Hmmm…Tough Questions for the State Department Spokesperson Re: Edward Snowden

The video below is the briefing given by State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki on July 12.  On Glenn Greenwald’s twitter feed, he and others were giving props to the tough questions asked by one reporter especially.  Given that Dan Froomkin identified the reporter asking the tough questions as the AP’s State Department reporter Matthew Lee, it might cause us to wonder if his questions about the State Department wanting to limit Edward Snowden’s free speech and other Constitutionally guaranteed rights is one healthy net result of the discovery that the AP reporters had been spied on.  But this is very cool, as Glenn Greenwald and others noted back in May?.  Will it become an actual trend beyond what GG had noted earlier?

The transcript of the briefing is here if you don’t want to watch the video; the questions about Snowden start almost immediately and go on until about minute 26.

Extras: The dailydot shows 9 ways that the NSA can track you without a warrant.

If you haven’t read it yet, Glenn’s ‘deadman’s switch’ piece refuting what Reuter’s had recently claimed he’d said in an interview with an Argentinean newspaper is important for pushing back on propaganda.

When you give many interviews in different countries and say essentially the same thing over and over, as I do, media outlets often attempt to re-package what you’ve said to make their interview seem new and newsworthy, even when it isn’t. Such is the case with this Reuters article today, that purports to summarize an interview I gave to the daily newspaper La Nacion of Argentina.

Like everything in the matter of these NSA leaks, this interview is being wildly distorted to attract attention away from the revelations themselves. It’s particularly being seized on to attack Edward Snowden and, secondarily, me, for supposedly “blackmailing” and “threatening” the US government. That is just absurd.

Also noteworthy are comments of Putin’s reported by the Boston Globe (h/t Kevin Gosztola); in part:

MOSCOW — President Vladimir V. Putin told an audience of students on Monday that the United States had effectively trapped Edward J. Snowden, the fugitive former intelligence contractor, on Russian territory by frightening countries that otherwise might have accepted him.

When Putin insisted that Russia did not want Snowden to cause damage to the United States, the students laughed out loud. [snip]

“He arrived on our territory without an invitation,” Putin said. “He didn’t fly to us; he flew in transit to other countries. But only when it became known that he was in the air, our American partners, in fact, blocked him from flying further.

“They themselves scared all other countries; no one wants to take him, and in this way they themselves in fact blocked him on our territory. Such a present for us for Christmas.”

 “All I can say right now is the U.S. government is not going to be able to cover this up by jailing or murdering me. Truth is coming, and it cannot be stopped.

 ~ Edward Snowden

We hope like hell it can’t be stopped; stay safe, Edward Snowden.  Nor do we know which files, slides, and other reveals are still on their way.

Funny or Die had a little fun with NSA recruitment…

(cross-posted at

13 responses to “Hmmm…Tough Questions for the State Department Spokesperson Re: Edward Snowden

  1. These are a few more Extras for folks who want more. I’d emailed myself a zillion links in order to create sometime soon a wide-ranging primer on the NSA links, analysis, and fallout, but got caught by this briefing video.

    This cool photo shows Richard Stallman and Julian Assange holding up the newest in ‘Yes We Can’ renderings. ;-)

    This video was published on Jul 15, 2013:

    “Snowden and Assange besieged but not defeated, while privacy has a better chance now than it had before. We talk to freedom activist and free software developer Richard Stallman, who believes the fight against the total surveillance on the part of the governments is far from over. The founder of GNU project and Free software foundation speaks to Sophie Shevardnadze on SophieCo about the recent leaks of the NSA and social media.”

    This is a Q and A between Salon’s Falgguni Sheth and Glenn Greenwald in which GG says that he’s gratified and surprised at Americans’ reactions to his reporting on the massive surveillance state.

    A link to a petition to fire James Clapper for lying to and spying on us just came in by email from Partnership for Civil Justice. (Not to mention that he lied to Congress as well…)

    And at AJE: ‘US faces ire of Latin America over spying: nations come together to express alarm at ‘claims’ of widespread US spying on allies and critics alike’ (with video)

    From der Spiegel: ‘Partner and Target: NSA Snoops on 500 Million German Data Connections’ by Laura Poitras, Marcel Rosenbach and Holger Stark”

    The NSA, it turns out, is more active in Germany than in any other of the EU’s 27 member states. By comparison, during the same time frame, the Americans only recorded data on an average of 2 million connections in France each day. The documents also show that the NSA is primarily interested in important Internet hubs in southern and western Germany. Frankfurt, for example, plays an important role in the global Internet infrastructure, and the city is listed as a central base for the country.

    One top secret document also states that while Germany may be a partner, it is still also a target of the NSA’s electronic snooping. According to the document, Germany is a so-called “3rd party foreign partner.” The only countries that are explicitly excluded from spying attacks are Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK. “We can, and often do, target the signals of most 3d party foreign partners,” a slide from an internal presentation states.”

    Take that, Germany!

    From the Guardian: ‘‘US ‘disappointed’ with China for letting Edward Snowden leave Hong Kong’
    Refusal to extradite NSA whistleblower ‘not consistent with the new type of relationship we both seek to build’

  2. Wendye, I thank you for featuring this press conference because the AP reporter is homing in on the very substance of Snowden’s consistent theme and we each of us have a tendency to go off on one of the many tangents – instead of the focus rays of a prism, which is that unsettling logo, for us it is refraction, encouraged by the proliferation of criminal activities in which our government has been involved. Bewildered, we take a stab, here or there.

    That proliferation is mindboggling. We also need a prismlike attention to the matter at hand, and the video beautifully illustrates the manner in which this can occur. And instead of ‘one thousand points of light’ we can have a thousand, a million, even a billion and more globally, prisms – each focussing on whatever the important matter at hand is for them. But above all Edward Snowden’s focus is, I believe, identical with the focus of that reporter in that room.

  3. I have been meaning to also say somewhere that at this very moment the eighteenth convocation of the Trans Pacific Partnership discussions is taking place in a swank resort in Maylasia.

    In secret, of course.

  4. imagining your use of the prism metaphor, i did find myself wondering why they named that part, wing… of the program such. a man in truchas traded me an eight or nine-inch prism for some macrame work he wanted. it almost seemed that i remembered that it could be used as a magnifying glass if held one way, then as a distorting lens, and a rainbow maker of various light beams refracted.

    so…i went and looked up definitions. this #5 on one site may answer my original question: “A medium that misrepresents whatever is seen through it.”

    But yeppers, let’s turn those ‘dispersed lights’ back on them, and keep tryin’ to make the world safe for whistleblowers…and us.

    thank you for the ttp reminder. consider what any of these nsa twined with multinational profiteers can do to line their pockets and concentrate their power. we need leakers for the hideous trade deal language in the worst sort of way! but as kgb pointed out, soliciting such is tantamount to soliciting a criminal act.

  5. Here’s an action taking place next Saturday in New Zealand, so our Friday as they’re a day ahead.

    The comments are interesting – I don’t know how widespread this might be but maybe with bombs being dropped on Australia’s Barrier Reef, more kiwis could be thinking this is getting downright untenable.

  6. On the other hand, maybe this is going to be claiming more attention. (Wellington is far more vulnerable than Christchurch, and we know what happened there.)

  7. what a great sounding action! the big white balls: are they biospheres of some sort? even kit

    and i’d seen news of the earthquake earlier, but that’s a whole lot of aftershocks, no? ‘swarms’; i’d never heard that term. yes, the ‘accidental’ bomb drop on the barrier reef was hideous plus. ‘O ye masters of war’ and destruction of life. fuck them, seriously.

  8. The Sunday quake was actually bigger than what destroyed Christchurch but out in the ocean between the two main islands. But this kind of swarm is very similar to what happened in Christchurch, and the initial large quake was up and down, then the bigger Sunday one side to side.

    I’m not sure what that picture is, wendye – haven’t seen anything like it down there, but I haven’t been back in a while. I just posted this in our chat, but it is so nasty it needs more dispersal:

  9. when i was quite young, i had this fanciful thought that our big blue green planet would tire of the cavalier ways we were harming her, and might just shrug humanity off in various ways. the images were akin to the way we might toss and shake a heavy quilt to rid it of woolyboogers and fezziwigs.

    …and leave it to the dolphins and cockroaches and what evolutionary next steps might bring the next time. with increased evidence that many of the natural disasters the planet is seeing as influenced by human causes, the image wasn’t as offbeat as one may have reckoned.

    good piece, bad news from NZ. science/schmience, eh? the biotech industry says it’s all good, then: good it is. one slight correction (and i looked it up to be sure), approval of those bt crops was only *delayed* until EISs are completed, not human health studies. i mean, that’s at least something, i guess.


    I forget where you asked me about these buildings, wendye – but my response was certainly unhelpful – we are innocents, aren’t we? These are the NZ equivalent of the NSA building in Utah – a lovely sounding place, Waihopai, but no ecological geodesic domes these – GCSB is the acronym. The protest is getting traction.

  11. Yes, a slight correction to your slight correction above, wendye. They were only waiting to get another ‘fast track’ in place, apparently.

  12. well, those were roundUp ready canola seeds, but yeah…Obomba announced the fast-tracking in his last sotu, so…lock and load, and Kapow! biosphere and food supply if the 2,4-D ones and others get fast-tracked, too. thing is, some folks believe we’re already past the tipping point on a lot of the biotech-fiddled crops. and no government studies in the US, which really rankles.

    imagine what changes these things have wrought already in humans, much less animals who are fed this stuff. oh, not to mention they don’t even work as intended. kinda like ‘the war on terr’ism’, eh?

    lord luv a duck. they should all be in prison, seriously, for crimes against humanity.

    ah; GCSB. i remember the acronym. spy domes, i guess. keeping Them safe from Us. thanks for setting me straight. ;-)

  13. Reading the wikipedia entry for GCSB after looking up the meaning of ‘waihopai’ – it means ‘the water of Pai’, though curiously a city at the bottom of the South Island, Invercargill, has the same maori name, whereas the location of the two white domes is near Blenheim, up the other end (no doubt to confuse saboteurs.) And Blenheim was very close to the epicentre of the earthquake I was mentioning elsewhere.

    Also, the domes are of kevlar, covering large electronic communications discs, and are deflatable, as one was during a Ploughshare protest – those people do get around.

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