REACTION: NSA changes not possible without Snowden

Giuseppe Macri Tech Editor
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President Barack Obama announced Friday significant changes to National Security Agency permissions and policies — changes that the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) says never would have occurred were it not for the actions of agency leaker Edward Snowden.

“Obama’s announcement today would not have been possible without Edward Snowden,” committee organizer Karissa Gerhke said in a statement Friday. He is a hero and a whistle-blower, and deserves clemency.”

The PCCC has raised more than $45,000 via the Edward Snowden Legal Defense Fund while advocating for Snowden’s pardon.

In its statement, the committee went on to outline those it believes should be prosecuted in light of the surveillance program leaks.

“The Director of National Intelligence tried to prevent today’s reforms from being announced with lies,” Gerhke said. “Americans overwhelmingly agree that James Clapper should be prosecuted for perjury after lying to Congress about government programs that are spying on the phone calls and emails of millions of ordinary citizens.”

During a March Senate hearing prior to the most damaging NSA leaks by Snowden, Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden asked Clapper directly about the level of domestic surveillance conducted by the signals intelligence agency.

“Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” Wyden asked.

“No, sir,” Clapper responded. “Not wittingly.”

Following the leaks, Clapper later stated he gave the “least untruthful” answer he could, citing the need to keep secret information classified. The comment has since led a growing number of both conservative and liberal lawmakers and interest groups to call for Clapper’s resignation, with House Republicans calling for a criminal investigation last December.

According to the PCCC statement, more than 50 percent of Americans in Kentucky, Texas, Iowa, Hawaii, Colorado and California districts would like Clapper to be tried for perjury.

Among the NSA changes to be implemented by the president are limits to the PATRIOT Act’s Section 215, which was used to justify the bulk telephone and Internet data collection of millions both domestically and abroad.

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