#1368 - Edward Snowden

Oct 23, 2019

Edward Snowden is an American whistleblower who copied and leaked highly classified information from the National Security Agency in 2013 when he was a Central Intelligence Agency employee and subcontractor.

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okay my guest today this is a complicated one folks because we did this one remotely it's one of the rare dealing other time I did a remote podcast I believe there's only one other one and that was with John Anthony West the late great John Anthony West who else John McAfee that's right when he was on the lam run from the fucking fuzz that's right so two times two times T thank you Jamie but this one is

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probably more interesting his name is Edward Snowden and he's on the lam as well so please give it up for Ed Snowden

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The Joe Rogan Experience and okay that'll just be are very professional you know people are like how do you live and things like that they're taking money from the Russians and of course the answer is no but I do this for a living like I speak I'm I don't have a YouTube channel that where it's you know I'm I'm Joe Rogan but I give speeches at universities and things like that

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a lot of interviews and so we're recording now my own setup is it possible that you could do a YouTube channel would that work if ya like I mean if you introduce me so like I get followers yeah we could do that dude I'm all in that that could absolutely happen do you want to do that is it something you want to do no I mean this is a big question so I came on because I had just written a book called permanent record which

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is the story of my life because that's what Publishers make you doing when you're writing your first book but it's more than that because I didn't just want to talk about me it's actually about the changing of technology and the changing of government in this sort of post 9/11 era which in our generation just sort of happened to be growing up during and I was at the CIA and the NSA and all this stuff but the day that the book came out the government hit me with a lawsuit and they hit the publisher of the books

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they with a lawsuit because they don't want to see books like this get written they especially don't want to see books like this get red and so the big thing was you know we didn't know where this is going we didn't know what was going to happen and my publisher of course wanted me very badly to let people know this book existed in case the government leaned harder and harder and harder we didn't know where where that's going the government is still pursuing that case quite strongly they're more focused on though

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the financial censorship side of it basically taking any money that I made from it kind of is a warning to the others and getting a legal judgment against the Publishers saying you know you can't pay this guy that kind of thing more so than taking the book off the shelves but that's not because they're okay with the book being on the shelves it's because thankfully we've got the First Amendment and so they can't and that's very rare and and good thing but anyway in the context of that

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they were like well what about Joe Rogan and you know I I had heard about you at this point but you know the only thing that I had really seen that I really understood had familiarity with was like you talking to Bernie Sanders which by the way is very much appreciated hearing them because a lot of people don't give the guy time to talk yeah to hear him in those sound bites you don't really get an understanding of who he actually is right and this is the other thing like they're like well you know you can go on all these

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major network shows and I did a couple of them I did like a morning show I did Brian Williams but broadly the media is the the sort of more corporate sized media as we might say is exactly what you just described right they they want you to be able to answer and light heat 15 seconds or less and when we're talking about big massive shifts in society we're talking about power we're talking about technology and how it controls and influences us

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in the future you can't have a meaningful conversation within those constraints and so instead these guys all want to say repeat these long discredited sort of criticisms and you know I'm sure you'll ask the same thing and that's okay their fur questions but it's like we can't have the conversation if we can't have this space to think right breathe and have this sort of discussion so anyway they mentioned you and I was like Joe Rogan Joe Rogan Joe Rogan where do I know this name from before

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Bernie Sanders and I look back through my my Twitter mentions and the funny thing is your fans have been harassing me to death for like the last year's wonderful people wonderful people but like go on Joe Rogan go on Joe Rogan and I remember like after I had just made a Twitter account Neil deGrasse Tyson actually I helped me get on Twitter gave me that little initial boost and they said Joe Rogan and so

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like link you and you know I Mouse over your name because I use a desktop mobile for this because security reasons and it pops up and I get your avatar man and like I have to say your logo is the worst thing in the world for people who are like trying to be like politically serious and you know they're worried about the National Security advisor condemning because like this bald guy with this maniacal grin like the third eye on his forehead and I'm like oh man that's show you know that that doesn't look good but it's actually like

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do you watch you know when you watch what you're doing is it's great stuff man it's great but that first impression like I this almost didn't happen but everybody who has talked to you you know everybody who watches your show I think they get a very different impression than how your paint and for me it's a wonderful thing because nobody understands that better than I do right like the government ran a smear campaign against me endlessly for six months when I came forward in June of 2013 I know we got way off topic here I'll get

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to it fun there's no such thing as my topic we could do okay talk about whatever great great okay so for those people first off who have no idea who the hell I am I'm the guy who's behind the revelations of global Mass surveillance in 2013 I worked for the CIA I worked for the NSA as a contractor at the NSA staff officer the CIA I was undercover working at embassies but and I talked about the

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France between this in a book and contractor and government official and how it's all sort of lost its meaning but I saw something wrong and I saw basically the government was violating the law and what I believe to be the Constitution of the United States and more broadly human rights for everyone in the United States and around the world there were domestic surveillance programs that were Mass surveillance programs so that worked internationally basically everything that they could monitor they were monitoring and this is actually like people go

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obvious isn't that what they're supposed to do and this is weird but the answer actually is no under the framework of our constitution the government was only supposed to be monitoring people that it has an individualized particularized suspicion of wrongdoing for right this is we think about this in the investigative means right like all those TV shows where they're like go and get a warrant the reason they have to do that like we fought hey it Revolution over this you know a couple hundred years back

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is the idea that when we had you know Kings when we had governments have absolute power they could simply go in your home and go you know he's this guy pot smoker get his diary you know whatever it is and just like if you find evidence of crime you mark them off to prison and it's all good you found evidence their criminal where you didn't find evidence well no harm no foul you're just doing what government does

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we were trying to build a better system where it went yes the governor has extraordinary capabilities but it only uses them where they're necessary right where their proportionate to the threat that is presented by this person you know like we shouldn't be afraid of the person who's got like a baggie of weed in their dresser or something like that that is not a threat to National Security that is not a threat to Public Safety but what happened in the wake of 9/11 was a whole

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of government officials got together behind closed doors and this was actually LED interestingly Enough by the Vice President of the United States Cheney everybody remembers that name or hopefully I can look that name up Dick Cheney and his personal attorney sort of the the Giuliani of Dick Cheney a guy named David Addington and this lawyer David Addington wrote a secret legal interpretation that no one

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else was allowed to see it was kept in the vice president safe at the White House they weren't giving this even when they told people and it was just a couple people in Congress Nancy Pelosi was one of them on a couple of these other folks when they talked to the heads of the agency the NSA and the CIA and the FBI and all this stuff they told them the White House and the office of legal counsel and you know this this the president's attorneys all of these guys had decided this would be legal

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do but we can't tell you why we can't show you the legal authorization for you just got to take our word for it and so they did this and this became a mass surveillance program called Stellar Wind which they said was supposed to monitor the phone calls and internet communications emails and things like that have everybody in the United States and around the world who they could get access to for links to Al-Qaeda because if you remember in the wake of the September 11th attacks they were singing

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we thought there could be sleeper cells of Al Qaeda that we just you know peppered all throughout the country they're going to spring up at any moment of course light weapons of mass destruction it just didn't exist it was all a power grab but on that basis they started doing this in secret and it was completely unconstitutional was completely illegal even under the very loose requirements of the Patriot Act but they did it for so long that they got comfortable with them they thought this is the you know this is a really powerful capability what if we started using this

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stuff that was other than terrorism because it wasn't finding any terrorists because there weren't any terrorists in this context of that we're looking for them and the ones who where there were terrorists the program wasn't affected because these were guys in Pakistan that weren't using you know email and phone calls they were getting on a moped with their cousin who was a courier who's bringing a letter to his guy you know who runs the the food stand or whatever but bit by bit over time this grew and

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grew and grew and there were scandals and if you want to drill down in these later I'll go into them but what happened was step by step by step our constitutional rights were changed and we weren't allowed to know it we were never granted a vote on it and even the many members of Congress right 535 in the United States they were prohibited from knowing this and instead they told only a few select people in the original case there were only eight members of

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Congress called the gang of eight who knew about this then there were the people on the intelligence committees both in the Senate and the house who were told about this but they were only told partially about it they weren't told the full scope of it and now that they have been told about it because they had security clearances and things like that they weren't allowed to tell anybody else even if they objected to it and we had one Senator Ron Wyden and another one I believe Tom Udall was named of them who did object to this and who wanted something to happen but because

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because they couldn't tell anybody that was happening they were sort of doing these weird Lassie barks to the Press where they were like we have grave concerns about the way these programs have been carried out but nobody knew what they were talking about and so journalists were like you know they've got concerns what does that last see what are you trying to say Timmy's in the well but they were getting it wrong they couldn't tell what was happening so what had happened was that we the American people and sort of lost our seat at the table of government we were no longer partner to government we had simply become

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jet government I think everybody who's in the world today who is aware of what's going on whether it's under this Administration last Administration the one before that right they have seen a constant kind of shift where we have we the public have less say in less influence over the policy of government with each passing year there's kind of a new class that's being created a government class and then the the

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Eric civil class that are held to different standards of behavior and when we start talking about leaking and whistleblowing this becomes even more clear and so what I did was I wanted to clarify that kind of Lassie Mark right I just wanted everybody to know what was going on I didn't want to say the government can't do this I didn't want to say this is how you guys have to live because that's not for me to say but I do believe that everybody in the United States and more broadly people in the world who are having the rights violated by a

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rent should have at least an understanding how that is happening what the authorities sort of the policies and programs that are enabling that or so that they can protest them so that they can cast a vote about them who so that they can say you know what you guys say this is okay but I disagree that this is not okay I object and I want things to change and so I gathered evidence of what I believe to be a criminal or unconstitutional activity in the part of the government and I gave this to churn

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lists right now I gave this to journalists under a very strict condition here which was that they publish no story in this Archive of information simply because it was interesting right no clickbait not anything just because they thought it would make news that would get them Awards they would only publish stories that they were willing to make an Institutional judgment and stand behind and this was three different newspapers that it was in the public interest to know

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and so then beyond that there was additional is because if you could see sort of what I was doing here what had happened what had led us into this Pitfall was that

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the system of checks and balances that supposed to self-regulate our government had failed the courts had abdicated their role in policing the executive and the Congress because terrorism was such a hot argument at the time they were worried about being criticized and blamed if something went wrong and attack did go through and they didn't have access to the information that the programs were ineffective so they were just taking the government's word for it they didn't want to wait him Congress most of them didn't even know right

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and the ones who did know it was the same thing they were getting their pockets stuffed with money by the defense contractors that were getting rich for building these systems that were violating the rights of each of us so they benefited by just saying nothing and then the executive themselves whether we're talking about Bush right whether we're talking about Obama or whether we're talking about Trump now all these guys were okay with a constantly growing surveillance State because they're the ones whose hands were on the lever at the time they got to aim it they got to use it

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if you had a little search box in front of you they would give you the email history and you know of everybody in the United States anybody want if you could pull up their text messages anybody you want you can see anything they've ever typed into that Google search box right Joe what is the worst thing you've ever typed into that search box that lasts forever right and they have a record of that they can get that from Google and so this was this was the whole thing how do we correct for that so when you have somebody

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who wants to inform the public of something and we'll get in the proper channels arguments later but you can't go through the institution to get these corrected because the institution knows it's wrong in his doing anyway right that's the whole origin of the program is they want to do something that they're not allowed to do what do you do right and so I didn't want to say I'm the president of Secrets I didn't want to just put this stuff on the internet and I could have on the technologist right

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I worked with the journalists and then to create an adversarial step right someone who would argue against what I believed and hopefully with the journalists believe once they consulted the documents and basically authenticated them can we get the government to play that role right now and so before the journal is published any story this is a controversial think people still criticize me for this actually they say I was to accommodate in government they could be right

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is that the journalist would go to the government and give them warning say we're about to run this story about this secret program that says you did X Y & Z bad thing one is that right and the government always go oh no comment right to is this going to cause harm is anybody going to get hurt is this program effective is there something we don't understand right is this something Snowden doesn't understand it is this guy just not get it right are these documents fake whatever you want say we shouldn't run this

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sorry in every case I'm aware of that process was followed and that's why right was because there's a lot of people out there who don't like me who criticized me who go this poisson safe this caused harm to people or whatever we're in 2019 now I came forward and these stories won the Pulitzer Prize for public service journalism starting way back in June of 2013 we've had six years to show bodies we've had six years to show harm and you know

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know as well as I do the gums happy to leak things when it's in their interest nobody has been hurt as a result of these disclosures because everyone who was involved in them was so careful we wanted to maximize the public benefit while mitigating the potential risks and I think we did a pretty good job of but just to get back to the the main thing the original thing that got us off on that trail when I came forward in June of 2013 I gave one interview to the people who were in

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the room with the documents Laura poitras Glenn Greenwald Ewen MacAskill and I said who I was I said why I was doing this I said what this was about why it matters and then we were constructing a system of TurnKey tyranny and even if you trust that to Obama you never know whose hand is going to be on that key next and all I have to do is turn it and there's nothing we can do to stop it the only thing this restraining these programs really is policy more so than the law and the president anytime can sign an

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napkin and those policies change

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well after that I went six months without giving any interviews because I didn't want people to talk about me I want to do them to talk about what actually matters in the government of course was trying very hard to change the conversation as they always do to be about who is this guy what are they done right what's wrong with them what are their problems who is this this loony guy so they can controversial eyes the source of a story rather than having to confront the story itself and that's why

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I said it's I really kind of appreciate

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your take on the media and everything like that because

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when you don't tell your story you know other people will tell it for you they'll say so many things about you and they'll have these misimpressions like I did because of something as stupid as the Avatar that you're using on Twitter right where I think it's a certain kind of show with a certain kind of guy and it's this crazy stuff but when I actually listen to you when I actually look at the facts right and when I hear you just speak I go actually this is a thoughtful guy actually this is somebody who does care who does want to look at these things deeply

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appearances at our first impressions can be very misleading I work hard on that I try to mislead people it's good works to my advantage in a good job man thank you I want to bring it back to when you first started with the NSA you started as a contractor right what was your initial impression and when did you know that things were really squirrelly

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with the program's there is something so I'm not saying this to put put you on the spot I know you've been a busy guy I know you had it done I think shows recently you come back from break right but have you read the book because it'll just help me put your buffering if you haven't got a chance to you know I don't know I have not read your book or got a copy of it okay well I will send you a signed copy brother beautiful died I hope you'll read it and I hope you enjoy it but all right so I had a

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really weird history in the intelligence Community I grew up in a federal family in the shadow for me write all these little Suburban communities in Maryland where basically the entire industry the state is the federal government of all these different agencies and then all the subcontractors all the defense industries that serve that government and really are kind of our war making machine our system of control for the country and the world broadly all that stuff

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it spreads and you know a couple hundred mile radius out of DC a my mother worked for the district courts rather the federal courts and it's kind of funny because she still works there and those are the courts that are trying to throw me in jail for the rest of my life now my father worked for the Coast Guard retired after 30 years my grandfather was an admiral and then he worked for the FBI as far back as it goes my my family

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my whole line of family even Generations back was working for the government so it was pretty ordinary pretty expected for me to go into the same kind of work now I started and I wasn't super successful in school because

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it I felt and you know this is the most arrogant thing in the world than anybody says

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that I had more to learn from computers than I did from you know biology class and so I spent more and more time focusing on technology than I got mono and I dropped out of high school and now it's like all right how do I make this up I said drop out of high school but I'm actually going to community college right they called it concurrent enrollment where I'm not taking any classes at high school I'm going to community college instead

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and I'm not doing that great there either like it's fine you know I'm enjoying it but you know school is school I want I can't wait to be grown you're bored and I think a lot of people have felt that but I ran into somebody at the community college who ran their own home based business doing web design and they could see I was kind of Technical and they went Haiti want to work for me and I was like well that sounds

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eight and so I started doing web design really really early on this is like gosh I don't know probably 1998 vintage during the big boom and then the collapse the followed and the funny thing is she worked she was married to an NSA analyst a linguist right and so she lived on Fort Meade and she ran her business out of their home on Fort Meade

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that's right up the street from the NSA so before I'm even working there I'm driving past this building all the time and trying to figure out you know what the next step is going to be and I enjoy this it's a good thing for me and I like it it works well and I start getting trained and certified all these little industry stamps you've got to get as a technologist to say oh you know this program or whatever and just start climbing the ladder

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but then 9/11 happens and I'm on Fort Meade when 9/11 happens I'm just going into work and I tell this in the book in some detail and I think it's very much worth reading for people don't know this because this is forgotten history that how old were you at this buddy Josh I was I was born in 83 so I was probably 18 years old and

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yeah yeah and I just turned 18 a couple months before

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and what people forget is who knew what was going on before anybody else on September 11th the intelligence Community right and what did they do right did they give out a public mourning today tell you guys to evacuate did they say do this after that no no not for everybody not for long time

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but at the NSA then director Michael Hayden he was a general he later became a director of the CIA ordered the entire campus evacuated of thousands tens of thousands of people actually just said go home right the CIA did the same thing they were running on skeleton Crews at the moment the country needed them more than they ever had right and

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I get a call well not hear her call that's from my boss's wife her husband to her he's calling from the NSA saying hey you know I think Edge should leave for the day because I'm the only employee this business besides her because I think they're going to close the base down I'm like this is crazy that never closes down I we don't know what's happening then we start checking the news which is through websites right because we're doing all this stuff and suddenly it's the big story everywhere

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and you know nobody understands how big it is yet most of us are like oh it's going to mess with our workday oh it's going to mess with our commute but when I'm leaving

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I hear car horns all over the base it's the craziest thing because this is a military base right it's right outside the NSA and I enter just this absolute state of pandemonium as I go past canine road which is the road that travels right and Pat it in front of the nsa's headquarters and it's just a parking lot as far as you can see they have military police out under the stoplights directing traffic because it's this Mass evacuation and I still have no idea what's happening like the

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are you still developing but I will never forget that image

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why did these people have so much power and so much money and so much Authority at that if at the moments we need them the most they're the first ones in the country that are leaving their buildings

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and you know later on they said and this is a covered in book I believe I think it's James Bamford who interviewed that director of NSA gave that order now about what was happening he was going well you know he called his wife and he was asking where their kids were and everything like that and then after that he wanted to think about well where could these other planes that they knew were in the air today

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and struck it where could they be headed

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and this sort of shows how self-centered the intelligence Community is this is the DC Metro area right thinking at the White House they get it Congress they get it the Supreme Court right and they go They're going to fly their planes into the CIA headquarters oh they're going to fly their planes into the NSA headquarters and of course it was never realistic that these would be the targets but on that basis they were like ooh let's get our bacon out of the

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but now I don't say this I'm sorry but go ahead and just in the interest of what wasn't it possible that they could have attacked those places mean they attacked the Pentagon they you know they knew that there isn't a cab look it's absolutely possible they could have attacked your Denny's right you know but it's a question of risk assessment if you have planes in the air if you believe there's an ongoing terrorist attack it's happening in the United States

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right now and if you have built History's Greatest surveillance agencies right that the most powerful intelligence forces in the history of the species you got are going to take those off the board or at least the majority of their personnel off the board then in a chance that you have no sort of grounds for substantiating that they could be targeting you to begin with simply because they could well somebody else

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we'll get hit with those as you say it's going to be the Pentagon right it's going to be the World Trade Center it's going to be someone somewhere and the more minutes you're in front of that desk the higher the chances even if it's a very small chance even if it's somebody who doesn't work on terrorism right maybe if it's somebody who normally works Finance in North Korea right but they go look this is emergency everybody understands you don't need to explain this you just go stop what you're doing look at Financial transactions related to who

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these plane tickets do this you just go full spectrum and go anything you can do right now if the building gets hit we get hit that's what we signed up for nobody wants that right that that's not the desired outcome but

► 00:37:51

if they had asked the staff to do that they all would have agreed that's what these people signed up to do and yet the director goes no you know we're just just know like we're not going to take that right and this is I think it's says so much about the bureaucratic character of how government works right the people who rise to the top of these governments

► 00:38:17

it's about risk management for them right it's about never being criticized for something in this is look if we want to get really controversial in this is something that'll that'll haunt me because people will bring it up again and again and again people ask about you know people still criticize me and the book you know I talked about aliens and chemtrails and things like that in the fact there there's no evidence for that I went looking on the network right and I know Joe I I know

► 00:38:47

you want there to be aliens I do I know Neil deGrasse Tyson badly wants there to be aliens and there probably are right but the idea that we're hiding them if we are hiding them I had ridiculous access to the networks of the NSA the CIA the military all these groups I couldn't find anything right so if it's hidden and it could be hidden it's hidden really damn well even from people who are on the inside but the main thing is conspiracy theory

► 00:39:17

he's right everybody wants to believe in conspiracy theories because it helps life make sense it helps us believe that somebody has control in control right that somebody is calling the shots these things all happen for a reason this that and the other

► 00:39:33

there are real conspiracies but they're not typically you know that they've got tens of thousands of people working on them unless you're talking about the existence of the intelligence Community itself which is basically constructed on the idea that you can get I think there's four million or 1.4 million people in the United States who hold security clearances

► 00:39:56

and you can get all of these people to not talk ever the journalists are this that or the other but when you look back at the 9/11 report and when you look back at the history of what actually happened what we can prove right not what we can speculate on but what are at least the commonly agreed facts

► 00:40:17

it's very clear to me as someone who worked in the intelligence Community not during this period of course I was too young but very shortly thereafter that these attacks could have been prevented and in fact the government says this too but the government goes the reason that they these attacks happened the reason that they weren't prevented is what they call stovepiping right there was there was not enough sharing they needed to break down the walls and the

► 00:40:47

teams that were chaining these poor Patriots at the NSA and the CIA and the FBI from all working on the same team and to some extent their correct on this right there there were limits on the way agencies were supposed to play ball with each other but I worked there and I know how much of this is bullshit and how much is this is not those are procedural and policy limits in some cases legal limits on what can be shared without following a process without doing this that or the other without

► 00:41:17

basically asking for permission without getting a sign off or anything like that if the FBI wanted to send absolutely everything they had to the CIA they could have done so at the CIA wanted to send everything they had the FBI they could have done so they didn't and people died as a result now government goes bureaucratic procedures realism was responsible and it's because we had too many restrictions on the intelligence community and this is what led to the world post 9/11 where all of our right sort of evaporated was they went well restrictions on

► 00:41:47

these agencies can do are costing lives therefore naturally we just have to unchain these guys and everything will be better right and if you remember that post 9/11 moment you can understand how that actually could come off as persuasive how that might be a kind of thing to go you go alright well well that makes sense because everybody was terrified right there were people quite quickly who got their heads back on their shoulders the right way there were some of them who never lost their heads at all

► 00:42:17

and who protested the Iraq War at the same time I don't self was signing up to go fight it volunteering for the Army and we'll get into that in a minute but

► 00:42:31

everything that has followed in the decades passed came from the fact that in a moment of fear we lost our heads and we abandon all the traditional constitutional restraints that we put on these agencies and we abandon all of the traditional political restraints and just social constraints idiot logical systems of belief about the limitations that the secret police should have

► 00:43:00

free and open society and we won't look you know terrorists we created shows like 24 and Jack Bauer where he's like threatening knife people's eyeballs out if they won't tell them this that or the other and we entered this era of increasingly unlimited government as a result and now in hindsight we go we should have been surprised but at the time everyone everyone panicked right but if you go back to did that help and we know the answer

► 00:43:30

now is in fact no it did not it made things worse I don't think any historians going to look at the Bush Administration and go this improved the position of the United States in the world but if you go back you don't win back the tape to that pre 9/11 moment wind back the tapes those silos and those walls that they said needed to come down because that was restraining government instead of the rules that said well you can share these things but there's got to be basis there's got to be a justification you've got to go why are

► 00:44:00

treating people's information like baseball cards and all of this stuff it's super easy as an intelligence officer to justify sharing information about a suspected terrorist who you think is planning to kill people or is even just in a country they shouldn't be replaced they shouldn't be doing something you don't think they should be with another agency because no one's going to question that a judge is going to question that any judge in the world will stamp that war without even thinking about it and go to bed that night you

► 00:44:30

without a care in the world because it's you're not spying on a journalist you know spying on human rights Defender right this is not an edge case this is someone that you believed to be associated with al-qaida or whatever now this is all a lot of preamble to say that essential fact government agrees everyone agrees detects probably could have been prevented if information has been shared so why wasn't the information shared government says information wasn't shared

► 00:45:01

because of these restrictions and it's half true because every important lie has some kernel truth to it and there were these barriers but the reality is why would those barriers respected in the case of a major terrorist plot why wasn't the CIA sharing information with the FBI why was the FBI sharing information with the NSA why because the NSA sharing information with the CIA in the case of marriage major terrorist plot

► 00:45:25

and if you've worked in government if you worked in the intelligence Community if you work in any large institution you know if you work at a company that sells batteries you know that every office is fighting the other office for budget for cloud for promotions and this is the sad reality of what actually happened every one of those agencies wanted to be the guy who busts the plot they wanted to be the one who got credit for it and they didn't realize how serious it was

► 00:45:56

is until it was too late because they were competing with each other rather than cooperating with that's exactly what I was going to ask you if that was the issue the competition between these agencies because they are very proud of the CIA accomplishing something or the FBI accomplishing something and they want to be the one to take credit for that yeah I don't mean I think it's important like in their defense because nobody else here is going to provide a defense for them is that that's

► 00:46:25

actually Darkly human again this happens in every industry this happens in every sort of big corporate thing because you want to get promoted and you know everybody's putting in there like achievements at the end of the year for what they did and if you're the guy who does that you're going straight to the top but their solution instead of just the the so we have a weird delayer for folks that are listening kind the so their solution instead of having someone be responsible for Bridging the Gap and providing that information to each individual agency

► 00:46:55

see their solution was mass surveillance

► 00:47:00

well no they're different things this is 911 is what woke these guys up right basically and they went well we screwed up and Americans died as result we really don't want to take the hit on it and to be honest the government had no interest in putting the hit on them to be honest the public had no interest in putting the hit on them at the time because everybody understood terrorism is a real thing

► 00:47:29

there are bad people in the world and that's true right that will always be true there's always going to be criminals there's always going to be terrorists whether they're at your church whether they're across the ocean there are people out there who are angry their disenfranchised their violent and they just want to harm something they want to change something even in a negative way because that's what they feel

► 00:47:56

is all they have left which these are criminals right these are people that we don't need to pity but if we ever want to stop it we do need to understand it and where those things come from where there's this drives come from the first place but basically everybody went all right how do we stop this because nobody wants to feel unsafe nobody wants to feel like the building's going to come down the next time you go in it and so everybody just went I don't care who does it stop it

► 00:48:25

and they said this to Dick Cheney which is a historic mistake because date Dick Cheney knows how government works he was the person in that white house who was best placed to know all the levers of government all the interagency cooperation where we were strong where were weak what we could do what we were not allowed to do and what he did was he took that little dial on what we're not allowed to do and he changed it all the way until it broke and snapped off and then there was nothing that we

► 00:48:54

couldn't do anymore and you were there why this is happening this was this know I was I who I was not again this is 2001 I was I was 18 years old I was working on the base I drove past a building that was it this is all hindsight this biography this is documented history but this is not you know the gospel of Edward Snowden II don't know this right this is public record this has been what we all know

► 00:49:24

what we have though the reason that I bring this up is this is a teachable moment because there's so many people right now in the Trump Administration who go look this guy has too much power he's abusing it against immigrants he's abusing it against domestic ponens he's doing whatever he's trying to hurt political rivals in the next election all of this stuff and you know we can get into the stuff later if you want in detail but the bottom line is they're going this is a guy who's in the White House who's throwing elbows right he doesn't really

► 00:49:54

he wants to hurt people as long as he can convince the Americans that those are the bad guys right that's the enemy doesn't matter if they're far away it doesn't matter if they're closed at home whoever he's against he's going to harm and the dark thing is this is actually why he was elected in moments of fear where the world starts falling apart and this happens in authoritarian country after country this is why you have Vladimir Putin in Russia who's been

► 00:50:24

are for 20 years right present for basically 20 years think about that you know he sort of skipped in the middle there because he had to dodge the fact that presidents can only serve somebody can second term so we drop down the Prime Minister and they came back as president but I think about that how do you get that kind of political longevity and it's because if you know anything about Russian history which you know even I don't know that much about the 90s after the collapse of the Soviet Union were an extraordinarily dark time

► 00:50:54

if you look at Russian Cinema all they had were gangster movies right all they had were the disintegration of society how things are dark and broken no one trusts each other pensions were no longer being paid Social Security is not there anymore like there's nothing to buy there's nothing to do there's no job no one had a future and so they went if there's somebody who can lead us out of this if there's somebody who will fix this who will find us an enemy in defeat that enemy to restore Prosperity will put them in office we see it happened in turkey with erdem on

► 00:51:24

right we've seen it happen successively with bad governments even in Western democracies we see it happening sadly in places like Poland and Hungary you can even argue it's happening in the United Kingdom right and now there are a lot of people arguing that's exactly what we're seeing with Donald Trump's White House in the United States and this is the lesson that we didn't learn from 2001

► 00:51:52

is when we become fearful we become vulnerable right to anyone who promises they will make things better even if they have no ability to make things better even if they will actively make things worse even if they will make things better for themselves and their bodies by taking from you but if they tell you that they'll make things better and you believed them in a moment of fear that typically leads to unfortunate outcomes so sorry let me let me turn this

► 00:52:22

back over to you because we got Way Off Track there no that's all right I want to bring it back to the initial question so you're working for the NSA when do you realize there's a huge issue and when do you feel this responsibility to let the American people know about this issue like when when do you contact these journalists and what was the thought process regarding this like what what steps did you go through once you realize that this was in violation of the Constitution and that even with the laws of the Patriot Act and the Patriot Act two things had changed

► 00:52:52

so radically that you knew this was wrong and you had to do something about it you felt a responsibility to speak out okay so since we gave so much historical Preamble let me just give the cliff notes version can to get us up to that so after September 11th I'm a little bit lost I'm doing my technical stuff but it doesn't really feel like it matters anymore like I'm making more money I'm becoming more accomplished but the worlds on fire right you remember there was a crazy mood

► 00:53:22

patriotism in the country because we were all trying to come together get through it you remember like people were sticking Dixie cups in the top of every chain link fence on every overpass there's like stand together you know never forget United We Stand flags on every car exactly and you know I was a young young guy who is not especially political right and I come from a military background I you Federal family all that stuff and so that means I'm very vulnerable to this kind of stuff I

► 00:53:52

I see it on the news and Bush and all his sort of cronies are going look it's Al-Qaeda it's terrorism terrorist organization they have all these International connections there's Iraq you know dictators weapons of mass destruction there holding the world of Ransom you got colon Powell at the UN dangling little vials of like fake Anthrax and so I felt an obligation to do my part and so I volunteered to join the Army you probably can't tell from looking at me but I'm not going to

► 00:54:22

at the top of the MMA circuit anytime soon so it didn't work out I joined a special program on those called the 18 x-ray program where they take you in off the street and they actually give you a shot at becoming a special forces Soldier so you train harder and special platoons you go further and I ended up breaking my legs basically so they put me out old discharge yeah it was basically what it was they were shin splints that I was too dumb to get off of right

► 00:54:52

that's why I kept marching underweight I'm a pretty light guy to begin with I had a 24-inch waist when I when I joined the army girls are jealous my way I think I weighed like a hundred and twenty eight pounds I got I was in great shape you know in boot camp because I came up really quick because it was a you know all I could do is gain but it was it was just too much on my frame because I wasn't that that active and so when you keep

► 00:55:22

hang on a stress injury right and you running underweight with like rucksacks and things like that you're running in like boots and then you're doing an exercise in the Army's like a whole chapter in the book you got your battle buddy right because they never allow you to be alone it was going to have somebody watching you they thought it was funny to put me the smallest guy in the platoon the drill sergeants did with the biggest dude in the platoon who is like an amateur bodybuilders like you know 230 or 260 something like that he was a big fella

► 00:55:52

mmm and so you know he would when we're off in the woods doing these these marches and things like that we have to practice buddy carries like the fireman's carry and things like that he throws me around his neck you know I'm like a towel he's just skipping down like it's nothing and then I got to put him on me and I'm just like oh God dying it was it was it was weirdly fun I enjoyed it but it was no good for my body and so the Land Navigation movement I step off a log because I was on point and on the other

► 00:56:22

side of the law because it's the woods and George on its and he'll I see a snake and so in my memory you know it's like time slows down because North Carolina you know where I grew up you think all snakes are poisonous

► 00:56:40

sorry this is the Rishi do we know we're good we're good it's completely fun no we're fine all right there was something that happened on the screen I wanted to make sure it was okay now that's just selfish I joining the chat that's what I was worried about second yeah it's opened up here yeah so anyway I try to take a much longer step in midair I'll and badly and it's just one leg is like fire I'm limping them live in the Libyan but you know everybody says don't go to sick call

► 00:57:09

to go to sick call you may lose your slot you'll end up General infantry or regular infantry so I go back I just tough it out I get my rack in the next morning when I get out of the rack which is the the top bunk bed right I jumped in my legs they just give out underneath me and I try to get up and I just can't get up and so I go to sick call and I end up going to the hospital and they end up X-ray and me and they also x-ray my battle buddy because I got to go there was somebody else

► 00:57:39

he has a broken hip where they had to bring him to surgery and it's in the book there's a lot more detail about it was kind of dramatic moment but for me they just said I had by lateral tibial fracture is right all the way up my legs they said I had spider webs and the next frame phase of the training was jump school right where you gotta jump out of a plane and the doctor you know what it's like

► 00:58:05

son if you jump on those legs they're going to turn into powder and he's like I can hold you back you know we can put you for like 6 months you stay off them then you can go back through through the whole cycle right start basic from scratch but you'll lose your slot in the Special Forces pipeline because of the way these things are scheduled and everything like that and then you'll basically be re-signed to the needs of the army or

► 00:58:34

which probably meant I was going back to i t which was what I joined the army to kind of Escape or you can go out on this special kind of discharge that's called an administrative discharge right normally got honorable discharge dishonorable discharge things like that this is something for people who have been in for I think less than six months where it's like a mailing a marriage it's as if it never happened is as if you never joined and at the time I was like well you know that's very kind of him

► 00:59:05

to do that and I took it you know they sent me to sick call or sort of the Sick Bay where you're like the medical platoon and you do nothing for it was I think about a month and then they let you out once the paperwork all finishes but in hindsight I realized that if you take it administrative discharge it exempts the Army for liability for your injuries so actually what I thought was a

► 00:59:34

kindness was just you know now if I had future problems with my legs they wouldn't have to cover it or health insurance and any of those things and it was it was just a funny thing but anyway I get out of the army and here

► 00:59:48

I'm on crutches for a long time and just sort of trying to figure out all right well what's next in life because I had gotten a basic security clearance just for going through signing up for the military process I applied for a security guard position at the University of Maryland because it said you had to get a top secret clearance which is what a higher clearance than I had at a time

► 01:00:16

and I went well that sounds good because I knew if I combine my it skills which for now suddenly much more relevant again to my future with the top secret security clearance because of the way it works if you have a top secret security clearance and Tech skills you get paid a ridiculous amount of money for doing very little work so I was like all right well you know I can basically make twice what I would be making in the private sector working for government at this level at the space because what we talked about earlier with September 11th and how the

► 01:00:45

Community change they no longer cared that I hadn't graduated from college right and I had gotten a GED just by going in and taking a test so for government purposes it was the same as if I was a high school graduate so now suddenly it was like these these doors are open now this University of Maryland facility turned out to be an NSA facility it was called a castle the center for the advanced study language thinking

► 01:01:15

diversity of Maryland College Park and all I was was literally a security guy walking around with with a walkie-talkie making sure nobody breaks in at night managing the electronic alarm system and things like that but once I had my foot in the door there I could start climbing the ladder step by step and I applied for I went to a job fair actually that was only for people who had security clearances

► 01:01:46

and I ended up going to the table for one of the technical companies it was a little tiny subcontractor nobody's ever heard of and they said you know we've got tons of positions for somebody like you are you comfortable working nights and I was like yeah you know I wake up in the middle of the day anyway that's fine with me and suddenly I've gone from working for the NSA through a university in a weird way where it's like the NSA holds the clear

► 01:02:16

but I'm formally an employee of the state of Maryland at the college and this is government man it's all these weird Dodges and boondoggles for how people are employed there now suddenly I'm working at CIA headquarters right the place where all the movie show you swoop over the marble seal and everything like that I'm the king of the castle right and they're at the middle of the night when no one else is there the lights are on motion sensors it's the creepiest thing in the world there's like flags on the wall

► 01:02:46

all that are just like gently billowing in the air conditioning like ghosts the hallway lights up as you walk alongside it because it's like a green building and they disappear behind you and there's there's no one there I can go down to the gym at like 2 o'clock in the morning at the CIA and it's like not see a soul on the other side of the building then go all the way back and this kind of thing was was my end because they were like look it's the night shift nothing that bad

► 01:03:16

is going to happen but it was on a very senior technical team that was basically Handling Systems Administration for everybody in the Washington metropolitan area right so every basically CIA server this is a computer system that like data is stored on the reporting is stored on the traffic is moved on all of this stuff suddenly me this is a

► 01:03:45

AA 2005 I think I'm in charge of and it's just me and one other guy on the night shift and if you're interested in the book there's a lot of detail on this but I get sort of scouted from this position because they realize I actually know a lot about technology they were expecting me just basically make sure the building doesn't burn down all these systems don't go down overnight and they never come back up

► 01:04:16

but they go well are you willing to go overseas and to a young man at that age that's actually like hey that sounds kind of exciting you know who doesn't want to go work overseas for the CIA and there's a lot of people listening to podcast were like not me I'm going to be lightweight the cia's the bad guys right yeah exactly they're like what are you gonna go overthrow a government somewhere but you have to understand that I'm still very much a True Believer

► 01:04:45

the government is like delivering compressed embodiment of Truth and goodness and light you know The Shining City on the hill so I want to do my part to spread that to the world I didn't have skepticism is really what I'm trying to establish here

► 01:05:03

and so I sign up and I go through this special training school like people here in movies about the farm which is down at Camp Peary in Virginia I'm sent to this actually much more secret facility called the hill which is in Warrenton Virginia and this is a been covered a few times and open source media but I think this is one of the few book-length discussions of what happens there in

► 01:05:32

in permanent record but yeah so I go through training and then I get assigned overseas and I end up in Geneva Switzerland undercover as a diplomat right I think I'm my formal title for the embassy is like something super Bland like diplomatic attache and what I am as I move forward deployed Tech Guy they send you through the school to make you into kind of a MacGyver right yes you can handle all the computers but you can also have

► 01:06:03

the connections for the embassies Power Systems write the actual electrical connections you can handle the HVAC systems right you can handle locks and alarms and security systems basically anything that's got an on button on it at the embassy that's secure now you're responsible for and I traveled from Geneva to other countries in Europe for sort of assignments and it was like it was an exciting

► 01:06:32

Ting time I actually still enjoyed it but this was where I first working with intelligence started to get doubts and the story's been told many times so I won't go over and full detail here but the CIA does primarily it's not the only thing they do what's called human intelligence now there are many different types of intelligence the intelligence community's

► 01:07:02

before the primary ones are human intelligence and signals intelligence you want to think of signals intelligence right as tapping lines hacking computers all of these sort of things that provide electronic information on anything that's digital or analog signal that can be intercepted then turned into information human intelligence is you know all that fun stuff we've heard the CIA doing for decades and decades which

► 01:07:32

is where they try to turn people basically they say look we'll give you money if you sell out your country they don't it's not even your country a lot of times it's your like organization these guys could be working for a telecommunications provider and they want to sell customer records or they work at a bank which was the thing that I saw and we wanted records on the bank's customers so we wanted a guy on the inside but anyway that that's sort of how it works and what I saw was they were way more aggressive

► 01:08:03

for the lowest Stakes than was reasonable responsible they were totally willing to destroy somebody's life just on the off chance they would get some information that would that wouldn't even be a tremendously valuable and so you know ethically that that struck me as a bit off but I let it pass because what I what I've learned over my life short though it's

► 01:08:32

Ben you know

► 01:08:35

it is that skepticism is something that needs to build up over time it's a skill something that needs to be practiced or you can think of it as something that you develop through exposure I kind of like radiation poisoning but in a positive way it's when you start to realize

► 01:08:52

inconsistencies or hypocrisies wardlaw it's and you notice them and you know you give somebody the benefit of the doubt or you trust them or you think it's alright but then over time you see it's not an isolated instance it's a pattern behavior and over time that exposure to in consistency builds and builds and builds until it's something that you can no longer ignore now after the CIA I went to the NSA

► 01:09:23

in Japan where I was working there in Tokyo and then from there a couple years later I went to the CIA again now I was working as private employee for Dell but I was the senior technical official on Dells sales accounts the CIA you know people these big companies they have sales accounts to the CIA and so this means I'm going in and now it's crazy because I'm still a very young man but I'm sitting across the table from Chiefs of these enormous CIA

► 01:09:53

since I'm sitting across from their Chief technology officer for the entire agency or the chief intelligent or Chief Information officer for the entire CIA and these guys are going look here's a problems here's a we want to do and it's my job to pitch them a system right and I've got I'm paired up with the sales guy and the whole thing is just go how much money can we get out of the government right that's the whole goal and we'll build them what we were pitching was a private cloud system right everybody knows about

► 01:10:22

out cloud computing now it's like why your Gmail account is available wherever you go it's why Facebook has this massive system of records for everyone everywhere the government wanted to have this these kind of capabilities to Dell ended up getting beat out by Amazon people only you know some people aren't familiar with as many of them are but Amazon runs a secret cloud system for the government I forget what they've rebranded to now but this is just there's this massive

► 01:10:52

Sharon between industry and government in the classified space that just goes deeper and deeper and deeper and deeper but at this point I was already I had misgivings because of what I'd seen in Japan about government but I was just trying to get by I was trying to ignore the conflicts I was trying to ignore the inconsistencies and I think this is a state that a lot of people in these large institutions not

► 01:11:22

not just in our country but around the world a struggle with everyday right they got a job they're going to family they got bills they dick they're just trying to get by and they know that some of the things they're doing are not good things they know some of the things they're doing are actively wrong but they know what happens to people who Rock the Boat

► 01:11:45


► 01:11:48

I changed my mind

► 01:11:51

and when I had gone to Hawaii which was the final position in my career with the intelligence community

► 01:12:02

I was because of an accident of History here I wasn't supposed to be in this position at all I was supposed to be at a group called The National threat operations center and talk but because of the way Contracting works and again this is covered in the book

► 01:12:24

I end up being reassigned to this little rinky-dink office that nobody's ever heard of in Hawaii called the office of information sharing and I'm replacing this old-timer who's about to retire really really nice guy but he spent most of his days just reading novels and doing nothing and letting people be content to the fact they're letting people forget that his office existed because he was the only one in it there's there's a man

► 01:12:54

your who's like over him but it's actually over a larger group and he just looks over him as a sort of a favor so now I come in and now I'm the sole employee of the office of information sharing but I'm not close enough to retirement that I'm okay with just doing nothing at all so I get ambitious and I come up with this idea for a new system called the heartbeat and what the heartbeat is going to do

► 01:13:21

is connect to basically every information repository in the intelligence Community both at the NSA and across Network boundaries which you normally can't cross but because I've worked at both the CIA and the NSA I knew the network well enough both sides of its sides that normal or Christian this thing would never have seen because you have to be in one or the other I can actually connect these together I could build Bridges across this kind of network space

► 01:13:52

and then draw all of these records into a new kind of system that was supposed to look at your digital ID basically you're you're sort of ID card that says this is who I am I work for this agency I work in this office these are my assignments these are my group affiliations and because of that the system would be able to eventually aggregate records

► 01:14:20

they were relevant to your job that were related to you and then it could provide them and basically you could hit this site it would be an update of what we used to call re boards which were manually created there we go look you work in network defense right these are all the things that are happening on network defense you work on on a low economic takeovers and Guatemala you know if this is what's going on for you there

► 01:14:49

but in my off time I helped the team that sat next to me which was a systems Administration team for Windows networks because I had been Microsoft certified systems engineer' which means basically I knew how to take care of Windows networks and this was all those guys did and they always had way too much work way too much work and I had basically no work that I needed to do at all because all I was supposed to do

► 01:15:18

share information which was not something that was particularly in demand because most people already knew what they wanted or what they needed so it was basically my job was to sit there and collect a paycheck unless I wanted to get ambitious and so I did some side gigs for these other guys and one of them was running what were called dirty word searches

► 01:15:43

now dirty word searches are let me let me dial this back because I know we're sort of this is hard to track

► 01:15:56

everything that the NSA does in large part is classified everything the CIA does in large part is classified if I made lunch plans with other people my office it was classified that was the policy it's dumb they this over classification problem is one of the central flaws in government right now this is the reason we don't understand what they're doing this is why they can get a long way this is why they can get

► 01:16:25

way with breaking the law or violating our rights for so long you know 5 years 10 years 15 50 years before they see before we see what they were doing and it's because of this routine classification right but every system computer system has a limit on what level of classified information is supposed to be stored on it and we've got all these complicated systems for code words and caveat is that

► 01:16:56

establish a system of what's called compartment ation and this is the idea when you work at the CIA when you work at the NSA you're not supposed to know what's happening in the office next to you right because you don't have need to know right again that thing from the movies and the reason they have this is they don't want one person to be able to go and know everything Ryan tell everybody everything they don't want anybody to know too much particularly when they're doing lots of bad

► 01:17:25

things because then there's the risk that you realize they're doing so many bad things that it's past the point that we can justify any might develop sort of an idiot logical objection to that well in the office of information sharing and actually in basically every part of my career before that I had access to everything I had what was called a special caveat on my accesses called pretty back

► 01:17:55

which means privileged access what this means you're kind of super user you know most people have all of these controls on the kind of information that can access but I'm in charge the system right people who need information they have to get it from somewhere they don't know even the director of the CIA right he says I need to know everything about this well he doesn't know where to get it he's just a manager somebody has to be able to actually cross these thresholds and get those things that guy was me

► 01:18:22

and so dirty word searches were these kind of automated queries that I would set up to go across the whole network and look at all of the different levels of classification and compartment ation exceptionally controlled information that's kind of you can think of it as Above Top Secret in the special compartments right where you're not even supposed to know what these compartments are for you only know the code word unless you work in them unless you have access to them unless you read into them

► 01:18:52

one day I got a hit on the dirty word search for a program that I'd never heard of called Stellar Wind it came back because the the little caveat for they're called handling caveats which is like you know you can think of like Burn After Reading or for your eyes only but this one's called STL w-which means Stellar wouldn't unless you know what Stellar Wind is you don't know how to handle it all I knew is it wasn't supposed to be on my system

► 01:19:22

you know what this is a little bit unusual and it turned out this document was placed on the system because one of the employees who had worked on this program years before had come to Hawaii and this person was a lawyer right I believe and they'd worked in the inspector General's office and they had compiled a report part of the inspector General's report which is when the government is investigating itself into

► 01:19:52

the operations and activities of this program well this was the domestic Mass surveillance program that I talked about in the very beginning of our conversation that started under the bush White House Stellar Wind was no longer supposed to be really an operation it had been unveiled in a big scandal in December 2005 in the New York Times by journalist James Risin and I I'm not going to name them because I don't want to get wrong

► 01:20:22

another journalist she can look at the byline now if you want to see their boldness but and there's there's a lot of history here too but now what they had found was of course the bush White House had constructed a warrantless wiretapping program if you remember the warrantless wiretapping Scandal that was affecting everyone in the United States well the bush White House

► 01:20:48

was really put in a difficult position by the Scandal they would have lost the election over this Scandal because the New York Times actually had this story in October 2004 which was the election year they were there were ready to go with it but at the specific request of the White House talking to the publisher of the New York New York Times salzburger and Bill Keller than the executive editor of the New York Times

► 01:21:19

the New York Times said we won't run the story because the president just said if you run this story a month before the election that's very tight margin if you recall you'll have blood on your hands and it was so close to 2001 The New York Times just went you know what fine

► 01:21:40

Americans don't need no the Constitution is being violated they don't need to know

► 01:21:47

that the Fourth Amendment doesn't mean what they think it means if the government says it's all right and it's a secret you should know about it that's fine now December 2005 why did that change why did the New York Times suddenly run this story well it's because James Rison the reporter who found the story had written a book and he was about to publish this book and the New York Times was about to be in a very uncomfortable position of having to explain why they didn't run this story

► 01:22:17

and how they got scooped by their own journalist and so they finally did it but it was too late bush had been reelected and now it was sweeping up the broken glass of our lost rights so Congress the bush White House was very effective and as I said before telling a very few select members of Congress that this program existed and they told them this program existed in ways that they wouldn't object to but made them culpable for hiding the existence from the program

► 01:22:46

the existence of the program from the American people and this is why someone like Nancy Pelosi who you wouldn't exactly think would be buddy-buddy with George Bush was completely okay and defending this kind of program in fact and you know later she said oh well she had objections to the program that she wrote in a letter to the White House but she never showed us the letter she went home well that was that was classified right and this is not to bag on her individually it's just she's a great example in here and not named example everyone knows of how this process

► 01:23:16

what's the White House will implicate certain very powerful members of Congress in their own criminal activity and so when the when then when the White House gets in trouble for it the Congress has to run cover for the White House and so what happened was Congress passed an emergency law in 2007 called the Protect America act now which should have been our first indication this is a very bad thing because they never named a loss on

► 01:23:46

thing like that unless something terrible and what it did was it retroactively immunized all of the phone companies in the United States that had been breaking the law millions of times a day by handing your records over to the government which they weren't allowed to do simply on the basis of a letter from the president saying please do this and these companies went look now that we've been uncovered now that we've been

► 01:24:16

don't read that we're breaking or now that these journalists have shown that we've broken the law and violated the rights of Americans and a staggering scale that could bankrupt our companies because we can be sued for this we will no longer cooperate with you unless you pass a law that says people can't sue us for having done this and so we get the potato Protect America Act which says you know as an emergency this is all public history to yeah you can look this up

► 01:24:46

on Wikipedia you know and so then

► 01:24:52

they they go it's an emergency law we have to pass this now we have to keep this program active bush is going to end the warrantless wiretapping program and continue it under this new Authority where it's going to have some special level of oversight in these kind of things eventually but for now we just have to make sure people are safe again they go to fear they say we don't have this program terrorist attacks will continue you know people will die blood on your hands blood on your hands blender hands think of the children

► 01:25:24

Protect America Act passes the companies get off the hook the bush White House gets off the hook the Congress That Was Then chairing him criminal culpability for authorizing rather letting these things go by without stopping them then passes in 2008 the foreign intelligence surveillance act Amendments of 2008 this is called the FAA fisa amendments Act of 2008

► 01:25:53

and rather than stopping all of the unlawful and sort of unconstitutional activities that the intelligence agency was doing

► 01:26:04

they continued it in different ways simply by creating a few legal honk Hoops for them to jump through now this is not to go say you know these things aren't helpful at all it's not say they're not useful at all but it's important to understand when the government's response to any Scandal and this applies to any country is not to make the activities of the person who's caught breaking the law comply with the law

► 01:26:32

but instead make the activities of the person who is breaking the law legal right they make the law comply with what the agencies want to do rather than make the agencies comply with the law that's a problem and that's what happened here now the intelligence community's Powers actually grew in response to this scandal in 2008 because Congress was on the hook and they just wanted to move on and get this over with there were objections there were people who knew this was

► 01:27:02

bad idea but it didn't passed on now what the public took away from this because a part of these laws was a requirement that the inspector general of all of these different intelligence Community elements and the Director of National Intelligence submit a report saying this is what happened under that warrantless wiretapping program this is how it complied with the law or how it didn't comply with the law and basically look

► 01:27:32

back at how this program was constituted what it did what the impacts and effects were and that was supposed to be sort of the Truth and Reconciliation Council right now why am I talking about all this ancient history well I'm sitting here in 2012 with a classified inspector General's report draft report from the NSA that names names that says dignityrestore.com

► 01:28:02

Cheney this is David Addington this is Nancy Pelosi this is all these people who are involved in the program The Tick-Tock of how it happens it says the director of the NSA that guy who is evacuating the building at the beginning of our our podcast here that guy was asked by the president of the United States if he would continue this program after being told by the White House and the Department of Justice these programs were not lawful that they were not constitutional

► 01:28:32

you and the president said would you continue this program on my say-so alone knowing that it's risky knowing that it's unlawful and he said yes sir I will if you think that's what's necessary to keep the country safe and at that moment I realized

► 01:28:52

these guys don't care about the law these guys don't care about the Constitution these guys don't care about the American people they care about the continuity of government they care about the state right and this is something that people have lost we hear this phrase over and over again National Security National Security National Security and we're meant to interpret that to mean Public Safety but National Security is a very different thing for Public Safety National Security is a thing that in previous generations we referred to as state Security National Security

► 01:29:21

charity was a kind of term that came out of the Bush Administration to run cover for the fact that we were elevating a new kind of secret police across the country

► 01:29:35

and what does it mean when again in a democracy in the United States the public is not partner to government the public does not hold the leash of government anymore but we are subject to government right now we are subordinate to government

► 01:29:52

and we're not even allowed to know that it happened now now in the book I tell the fact that I had access to the unclassified version of this report back in Japan and what's interesting is the unclassified version of a report and we've all seen this today with things like the molar report and all of the intelligence reporting has happened in the last several years when the government provides a classified report to the public it's normally the same document the unclassified version of

► 01:30:21

classified version of the same thing it's just the unclassified version has things blacked out or redacted that they say oh you're not allowed to know this sentence of this paragraph of this page or whatever the document that the public had been given

► 01:30:36

about the warrantless wiretapping program was a completely different document it was a document tailor-made to deceive and mislead the Congress and the public of the United States and it was effective in doing that and in 2012 what I realized was

► 01:30:59

this is what real world conspiracies look like right it doesn't have to be smoking Man Behind Closed Doors right it's lawyers and politicians it's ordinary people from the working level to the management level who go if we don't explain this in a certain way we're all going to lose our jobs

► 01:31:26

or the other way they go we're going to get something out of this if we all work together civilization is the history of conspiracy right what is civilization but a conspiracy for all all of us to do better by working together right but it's this kind of thing

► 01:31:45

that I think too often we forget because it's boring as hell I want all your listeners right to go to the Washington Post because this document that I discovered that the really changed me has been published courtesy of the Washington Post it's called the inspector General's report on Stellar Wind and you can look at the actual document that I saw that was unredacted right I add no blacked out pages online and what I believe it shows

► 01:32:15

is that some of the most senior officials in the United States elected and unelected worked together to actively undermine the rights of the American people to give themselves expanded Powers now in their defense they said they were seeking these powers for good and just and Noble costs right they say they were trying to keep us safe

► 01:32:42

but that's what they always say that's what every government says that's no different than what the Chinese government says or the Russian government says and the question is if they are truly keeping us safe why wouldn't they simply just tell us that why wouldn't they have that debate in Congress why wouldn't they put that to a vote because if they were and they could convince us that they were

► 01:33:09

they'd win the vote aye and particularly we all know like the Patriot Act passed one of the worst pieces of legislation modern history past

► 01:33:21

why didn't we get a vote and I think if you read the report the answer we clear so I'm sorry Joe I went on for very long no is amazing it's like don't don't apologize at all it's just completely fascinating that the continuation of this policy came down to one man and the president having this discussion that is so it's much it's much much more much more but right right literally the president at the heart of it yes at the heart of it

► 01:33:51

every expression of executive power right and by executive we mean the White House here the CIA the NSA the FBI the doj right these guys exist as a part of the executive branch of government in a real way they work for the White House now there are laws and regulations and policies that are supposed to say they're supposed to do this and they're supposed to say they're not supposed to do that but when you look at Federal Regulations when you look at policies as an employee of

► 01:34:21


► 01:34:22

when you violate these policies the worst thing that happens to you is you lose your job because there's no criminal penalty for the violation of these laws and so it's very easy for people who exist in these structures particularly the very top levels of these structures to go look we have a given set of lawful authorities and these are defined very broadly to give us leeway to do

► 01:34:51

whatever it is we think is proper and appropriate and just

► 01:34:55

now take that proper and appropriate and just from the perspective of Any Given individual Ryan any given president now intersect that with what's good for them politically

► 01:35:10

and that's where problems begin to arise now the safety measure that's supposed to protect us from this in the u.s. system in any democracy broadly is these people are supposed to be what are called public officials that means we know their decisions that means we know their policies that means we know their programs and perogative zand powers like what they are doing both in our name and what they're doing against us and because they

► 01:35:39

transparent to us we the people can then police their activities we can go and disagree with this we can protest we can't campaign against it right we can try to become the president do whatever they are public officials and we are private citizens they're not supposed to know anything about us right because we in relative terms hold no power and they hold all the power so they have to be under the tightest constraints we need to be

► 01:36:06

in freest circumstances and yet

► 01:36:10

the rise of the state Secrets Doctrine right this whole classification system that goes all the way back to last century about the middle of the last century I believe is is when it really started getting tested in court and I think you know more about this in many cases than I do when you start talking about what happened in the FBI and the CIA and the NSA is sort of old dirty work in the the 20th century

► 01:36:40

is a

► 01:36:42

they abused their powers repeatedly and continuously they did active harm to domestic politics in the United States the FBI was spying on Martin Luther King and trying to get Martin Luther King to kill himself before the Nobel Prize was going to be awarded in fact after MLK gave his I Have a Dream speech two days later the FBI classified him as the greatest National or I think it was the greatest National Security

► 01:37:12

the threat in the United States and get this is the FBI this is the the group that everybody's applauding today saying all these wonderful Patriots and heroes now I'm not saying everybody the FBI's bad I'm not saying anybody everybody at the CIA and NSA is bad I'm saying that you don't become Patriot based on where you work patriotism is not about a loyalty to government

► 01:37:38

patriotism effect is not about loyalty to anything patriotism is a constant effort to do good for the people of your country right it's not about the government it's not about the state and this is a will get into loyalty later because you know I think one of the big criticisms against me that should be talked about Islam they go look this guy is a disloyal he broke an oath he did whatever

► 01:38:09

loyalty loyalty is a good thing

► 01:38:15

when it's in the service of something good but it is only good when it's in the service of something good if you're loyal to a bad person if you're loyal to a bad program if you're loyal to a bad government that that loyalty is actively harmful and I think that's overlooked but yeah when you get back into this whole thing about sort of where it came from

► 01:38:37

why it happened how it could come out of just this small group and then they could slowly kind of Poison by implication by complicity by bringing them into the conspiracy and then having them not say anything about it wider and wider broad body of people and then once you've got enough people in on it it's much easier to convince other people that it's legitimate because they can go look we got 30 people who know about this and none of them have objected to it why are you going to object to

► 01:39:08

all of this derives from the original sin which is in a democracy creating a system of government

► 01:39:19

that is in fact a secret government a body of secret law body of secret policy did is far beyond what legitimate government secrets could be this is not say like government has can have no secrecy doll if the government wants to investigate someone without having them respond right we're talking traditional law enforcement sure you know I got to tell this mobster hey you know we're going to start investigating you we the public don't need to know the names of every Terror suspect out in the world right

► 01:39:49

we do need to know again the powers and programs the policies that our government is asserting at least the broad outlines of it because otherwise how can we control it how do we know if the government is applying its authorities that are supposed to be granted to it by us if we don't know what it is that they're doing and so this is the main thing and really the story behind the title permanent record is look

► 01:40:18

Joe when you were a kid you know when I was a kid when you were a teenager I like what's the worst thing you ever said you know she did you say anything you weren't proud of did you do anything that you weren't proud of something that today in like the woke is to Twitter land you would get in trouble for I'm sure and that right one of the horrible things about kids growing up today is that they do have all this stuff out there on social media forever and they can be judged

► 01:40:49

we buy something they did when they were 13

► 01:40:52

it's exactly that

► 01:40:56

our worst mistakes our deepest shames we're forgotten right they were lost they were ephemeral even the things we did get caught for they were known for a time maybe they're still remembered by people who are closest to us whether we like them or dislike them but they were people connected to us now we're forced to live in a real way naked before power whether we're talking about Facebook whether we're talking about Google whether we're talking about the

► 01:41:25

government of any country they know everything about us or much about us rather and we know very little about them and we're not allowed to know more everything that we do now lasts forever not because we want to remember but because we're not allowed to forget just carrying a phone in your pocket is enough for your movements to be demoralized because every cell phone tower that you pass is keeping a record of that

► 01:41:56

and AT&T keeps those records going back to 2008 under program called hemisphere if you search for Hemisphere and AT&T you'll give story in The Daily Beast about it 18 key keeps your phone records going back to 1983 if any of your listeners were born after 1983 right Born after me or it might be 1987 excuse me 1987 if they're born after 1987 and their AT&T customer over their calls cross 1880s Network 18

► 01:42:26

he has every phone call they ever made rather the record that it happened not in to sue the contents on the phone call and so I mean they let me turn this around for you Joe because I feel like I've just been given a given a speech when you look at this stuff right when you look at what's happening with government when you look at what's happening with the Trump White House the Obama White House the bush White House you could see this trend happening when you look at what's happening with Facebook when you look at what's happening with Google

► 01:42:55

and when you look the fact that you go to every restaurant today I just see people looking to phones you know you get on a bus you get on a subway you know you see somebody sitting next to you in traffic you see people looking at phones these devices are connected all the time now people are getting Alexa right now people have OK Google they have you know Siri on their phones they're in their house they've always got these connected microphones where do you think this leads and what is it that gives

► 01:43:26

you sort of trust in the system faith in the system Li Hao just just so we can start a conversation here what strikes you about this well it's completely alien and its new this is something that's unprecedented we don't have a Long human history of being completely connected via technology this is something we're navigating right now for the first time and it's probably the most powerful thing that the human race has ever seen in terms of

► 01:43:55

the distribution of information there's nothing that even comes close to it in all of human history and we're figuring it out as we go along and what you exposed is that not only are we figuring out as we go along but that to cover their ass these cell phone companies in cahoots with the government have made it legal for them to gather up all of your phone calls all your text messages all of your emails and store them somewhere so that

► 01:44:26

Lee if you ever say anything they don't like or do something they don't like they can go back find that and use it against you and we don't know who they are we don't know why they're doing it and we didn't know they could do it until you exposed it the connection of human beings via technology is is both amazing and powerful and incredible in terms of our access to knowledge but terrifying in terms of the government's ability to track our movements track your phone

► 01:44:55

um calls track everything and under the guise of protecting us from terrorists and protecting us from sleeper cells protecting us from attacks like they really are attacked protecting us from these attacks that's great but there's there's no provision in the Constitution that allows any of this and this is where it gets really squirrelly because they're making up the rules as they go along and they're making up these rules the way you're describing it is step-by-step this has happened to

► 01:45:25

protect their ass and keep themselves from being implicated and what has been a violation of our rights and our privacy and the Fourth Amendment

► 01:45:35

yeah I mean I think I think one of the things that

► 01:45:40

everybody needs to understand when you look at these things and the reason you know we talked about before when I got this information why I didn't just put it on the internet and people criticize me for this they go I didn't share enough information because the journalists are gatekeeping right they've got a big archive and they haven't published everything from it and I told them not to publish everything why did you do this why did you do that

► 01:46:05

because so again it gets back to legitimate Secrets an illegitimate Secrets some spying from my perspective you know career spy is okay right agreed if you have hacked a terrorists phone right and you're getting some information about that useful agreed yeah if you're spying on a Russian general in charge of a you know rocket division useful right but they're there are lines and degrees in that

► 01:46:34

it's not useful now the examples that I just gave you these are targeted this is where you're spying on an individual they're known named person that is being monitored for specific reason that is related hopefully from a war people right well even for foreign intelligence in some indications you don't need a warrant strictly although I think they should have morons for all of these investigations because they established a court for precisely this reason called the foreign intelligence

► 01:47:04

agent surveillance court right now and there's not a judge in the world who wouldn't stamp a warrant saying hey spy on Abu Jihad over here right and if you want to spy on another guy Boris badenov of the rocket division right that that's okay they're going to go with that but then you look at these edge cases and in the archives that are provided to journalists have been stories that have come down where they've

► 01:47:34

on journalists right they've spied on human rights groups and these kind of things I think people Miss I'm gonna throw up some slides here so forgive me if this gets weird and I put up the wrong ones but since I came forward this foreign intelligence surveillance court that the government says authorized these programs 15 different times was overruled by the first open chords to look at the program these

► 01:48:04

the federal courts here right that said no actually these programs are unlawful they're likely unconstitutional when you start looking at the facts you see even within the context of the very loose restrictions and laws that apply to the NSA and surveillance they say they broke their own laws you know two thousand seven hundred and seventy six times in a single year and then you ask about that thing that motivates me like why I came forward

► 01:48:32

we had been trying as a country before I came forward to prove the existence of these programs legally because this is our this is our means of last sort of recourse in our system right we get the executive we got the legislature we got the Judiciary right so congress makes the laws the executive supposed to carry them out the courts are supposed to play referee the executive

► 01:49:02

had broken the laws Congress was turning a blind eye to the laws and the courts were in this is just months before I came forward going well it does appear that the ACLU and Amnesty International like all of these human rights groups and non-governmental organizations had established that you know these programs are likely unlawful they

► 01:49:32

likely exist they're simply classified but the government responded with this argument that you just saw saying that well it's a state secret if they do exist you the plaintiffs don't have hard concrete evidence that they do exist and the government is saying legally you have no right to discover evidence from the government right documents demand documents or demand an answer from the government as to whether things these or as to whether or not these things exist because the

► 01:50:02

just going to give its standard what they call glomar response we can neither confirm nor deny that these things exist which leaves you out in the cold which leaves the courts on the cold the courts go look the government could be breaking the law here look they could be violating the Constitution are but because you can't prove it and because the government does want to play ball and the government says if we were doing this it would be legal and it would be necessary for National Security

► 01:50:32

whatever the court can't presume to know National Security better than the executive because the courts aren't elected and so this leads to this fundamentally broken system where okay the only way to have the courts review the legality of the programs is to establish the programs exist but the programs are classified so you can't establish the exist unless you have evidence but providing that evidence to courts to journalists to anyone

► 01:51:02

is a felony right that's punishable by 10 years per count under the Espionage Act and the government has charged every source of public interest journalism who's really made a significant difference in these kind of cases since Daniel Ellsberg really going back to that under the same Espionage Act it's always the same law and this is There's no distinction to government between whether you've sold information to a foreign government for private benefit right or whether you

► 01:51:32

provide an information only to journalists for the public interest and then that's a fundamentally harmful thing II think when you look at things that have come in the wake of this we're talking about the post 2013 court rulings that found what the government was doing was unlawful you see the courts saying actually that leaks or air quotes leaks can actually be beneficial

► 01:52:02

show leak is used in the governor's and this you know this is from a federal court these are not exactly my biggest supporters they're recognizing that although leak implies harm it implies something that's broken it's actually helpful it's a leak that's letting in daylight in this context that is the only thing that allows the system to operate in a context where one year before I came forward we had the NSA saying

► 01:52:32

this kind of stuff didn't happen we had hang on this famous exchange which more than anything made me realize this was a point of no return because I've told you this you've heard this but if you haven't seen it you might not believe me right maybe I'm a sketchy guy whatever one of those Senators I told you that objected to this stuff that was doing the Lassie barks for all those years Ron Wyden was confronting the most senior spy in the United States

► 01:53:02

General James Clapper who was then the Director of National Intelligence right there's no guy higher than him the buck stops with him when it comes to intelligence he's testifying under oath in front of Congress right now but more broadly in front of the public this televised and Ron Wyden asked him a very specific question about a program mind you that Ron Wyden knows exists because he has security clearance he sits on the intelligence committee and he knows there's domestic Master grants

► 01:53:32

and this is how it goes this is how the top spy responds under oath

► 01:53:39

so when I wanted to see is if you could give me a yes or no answer to the question does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans no sir

► 01:53:55

it does not

► 01:53:57

not wittingly

► 01:54:00

there are cases where they could inadvertently perhaps collect but not wittingly

► 01:54:10

so that was a lie widen it was a lie Clapper knew it was a lie he actually admitted it was a lie after I came forward you know three months later but he said it was the least untruthful thing he could think of to say in the context of being in the hot seat there but what does it mean for a democracy when you can lie under oath to Congress and the congressman even knows you were lying to them but they're afraid to

► 01:54:38

wrecked you and widen by the way it wasn't a surprise widen gave him those questions 24 hours in advance and he wrote a letter afterwards asking for Clapper to amend his testimony right not not even a press conference but just say this was incorrect whatever so he could go through the legal process and show his fellow congressmen that there was a problem and that they need to do it but all of that was refused to us all of it was denied to us and here I am sitting at the NSA

► 01:55:09

next to my buddies who I talk to about these programs you know I've gone look at this and they're laughing at it you know I'm laughing at it and it's not it's not that we go oh ha ha ha he's getting away with it it's like what are you going to do these guys are you know they're they're bullshitters that the system is built on lies that even many people many experts who have studied this know our lives but if you can't prove their lies how do you move Beyond

► 01:55:39

and that's really a question that has never been more relevant than I think it is today under the current White House

► 01:55:46

so you're in this position will you have this information and you know that these surveillance systems are in place and they're unconstitutional and you feel this deep responsibility to let the American people know about this what what makes you take the leap

► 01:56:06

so this is covered extensively in the book

► 01:56:12

because it took a long time I would imagine people people you know yeah right exactly people like to think it's like a cinematic moment where I find this golden document like the seller went report and that's the closest thing to a Smoking Gun right that exists but look if you found that you can read that later look at that and like imagine yourself being like Oh I'm gonna go outside on the courthouse steps and wave this thing burn my life to the ground burn my family to the ground I'm never going to be work again

► 01:56:42

I'm going to jail for the rest of my life the question is what would it take for you to light a match and burn your life to the ground

► 01:56:55

for a long time too long the answer was nothing and I'm I'm ashamed of that it took me so long

► 01:57:10

to get over that hump because I was waiting for somebody else to do it when I saw people like Ron Wyden on this when I saw people like the court case that I showed before where people were actively challenging these programs right journalists had the scent of it and you know there are a lot of people who are going about be in the you know the YouTube comments or whatever go oh I knew this was happening no you did well Bill Bimini you had he will be any bill bill bill excuse me Bill Binney he initially was the one

► 01:57:40

that came out and spoke about this issue and it's so

► 01:57:45

yeah Bill Binney is part of shall we say the group of early NSA whistleblowers who came with Thomas Drake Bill Binney Kirk wiebe I believe in Ed Loomis and these guys all got their doors kicked and you know they got harassed by the FBI Tom Drake who was a senior executive at the NSA this guy who had a lot to lose was charged under the same law I was the Espionage Act and these guys who were doing it earlier during the Bush Administration some of them were talking to the journalists

► 01:58:15

didn't you know maybe it's a ledge don't want to put them on the spot maybe they deny it maybe they don't leave that to them but somebody somewhere was informing this reporting right that got into the New York Times about the bush-era warrantless wiretapping program and eventually journals put this out there people knew these capabilities existed but yeah then there's the person in the YouTube comments was like oh we knew all about this is nothing new and the thing is you can know about some programs and not know about others you can have a

► 01:58:44

Ian you can know with certainty that this stuff is capable or is possible to capability exists you can know that the government has done this stuff in the past you can know there are likely to do it again you can have all these indications you can have like the jewel versus NSA case that's run by the FF which is about the 18 it's about AT&T setting up secret rooms in their telecommunications facilities where they basically dragged all the fibers for their domestic

► 01:59:15

internet communications and like phone Communications into a room that's purpose-built for the NSA and then they bring it out but AT&T is nice it's the NSA the NSA denies that these things happen or that are done at all right and so this is the context you say you know and you know let's put it either way maybe you do know right maybe you are an academic researcher maybe your technology logical specialist maybe you're just somebody who

► 01:59:44

reads all the reporting and you actually know you can't prove it but you know this is going on but that's the thing in a democracy the distance between speculation and fact the distance between what you know and what you can prove to everybody else in the country is everything in our model government because what you know doesn't matter what matters is what we all know and the only way we can all know it is if somebody can prove it if you can prove it and if you don't have the evidence

► 02:00:15

you can't prove it and of course when we talk about the earlier stuff right like the sort of a more corporate eyes to Media they got a thousand incentives not to get involved in this stuff they need access to the White House they need these officials to sit down with them and give interviews right that's constant content that they need that's access that they need they need to be taken seriously they need to be you know admitted to briefers it is a codependent relationship and yet

► 02:00:47

rather and so the only way to make sure people understand this broadly is if we all work together right if we collectively can establish a corpus of evidence right a body of facts that is so large and so persuasive it overcomes the natural and understandable resistance of the these more corporatized media groups it

► 02:01:16

so the political and partisan sort of loyalties that that all of these political factions in the country do where they go you know it's my president even if I don't like this stuff even if I don't agree with this stuff I don't want to say it exists I want to deny it until it's proved you know in HD on video you know signing the order to do this that or the other because otherwise this is chance my guy might not get reelected and that's the only way this kind of stuff can happen and the sad fact is

► 02:01:45

the opportunities that we have to prove this like the moments in history where we do prove something anything beyond A Reasonable Doubt are so few and so rare that they almost always only come from whistleblowers and I think that's one of the problems that we have particularly in that the climate movement did today look at go ahead I'm sorry did you take any comfort from knowing that

► 02:02:16

when he was running for office and in his hope and change website he had Provisions to protect whistleblowers and Provisions to to reward people right I mean do you remember all that mean it was eventually redacted or eventually deleted it from the website that's appeared it from yes but that was a big part of his program or what he was running on was that when people were exposing unlawful activity he was going to protect those people

► 02:02:45

did that you take any comfort in this so campaigned well but Obama also during his campaign said he campaigned actively against the warrantless wiretapping the Bush Administration because remember bushes in the Scandal the height of this on 2007 you know the elections coming up right after and he's going Obama saying you know that's not who we are that's not what we do and yet within a hundred days of him becoming president

► 02:03:15

now he's sitting in that chair rather than extinguishing these programs he Embraces them and expand why do you think that is Warren trench I think it's actually a again what we talked about earlier first thing every time a new president comes into the White House they get their clearances right they get red into all this stuff during the campaign they get clearance isn't to get written on stuff but when they finally become president right now they're the only people who can sign what these are called the

► 02:03:45

covert action findings and things like that which are basically you know the intelligence Community wants to assassinate somebody they want to run this illegal program here there or everywhere and they can't do it because their executive agencies without that top level executive sign off and said they got to open the vest right they got to get these guys on side and basically every president since Kennedy they have been successful

► 02:04:15

and what they call fearing up where as soon as they come in they lead you read you the Litany of Horrible's and they go these are all the threats that we're facing and let's be real it is a dangerous world it's not just all made up BS some of it is right where it's inflated it's not that it's completely false but they make it sound more serious than it actually is but there are real bad people out there who are trying to do real bad things and you have just gone

► 02:04:45

through a hellish election because our our electoral politics or some disease and now after you've crawled through fire you're already thinking for years ahead you know how how do I stay in this seat and these guys are basically saying if you don't do XY and Z this is going to fall on your lap and the implication which and I don't think they actually say but every president knows is these guys can undermine you

► 02:05:15

to death if you've got the I see against you right they can Stonewall you they can put out stories that are going to be problematic for you everyday your presidency and it's not that it's necessarily going to cast you out of the White House but it's a problem that is President you very much don't want so in the most charitable interpretation of this you've got a new guy coming in and Obama's case this is a pretty young guy doesn't Focus

► 02:05:45

focus in this kind of National Security foreign policy stuff throughout his earlier career he's more interested in domestic policy and always has been that's actually one of the positive things to say about Barack Obama he's just trying to make things better at home and now suddenly they go look you need to worry about this country you need to be worried about this group that you've never heard of you need to worry about you know this technology you do all this stuff and the only reason we can tell you this stuff and the only thing dividing

► 02:06:15

Erica and the abyss are these terrible terrible terrible terrible programs right that are in fact wonderful things because they keep back the darkness

► 02:06:27

and so here's Here's the the real problem

► 02:06:31

every present here is that and every president you know first off they've got so many other things to do is they they just kind of nod their head no go I'll deal with this later in my Administration and this is one of the irony's when I come came forward in 2013 right this is now Barack Obama second-term president one of the responses that they had to the mass surveillance Scandal was yes we think they went a little too far this is after the initial thing where they went nobody's listening to your phone calls you know just making data

► 02:07:01

right nobody nobody can have perfect privacy and also have perfect security so we got a sort of divide a line here between the Constitution and you know what the government wants to do but they said

► 02:07:17

we were gonna get to it we knew these programs were problematic but if they just gave us more time we would have fixed them maybe it's true right seeking seems awful convenient in hindsight that throughout the entirety of the first term well it seems like what you would say if you got caught right right right right but look in if we're being the most generous that we are here the president is briefed on real and legitimate

► 02:07:47

and they scare the hell out of them I'm sure and we can we can all imagine being there right those those of us who remember what the world was like post 9/11 fear is a powerful thing but the guys who are doing that briefing

► 02:08:02

they're no longer scared of it because they've been dealing with this for years this is the oldest thing they'd given this briefing times before the you know when we talk about people talk about the Deep state right they they talk about it like some conspiracy of lizard people it's not that it's something much simpler the Deep state is simply the career government it's the people who are in the same offices who outlive and Outlast presidencies right they've seen Republicans they've seen Democrats They Don't Really Care and they give that same briefing

► 02:08:31

again and again and they get good at it they know what they want they know what this person saying where's the president they do they don't know who these people are these people have been there before the president they're going to be there after the president and so they give this very effective very fear-inducing speech and then they followed up with their asks which are really demands just politely provided and anyone in that position who is not an expert on this stuff

► 02:09:01

one who is not ready for this sort of trade-off and who you have to understand as a career politician is entirely use to the horse trading game Ryan going I'll deal with this later or not now or what are the the cost-benefit here and the intelligence Community goes if you give us what we want no one will ever know about it because it's classified it's obviously the easy answer and maybe Barack

► 02:09:32

honestly did want to get to this later but we can say today is for all the good that may have been done in that white house this is an issue where the president went through two full terms and did not fix the problem but in fact made it worse well it seems like the president has a job that's absolutely impossible and if you come across someone who has been in the position like you know someone who's the head of an Intelligence Agency for a long time and it's very

► 02:10:01

Savannah has some you know legitimate credentials that show that he's very good at his job and he tells you this is important for National Security we need to keep these things in place it doesn't seem like any one person can run the country and be aware of every single program that every single agency is implemented it seems completely unrealistic and the job itself it just it doesn't seem like any person can do it adequately and when it comes to something like this Mass surveillance state

► 02:10:32

I could see a president being persuaded by someone who comes to him and says this is why we need to do this

► 02:10:42

yeah I mean one of the things that I think is the underlying problem and everything that you just described as the president has too much power right and because they have too much power that means they have too much responsibility and I don't think people understand if they haven't lived outside the United States and they haven't sort of traveled or study broadly just how exceptional the American presidency is most countries don't have a single individual

► 02:11:12

this level of power it's really only the super States and and that may be by Design perhaps that's why they're they're super States but when we look at sort of complex Advanced democracies that are more peaceful they tend to have a more multilateral system that has more people involved in smaller portfolios and a lot of this derives from just the size of the government like you said you know the President is responsible

► 02:11:42

Isabel for basically everything executive branch and the executive branch is basically every agency that actually doesn't work and so how do you how do you correct for that without breaking it up where you have smaller ministers Ministries and things like that that have different levels of responsibility having a smaller government overall you know back in 1776 the federal government you know it was pretty much a dream we weren't even

► 02:12:12

interested in having standing armies the idea of an army that existed from year to year was a terrifying forbidding thing and then when you moved to this idea that we have a president that they have these extraordinary powers it's okay because the government's very small the federal government especially is seen as sort of the small and Toothless and weak thing you pause for one second to Spain pause for one second because my ear pods are about to die and I'm going to swap over to another pair these structures are good for a couple hours

► 02:12:41

hours but we're two hours and 15 minutes here where it will have a little bit of a weird audio issue with the last half of it but Jamie Jamie will take care of it I wanted to talk about you like where you are right now in your life and how you're handling this because you've been in exile for how many years now it's been more than six years six 6 June of 2013 yeah I mean well actually I left May so what is life like

► 02:13:13

I mean are you in constant hiding I mean what are the issues like

► 02:13:19

in in the beginning my operational security level as we would call it was was very high I was concerned about being recognized it was concerned about being followed I was concerned really about very bad things happening to me because the government made it very clear that from their position I was the most wanted man in the world they literally brought down the president of Bolivia his aircraft

► 02:13:49

and would not let it depart as it tried to cross the airspace of Europe not even the United States they wouldn't let it leave until they confirmed I was not on board so yeah that made me a little bit nervous but you can't live like that forever and although I was as careful as I could be I still lived pretty happily because I was an indoor cat to begin with right I've always been a technologist I've always been pretty nerdy so as long

► 02:14:19

long as I have a screen and internet connection I was pretty happy but in the years past my life has become more and more open you know now I speak openly I live openly I go out our ride the Metro I go to restaurants I know you know for awfully recognize mark

► 02:14:36

so this is a funny thing is I'm almost never recognized one of those things is I don't give Russian interviews because I don't want my face all over the news which is nice because it just allows people to sort of forget about my face and I can go about my life but I it's one of the weird things that I'm recognized a couple times a year even when I'm not wearing my glasses

► 02:15:07

in a museum or a grocery store or something like that or out on the street just by somebody who I swear like these people are you might have read a story about him like super recognizers the people just have a great memory for faces yeah because I can be like oh we're in the hood and like a jacket can have a scarf around my face like in the winter and like you can barely see my face and they'll come up to me and they're like are you Snowden

► 02:15:36

and I'm like whoa what do you say it's pretty impressive I'd say yeah it's nice to meet you and yeah they've it's I've never had a negative interaction from being recognized but for me now because I'm a privacy Advocate like I would I would much rather go on recognized like I don't want to be a celebrity course but the other thing is I'll get recognized in computer stores and I think there's just like a mental Association

► 02:16:06

people are like in their brain when it's cycling through phases that are recognizes it's going through like the subset of nerdier people or something like that when you're in a computer store because for whatever reason I'm recognized much more frequently when there's some kind of technological like locusts mmm so you're living freely did you had to learn Russian did you learn it yeah I mean my my Russian is still pretty crappy to my great shame

► 02:16:36

shame because all of my life all of my work is primarily an ink right now you've talked about returning home if you could get a fair trial is is that a feasible thing a fair trial for someone like you is that such a well is that yes and even pocket question I mean look if we're being frank I think all your audience knows the chance of me getting a

► 02:17:06

Shake in the eastern district of Virginia a couple miles from the headquarters of the CIA is probably pretty slim because that's where they draw the jury pool from right but my objection here is on a larger principle right what happens to me is less important right if I spend the rest of my life in jail that that's less important than what I'm actually requiring the government to agree to which is a single thing right they say face them

► 02:17:36

using face the music and I'm saying great let's pick the song the thing is

► 02:17:42

the law that I've been charged under the one that all these whistleblowers have been charged under Thomas Drake Daniel Ellsberg Chelsea Manning Daniel Hale the Drone whistleblower who is in prison right now going through a trial that is precisely similar to what I would be facing his lawyer is asking the court to or telling the court that we want to tell the jury why he did what he did that the government is violating laws the government is violating human rights

► 02:18:12

it's that these programs are immoral that their unethical this is what motivated this guy to do it and the jury should be able to hear why he did what he did and the jury should be able to decide whether that was right or wrong

► 02:18:29

and the government has responded you know to this whistleblower argument basically saying we demand the court forbid this guy from breathing the word whistleblower in court he cannot talk about what motivated him he cannot talk about what was revealed why it was revealed what the impacts and effects were he can't talk about whether the public benefited from it where was harmed by it because it doesn't matter now this might surprise a lot of people because to a lot of us we think that's what a jury trial is we think

► 02:18:59

that's what a fair trial is but the Espionage Act the government uses against whistleblowers meaning broadly here the sources of Journalism is fairly unique in legal system in that it is what's called a strict liability crime a strict liability crime is what the government considers to be basically a crime worse than murder because if you if you murdered somebody like if you just I don't know beat Jamie with the

► 02:19:29

phone stand right now

► 02:19:33

you would be able to go to the court and say it was self-defense right like you felt threatened you were in danger for your like even if you weren't right even if you obviously weren't even if you are on tape you could still argue that and the jury could go you full of crap right and they could convict you but if you were in fact acting in self defense if the jury did in fact believe you they could take that into consideration in establishing their verdict right strict liability crimes forbid then the

► 02:20:03

jury is not allowed to consider why you committed a crime they're only allowed to consider if you committed a crime they're not allowed to consider if the murder was justified there are only allowed to consider if the murder took place and the funny thing in this case is that the murder that we're talking about is telling the truth the Espionage Act in every case is a law the government exclusively uses

► 02:20:33

against people who told the truth right like that that's what it's about in the context of Journalism they don't bring the Espionage Act against people who lied then they would use fraud or some other statute they say the government is arguing in the context of whistleblowing the telling a telling a important truth to the American people by way of a journalist is a crime worse than murder and I believe and I think most Americans would agree this is fundamentally in

► 02:21:03

simply wrong and so my whole argument with the United States government since the very beginning was Ben I'll be back for jury trial tomorrow but you have to agree to permit whistleblowers a public interest defense it doesn't matter whether they are whistleblower or not it's just they argued it's the jury the decides whether they are whistleblower or not they have to be able to consider the motivations of why someone did what they did the government says we refuse to allow that because that puts the

► 02:21:33

the government on trial and we don't trust the jury to consider those questions wow so you have had these conversations then so this has been discussed no this is this is from the Obama Administration that there's been no contact since since the Trump administration because the government basically when they got to this point they went we have no good argument against this and we will never permit this to happen and again I just want to make clear this is not speculation this is not the thing

► 02:22:03

this is actively happening in the case of Daniel Hale right now I hope you guys can pull up a graphic for because this story just at the papers like two or three weeks ago saying the government is forbidding this guy from from making this argument so your situate your seemingly in a state of limbo then your they're not actively pursuing you it seems that if you're able to move around freely they haven't discovered where you are you're just free to live your life

► 02:22:33

whew well yeah I mean it's one of these things where you know whether they they know where I am or whether they don't know where I am where I put my head on the pillow doesn't matter so much I'm in Russia right and we should lean into that because I think people they hear Russia particularly in the context of today's news and you see like what people are saying about Tulsi gabbard and things like that any kind of Association anytime your name appears in the same sentence

► 02:23:03

paragraph seems story is the word Russia it's considered a negative thing now and don't get me wrong I've been a longtime critic of the Russian government I just actually had a major story written about me and our Russian State News Outlet called Ria novosti you guys could probably pull it it's only in Russian though that saying because I spoke favorably about a member of the Russian opposition Alexei navalny

► 02:23:33

Omni which I wasn't even speaking positively about this guy was saying look I think people have a right to express their opposition in a country and they should be able to do that without fearing retaliation the future because the background here is this this opposition figure has been a longtime thorn in the Russian Administration side and they've just suddenly magically been accused of being

► 02:24:03

foreign agents or something like that and so everyone connected to this which is like a big Civil Society body had their doors like simultaneously kicked out across the country and they're being investigated for some kind of corruption or something it doesn't even matter and you know I said I posed that just like I was tweeting you know footage of ballot stuffing in the Russian elections just like I've criticized the Russian president by name I've criticized Russian surveillance laws so many

► 02:24:33

things again and again and again and again and again but yeah so look it does not make my life easier to be trapped in a country that I did not choose people don't remember this I was actually on route to Latin America when the US government canceled my passport which trap me in Russia and for those who are interested again I wrote an entire book that has a lot of detail on this but yeah it's difficult to be

► 02:25:02

basically engaged in civil opposition to policies of the United States government at the same time as the Russian government and it's a hard thing you know it's not a happy thing but I feel like it's a necessary thing the problem is nobody wants to talk about that nobody wants to engage in that kind of nuance nobody wants to consider those kind of conversations in the current world people believe and this is actually one of the worst things

► 02:25:30

that Western media does in the context of discussing Russia is they create this Aura of invincibility around the Russian president they go you know this guy's calling all the shots he's pulling all the strings you know this guy is in charge of the world and that's very useful for the Russian government broadly because they can then take that and Replay that on their domestic media and they going to go look how strong we are you know the Americans are afraid of us the Chinese are afraid of as everybody's afraid of us the French were afraid of us we

► 02:26:00

strong right there's no question that Russia is going to be interfering elections there's no question that America is going to be interfering in Russian elections right nobody nobody likes to talk about this and again I need to substantiate that now that I've said that I've got an old note that I've signed a billion times the New York Times published a story in the wake of you know this contestant 2016 election where they looked into the history of electoral interference

► 02:26:30

in Russia and the Soviet Union and they found in roughly 50 years 36 different cases of election interference by Russia or the Soviets right this is not a new thing this is something that always happens because that's what intelligence services do that's what they think they're being paid for which is a sad thing but it's a reality because we aren't wise enough to separate covert action from intelligence gathering but in that same study

► 02:27:00

they found 36 different cases by the Russians and the Soviets they found 81 different cases by the us and this was published by Scott Shane and the New York Times and both the Washington post as well but this is this is the thing like there is a way to criticize the Russian government's policies without criticizing the Russian people who are ordinary people who just want to have a happy life that just want to do better they want the same things that you do

► 02:27:30

right and every time people go all Russia Russia Russia every time people go Russia bad every time they go Russia's doing this they go Russia is doing that Russian people who have nothing to do with the government feel implicated by that like do you feel like you're in charge of Donald Trump like do you want to be a have Donald Trump's Legacy around your neck and then people go oh well you know you could overthrow Donald Trump you know you could overthrow Putin can you really like is that how it works so yeah I mean

► 02:28:00

look I have no affiliation I have no love for the Russian government it's not my choice to be here and I've made it very clear I would be happy to return home this is there any concerns applied they would deny you Visa I mean how are you staying there it's a good question so I have a permanent residence people think I'm on her silent but I'm no longer honored it's like a green card now it's going to be renewed every three years so yeah sure it's possible they could kick me out and this was what the story I was telling you about before

► 02:28:29

former Russian media was they were saying you know the Russian government should take some action against me or shouldn't be welcome here I should go home because why is he criticizing the Russian government right when they're the people is that like the Russian would urge to Fox News way over there I don't know enough about Russian media to tell you I think it's supposed to be more like a Reuters or Associated Press but the hell if I know but the thing is this

► 02:29:00

what's the alternative right yes the Russian government could screw me but they could screw me even if I didn't say anything and so should I shut up and be quiet in the face of things that I think are in justices because it makes me safer well a lot of pragmatic people will say yeah they say you've done enough they say and you've done your part you know they say whatever right be safe live long be happy but I didn't come forward

► 02:29:29

be safe if I wanted to be safe I'd still be sitting in Hawaii making a hell of a lot of money to spy on all of you right and nobody ever would have known about this the system would have gotten worse but the system the world the future gets worse every day that we don't do something about every day that we stay silent about all the injustices we see the world gets worse things get worse and yeah it's risky yeah it's uncomfortable but that's why we do it because

► 02:29:59

if we don't no one else will all those years I was sitting hoping for someone else to come forward and no one did right that's because I was waiting for hero but there are no Heroes right there's only heroic decisions you are never further than one decision away from making a difference doesn't matter whether it's a big difference doesn't matter if it was a small difference because you don't have to save the world by yourself in fact you can't all you have to do is lay down one brick all you have to do is make things a little bit better

► 02:30:29

in a small way so other people can lay their brick on top of that or beside the end together step by step day by day year by year we build the foundation of something better but yeah it's not going to be safe but it doesn't matter because individually it's not you know me whoever you are that's the Iron Man well I don't care if you're the biggest doomsday prepper with cans full of beans

► 02:30:59

and if the world ends it's going to affect you we make things better we become safe together right to collectively that is our strength that is the power of civilization that is the power that shapes the future because even if you make life great for you you're going to die someday you're going to be forgotten someday your cans of beans are going to rot someday you can make things safe her you can be more careful right you can be more clever

► 02:31:29

and there's nothing wrong with that but at the end of the day you have to recognize if you're trying to eliminate all risks from your life what you're actually doing is eliminating all possibility from your life you're trying to collapse the universe of outcomes such that what you've lost is freedom you've lost the ability to act because you were afraid that's a that's what got us into this mess that's a beautiful way to put it are you aware at all of the current state of surveillance

► 02:31:59

balance and what if anything has changed since your Revelations

► 02:32:04

yeah I mean the the big thing that's changed since I was in 2013 is now it's mobile-first everything mobile was still a big deal right and the intelligence Community was very much grappling to get its hands around it and to deal with it but now people are much less likely to use laptop than use a desktop than then you should

► 02:32:33

you know God any kind of wired phone then they already use a smartphone and both Apple and Android devices unfortunately are not especially good in protecting your privacy think right now

► 02:32:51

you got a smartphone right you might be listening to this on a train somewhere and in traffic right now or you Joe right now you get a phone somewhere in the room right the phone is turned off for at least the screen is turned off it's sitting there it's powered on

► 02:33:09

and if somebody sends you a message the screen Burrell blinks to life how does that happen but how is it that if someone from any corner of the earth dials a number your phone rings and nobody else's Rings how is it you can dial anybody else's number and only their phone rings right every smartphone every phone at all it's constantly connected to the nearest Cellular Tower every phone even when the screen is off you think it's doing nothing

► 02:33:39

can't see it because radio frequency emissions are invisible it's screaming in the air saying here I am here I am here is my IMEI I think it's individual manufacturers equipment identity and IMEI individual manufacturers subscriber identity I could be wrong on the break out there but the the acronyms are the IMEI in the imsi and you can search things for these things there to

► 02:34:09

globally unique identifiers that only exist anywhere in the world in one place right this makes your phone different than all the other phones the IMEI is burned into the hand side of your phone no matter what SIM card you change to it's always going to be the same and it's always going to be telling the phone network it's this physical handset the ime SI is in your sim card right and this is what holds your phone number right is that basically the key the right to use that phone number and so your

► 02:34:39

phone is sitting there doing nothing you think but it's constantly shouting and saying I'm here who is closest to me that's a cell phone tower and every cell phone tower with its big ears is listening for these little cries for help and go oh right I see Joe Rogan's phone run I see Jamie's phone I see all these phones that are here right now and it Compares notes with the other network towers and

► 02:35:09

or smartphone Compares notes with them to go who do I hear the loudest and who you hear the loudest is a proxy for proximity for closeness distance right they go whoever I hear more loudly than anybody else that's close to me so you're going to be bound to this cell phone tower and that cell phone towers going to make a note a permanent record saying this phone this phone handset with this phone number at this time was

► 02:35:39

did to me right and based on your phone handset and your phone number they can get your identity right because you pay for the stuff with your credit card and everything like that and even if you don't write it's still active at your house overnight is still active you know on your nightstand when you're sleeping and still whatever the movements of your phone are the movements of you as a person and those are often quite Lee uniquely identifying it goes to your home it goes to your workplace

► 02:36:09

other people don't have it sorry and anyway it's constantly shouting this out and then it Compares notes with the other parts of network and when somebody is trying to get to a phone it Compares notes of the network Compares notes to go where is this phone

► 02:36:25

with this phone number in the world right now and to that cell phone tower that is closest to that phone it sends out a signal saying we have a call for you make your phone's start ringing so your owner can answer it and then it connects it across this whole path but what this means is that whenever you're carrying a phone over the phone is turned on there is a record of your presence at that place that is being made and created by companies it does not need to be kept forever and as fact there's

► 02:36:55

no good argument for it to be kept forever but these companies see that is valuable information right this is the whole big data problem that we're running into an all this information that used to be ephemeral right where were you when you were 8 years old you know where where'd you go after you had a bad breakup you know who just spend the night with who'd you call after all this information used to be ephemeral meaning it disappeared right like like the morning dew it would be gone no one would remember it but now these things are stored now these

► 02:37:25

just saved it doesn't matter whether you're doing anything wrong doesn't matter whether you're the most ordinary person on Earth because that's how bulk collection which is the government's euphemism for Mass surveillance Works they simply collected all in advance in hopes that one day it will become useful and that

► 02:37:44

was just talking about how you connected phone network that's not talking about all those apps on your phone they're contacting the network even more frequently right how do you get a text message notification how do you get an email notification how is it the Facebook knows where you're at you know all of these things these analytics they are trying to keep track through location services on your phone to GPS through even just what wireless access points you're connected to because there's a

► 02:38:13

Global constantly updated map there's actually many of them of wireless access points in the world because just like we talked about every phone has a unique identifier that's globally unique every wireless access point in the world right you cable modem at home whether it's in your laptop every device that has a radio modem has a globally unique identifier in it and this is standard term you can look it up and these things can be mapped when they're broadcasting in the air because again like

► 02:38:43

the phone says to the cell phone tower I have this identifier the cell phone tower responds and says I have this identifier and anybody who's listening they can write these things down and all those Google Street View cars that go back and forth right there keeping notes on Whose Wi-Fi is active on this block right and then they build a new giant map so even if you have GPS turned off right as long as you're connected to Wi-Fi those apps can go well I'm connected to jobs

► 02:39:13

is Wi-Fi but I can also see his neighbor's Wi-Fi here and the other one in this apartment over here and the other one in the apartment here and you should only be able to hear

► 02:39:24

those for globally unique Wi-Fi access points from these points in physical space right the intersection in between the spreads the domes of all those wireless access points and it's a proxy for location and it just goes on and on and we can talk about this for four more hours we don't have that kind of time it can I ask you this is there a way to mitigate any of this personally I mean is Amy shouting your phone off doesn't even work right

► 02:39:51

well so it does in a way it's just know I'm the thing was shutting your phone off that is risk is how do you know your phone is actually turned off used to be when I was in Geneva for example working for the CIA we would all carry like drug dealers phones you know the old smartphones the are sorry old dumb phones they're not smart phones and the reason why was just because they had removed all around the back

► 02:40:21

you could take the battery out right and the one beautiful thing about technology is if there's no electricity in it right if there's there's no go-juice available to it if there's no battery connected to it it's not sending anything because you have to get power from somewhere you have to have power in order to do work but now your phones are all sealed right you can take the batteries out so there are potential ways that you can hack a following word appears to be off but it's not actually off its just

► 02:40:50

tending to be off whereas in fact it's still listening and doing all this stuff but for the average person that doesn't apply right and I got to tell you guys they've been chasing me all over the place I don't worry about that stuff right and it's because if they are applying that level of effort to me they'll probably get the same information through other routes I am as careful as I can and I you use things like Faraday cages I turn devices off but if they're actually

► 02:41:20

in the way devices display it's just too great a level of effort even for someone like me to keep that up on a constant basis also if they get me I only trust phones so much so there's only so much they can derive from the compromise and this is how operational security works you think about what are the realistic threats that you're facing that you're trying to mitigate and the mitigation that you're trying to do is what would be the loss will be the Damage Done To You

► 02:41:50

you if this stuff was exploited much more realistic than worrying about these things that I call Voodoo hex right which are like next-level stuff and actually just a shout out for those of your readers who are interested in this stuff I wrote a paper on this specific problem how do you know when a phone is actually off how do you know when it's actually not spying on you with a brilliant brilliant guy named Andrew bunny Wang he's an MIT PhD and I think electrical engineering

► 02:42:21

cold the introspection engine that was published in the Journal of open engineering you can find it online and it'll go as deep down in the weeds I promise you as you want we take an iPhone 6 this was back when it was fairly new and we modified it so we could actually not trust the device to report its own state but physically monitor estate to see it was spying on you but for average people ranked this sack of demick that's not your primary

► 02:42:51

read your primary threats are these bulk collection programs your primary threat is the fact that your phone is constantly squawking to these cell phone towers it's doing all of these things because we leave our phones and state that is constantly on your constantly connected right airplane mode doesn't even turn off Wi-Fi really anymore just turns off the cellular modem but the whole idea is we need identify the problem and the central problem with smartphone

► 02:43:21

used today is you have no idea what the hell it's doing at any given time like the phone has the screen off you don't know what it's connected to you don't know how frequently is doing it apple and iOS unfortunately makes it impossible to see what kind of network connections are constantly made on the device and to intermediate them going I don't want Facebook to be able to talk right now you know I don't want Google to be able to talk right now I just want my secure messenger app to be able to talk I just want my weather app to be able to talk but I just

► 02:43:51

my weather and now I'm done with this so I don't want that to be able to talk anymore and we need to be able to make these Intelligent Decisions on not just an app by app basis but a connection by connection basis right you want let's say you use Facebook because you know for whatever judgment we have a lot of people might do it

► 02:44:11

you want it to be able to connect to Facebook's content servers you want to be able to message a friend you want to be able to download a photograph or whatever but you don't want it to be able to talk to an ad server you don't want it to talk to an analytic server that that's modern your behavior right you don't want to talk to all these third-party things because Facebook crams their garbage and almost every app that you download and you don't even know what's happening because you can't see it right and this is the problem with the data collection used today

► 02:44:39

is there is an industry that is built on keeping this invisible and what we need to do is we need to make the activities of our devices whether it's a phone whether it's computer whatever more visible and understandable to the average person and then give them control over it so like if you could see your phone right now and in the very center of is a little green icon that's your you know handset or it's a picture of your face whatever and you see all these little spokes coming

► 02:45:09

off of it that's every app that your phone is talking to right now or every app that is active on your phone right now and all the hosts that it's connecting to and you can see right now wants every three seconds your phone is checking into Facebook and you can just poke that app and then boom it's not talking to Facebook anymore Facebook's not allowed Facebook speaking privileges have been revoked right you would do that we would all do that if there was a button on your phone that said do what I want but not

► 02:45:39

own me you would press that button right that button is not a does not exist right now and both Google and apple unfortunate apples a lot better at this than Google but neither of them allow that button to exist in fact that actively interfere with it because they say it's a security risk and from a particular perspective they they actually aren't wrong there but it's not enough to go you know we have to lock that capability off from people because we don't trust

► 02:46:09

they would make the right decisions we think it's too complicated for people to do this we think there's too many connections being made well that is actually a confession of the problem right there if you think people can't understand it if you think there are too many Communications happening if you think there's too much complexity in their it needs to be simplified just like the president can't control everything like that if you have to be the president of the phone and the phone is as complex as the United States government we have a problem guys this should be much more simple

► 02:46:39

it should be obvious and the fact that it's not and the fact that we read story after Story year after year saying all your data has been breached here this company spying on you hear this company's manipulating your purchases or your search results or they're hiding these things from your timeline or they're influencing you or manipulating an all of these different ways that happens as a result of a single problem and that problem is in

► 02:47:09

in any quality of available information they can see everything about you they can see everything about what your device is doing and they can do whatever they want with your device you on the other hand owns the device well rather you paid for the device but increasingly these corporations Own It increasingly these government's own it and increasingly we are living in a world where we do all the work right we pay all the taxes we pay all the costs but we own less

► 02:47:39

and less and nobody understands this better than the youngest generation well it seems like our data became a commodity before we understood what it was it became this thing that's insanely valuable to Google and Facebook and all these social media platforms before we understood what we were giving up they were making billions of dollars and then once that money is being earned and once everyone is accustomed to the situation it's very difficult to pull the reins back it's very difficult to turn that horse around

► 02:48:08

it precisely because the money then becomes power right right the information then becomes influence that also seems to be the same sort of situation that would happen with these Mass surveillance dates once they have the access it's going to be incredibly difficult for them to relinquish that

► 02:48:25

yeah no you're exactly correct and this is the the subject of the book I mean this this is the permanent record in this is where it came from this is how it came to exist the story of our lifetimes is how intentionally by design a number of Institutions both governmental and corporate realized it was in their mutual interest to conceal their data collection activities to increase

► 02:48:55

the breadth and depth of their sensor networks that were sort of spread out through Society remember back in the day intelligence collection in the United States even in sigyn used to mean sending an FBI agent right to put alligator clips on an embassy building or sending in a somebody disguised as a Workman and they put a bug in a building or they built a satellite listening site right we call these foreign set were foreign satellite collection

► 02:49:25

well the desert somewhere they built a big parabolic collector and it's just listening to satellite emissions right but these satellite emissions the satellite links were owned by militaries they were exclusive to government's right it wasn't affecting everybody broadly all surveillance was targeted because it had to be what changed with technology is that surveillance could now become indiscriminate it could become Dragnet it

► 02:49:54

come bulk collection which should become one of the dirtiest phrases and language if we have any kind of decency but we were intentionally this was intentionally concealed from us right the government did it they use classification companies did it they intentionally didn't talk about it they denied these things were going they said you agreed to this and you didn't agree to nothing like this I'm sorry right they go we put that term

► 02:50:24

terms of service page up and you click that you clicked a button that said I agree because you were trying to open an account so you could talk to your friends you were trying to get driving directions you were trying to get an email account you weren't trying to agree to some 600-page legal form they even if you read you wouldn't understand and it doesn't matter even if you did understand because one of the very first paragraphs and it said this agreement can be changed at any time unilaterally without your consent by the company right they

► 02:50:54

built a legal Paradigm that presumes records collected about us do not belong to us this is sort of one of the core principles on which Mass surveillance from the government's perspective in the United States is legal and you have to understand that all the stuff we talked about today the government says everything we do is legal right and they go so it's fine our perspective is a public should be well that's actually the problem because this is an okay the Scandal

► 02:51:24

isn't how they're breaking the law the scandals that they don't have to break the law and the way they say they're not breaking the law is something called the third party Doctrine third party Doctrine is a

► 02:51:39

legal principle and derived from a case and I believe the 1970s called Smith versus Maryland and Smith was this knucklehead who was harassing this lady making phone calls to our house and when she would pick up he just I don't know sit there heavy breathing whatever like a classic creeper and you know it was terrifying this poor lady so she calls the cops and says one day I got one of these phone calls and then I see this car

► 02:52:09

are creeping past my house on the street and she got a license plate number so she goes to the cops and she goes is this the guy and the cops again they're trying to do a good thing here they look up his license plate number and they find out where this guy is and then they go what phone number is registered to that house and they go to the phone company and they say can you give us this record the phone company says yeah sure and it's the guy the cops got there man right so they go arrest this

► 02:52:39

guy and then in court his lawyer brings all this stuff up and they go

► 02:52:49

you did this without a warrant that sorry that was that was the the problem was they went to the phone company and they got the records without a warrant they just asked for to they subpoenaed it right some lower standard of legal review and the company gave it to him and got the guy they marchmont jail and they could have gotten a warrant right but it was just expedience they just didn't want to take the time the small town cops you can understand how it happens they know the guy's a creeper they just want to get him off to jail and so they made a mistake with

► 02:53:19

Kevin doesn't want to let go they fight on this and they go

► 02:53:24

it wasn't actually they weren't his records and so because they didn't belong to him he didn't have a Fourth Amendment right to demand a warrant be issued for them they were the company's records and the company provided them voluntarily and hence no warrant was required because you can give whatever you want without a warrant as long as it's yours now here's the problem the government extrapolated a principle in a single case of a single known suspected

► 02:53:54

Criminal Who had they had real good reasons to spec suspect was their guy

► 02:54:01

and use that to go to a company and get records from them and establish a precedent these records don't belong to the guy they belong to the company and then they said well if one person doesn't have a fourth amendment interest in records held by a company no one does and so the company then has absolute proprietary ownership of all of these records about all of our lives and remember this is back in the 1970s you know the internet hardly exists in these kind of context smartphones you know don't exist

► 02:54:31

modern society modern Communications don't exist this is the very beginning of the technological era and Flash Forward now 40 years

► 02:54:46

and they are still relying on this precedent about this one you know perfect creeper to go nobody has a privacy right for anything that's held by a company and so long as they do that companies are going to be extraordinarily powerful and they're going to be extraordinary abusive and this is something that people don't get they go oh well it's data collection right they're exploiting data this is data about human lives it is State about people these records are about you it's not data that's being

► 02:55:16

exploited its people that are being exploited it's not data that's being manipulated it's you that's being mm manipulated and this this is this is something that I think a lot of people are beginning to understand the problem is the companies and the government are still pretending they don't understand or disagreeing with this and this is reminds me of something that one of my old friends John Perry Barlow who served with

► 02:55:46

with me at the freedom of the press foundation on the president of the board used to say to me

► 02:55:54

which is you can't awaken someone who's pretending to be asleep he said it's an old Native American saying that's a great expression it's a good way to yeah I think that's a good way to end this Ed thank you very much for doing this I really appreciate it please tell everybody the title of your book and it's available right now

► 02:56:13

sure yes it is it's on shelves everywhere at least until the government find some other way to ban it it is called a permanent record and I hope you'll read it I will read it and I think what you've done is incredibly Brave and I think you're a very important part of History I think when all is said and done what you did and what you exposed is going to change the way we view Mass surveillance change the way we view government oversight and

► 02:56:43

the way we view the distribution of information I really think it's very very important and it was an honor to talk to you man thank you it was my pleasure thank you so much for having take care of yourself man stay safe no no no no no don't stay safe they say open just a phrase free open to possibilities take care take care

► 02:57:06

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► 02:59:07

and Watch What Happens thank you my friends thanks for tuning in much love to you all bye-bye big kiss