'Snowden warned Americans of 'turnkey tyranny' that opens door to illegal search & seizures'
Edward Joseph Snowden is an American computer professional, former Central Intelligence Agency employee, and former contractor for the United States government, who copied and leaked classified information. Edward Snowden, like me and others, take one oath, and one oath only, and that is to protect and defend the Constitution of the US against all enemies – foreign and domestic, Ray McGovern, former CIA analyst, told RT. Edward Snowden has responded to a damning House Intelligence report analyzing his life and possible motives for revealing NSA surveillance. The 37-page review provides some details of the NSA whistleblower, discussing Snowden's focus on his incompetencies and disagreements with supervisors. According to the report, Snowden has been in contact with Russian intelligence agencies since his arrival in Moscow.
The whistleblower “has had, and continues to have, contact with Russian intelligence services,” and that he “remains a guest of the Kremlin to this day,” the report says. Snowden denied the accusation, saying in a Tweet "they claim without evidence I'm in cahoots with Russian intel. Everyone knows this is false, but let's examine their basis: Snowden became the focus of worldwide attention after he made public top secret NSA files in 2013 after he fled the US and was given asylum in Russia later that year.
RT: This new report on Edward Snowden communicating with foreign intelligence agencies has been declassified. Why does Snowden pose a risk?
Ray McGovern: He poses no risk now. What he did pose is a risk to the reputations of the people on this very same committee, who are complicit in gross violations by the NSA of the Fourth Amendment of our Constitution. This goes back to basics. Ed Snowden, like me and like so many other army officers, and others, take one oath, and one oath only, and that is to protect and defend the Constitution of the US against all enemies – foreign and domestic.
Now, he saw the Fourth Amendment being grossly violated. The Fourth Amendment comes out of our experience with the British oppressors way back before our Revolution. It states the right of the people to be secure. So it has to do with personal security – the right of the people to be secure from unreasonable searches and seizures, whether on their persons, their houses, their papers, or effects shall not be violated, and no warrant shall issue except upon probable cause supported by oath or affirmation and specifically defining the places to be searched, or the people or things to be seized. And nothing could be clearer. This was a gross violation.
General [Michael] Hayden, who bowed to Dick Cheney and George Bush’s dictum, said 'go ahead violate that.' He was accused by a former head of NSA, Bobby Ray Inman, as having 'clearly violated the law.' Bill Odom, another predecessor as Director of the NSA, said: 'Hayden should be court-martialed, and the President should be impeached for such a gross violation of the Fourth Amendment.' This is what this is all about. That is why Ed Snowden said we’re about to have “turnkey tyranny” here because everybody is being monitored – you can’t have any protection against unreasonable searches and seizures.
RT: The report also criticized the response of US intelligence to Snowden's revelations, saying it failed to review all of the documents he released thoroughly. Surely intelligence agencies are drilled in how to respond to such leaks?
RM: Well, that shows what we call the eunuch-ism. The House Intelligence Committee members are eunuchs… Apparently, they asked the CIA to do this, or the NSA to do this. [And the response was] ‘thanks very much, but we’re not going to do that.’ Hello! This is overseership? So the so-called oversight committees of the Congress are not only complicit in approving this kind of thing, but they have become more properly called the ‘overlooked committees.’ They like to overlook these things. When push comes to shove here, and Ed Snowden says: “Look, I took this oath to defend the Constitution. I am going to do that, and to do that I have to expose these gross violations.” He does it, and they all fall like a pack of wolves after him saying he’s a ‘Russian spy.' Give me a break! I thought that went out about three decades ago.
RT: US officials have focused more on Snowden's punishment, rather than what he actually revealed. Why has that been the case?
RM: It is quite simple. They make these charges about ‘grave damage’ having occurred. It reminds me of Bradley Manning, Chelsea Manning now, when he or she released those documents on war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and all kinds of chicanery in the State Department, Robert Gates, the Head of the Department of Defense, came up and said: “This is awful. This endangers our troops. People are going to be get killed because of that.” And the Head of the Senate’s Armed Services Committee said: “Well, please give me a memo on that. I am interested in that.” Six weeks later the memo came back signed by Gates, and it’s said: “Well, actually, our fears and our charges were significantly overwrought.” What I see in this report are charges that are unsubstantiated, as well as significantly overwrought. Many of them are just petty little things that are shown on the record to be erroneous.
For example, they say that Snowden got out of the Army Special Forces training because he had shin splints. Oh my God! The army records show he fractures. He was on crutches when he was released. How can they falsify that? It is going to be in Barton Gellman’s book. And Gellman has looked at this stuff now. He was one of the people who interviewed. And what he says is that this is contemptuous of fact. He knows these things. It wasn’t shin splints, it was broken legs. That is petty kind of stuff that they are charging Ed Snowden of. And this business is about running into problems with the supervisors. Well, I know about that. Because one of his co-workers went to Forbes magazine and she said, ‘You know, I don’t know if Edward Snowden did the right thing or not, but I really hate the character assassination because Ed was a terrific guy. He defended us when our managers came down hard on us for no good reason. He stood up for us… And now it’s coming out that he was insubordinate with his bosses. Well, good for him if he was defending his co-workers.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.