151819 ) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @04:43PM (#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.
            • I care more about my children's survival than Thomas Jefferson cared about my kids' survival.

              I agree with the other person who replied. In effect, you are saying "I don't care who ELSE is made to be slaves, as long as I and my family can hide in this safe little cave and pretend it doesn't exist."

              Part of the problem, indeed. You would "protect" your children by leaving them a life of servitude to others.

              Some parent. I'm glad you weren't mine.

              • Fully agreed. As a father of three children, I've been decidedly unhappy about the way things have been heading for a long time now. My first inclination is to simply leave, taking my loved ones with me. In fact, that's the current plan, although I have a habit of making lots of noise about Constitutional rights on a daily basis, and I may well get myself into trouble because of it. Should that happen, so be it. I may be on the way out, but I'm not backing down while I'm still here.

              • by philip.paradis ( 2580427 ) on Monday July 14, 2014 @04:26AM (#47447159)

                To clarify my last response, I once wore a uniform for this nation and swore an oath uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I have no interest in staying in a nation full of people who are completely ignorant of their rights and obligations as citizens, a nation where the majority of the population is far too apathetic to care about those rights being trampled. I'll be here as long as it takes to build a solid foundation elsewhere, which is a work in progress, and I'm gone after that. I'm a fairly smart guy, and I have fairly diverse skills that I can utilize anywhere on the planet to provide for my loved ones. There are still a few places left where people care about individualism and rights. Not many, but a few.

        • A revolution, however warranted, would lead to an unimaginable amount of freezing and starvation within the first two winters

          Why, would the failing government interdict traffic? That wouldn't be the revolution causing freezing or starvation.

    • by xfizik ( 3491039 )
      I don't think they care about violating rights of the U.S. citizens. And they care even less about those outside the U.S. It's too bad that the American allies don't care about their citizens' privacy either.
    • by DoofusOfDeath ( 636671 ) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @02:42PM (#47443781)

      "Any excuse will serve a tyrant." -Aesop.

    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

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

      Irony: Only by becoming a terrorist by the government's standards does one gain acknowledgement of their right to privacy from it.

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

      Don't even make an argument. They are liars, and criminals. Why are we even listing to them talk? To hell with the NSA, they can talk in court.

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

      That is because blah blah blah NO blah blah NATIONAL SECURITY blah blah SHUT THE HELL UP.

      Thar be dragins [].

    • Oh, you naïve person, you. Don't you know that your privacy rights aren't violated as long as you never know your personal data was being scraped and stored? It's the disclosure that is the privacy violation.

      Besides, the data is only "collected" when someone looks at it. It's basically Schrödinger's database.

    • by flyneye ( 84093 )

      "NSA Says Snowden Emails Exempt From Public Disclosure "
      NSA says a lot of shit and you can't believe a fucking word of it, but, then, you can't believe a fucking word the Politicians, that make the NSA possible, say either.
      Go figure.

  • by Bob9113 ( 14996 ) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @02:12PM (#47443637) Homepage

    Snowden / Binney 2016! []

    That image is my original artwork (with friendly tips from Slashdot user Indigo), copyright 2014 Robert Bushman, licensed under CC by-nc-sa. It is properly sized for a 2.75" by 5" sticker with .125" bleed at 300 dpi. I'm getting them printed at (I recommend doing a search for "vinyl bumper stickers", since they often have a coupon running on Duck Duck Go). I haven't seen my physical proofs yet, but the on-screen color conversion looked good to me. Please feel free to print a stack and spread them far and wide.

    • Looks like ".Snowden" at first glance. Reduce the space between the i and the dot.
    • who is binney
      • by Bob9113 ( 14996 )

        who is binney

        That's a big part of the reason I went with Binney instead of Doctorow (my original choice); to make you, and others like you, wonder, "Who is Binney?" Hopefully most of the rest will realize they can type "binney" into a search engine. :)

        • by GNious ( 953874 )

          From Wikipedia:

          "James Jeffrey Binney, FRS, FInstP (born 1950 in Surrey) is a British astrophysicist. He is a Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford, where he is head of the Sub-Department of Theoretical Physics as well as a Professorial Fellow at Merton College. Binney is known principally for his work in theoretical galactic and extragalactic astrophysics, but he has made a number of contributions to areas outside of astrophysics as well."

          Interesting choice, but I'm not sure he is eligible...

        • You think the President has to be a U.S. citizen but they're not going to care whether the guy who takes over if anything happens to him is?

      • by Bob9113 ( 14996 ) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @04:06PM (#47444297) Homepage

        who is binney

        But, maybe my previous response was too snarky...

        Sometimes people say, of Snowden, "He should have gone through official channels."

        In 2001, William Binney did exactly that. Ever since then, Binney had been harrassed and prosecuted by the government, and marginalized and ignored by the media -- until Snowden embarrassed the major media with the help of Glenn Greenwald and The Guardian. Binney (and Drake before him) is why Snowden was right not to go through official channels; that method had been tested and found to fail.

    • Sorry, I only support candidates who can provide me with vector-based artwork.
  • by Collective 0-0009 ( 1294662 ) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @02:26PM (#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 wierd_w ( 1375923 ) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @03:32PM (#47444117)

      It has been my observation that the people who have blistering hatred for Snowden, are the kinds of people who totally embrace jingoism. []

      They see any kind of "restriction" on government's ability to secure "advantage" and "interest" as allowing "The terrorists to win" (or whatever is the current buzz phrase), As such, they view actions like snowden's as being completely un-american, because he undermined the interests of an american intelligence agency, who was collecting abhorrent amounts of information about everyone and everything--presumably to secure american interests, over foriegn interests. These are the same kinds of people that would support creation of a literal planet-killing super weapon, just to secure american military dominance, and would think nothing of it.

      People that chug the jingo-laid come in all colors, all races, all creeds, and all genders: Liberal, Libertarian, Fiscal conservative, raging pinko, and gun toting whacko alike. The unifying feature is that they have bought into the "America is NUMBER ONE!!!!eleveltyone!" mantra.

      Seeing that supporting "American interests" without question or hesitation is leading to somethig that is not the america they were promised, with real proof, and real scnadals, with real consequences (FOR THEM), is about the only way to get through to them, short of having them experience the stazi first hand, up close and brutal.

      The bullshit needs to stop, and an anti-jingoism movement needs to sweep this country.

      • It has been my observation that the people who have blistering hatred for Snowden, are the kinds of people who totally embrace jingoism.

        But there are also those who don't have a blistering hatred, yet still feel that he broke the law and should be accountable. I find these people to be especially common among those who themselves are or have been under legal and moral obligations to preserve US government secrets and are appalled that Snowden essentially dumped a huge pile of unsifted sensitive data on the Guardian and trusted them to keep it secure and behave responsibly.

        These people largely agree with the need to publish some of the dat

  • Ask Snowden! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jargonburn ( 1950578 ) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @02:39PM (#47443765)
    Perhaps they should try and contact Edward Snowden and see if he has copies of those email messages that'd he'd care to release.
    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

      That wouldn't matter. The government would simply claim any messages they don't like the content of were falsified. We could ask them to release their copies then, but they could similarly release doctored emails. The end result would be a classic case of he said/she said.

      • Except, one of the two has been shown to be a liar. The NSA can refuse as they please so long as they have money from Congress and guns from other federal agencies to back them up. However, I seriously doubt that they could get an evidentially unsupported assertion to hold up in public court.
        • If they've already perjured themselves in court I don't see why they would have any qualms about fabricating evidence.

          • Good point. I think what it comes down to is understanding how to structure a group of people so that the group, acting as a whole, is capable of prioritizing moral behavior over it's own interests. Most large organizations seem to have the same concept of morality as single celled organisms.
            • In practice, I would expect that to only work in not-for-profit organizations.

              But I've gradually come to the conclusion that the reason most of the world's problems aren't solved already is because due to the nature of humans they can't be. Too many systems revolve around people acting ethically and when there's money involved it just doesn't work. And there's always money involved somehow.

    • Snowden should fill out one of these for Greenwald and have him send the FOIA request:

      Authorization for the Release of Records to Another Individual []

      /The link is for the State Department, but the release is part of the FOIA law and (AFAIK) applies to any FOIA requests.

  • by Rick Zeman ( 15628 ) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @02:53PM (#47443859)

    ...Snowden would waive his right to privacy, but the NSA's answer would no doubt be the same.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @03:12PM (#47443977)

    Like ... how? Tip off Snowden that he's wanted?

  • A grand meme.

  • Really? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dega704 ( 1454673 ) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @04:43PM (#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 SiliconSeraph ( 996818 ) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @07:28PM (#47445293)
    This may be the most ironic thing I've seen in a while.
  • Don't understand why he didn't take and leak the relevant emails?

    • He may not have thought it worth the time to export his NSA mailbox to a pst when he had much juicier stuff to copy off the network...

  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Monday July 14, 2014 @12:49AM (#47446651)

    "would reveal law enforcement techniques and procedures"

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

... though his invention worked superbly -- his theory was a crock of sewage from beginning to end. -- Vernor Vinge, "The Peace War"