You read the headline right: "Edward Snowden is lying his ass off about the NSA and PRISM." And now I will show you the evidence:
#1. He's lied about his salary already.
Snowden said he was making $200,000 at Booz Allen Hamilton, Booz Allen Hamilton says they only paid him $122,000 - and fired him. Furthermore, he only worked at Booz Allen for three months before taking off, so he didn't even get that much, since that figure is an annual salary.
#2. He's also lied about his job history.
Let's see here: High-school dropout, US Army but discharged for injuring himself during training (having never seen active duty), worked at the NSA as a security guard, quit to hop over to the CIA, merrily skipped back to Booz Allen to subcontract with the NSA again... and every place he's worked at was a few months steady employment at a time. Oh, and he worked undercover all over the world, too. Has anybody else heard of anybody getting such globe-trotting, glamorous mileage out of a GED? Apparently all you people out there sweating four years of college have the system all wrong.
Here's several doubts raised in this Washington Post article:
"For instance, Snowden said he did not have a high school diploma. One former CIA official said that it was extremely unusual for the agency to have hired someone with such thin academic credentials, particularly for a technical job, and that the terms Snowden used to describe his agency positions did not match internal job descriptions.
Snowden’s claim to have been placed under diplomatic cover for a position in Switzerland after an apparently brief stint at the CIA as a systems administrator also raised suspicion. “I just have never heard of anyone being hired with so little academic credentials,” the former CIA official said. The agency does employ technical specialists in overseas stations, the former official said, “but their breadth of experience is huge, and they tend not to start out as systems administrators.”
A former senior U.S. intelligence official cited other puzzling aspects of Snowden’s account, questioning why a contractor for Booz Allen at an NSA facility in Hawaii would have access to something as sensitive as a court order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court."
#3. A freshman high school student could make a better Powerpoint than this.
So far, the entire alleged PPT file has yet to see the light of day. But from what we see of the slides so far, they don't look like anything created by a government entity, no matter how inept government entities may be. They look like they were created by a crazy person who lies a lot and has delusional spy fantasies. (Or, as the media persists in calling him, a "computer whiz". It's like cheez whiz, but with computers.)
The alleged logo, especially?
I was drawing better than this in my first POVRay experiments back in the '90s. If you believe that this is an actual internal logo created by a US government entity to represent their own program, and not something cooked up by a manchild who suffers from mental problems and watching too many Matrix sequels, please go find a marker and write "STUPID" on your forehead as a warning to the rest of us. I want to be sure to give you the right of way when I meet you at an intersection.
#4. He also claims that he, himself, has impossible surveillance powers.
His claim: "But I, sitting at my desk, had the authority to wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant to a federal judge to even the president if I had a personal email."
The Director of the NSA himself has declared this untrue. Not just that Snowden wouldn't have had that level of clearance, but that nobody, even God himself, has that level of clearance. In fact, the technology itself sounds far-fetched; being able to punch in an email and have it come up with the correct line, area code, extensions, and all, internal or external, listed or private, would likely take a database bigger than anything on one of Google's server farms. After all, even Google doesn't crawl every web page!
An NSA and CIA lawyer also calls this an outrageous pack of lies. It just doesn't work that way; not that US Intelligence can't intercept data streams, but that there are processes and red tape in the way, like there are in any government operation.
Ditto for Snowden's claim about the NSA being able to just jack into every technology company on earth whenever it whims. That's also not just not happening, but impossible.
#5. Snowden also manipulated the newspapers to rush the story without fact-checking it.
According to this report, Snowden played the Guardian and the Washington Post off each other, threatening to publish with the other if they first didn't publish soon enough without fact-checking.
#6. I, myself, have worked security for a government contractor.
Snowden claims that he was able to steal documents from the NSA using a USB thumb drive, while working as a security guard.
I don't mention it often because it was just my starter job back in the late '80s and early '90s, and not what I consider my finest achievement, but yeah, I worked the rent-a-cop beat too:
Here's my old badge, if you'll permit the silliness of posting its photo for proof. With a Rubik's cube, just like Snowden has. And yeah, I'm an autodidact too. And while working as a security guard, one of the places I was posted at was a Parker Hannifin facility in Irvine, California, an outfit which made (and still makes, maybe) parts for the aerospace industry, including government vehicles of both a military and space-faring nature. OK, granted, I can't prove anything beyond owning this tin badge I've had put away in a drawer for years, but I'm sure a reporter with FACT-CHECKING SKILLS could verify everything I claim in my work history.
I'm doing this to point out that, despite having been promoted up as high as post commander within Pinkerton and despite having obtained both full weapons permits and some rudimentary government clearance, I was NOT given top-drawer access to every nook and cranny of the inner workings of NASA and Army designs. Anybody with the title of "security guard" would most likely be spending most of their time either in the parking lot, a booth at the gate, or a desk at the lobby, with a side order of scheduled patrol rounds - most of them outside.
Granted, I suppose I could have gathered up armloads of equipment from the facility and run out to the street to heave them onto the sidewalk and scream "Look! Secrets!" but then, I'm not a lying thief like Snowden is.
#7. Snowden's a Paultard.
Yeah, I know, that's not proof or evidence of anything that would discredit him...
...but it ought to be. Can there be any surer calling card of the crazies in our society than contributions to Wrong Paul's campaigns?
#8. Snowden is one of you.
Sure as hell isn't one of us.
But one of you... as his interests along his lifetime are reflected in his digital footprint under the screen name of "The True HOOHA." Yes, far from having left a hackerly "small digital footprint" as many are claiming, he has in fact always been right in front of us, being a whore for attention, clowning it up with juvenile fratboy-ish stunts, being a video game and anime fan, and of course being a Paultard online in forums.
Check this. This, ladies and gentlemen, is your International Man of Mystery, your Hombre Secreto, the guy who says he's, quote, "always been a spy," unquote.
I don't lay the blame entirely on him. He's a sick, pathetic, delusional, wasted con artist with serious mental issues and a few crimes to answer for if even half of his stories are true. I blame the media circus that has been built around this figure. I can't think of a single major publication that hasn't fallen for this human firehose of bullshit, and I'm personally never trusting the "reporters" who broke and built and hyped this story ever again, not even if they just say that water's wet.
Finally, I'm blaming all of you for tolerating this shit. You're wallowing in it. It's not funny. Government is serious business, and once again the Internet Hacktivist Hivemind has ruined the serious business of fixing what's wrong with government.
Please go put yourselves to bed without any supper tonight, and then never give this idiot another minute of attention as long as he lives.
UPDATE And lo it came to pass the very next day, Snowden Is Lying, Say House Intelligence Committee Leaders You're welcome for the tip, Slashdot!
All this howling in the wind will accomplish exactly doodly squat, just like the howling over these non-stories accomplished:
- (end) The Fed
- Net Neutrality
Every summer, huh? Hey, how did #OccupyWallStreet go for you? Huh? You sure changed that 99%-vs-1% situation around, didn't you? But we got that pretty souvenir hashtag out of it. I was right about all of the above being alarmist bread-and-circus prolefeed soap-opera bullshit that didn't mean anything, AND I'M RIGHT ABOUT THIS TOO!
I'll tell you right now: Every bill, law, or act ever to be proposed in Washington forever that brings the "hacktivist" cockroaches out of the Internet IN THE FUTURE will also be alarmist bread-and-circus prolefeed soap-opera bullshit that won't mean anything, pass or not, AND I'M RIGHT ABOUT THAT, TOO, AND EVERYBODY READING THIS KNOWS IT.
Let me put this straight:
I am no longer tolerating willful stupidity in my open source community. I expect it from prepubescent stoned bums hiding in mommy's basement in a nest of filth, not from a corporation.
The government is not snooping anything in 2013 that it wasn't already snooping in 2003, 1993, 1983, 1973, 1963...
It does not matter how much data the government collects. The US intelligence and antiterror community is already the most enormous and inefficient bureaucracy in human history. They aready have 25 copies in 13 agency branches of everything you think you're going to stop them from collecting. Let them collect more data they can't read, can't parse, can't process, can't afford to warehouse. LET THEM CHOKE ON IT
This whole moronic fiasco over the NSA and PRISM is a fake, contrived, reality-show, tabloid piece timed precisely at the first day of summer vacation to give delusional students something to piss about for three months and then forget forever. The petition goes nowhere, does nothing, couldn't change anything even if it did do something.
Not only is this not how a first-world democracy works, you are not even smart enough to participate in one.
Every word that has come out of Edward Snowden's mouth is a BIG FAT LIE, which WILL be demonstrated presently as soon as the fact-checking branches of the media (if such an animal exists, hello out there?) catch up with his BIG FAT LYING MOUTH.
Everybody who cares what kind of reputation the technology community has, needs to be boycotting any company or media source that mentions this gum-flapping idiocy one more single time. How about the people with actual SENSE do some activism for a change???
Huh? Where's Snowden's credentials? So far I haven't seen so much as a driver's license out of this kid, just four or five tabloid magazines who went on to cover his freaking girlfriend. Ask yourselves, people, is it more likely that a big bad organization like the NSA, supposedly capable of blowing out the sun (to hear you people tell it) couldn't stop one zitty pothead from defeating their dastardly plans... or is the whole story a crock?
Seriously, nobody but me has the wisdom to see through this?
Nobody but me had the wisdom to see through PATRIOT, The Fed, DMCA, KONY2012, OWS, SOPA, PIPA, ACTA, or CISPA, either. What, am I to just keep throwing it away for free out here?
I worked in government, too, you know. I also work in media. I'm the one blowing the real whistle here. Where's my cover story Time magazine spread?
And if you want somebody to stop watching you, the thing to do is sit down and shut up!!!
Footnote While prowling the archives of one of the greatest blogs ever, WFMU's "Beware of the Blog", I chanced upon this masterpiece of a pullquote:
"One thing I see the liberal writers saying over and over is, “Americans aren’t stupid.” I can’t believe that the pointy-heads who say that have ever been to America because, if they had, they’d realize that lots of Americans are, indeed, stupid. Deeply stupid. Not only are they stupid, but they are personally offended by anyone who’s smart. The teacher asks a question. You answer the question correctly. “You think you’re so smart!” hisses the stupid American kid sitting next to you in class. If you’re really smart, you’ll soon realize the only way to get along is to play dumb. If only 10% of Americans are stupid, that’s still millions and millions of people, or “voters” as our politicians like to call them."
Well said, Iowa Firecracker. Very, very well said.
Isn't it funny how the whole tech blog universe must light up with this perpetual cycle of unmitigated hype, hostility to lash out at anybody like me who calls "B.S.", and then a month later: It never happened?
A month ago, I responded to the relentless spamming of the Linux community by asstroturfers working for Valve Software and phoronix.org. I pointed out that "Steam on Linux" has been a wolf-cry for nearly an entire generation of users now. I opined that it was nothing but viral marketing for page view ad revenue and P.R. for a game corporation. After getting a massive backlash which rated me somewhere between a Nazi and a pedophile for daring to suggest such a thing (gee, you're all such a nice, sweet audience! :)), I made the further move of dropping it into the prophecies category. Oh ho ho, how wrong I was, hooted the tech blog world.
The originator of all the hype, the Valve-run blog known as Steamed Penguins, still has exactly two posts, from July 16th and August 1st. No updates, no progress, no follow-up. The Steam stories have disappeared from the front page of Phoronix.
Most recent Phoronix story, August 29th, crowed about the old news of Left-4-Dead running on Linux, as if it hadn't already been running on Wine on Linux for two years. Entirely through the graces of the Wine team, not anything to do with Valve. As I've pointed out, you can run anything on Wine with enough determination - that's what it's for! Running on Wine is not native, and without a native Steam client for Linux, Valve has nothing more to talk about than Adobe does when somebody gets P**S* running on Wine.
Oh, what of the Open Steam Works progress? The database still barely records an attempt to show the portal client, no games on it, but lots of SQL query errors showing at the bottom - my, there's a crack team working in the background on this "active" project! What happens when you click the 'about' tab? You get one word, which kind of says it all right there.
Fell for it all, didn't you? You naive, gullible, bought-off little sheep. The hype crusade ended, all is quiet from the Phony-nix site and the full-of-Hot-Steam bloggers, and nobody has anything to show for all the angst. Year after year after year, you all fall for it over and over again. Go look up what Albert Einstein said was the definition of insanity. The Internet audience appears to have a reality slice of about a week. Anything before that is lost in the fog of amnesia.
Well, I hope I've kept this story short enough that you can all fit it into your THC-fried short-term memories. I'll try to make regular updates to this non-story until next year, when the spam-paign rolls around again like clockwork, just as it has for the past ten years.
Dammit, this is frustrating. You see how prophecy works? It's just like in the stories, where you make a wish to a genie and you wish to be a millionaire, and then you're buried in piles of worthless Zimbabwe currency that's worth about $1.88 American, and the genie goes, "Oooooh, you meant in DOLLARS! Well, sorry, you already spent your wish."
A while ago last December, I spake the Prophecy "SOPA shall not pass". And I promised to follow up on that, which I'm doing now.
It came half-true: Lamar Smith has now cut the DNS-blocking part from the SOPA bill. This was the part that made the bill so Draconian and had everybody in such an uproar. So, without the Gestapo-like powers to black out millions of websites at the fingertips of the Black Hand of the MPAA/RIAA, SOPA now becomes another toothless, gummy, mushy bill that kinda-sorta makes online piracy a no-no, just like twenty other laws we already have.
But they're still trying to pass SOPA anyway.
So I do a half-victory-dance for my prophecy that came half-true. Technically speaking (arguing my case just like that aforementioned genie), SOPA, as it originally existed on 12/16/11, is now dead, so that's a point for me. But SOPA in its present form? Meh, might go through. Thus forever splitting future scholars into the people who thought I was right, the people who thought I was wrong, and the people who know I'm half-right.
Part Deux: How Did I Know SOPA Would Not Pass?
Let me tell you a joke: There's this fly, see, and he lands on a bridge. And right when he does that, an earthquake hits. The bridge starts rumbling. The fly gets alarmed and does his fly thing and buzzes back into the air. As he circles the bridge wondering what's happening, the bridge crumbles from the earthquake and falls into the bay. And the fly says to himself: "Damn, I need to lose some weight!"
The Internet Hivemind (Anonymous, 4chan, Reddit, Digg, Slashdot, Twitter, whatever-the-collective name becomes) chances upon a "grassroots" (Har de har har!) outcry against SOPA and joins the fight, because that's where they happened to land. The fight is actually between huge, huge corporations, battling for control of the US government. The bigger, stronger corporations beat the smaller, weaker corporations, and the fight is over. The Internet Hivemind, having done as much damage as a flea to the weaker corporations before the bigger corporations delivered the coup de grace, now land on the corpse of the defeated corporations and thrust their tiny little tin swords into the air and roar. Victory! We did it! We slayed the dragon!
No guys. You had nothing to do with it.
Not that it should let that stop you all from charging around beating your chests and kissing each other's asses for being such hot stuff. By all means, have your fun. You need the boost to your e-testosterone.
Here's why SOPA Classic could not have passed: It was anti-business. Online business is becoming damned important to this economy, need I remind you? It was so anti-business that Microsoft, Apple, Google, Yahoo, and Facebook all came out against it before ANY of you ever HEARD about SOPA. That doomed SOPA, end of line, even before other online businesses began jumping on the bandwagon.
Listen folks, I don't know how this could not be obvious to all of you, but you know that corporate control of the US government that this little thing called "Occupy Wall Street" (perhaps you've heard of it???) has been up in arms about? Well it cuts both ways. What you just saw is an attempted coup in which Old Media, (MPAA/RIAA) tried to wrestle control of government from New Media (Internet companies), and failed. The corporations of New Media still run the show, still buy and sell politicians like baseball cards. You still have no control of your government, and the politicians still simply voted for who wrote them the biggest check.
Once I saw Microsoft, Apple, and Google all three allied against SOPA, I knew it was a won fight. Believe me, all kidding aside, when I solemnly assure you that if Microsoft, Apple, and Google came out against peeing, you'd all have corks superglued into your urethras like Saddam Hussein torture victims and most of you would go tweet "It's not so bad once you get used to it!"
As Smith says, he came to this decision "after consultation with industry groups across the country", not giving a damn about threatened web blackouts, the protesters in Guy Fawkes masks on his front lawn, and all the other hissy fits everybody was throwing. Read: "New Media wrote me a bigger check."
Now, back to the 1,278 OTHER problems where our freedoms are happily chomped away by hungry corporations looking to enslave the world while you all apathetically go back to your Angry Birds games...
Update 1/16/12: Two days later, SOPA officially flatlined. In accordance with the prophecy spake by your humble prophet. Gloat. Gloat. Gloat gloat gloat.
You are worried about nothing. SOPA will not pass.
I'm a prophet.
That's how I know.
Prophecy being a crappy profession on the web, this time, I'm going to play my cards differently. I know better than to waste time telling you all why SOPA will not pass. All that will get me is a bunch of static and flames. Instead, this time, I will play the hoary gadfly you all love me to be, and I will simply keep my cards hidden while calling your bets. After SOPA dies and you all come reeling in a daze back to me all "However did you know, O mighty oracle?" that's when you'll be ready to sit down and listen to me explain it in hindsight.
You don't need to sign a petition. You don't need to vote. You don't need to donate money. Sit on your hands and do nothing. Wu wei.
SOPA will not pass. I'm standing by it. Take your screenshots now. If I am wrong, I cannot begin to guess what kind of foul penalty the blogosphere will extract from me, but I'll leave that to the imagination of you clever kids out there...
Followup 1/16/12: And lo, the prophecy spake by Penguin Pete didst verily come true, first by being half-killed, and then finally by breathing its last upon the House floor. And the Internet Hivemind were deceived greatly amongst themselves, saying to each other "This is our doing! We are in control!" And none gave heed to Penguin Pete's words, that SOPA was doomed because it labored against the interests of big corporations.