Keeping up with all of the scandals surrounding the Obama administration has turned into a full-time job in-and-of-itself. Here are some of the latest developments in the NSA scandal …
This morning Edward Snowden, the NSA leaker, did a live Q&A with the Guardian. He was asked various questions by the audience, including the big one: Can analysts listen to content of domestic calls without a warrant? His response reads as followings: “More detail on how direct NSA's accesses are is coming, but in general, the reality is this: if an NSA, FBI, CIA, DIA, etc analyst has access to query raw SIGINT databases, they can enter and get results for anything they want. Phone number, email, user id, cell phone handset id (IMEI), and so on - it's all the same. The restrictions against this are policy based, not technically based, and can change at any time. Additionally, audits are cursory, incomplete, and easily fooled by fake justifications. For at least GCHQ, the number of audited queries is only 5% of those performed.” You can read the rest of the interview here.
Snowden's assertions, as well as claims made by Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler, run counter to that of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which issued this statement over the weekend: "The statement that a single analyst can eavesdrop on domestic communications without proper legal authorization is incorrect and was not briefed to Congress.” Yesterday on “State of the Union,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers similarly declared: “The NSA is not listening to Americans’ phone calls, and it is not monitoring their emails. If it did, it’s illegal. It’s breaking the law.”
Documents revealed by Snowden and reported on by the Guardian show that foreign politicians and officials who participated in the 2009 G20 summit in London were monitored, at the instruction of the British government. Fake internet cafes were apparently created to aid in the collection of data. The Guardian also reports that “American spies based in the UK intercepted the top-secret communications of the then Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, during his visit to Britain for the G20 summit in London.”
Snowden has apparently shared classified documents with a newspaper in Hong Kong. The documents reportedly revealed specific IP addresses in Hong Kong and China that had been hacked by the NSA over a four year period.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney is among those who believes Snowden to be a traitor. He says he's “deeply suspicious” that he fled to China, probing the possibility that he may have been working with foreign intelligence agencies. Snowden addressed this issue directly this morning in his live Q&A stating, “Ask yourself: if I were a Chinese spy, why wouldn't I have flown directly into Beijing? I could be living in a palace petting a phoenix by now.”
Snowden's father, Lonnie Snowden, gave an exclusive interview to Fox News' Eric Bolling. His father urged his son to return home and not commit any acts of treason. He describes his son as “a sensitive, caring young man.”