tv Democracy Now LINKTV December 19, 2013 3:00pm-4:01pm PST
12/19/13 12/19/13 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is democracy now! nsa and the intelligence community in general is focused on getting intelligence wherever it can, by any means possible. >> and what has been called a rebuke to the national security agency and vindication for edward snowden, a white house- appointed panel urges sweeping changes at the nsa and an end to
the agencies bulk collection of phone records of all americans. we will speak with nsa whistleblower kirk wiebe as well as edward snowden's legal advisor ben wizner. then we go to egypt where else to president mohamed morsi is facing charges of committing terrorist acts and treason. all of that and more coming up. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. a white house-appointed task force has proposed a series of curbs on key national security agency surveillance operations following leaks by former nsa contractor edward snowden. on thursday, the panel recommended that hold its collection of billions of american phone calls, sending "the additional risks to public trust, personal privacy, and civil liberties."
the phone records should be held by telecommunications providers or have a third party. underminings for its encryption and criticized its use of computer programming flaws to mount cyber attacks. at the white house, press secretary jay carney said the panel's findings will be reviewed. next several weeks, we will be reviewing the report recommendations as we consider the path forward, including sorting through which recommendations we will implement, which might require further study, in which we will choose not to pursue. >> the panel's report was released just two days after a federal judge ruled the bulk collection of telephone data by the government is almost orwellian. speaking wednesday before european union hearing on mass surveillance, journalist when greenwald said the nsa's goal is
the elimination of individual privacy. >> the ultimate goal of the nsa is, along with its most loyal one might say subservient junior partner, the british agency, when it comes to the reason why the system of suspicionless surveillance is being built. the objective of this system is nothing less than the elimination of individual privacy worldwide. >> also, the general assembly approved a landmark measure from privacy rights against unwarranted government surveillance. germany and brazil drafted a resolution after the leaks of edward snowden showed widespread u.s. spying abroad. the measure was weakened at the request of the u.s. and britain to omit a declaration that foreign surveillance could amount to human rights violations and abuses. we will have more on nsa surveillance after the
headlines. the u.s. has released two guantánamo bay prisoners back to their native sudan. oath word prison that guantanamo since 2002. the repatriation comes days after two saudi arabian prisoners were sent home. the guantánamo prison population now stands at 158. of to have the prisoners could be cleared for transfer to the home countries under a bipartisan deal set for passage in the senate this week. it is the first time since president obama came to office that congress has moved to ease restrictions on guantánamo instead of strengthening them. but the measure would maintain the congressional ban on transfer prisoners to the united states. the senate has approved the two- year budget deal following passage by the house last week. the deal eases across-the-board spending cuts, but does not extend unemployment benefits for some 1.3 million people, which are set to expire next week. democratic senator patty murray, who crafted the bipartisan deal with republican congressman burr
paul ryan, called it a step forward. >> the bipartisan budget act puts jobs and economic growth first a rolling back those automatic and harmful cuts to education and medical research and infrastructure investments and defense jobs. deal, we not get a would have faced another continuing resolution that would have locked in those damaging automatic cuts, or worse, potential government shutdown, in just a few short weeks. >> the bill's passage reduces the chances of another government shutdown at the beginning of the year. congress will have until january 15 to approve a series of spending measures under the new 1ony 14 limit of over $ trillion. the federal reserve has announced plans to reduce its monetary -- month economics to miss program.
billionhas been 85 dollars a month buying up treasury and mortgage bonds in a bid to trigger economic growth. on wednesday, ben bernanke said economic improvements will lead to cutting the program by $10 billion a month. >> the economy has been expanding at a moderate pace and we expect growth will pick up somewhat in the coming quarters. the job market has continued to improve with the unemployment rate having declined further, but at the same time, the recovery is far from complete. with unemployment still elevated and both underemployment and long-term claimant still major concerns. >> ben bernanke steps down as the fed chair next month rupee -- to be replaced by janet yellen. ben bernanke was asked what he would have done differently. recognize thew to crisis. i was slow to recognize the crisis. in retrospect, it was a
traditional classic crisis, but in a very different guise with different types of instruments and institutions that made it more difficult to see. whether or not we could have prevented it were done more about it, that is another question. >> growing violence in south sudan is raising fears of the civil war. 500 people have been killed and thousands have been displaced in fighting the twin government forces and troops loyal to arrival general. rebel forces seized control of the flashpoint town of bor earlier today. hundreds of people have died in clashes between government- backed muslim fighters in rebel christian militias. according to amnesty, the fighting has displaced around 614,000 people nationwide and about 1000 people were killed in clashes over a two-day period. the russian parliament has
approved a mass amnesty to thousands of prisoners, including members of the pop group pussy riot and the greenpeace arctic 30. up to 22,000 people will be freed under an initiative proposed by russian president vladimir putin. arctic 30 were arrested in september after trying to stop russian oil drilling the arctic. after the vote, one of the arctic 30 members said she remains worried for her russian colleagues. excited.w, i'm not we are being granted amnesty for peacefully protesting the arctic. we did nothing wrong. we sat in jail for doing nothing wrong and now we are deemed guilty, but granted amnesty. 26 of us will be able to go home after this, sooner or later, but what will this mean for our russian colleagues who still have the rest of their lives in this country? memberswo pussy riot could be freed in the coming
days after their arrest for performing in a moscow church nearly two years ago. family members say the amnesty comes too late as they were already approaching the end of their terms. the obama administration is named to lgbt athletes as part of the official u.s. delegation to the winter olympics in sochi, russia. tennis legend billie jean king and women's hockey player caitlin cahow will be among those representing the united states. the move is seen as a rebuke of russia's crackdown on lgbt rights, including the new law criminalizing the so-called promotion of homosexuality. at the white house, press secretary jay carney played on the symbolism of the delegate picks. >> this delegation represents the diversity that is the united states -- all our delegation members are distinguished by their compos mentis and government service, civic activism, and sports. we are proud of each and every one of them and think they will serve as great ambassadors of the united states to the olympic games. we have been clear, the
president has been clear he finds it offensive the anti-lgbt legislation in russia, for example. >> president obama will not be going to the olympics in sochi. india is calling on u.s. to drop charges against a diplomat accused of underpaying a domestic helper and committing visa fraud to win her entry to the country. india's deputy consul general in new york was arrested last week and strip-searched, haunting indian government charges of mistreatment of potentially even conspiracy. in washington, a state department spokesperson said secretary of state john kerry has expressed regret to the indian government. >> as a father of two daughters about the same age, the secretary of the guys with the sensitivity we are hearing from india about the events that unfolded after the arrest. in his conversation, he expressed his regret as well as his concern that we not allow this unfortunate public incident to hurt our close and vital relationship with india. >> and two new reports are
warning a massive human rights violations in secret prisons run by the syrian government and islamist rebels. the united nations investigators say syrian activists and other citizens have disappeared in a " widespread campaign of terror against the civilian population." the un's has the enforced disappearances of syrian civilians amounts to a crime against humanity. a separate study but amnesty international says the al qaeda- linked islamic state in iraq and the levant is operating at at least six -- seven secret prisons and rubble controlled areas of northern syria. amnesty says prisoners are facing "a shocking catalogue of abuses." the rebels prisoners include children as young as eight years old. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. >> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. a white house panel has proposed
a series of curbs on some key national security agency surveillance operations following the leaks by former nsa contractor edward snowden. the panel recommended the nsa hold its bulk collection of billions of american phone call records. the panel's report said -- the panel also said the mass collection of the phone records "was not essential" to preventing any terrorist attacks. but the panel did not call for an end to the collection of the phone records. instead, it said those records should be held by telecommunications providers or a private third party. >> the report was released just two days after a federal judge ruled the bulk collection of telephone data by the government was always orwellian. the nsa review panel also criticized the agency's attacks on encryption and use of
computer programming flaws to mount a cyber attacks. carney said, jay some of the outside panel's recommendations could be accepted and other studied further and some rejected. >> for the next several weeks we will be reviewing the report and its 46 recommendations as we consider the path forward, including sorting through which recommendations we will implement, which might require further study, in which we will choose not to pursue. , lengthyubstantive report, and merits serious review and assessment. when we finish the internal review, the overall internal review in january, the president will deliver remarks that outline the outcomes of our work. >> we're joined by two guests. kirk wiebe worked at the national security agency for more than 32 years. he received the nsa second highest award, the meritorious
civilian service award. also with us is ben wizner, .dward snowden's legal advisor let's begin with you. your response to the panel's recommendation? >> my first thought yesterday was, i wonder if even "time magazine" realizes they should've chosen edward snowden as the person of the year? what a week this has been to vindicate the act of conscious he engaged in. first a conservative federal judge citing the nsa sweeping intelligence program violates the constitution, then what we expected to be a whitewash executive branch report, coming back with these incredible recommendations for sweeping overhaul -- none of this would have happened but for what edward snowden did. in the report itself, and some of the recommendations,
what is your initial reaction? >> i will be candid. people in the several liberties committed he were sharpening our knives. we were waiting for this to be a cover-up cosmetic reform. in fact, i saw an e-mail this morning from a colleague saying she was gob smacked by how far this goes. the question will be how much of it the white house recommends and how much of it commerce legislates, but huge changes on the technological surveillance limits on the undermining of encryption, on using backdoors, and an end to one of the most dangerous programs which is the nsa sitting on a database that every single one of americans phone calls. if these reforms are passed, they will be the most sweeping reforms in four decades. >> but this is an advisory panel to president obama. >> it plants a flag. this is not just an advisory panel. it is comprised of high-level former cia official,
counterterrorism official, and some of obama's closest friends. the fact this is where the thete begins in administration is extremely significant. >> you spoke to edward stone yesterday. what was his response? >> we were not in contact after the report came out, but i will say he has been so gratified by the decision by the judge a couple of days ago. that was his main hope. he had watched over the last decade as challenges to surveillance programs brought by the aclu and others were thrown out by courts, not because the court says the programs were legal, but because the court said we had no right to be there because we cannot demonstrate that our plaintiffs were victims of the surveillance practices and therefore we did not have standing. that all changed when edward snowden gave glenn greenwald and laura poitras in order that demonstrated the aclu and everyone else has their phone records swept up every day by the nsa. so he was hoping precisely this
thing would happen and it would be debated by a real in open court. >> were also joined by kirk the nsa forrked at 32 years. your reaction vote to the federal court decision earlier this week and now to the recommendations of the panel. box good morning. my reaction is one of caution. i am optimistic. but remember, this is a self- serving executive reports and although it does recommend significant steps, whatever happens, we have to put teeth into the mouth of oversight. we have been operating for years and years on the week, i nod, and handshake in assurances nothing is wrong. we keep getting to the wrong. the nsa has been caught now three or four times historically , spying on americans. does anyone really believe it is not going to happen again because of the reports --
because of the recommendations of this panel? no. we need to have substantive oversight by both congress and the court. when i say substantive, i don't mean a handshake. i am talking about wires, computer access to these sensitive databases, audit procedures that account for every data access by an analyst or anyone, for that matter, whether it be snowden or anyone else. there needs to be an audit process that has high integrity, that is comprehensive, and that people in congress and/or the judiciary, whether it be fisa or some other court. 30's to be a small group of people -- there needs to be a small group of people, technologically astute, with clearances, works for an opposing branch of government.
otherwise we will find ourselves back here again in about 10 years. >> the nsa review group was critical of the ministrations defense of the agency data- gathering efforts that helped thwart terrorist attacks. it wrote -- ben wizner, explained section 215 and what that means. >> it was always a controversial section of the patriot act. we used or referred to as the library records provision because it allow the government basically the relevant standard,
meaning almost anything, to get any records from third parties. having said that, none of our worst fears about this even approached with the government was actually doing. the government was using section 215 to require every telephone company in the u.s. on a daily basis to turn over every record of every phone call. essentially they were sitting on this enormous map of every american's communications and doing this with one order a year saying thisa court, was relevant. their argument for relevance was, well, someone is going to do something wrong at some point at least we will have the whole database to search. it really turns the fourth of movement upside down. the law should require the government to have suspicion search second.cio it was a justification for more than just this, before flying a drone over every city at all times or for putting cameras
even in our own homes. what this panel says is, there is no evidence this was useful for stopping terrorist attacks and that you could not have done it in a more narrow way. and two, there is a danger in having the government said on this pile of information. because if there's a terrorist attack in the future or a war in the future, the rules that prevent the government from going into that and using it for any purpose could easily be swept aside. >> we're going to take a break and come back to this discussion. our guest are ben wizner, legal advisor to edward snowden who remains in russia. we want to ask about his letter to brazil asking for permanent asylum there. and we're also joined by kirk wiebe who worked at the nsa for and want-- 32 years, to hear his own story of being a whistleblower. what are the protections for intelligence whistleblowers?
>> this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. , whouests are ben wizner is edward snowden's legal , andor and aclu attorney we're joined by kirk wiebe. he worked at the national security agency for 32 years and became a whistleblower around issues of privacy. youirk wiebe, i want to ask about this whole issue of the recommendation of the report that all this metadata be allowed to be stored by the telecommunications companies. just because they can, should the telecommunications companies continue to store this massive
ofadata of the activities millions of americans? >> it is a good question because the answer to that is highly dependent on the nsa's ability to do its job in terms of the mix of i.t. software servers and things that it uses to do the analytic job on big data. there can be a huge difference if that process is optimal, it should be able to do its job in a matter of minutes. certainly, hours, not days or weeks. so when you ask about, how long should that pile of data sit there to give a buffer -- after the buffer, if you will -- it is affected by how well the nsa efficiently is doing his job.
i don't have first-hand knowledge about that efficiency, but i would tell you having offered a highly efficient process over a decade ago that generaled aside for hayden's trailblazer, which was in 2005, ia failure can tell you from looking at some of the view graphs snowden has put out there, my gut at this point says there are efficiencies to be gained. in other words, i think we decide to have a situation where how well or not the nsa's approach to big data analysis affects the law. obviously, the nsa will lobby for longer buffering if it thinks it is not as efficient as it otherwise would if it were more efficient. >> glenn greenwald i want to turn to glenn greenwald himself -- i want to turn to glenn greenwald who testified by skype
. he testified before the european union, emphasizing the nsa's interest in metadata. >> collecting metadata is the supreme priority of the agency because it enables the nsa to invade people's privacy more effectively than the interception of content. i think sometimes it is difficult to understand that in the abstract, but it is easy to understand when concrete examples are used. so if you can imagine, for example, a woman who decides she wants to get an abortion, if you're listening in on her phone call, what you'll hear is her calling the clinic, the clinical answer with a generic sounding name like eastside clinic or something like that, and you'll hear the woman who you decided
to target for surveillance ask for an appointment tuesday at 2:00 and then hang up the phone. you'll have no idea why she called or even what kind of clinic she called or what the purpose was. but if you're collecting her metadata, you will see the phone number she called and then be able to identify it as an abortion clinic. you will know how many times she called the clinic and you will have exactly the information you would not get if you're simply listing to her phone call. >> ben wizner, the significances of this and the assurance that obama is saying we just have the metadata and not actually listening? hear from law enforcement and intelligence officials that they prefer metadata, not just for the reasons that glenn greenwald explained, how revealing it is in an individual case, but they can use her powerful tools and mine the data they really can't content. people can disguise what they're talking about when having conversations with each other,
but metadata doesn't lie. metadata says who contacted to, for when, and for how long. >> if you could talk about that and if you would share with us your own story, kirk wiebe, you yourself -- well, your whole family subjected to a day long armed raid by federal authorities. the respond on that issue of metadata as a former intelligence -- >> yes, ben captured it nicely. ofis true that in terms --ed and comprehension comprehensiveness, if you will -- metadata provides an opportunity to assess the activities of a targeted person or entity much more rapidly, therefore, -- because it is machineable. the world operates on metadata. it is exactly how data is moved.
when you dial a phone number -- we say dial, when you punch up a phone number, instantly almost the other end is ringing. the person intended to receive the call. this is true of e-mail. in seconds, it arrives at the person's inbox. when things are working right. so the speed, the opportunity for speed and comprehensive -- cop retention of what an entity is doing is enormous, especially if you watch it daily over time. you can then begin to paint a ,icture of a person's lifestyle where they are. because it is not just phone calls. it is bank deposits, credit card swipes at the gas station, at the flower shop when a man buys flowers on his way home for his wife. it is the easy pass transponder that measures or knows what ramp you got on a toll road. you amass this data.
isry place an individual when they do those things. every time you touch annoyed tronic system, there are droppings left. there is a record that can be exploited. >> and your own story, kirk wiebe? >> yes. you know, i have mixed emotions about it because my job is not to destroy the nsa by any means. i was a member of a proud agency that had some black marks on its path in terms of spying on americans, but we have been assured that was never going to happen again after the church committee. and we had guidelines underuse it 18 that said thou shalt not spy on americans except upon probable cause shown to a judge that there is evidence of wrongdoing criminality, terrorism, or whatever. so everything seemed to be
copacetic congruent with the constitution and it was a fun place to work. entre targets of concern. --in true targets of concern. in the later part of my career several, thatwith have been my experience, one that was very positive. and i was awarded for my work. see the we began to agency's intent on exploiting the digital age. and the digital age takes various forms. we talked about facebook, the internet, telephone, personal devices of every kind. so there is a plethora of means -- allunication important to sort out for
national intelligence purposes, s,t focused on foreign threat and domestic if there's evidence they exist. and that was the philosophy, the approach. that is what we built our original prototype systems to work against in terms of analyzing big data. there needed to be a way to look into big data quickly for ,ssessment purposes and be able as quickly as possible, hone in on that fertile territory that data connected with legitimate terrorist criminality and so forth. when we found out the nsa was directing resources against americans without probable cause , this was late in 2001 just prior to surrounding the events of 9/11, which happened concurrently as this technology was blooming. 9/11 really served as a marker
that we had failed as an agency. we had been trying to get the nsa to lean forward, if you will, in its digital seeks -- s eat to get tools into the fight with all of this digital data and so forth.rism we had an opportunity to put it out there nine months before 9/11. that culture inside the building and bad process that managers are supposed to ensure does not the smalleated successful prototype an approach that embodied the principles of the fourth amendment. it was eliminated in favor of trailblazer. well, when 9/11 happened and we failed in the project we have was not adopted, we felt we had no other things to do at the nsa and since the three of us were eligible for
retirement, we retired and formed a small company, and tried to bring the concepts of the program to other agencies in the government. we succeeded in demonstrating its capabilities in the government contract with boeing in 2004, but a high executive in the agency that that contract serves said we have to stop these guys, they're .oing to embarrass the nsa we had found things and a set of data that two agencies had that the nsa had not. that was embarrassing. so that contract was stopped. we then found another contract at the department of homeland security, customs and border patrol. we found some news breaking data there about an operation involving iranian businesses, importing electronics to support
the building of triggering devices for ieds. and we found that -- this is not classified. this fact was actually broadcasting look for you by the department of commerce to his businesses, putting them on alert that certain people, individuals, and businesses were trying to import electronics to build triggering devices for ieds to be used against our troops abroad. and coalition forces. we simply built -- we sat down and used google at home on our spare time to formulate a profile of these businesses, where they were, how they were functioning, and it turned out they were all false fronts to cover up the import operation. we connected the dots for the government, reported it to customs and border patrol where we were working. they took the data and briefed
it up the line and within two weeks, we were let go from our contract. i guess we had embarrassed to many people. long story short, two years people are restedren an in florida by the fbi associated with this import operation. we were pleased we could contribute, even if not officially. but as far as the nsa was goncerned, we launched an i template talking about mismanagement, fraud ash not so much fraud, but gross mismanagement -- >> i was inspector general report. we have had william biddy on and he talked about the federal authorities coming in, raiding his home. he has a gun up against his head as he is in the shower. his kid and wife are all under the gun. what about you? >> as bill told you, we were
raided in 2007. it was july 26 at 9:00 in the morning in a coordinated strike against me ,bill binney, dian roark and loomis. they came to my home. i was actually sitting at my computer looking out the window and i noticed about a dozen or so fbi agents coming across my uniformshe dark blue with gold letters fbi on their backs. immediately, a chill went up my spine. andid ,uh-oh to myself render the front door because i did not want them to break in the front door. not that they had an intention to, but i did not know that at the time. i opened the door the lead agent show me his badge to identify himself and his search warrant. they asked me who else was in
the house. my mother-in-law along with my eldest daughter were still sleeping. they asked me to get them downstairs and have them sit on the couch in the front room. they asked me if i had any pets and i said i had to dogs. they asked me to lock them in the bathroom. my youngest daughter and wife had already left the house on an errand and did not know any of this had happened. and escorted me to the outside deck and babysat me there for the next 7.5 hours while the group of about 12 or so agents went through the house documenting everything they found, rummaging through papers, taking computers -- anything with a digital memory -- gathering it up and putting it into about five or six bands that were unmarked in my driveway. they piled all of that in the
vans and took renters -- a whole bunch of stuff. and left. now, while this was going on, my wife comes home with my youngest daughter and they see all of these vans lined up in the driveway. i have a very large driveway. it is long. that was lined with vehicles. fbi vehicles. they were worried something that happened to me, may be medical. the fbi took them inside and set them on the couch. they did not have been strong. thene time bill had been
registered owner of firearms. probably the fbi does a check on the database to see if the person they are targeting for a rate has weapons in the house. he doesn't happen any longer. that is my guess. it is a safety procedure. but that is kind of what happened. >> you were never charged? >> no. to ben wiznero about another question i had about the report. encryption. supposedly encryption is a safeguard for ordinary americans, businesses and others who might want to protect their privacy on the internet. this report basically urges the government not to continue to undermine encryption or -- and instead seek to strengthen it. your sense of the report's recommendation on the incursion issue? >> this is important. it comes out of an important article "the new york times" published where we learned the
nsa, even as part of its mission, is to secure the internet, security medications, protect us from cyber attack by strengthening encryption. while simultaneously undermining systematically encryption standards around the world so that its spies could break into these communications. the problem is, a backdoor for the nsa is a backdoor for everyone else, too. it is a backdoor for hacker, china, criminals. there's a fundamental tension between the cybersecurity mission, which is to defend the country and the safety of communications, and the aggressive spying mission. the nsa had fundamentally favored spying and surveillance missions over the security mission in a way that could all americans in the world's communication at risk. this recommendation is an important one. >> in the review panel suggested they are engaging in cyber attacks on financial systems or accounts. the panel recommended --
response to everyone who says all of these programs are about terrorism. look, there are not a lot of terrorists. there's a not enough to resume in the world to justify these tens of billions of dollars being spent to build these massive systems that don't target people but sweep up all of the world's communications. >> i want to go to edward snowden in his own words. in his interview with glenn greenwald, snowden said he knew the risks he faced when he became a whistleblower. >> you can't come forward against the world's most powerful intelligence agencies and be completely free from risk because they are such powerful
adversaries that no one can meaningfully oppose them. if they want to get you, they will get you in time. but at the same time, you have to make a determination about what it is that is important to you. and if living in freely but comfortably is something you're willing to accept -- and that is human nature -- you can get up every day, go to work, collect your large paycheck for relatively little work against the public interest, and go to sleep that night after watching your shows. but if you realize that is the world you helped create and it is going to get worse with the next generation in the next generation to extend the capabilities of the sort of architecture oppression, you realize you might be willing to accept any risks and it doesn't matter what the outcome is so long as the public is to make their own decision about how that is applied. >> edward snowden. kirk wiebe work at the nsa for
32 years. once he realized, once edward snowden realized what was going on, what were his options and what protections it he have? you wrote a piece, "who broke the law, snowden or the nsa?" was edward snowden protected as an nsa contractor? >> no i'm a not at all. not at all. >> we seem to have just lost kirk wiebe on satellite. --ime then go to ben wizner think we have him back. are you there? did he have another option? >> no, he did not. it is important to realize first there are no formal whistleblower protections for members of the united states notlligence community -- just the nsa, but the cia, all of the components of
intelligence and the government structure. none of those employees have formal whistleblower rights. now, are there any logical paths one could take? yes. the inspector general. there is one that the nsa. but if you believe the director of the nsa is at least in part a call. works wrongdoing, that ig for him. if you really want to put the director of the nsa on report, it has to be high-level decision and you must go above the director of the nsa, which is the ig resident with the u.s. department of defense. did.is what we we did the 2002 complaint to the dod ig, even though the report was heavily classified and really very few people saw it. it was designed to be buried
because it was very embarrassing to the nsa. function was really no function. if you think snowden had a path through the ig, he didn't. these things are there. they're almost cosmetic. there are investigations, lots of reports written, but they are buried and hidden from public review when they don't cannot favorably. >> ben wizner, the little time we have left, on edward stone's request for permanent asylum in brazil and his options right now, could you talk about that? >> i think the press got away in -- got carried away. snowden has been getting requests from brazilian senators and in fact, members of parliament from around the world, to provide direct assistance with their investigation. what he meant to communicate with that letter is, i support your reform efforts. temporaing under
granted asylum half the way around the world. if i get permanent humanitarian status in brazil or anywhere else, i will be in better position to assist. no one should think he would cooperate in those investigations any way differently than he has cooperated with journalists. you only provide information that is in the public interest will stop you is not trying to tear down systems altogether. >> what about the debate within the obama administration now about whether to grant amnesty. talk about who is on what side. >> iwatch the same "60 minutes" report were he had to talk nsa officials with one saying we need to sit down with this kind have a conversation that might include amnesty in cooperation with -- >> keith alexander. >> i do think there are camps within the government, those who isognize that edward snowden
not out to tear down the u.s., that he actually could be useful for reforms, that conversations could improve everyone situation. i hope the events of this week -- the president's panel coming back and saying the sweeping changes are necessary will strengthen the people in the administration who want to treat edward snowden as something other than a felon. >> explain who richard ledgett is, the significance of him saying he was support amnesty, that the u.s. doesn't even know what edward snowden has, a grave concern to the u.s. >> so they say. richard ledgett, senior nsa official and in charge of the task force time to assess what snowden took or how much or the he throughout the figure there might be 1.7 million documents taken. on one hand they can say a contractor walked out the door
with 1.7 million documents and on the other hand their audit systems are so effective that no one can abuse -- those things don't compute. the fact he was floating this balloon that maybe we should have a different kind of conversation with snowden, i will just say in response, i don't think a lot of members of the intelligence committee watch your show, amy, that if they're listening, they know were to find us and know we're willing to have the useful and productive conversation. >> i guess the question for one whether you're at home or broadcasting, are they listening? ben wizner, thank you for being with us, edward snowden's legal advisor, aclu attorney. and also i want to thank kirk wiebe, returned from the national security agency where he worked for more than 32 years. what a story he told us about himself, that what happened to his family when he raised deep concerns about issues of privacy. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman.
for its coverage of climate change. >> congratulations to the whole team for the years of remarkable coverage as we went from one global summit to another, and of course, continue to cover that issue. and to our listeners and viewers and readers all over the world for being there to encourage democracy now!, that this is a such a critical issue. you can go to democracynow.org to see our coverage of the issue of climate change for all the years that democracy now! has been broadcasting. >> we turn now to egypt. on wednesday, the countries top public prosecutor announced he will charge asked to president mohamed morsi with conspiring with foreign groups to commit terrorist acts and destabilize the country. the charges carry the death penalty. mom and morsi was charged along with 35 others, including the muslim brotherhood's top three leaders. all of this comes to miss a
crackdown underage or kanye new protest law that severely restricts the right to demonstrate. for more we go to egypt where we are joined by sharif abdel , based in cairo. his latest piece is, "repression deepens in egypt: at first it was the muslim brotherhood. now dozens of journalists, non- islamist activists and students have been detained and beaten." welcome back, sharif. >> thank you. >> your reaction to this latest announcement from the egyptian coup government? >> morsi and senior members of the muslim brotherhood have been facing charges for inciting violence. these new charges, which as you mentioned carry the death penalty, are the most sweeping and heaviest accusations against the brotherhood yet. they accuse morsi and the
brotherhood of being involved in this terrorist plot stretching back to 2005, that they conspired with groups like hezbollah, have mass, the revolutionary guard, to carry out a wave of attacks around the country. it --rights groups, including ones that were critical of morsi during her brief, power, have called these allegations preposterous. the military-backed government since morsi's ouster has costly try to portray the brotherhood as a terrorist organization either through these eagle processes or the media. there seems to be a culmination of that. the people questioning the timing of these charges coming just before a key referendum on the new constitution that is said to take place in mid- be a key votell in establishing this new
military-backed transition. >> can you also talk about others who are being detained? oflain the significance these two detentions and how long they have been held. >> we saw the crackdown over the summer of morsi supporters, thousands being imprisoned will stop but over the last month or so, we have seen a crackdown really shift toward the activist that launched and sustain the revolution. most notably, one was jailed under mubarak in the supreme council, had an arrest warrant issued again under morsi and now has been jailed for organizing -- authorities accuse him of organizing a protest in defiance of a very draconian protest law. he said he publicly stated he would turn himself in. despite that, police forces, 20
heavily armed man came to his house. they beat his wife when she asked for a search warrant. they beat him. he faces charges along with 24 others for organizing this protest in front of the council. it is important to note as well this protest was organized by the activist group and publicly stated they organized this havest, but prosecutors refused to charge that group probably because most are made up a very high-profile female activist. and the public reaction to gelling this people would be much more severe. one of the founders of the movement, a key group in the revolution, him and another prominent activist are facing charges of organizing a protest outside [indiscernible]
and due to be sentenced on sunday. we are seeing the interior ministry flexing its muscle and trying to crack down on all different types of dissent in this country. >> could you talk about what has been the role of the obama administration as this military government continues to get increasingly more repressive on the egyptian population? what is the u.s. government doing or saying publicly? hashe u.s. government largely have the same policy it has for decades, which is to prioritize its relationship with egypt with national security directives in mind rather than rule of law or human rights. they decided not to make a determination of whether the overthrow of morsi was a coup or not, which would automatically trigger a cutoff of aid. the committee just yesterday passed a bill that would allow
the united states to resume the full funding to egypt and would allow for the obama administration to overrule any determination of a coup for up to a year. so seems like they're wanting to go back to the past relationship. >> egyptian court has acquitted the two sons of former president hosting the breck in his last prime minister on charges of embezzlement. -- president hosni mubarak in and his last prime minister on charges of embezzlement. there is still a long way to go to achieve real change. >> sharif, thank you for your report. you can see his reports at democracynow.org. piece, "repression deepens in egypt: at first it was the muslim brotherhood. now dozens of journalists, non- islamist activists and students have been detained and beaten."