By Aaron Kesel
The government has stolen funds from former National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden through a judge’s order, which declared that any money made from his memoir and paid speeches because he disclosed classified information without approval can be seized, The Washington Post reported.
Judge Liam O’Grady ruled in the government’s favor stating: “The contractual language of the Secrecy Agreements is unambiguous,” he wrote. “Snowden accepted employment and benefits conditioned upon prepublication review obligations.”
Snowden’s attorneys said they disagreed with the court’s decision and will review their options.
“It’s farfetched to believe that the government would have reviewed Mr. Snowden’s book or anything else he submitted in good faith. For that reason, Mr. Snowden preferred to risk his future royalties than to subject his experiences to improper government censorship,” Brett Max Kaufman, a staff attorney with the ACLU’s Center for Democracy and member of Snowden’s legal team, said in a statement.
Washington Post noted that Snowden has been charged with espionage since 2013, when he exposed top-secret surveillance documents and fled to Russia for asylum against the U.S. government.
Snowden recently released his memoir called Permanent Record which delves into his life and what transpired that caused him to become a whistleblower.
Such action taken by the government might make Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies go viral which are borderless payment solutions that the former NSA whistleblower could use to accept payments for his book and speeches. Bitcoin payments are trustless and the government would be left without the ability to intervene.
In a tweet on Sept. 17, Snowden responded to news Washington was suing him over the content of his new book, Permanent Record.
“In conclusion this is good for Bitcoin,” he wrote.
Snowden quickly rose to prominence in 2013, after leaking classified information on widespread warrantless NSA surveillance programs like XKeyscore and PRISM to The Guardian and The Washington Post. In fact, the first Snowden leak was a FISA order issued to Verizon under Section 702 that required the company to turn over all of its calling records to the NSA.
FISA was enacted in 1978 as a response to illegal domestic surveillance operations revealed by two Senate committees in the 1970s, including President Richard Nixon’s use of federal intelligence agencies to monitor his political opponents. It was brought into law “to authorize electronic surveillance to obtain foreign intelligence information.”
The law requires the government to obtain a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court before setting up an electronic or physical wiretap targeted at foreigners and foreign agents.
Congress amended FISA in 2007 to let the government wiretap communications that either begin or end outside the United States jurisdiction without Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court approval; in a stronger 2008 overhaul, they further limited that power to non-U.S. persons. The last reauthorization of the Act was in 2012, which set the current expiration date of Dec. 31, 2017.
The FISA law has long been criticized by privacy and civil liberties advocates like the EFF who say the order allows broad, intrusive spying without oversight. The section first gained renewed attention following the 2013 disclosures by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden that the agency carried out widespread monitoring of emails and other electronic communications through PRISM, XKeyscore, Upstream and other NSA surveillance programs.
Activist Post covered XKeyscore and PRISM in extensive detail when the revelations happened. XKeyscore, which in 2008 was on 750 servers on 150 sites around the globe, served as the point of entry for most of the information that was collected by the NSA.
NSA agents would easily be able to gather information using XKeyscore’s system; the operator could then trawl through billions of emails and online chat sessions, or check sites visited by specific computers by using IP addresses.
It’s worth noting that this author recently wrote an article on Palantir, the company that was accused of providing the technology that enables NSA’s mass surveillance PRISM. In that article, we went into extensive detail about Palantir’s history as a company and the development of software used at Fusion Centers across the U.S.
Palantir’s software in many ways is similar to the Prosecutor’s Management Information System (PROMIS) stolen software Main Core and may be the next evolution in that code, which allegedly predated PRISM. In 2008, Salon.com published details about a top-secret government database that might have been at the heart of the Bush administration’s domestic spying operations. The database known as “Main Core” reportedly collected and stored vast amounts of personal and financial data about millions of Americans in event of an emergency like Martial Law.
Snowden’s documents made no mention of Main Core to this writer’s knowledge, and according to sources only a small amount of people even know that the domestic database exists. Some of the programs that Snowden did leak include the following – MUSCULAR, CO-TRAVELER, Dishfire, and Tailored Access Operations.
As Activist Post reported, Snowden has since begun a new campaign to fight back against corporate surveillance by Instagram and its parent company Facebook, as well as YouTube, which is owned by Google.
In a tweet rant posted on Twitter earlier this year, Snowden expressed that both social media giants owned by Mark Zuckerberg were involved in spying on their users, as well as YouTube. Snowden also announced that he has created new accounts on the platforms and that he will explain how the sites spy on users. He added that he would “explain methods to limit how much they know about you,” if you choose to use them.
Snowden has a lot of influence and could cause Bitcoin to be accepted by many others if the whistleblower chooses to. The former NSA employee has previously embraced cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin, and said he may look to put his wealth into Bitcoin, as Cointelegraph reported.
It is further worth noting that Bitcoin was the medium of choice he used to pay for servers used in a leak of data from the National Security Agency.