Medium 9780253017314

The Snowden Reader

Views: 1267
Ratings: (0)

When Edward Snowden began leaking NSA documents in June 2013, his actions sparked impassioned debates about electronic surveillance, national security, and privacy in the digital age. The Snowden Reader looks at Snowden’s disclosures and their aftermath. Critical analyses by experts discuss the historical, political, legal, and ethical issues raised by the disclosures. Over forty key documents related to the case are included, with introductory notes explaining their significance: documents leaked by Snowden; responses from the NSA, the Obama administration, and Congress; statements by foreign leaders, their governments, and international organizations; judicial rulings; findings of review committees; and Snowden’s own statements. This book provides a valuable introduction and overview for anyone who wants to go beyond the headlines to understand this historic episode.

List price: $29.99

Your Price: $23.99

You Save: 20%

Remix
Remove
 

15 Chapters

Format Buy Remix

1 Security and Liberty: The Imaginary Balance

ePub

NICK CULLATHER

If one truism captures the tenor of discussion surrounding the Snowden revelations, it is the recurring metaphor of balance between liberty and security. In May 2013, three days after Snowden fled to Hong Kong but before his disclosures began, President Obama maintained his administration was “working hard to strike the appropriate balance between our need for security and preserving those freedoms that make us who we are.”1 Later, as the magnitude of National Security Agency’s mass surveillance became clear from Snowden’s leaks, editorialists condemned the president in almost the same words: George W. Bush had “tipped the balance too far from liberty towards security,” wrote The Economist, “and it has stayed there under Barack Obama.”2

On December 16, 2013, a federal district judge ruled the NSA’s domestic telephony metadata program “probably unconstitutional,” and observed that the case was “the latest chapter in the Judiciary’s continuing challenge to balance the national security interests of the United States with the individual liberties of our citizens. . . . In the months ahead, other Article III courts, no doubt will wrestle to find the proper balance consistent with our constitutional system.”3 On December 27, 2013, another judge in a different circuit upheld the NSA’s telephony metadata program in dismissing a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union. Referring to the 9/11 Commission, this judge stated that “[t]he choice between liberty and security is a false one, as nothing is more apt to imperil civil liberties than the success of a terrorist attack on American soil.”4

 

2 Edward Snowden and the NSA: Law, Policy, and Politics

ePub

FRED H. CATE

The disclosures by Edward Snowden have revealed a great deal about the National Security Agency, its surveillance activities, and the oversight provided by the president, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), and Congress. Snowden’s disclosures, and subsequent responses (or lack thereof) by government officials, focus attention on five significant sets of issues that confront the American people and their government: the scope of the NSA’s legal authority, problems with the honesty of U.S. officials, the hypocrisy of the U.S. government concerning cyber espionage, the undermining of cyber security by U.S. actions, and the impact of U.S. surveillance activities on personal privacy.

The first set of issues concerns the authority under which the NSA has conducted the sweeping surveillance programs Snowden disclosed. Thanks to the documents Snowden leaked, we have learned about more and more NSA practices, including how it undertakes surveillance activities, introduces security vulnerabilities into products and services, or compels the private sector to cooperate in these activities. In each case, we want to know under what legal authority is the NSA acting. To date, the only surveillance activities we know about in legal detail are the ones the Obama administration has addressed publicly—compelling phone companies to disclose metadata about all telephone calls under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act and the PRISM program operated under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which is addressed elsewhere in this book.

 

3 From Passivity to Eternal Vigilance: NSA Surveillance and Effective Oversight of Government Power

ePub

LEE H. HAMILTON

Like most Americans, I cherish privacy on personal matters, and I do not like it when my privacy is invaded. But the threats against our country and the vulnerabilities of our government are real and need to be taken seriously. Our government has legitimate reasons to monitor cyberspace for national security and foreign policy reasons. Our democracy needs intelligence agencies that operate with a fair amount of secrecy. The disclosures made by Edward Snowden, however, demonstrate we have not had nearly the checks and balances on programs of the National Security Agency that we should have had and will need in the future. NSA surveillance programs should not be abolished; they are a vital national security tool. But they must be reformed and made subject to active, sustained oversight by Congress and the courts in order to ensure that such programs serve our national interests and keep faith with the privacy and civil liberties of the American people.

 

4 U.S. Foreign Policy and the Snowden Leaks

ePub

DAVID P. FIDLER

The proposition that Edward Snowden’s disclosures of information about the National Security Agency have damaged U.S. national security and foreign policy is not controversial.1 Since June 2013, the U.S. government has been reeling at home and abroad from Snowden’s disclosures. These revelations harmed U.S. relations with allies and friendly nations, hurt U.S. technology companies globally, and helped U.S. adversaries.

The impact has been so significant that the leaks undermined the strategic U.S. foreign policy approach on cyberspace developed before Snowden entered history. This approach—captured by the “Internet freedom” idea—emphasizes protecting individual rights in cyberspace, promoting democracy through cyber means, accessing the economic benefits and technological innovations a global Internet generates, and strengthening multistakeholder Internet governance. The Snowden disclosures, by contrast, created the perception that the United States prioritizes national security over individual rights, spies on democracies and dictatorships alike, subjects technological innovation to its interests, and exploits the Internet without restraint to protect its security and project its power.

 

5 Taking Snowden Seriously: Civil Disobedience for an Age of Total Surveillance

ePub

WILLIAM E. SCHEUERMAN

Edward Snowden’s revelations about surveillance by the National Security Agency have dominated global news like few events in recent years. A hero to some and traitor to others, his disclosures unleashed, as he hoped, a worldwide debate about state surveillance in the context of technological advances, the implications of which most policy makers, let alone ordinary people, barely fathom. Hardly a week has passed since the initial disclosures in June 2013 without headline-grabbing reports about new leaks, followed by polarized elite and public reactions. Media have painted a vivid portrait of Snowden’s background and career, supplemented with expert commentary. Politicians and pundits have eagerly proffered sound bites deriding and attacking Snowden. Vociferous responses have come from those—often abroad and viewing themselves as victims of NSA surveillance—more sympathetic to his cause.

Unfortunately, the hoopla has obscured a more vital part of the story, namely the moral and political seriousness with which Snowden acted to make covert NSA surveillance public knowledge. As we now know, and as Snowden anticipated, his decision came at a huge personal cost. The Obama administration’s abrupt cancellation of his passport rendered him effectively stateless, dependent on a Russian government more focused on flexing its weakening muscles as a global power than ending high-tech spying. Sadly, one of our most eloquent critics of state surveillance found himself, partly because of the Obama administration’s draconian response, at the whim of a former KGB spymaster.1

 

A. Revelations and Reactions

ePub

The first year of Snowden’s disclosures brought remarkable revelations, facilitated by Snowden’s collaboration with journalists, and elicited a cacophony of reactions to the leaks by affected parties. The primary documents in this section are organized into categories of important issues Snowden’s disclosures generated, with a sampling of documents from each category. This selection of documents provides a panorama of what Snowden did and how the U.S. government, foreign governments, private companies, and civil society groups responded.

 

Unconstitutional Abuse of Power or Legitimate and Necessary Security Measures? NSA Programs under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act

ePub

Unconstitutional Abuse of Power or
Legitimate and Necessary Security Measures?
NSA Programs under the Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Act

It all started with disclosure of this document, which came to be known as the “Verizon Order.” In it, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) ordered Verizon to produce to the NSA on a daily basis records of telephone calls—telephony or telephone metadata—between the United States and foreign countries and wholly within the United States, pursuant to Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act (codified as 50 U.S.C. §1861). Information sought under Section 215 for foreign intelligence purposes or to protect against international terrorism must be “relevant to an authorized investigation.” The Verizon Order revealed that the FBI, NSA, and FISC interpreted this requirement to mean the NSA could collect from Verizon, and from other telephone companies under similar FISC orders, metadata on millions of telephone calls made by Americans every day. Exposure of the telephone metadata program, and the associated interpretation of Section 215, triggered a political and legal controversy in the United States.

 

Hero or Villain? Persecuting a Defender of Human Rights v. Prosecuting a Criminal Suspect

ePub

Hero or Villain?
Persecuting a Defender
of Human Rights v. Prosecuting a
Criminal Suspect

When the first stories about NSA activities appeared from June 5 to 8, 2013, the world did not know who provided the documents and information to journalists. Snowden, who had been working as a private contractor for the NSA in Hawaii, revealed himself as the source on June 9, 2013, from Hong Kong, where he had flown to avoid U.S. law enforcement. Once he was identified, arguments about whether Snowden was a hero or traitor began, focusing attention on his background and motivations for leaking classified documents and for leaving the United States. Snowden began explaining his actions in interviews in Hong Kong with the Guardian and the South China Morning Post. William Scheuerman (chapter 5) and others have identified Snowden’s statement at the Moscow airport in July 2013 as important for understanding what he did and why he did it. When he made this statement, Snowden was not sure where he would get asylum from the persecution he feared from the U.S. government for his defense of the Constitution and international law. Snowden eventually accepted temporary asylum in Russia in August 2013 and a three-year residency in Russia when this asylum ended.

 

Rubber Stamp or Robust Tribunal? The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court

ePub

Rubber Stamp or Robust Tribunal?
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court

Controversies stirred up by the leaks of the telephone metadata and Section 702 programs included debates about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a court unknown to most people and opaque even to those who study U.S. national security law. Congress established the FISC and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review in 1978 when it enacted FISA, but this secret court did not draw much attention until after 9/11. The FISCR heard its first appeal of a FISC decision in 2002 and published redacted, unclassified versions of decisions in 2002 and 2008. In the wake of Snowden’s disclosures about the telephone metadata and Section 702 programs, critics called the FISC a “rubber stamp”—a charge amplified by citing the FISC’s approval of almost every FISA application it reviewed. As seen in Robert Litt’s speech (Document 3), supporters argued that the FISC is a serious court that provides robust oversight. The U.S. government released the next document in September 2013 to counter the “rubber stamp” accusation. In this 2009 decision, the FISC suspends the NSA’s access to telephone metadata because the U.S. government violated FISC orders and made misrepresentations to the FISC. The U.S. government also declassified a 2011 decision (not included here) in which the FISC criticized the NSA for misrepresenting aspects of “upstream” surveillance conducted under Section 702 and held that NSA’s targeting and minimization procedures for such surveillance did not comply with the Fourth Amendment. The seriousness of the FISC’s analyses and decisions in these cases did not fit the “rubber stamp” critique. Critics, however, emphasized the NSA’s violations and misrepresentations as evidence that the FISC process needed major reform.

 

Made in the USA? NSA Surveillance and U.S. Technology Companies

ePub

Made in the USA?
NSA Surveillance and U.S. Technology Companies

The Washington Post disclosed this NSA slide obtained from Snowden in October 2013. It formed part of a briefing on “Google Cloud Exploitation,” through which the NSA accessed communications flowing between Google data centers located outside the United States. The Post story stated that the NSA did the same thing with Yahoo’s foreign communication links. This activity formed part of the MUSCULAR program. In PRISM, Google and Yahoo received FISC-approved orders to provide information to the NSA. The exposure of MUSCULAR angered Google, Yahoo, and other U.S. technology companies, worsening their deteriorating relationship with the NSA and damaging their global reputation for providing secure services.

In the MUSCULAR program, neither company was aware that the NSA was accessing its foreign-based communications facilities, which raised questions about the NSA’s authority to conduct this activity. The most likely source was the president’s constitutional authority to conduct foreign intelligence, as regulated by Executive Order 12333, initially adopted in 1981, and considered a less restrictive set of rules than FISA. A former State Department official published an op-ed in July 2014 arguing that U.S. government collection and retention of communications by U.S. persons under Executive Order 12333 violated the Fourth Amendment. In August 2014, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board decided to examine Executive Order 12333 for its implications for privacy and civil liberties, and the ACLU released documents in October 2014 on the executive order it obtained under the Freedom of Information Act as part of its effort to increase scrutiny of the order.

 

Friend and Foe? U.S. Espionage against Other Countries

ePub

Friend and Foe?
U.S. Espionage against Other Countries

The documents released by Snowden included many disclosures about U.S. intelligence activities directed against other countries. These NSA briefing slides, for example, provide evidence of U.S. government surveillance and espionage directed at Brazil’s political leadership and national oil company, Petrobas. Snowden also leaked information about U.S. intelligence efforts targeting Afghanistan, Argentina, the Bahamas, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, France, Germany, Honduras, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nicaragua, North Korea, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, the Vatican, and Venezuela. Snowden-provided documents also indicated that the U.S. government spied on international institutions and their meetings, including the European Union, International Atomic Energy Agency, Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Summit of the Americas, UN, UN Climate Change Conference, and the World Bank. These disclosures increased the displeasure of foreign governments, which were already upset about U.S. surveillance of foreign communications. Fellow democracies, such as Brazil, responded with particular pique to being targets of U.S. spying. These slides on Brazil also highlight (see bottom of each slide) the special relationship of the so-called “Five Eyes”—Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States—among whom these slides (and other documents Snowden disclosed) circulated. These disclosures did not connect to Snowden’s allegations that the NSA was violating the U.S. Constitution; instead they brought international law more directly into the debate about U.S. surveillance and espionage.

 

A Secure and Reliable Cyberspace? The NSA, Encryption, and Exploits

ePub

A Secure and Reliable Cyberspace?
The NSA, Encryption, and Exploits

Another category of disclosures made by Snowden includes NSA activities concerning encryption of cyber communications and the use of software exploits against foreign intelligence targets. These activities raised concerns that the NSA was strengthening its signals intelligence mission at the expense of broader cyber security, a point made by Cate and Fidler elsewhere in this volume. This document is an excerpt from a classified description of Project BULLRUN, a secret effort through which the NSA worked to defeat encryption of cyber communications of foreign intelligence targets. Exposure of BULLRUN and related NSA decryption activities brought accusations that the NSA was engaged in a secret war against encryption, a key way to provide security for communications transiting the Internet.

NSA, Classification Guide for Project BULLRUN on Defeating Encryption, June 16, 2010 [disclosed September 5, 2013].

 

Norms of Responsible Behavior in Cyberspace? U.S. Cyber Operations

ePub

Norms of Responsible Behavior in Cyberspace?
U.S. Cyber Operations

The third Snowden disclosure occurred on June 7, 2013, when the Guardian revealed Presidential Policy Directive/PPD-20, a top secret document under which President Obama established U.S. policy for cyber operations not involving foreign intelligence collection. The media focused on the provision instructing the government to identify potential targets for offensive cyber operations. But the directive also included guidance on defensive cyber operations, making it a comprehensive attempt to establish policy for cyber activities not involving intelligence. The Obama administration developed the directive in response to concerns that “rules of engagement” for U.S. cyber operations were not clear. The directive declared that all U.S. offensive and defensive cyber operations shall comply with U.S. and international law. The directive contains no information about specific U.S. cyber operations, but disclosures in August 2013 included information that the U.S. government conducted 231 offensive cyber operations in 2011 against government targets in China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia—the year before PPD-20 was adopted. This disputed information, along with PPD-20, connected these disclosures with alleged U.S. involvement in the Stuxnet cyber attack on Iranian nuclear centrifuges discovered in 2010. Fidler’s chapter in this volume analyzes the foreign policy implications of PPD-20’s disclosure, which include questions about how U.S. offensive cyber operations relate to the U.S. government’s desire for “norms of responsible behavior in cyberspace.”

 

“Worse than the U.S.”? Surveillance by the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters

ePub

“Worse than the U.S.”?
Surveillance by the UK’s Government
Communications Headquarters

Snowden’s disclosures revealed information not only about U.S. government intelligence, but also about the intelligence activities of other countries. These leaks included documents related to collaboration between the NSA and intelligence agencies in Australia, Canada, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Snowden also released information about the intelligence activities of some governments, including those of Australia, Canada, and the Netherlands. The majority of disclosures about foreign governments related to the UK’s signals intelligence agency, GCHQ. In fact, Snowden said that GCHQ was “worse than the U.S.” The documents below relate to what Snowden disclosed about GCHQ and reactions to what he made public. The first document is from GCHQ describing its TEMPORA capability. The Guardian disclosed TEMPORA in June 2013, early in the timing of Snowden’s leaks. Under TEMPORA, GCHQ collects large volumes of metadata and communication content by accessing fiber-optic cables over which significant portions of the world’s Internet and telephone traffic travels. GCHQ analysts then query the information by, for example, using XKEYSCORE, the powerful NSA tool shared with GCHQ for analyzing surveillance information collected by various means and held in different databases.

 

U.S. Federal Court Decisions on NSA Programs

ePub

U.S. Federal Court Decisions on NSA Programs

Snowden’s public disclosure of information about the NSA’s telephone metadata program prompted litigation in U.S. federal courts about the program’s legality under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act and the Fourth Amendment. In Klayman v. Obama, subscribers of U.S. telecommunications and Internet companies brought suit, and Judge Richard J. Leon ruled on the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction to stop the U.S. government from collecting their telephone metadata. His decision attracted significant attention. In asking for an injunction, the plaintiffs argued that Section 215 did not support the telephone metadata program and that the program violated the Fourth Amendment. Judge Leon held that the plaintiffs could not challenge the U.S. government’s compliance with Section 215 under federal law. He ruled for the plaintiffs, however, on the constitutional issue. He determined that the plaintiffs met their burden of showing they would likely prevail at the merits stage of the case on their claim that the telephone metadata program violated the Fourth Amendment. Snowden, his supporters, and NSA critics celebrated the decision and Judge Leon’s reasoning. The U.S. government appealed the decision. The appellate court heard oral arguments in Klayman in early November 2014, but, as of this writing, it has not issued a ruling. Whether the appellate court overrules Judge Leon’s decision, it will remain a memorable opinion in the judiciary’s handling of litigation prompted by Snowden’s disclosures.

 

Details

Print Book
E-Books
Chapters

Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Sku
B000000037642
Isbn
9780253017383
File size
3.26 MB
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Sku
In metadata
Isbn
In metadata
File size
In metadata