June 18, 2013 |
It would make things so much easier for everyone if Edward Snowden were working for China. And that's certainly a possibility. His decision to flee to Hong Kong - a Chinese vassal - was an odd one, given that China is hardly a bulwark of transparency and civil rights. It's a bit like complaining that Boston is too Catholic and then moving to Vatican City in protest. Then there's the nature of the crime itself. Informed sources I've spoken with are generally aghast by what they say is the scope of information Snowden stole, material some believe he couldn't have gotten by himself.
January 23, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - In the week since President Obama called for ending the National Security Agency's bulk collection of U.S. telephone data "as it currently exists," telephone carriers have uploaded customer calling records to NSA computers just as they have since the program was created after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The daily transfer of Americans' telephone toll records to a government database is likely to continue at least for the next 18 months despite the president's speech last Friday and a growing debate over the legality and effectiveness of the once-secret operation.
December 20, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - President Obama gave the first indication of the potential outcome of an intense debate over restricting the nation's intelligence agencies, signaling Friday that he may change one of the most controversial spy practices of the secretive National Security Agency - the collection of the daily telephone records of millions of Americans. Senior intelligence officials and their allies on the congressional intelligence committees are pushing the president to reject key recommendations made by an advisory panel he appointed, including some that are of keen importance to privacy advocates and major technology companies, such as Google, Apple and Microsoft, whose executives met with Obama this week.
December 16, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - A federal judge has for the first time ruled that the National Security Agency's once-secret policy of collecting the dialing records of all phone calls in the country probably violates the Constitution, a defeat for the government that could alter the political debate over the controversial program and set up an eventual review by the Supreme Court. Monday's ruling will not immediately stop the NSA's massive data collection program because U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon immediately stayed it to give the government time to appeal.
July 27, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - A reporter recently asked the National Security Agency's chief a blunt question: Why can't he come up with a better example of a terrorism plot foiled through the bulk collection of U.S. phone records? In the weeks since Edward Snowden disclosed that the NSA had been collecting and storing the calling histories of nearly every American, NSA Director Keith Alexander and other U.S. officials have cited only one case as having been discovered exclusively by searching those records: some San Diego men who sent $8,500 to Al Qaeda-linked militants in Somalia.
June 17, 2013 |
Edward Snowden may represent the archetypal leaker of the Internet age - a tech savant who justifies his civil disobedience as a righteous rebuttal to the big institutions he believes have intruded too far into ordinary people's lives. But it's not just the mole in the National Security Agency surveillance story who is operating in new channels. The reporters who brought his account forward also represent something distinct in journalism. In some cases, their profiles loom larger, particularly on the subject of security and spying, than those of their publications.
January 18, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - Dianne Feinstein got out of her chair, grabbed a 54-page federal court opinion and poked her finger at the bullet points buried inside, insisting a visitor read each carefully as the busy senator watched and waited. The opinion described terrorist bombing plots - aimed at New York's subways and stock exchange and at a newspaper office in Denmark - that, according to the judge, had been foiled by the government's collection of data on billions of American phone calls.
February 7, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - Although U.S. intelligence officials have indicated since last summer that the National Security Agency was vacuuming up nearly every American telephone record for counter-terrorism investigations, officials acknowledged Friday that the spy agency collects data from less than a third of U.S. calls because it can't keep pace with cellphone usage. In a speech last month, President Obama called the bulk collection of telephone records the most controversial part of the debate over security and privacy sparked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden's leaks of classified material.
August 3, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - Earlier this year, top national security officials held a classified briefing in the Capitol for about half the Senate, warning that the country's crucial infrastructure was highly vulnerable to a major cyber attack and urging Congress to move swiftly to require new safeguards. Gen. Keith Alexander, head of the National Security Agency, and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were among those who pressed for a White House-backed cyber-security bill to regulate privately owned crucial infrastructure, such as electric utilities, chemical plants and water systems.
August 10, 2013 |
Edward Snowden is now out of his limbo at Moscow's airport, presumably ensconced in some Russian dacha, wondering what the next phase of his young life will bring. Having spent 30 years in the intelligence business, I fervently hope the food is lousy, the winter is cold, and the Internet access is awful. But I worry less about what happens to this one man and more about the damage Snowden has done - and could still do - to America's long-term ability to strike the right balance between privacy and security.