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prism program


Edward Snowden, the whistleblower who leaked the NSA’s surveillance secrets, thought about marrying his girlfriend Lindsay Mills and had previously taken her on a romantic break to Hong Kong – where he was last seen fearing arrest.

Edward Snowden, 29, and Lindsay mills, 28, were deeply in love and on her blog, she dotingly called him her “man of mystery” who she had followed around the world for the last four years.

On Monday Lindsay Mills took to the blog – where she has posted dozens of photos of herself – to tell of her heartbreak.

She wrote: “My world has opened and closed all at once. Leaving me lost at sea without a compass.

“As I type this on my tear-streaked keyboard I’m reflecting on all the faces that have graced my path.

‘The ones I laughed with. The ones I’ve held. The one I’ve grown to love the most. And the ones I never got to bid adieu.

“But sometimes life doesn’t afford proper goodbyes.”

Edward Snowden fled to Hong Kong after exposing the NSA’s PRISM program which gives officials easy access to data held by nine of the world’s top internet companies, including Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Skype.

It was a heartbreaking turn of events for Lindsay Mills who had lived with Edward Snowden since at least 2009 when they were in Japan together.

Last year Edward Snowden whisked her 8,000 miles from their home south of Baltimore, Maryland to Hong Kong where family friends thought they got married because it was a “special place” for them.

Now he is back there, hiding out and terrified he will be arrested and extradited back to the US for leaking details about how the NSA puts millions of Americans under surveillance.

Lindsay Mills’ blog gives an insight into the ups and downs the couple went through – and her own feelings against the snooping state.

Their relationship may have been brought to an unconventional end – but it hardly seems conventional from the start.

Written under the name “L’s Journey”, Lindsay Mills calls Edward Snowden “E” and her “man of mystery”, whilst referring to herself as a “vagabond”.

On the face of it they are totally different people – she is an extrovert who enjoys walking around whenever she can, spends her Sunday evenings in circus classes and surrounds herself with bohemian eccentrics.

The title of her blog reads: “Adventures of a world-traveling, pole-dancing super hero.”

Edward Snowden by contrast is a shy computer geek from a suburban family who likes to spend Sundays at football games and needs to be coaxed out of his shell to even do karaoke.

Lindsay Mills writes that when she finally introduced him to her friends in Hawaii they didn’t believe he actually existed because he was so hard to pin down.

Before they moved to Hawaii they spent their days doing things like camping, pumpkin picking or skeet shooting together near their Maryland homes.

He bought her gifts like a Star Trek style visor and took many of the dozens of pictures of her on her blog.

Some of the posts now have a certain irony, such as her joking that she likes pretending to be a spy.

Their lives also seem to be very much up in the air and she writes of having traveled through 17 countries in her life.

In March last year she writes of how her “inevitable lover Change is knocking and I wish I had an answer for him”.

Lindsay Mills wrote: “We received word that we have to move out of our house by May 1.

“E is transferring jobs. And I am looking to take a mini trip back East. Do I move with E, on my own, to Antarctica? How long do I spend back home and when should I go?

“For now I’ll spin my magic ball and see where I land.”

Edward Snowden thought about marrying his girlfriend Lindsay Mills and had previously taken her on a romantic break to Hong Kong

Edward Snowden thought about marrying his girlfriend Lindsay Mills and had previously taken her on a romantic break to Hong Kong

That month Edward Snowden moved to Hawaii and two months later Lindsay Mills joined him.

She freely admits that it was to save their relationship as they appear to having been going through a rocky patch that continues after her arrival.

She writes how she seriously considers taking a plane home most days and that she can’t settle down – until July comes.

According to the rest of the blog, it was all idyllic until earlier this month, when the darkness returned to their lives.

Writing on June 3, Lindsay Mills said: “While I have been patiently asking the universe for a livelier schedule, I’m not sure I meant for it to dump half a year’s worth of experience in my lap in two weeks time.

“We’re talking biblical stuff – floods, deceit, loss. Somehow I’ve only managed a few tears amongst all of the madness of May.”

Another revealing aspect of her blog is that Lindsay Mills seems to share Edward Snowden’s views on the surveillance society.

Writing on July 4 last year Lindsay Mills said that the America she loves is “ever-changing” and that she is in “fear it’s straying from the freedom it has always represented”.

She wrote: “America is still one of the greatest, but she’s falling in my eyes. I hope her people see where she’s going and ask themselves <<is this really how I want to live?>>.

Another post will be of interest to investigators looking to find out what she knew – a poster in protest against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which is currently being considered by Congress.

If passed SOPA will make copyright rules more strictly enforced to a level which Mills claims is draconian.

On her blog she writes in terms that sound as if they could have been written by Snowden himself.

She wrote: “Normally I’d be hitting you with a riveting entry about my super hero life, but today I wanted to join others in protest of SOPA.

“A bill that poses to allow the government to control the very thing you’re reading my blog on – the internet. The way users (people like you and me) share information and ideas freely across the internet would most certainly change.”

She then urged readers to sign a petition and email their Congressional representatives.

Edward Snowden left Lindsay Mills behind in Hawaii weeks ago when he leaked classified information about PRISM, a secret government phone surveillance program that harvests data on millions of Americans from telecommunications and online companies.

He never told her where he was going or what he was doing – only that he needed to leave for a few weeks.

Edward Snowden is currently on the run, location unknown, after he fled the Hong Kong hotel where he is holed up

The TV news program Inside Edition claims to have tracked Lindsay Mills down in Hawaii, where she is the member of an acrobatic troupe.

It appears that she was performing with the Waikiki Acrobatic Troupe. She also took classes last year from another troupe, Samadhi Hawaii, though never performed with the company.

Lindsay Mills lives in the home that Edward Snowden, a private contractor making $200,000 working with the National Security Agency (NSA), rented in Hawaii.

She graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art and is a former ballet dancer.

When Edward Snowden revealed his identity in the Guardian newspaper on Sunday, he also revealed that his girlfriend knew nothing of his plans to make the biggest leak of classified government information since WikiLeaks.

Edward Snowden told the newspaper that Lindsay Mills was not surprised that he was packing his backs and not telling her where he was going.

“That is not an uncommon occurrence for someone who has spent the last decade working in the intelligence world,” he explained to the Guardian.

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President Barack Obama delivered a passionate defense on Friday of National Security Agency (NSA) programs that secretly acquire information about Americans’ phone calls, saying criticism of them is all “hype”.

“My assessment and my team’s assessment was that [the programs] help us prevent terrorist attacks and that the modest encroachments on privacy that are involved in getting phone numbers or duration [of calls] without a name attached… It was worth us doing.”

Barack Obama made the remarks at a press conference in response to revelations about two separate programs used to spy on American citizens and foreign nationals. One program involves the collection of U.S. Verizon customers phone records. The other program – dubbed PRISM – allows the government to scour the Internet usage of foreign nationals overseas who use any of nine U.S.-based internet providers such as Microsoft and Google.

“I think it’s important to understand that you can’t have 100% security and then have 100% privacy and zero inconvenience,” the president said.

“We’re going to have to make some choices as a society.”

Barack Obama said the PRISM program does not involve monitoring the email content of U.S. citizens or anyone living in the U.S., and he repeatedly stated that both programs – the phone spying and PRISM – have been approved by Congress.

“You can complain about <<big brother>> and how this is a potential program run amuck,” Barack Obama added.

“But when you actually look at the details, then I think we’ve stuck the right balance.”

Barack Obama said the programs have plenty of checks in place, including repeated authorizations by Congress and approval by the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Court, to assure no abuses by the government.

“Nobody is listening to your telephone calls,” he said.

“That’s not what this program’s about.”

Barack Obama delivered a passionate defense of NSA programs that secretly acquire information about Americans' phone calls

Barack Obama delivered a passionate defense of NSA programs that secretly acquire information about Americans’ phone calls

If U.S. citizens decide they want to axe the programs, Barack Obama “welcomes” that debate, he said. But at the same time, he expressed concern over the fact that the classified programs were leaked to the media.

“I don’t welcome leaks, because there’s a reason why these programs are classified,” the president said.

The Washington Post reported Friday that for the past six years, U.S. intelligence agencies have been extracting audio, video, photos, e-mails, documents and other information to track people’s movements and contacts.

The Silicon Valley companies involved in the PRISM program are Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, YouTube, Skype, AOL and the lesser known Internet company PalTalk, which has hosted a lot of traffic during the Arab Spring and the on-going Syrian civil war.

The scandal deepened after it emerged that the Silicon Valley Internet giants have been passing the acquired information on to the UK.

The Guardian reported that GCHQ, the UK’s communications intelligence agency, has had access to data collected through PRISM program since at least June 2010, and last year generated 197 intelligence reports from it.

The newspaper also first reported the phone-spying program, through which the NSA has been collecting information on Verizon customers’ phone calls, including call duration and frequency.

The revelations – which are the largest anti-terror intelligence-gathering operation since 9/11 – have placed massive pressure on Barack Obama, who is already reeling from the recent IRS scandal.

In addition to the names already on the list, the cloud-storage service Dropbox was described as “coming soon” to PRISM.

Twitter, which is known for zealously protecting its users’ privacy, is conspicuous in its absence from the list of Internet companies involved in the data-mining program.

PRISM was launched in 2007 with the blessing of special federal judges under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The Post said that several members of the U.S. Congress were made aware of the classified data-gathering program, but were sworn to secrecy.

All forms of wiretapping of U.S. citizens by the NSA requires a warrant from a three-judge court set up under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act passed in 1978.

But former President George W. Bush issued an executive order shortly after the September 11, 2001, attacks in New York that authorized the NSA to monitor certain phone calls without permission.

The warrantless wiretapping program remained a secret until 2005, when a whistleblower went to the press to reveal the extent of the surveillance.

And although the NSA has strenuously denied acting beyond its surveillance powers, groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have warned that the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) – a bill currently passing through Congress – could dramatically increase the amount of personal data that government agencies have legal access to.

The particulars of today’s revelation were outlined in a top-secret PowerPoint presentation for senior intelligence analysts, which ended up being leaked to The Post and UK’s The Guardian.

According to The Washington Post, the tech companies are knowingly taking part in PRISM, but The Guardian reported than all nine pleaded ignorance of the program.

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