'Much bigger public outcry' needed to stop NSA surveillance

Much of the American public is in favor of the NSA conducting widespread surveillance. So much, in fact, that a lawsuit challenging the NSA's power is unlikely to succeed, Steven Rambam, the founder and CEO of Pallorium investigative agency, told RT.

RT:How is the government likely to react to this round of lawsuits?

Steven Rambam: I think they’re likely to laugh. These lawsuits are going to have no effect whatsoever. What these intelligence agencies are doing is seen in the United States as both absolutely legal and absolutely necessary. I think there will be a lot of lip service to more transparency but it’s not going to happen and no court is going to risk US security and safety by ordering it. 

RT:Even despite the public outcry

SR: There needs to be a much bigger public outcry and frankly there’s an amazing statistic. Fifty-seven per cent of Americans think what the NSA is doing is perfectly fine, and another seven per cent think it’s not enough, so we have 64 per cent that are very much anti-Snowden.

RT:What’s your own personal view of it? Founder and CEO, as you are, of an investigative agency, what do you think about what the NSA has done here

SR: Well, as the founder of an investigative agency I’m a big fan of intrusiveness (laughs). But to be serious for a moment I think it’s outrageous that Mr Putin’s employees, where you are, know all this stuff is going on but American citizens know less about what their own governmental agencies are doing than people in Russia. It’s highly inappropriate.

The National Security Agency (AFP Photo)
RT:What do they not know about their home soil, then? Why don’t they know the truth

SR: Well, I think Mr Obama and Mr Holder don’t trust the American citizens, and I think that’s un-American and I think that’s absolutely wrong. I think the average American citizen, if they were told “We’re gathering all the phone calls, we’re gathering all the credit card bills, we are photographing you as you walk down the street, we’re monitoring your cell phone location constantly 24/7,” I think the average American would say two things: We’re not surprised and we don’t care. 

RT:What about the revelations from Snowden? Surely that’s kicked up a fuss in the States

SR: Well, yeah. Some of it was just surprisingly over the edge. For example, there are tens of millions of Skype users that until Mr Snowden’s revelation quite stupidly believed that Skype calls were encrypted and they were overseas and they were unavailable. They should have looked overseas and at Microsoft’s history as one of the most notorious invaders of privacy. You need to look at what they did with Internet Explorer and Hotmail and you could have very easily extrapolated the fact that the minute Bill Gates bought Skype he was going to give a back door to the NSA. It shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone. 

RT:So Snowden’s been in Sheremetyevo Airport, it looks like in the medium term that he’ll be seeking asylum here in Russia on the condition, a very big condition from Mr Putin, that he doesn’t spill any more beans. Do you think he’s going to keep that promise

SR: I don’t think he’s going to keep the promise and I don’t think he is 100% in control of the information anymore. I think he has deposited these little caches of information with people and I think they’re going to be opening up with or without his cooperation.