Snowden Revelation Confirms Existence of ECHELON Surveillance System Government has lied about its indiscriminate surveillance program for years

snowdenAnother Edward Snowden revelation reveals that the United States government has lied about the existence of ECHELON, a global system for the interception of private and commercial communications.

ECHELON was reportedly first planned with the establishment of the national security state in 1947 and codified in a treaty signed by the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

“Until Snowden placed the full capacities of the NSA and other government spying agencies in plain sight, ECHELON was largely just another codename in the conspiracy-theorist’s notebook,” writes Lucas Matney for TechCrunch.

In 1988 the British investigative journalist Duncan Campbell wrote an article titled “Somebody’s listening” for the Statesman that revealed the existence ECHELON.

The massive and indiscriminate surveillance program was later confirmed during an investigation conducted by the the European Parliament and also by the author James Bamford in his books on the NSA.

“In December 2014, I asked fellow Scottish journalist and Intercept reporter Ryan Gallagher to check Snowden’s documents. Was there evidence of ECHELON?” Campbell writes for The Intercept.

Campbell discovered a number of NSA and GCHQ (the British Government Communications Headquarters) documents confirming what a whistleblower discovered 27 years previously.

“In 1966, NSA established the FROSTING program, an umbrella program for the collection and processing of all communications emanating from communication satellites,” a January 2011 newsletter published by the NSA’s Yakima Research Station states. “FROSTING’s two sub-programs were TRANSIENT, for all efforts against Soviet satellite targets, and ECHELON, for the collection and processing of INTELSAT communications.”

The NSA published a report in its “SID Today” newsletter that also confirmed there is indeed an ECHELON surveillance system.

“Even today, neither GCHQ nor NSA will comment on ECHELON or other specific issues raised in the Snowden documents,” Campbell writes.
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Lawyer: Snowden ready to return to United States

snowdenWASHINGTON (CNN) — Edward Snowden’s lawyer says he is ready to come home to the United States.

The former National Security Agency contractor’s Russian lawyer said he’s ready to leave the country that offered him political asylum in 2013 and return to the United States as long as he gets a fair trial.

“He is thinking about it. He has a desire to return and we are doing everything we can to make it happen,” said Anatoly Kucherena, Snowden’s lawyer, Agence-France Presse reported Tuesday.

Snowden has remained in Russia since he leaked thousands of classified documents to media outlets that he obtained while working for the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton.

“We’re certainly happy for him to return to the United States to face a court in the very serious charges” he faces, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Tuesday.

“So he absolutely can and should return to the United States to face the justice system that will be fair in its judgment of him,” she said. “But he is accused of very serious crimes and should return home to face them.”

Kucherena said Snowden has so far received a guarantee from Attorney General Eric Holder that he will not face the death penalty — but that Snowden also wants a guarantee of a “legal and impartial trial.”

Such a trial, Snowden’s legal advisers have said, would mean he wouldn’t face charges under the Espionage Act, a World War I-era law that was used to charge Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg.

Snowden’s lawyer said he’s allowed to travel outside Russia now under a three-year Russian residency permit, but that he believes Snowden would be taken immediately to a U.S. embassy as soon as he leaves the country.

“With a group of lawyers from other countries, we are working on the question of his return to America,” Kucherena said.

By Eric Bradner