Sunday 4 December 2016

Daniel Ellsberg: United Stasi of America: the leak that exposed awful truth

Daniel Ellsberg

Published 15/06/2013 | 17:00

A protester supporting Edward Snowden, a former contractor at the National Security Agency (NSA), holds a placard depicting a defaced NSA logo outside the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong
A protester supporting Edward Snowden, a former contractor at the National Security Agency (NSA), holds a placard depicting a defaced NSA logo outside the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong

IN my estimation, there has not been in American history a more important leak than Edward Snowden's release of NSA material – and that definitely includes the Pentagon Papers 40 years ago. Snowden's whistleblowing gives us the possibility to roll back a key part of what has amounted to an "executive coup" against the US constitution.

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Since 9/11, there has been, at first secretly but increasingly openly, a revocation of the bill of rights for which the the country fought over 200 years ago. In particular, the fourth and fifth amendments of the constitution, which safeguard citizens from unwarranted intrusion by the government into their private lives, have been virtually suspended.

The government claims it has a court warrant under Fisa – but that unconstitutionally sweeping warrant is from a secret court, shielded from effective oversight, almost totally deferential to executive requests. As Russell Tice, a former National Security Agency analyst, put it: "It is a kangaroo court with a rubber stamp."

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