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I wasn’t just a brain in a jar

Christian Lorentzen: Edward Snowden

26 September 2019
Permanent Record 
by Edward Snowden.
Macmillan, 339 pp., £20, September, 978 1 5290 3565 0
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... EdwardSnowden​ was born in the summer of 1983. Around this time, the US Defence Department split its computer network into MILNET, an internal military branch, and a public branch, which we now know as the ...

Incendiary Devices

Daniel Soar: The Edward Snowden​ Story

20 February 2014
The Snowden​ Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man 
by Luke Harding.
Guardian Faber, 346 pp., £12.99, February 2014, 978 1 78335 035 3
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... encryption has been subverted and nothing is safe from government spies. The drift of the stories – which were at their peak last summer, when the Guardian and others first got their hands on EdwardSnowden’s documents – was that we’re all being watched all the time. Anything we do online, and any phone call we make, is potentially being analysed by the NSA and its friends. But, as Luke ...

Short Cuts

Daniel Soar: Julian Assange

18 February 2016
... a finger up to the Man. There’s comradeship between celebrity dissidents. Sometimes this is practical: Sarah Harrison, Assange’s right-hand woman, flew to Sheremetyevo airport to help navigate EdwardSnowden safely and legally into Moscow and get him a residency permit after his leaks broke in the summer of 2013. Sometimes it’s more nebulous: outlaws bond, as we know from the movies, and in any ...

Dad & Jr

Christian Lorentzen: Bushes Jr & Sr

4 December 2014
... a bit of nostalgia for the nihilism that came with being governed by George W. Bush. For all the continuities, Obama arouses more earnest responses: apologetics, disappointment, head-shaking, Occupy, EdwardSnowden. Bush’s arrogance has turned out to be that of a man destined to spend his golden years painting portraits of Putin, Merkel and Berlusconi like a dime-store Warhol working on commission for ...

Short Cuts

John Lanchester: Cooking for Geeks

21 November 2013
... studying undergraduate computer science – and for the immediately foreseeable future, a good education in comp sci is one of the bedrock basics for anyone worried about post-graduate employability. EdwardSnowden, who didn’t finish high school, was earning $200,000 a year with an education not very different from the one Stanford will give allcomers for free. Online education is clearly going to be ...

Diary

David Bromwich: The Snowden​ Case

4 July 2013
... of terror or a terror-link from somewhere in your pond; at which point the already indexed contents may be legally poured out, dissected and analysed, with effects on the owner to be determined. EdwardSnowden made these discoveries, among others, while working as an analyst for the CIA, the NSA and the security outfit Booz Allen Hamilton (whose present vice chairman, Mike McConnell, is a former ...

Text-Inspectors

Andrew O’Hagan: The Good Traitor

24 September 2014
No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the Surveillance State 
by Glenn Greenwald.
Hamish Hamilton, 259 pp., £20, May 2014, 978 0 241 14669 9
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... Mostly he remained inconceivably calm. Even now, with the clock winding down on his freedom, Snowden still went to bed at 10.30, as he had every night during my time in Hong Kong. While I could barely catch more than two hours of restless sleep at a time, he kept consistent hours. ‘Well, I’m ...

Spying on Writers

Christian Lorentzen

11 October 2018
... at least publicly supportive of, Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter. I could name names, but then I’d be naming names. What about signatories to an open letter requesting that Obama pardon EdwardSnowden? I spoke on the phone this afternoon to the guy who wrote it. Was the FBI listening? Probably not, but at least the metadata are within reach. Things weren’t always so convenient for the ...

Scoop after Scoop

Ian Jack: Chapman Pincher’s Scoops

4 June 2014
Dangerous to Know: A Life 
by Chapman Pincher.
Biteback, 386 pp., £20, February 2014, 978 1 84954 651 5
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... whom he was ‘least likely to glean information’? By ‘information’ Pincher means the stuff governments want to keep private. The encomia at his memoir’s start evoke a picture of him as the EdwardSnowden of his day: ‘No investigative journalist, before or since, has managed to reveal quite so many things that the [British] government wanted kept secret,’ writes Michael Goodman of the ...

More than a Million Names

Mattathias Schwartz: American Intelligence

15 June 2016
Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror 
by Michael Hayden.
Penguin, 464 pp., £21.99, February 2016, 978 1 59420 656 6
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... the CIA involvement in torture and warrantless wiretapping. He has often said that if spies want to operate in a democracy, they need to be able to sell the importance of their work. After the Snowden leaks, the media frequently sought him out to argue in favour of secrecy and surveillance. Hayden explains that the CIA is useful as a back-channel to other governments, and as a covert instrument ...

Diary

Rebecca Solnit: Get Off the Bus

20 February 2014
... of resistance, refusal to participate, or even chagrin about their impact from within their ranks. 2013 may be the year San Francisco turned on Silicon Valley and may be the year the world did too. EdwardSnowden’s revelations began to flow in June: Silicon Valley was sharing our private data with the National Security Agency. Many statements were made about how reluctantly it was done, how outraged ...

Diary

Rebecca Solnit: In the Day of the Postman

29 August 2013
... old world. The new one has other priorities, and didn’t put up much fight to protect our information from the NSA (though squealed a little about it afterwards, plus Yahoo did win a lawsuit post-EdwardSnowden allowing it to declassify documents that prove it resisted the NSA’s snooping, and two data encryption companies have since folded rather than be corrupted). A short story that comes back ...

Gloomy Pageant

Jeremy Harding: Britain Comma Now

30 July 2014
Mammon’s Kingdom: An Essay on Britain, Now 
by David Marquand.
Allen Lane, 288 pp., £20, May 2014, 978 1 84614 672 5
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... conversation he wants would involve a Soviet-style re-education programme. At the moment we have an urgent argument on our hands about official secrecy (post-WikiLeaks) and citizens’ privacy (post-EdwardSnowden), but Marquand barely mentions these. For the rest, we’re locked into a national version of the interior monologue, burbling to ourselves about immigrants, ‘Europe’, paedophilia, food ...

Whose sarin?

Seymour M. Hersh

19 December 2013
... there are at least two ways the US could have known about it in advance: both were touched on in one of the top secret American intelligence documents that have been made public in recent months by EdwardSnowden, the former NSA contractor. On 29 August, the Washington Post published excerpts from the annual budget for all national intelligence programmes, agency by agency, provided by Snowden. In ...
4 January 2018
... are our implacable enemies. The second provides the emotional charge for the first. Both seem to me problematic. With respect to the first, the hacking charges are unproved and may well remain so. EdwardSnowden and others familiar with the NSA say that if long-distance hacking had taken place the agency would have monitored it and could detail its existence without compromising their secret sources ...

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