By Meredith Clark
The leaders of the Congressional intelligence committees said Sunday they oppose any possibility of clemency for Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who released thousands of documents shedding light on the agency’s constant global surveillance.
Nearly five months after the first reports based on the documents were published, Snowden – who is living in Russian under temporary asylum – requested clemency through a German member of parliament. Snowden also suggested he would be willing to testify before Congress about NSA abuses and help German authorities investigate allegations of U.S. spying on their country.
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) have been forceful defenders of the intrusive and secretive surveillance programs, many of which collect private information from US citizens and companies without their knowledge.
The revelations, which have appeared chiefly in The Washington Post and the Guardian, have stoked public outrage and harmed U.S. diplomatic relations with many key allies.
By Hadas Gold
“The president should stop apologizing, stop being defensive,: the New York Republican said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “The reality is the NSA has saved thousands of lives not just in the United States but in France, Germany and throughout Europe.”
“Quite frankly, the NSA has done so much for our country and so much for the president, he’s the commander in chief. He should stand with the NSA,” King said.
The federal government has access to a massive database of 25 years of AT&T phone data, NBC News has confirmed, as part of a secret program in which phone company employees work alongside local and federal law enforcement agents to track the phone calls of suspected drug dealers.
As first reported by the New York Times, the Hemisphere Project is at least six years old and has access to the data from every call coming through an AT&T switchboard back to 1987. The pool grows by billions of calls a day, includes information on the location of callers, and is larger than the controversial database maintained by the NSA, which goes back five years.
David Miranda, partner of Guardian interviewer of
whistleblower Edward Snowden, questioned under Terrorism Act
The partner of the Guardian journalist who has written a series of stories revealing mass surveillance programmes by the US National Security Agency was held for almost nine hours on Sunday by UK authorities as he passed through London‘s Heathrow airport on his way home to Rio de Janeiro.
David Miranda, who lives with Glenn Greenwald, was returning from a trip to Berlin when he was stopped by officers at 8.05am and informed that he was to be questioned under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. The controversial law, which applies only at airports, ports and border areas, allows officers to stop, search, question and detain individuals.
The 28-year-old was held for nine hours, the maximum the law allows before officers must release or formally arrest the individual. Accordingto official figures, most examinations under schedule 7 – over 97% – last under an hour, and only one in 2,000 people detained are kept for more than six hours.
Miranda was released, but officials confiscated electronics equipment including his mobile phone, laptop, camera, memory sticks, DVDs and games consoles.
Since 5 June, Greenwald has written a series of stories revealing theNSA‘s electronic surveillance programmes, detailed in thousands of files passed to him by whistleblower Edward Snowden. The Guardian has also published a number of stories about blanket electronic surveillance by Britain’s GCHQ, also based on documents from Snowden.
While in Berlin, Miranda had visited Laura Poitras, the US film-maker who has also been working on the Snowden files with Greenwald and the Guardian.
“He is a transit passenger in the transit zone and is still there now,” Putin said. “Mr. Snowden is a free man. The sooner he selects his final destination point, the better both for us and for himself.”
Putin said Snowden’s arrival in Russia was “completely unexpected.”
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The Interfax news agency also quoted an unidentified Russian security source in Moscow as saying that Snowden wasn’t on the plane.
The airline said earlier Snowden registered for the flight using his U.S. passport, which American officials say has been annulled.
After spending a night in Moscow’s airport, the former National Security Agency contractor — and admitted leaker of state secrets — had been expected to fly to Cuba and Venezuela en route to possible asylum in Ecuador.