Steve Wozniak: NSA leaker Edward Snowden ‘is a hero because this came from his heart’

“Computer whiz Steve Wozniak is more than a little distressed that the technology he helped develop nearly four decades ago is being used on a massive scale to invade people’s privacy,” Lloyd Grove reports for The Daily Beast.

“He’s especially troubled by the secret intrusions into the private emails of American citizens by the National Security Agency — secret, that is, until the recent detailed revelations of the NSA’s Prism program of electronic surveillance by a 29-year-old NSA contractor-turned-fugitive named Edward Snowden,” Grove reports. “‘I think he’s a hero,’ said the 62-year-old Wozniak, who co-founded Apple Computer with Steve Jobs and invented the Apple I and Apple II personal computers that launched a technological revolution. ‘He’s a hero to my beliefs about how the Constitution should work. I don’t think the NSA has done one thing valuable for us, in this whole ‘Prism’ regard, that couldn’t have been done by following the Constitution and doing it the old way.'”

Grove reports, “Wozniak added: ‘I don’t think terrorism is war. I think terrorism is a crime. And by using the word ‘war’ we’ve managed to use all these weird ways to say the Constitution doesn’t apply in the case of a war. And I think Edward Snowden is a hero because this came from his heart. And I really believe he was giving up his whole life because he just felt so deeply about honesty, about spying on Americans, and he wanted to tell us.’ … Referring to the secret proceedings of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which reportedly granted comprehensive warrants for the NSA’s Prism activities, ‘Why do you set up a little private court? That’s like saying, ‘I need a warrant and I’m going to give one to myself.’ What it leads to is judge, jury, and executioner. It’s the same thing as lynch mobs.'”

Much more in the full article here.

Related articles:
DuckDuckGo search engine surges 33% in wake of PRISM scandal – June 20, 2013
Yahoo: Since December 2012, we have received up to 13,000 U.S. gov’t requests for customer data – June 18, 2013
Apple: Since December 2012, we have received U.S. gov’t requests for customer data for up to 10,000 accounts – June 17, 2013
Nine companies, including Apple, tied to PRISM, Obama to be smacked with class-action lawsuit – June 12, 2013
U.S. lawmakers urge review of ‘Prism’ domestic spying, Patriot Act – June 10, 2013
PRISM: Do Apple, Google, Facebook have an ethical obligation not to spy on users? – June 8, 2013
Plausible deniability: The strange and unbelievable similarities in the Apple, Google, and Facebook PRISM denials – June 7, 2013
Google’s Larry Page on government eavesdropping: ‘We had not heard of a program called PRISM until yesterday’ – June 7, 2013
Seecrypt app lets iPhone, Android users keep voice calls, text messages away from carriers, government eyes and ears – June 7, 2013
Obama administration defends PRISM data-collection as legal anti-terrorism tool – June 7, 2013
Facebook, Google, Yahoo join Apple in sort-of denying PRISM involvement – June 7, 2013
Report: Intelligence program gives U.S. government direct access to customer data on Apple servers; Apple denies – June 6, 2013


    1. True. I was just thinking… The final solution came from the heart of Hitler! People are idiotic when they think there are no absolutes and the emotion or sincerity trump ethics, morality, or patriotic loyalty.

  1. Now Woz knows what Oppenheimer & Einstein felt like. In my opinion the government & the NSA should let it be known what they are doing in at least a broad sense if they have nothing to be ashamed about. Cloak & Dagger may sometimes be necessary but often it becomes far too easy just to do it since you can and no one is looking.

    1. Hero Snowden has now revealed (in words and deeds) that he sought the job to steal the information/documents, that he never availed himself of the outlets established for whistleblowers.  He didn’t release the information to the NY Times or Washington Post but to a foreign newspaper noted for its pursuit of scandal, then flew to China and Russia to avoid arrest where he almost certainly turned over the purloined information to foreign intelligence agencies.

      I would strip this hero of his citizenship, put him on the list of enemy combatants and offer a $20 million reward to anyone who delivers him (alive) to a US embassy anyplace in the world.

      1. I’m not sure where you’re getting your information, but your source seems to be very much wrong.

        Snowden NEVER obtained ANY specific information. All he did was tell the world how American secret agencies violated American constitution in order to obtain information about personal communication between American citizens from American public companies (such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc). No relevant spying information was EVER disclosed; only the details about how and when NSA got terabytes of data from Google and others. Again; NOT the actual data; just the details about how and when this was being delivered to the NSA.

        Not a single bit of sensitive, personal or actionable information (terrorist-related or not) was ever released (or turned over to anyone).

        There is absolutely no foundation in charging this man with anything other than perhaps violation of some confidentiality terms of his employment contract, which by itself was dubious to begin with.

        1. You’re wrong. He illegally took tens of thousands of classified documents from the NSA. That is a crime. That said, I feel he did the right thing by letting Americans know what their government is doing to monitor us.

          As to why he went to a British newspaper instead of the NYT or Washington Post, etc., well, that’s pretty obvious. This isn’t your typical whistleblower case, and thus whistleblower statutes weren’t going to protect him. He’s dealing with whistle blowing on America’s top spy agencies. He couldn’t trust that someone in the NSA wouldn’t get wind of his providing the information to the NYT, etc. and shut it down before it got out.

          He also knew that if he stayed in the U.S. and tried to use federal whistle blower statutes, he would simply be arrested, charged with treason (whether appropriate or not), and stuck in a deep, dark cell with no outside contact. Any chance he would have at telling his full story, and providing all of the information he has, would be lost. So he used a foreign journalist publication to break the story and he ran to protect himself. Can’t say I blame him.

        2. An article from USA TODAY referring to an interview

          The events in the Snowden saga happened on a day when a Hong Kong newspaper revealed that the fugitive told the paper he took his job with a contractor for the National Security Agency for the sole purpose of obtaining evidence on Washington’s cyberspying networks.

          The South China Morning Post reported Monday that Snowden told it in an interview that he sought a position as an analyst with the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton so he could collect proof about the NSA’s secret surveillance program and make them public.

          “My position with Booz Allen Hamilton granted me access to lists of machines all over the world the NSA hacked,” he told the Morning Post in a June 12 interview that was published Monday. “That is why I accepted that position about three months ago.”

          In his interview with the Post, Snowden divulged information that he claimed showed hacking by the NSA into computers in Hong Kong and mainland China.

          “I did not release them earlier because I don’t want to simply dump huge amounts of documents without regard to their content,” he said. “I have to screen everything before releasing it to journalists.”

        3. Drag : You sign on the dotted line to not do exactly what he did. It’s that simple. Besides, anyone who believes that foreign governments weren’t aware of this is quite naïve. I’m not sure where you get your information but you don’t even understand the basics.

      2. Predrag already covered your factually wrong statements. I’ll cover the innuendo/accusations:
        “outlets established for whistleblowers” – known to be ineffective. His complaint would be buried, and he would probably be blacklisted. The people would still not know their rights were being violated.
        “foreign newspaper” – you mean the Guardian’s US branch?
        “pursuit of scandal” – you mean that reporting on something scandalous should be avoided? You support the idea that news organizations should just be press-release factories for the powerful? That is what many news organizations do. Snowden chose the Guardian because he knew they wouldn’t bury a legitimate story. Many others would ignore it just to please their buddies in the government and to keep friendly access and invites to fancy parties.
        “strip citizenship” – so, you’re going straight for the “I love fascism” plan? At least your honest about your hatred of liberty, unlike the current dominant political parties in the US, who give lip-service to freedom while working to undermine it.
        “enemy combatant” – has a definition. Does not apply.

        1. The Obama administration has already buried federal whistle blowers in the IRS scandal, so Snowden knew those statutes would absolutely not protect him. He would have been arrested within hours of the information being released and never heard from again.

    1. I would agree with your statement if it were based on factual information. At this point, neither NSA, nor CIA or any other American secret intelligence outfit, has been able to determine that this guy has actually even offered to sell any of that information to anyone. Based on all information available so far, he seems to be holding onto his computer(s) and flash drives, and no data has been shared with anyone.

      As for “accepting consequences”, that is a bit dubious, if we look at it from Woz’s perspective. If we accept the notion that this person has unmasked unlawful and egregious violations of personal freedoms of law-abiding Americans with no suspicious links or activities, and then the violators, rather than admitting mistakes and taking steps to remedy this, claim that this person committed treason and should be prosecuted, then something just isn’t quite right there. I don’t think anyone in their sane mind would be willingly submitting themselves to the judgement of the system capable of such civil rights violations, especially if he is the one exposing those violations.

      Let us not forget, folks; Snowden never gave any SPECIFIC information about anyone. All he said (in some detail) was how American secret agencies obtained private information from American companies such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple and others. To me, it looks like these agencies were caught violating the spirit (and perhaps even the letter) of the Constitution, and they are now angry.

      It seems to me that the guy did nothing wrong, but if he were to return to America, he’d be prosecuted for treason.

      Didn’t the colonies start revolution some 240 years ago because the Empire was doing the same thing to them?

    2. That makes zero sense. How is he not accepting the consequences when he gives up his home and career and potentially his freedom trying to protect the rights of others? How is publicly disclosing secrets the same as selling them to “our enemies”? Since when do heroes have to unconditionally surrender to their adversaries? If every hero had to be a goddamn martyr, no living person could be heroic. Shit, if I took you took your bullshit “logic” back in time a bit, you’d be calling for General Washington to turn himself in for treason against the Britain Empire. I hope you wise up because there’s way, way, too many ignorant bastards in world.

      1. “How is he not accepting the consequences when he gives up his home and career and potentially his freedom trying to protect the rights of others…”

        Not to mention never seeing his pole-dancing girlfriend again. An admittedly cliche trait of a male hero is his placing the greater good above his love life (or sex, if love is too mushy for you).

        Let’s see if his detractors counter by saying he had commitment issues or was going to break up with her anyway…

        1. or another possible answer: no one except a person who has no other basis for complaint, cares about his girlfriend or personal life. If you are in a major car accident, do you care if the person that makes the 911 call is well-educated, has a stripper girlfriend, is a child molester, on and on. If you do, good luck in the next life…

            1. Not intentionally. Just repeating what other media already said.

              And not that it should matter whether she’s gorgeous, plain, or unattractive, but the more attractive the girlfriend is, the larger the perceived sacrifice. Yes it’s a sexist reaction, but it’s hard to deny that’s what happens.

    3. Snowden would never have been able to release more information or get his story out if he had stayed in the U.S. He would have been arrested, muzzled, and we wouldn’t hear from him for a couple of years. I’m sure the NSA and DOJ would have found legal excuses for dragging his case out, prohibiting him from getting some due process, etc. to keep him under wraps.

    4. That’s nonsensical and libelous. He has specifically announced that he has not and will not sell information to anyone. Seriously, “to destroy us?” You’re nuts. That isn’t the kind of info he has.
      Also, why in the world would it be heroic to turn himself in to be imprisoned and probably psychologically tortured by solitary confinement and other inhumane treatment? What would be the point? Would you do that? If so, I guess they wouldn’t need to psychologically torture you into insanity – you’re already there.

  2. Snowden is not a “whistleblower” like Daniel Ellsberg (“Pentagon Papers”) was. Back then, Ellsberg revealed what the Executive Branch was doing and how it had been lying to Congress.

    No. Snowden revealed Top Secret information about something on which all three branches of government had very, very carefully collaborated in order to prevent future terrorists acts.

    And now that Snowden broke his oath to keep the materials secret, the terrorists are now adapting so their plans to kill Americans aren’t discovered.

    Snowden is just a dropout from a community college who broke an oath he swore to. The decision this loser made to violate that oath far exceeds his pay grade.

    His notion that there is no legitimate reason for a government—after broad and extensive deliberation and collaboration amongst its branches—to keep secrets and that absolutely everything can be told to everyone is utterly bankrupt. This is particularly true when there are terrorists with the mentality of Osama bin Laden. Bin laden sought, and received authorization from a cleric, who opined that Allah thinks it would be just grand to use a nuclear weapon to kill Americans—but only up to four million of them.

    Snowden: You are a stupid twerp in short pants. You subverted the efforts of hundreds of mature, smart people in government who are trying to keep Americans from dying.

      1. Well, omalansky; the proper remedy to bad speech is ” rel=”nofollow”>better speech.

        So let’s see you write something that is cogent and persuasive that doesn’t make you come across as a third grader.

        1. “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” – 4th Amendment to the US Constitution.

          Now, to put it in 3rd grade terms, a warrant specifying the suspect, premises to be searched, and the information or physical evidence to be sought after is required by law. A warrant can be issued only upon probable cause established by specific evidence or a reliable informant that a crime has been committed.

          A blanket search of phone records, email, and other utterances of Americans without probable cause and without a warrant is expressly forbidden by the 4th Amendment quoted above.

          Now, what part of “ILLEGAL SEARCH” don’t you comprehend? The framers of the Constitution wanted to be very specific about the right of the people to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. This is the only Amendment that is so specific as to state a requirement for a specific document.

          Which do you suppose is the higher loyalty? Should one uphold and honor the Constitution? Or should one subvert that duty in order to further the misguided aims of a government willing to ignore the law?

          There is not one shred of evidence that the NSA and the DHS have produced any positive results with their egregious, overreaching, and unconstitutional practices. What they have done is set the stage for eventual government tyranny. Snowden is a hero.

          1. Quoting you: “There is not one shred of evidence that the NSA and the DHS have produced any positive results…”

            Multiple government sources have revealed that the monitoring has interrupted 50 terrorist plots.

            As for your “Snowden is a hero”, you have odd choices in heros; Snowden had to defect to Russia. Some hero.

            1. Try to follow along:

              “There is not one shred of evidence that the NSA and the DHS have produced any positive results with their egregious, overreaching, and unconstitutional practices.”

              There is NO evidence that any successes those agencies have had could not have been achieved without violating the law, alienating the American people, and destroying the Constitution.

            2. Oh… I didn’t know I was dealing with someone who wears tin-foil hats to keep the NSA from listening in on their thoughts, or I wouldn’t have wasted my time.

              Nonetheless, (*sigh*), I’ll respond to shear nonsense with reality (knowing full well you’d reject reality and substitute your own):

              National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander told a House committee on Tuesday
              that more than 50 terror threats throughout the world have been disrupted with the assistance of two secret surveillance programs that were recently disclosed by Snowden.

              It doesn’t matter if you discount that as “Gumint misinformation”, the rest of the right-thinking world knows what’s going on.

              I should have known better than think of engaging someone like you (too stupid to realize how stupid your are) and abided by the principle of ” rel=”nofollow”>Not Arguing On the Internet.

            3. On July 9, 2012, when asked by a member of the press if a large data center in Utah was used to store data on American citizens, Alexander stated, “No. While I can’t go into all the details on the Utah data center, we don’t hold data on U.S. citizens.”

              In March 2012, in response to questions during a U.S. congressional hearing from Representative Hank Johnson about allegations made by former NSA officials that the NSA engages in collection of voice and digital information of U.S. citizens Alexander was asked in a number of ways, and replied that, despite the allegations of “James Bashford” [sic] in Wired, the NSA does not collect that data.

              At DEF CON 2012, Alexander was the keynote speaker; during the question and answers session, in response to the question “Does the NSA really keep a file on everyone, and if so, how can I see mine?” Alexander replied “Our job is foreign intelligence” and that “Those who would want to weave the story that we have millions or hundreds of millions of dossiers on people, is absolutely false…From my perspective, this is absolute nonsense.”

              On June 6, 2013, the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper released a statement admitting the NSA collects telephony metadata on millions of Americans telephone calls.[14] This metadata information included originating and terminating telephone number, telephone calling card number, IMEI number, time and duration of phone calls.

              Andy Greenberg of Forbes said that NSA officials, including Alexander, in the years 2012 and 2013 “publicly denied–often with carefully hedged words–participating in the kind of snooping on Americans that has since become nearly undeniable.”

              But you believe everything he says. Who’s out of touch, again?

      1. Snowden wasn’t asked to uphold the Constitution of the United States; Obama and all officers of the military are. Snowden was merely expected to not be a traitor. That’s so easy, even a dropout from a community college can do it.

        1. Um, the oath I took when I (a civilian) got my clearance was to the Constitution. I didn’t swear to defend from enemies foreign and domestic, but I did swear to uphold it. But taking extra-legal action (to characterize it kindly) would violate such an oath.

        2. What exactly did Snowden do to be charged with treason?

          No sensitive data was ever disclosed. What Snowden did was to tell the world that NSA and CIA are spying on Americans, even though they always kept saying that they don’t. None of the actual information that NSA received form Facebook, or Amazon, or Google, was ever disclosed. Only the fact that these companies were providing access to all this data to the NSA, and that there was no transparent legal mechanism that allowed the legitimate government (those elected by the American population — the congress and the senate) to actually know about this, so that they could decide whether to approve it or not.

          In a democratic society, especially one in which the ultimate legal document (the Constitution) clearly defines the boundaries of protection of personal information of its citizenry, it is ONLY those citizens (through their elected representatives) who can make decisions regarding the level of access of their personal information by the representative of their government, regardless of the purpose of such access. No law has ever been passed that would allow such level of access to private information. And due to the Constitution being such as it is, no such law could ever survive constitutional scrutiny anyway. So, if you believe NSA should have the right to access private data of Google’s customers, you will need to make changes to the American constitution.

        3. Right. Obama and rest of the government that “very, very carefully collaborated” to commit violations of the Constitution ARE violating that oath. Snowden revealed that. In fact, he specifically said that an event that pushed him was watching the DNI lie to Congress about spying on citizens, which has been admitted to have happened.
          In other words, the only possible traitors here are those who are attempting to turn every citizen into an enemy of the state. Snowden was attempting to protect the people from an out-of-control corporatist government that uses the excuse of terrorism to strip away our freedoms.

          1. Krioni, I agree with your overall opinion except for the comment about Obama. This issue goes across the aisles. I saw an interview over the weekend where McCain upheld the NSA’s actions. Here is some additional info from The Washington Post:

            “Nonetheless, the administration has found allies among lawmakers from both parties. Republican senators John McCain (Ariz.) and Kelly Ayotte (N.H.) have joined Democrat Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, in backing the surveillance program.”

            Question is: Who are you going to trust? Is the right answer no one?

            1. These days, whenever both sides of the US political divide trip over themselves to agree with each other on something… it’s almost guaranteed to be bad for its citizens.

            2. It sounds like you do agree. I said “Obama and rest of the government,” which means both parties. I think the Republicans tend to like spying on people more, but the Democrats are more likely to get away with it, since the media will be less likely to criticize them about encroachments on liberty.
              I certainly don’t trust either of the corporatist parties. “Trusting” any politician is foolish. Maybe support one for a specific reason, but work hard to make them deliver on their promises. That requires being active.

    1. Not sure what the big deal is. The information that Snowden has released has been rather vague to say the least, and to be completely honest in these days of high technology is anybody really that surprised that we are all spied upon? Snowden, could have potentially released what he knew without revealing his identity.

    2. Just because Congress has passed a bill, the President signed it and a judge in a secret court signs off on search warrants does not make it Constitutional.

      Our legal system is set up such that our government may pass laws, even unanimously, but in order for such a law to be examined by the courts for compliance with the Constitution, someone has to file a lawsuit challenging the law. To this date, no one has done that (at least not one which has reached a court decision).

      So the government acts based on the passed law until a court tells the government that it can no longer do so because John Doe brought a lawsuit claiming the law violated his Constitutional rights. And that is the next step of this entire process.

    3. He subverted the efforts of hundreds of immoral crimials acting above the law and above the constitution!! What part of that don’t you get? There is no valid reason. EVER!
      In the name of terrorism? Bull fucking shit!
      It would be an utter and epic travesty for this to go on undisclosed. This is a wake up call to all Amercans! Careful what you joke about with friends in your emails, the NSA might come knocking at your door. Today I’m very glad not be American.

    1. Constitution: Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.

      The Supreme Court has interpreted this to mean that no one can commit treason unless it’s with a country against whom our Congress has declared war. This means that neither the Vietnam War nor the Korean War nor the War on Terror can yield treasonous Americans, as none of these wars were declared by Congress. The last declared war was World War II and the last American convicted of treason was Tomoya Kawakita, who helped the Japanese in WWII and was convicted in 1952.

      trai·tor [trey-ter]
      a person who betrays another, a cause, or any trust.
      a person who commits treason by betraying his or her country.

        1. Did you not read the quote from the Constitution (…”levying War against the United States”…)?

          You’d think, by the amount of spying of American citizenry, that the NSA is “levying the War against the US”…! By that definition, they are the ones committing treason, according to the American Constitution.

        1. Mike, come on man… You can be a traitor to your wife but that doesn’t make you a traitor to the country. To do that you must fit Definition #2 which means you have to fit the treason bill… I am sorry you don’t have the capacity to understand simple logic.

        2. A whistleblower (whistle-blower or whistle blower)[1] is a person who exposes misconduct, alleged dishonest or illegal activity occurring in an organization. The alleged misconduct may be classified in many ways; for example, a violation of a law, rule, regulation and/or a direct threat to public interest, such as fraud, health and safety violations, and corruption. Whistleblowers may make their allegations internally (for example, to other people within the accused organization) or externally (to regulators, law enforcement agencies, to the media or to groups concerned with the issues).

    2. He isn’t a traitor as he is exposing something that the government shouldn’t be doing. If he was looking to harm the country, he wouldn’t of gone public. Harming the country and exposing shameful behavior are 2 different things.

      It was also revealed that the U.S. does not extradite white collar criminals of other countries and goes as far protect them. This is part of the double-standard government practices that needs to be further exposed.

  3. Constitution: Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.

    The Supreme Court has interpreted this to mean that no one can commit treason unless it’s with a country against whom our Congress has declared war. This means that neither the Vietnam War nor the Korean War nor the War on Terror can yield treasonous Americans, as none of these wars were declared by Congress. The last declared war was World War II and the last American convicted of treason was Tomoya Kawakita, who helped the Japanese in WWII and was convicted in 1952.

    trai·tor [trey-ter]
    a person who betrays another, a cause, or any trust.
    a person who commits treason by betraying his or her country.

    Yes he broke one of the two oaths he took that day… but he stayed true to the other “To uphold the constitution of the United States Of America”…. I think that oath is way more important than his oath to secrecy of the NSA. Anyone who disagrees must think our constitution is a joke….

  4. Snowden did the right thing. The fear for terrorism is hurting Western values more than terrorism itself.

    Yoda is right: “Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate; hate leads to suffering.”

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