We just got more proof that the U.S. government is collecting our data.
“The CIA has a secret, undisclosed data repository that includes information collected about Americans, two Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee said,” the Washington Post reported Friday. “While neither the agency nor lawmakers would disclose specifics about the data, the senators alleged the CIA had long hidden details about the program from the public and Congress.”
“Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico sent a letter to top intelligence officials calling for more details about the program to be declassified,” the Post noted. “Large parts of the letter, which was sent in April 2021 and declassified Thursday, and documents released by the CIA were blacked out. Wyden and Heinrich said the program operated ‘outside the statutory framework that Congress and the public believe govern this collection.”
This is not new territory for Sen. Wyden. As the Post observed, “Both senators have long pushed for more transparency from the intelligence agencies. Nearly a decade ago, a question Wyden posed to the nation’s spy chief presaged critical revelations about the NSA’s mass-surveillance programs.”
“In 2013, Wyden asked then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper if the NSA collected ‘any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans.”
Clapper initially responded, “No.”
He later said, “Not wittingly.”
But the NSA was collecting our date. Wittingly.
Clapper’s lie to Congress—perjury, really—is what prompted National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden to reveal to the world that the U.S. government was spying on Americans’ internet and phone activities with little adherence to supposed restrictions.
In 2020, a federal court ruled that the government spy program Snowden revealed was illegal.
So… if our government behaved illegally and we know about it primarily thanks to a single whistleblower…why is Snowden still exiled in Russia, on the run from U.S. authorities?
Republican turned Libertarian, former Congressman Justin Amash tweeted Friday night after this latest news of government mass data collection was released, “Rogue agencies like the NSA, FBI, and CIA are a more serious threat to liberty in America than the enemies they claim to protect us from.”
Rogue agencies like the NSA, FBI, and CIA are a more serious threat to liberty in America than the enemies they claim to protect us from. https://t.co/nKEWZ9gROQ
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) February 11, 2022
Libertarian-leaning Republican Congresswoman Nancy Mace wrote, “Your government should not be spying on you – and certainly not the CIA who isn’t even supposed to operate within our borders. We need to restore full 4th Amendment privacy protection to all Americans and rein in the spy state.”
Your government should not be spying on you – and certainly not the CIA who isn’t even supposed to operate within our borders. We need to restore full 4th Amendment privacy protection to all Americans and rein in the spy state… https://t.co/rZNo3kjB2E
— Nancy Mace (@NancyMace) February 11, 2022
Independent journalist Glenn Greenwald, who worked with Snowden to famously expose the U.S. government’s mass surveillance practices, posted on Twitter late Friday, “The CIA is a criminal organization. Their interference in US politics is particularly pernicious.”
The CIA is a criminal organization. Their interference in US politics is particularly pernicious.
Maybe news outlets should stop hiring all of the people who run this agency to help "analyze" and report the news? Maybe journalists should be skeptical of their planted stories? https://t.co/9Xmqmth3FT
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) February 11, 2022
Snowden had plenty to say. He tweeted after the Post story broke, “You are about to witness an enormous political debate in which the spy agencies and their apologists on TV tell you this is normal and OK and the CIA doesn’t know how many Americans are in the database or even how they got there anyway.”
“But it is not ok,” Snowden added.
You are about to witness an enormous political debate in which the spy agencies and their apologists on TV tell you this is normal and OK and the CIA doesn't know how many Americans are in the database or even how they got there anyway.
But it is not ok.https://t.co/KtL0Us0vBi
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) February 11, 2022
The whistleblower also posted, also linking to the Post story, “The CIA is not your friend.
The CIA is not a friend of the United States. The CIA is a friend of power, and power alone.”
The CIA is not your friend.
The CIA is not a friend of the United States.
The CIA is a friend of power, and power alone. https://t.co/KtL0UrIUcI
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) February 11, 2022
Snowden could face up to 30 years in prison for the charges the U.S. wants to bring against him. He should receive amnesty.
But will he? Former President Donald Trump considered pardoning Snowden, but ultimately didn’t. As Barack Obama’s vice president, Joe Biden was actively trying to prevent countries from giving Snowden asylum in 2013, so good luck there.
As we learn of yet another instance of the U.S. government ignoring the Constitution and spying on whoever it likes, Snowden sits in Russia with his wife and child as a wanted man who would love to come home, but knows that might be impossible for the rest of his life.
The government that wants to punish Snowden also ruled what he revealed to be illegal. One would think this would be a consideration.
Shouldn’t a number of NSA, CIA and FBI officials be in jail? Shouldn’t Edward Snowden be allowed to return to America, a country he’s been more a friend to than his accusers?
Does justice even matter anymore?