Las Vegas Sun

July 28, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

People distracted from real danger

It seems that the bulk of the conversation and concern is that the National Security Agency has snooped and continues to snoop on average Americans. They are snooping on Americans, no doubt, but only the ones who are a threat to our national security, and it’s for the safety of our country and its citizens.

I myself am more concerned about what Edward Snowden gave to Communist China in the form of documents that show the U.S. has been hacking China since 2009, along with any information he gave them from his time working for the CIA.

I truly believe the Chinese are more interested in any information he could provide them while he was working for the CIA before his current job with the NSA.

While most Americans are worried that the NSA is snooping on them, our national security is in jeopardy with the secrets Snowden passed along to the Chinese.

It’s time for Americans to wake up to what’s really at stake here.

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  1. Sam,

    Wake up.

    Anyone who has been involved with the Internet from the early days has suspected, no, assumed that the NSA or some agency has been snooping on our communications. If Snowden has indeed confirmed that then that is a good thing.

    As for him revealing that we have been hacking the Chinese, that is old news. We can assume that we have been doing that from the very beginning. As we should be doing. And anyone who thinks that the Chinese (or any other target) doesn't know we've been doing this (as the Chinese and others have been doing to us, too) are very naive.

    Where Snowden can be thought of as a traitor is if he provided one of our targets with information that lets them know where we have succeeded.

    These are two very distinct issues. One makes Snowden a patriot, the other makes him a traitor.

  2. Here's the real threat to national security. Former General Cartwright had a higher security clearance than Snowden. Probably the same as the president.

    "Retired Gen. James Cartwright, the former vice chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, is the target of a Justice Department investigation into the leak of classified information included in a book by New York Times correspondent David Sanger, a source told ABC News.

    Published in mid-2012, Sanger's book, "Confront and Conceal," and a New York Times article adapted from the book, included revelations about the Stuxnet computer virus that was part of a covert U.S.-Israeli cyberattack to sabotage Iran's nuclear enrichment program.

    Cartwright, 63, served as the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2007 to 2011. Prior to that, the four-star Marine general had been in command of U.S. Strategic Command. He is also a defense consultant for ABC News.

    A source familiar with the case confirmed that Cartwright is the target of a year-long Justice Department investigation into the leaks of classified information included in Sanger's book and article.

    "He is the target of the investigation," the source said.

    The Stuxnet virus was part of a highly classified covert program known as "Olympic Games" that used computer code to successfully target Iranian nuclear enrichment facilities to delay that country's efforts to potentially develop a nuclear weapon.

    The revelations sparked outrage among lawmakers and triggered a Justice Department probe into who had been behind the leaks included in the book.

    NBC News was first to report that Cartwright was the focus of a criminal probe of the leaks. The source could not confirm the NBC report that Cartwright is specifically being targeted for a leak of information about the Stuxnet computer virus that was first revealed in Sanger's book.

    ABC News confirmed that prominent Washington attorney Greg Craig is representing Cartwright in regard to a Justice Department matter, but he declined to comment on the report that Cartwright is the subject of the leaks probe.

    Cartwright retired from the Marine Corps in August 2011. He now serves as the Harold Brown Chair in Defense Policy Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think-tank.

    Government officials referred questions to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Maryland, which has been conducting the leak investigation of Sanger's book. That office declined to comment. "

    I trust both Cartwright and Snowden will be sharing living accommodations together very soon.

    Carmine D

  3. I wonder how many Americans are willing to stop 'picking' certain groups to blame for what has happened here. There is a 'group' that is responsible, but ultimately, it isn't the 'job creators' as Victor and so many others blame. It is 'us', the American public.

    WE happily purchased lower priced goods and services as part of our employment base was moved offshore.

    WE happily accepted it as our government spent and spent and spent while not asking more taxes from us.

    WE approved wars where our government asked nothing of us...volunteer military and the rest of us sacrifice nothing.

    WE either don't vote at all or we vote to support one or the other of our parties, even though those we elect do a terrible job.

    WE see our corrupted legislative branch in action and demand no changes to the length members serve or how we fund campaigns.

    WE believe the complete bullcrap issued by both parties that claim all that is wrong is the fault of the 'other' party'.

    WE live in one of the few places on earth where we can actually control our government and yet we don't control it; it controls us, more and more everyday.

    WE have discovered the enemy and he is us. WE deserve what we have wrought on ourselves and if we'd done the 'simple' things that we had been tasked with doing by our Founders (stay informed and participate wisely in our own government), Snowden would not exist, we would not have to worry about the NSA, we would not owe China trillions, our employment base would not be oversees, etc. WE are the reason we are where we are and not SOME GROUP that we decide to blame.

    Michael

  4. Carmine,

    Your comment might have been better served as your own letter to the editor on another day.You seem to have wandered a bit.

  5. Victor,

    I did note the rest of your comment and know that you did also place blame on us for buying the cheap stuff. My point is that WE are the ones that make everything that we complain about possible.

    Here's an example that I saw today. Jeff, in a valid criticism of Carmen's letter, says that private sector companies should get off the battlefield and out of national security. I agree, but why are they there. It's not because we elect Republicans, which is likely Jeff's explanation. It's not because we elect Democrats. It's because we don't pay attention, we don't participate, we don't demand reform in the way we elect members of Congress, we don't call for term limits, etc.

    Defense contractors simply lobby Congress (both parties) to be let onto the battlefield and into national security. Since our representatives depend on the money and support these contractors can and do provide to pay for campaigns, they say yes.

    We can't fix any of this by 'voting' R or D in greater numbers. We can do that, but unless we get at the underlying problem, which is a corrupted legislative branch, we can't resolve the problems. That's why I say 'WE' are the problem and 'WE' are where it has to start.

    Michael

  6. Being from the frozen north called Canada, I am surprised that virtually all the outrage regarding the Snowden disclosures is directed either at Snowden himself or at the NSA for spying on its own people.
    My personal outrage is directed at the American government for spying in the first place. If you are not at war with a country, then how in the name of right and wrong can you justify such conduct. I realize that America doesn't want Iran to have nuclear capability, but to sabotage their facilities strikes me as both sneaky and immoral.
    As far as I'm concerned, the big picture is the corruption which has infiltrated America's government. It really is becoming a nasty "Big Brother", willing to do anything to maintain its position of world military domination.
    That is "devolution", not evolution. Mr. Snowden and General Cartwright have done both America and the world a favour by exposing a few details of the moral rot that now pervades so many American government departments.

    Donald W. Desaulniers

  7. Jeff,
    Thanks, I do appreciate you backing me up on this one,and also your kind words and thought out comments about me.

    I think we can all agree that this is not so much of a political issue, as it tends to lean more towards a security issue.As I pointed out the Chinese were not as much interested in the 3 months that Snowden worked for the NAS,but more interested in the nearly 3 years of working for the CIA .I'm sure he gave them all that he had. Like I have said on another thread once the Chinese were finished with Snowden the will cast him aside, and they did. He now stands as a man without a country.

  8. If Snowden has four computers with a list of CIA agents, how did he get it? Departments rarely cross over and share information. As far as I know he worked in monitoring telephone transmissions. Everyday I have more doubts about how much access Snowden had to sensitive data.

  9. Sam... The average American doesn't have a clue as to what the NSA stands for or what they do.
    People are in a tizzy about this supposed government spying yet I'm still waiting for the name of ONE American citizen that's been spied on.

  10. From Belleville Canada,

    Mr.Desaulniers,

    "My personal outrage is directed at the American government for spying in the first place."

    Your outrage like so many Americans seems to focus on the few hundred phone calls out of billions made each year that our government keeps a watchful eye on. Big brother (U.S.) is also protective and watching out for our great neighbor,friend and ally Canada at the same time.

    If another terrorist attack were to occur in the U.S. or any other western friendly country most would say why didn't we do more to prevent this.
    Remember Canada is not exempt from a terrorist attack,all it takes is a few harsh words or misdeeds said or done by anyone from any country, as we have seen happen in the past.

  11. Zippert1 (gerry hageman) comments at 9:50 a.m.: "I'm still waiting for the name of ONE American citizen that's been spied on."

    It will, of course, be a LONG wait - unless we can get Snowden's computer access restored. Names of those being spied on is classified. By releasing just ONE you expose yourself to exactly the same ordeal Snowden is undergoing.

  12. It is routine for someone to argue, regarding the NSA spying on American citizens as does Future most recently at 3:45 a.m.: "If you have done nothing wrong you should not fear the <fill in the blank> program."

    Are you SURE???? The FISA court classifies its interpretations of the law, so we have no idea just WHAT it claims to be "wrong." Perhaps you actually have done nothing wrong in the past. Are you sure that you will do nothing today that the FISA court will declare wrong tomorrow? For that matter, are you sure that the FISA court didn't declare it wrong yesterday and refused to allow you to be told?

    What type of thing? Impossible to say. It could be something as innocuous as "butt dialing" today a telephone number that will be used by an alleged "terrorist suspect" next week.

    Am I paranoid? I don't know. What do you call it when there is a degree of probability that someone really IS listening in on, and/or recording, your phone calls and e-mail?

  13. Mr. Leavitt...J Edgar Hoover had an extensive domestic spying program called COINTELPRO. When it was discovered names started to fly. There was no Internet in those days and security was taken much more seriously than it is today.

    If Americans were being spied on the names would already be in the Internet. Without names you've got nothing. Millions and millions of pages of classified intelligence data have been leaked in the last few years. When Manning dumped his data to Wikileaks the names were flying in a matter of seconds.

  14. An added topic to the conversations is Der Spiegel's assertion gained from leaks, is that the NSA bugged EU offices, hacked computer networks, although I believed the EU had suspected as much.

    China has been hacking the US for a long time and vice versa. What Snowden did was tell the US public what China has known all along. Telling the American public what foreign countries already know is not Espionage - it's Patrionage: the right of the public to know about their own country what foreign governments already know.

    I believe it's time for the public to see how their money is being spent or rather, why the National Debt continues to increase because of Black Money: budgets for spying that are kept secret.

    How is it that China can hack military design secrets from Defense Contractors? Leaking military secrets to foreign institutions creates "upgrades of necessity" to equipment made by the Military Industrial Complex.

    Hacking of Defense Contractors is done at a ferocious level and never made public. No computer network should ever be tied to outside lines but they are and electronically porous because it helps justify new business.

    Had the public known the Truth about Iraq's non-existent biological nuclear weapons, projects, Bush could never had gotten the support for the invasion of Iraq.

    Iran is NOT building a nuclear bomb but many hawks insist that it is and that only an invasion can stop the program. It's time the NSA and CIA did an information dump on ALL the Iranian nuclear information they have and end the war hawks insistence on another middle east war.

    Edward Snowden and Wikileaks have a lot more work to do.

    And if you ever apply for a half way decent job around Las Vegas, your comments at the Sun will be available for inspection.

  15. Jeff,

    Show me any Democrat group that espouses the government doing less, dismantling the contractors in the military and in national security and that wants term limits and campaign finance reform and I will go there. I will sit and listen.

    You are right that the Republican party will not go where you say they will not go. You are wrong to believe the Democrat party will go there.

    In all the most important areas, we have just one lousy party; the Republicrats, but just go ahead and keep those blinders on....

    Michael

  16. "CarmineD, why not just post a link instead of quoting an entire article from somewhere and not telling us at all."

    Valid point. Thought some would like to read here and compare Cartwright to Snowden and draw their conclusions who is worst and more damaging to national security.

    Carmine D

  17. Comment removed by moderator. - -

  18. "Carmine,

    Your comment might have been better served as your own letter to the editor on another day.You seem to have wandered a bit." Samspeaks

    Perhaps Sam. But recall President Obama said that the notion that his White House would leak classified information for personal gain is offensive. Cartwright was Obama's favorite general and second highest military in the country. Cartwright carried Obama's water. Snowden, as Obama aptly said, is a 29 year old hacker. Snowden is a political pawn right now. Not so Cartwright. Cartwright is a national disgrace and modern day Benedict Arnold.

    Carmine D

  19. Perhaps Carmine. Your June 30, 6:06 a.m. post, and 314 lengthy word response to my letter to the editor seemed to be of another topic and another person.Was this just another attempt by you to switch over to what you felt needed to be discussed rather then comment on the subject matter of Edward Snowden?

  20. Sam:

    I excerpted an NBC report about General Cartwright, a modern day traitor on the scale and scope of Benedict Arnold. By comparison to Cartwright, Snowden is a "pimp." I was being generous when I called him a political "pawn."

    Perhaps, as I admitted here before, the excerpt was out of place. If you are offended by it, I apologize to you for doing so.

    Carmine D

  21. Comment removed by moderator. - -

  22. Carmine,

    No apology needed. What we say here is just what's on our mind and has no value in changing things.An apology is only needed when we get personal and start with the name calling.

  23. My apologies Moderator. I opined you would delete the post I responded to. But I couldn't resist the touche.

    Carmine D

  24. To the real citizens of Nevada-clicking on the names of the commentators will reveal how many times that person has posted a comment.Some of the people posting are being paid to post comments.