The former head of the NSA, General Keith Alexander, has claimed numerous times that Edward Snowden's leaks about the NSA's vast spying programs on innocent American citizens and overseas allies has put the U.S. at serious risk.
Alexander told Fox News last Tuesday that Snowden's NSA leaks could cost lives.
"I think this will haunt [Snowden] for the rest of his life," claimed Alexander. "Here's a young guy who made some huge mistakes."
However, Glenn Greenwald, one of the journalists that Edward Snowden originally contacted, noted today on The Intercept that the NSA is gladly leaking secret information about its programs in order to help its poor public image.
Greenwald points to a glowing article about the NSA and Alexander in The Los Angeles Times, which states:
In Iraq, for example, the National Security Agency went from intercepting only about half of enemy signals and taking hours to process them to being able to collect, sort and make available every Iraqi email, text message and phone-location signal in real time, said John “Chris” Inglis, who recently retired as the NSA’s top civilian.
The overhaul, which Alexander ordered shortly after taking leadership of the agency in August 2005, enabled U.S. ground commanders to find out when an insurgent leader had turned on his cellphone, where he was and whom he was calling.
However, this has never been revealed before, says Greenwald, who writes, "Inglis just revealed to the world that the NSA was–is?–intercepting every single email, text message, and phone-location signal in real time for the entire country of Iraq."
"Obviously, the fact that the NSA has this capability, and used it, is Top Secret," added Greenwald. "What authority did Chris Inglis have to disclose this? Should a Department of Justice leak investigation be commenced?"
In 2013, The Washington Post also featured NSA-authorized leaks by the NSA, which bragged how the spy agency was helping the U.S. government kill people, suspected of terrorism, overseas.
Alexander, who retired last Friday, also tooted his own horn and slammed millions of Americans who do not wish to be secretly spied upon by the NSA.
"I think our nation has drifted into the wrong place," said Alexander. "We need to recognize that those who are working to protect our nation are not the bad people."
"What the Church and Pike committees found [was] that people were doing things that were wrong," added Alexander. "That's not happening here."
However, a federal judge ruled in December 2013 that the telephone spying by the NSA “likely” violates the US Constitution, reported McClatchydc.com.
The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board said in January that the NSA spying program was ineffective and illegal. The board recommended “that the government end the program,” reported MSNBC.
NSA director Keith Alexander has contradicted himself more than once in front of Congress.
In May, he laughed off suggestions that the NSA was trying to gather information on all Americans.
But in late September, Alexander admitted: "I believe it is in the nation's best interest to put all the phone records into a lockbox, yes."
Back in July, Alexander made the claim that NSA eavesdropping on Americans had foiled 54 terrorist plots and events.
According to NBC News,
As of last Friday, the U.S. government disrupted 54 terrorist activities using information collected under the controversial "Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act" and "Section 215 of the Patriot Act," the director of the National Security Agency said Thursday.
Gen. Keith Alexander said these programs enabled the United States to disrupt 54 "events," 42 of which "involved disrupted plots."
However, Alexander had to walk back that fib today when he was questioned by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), noted Salon.com.
Sen. Leahy asked Alexander about these plots that had supposedly been stopped because the NSA was spying on Americans' phone records.
“There is no evidence that phone records collection helped to thwart dozens or even several terrorist plots. These weren’t all plots and they weren’t all foiled. Would you agree with that, yes or no?” Sen. Leahy asked Alexander.
“Yes,” stated Alexander.
The National Security Agency (NSA) admitted today that some NSA employees have abused their power to spy on the American people.
This statement contradicts President Obama, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and National Security Agency head Army General Keith Alexander, who have all denied the NSA has abused its spying powers on Americans.
Ironically, the NSA statement supports claims made by whistleblower Edward Snowden, whom the Obama administration has charged with multiple crimes.
The NSA told Bloomberg News today: “Over the past decade, very rare instances of willful violations of NSA’s authorities have been found. NSA takes very seriously allegations of misconduct, and cooperates fully with any investigations, responding as appropriate. NSA has zero tolerance for willful violations of the agency’s authorities.”
The NSA added that this spying violated President Reagan's 1981 Executive Order 12333, which governs U.S. intelligence.
However, on Wednesday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that President Obama is standing by his statement that “there is no spying on Americans,” which is simply not true per the NSA's statement today.
Additionally, Army General Keith Alexander, director of the NSA, claimed on August 8 that “no one has willfully or knowingly disobeyed the law or tried to invade your civil liberties or privacy.”
The NSA also debunked Sen. Feinstein who said on August 16 that her intelligence committee “has never identified an instance in which the NSA has intentionally abused its authority to conduct surveillance for inappropriate purposes.”
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) claimed on July 28 that there were “zero privacy violations” in the NSA's collection of information on Americans.
A NSA document released on August 21 showed that the NSA tapped up to 56,000 electronic communications a year from Americans not suspected of having links to terrorism.
Another document released by the NSA revealed that the secret FISA court ruled that the NSA misrepresented surveillance operations three times in less than three years.
Source: Bloomberg News