And Thomas Drake, Mark Klein. Rustle Tice.
Earlier this morning, Glenn Greenwald revealed the existence of freshly leaked classified documents in his publication The Intercept which have furthered indicted the NSA in a series of scandals fueled by illegal domestic surveillance on U.S citizens.
The hot-off-the-presses leaks go into extensive detail about the existence of a series of databases filled with thousands of files on various citizens from all around the globe. The suspects named are located in United States cities like Chicago, New York, San Diego, and…Dearborn, Michigan?
Yes, Dearborn. Perhaps — but probably not — coincidentally, the city happens to house one of the highest concentrations of Muslims in the country, and it’s here where hundreds of the almost 25,000 names on that list reside.
In a February interview with CNN’s Reliable Sources, Greenwald explained where he thought the leak was coming from, alluding to the high possibility there is “more than one good person” working at the NSA who wouldn’t mind contributing on the basis of anonymity.
“I definitely think it’s fair to say that there are people who have been inspired by Edward Snowden’s courage and by the great good and virtue that it has achieved.”
He added, “I have no doubt there will be other sources inside the government who see extreme wrongdoing who are inspired by Edward Snowden.”
The main reason for his suspicion is probably based on the fact that these newest documents are dated August 2013, which is over three months after Snowden had already fled to Hong Kong with a his cache of 1.5 million highly-sensitive government materials.
While nothing has been confirmed in order to keep the identity of this second leaker a secret, others also have good reason to believe the documents did not come from the NSA where Snowden was source, but rather the Pentagon, thanks to the “Secret” labeling of covert info as opposed than the standard “CLASSIFIED”.
The fresh documents are emblazened with the instructions “Secret”, and “NOFORN”, which means they are classified and not to be shown to any foreign governments. Not even those in the Five Eyes collective, which supposedly promises that all involved will share any information gathered on terrorist cells with each other in the interest of transparency and assured trust between those countries which signed at the dotted line.
The quality of the leaks is not affected by its classified status though, as they delve deeply into the number of databases the NSA currently employs to identify potential targets who pose a threat to their post-9/11 Homeland Security initiative.
One database in particular, called the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, or codeword TIDE contained over one million names, addresses, phone numbers, affiliates, and last known locations of both American citizens and foreign nationals living inside the country, over half of whom were added in just the past five years alone.
As of November, 2013, there were 700,000 people listed in the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB), or the “Terrorist Watchlist, according to a U.S. official. Fewer than 1% are U.S. persons and fewer than 0.5% are U.S. citizens.
Of those, the Intercept believes only around 40% are in any way affiliated with a terrorist group, and even then the few that do have minor connections are a wide stretch of Six Steps to Kevin Bacon at best.
When Obama took office, he promised a new era of transparency between the people and its Republic. A new guard was signing on, and with it, a great reveal of many of the once-shadowed practices that the government played too close to its chest and lost perspective on what the people want from their bureaucracy
What we got was not only over half a decade of silence about the mass surveillance programs existence, but hundreds of signed FISA court orders which essentially enabled an even further extension of power abuse that had first become a problem during the Bush Era.
The reason Snowden stands out isn’t because he was technically telling us anything new, but instead because of how close we had gotten to our mobile devices and the people we keep inside it since the advent of smartphones in late 2007.
What had started as a utilitarian, unresponsive heap of crappy touchscreen phones which really didn’t offer much in the way of “fun” had evolved into extensions of our dominant arms in just five years. Since then we’ve all taken our texting, tweeting, Facebooking, Gmailing lives to the next level with the help of those big, beautiful, high-defintion screens. We’ve taken thousands of photos, recorded dozens of videos, and lived half our lives through these tiny screens, and they took advantage of that sacred place we’d come to trust the most.
Because we got so attached to our phones, we understood just how much was at stake when we heard they were spying. When Snowden risked his own life to uncover the truth about the military intelligence complex and show the world what our agencies had really been up to, he inspired a generation of people in the highest reaches of government to come forward and reveal the secrets that have been kept in silent for long enough.
Hopefully in the future we’ll see not a trickle of whistleblowers, but a flood. Hundreds of people who are fed up with injustices, and are ready to finally do something about it. And why wouldn’t they?
A recent Government Accountability Office study found that between 2006-2011 there were 3.2 million approved by the Pentagon to handle secret, top secret, SCI (sensitive compartmented) information, which is 3.199999 million more than it took to lose over half of all the NSA’s secrets in a single go, so the odds of getting caught are actually pretty slim when you run the hard numbers of the situation.
Hopefully these stacked numbers against the house, along with Snowden’s personal heroism, will be enough to keep the mountain of under-reported injustices flowing into the hands of the fifth estate, exposing corrupted power for what it is in the hope to bring reform and regulation to the forefront of the American people’s dinner time conversation.