Many have said—and continue to say—that Edward Snowden’s leaks of NSA material is one of the most important in American history. But why? Here are some of the main issues Edward Snowden has exposed, regarding the U.S. surveillance system, in his own words.
"The government has granted itself power it is not entitled to. There is no public oversight. The result is people like myself have the latitude to go further than they are allowed to."
Quote 3, with reference to his “past life”:
“I’m willing to sacrifice all of that because I can’t in good conscience allow the U.S. government to destroy privacy, Internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building.”
"I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions," but "I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant."
"I don’t want public attention because I don’t want the story to be about me. I want it to be about what the US government is doing."
"Say I have broken the Espionage Act and helped our enemies, but that can be used against anyone who points out how massive and invasive the system has become."
"I really want the focus to be on these documents and the debate which I hope this will trigger among citizens around the globe about what kind of world we want to live in."
The scandal embroiling Brett McGurk, the Obama administration’s nominee to become the next ambassador to Iraq, got its start when an anonymous tipster alerted a 76-year-old architect to recent photo uploads on a mysterious Flickr account. The account contained what purported to be images of explicit emails from 2008 between McGurk and Gina Chon, then a Wall Street Journal correspondent in Iraq.
In the wake of the leaked emails, Chon has resigned from the Journal, McGurk’s nomination is imperiled, and media pundits have had a field day debating whether an email discussion of “blue balls” between a reporter and her source is unethical or merely stupid.
But what’s received less attention is the website that published those emails, and the man who runs it. John Young founded Cryptome, a clearinghouse for leaked documents from the military and intelligence community, in 1996, roughly a decade before WikiLeaks existed. It has since become a must-read for some people who track the intelligence community and the military. “Cryptome has become part of the national security information landscape,” says Steven Aftergood, the director of the project on government secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, a nonprofit think tank. “I check it every day,” he adds.
Keep reading: The Man Behind the ‘Blue Ball’ Emails Scandal That Snared Brett McGurk, The Daily Beast