News / USA

White House Declines Comment on NSA Whistleblower

View of the White House and South Lawn fountain, Washington, May 28, 2013.View of the White House and South Lawn fountain, Washington, May 28, 2013.
x
View of the White House and South Lawn fountain, Washington, May 28, 2013.
View of the White House and South Lawn fountain, Washington, May 28, 2013.
The White House has declined to comment on the revelation of the identity of former CIA employee Edward Snowden, who leaked information about top secret U.S. government surveillance programs.
 
On Sunday, Snowden, a 29-year-old technician who worked for the CIA and later as a contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA), outed himself in interviews with The Guardian newspaper and The Washington Post.
 
Edward Snowden, who has been working at the National Security Agency for the past four years, speaking during an interview with The Guardian newspaper at an undisclosed location in Hong Kong, June 6, 2013.Edward Snowden, who has been working at the National Security Agency for the past four years, speaking during an interview with The Guardian newspaper at an undisclosed location in Hong Kong, June 6, 2013.
x
Edward Snowden, who has been working at the National Security Agency for the past four years, speaking during an interview with The Guardian newspaper at an undisclosed location in Hong Kong, June 6, 2013.
Edward Snowden, who has been working at the National Security Agency for the past four years, speaking during an interview with The Guardian newspaper at an undisclosed location in Hong Kong, June 6, 2013.
Snowden said he disclosed secret documents to protect "basic liberties for people around the world." In a video interview with The Guardian, he acknowledged he could face prosecution, but he said he felt compelled to take the actions he did.
 
"Over time, that awareness of wrongdoing sort of builds up and you feel compelled to talk about it, and the more you talk about it the more you are ignored, the more you are told it's not a problem, until eventually you realize that these things need to be determined by the public, not by somebody who was simply hired by the government," he said.
 
The revelations were about "PRISM," an NSA program that gathers huge amounts of metadata from Internet companies, although intelligence officials say it does not target American citizens.
 
Another program collects data about phone calls. President Obama has said this does not mean authorities listen to Americans' phone conversations, which would require further approval by a special intelligence court.
 
Press Secretary Jay Carney declined Monday to comment specifically about Snowden, noting that the Department of Justice is investigating the unauthorized disclosure of classified information.
 
"The programs we have discussed because of the leaks that have happened lately, while legitimate subject of debate and discussion, we talk about the balance necessary," said Carney. "All involve court approval; they involve congressional review and oversight."
 
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence said the intelligence community is reviewing "damage from recent disclosures," adding that "any person who has a security clearance knows that he or she has an obligation to protect classified information and abide by the law."
 
There is now intense new debate across the United States about tradeoffs between security and privacy, and what many Americans consider unconstitutional government intrusions.
 
Last week, President Obama said Americans cannot expect 100 percent security and 100 percent privacy. He said the programs are under strict supervision, and that leaks increase vulnerability to terrorist attacks.
 
"Our goal is to stop folks from doing us harm, and if every step that we are taking to try to prevent a terrorist act is on the front page of the newspapers or on television, then presumably the people who are trying to do us harm are going to be able to get around our preventive measures," he said.
 
A recent Rasmussen poll found that 68 percent of Americans believe the government is listening to their telephone conversations, with 59 percent of likely voters opposing the practice of collecting phone data.
 
Since Snowden revealed his identity as the source of the leak, a petition supporting him and calling him a "national hero" and asking President Obama to pardon him was posted on a petition forum on the White House website.
 
Jay Carney declined any specific comment on the petition other than to note that guidelines require petitions to have at least 100,000 signatures before the White House issues a response.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

Ali Regained Title in Historic Fight 40 Years Ago

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: DORAI RAJ L from: Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.
June 10, 2013 10:06 PM
Obama has already expressed his opinion that there is no chance for 100 % privacy anywhere on globe. Yes. It is correct. Nobody can completely escape from being watched by others. And at least for some positive causes, one should be ready to expose of all. This is the only solution to protect the citizens from threats.


by: Mike from: Sweden
June 10, 2013 6:01 PM
---in an interview with a Swedish news paper.

"He [Snowden] is weighing in heavier than Watergate"
"The revelation about the American surveillance programmes is, according to the political science professor Lennart Lundquist, both brave and well thought through. It is enormously important, and much larger than anything previously seen along these lines, he continued"

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid