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posted by NCommander on Sunday June 01 2014, @11:24PM   Printer-friendly
from the the-tangled-web dept.

The New York Times is reporting:

Edward J. Snowden says he was not merely a "low-level analyst" writing computer code for American spies, as President Obama and other administration officials have portrayed him. Instead, he says, he was a trained spy who worked under assumed names overseas for the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency.

Mr. Snowden's claims were made in a television interview to be broadcast Wednesday evening by NBC News. They added a new twist to the yearlong public relations battle between the administration and Mr. Snowden, who is living under asylum in Moscow to escape prosecution for leaking thousands of classified files detailing extensive American surveillance programs at home and abroad.

"I was trained as a spy in sort of the traditional sense of the word in that I lived and worked undercover overseas--pretending to work in a job that I'm not--and even being assigned a name that was not mine," Mr. Snowden told Brian Williams of NBC News, in an excerpt released in advance of the full interview.

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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Ethanol-fueled on Sunday June 01 2014, @11:40PM

    by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Sunday June 01 2014, @11:40PM (#50029) Homepage

    It would make sense that Snowden, aka "Snowed in" would serve as a martyr.

    But why? Didn't the rest of you think it was suspicious that Petraeus [wikipedia.org] was railroaded out so quickly and suspiciously? There is an internal struggle going on, and we have to blow the lid off that bitch before malevolent interests serve to enslave the American people.

    the Evill force working against the best interests of the American people is so powerfull that it had to be exposed in this manner. It was no accident, it is indicative of an internal power struggle.

    Cut the head off the snake, and the tail will wriggle some but not too long. Deprive their data-centers of water, deprive them of resources, splinter the CIA and legislate against the NSA. It's your duty as American citizens, people.

    And those of you who don't live in America, resist American influence lest you be enslaved.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by mendax on Sunday June 01 2014, @11:52PM

    by mendax (2840) on Sunday June 01 2014, @11:52PM (#50033)

    I submitted this last week, before NBC broadcast its interview with Edward Snowden. Now it's rather irrelevant given that the interview mentioned in the posting has already occurred! Our beloved overlords here have dropped the ball.

    Having said all that, however, Glenn Greenwald's book pretty much implied as much. When Snowden was asked to prove who he was, he presented various documents indicating that he was had worked previous under diplomatic cover.

    Incidentally, it should not be surprising that Americans living overseas are "spies". I personally believe my dad was a "spy" when my family lived in Africa for a couple years. He'd done work requiring security clearance prior to marrying my mom and becoming a university professor. He might have been recruited by a relative who almost certainly was a spy in Germany. However, for many "spies", their job was to be nothing more than the eyes and ears of the CIA in foreign lands. They'd attend social functions, talk to local people, write down what was overheard or said to them and by whom, and put it all into a letter which eventually makes its way back to the US in the diplomatic bag. However, Edward Snowden was not this kind of spy.

    --
    It's really quite a simple choice: Life, Death, or Los Angeles.
    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Ethanol-fueled on Monday June 02 2014, @12:05AM

      by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Monday June 02 2014, @12:05AM (#50035) Homepage

      My mother was a U.S. Army cryptographic clerk stationed in Germany during the post-WWII Stasi era, and she had a funny story about that. She said that she was doing her laundry one day when a creepy East-German Boris-and-Natasha couple approached her and in a thick German accent said, "Ve Vant Zee Eggs (' We want the eggs ') meaning the crypto eggs, which is a term you can't even find on Google nowadays. So, being the airhead my mom was, she went down to the closest store and actually brought those potential spies a carton of chicken-eggs. Ha!

      My uncle, who is an ex-USAF SATCOM engineer (who once worked for SGI, nerd cred), said that the NSA was Hoovering ELINT from universities as early as the seventies, and that the professors were aware of it. Looking forward, it makes sense how the Security State and academia are closely-linked in America -- professors have second jobs, working for them.

      I work for a company that has a SCIF in the building. Kinda creepy, actually.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by Angry Jesus on Monday June 02 2014, @12:26AM

        by Angry Jesus (182) on Monday June 02 2014, @12:26AM (#50039)

        > I work for a company that has a SCIF in the building. Kinda creepy, actually.

        A SCIF (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility [wikipedia.org]) is a just an area cleared to hold specific classified information - it doesn't even have to be sooper-dooper classified information either, just compartmented.

        There is really nothing special about them other than the hassle of extra access controls. On more than one occasion, working alone in a SCIF, I pissed in a bottle rather than go through the laborious process of locking up the area just to walk down the hall and take a leak and then open it back up again a minute later.

        • (Score: 3, Funny) by c0lo on Monday June 02 2014, @04:40AM

          by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 02 2014, @04:40AM (#50078) Journal

          On more than one occasion, working alone in a SCIF, I pissed in a bottle rather than ...

          You admit that you leaked while in a SCIF? Did you also blow a whistle while doing it?

          --
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0 https://soylentnews.org/~MichaelDavidCrawford
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Phoenix666 on Monday June 02 2014, @03:20AM

    by Phoenix666 (552) on Monday June 02 2014, @03:20AM (#50065) Journal

    I never worked for either the NSA or CIA, but I interviewed extensively with the CIA after I returned from graduate study in China. They held the final round at a hotel in downtown Chicago whose conference room had been fitted with special, heavy drapes. The position I was interviewing for was to be a CIA agent working out of embassies and consulates around the world as a "diplomat;" the primary duty was to try to recruit foreign diplomats and employees, etc. at diplomatic functions to spy for the US.

    The atmosphere hovered somewhere between a stalker's convention and a junior high school pep rally--mostly sad and cheesy with an undercurrent of creepy. My interviewer was a wan woman in her late 30's who obviously suffered from a compulsive eating disorder and who claimed to be the station chief for Europe. The interview consisted of a nearly endless round of role-playing exercises that ran along the lines of, "You're driving in a car with your informant and accidentally run over the Chief of Police's son's dog. WHAT. DO. YOU. DO?!!!" (You could almost hear the "duhn duhn DUHN!") The scenarios were obviously designed to test your ability to think on your feet. Somewhere near the end, after I had passed the tests with flying colors, the "station chief" asked me if I had any questions for her.

    Now, this woman oozed sleeze. Equal parts bluster and butchy aggression. And frankly she wasn't all that bright. Going into the whole affair, I had spoken to a couple friends who were professors and had written dossiers for the CIA on Iran and such, who told me the reality of life as an agent was endless bureaucracy and paperwork. Makes sense, right? Also, I had the obvious question about how effective such a clandestine role could possibly be when the first thing I would do as a foreign counter-intelligence officer would be to watch absolutely everyone connected with an American embassy or consulate like a hawk. So with that context and after two hours of the ridiculous woman posing ludicrous scenarios to get me to choke, and bragging about her role as a station chief for all of Europe, I decided to turn the tables hit her with the unexpected because I have never suffered fools gladly, because it would be important to know who would have my back before putting my life on the line, and because I'm just a punk like that. So I smilingly hit her with all I knew about working for the CIA, all my obvious doubts about the role itself, and whether a candidate like myself who wanted to make an effective difference for king and country shouldn't apply to the NSA instead, and sat back to watch her reaction. It took about 5 milliseconds for her to lose her composure and drop cover.

    I stood up, shook her hand, thanked her for her time, and took my leave.

    It wasn't two weeks later that I read an expose in Foreign Affairs by a former CIA covert officer doing that very role in North Africa who utterly panned the Agency's methods and 100% confirmed my own doubts about the place. About a month after that, there was a picture of the woman I had interviewed with on the cover of the New York Times, arrested by the Russian FSB for espionage. It was a profound feeling of having dodged a bullet.

    I also much later went through to the end of the process with the State Department, and they were just as ridiculous but with an alarmingly anachronistic and atavistic amount of White Man's Burden larded on top.

    Between the two, there was a uniform amount of rank absurdity and base pettiness.

    So to my eyes what the NSA's been doing with Snowden this past year is right in step with that. It is sheer absurdity and pettiness. Neither they nor anyone else in DC at this point deserves our respect or awe or fear. They deserve our contempt and our ire. They deserve the justice that we will serve upon them.

    --
    Washington DC delenda est.
    • (Score: 3) by evilviper on Monday June 02 2014, @05:20AM

      by evilviper (1760) on Monday June 02 2014, @05:20AM (#50088) Homepage Journal

      My interviewer was a wan woman in her late 30's who obviously suffered from a compulsive eating disorder and who claimed to be the station chief for Europe. [...] About a month after that, there was a picture of the woman I had interviewed with on the cover of the New York Times, arrested by the Russian FSB for espionage.

      While the CIA no doubt has its problems, I find it hard to believe they are that far on the "drooling moron" scale, as to have field agents show themselves, and blow their cover, to every potential recruit who walks in.

      Care to point us to the NY Times cover-story in question?

      --
      Hydrogen cyanide is a delicious and necessary part of the human diet.
      • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Tuesday June 03 2014, @05:51PM

        by Phoenix666 (552) on Tuesday June 03 2014, @05:51PM (#50711) Journal

        This is a link [hautetfort.com] to a LeMonde article that has her picture.

        This is a NY Times article [nytimes.com] talking about the incident, and is what I referred to in my original post.

        --
        Washington DC delenda est.
    • (Score: 3, Funny) by c0lo on Monday June 02 2014, @05:57AM

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 02 2014, @05:57AM (#50098) Journal

      Going into the whole affair, I had spoken to a couple friends who were professors and had written dossiers for the CIA on Iran and such, who told me the reality of life as an agent was endless bureaucracy and paperwork. Makes sense, right? Also, I had the obvious question about how effective such a clandestine role could possibly be when the first thing I would do as a foreign counter-intelligence officer would be to watch absolutely everyone connected with an American embassy or consulate like a hawk.
      ...
      It wasn't two weeks later that I read an expose in Foreign Affairs by a former CIA covert officer doing that very role in North Africa who utterly panned the Agency's methods and 100% confirmed my own doubts about the place. About a month after that, there was a picture of the woman I had interviewed with on the cover of the New York Times, arrested by the Russian FSB for espionage.

      I seem to recall watching this documentary [wikipedia.org].

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0 https://soylentnews.org/~MichaelDavidCrawford
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by frojack on Monday June 02 2014, @05:59AM

    by frojack (1554) on Monday June 02 2014, @05:59AM (#50099) Journal

    Seems perfectly believable to me that a private contractor might be sent overseas to work on some (unnamed) site under a different name, especially if the NSA wanted a back door inserted into a network by someone who was good at systems administration. After all, we've got contractors with guns running around all over Afghanistan, doing god knows what. Although I doubt he was doing much that was all that secret on these assignments.

    I ALSO find it interesting that Daniel Ellsberg says in The Guardian [theguardian.com] that there is no way Snowden would get a fair trial in the US and John Kerry is dead wrong for saying he should come back and face trial. Elsberg says Snowden would be in solitary confinement from the day he stepped of the plane, probably for the rest of his life.

    He also points out the total flip-flop (there I said it) of Old Kerry vs Young Kerry who praised (and still does) Elsberg's role in the Pentagon Papers case.
     

    --
    No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.