NOTES - After Snowden: Privacy, Secrecy, and Security in the Information Age (2015)

After Snowden: Privacy, Secrecy, and Security in the Information Age (2015)


Please note that some of the links referenced in this work are no longer active.


    1.  Michael Winship, “Snowden’s Legal Counsel: Forget About Orwell, Worry About Kafka,” Moyers & Company, March 11, 2014,

    2.  Luke Harding, The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man (New York: Vintage, 2014).

    3.  Glenn Greenwald, No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2014).

    4.  Brian Brooks, “Laura Poitras Film about Snowden & Surveillance Added to 52nd NYFF,” September 16, 2014,

    5.  Alan Rusbridger and Ewen MacAskill, “Edward Snowden interview—the edited transcript,” Guardian, July 18, 2014.

    6.  George Packer, “The Holder of Secrets,” New Yorker, October 20, 2014.

    7.  Daniel Byman and Benjamin Wittes, “Reforming the NSA: How to Spy After Snowden,” Foreign Affairs, May/June 2014.

    8.  Benjamin Wittes, Jamil Jaffer, Julian Sanchez, John Inglis, and Carrie Cordero, “A Debate One Year After Snowden: The Future of U.S. Surveillance Authorities.” Debate held at the Brookings Institution, June 5, 2014. Transcript available through

    9.  David Ignatius, “James Clapper: We underestimated the Islamic State’s ‘will to fight,’” Washington Post, September 18, 2014.

  10.  Linda Greenhouse, “The Nation; Suicide Pact,” New York Times, September 22, 2002.

  11.  Charles J. Reid Jr., “Constitution is Not a Suicide Pact,” Huffington Post Politics Blog, January 23, 2014,

  12.  James McCartney and Molly McCartney, America’s War Machine (New York: Thomas Dunne Books, to be published 2015).

  13.  Glenn Greenwald and Murtaza Hussain, “Meet the Muslim-American Leaders the FBI and NSA Have Been Spying On,” Intercept, July 9, 2014.

  14.  Winship, “Snowden’s Legal Counsel.”

  15.  Barton Gellman, “Edward Snowden, after months of NSA revelations, says his mission’s accomplished,” Washington Post, December 23, 2013.

  16.  Julian Hattem, “CIA admits to spying on Senate,” Hill, July 31, 2014.

  17.  Loch K. Johnson, “Congress’ Experiment Overseeing Spies,” New York Times, July 9, 2002.

  18.  Loch K. Johnson, “Governing in the Absence of Angels: On the Practice of Intelligence Accountability in the United States.” Paper presented at the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), The Norwegian Parliamentary Intelligence Oversight Committee, Human Rights Centre, Department of Law, University of Durham. Oslo, Norway, September 2003.

  19.  Michael M. Castle (R-DE) to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Congressional Record—House, Vol. 153, Pt. 9, May 10, 2007.

  20.  Denis McDonough, Mara Rudman, and Peter Rundlet: “No Mere Oversight: Congressional Oversight of Intelligence Is Broken,” Center for American Progress, June 2006,

  21.  References to congressional and executive officials and former officials noted in the following pages are based on extensive personal interviews and correspondence.

  22.  James Risen, Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War (New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014), 232–63.

  23.  David Ignatius, The Director (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2014).

  24.  Stilgherrian, “Can Snowden Finally Kill the ‘Harmless Metadata’ Myth?” Full Tilt Blog, September 16, 2014, available through (Australia).

  25.  John Napier Tye, “Meet Executive Order 12333: The Reagan Rule That Lets the NSA Spy on Americans,” Washington Post, July 18, 2014.

  26.  Brandon Baily, “Senator Wyden: NSA Tech Spying Hurts Economy,” Associated Press, October 8, 2014.

  27.  Frontline, “United States of Secrets (Part One): The Program,” (May 13, 2014) and Part Two: Privacy Lost (May 20, 2014), available through

  28.  Josef Joffe, “Of Spycraft and Statecraft,” Wall Street Journal, July 17, 2014.

  29.  Harriet, Torry. “Edward Snowden Emerges as a Cult Hero in Germany,” Wall Street Journal, September 24, 2014.

  30.  Karl Ritter, “Snowden Honored with ‘Alternative Nobel,’” Associated Press, September 24, 2014.

  31.  David Cole, “‘No Place to Hide’ by Glenn Greenwald, on the NSA’s Sweeping Efforts to ‘Know It All,’” Washington Post, May 12, 2014.

  32.  David Bromwich, “The Question of Edward Snowden,” New York Review of Books, December 4, 2014.

  33.  Katrina vanden Heuvel and Stephen F. Cohen, “Edward Snowden Speaks: A Sneak Peek at an Exclusive Interview,” Nation, October 10, 2014.

  34.  Ted Gup, Nation of Secrets: The Threat to Democracy and the American Way of Life (New York: Anchor, reprint edition, 2008).


    1.  This chapter is adapted from an essay originally published in The New York Review of Books. David Cole, “The Three Leakers and What to Do About Them,” NYRB, February 6, 2014.

    2.  Sari Horwitz, “Julian Assange Unlikely to Face U.S. Charges over Publishing Classified Documents,” Washington Post, November 25, 2013.

    3.  Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act, Pub. L. No. 105–272, Title VII, 112 Stat. 2413 (October 20, 1998).

    4.  The NSA notified members of the Senate and House intelligence committees of the program, and made some information available to other members of Congress. However, it did not disclose the questionable reasoning of the FISA courts upholding the program. The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee reportedly barred the program’s disclosure to other House members. And while senators were allowed to examine a classified letter reporting on the program, they could not bring any staff members with them, and could not take notes or copy the letter. They could review the letter only for a limited period of time, and could not discuss it with their colleagues or the public.

    5.  Edward Snowden, “NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden: ‘I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things’—video,” Guardian, June 9, 2013,

    6.  For a discussion of Judge Leon’s ruling, see my article “The NSA on Trial,” NYRblog, December 18, 2013.

    7.  Declassified Order of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, March 2, 2009, at FISC.pdf.

    8.  Rahul Sagar, Secrets and Leaks: The Dilemma of State Secrecy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013).

    9.  See Barton Gellman, “Edward Snowden, After Months of NSA Revelations, Says His Mission’s Accomplished,” Washington Post, December 23, 2013.


   *   An omnibus source, providing links to all major court decisions and related documents, can be found at the FAS Project on Government Secrecy Web site maintained by Steven Aftergood: “The State Secrets Privilege: Selected Case Files,”

    1.  Secrecy Report Card 2010. Indicators of Secrecy in the Federal Government, OpenTheGovernment.Org, as cited in Timothy Bazzle, “Shutting the Courthouse Doors: Invoking the State Secrets Privilege to Thwart Judicial Review in the Age of Terror,” Civil Rights Law Journal 23, no. 1 (2012).

    2.  This pattern is discussed in various briefs and law journal articles, including:

•   Bazzle, “Shutting the Courthouse Doors.”

•   Amanda Frost and Justin Florence, “Reforming the State Secrets Privilege,” American Constitution Society for Law and Policy Issue Brief, 2008.

•   Amanda Frost, “The State Secrets Privilege and Separation of Powers,” Fordham Law Review 75 (2007): 1931.

•   Todd Garvey and Edward C. Liu, “The State Secrets Privilege: Preventing the Disclosure of Sensitive National Security Information During Civil Litigation,” Congressional Research Service Report for Congress, August 16, 2011.

    3.  Jon Eisenberg, “Suing George W. Bush: A Bizarre and Troubling Tale,” Salon, July 9, 2008.
Interview with Jon Eisenberg, July 30, 2014.

    4.  James R. Clapper, “Classified Declaration of James R. Clapper, Director of National Intelligence,” May 5, 2014,
Office of the Director of National Intelligence, “Declassified,” May 6, 2014,

    5.  Among commentators who discuss this:

•   Bazzle, “Shutting the Courthouse Doors.”

•   Frost, “The State Secrets Privilege and Separation of Powers.”

•   Garvey and Liu, “The State Secrets Privilege.”
U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals judges also discuss this in:

•   Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation v. Bush.

•   Mohamed v. Jeppesen Dataplan (both the three-judge and en banc panels).

    6.  Maura Dolan and Carol J. Williams, “Court Urged to Deny Rendition Trial,” Los Angeles Times, February 10, 2009.

    7.  Most particularly, Amanda Frost in “The State Secrets Privilege and Separation of Powers,” who persuasively suggests that “when the executive successfully argues that a federal court must dismiss whole categories of cases, it intrudes not just on the power of courts and the rights of individuals, but on the jurisdiction-conferring authority of the legislature as well … By seeking dismissal of these cases, the executive is stripping Congress of its ability to collaborate with the judiciary to curb executive power.”

    8.  Bazzle, “Shutting the Courthouse Doors.”

    9.  See the following:

•   Olivier Knox, “Feinstein puts Obama on the spot over CIA’s ‘torture report edits,’” Yahoo News, August 5, 2014.

•   Mark Mazzetti, “Redactions of Report on CIA Stoke Ire,” New York Times, August 6, 2014.

•   Mark Mazzetti, “Ex-Chief of CIA Shapes Response to Detention Report,” New York Times, July 25, 2014.

•   Mark Mazzetti, “Senators Clear Path for Release of Detention Report on CIA,” New York Times, April 2, 2014.

•   Ken Dilanian and Eileen Sullivan, “State Dept: ‘No American Is Proud’ of CIA Tactics,” Associated Press, July 31, 2014.

•   Josh Rogin and Eli Lake, “White House Must Decide Who Will Be Named in the CIA ‘Torture Report,’” Daily Beast, August 7, 2014.

  10.  Mark, Mazzetti “Senate Torture Report Condemns C.I.A. Interrogration Program,” New York Times, December 9, 2014.

  11.  Doina Chiacu and Joseph Menn, “US Senate bill proposes sweeping curbs on NSA surveillance,” Reuters, July 30, 2014.

  12.  Among them:

•   Bazzle, “Shutting the Courthouse Doors.”

•   Frost, “The State Secrets Privilege and Separation of Powers.”


       The author would like to thank Matthew Christ, Kelsey Harclerode, Emily Snider, and Andrew Starling for their excellent research work.

    1.  Ellen Nakashim and Joby Warrick, “For NSA chief, terrorist threat drives passion to ‘collect it all,’” Washington Post, July 14, 2013,

    2.  Stephen Cobb, “New Harris poll shows NSA revelations impact online shopping, banking, and more,” We Live Security, April 2, 2014,

    3.  Chuck McCutcheon, “Government Surveillance,” CQ Researcher 726, vol. 23, no. 30 (August 2013).

    4.  Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438, 456–57 (1928).

    5.  Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 347 (1967).

    6.  Riley v. California, 134 S. Ct. 2473, 2495 (2014).

    7.  Laura Poitras, Marcel Rosenbach, and Holger Stark, “‘A’ for Angela: GCHQ and NSA Targeted Private German Companies and Merkel,” Spiegel Online, March 29, 2014,

    8.  Christopher Woolf, “The history of electronic surveillance, from Abraham Lincoln’s wiretaps to Operation Shamrock,” Public Radio International, November 7, 2013,

    9.  Whitfield Diffie and Susan Landau, Privacy on the Line: The Politics of Wiretapping and Encryption (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1998), 177.

  10.  Edward Epstein, “Wiretap defense invokes Lincoln, Roosevelt/Attorney general says they didn’t get warrants, either,” San Francisco Chronicle, January 25, 2006,

  11.  Alfred W. McCoy, “How NSA Surveillance Fits Into a Long History of American Global Political Strategy,” Mother Jones, January 24, 2014,

  12.  “Factbox: History of mass surveillance in the United States,” Reuters, June 7, 2013,

  13.  McCutcheon, “Government Surveillance.”

  14.  U.S. Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, Final Report: Book II, Report No. 94–755 (Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1976), xi–xii.

  15.  Rick Young, “Spying on the Home Front,” PBS Frontline (2007),

  16.  Michael Kirk, “United States of Secrets (Part One): The Program,” PBS Frontline (2014),

  17.  Young, “Spying on the Home Front.”

  18.  Kirk, “United States of Secrets (Part One): The Program.”

  19.  Michael Isikoff, “The Whistleblower Who Exposed Warrantless Wiretaps,” Newsweek, March 13, 2010,

  20.  James Risen and Eric Lichtblau, “Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts,” New York Times, December 16, 2005,

  21.  Edward C. Liu, “Reauthorization of the FISA Amendments Act,” Congressional Research Service, April 8, 2013,

  22.  Glenn Greenwald, “NSA Collecting Phone Records of Millions of Verizon Customers Daily,” Guardian, June 5, 2013,

  23.  Barton Gellman and Laura Poitras, “U.S., British intelligence mining data from nine U.S. Internet companies in broad secret program,” Washington Post, June 7, 2013,

  24.  Edward Snowden, “NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: ‘I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things’—Video,” Guardian, June 9, 2013,

  25.  Martin Smith, “United States of Secrets (Part Two): Privacy Lost.” united-states-of-secrets-(part-two).

  26.  Barton Gellman and Ashkan Soltani, “NSA Infiltrates Links to Yahoo, Google Data Centers Worldwide, Snowden Documents Say,” Washington Post,

  27.  Peter P. Swire, “The System of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Law,” George Washington Law Review 72 (2004): 1332–33.

  28.  Executive Order 12333, 46 Fed. Reg. 59941 (December 4, 1981),

  29.  H.R. 3162, 107th Congress (2001).

  30.  S. 1566, 95th Congress (1978).

  31.  H.R. 6304, 110th Congress (2008).

  32.  Evan Perez, “Secret Court’s Oversight Gets Scrutiny,” Wall Street Journal, June 9, 2013,

  33.  Glenn Greenwald and Spencer Ackerman, “NSA Collected US Email Records in Bulk for More Than Two Years Under Obama,” Guardian, June 27, 2013,

  34.  Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill, “NSA Prism Program Taps in to User Data of Apple, Google and Others,” Guardian, June 6, 2013,

  35.  Dominic Rushe and James Ball, “PRISM Scandal: Tech Giants Flatly Deny Allowing NSA Direct Access to Servers,” Guardian, June 6, 2013,

  36.  Glenn Greenwald and James Ball, “The Top Secret Rules that Allow NSA to Use US Data Without a Warrant,” Guardian, June 20, 2013,

  37.  Ibid; Olga Khazan, “The Creepy, Long-Standing Practice of Undersea Cable Tapping,” Atlantic, July 16, 2013,

  38.  Greenwald and Ball, “The Top Secret Rules that Allow NSA to Use US Data Without a Warrant.”

  39.  Craig Timberg, “NSA Slide Shows Surveillance of Undersea Cables,” Washington Post, July 10, 2013,

  40.  Verizon Forced to Hand Over Telephone Data—Full Court Ruling,” Guardian, June 5, 2013,

  41.  Marc Ambinder, “How the NSA Uses Your Telephone Records,” Week, June 6, 2013,

  42.  Greenwald, “NSA Collecting Phone Records of Millions of Verizon Customers Daily.”

  43.  Ambinder, “How the NSA Uses Your Telephone Records.”

  44.  “How the NSA Is Tracking People Right Now,” Washington Post, December 4, 2013,

  45.  Kimberly Dozier, “NSA Defends Global Cellphone Tracking as Legal,” NBC News, December 6, 2013,

  46.  “How the NSA’s MUSCULAR Program Collects Too Much Data from Yahoo and Google,” Washington Post, October 30, 2013,

  47.  Gellman and Soltani, “NSA Infiltrates Links to Yahoo, Google Data Centers Worldwide, Snowden Documents Say.”

  48.  “NSA Statement on Washington Post Report on Infiltration of Google, Yahoo Data Center Links,” Washington Post, October 30, 2013,

  49.  Glenn Greenwald, “XKeyscore: NSA Tool Collects ‘Nearly Everything a User Does on the Internet,” Guardian, July 31, 2013,

  50.  Ryan Gallagher, “NSA Even Spied on Google Maps Searches, Documents Suggest,” Slate, July 11, 2013,

  51.  Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill, “Boundless Informant: The NSA’s Secret Tool to Track Global Surveillance Data,” Guardian, June 11, 2013,

  52.  Ryan Devereaux, Glenn Greenwald, and Laura Poitras, “Data Pirates of the Caribbean: The NSA Is Recording Every Cell Phone Call in the Bahamas,” Intercept, May 19, 2014,

  53.  Secret Documents Reveal N.S.A. Campaign Against Encryption,” New York Times, September 5, 2013,; James Ball, Bruce Schneier, and Glenn Greenwald, “NSA and GCHQ Target Tor Network that Protects Anonymity of Web Users,” Guardian, October 4, 2013,

  54.  Nicole Perlroth, Jeff Larson, and Scott Shane, “N.S.A. Able to Foil Basic Safeguards of Privacy on Web,” New York Times, September 5, 2013,; Ball, Schneier, and Greenwald, “NSA and GCHQ Target Tor Network that Protects Anonymity of Web Users.”

  55.  “‘Follow the Money’: NSA Spies on International Payments,” Spiegel Online, September 15, 2013,

  56.  Declan McCullagh, “Justice Department Tries to Force Google to Hand Over User Data,” CNET, May 31, 2013,

  57.  “National Security Letters,” Electronic Frontier Foundation,

  58.  John Doe, Inc. v. Mukasey, 549 F.3d 861 (2d Cir. 2008).

  59.  Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook page, accessed August 4, 2014,

  60.  Cassidy v. Chertoff, 471 F.3d 67, 82 (2d Cir. 2006).

  61.  Jennifer Jenkins and Carol D. Leonnig, “In NSA-Intercepted Data, Those Not Targeted Far Outnumber the Foreigners Who Are,” Washington Post,

  62.  Geoffrey R. Stone, “The NSA’s Telephone Metadata Program Is Unconstitutional,” Huffington Post,

  63.  Ryan Gallagher, “Software that Tracks People on Social Media Created by Defense Firm,” Guardian, February 10, 2013,

  64.  Joel R. Spiegel, Michael T. McKenna, Girish S. Lakshman, and Paul G. Nordstrom. Method and System for anticipatory package shipping. U.S. Patent 8,615,473, filed August 24, 2012, and issued December 24, 2013.

  65.  “Privacy Impact Assessment Update for the Future Attribute Screening Technology (FAST)/Passive Methods for Precision Behavioral Screening,” Department of Homeland Security, December 21, 2011,

  66.  Sharon Weinberger, “Terrorist ‘Pre-Crime’ Detector Filed Tested in United States,” Nature, May 27, 2011,

  67.  James Bamford, “The New Thought Police,” PBS, January 1, 2009,

  68.  “Assisting the Language Analyst: Multi-disciplinary Research at CSL,” The Next Wave: The National Security Agency’s Review of Emerging Technologies 18 (2009): 1,

  69.  Peter Finn, Greg Miller, and Ellen Nakashima, “Investigators Looking at How Snowden Gained Access at NSA,” Washington Post, June 10, 2013,

  70.  Klayman v. Obama, 957 F. Supp. 2d 1, 37 (D.D.C. 2013). In the case of ACLU v. Clapper, 959 F. Supp. 2d 724 (S.D.N.Y. 2013) the judge reached a different conclusion on similar facts.

  71.  Smith v. Maryland, 442 U.S. 735, 743 (1979).

  72.  Stephen Somogyi, “Making End-to-End Encryption Easier to Use,” Google Online Security Blog, June 3, 2014,

  73.  Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook page, accessed August 4, 2014.

  74.  Aryeh Selekman, “A New, Optional Way to Share and Discover Music, TV and Movies,” Facebook, May 21, 2014,

  75.  H.R. 3361, 113th Congress (2014).

  76.  USA Freedom Act of 2014, S. 2685, 113th Congress (2014).

  77.  The proposed policy changes of the PCLOB 2014 report provide a reasonable background for reform ideas (e.g., define NSA targeting more completely, avoid U.S. person surveillance, review the FISA court’s role, evaluate upstream collection on purely domestic subjects, promote transparency and accountability, and evaluate the efficacy of the surveillance programs).

  78.  Andrew Lycett, “Breaking Germany’s Enigma Code,” BBC, February 17, 2011,

  79.  U.S. Senate, Joint Testimony of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Justice Before the Committee on the Judiciary, 113th Congress, November 13, 2013,

  80.  Civil Liberties and Privacy Office of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Civil Liberties and Privacy Guidance for Intelligence Community Professionals: Properly Obtaining and Using Publicly Available Information, July 2011,

  81.  Office of the Director of National Intelligence, IC on the Record: 2013 Transparency Report,

  82.  Mark Mazzetti and Carl Hulse, “C.I.A. Inquiry Affirms It Spied on Senate Panel,” New York Times, July 31, 2014,

  83.  Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, Report on the Surveillance Program Operated Pursuant to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, accessed July 3, 2014,

  84.  Perez, “Secret Court’s Oversight Gets Scrutiny.”

  85.  Office of Senator Richard Blumenthal. “Blumenthal Unveils Major Legislation To Reform FISA Courts,” 2013,

  86.  Peter Wallsten, “Lawmakers say obstacles limited oversight of NSA’s telephone surveillance program,” Washington Post, August 10, 2013,

  87.  Mike Lennon, “Researchers Out Spy Tools That Let Governments Hack Your Smartphone,” Security Week, June 24, 2014,

  88.  David Welna, “Before Snowden: The Whistleblowers Who Tried to Lift The Veil,” National Public Radio, July 22, 2014,

  89.  Marcy Wheeler, “Government Case Against Whistleblower Thomas Drake Collapses,” Nation, June 13, 2011,

  90.  Beverly Cohen, “Kaboom! The Explosion of Qui Tam False Claims Under the Health Reform Law,” Penn State Law Review 116 (2011): 77–78.

  91.  Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989, Pub. L. No. 101–12, 103 Stat. 16 (1989). The act is intended to protect federal employees from retaliation if they report unlawful practices occurring at their place of work.

  92.  United States v. Jones, 132 S. Ct. 945, 957 (2012).

  93.  David E. Sanger, “U.S. Privacy Panel Backs NSA’s Internet Tapping,” New York Times, July 2, 2014,

  94.  Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, Establishing the 2003 Privacy Rule, Code of Federal Regulations, title 45 (2003): 160, 162, 164,

  95.  Christopher Slobogin, “Transaction Surveillance by the Government,” Mississippi Law Journal 139, no. 75 (2005).

  96.  Passed in 1986, the SCA provides Fourth Amendment–like protection to digital communications stored on third-party servers and remote computing servers.

  97.  Agnieszka A. Mcpeak, “The Facebook Digital Footprint: Paving Fair and Consistent Pathways to Civil Discovery of Social Media Data,” Wake Forest Law Review 48 (2013): 892–93. Courts have generally required a showing of relevancy when considering motions to compel access to the entirety of a Facebook account.

  98.  EEOC v. The Original Honeybaked Ham Co. of Georgia, No. 11-CV-02560-MSK-MEH, (D. Co. November 7, 2012). A federal magistrate judge reasoned in one recent employment discrimination case that production of social media account passwords was warranted when the requested information was specific and relevant to the matter in dispute.

  99.  Kirk, “United States of Secrets (Part One): The Program.”

100.  Greenwald, “XKeyscore.”

101.  Devereaux, Greenwald, and Poitras, “Data Pirates of the Caribbean.”


    1.  The official Director of National Intelligence Web site opened in August 2013 for the purpose of posting the new releases is The most comprehensive count of the Snowden documents may be found at

    2.  See Electronic Frontier Foundation Department of Justice, C.A. No. 12-cv-1441. The Justice Department declaration was dated April 1, 2013—April Fool’s Day.

    3.  For the text of the COMINT Act and an absolutist view of its meaning, see Gabriel Schoenfeld, Necessary Secrets (New York: Norton, 2010), 251–54.

    4.  This metaphor and the analysis behind it may be found in the author’s congressional testimony to the House Judiciary Committee, December 16, 2010, “Hearing on the Espionage Act and the Legal and Constitutional Implications of Wikileaks.”

    5.  See

    6.  For an extended discussion of the contrast, see Daniel N. Hoffman, Governmental Secrecy and the Founding Fathers (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1981).

    7.  For a recent argument for secrecy citing Madison, see Cass Sunstein, “Let Public Officials Work in Private,” Bloomberg View, July 9, 2014.

    8.  See the invaluable history in Arvin S. Quist, Security Classification of Information: Volume 2. Principles for Classification of Information (Oak Ridge, TN: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 1993), 187 and throughout.

    9.  Quotations of the Founders are from Daniel Hoffman, Governmental Secrey and the Founding Fathers.

  10.  Harold Relyea, “National Security and Information,” Government Information Quarterly 4, no. 1 (1987): 11–19.

  11.  For an extended discussion of this history and the Weber quotation, see Alasdair Roberts, Blacked Out: Government Secrecy in the Information Age (Combridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 11.

  12.  Robert S. Norris, Racing for the Bomb (Hanover, NH: Steerforth Press, 2002), 253–54.

  13.  For the Szilárd quote, see Schoenfeld, Necessary Secrets, 145.

  14.  See David Kahn, The Codebreakers (New York: Scribner 1996), especially page 591 on the reasons the Japanese missed the story. See also the discussion in Schoenfeld, Necessary Secrets, 132–40, where he argues in favor of prosecution of newspapers that publish leaks.

  15.  See Daniel P. Moynihan, Secrecy (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998), which builds on the senator’s essay in the 1997 commission report at Appendix A.

  16.  For the most up-to-date account, see Malcolm Byrne, Iran-Contra: Reagan’s Scandal and the Unchecked Abuse of Presidential Power (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas 2014).

  17.  These developments and more persuaded the author to call the 1990s the “decade of openness” in the essay “National Security and Open Government: Beyond the Balancing Test,” in Alasdair Roberts, ed., National Security and Open Government (Syracuse, NY: Campbell Institute, Maxwell School, Syracuse University, 2003), 31–72.

  18.  The unclassified summary of the case studies is available on the Web site of the CIA’s Center for the Study of Intelligence, authored by James B. Bruce under the title “The Consequences of Permissive Neglect: Laws and Leaks of Classified Intelligence,” no date, but retrieved by the author on October 14, 2008.

  19.  Mark Feldstein, Poisoning the Press: Richard Nixon, Jack Anderson, and the Rise of Washington’s Scandal Culture (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010), 200–1.

  20.  Glenn Kessler, “File the Bin Laden Phone Leak Under ‘Urban Myths,’” Washington Post, December 22, 2005.

  21.  See the National Security Archive electronic briefing book on “Declassification in Reverse,” posted online February 21, 2006, and the Washington Post editorial “Classifying Toothpaste” on February 27, 2006,, which includes The Washington Post, editorial as well.

  22.  See, for example, the book authored by Gabriel Schoenfeld, Necessary Secrets, and multiple public utterances cited therein by congressional leaders such as the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Republican Mike Rogers of Michigan.

  23.  James Risen and Eric Lichtblau, “Bush Let U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts,” New York Times, December 16, 2005. Risen helped force the issue by putting his version of the story into a book, but the newsworthiness of the Times’s story came more from Lichtblau’s account of the Justice Department’s reservations—that we now know extended to the March 2004 hospital room confrontations between White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and then–Attorney General John Ashcroft.

  24.  The full Frankel quote may be found, among other places, in Schoenfeld, Necessary Secrets, 23.

  25.  The quotation originally came from Justice Robert Jackson in a free speech case in 1949, and was repurposed by Justice Arthur Goldberg in subsequent rulings. See Linda Greenhouse, “The Nation; Suicide Pact,” New York Times, September 22, 2002.

  26.  Rahul Sagar, Secrets and Leaks: The Dilemma of State Secrecy (Princeton, NJ: University Press, 2013).

  27.  Jack Goldsmith, The Terror Presidency: Law and Judgment Inside the Bush Administration (New York: Norton, 2007).

  28.  Jack Goldsmith, “Critical Comments by Rahul Sagar on My Post on Kinsley,” Lawfare, posted June 2, 2014,

  29.  See the authoritative overview of U.S. intelligence functions in Jeffrey T. Richelson, The U.S. Intelligence Community, sixth edition (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2009), with particular attention to the NSA’s early years on pages 30–31.

  30.  James Bamford, The Shadow Factory (New York: Doubleday, 2008), for an updated version of his two previous best sellers on the NSA, The Puzzle Palace New York (Penguin, 1982) and Body of Secrets (New York: Anchor, 2001).

  31.  For more details, see Bamford, The Puzzle Palace, 459, and The Shadow Factory, 272–77.

  32.  Bamford, The Puzzle Palace, 317–24.

  33.  This oft-repeated quote appears as the epigraph to the book on the Snowden affair by Glenn Greenwald, No Place to Hide (New York: Henry Holt, 2014). Knowledgeable reviewers such as David Cole have disagreed with Greenwald that such is the government’s motive, arguing instead that counterterrorism continues to be the primary driver of the U.S. government’s surveillance programs. See David Cole, “NSA mantra: ‘Collect it all … know it all,’” Washington Post, May 18, 2014.

  34.  See the National Security Archive electronic briefing book 178, “Wiretap Debate Déjà Vu,” posted February 4, 2006, including the declassified recommendations of President Ford’s advisers, over the objections of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, to set wiretap standards in law,

  35.  Vera Ruth Filby, “More Beans,” Cryptolog (February 1978), a TOP SECRET in-house NSA newsletter quoted by Bamford, The Puzzle Palace, 390.

  36.  American Cryptology During the Cold War, 1945–1989, Book III: Retrenchment and Reform, 1972–1980 (Fort Meade, MD: National Security Agency, 1998), TOP SECRET, declassified and posted online in National Security Archive electronic briefing books 260 (posted November 14, 2008) and 441 (posted September 25, 2013),

  37.  For the comparison, see Thomas Blanton, “Umbra Gamma Zarf (Above Top Secret to you, pal.),” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (January–February 2002): 62–63.

  38.  For copies of the two charts, see “The National Security Agency Declassified,” National Security Archive electronic briefing book 24, updated posting March 11, 2005,

  39.  See the National Security Archive electronic briefing book 132, “Tonkin Gulf Intelligence ‘Skewed’ According to Official History and Intercepts,” posted online December 1, 2005,

  40.  For a summary account with citations to the original reports, see Alasdair Roberts, Blacked Out, 42–44.

  41.  For the specifics of these estimates, and extensive further data and recommendations for secrecy reform, see Thomas Blanton, “Statement to the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Government Reform, Hearing on ‘Emerging Threats: Overclassification and Pseudo-Classification,’” March 2, 2005, posted online at

  42.  See Bamford, The Shadow Factory, 331–33; for documents and more details on “collect it all,” see Greenwald, No Place to Hide, 95–100.

  43.  Dana Priest and William M. Arkin, Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 2011).

  44.  National Security Agency, Transition 2001 (December 2000), TOP SECRET declassified and posted online in National Security Archive electronic briefing book 24 (posted March 11, 2005),

  45.  For details on the Clapper quotes and the congressional hearing, see the National Security Archive’s “Rosemary Award” online posting March 24, 2014, and the story by Al Kamen, “Spy chief James Clapper wins not-so-coveted Rosemary Award,” Washington Post, March 24, 2014.

  46.  For details on these and more examples of U.S. government lies exposed by the Snowden leaks, see Greg Miller, “Misinformation on Classified NSA Programs Includes Statements by Senior U.S. Officials,” Washington Post, June 30, 2013.

  47.  See Charlie Savage, “Door May Open for Challenge to Secret Wiretaps,” New York Times, October 16, 2013.

  48.  See Lauren Harper, “The ‘Top 10’ Surveillance Lies Edward Snowden’s Leaks Shed ‘Heat and Light’ Upon,” Unredacted (National Security Archive blog), posted January 17, 2014,

  49.  Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, “Report on the Telephone Records Program Conducted under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act and on the Operations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court,” January 23, 2014, 101–2.

  50.  See Jameel Jaffer and Brett Max Kaufman, “Deciphering what NSA officials say (and what they really mean),” Slate, August 1, 2013.

  51.  ODNI Web site may be found at

  52.  See Craig Timberg, “U.S. threat led Yahoo to relent: Facing huge fines, firm released data,” Washington Post, September 12, 2014.

  53.  David Sanger, “Sky Isn’t Falling After Snowden, N.S.A. Chief Says: Data Protection Cited: New Leader Calls Leaks Regrettable but Manageable,” New York Times, June 30, 2014.

  54.  Robert Litt speech to the American University Washington College of Law, Collaboration on Government Secrecy, Freedom of Information Day conference, March 18, 2014.

  55.  Steven Aftergood, “ODNI Rethinks Secrecy and Openness in Intelligence,” Secrecy News, March 20, 2014,

  56.  John C. Inglis interview, National Public Radio, Morning Edition, January 10, 2014.

  57.  For some twenty years of coverage of the intelligence budget secrecy issue, see the invaluable Secrecy News blog written by Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists,

  58.  Office of the Director of National Intelligence, FY 2013 Congressional Budget Justification, Volume 1, National Intelligence Program Summary, February 2012, For the language proficiency data, see page 70. See also Barton Gellman and Greg Miller, “Black budget summary details U.S. spy network’s successes, failures and objectives,” Washington Post, August 29, 2013.


    1.  Yochai Benkler, “A Public Accountability Defense for National Security Leakers and Whistleblowers,” Harvard Law and Policy 8, no. 2 (July 2014).

    2.  James Risen, Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War (Boston: Houghton/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014).

    3.  Marisa Taylor, “Intelligence, defense whistleblowers remain mired in broken system,” December 30, 2014. Whistleblowers-remain-mired-in-broken-system.html?brand=mcd.

    4.  Ronald L. Goldfarb, In Confidence: When to Protect Secrecy and When to Require Disclosure (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2009).

    5.  Joint Inquiry Into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After The Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001. Report of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and U.S. House Permanent Select committee on Intelligence. December 2002.

    6.  “The NSA responds to Edward Snowden’s interview at TED,” TED Blog,

    7.  Ibid.

    8.  Charlotte Alter, “NSA Official Floats Amnesty For Snowden: If the leaker could show the data he took is contained,” Time, December 16, 2013,

    9.  Live chat, “NSA Surveillance: Q&A with reporter Barton Gellman,” Washington Post, July 14, 2014,

  10.  Jane Mayer, “Video: Snowden Would ‘Love’ an Open Trial,” New Yorker, October 20, 2014,

  11.  Ibid.

  12.  Derrick Hinds, Radio Television Digital News Association, November 18, 2014,

  13.  Jed S. Rakoff, “Why Innocent People Plead Guilty,” New York Review of Books, November 20, 2014,

  14.  Alan Rusbridger and Ewen MacAskill, “Edward Snowden interview—the edited transcript,” Guardian, July 18, 2014,

  15.  Editorial Board, “Edward Snowden, Whistleblower,” New York Times, January 1, 2014,

  16.  Mayer, “Video: Snowden Would ‘Love’ an Open Trial.”