Previous NSA Leakers, Thomas Drake And Mark Klein, Speak Out In Defense Of Ed Snowden

from the confirms-what-they-said dept

As US politicians and pundits push each other aside to tar and feather Ed Snowden for revealing some basic facts about NSA surveillance that the politicians and pundits themselves refused to call out for its clear abuse of basic 4th Amendment principles, two of the most important previous leakers of details of NSA surveillance have spoken out in support of Snowden. Thomas Drake, the former NSA employee who blew the whistle on NSA surveillance abuse (and faced decades in jail on trumped up charges that fell apart in court), has pointed out that Snowden's revelations confirm his own claims from before:
The NSA programs that Snowden has revealed are nothing new: they date back to the days and weeks after 9/11. I had direct exposure to similar programs, such as Stellar Wind, in 2001. In the first week of October, I had an extraordinary conversation with NSA's lead attorney. When I pressed hard about the unconstitutionality of Stellar Wind, he said:
"The White House has approved the program; it's all legal. NSA is the executive agent."
It was made clear to me that the original intent of government was to gain access to all the information it could without regard for constitutional safeguards. "You don't understand," I was told. "We just need the data.
Drake also highlights how he did use the "official" whistleblower channels that many are saying Snowden should have used, and look what happened to him:
I differed as a whistleblower to Snowden only in this respect: in accordance with the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act, I took my concerns up within the chain of command, to the very highest levels at the NSA, and then to Congress and the Department of Defense. I understand why Snowden has taken his course of action, because he's been following this for years: he's seen what's happened to other whistleblowers like me.

By following protocol, you get flagged – just for raising issues. You're identified as someone they don't like, someone not to be trusted. I was exposed early on because I was a material witness for two 9/11 congressional investigations. In closed testimony, I told them everything I knew – about Stellar Wind, billions of dollars in fraud, waste and abuse, and the critical intelligence, which the NSA had but did not disclose to other agencies, preventing vital action against known threats. If that intelligence had been shared, it may very well have prevented 9/11.

But as I found out later, none of the material evidence I disclosed went into the official record. It became a state secret even to give information of this kind to the 9/11 investigation.
The end result was that his whistleblowing didn't do much, but he got arrested because he accidentally kept an almost entirely meaningless document about meeting participants in his home. And, when he was arrested, for just having the list of meeting attendees, he was smeared for causing "exceptionally grave damage to US national security."

Separately, former AT&T technician, Mark Klein, who revealed that he helped install NSA equipment directly within AT&T's network is speaking out about how Snowden, rather than the telcos, deserve retroactive immunity. The telcos broke the law and had to have Congress go back and retroactively make what they did -- which clearly broke the law at the time -- legal. Klein points out how his revelations were brushed off and ignored, while Snowden's revelations confirm a lot of what he said:
"It was clear that the NSA was looking at everything," Klein said. "It wasn't limited to foreign communications."

On Tuesday, Klein said that for a number of reasons, Snowden's disclosures sparked more public outrage than his own revelations did more than seven years ago.

For one thing, Klein said, Snowden had direct access to a secret court order and details of the program, while Klein pieced together the government's surveillance through internal AT&T documents and in discussions with colleagues who worked on the project.

"The government painted me as a nobody, a technician who was merely speculating," said Klein, who made his disclosures after he accepted a buyout and retired from AT&T in 2004. "Now we have an actual copy of a FISA court order. There it is in black and white. It's undisputable. They can't deny that."
Snowden's revelations just add to a pile of existing evidence. Look at what Drake, Klein and other whistleblowers have said over the past decade, and recognize that Snowden is just confirming the things that have already been stated by previous whistleblowers, but which the pundits and politicians tried to brush off as not happening.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 2:10pm

    Gallup Poll

    More Americans disapprove (53%) than approve (37%) of the federal government agency program that as part of its efforts to investigate terrorism obtained records from U.S. telephone and Internet companies to "compile telephone call logs and Internet communications."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 2:26pm

    How many thousands of words will Mikey publish?? More than any other human being on earth, that's how many.

    Milkity Milk:

    Go Mike, Milk It Good!!! But never ever discuss any of it on the merits. Get those clicks! Get those clicks! The clicks are more important than the truth! Gotta earn those pennies. Click. Click. Moo. Moo. Cluck. Cluck.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Glen, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 2:30pm


    You really need to have your meds adjusted.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    Rapnel (profile), Jun 12th, 2013 @ 2:35pm

    Awesome, what they do is so against the law that they had to let 9/11 happen. Is that what I just read? Craptastik.

    Sharing *is* caring.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 2:36pm


    Check out this milking:

    Doesn't this infuriate you? Look at how this "news" organization is milking it. Milk. Milk. Milk.

    Isn't it disgusting? You should start commenting over there, as it's the right thing to do. I mean the one article has over 6000 comments. Godspeed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    Rapnel (profile), Jun 12th, 2013 @ 2:56pm

    And what the hell is up with that retro-active shit for unconstitutional law? It's bloody time for that crap to come home to roost. and to roast.

    wow, I only wish I could just be pissed off at copyright buttmunchers but noooo bitchasses have to threaten to the very core the existence of a free country.

    TSA! TSA! Ya'll are choking on keeping your republic, yes, myself included.

    Damn it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 3:04pm

    and dont forget to look at what happened to the whistle blowers. how their lives were ruined, how their reputations were ruined and how they were in no way protected! governments do the unthinkable to people they want incriminated. they falsify documents, calls, meetings everything they need to paint whoever they want as being the orst person the planet, responsible for the most heinous crimes imaginable, and all because you told the truth about what your own government was doing to it's own people! now tell me who is the perpetrator? who is criminal? someone makes the decisions to do this stuff, so why are they not held accountable?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    S. T. Stone, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 3:06pm


    You’re just pissed that Techdirt hasn’t posted many articles on copyright lately. This disables your general ability to troll, so now you’ve found a different way to troll Techdirt.

    And make no mistake, that’s what you’ve done here: trolling.

    You sit here and wait for the next story to come through so you can complain about Techdirt ‘milking’ this story (and those related to it) as if you have nothing else better to do. You make the same general posts each time even though you know they’ll get reported and end up ‘flagged by the community’. You do this for no reason other than you possessing a hateboner for Mike Masnick and Techdirt in general.

    But why?

    Well, I assume you hate them because they do something you can’t: write legible, tangible, cogent arguments on a specific issue. I haven’t seen a single post from you that makes any sort of ‘real’ argument on any given issue raised by the average Techdirt article.

    Between you and Out Of The Blue, I dare to wonder if you two foolishly beat your drums because somewhere, only in your dreams, you believe that your act will somehow ‘topple’ Techdirt and cause Masnick to give in to your demands of shutting up. In your mind, anything is possible, right?

    Deep down, however, you do this for an even baser reason: you have nothing interesting to say and people will only hear what little you have to say if you troll Techdirt. You could easily start a blog on Tumblr or Wordpress or Blogger (though you might want to avoid the last one because of the Google thing) and lay down coherent counterarguments to everything Mike says. But then you have a real problem: once you’ve finished bitching about Mike, what else do you have to write?

    Therein lies the real reason your trolling fails to do anything but inspire snarky comments such as this one: you have nothing else to say.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 3:12pm


    Techdirt: please just ban/blacklist/firewall this idiot. Nothing is gained by letting him, her or it continue to pollute the comments with illiterate drivel.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 3:23pm

    Re: Gallup Poll

    [ Gallup: ] More Americans disapprove (53%) than approve (37%)…

    Please copy this Gallup poll summary and the url into the previous Techdirt article on polling.

    That way links to all four polls on this issue will be clustered together in one place.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. icon
    jimb (profile), Jun 12th, 2013 @ 3:26pm

    "It's undisputable. They can't deny that."

    Look at that. Oh, how foolish. If there were such a program or programs, which I can neither confirm nor deny due to national security, it would be made clear that any such program did not do what he says. But since I am unable to acknowledge that any such programs may exist, I can't deny these speculative and uninformed statements.

    Trust us! Would we lie to you...?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 3:35pm

    Re: Re:

    Check out this milking:

    Doesn't this infuriate you? Look at how this "news" organization is milking it. Milk. Milk. Milk.

    LOL! Are you really comparing the Guardian with Pirate Mike "I'm Not A Journalist But I Sometimes Do Journalism Only I Won't Ever Discuss How One Can Tell When I'm Doing Journalism And When I'm Not" Masnick's TechTurd Palace?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. icon
    Jay (profile), Jun 12th, 2013 @ 3:53pm

    A quote

    One who breaks an unjust law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.

    ----- Martin Luther King Jr

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 4:03pm


    That's it, keep on lying. See what a good lawyer wanna be it makes you? You could work for someone like Prenda, some day!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    S. T. Stone, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 4:05pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I believe they just did.

    What do you plan to do about it?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 4:07pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    So your problem isn't with the milking of the NSA scandal, it's actually all about your ego. That's sad.

    Techdirt should have an insightful, funny, sad, and a report button.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Anonymouse, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 4:22pm


    Sadly at this stage the government has done everything in their power to destroy any whistleblowers and no whistle blower will ever come to them with problems, they will most likely go to foreign press or even a foreign entity like wikileaks.

    If they had respected them and not alienated them then when something really harmful , like the names of cia spies was released they could control it, at this rate nobody trusts the government with anything.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2013 @ 4:34am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I'm not a mathematician, but I do maths. I'm not a scientist, but I do science. Just like you aren't a philosopher, but you... No, wait, you don't think. You let someone else do the thinking for you, and decry those of us who like to think for ourselves and discuss things openly. Right.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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