Tuesday PRISM News

Huffington Post reports that Congress was briefed 22 times on the PRISM program and provides the dates.

Glenn Greenwald tells the AP we ain't seen nothing yet.

"We are going to have a lot more significant revelations that have not yet been heard over the next several weeks and months," Greenwald said.
Greenwald claims "dozens" of stories can be generated from the documents, and that the Guardian plans to pursue all of them.

CBS reports the feds are prepping charges against Edward Snowden, who has gone underground in Hong Kong. He told the Guardian he may go to Iceland.

Maybe he should go to New Zealand and hang out at the Dot Com mansion. NZ might not be so willing to provide mutual assistance in arresting Snowden after the debacle of the Kim Dotcom raid.

< PRISM, "Five Eyes" and Kim Dotcom | Google Seeks Permission to Publish Number of NSA Requests >
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    Tom Englehardt (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Edger on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 08:23:54 AM EST
    Remember when the Bush administration was so intent on privatizing the military and the intelligence services - well, congrats! According to the Atlantic's Wire, Edward Snowden is the tip of a potential leaking private contractee iceberg of major proportions: There are less than 3 million federal employees and while more than 4.5 million people have security clearances! 1.4 million of them have top security clearances and one-third of them are Edward Snowdens! Tom

    America's Outsourced Spy Force, by the Numbers

    Edward Snowden wasn't your traditional spy. He was, however, a very modern one, a guy who worked from a computer terminal in an office, similar to how a modern bomber pilot might control his drone. The weekend's big revelations about the NSA's biggest revealer prompt a natural question: How many Snowden-type spies with top secret security clearance are there?

    I guess Obama will just have to (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Edger on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 08:26:59 AM EST
    progressively move forward and order the NSA to spy on the NSA.

    Crazy numbers huh? (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:16:16 AM EST
    And all sorts of overlapping programs.

    They are preparing Snowden's charges but not saying anything is imminent because....because....because they don't know what the hell Greenwald has.  I'm chuckling a sort of nervous chortle.

    If they throw the legal book at Snowden on the news today and Greenwald throws down something that makes us all gasp and feel violated, who is the bad guy then?  The President, the White House

    They have to wait until they know what Greenwald has, to know when they can go after that SOB Snowden and beat him to a bloody pulp he may not survive.  In the meantime, well one contractor has leaked.....who else is a "disgruntled employee" out there and now knows that Greenwald is a responsible journalist packing encryption software?


    And who in journalism is going to keep (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:30:46 AM EST
    Up with Greenwald?  Journalists who knew their place were dragging their feet, and ended up rushing to press because Greenwald was going.  Also twitter pouting and whining when exposed that some journalists were not courageous.

    I feel compelled to point out (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by ruffian on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:45:20 AM EST
    that not everyone with a security clearance has access to ALL of the secret data everywhere. There are supposed to be many access points and 'need to know' restrictions to be overcome.

    I will be interested to see if any of the stories to come provide information about how Booz-Allen was protecting its secret data. Not very well, it seems to me. Or perhaps the data itself was not even marked as secret, and only the information about the program was.

    I have seen so many articles written like there is a web site called something like allsecrets.gov that anyone with a clearance has access to. It just does not work that way.


    Snowden did say that not all analysts (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:54:14 AM EST
    Have access to broad capabilities when targeting someone, but it sounds like analysts at Booz Allen had terrific access and resources.  

    Booz Allen & Listing (none / 0) (#86)
    by christinep on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 01:32:07 PM EST
    As I recall--and, as a good friend of mine who worked in the contractor listing & debarment area agreed--there are provisions governing the performance of contractors & consequences for failure to perform in an acceptable way.  Failure would include a finding that said contractor could not secure the data in its keep, etc.  The penalties include being Listed for a period of time until the contractor can establish that it can perform ... in some instances, the Listing is automatic.  Other consequence include long-term or permanent debarment.  From what I observed over the years, there methodology here offers great leverage.

    why the hell not? (5.00 / 2) (#85)
    by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 01:30:37 PM EST
    they have privatized everything else and it is not just bush, Obama's administration has done nothing to reverse the trend. And it is not just in this industry. When it comes to education they have super-sized the problem. Now we have the uneducated correcting the tests of those testing to get their teaching credentials and the tax payers are paying private industry to do this. Yay Pearson is getting rich. At least we are sticking it to the teachers unions. You have to give Snowden this, he at least knew that it was ridiculous for him to have the power he had.

    If this is the outcome... (5.00 / 2) (#97)
    by kdog on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 02:10:00 PM EST
    of privatized spying, I might grow to like the privatization.  

    Seems to me Mr. Snowden is living proof a private contractor employee can have a conscience too, even if it costs ya a sweet 200 large a year.

    If privacy is dead, so must die secrecy.  


    Borrowed Wits Report (none / 0) (#106)
    by Edger on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 02:32:00 PM EST
    N.S.A. Enforces Zero-Tolerance Policy on Conscience

    "When you sign on to work at the N.S.A. you swear to uphold the standards of amorality and soullessness that this agency was founded upon," said N.S.A. director General Keith B. Alexander. "Any evidence of ethics, decency, or a sense of right and wrong will not be tolerated. These things have no place in the intelligence community."

    To enforce the policy, General Alexander said that once a month all N.S.A. employees will be wired to a computer to take full inventory of what is going on in their minds: "We want to be sure they are spending their free time playing Call of Duty, not reading the Federalist Papers."


    Keith Alexander is a (5.00 / 1) (#139)
    by KeysDan on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 05:14:28 PM EST
    general in the US Army and Director of NSA (director is at least a Lt. General or a Vice Admiral) and Commander, US CyberCommand.  NSA is an intelligence agency of the Department of Defense.

    The Posse Comitatus Act (1876 with periodic updates) intended to prevent the military from interfering in domestic law enforcement, apparently does not apply or is not being applied in NSA domestic spying.  A casualty of the war on terror, vis a vis such statutes as  FISA and the Patriot Act.  And, of course, privatizing war vis a vis Booz et al. is a horse anatomy of a different color.


    I saw some leaked docs that Jeralyn (5.00 / 1) (#140)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 05:34:56 PM EST
    Had a link to from anonymous about "spying" and all the page headings were DOD.  They are allowed more freedom to collect on citizens, doesn't the legal framework allowing that go all the way back to the 60s?

    A conscience (none / 0) (#118)
    by christinep on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 03:05:11 PM EST
    It is always ideal when one acts in accord with "conscience.". Of course, we don't have identical consciences.  That is not a wry joke; rather it is a reality that none of us can ignore.  That is why the law--which can sometimes be an ass, as is occasionally noted--must serve as the line in a diverse society such as ours.  Believe me, I've been there ...& sometimes been near the line when my strong opinions have been challenged by a law that I viewed as unjust.  yet, my conscience is not your conscience nor anyone else's, nor am I entitled to be the deciding interpreter of the law.  That is for the Courts.

    hell has frozen over...... (none / 0) (#114)
    by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 02:48:43 PM EST
    good point kdog

    If I never have to see kimdotcom's (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by oculus on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 08:51:43 AM EST
    picture again, I will be a happy person. So I hope Snowden chooses Iceland.

    Make that no more (none / 0) (#30)
    by CoralGables on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:14:30 AM EST
    Kimdotcom or Zimmerman and I'll do the dance of joy with you.

    Zimmerman is easier to (none / 0) (#68)
    by oculus on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:38:25 AM EST
    look at and his photo is not as inevitable here. Thank god.

    Why Hong Kong Indeed (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by vicndabx on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 09:45:16 AM EST
    Let's hope this guy isn't selling us down the river any more than he already has.  Yes, both he and Glenn seem narcissistic, IMO.  

    Both come off as entirely too smarmy and "you people are clueless sheep who don't know what's best for you."

    um, no we're not, and yeah we do.

    That's rich coming from you (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by sj on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 09:54:23 AM EST
    Both come off as entirely too smarmy and "you people are clueless sheep who don't know what's best for you."

    For years (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Edger on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:00:25 AM EST
    I wanted to get onto Nixon's Enemies List but Dick wouldn't oblige me. Obama is much easier to negotiate with.

    Why, thank you for your thoughtful and (none / 0) (#22)
    by vicndabx on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:00:06 AM EST
    responsive post.

    You are most welcome (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by sj on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:10:29 AM EST
    I'm happy to return the favor.

    No, no you're not (none / 0) (#51)
    by vicndabx on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:05:27 AM EST
    "returning the favor."  Your post attempts to mock me personally, whereas my post/opinion is based on what I see in facial expressions, body language, words and the actions of the participants from interviews on TV and reporting.  You know, the things we see, hear, and read.  The stuff most humans use to gauge meaning when we interact w/other humans.  For example, every time I've seen Glenn in a setting where he is questioned - he interrupts, brooks no dissension from his opinion and is generally condescending.  

    You are basing your personal attacks on me on posts on a website which communicate nothing other than my thoughts and opinions on a screen.  You know nothing of my motivations beyond what you can gleam from my words.  Communication is so much more than what is "said."

    But that's OK.  Random posts from some person I don't know on the internet really don't bother me.  Have at it if it gives you pleasure.


    I think (none / 0) (#60)
    by sj on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:18:31 AM EST
    you mean "glean". And I see. You can "gleam" from other sorts of input and that makes your "analysis" of
    entirely too smarmy and "you people are clueless sheep who don't know what's best for you."
    somehow more than just an opinion and is not mocking another "personally".

    Thanks (none / 0) (#67)
    by vicndabx on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:37:19 AM EST
    Thanks for the spellcheck, I winged when my browser underlined "gleen."

    No, it's nothing more than my opinion. I am entitled to it yes?

    Mocking would be along the lines of "Glenn is so worried about my civil liberties, he fled to another country to fight for them."


    *winged it, (none / 0) (#69)
    by vicndabx on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:39:57 AM EST
     winged it, jeez.

    Claro (none / 0) (#70)
    by sj on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:45:35 AM EST
    You are most definitely entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to as many opinions as you want.

    As am I. And so far my opinion hasn't changed.


    Glenn lives in Brazil (none / 0) (#105)
    by kmblue on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 02:27:56 PM EST
    with his partner.  You don't know jack.

    I actually know that (none / 0) (#113)
    by vicndabx on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 02:48:17 PM EST
    and understand he hasn't come back because of issues w/the laws around gay rights.

    That wasn't the point of the post, but thanks.


    Jack? (none / 0) (#149)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 06:05:43 PM EST
    That's a strange name for a guy from Brazil.

    My point (none / 0) (#164)
    by kmblue on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 09:41:15 PM EST
    Glenn hasn't "fled" anywhere.  You implied he ran away from the U.S.

    So, now we've gotten to the point where (5.00 / 3) (#34)
    by Anne on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:28:28 AM EST
    exposing the lies of the people who found ways to call what they're doing "legal" is "selling us down the river?"

    Snowden is the guy who braved the churning rapids to haul us out of the sewage-filled river the people you're defending sold us down.

    Have you found out where to get that chip yet? And are you going for the just-behind-the-ear placement, or the under-the-armpit one?


    Bwahahahaha (1.80 / 5) (#49)
    by Farmboy on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:04:26 AM EST
    "Snowden is the guy who braved the churning rapids" Oh, my, goodness. Thank you so much. I haven't laughed that hard in a while.

    Did you write for Monty Python back in the day? Because that comment puts me in mind of this:

    Brave Sir Robin ran away.
    Bravely ran away, away!
    When danger reared its ugly head,
    He bravely turned his tail and fled.
    Yes, brave Sir Robin turned about
    And gallantly he chickened out.
    Bravely taking to his feet
    He beat a very brave retreat,
    Bravest of the brave, Sir Robin!

    I was thinking more in terms of (none / 0) (#117)
    by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 03:04:52 PM EST
    those romance books with the heaving chests and bodice ripping and stuff. You know, the handsome Canadian Mounted police braving the churning rapids in a canoe to warn the beautiful Indian Princess that her people were being spied on by the evil American land grabbers......

    What lies? (none / 0) (#38)
    by vicndabx on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:42:02 AM EST
    I'll probably get the chip in my forehead so I can zip in and out of the supermarket quicker. Behind the ear and under the armpit to much work for the scanners.

    Nice try, but, as you'll probably discover (none / 0) (#66)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:33:49 AM EST
    that isn't where they're shoving the chips.

    Yeah... (4.20 / 5) (#33)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:20:00 AM EST
    ...exposing a government that has doesn't respect the most basic law of the land, the Constitution, is most certainly, "selling us down the river".  Pleaze.

    There is no person older than 10 who could possibly believe PRISM is a reasonable search.  They broke the law IMO and they are the ones who should be facing judgement in a courtroom.

    I am sure OBL was texting terrorist plans to his minions using Verizon's family plan.  But even if he was, that doesn't give anyone the right to go throw my private data 'just in case'.  And I applaud the folks who expose this garbage, who surely sacrifice their freedom to ensure ours.

    They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. - Benjamin Franklin

    Apparently (none / 0) (#37)
    by vicndabx on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:40:05 AM EST
    62% of Americans believe it is {PRISM is a reasonable search}.  I would assume a lot of them are over 10.

    90 percent of Americans (5.00 / 2) (#89)
    by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 01:45:33 PM EST
    supported George W Bush after 9/11. I never did and I have never felt so alone in my life. I would rather feel alone than feel like an idiot, thank you very much. If 60 percent of the American people want to be stupid sheep that's their problem but they should at least be forced to be well informed stupid sheep.

    71% also thought Saddam Hussein had WMD ... (5.00 / 2) (#93)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 01:56:03 PM EST
    vicndabox: "Apparently 62% of Americans believe it is {PRISM is a reasonable search}.  I would assume a lot of them are over 10."

    ... when we invaded Iraq. And I daresay that a sizable majority of Americans supported Executive Order No. 9066 and Public Law 503-1942 during the Second World War.

    So, given that the majority isn't always right in its initial collective assumptions, and further is rather notorious for changing its collective opinion, I'd offer that 62% is a rather flimsy proposition upon which to rest your argument.



    Fair point (5.00 / 1) (#119)
    by vicndabx on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 03:07:05 PM EST
    those that believed Saddam had WMD believed that because that's the info we all had at the time.  The opinions changed because the facts changed.  Indeed we will see what addt'l facts come out, since it seems the leaks won't stop.

    I'm not glad that so many don't really see this as an issue.  I do however believe it reveals a certain amount of pragmatism that is needed - with the right balance.

    I'd rather we have the discussion and come to a reasonable compromise than merely say "well, principles are all that matter."


    The path of least resistance is (5.00 / 4) (#121)
    by Anne on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 03:15:46 PM EST
    not without peril; it may be "pragmatic" to just go along and believe that just because it seems like our lives are as normal as we ever thought they were, no harm is accruing.

    I can't speak for you, but I sure would hate to think that 10 years or 20 years or 100 years from now, people would look back on this from a decidedly less-free and more totalitarian America, and wonder why we squandered the rights and freedoms so many died to obtain, and didn't care enough to preserve them for future generations.


    I don't think that's going to happen (none / 0) (#124)
    by vicndabx on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 03:29:37 PM EST
    there's no profit in it for the gov't to care about what you ate for dinner, or what Suzy said to Steve.  Business, yes.  Gov't, no reason - unless you want to blow $hit up.

    What I find funny about this is people are quoting George Orwell and Ben Franklin when all you have to do to negate this is to simply keep doing what you're doing.  Live your life, stop worrying about who's watching you.  Smile and wave at the cameras.  Your fellow citizens will rat you out to the local PD before the gov't will give a flying fig about what you're posting on the internet or who you talk to.  Stop living in fear of big brother and big brother won't have an impact on you.


    Speaking of "blowing $hit up" . . . (5.00 / 2) (#129)
    by nycstray on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 04:04:39 PM EST
    what makes you think it is limited (or will stay) to that?  What about other 'threats' to our gov like say OWS, or any other large protest group. And perhaps 'threats' to certain corps like our dear friends at Monsanto.

    I just said (none / 0) (#132)
    by vicndabx on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 04:22:17 PM EST
    there's no profit in it.  

    Sorry, but OWS was never a threat to our gov't, nor are large protest groups.  Why - because most people like what gov't does for them.  Beyond that, IMO, gov't offers us visible proof of a civilized society.  If I can armchair psychoanalyze for a moment, that visible proof is built into the psyches of most of us, it makes us who we are.

    I don't believe in theories of small cabals running the world.  There are certainly varied interests with significant influence.  Those with interests however are usually driven by a profit motive, which in turn requires the masses be happy.


    Maybe I should have said (5.00 / 3) (#133)
    by nycstray on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 04:33:32 PM EST
    gov interest$. Which is profit motivated it seems.

    What happens when the status quo doesn't hold re: your view? Will you still "smile and wave to the camera" while sliding down the slope?


    I just don't see us going meekly into (none / 0) (#136)
    by vicndabx on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 04:45:44 PM EST
    submission, it's not in our DNA.  Somebody somewhere will sue.  I'd be all for it, just like I'm all for the debate we're having now and the suits brought today.

    I'm not sure I have much faith in suits (5.00 / 1) (#152)
    by nycstray on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 06:11:48 PM EST
    (courts) anymore.

    D@mn, our gov is sure doing a good job of turning me into a pessimist. Time to walk the dog :)


    Please (5.00 / 3) (#134)
    by Repack Rider on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 04:35:08 PM EST
    those that believed Saddam had WMD believed that because that's the info we all had at the time.

    I had the same info, and it was so transparently phony I'm amazed that ANYONE fell for it, let alone anything like a majority.

    H.L. Mencken was right.  


    Why No Link ? (none / 0) (#71)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:50:27 AM EST
    I want to see the question, does it address the 4A or some crap about making them feel safer.

    This year in the US, more people where killed by kids younger than 6, than by terrorist.  It's 11-4.

    Better get young kids cell phones... you know, to make us safer and all.


    According to the Wash Post (none / 0) (#72)
    by Farmboy on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:55:41 AM EST
    Sixty-nine percent of Democrats say terrorism investigations, not privacy, should be the government's main concern.



    Come On... (none / 0) (#87)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 01:41:12 PM EST
    ...that has nothing to do with the 4A.  

    You equated what the party being investigated thinks the government's main concern should be to the population believing that PRISM is a reasonable search.

    from the link in the article, there is question that I think better represents how people feel about PRISM.

    I would argue this program doesn't even qualify as a search grabbing everything they can and sifting through it is not a search, it's a fishing expedition.


    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    Is PRISM is a reasonable search ?  


    To what are you replying? (none / 0) (#101)
    by Farmboy on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 02:17:45 PM EST
    I posted a link to an article in response to vicndabx' post. I didn't equate anything with anything.

    Snowden seems like he (none / 0) (#172)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:58:37 PM EST
    really does not know what trouble he is in.  The U.S. is not the only one who try to capture him.....  

    What was it again the terrorists hate? (5.00 / 4) (#42)
    by Edger on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:52:35 AM EST
    Remedial Reading for those (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:31:57 AM EST
    who have forgotten that America was founded by people rejecting obedience and servility: Civil Disobedience by Thoreau.

    On the other hand, the first president (5.00 / 2) (#116)
    by jondee on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 03:00:08 PM EST
    Washington, was a slaveholder and, arguably, the weathiest man in the country..

    But, they courageously stayed to face (5.00 / 1) (#131)
    by christinep on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 04:20:01 PM EST
    The consequences of their acts ...however harsh.

    Bradley Manning's treatment... (5.00 / 6) (#142)
    by Dadler on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 05:49:10 PM EST
    ...renders your argument absurdly comic, IMO. The entire reason treatment like that is being doled out is so Americans become afraid of being free Americans. This guy is acting free as hell, as in free to keep his ass alive however he has to. That's called a survival instinct, every organism possesses one. This isn't a traffic ticket or attempted rape charge, it's the kind of thing the US government has showed all of us it will torture its own citizens to stop.

    Jeeze Dadler . . . (5.00 / 3) (#145)
    by nycstray on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 06:00:45 PM EST
    where are yer frickin' pom-poms?! Go get them NOW! and don't forget to smile and wave at the camera :)

    And I should add (5.00 / 3) (#158)
    by Dadler on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 07:26:20 PM EST
    Were Daniel Ellsberg to pull a Pentagon Papers equivalent today...he'd be on the lamb, too. The Nixon administration seems almost friendly in comparison, not that Dick wouldn't have loved some Patriot Act in his day.

    Eeeewe Dadler! (none / 0) (#162)
    by DFLer on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 08:39:20 PM EST
    "on the lamb" ?? creepy pictures cover my brain in a wooly fashion. ;o)

    (on the lam)


    I was making a sacrificial joke (5.00 / 1) (#191)
    by Dadler on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 02:49:22 PM EST
    but I understand your wooly willies. ;-)

    If Snowden (5.00 / 1) (#165)
    by kmblue on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 09:48:51 PM EST
    had been stupid enough to stay, and take whatever the U.S. government dished out, like endless incarceration without a trial...

    he wouldn't have been smart enough to expose what that same government is doing in our name.

    And he isn't done yet.


    They had no choice (none / 0) (#174)
    by Yman on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 09:22:02 AM EST
    Given that they were rebelling and claiming this land as their own country.

    Amazing to see the knives out for Snowden here (5.00 / 9) (#73)
    by shoephone on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:57:49 AM EST
    Cuz, ya know, it's not like the constitutional issues matter one whit.

    Let me see if I've got it all straight:

    1. Snowden is too stupid to have gotten his job, because he only has a GED.

    2. Snowden is too stupid to have realized the Chinese will extradite him, because he only has a GED

    3. Snowden got access to top secret info by using blackmail

    4. Snowden is "selling us down the river" by selling our national secrets to the Chinese (the same government that's going to have him extradited)

    5. Snowden is a narcissist because...well, just look at his mannerisms and body language!

    6. Glenn Greenwald is even more of a narcissist because of see #5 and also, he has those narcissistic facial expressions!

    7. Snowden and Greenwald are both traitors because one poll says the American people actually support being spied on by their own government -- by a margin of 62%. Another poll says it's 56%. And then another says it's 52%... oh, who cares about polls, anyway? They're f'ing traitors!

    8. Killing messengers is better policy than heeding messages. Always. (see Daniel Ellsberg.)

    9. Oh, yeah. Thank Gawd! the spy story is keeping Obama distracted from trying to take our guns away again!

    Have I missed anything?

    They are out at Orange too (5.00 / 2) (#76)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 12:15:18 PM EST
    Big time, all sorts of name calling

    What is really happening though with all this fighting, we are beginning to have that conversation that Snowden was afraid we wouldn't have.

    We all realize we have no parameters around what the White House is collecting and how it is choosing to interpret the Patriot Act.  We realize we don't even have enough information to make a good judgement for ourselves about what is being done for "our own good".  We have all been left out of this conversation, much like we were left out of the healthcare negotiations, etc, etc, etc

    People are name calling and screaming for evidence in all this fighting, eventually that screaming gets to the White House because those are the only people who can answer the questions that must be answered.

    Everybody is yelling, but at least they are awake now about what is probably being collected about all of us every day :)  Beats the hell out of comfortably numb :)

    And the Europeans are getting pissed too.  Why do we think it is even more okay to collect every detail of their lives?  That's pretty freaky spooky if you are European, suddenly the Americans look really really really ugly again :)  We are kind of a bunch of a$$holes :)  Proving it today


    The Orange place has always been a cult that (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by shoephone on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 12:47:22 PM EST
    feeds on paranoid groupthink. So their reaction is not surprising, but I don't pay any attention to the silliness over there because I don't visit there.

    Greenwald's playing this just about right, IMO. He's got lots more to tell, and he may very well string it out over months. It's going to be...compelling. Anyone in political office who thinks they can sweep this under the rug anymore is delusional. Strange bedfellows will emerge. Already this morning, Boehner was praising Obama's spying policy and calling for Snowden's head on a platter.

    As for the Europeans, they hardly need any more proof of our criminality, considering that our government's cooked "evidence" swept them up in the Iraq War. They don't trust us as far as they an spit.


    Then why are they all fighting today? (none / 0) (#80)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 12:55:31 PM EST
    What happened to their groupthink?  I have left off reading there before when there were other types of fights.  That whole place is an online exposure to party evolution, that is always going to happen though.  It fascinates me, the evolutions, still has good writing and good activism, and is a mosh pit on some days and not on others :)

    Their current infighting seems to mimic the infighting here though.  If they have a disease, it seems to be contagious.


    Maybe it's been too long since I was there (none / 0) (#84)
    by shoephone on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 01:06:18 PM EST
    to know that they have dissenters...seems like when Obama got elected in 2008, everything was Democratic Party groupthink back then, and dissent was not permitted.

    It's good that turmoil is brewing. That's exactly what should happen when your government is exposed as the progenitor of a bunch of other "shadow" governments.


    It's often a mess there (none / 0) (#92)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 01:54:06 PM EST
    I just saw Boehner has called Snowden a "traitor", in my skeptism about Boehner having one single guiding principle I am left thinking, "Okay, Boehner knew about all the programs....he had been briefed :)"

    When there was the big uproar about torture and who had been briefed wasn't there a magic five ir a magic seven...something like that?  The President, the VP, the Speaker of the House, someone else, someone else who had all been briefed?  Is this going to be the same deal?


    Maybe he thinks that if he keeps using (5.00 / 3) (#95)
    by Anne on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 02:07:59 PM EST
    the words "traitor" and "treason," it will distract people from calling those who sold out our privacy rights, to an extent we've only scratched the surface of, "co-conspirators."

    I've said for a long time that I believed the failure to hold anyone from either party accountable for anything has a lot to do with how dirty their own collective hands are.

    And I think we're on the verge of finding out just how dirty they all are.


    I think this might go the way of allowing (none / 0) (#99)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 02:14:49 PM EST
    torture, when we found out that Reid and Pelosi knew all about it because they had to be briefed.  And sometimes people who are very committed to Reid and Pelosi get all ticked because BushCo got off, it is like they forgot the names of EVERYONE involved :) We would have had to take out Reid and Pelosi too if we were going to make those accountable fully accountable.

    lol, "We" the [Seven] People... (none / 0) (#100)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 02:15:55 PM EST
    Boehner also wants people at the IRS ... (none / 0) (#104)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 02:26:50 PM EST
    ... thrown in jail. Buy him a couple gin & tonics and fly him to Florida for a round of golf, and he'll be happy again.

    Anecdotally (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 12:12:44 PM EST
    it has been interesting how quiet conservatives have been on facebook about this issue. Do they think it's okay? Realize that they look kind of stupid complaining about it when they thought it was great when Bush had it? Or are afraid of praising a "liberal" whom they all seem to despise? The only people on the right who seem to be caring about this is the Paul supporters and liberals which does not seem surprising to me since conservatives traditionally have been big backers of this kind of stuff.

    ...  enjoy a love / hate relationship with the idea of a U.S. police state, clearly depending upon which party is presently in power.

    And progressive opportunist that I am, I see a real chance here -- albeit probably a fleeting one -- to perhaps gain the actual repeal of the USA-PATRIOT Act. The best way that all of us can ensure that neither Democrats nor Republicans can abuse the U.S. Constitution's Bill of Rights, is to strip the White House's national security apparatus of its present near-unilateral authority to snoop on its own citizenry virtually at whim.



    Daniel Ellsberg: (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by oculus on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 01:04:53 PM EST

    So.... (5.00 / 3) (#161)
    by Edger on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 07:59:06 PM EST
    the FISA (aka FISC) court seems to have found that PRISM program was unconstitutional but the decision was kept secret and it seems the Obama administration just went ahead with the program anyway. . .

    In a rare public filing in the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), the Justice Department today urged continued secrecy for a 2011 FISC opinion that found the National Security Agency's surveillance under the FISA Amendments Act to be unconstitutional. Significantly, the surveillance at issue was carried out under the same controversial legal authority that underlies the NSA's recently-revealed PRISM program.

    EFF filed a suit under the Freedom of Information Act in August 2012, seeking disclosure of the FISC ruling. Sens. Ron Wyden and Mark Udall revealed the existence of the opinion, which found that collection activities under FISA Section 702  "circumvented the spirit of the law" and violated the Fourth Amendment's prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures. But, at the time, the Senators were not permitted to discuss the details publicly. Section 702 has taken on new importance this week, as it appears to form the basis for the extensive PRISM surveillance program reported recently in the Guardian and the Washington Post.

    More at E.F.F., June 7, 2013

    He did promise transparency (5.00 / 3) (#163)
    by Edger on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 08:48:49 PM EST
    and I've never had any problem seeing through him. Do others?

    Constitution Schmonsitution. (none / 0) (#179)
    by Edger on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 10:22:44 AM EST
    Who needs it. It's just a go**amn piece of paper anyway.

    And you'd be wrong, again. (3.00 / 4) (#98)
    by Farmboy on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 02:12:24 PM EST
    This has nothing to do with left or right, R or D. And there are no tantrums being tossed, just laughter.

    Yesterday Anne denied that Snowden had run to China. Today she's writing hyperbolic poetic imagery about his bravery; how he survived the "churning rapids" like some sort of trout or salmon.  Surreptitiously fleeing the country to hide with a bag over his head. That's bravery in her book. And that's the funniest thing I've read today.

    Bravery is many things to many people, but i don't count sneaking off as one of them.

    One can be brave... (5.00 / 3) (#102)
    by kdog on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 02:23:52 PM EST
    while not being stupid...to stay here to get locked up would be dumb dumb dumb.  

    I'd call blowing the whistle and going on the lam from the most powerful government in the world pretty f*ckin' brave.  

    Especially with congressional gasbags like King and Feinstein calling it treason. There is treason here allright, but King and Feinstein got it backwards and need to look in the f8ckin' mirror.


    I denied that he ran to China? No. (5.00 / 2) (#103)
    by Anne on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 02:24:43 PM EST
    I did no such thing.  Your comprehension skills are lacking.

    As is your ability to understand that it was our government that sold us down the river, aided by a president who's done everything he can to make sure those waters are dangerous enough to leakers and whistleblowers that no one will risk wading in to try to stop the boat.

    Snowden took that risk.  That he did it from relative safety wasn't cowardly, it was smart.  Look at what they did to Thomas Drake.  Look at what they did to John Kiriakou.  

    Keep laughing, Farmboy...it's all just so, so funny.


    Your words from yesterday: (1.00 / 3) (#122)
    by Farmboy on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 03:24:31 PM EST
    But I wouldn't call him someone who "ran to China" after working for a defense contractor for "a few months," either.
    (and if providing the quote is a site violation, Jeralyn, just delete this post)

    If you wouldn't say he went to China, then where? And as per my link from yesterday he did work for Booz Allen for less than three months.

    I'm looking forward to your explanation that what you really meant was that, yes, Snowden went to China but he didn't run there. Rather, in his heart he was bravely facing his accusers, like Drake and Kirakou, while he hid in a Hong Kong hotel room.

    While wearing his red hood of courage, of course.


    The problem here is that you and I (5.00 / 2) (#126)
    by Anne on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 03:48:39 PM EST
    both know that you used "ran to China" to imply cowardice, and that was the connotation I objected to, not that he traveled to China.

    But I think you already knew that, and just decided to try yo construct a little box you thought I wouldn't be able to get out of, and no one else would be able to see through.

    Just because your own head is firmly planted in your ass doesn't mean the rest of us are functioning with the same handicap.


    No, the problem is that you need to put words (none / 0) (#137)
    by Farmboy on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 05:03:40 PM EST
    in my mouth to deflect onto me your confusion. I meant exactly what I said: He ran to China. Do a google search (ha!) on how Snowden left Hawaii. You'll find that his method of leaving his home is described ubiquitously as "he fled." That is beyond dispute. And to where did he flee? China. That is also beyond dispute.

    It's not necessary for you to say that I'm implying he ran like a coward. His actions have done that for him. That plane has left the terminal.

    And by the way, we can disagree without you needing to cast insults to make your point. As others have remarked recently, you seem to enjoy lashing out with bullying verbal assaults at those with whom you disagree.

    BTW, laughter and amusement aren't insults. Insults strike out of hate. I don't hate you.


    Actually, Snowden and his girlfriend ... (5.00 / 1) (#141)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 05:40:52 PM EST
    Farmboy: "Do a google search (ha!) on how Snowden left Hawaii. You'll find that his method of leaving his home is described ubiquitously as 'he fled.' That is beyond dispute."

    ... agreed to vacate their home in Waipahu -- a former plantation town turned residential suburb, about 12 miles west of downtown Honolulu -- by May 1, according to real estate manager Kerri Jo Heim, because the owner decided to sell the property.

    Speaking for myself only, I wouldn't necessarily use the term "fled" to describe Snowden's departure from the islands, because it implies panic on his part, whereas his actions seem to have been planned out beforehand, and certainly caught his now-former employer and the NSA by complete surprise.

    And as John Tuld (Jeremy Irons) noted drily in the 2011 film Margin Call, "If you're first out the door, that's not called panicking."



    Also apparently (none / 0) (#173)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 06:50:53 AM EST
    Caught his girlfriend by surprise too.

    I am agnostic on his being a Hero (none / 0) (#120)
    by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 03:07:19 PM EST
    but I do not think he is a traitor either. I think the people should know what is going on.

    WSWS: Defend Edward Snowden ! (none / 0) (#1)
    by Andreas on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 06:23:13 AM EST
    The World Socialist Web Site calls on workers around the world to come to the defense of Snowden, who is now the subject of a ferocious assault by the American state.

    The whistleblower quite justifiably fears for his safety. The Obama administration has launched a criminal investigation; leading political figures, both Democratic and Republican, have denounced his actions as "treason;" and political pundits have called for his execution. He is currently the subject of an intense global manhunt, as the American government seeks his capture and extradition.

    What Edward Snowden has revealed
    11 June 2013

    Insufferable (none / 0) (#2)
    by rickroberts on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 06:57:39 AM EST
    Greenwald and Snowden are both legends in their own minds ... and insufferable. Snowden signed a contract with his employer to keep secrets. Furthermore, why was a system administrator looking at documents in the first place? His job is to keep the machines running, make sure they are backed up, and assign appropriate permissions to the shared directories. I imagine he is the sort who was highly offended if anyone around him asked him a lowly tech support question. Give me a break.

    I assume... (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by Dadler on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 07:22:39 AM EST
    ...that you could never foresee an instance in which, say, you sign a form like that, but then discover things about your job that are completely antithetical to democracy, fly in the face of justice, are bad for your country, your state, your city, your street, things that you know will only stop if they come to light and people speak up, and because of these egregious affronts to ethics and morality you are forced to act.

    I also assume you have at least a half an ounce of imagination in your body, somewhere, so I think it's safe to say you could imagine a scenario where you would act. If you can't, you are either fundamentally dishonest or genuinely an imagination vacuum.


    Oh, you missed the part where he (5.00 / 3) (#6)
    by Anne on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 07:56:54 AM EST
    imagines that Snowden is the kind of guy who gets annoyed when someone asks a tech question...

    If you want more evidence of imagination, there's plenty in the Zimmerman threads and forum - probably not the kind you're talking about, but imagination nonetheless.

    The authoritarian mindset can only imagine scenarios that provide justification for their overreaching, and they're very good at imagining ways to make people pay for stepping out of line; look no further than the fevered reactions to Snowden's taking the lid off this can of worms for proof of that.

    Imagination?  Sure - but it's on the punishment and pain end of the spectrum.


    Problem is (none / 0) (#7)
    by jbindc on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 08:01:38 AM EST
    Not that many people care, so if someone thinks anything is going to make Congress and the administration (and future Congresses and administrations) change, then they are sorely mistaken.

    When news broke in late 2005 that the National Security Agency was eavesdropping without warrants -- surveillance that was authorized by President George W. Bush -- Democrats were not happy campers. More than six in 10 (61 percent) Democrats said the practice was "unacceptable" in a Washington Post-ABC News poll shortly after the story broke.

    But Democrats have changed their tune in the wake of new disclosures that the NSA is tracking millions of phone records under President Obama. According to a new Post-Pew Research Center poll, fully 64 percent say the agency's latest program to access phone records is "acceptable," which is 27 percentage points higher than their tolerance for the NSA's probes when polled in 2006.

    Republicans have shifted as well, but in a predictably different direction: 75 percent were OK with the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program in 2006, but a bare 52 percent majority says the NSA's current phone tracking program is acceptable.

    Stop it Anne (none / 0) (#12)
    by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 08:55:32 AM EST
    This is not about Zimmerman and you are being a bully just making shit up about a person you don't know and sticking him in a box because it makes you feel clever. Why not stick to arguing with what he actually said?

    Bite me, Teresa (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by Anne on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 09:21:46 AM EST
    The commenter "imagines" what kind of person Snowden is - it's the same kind of imagination that has infected the Zimmerman threads, not necessarily by this commenter specifically, but if I had to read one more comment by someone who thought they knew what Zimmerman and Martin were thinking and what their motives were I was going to throw up.

    Rickroberts thinks he knows how Snowden would respond to someone asking a tech question - how's that for "making sh!t up?"

    Your selective outrage is laughable, and you are, quite frankly, the last person who should be accusing anyone of bullying - that's pretty much how you roll.


    no thanks Anne (none / 0) (#108)
    by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 02:37:04 PM EST
    I'm watching my diet. But you really come off as a Heather when you characterize someone you don't know and keep harping back to Zimmerman, a topic you are going to look obsessed with if you are not careful. But mainly, just knock it off. You're acting like a mean girl.

    Anne may be many things, Teresa, but ... (5.00 / 2) (#115)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 02:51:08 PM EST
    ... obsessed with the George Zimmerman trial sure ain't one of them. Rather, she occasionally expresses fascination with those people who willingly allow themselves to get sucked into the "trial of the century du jour" vortex, as she did above in this particular case.

    Relevance (none / 0) (#62)
    by rickroberts on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:22:15 AM EST
    And this has what to do with the Zimmerman case, Anne? Let's stick to the topic at hand here.

    My speculation about his being annoyed at being asked a lowly IT support question comes from the inflated view he seems to have of himself, his duties, and his importance. He said he had been a spy all his life! What! Gimme a break. He and Greenwald are two peas in a pod.

    This dude is dangerous. He broke the law. Prosecute him.


    What if the Program He Revealed... (5.00 / 3) (#77)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 12:16:39 PM EST
    ...is illegal ?  I am with you, let's start tossing law breakers in jail, including the ones who think the Constitution for the academic community, not the actual law of the land.

    Federal judge agrees in 2010 and the government continues, but decides to make it even more expansive and more secret.

    Judge Vaughn R. Walker ruled that the government had violated a 1978 federal statute requiring court approval for domestic surveillance...
    ...Declaring that the plaintiffs had been "subjected to unlawful surveillance," the judge said the government was liable to pay them damages.

    Whistleblower protection Act is suppose to protect people who report agency misconduct/crimes.


    There is a question (none / 0) (#5)
    by jbindc on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 07:55:02 AM EST
    As to how a high school dropout, who later earned his GED, gets access to such documents and lands such a lucrative job in the first place.

    There are plenty of successful people (5.00 / 4) (#14)
    by Anne on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 09:12:44 AM EST
    who have dropped out of high school or college:

    Thomas Edison had three months of formal schooling.

    Benjamin Franklin dropped out of school at the age of ten.

    Bill Gates dropped out of college.

    Albert Einstein dropped out of high school, failed the entrance exam to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and finally got in after he got his high school diploma.

    John D. Rockefeller dropped out of high school.

    Walt Disney never finished high school.

    Richard Branson quit school at 16.

    George Burns left school in the fourth grade.

    Charles Dickens left school at the age of 12.

    Elton John never finished school.

    Ray Kroc (McDonald's) dropped out of school at 15.

    Harry Houdini left school at the age of 12.

    Ringo Starr dropped out of school at 15.

    I'm sure there are others - I got this list here.

    I just don't think the whole high school dropout thing is as big a deal as I expect will be made of it.


    Yes, I understand (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by jbindc on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 09:36:48 AM EST
    you can be successful as a high school dropout.

    However, the only person on that list who MAY have had access to classified information would be Albert Einstein (which he did not reveal to the Nazis). So, comparing your list of self-made people with someone who was supposedly given career-type jobs normally reserved for highly educated people, is really an apples-to-oranges comparison.

    And I think it's part of a broader question - exactly who are we allowing to see our classified information? And it begs the very real question - did he have help?


    So, only educated people should have (5.00 / 4) (#18)
    by Anne on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 09:47:27 AM EST
    access to classified information, even if they possess the technical and technological skills to do the job they have?

    I'm sorry, but your argument isn't making sense to me.


    It doesn't make sense at all Anne (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:04:54 AM EST
    Lots of people in and out of the military with security clearances.  Some people have tumultuous teen years, but are brilliant.  The military loves mining that territory, and if you have ASVAB scores and prove yourself that is as good as a college degree within the military often.  If you want to stand out during tough promotion boards the college degrees can do that, not all MOSs have tough promotion boards.

    To be an officer you must have a college education.  To be an expert you just need to be able to show your expertise and preform it.


    Another consideration. (5.00 / 4) (#54)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:12:21 AM EST
    There is a ton of money being thrown at these programs by the Federal government.  The more warm bodies a contractor can throw at a program the more profit they make under the cost-plus business model.

    Since it is all black budget there is only the illusion of accountability.


    As someone who rubs up against daily (none / 0) (#57)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:16:15 AM EST
    All sorts of government contractors fighting for their government contract, from everything to mowing grass, training drone pilots to making sushi....YUP

    "Educated".... (5.00 / 1) (#110)
    by kdog on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 02:39:31 PM EST
    sounds synonymous with conditioned or brainwashed or housebroken in this instance.

    An "educated" person would know to just cash the fat paycheck and ignore the conscience...that must be what they teach in the ivy league, if all our ivy league leaders in politics and finance are any indication, with a select few exceptions.


    Maybe this will help (none / 0) (#21)
    by jbindc on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 09:55:03 AM EST
    This is similar to the job Snowden had - same location and everything.

    Have you not been on a job interview in a long time?  How would someone like him, with his background, even GET an interview, let alone a job that paid $122,000?


    You just proved Anne's point. (5.00 / 4) (#25)
    by dk on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:00:45 AM EST
    The job description says that a college degree is only preferred, not required.

    The major qualifications seem to be IT skills and military-related experience/clearances.  Snowden was a former army guy with tech skills.


    No, he really wasn't (none / 0) (#45)
    by jbindc on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:56:56 AM EST
    As I said below - he applied for Army Special Forces reserve and was out after only 4 months.  He received no special training.

    Former Army guy? (none / 0) (#58)
    by rickroberts on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:16:16 AM EST
    Please re-read. He washed out after less than four months.

    I think the answer to that is in his history; (4.40 / 5) (#32)
    by Anne on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:16:58 AM EST
    he seems to have started at the bottom, and his skills and aptitude moved him up the ladder.

    In other words, he got a foot in the door and proved himself.

    Which is a lot less sinister than you seem to want to make it - I wouldn't even call it remarkable, but maybe you don't know any young people who can write computer programs and code, can construct and deconstruct and engineer complex and intricate programs, all without formal or post-secondary education.

    Would you feel better if he'd gone to Harvard? Do those degrees come with automatic security clearances? Would that entitle him to see classified info that the great unwashed and uneducated masses wouldn't understand or know what to do with?

    There are a lot of people out there with computer and tech and engineering skills who don't have college degrees - and a fair number of them are making good money doing it.


    I think (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by jbindc on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:55:05 AM EST
    you are reading much more into my comment and making it "sinister", when that's not what my comment was. And thanks - as someone who worked for a mid-sized software company, I know PLENTY of people who know their way around a computer - probably significantly more than you do.  And no, they all did not have college degrees.  My father didn't have a college degree, and was an accountant, and was certainly smarter than the CFO at his company (especially since he did the CFO's job half the time).  I get it.

    Which of course, has nothing to do with anything. Lots of people have mad computer skills - they don't all get cushy jobs that require significant background checks and multiple interviews.  Seriously - when was the last time you submitted for a job, especially in this economy?  When was the last time you got a government job, which, even if you know people, takes a while to get (especially with the clearance level he supposedly had)?

    Here is a guy, who is 29 years old, so it's not like he has 30 years of experience. He was in the army for 4 months (as the Army's civilian spokesman said: "He did not complete any training or receive any awards."). Then he went to work as a security guard at the University of Maryland at a secret NSA facility there, then as an IT analyst at the CIA in technology security, then back as a contractor to the NSA. Right there is quite a jump, but good for him, his skills impressed someone.

    You are so eager to look for a fight in any comment that dares to question someone you hold out as a hero, that you won't even entertain the most basic of questions - How did a guy, with very little education or experience in covert operations and intelligence, rise so fast and get access to this kind of information in the first place?  It's not an out-of-the-realm-of-reality or crazy question. You'll note (if you read carefully), that I am not expressing an opinion as to his actions, only questioning how he got there in the first place.

    And it's not like I'm the only one asking:

    Among the questions is how a contract employee at a distant NSA satellite office was able to obtain a copy of an order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a highly classified document that would presumably be sealed from most employees and of little use to someone in his position.

    A former senior NSA official said that the number of agency officials with access to such court orders is "maybe 30 or maybe 40. Not large numbers."

    At least, don't you think it's a good idea in all of this that we do a check, both in and out of government, on who is actually seeing our information??


    While there may be value in asking (5.00 / 4) (#53)
    by Anne on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:11:16 AM EST
    how Snowden got where he did, and was able to get hold of what he did, the real question, in my mind, is "what ever made anyone think it was a good idea to collect so much information about so many people, with no real plan for how it would be used, who would see it, and then have the unmitigated gall to tell us they were doing it in our names?"

    Read Charlie today:  Tell Me What Is Being Done In My Name.

    A snippet:

    Please, if it's not too damn much trouble, can you tell me what's being done in my name?

    That has been the essential plea of the citizen of a democratic political commonwealth for going on 70 years now, since the war powers and their attendant influence detached themselves from -- or were abandoned entirely by -- the constitutional authority in which they were supposed to reside. That was the plea that was answered, officially, by the incredibly brave Frank Church and his committee, and by the House Committee on Assassinations (the case of the murder of a president in broad daylight is still open, by the way). That was the plea that has been answered, unofficially, by Ron Ridenhour about My Lai, and by Sy Hersh about a lot of the things the Church committee opened up, and by those guys in Lebanon with the mimeograph machine concerning Iran-Contra, and by Bob Parry and so many others during the era of Reagan triumphalism, and by people like the invaluable Charlie Savage and Jane Mayer and others when the country lost its mind after 9/11, and, yes, by Jeremy Scahill and whoever he talks to, and, yes, by Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, too.


    I am goddamn sick and fking tired of self-government being run on automatic pilot -- of gangs of five, or eight, or 22, meeting in secret, wise old bone-worshippers, and deciding things that, a decade later, get murderous religious whack-jobs flying airplanes in to buildings. Because what gets decided in secret gets played out in public, always. (Recall the famous Doonesebury cartoon in which the two Cambodian peasants are asked about the "secret bombing" of their country. "It wasn't secret," one of them says. "I said, 'Look, here come the bombers.'") You people jack around with some people on the other side of the planet and, pretty soon, I'm picking pieces of a Starbucks out of my hair, if I'm lucky.

    Just tell me what is being done in my name.

    Tell me what is being done in my name and I can decide on the level of my own complicity. Tell me what is being done in my name and I can decide that I don't want to be complicit at all. Tell me what is being done in my name and I can be a citizen, in full, of a self-governing political commonwealth. That's your job. That's what those three words, and that great comma, are about. Don't tell me it's for my own good. I'm not 12. I know what is for my own good. Don't tell me to trust you. That ship sailed long ago. Goddammit, tell me.

    That is a very good idea (none / 0) (#48)
    by sj on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:04:14 AM EST
    At least, don't you think it's a good idea in all of this that we do a check, both in and out of government, on who is actually seeing our information??
    But not exactly what you've been harping about. And frankly, I think it's an even better idea to actually know what information is available to the government for someone in and out of government to see.

    Shrug (none / 0) (#78)
    by jbindc on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 12:46:05 PM EST
    To talk or write about to an excessive and tedious degree; dwell on.

    Hmmm...I made a comment about it, as another aspect of this case, which I feel is an important one since I think it's too early to canonize Mr. Snowden, and it seems you and Anne have been the ones "harping", i.e. writing about to an excessive and tedious degree.  At least Anne has been writing something of substance about this and engaging in a conversation.



    My mileage varies on this (none / 0) (#81)
    by sj on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 01:04:40 PM EST
    Snowden was an IT admin I suspect (none / 0) (#55)
    by vicndabx on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:12:39 AM EST
    and controlled access to data.  A network administrator of sorts.  It's not been reported; so far at least, that he was doing any analysis.

    Most admins have full access to data and programs because they provide others w/access to data and programs.

    Speculation at this point.


    Right (none / 0) (#59)
    by rickroberts on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:17:48 AM EST
    We sysadmins have access to data, but we certainly shouldn't be snooping around in it.

    From your keyboard.... (none / 0) (#111)
    by kdog on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 02:43:29 PM EST
    to the NSA's ears rickroberts!

    What do you (none / 0) (#28)
    by sj on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:09:52 AM EST
    know of his "background"? You keep harping on "high school dropout". That's hardly the sum total of his experience. And that experience is probably what got him the interview.

    Anne, please permit this (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by KeysDan on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:00:17 AM EST
    update to your list.  Tumblr founder, David Knapp, now 26, sold Tumblr to Yahoo for $1.1 billion (May 21).  Knapp did not have a high school diploma.  And then there is Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg.  

    Lordy (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by sj on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 09:49:15 AM EST
    that "high school drop out" smear sure seems to work with some people, doesn't it?

    My sister and I helped our Dad study for his GED when I was in HS (my sister had just graduated) and the study materials were tough. I didn't want to have to pass that test. It was much easier just to graduate.


    The subject must be changed (5.00 / 4) (#40)
    by KeysDan on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:46:10 AM EST
    from the message to the messenger--Snowden's being needs to be impeached, as the elaborate argument of David Brooks (NYT op ed, June 11) attempts to do.  Of course, he starts off with a reminder that he "could not successfully work his way through the institution of high school."  And, he " has not been a regular presence around his mother's house."  Brooks extrapolates these and other spuriously relevant observations to those who live a life unshaped by the "mediating institutions" of civil society  

    Snowden is a solitary leaker, apparently an update to the derisive and perverted loner of earlier times.  The result of which Brooks claims is a propensity to donate to Ron Paul for president, as Snowden did.  

    However, in my view, Brooks fails to impeach Snowden, but succeeds in impeaching himself by acknowledging that "sometimes leakers have to leak. The information they possess is so grave that it demands they violate their oaths."    Brooks does not see this leak as qualifying.  We will have to wait for another day to find an example that qualifies; perhaps when spying reveals that careless Republican senator.


    ewww... (none / 0) (#41)
    by sj on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:51:25 AM EST
    I should more accurately (none / 0) (#46)
    by sj on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:58:06 AM EST
    say "pass those tests". It's not easy. It particularly wasn't easy for my father who was decades away from formal schooling. They are likely much easier for some one who has just "dropped out" and has been fairly recently exposed to the material.

    I didn't want to take them, though.


    I'm sure they are (5.00 / 2) (#47)
    by jbindc on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:00:32 AM EST
    And good for your dad for going back and doing that, despite the difficulties.

    Thank you (5.00 / 2) (#52)
    by sj on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:08:48 AM EST
    We were -- and remain -- very proud of him.

    He is a quick study (none / 0) (#61)
    by rickroberts on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:18:58 AM EST
    So he came to this moral quandary after working there for less than three months? Hmm.

    When you see a wrong (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by sj on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:25:08 AM EST
    being committed, how long does it take for your sense of right and wrong to kick in? Do you just let it happen until you or your family or your buddy is affected, or is your morality more universal? I'm just curious.

    When one takes an oath.... (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by christinep on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 01:51:38 PM EST
    in working for the government (or its contractors) it is supposed to mean something, sj. And, really, when all is said & done==without regard for what will ultimately be shown by history to be right or wrong--one is free to leave, one is free to seek legal advice to follow legal avenues, one is free to go to the IG, or to people such as Udall, Wyden, Sanders, etc.  And, one is free to stand up here & explain however one wants--as a person of principled belief.  That is what the history of those who would be heroes shows us.  IMO.

    Oaths, and their importance, play significant roles in areas outside the government employ as well.  Doctors & lawyers come to mind.  (As a lawyer, I sure faced ethical dilemmas & major conflicts ... both within the code of ethics for lawyers & as a government attorney.  I had to make determinations about what was a matter of my opinion, however strong, and what was the law.)  A very complicated area; the sleepless nights kind of dilemma.


    OK, then I guess you think Ellsberg was a traitor (5.00 / 4) (#96)
    by shoephone on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 02:08:46 PM EST
    Good to know.

    Lots of whistleblowers in the Bush years found out that going up the chain of command leads nowhere fast. Colleen Rowley, for one.

    As for taking oaths, every Senator and congressional representative, and the president himself take an oath to uphold the constitution.


    As I recall (none / 0) (#123)
    by christinep on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 03:25:34 PM EST
    Ellsberg stayed here & bravely faced the consequences of his actions.  And, if I remember correctly, he exposed areas of acknowledged illegal government acts.  Not areas that some would argue were illegal, but he exposed illegal acts.  that distinction is critical...and, to date, there are claims of wrong, there are claims of Constitutional violations, but Court cases to date have upheld FISA.  You & I might not like FISA, but we cannot deny that the law has been validated over the years.  Frankly, it seems that the fix is the hard work that goes into an eventual legislative fix.

    And Ellsberg thinks Snowden is a patriot, (5.00 / 4) (#147)
    by shoephone on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 06:03:03 PM EST
    and that his leaks qualify as the most important leaks about American government secrecy.

    As for FISA, well...the provisions may be "legal" in that Congress voted them into law, but that does not necessarily mean they are constitutional. However, I don't expect the judiciary under Holder, or the SCOTUS, under Roberts and his merry band of corporate fascists, to strike down one bit of FISA or the Patriot Act.


    But, who gets to decide in this country (none / 0) (#153)
    by christinep on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 06:45:40 PM EST
    In this representative democracy, are you the decider?  I don't mean to be sarcastic, but there is some concern when an individual decides to be a law unto him/herself.  TPM's Josh Marshall has a very open, honest discussion on that difficult issue today.

    Again, you & I may feel that a law has gone too far ... but, unless overturned by the highest court in the land, it is valid. The eternal conflict between laws & personal morality that sometimes hits us square in the face.

    I honestly believe that--sooner or later--some of the 9/11 offspring need a thorough reconsideration. Or, at the least, some clearer limiting provisions ... such as limiting the time that meta-data can be kept in giant data gathering operations (limitations on government and on the computer Googles, Facebooks, etc.  Perhaps, summaries of FISA cases could be published on scheduled periods (redacted where necessary to protect undue exposure of privacy &/o threats to national security.  And, definitely, the Administration needs to publish & publicize widely the outline of the FISA-related & general Patriot Act-related programs. There are a number of ways to cut back on potentially excessive secrecy, as Sen. Mark Udall (a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee is suggesting.)  Most importantly, we need to talk ... and to realize that there are a number of compatible approaches.


    I'm in agreement with you (5.00 / 2) (#157)
    by shoephone on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 07:18:23 PM EST
    on the need for transparency on the Patriot Act. But let's not forget that our "representative democracy" is what brought us the Patriot Act in the first place. Every senator except one voted for it. And only six reps in the House opposed. I dare say, millions of Americans didn't -- and don't -- feel their values are being very much represented. And you have much more faith in the SCOTUS than I do. After Citizens United, and the recent decision in favor of Monsanto, I'm not exactly feeling the love.

    If Udall and Wyden will keep pushing to get around the corruption of DiFi -- who is so compromised and corrupted due to her husband's business deals with the defense dept, and who sounds ready to send Snowden to the guillotine -- then more power to them. I expect to hear more calls for Snowden's head, and to see more examples rank cowardice from the likes of Harry Reid.

    You see the system as working, I see it as thoroughly warped. When people see the system as corrupted beyond repair, then, yes, they will take matters into their own hands.

    If people just played by the rules and behaved themselves when totalitarianism reared its ugly head, we'd still be an English colony.


    Ellsberg on Snowden (5.00 / 3) (#175)
    by Yman on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 09:35:37 AM EST
    There are legitimate reasons for secrecy, and specifically for secrecy about communications intelligence. That's why Bradley Mannning and I - both of whom had access to such intelligence with clearances higher than top-secret - chose not to disclose any information with that classification. And it is why Edward Snowden has committed himself to withhold publication of most of what he might have revealed.

    But what is not legitimate is to use a secrecy system to hide programs that are blatantly unconstitutional in their breadth and potential abuse. Neither the president nor Congress as a whole may by themselves revoke the fourth amendment - and that's why what Snowden has revealed so far was secret from the American people.


    But with Edward Snowden having put his life on the line to get this information out, quite possibly inspiring others with similar knowledge, conscience and patriotism to show comparable civil courage - in the public, in Congress, in the executive branch itself - I see the unexpected possibility of a way up and out of the abyss.


    Snowden did what he did because he recognised the NSA's surveillance programs for what they are: dangerous, unconstitutional activity. This wholesale invasion of Americans' and foreign citizens' privacy does not contribute to our security; it puts in danger the very liberties we're trying to protect.



    The Rule of Law & Conscientious Objection (none / 0) (#177)
    by christinep on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 09:56:25 AM EST
    The almost-eternal question in a representative democracy.  Legal ethics, personal ethics ... each situation has a singularity as well as a common thread about obligation & duty.  All I know is -- however this plays out -- people as a whole tend to respect one who stands up for what he/she believes AND, if the action he/she takes violates the existing law, has the strength of character to face the consequences.  

    I'm sure that you know the list.


    Would that the people behind these (5.00 / 2) (#180)
    by Anne on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 10:38:49 AM EST
    programs had the strength of character to be accountable for them, eh?

    We have a president whose character wasn't even strong enough to hold accountable those responsible for torture, for heaven's sake - he gave them a pass.  The lies of the Iraq War?  Forget it.  And we know now why he didn't bother himself with the warrantless surveillance, don't we?

    But he managed to find his spine when it came to those who dared to blow the whistle on the government's secret activities - Thomas Drake comes to mind.  

    I guess what we can infer from that is that this president believes in power - funny thing, though: I can't seem to feel any respect for that position.


    On accountability (none / 0) (#181)
    by christinep on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 11:31:10 AM EST
    Agree very much, Anne, that people who initiated and/or furthered secret surveillance programs need to be accountable.  As Sen. Udall says, we need to be open about it--all of us--and define what is needed to fulfill the government's obligation respecting security for its people--and revise FISA and related-methodology.  ALSO:  One who would decide to be the sole decider at variance with the law (esp as to alleged violation of releasing government classified data) has an accountable duty as well.  If he is to fill the role of hero, like numerous heroes of the past in history, he should stand here & face the consequences.  

    Pls note: Times may change, and governments may be or seem frightening, but brave men & women who were objectors in the past have faced openly the most powerful & repressive of governments.  I don't buy the "we're more evil & vicious routine" than any government in this situation ...IMO, we cannot be a "we the people" if one decides that he/she solely is or represents the people.

    Everyone of us has accountability as a participant in the government of this land.  Excuse me if I sound like a preachy idealist, but that is my strong opinion ... tested against myself throughout life.


    enough with pretending that (5.00 / 1) (#183)
    by sj on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 11:49:08 AM EST
    there is only one way to interpret "consequences".

    "Strength of character" (5.00 / 2) (#190)
    by Yman on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 01:46:37 PM EST
    Loss of employment, living in exile ...

    Personally, I don't think it's necessary to subject yourself to possible life imprisonment/death penalty in order to demonstrate "strength of character".

    OTOH, it's an easy decision to make from the bleachers.


    You often write quite eloquently, yman (none / 0) (#196)
    by christinep on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 04:31:38 PM EST
    on legal matters.  What would you say about those in the federal employ vis-a-vis issues of disclosing classified information?  Is there any relation--even indirectly--to legal ethics & obligations?

    And, yes, you are correct that calling from the bleachers is one thing...but, I am interested in your take on potential federat law application here, and the options of an employee who considers it a moral wrong to withhold certain classified/confidential info?  Where does or should an individual's intent get factored into any assessment?


    I used to have a security clearance (5.00 / 1) (#198)
    by Yman on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 08:17:20 AM EST
    ... (not a very high level clearance) but - to be honest - it's not an area I know much about.  If you are talking about potential ethics violations, as you are aware they can be extremely ambiguous and fact specific.  Any federal employee can be contractually obligated to keep information confidential.  Lawyers may also be bound by their professional ethics obligations to keep information confidential.

    In terms of the laws, I haven't read enough about the laws that Snowden is alleged to have violated to have even formed an opinion.  He's not a lawyer, so I don't know what ethical obligations he may have had.  I assume he signed a contract that included nondisclosure provisions and there may be federal statutes he can be charged with violating (Espionage Act, keeping classified documents at unauthorized locations, etc.), but the law also provides defenses for those who (as Snowden claims) are "whistleblowers" - revealing govt. waste, fraud, illegality.  There are also, of course, traditional legal defenses.

    It comes down to balancing two, legitimate interests - the government's interest in protecting sensitive information and the right of the citizenry to privacy/freedom from illegal searches.  We don't have enough facts yet to even form a worthy opinion as to which side should prevail, let alone whether Snowden violated any criminal laws.  The ethical considerations are even more nebulous.

    All of which is beside the point that I was making, which is that - whether Snowden's conduct was legally justified/illegal/ethical/unethical - he's sacrificed a lot by releasing this information.  In my mind, he's demonstrated a "strength of character" that the vast majority of people would not, whether or not he stayed in the US to face criminal charges and risk imprisonment or death in doing so.


    I appreciate your cohesive, detailed response (none / 0) (#199)
    by christinep on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 12:35:29 PM EST
    Thank you.  As you indicated, the conflict & almost-clash of two competing interests is classic.  These timeless issues are healthy, IMO, because the hard reminders & soul-searching that they provoke help keep a degree of honesty in a system & in us.  Dialogue/debate about the relationship of privacy/national security can only benefit us in the long run.  

    I don't know... (none / 0) (#178)
    by kdog on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 10:08:17 AM EST
    One might call it selfish to expect a whistleblower to go live in a cage for our sins...I'd rather they avoid the cage if possible.

    When dealing with government classified infi (none / 0) (#125)
    by christinep on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 03:34:01 PM EST
    It is specifically against the law to reveal it.  That oath.

    Speaking of Oaths... (5.00 / 4) (#107)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 02:32:20 PM EST
    Pretty sure that oath has something about upholding and defending the Constitution.

    That is suppose to cover the people implementing this garbage as well.  No oath covers illegal activity and this is clearly illegal, doesn't matter how many secret courts and secret laws they think they have, the Constitution is pretty clear about searches:

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    Hoping to find something is not a probable cause to collect information on everyone.

    And claiming National Secrecy on everything that's being exposed is getting real old.  The fact is no ones what they are doing exactly, is GD scary, all we get is "Don't sorry about it, it's all to keep you safe."  

    I'll take my chances of getting killed by a terrorist if it means I know what the government I finance is up to.


    That you may consider a law invalid (3.50 / 2) (#128)
    by christinep on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 03:59:45 PM EST
    Does not nullify.  Only the judiciary can do that..and, ultimately, the Supreme Court.  To my knowledge, upholding the Constitution & laws of the US includes FISA.

    Which Requires a Warrant... (5.00 / 3) (#130)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 04:17:47 PM EST
    Which they did not have.

    People like you are the problem, it's written in easily understandable English and you believe that because a bunch of scoundrels say they can do otherwise in the name of National Security and keep it a secret, they are telling you the truth no matter how many times they get caught lying to our faces.

    If secrecy was an absolute necessity, then it should be terminated because they claimed that secrecy was the only way for PRISM to be effective.  That why it was a a secret.

    Since that doesn't seem likely, it means that it was secretive because they didn't want us knowing what they were doing, not because secrecy would make it ineffective.

    Terrorists aren't using the four main US carriers to plot chaos, which is what one has to believe to think this was about catching terrorists.  Nor do they track them down w/o tracing all the information back to some name, which they claim they aren't doing.


    No need to attack personally because you disagree (none / 0) (#135)
    by christinep on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 04:37:08 PM EST
    There is no evidence nor othe indication here that the government did not obtain a warrant prior to accessing content from meta-data as to American citizens.  As I understand it, the issue & justifiable concern is that the meta-data gathering by itself goes over the line...and, that gets us back to the question of statutory validity.  Again, I'd suggest that the productive path is to deal directly with pursuing a legislative fix.  Given recent events, ipCongress may be more open to reconsidering.  The continual opining about lack of Constitutionality appears to be a much more difficult avenue in practice...in view if the Courts' earlier dispositions toward the FISA authority.

    Where is the Warrant ? (none / 0) (#200)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 09:55:24 AM EST
    The program is in the open, so where is this warrant ?  I have not heard one mention of it, but you think there is one, so you assume there is one.  How is anyone suppose to argue with that logic, it's the logic that makes all this BS possible, people assuming the CIA and the NSA are run by people of character.

    Only a fool would believe they got a judge to sign off on surviving all communications and that somehow they don't actually need these volumes of data to a person.  You don't even care what the Constitution clearly states, because they might have a secret law and court that would make everything legal.

    I wish the folks who have enabled the government to shred the Constitution would just go somewhere more appropriate to their desired level of freedom and let people who yern for it, toss the traitors spying on us out to join all the others  who don't mind the government monitoring their every move.  


    You sure know everything, don't you? (none / 0) (#201)
    by christinep on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 06:01:40 PM EST
    But, guess what?  A number of us believe in what we believe as well.  Talking about Democracy & the spirit of tolerance that supports it.... (Heck, sometimes, Scott, the rigidity & outlash of responses such as the above really get to me. )

    I don't disagree (none / 0) (#94)
    by sj on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 02:04:36 PM EST
    When one takes an oath.... (none / 0) (#90)
    by christinep on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 12:51:38 PM MDT

    in working for the government (or its contractors) it is supposed to mean something

    But this is not the same sort of dilemma that faces doctors and lawyers which is client/patient based. The sheer scope of this activity places it in a different category altogether. And it appears that Snowden himself is keenly aware of the ramifications of his disclosures.

    But it occurs to me to ask: what oath exactly do you think Snowden took?


    Ethics, Confidentiality Clause, etc. (none / 0) (#112)
    by vicndabx on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 02:45:38 PM EST
    Not oath in the pledge allegiance to the flag sense, but surely this man signed something to the effect of "given the amount of access to data I have and promise, under penalty up to and including termination to keep it private." There was probably some legal stuff in there also.

    Aren't you in IT?  You're not familiar?


    Quite familiar with (none / 0) (#154)
    by sj on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 07:04:59 PM EST
    confidentiality clauses :)

    I think he knows very well what the penalties are, though. Don't you?


    It is the same (none / 0) (#127)
    by christinep on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 03:53:08 PM EST
    We don't get to decide the degree/scope --as in "that ethical dilemma extens only this far & not that far.". Government employees, from time to time, do find themselves in a situation where the data/documents possessed might defy your personal principals and, hypothetically of course, could effect a nationwide application, BUT they may simultaneously encounter the duty to not disclose non-FOIAable info.  That happens ( and happens.)

    Darn it, uh.  We keeo coming back to the decider:  The rule of law.  It can be harsh ...but, doesn't the other fork in the road lead to a society tearing itself as each of us becomes our own law.  It seems to me that the fora  to interpret existing laws must be the Implenting Agency in the first instance, followed by discussion & debate, and the Courts, and--if society determines that said law is indeed wrong, unjust, I'll-considered--then we are back to the legislative fix.


    Rule of Law (none / 0) (#155)
    by sj on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 07:06:36 PM EST
    exactly. That is what is at issue. Is the US Government breaking the law. That is exactly the question. Well, the first question.

    Before you embarrass yourself any (5.00 / 2) (#65)
    by Anne on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:33:19 AM EST
    further, you might want to actually do a little reading about Snowden and his history.

    Since doing your own research before hitting the keyboard doesn't seem to be your thing, I'll make it easy for you (bold is mine):

    By his own admission, he was not a stellar student. In order to get the credits necessary to obtain a high school diploma, he attended a community college in Maryland, studying computing, but never completed the coursework. (He later obtained his GED.)

    In 2003, he enlisted in the US army and began a training program to join the Special Forces. Invoking the same principles that he now cites to justify his leaks, he said: "I wanted to fight in the Iraq war because I felt like I had an obligation as a human being to help free people from oppression".

    He recounted how his beliefs about the war's purpose were quickly dispelled. "Most of the people training us seemed pumped up about killing Arabs, not helping anyone," he said. After he broke both his legs in a training accident, he was discharged.

    After that, he got his first job in an NSA facility, working as a security guard for one of the agency's covert facilities at the University of Maryland. From there, he went to the CIA, where he worked on IT security. His understanding of the internet and his talent for computer programming enabled him to rise fairly quickly for someone who lacked even a high school diploma.

    By 2007, the CIA stationed him with diplomatic cover in Geneva, Switzerland. His responsibility for maintaining computer network security meant he had clearance to access a wide array of classified documents.

    That access, along with the almost three years he spent around CIA officers, led him to begin seriously questioning the rightness of what he saw.

    He described as formative an incident in which he claimed CIA operatives were attempting to recruit a Swiss banker to obtain secret banking information. Snowden said they achieved this by purposely getting the banker drunk and encouraging him to drive home in his car. When the banker was arrested for drunk driving, the undercover agent seeking to befriend him offered to help, and a bond was formed that led to successful recruitment.

    "Much of what I saw in Geneva really disillusioned me about how my government functions and what its impact is in the world," he says. "I realised that I was part of something that was doing far more harm than good."

    He said it was during his CIA stint in Geneva that he thought for the first time about exposing government secrets. But, at the time, he chose not to for two reasons.

    First, he said: "Most of the secrets the CIA has are about people, not machines and systems, so I didn't feel comfortable with disclosures that I thought could endanger anyone". Secondly, the election of Barack Obama in 2008 gave him hope that there would be real reforms, rendering disclosures unnecessary.

    He left the CIA in 2009 in order to take his first job working for a private contractor that assigned him to a functioning NSA facility, stationed on a military base in Japan. It was then, he said, that he "watched as Obama advanced the very policies that I thought would be reined in", and as a result, "I got hardened."

    The primary lesson from this experience was that "you can't wait around for someone else to act. I had been looking for leaders, but I realised that leadership is about being the first to act."

    Over the next three years, he learned just how all-consuming the NSA's surveillance activities were, claiming "they are intent on making every conversation and every form of behaviour in the world known to them".


    Once he reached the conclusion that the NSA's surveillance net would soon be irrevocable, he said it was just a matter of time before he chose to act. "What they're doing" poses "an existential threat to democracy", he said.

    Would that you were as quick a study as you sarcastically claim Snowden is...


    why indeed (none / 0) (#10)
    by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 08:49:10 AM EST
    rick, why did a person at his level have that kind of access? Imagine if instead of exposing the fact that a guy at his level had that kind of access to your personal information, he had decided to use it for personal gain? Blackmail comes to mind. Selling information to foreign governments is always a possibility. Mostly though I am really glad that the government is not busy deciding, for instance, that people who collect guns are dangerous and all should be on a list to be watched....... wait....because the man I live with has a lot of calls to gun dealers. He likes guns. If the American people are okay with this activity fine, but they should know it is going on.

    You really have to wonder (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by Edger on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:09:02 AM EST
    about the intelligence and leadership capabilities of the kind of people who hire people like Snowden to spy on you. They probably should be in prison.

    Not to mention (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by Edger on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:35:45 AM EST
    the competence and intelligence level of the kind of people who vote for, cheer and and support the kind of people who appoint the people who hire people like Snowden to spy on you.

    lol; be fair now, there are now so many people (5.00 / 3) (#56)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:16:14 AM EST
    prying and spying on us that there were bound to be a few with a conscience.

    Heh. (none / 0) (#74)
    by Edger on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 12:05:58 PM EST
    There are cracks in the system people fall through?

    And apparently (none / 0) (#13)
    by jbindc on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 08:56:40 AM EST
    Not wise in choosing Hong Kong as a place to hide

    True, it is Hong Kong, a fabulous city brimming with soaring skyscrapers, marvelous restaurants, a glamorous nightlife and people of copious wealth. And true, Hong Kong, operates as a "semi-autonomous region" of China in which people have more rights.

    But as James Fallows of The Atlantic recently wrote: "Hong Kong is not a sovereign country. It is part of China -- a country that by the libertarian standards Edward Snowden says he cares about is worse, not better, than the United States.

    "It has even more surveillance of its citizens. ... Its press is thoroughly government-controlled; it has no legal theory of protection for free speech; and it doesn't even have national elections."

    Oh, well, small slip-up. But at least Snowden can live there as a political refugee even if the United States wants him back, right?

    Uh, probably not. Regina Ip, a legislator and former security secretary in Hong Kong, told The Wall Street Journal that "We work very closely with U.S. authorities" and Snowden's choice of Hong Kong as a refuge is "really being based on unfortunate ignorance."

    Except of Course... (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:05:34 AM EST
    ...China has approve any extradition.

    The list of countries with diplomatic relations but no extradition treaty is bleak at best.

    I would say Hong Kong is easily the best choice unless he wants to be forced back to the US for sham US national security trial.

    This is just plain sad whern you consider what Snowden revealed:

    Hong Kong is not a sovereign country. It is part of China -- a country that by the libertarian standards Edward Snowden says he cares about is worse, not better, than the United States.

    I guess he is in the 'no big deal' camp in regards to the crap the US Government has been doing post-9/11.  That statement is how this garbage is kept secret, fools who think it's all about them and the rest of us can suck it.

    And this:

    "There are dozens of stories generated by the documents he provided, and we intend to pursue every last one of them," Greenwald said.

    IMO only a true patriot would risk his own liberty to expose the government's secretive and unreasonable, searches of all it's citizens private communications and internet travel.


    I think Mr. Snowden is ... (5.00 / 1) (#109)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 02:39:14 PM EST
    ... an incurable idealist, given that he was also a donor to Ron Paul's presidential campaign. As I said the other day, I have to give him props for acting on his libertarian principles, rather than just talking about them ad nauseum.

    True whistleblowers will almost always be contemporaneously unpopular, will often be persecuted, and will generally only be appreciated well after the fact, when time and events have finally proved them right.



    Actually, Snowden also took an oath. (none / 0) (#88)
    by christinep on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 01:42:37 PM EST
    If keeping your oath meant (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by sj on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 01:53:51 PM EST
    An oath to uphold what he now considers (5.00 / 1) (#151)
    by shoephone on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 06:11:41 PM EST
    to be criminality.

    "All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent." Edmund Burke.


    I see that you cite the father of conservatism (none / 0) (#176)
    by christinep on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 09:48:26 AM EST
    Edmund Burke.  Yes, conservatives do fear government--social security, health care, laws banning discrimination, etc. Burke is frequently cited for limited government--the old "less government the better."  And, yes, it does cut both ways.

    In a democratic system, the majority rule (with minority rights.)  The dilemma of the individual who disagrees with his/her government as a matter of conscience is not a new dilemma.  See Thoreau & his understanding (along with R.W. Emerson) that there are consequences from acting at variance with the law of the land (in that case, taxes, as I vaguely recall) and his brave action in facing the consequences. See the broader, philosophical discussion about majority/minority rule (when a majority is "wrong") in his essay "On Democracy," wherein he openly discusses the worth of the system, nonethess.  For ancient history, read the play "Antigone" about the conflict between laws of man & laws of morality.  And, of course, the Twentieth Century is replete with examples of "conscientious objectors" in wartime situations--wherein the obligation is to follow the law of the land, no matter the offsetting morality presented by unjust war.

    My problem with the Snowden-type individual is the almost Enlightened King approach wherein one person assumes superior knowledge in contrast to all society & its laws.  That is not to say that he is wrong...just that the Beneficent Individual model may be as bad a slippery slope as the alarm raised by the secrecy situation at NSA.  I'd say: Snowden should act with courage in the manner of history's objectors in conscience and stand here, explain here, truly accept the consequences of one's actions.  Who knows? People may listen all the more ... and, the actions would then start to resemble historic heroism rather than a young man's self-righteousness and isolation.


    If he stayed here (5.00 / 3) (#182)
    by kmblue on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 11:42:11 AM EST
    he'd end up in Guantanamo.  The U.S. government has lied to us about treatment of prisoners repeatedly.
    With that in mind, facing this government would be foolish in the extreme.

    Facing any government at any time (none / 0) (#184)
    by christinep on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 12:54:19 PM EST
    in history takes guts & integrity.  I'm sure you know that.  

    Wow. (5.00 / 3) (#185)
    by shoephone on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 01:02:19 PM EST
    kmblue was talking about being thrown in Guantanamo and you respond that if he had real guts and integrity he should take that risk.



    And that's what Snowden did (5.00 / 3) (#192)
    by kmblue on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 03:50:41 PM EST
    He faced and made us face what is being done in our name.  I can't believe you insist he throw himself on a funeral pyre in addition to having the courage to speak out.  Didn't George Washington swear an other to King George at some point?  I guess Washington should have let that stop the revolution.

    No, Christine, you are very unrealistic to expect Snowden would get fair treatment by our government.


    We have different standards (none / 0) (#193)
    by christinep on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 04:16:25 PM EST
    and we all talk past each other about those standards.  

    As for Washington, he certainly-- together with all those of like-mind--had the courage of his convictions. They stood their ground & fought King George and his men in the face of overwhelming odds  He did not throw himself on "the funeral pyre;" he did not run away; he fought at home for what he believed (even knowing at that time that it would be not guessed at nor surmised, but certain death in the 18th century should he lose.

    Thank you for bringing up Washington.


    He wouldn't be in Guantanamo (none / 0) (#188)
    by CoralGables on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 01:06:52 PM EST
    Enough of the BS. If he broke the law he'll be tried in a US court.

    In open court? I doubt it. (5.00 / 2) (#189)
    by shoephone on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 01:10:15 PM EST
    Secret court. The Guantanamo reference need not be taken literally. It fits quite well as a euphemism for any secret trial...if one ever happens.

    I'm happy to quote Burke (5.00 / 1) (#186)
    by shoephone on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 01:03:59 PM EST
    while you quote Marshall, Iraq War proponent.

    "Enlightened King"? (5.00 / 2) (#187)
    by shoephone on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 01:05:24 PM EST
    Hogwash. He's a whistle blower, and we know what happens to whistle blowers at the hands of the Obama administration.

    In your eyes, he is a "whistleblower." (none / 0) (#194)
    by christinep on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 04:19:21 PM EST
    In the eyes of many others, he is a source or a leaker.  The AP issued a statement to that effect the day before yesterday in their style book...and others are following suit.  Ultimately, a determination will be made the public.

    Sometimes people are both (5.00 / 2) (#195)
    by shoephone on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 04:23:09 PM EST
    and I'm afraid that only the government will be allowed to make the determination, and the results are going to be very ugly.

    Hate to keep harping on Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, but wasn't he both a leaker and a whistle blower?


    Yes. (none / 0) (#197)
    by christinep on Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 04:35:39 PM EST
    He disclosed violations of the law ... violations of the law at that time. Not in futuro.

    Big Deal (none / 0) (#4)
    by koshembos on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 07:41:37 AM EST
    One doesn't need Greenwald to see that the meta calls story is a big lie. We knew a decade ago that if the government and private industry could spy on us they will. The "more stories" is self evident.

    What are we going to do? That is still to be determined. Electing presidents based on beer or hate of Hillary makes Osama win. So far his grin is huge.

    From our "Blast from the Past" file: (none / 0) (#138)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 05:13:25 PM EST
    Newsweek magazine asks whether privacy in America is dead -- nearly 43 years ago:

    Newsweek | July 27, 1970
    Is Privacy Dead? -- "Over the past twenty years, the U.S. has become (partly of necessity and mostly for good reasons) one of the snoopiest and most data-conscious nations in the history of the world. Big merchants, little merchants, tax bureaus, police organizations, census takers, sociologists, banks, schools, medical groups, employers, Federal agencies, newspapers, motor vehicle bureaus, insurance companies, clubs, mail-order houses, credit bureaus, pollster, advertisers, mortgage lenders, public utilities, the armed forces -- every blessed one of them and scores of other organizations, have been chasing down, storing and putting to use every scrap of information they can find about all 205 million Americans, singly and in groups."

    Everything old is new again.

    Yes, but was there a well paid government spook (5.00 / 1) (#148)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 06:05:41 PM EST
    Patched into everything for each three or four city blocks?

    No, but there were probably ... (5.00 / 1) (#150)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 06:10:55 PM EST
    ... just as many people per capita back then who clung to the unquestioning notion of "My Country, Right or Wrong" -- i.e., if the government does it, therefore it must be okay -- as there are today.

    Nixon (5.00 / 3) (#166)
    by kmblue on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 09:49:41 PM EST
    if the president does it, it's not illegal.

    Gasp!!! (none / 0) (#143)
    by fishcamp on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 05:50:47 PM EST
    Bottom line is (none / 0) (#156)
    by vicndabx on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 07:13:30 PM EST
    he's not here to face the music for his actions.  Surely that is not disputed.  He knew what he was doing was illegal, which is why he left.

    While we can disagree on the actions of the gov't, we as a civilized society do have rules.

    You can't have it both ways.  I.e., hold up the Constitution and it's principles, and then disregard the very foundation on which those principles are built.

    Do I have this right? (5.00 / 1) (#159)
    by nycstray on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 07:42:23 PM EST
    It's illegal to expose the gov's illegal activity?

    Technically, it wasn't illegal (none / 0) (#169)
    by vicndabx on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:07:21 PM EST
    Both you the one who said Snowden fled. (5.00 / 2) (#160)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 07:57:45 PM EST
    vicndabx: "Bottom line is he's not here to face the music for his actions. ... You can't have it both ways."

    And now, after we made the case that he didn't flee, but rather relocated to a preplanned rendezvous in Hong Kong, you're trying to change the parameters of the discussion as a means to continue implying that he's a coward.

    Well, why should Snowden be here to "face the music for his actions"? And where is it written that you can't have it both ways? Snowden's qualifications for whistleblower status doesn't also require his subsequent martyrdom for the cause.



    C'mon Don (none / 0) (#167)
    by vicndabx on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 09:57:27 PM EST
    And now, after we made the case that he didn't flee, but rather relocated to a preplanned rendezvous in Hong Kong, you're trying to change the parameters of the discussion as a means to continue implying that he's a coward.

    You made the case that he planned out his "exit".  That's all.    

    How does one get whistleblower status when they're not here to receive the protections said status affords?


    What protections would you expect (5.00 / 1) (#168)
    by Anne on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 09:59:45 PM EST
    him to get from an administration that has demonstrated that it does not tolerate those who blow the whistle on it?

    You really believe (none / 0) (#170)
    by vicndabx on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:10:28 PM EST
    some Republican or even Democratic pol wouldn't have given him cover against Obama?  On this issue?

    You're not that naïve.


    Does it sound like they're giving him cover? (5.00 / 3) (#171)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 10:34:39 PM EST
    vicndabx: "You really believe some Republican or even Democratic pol wouldn't have given him cover against Obama?  On this issue? You're not that naïve."

    Even Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) is defending the NSA's surveillance programs.

    I don't think Anne's the one who's being naïve here. Edward Snowden was right to bail. Martyrdom gets no points, unless you're a Catholic who's desiring to avoid Purgatory.

    Given your logic, the late singer Miriam Makeba should've returned to South Africa after speaking out against the white-minority government's Apartheid policies, and gotten her a$$ thrown in prison.