BFP Breaking News- Omidyar’s PayPal Corporation Said To Be Implicated in Withheld NSA Documents

The U.S. Government, An Implicated Billionaire, Fortune-Seeking Journalists &        A Public in the Dark

Update 2:
Glenn Greenwald Goes on Record: “I Don’t Doubt PayPal Cooperates with NSA!”

Update 1:
Verbatim Copy of Mr. Binney’s Statement

The 50,000-pages of documents obtained by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden contain extensive documentation of PayPal Corporation’s partnership and cooperation with the National Security Agency (NSA), according to three NSA veterans. To date, no information has been released as to the extent of the working relationship and cooperation between the two entities- NSA and PayPal Corporation. What’s more, the billionaire owner of PayPal Corporation has entered into a $250 Million business partnership with two journalists-Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, a journalist duo who possess the entire cache of evidence provided by Edward Snowden. Despite earlier pledges by the journalists in question, only one percent (1%) of Snowden’s documents has been released.

BFP was recently contacted by a retired NSA official who claims that the documents obtained by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden contain extensive documentation pertaining to NSA’s partnership with major U.S. financial institutions, including credit card companies and PayPal Corporation. The official, who requested anonymity, also alleges that a deal was made in early June, 2013 between the journalists involved in this recent NSA scandal and U.S. government officials, which was then sealed by secrecy and nondisclosure agreements by all parties involved.

Upon receiving this report BFP contacted three other high-level former NSA officials for additional information and comments.

On December 11, 2013 we contacted Mr. William Binney, a former top official at the National Security Agency (NSA), and asked him to comment on the legitimacy of the above report, and whether he had any knowledge of the partnership and cooperation between NSA and financial institutions such as PayPal. He confirmed the legitimacy of the report and added:

The NSA has had the cooperation of major financial institutions, including credit card companies, to obtain all financial transactions of these companies’ clients-international and domestic. Further, the NSA not only obtains and stores the financial data of Americans and foreigners, but it also shares them with other government agencies such as the FBI and DEA.

When asked about the apparent conflict of interest and controversy involving the new business venture between the journalists in question and PayPal’s billionaire owner Pierre Omidyar, he had the following statement:

Sunlight, transparency, is the only cure; the only way to bring about needed changes. This is why the public is entitled to have all the evidence and documents. The partnership with PayPal’s owner, thus, the new ownership of Mr. Snowden’s documents by an individual who is implicated in these documents, presents grave concerns and consequences, and a major conflict of interest for transparency, integrity and whistleblowers.

Russell Tice, a former NSA Intelligence Analyst and Capabilities Operations Officer, also confirmed the report, and stated that based on his knowledge, NSA regularly obtains financial information from major financial institutions, including credit card companies and PayPal. In January 2009, during an interview with Keith Olberman, he stated that information from credit card records and other financial transaction was being collected and stored by NSA (See the interview here).

On December 10, 2013, in an exclusive interview with BFP, Mr. Tice expanded upon the NSA-Financial Institutions collusion:

For NSA, information from financial institutions such as PayPal is equally if not more valuable and sought after than that obtained from social media and other software companies such as Facebook, Microsoft and Google.” He added, “I wouldn’t doubt the existence of evidence and documents implicating corporations such as PayPal within the large cache obtained by Edward Snowden. The partnership and data collection arrangements have existed for many years.”

When asked about his opinion on Glenn Greenwald’s new $250 Million venture partnership with PayPal Corporation’s billionaire owner Pierre Omidyar, multi-million dollar book and movie deals, and recent unexplained immunity from the U.S. government, he stated the following:

“I would be outraged and highly vocal if I were in Edward Snowden’s shoes. For a journalist whom I had placed my trust in to go and withhold documents meant for the public?! For the journalist to make fortune and fame based on my sacrifices and disclosure?! Forming a lucrative business partnership with entities who have direct conflicts of interest?! No. That wouldn’t have been acceptable.”

Despite our submitted requests for confirmation, denial or comments, PayPal has refrained from responding to this report and contained allegations.

Other whistleblowers from the intelligence community have also expressed grave concerns over the serious implications of the recent venture partnership between journalist Glenn Greenwald and PayPal owner Pierre Omidyar. Indeed, the journalists in question have decided to hold back the release of the remaining 99% of the whistleblower’s documents, and have been inconsistent and vague as to when and how much they intend to release further documents. Their decision to withhold the majority of the documents appears to coincide with their new $250 million business venture with PayPal’s Omidyar, and recent mega-bucks book and movie deals.

Crytome.Org’s John Young, whom we sought comments from for this news story, considers the claims by these former NSA insiders valid and legitimate:

Government access to financial transactions has always been top priority for all government agencies, worldwide. Nothing is more important to governments than where the money is, especially money for taxation required to avoid death-stake in the heart of governments. So it is consistent that NSA (and other spies) have access to all on- and off-line financial services providers. As you know, financial services are required to cooperate with their governments, perhaps second only to defense industries, perhaps first due to the need to track worldwide arms sales. Control of arms means control of wealth, and nothing is more appreciated by the few wealthy to offload arms cost to millions of taxpayers.

We asked Mr. Young how he viewed the implications of the same billionaire who is allegedly implicated in these documents, buying out the involved reporters (both of them) and getting ownership of the whistleblower’s leaked documents:

Billionaires are as obliged as financial services to cooperate with governments in order to protect their wealth and to guard against excessive taxation, expropriation, confiscation, prosecution, stigmatization and exclusion from government contracts. Cooperation with governments is essential for wealth accumulation, the greater the wealth the greater the cooperation… Whistleblowing on the whistleblowing industry is overdue, but that will take courage and ingenuity to avoid appearing to have been taken over by those expecting to avoid full disclosure.

Here is what WikiLeaks had to say about Pierre Omidyar and his PayPal Corporation’s war on whistleblowers:

"How can you take something seriously when the person behind this platform went along with the financial boycott against WikiLeaks?" Harrison was referring to the decision in December 2010 by PayPal, which is owned by eBay, to suspend WikiLeaks' donation account and freeze its assets after pressure from the US government. The company's boycott, combined with similar action taken by Visa and Mastercard, left WikiLeaks facing a funding crisis.

"His excuse is probably that there is nothing he could have done at the time," Harrison continued. "Well, he is on the board of directors. He can't shake off responsibility that easily. He didn't even comment on it. He could have said something like: 'we were forced to do this, but I am against it'."

Whistleblower William Russell, who served with the NSA, U.S. Secret Service, and as an officer and transport pilot with the U.S. Marine Corps, had the following reaction to this exploitive PayPal-Journalist-Government collusion:

I completely agree with these whistleblowers. This is a major conflict of interest and highly convoluted. Omidyar has billions at stake if the details of his cooperation with government is ever exposed. So this guy pays $250 million and buys out the 2 journalists who have the entire cache?! Simply outrageous!"

Sibel Edmonds, the founder and director of National Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC) which represents over 150 government national security whistleblowers, states:

We have been told that these journalists have had over one hundred meetings with U.S. government officials in order to clear what “could be” or “could not be” released. That’s a fact, and it is highly disturbing. On one hand they say the government considers these documents and revelations highly classified and stolen property. Yet, we see a mainstream publisher offering millions of dollars to the journalist, and getting a ‘go ahead’ from the US government to publish it. We see a billionaire corporate man, never known for being pro civil liberties or Human Rights, and someone who is implicated in these illegal government activities paying off the journalists and getting ownership of the NSA documents. We see a government sanctioned Hollywood mega-million movie deal. We see lies, inconsistencies, contradictions, censorship, voluntary withholding, exploitation of a whistleblower … This smoke and mirrors filled fakery stinks to high heaven!

As stated by Guardian’s Rusbridger, who recently gave evidence to the British parliamentary committee about stories based on Snowden’s NSA leaks: Greenwald and the Guardian had consulted with government officials and intelligence agencies – including the FBI, GCHQ, the White House and the Cabinet Office – on more than 100 occasions before the publication of stories.

The enormous conflict of interest and ethical impropriety of PayPal owner Omidyar’s business venture with Glenn Greenwald, the journalist in possession of the documents, is not limited to PayPal being directly implicated in documents exposing NSA’s illegal activities and operations. There are other equally disturbing and outrageous facts that put in question the integrity of the journalists, including their sudden enormous gains, wealth, fame, and the apparent government’s consent.

There is documented evidence illustrating Pierre Omidyar’s historical attitude and position on publishers, reporters and whistleblowers who publicize incriminating government documents. Here is one, coming directly from billionaire Omidyar:

That’s right. The above twit was typed by Omidyar’s own fingers on July 16, 2009.

But please don’t be mistaken. Pierre Omidyar doesn’t only talk the talk. No sir, the man actually walks his talk. Slightly over a year after Omidyar made the above statement he engaged in the following action:

NEW YORK: US-based online payment service PayPal has decided to block financial transfers to WikiLeaks after governments around the world initiated legal action against the whistleblower website.

"PayPal has permanently restricted the account used by WikiLeaks due to a violation of the PayPal Acceptable Use Policy, which states that our payment service cannot be used for any activities that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity," PayPal said in statement released late Friday.

Wikileaks was not the only whistleblower entity to fall victim to PayPal’s war on government whistleblowers’. In 2011, two years after freezing Wikileaks’ account, Omidyar’s PayPal cut off the account for Bradley Manning Support:

Glyn Moody now points us to the news that PayPal has also decided to cut off the group "Courage to Resist," which was handling funds for Bradley Manning's defense effort. PayPal admits there's no legal basis for this. Apparently, the company just doesn't believe that some people should be allowed a fair trial.

The report also notes that they've had a PayPal account in good standing since 2006, with no problems at all. It's only once they were taking funds for Bradley Manning that PayPal shut them down. This is somewhat horrifying, frankly, and raises serious questions about PayPal as a business worth trusting.

Then, yet another recent example of violations inflicted by PayPal, this time upon Mailpile. Mailpile attempted to create a webmail client that is built with both security and usability in mind to counter government’s intrusions into hosted webmail accounts:

PayPal, for reasons known only to PayPal, has decided to freeze their funds and won't let Mailpile access the money that people donated PayPal is demanding an insane level of detail into Mailpile's personal finances and businessEven worse, it seems that the folks at PayPal recognize that it holds power over Mailpile, and seems almost to be lording that power over them

The history of the billionaire’s stand and actions, when it comes to liberties, whistleblowers and freedom of the press, seems to be limited to: opposing, fighting and quashing government whistleblowers at every chance. Simply put, Mr. Omidyar has been consistently maintaining his stand as a billionaire who is pro-government, anti-government whistleblowers, and against transparency.

Omidyar’s pro government and anti-whistleblowers philosophy and principles are shared equally when it comes to his partners and close associates. Here is Mr. Omidyar’s PayPal Partner and close friend- Max Levchin, who says that the NSA isn’t being evil, and that the agency’s violation is for our own good and protection from terrorists:

The NSA is designed to protect us from terrorism, so even if it oversteps its bounds, PayPal co-founder Max Levchin says we shouldn’t hate it. That’s diametrically opposed to the sentiment of many in the tech industry, including Michael Arrington who thinks the NSA’s spying doesn’t stop terrorism — it is terrorism.

“I think it’s ridiculous for a citizen of a country that view his government’s duty to protect me, protect all of us from evil, from harm, from terrorists, from foreign powers meaning ill — to classify a body of government that is designed to figure out what might hit us next and prevent it, throwing them into an evil bucket is just thoughtless.”

Let’s watch Pierre Omidyar’s PayPal partner and close friend in action, shall we?

PayPal Co-Founder Defends NSA Surveillance

This interview was conducted in the summer of 2013. This was right in the midst of the Edward Snowden and NSA Scandal. This is what Pierre Omidyar and his closest friend and PayPal partner believed then. And this is what they believe now. There has been no change either in Omidyar’s or his partner’s position and belief since. There has been zero indication of either of them seeing the light called civil liberties.

PayPal co-founder Max Levchin is not the only PayPal man who is pro-NSA illegal surveillance and corporate-government partnerships in targeting the population at large. Here are other PayPal Men and former partners who have been directly linked to government spying and surveillance operations, and of course, the CIA:

Palantir Technologies, a Silicon Valley firm, is, according to the tipster, providing the technology that enables the mass-surveillance NSA project known as PRISM.

Palantir (which, at time of writing, had not responded to requests for comment) was founded in 2004 by, among others, venture capitalist Peter Thiel and CEO Alex Karp. It's a sort of second-party data intelligence company--it's not a public company, but it was founded with early investment from the CIA and is heavily used by the military and the White House. Karp is an ex-PayPal guy, and leveraged his expertise in security he gained at PayPal (which was constantly fighting off hackers) into his new venture.

Here is more on this CIA Company and its originators, all from PayPal’s early days:

Palantir’s advisors include Condoleezza Rice and former CIA director George Tenet, who says in an interview that “I wish we had a tool of its power” before 9/11. General David Petraeus, the most recent former CIA chief, describes Palantir to FORBES as “a better mousetrap when a better mousetrap was needed” …

We must not forget PayPal’s position and its actual business goals. PayPal is an international e-commerce business allowing payments and money transfers to be made through the Internet. It operates in 190 markets and manages more than 232 million accounts, more than 100 million of them active. PayPal allows customers to send, receive, and hold funds in 26 currencies worldwide. It is subject to the US economic sanction list and subject to other rules and interventions required by US laws or the government. All that, and the fact that PayPal has always been a valuable asset and partner of the U.S. government, even when it comes to operations directed against the people’s rights and privacy.

Remember, NSA wants access to our data. All data. Based on the latest revelations we already know that:

“Companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft — they all get together with the NSA and provide the NSA with direct access to the backends to all of the systems you use to communicate, to store your data, to put things in the cloud, and even just to send birthday wishes and keep a record of your life. And they give the NSA direct access that they don’t need to oversee, so they can’t be held liable for it.”

So far, Greenwald and the rest of the mainstream media have been emphasizing a handful of company names valuable to the NSA as great sources of data gathering on individuals - companies and organizations such as Facebook, Google, Apple, Yahoo and Microsoft. Now think about it, if NSA is that interested in garbage personal details we post on Facebook, how interested would it be in a far more telling database such as PayPal, where it can get all our expenditures, money transfers, payments and donations?

Prior to Snowden revelations we had NSA’s easy access to and control of telecommunication companies such as AT&T and Verizon. Recently, based on less than 1% of Snowden’s documents we became aware of NSA’s incestuous partnership with social media and software companies such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Apple.

We still don’t have access to 99% of Snowden’s NSA documents and revelations. Obviously the 50,000+ page documentations includes many other companies and organizations, including those in possession of the public’s financial transaction data. We are talking credit card companies and other related financial institutions. More importantly, we are talking about one of the world’s largest online money transfer entities, PayPal Corporation.

Thus, we all should be alarmed when we see that those implicated in the whistleblower’s documented evidence are now forming a multi-million dollar business venture with those in possession of that evidence.  We all must question the unexplained changes in the U.S. government’s position on the ownership and publication of these documents. We must all be wary when we see how readily mainstream publishers and Hollywood studios are signing up to publicize these documents and the case with some unexplained immunity. We have to ask ourselves: what has changed? What gives? Only a few months ago there was all this talks about apprehension, jailing, hanging and droning of all parties involved. Only a few months ago the parties involved put on a magnificent show on how they were threatened, endangered, and were going to be persecuted and prosecuted. Then, suddenly, something changed. Something gave. Was it a secret deal struck between the government and the involved parties establishing immunity and support in return for something much more cynical and dark? Was it the involved parties using the cache as a blackmailing tool to secure a $250 million payoff?  Was it a solemn oath to withhold and never release the ‘real’ deal in return for a glamorous life with Hollywood studio deals and multi-million dollar book contracts? 

Which one is it? We have no way of knowing, since lips seem to have been sealed, and the release of the ‘real’ documents has been vaguely put on hold for years to come. On the other hand, thanks to some ‘real’ whistleblowers out there, we are getting some information putting this smoke and mirrors filled stage into perspective. Even if so far we have gotten to see only the tip of this convoluted and corrupted iceberg.

# # # #

Sibel Edmonds is the Publisher & Editor of Boiling Frogs Post, the Founder & Director of National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC), and the author of the Memoir Classified Woman: The Sibel Edmonds Story. She is the recipient of the 2006 PEN Newman's Own First Amendment Award for her “commitment to preserving the free flow of information in the United States in a time of growing international isolation and increasing government secrecy” Ms. Edmonds has a MA in Public Policy and International Commerce from George Mason University, a BA in Criminal Justice and Psychology from George Washington University.

William Binney Spent almost 40 years at the NSA but resigned after Sept. 11 over concerns about growing domestic surveillance. He spent time as director of the NSA’s World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group and was a senior NSA crypto-mathematician largely responsible for automating the agency’s worldwide eavesdropping network.

Russell Tice is a Former NSA Intelligence Analyst & Capabilities Operations Officer Specializing in Offensive Information Warfare (O-IW). In 2005 Tice helped spark a national controversy over claims that the NSA and the DIA were engaged in unlawful and unconstitutional wiretaps on US citizens, and later admitted that he was one of the sources that were used in the NY Times’ reporting on the wiretap activity in 2005.

William H. Russell served nine years with the U.S. Secret Service as a Computer Systems Analyst, and nine years with NSA, working with and supervising NSA contractors for the installation and testing of computer systems. Mr. Russell also served four years as officer and transport pilot with the U.S. Marine Corps. He attended the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Class of 1957, and is a Graduate of McPherson College, Kansas in Business Administration.

John Young is the founder and publisher of Crytome.Org, the digital library that functions as a repository for information about freedom of speech, cryptography, spying, and surveillance. According to its mission statement, "Cryptome welcomes documents for publication that are prohibited by governments worldwide, in particular material on freedom of expression, privacy, cryptology, dual-use technologies, national security, intelligence, and secret governance—open, secret and classified documents—but not limited to those."

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  1. 🙂

    Great job, Sibel. Now we’re getting somewhere. 😉

  2. Greenwald’s early Twitter responses are far from encouraging. If he continues like this he’ll dig his own (professional/credibility) grave.

    • Joshua Roberts says:

      he has buried himself under a mountain of obfuscation – the gatekeepers are now unable to serve the narrative without exposing themselves

      oh how the worm turns! oh! how we are taking back the fourth estate the World over!

  3. Joseph Davis says:

    Way to go Sibel! I can’t wait for the roundtable discussion. You’ve made it very obvious Greenwald’s just another controlled “dissenter”.

  4. This is why I support Boiling Frogs Post. I can’t get this kind of information and analysis anywhere else. Sibel has the connections, the integrity, the validity, and the backbone that outshines the rest.

    I wonder how long your PayPal account will keep working 😉

    Question: did the first, anonymous, NSA source provide any detail about how he/she knew what Snowden had actually gathered?

    Question: Coleen Rowley recently visited Snowden. What are her reactions to this story?

    • Joshua Roberts says:

      indeed, this is a proof which shines with the light of a thousands suns… truly, I need to up my subscription even – this is unparalleled work with unmatched ferocity! haha!
      good questions.

  5. Joshua Roberts says:

    total ownage.

  6. The one response he has made that may be true is that nobody knows what’s in the remaining NSA docs. Of course, the worrisome thing there is we just have to take his word for it that there’s nothing on PayPal in his stash, since nobody else has all the docs.

    I think the potential conflict of interest between him and Omidyar is obvious and great enough to be worrisome even if PayPal information isn’t in his NSA docs. But is there anything else you can say about your anonymous retired NSA official to indicate that he’s in a position to know? Was he specifically saying PayPal info was included in the Snowden docs, or just that NSA has PayPal information and cooperative agreements?

    Not impressed at all with Greenwald’s name-calling. Ain’t no way to treat a lady!

  7. Mgrdichian says:

    Excellent exposé. More info here than in all of MSM coverage put together. How can I make a one-time donation apart from my subscription? Paypal? :-))) Do deserve a Christmas bonus!!!!

  8. Mark Green says:

    Great work Sibel!
    Does this mean you will now be boycotting PayPal for your site subscriptions/donations? 🙂

  9. From June 28

    I remember thinking how strange – GG overly aggrandizing himself in this video – a Socialism Conference (?) (Woo-Hoo) Spare Me. The thought was “too bad this Scahill guy was there”, but happy Greenwald is getting this info out. Still, why associate with Scahill when his doc was such a wash and many were posting about it at the time. The guy was on Leno. Please, no further proof needed.

    At the time I imagined GG would never actually join this guy in any way/form. After reviewing the video a second time, A flag goes off when Scahill mentions receiving a call from GG in the moment of his meeting with Snowden. Ooops! Guess they’re already joined in some way. Now we have this
    deal with so much money involved. Once in a lifetime indeed. Looking back it smells like someone
    had a winning lottery ticket dropped in his lap and he was gloating about it.

    I doubt any of us can relate to what it’s like to suddenly have something to sell that’s worth
    many millions in a day and to think you can serve some form of integrity and get rich in the same stroke.
    If this is the case, judge as you will. If it is something more, as we tend to think so many things are these days, then by all means let the truth be known.

    Is it possible that these “Journalists” are just a bunch of dummies being used much like the woo-hoo twinkie audience in the video? You Bet. The timeline of events is always an eye opener, so I look at dates of when contact was first made based on what GG is telling us, who is playing and who makes money. Always money.
    The allure of Rock Star Status is obvious in this story.

    I think Mrs. Edmonds Nose is in fine order & she’s far from the first to smell this story and
    come away with a sour taste.

    July 14

    Reading this post on the day might have pushed the Tin Hat Button. Now?

    Best To All

  10. colinjames says:

    Great work as always. GG and Scahill and Paypal and friends can suck it. This really pisses me off, I haven’t been this outraged in a long time. I hope their gatekeeping venture goes down in flames. Long live BFP!

  11. tonywicher says:

    Great work, Sibel! That is some of the most hard-hitting journalism I have ever read! How can Greenwald survive this? Really, he entered he basically sells these documents for a 250 million dollar “partnership” and he does not dispute this but defends it as an opportunity that no journalist, certainly not he, could turn down? Wow! I knew Scahill was an idiot or worse after getting his twitter refusing to appear with Mother Agnes at an anti-war conference: But I had hoped Greenwald was better. He had an honest face. Oh, well. But what about Snowden himself, Sibel? He’s a “real” whistleblower, isn’t he? I can hardly believe he would have left the only copies of his documents with Greenwald and Poitras. He must have squirreled other copies away.

  12. Very telling to see Greenwald/Scahill & co. twitter/snicker to each other over this story. For the record, methinks there are some “famous last words” in this particular thread, especially where Greenwald realizes that he’s said too much… -but you will need to get more specifics from your sources to prove it Sibel.

  13. RT Sorry @ggreenwald but @sibeledmonds is the gold standard in whistle blowing so if she’s got questions about you we’d like answers not insults

  14. It’s his insults that have me really questioning him. He could have said something like: “Sibel identifies a valid issue about conflict of interest. Let me assure you there are no PayPal docs in the Snowden collection and if there were, I would publish them. If I felt my journalistic integrity was being compromised by Omidyar, I would quit on the spot and go very public about it.” Or *something* along those lines, right?

    But he doesn’t. He calls it insane and farcical and stupid, which it clearly isn’t. I don’t see how one can avoid acknowledging the validity of the concerns, especially when even Greenwald acknowledges that PayPal must have an agreement with the NSA. And suppressive past behavior is well known. Why pretend the potential conflict isn’t there? That’s why I think he’s digging his own grave here.

    Also, to state the obvious, his disrespect for Sibel Edmonds is a bad sign. I’m sure he feels offended himself but I expect (or used to expect) more from him than childish lashing out.

    Maybe it’s the shock of being challenged from the whistleblower side. Maybe he’ll redeem himself. There are many unknowns that remain. And it remains possible that Greenwald does have some integrity and would defy Omidyar if push came to shove. The warning signs are definitely blinking red, but I’m (perhaps overly) reluctant to jump to conclusions before all the cards are played. He’s done enough good stuff to earn a little patience, in my opinion. Time will tell.

  15. I wanted to be wrong for assuming Snowden is still working for the organized crime organization which employed him and gave him diplomatic cover. Now that hope seems foolish. Furthermore it appears the spooks are running a protection/extortion scheme on basically the Fortune 500. The bigger they are, the quicker they bend over. The surveillance regime has irresistible leverage over them.

    It’s nigh impossible to boycott Corporate America in toto for their sins of getting in bed with the thugs. We all gotta eat, gotta communicate, gotta work SOMEWHERE, gotta commute, and gotta use various medications and consumables. Our options for attempting to make this vast criminal scheme fail are quite narrow and apocalyptic. Thus it is no coincidence we are seeing the extreme militarization of police departments in terms of hardware and tactics.

    If you’ve ever been swept over a waterfall by accident (I have), or something analogous, you know there comes a moment when your mind accepts that what comes next simply will be. At that precise moment, when it would seem almost reasonable to panic because of having no escape, instead there is a sense of calm, and dare I say, liberation. Meeting expectations, of ourselves and others, to make prescient choices and come up with strategies which survive initial contact with opposition is in fact a heavy yoke we wear virtually all our adult lives. Often, trying to make careful choices and plans is a fruitless task due to factors we could not anticipate. I certainly planned to NOT to go over any waterfalls that day on the river.

    When adverse circumstances take away all options, the mind clears and every neuron is in the moment. What is always true is especially so then, namely that there can be no weapon or survival mechanism devised which is more capable than the focused human mind. In mid-air, I spotted the rocks below and pushed the canoe towards them, and myself the other direction, into a deep pool.

    We’re being swept along and we know there is a large discontinuity somewhere ahead, concealed in the mist from the rushing waters. When the time comes in mid-air, you’ll have clarity. It’s what you are, it’s in your wiring.

  16. BennyB-DoubleD says:

    Am I reading too fast? Did Greenwald go after Sibel personally somewhere?

    • They’re referring to twitter tweets, or twits, as Sibel says. I don’t tweet or twit, but you can still find them at the links in comments above or by going to or I find twitter very repetitive when looking at each conversation repeating the same tweets. Anyway, ggreenwald tweets like a real twit/prick who’s got something to hide.

      • What’s the word for someone who deserves a punch in the nose? And his head would bounce right back into scahill’s cocky little mouth, of course 😉

        This guy is starting to seem like a real horse thief with delusions of land grabs and gold rushes. Watch for GG’s last stand. Those documents belong to us all now.

  17. tonywicher says:

    It’s funny how Greenwald’s supporters keep saying that Sibel has “no documentary evidence” for what she is saying, yet they do not dispute anything said about Greenwald and the deal with Omidyar in the aritcle. Instead they point to things said long ago by Sibel on other subjects having nothing to do with it, such as Jan Schakowski, in an attempt to impugn Sibel’s journalistic integrity. Look at this reply published on twitter by a Greenwald supporter, for example

    It seems that the writer cannot even comprehend the fishiness of this 250 million dollar deal. Does he or Greenwald deny it it exists? Not as far as I can see.

    • One of the “twit” claims is patently false… “Moreover he [Snowden] is free, and in a position to speak if he chooses.” He cannot because MI-6 is actively pursuing him via cell-phone locations of his contacts in Russia. This is a pretty big story in Russia right now but there is nothing about it in western media, mainstream or otherwise…. except for Wayne Madsen, because apparently his girlfriend (or ex-girlfriend?) is involved???

  18. Well Bill Binney is apparently walking back some of his statements…
    “…I do not know that PAYPAL is involved – only that financial data is being used by NSA…”
    What he said in the article was… “The NSA has had the cooperation of major financial institutions, including credit card companies, to obtain all financial transactions of these companies’ clients-international and domestic.” So yeah he didn’t say specifically that he knows Paypal was one of those companies – the “all financial transactions” in that statement was referring only to the companies, such as credit card co’s, that do share w/ NSA. I would wager that Paypal is one of those companies, but you need a smoking gun to prove it, and right now Greenwald and co. is holding the cards, i.e. documents.

    Be careful Sibel, because certainly one tactic the cryptocracy is taking is to sow contentions within the independent media and stir up bad feelings between those who should be allies. I do believe you have identified a gate-keeping rat with Greenwald, but this rat still has devoted followers who will refuse to believe it, and will remain loyal to him at the expense of true independents like BFP.

    • Ah the irony of what I just said… It reminds me of all the times I sent a Greenwald article to my Obama-zombie friends to try and convince them that Obama is a fraud. Now Greenwald is the new Obama.

  19. tonywicher says:


    The writer states, ” Anyway; instead of just screaming a few slogans on twitter, I contacted Binney and asked him to comment; here is (with his permission) his reply:

    “Unfortunately, Sibel attributes some of her words to me. I do not know that
    PAYPAL is involved – only that financial data is being used by NSA. And, based
    on the “BR” number 13/80 on the Verizon court order to give records to NSA,
    I estimated that this program involved 78 companies. These would include:
    telecom’s, internet service providers, banks/finance/credit cards, travel, plus
    others. So, there’s a lot of business data being collected by NSA and the
    FBI. In the future, if I am to be quoted, I will have to I will have to insist on a pre-publication review.

    Now if Binney really did make this statement, which Sibel can easily check, I do look forward to further clarification by Sibel.

  20. tonywicher says:

    But if Binney did make the statements taken verbatim by Sibel just yesterday, and the statement quoted by the above tweeter was really made by Binney only a few hours later, what does this show? That Binney is “walking back” what he just said to Sibel, not that Sibel “attributes some of her words” to him. Indeed, Binney is attributing some of his words to her! Why, perhaps because he is under pressure of some kind, as Sibel suggests.

    • You’re correct -“walking back” was the wrong way to put it.

      • tonywicher says:

        My point is that Binney did make those statements yesterday as reported by Sibel, and may later have regretted making them when he read Sibel’s article, prompting him to say to say that Sibel had “attributed some of her words to him”, in the sense that he wished he had seen the article she published before he gave the statement. You could call that “walking back”. If you look on twitter at tweets being made by Greenwald’s acolytes, however, you find her being accused of outright fabricating the statements she quotes Binney as saying. Maybe we could have a joint statement by Binney and Sibel that we could link to on twitter?

        • OK I get it… the full quotation is:

          “Yes. It is absolutely legit. Let me tell you this … NSA has had this cooperation, partnership … this relationship with major financial institutions … not only PayPal but credit card companies too. At least with 78 financial companies. Not only they get and store all this information, the financial data … Americans’ and foreigners’, but they also share it with FBI, DEA and other law enforcement agencies regularly.”

          He specifically says Paypal -the quote probably should’ve been used verbatim the first time, but he uses a lot of “…”s which makes it sound ambiguous.

  21. Sibel, I hope you’re hanging in there and keeping your cool and your sense of humor in the middle of this little firestorm. I know you’re tough and you can take it, but I don’t kid myself that it’s easy being you.

    I wonder if you can tell us anything more about the retired NSA person who contacted you, without breaching his/her anonymity. You wrote to Mr. Binney that “Mr. X” informed you “that PayPal has been a willing partner of NSA for many years, and has provided NSA indiscriminate access to its clients’ financial transactions.”

    In the article you wrote something a bit different: That “Mr. X” told you “that the documents obtained by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden contain extensive documentation pertaining to NSA’s partnership with major U.S. financial institutions, including credit card companies and PayPal Corporation.”

    Could you confirm that both statements are true, and the second one is not a misstatement? And anything you could say about how this person would have an idea about what was in the Snowden docs would be extremely valuable.

    Again, I think your story is important whether or NOT there is PayPal information in the Snowden docs, but this does seem to be an important point to get very right.

    Many thanks.

  22. I’m absolutely delighted that Boiling Frogs Post is putting to scrutiny the Greenwald-Omidyar-PayPal-Palantir nexus of proximity. It’s wonderful work.

  23. mariotrevi says:

    I found on Twitter that Peter Kofod also quotes Binney. I think what Mr. Binney spoke or mis-spoke on NSA-PayPal collaboration is a small part of the big picture: that GG and Omidyar of PayPal and Ebay have a venture for a book, etc. By the way, perhaps Mr. Binney could be given the opportunity to comment again at BFP on any NSA-PayPal collaboration. I say this because inaccurate statements can be made in good faith, and probably the interviewee should be given the opportunity to revise the statement within a number of says after publication (I think) …

  24. By the way, in the twitter exchange referenced in Update #2, in which Greenwald acknowledges that he has no doubt PayPal cooperates with NSA (and in which he then repeats his denial that PayPal docs are in the Snowden stuff), the next question in the exchange is: “OK. And PayPal’s history re Wikileaks and others gives you no pause? Crazy to imagine possible serious conflict of interest?” This came after a relatively (in Twitter terms) extended conversation of 6 or 7 messages, and that’s where it ended, with that question hanging unanswered.

    In short: Greenwald repeatedly addresses one point only: his denial that there is any PayPal-related information in the Snowden cache. He acknowledges that PayPal, with obvious relevance to his new employer, cooperates with NSA. And he walks away when the subject of the obvious potential for conflict of interest is raised.

    Can’t read too much into a Twitter exchange obviously; there were competing threads he was involved in as well, I mean he was basically being deluged at that point. But we can file it under Kinda Interesting.

    The pro-Greenwald backlash is essentially: trust him. And I would concur that if there is a mainstream guy who might deserve some trust, it’d be him. Unfortunately when it comes to national security matters, trusting ANYBODY ranges from difficult to impossible.

    It seems to me the obvious thing for him to do is share the Snowden docs more widely. Forget Omidyar for a second. There are simply too many documents for him and Poitras to handle. I do *not* consider it “censorship” that 99% of it has not been released. I consider it human limitation. That’s a lot of docs. I accept the necessity to vet it carefully so you don’t accidentally harm the innocent. But clearly to get through 50,000 pages or documents (unclear which), that’s a life’s work for two people. So just for efficiency, share it out. Then add in the potential conflict, if I’m Greenwald, my reputation and credibility are everything to me, make sure I can’t be accused of hiding anything. Share it with another trusted third party. Retain whatever publishing rights you like, but share the stash.

  25. truthseeker says:

    Thank you Sibel, for this reporting, membership at BFP is well worth it, and I’m glad I’m paid up for the next year. When it comes time to renew, however, I do not want to use PayPal. Please please please let me send a check. Will that be possible? We’re all being surveilled, yes, but why make the NSA’s work even easier for them? I had trepidations opening a PayPal account to begin with, but now I do not want them having my credit card transactions at all. I hope you’ll find some way to let us BFP donors pay by check.

    • Mark Green says:

      Six of one, half dozen of the other.
      It would be foolhardy to believe your transactions would be any safer paying by check.
      The banks are in cahoots with the NSA as well.
      1984 has truly arrived.

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