News you may have missed #841 (Snowden leak analysis)

Edward SnowdenBy IAN ALLEN | |
►►US officials defend spy programs as safeguards against terror. Intelligence officials sought to convince US House lawmakers in an unusual briefing that the government’s years-long collection of phone records and Internet usage is necessary for protecting Americans —and does not trample on their privacy rights. The parade of FBI and intelligence officials who briefed the entire House on Tuesday was the latest attempt to soothe outrage over NSA programs which collect billions of Americans’ phone and Internet records.
►►Some in US intelligence see Chinese behind Snowden leak. Former CIA officer Bob Baer told CNN that some US intelligence officials “are seriously looking at [the revelations made by Edward Snowden] as a potential Chinese covert action. Hong Kong is controlled by Chinese intelligence”, Baer told CNN Sunday evening. “It’s not an independent part of China at all. I’ve talked to a bunch of people in Washington today, in official positions, and they are looking at this as a potential Chinese espionage case”.
►►Leak highlights risk of outsourcing US spy work. The explosive leak uncovering America’s vast surveillance program highlights the risks Washington takes by entrusting so much of its defense and spy work to private firms, experts say. Edward Snowden, the 29-year-old man whose leak uncovered how spy agencies sift through phone records and Internet traffic, is among a legion of private contractors who make up nearly 30 percent of the workforce in intelligence agencies. From analyzing intelligence to training new spies, jobs that were once performed by government employees are now carried out by paid contractors, in a dramatic shift that began in the 1990s amid budget pressures.

5 Responses to News you may have missed #841 (Snowden leak analysis)

  1. Of the nearly 5 million USA security clearances, approximately 1.5 million are ‘top secret.’ The system must be a sieve by its very nature for reasons of human nature, greed, sex, changing ideology, for reasons all of the human foibles. My view is there should be greater concern for those who’ve not stepped forward with information they’ve passed on because there can be no assessment of what has been compromised.

    With 30% of defense security clearances in the hands of private contractors, there is the added threat of corporate boardrooms trumping democratic principles, example given, former NATO Supreme Commander (and hyper-extreme Christian fanatic) General James Jones working in tandem with Condoleezza Rice for CHEVRON corporation:

    ^ “The Project on U.S. Leadership in Development,” the multi-year initiative aims to generate innovative thinking on best ways to integrate U.S. public and private sector resources and interests with non-government organizations (NGOs) and foreign governments to create sustainable partnerships”

    Corporate boards making policy is nothing new but probably more dangerous now than at any point in the past. Kidnap and rendition queen Condoleezza partnered with Chevron + provided access to the deepest levels of knowledge concerning Americans who might be opposed to their goals, strikes me as particularly unhealthy for democratic pluralism.

    Meanwhile China is a handy boogyman to point a finger at where people cannot admit to themselves the entire thing is gone awry for what is largely domestic fault lines…

  2. Pete says:

    Edward is a red hot international intelligence issue in the Chinese owned territory of Hong Kong, presided over, (at the security service level) by the Ministry of State Security (MSS) . If Hong Kong has its own separate counter-intelligence service love to hear about it.

    It would be MSS’s job to:

    1. protect Edward from US agencies, and

    2. gain a portion of the ““thousands” of documents, handed to Mr Greenwald (of the Guardian) in Hong Kong.

    Mr Greenwald only turned up a several days after Edward entered Hong Kong with the thousands of documents – presumably in electronic, easily copyable, form…

    Would MSS sit on its hands with thousands of US documents (including the powerpoint slides) in its territory?

  3. Pete says:

    As a follow-up to my post above – this year old headline:

    “China ‘arrests high-level US spy’ in Hong Kong” indicates that China has the job of handling foreign spies in Hong Kong, not an independent Hong Kong agency. See

    Hence one can conclude that Chinese security would be interfacing with Edward as he is a foreign spy in Hong Kong.

  4. I had a laugh at this Spiegel article on the Europeans surrendering data protection to get free trade negotiations underway with the USA ..

    Outrage and demanding answers from Washington about Prism seems little more than playing to the public, I mean after all is said and done, wouldn’t going to Glen Greenwald get the better information?

    That ‘free trade’ is maybe coming at a high price with the electorate ;)

  5. Pete says:


    Yeah there must be a lot of shadow play between the NSA and European equivalents that would probably be in constant contact under NATO arrangements.

    EU countries, given their small size and frequent movement of “EU citizens” over EU borders, probably mean that electronic interception “hot pursuit” cooperation (permitting mutual over border spying) would be intense.


    “…interception mandates in Europe are generally more rigorous than those of the US; for example, both voice and ISP public network operators in the Netherlands have been required to support interception capabilities for years. In addition, publicly available statistics indicate that the number of interceptions in Europe exceed by many hundreds of times those undertaken in the U.S.”

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