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Greenwald on ‘coming’ leak: NSA can obtain one billion cell phone calls a day, store them and listen

RT | June 29, 2013

The NSA has a “brand new” technology that enables one billion cell phone calls to be redirected into its data hoards, according to the Guardian’s Glen Greenwald, who told a Chicago conference that a new leak of Snowden’s documents was ‘coming soon.’

Calling it part of a “globalized system to destroy all privacy,” and the enduring creation of a climate of fear, Greenwald outlined the capabilities of the NSA to store every single call while having “the capability to listen to them at any time,” while speaking via Skype to the Socialism Conference in Chicago, on Friday.

Greenwald was the first journalist to leak Snowden’s documents, having travelled to Hong Kong to review them prior to exposure.

“What we’re really talking about here is a globalized system that prevents any form of electronic communication from taking place without its being stored and monitored by the National Security Agency,” he said.

While he underlined that the NSA are not necessarily listening in on the full billion calls, he pointed out their capability to do so and the lack of accountability with “virtually no safeguards” which the NSA were being held to.

The Guardian journalist made hints that he was sitting on further details of the NSA’s billion-call backlog, which he’d keep under wraps until the documents’ full publication, which he said was “coming soon.”

He additionally suggested future exposures to come from Snowden, while lauding the sheer risk the whistleblower took in revealing the NSA’s covert surveillance program.

“More a recluse than a fame whore”

Greenwald spoke highly of Snowden throughout, saying that he apparently lacked remorse, regret and fear, while not seeking notoriety of any form.

“He’s a person who has zero privilege, zero power, zero position and zero prestige, and yet by himself he has literally changed the world,” Greenwald said of Snowden, using him as an example of the powers individuals still have.

“Courage is contagious,” he said, commenting on the demonization of whistleblowers, and saying it was necessary as Snowden could potentially set an example – something that Snowden himself aimed to do, as he had been looking for a leader to fix the problems inherent in the US system, but found nobody.

“There is more to life than material comfort or career stability… he thought about himself by the actions he took in pursuit of those beliefs,” said Greenwald.

He outlined his meeting with the NSA whistleblower, who he said contacted him anonymously via email suggesting Greenwald might be ‘interested’ in looking over the documents – a suggestion labeled by Greenwald to be “the world’s largest understatement of the decade.”

After Snowden sent Greenwald an “appetizer,” of the documents he had on hand, Greenwald recalled being dizzy with “ecstasy and elation.”

“Climate of Fear”

It was Snowden’s exposure of the documents while operating in a highly surveilled environment that Greenwald was particularly complimentary about, citing an intensifying “climate of fear” being pushed on people who may be hazardous to the government.

“One of the things that has been most disturbing over the past three to four years has been this climate of fear that has emerged in exactly the circles that are supposed to challenge the government… the real investigative journalists who are at these outlets who do real reporting are petrified of the US government now. Their sources are beyond petrified,” he commented.

He called Friday’s scandal over the US army’s blocking of the Guardian website a prize of “a significant level above” a Pulitzer or a Peabody, pointing out the seeming contradiction that soldiers fighting for the country were considered mature and responsible enough to put their lives on the line, but clearly weren’t ‘mature’ enough to be exposed to the same information that the rest of the world was accessing.

“If you talk to anybody in journalism or in the government, they are petrified of even moving. It has been impossible to get anyone inside the government to call us back,” said Greenwald, throwing some thought on the possible reasoning behind people contacting the press regarding the actions of government.

“If you look at who really hates Bradley Manning or who has expressed the most contempt about Wikileaks or who has led the chorus in demonizing Edward Snowden, it is those very people in the media who pretend to want transparency because transparency against political power is exactly what they don’t want,” he opined.

Greenwald finished by pointing out the increasing reluctance for people in government to even communicate with journalists, while highlighting the usage of the mass surveillance program to keep an eye on both dissident groups and Muslim communities.

“There’s a climate of fear in exactly those factions that are most intended to put a check on those in power and that has been by design,” Greenwald stated, saying that Snowden was a prime example that people could stand up to the government, and that there was no need to be afraid of publishing “whatever it is we think should be published in the public good.”

June 29, 2013 - Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , , , , ,


  1. I’m wondering if our Planet’s population has stopped to think about all the implications from NSA hoovering up everything. Every last soul wandering our world that has emailed, texted, sexted, phoned, cell phoned, whispered in private, and/or otherwise are now in that godawful NSA spooky volumes of data. EVERYONE! Pretty damn uncool and Big Brother could have taken lessons from these freaks.


    Comment by skulzstudios | June 29, 2013 | Reply

  2. What Glenn Greenwald has described is REPRESSION. A term of profound significance in what is proclaimed to be an open democracy. Miriam-Webster defines it as.: ‘Definition of REPRESSION
    a : the action or process of repressing : the state of being repressed
    b : an instance of repressing ‘

    Therefore, with the 4th of July about to be given some lip-service, will be a total act of hypocrisy unless Edward Snowden is acknowledged as a hero, a champion of defending out right to know of the violations of our rights by those who have the responsibility to protect and defend them.

    This 4th of July we should be protesting the repression coming from the White House, Congress, the Court, mass media, and general acquiescence by means of diversion, distraction, and thereby repression of the most urgent issues of the moment, a totalitarian police state under the electronic heel of the National Security Administration – NSA.

    Therefore, ‘We, the people’ should be calling for the impeachment of Obama and his goons, and to abolish the NSA.


    Comment by Bill Mitchell | June 30, 2013 | Reply

  3. A system such as that described here absolutely precludes the possibility of any form of democracy. Any non-violent transfer of power would be thwarted by blackmail or campaigns of personal destruction.

    Ditto for market economics. The advantages that can be granted to those with connections are absolutely devastating to any form of real competition.

    Little wonder that we have such a decline in transparency and a trend toward secrecy in governance. Those with access to the ‘intelligence’ can use it to crush any challenge to their ongoing accumulation of wealth and power.


    Comment by aletho | June 30, 2013 | Reply

  4. The US media is not reporting Greenwald’s latest revelations – they are reporting only that the EU offices were bugged – their response was “everyone does it – no big deal.”

    If this is true, then Snowden is a genius. He gave the media something relatively small that many people already knew – and let them beat him up, let them give him their worst shot – – NOW he reveals the real damage that he has – drip – drip – drip!

    I find it hard to believe that Wikileaks does not already posses all the NSA data that Snowden has.

    God bless Edward Snowden!

    FREE Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning!


    Comment by JohnJ | June 30, 2013 | Reply

  5. There is NO NEW information here. Everyone knew the Israeli controlled NSA filth were snooping on internet and phone calls. This is another “Wikileaks” type of operation where USELESS information is released to portray the “mainstream” Israeli media as a watchdog of the govt. Where is the revelation that ISRAELI companies do most of the snooping? Where is the revelation that ISRAEL did 9/11?

    If the “mainstream” media is covering a story, you KNOW there is DECEPTION


    Comment by Goliath | July 1, 2013 | Reply

    • The “new information” being that the deniability of this reality is much diminished.

      Of course, law-breakers have never trusted the privacy of these communication systems. So, the applicability of this “leak” is to general and political communication and those who engage in it.

      Is it the purpose of the “revelations” to create a chill in dissident communication?

      Is Snowden still acting as an operative?

      Was this a step toward those in power being able to openly utilize the intelligence that they have been amassing? To lay claim to the illegitimate as a fait accompli?

      These are highly relevant questions that we shall keep front and center as we analyze the new, openly acknowledged, paradigm that the media is metering out.

      Within the new framework of public understanding, implications of this reality need to be examined thoroughly. Digesting these releases is a necessary part of that.


      Comment by aletho | July 1, 2013 | Reply

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