Edward Snowden’s interview: 10 things we learned

Edward Snowden’s interview: 10 things we learned

It sounds like Edward Snowden regrets his decisions to leak valuable government intelligence; an action that has forced him into exile in Russia.  Is he looking for a plea bargain here or is he just delusional?  Making claims that “he is a patriot” seem a bit ironic. 
 
 
By Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN
updated 8:26 AM EDT, Thu May 29, 2014
Source: CNN

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden speaks to NBC’s Brian Williams
  • He says he considers himself a patriot, and that he was trained as a spy
  • Snowden says he’s surprised he ended up in Russia
  • He says he has no ties with the Russian government and doesn’t like some of its policies
 

(CNN) — Traitor or patriot? Low-level systems analyst or highly trained spy?

Slammed by top U.S. government officials and facing espionage charges in the United States, former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden described how he sees himself during an interview with NBC “Nightly News” broadcast Wednesday. And he defended his decision to leak documents about classified U.S. government surveillance programs.

We’ve heard from Snowden a few times before, but the NBC interview with anchor Brian Williams inside a Moscow hotel was his first on an American television network.

Photos: NSA leaker Edward Snowden Photos: NSA leaker Edward Snowden

Here are 10 key points from the interview with the 30-year-old former NSA contractor:

1.Snowden thinks he’s a patriot.

“I think patriot is a word that’s thrown around so much that it can be devalued nowadays,” he said. “Being a patriot doesn’t mean prioritizing service to government above all else. Being a patriot means knowing when to protect your country, knowing when to protect your Constitution, knowing when to protect your countrymen, from the violations of and encroachments of adversaries. And those adversaries don’t have to be foreign countries.”

That assessment drew a sharp response from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who spoke with NBC earlier Wednesday.

“Patriots don’t go to Russia. They don’t seek asylum in Cuba. They don’t seek asylum in Venezuela. They fight their cause here,” Kerry said. “Edward Snowden is a coward. He is a traitor. And he has betrayed his country. And if he wants to come home tomorrow to face the music, he can do so.”

2. Snowdensays he was trained as a spy.

U.S. President Barack Obama famously referred to Snowden as a hacker last year, and other officials have described him as a low-ranking analyst. That’s misleading, Snowden said.

“I was trained as a spy in sort of 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,” Snowden said.

“Now, the government might deny these things. They might frame it in certain ways, and say, oh, well, you know, he’s a low-level analyst. But what they’re trying to do is they’re trying to use one position that I’ve had in a career, here or there, to distract from the totality of my experience.”

3. Russia isn’t where he expected to end up, but he’s managing.

“I personally am surprised that I ended up here,” Snowden said. “The reality is I never intended to end up in Russia. I had a flight booked to Cuba onwards to Latin America, and I was stopped because the United States government decided to revoke my passport and trap me in the Moscow airport.”

There’s a culture gap, and it’s been an adjustment.

“But even though I didn’t choose to be here, even though circumstances really trapped me here, I can adapt. I can live life as an American more or less. That’s the beauty of the Internet is that we’re no longer tied to our communities by physical connections,” he said.

4. Like a lot of us, he’s been spending his free time watching old episodes of “The Wire.”

“I’m really enjoying it,” he said, though he added that the second season is “not so great.”

5. He’s not happy about some things the Russian government is doing.

Snowden says he has no ties with the Russian government, and he isn’t happy with some of its policies.

“It’s really frustrating for someone who’s working so hard to expand the domain of our rights and our privacy to end up stuck in a place where those rights are being challenged in ways that I would consider deeply unfair,” he said.

There’s no good reason, for example, for a recent law requiring bloggers to register in Russia, he said.

“I can’t think of any basis for a law like that, not just in Russia, but any country,” he said. “The government shouldn’t regulate the operations of a free press.”

So why doesn’t he do something about it. “There’s so much that needs to be defended here in Russia, but I’m limited by my inability to speak Russian, and so on. It’s an isolating and frustrating thing.”

6. It only takes a cell phone for spy agencies in the United States and other countries to find out a lot about you if they want to.

And that’s even if you’re just Googling something simple, Snowden said, like a sports score (Williams told Snowden he’d recently searched for the score of a New York Rangers game).

“The NSA, the Russian intelligence service, the Chinese intelligence service, any intelligence service in the world that has significant funding and a real technological research team can own that phone the minute it connects to their network,” Snowden said.

They can turn on a phone remotely if it’s off, he said. And even a detail like a Google search for a sports score can reveal a lot about you.

“You probably speak English. You are probably an American. You are interested in this sport. They might know what your habits are,” Snowden said. ‘Where were you in the world when you checked the score? Do you check it when you travel? Do you check it when you’re at home? They could tell your pattern of life. Where are you doing these activities? When do you wake up? When do you go to sleep? What other phones are around you? Are you with someone who’s not your wife? Are you someplace that you shouldn’t be?”

7. He wants to return to the United States someday.

“If I could go anywhere in the world, that place would be home,” he said.

But he responded with a series of questions rather than specifics when asked what he missed about home.

“What don’t I miss? What would you miss? What wouldn’t you miss?” he said. “I miss my family. I miss my home. I miss my colleagues. I miss the work.”

8. So why doesn’t he come back to the United States to face charges? Snowden says that’s a fair question, but an ignorant one.

Because he was charged under the Espionage Act, Snowden says he has no chance to make a public defense of his case.

“You are not allowed to argue based on all the evidence in your favor because that evidence may be classified,” he said.

“When people say, ‘Why don’t you face the music?’ I say, ‘You have to understand the music is not an open court and a fair trial.'”

9. Why did Snowden leak classified documents? He says he had no choice.

“The reality is, the situation determined that this needed to be told to the public. The Constitution of the United States had been violated on a massive scale,” Snowden told Williams. “Now, had that not happened, had the government not gone too far and overreached, we wouldn’t be in a situation where whistleblowers were necessary.”

The U.S. government, Snowden said, is using the threat of terrorism “to justify programs that have never been shown to keep us safe but cost us liberties and freedoms that we don’t need to give up and our Constitution says we shouldn’t give up.”

10. He says he tried to go through official channels before leaking information but met dead ends.

Among the people he contacted, Snowden siad, was the NSA’s general counsel office.

“I reported that there were real problems with the way the NSA was interpreting its legal authorities,” Snowden said. “And the response, more or less, in bureaucratic language was, ‘you should stop asking questions.'”

Watch the Trailer for New Batman Prequel Series, Gotham

Following the Star War chronology, Batman sets out to explain Bruce Wayne’s childhood in Gotham City.

During the airing of tonight’s 24: Live Another Day, Fox aired an extended trailer for their upcoming Batman prequel, Gotham. It features Ben McKenzie as Detective James Gordon, Jada Pinkett Smith as a new character called Fish Mooney, and all the original characters in the comic before they turn into their future selves.

Watch the full thing above and look for a sighting of young Penguin, the death of Bruce Wayne’s parents, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, and The Riddler.

London Sets New Record With $237 Million Apartment Sale

London Sets New Record With $237 Million Apartment Sale

 
 

 

Pedestrians pass new development One Hyde Park in London January 19, 2011. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

 

LONDON (Reuters) – London’s red-hot property market has struck a new record with the sale of a 140 million pound ($237 million) unfurnished apartment, but even the developer of the opulent building warned that some asking prices in Britain were unsustainable.

Buoyed by the wealth of Russian oligarchs, Chinese tycoons and Arab sheikhs, London has become one of the most expensive markets on earth, raising concerns ahead of parliamentary elections in 2015 that locals are being squeezed out of the market.

“We’re in boom-time prices, more expensive than we’ve ever been in the history of mankind,” Nick Candy, one of the developers of London’s One Hyde Park luxury apartments, at the pinnacle of the capital’s super-prime residential sector, told Reuters.

“There is a concern over the market overheating … Everyone thinks the main central London is doing so well, (so) the ripple effect is going throughout the UK, and some of the prices being achieved are probably unrealistic and not sustainable.”

But money is still pouring in.

A source familiar with the matter said an Eastern European buyer bought a penthouse at the One Hyde Park apartment block for a record 140 million pounds.

Candy confirmed that a 16,000 square foot penthouse had been sold but declined to comment on the price or name the buyer. Developer CPC Group, which is run by his brother Christian, said the flat could be worth 160-175 million pounds when furnished.

Britain’s previous record for an apartment was set three years ago by Ukrainian billionaire Rinat Akhemtov, who paid 136 million pounds for a penthouse and apartment at One Hyde Park to knock together into one property.

There have been more than $2 billion in sales at the block, whose developer is a joint venture between CPC Group and Waterknights, the private company of Qatar’s Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabor Al Thani.

Candy & Candy, run by Nick Candy, were the interior designers and development managers for the project.

POLITICAL THREATS

The wall of money chasing a finite amount of property has sent luxury London prices soaring almost 80 percent since 2009, and while plutocrats’ ostentatious purchases grab the limelight, prices have rocketed even in poorer areas.

Prime central London house prices have risen 79.4 percent since March 2009, against a 40.6 percent increase in Greater London house prices over the same period, according to data from Savills.

Candy, who with brother Christian started out in 1995 with a 6,000 pound loan from their grandmother, said the main risks to the market were changes in government policy, a rise in interest rates or oversupply at the top end.

“If the political climate changes in either (London or New York), so in London next year the government wants to charge mansion tax and other taxes, the market might change. They might have a correction, a significant correction,” he said.

“I don’t see a massive correction unless a number of things happen, firstly a change of government, second of all, interest rates start going up high and inflation starts going.”

The British government has in recent months imposed new taxes on overseas purchasers, while the opposition Labour Party, which is leading in opinion polls for the national election, has proposed a tax on houses worth over 2 million pounds.

Rising prices have prompted a rush of luxury developments.

More than 20,000 residential units – worth over 1,250 pounds per square foot – are scheduled to be built in London over the next 10 years, building consultancy EC Harris said in December, adding that this was more than double the 2011 pipeline.

Grosvenor Group, the landlord for much of London’s upmarket Mayfair and Belgravia districts, said on Tuesday it had sold off 240 million pounds in luxury residential properties in 2013 and aimed to reinvest in cheaper districts, as it was concerned that prices at the top end of the market were vulnerable.

Such is London’s wealth that Property consultant Savills calculates 10 London boroughs now have an aggregate property value equivalent to the total value of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland combined.

($1 = 0.5919 British Pounds)

(Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Will Waterman)

Rodeo – one-year old Coonhound mix – Pet Adoption

luke buchananRodeo - one year old coonhound mix - #PetAdoption

I met up with a foster the other day who needed some new photos and we had a great day at the park. Read more below:

Breed Estimate: Black and Tan Coonhound mix
Gender: Male
Approximate weight: 34 lbs
Approximate age: 10 months-1 year old
Location: Foster home – DC area
Cratetrained: Yes
Coat Type: Short-little brushing needed