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.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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more interesting uh. His name is Edward Snowden and he's on the lamb as well. So please give it up for head stone the Joe Rogan experience. You know people are like yeah. How do you live and things like that they will be taking money from the Russians and of course the answer is no, but I do this for a living like I speak I don't have a Youtube channel that where it's you know I'm Joe Rogan, but I give speeches at universities and things like that. I do a lot of interviews so we're recording. Now my own setup. Is it possible you could do a Youtube channel? Would that work?
Yeah, like I I mean if you introduce me so like I get followers yeah, we could do that, I'm all in with 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 I came on because I just written a book called permanent record, which is the story of my life, because that's what publishers make you do when you're writing. Your first book, but it 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 govern in this sort of post nine hundred and eleven era, pushing our our generation, just sort of happened to be growing up during an I was at the CIA and the NSA and all the stuff, but the day that the book came out, the government hit me with a lawsuit and they hit the publisher of the books with a with a lawsuit. No because they don't want to see book, like this get written, especially don't want to see books like this, get
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 harder. We didn't know where where that's going, the government is still pursuing that case quite strongly there more is on 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 judgement against the publishers saying you know you can't pay this guy, that kind of thing more so than, in the book of the shells, but that's not because they're, ok with the book being on the shelves, it's because thankfully we've got the first amendment, and so they and that's very rare, very rare and good thing, but anyway, in the context of that they were like well. What about Joe Rogan and you know I had heard about you at this point, but
no. 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 that, because a lot of people don't give take time to talk yeah to hear him in those sound bites. You don't really get an understanding of who we actually is right, and this is the other thing like they're like well, you know you can go on all these. You know major network shows- and I did a couple of them. I did like running shell. I did Brian Williams. Broadly the media, the the of more corporate ized media, as we might say, is exactly what you just scribe right. They want you to be able to answer in like eight hundred and fifteen seconds or less uh, and when we're talking about big massive shifts in society and we're talking about power and we're talking about a technology and how it controls and influences us in the future. You can have a meaningful conversation with
those constraints, and so, instead of these guys all want to say repeat these long discredited, criticisms- and you know I'm sure, you'll you'll you'll ask the same thing: that's okay, they're there for questions, but it's like. We can't have the conversation if we can't have the space to think right breed and have that this sort of discussion so anyway they mentioned you, and I was like and Rogen Joe Rogan Joe Rogan. Where do I know this name from before Bernie Sanders I look back through 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- and I remember like after they just made a twitter account. Neil Degrasse Tyson actually helped me get on twitter. Uhm gave me that little initial boost and they said broken, so they
thank you and you know I mouse over your name 'cause. I use a desktop, not mobile, for this 'cause security reasons and it pops up, and I get your avatar Batman and, like I have to your logo, is the war first 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 'cause, like this bald guy, with his maniacal grin and like the third eye on his forehead, and I'm like oh man that show that doesn't look good, but it's actually like when you watch. You know when you watch what you do. It's great stuff man it's great, but that first impression, like hi. This almost didn't happen, but everybody who has talked to you you know everybody who watch is you show? I think they get a very different impression and how your pain and for me, it's a wonderful thing. ' 'cause. 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 twenty thirteen, I know we got way off topic here, I'll get back to it. Fine, there's no such thing as I thought we could do it, talk about whatever great great ok, so for those people first off who have no idea who the hell. I am the guy who's behind the revelations of global mass surveillance in two thousand and thirteen. I work for the CIA work for the NSA as a contractor at the NSA staff officer of the CIA was undercover working at one hundred cities, but I talk about the difference between this in a book and contractor and government official and how it's all sort of loste, meaning, but I saw something wrong and I so basically the government was violating the law and what I believe 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. There were mass surveillance program so that worked internationally, basically everything
so they could monitor. They were monitoring. This is actually like people go. Isn't that obvious? Isn't that what they're supposed to do- and this is weird, but the answer actually is no under the framework of archons asian governments only supposed to be monitoring people that it has individualized individualized particularized suspicion of wrongdoing for right. This is we think about this in the this ticket. If means right, like all those tv shows weather like go and get a warrant, the reason they have to do that, like we thought the revolution over this a couple one hundred years back is the idea that when we had, you know kings. When we had governments of absolute power, they could simply go in your home and go you know this guy pot smoker get his diary. You know whatever it is and just like. If you find evidence of a crime you marching off to prison, and it's all good, you found evidence criminal or you didn't find evidence, well, no harm, no foul! You just doing what government does.
We were trying to build a better system where it went. Yes, the government has extraordinary capabilities But it only uses them where they are necessary right, where their proportionate to the threat that presented by this person. You know, like we shouldn't be afraid of the person who's got like a bag of weed in the 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 nine hundred and eleven was a whole bunch 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 hopeful. We can look that name up a Dick Cheney and his personal attorney, sort of the Giuliani of Dick Cheney um a guy named David Addington and this lawyer, David Addington, wrote a secret legal interpretation,
that no one 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 Poulos. He was one of 'em in a couple of these other folks when they talk to to the heads of the agency, the NSA in the CIA and the FBI, and all this stuff, they told them the White House in the office of illegal counseling. You know this this, the president's attorneys. All of these guys had decided this would be legal to do, but we can't tell you why, We can't show you the legal authorization where you just gotta, take our word for it, and so they did this, and this became a mass surveillance program, stellar wind, which they said was supposed to monitor the. Phone calls and internet communications emails, and things like that everybody in the United States and around the world who they could get access to four links, Al Qaeda
because if you remember in the wake of the September 11th attacks, they were singing, we thought there could be sleeper cells of kind of that was just you know, pepper all throughout the country, and we're going to bring up at any moment, of course, is like weapons of mass destruction. It just didn't exist. It was all the power grab, but on that basis we started doing this in secret and it was completely unconstitutional was completely illegal. Even under the very loose requirements of the Patriot ACT um we did it for so long that they got comfortable with and they thought this is You know this is a really powerful capability. What do we started using this for stuff that was other than terrorism 'cause? It wasn't finding any terrorists because there weren't any terrorists in this context that we're looking for and the ones who, where there were terrorists, the program wasn't affected, because these were guys in Pakistan and they weren't using email.
And phone calls they were getting on. You know mopeds with their cousin who's, a Currier whose bring a letter to his guy. You know who runs the the food stamp or whatever, but a bit quite a bit overtime just grew and grew and grew, and there were scandals and if you want to drill down in these later I'll, go into him. 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, five hundred and thirty five 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 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 telling what helps even if they objected to. And we had one senator RON Wyden in another one. I believe Tom Udall was named Lou, who did object this and who wanted something to happen, but 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 are being carried out. Nobody knew what they were talking about it. So journalists were like you know, they've got concerns. What is that last thing? What are you trying to say? Can you sing well, but they were getting it wrong. They couldn't tell what was happening. So what had happened was that we, the american people, had sort of law Starr seat at the table of we were no longer partner to government, we had simply become subject to come and I think everybody who's in the world today who is aware of. What's going on whether it's under this again, Stration last administration, the one before that right there,
seen a constant kind of shift where we have we, the public, have less say in less influence over the Policia of government with each passing year, there's kind of a new class. That's being. Rated government class and the public civil class that are held to different standards of behavior, and when we start talking about leaking and whistleblower, This becomes even more clear, and so what I did was I wanted to clarify that kind of lassie mark I just wanted everybody to know what was going on I want to say the government can't do this I want to say this is how you guys have to live, because there'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 their rights violated.
Government should have at least an understanding of 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 so that they can say you know what you guys say. This is ok, but I disagree. This is not ok, I object and I want things to change, and so I gathered evidence of what I believe to be criminal or unconstitutional activity on the part of government, and I gave this to journalists right now. I gave this to journalists. Under very strict conditions here, which was that they publish no story in this archive of information simply because it was interesting right, no click bait, not anything just because they thought it would make news. It would get them awards. They would only pub 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 and so then, beyond that there was additional, as if you could see sort of what I was doing here. What happened? What had led us into this pitfall was that. 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 in the Congress, because terrorism was such a hot argument, Time they were worried about being criticized and blamed. If something went wrong, 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 and they didn't want to wait in Congress most of them didn't even know right.
And the ones who didn't know. It was the same thing. They were getting their pockets, stuffed with money by the defense contractors that we're getting rich for building the system of the 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 We're talking about Obama or whether we're talking about Trump? Now, all these guys were ok with the 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 if you had a little search box in front of you, they would give you the email history and have everybody in the United States. Anybody want, if you could pull up their text messages anybody you want, if you could see anything they've ever typed into the Google search box right Joe. What is the worst thing, you've ever typed into the search box that lasts forever, and they have a record 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 who wants to inform the public of something and will get into the proper channels arguments later hum? but you can't go through the institution to get these corrected, because the institution knows it's wrong and is doing it 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. So I didn't want to say I'm the president of secrets. They didn't want to just put this stuff on the internet and I could have on the technologist right. I worked with unless and then to create an adversarial step right. I would argue against what I believed, and hopefully with the journalists believe once they consulted the documents and basically authenticated them um. Can we get the government to play that role right now
So before the journalist published any story, this is a controversial thing. People still criticize me for this. Actually they say I was to accommodate in government. They could be right. 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 Xy and z bad thing one. Is that right and the government was gold. No comment right two is this going to cause harm? Is anybody gonna get hurt? Is this program effect? Is there something we don't understand right? There's something Snowden doesn't standard. Is this guy? Just not get it right? Are these documents fake? Whatever you want say, we shouldn't run this story 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 grew criticize me who this person say this cost a harm to people or whatever we're in two thousand nineteen. Now I came forward in the stores one Pulitzer Prize for public service to
Alisme, starting way back in June of twenty thirteen we've had six years to show bodies we've had cheers to show form, and you know as well as I do on the gums happy to leave things when it's in in their interest. Nobody has been hurt as a result of these disclosures, because everyone was involved in was so careful? We wanted to maximize the public benefit while mitigating the potential risks, and I think we did a pretty good job, but just to get back to the main thing: and the original thing that got us off on that trail, when I came forward in June of twenty thirteen, I gave one interview to the people who in the room with the documents lower Poitras, Glenn, Greenwald, you and Mccaskill, and I said who I was. I said why was doing this? I said what this was about. Why it matters, and that we were constructing a system of turnkey tyranny and even if you trust
tool Bama. You never know who's hand is going to be on that key next and only have to do is turn it and there's nothing. We can do to stop it Only thing this restraining. These programs really is Polacy more so than law and the and anytime Consigna map Kim and those policies change. Well, after that, I went six months without giving any interviews, because I didn't want people to talk about me. I wanted to talk about what actually mattered 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 have they done? what's wrong with the water, their problems, who is this this loony guy? So they can controversy lies. The source of a story rather than having to confront the story itself
and that's why I said I. I really kind of appreciate your take on the media and everything like that, because 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 were using on twitter right, where 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 fact 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 and appearances at our first impressions can be very misleading. I work hard and that I tried sleep people, it's good works to my advantage, doing a good job man. Thank you. I want to bring it back to when you first started
The NSA? You started as a contractor right. What was your initial impression and when did you know that things were really squirrelly with the zero, seven, ten! So I'm I'm not saying this to put put you on the spot. I know you've been busy. I know you had done uh, I think, shows recently you come back from break right, but have you read the book because it'll just help me your boyfriend, if you haven't, got a chance, you know, but no I have not read your book workout a copy of it. Ok! Well, I will send you a signed copy brother beautiful day. I hope you will read it and I hope you enjoy it, but alright. So I had a really weird history in the intelligence community. I grew up in a federal family. Um in the shadow. For me right all these little suburban communities in Maryland, where basically, the entire industry of the state is the federal government of all these different agencies and then all the sub
contractors all the defense industries that serve that government and really are kind of our war making machine our system of control forward the country and the world. Broadly, all that stuff spreads- and you know a couple- one hundred mile radius out of DC uh uh My mother worked for the district courts rather than 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 thirty years, my grand father was an admiral and I work for the FBI. Uh is
as far back as it goes, my family, 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. I wasn't super successful in school, because uh I felt- and you know this is the most arrogant thing in the world. Anybody says that I had more to learn from hitters than I did from you know biology class. So I spent more and more time focused technology that I got mono and I dropped out of high school, and now it's like all right. How do I make this up?
Bye bye, see, 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, and I'm not doing that great there either like it. It's fine, you know, I'm enjoying it put the you know. School is school. I I want hey. I can't wait to be grown your board 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 hey. Do you want to work for me and also like the woman? That sounds create, and so I started doing web design really really early on. This is like gosh, I don't know, probably one thousand nine hundred and ninety eight vintage during the big boom and then the collapse that 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. For me, it's right up the street and I say so before I'm even working there, I'm driving past this building all of 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 it like 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, but then nine hundred and eleven happens and I'm on Fort Meade. When nine hundred and eleven happened, I'm just going into work, then I tell this in the book in some detail and I think it's very much worth reading for people
on this, because this is forgotten history, that how old are you at somebody? Uh gosh I was, I was born in eighty three, so I was probably eighteen years old and yeah. I just turned eighteen a couple months before um and what people forget is who knew what was going on before anybody else so on September, 11th, D, intelligence, community um, and what they do. Did they give out a public warning? Do they tell you guys to evacuate? Did they say do this Saturday? No, no, not for everybody not for long time, but at the NSA, then director of MIKE
call Hayden. He was a general. He later became the director of the CIA ordered the entire campus evacuated of thousands 10s of thousands of people actually just said. Home right, the CIA did the same I think they were running on skeleton cruise. At the moment the country needed them more than they ever had right and I get a call uhm. Well. Not here call that's from my bosses, wife, her husband to her he's calling from the NSA and saying hey. You know I think Ed should leave for the day, because I'm I'm the only employee this business besides, work because I think they're going to close the base down. I'm like this is crazy. It never closes down, we don't know what's happening, then we start checking. The news which is through websites because we're we're doing all this stuff and suddenly it's the big story everywhere, and
you know nobody understands how big it is yet most. Sort of like? Oh, it's, going to mess with their work day? It's going to mess with our commute But when I'm leaving, I hear car horns all over the base, the craziest thing 'cause. This is military base right. It's right outside the NSA, an I entered just this absolute state of pandemonium. As I go past Canine RD is the road the travels right and pat it in front of four 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 stop light directing traffic, because this massive aggravation and I still have no idea what's happening like the story still developing. But I will never forget that image. Why do these people have so much power and so much money? And so much
sorry that if at the moment we need them the most, they were the first ones in the country that are leaving their buildings, and you know later on, they said, and this is covered in a book. I believe I think it's James Bamford, who interviewed that director of NSA gave that order 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 what we're could these other planes that they knew were in the air that hadn't struck? Yet where could they be headed? And this which shows how self centered the intelligence community is? This
is the Dc Metro area right thing at the White House. They could hit Congress, they get the Supreme Court right and they go they're going to fly their planes into the CIA headquarters are 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. Oh, let's get our bacon out of the pan. But I don't see this it's not just in the interest of what wasn't it possible that they could have attack. Most places mean they attack the Pentagon. They you know There's no dad 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. Yes, if you believe there's an ongoing terrorist attack, what's happening in the United States right now, and if you have built
history's greatest surveillance agencies right the most powerful intelligence forces in the history of the species, you 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 will get hit those as you say it's going to be the Pentagon right. It's going to be at the World Trade Center going to be someone somewhere and the more, and it's your 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
these actions related to who purchased these plane tickets. Do this, you just go. Full spectrum 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's not the desired outcome, but if they had asked the staff to do, then they all would have agreed that's what these people signed up to do, and yet the director goes now. You know we're just just now like we're not going to take that written. 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 hum it's about risk management for them right. It's about never being criticized for something, and this is if we want to get really controversial, and this is something that will haunt me, because people will bring it up again and again and again people ask about you, know people still criticize me.
In the book. You know I talked about aliens in Chem trails and things like that. In fact, there there's no evidence for that. I went looking on the network right. I I know Joe. I am. I know you want there to be aliens. I know Neil Degrasse Tyson badly wants there to be aliens and there probably are right, but the idea that that were hiding him. If we are hiding them, I had ridiculous access to It works at 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, didn't really damn well, even for people who are on the inside, but the main thing is conspiracy theories right. Everybody wants to believe in conspiracy theories because it helps life make sense. It helps us believe that somebody is control in control, somebody is calling the shots. These things all happen for a reason this that and the other there
are real conspiracies, but they're not typically, you know they've got 10s 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 is four million or one point: four million people in the United States who hold security clearances. You can get all of these people took to not talk ever the journal said this that or the other, but. When you look back at the nine Slash eleven 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 at least the commonly agreed facts. Not it's very clear to me as some I 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 the reason that they, these tax happen, the reason that they were prevented he's with a cold stove piping right there was there was not enough sharing the need to breakdown the walls and the restrictions that were chaining, these poor patriots at the NSA, the CIA and FBI from all working on the same team and, to some extent, they're correct on this right. 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 bullsh it 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 process, without doing this, that or the other, with basically asking for permission without getting a sign off or anything like that, the FBI wanted to send absolutely everything they had the CIA. They could have done so
see. I 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 schedule, 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 nine hundred and eleven, where all of our rights sort of apparating was. It went well. Restrictions on what these agencies can do are costing lives there for natural we just have to unchain these guys and everything will be better right. And if you remember that, post nine hundred and eleven moment, you can understand how that actually could come off as persuasive that might be a kind of thing that go you go all right will will that make sense, because everybody was terrified right. There were people quite quickly who got their heads back on their show is the right way. There were some of them who never lost their heads at all and protested the Iraq WAR
same time. My damn self was signing up to go fight. It volunteering for the army and we get into that a minute, but everything that has followed in the decades passed came from the fact that in a moment of fear, we lost our heads and we banded all the traditional constitutional restraints that we put on these agencies and we abandoned all of the traditional political restraints and social constraints, Idiot logical systems of belief about the limitations that the secret police should have in a free and open society, and we won't look. You know. Terrorist we created shows like twenty four and Jack Bauer, where he's like threatening knife peoples eyeballs out, if they won't tell him this that or the other uh, and we entered this here of increasingly unlimited government as a result, and
now in hindsight we gotta, 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 now is in fact no. It did not it made things worse. Any historian is going to look at the Bush administration and go this improved position of the United States in the world. But if you go back wind back the tape to that pre, nine hundred and eleven moment, wine back take those silos in those walls that they say they need to come down, because that was restraining government the rules that said well, you can share these things, but there's gotta be basis. There's going to be a justification. You've got to go why Are we trading peoples, 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.
It was 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 is going to question. A judge is going question that any judge in the world will stamp that warrant without even thinking about it and go to bed at night. You know without a care in the world, because you're, not spying on a journalist, spying on human rights defender right. This is not an edge case. This is someone that you believed to be associated with Al Qaeda or whatever now this is all a lot of preamble to say that essential fact government agrees. Everyone agrees. Detects tax probably could have been prevented if information has been shared, So why wasn't the information shared government says information wasn't shared because of these restrictions, and it's half true because every important line has has some kernel of truth to it and there were these berries but the reality, why would those be respected, in the case
a major terrorist plot, why wasn't the CIA sharing information with the FBI, while I was in the FBI sharing our main, within a wider than its share information with the CIA in the case of major terrorist plot, and if you've worked in government. If you worked in the Intel, this 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 or promotions, and this is the sad reality of what actually happened. Every one of those agencies wanted to be the guy who bust the plot. They wanted to be the one who got credit for it and they didn't realize how serious it was until it was too late because they were competing with each other. Rather than cooperating. 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 with the FBI accomplishing something and they they want to be the one to take credit for that. Yeah I mean, I think it's important like in their defense, because nobody else here is going to provide a defense for them. Is that it's 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 is putting in there like achievements at the end of the year for what they did and if you're the guy, who does you're going straight to the top Their solution is, is the the so we we have a
we're delay right here for folks are listening to this other solution. Instead of having someone be responsible for bridging the gap in providing that information to each individual agency, their solution was mass surveillance, one of the they're they're they're different things. This is nine. Eleven is what what these guys up right. Basically ended. The day went well, we screwed up and Americans died as a result. We really don't want to take the hit on that 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. There are bad people in the world and that's true right. That will always be true. There's always going to be criminals.
Is 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, they are disenfranchised their violent and they just want to harm some thing. They want to change something even in a negative way, because that's what they feel 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, but we do need to understand it and where those things come from, where there's drives come from in the first place, but basically, everybody went alright. How do we stop this? Because nobody wants to feel unsafe? Nobody wants to feel like the building is going to come down the next time you go in it, and so every just went, I don't care who does it stop it, and they said this to Dick Cheney, which is a historic mistake, because they dick Cheney knows how government works. He was
the person in that White House who is best placed to know all the there's, a government, all the interagency cooperation where we were strong where week what we could do, what we were not allowed to do and what he did. 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 couldn't do anymore and you were there why this is happening. This This no, I was. I was not again, this is a two thousand one I was. I was eighteen years old. I was working on the base, I drove past the building. That was it his all hindsight, this biography. This is doc. History, but this is not. You know the gospel of Edward Snowden. I I don't know this right. This is public record. This is what we all know. Um. 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 will look? This guy has too much power he's abusing means immigrants he's abusing it against domestic opponents, 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 the stuff later, if you want in detail, but the bottom line, is there going. This is a guy who in the White House is thrown elbows. He doesn't really care. He wants to hurt people as long as he can. Convinced 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 close 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 there for twenty years right present. Basically, twenty
just 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 consecutive terms, so we drop down the Prime minister and they came back as president. I think about that. How do you get that kind of political longevity? And it's because if you know anything about Russian, which you know even I don't know that much about the after the collapse of the Soviet Union were an extraordinarily dark time. If you look at Russian Cinema, all they had were gangster movies. And 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 We 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 Earl on right
now, we've seen it happened 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 two thousand and one is when we become fearful, we become vulnerable right So. 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 them, selves and their bodies by taking from you, but if they tell you that they'll make things better and you believe them in a moment of fear that typically
leads fortune outcomes. So sorry, let me turn this back over to you 'cause. We got way off track there. No, that's! Alright! 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, and when do you contact these journalists and what was the thought process regarding this? Like 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 in the Patriot ACT, two things had change so radically that you knew this was wrong and you had to do something about it. You felt a responsibility to speak out. Ok, so since we gave so much historical preamble, let me just get the the cliff notes. Version cut to get us up to that so after September
11th time little Bit LAS time 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 world's on fire. If you remember there was a crazy mood, patriotism in the country, because we were all trying to come to we'll get through it. You remember like people were sticking Dixie CUPS and 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, you know as a young young guy who is not especially political right, an I come from a military background, federal, family all that stuff, and so that means I'm very vulnerable to this. The stuff. I see it on the news and Bush and all his sort of cronies are going look it's Al Qaeda, it's terrorism organization. They have all these international connections. There's Iraq. You know, dictators, weapons of mass destruction there holding the world at Brant.
You got Colin Powell at the UN dangling little vials of like fake anthrax. So I, obligation to do my part- and so I volunteered to join the army. You probably can't tell from from looking but I'm not going to be at the top of the mma circuit anytime soon, so it didn't workout. I joined a special program on this called the 18x program where they take you in off the street and they actually give you a shot at becoming special forces soldier. Do you train harder and special platoons? You go further and I ended up breaking my legs. Basically. So put me out discharge. It was basically what it was. They were Shin splints that I was too dumb to get off of right. That's why I kept marching under way and I'm a pretty light guy to begin with, and I had a twenty four inch waist when I, Girls are jealous on my way, I think I weighed like one hundred and twenty eight pounds
I I got. I was in great shape. You know in boot camp Bootcamp, I I came up really quick because it was you know. All I could do is gain. But it was just too much on my friend, because I wasn't that that active and so when you keep running on a stress, injury, right and you're running underweight with like rucksacks and things like that and you're running in, Like boots and then you're doing exercise in the army is like a whole chapter in the book. You got your battle, buddy right, 'cause. They never allow you to be alone. You know it's 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 bodybuilder is like you know, two hundred and thirty or two hundred and sixty something like that. Fellow and so you know he would when were off in the woods doing these marches and things like that. We have to practice. Buddy cares like the firemen's care and things like that. He
who is me around his neck. You know I'm like a towel. He's just skip them down like it's nothing. I got to put him on me and I'm just like. Oh god dying, it was it was. It was really fun. I I enjoyed it, but it was no good for my body and soul and navigation movement. I step off a log because I was on point. And on the other side of the log, because it's the woods and George on it Sand Hill, I see a snake, and so in my memory you know it's like time slows is North Carolina. Where I grew up, you think all snakes are poisonous. Ok,. Sorry, there's an issue: we need to work, it's completely fine, no we're fine. I thought there was something that happened on the screen. I wanted to make sure it was ok, now, let's just start by joining the chair, that's what I was second yeah. She opened up here
yeah. So anyway, I try to take a much longer step in midair I land badly. It's just one leg is like fire, I'm limping limping and licking, but you know everybody says: don't go to sick call. 'cause you go to sick call, you lose your slot you'll end up General Infantry, Regular infantry, and so I go back. I just tough out. I get my rack in the next morning when I get out of the rat, which is the top bunk bed right I jumped in my legs. They just give out underneath me and I try to get up in and I just get up, and so I go to sick call and I end up going to the hospital and they end up train me and they also x Ray Battle Buddy, because I got to go with somebody else and he has a broken hip. They have to bring him to surgery and it's in the book there's a lot more detail about it. It's kind of dramatic moment
But for me they just said I had bilateral tibial fractures right all the way up my legs. They said I had spider webs and the next phase. The training was jump school right where you gotta jump out of a plane and the doctor. You know it's like son, if you jump on those legs, they're going to turn into powder and he's like, and hold you back. You know we can put you for like six months, you stay off and 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 basically be resigned to the needs of the army or which probably meant I was going back to it, 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 or 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. Annulling a marriage, it's as if it never happened. This is if you never joined at the time, I was like well. You know that's very kind of him to do that, and I took it. You know He just sent me to sit call over to sickbay where, like the medical platoon- and you do nothing for I think about a month and then then they let you out once the paperwork all finishes. In hindsight, I realized that if you take an administrative discharge, it exempts the army for liability for your injuries. So actually what I thought was a kind Nis was
You know now. If I had future problems with my legs, they wouldn't have to cover it or health insurance or any of those things, and it was It is just a funny thing, but anyway I get out of the army, and here ok, I'm on which is for a long time and just sort of trying to figure out alright. What's next in life, um. 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 higher clearance than I had at the time, and I went well that sounds good 'cause. I knew if I combine my it skills which for now suddenly much more relevant again to my future with a top secret security clearance because of the way it works. If you have a top secret security clearance and tech skills, you get ETA a ridiculous amount of money for doing very little work. So it's like alright! Well, you know I can
quickly make twice what I would be making in the private sector working for government at this level at this pace, because what we talked about earlier with September haven't seen how the intelligence community change they know cared that I hadn't graduated from college right I had gotten a GD just by going in and taking a test so for government purposes. It was the names of the high school graduate now suddenly it was like these doors are open now University of Maryland facility turned out to be an NSA facility. It was called castle the center for the advanced study of language at the University of Maryland. Park. An all. I was was literally a security guy walking around with with a walkie talkie, making sure nobody breaks in at night man
using 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 who had security clearances Ann I ended up going to the table for one of the technical companies. It was a little tiny subcontractor nobody's ever heard of they said you know: we've got tons of positions for somebody like you are. 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 at for the NSA through a university in a weird way where it's like the NSA holds the clearance, but I'm formally employ the state of Maryland the college, and this is government. It's all these weird dodges and boondoggles for how people are employed there.
Now. Suddenly, I'm work. It's CIA headquarters right the place where all the movies show you swoop over the marble seal and everything like that. I'm the king of the castle here 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 Tags on the wall that are just like gently billing in the air fissioning like ghosts, the hallway lights up to walk alongside it, 'cause it's like a green building and they disappear behind you there's no one there. I can go down to the gym at like two hundred o'clock in the morning at the CIA. And it's like not see a soul on the other side of the building and then go all the way back and In this kind of thing was my end because they were like look it's the night shift, nothing that bad is going to happen, a very senior technical team. That was basically him
Bing Systems administration for everybody in the Washington Metropolitan area right, so every basically CIA server uh. This is a computer system that, like data is stored on the reporting is stored on the traffic is moved all of this stuff. Suddenly me, this is a circa two thousand and five I think um I'm in our jobs 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 to basically make sure the building doesn't burn down all these systems don't go down overnight and never come back up, but they go are you willing to go overseas and
two young men at that age. That's actually like hey! That sounds kind of exciting. You know who who doesn't want to work overseas for the CIA and there's a lot of people. Listen to podcasts or, like not me because there's like wait. The CIA is the bad guys right, yeah, exactly they're like we're going to overthrow government somewhere, but you have to, and I'm still very much a true believer of the government like the living 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, and so I sign up and I go through this special training school like people here and movies, about the farm which is down at Camp Period Virginia, I'm sent actually much more secret facility called the hill, which is in Warrenton, VA,
and this is may have been covered it a few times and open source media. But I I think this is one of the few book length discussions of what what happens there in in record. But yeah, so I go through training and then I get a signed over season. I end up in Geneva, Switzerland, undercover as a diplomat right. I think I'm my my formal titles nemesis like something super bland, like diplomatic, attache, and what FEMA 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 so handle the connections for the embassies, power systems right, the actual electrical connections. You can handle the HVAC system that's right. You can handle locks and alarms and security systems.
Basically anything that's gotten on button on it at the embassy, secure now, you're responsible for and I try from Geneva to other countries in Europe for assignments and it was like it was an exciting time. I actually still enjoyed it, but this was where I first working with intelligence started to get doubts in the stories been told many times. So I won't go over in full detail here, but. The CIA does primarily and it's not the only thing they do what's called human intelligence. Now there are many different types of intelligence. The intelligence community is responsible for 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. Anything that's digital or analog signal that can be intercepted, then turned into information. Human intelligence is all that fun stuff we've heard the CIA doing for decades and decades, which is where they try to turn people basic, they say, look will 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 organization, these guys could be working for a telecommunications provider and they want to sell customer records where they work at a bank, which is the thing that I saw and we wanted records on the banks customers. So we wanted to die on the but anyway that's sort of how it works and what I saw was they were way more aggressive for the lowest stakes, was reasonable responsible. They were totally willing to destroy somebody's life.
Just on the off chance. They would get some information that wouldn't even be a tremendously valuable, and so you know ethically that struck Maine um is a bit off, but I let it pass because what I what I've learned over my life short though it's been, you know it is that This system is something that needs to build up overtime, it's a skill, something that needs to be practiced or you can think of it as something that you develop through exposure and I kind of like a radiation poisoning, but in a positive way. It's when you start to realize, inconsistencies or hypocrisy's ward lies. Uh. 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 overtime, you see,
it's not an isolated instance. It's a pattern, behavior and overtime, that exposure to inconsistency builds and builds and builds until it's something that you can no longer ignore. Now after the CIA, I went to the NSA 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 Dell's sales, Count the CIA 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 divisions, I'm sitting across from their chief technology officer for the entire agency or the chief Intellij. Chief information officer for the entire CIA,
and these guys are going look here's a problem here. So we want to do and it's my job to pitch them a system right and I've got paired up with the sales guy and the whole thing is just go: how much money can we get out of the car right? That's the whole goal and we'll build them. What we were pitching was a private cloud system right. Everybody knows about 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 wants I have these kind of capabilities to Dell ended up getting beat out by Amazon, You know some people aren't familiar with this. Many of them are Amazon, runs a secret cloud system for the government. I forget what they've rebranded it now but this is just there's this massive connection between industry and government in the classified space that just goes deeper and deeper and deeper and deeper.
But at this point uh 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 just in our country but around the world, a struggle with right, but they got a job they're going to family. They got bills they're just trying to get by, and they know that some of the things going are not good things. They know- so some of the things they're doing- are actively wrong, but they know what happens to people who rock the boat. Eventually I changed my mind and when I had gone to Hawaii, which was the final position in my career with the intelligence community,
I was because of an accident of of history. Here I wasn't supposed to be in this position at all. I was suppose to be in a group called the national Threat Operations Center and talk, but because of the way contract, Ing works and again this is covered in the book. 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 oldtimer who's about to retire, really really nice guy. 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 manager who's like over him, but it's actually over a large group, and he just looks over him as a sort of a favor. So now I can and now I'm the sole employee of the Office of information sharing, but I'm not close enough to retirement that I'm ok with just doing nothing at all. So I get ambitious an I come up with this idea for a new system called heartbeat and what the heartbeat is going to do 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. Because I'd worked about the CIA and the NSA. I knew the network well enough, both sides of its size, the normal work is the NSA would never have seen because you have to be in order
I can actually connect these together. I could build bridges across this kind of network space and then draw all of the These records into a new kind of system that was supposed to look at your digital id, basically you're uh, we 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 of Philly Nations and because of that the so it would be able to eventually aggregate records that were relevant to your job. They were related to you and then I could provide them in. Basically, you could hit this site. It would be an update of what we used to call re boards at which were manually created there. We go look,
you work in a network, defense right. These are all the things that are happening on network defense. You work on. I don't know economic takeovers in Guatemala, you know if this is what's going on for you there, 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 way too much work that way too much work, and I had basically no work that I need to do it all, because all I was supposed to do is 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 now dirty, word, searches are, let me let me dial this back 'cause. I know we're. Sort of this is hard to track. 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. This over classification problem is one of the central flaws in government
Now. This is the reason we don't understand what they're doing. This is why they can get along way. This is why they can get away with breaking the law. That were violating our rights for so long. You know five years ten years, one thousand five hundred and fifty years before they see before we see what they were doing and it's because of this routine classification right. But every system compute system has a limit on what level of classified information is supposed to be stored on and we've got all these complicated systems for code words and caveats that a system what's called patient, 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 and 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 not bad things, because then there's the risk that you 'cause they're doing so many bad things that it's past the point that we can justify and they might develop sort of an Idia 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 a special cabbie out on my access is not called back, which means privileged access, know what this means: you're kind of super user. You know most people have all of these kind. Holes on the kind of information that can access, but I'm in charge of the system right people who need information. They have to get it from somewhere.
Even the director of the CIA right, he said I need to know everything about this. 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 like. I was me 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, compartment, Tatian, exceptionally controlled information, but that's kind of you could think of it as above top secret in these 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 one day, I get a hit on the dirty word, search for a program that I'd never heard of called
Taylor wind. It came back because the the little caviar for their their call handling cabbie outs, which is like you know you can take like burn after reading or for your eyes only, but this one's called. Stlw, which means stellar wind. Unless you know what stellar wind is you don't know how to handle it? All I know, is it Is it supposed to be on my system? You know what this is little bit unusual and turned out. This 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, I believe, and they 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 uh
into the operations and activities of this program. Will this was the domestic mass surveillance program that I talked about in the very beginning of our conversation started under the Bush White House? Stellar wind was no longer supposed to be really operation. It had been unveiled in a big scandal in December, two thousand and five in the New York Times by journalist James rising, and I am not going to name him 'cause. I don't wanna, get it wrong and other journalists. You can look at the by line now, if you want to see their involvement but and 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 was really put in a difficult position by this scandal. They would have lost the election over this scandal because the New York Times actually add this story. In October, two thousand and four, which was the election year, they were, they were ready to go with it, but at the specific request of the White House talking publisher of the New York Times Sulzberger and Bill Keller than the executive editor of the New York Times New York Times said, we won't run the story because
the president, just said if you run this story month before the election, that's very tight margin. If you recall you have blood on your hands and it was so close to two one thousand and one the New York Times just want. You know what fine Americans don't need. No other console. Is being violated. They don't need to know uh. The fourth amendment doesn't mean what they think it means ' If the government says it's alright, it's a secret and you should know about it. That's fine! Now, December, two thousand and five. Why did that change? Why did the New York Times suddenly run this story? Well, it's because James Rise and the reporter who found this story had written a book and he was about to publish this book and the New York Times was about to be in very uncomfortable position. Of having to explain why they didn't run this story and how they got scooped by their own journalists, and so they finally did it, but it was too late Bush
Elected and now it was sweeping up the broken glass of our last rites. So embarrass the Bush White House was very effective in, 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. The existence of the program from the american people- and this is by someone like Nancy Pelow, see who you wouldn't exactly think would be Buddy Buddy with George Bush was completely ok and defending this kind of program. In fact- and you know later she said- oh well, she had objections to the program that she, open the letter, the White House, but she never show what's the weather she went on that was that was classified run. I mean this is not to 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 works. The White House will implicate certain very
powerful members of Congress in their own criminal activity and so on 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 Chris passed an emergency law in a two thousand and seven called the Protect America ACT now, which should have been our first indication? This is a very bad thing: 'cause never name a law, something 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! Ah and these come.
These went look now that we've been uncovered now that we've been shown with that we're breaking or now that these Journalists have shown that we've broken the law violated the rights of Americans Anna staggering scale that could bankrupt our companies, because we can be sued for this you 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 Protect America ACT which says you know it's an emergency. If this is all public history too, you can look this up on Wikipedia um, and so then uh. They, You know it's an emergency law. We have to pass this now. We have to keep this program. Active Bush is 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
now. We just have to make sure people are safe. Again, they go to fear and they say we do. I have this program. Terrorist attacks will continue. You know, people will die blood on your hands, blood, on your hands, plumbing and think of the children protect America. It passes the companies get off the hook. The Bush White House gets off the hook, the Congress that was then sharing in criminal culpability for authorizing, rather letting these things go by without stopping them then pass, in two thousand and eight, the foreign intelligence Surveillance ACT, amendments of two thousand and eight. This is called the FAA Fisa Amendments ACT and rather than stopping all of the unlawful Poland sort of unconstitutional activities that the intelligence agency was doing they can
can you do it in different ways, simply by creating a few legal hoops for them to jump through? Now not just going to 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 is caught breaking the law. Comply with the law, but instead make the activities of the person who is breaking the law, a legal right. They make the law comply with. The agencies want to do rather than make the agencies comply with law. That's a problem and that's what happened here now: intelligence, communities, powers actually grew in Racine, wants to this scandal in two thousand and eight, because Congress was on the hook and they just wanted to move on and get this. Oh
with there were objections. There were people who knew this was a 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 uh. 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 back at how this program was constituted, what it did, what the impacts and effects were, and then that was supposed to be sort of the truth and Reconciliation Council right now. Why I'm talking about all this ancient history, while I'm sitting here in twenty twelve with a classified inspector general's report draft report from the NSA,
that names names that says Dick Cheney. This is David Addington. This is Nancy closely. 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's evacuating the building at the beginning of 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 in the Department of Justice, these programs were not lawful, but they were not constitutional and the President said Would you continue with this program
on my say so alone, not 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 these guys. Don't care about the law, these guys don't care about the constitution of 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 lossed. 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 from public safety. National security thing that in previous generations, we refer to as state security. National security 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? Um 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. We are so. To government and we're not even allowed to know that it happened now not in 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 report and we've all seen this today with things like them: a live report and all of the intelligence reporting. It's happened in the last several years when the government provides a classified report for public
it's normally the same document. The unclassified version of the classified version of the same thing, 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 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 twenty twelve. What I realized was this is what real world conspiracies. Look like right. It doesn't have to be smoking, men behind closed doors right its 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 going to lose our jobs 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 then 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 it really changed me has been published, courtesy of the Washington Post. It's called. The inspector general's report on stellar wind. You can look at the actual document that I saw that was unredacted right. I had no blacked out pages online and what I believe it shows.
Is that some of the most senior officials in the United States, elected and unelected worked together to actively undermined 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 Justin noble cause right. They say they were trying to keep us safe, 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? Well, I wouldn't have that debate. Congress. Why wouldn't they put that to a vote, because if they were and they could convince us that they were they'd win the vote? I, and particularly, we all know, like the Patriot ACT.
Passmore the worst pieces of legislation in modern history, past um. Why didn't we get a vote? And I think if you read the report, The answer will be clear, so I'm sorry joy. I went on for very long. No, it's amazing! It's act! Don't apologize at all! It's just completely fascinating that the continuation of this policy came down, one man and the president having this discussion. That is so it's much it's much more much more, but right, right literally the president at the heart of it. Yes, at the heart of it, every expression of executive power, bi executive. We mean the White House here, CIA Nsa Fbi. 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 government, 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 pause, and so it's very easy. Um 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 way to do whatever it is. We think is proper and appropriate. Just now take that proper, inappropriate in just
from the perspective of any given individual right any given president now intersect, that with what's good for them politically uh and that's where problems begin to arise. Now the safety measure that supposed to protect us from this in the US system and a democr a ce broadly, 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 prerogatives and powers like what they are doing, both in our name and what they're doing against us. And because they are transparent to us, we, the people, can police their activities. We can go. I disagree with this. We can protest, we can 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.
'cause, 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 in the freest circumstances, and yet The rise of the state secrets talk drunk right. This whole classification system. That goes all the way back to last century about the middle of the last century, I believe, is when it really started getting tested in court, and I think you know more 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 20th century is uh. They abuse 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 earth, who is the greatest national security threat in the United States, but this is the FBI. This is the group that everybody is applauding today saying all these wonderful page. It's in heroes. Now, I'm not saying everybody, the FBI is bad. I'm not saying any
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 loyalty to government. Patriotism effect is not that loyalty to anything patriotism is a constant effort to do good for the people of your country, right, It is not about the government, it's not about the state, and this is a we'll we'll get into loyalty later because- and I I think one of the big criticisms against me they should be talked about- is on the go so look. This guy is a disloyal. He broke a note. He did whatever loyalty. Loyalty is a good thing when it
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 bad government, that loyalty is actively harm, and I I think that's overlooked, but yeah when you get back into this whole thing about sort of where it came from, 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 'cause, they can go. Look. We got thirty people who know about this, and none of them have reacted to it. Why are you going to object to this uh? Oh
all. This derives from that original sin, which is in a democracy, creating a system of government that is, in fact, a secret government body of secret law. Body of secret polisy um, did is far beyond what legitimate government secrets could be. This is not say, like government hasn't, can have no secrecy at all. If the government wants to invest, navigate someone not having them respond right, we're talking traditional law enforcement, sure you're not going hell, this mobster hey, you know we're going to start investigating you, we've public, don't need to know the names of every very suspect out in the world right, but we do need to know again the powers and programs, the policies
the 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 Joey, you were a kid, you know when I was a kid when you're teenager running late ' that's the worst thing. You ever said. You know she did. You say Anything you want proud did you do anything that you weren't, proud of something that today in like the locust of twitter land, you would get in trouble for I'm sure
and that's right in 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 horribly by something they did when they were thirteen. It's exactly that I Worst, mistakes- our deepest shames were forgotten right. They were lossed, they were ephemeral, even the things we did get caught for they were known for time, there's still remembered by people who are closest to us, whether we like them or dislike them. But there were people connected to us now we're force to live in in a real way naked before power. When we talk about Facebook with or talk about, Google, whether we're talking about the new government of any country, they know everything about us or more
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, because we're not allowed to forget just carrying a phone in your pocket. Enough for your movements to be memorialized, because every cell phone tower that you pass is keeping a record of that and Att keeps those records going back to two thousand eight hundred program called hemisphere. If you search for hemisphere in Att will give storing the daily beast about it at and keep your phone ring going back to nineteen eighty three, if any of your listeners were born after one thousand nine hundred and eighty three right before and after me, or it might be, one thousand nine hundred and eighty seven excuse me one thousand nine hundred and eighty seven if they were born after one thousand nine hundred and eighty seven and their eighteen t customer or their calls across Att's network Att has every phone call they ever made. Rather the record that had happened, not necessarily the content
the phone call is so I mean the. Let me turn this rough for you, Joe, because I feel like I've just been given and give a speech when you look at this stuff but 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, when you look the fact that you go to every restaurant today and you see people look at phones, you get in a bus, you get on a subway. You know you see somebody sitting next to in traffic. You see people looking at phones. These devices are connected all the time now. People again right now: people have ok, Google, they have, you know SIRI on the phones there in their house, they've always got these connected microphones. Where do you think this Lee means, and what is it that gives you sort of trust in the system, faith in the system like how just just,
So we can start a conversation here. What strikes you about this? Well, it's completely alien and it's new something that's unprecedented. We don't have along human history of being completely connected via technology. This is something we're navigating right now for the first time and it's probably most powerful thing that the human races ever seen in terms of the distribution of information there's nothing that even comes close to it in all human history and we're figuring it out as we go along an what you exposed. Is that not only are we figuring out as we go along, but that to cover their asses these cell phone companies in cahoots with the government have made it legal for them gather up all of your phone calls all of your text messages all of your emails and store them
somewhere. So that retroactively, 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 again. Issue, 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 Human beings via technology is is, pulls amazing and powerful, an incredible in terms of our acts, as to knowledge but terrifying. In terms of the government's ability to track our movements track, your phone calls track everything and, under the guise of protecting from terrorists and protecting us from sleeper cells protecting us from attacks, but 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 is happened to sort of protect their assets and keep them calls from being implicated and what has been violation of our rights and our privacies and the fourth amendment yeah, I mean, I think I think one of the things that everybody needs to understand when you look 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. I told them not to publish everything why? Why did you do the instructions? I did you do that, because So again, it gets back to legitimate secrets and illegitimate secrets, this
hum spying. From my perspective, you know: career spy is okay right agreed. If you have hacked first phone right and you're getting some information about that useful, a great yeah if you spying on a russian general in charge of you, know rocket division, useful right, but there are lines and degrees in that, where it's not useful. Now the examples that I just gave you these are targeted. This is where you're spying on an individual. There are no named person that is being monitored. For specific reason, that is related, hopefully from a more people right. Well, even for foreigners, urgent, some indications- you don't need a warrant strictly, although I I think they should have warrants for all of these investigations, because they established a court for precisely this reason called the foreign intelligence surveillance court right now
and there's not a judge in the world who wouldn't stample warrant, saying hey Spy on Abu Jihad over here right and if you want to spy on a another guy. It's bad off of the rocket division right. That's ok, they're going go with that, but You look at uh these edge case in the archive that I provided to. Journalists have been stories that have come down where they on journalists, right they've, spied on human rights groups and these kind of things I think people miss going to throw up some slides here. So forgive me if this gets weird and I put the wrong ones, but since I came forward this, foreign Intelligence Surveillance court that the government says authorized these programs. Fifteen different times was over ruled by the first open chords to look at the program, these in federal courts.
Here right. That said, no actually, these programs are unlawful. They likely unconstitutional. When you start. Looking at the facts you see even with In the context of the very loose restrictions and laws that apply to the NSA and surveillance, they say they took their own laws. Two thousand seven hundred and seventy six times in a single year, and you ask about that thing. That motivates me like why I came forward. We had been trying as a country before I came forward, to prove the existence of these programs leak, because this is our. This is our means of last sort of recourse in our system. Right we get the executive, we get 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 had broken the laws
Congress was turning a blind eye to the laws and the courts we're in this is just months before I came forward going well, it does appear. The ACLU and Amnesty International, like all of these human groups in the non governmental organizations how to stab lish that you know these programs are likely unlawful. They likely exist there simply classified, but the government respond did 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 of minutes for the government has to whether things these foreign as to whether or not these things exist because the guy
it's just going to give a it's standard, what they called glomar response. We can neither confirm nor deny that these things exist, which leaves you out in the cold, which leaves the courts out in the cold the courts go. Look. The government could be breaking the law here, look, they could be violating the constitution here, but because you can't prove it and because the government does play ball on the government says. If we were doing this, it would be legal and it would be necessary for national security or whatever the court can't resume to know national security better than the negative, because the courts aren't elected, and so this leads to this fundamentally broken system, where ok,
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. Two quarts to journalists to anyone is a felony, right, that's punishable by ten years per count under the espionage act and the government has charged every. A source of public interest, journalism, who's We made a significant difference in these kind of cases, since Daniel Ellsberg really going back to that under the same espionage. It's always the same law in this is there's no distinction to government between you sold information to foreign government for private benefit right or whether you provided nation only to journalists for the public interest
and then that's a fundamentally harmful thing. I think when you look at things that have come in the wake of this we're talking about the post, two thousand and thirteen rulings that that found what the government was doing was unlawful. You see the words saying actually that leaks or air quotes leaks can actually be beneficial the leak is used in the governments and this you know this is from a federal court. These are not exactly my biggest supporters. They are 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 allow the system to operate in a context where, one year before I came forward, yeah the NSA saying this kind of stuff didn't happen. We
and hang on this famous exchange, which, more than anything, maybe this is a point of no return, because I told you this you've heard this, but if you haven't seen it uh, you might not believe me right. Maybe I'm sketchy guy, whatever the 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 fronting the most senior spy in the United States General James Clapper, who was then the director of national intelligence right there, no guy higher than him the buck stops with him when it comes to intelligence, he's testifying Underoath in front of Congress right now, but more broadly in front of the public. This is televised and RON wine, ask him a very specific question 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 mass surveillance, and this is how it goes. This is how the top spy responds under oath. 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? It does not not wittingly. There are cases where they could in in advert only perhaps collect, but not, So that was a lie. Wyden was a lie: clapper New
there's a lot. He actually admitted it was a lie after I came forward 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 Underoath to Congress and the congressman even knows you're lying to them, but they are afraid to correct you and widen by the way it wasn't. A surprise widen gave him those questions. Twenty four hours in advance. He wrote a letter afterwards asking for collaborative. Mend his testimony right now, not even a press conference, but just say this was incorrect whatever, so he could go through the legal process and show his fellow congressman There was a problem and they need to do, but all of that was refused to us all of it was, denied to Us- and here I am sitting at the NSA next to my buddies, who talked to about these programs. You know I've gone, look at this
you're laughing at it. You know I'm laughing at it. It's not it's not that we go. Oh haha he's getting away with it. It's like what are you going to do this? you know, they're, bullshitters, that the system is built on lies that EVA many people. Many experts who have studied this no are lies, but if you can't prove their lies, how do you move beyond that? and that's really a question that has never been more relevant than I think it is today under the current White House,. So you're in this position, where you have this information, and you know that these surveillance systems are in place and they are unconstitutional, and you feel this deep responsibility to let the american people know about this. What what makes you take the leap So this is
extensively in the book, because it took a long time. I would imagine people people, you know yeah right, exactly people like to think Like a cinematic moment where I find this golden document like this seller wind report and that's the closest thing to a smoking gun right that exists? But if you found that you can read that later, look at that and, like imagine yourself being like, oh I'm, going to go outside on the courthouse steps and wave this thing and burn my life to the ground, burn my family to the ground, I'm going to work again in 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 um long time too long?
The answer is nothing and I'm I'm I'm ashamed of that. It took me uh so long. To get over that hump, because I was waiting for somebody else to do it. When I saw people like RON white 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 so there are a lot of people who are going to be in the you know the Youtube comments or whatever go. I knew this was happening. No, you did well build honey. You had he'll be here, excuse me Bill Bennett. He initially was the one that came out and spoke about this issue, and so. Yeah Bill Binney is part of, shall we say, the group of early NSA whistleblowers who came with Thomas Drake Bill Binney Kirk. We be, I believe, in Ed Loom.
And these guys all got their doors kicked in and you know they they got harassed by the FBI. Tom Drake who is a senior executive at the NSA? This guy had a lot to lose, was char under the same law was the espionage act and these guys were doing it earlier during the Bush administration. Some of them were talking. Into the journalists that you know, maybe it's alleged, I want to put them on the spot. Maybe they deny it, maybe they don't leave that to them Somebody somewhere was informing this reporting right that got into the New York Times about the Bush era, warrantless wiretapping program, and eventually, girls put this out. There. People knew these capabilities existed, but yeah, then then, there's the person in the Youtube comments like oh, we knew all about. This is nothing new and the thing is, you can know about some Crimson not know about others. You can have a suspicion. You can know with certainty that this stuff is capable or is it is possible? The capability exists. You can know. The government has done this stuff in the past. You can know there are likely to do it again. You
I have all these indications. You can have um like the jewel versus NSA case, that's run by the ff, which is about the eighteen or it's about Att, setting up secret rooms in their telecommunications facilities, where they basically drag all the fibers for their domestic internet communications and like communications into a room. That's purpose built for the And then they bring it out, but it's the NSA, the NSA, denies that these things happen or that are done at all right, and so this is the context hi. You say you know, and you don't let either way. Maybe you do know right. Maybe you are an academic researcher. Maybe your technological specialist,
maybe you're, just somebody who 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. In fact, the distance between what you know and what you can prove to everybody else in the country is every thing in our model of government, because what you know doesn't matter what matters is what we all know and the only way we can all know is. If somebody can prove it, if you can prove it and if you don't have the evidence, you can't prove it and of course, when we talk about the earlier stuff right like the sort of the more corporate ties 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 access that they they need to be taken seriously. They need to be. You know, admitted to briefers. It is a
codependent relationship and yet ah it 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, a body of facts that is so large and so persuasive, it overcomes the natural and understandable resistance of these more corporate ized media groups. It overcomes the political and partisan sort of loyalties that all of these political factions in the country do where they go. You know it's my president, even if I don't 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 H, d on video. You know signing the order to do this, that or the other, because uh
So this is a chance. My guy might not get reelected and that's the only this kind of stuff can happen, and the sad fact is the opportunity. Is that we have to prove this like the moments in history, where we do prove something anything beyond 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 the climate movement, did cheese. Look at go ahead. I'm sorry, did you taking comfort from knowing that Obama when he was running for office and in his hope and change website, he had provisions to protect whistleblowers and provisions to reward people
I mean, do you remember all that mean it was eventually redacted or eventually deleted it from the website. It disappeared it from yes, but that was a big part of his program or what he was running on was that when people were exposed using unlawful activity. He was going to protect those people. Did you take any comfort, also campaigned well Bama. Also during his campaign said he campaigned actively against the warrantless wiretapping the Bush administration, because remember Bush is scandal, the height of this two thousand and seven the elections coming up right after he's going Obama saying you know, that's not who we are, that's not what we do yet within one hundred days of him becoming president. Now he's sitting in that chair rather than extinguishing these programs? He embraces them and expand. Why do you think that is more entrenched? I think
It's actually again what we talked about earlier. First thing: every time a new president comes into the White House, they get there clearance is right. They get read into all this stuff during the campaign they get clearances and to get rid of it and stuff, but when they find them come president now they're the only people who can sign one. These are called the covert action findings and things like that which Basically, you know the intelligence community wants to assassinate somebody. They want to run this illegal program here they are everywhere and they can't do it because their executive agencies, without that top level executives. Enough, so they got open the vest right. They gotta get these guys on side, um. And basically, every since Kennedy they had and successful in what they call fearing up where, as soon as they come in they live. Did you read you the litany of horrible's and they go these
for all the threats that we're facing and let's be real? It is a dangerous world. It's not just all made up s. 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 I have just gone through a hellish election, because our electoral politics, or so diseased um and now after you've, crawled through fire you're already thinking for years ahead. You know. So how do I stay in this seat? And these guys are basically saying if you don't do x yz? This is going to fall on your lap and the station, which I don't think they actually say when every president knows is these guys can undermine you to death,
if you've got the icy against you right. They can stonewall you. They can put out stories that are going to be problematic for you. Not everyday, your presidency? It's That is necessarily going cash, you out of the White House, but it's a problem that is present. You very much don't want so in the most charitable interpretation of this you've got a new guy coming in Obama's case. This is a pretty young guy. Doesn't 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. Uhm he's just. Make things better at home. Now, suddenly they go look. You need to worry about this country We need to worry 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 device.
America and the abyss. Are these terrible, terrible, terrible, terrible programs right there in fact wonderful things because they keep back the darkness So here's here's the the the real problem every and here's an every president, Tino 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 ironies when I come came forward. Twenty thirteen. 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, and this is after the initial thing, where they went nobody's listening to your phone. Also, you know on the mating data right, Nobody, nobody can have perfect privacy and also have perfect security. So we got a sort of divide, a line here between the the tuition- and you know what the government wants to do but
said we were going to 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 right. So it seems awful convenient in hindsight that throughout the entire t, the first time 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 threats And they scare the hell out of I'm sure we can. We can all imagine being there right, those those of us who remember what the world was like, post, nine hundred and eleven fears of a powerful thing. The guys who are doing that briefing, no longer scared of it, because they've been dealing with this.
This is the oldest thing they've, given this briefing times before the you know, when we talk about people, talk about the deep state right, they they they talk about it like some conspiracy of lizard people, it it it's not that it's something much simpler, the deep status, simply the career government. It's the people who are in the same offices who outlive and outlast presidents he's right they've And Republicans they've seen Democrats, they don't really care, they give that same briefing again and again and they get good at it. They know what they want. They know what this person saying the President and they don't know who these people are. These people have been before the president there 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? Who is not
ready for this sort of trade off and who you have to understand. It's a career politician. Entirely entire to the horse trading game Ryan, going I'll deal with this later or not now or what are or what are the cost benefit here, This community goes, if you give us what we want, no one will ever know about it, because it's classified it's obviously easy answer, and maybe Brock Obama and honestly did want to get to this later. But what we can say today, he is for all 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 works. 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 persuasive and has some legitimate credentials that show that is 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 implementing. It seems Lately, I'm realistic and the job itself it just it does seem like any person can do it adequately and when it comes to something like this mass surveillance state, I could see a president being persuaded by someone who comes to him and says this is why we need to do this yeah. I mean it one of the things that I think is the underlying problem and everything that you
described, as the president has too much power right, 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 if they haven't sort of traveled or studied broadly just how exceptional the american presidency is But most countries don't have a single individual with this level of power. It's really only the super states and that may be by design. And perhaps that's why they're Super states, but we look at the sort of complex, advanced democracies that there are more peaceful. They tend to have a more multilateral system that has more people involved in smaller portfolios,
out of this derives from just the size of the government. Like you said, you know, the president is responsible for basically everything executive branch and the executive branch is basically every agency that actually doesn't work. So how teach you? How do you correct for that? Without breaking it up? Where you have, small, administers ministries and things like that that have different levels of responsibility, having a smaller government overall, back in one thousand, seven hundred and seventy six, the federal government. It is pretty much a dream, weren't, even interested in having standing armies. The idea of an army that existed from year to year was terrifying, forbidding thing and then, when you move to this idea that we have president, that they have these extraordinary powers? It's ok, because the government very small, the federal government, especially, is seen as sort of this small and toothless and weak thing he paused so for this pain
because my air pods are about to die and I'm going to swap over to another pair. These structures are for a couple hours, but we're two hours and fifteen minutes here, where we'll 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 where you are right now in your life and how you're handling this, because you been in exile for how many years now it's been more, in six years, sixty six June of two thousand and thirteen yeah, I mean well. Actually I left may so. What is life like. I mean: are you in constant hiding? I mean what are the issues like in in the beginning, my operational security, as we would call it was, was very high. I concerned about being recognized, was concerned about being followed,
is 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 and would not let it dip art. Is it right across the airspace of Europe, not even the United States, they wouldn't leave until they confirmed. I was not on board I'm 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 I still lived pretty happily because I was an indoor cat to begin with, but I've always been a technologist. I've always been pretty nerdy. So as long as I the screen and internet connection. I was pretty happy, but in the there's past my life has become more and more open. You know now I speak openly. I live openly. I go out. I ride.
Metro, I go to restaurants like oh, you know how often he wrecks in park. 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 ' 'cause. It just allows people to sort of forget about my face uh and I can go about my life, but it one of the weird things that I'm recognized a couple times a year, even when I'm not wearing my glasses 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 or are the e a you might read a story about a like super recognizer. Some people just have a great memory for faces. Yeah, because I can be like a winner in the hood and like a jacket. It can have a scarf around my face like the winner and, like
I can barely see my face and like are you Snowden and I'm like whoa? What do use is pretty impressive I'd, say: yeah nice to meet you and yeah they've. It's yeah. I've been I've, never had a negative interaction from being recognized for me because I'm a privacy advocate like I would. I would much rather go on recognize like I don't want to be a celebrity course, but the other thing is I'll get wrecking. Raised in computer stores- and I think this just like a mental association where people are like their their brain when it's cycling through face, Is it recognizes it's going through like the subset of nerdy or people, or something like that when you have a computer because for whatever reason, I'm recognized much more frequently when there's some kind of technological, like locus so you're living freely,
did you had to learn Russian? Did you learn yeah? I mean my my russian is still pretty crappy to great shame, because all of my life, all of my work, is primarily an ink right right now. You've talked about returning home if you could get a fair trial is, is that at a feasible thing, a fair trial for someone like you is that such a well is that yeah Is that even possible question I mean look? If we're being frank, I think all your audience knows the chance of me getting a fair 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
from right? What my objection here is on a larger principle, my what what happens to me is less important for if I spend the rest of my life in jail, that that's less important and what I'm actually requiring the government to agree to a which is a single for right. They say face the music face, the music and I'm saying great. Let's pick the song, the thing is the law that I've been charged under. One that all these whistleblowers have been charged under Thomas Drake, Daniel Ellsberg Chelsea Manning Daniel the drone whistleblower who is in prison right now,
into a trial. That is precisely similar to what I would be facing his lawyer. It is asking the court to or telling the court there we want to tell the jury why he did what he did and that the government is violating laws. Governments violate human rights that these programs are immoral, that there ethical. This is what motivated this guy to do it in 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, and the government has respond. 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 impact and effects were. He can't talk about whether the public benefited from it,
who was harmed by it because it doesn't matter now. This might surprise a lot of people, because the tool but we think that's what a jury trial is. We think that's what a fair trial is, but the the espionage act for the government uses against whistleblowers meaning broadly here. This sources of journalism is fairly unique in legal system in that is, what's called a strict liability crime, a strict liability crime. Hi is what the government considers to be basically a crime worse than murder, because if you, if you murdered some like, if you just I don't know, beat Jamie with the microphone stand right now,. You would be able to go to the court and say it was self defense right you for you felt threatened. You were in danger feel like, even if you weren't, even you obviously part. Even if you were on tape, you could still argue that in the jury could go you're full of crap right and they could convict
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 the verdict right. Strict liability crimes forbid The jury is not allowed to consider why you committed a crime they're only allowed to consider if you commit a crime, they are not allowed to consider if the murder was justified. There are only allowed to consider if the murder took place in 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 against people who told the truth right like that's what it's about in the context, journalism. They don't bring the espionage act against people who lied, then they would use fraud or some other statute.
They say that the government is arguing in the context of whistle blowing the telling a telling a important truth to the american people by way of a journalist is across worse than murder, and I believe- and I think most Americans would agree. This is fundamentally in defensively wrong, and so My whole argument with the United States government since the very beginning we spent I'll be back for jury trial tomorrow, but you have to agree to permit whistleblower the public interest defense. It doesn't matter whether they are whistleblower, not it's just. They argued it's the jury that decides whether they're whistleblower or not I have to be able to consider the motivations of why someone did what they did. The government says we used to allow that, because that puts 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 from the Obama administration. There's been no contact, since since the Trump Administration, because the government, basically 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 clear this is not speculate. This is not me thinking. This is actively happening, the case of hey all right now. I hope you guys can pull up a graphics for because this story, just the papers like two or three weeks ago, saying the government is for building this guy from from making this argument, so you or situation seemingly in a state of limbo, then you're not act really pursuing you. It seems that if you were able to move around freely, they haven't discovered where you are you're just free to live your life, you well yeah. I mean
it's it's one of these things where you know whether 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 then we should lean into that, because I think people they hear Russia, particularly in the context of today news and you see like what people are saying about Tulsi Gabbert and things like that, any kind of association any anytime. Your name appears in the same since Kim Paragraph same story as the word. Russia is considered a negative thing now and don't get me wrong. I've been a long time critic of the russian government. I just actually had a major story written about me in russian State NEWS outlet, cold, Ria Novosti, you guys could could probably pull it. It's only russian Russian, that's saying, because I spoke favorably about a member of the russian opposition. Alexei Navalny
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 in the future, because the background here is this: opposition figure has been a longtime thorne in the russian Administration side and they've, just suddenly magically been accused of being foreign agents, or something like that, and so everyone connected to this, which is like a big civil society body. I 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 why I said I post that just like I was tweeting, you know footage of ballot stuffing in the russian elections. Just like. I criticized the russian president by name. I've criticized
russian surveillance laws, so many things again and again and again and again and again, but so the little look it it does not make my life easier, not to be trapped in a country that I did not choose people remember this. I was actually on route to Latin America, when the USA government cancelled my passport, which trapped me in Russia and for those who are interested again. I wrote fire book that has a lot of detail on this, but yeah it's difficult to be basically engaged in civil opposition to policies of the United States government. At the same time as the russian government um and it's it's a hard thing. You know know it's not a happy thing, but I feel like it's a necessary thing problem is nobody wants to talk about that, nobody wants to engage in that kind of nuanced. Nobody wants to consider those kinds of conversations in the current world. People believe,
This is actually one of the worst things that western media does in the context of discussing Russia. Is they create this aura of invincibility? the russian president and they go. You know this guys, calling all the shots he's pulling on the strings. You know this guy is in charge of the world and that's very useful uh for the russian government broadly because, and then take that and replay it on their domestic medium. They go look how strong we are. You know the Americans are because the Chinese or afraid of everybody's afraid of us, the French, are afraid of us. We are strong right, there's, no question that rush is going to be interfering elections. No question in America is going to be interfering in russian elections right. Nobody nobody likes to talk about this and again, 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. Publish a story in the week of you know this contest in twenty sixteen election, where they looked
to the history of electoral interference in Russia and the Soviet Union, and they found in roughly fifty years, thirty six different cases, election interference by Russia or the Soviet's right. It's 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 four, which is a sad thing, but it's a reality, because we are wise enough to separate covert action from intelligence gathering, but in that same study that they found thirty six different cases by the Russian the Soviets they found. Eighty one different cases by the
yes and this was published by Scott Shane in the New York Times and both of the washing 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? They just want to do better. They want the same things that you do right and every time people go all Russia, Russia, Russia, every time people go Russia bad. Every time they go. Rush is doing this. They go. Rush 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 Donald Trump's I see around your neck, then people got all 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 look. I have
Uh, no affiliation? I have no love for the russian government. It's not my choice to be here and I've made. Very clear, I would be happy to return home because there any concerns replied, they would deny you visa How are you staying there? It's a good question, so I have a permanent residence people think I'm a nurse I'm, but I'm no longer on it. 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 in russian media was they were saying you know the russian government should take some action against me or shouldn't be welcome here. We should go home because why Casey criticizing the russian government right when they are the people that, like the russian version, keeping snooze, I don't know enough about russian media. To tell him, I think it's supposed to be more
Reuters reception press button to help find homes, but the the the the thing is this: 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 injustices, because it makes me safer, Well, a lot of pragmatic people will say yeah they say. You've done an offer. They said. You've done your part, you know they say whatever be safe, lived long, be happy, but I didn't come forward to be safe. If I want, be safe and still be sitting in Hawaii making I have a lot of money to spy on love you right. Nobody ever would have known about this. The system would have gotten worse, but the system, the world, the future gets worse. Every day.
We don't do something about every day that we stay silent about all the injustices we see the world gets worse get worse and yeah, it's risky yeah, it's uncomfortable, but that's why we do it, because if we don't no one else will all those years. I was sitting hoping for someone else to come for and no one did right. This 'cause I was 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, it 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, and in fact you can't all you have. To do is lay down one brick. All you have to do to make things a little bit better in a small way, so that other people can lay their brick. On top of that or side and 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 does
matter because individually, it's it's not. You know me whoever you are it's the iron man when I don't care, if you're the biggest doomsday preppers, with cans full beans. If the world ends it's going to affect you, we make things better. We become safe, take gather right collectively. That is our strength. That is the power of civilization. That is the power to change 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 You can be more careful right. You can be more clever and there's nothing wrong with that. But at the end of the say, 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
in life, you're trying to collapse the universe of outcomes such that where you lossed is freedom. You've lost the ability to act because you were afraid, that's about that's why I got into this mess. That's a beautiful way to put it are you aware at all of the current state of surveillance and what, if anything, has changed since your revelations yeah, I mean the big thing: that's changed since I was in twenty thirteen 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 then used. Stop then, then, use you know, got 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, um you, smart phone. You might be listening to this on a train somewhere and in traffic right now or you Joe right now you gotta phone somewhere in the room right. The phone is turned off for at least green is turned off it's sitting there. It's powered on in somebody. Send you a message: the screen blinks to life? How does that happen right? 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 anybody elses number? Only their phone rings right. Every smart phone, every phone at all is constantly connected to the nearest cellular
shower every phone. Even when the screen is off. You think it's doing nothing. You can't see it because radiofrequency emissions are invisible. It's screaming in the air same here I am here. I am here. I am the high. I think it's the individual manufacturers equipment, identity and I am me high individual manufacturers subscriber identity. I could be wrong on the the break out there, but the the acronyms are the any I in the MSI you can search the for these things. There are to 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 irony is burned into the hands of your phone. No matter what sim card you change too, 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 Imes
is in your sim card. Right in this is what holds your phone number right as the basis of the key, the right to use that phone number. Your phone is sitting there doing nothing, you think, but constantly shouting and saying I'm here who is closest to me: that's a cell phone tower at every cell phone tower with its big years. Listening for these little cries for help and going alright, I see Joe Rogan's phone right now I see jamies phone. I I see all these phones that are here right now and it compares notes with the other network towers on your smartphone compares notes with them to go. Who do I hear the loudest and who you here? 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 back
wanted this cell phone tower in that cell phone tower is going to make a note of permanent record saying this phone. This phone handset with this phone number at this time was connected to me right and based on your phone handset and your phone number. They can get your identity right because you pay for this stuff with your credit card and everything like that, and even if you don't write it still active at your house, overnight is still active on your night stand when you're sleeping it's still, whatever the minutes of your phone or the movements of you as a person and those are often quite uniquely identifying. It goes to your home. It goes to your workplace. Other people don't have it sorry, um anyways constantly shutting this out and then compares notes with the other parts in network work and when he's trying to get to a foam, it compares notes of the network, compares notes to go where is
this phone 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 But your phone 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. Is being made and created by companies. It does not need to be kept forever and in fact, there's 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. Running into and all this information that used to be ephemeral right. Where were you when you were eight years old, you know where, where do where'd, you go after, you had a bad breakup, you spend the night with. Would 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 things are saved it. It doesn't matter whether you're doing anything wrong. It doesn't matter where you 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 was just talking about how you connected phone network. That's not talking about all those apps on your phone that are 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 in all of?
things these analytics. They are trying to keep track through location services on your phone through GPS through even just wireless access points, you're connected to, because there's a global, constantly updated map, there's actually many of them of wireless access points in the world. It's 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 your phone, says to the cell phone tower, I have this identifier. The cell phone tower responds and says I had 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
it's on who's, Wi Fi is active on this block right, and they build a new giant map. So even if you gps turned off right as long as you connect the WI fi. Those apps can go well, I'm connected to Joes Wi Fi, but I also see his neighbors Wi Fi here and the other one in this apartment over here and the other one, the partner here and you should only be able to hear the who's four globally unique Wi Fi access points from these points in physical space, the intersection in between the spreads the domes of all those wireless access point and a proxy for location, and it goes on and on, and we could talk about this for four more hours. We don't have that kind of time. Can I ask you this? Is there a way to mitigate any of this? Personally, I mean is shutting your phone off doesn't even work right. Well, so it it does in a way it's now. The thing was shutting your phone off. That is a risk, is how do you know you're from
actually turned off used to be. When I was in Geneva, for example, working for the CIA um, we would all Kerry like drug dealers. You know the old, smart phones that are sold dumb phones, they're, not smart phones and the reason why was just because they had remove the removable backs. Where could take the battery out right and the beautiful thing about technology is, if there's no electricity in it right, if there's no go juice available too, 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, but you can't take the batteries out. So there are protest,
sure ways that you can hack a phone where it appears to be off, but it's not actually off. It's just pretending to be off, whereas in fact it's still listening and doing all this stuff, but for the average person that doesn't apply- and I got to tell you guys- they've been chasing me all over the place. I don't worry about that stuff. Right ' 'cause, if they're, applying that level of effort to Maine they'll, probably get the same other routes. I am as careful as I can, and I use things like Faraday cages. I turn devices off, but if there actually manipulate 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. Think about what are the realistic threats that you're facing that you're trying to mitigate and
but the mitigation that you're trying to do is what would be the law, so would be the damage done to 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 Pacific 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 Bunnie, Huang he's an MIT Phd and I think electrical engineering called 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 it is you want. We take an Iphone six. This was wrapped 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 it states. It was spying on you, but for average people write this academic. That's not your primary threat. Your primary threats are these bulk collection programs. Your primary thread is the fact that your phone is constantly squawking to the cell phone towers is doing all these things because we leave our phones and state that is constantly on here 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 to identify the problem and the sea problem with smart phone used. Today you have no idea what the hell it's doing at any given time. The phone has the screen off. You don't know what it's connected to you, don't know how frequently it's doing it app
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. 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 checked my weather and now I'm done with this, so I don't want that to be able to talk 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. 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.
Want to talk to an analytic server. That's modern gear! Behavior right! You don't want to talk to all these third party things, because Facebook rams their garbage and almost every that. You download, and you don't even know it's happening, because you can't see it right, and this is the problem with the data collection used today. Is. There is an industry that is built on keeping this invisible and what we need we do is we need to make the activities of our devices whether it's uh, whether it's computer, whatever more visible, and standable to the average person and then give them control over it so like. If you could see your phone right now and at the very
center of his little green. I Condit's your you know, hand set or it's a picture, your face whatever, and you see all these little spokes coming off of it. That's every app that your phone is talking to right now or every app that is active on the phone right now and all the host that it's connecting to, and you can see right now once every three seconds your phone is checking into Facebook and you can just poke that app in the book is not talking. Facebook and the Facebook not allowed Facebook speaking for we just have been revoked right. You would do that. We would all do that. There was a button on your phone. That said, do what I want not spy on me, you would press that button right. That one is not does not exist right now and both Google and apple, unfortunately, is a lot better at this. In 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 actually aren't wrong. There but it's not enough to go- we have to lock that capability off from people, because we don't trust that would make the right decisions. We think it's too complicated for people to do this week, 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 there, 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 process, it should be obvious and the fact that it's not an fact that we read story after story year after year saying all your data been breached here. This company Spying on you hear this companies manipulating
purchases or your search results, or you're. Hiding these things from your timeline or their influence sing you are manipulating all of these different ways that happens as of a single problem, and that problem is in inequality 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 want other hand owns the device. Well, rather, you paid for the device, but increasingly these corporations on it. Recently these governments own it an increasingly we're living in a world where we do all the work right. We pay all the taxes, we pay all the costs, but we less and less, and nobody understands this better than the youngest generation. Well, it seems like data became a commodity. Before we understood what it was, it became this
It's insanely, valuable to Google and Facebook, and all these social media platforms before or we understood what we were giving up. They were making billions of dollars and then, once that money as being earned, and once everyone is accustomed to this situation, it's very difficult to pull the reins back. It's very difficult turn the horse around precisely because the money then becomes power right right. The information then becomes influence, So that also seems to be the same situation. That would happen with these mass surveillance states once they access- it's going to be incredibly difficult for them to relinquish that. Right, yeah, no you're, exactly correct, and this is the subject of the book I mean this is it's a permanent record, and this is where it came from. This is how it came to exist. Um story of our lifetimes is how intentionally by design a number of institutions, both governmental and corporate.
I realized it was in their mutual interest, too, conceal their data collection activities to increase the breadth and depth of their sensor, networks that were sort of spread out through society. Remember back in the day, intelligence collection and even used to mean the 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 the satellite listening site right. We can call these foreign said: were foreign satellite collection around the desert somewhere they built a big parabolic collector, it's just listening to satellite emissions right, but
these satellite emissions, the satellite links, were owned by militaries. They were exclusive to governments 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 could become bulk collection, which should become one of the dirtiest phrases in the language. If we have any kind of decency, but we were intentionally um. 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 did great in nothing like this. I'm sorry right. They go. We put the terms of service page up and you click that you click the button. That said, I agree.
As 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. Why can't you weren't trying to agree to some six hundred page legal form? Have you read you wouldn't understand, and it doesn't matter if you did understand because one of the very first paragraphs- and it said this agreement- can be changed anytime unilaterally without your consent by the company right. They have 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 in government says everything we do is legal and they go so it's fine. Our perspectives public should be well. That's actually the problem, because this is an ok. The scandal isn't how they're breaking the law, the scandals,
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 legal principle and buy from a case and I believe the 1970s called Smith versus Maryland and Smith was this knuckle, and 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 classic creeper um- 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 I see this car creeping past, my house on the street and she got a license plate number. So she goes 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 rest this guy and then in court. His lawyer brings all the stuff up and they go on. You did this without. That was sorry. That was that was the the the problem. Was they want the phone company? They got the records without they just asked for it or they subpoenaed it right some lower standard, legal review and we gave it to him and got the guy, they marchmont jail and they could have gotten warrant right, but it was just experience. They just didn't want to take the time small town cops! You can understand how it happens. They know the guys a creep really just want to get off to jail hum, and so,
made a mistake with the government. Doesn't let go they fight on this and they go? It wasn't actually they weren't his records and so because they didn't long to him. He didn't have a fourth amendment right to 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 principle in a single case of a single known, suspected criminal who had they had real good reasons to suspect, was their guy 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
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, modern society, modern communications don't exist. This is the very beginning of the technological era and flash forward now forty years, and they are still relying on this president about this one. You know perfect creeper to go. Nobody has a privacy right for anything, that's held by company and so long as they do that companies are going extraordinarily powerful and they're going 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 exploited its people that are being exploited. It's not data, that's being manipulated its you! That's being him manipulated- and this this is. This- is something that I think a lot of people are beginning to understand. Problem. Is the companies in the governments are still pretending? They don't understand or disagreeing with this, and reminds me of something that uh one of my old friends, John Perry Barlow, who served with me at the freedom of the press foundation on the President of the board used to say to me, which is you can't awaken someone who's pretending to be asleep? He said it's an old native America that's a great expression. It's a good waiter. I think that's a good way to end this. Thank
very much for doing this. I really appreciate it. Please tell everybody the title of your book and it's available right now sure. Yes, it is it's on shelves everywhere, at least until the government find some other way to ban it. It is called permanent record an, and I hope you will read it. I will read it and I think what you've done is incredibly brave, and I think you are 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 change 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 know. It was my pleasure. Thank you! take care of yourself. Man stay safe. No, no! No! No! No! No! Don't stay safe, stay, safe, open space days, free open to possible.
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Transcript generated on 2019-10-25.