Edward Snowden and the chamber of secrets
Samiul Bashar Samin
Unless you’ve lived under a rock for the last couple of years, you’ve heard about Edward Snowden, who blew the whistle on The US Government’s unconstitutional methods of spying on people all over the world among other disturbing details. The former NSA official, who is now under political asylum in Russia, has brought a lot of important and disconcerting facts out in the daylight.
Snowden enlisted in the United States Army Reserve as a Special Forces candidate because “felt like [he] had an obligation as a human being to help free people from oppression.” However, he discharged after he broke both legs in a training accident. He was taken in as lead technologist for the NSA in March 2012. Although he was described as a low level analyst by the NSA, he claims he had high level security clearance and that “(I was) trained as a spy in the traditional sense of the word in that I lived and worked undercover overseas—pretending to work in a job that I’m not—and even being assigned a name that was not mine.”
Within a few months of employment for the NSA, Snowden began to notice the unconstitutional misgivings that the organization was involved in. He expressed his concerns to the administration with no avail which led him to come to the decision of disclosing top secret documents.
Although the exact number of documents disclosed is still not known, this was more than enough to implicate governments all over the world including The US Government. The aftermath of disclosing these reports has resulted in the condemnation of unconstitutional spying from the general public.
The NSA, apparently monitored everything from the love lives of the general public to the phone records of millions of people from all over the world. They extracted contact lists, emails and messages from the general public in order to bolster their surveillance capabilities as well harvesting information from the Google and Yahoo data banks. The release of these documents had resulted in strained foreign relationships between the US government and numerous countries such Brazil, France, Mexico, Britain, China, Germany, and Spain. According to the reports, the NSA had been spying on 122 world leaders. Among other things, the documents claimed NSA had also resorted to industrial espionage against companies like Siemens, a German company, although upon investigation by the German Intelligence Agency, Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (BfV) found no concrete evidence of these claims.
After Snowden came out in the open he was quoted as saying , “I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong.” He was charged with “theft of government property” and two other charges that fall under the Espionage Act and is still under political asylum in Russia. The aftermath of this international incident has caused ripples all over the world. At this point, all we can hope for is a bit of transparency in the future, especially when our privacy is being breached.