Coleen Rowley, former FBI agent and 2011 whistleblower recently returned from Moscow where she traveled with three other Americans to present Edward Snowden the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence. She accompanied by, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, former NSA executive Thomas Andrews Drake, Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project, and Sarah Harrison of WikiLeaks.
She met with a group of peace activists at MayDay Books, Minneapolis, on December 8, 2013 to discuss this trip and the personal ramifications of national security developments. This video is her complete presentation. Published on Dec 15, 2013 on The Uptake. Videographer: Bill Sorem
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Coleen Rowley, former Minneapolis FBI agent and an agency whistleblower after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, met with a packed house of peace activists at Mayday Bookstore, Minneapolis, on December 8. Her subjects: NSA spying on Americans, fugitive NSA analyst Edward Snowden, press freedom and the American surveillance state.
Rowley has been in the public eye since shortly after 9/11 when she wrote a memo to FBI Director, Robert Mueller. As reported by PBS on March 5, 2005, “When Coleen Rowley was an FBI agent in Minneapolis, her office got a lead just three weeks before 9/11: A known Islamic extremist named Zacarias Moussaoui had paid $8,000 in cash for lessons to fly a Boeing 747. Rowley’s team arrested him and wanted a warrant to search his laptop computer but Rowley’s superiors at FBI headquarters said, “No.”
In her talk last Sunday, Rowley argued that the real threat to national security is the government itself, not the whistleblowers, like Snowden, who are revealing the truth. We are rapidly moving toward total censorship of the press, she said, with freedom of the press under siege. As a former FBI agent of 24 years, Rowley is required to submit all she writes to the government for advance approval. The government is using the Espionage Act of 1917 with great frequency to muzzle the truth, she said. This act is described as, “One of the most controversial laws ever passed in the United States.
Recent attention has focused on Edward Snowden, the former NSA contract analyst who released documents showing the extent of U.S. government spying. He has been vilified by the government and the mainstream media, with many calling him a traitor. But Rowley said the real traitors are the senior government officials who been lying to Congress and the American people.
She said the Intelligence establishment itself is responsible for many leaks over the years. Tidbits are leaked to key Congressional leaders of both parties so that if and when the truth comes out these leak recipients can shrug and say, “I knew that.” Unfortunately, the shrugs get passed on through the media. Rowley says the current practice of legal action against journalists telling the truth is having a chilling effect on the rest of the media. Glenn Greenwald, the primary recipient of the Snowden papers, lives in Brazil and is afraid to travel to his home country because no one in the government will guarantee that he won’t be arrested at the border.
Rowley was part of an American delegation that traveled to Moscow in October to present the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence to Snowden. Rowley is one of only a few Americans who have been able to meet with Snowden since he sought asylum in Moscow. She was accompanied by former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, former NSA executive Thomas Andrews Drake, Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project and Sarah Harrison of WikiLeaks.
Whistleblower Rowley Calls Snowden “Patriot” Like Nelson Mandela
He’s [Edward Snowden] very astute, very concerned… he’s completely motivated. I wish I had more time to explain. He’s motivated as a whistleblower. You know, you see a lot of people that will, you know, sell information. I mean the difference between espionage are people trying to make a buck off of selling information to, you know, certainly to enemy countries. But even making money off of just for regular, regular news and stuff. People do. They write and they sell and they make money. Well Snowden is merely concerned about the situation in our country. And he’s a patriot because he’s trying to get this fixed because he knows it’s not going to let… it’s not going to work. It’s not working. It’s hurting the United States. Economically, we’re looking at, you know, trillions of dollars being spent for this massive data collection.
Yes, we were able to talk a few hours at night and even after his attorney left, we were, you know, we went on almost into early morning hours of talking about the situation. Not so much about personal issues. You know, he’s, he’s taken this on himself. He knows that his own situation is is bad. And his family, of course, have been hurt to some extent. His father came to visit the day after we left. So he did get a visit with his father. But he of course lost his girlfriend, and there’s a lot of things on the personal level that he sacrificed. Not terribly different than Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela talks about having sacrificed his family life. Distributed by OneLoad.com
Videographer Bill Sorem