Snowden Says All American Phone Calls Recorded by NSA
National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden on Thursday disputed Senator Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) claim that the government’s phone record collection program is not “surveillance.”
“Today, no telephone in America makes a call without leaving a record with the NSA. Today, no Internet transaction enters or leaves America without passing through the NSA’s hands,” Snowden said in a statement Thursday, October 24th.
“Our representatives in Congress tell us this is not surveillance. They’re wrong.” he said.
Snowden didn’t mention Senator Feinstein by name but she, as chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has stated repeatedly that the NSA’s program to collect records on all U.S. phone calls is not a surveillance program.
“The call-records program is not surveillance,” she wrote in an op-ed in USA Today this week. “It does not collect the content of any communication, nor do the records include names or locations.”
She said the NSA only collects phone numbers, call times and call durations.
Snowden says otherwise.
Snowden provided his statement to the American Civil Liberties Union to promote a rally the group is holding on Saturday along with other civil liberties groups in Washington.
“Now it’s time for the government to learn from us,” said Snowden, the exiled American computer specialist and former CIA employee who contracted with the NSA. He is currently living in Russia under temporary political asylum and is considered a fugitive from justice by American authorities who have charged him with espionage and theft of government property.
Snowden’s release of NSA material was called the most significant leak in US history by Pentagon Papers leakerDaniel Ellsberg. Based on disclosures leaked to The Guardian in May 2013, while employed by NSA contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, a series of exposés was published revealing programs such as the interception of US and European telephone metadata and the PRISM, XKeyscore, and Tempora Internet surveillance programs. These programs are considered to be unconstitutional government surveillance and spying by many civil rights groups, privacy advocates and concerned citizens.
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