Constitutional Law

Glenn Greenwald and Guardian Editor, Janine Gibson On Reddit AMA

Glenn Greenwald and Janine Gibson of The Guardian

Attorney and journalist, Glenn Greenwald and Janine Gibson,  editor-in-chief of Guardian/US, just completed a 90 minute Ask Me Anything on Reddit. The entire freewheeling transcript is here and an executive summary is provided below.

Q: Are more groundbreaking leaks coming?
A: There are definitely huge new stories to come: many more. I’ve said that from the start every time I was asked and I think people see by now that it’s true. In fact, as Janine said the other day, the documents and newsworthy revelations are so massive that no one news organization can possibly process them all.

Q: With such a remote staff, how do you keep your work secret and safe from the very surveillance that you are exposing?
A: We use highly advanced means of encryption. Remember, the only ones whose op sec has proven horrible and who has lost control of huge numbers of documents is the NSA and GCHQ. We have lost control of nothing. All of the documents we have remain secure.

Q: The British claimed to have cracked the confiscated computer of your partner David Miranda. Is that true?
A: They outright lied when they said he was carrying a password that allowed access to the documents. Indeed, on the same day they told that lie (to a gullible media that mindlessly repeated it as fact, as usual), the filed a separate affidavit saying it was urgent for them to keep possession of what they took from David because what he was carrying was “heavily encrypted” and they were able to only “reconstruct” 75 documents. Obviously, if he had a password that enabled access to the documents, then they would have been able to access them. He did not, and thus they could not. A major reason why those in power always try to use surveillance is because surveillance = power. The more you know about someone, the more you can control and manipulate them in all sorts of ways. That is one reason a Surveillance State is so menacing to basic political liberties.

Q: Have the documents proven that the government has broken the law?
A: I think there already are things clearly showing the government broke the law, including (but not only) the Constitution, but there is much more to come on that score. In my view, the two most overlooked stories we’ve published are the one you reference (about the secret presidential directive signed by Obama to prepare for offensive cyber operations: essentially the militarization of the internet) and the document we recently published showing NSA gives unminimized communcations of US persons to Israel with very few binding safeguards.

Q: What is the goal of the NSA?
A: I think the public – not just in the US but worldwide – now has a basic idea of the objective of the NSA: to eliminate privacy worldwide, literally, by ensuring that every human electronic communication is subject to being collected, stored, analyzed and monitored by the NSA and its allies (UK, Canada, New Zealand, Australia).

Google engineer, Joseph Bonneau, feels “conflicted” and “sad” as NSA award recipient: “I don’t condone the NSA’s surveillance.” By E. Pratt Whitney

Dr. Joseph Bonneau warns of the “inherent dangers” and “questionable utility” of “mass surveillance.”

Aristotle wrote that “the rule of law is better than the rule of any one individual.” But, in a surveillance state, law is arbitrary and capricious. The rules are pretend. The vote is diluted.

What does it mean to be a citizen in a surveillance state? Does it mean this? Or this? Or this? Your guess is as good as mine.

Which brings us to the dark irony of July 18th — the day after a former U.S. President confirmed “America has no functioning democracy — when Dr. Joseph Bonneau, a member of Google’s Data Protection Team, received the NSA’s award for the Best Scientific Cybersecurity Paper of 2012. The title? “The Science Of Guessing.”

The very next day he wrote:

Like many in the community of cryptographers and security engineers, I’m sad that we haven’t better informed the public about the inherent dangers and questionable utility of mass surveillance. And like many American citizens I’m ashamed we’ve let our politicians sneak the country down this path….I don’t condone the NSA’s surveillance….I don’t think a free society is compatible with an organization like the NSA…Our focus must remain on winning the public debate around surveillance and developing privacy-enhancing technology.”

~Joseph Bonneau, Ph.D.

In a follow-up interview, Bonneau echoed NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden:

I’d rather have it abolished than persist in its current form. My feeling based on what I’ve read is that I don’t want to live in a country with an organization like the NSA is right now.

On Wednesday — at the behest of a motivated citizenry working on less than 24 hours notice, and notwithstanding the fact that “the 217 ‘No’ voters received twice as much campaign financing from the defense and intelligence industry as the 205 ‘yes’ voters’ – 94 Republicans and 111 Democrats voted to defund NSA’s phone collection program.

The following day in Aspen, Governor Chris Christie — the bombastic, diseased, former Federal prosecutor — tacitly extended Dr. Bonneau and other like-minded citizens an invitation to “come to New Jersey and sit across from the widows and the orphans” of 9-11, who Christie — I’m “guessing” — keeps locked in a time capsule.

Two things require zero guesswork: (a) “the children” with two parents who lost their fathers on 9-11 were never “orphaned” in the usual sense and (b) the alleged “widows” hopefully are either happily remarried or actively dating, as opposed to cowering in a fetal position behind the Marines in conditioned response to twelve years of relentless psychological warfare and political deceit at the hands of Chris Christie and his hapless band of virtual co-conspirators in the Risk Management Industrial Complex.

With individuals like Joseph Bonneau and Edward Snowden giving clinics on “intelligent citizenship” who needs Chris Christie? Haven’t “the widows and the orphans” suffered enough?

Now back to you.