To Our Readers:
After two weeks of reassessment and reorganization, GerardDirect is about to go back on line. The news is breaking all around us. Tomorrow’s history is being written today, from Washington to the Middle East, from Asia to Africa, from Europe to South America, and we need to be following it.
We hope our readers will continue to watch as we develop our new articles and bring you the news you may not have seen elsewhere. We promised to come back stronger than ever, and that is our plan. We are committed to being bold and uncompromising in our mission to bring you the truth as we see it, based on facts and reliable intelligence from our sources on the ground wherever the news is happening.
We will be continuing to make changes to the website as we move forward, but we remain committed to bringing you the news and analysis you need - to be informed about the realities in the world around us that are likely to impact our lives in the near, intermediate, and long-range future.
In this newsletter, you get the benefit of a pre-publication story on one of the hottest issues today. It will appear on our website this weekend, but we are sending it to our subscribers first, while we continue to bring our website up to date.
In the Strange World of Edward Snowdon, the NSA Surveillance Scandal is Just the Tip of the Iceberg
Some of us who live outside the world of government agencies find the scandals currently racing through Washington bizarre and dangerously arrogant. It may be that the most egregious of these is the revelation by Edward Snowdon that the NSA has been carrying out a secret government surveillance program called PRISM. Through this program, the NSA assumed the power to search the history, emails, and live chats of millions of Americans, collecting directly from the servers of major US service providers including Google, Facebook, Skype, and Apple.
That news alone has put many in the country in a rage, as an abrogation of the First and Fourth Amendments. But according to a highly reliable source, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Snowdon was an unlikely spy, but our source suggests that this is exactly what he was. He was reported to be a brilliant computer expert, the 'go-to' guy who could make his way around the complex, encrypted systems in the NSA with relative ease. The data that he was able to steal from NSA computers, using a forbidden thumb drive to download and remove from the premises a large number of classified files, was far more damaging than just the accusation which he first released. He also reportedly stole the names and data of some 700 American assets around the world, as well as the classified details of highly sensitive US programs related to cybersecurity and Chinese espionage activities.
Not only did Snowdon put the lives of hundreds of Americans at risk, he opened the door to a major confrontation with China. For Obama, whose ratings have dropped like a stone in recent weeks, it couldn’t have come at a worse time. But more important, for America it could be catastrophic. By burning hundreds of US assets, Snowdon has jeopardized our entire intelligence apparatus, leaving Americans around the world in mortal danger.
But it gets worse. Snowdon is reported to have contacted The Guardian four weeks prior to his joining the defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton at the NSA, from where he carried out his activities, and long before he gave The Guardian his exclusive story. He also apparently contacted a realtor several weeks ago and left his home in Hawaii empty of furnishings, leading to the conclusion that his actions were premeditated and well planned, and that his flight to Hong Kong was more than just a random choice. All indications point to the fact that he was working for the Chinese all along. There is certainly little doubt that the knowledge that he possesses is of great interest to Beijing.
The administration is intent on bringing Snowdon back to the US and prosecuting him, not unlike the way they are prosecuting Bradley Manning, who has been languishing in prison since 2010. Manning was accused of passing classified material to the website WikiLeaks, charged with 22 offenses that include communicating national defense information to an unauthorized source and aiding and abetting the enemy.
What Edward Snowdon has done is far more damaging than what Manning did, in both its gravity and its consequences. But Snowdon may well be beyond the administration’s reach, so his future may be far different from that of his counterpart. It may be better, or, if China decides it has no further use for him, it may be considerably worse. Whatever set Snowdon on this path, the repercussions are likely to be felt around the world for a very long time to come.
GerardDirect will continue to follow this story and keep our readers informed as it develops. Watch for our next newsletter early next week, announcing the resumption of our regular stories on the GerardDirect website.
Thank you for your continued readership. You are greatly appreciated!
-------- Ilana Freedman, Editor