In an effort to discredit Edward Snowden, the NSA recently released what they claim to be the only record of Snowden’s complaints within its own system. The email in question is a small exchange, in which Snowden asks a question regarding executive orders and is met with cordial reply.
The NSA issued the following statement along with the e-mail:
“The email did not raise allegations or concerns about wrongdoing or abuse, but posed a legal question that the Office of General Counsel addressed. There are numerous avenues that Mr. Snowden could have used to raise other concerns or whistleblower allegations. We have searched for additional indications of outreach from him in those areas and to date have not discovered any engagements related to his claims.”
The statement directly displays the NSA’s email as an attempt to discredit Edward Snowden. It’s not too far of a leap to speculate that the timing of the release is related to the first and very recent interview that Edward conducted with NBC, as covered by Inquisitr‘s Kim LaCapria.
Yet, the argument doesn’t seem very convincing when we look at what the NSA was saying about Snowden less than 6 months ago. The NSA has said that they had no indication of any paper trail of complaints from Snowden — at all. For a place whose business is knowing other people’s business, that’s a long time to have to research the record of someone who worked for you. When countered with Edward Snowden’s own claims that he tried numerous times to go through proper channels, people may have good reason to doubt the NSA’s side of the story.
Snowden is quoted as having said to NBC in the interview, “I actually did go through channels, and that is documented. The NSA has records, they have copies of emails right now to their Office of General Counsel, to their oversight and compliance folks, from me raising concerns about the NSA’s interpretations of its legal authorities. … The response more or less, in bureaucratic language, was, ‘You should stop asking questions.’ ”
Some argue that even if Snowden bypassed the system entirely as the NSA claims, that it would be a justified decision. Other incidents of whistleblowing within the agency have not fared well for their instigators. Just ask William Binney, who sees the NSA as no better than “the SS, the Gestapo, the Stasi, the KGB, and the NKVD.”
Binny worked for the NSA until 2001 after 30 years of service as a technical leader for intelligence. A year after retirement, Binny and a few other former workers went before Congress and the Department of Defense, asking that they investigate the NSA. They complained that the NSA had been wasting taxpayer money on frivolous programs and was openly violating constitutional privacy and due process acts. In response, the group was accused of leaking state secrets. Furthermore, the FBI seized his home and his computers, ruining data that ultimately demolished his consulting business. The investigation by the FBI turned up no wrongdoing on William’s part, and he was exonerated on all charges.
In email correspondence with the Huffington Post, Snowden’s legal adviser, Ben Wizner, made sure that sentiment was repeated.
“On the specific issue: Snowden raised many complaints over many channels. The NSA is releasing a single part of a single exchange — after previously claiming that no evidence existed,” he said.
So the real question for many watching the situation unfold is exactly who to believe. With the “he said, she said” back and forth going on between the NSA and Mr. Snowden, the line isn’t getting any clearer.
You can read Edward’s email in its entirety below:
What Snowden’s email to the NSA said: http://t.co/h6lOvXsRdd #ksdk
— KSDK NewsChannel 5 (@ksdknews) May 30, 2014
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) May 30, 2014
TNW: The NSA publishes the email Edward Snowden sent to question legal authority http://t.co/KimzLc56w2
— Lee Meade (@leemeade77) May 29, 2014