Boing Boing 

Edward Snowden is almost broke

Edward Snowden's lawyer reports that he is almost broke, having spent his savings on subsistence since he went into exile; he has been relying on "some organizations and enterprising citizens" for his ongoing expenses. There doesn't appear to be an easy way to give money to Snowden himself (you can send BitCoins here), though there's a legal defense fund operated by Wikileaks. (via Hacker News)

Inspired by Snowden, more NSA insiders are blowing the whistle

Jesselyn Radack is a civil liberties attorney with the Government Accountability Project who has been in contact with Edward Snowden. In an ABC News interview, she reported that other NSA insiders have been inspired by Snowden's bravery and sacrifice and have come forward with further revelations about the organization's excess, criminality and lawlessness. She says that the Obama administration's war on whistleblowers has backfired, squandering the administration's credibility with its own operatives and inspiring them to speak out.

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Freedom of the Press Foundation Launches SecureDrop, an Open-Source Submission Platform for Whistleblowers

Freedom of the Press Foundation has taken charge of the DeadDrop project, an open-source whistleblower submission system originally coded by the late transparency advocate Aaron Swartz. In the coming months, the Foundation will also provide on-site installation and technical support to news organizations that wish to run the system, which has been renamed “SecureDrop.”

By installing SecureDrop, news organizations around the world can securely accept documents from whistleblowers, while better protecting their sources’ anonymity.  Although it is important to note that no security system can ever be 100 percent impenetrable, Freedom of the Press Foundation believes that this system is the strongest ever made available to media outlets. Several major news agencies have already signed up for installations, and they will be announced in the coming weeks.

“We’ve reached a time in America when the only way the press can assure the anonymity and safety of their sources is not to know who they are,” said JP Barlow, co-founder and board member of Freedom of the Press Foundation. “SecureDrop is where real news can be slipped quietly under the door.”

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Ex-NSA director jokes of placing Edward Snowden on kill list, Rep. Mike Rogers offers to help


Former NSA Director Michael Hayden.

Brendan Sasso of The Hill reports that during a Washington Post cybersecurity summit today, former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden made a joke about putting Edward Snowden on a kill list.

Snowden, who leaked secret NSA documents to news reporters, has been nominated for the "Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought," considered to be Europe's most prominent human rights award.

According to Sasso Hayden quipped, "I must admit, in my darker moments over the past several months, I'd also thought of nominating Mr. Snowden, but it was for a different list."

"I can help you with that," added his fellow panel member Rep. Mike "CISPA" Rogers (R-MI), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and longtime NSA ally. 

[The Hill's Hillicon Valley]

Manning’s gender hell: Shades of gray in a black-and-white world

We asked writer, film director, Boing Boing contributor, and transgender educator and activist Andrea James what she thought about the media confusion following Private Manning's gender transition revelation. Below, Andrea's thoughts.Read the rest

Report: Snowden ended up stuck in Russia because US pressured Cuba to block entry

RT and other news outlets are reporting today that the US government pressured the government of Cuba not to let Snowden in. The NSA whistleblower was passing through Russia en route to Cuba from Hong Kong, and ended up famously stuck in Moscow as a result.

Bradley Manning sentence to be delivered Aug. 21, 10am US Eastern


U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning arrives at the courthouse during his court martial at Fort Meade in Maryland August, 20, 2013. REUTERS/Jose Luis Magana

In a courtroom at Fort Meade on Wednesday, August 21, at 10am Eastern time, Judge Army. Col. Denise Lind will deliver the sentence in Bradley Manning's court-martial. The 25-year-old former intelligence analyst is charged with sharing more than 700,000 secret government documents with Julian Assange and Wikileaks. The transparency organization published those documents online, and shared them with news organizations.

Manning faces up to 90 years in prison, and will receive credit for 3.5 years already served in custody, some in solitary confinement. No minimum sentence applies; Judge Lind convicted him last month of most charges brought against him by the government, including 6 violations of the US Espionage Act of 1917.

Here is the latest transcript of court proceedings [PDF], captured by stenographers who were crowdfunded and hired by Freedom of the Press Foundation.

Manning's attorney will give a press conference after the sentence delivery. Follow this Twitter list, for updates from reporters who are there at the Fort Meade media operations center.

One of those reporters, Adam Klasfeld of Courthouse News, wrote an important piece today about the kind of treatment Manning is likely to receive in military prison as a transgender person.

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Criminalizing Journalism: Manning, Media and You


Illustration: Reuters/William Hennessy

On Tuesday, Bradley Manning was acquitted of “aiding the enemy” for leaking 700,000 classified government documents, including a video of an American airstrike in Baghdad that killed 12 civilians, among them two Reuters journalists.

While aiding the enemy was the most serious charge he faced, Manning was still found guilty of numerous counts of espionage and other charges, which could land him in jail for the rest of his life.

And while many journalists are breathing a sigh of relief about the aiding-the-enemy decision, we shouldn’t forget how hard the government pushed for that particular conviction.

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Bradley Manning verdict: transcript, via Freedom of the Press Foundation

Here is a transcript of today's verdict in the Bradley Manning case, provided by Freedom of the Press Foundation court stenographers: PDF link.

FotPF's Trevor Timm writes that the military court's "decision is a terrible blow to both investigative journalists and the sources they rely on to inform the public."

Our Boing Boing coverage of the verdict is here, and my notes from this morning at Ft. Meade are here.

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World awaits verdict in Bradley Manning's trial

Xeni Jardin reports from Ft. Meade, Md., on the trial of the accused Wikileaks whistleblowerRead the rest

Journalists at Bradley Manning trial report hostile conditions for press


UPDATE: Bradley Manning trial judge increased press security "because of repeat violations of the rules of court.”


Journalists and bloggers covering closing arguments in the military trial of Wikileaks source Bradley Manning are reporting a far more intense security climate at Ft. Meade today, as compared to the past 18 months of pre-trial hearings and court proceedings.

@carwinb, @kgosztola, @nathanLfuller, and @wikileakstruck have tweeted about armed guards standing directly behind them as they type into laptops in the designated press area, being "screamed at" for having "windows" open on their computers that show Twitter in a browser tab, and having to undergo extensive, repeated, invasive physical searches.

I visited the trial two weeks ago. While there were many restrictions for attending press that I found surprising (reporters couldn't work from the courtroom, mobile devices weren't allowed in the press room), it wasn't this bad. I was treated respectfully and courteously by Army Public Affairs Officers and military police, and was only grumped at a few times for stretching those (silly) restrictions. I was physically searched only once, when entering the courtroom, and that's standard for civilian or military trials.

But the vibe is very different today in the Smallwood building where reporters are required to work, about a quarter mile away from the actual courtroom. Tweets from some of the attending journalists are below; there are about 40-50 of them present and not all are tweeting. Internet access is spotty today. Oh, wait; as I type this blog post, I'm now seeing updates that they're being told they are not allowed to access Twitter at all. Why has the climate changed so much in the final few days of the trial? What is the Army afraid of?

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Closing arguments in Bradley Manning court-martial paint Wikileaks source as glory-seeking traitor

Inside a small courthouse on the Army base in Fort Meade, Maryland, Army prosecutors are presenting closing arguments in their case against Pfc. Bradley Manning, who leaked hundreds of thousands of government documents to Wikileaks.

According to Maj. Ashden Fein today, the 25-year-old former intel analyst betrayed his country’s trust and handed government secrets to Julian Assange in search of fame and glory, knowing that in doing so, the material would be made visible to Al Qaeda and its then-leader Osama bin Laden.

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Obama to Putin, on the phone (probably): Dude, don't even think about granting Snowden asylum


Photo by Polona Frelih, of Delo.si, who attended a closed-door meeting held by Snowden with human rights NGOs today at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport.

About that phone call between the presidents of the US and Russia, held just hours after fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden met with NGO reps and a Wikileaks spokesperson in a Moscow airport to announce he would seek asylum in Russia:

"The two leaders noted the importance of U.S.-Russian bilateral relations and discussed a range of security and bilateral issues, including the status of Mr. Edward Snowden and cooperation on counter-terrorism in the lead-up to the Sochi Winter Olympics," read a White House statement.

The Sochi Olympics in Russia are next year. And Putin will be hosting Obama in Russia for the G20 leaders summit in less than two months.

Edward Snowden's statement on seeking asylum in Russia, as published by Wikileaks


Photoshop by @Darth.

Earlier today, NSA leaker Edward Snowden met with human rights groups and other supporters at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, where he has been holed up for weeks, in a stateless legal limbo.

Wikileaks, which has been working to facilitate his safe passage to a country where he will not be punished for his whistleblowing efforts, says the meeting lasted 45 minutes and included the participation of reps from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

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Edward Snowden speaks at Moscow airport, seeks Russia asylum en route to Latin America


Photo: Tanya Lokshina of Human Rights Watch

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden invited human rights groups to meet him at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport to discuss his options for seeking political asylum from the United States. He says his government is denying his right to seek asylum in retaliation for having exposed details of the NSA's previously secret spying programs.

At today's meeting, Snowden announced that he will apply for political asylum in Russia, despite Russian President Vladimir Putin's previously-stated condition that he stop publishing documents that harm America. According to tweets from people inside the meeting, Snowden's eventual goal is to reach one of the Latin American nations that has offered him asylum.

According to the Associated Press, the following people were among those at the meeting: Russian MP Vyacheslav Nikonov, Amnesty International Russia's Sergei Nikitin, Tanya Lokshina of Human Rights Watch, Russian presidential human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin, and attorney Genri Reznik.

Separately, Wikileaks identified another participant as one of their representatives. Wikileaks has also published a copy of Snowden's statement to human rights groups here.

The Guardian, which received leaked documents from Snowden and broke the news they revealed, has a liveblog covering the story.

Tanya Lokshina of Human Rights Watch captured the photo above, which is the first new photograph we've seen of Snowden since the story first spread weeks ago. HRW issued this statement earlier, supporting Snowden's right to asylum.

Wikileaks tweets that the person to the left of Snowden is "Wikileaks' Sarah Harrison."

Video is not permitted inside the meeting between Snowden and roughly 8 Russian human rights figures, according to Ellen Barry of the New York Times, who is there.

Rough machine translation of the Russian description at this RT link:

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In confirmation hearing, FBI chief nominee makes interesting remark on whistleblowers

"I think whistleblowers are also a critical element of a functioning democracy." —FBI director nominee James Comey, during his confirmation hearing today. He wasn't talking specifically about Snowden or Manning. [WaPo]

CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou has advice for NSA leaker Edward Snowden

John Kiriakou, the former CIA officer serving a thirty-month sentence in prison for leaking the name of an officer involved in the USA's torture program has written an open letter to Edward Snowden. His “most important advice” as he writes, is to “not, under any circumstances, cooperate with the FBI....FBI agents will lie, trick and deceive you. They will twist your words and play on your patriotism to entrap you.” Read it at The Dissenter (FDL)

Updated: Bolivian President's plane diverted on flight from Russia over suspicions Snowden was on board


L: Bolivian President Evo Morales. R: NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

Bolivian officials say President Evo Morales' private plane was rerouted to Vienna, Austria last night after France and Portugal refused to allow it into their airspace over concerns NSA leaker Edward Snowden was on board. Italy shut the door, too. By various reports, the plane was searched, and Snowden was nowhere to be found. A Bolivian official said the South American nation is outraged, and they "have the suspicion" the US is to blame for the unprecedented decision to close airspace to the president's plane. The flight was eventually allowed to continue, after Spain granted them permission to refuel in the Canary Islands. As of 10am ET, the plane is en route over the Atlantic, and you can track it here.

The Guardian has a liveblog with good coverage. Less than a week ago, US President Barack Obama said, "I'm not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker." As many Twitter comedians have pointed out, Snowden just turned 30, so that may explain last night's drama.

If the story is as it appears, the United States has the power to compel other nations to ground a plane carrying a head of state, on the suspicion that it is carrying a whistleblower who says he exposed unjust secrets in an act of conscience. But the story may not be as it appears.

Here's the official statement from the Bolivian government, denouncing what it describes as an unprecedented act of "imperialist" aggression, and the effective "kidnapping" of its president, in violation of international law. Morales calls on the leaders of the countries that denied his plane to explain their "repressive policies."

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Edward's Snowden's search for political asylum is not going well


Image: The Guardian

Wikileaks and various news agencies report that NSA leaker Edward Snowden has prepared asylum requests for (at least) 21 nations, including Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Cuba, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and Venezuela.

The government of Ecuador said they couldn't consider his request unless he was in Ecuador or inside one of their embassies. The US has revoked his passport, which makes getting anywhere difficult from his current (presumed) location: an international no-mans-land connected to Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport.

The AP's Eastern Europe News Director, Ian Phillips, flew there to try and find Snowden. He didn't, despite wardialing all floors of the prison-hotel where stateless passengers are held. But his surreal account of 21 hours in Snowden's shoes is a must-read.

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Unequal Leaks

Via hullabaloo blog, a pointer to Chris Hayes' epic rant about "unequal leaks" last night on MSNBC. Blogger Digby writes, "Barbara Starr and David Gregory can spout all the classified information they choose without fear of being arrested. But then they only disseminate the classified info that makes the government look good so it's just fine."

Who's leaking more: Edward Snowden or the officials condemning him?

Trevor Timm, Freedom of the Press Foundation: "In the month since the Guardian first started reporting on the surveillance documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the government has taken to the media to condemn his leaks and insist he is flagrantly violating the law. To prove this, the government has been incessantly leaking information itself."

US charges NSA whistleblower Snowden with espionage, asks Hong Kong to detain him


Image: The Guardian

In a sealed criminal complaint announced late Friday, federal prosecutors have charged Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor who leaked a documents about the top-secret Prism surveillance programs, with espionage, theft and conversion of government property. The US government is asking the government of Hong Kong to detain Snowden on a provisional arrest warrant. The sealed complaint was filed in the Eastern District of Virginia, where Booz Allen Hamilton, his former employer, is based. The district has a history of prosecuting national security cases.

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Internet companies begin releasing some data on government spying

Facebook and Microsoft have reached a agreements with the U.S. government "to release limited information about the number of surveillance requests they receive," which Reuters' Joe Menn and Gerry Shih report is a partial victory for the companies struggling with "fallout from recent disclosures about the NSA's secret program. "

Facebook and Microsoft released some information about the scope of secret orders with which each company has complied.

Google said Friday it is "negotiating with the government and that the sticking point was whether it could only publish a combined figure for all requests," adding that this would be "a step back for users," because it "already breaks out criminal requests and National Security Letters, another type of intelligence inquiry."

Wired News publishes encrypted message to Edward Snowden

In the one unencrypted line of this publication, Kevin Poulsen of Wired News writes, "Don’t read this if you aren’t him.."

David Rohde on the ‘secrecy industrial complex’

"An odd thing is happening in the world’s self-declared pinnacle of democracy," writes David Rohde at Reuters. "No one — except a handful of elected officials and an army of contractors — is allowed to know how America’s surveillance leviathan works."

Jack Shafer: Edward Snowden and the selective targeting of leaks

"The willingness of the government to punish leakers is inversely proportional to the leakers’ rank and status, which is bad news for someone so lacking in those attributes as Edward Snowden," writes media critic Jack Shafer at Reuters. As the US moves to prosecute Snowden, Shafer says we should ask "Why Snowden is singled out for punishment when he’s essentially done what the insider dissenters did when they spoke with Risen and Lichtblau in 2005 about an invasive NSA program. He deserves the same justice and the same punishment they received."

Julian Assange and John Perry Barlow in joint interview on NSA Prism leaks: "Snowden is a hero"

In this Sky News television interview with EFF co-founder John Perry Barlow, Julian Assange of Wikileaks describes Prism Leaker Edward Snowden as "a Hero."

That NSA Prism PowerPoint deck: A better-designed version, and what's in the missing slides?

"Dear NSA, let me take care of your slides," writes Emiland, in a redesigned version of the Prism leak. "Do whatever with my data. But not with my eyes. Those slides are hideous."

Related: What's in the missing slides? Hacker and journalist Kevin Poulsen at Wired News explores what's missing from Snowden's PowerPoint deck. There are 41 slides, but the Guardian and the Washington Post would only publish 5 of them.

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Judge in Manning Wikileaks trial rules crowdfunded stenographers should get permanent court access


Photo: Bradley Manning, via standwithbrad.org

Huge news from the Freedom of the Press Foundation's Trevor Timm:

Bradley Manning’s defense lawyer David Coombs brought up our crowd-funded stenographers in court during the morning session, and we’re happy to say, once and for all, that the judge ruled the government must make permanent accomodations for the stenographers. The stenographers were in the media room yesterday on press passes borrowed from other media organizations.

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Portraits of "Americans who tell the truth"

Artist Robert Shetterly's ongoing series of portraits of "Americans Who Tell The Truth" includes a recently-unveiled painting of John Kiriakou, the former CIA agent and counterterrorism adviser who became a torture whistleblower and was sentenced today to 30 months in prison:

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