#1368 Edward Snowden – 5 out of 5 stars!

This is one of the best Joe Rogan podcasts of all time, highly recommend.

Ed Snowden is an American whistleblower, famous for exposing top secret operation Stellar Wind, a mass surveillance operation by the government, storing records on the public’s emails, texts, phone calls.

The program was originally designed to prevent and fight terrorism, by communication surveillance of terrorists. But, the government didn’t find much, and instead realized the immense power of being able to have all this information.

Ed proposes that surveillance should only be done on suspects and people under suspicion of wrong doing. And, if no wrong-doing is found, surveillance should cease on that individual. Government didn’t do that and instead stored EVERYTHING.

Ed released a book – Permanent Record – “The extraordinary account of a bright young man who grew up online—a man who became a spy, a whistleblower, and, in exile, the Internet’s conscience.”

Click on picture to buy:

Government wanted to take his book off the shelf but thank goodness they can’t, because of the 1st amendment.

7 tidbits about Ed:

  1. “You’re fans have been harassing me for death!” (Ed talking about Joe’s fans harassing him to do a Podcast with Joe)
  2. Neil deGrasse Tyson helped Ed get on Twitter, giving him the “last little nudge” needed to join.
  3. Ed uses a desktop instead of a laptop (for security reasons).
  4. Ed dropped out of school, but got GED equivalent. Self-described as not doing well in school, because of boredom.
  5. Ed currently lives in Russia, not by choice, but that’s where the American embassy cancelled his passport, leaving him stuck there.
  6. Volunteered for the army and was discharged after breaking his legs. (Bilateral tibial fractures.)
  7. Got a job with NSA at CIA headquarters working nights, after going to a job fair at the University of Maryland.

7 Key Points

**Point 1: Stellar Wind

-The Steller Wind operation was the US governments monitoring of phone, internet, emails of everybody – all for access to Al Queda. (Looking for sleeper cells of Al-Quada, they claimed.) Dick Cheney was behind it.

-Completely unethical and against the constitution. They got so comfortable using it and never getting caught, that they started using it for stuff other than finding terrorists.

-Step by step our constitutional rights were violated, and we didn’t even know it was happening.

**Point 2: “Joe, anything you’ve ever put into that search box is stored.”

-Any searches, texts, emails that you have ever sent, have been stored permanently. So crazy!

**Point 3 – On Aliens.

-“There’s no evidence. I went looking for them on the network. Didn’t find them.”

-Ed states, that if the US government is hiding them, he had ridiculous access to the system network at the NSA, the CIA, the military, all these groups, he couldn’t find anything. And if it’s hidden, it’s hidden really damn well.

**Point 4 – Public no longer a partner with government.

-Ed describes the shift from when people and the government were equals, sharing common goals and needing each other. “We the People”, the first line of the constitution, are now subordinate to the government. The government generally does whatever it wants and there is not much we can do about it.

**Point 5 – Absurd Paradox

-Government will give standard response now, “We can neither confirm or deny whether these programs exist.”

-Fundamentally broken system. People and the courts are left out of the know. Trials where the most important information has been classified/redacted. And presenting the classified info to anyone, including jury/court is punishable by felony. ***basically its illegal to expose the classified info, so how can you punish wrong-doing by the government…when the court is the government?

-Instead of government officials conforming to the law, they built laws to conform around them! The law had not caught up to what they were doing, so they built laws around what they were doing. (Stellar Wind operation and Dick Cheney)

**Point 6: Big Lie caught on camera – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden and General James Clapper

-Famous exchange Ed says you must check out – Ron Wyden .General James Clapper – Does the NSA collect data on millions of Americans?

Check out this 56 second clip:

-“No sir. Not wittingly.” A huge lie.

-Ed says, “What does it mean to democracy to be able to lie under oath to Congress and the congressman (Wyden) even knows you are lying?” Wyden gave him the questions 24 hours in advance. The system itself is built on lies. But you can’t prove it.

Ed says you must read his book to get full understanding.


**Point 7 – A legal paradigm and mobile troubles

-Records about us do not belong to us, a legal paradigm. Information about you, where your GPS location is, your emails, texts, phone records –  you have no control whether that information is stored about you – it’s not yours, you’ve already consented.

-How it works: We have consent agreements 600 pages long, that users don’t understand and are never going to read. Then, after consenting, company is allowed to change the terms at any time they want. User was just trying to download an app to chat with their friends, or get driving directions, for example. And now that person has consented to have all this stuff stored about them.

5 Crazy Quotes

“When you don’t tell your story, someone else will tell it for you and misrepresent it for you.”

“When we become fearful, we become vulnerable to people who promise that they can make things better.”

“Skepticism is a skill that takes time to develop.”

“I didn’t come forward to be safe. The future gets worse every day I don’t do something. Yes it’s risky, but that’s why we do it. I waited all these years to do this, waiting for another person to step up.”

“You can’t wake a person who is pretending to be asleep.”

Ed recommends to check out:

Link: “NSA mass phone surveillance revealed by Edward Snowden ruled illegal”

Link: The Telegraph – “NSA broke privacy laws thousands of times a year, according to documents leaked by Ed Snowden”

Link: Washington Post – “Supreme Court dismissed challenge to surveillance law

Books recommended by Ed and Joe during podcast:


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