U.S. Asks Russia to Detain Snowden

The U.S. has asked Russia to detain Edward Snowden and send him back to the U.S. This is rich (as in disingenuous):

"We now understand Mr. Snowden is on Russian soil. Given our intensified cooperation after the Boston marathon bombings and our history of working with Russia on law enforcement matters -- including returning numerous high level criminals back to Russia at the request of the Russian government -- we expect the Russian Government to look at all options available to expel Mr. Snowden back to the U.S. to face justice for the crimes with which he is charged."

Really? Let's take a look at the Bureau of Prisons website today:[More...]

Russian Pilot, Konstantin Yaroshenko(background here), who never had any intention of committing a crime in the U.S. but got sucked into an FBI sting in Africa, took him to the Ukraine to meet with FBI informants, where they subjected him to warrantless electronic surveillance, then flew him to Liberia to do a fake drug deal, whereupon the U.S. had the Liberians arrest him. After the Liberians had their fun torturing him for a few says, the DEA said "Buckle up, we're flying you to America to be detained for a few years, tried, convicted and sentenced to 20 years. There were no drugs. The drugs were going from South America to Africa to Europe. Some clever agent got the idea that if the informant yakked enough in a language Yaroshenko didn't understand, and included in his ramblings that he was going to send his profit to Ghana to put on a flight to the U.S., they could snare Yaroshenko. It was enough to survive a challenge on manufactured jurisdiction.

Yaroshenko maintains the Liberians broke his teeth and beat him and he has bladder pain and is in need of surgery. John Kerry, when in Russia a month or so ago, met with Russia's foreign minister and declined again to return him to Russia under the prisoner swap agreement. Kerry said hed' look into his medical issues. As of last week, Yaroshenko still hasn't gotten his surgery. He has a wife and daughter in Russia. Russia has made several requests that he and Bout be transferred to Russia to finish their sentences. The U.S. has said no.

Bout's story (background here)is even worse. He was the victim of a DEA sting in Thailand. The U.S. fought tooth and nail to extradite him and lost. The U.S. appealed (and likely pulled some strings, if the Wikileaks cables are any indication, and lo and behold, the higher court in Thailand approved his extradition. He spent a miserable two years at MCC in New York, was convicted and sentenced to 35 years which he is serving at the USP in Marion, IL., one of our SuperMax prisons. The U.S. claims he's a "Lord of War" and seller of arms. He never sold arms here. What business is it of ours? Why have a prisoner transfer treaty if you aren't going to use it? Did anyone ask the American taxpayers if they want to pay $40,000 a year times 25 years to warehouse Bout in a high security prison when Russia's willing to take him? Or $30,000 a year for 20 years to house Yaroshenko who's at Ft Dix?

The Russian Foreign Minister has been asking the U.S to return them so they can serve their sentences at home for over a year. The U.S. blew Russia off.

Interestingly, I'm not the only one who has come up with this idea. Bout's estranged brother did too. And Bout's lawyer slapped him down. Why? It is what Bout, his wife and child want.

Yaroshenko says he'd rather die by hanging than serve 20 years in a U.S. Prison where he is not getting adequate, if any, medical treatment and his family is in Russia. the lawyer's objection?

Any deal maker knows you got to bring bring something to get something. What's in for Russia to hand over Snowden?

I am not in favor of bringing Snowden back and don't like the idea of him being a chess piece in a game that no one involved seems to know how to play, but I would like to see the U.S. come to its senses and do the right thing by Yaroshenko and Bout. If Snowden's already left for Ecuador by the time it takes them to clear DOJ channels and get them renditioned back to Russia, then maybe it will have learned its lesson for next time. The U.S. gets no free lunch in Russia.

If I were the Russians, I'd let Snowden fly to Ecauador, while the U.S. is flying Bout and Yaroshenko to Russia, and when they got there and the Russians had control of its citizens, who had also committed no crime in Russia, Russia could tell the U.S., next time to have to get your act together faster. It shouldn't take 50 staff members at the DOJ, DEA and the White House more than 2 days to put this in motion. Had they moved a little faster and been a more conciliatory with the Russians, they might have had their man.

Russia, by the way, says it has no grounds to detain Snowden. Russia and the U.S. do not have an extradition treaty. They are both signatories to mutual aid agreement that has been in existence since the 1800's.

As for what we Americans can do, I'd start with a demand the DEA close its 86 foreign offices and either join with the CIA or the Pentagon. Their Global Holy Warrior mindset should make them get along in those agencies just fine.And it would save Americans a lot of money

The final solution: Let Snowden go to Ecuador, send Yaroshenko and and Bout to Russia as a sign of good faith, and the next time the U.S. needs a favor from Russia, maybe Russia will see it as a sign of respect and let the U.S. haveI the next guy.

< Snowden Flies to Russia, and Then? | George Zimmerman: Opening Statements >
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    Interestingly, Euro media was talking about (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by scribe on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 05:16:59 AM EST
    Bout yesterday, before Snowden's plane even landed in Moscow.  Unfortunately for the US, he was held up as a prime example of why governments would be disinclined to cooperate with the US.  In short, by its behavior in the last dozen years as exemplified in the Bout case, the US has exhausted whatever reservoir of good faith it had accumulated in the field of international legal circles.

    The other case held up as an example of why governments would be disinclined to cooperate was Bradley Manning and the torture he's suffered at the hands of his own government.  His case and treatment has gotten a lot more coverage overseas than here.  Governments and government officials don't want to be turning over someone who goes into a situation like Manning's only to find themselves accused of complicity in torture or worse a few yeas down the road.

    Ironically, the very arguments Rethuglicans made against the International Criminal Court having jurisdiction over US persons - that they might be hesitant to do things the US government wants for fear of future prosecution - are acting as a deterrent to other countries' officials committing crimes at the US behest.  Unlike US torturers, they don't have the likes of Lindsey Graham and Saxby Chambliss whining in their behalf if and when the law comes calling.

    Breaking (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Edger on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 08:49:19 AM EST
    Russia says "Bite Me" to US Government

    Washington should not expect Moscow to expel former spy agency contractor Edward Snowden, a senior Russian lawmaker and Kremlin ally said on Monday.

    The White House urged Moscow to send Snowden back to the United States after he fled Hong Kong on Sunday for Moscow. He was expected to fly out of Moscow on Monday, possibly to Cuba.

    But Alexei Pushkov, head of the foreign affairs committee in the lower house of parliament, said: "Ties are in a rather complicated phase and when ties are in such a phase, when one country undertakes hostile action against another, why should the United States expect restraint and understanding from Russia?"

    He also added: "I think there is no question of granting political asylum (to Snowden) in Russia."



    They have to prove to all the NSA employees whom Obama has spying on each other now under his "Insider Threat Policy" that none of them would have a hope of getting away if they rat out Obama or the US Government. If they don't catch Snowden their world falls apart. They are in survival mode, and desperate.

    Caught 'em on Morning Joe... (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by kdog on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 09:16:41 AM EST
    this morning hee-hawing about the totalitarian nations Snowden might have to seek asylum in...like he made up the list of countries that won't play ball with US (In)justice or something...it's comical how so many who call themselves journalists can be so obtuse. Or is it intentional?

    The goal IMO is to discredit (5.00 / 3) (#13)
    by MO Blue on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 09:20:42 AM EST
    Snowden and Greenwald and not talk about the facts that were disclosed.

    I guess I should stop calling it.... (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by kdog on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 09:39:05 AM EST
    corporate welfare...GE earns every penny as a propaganda agent.

    And doing so behind the (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by Anne on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 12:45:20 PM EST
    skirts of anonymity (emphasis is mine):

    A senior Obama administration official who would not provide his or her name told reporters late on Sunday that Snowden's presumed travel plan undermined the whistleblower's stated intent to tell the American people about broad government surveillance.

    "Mr Snowden's claim that he is focused on supporting transparency, freedom of the press and protection of individual rights and democracy is belied by the protectors he has potentially chosen: China, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela and Ecuador," said the official, who did not note that the US was simultaneously attempting to secure the cooperation of China and Russia.

    "His failure to criticise these regimes suggests that his true motive throughout has been to injure the national security of the US, not to advance internet freedom and free speech," the official said.

    Good Lord.


    Good lord is right... (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by kdog on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 01:03:10 PM EST
    more obtuseness up in here than a trig class!

    They're working on building a (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by Anne on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 09:33:01 AM EST
    solid anti-American persona/motive/agenda for Snowden and Greenwald - that's how it works now - and the talking heads are just reading off the script the administration has handed them.

    At least Charlie Pierce knows what's going on:

    Whatever you may think of Glenn Greenwald -- and, Jesus, he makes it tough sometimes -- what he's doing with Edward Snowden is journalism by any definition anyone ever proposed for it. (He's arranging logistical help for an important source? Newspapers used to do that with some regularity. It's even an important plot point in both the greatest newspaper movie ever made (His Girl Friday) and in the second-greatest newspaper movie ever made -- Deadline USA with Humphrey Bogart.) Meanwhile, let us recall that a former chief of staff for Dick Cheney testified under oath in the Scooter Libby trial that MTP was that White House's preferred launching pad for arrant bullsh!t. Let us recall the marvelous quote the late, sainted Tim Russert gave to Bill Moyers in which he said he'd wished "somebody had called him" to warn him that we were being lied into a war. Under the Dancin' Master, the show has devolved further into being a playground for the courtier press. Maybe we do need a new definition of what journalism is. But, whatever new definition emerges, it shouldn't be developed by the host of Meet The Fking Press, which is no more "journalism" than Duck Dynasty is a nature program.

    This was a career defining moment. It's rare that someone reveals himself quite as clearly as the Dancin' Master does in that little by-play. He will "debate" who is or is not a journalist, and the rest of us can wait under the balcony and wait for scraps. The clearly batty Peggy Noonan is a journalist, but Glenn Greenwald may not be.  Journalism has sickened itself with respectability, debilitated itself with manners, crippled itself with politesse, and David Gregory may well be Patient Zero for all of this. As my Irish grandmother used to say, mother of god, who the hell is he when he's at home?

    Meet the Press: a playground for the courtier press.


    And how sad is it that there are no shortage of politicians and administration officials to play with?


    Just ran accross this little tidbit (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by MO Blue on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 02:24:34 PM EST
    about the "Dancin' Master's" choice of using the term "aided and abetted."

    Mr. Gregory may have thought he was just being provocative, but if you tease apart his inquiry, it suggests there might be something criminal in reporting out important information from a controversial source.

    In using the term "aided and abetted," Mr. Gregory adopted the nomenclature of Representative Peter T. King, a Republican of New York who has argued that Mr. Greenwald should be arrested, lately on Fox News. The Other Snowden Drama: Impugning the Messenger

    Funny How... (none / 0) (#64)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 02:45:00 PM EST
    ...Assange is held up in the Ecuadorian Embassy because of the presumption the US will have Brittan snatch him up when he did pretty much the same thing as the Guardian.

    They'll go after Assange, but not Greenwald.

    Cowards, going after the little guy.


    Interesting (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by MO Blue on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 01:07:20 PM EST
    White House petition to pardon Snowden crosses threshold

    More than 111,000 people had signed the petition as of midday Monday. The petition requests "a full, free, and absolute pardon for any crimes he [Snowden] has committed or may have committed related to blowing the whistle on secret NSA surveillance programs," and refers to him as a "national hero."

    While I think I have more chance of winning this weeks lottery (have noy purchased ticket) than this happening, I'm still glad that people are taking this action.  

    Aren't They at Least... (none / 0) (#57)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 01:47:31 PM EST
    ...suppose to address any petition with 25k or 50k signatures ?  

    Threshold was raised to 100K (none / 0) (#58)
    by Anne on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 01:52:12 PM EST
    some time ago.  

    Yes (none / 0) (#60)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 01:53:32 PM EST

    AS OF JANUARY 15, 2013:

    To cross the first threshold and be searchable within WhiteHouse.gov, a petition must reach 150 signatures within 30 days.

    To cross the second threshold and require a response, a petition must reach 100,000 signatures within 30 days.

    I expect they're surprised (none / 0) (#105)
    by sj on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 12:17:12 PM EST
    at how often they have to move the goal posts. I think they were expecting people not to care and that the whole system could be used for propoganda.

    Here (none / 0) (#59)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 01:52:17 PM EST
    are all the WH petitions.  Not updated to reflect the Snowden one.

    Up over 112,000 (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by Anne on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 01:59:14 PM EST
    signatures, here.


    After you publish the petition, it's up to you to promote it and get others to sign. You'll get an automatic email once your petition is published that you can forward to get started. Remember you have just 30 days to get 100,000 signatures in order to get a response from the White House. And it's up to you to get to 150 signatures in order for your petition to be publicly searchable on the We the People tool on WhiteHouse.gov.

    If the response to the Snowden petition is anything like any of the other responses I've read, it won't be all that responsive.


    And CLicking On the Link (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by squeaky on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 02:07:30 PM EST
    Will put you in the US Government Database forever..

    Wonder how much information from your computer they wind up with once you have logged on, not to mention registered.


    There is speculation going around that (5.00 / 1) (#98)
    by Edger on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 10:19:14 AM EST
    Snowden took the job at Booz Allen specifically with the intention of gathering secret information to leak. This "proves" how evil the man is to some minds.

    Let's examine this idea for a moment. If he did Booz Allen and their subsidiary the Obama Administration never saw him coming, missed completely with their pre-employment screening, let him in the door having them all conned, gave him access to secret information, let him stay as long as he did with them never noticing that he was taking all their data, let him show them to be not only incompetent but totally full of sh*t with their claims to be protecting you from terrists and show that there is no "War on Terror" but only a war on you and me, and then let him walk out the door with their files that they didn't even realize had been copied until he released them, and they haven't been able to catch him.

    I'd say he's ridiculed them and the obama administration pretty good and shown them up for the incompetent frauds they are.

    And now he's in Iceland and Ecuador and Russia and John Kerry is advising Russia to just "be calm", don't get all excited, and hand him over.

    It's going to be one of those days, I can tell. ;-)

    My understanding is that he may have (5.00 / 3) (#101)
    by Anne on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 11:04:57 AM EST
    taken the job at Booz Allen because it gave him access that he needed to prove his suspicions, not because he was looking for information to leak.

    From Greg Sargent's interview with Greenwald:

    Asked if he saw any significance in Snowden's latest comments, Greenwald argued that they fit in with the chronology of what is already known. Greenwald noted that Snowden had been working at the NSA since 2009 and that his public statements show he'd already concluded serious wrongdoing was going on, so he may well have gotten the job at Booz Allen in order to get documents he needed to make that case.

    "I don't see the significance of this at all," Greenwald said. "He had said he had seen serious wrongdoing that he wanted to inform Americans about. He apparently wanted this last set of documents to present a complete picture."

    Traitor? (3.67 / 3) (#106)
    by Edger on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 12:18:42 PM EST
    Who was it who promised a generation "hope" and "change," only to betray those promises with dismal misery and stagnation?

    Who took an oath to defend the US constitution, only to feed the invisible beast of secret law devouring it alive from the inside out?

    Who is it that promised to preside over The Most Transparent Administration in history, only to crush whistleblower after whistleblower with the bootheel of espionage charges?

    Who combined in his executive the powers of judge, jury and executioner, and claimed the jurisdiction of the entire earth on which to exercise those powers?

    Who arrogates the power to spy on the entire earth - every single one of us - and when he is caught red handed, explains to us that "we're going to have to make a choice."

    Who is that person?

    Let's be very careful about who we call "traitor".

    Edward Snowden is one of us.

    Bradley Manning is one of us.

    They are young, technically minded people from the generation that Barack Obama betrayed.

    They are the generation that grew up on the internet, and were shaped by it.

    The US government is always going to need intelligence analysts and systems administrators, and they are going to have to hire them from this generation and the ones that follow it.

    One day, their generation will run the NSA, the CIA and the FBI.

    This isn't a phenomenon that is going away.

    This is inevitable.

    And by trying to crush these young whistleblowers with espionage charges, the US government is taking on a generation, and that is a battle it is going to lose.


    Russia says it has no power to (none / 0) (#2)
    by Anne on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 07:04:52 AM EST
    detain Snowden:

    Despite a direct request from the United States to return Edward Snowden to U.S. soil to face charges of leaking government secrets, Russian officials said Monday that they had no legal authority to detain the fugitive former government contractor, who arrived in Moscow on Sunday and was seeking asylum in Ecuador, reportedly by way of Havana.


    Vladimir Lukin, Russia's human rights ombudsman and a former ambassador to the United States, told the Interfax news agency that Russia had no authority to expel Snowden, as Washington was asking it to do. Russian officials said travelers who never leave a secure transit zone inside an airport ---which means not crossing passport control--are not officially on Russian soil. Snowden did not have a Russia visa, several officials said, and therefore could not leave the transit zone.

    In addition, Russia and the United States do not have an extradition treaty.


    It would also be hard to detain someone who was never in the country in question: there is some speculation that Snowden was never in Russia, and the reports this morning are that he wasn't on the plane to Havana that left Russia today.  

    The Guardian is reporting that Ecuador's foreign minister is giving a press conference in Hanoi at 7 pm, which is 8 am EDT.

    This is also quite rich (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by scribe on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 08:01:30 AM EST
    Remember, the US Border Patrol uses the same "never entered the US" argument as the basis for imaging peoples' computers and phones, turning them around, indefinitely detaining them in immigration jails, and going out to their homes well away from the border to search their homes without warrants and generally raise hell.

    Remember also that your US Border Patrol considers the "border" to extend at least 100 miles inside the US from the actual physical border.

    Yet another instance of how reaping what you have sown is guaranteed to be distasteful to thugs and hypocrites.


    Maybe someone reminded Snowden (none / 0) (#4)
    by CoralGables on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 07:26:29 AM EST
    that just this past April Cuba handed over to the US a couple accused of kidnapping. Cuba and the US recently announced talks for July 17 to work on migration and mail issues. Havana may not be where he wants to stop right now. It's a short puddle jump for Cuba to send him back to his lost home.

    He is not onboard, apparently (none / 0) (#7)
    by Edger on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 08:29:48 AM EST
    17:21 Edward Snowden is on a safe route to Ecuador, said an attorney to WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.

    17:17 Edward Snowden is on a safe route to Ecuador, said @justleft, an attorney to WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.

    17:12 Mr Patino was also asked if Snowden were to travel to Ecuador how he would do this. The FM refused to answer the question while he added that the government of Ecuador has the right for sovereign decisions and US has to respect them.


    Flight SU150 Moscow-Havana has departed from Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport. Edward Snowden is not on board, reported Voice of Russia correspondent

    This is interesting (none / 0) (#8)
    by MO Blue on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 08:38:51 AM EST
    Reporters take a long, thirsty trip with a 3 day vacation in Cuba.

    Many journalists did board the flight which is alcohol free and will last 12 hours. They will have to stay in Cuba for three days. link

    You can drink a lot of daquiris and (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by scribe on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 09:29:42 AM EST
    smoke a lot of good cigars in three days.

    More to the point, because of the US embargo, several generations of US persons have never been to Cuba and have no idea of the tourism possibilities there.  From what I hear, it might not be a capitalist paradise, but it's still a popular tropical destination.  


    "Professional" Journalism (none / 0) (#11)
    by Edger on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 09:07:17 AM EST

    Losing Sight (none / 0) (#3)
    by koshembos on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 07:15:37 AM EST
    Bush's people were mostly ignorant right wingers. National borders, the rule of law and diplomatic behavior were distant concepts for them way secondary to godly gun and the war on drugs. So, they were whole universe pirates.

    Then came Obama with his Harvard educated mobsters. Surprise surprise, they behave even worse than their gang ho predecessors.

    For that and more, the US isn't a democracy anymore.

    PRISM aka Big Brother (none / 0) (#10)
    by squeaky on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 08:51:24 AM EST
    Russia could tell the U.S., next time to have to get your act together faster. It shouldn't take 50 staff members at the DOJ, DEA and the White House more than 2 days to put this in motion. Had they moved a little faster and been a more conciliatory with the Russians, they might have had their man.

    Not to diminish the outcry of our diminished constitutional rights and US government surveillance on citizens worldwide...

    but if these systems were so good, how did Snowden get away, in the first place?


    Also, the protestations that the authorities (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by ruffian on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 09:27:34 AM EST
    have no idea what materials Snowden walked away with ring false to me. They have buildings full of data, but can't tell what one guy in a contractor's office in Hawaii downloaded and copied onto external storage?

    Does not make me feel particularly secure. Can we stop the security theater now, please?


    Maybe Congressmembers are telling the truth (none / 0) (#20)
    by MO Blue on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 09:35:43 AM EST
    when they state that they have no idea what materials Snowden walked away since it is more than possible that they have no idea of the full extent of the material being collected.

    I think the powers that be probably have more information.


    Probably true, but then they should state it that (none / 0) (#23)
    by ruffian on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 09:41:15 AM EST
    way in their TV interviews. I'm talking to you Dianne Feinstien.

    Powers That BE? (none / 0) (#24)
    by squeaky on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 09:45:58 AM EST
    Snowden had been collecting this information over a period of time. The SuperDuperSurveillanceState Apparatuses failed.

    Again, not to diminish the revelations by Snowden about unconstitutional big brother systems put in place by US government affecting privacy of ordinary people who are not a threat to the State, seems like the people who the US government want to catch get away quite easily, at the expense of the rest of us losing our 4th amendment guarantee.


    Surprise, surprise (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by MO Blue on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 09:58:54 AM EST
    I agree with your comment.

    I do think that those in charge of (the powers that be) SuperDuperSurveillanceState Apparatuses have the capability to determine for the most part what he downloaded from their systems. If not, it is an even more compelling reason IMO for them to dismantle the entire system.


    All these agencies (none / 0) (#33)
    by NYShooter on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 11:08:15 AM EST
    may be competent with their large scale dragnets, like when they do their massive sweeps capturing trillions of pieces of data, but, on localized, individual events, not so much.

    I'm reminded of that TV show from years ago, "The F.B.I," starring Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. Our agents would be following this Russian spy for months and months. Finally, they get word that the spy would be at the corner of ABC and DEF at exactly 1:00. They casually walk down the street until they spot our spy a half block away. And, like clockwork, they yell out, "Hold it, F.B.I.!"  Of course, our spy takes off with our two agents, a half block away, making chase.

    Week after week, this scene played out. I guess no producer ever asked, "why didn't you just wait with the "Hold it, F.B.I." bit until you got right up next to the spy?"

    Yes, they are that inept.


    John Kerry sounds like (none / 0) (#14)
    by Anne on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 09:21:15 AM EST
    he is having a a hard time understanding how it's even possible that we're no longer getting a fast "how high?" response when we make the command to "jump."

    I suppose there is no small irony here. I mean, I wonder if Mr Snowden chose China and Russian assistance in his flight from justice because they're such powerful bastions of internet freedom, and I wonder if while he was in either of those countries he raised the question of internet freedom, since that seems to be what he champions.

    AP quote in The Guardian coverage.

    I think he is currently focused on championing (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by MO Blue on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 09:31:07 AM EST
    his own physical freedom.

    I also think it is ironic that while participating in an administration that champions spying not only on it citizens but bent on establishing a mandated spy and reporting system within it's work places, Kerry is chiding others on the subject of freedom.


    Kerry was 'assimilated' (none / 0) (#19)
    by Edger on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 09:33:46 AM EST
    years ago...

    Huge irony here, given the young Kerry's (5.00 / 1) (#110)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 12:39:43 PM EST
    congressional testimony on the wrongs transpiring in Vietnam.

    And yes, I realize that we're supposed to (none / 0) (#111)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 12:40:34 PM EST
    capitalize, "congressional," but that would be a sign of respect.  

    With (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by lentinel on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 11:33:33 AM EST
    China, it seems that they are somewhat miffed that after all our blustering about them hacking our computers, it was revealed that we have been routinely hacking theirs.

    Until we begin cleaning up our act, and begin acting according to our announced principles, nobody is going to do much jumping for us anymore.

    A little humility for an American administration would be quite welcome imo.

    I am so tired about hearing about how we are the "greatest nation on Earth" from our seedy politicians.

    I would like to be considered a country that has unique and admirable qualities among other countries that have unique and admirable qualities. It would be nice to rejoin the family of nations - a family whose collective eyes we have been spitting in since GW Bush.


    Do you actually think if (none / 0) (#69)
    by oculus on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 04:35:00 PM EST
    the U.S. was truly "exceptional", in a good way, Russia or China would give a flying f*ck?

    Of course, (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by lentinel on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 05:47:04 PM EST
    I can't know what China or Russia would feel about us if we began to practice what we preach...

    But I do believe that Nations can inspire each other for good upon occasion. I believe, for example, that America has influenced France, and France has influenced America - both for the good.

    That lasted for a couple of hundred years - until Bush and Cheney broke it up because Chirac didn't think it was such a good idea to invade Iraq.

    Conversely, I believe we have been negatively impacted by the fundamentalists we claim to abhor. Our behavior mirrors theirs to an alarming degree imo.

    But - to get back to your question: Since America is such a high profile country, if it were to turn its resources towards helping its people, it could inspire others to follow suit.

    I believe that people in the world want to like America. They like our films and our music. They desperately wanted to like Obama - and they still do. It is only recently that it seems as if they are losing interest in what appears to be a lost cause.


    By Definition (none / 0) (#71)
    by squeaky on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 04:45:44 PM EST
    Exceptional..  so yes, it would be an exception as per the usual  not giving a flying f*ck..

    Your logic escapes me. But then you (none / 0) (#72)
    by oculus on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 04:48:56 PM EST
    aren't Lentinel.  

    Not Logic (none / 0) (#74)
    by squeaky on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 05:02:49 PM EST
    But Plain English :

    Exceptional: Unusual, not typical


    unusual, uncommon, abnormal, atypical, extraordinary, out of the ordinary, rare, unprecedented, unexpected, surprising; strange, odd, freakish, anomalous, peculiar, weird; freaky, something else. ANTONYMS normal, usual.


    My query, posed to Lentinel, (none / 0) (#75)
    by oculus on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 05:13:24 PM EST
    Was regarding how would Lentinel expect Russia or China to treat the U.S. if the latter conducted itself exceptionally well by Lentinel's standard.

    OK (none / 0) (#76)
    by squeaky on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 05:37:31 PM EST
    I am sure that you can get people to agree that the commies would not give a flying f*uck if the US were exceptional (you word), in a good way.,,,

    It does seem dependent on your imagination of what the US being exceptional in a good way, would be. And I somehow doubt that would be exceptional, by definition that is.


    I don't (none / 0) (#80)
    by lentinel on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 06:02:31 PM EST
    believe that I wrote that I thought that America should behave "exceptionally well".

    In fact, I meant to say that I am against the idea of American exceptionalism. I don't know what is meant by that.

    If we behave better than other countries, particularly towards our own people, that would be exceptional. But that really should be the minimum of what should be expected of a government.

    Right now, we are behaving in an exceptional way - in a negative sense. I don't know of other countries killing their nationals in foreign countries by drones.  I don't know of other countries that routinely seem to invade other countries and topple their leadership. How many countries have their troops stationed all over the world? It seems as if we are quite exceptional in that regard. Maybe Russia is close, but how many countries have nuclear weapons capable of destroying the Earth flying in the sky, in space, under ground, on the seas, and under the seas - ready to launch 24/7?

    What I was trying to express before was that I think that every country has its unique qualities - and its unique people. I think that a country that proclaims that it is the greatest one on Earth is inherently dangerous - and perhaps stupid.

    I would like us to be one among equals.
    And if we radiated that feeling - that would be exceptional.


    4 minutes ago (none / 0) (#22)
    by Edger on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 09:39:11 AM EST
    "Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is holding a conference call to discuss Snowden's case. Wikileaks legal advisers are assisting Snowden in his effort to avoid imprisonment, and a member of the organization reportedly traveled with Snowden from Hong Kong to Moscow.

    Assange said Snowden is "healthy and safe." We'll have a full report on the call shortly."


    From that link: (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by Anne on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 10:00:20 AM EST
    Assange said Wikileaks figures were advising Edward Snowden and assisting with his asylum application. He said that Snowden may have applied for asylum in other countries apart from Ecuador, and Wikileaks press spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said he had approached the Icelandic government with a formal request on Snowden's behalf.

    He said the US was attempting to "bully" Russia and other nations from giving asylum to Snowden, but "every person has the right to seek and receive political asylum. Those rights are enshrined in UN agreements of which the US is a party. It is counterproductive and unacceptable for the Obama administration to try and interfere with those rights."

    Assange was asked if Snowden had passed the secret documents he had shown to the Guardian to Wikileaks too and whether Wikileaks would publish such documents. Assange said:

       That is a sourcing matter so as a matter of policy I can't speak about it. In relation to publishing such material of course Wikileaks is in the business of publishing documents suppressed by governments.

    He took issue with descriptions of Snowden as a traitor:

       Edward Snowden is not a traitor. He is not a spy. He is a whistleblower who has told the public an important truth ... In law a traitor must adhere to US enemies and there is also a requirement that the conduct is in congressionally approved wartime - neither of these apply here.

    He added that "the Obama administration was not given a mandate to spy on the entire world, to breach the US constitution and laws of other nations in the manner it has". He also warned that the US's crackdown on journalistic sources under Barack Obama threatened "the complete destruction of national security journalism".

    Michael Ratner, Wikileaks's American attorney, said whistleblowers were protected under international conventions on refugees. The US had recognised that when it applied to Chinese and African whistleblowers, he said, "so it's surprising to me now - though maybe not surprising in this particular case - to see the US ignore that".

    "Asylum trumps extradition," he said, and countries were not supposed to interfere with each other's asylum processes. He said there was "no international arrest warrant that we know of" so Snowden was "not a fugitive in any sense of the word".

    I can only imagine that heads must be exploding, and epic tantrums must be in full, foot-stamping swing, behind closed doors all over the DC area.


    Hope (none / 0) (#29)
    by Edger on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 10:09:45 AM EST
    Who needs NSA to spy when Facebook is already (none / 0) (#25)
    by DFLer on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 09:47:17 AM EST
    collecting our data:

    Facebook's shadow profile data collection activities came to light Friday when the social network disclosed a bug fix.

    The security researchers who found the vulnerability, Packet Storm Security, say Facebook is compiling "frightening" dossiers on everyone possible, including people without Facebook accounts.


    I Have Opted Out of the Face Book... (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 10:13:09 AM EST
    ...non-sense, never had a page.  If only I could voluntarily opt out PRISM so easily.

    Can't win for trying... (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by kdog on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 10:32:48 AM EST
    looks like we might still have "shadow profiles" on Facebook's servers.

    The bright side of all this bad privacy news is sales of "1984" are going through the f8ckin' roof.  


    Since I never opted into facebook because (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by MO Blue on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 11:13:03 AM EST
    of wanting to protect my privacy, I want the ability to opt out of PRISM and any other government program that collects my data.  

    Thanks for the heads up DFL... (none / 0) (#28)
    by kdog on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 10:03:39 AM EST
    I am adding this to my dossier on Zuckerberg.  Err, I would if I kept dossiers, but one of my main goals in life is to not play the arsehole, which means no keeping dossiers.

    Ta dog - Hey All - (none / 0) (#68)
    by DFLer on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 03:43:26 PM EST
    just because you don't have a FB acct. don't assume you're safe. Sez they're collecting data

    including people without Facebook accounts.

    And that's the part that incenses me to no end (5.00 / 3) (#89)
    by shoephone on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 11:10:16 PM EST
    I have never had an account there, due to serious harassment by someone I have tried hard to freeze out of contact for years now...and yet, the backdoor stalking still occurs.

    I never trusted Mark F*ckerberg as far as I could spit, and always knew that he and his company were corrupt.

    I'd love to see a class action lawsuit by Facebook users and non-users alike, suing the living daylights out of him.

    But, of course, we'd all be told there's no legal case --even for those of us that have never subscribed to that evil site.

    We're being mightily screwed left and right, up and down, by the government-corporate fascist structure.


    And we've also screwed ourselves.. (5.00 / 1) (#165)
    by jondee on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 12:22:40 PM EST
    and theres no getting around it.

    Americans have, in effect, cast their votes for militarism and the national security state for decades, and this hyper-surveillance state of affairs is the blowback. Let the dead bury their dead, I say.

    Also, now every administration is utterly terrified of being the one on whose watch an attack occurs because of the way the inevitable catastrophic event will be used to endlessly flog and discredit the party in power.

    And of course, the intelligence/surveillance/high tech industrial complex and it's investor class enablers have to constantly come up with new ways to justify their existence and keep the gravy train moving along..

    We could go a much longer way toward being safer from "terrorist attacks" here by closing 2/3 of our overseas military bases and putting military personel to work over here building hospitals and parks for kids and fixing bridges and roads. Or we could keep doing what we're doing, and keep creating more enemies we have to be protected from.



    Google is also a great data collector (none / 0) (#93)
    by DFLer on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 06:51:21 AM EST
     - for profit

    The question is: (none / 0) (#32)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 10:34:10 AM EST
    Is Snowden really a "Whistleblower"? That's a question for others to answer, but the consensus seems to be that, no, he is not a whistleblower (depsite how Greenwald and Wikileaks would like to spin this), ergo, not able to avail himself of whistleblower protections.

    Is that the question? (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by Anne on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 11:10:29 AM EST
    Is that what the issue is - whether he is or isn't a whistle-blower, as the Act referenced defines it?

    As I see it, Snowden had two choices: go through the proper channels, as others before him had done, only to find themselves the target of investigations that resulted in criminal charges and the destruction of their careers - or - go public in a controlled fashion.

    The current system seems to be a Mobius strip that protects the institutions and individuals engaging in actions that are either prevented from being litigated by reason of claims of national security/state secrets or get legalized after the fact and those involved retroactively  immunized so as to make accountability and consequence moot.

    Snowden may not be a whistle-blower as the Intelligence Community Whistle-Blower Protection Act defines it, but neither Snowden nor Greenwald are claiming protection under the Act - at least not that I am aware.

    In Glenn's own words (my bold):

    What he did instead was give up his life of career stability and economic prosperity, living with his long-time girlfriend in Hawaii, in order to inform his fellow citizens (both in America and around the world) of what the US government and its allies are doing to them and their privacy. He did that by very carefully selecting which documents he thought should be disclosed and concealed, then gave them to a newspaper with a team of editors and journalists and repeatedly insisted that journalistic judgments be exercised about which of those documents should be published in the public interest and which should be withheld.

    That's what every single whistleblower and source for investigative journalism, in every case, does - by definition. In what conceivable sense does that merit felony charges under the Espionage Act?

    Snowden IS a whistle-blower, as pretty much everyone understands the term to encompass.


    Yes, actually, (none / 0) (#39)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 11:41:07 AM EST
    It absolutely IS the question, because it will affect what the US government does next,  our relations with whatever country takes him in, and how he will be dealt with when he comes back (and yes, he WILL be brought back eventually).

    "Pretty much everyone" knows what a whistleblower is?  Who's that?  You?  Just because it's a term that's loosely thrown around, (including, by Mr. Greenwald, because he is acting as an advocate who is spinning and not in a legal capacity), does not mean that it's reality. Glenn should actually know better - "whistleblowing" specifically refers to those government acts that are illegal.  While that has yet to be decided, at this point, Mr. Snowden' leaks do not appear to pertain to any illegal activity by the government. Kinda like term "stalking" being thrown around on the Zimmerman threads.

    Everyone on TL could "pretty much understand" that the sky is green, but that certainly doesn't make it true.

    Snowden is an admitted leaker.  That's all we know for sure as of this point.


    We also now know (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by CoralGables on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 12:04:12 PM EST
    according to his interview with the South China Morning Post, that he took the job at Booz Allen specifically to collect and steal information.

    Snowden obviously isn't following Jeralyn's standard advice to always keep your mouth shut.


    Sorry... (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 12:29:10 PM EST
    ...but over the past decade, the people who define the legality of what the US government does, is the US government.

    I used to believe things like torture, spying on citizens, and killing Americans, were illegal acts as, but all they need is an attorney, some secret memos, and no crimes.  Which of course nullifies anyone trying to get protection under that Act.

    In reality, a whistle blower is someone who exposes something people have the right to know about, and surely this qualifies.  He wasn't trying to help the enemy, or make money, or get 15 mins of fame, he was trying to expose how ugly out own government has become.

    So while he doesn't legally qualify, he is most certainly a whistle blower.


    So, yes, of course (1.00 / 1) (#48)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 12:34:09 PM EST
    He is an innocent babe in the woods who should just be LEFT ALONE.

    Got it.

    Too bad any actions will be centered around the legal definition and not Scott or Anne's definition or view of the world.


    Great News... (5.00 / 2) (#51)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 12:45:13 PM EST
    ...for totalitarians worldwide.

    Don't remember stating either thing you paraphrased to my name, only that by any definitions, but the feds, that he is a whistle blower.

    All that aside, would you feel better if none of the whistle blowers existed, that all the stuff they have exposed would still be state secrets ?

    The ones of course who the Fed thinks qualify as whistle blowers, would you rather be in the dark about all the programs and behavior they have exposed ?



    Maybe you should try and convince (5.00 / 5) (#90)
    by shoephone on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 11:17:36 PM EST
    people like Thomas Drake, William Binney, John Kiriakou, Mark Klein, and the other whistleblowers that they would be treated properly by going through the "proper channels."

    In case you forgot, Kiriakou went through ALL the proper channels, up the chain of command, and what did he get for that? He was prosecuted and convicted for outing the rendition and torture policy of the United States as exactly that: Policy. Not the work of rogue agents, but formal policy.

    You'd be better off writing a screenplay or a novel with this attitude, because what you are claiming is true is purely fiction.


    Back to putting (3.00 / 2) (#103)
    by sj on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 12:02:44 PM EST
    words in people's mouths, I see.

    Consensus (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Andreas on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 11:20:37 AM EST
    Your point? (none / 0) (#40)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 11:58:17 AM EST
    I will take the opinions of legal experts and not Wikipedia, thanks.

    Consensus II (none / 0) (#44)
    by Andreas on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 12:11:27 PM EST
    You attempt to redefine the term "consensus" is futile. That might work in novells like "1984" but not here.

    No (none / 0) (#46)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 12:29:02 PM EST
    Just reading many legal opinions and news stories around the web which state the same thing.

    And since your link talks about "consensus decision making", here's an actual definition of the word "Consensus":

    noun, plural con·sen·sus·es.  
    majority of opinion: The consensus of the group was that they should meet twice a month.  

    general agreement or concord; harmony.

    Who's making stuff up now?


    Consensus III (none / 0) (#70)
    by Andreas on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 04:42:37 PM EST
    Who's making stuff up now?

    1. There is no "general agreement or concord; harmony".

    2. Statistics of "news stories" published by pro-government publications are no scientific basis to determine a universal consensus. But I agree that a consensus regarding Edward Snowden exists in the pro-government camp.

    And... (none / 0) (#77)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 05:37:33 PM EST
    Here comes the tinfoil hats out....

    Tin Foil Hat? (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by squeaky on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 05:47:30 PM EST
    The President of the Center for Constitutional Rights disagrees with your snide brush off to Andreas questioning your notion of consensus on the issue:

    Michael Ratner, an attorney for WikiLeaks and president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, said on the call that it's troubling to see the United States trying to block asylum for someone who is a "clear whistleblower." He added, however, that "maybe it's not so surprising," given the Obama administration's history of cracking down on whistleblowers.

    Questions have been raised about Snowden's whistleblower status, particularly since, after disclosing the NSA's domestic surveillance efforts, he revealed sensitive national security information about US cyberattacks in China, alleging that the NSA hacked the text messages of Chinese mobile phone users. In an online chat with the Guardian, Snowden claimed: "I did not reveal any US operations against legitimate military targets." According to CNN, Snowden told Ecuadorean president Rafael Correa in a letter that he fears that if he is sent back to the United States, it is "unlikely that I will have a fair trial or humane treatment."

    Should we believe Snowden? (5.00 / 1) (#108)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 12:29:20 PM EST
    Mebbe, mebbe not.

    That he left Hong Kong just as his interview with the Hong Kong paper about our spy progam in China was published, does give pause.  Quid pro quo?  Bargaining with classified information for personal gain....

    Mebbe, mebbe not....

    But does one have to accept Snowden's statements without questioning?


    The only thing one has to do is (5.00 / 3) (#112)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 12:45:18 PM EST
    stop defending authoritarianism.

    Like what is found in Cuba? (none / 0) (#116)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 12:53:03 PM EST
    I have heard another round of Cuba praise in support of Snowden.

    Another cliche rhetorical trick, MKS, (5.00 / 2) (#120)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 01:14:12 PM EST
    Guilt by Association with the evil Cuba, a country America has treated like crap for sixty years.

    There must be a more constructive way to support Obama.  

    Meanwhile, a few words about the state of the State from a voice of the non authoritarian American left, Glen Ford.


    Obama is or will soon be irrelevant (none / 0) (#126)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 01:59:36 PM EST
    The point I was making was that those who support Snowden are accepting a lot uncritically.

    The Cuba disussion, which was at Big Orange, was why would Snowden go to Cuba if he was so concerned about press freedom, etc.?  The response to that question was that Cuba was not all that bad, had a better health care system than the U.S. and had a more humane prison system that the U.S. given Gitmo.....That was a cute rhetorical trick....

    And has any elected Dem official, forget Obama, come out in support of Snowden?  It is not about Obama.  DiFi, Schumer, Franken and Pelosi are not big fans of Snowden.


    digby writes a whole lot better than I do (5.00 / 2) (#132)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 02:19:49 PM EST
    so here is what she wrote about the issue that comes close to my feelings on the issue.

    I am interested, however, in the information he revealed and the deeper conversation we are having about the surveillance state we're building and the ramifications for our democracy.

    Sadly, I also think that this whole episode is an excellent illustration of how easily a nation accepts authoritarian policies without even noticing it is doing it. Indeed, the focus on personalities is possibly one of the ways in which it happens. It's also true that not many people seem to care much about the substance of this issue.

    For instance, the leak to McClatchey about the Insider Threat Program is getting no traction at all. None of the major newspapers or political shows have followed up as far as I can tell. They're so interested in chasing down Edward Snowden (which I understand, it's a helluva story)and insinuating that Glenn Greenwald is an aider and abettor (which is truly despicable and completely unacceptable) that they can't seem to find the time to discuss the larger story that's been uncovered by all of this: our government is secretly using new technology in ways that threatens our liberty and destabilizes the world. You can hate on Snowden and Greenwald if you feel you must, but you must also admit that our elite institutions are changing this society without our permission.

    Maybe that's ok with you. But if it is then you have an obligation to defend it and explain why the "prickly" personality of Glenn Greenwald and the alleged betrayal of Edward Snowden are what we should be concerned about in all this. Because regardless of the people involved, the revelations are what they are whether you think the motives for revealing them are pure or not, the evidence is what it is. link

    BTW, I do not think Obama is irrelevant now or in the future if his inroads into dismantling constitutional rights are allowed to stand or are made legal after the fact as we did with Bush. The actions that Bush took are not irrelevant because they established the precedent for what is happening right now. Had Bush's assault on our rights been stopped rather than made legal, Obama could not IMO have taken them even farther. If we defend and let stand Obama's current actions they do not become irrelevant but establish precedent and become the starting point for expanding these abuses even further.


    This is where I think the Left (5.00 / 1) (#134)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 02:31:16 PM EST
    is falling down right now (from your digby quote):


    Because regardless of the people involved, the revelations are what they are whether you think the motives for revealing them are pure or not, the evidence is what it is

    Maybe.  But motive goes to credibility, and we are relying alot on Snowden.  Is he exaggerating?  His comments on tape that he could record the President at will seem a little much, and there have been some who have said he is overstating the reach and capability of the spy program.

    So you cannot separate Snowden from the story--because he is major witness that everyone is relying on......And the Left Blogosphere says he is off limits, and motive never matters....No, it actually can....


    I guess we will have to agree to disagree on this (5.00 / 2) (#143)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 03:13:38 PM EST
    i agree with digby, the revelations are what they are.

    The NSA documents that have been released are what they are whether you like Snowden or not. The revelations reported by McClatchy Newspaper (not Snowden) regarding the spy on you fellow employee program exists whether or not you like Obama. Clapper admittedly lied to Congress about what NSA was doing. Even if you think he is the greatest guy in the world, he lied to Congress and the American people. Unless you think or can prove that Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udal are lying, NSA National Security Agency has presented "inaccurate" information about the privacy protections on its surveillance on millions of internet communications. Is Rep. Sanchez lying when she says

    The federal surveillance programs revealed in media reports are just "the tip of the iceberg," a House Democrat said Wednesday.
    Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) said lawmakers learned "significantly more" about the spy programs at the National Security Agency (NSA) during a briefing on Tuesday with counterterrorism officials.
    "I can't speak to what we learned in there, and I don't know if there are other leaks, if there's more information somewhere, if somebody else is going to step up, but I will tell you that I believe it's the tip of the iceberg," she said.
    Lawmakers demanded the briefings after revelations last week about the NSA's collection of phone records and Internet data, and Sanchez said lawmakers were "astounded" by what they heard.

    "I think it's just broader than most people even realize, and I think that's, in one way, what astounded most of us, too," Sanchez said of the briefing. link

    All points in the discussion (3.00 / 1) (#149)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 04:06:24 PM EST
    But Snowden's revelations matter.  Right?  So, it matters if he is exaggerating or leaving out other relevant information.

    I don't know if he did.  And neither do you.  Snowden is not a hero beyond questioning.  And his accuracy in what he is saying is important.


    I hope you are applying the same standards and (5.00 / 1) (#152)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 05:09:50 PM EST
    careful inspection of the accuracy and motivation in what the government and people like Mike Murphy (Murphy's firm has lobbied on behalf of CSC for bills that would expand the NSA's reach) are saying in to regards to the programs in question (we already know NSA has lied and misrepresented information) and who are trying to discredit the various people including Snowden who are disclosing various pieces of information.

    Snowden is a big deal (none / 0) (#153)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 05:12:01 PM EST
    Better to be sure he is accurately reporting the programs....

    Sure, credibility of all involved is on the line....


    Don't you think that if it wasn't (5.00 / 2) (#154)
    by Anne on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 05:19:52 PM EST
    accurate, some or all of the people who have seen the materials - Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Guardian editors, Barton Gellman, WaPo editors - might have spoken up?  Or are you comfortable saying that all of these people are in on whatever less-than-credible agenda Snowden might have?

    Are we going to get to the stage where someone suggests that, if we haven't seen ALL the information, what we are seeing could be so out of context that it would completely distort what it seems to show?

    The problem is, we keep catching them in lies- so, I think the credibility problem isn't on the Snowden side of this equation, but on the side of those who are contorting themselves to keep us from knowing what's going on.


    Well, you could say the same thing (none / 0) (#155)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 05:36:17 PM EST
    about our elected representatives....There are a lot of them too, saying no big deal.

    Why give Snowden a pass?  Let him take the heat, and if he passes, then good for him...


    Re: Insider Threat (1.00 / 2) (#141)
    by vicndabx on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 03:02:34 PM EST
    how would you feel if for example, a whole host of SSN's were stolen and sent overseas to a foreign country for use in identity theft schemes?  

    Ethics is what that program is about, same thing any business has and requires its employees to re-certify on every year.

    This whole debate at its core is about shady people who have an agenda apart from that which most of us have agreed upon.  So whom do we worry about more?  Elected gov't officials and their appointees who, I would submit are more accountable, or the regular shmoe who may abscond w/personal or procedural data for their own use?


    The Insider Threat Program (5.00 / 1) (#142)
    by shoephone on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 03:09:10 PM EST
    is about watching your co-workers like a hawk to see of you notice that they are extra stressed out, due to personal or financial problems. And deciding whether that makes them prime suspects for treasonous activity against the U.S.

    And it pervades every single government agency. I mean, you just never know if your office mate at the Department of Education is letting her divorce upset her so much that she's going to try and leak information to the North Koreans about charter school performance!


    Bad example and doesn't address the question (none / 0) (#146)
    by vicndabx on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 03:34:42 PM EST
    Nonetheless, do you know what information a DOE employee has access to? I don't, but would not be surprised to find out it includes access to SSN's or other personal information.  Not to mention the networks that house data the DOE uses in it's day-to-day business.  These things have value to the institutions that use them.  They should just leave them out there for anyone to screw with?  

    Do you honestly mean to tell me if you saw a co-worker having a melt down and talking about destroying files or other data you would be concerned? Really? You'd just keep coming to the office and wait and see?  I know snitching is frowned upon here, but there comes a point where Darwin has to kick in.

    I agree it is most certainly a program to rat out "problem employees". However, this type of thing is nothing new and the fact is, most people in non-sensitive departments (e.g. defense, IRS, etc.) won't do anything more than go thru the motions for the training.  

    Nevertheless, I really don't understand why people wouldn't see the need for such training/reminders.  


    This program makes everyone into (5.00 / 2) (#164)
    by shoephone on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 10:50:40 PM EST
    a watcher, and everyone into a suspect. It's about paranoia and control. It's not about taking appropriate measures to intervene when an employee is about to go off the rails.  If you can't see that, I really don't know what more to say to you. Denial is a very strong vehicle for survival, I guess.

    Well a whole host of SS numbers are (5.00 / 2) (#147)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 04:02:49 PM EST
    stolen on a regular basis from private industry and used in identity theft schemes. Guess you missed the reports of this company or that notifying their customers that their personal information has been accessed. Social Security numbers are not protected and nether evidently are my constitutional rights.

    Requiring that employees spy on their fellow workers and making it a criminal offense if they fail to do so goes a wee bit beyond an ethics program.

    I do agree that

    This whole debate at its core is about shady people who have an agenda apart from that which most of us have agreed upon.

    We just disagree as to who are the shady people. This whole debate is about the fact that the government has not been held accountable. I have never agreed to give up my constitutional rights even if you have no problem with .


    vicndabx. Really Dumb Example (5.00 / 1) (#160)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 10:22:29 AM EST
    First off, the VA has had social security numbers stolen/go missing, twice that I know of.  They didn't tell me that mine was specifically taken, just that there is a chance.  Nor do they tell me who did it, what was taken, or why, just a 'keep an eye out' notice, not even a phone call or an email.  It was something I had to track down to a website message.

    If you are suggesting I wasn't pissed, then you are really a complete tool.  I was hot, laptops with that kind of data could go missing so easily and that the information wasn't encrypted.  You example is dumb in that in real life it doesn't go down like you imagine.  You assume that the people holding the information will be open and honest about the theft, not a chance.

    2006 Theft
    2010 Theft

    So your example proves the point in that they can't even be honest about social security numbers being stolen.  26 Million veteran's and active duty personnel's data stolen in 2006.  

    What that provers i don't know, what it has to do with any of this, I don't know as well.  


    It's actually not a dumb example (none / 0) (#163)
    by vicndabx on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 10:20:46 PM EST
    You and MO Blue are actually comparing apples to oranges.  Both of your example are about carelessness w/laptops & data storage devices.  Further, in your example the VA like most healthcare providers would be required to report breaches of PHI (personal health information) to CMS/DHHS - which is why you were notified.

    Your example actually bolsters the argument around why I'm not surprised these programs exist.  With people being so careless, they should do nothing to make people believe they are treating these things seriously?  


    Who in power can say much of anything (none / 0) (#127)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 02:06:09 PM EST
    about Snowden other than what YOU want them to say?  Most of them aren't even in a position to understand anything significant about the workings of the NSA either.  Udall is though, and he has had stuff to say about the NSA.  Snowden's efforts have made an informed discourse about the NSA possible.

    I think we will survive this.  I think we will all survive Snowden just fine.  I do not think that Snowden can blow up the world.  I don't think he will release launch codes and have people in silos kidnapped with exact replicas showing up in their place :)  


    I am not all that eager (none / 0) (#130)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 02:17:26 PM EST
    to make survivability the basis of judging the damage from the leaks.....

    I'd like to avoid as much damage as possible from the leaks.

    And, no one really knows right now if there is any damage from the leaks.


    There is that same old Benjamin Franklin (5.00 / 2) (#133)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 02:24:35 PM EST
    quote that has been used so much during all this it should be worn out but it isn't.

    Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

    I'm going with Ben on this, he has a better track record.

    And I am just not that easily askeered these days of any single man or even a handful of small men.  I have survived things much more trying than Snowden since 9/11.....much much more worrying and trying and spine numbing.  Most of the things that have done the most damage to myself and my family involved our government leaders lying to all of us and trying to outrun oversight for human rights violations.  Logging my every conversation and communication is also a human rights violation IMO.  I am sick of all of this crap since 9/11.


    Of course you do (none / 0) (#114)
    by jbindc on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 12:47:56 PM EST
    But does one have to accept Snowden's statements without questioning?

    The Village around here will not let you think otherwise.


    No statements from Snowden... (5.00 / 2) (#135)
    by Dadler on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 02:35:43 PM EST
    ...have anything to do with his action, which was the leak of information. This info, to circle back, has ZERO to do with anything Snowden might say, lie about, embellish his resume with, whatever furry porn sites he might visit, etc.  

    I have yet to hear exactly WHAT it could be about Snowden that could possibly change the substance of the information he has availed the American people of at great personal expense and no gain whatsoever that I can see.


    Sorry, that makes no sense (5.00 / 1) (#137)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 02:44:58 PM EST
    Unless you have a cache of documents regarding the spy program, we are relying on what Snowden has said about them.

    So, Snowden's credibility is absolutely an issue.  Thus, that he got his last job for the purpose of leaking information, and that he may have leaked information in Hong Kong to facilitate his exit, is the type of credibility or motive issue that could matter.

    And, the credibility attacks I have read do not involve furry porn or resume fibs.....

    Everyone can judge for themselves whether the credibility attacks are persuasive, but to say it is wrong or off limits to make them, is to place Snowden on a pedastal and make him a hero who cannot be questioned.


    Hmm. Well, if he has no credibility (5.00 / 2) (#140)
    by shoephone on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 02:59:31 PM EST
    and it's just stuff he's "saying" and not providing evidence of to Greenwald, Poitras, and WAPO, then...what's the panic? I mean, if it's just stuff he's "saying" then there's no breach of national security. It's all in his head.

    Funny, I think there's a treasure trove of info about questionable/illegal spying programs on those four laptops and numerous thumb drives in Snowden's possession. And apparently, so does the Obama administration. Otherwise, this would just be a movie starring Shia Labouf and Denzel Washington, instead of real life.


    An argument in favor of (none / 0) (#148)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 04:04:19 PM EST
    his credibililty.

    And, I didn't say he was making the whole thing up.

    There is currently differing statements on whether the U.S. can actually vaccum up the actual conversations versus the meta data.  So, it is unclear just what the scope of the program is.  Does anyone deny that?

    Snowden does not get a bye when so much of what we are talking about is based on his account.


    He got his last job for purposes of (5.00 / 1) (#144)
    by Anne on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 03:18:20 PM EST
    collecting information to prove his suspicions about the programs being conducted.

    I cannot imagine how he - or anyone else - could make and prove a case without hard evidence, do you?  Do you imagine he could go to the IG without proof?  

    And given the NSA/Obama administration's penchant for secrecy and retaliation, what choice, really, did he have but to leak - selectively - enough information to show that he was not just some tin-foil-hatted paranoid nutjob?


    False choice (5.00 / 1) (#150)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 04:09:05 PM EST
    He culd always get some things right, and misrepresent others.  

    Sure, one can always make accusations withuout proof.  I suppose we can rely on the press to have properly vetted what he says.  Even if you are so willing, it does not immunize Snowden from tests of his credibility....


    Well since Clapper has admitted (5.00 / 1) (#156)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 05:56:32 PM EST
    that he lied to Congress regarding NSA can we agree that he intentionally misrepresented what NSA programs do? After proof certain (he admitted it) that he failed the credibility test in that instance, can we disregard all of his testimony now and in the future as not credible.  

    The Problem Is... (5.00 / 3) (#43)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 12:09:35 PM EST
    ...the 'consensus' doesn't have a clue as to what is going on, even the most informed are extremely uniformed.  They only have the word of known liars and people with a vested interest in keeping everyone uninformed.  And the only way we find out, it people like Snowden.

    Plus of course, all his 'revelations' are unknown at this point.

    Certainly the 'consensus' would agree the act he committed isn't espionage, which is what he is being charged with.  

    So even if he isn't a whistle-blower by definition, certainly his belief is the US government's heavy handedness is obviously justified.  They have charged him with a crime that doesn't match the act and are interfering/threatening/pressuring other countries political sovereignty.  

    They need a law that protects people from the governments heavy handedness when they don't qualify as whistle blowers.

    If only there was a set of laws or a document that outlined the powers of our government and the rights of it's citizens, even the ones accused of crimes...  If only...


    Which is why I said (none / 0) (#45)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 12:21:12 PM EST
    All we know is that Snowden is an admitted leaker.

    Oh, and there is a "law that protects people from the governments heavy handedness when they don't qualify as whistle blowers" - it's called the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act.

    Mr. Snowden chose not to avail himself of this remedy first. Had that not provided the relief he sought, he could still then have chosen to leak the information and let the chips fall where they may.


    Umm... I was actually Referring to... (5.00 / 3) (#49)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 12:36:40 PM EST
    ... the Constitution.  I was hinting that the current band of outlaws surely won't abide by it in regards to Snowden.

    But nice to see you championing for Obama's policies, a real treat.


    I know what you were referring to (none / 0) (#50)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 12:39:28 PM EST
    And I'm not "championing Obama's policies", but that's a great stretch from what I said.  You should write some more fiction.

    All I said is that all we know at this point is that Snowden is an admitted leaker (in other words, he already admitted he broke the law), and that he probably will not have the protection of whistleblower status available to him.


    So Obama... (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 12:53:53 PM EST
    ...policies don't include using PRISM ?

    I never said the guy should skate free, but I would like an open discussion and once we find out what is really going on, make that determination then.  

    Right now it's the Fed telling us to trust them, even after they have done nothing but lie for a decade.

    Nor does the Fed agree with you, they claim he was engaged in espionage.  So going after him for the leak isn't an option, unless you think the leak was espionage.


    The government (none / 0) (#56)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 01:46:40 PM EST
    has filed a criminal complaint that includes theft, "unauthorized communication of national defense information" and "willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person." The last two charges were brought under the 1917 Espionage Act. Since it was sealed (we only have the cover sheet), we don't actually know the extent of the charges, or if those will change or be added to.  Snowden has not yet been indicted.

    And I still don't see where you think I am "defending Obama's policies", including PRISM.


    I See... (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 02:54:42 PM EST
    ...just a stickler for the law, doesn't matter to you what that law is protecting or persecuting.

    That would be really sad.


    I think (2.00 / 1) (#66)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 03:04:48 PM EST
    People should be responsible for the their actions. Maybe Snowden is a hero - maybe he's out for the fame.  I don't know, and neither do you.

    How sad that that you can't see that would rather make excuses.


    Snowden's been pretty clear about (3.50 / 2) (#67)
    by Anne on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 03:29:58 PM EST
    why he took the actions he did, and fame doesn't seem to be on the list.  Nor does it seem to be much of a trade-off for what he's experiencing, what he's giving up, what he still faces and will face probably forever.

    Not to mention that it's hard to pay the bills with fame, too, if that's all you have.  Not even sure he could get a book deal at this point, especially if the US puts pressure on the credit card companies and PayPal to not accept payment - something it has done in the past.

    Whether he's a hero or not is pretty much in the eye of the beholder - there isn't going to be some universal declaration of his status in that regard.  It is, in my opinion, at least courageous, in the face of what he already knows the government is capable of doing to people who dare to tell its ugly secrets - as opposed to the secrets it routinely leaks to the media when doing so suits them.  Seen any calls for the media to be charged with aiding and abetting the anonymous sources who happily give them classified information to season their reporting with?  Yeah, me neither.

    Am wondering whether you have any problem with the alliance between government and the media and at what point it could credibly be called a propagandistic one.  It's just that you're so obsessed with rules and laws and yet I never see you object to the government breaking its own rules on the national security front.


    I am wondering (none / 0) (#82)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 06:07:24 PM EST
    Why you are so hell bent on people not being responsible for their own actions? Why do you always want to point the finger, and say "but...but... so-and-so- is just as bad or worse?"  What does one have to do with the other??

    I guess maybe I'm "not so obsessed" with the government breaking its own rules on the national security front because I am not surprised by any of this stuff and just assumed it had been going on for years.  It's hard to get outraged when you take it for granted that this was the norm to begin with?  Maybe others were more naïve to believe it wasn't happening.


    See I don't understand why you appear to have (5.00 / 2) (#83)
    by MO Blue on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 06:23:15 PM EST
    completely different rules for individuals than you have for our government. IMO your comments come across as:

    Individuals must be held responsible for their actions and obey the law.

    It is not necessary for our government to be held responsible for their actions and it should be expected that they would break the law. No need to get obsessed by it. Just accept it.


    JB, Question. (5.00 / 2) (#94)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 09:52:17 AM EST
    Are we, US Citizens, better off with the information these people have provided ?  Is the information provided something the public has a right to know ?

    I for one am damn glad people have the mindset of exposing such abuses of power knowing that it will destroy their lives.

    To me that is the same answer as to whether we judge them as good/bad people and ditto for the legality of their acts.  

    Do the citizens of the US have the right to know about the information Snowden exposed.  Without a doubt, the answer is yes.

    I would even go as far as to argue Snowden, and others, have provided an invaluable public service.  I don't like that one part of this equation believes they can state the opposite without any proof, just their word that this information is something we don't have any right to know about, for our own good.


    I dunno (none / 0) (#99)
    by jbindc on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 10:22:19 AM EST
    Are we better off? Yes, in the macro sense, it generally is good to know this kind of information about what our government is doing.

    But how is affecting how you live your day to day life? Have you stopped using the internet or making phone calls, or using a bank card or credit card?  Have you stopped walking  or driving in public where there are cameras? Have you stopped watching cable TV or checking out books at the library?

    And do you honestly believe in your heart of hearts, that it's going to stop because of Edward Snowden or Bradley Manning?  You can write all the letters you want, call all the Congress critters you want, and much lip service will be paid to appease you, but in the end, do you REALLY think this is going to stop happening?


    Agreed... (5.00 / 2) (#102)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 11:50:11 AM EST
    ...but the same could all be said for torture.  It would never effect my life in any way.

    But I do pay for these programs as do you, and we are better off knowing about them.  And while they may not stop, one would like to believe these leaks put some form of restraint on the people pulling the levers.

    But my point was if they are doing something that serves the public interest, how can it be considered a crime ?   Beyond all the legalese, a service that benefits the public should not be illegal IMO.

    This has to play out more to know that answer definitively, but right now as it has played out, this guy get the benefit of the doubt when you consider the track record of his accusers.  I really don't know how anyone can believe anything the Federal government says at this point, especially in regards to people who expose their bad deeds.

    I would note that I do not have a FB page, I routinely use other search engines and carefully monitor my Google privacy settings.  I do what I can to keep myself from being out there too much in my private life.  I have even requested multiple times that Linked In remove my data since I never actually had an account with them.  But it's the only place my name shows up in a Google search.  My point is I take my privacy somewhat seriously.

    And beyond here, I use an old generic Yahoo account to post to other sites.  I keep in on a leash, is it too much to expect that my government do the same and be honest about it.  Because it's not how it's being used today that scares me, it's where it's going and that the data will never be removed.


    Because (5.00 / 1) (#113)
    by jbindc on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 12:45:47 PM EST
    Your argument seems to imply that Snowden should just be left alone.  While he may have done some good, the fact that he knowingly and admittingly broke the law, should not absolve him of some consequence.

    Just because you don't like a law does not give you license to ignore it. How many times around here have people decried "The ends do not justify the means," when it came to things the Bush administration did?  I guess that only applies where they don't like the players involved.

    No, in theory, it isn't too much for you expect the government keep your secrets safe, but I think those days are long, long past. The technology is just too easy to track your movements (if they actually care what you are doing), and the law hasn't caught up with the technology. It scares me too - I DO have a Facebook account and a LinkedIn account, but I am very careful about what I post, where I post, etc.  I very rarely carry much cash, so if someone really wanted to find me, they could follow my debit card, my employer can see my badge swipes when I come in for the day, they can watch every keystroke I make on a work computer, and how long my "work-related" programs sit idle while I'm on a site like this one.

    I just can't get outraged about something I got outraged over years ago.  I don't have that kind of energy when there's so many NEW things to be outraged about.

    There's an old saying:  "You may have had a very good reason for doing what you did, but it does not excuse your behavior."  Why is that such a complicated thing for everyone to wrap their head around?


    This is why I said what I did about (5.00 / 2) (#123)
    by Anne on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 01:23:01 PM EST
    you not being happy because Snowden wasn't paying the price you want him to pay:

    While he may have done some good, the fact that he knowingly and admittingly broke the law, should not absolve him of some consequence.

    He IS paying/suffering the consequences - he has no country, he has no job, he may not be able to make a living, he has left his family and loved ones behind.  Is it a "legal" consequence?  No, it isn't.  Was there a trial?  No, not so far.  Was he found guilty and sentenced?  Nope.  But I don't know anyone - well, except maybe you - who would equate the lack - so far - of legal consequences with getting off scot-free.

    What you don't seem to realize or acknowledge is that this thing isn't over.  I think it has a long way to go before it will be considered over.  I think Obama will work tirelessly to get Snowden - would that he had worked as tirelessly and relentlessly to get the people who nearly took the economy into the gutter, huh?

    The way I look at it, my secrets should be mine - the government shouldn't be some kind of de facto partner I have to trust with them.  If they want what I have, they should need to prove to a judge why they need it and what they intend to do with it.

    But, here's a question: why should my life have to be an open book just because I want to bank or shop online, or buy groceries, or use e-mail or a cell phone or land line?  At some point, we were told that if we didn't "Agree" to all these user policies, we couldn't have this account or that product or service.  It wasn't a case of only this bank or that merchant was doing this, so we could just use other vendors, it was everywhere.

    Will we ever be able to undo that? Probably not, but at least I still have the choice whether I want to use Facebook, or Amazon or my Visa card; I don't apparently have that choice where the government is concerned, and that's just wrong.

    Will Edward Snowden, the latest in a series of whistle-blowers trying to bring these things to our attention, single-handedly make it all stop?  No, I don't think so.  But in any fight, if you aren't armed, you lose - and what he, and others before him have done or are trying to do, is at least provide us with some weapons so we can fight it.  So we can defend ourselves.

    Information is power - that's why the government wants it, and why they are fighting tooth-and-nail to keep us from getting it.

    How is that not obvious to you?


    What a bizarre point of view (4.25 / 4) (#104)
    by sj on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 12:15:15 PM EST
    But how is affecting how you live your day to day life? Have you stopped using the internet or making phone calls, or using a bank card or credit card?  Have you stopped walking  or driving in public where there are cameras? Have you stopped watching cable TV or checking out books at the library?
    You appear to be implying that because of the data collection, the "serious" response of the victims should be to climb into a smaller hole so that said victimization could continue without the the "overt" actions of the victimized.

    I should be able to go about my legal activities without worrying about what phone calls I make or where I legally use my bank card, or taking circuitous rouets to avoid -- if it's even possible -- CCTV cameras. I should no longer use libraries or the internet or watch totally inadequate TV news because, apparently, if I do engage in these legal activities, I'm granting permission to this government intrusion into my life.

    I don't know that raising a stink will have an effect. I do, however, know that not raising one will definitely have no effect.


    Uh, no (none / 0) (#109)
    by jbindc on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 12:35:44 PM EST
    But quoting you - "putting words in people's mouths again, I see." Pot, meet kettle.  Par for the course.

    What I was saying, is that for all the outrage, and granted, there should be some, nobody around here is SO outraged that they have changed their behavior because the "big bad government" can spy on you. Yes, you should be free to do all those things, but you cannot honestly say that this will all die down when the administration comes out and gives a few breadcrumbs, and then everyone will go back to doing what they've been doing all along.  And the problem is, most people aren't outraged because we figure it's been going on all along.  So what I find most shocking, is that, well, people are shocked by these revelations.

    Apparently those who are shocked really haven't been paying close attention.


    Okay, sorry if I misread you (5.00 / 1) (#129)
    by sj on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 02:16:41 PM EST
    but I'm still not seeing the difference. Why should one change one's lawful behavior to validate a point of view regarding the law? Moreover, I don't know why one must of course be shocked in order to be outraged. Which is what you seem to be implying.

    I mean, I agree that anyone who is shocked hasn't been paying close attention. Sort of. Looking at my own response, I'm not shocked at all at the data mining. I'm a little shocked at the extent of it. And I am more outraged than ever. Just because I know it's been going on for a long time it doesn't mean I am not entitled to my outrage.

    And I'm not going to speak for "most people" as you are. I'll only say that most people in my orbit are outraged whether this is new "news" to them or not. Those who are not are the sort who say "if you're not doing anything wrong..." and that's the sort of non-thinker that it is difficult for anyone to reach.


    Well (none / 0) (#161)
    by jbindc on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 11:07:32 AM EST
    "Most people" in my circle - all left of center and liberal highly educated professionals have all shrugged their shoulders and figured it's the same old, same old.  No news here.  Now maybe we are a cynical bunch, because we live and work in and around DC, but consider this business as usual.

    I expect you're right that (none / 0) (#162)
    by sj on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 11:53:36 AM EST
    your location contributes to your cynicism. I think maybe that happens a lot. Which is why it is good to clarify that "most people" really just means "most people that I know".

    And btw, the "most people" in my orbit encompasses a broader spectrum of world views than just left of center and liberal highly educated professionals.


    I doubt very many are shocked, (5.00 / 3) (#138)
    by shoephone on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 02:46:15 PM EST
    considering that we've witnessed the constitution being shredded since the days of Bush and Cheney, and have long watched in disgust as Obama:

    1. Lied about filibustering the 2008 FISA bill, and then happily voted for it.

    2. Made clear from Day One he wasn't going to hold the war criminals and torturers accountable for anything, because he wants to "look forward, not back."

    3. Seized the phone records of AP reporters and editors, an action that has chilled cooperation between journalists and their sources. The AP's editor, Gary Pruitt on 6/20/13: "Longtime sources have clammed up in fear."

    4. Gone after whistle blowers with a vengeance that is unprecedented in modern times -- even surpassing the paranoia, hostility, and antagonism of Nixon.

    His record on civil liberties is ghastly. And now we discover that, in 2011, the FISA court issued an 86-page decision declaring some of Obama's surveillance programs to be unconstitutional, but we don't know what's in the decision because Obama and his DOJ are still hard at work keeping it secret from us.

    Knowing what we know about the Obama administration's phony commitment to civil liberties, I don't think anyone is shocked. We're simply more disgusted to find that our fears have been confirmed. That our derision is justified.

    You keep pretending that there's some way to circumvent the ruling government-corporate structure's vast intrusions into our everyday lives, and trying to play gotcha with people who have stated -- clearly, and repeatedly -- that they already take as many precautions with their private and financial information as is possible. Should we also never leave the house, or only leave under cover of darkness, wearing Groucho mustache and glasses? Scott and Mo Blue hit the nail on the head: you imply the only way to be free of intrusions is to further constrict ourselves from living our lives, and go hide out in little hermit holes somewhere in the Nevada desert. For you, the only option seems to be giving up your freedoms one by one, while smiling away and declaring proudly that you knew all along this was happening, because, apparently, you're so much savvier than the rest of us. Except we all knew it was happening, and sought to fight it.

    And, miraculously, you hold the twin and opposing beliefs that you just can't fight the demon, but using cash instead of your debit card will trick them!

    Who cares about the constitution anyway? It's just a g*dd*amn piece of paper, the silly contents of which we fought an eight year War of Independence over.


    Why (none / 0) (#139)
    by Edger on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 02:53:44 PM EST
    do you hate the Borg Collective so much anyway? ;-)

    I had to check the "Parent" on (4.00 / 3) (#84)
    by Anne on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 08:04:18 PM EST
    your comment because I didn't know who you were accusing of being "hell bent on people not being responsible for their actions."

    Strangely enough, it's me.  Somehow, you got that out of my comment, which, try as I might, I don't see, and I know that wasn't my intent or focus when I wrote it.

    You have this pattern of setting up two sides to issues that aren't always in alignment with what the people you're talking to have said.  In your previous comment, we had the choice between Snowden being a hero, or just out for fame - and when I attempt to address that, all of a sudden, I'm "hell bent" on Snowden not taking responsibility for his actions.

    And while it doesn't fall in line with the price you want him to pay for his actions, Snowden most certainly is reaping the consequences of his actions.  That you want him to do it within the confines of the institutional structure, Snowden made the decision, after seeing the Obama administration's response to previous whistleblowers, that he wasn't going to take that route.  There are consequences to that, and he's paying them - just beginning to pay them.

    Sometimes, the rigidity of your thinking and your deference to authority really hinders your ability to analyze the issues.


    Anne (2.00 / 1) (#97)
    by jbindc on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 10:16:31 AM EST
    You have any amazing ability to build strawmen and apparently the ability read people's minds.  You should buy lottery tickets.

    And while it doesn't fall in line with the price you want him to pay for his actions, Snowden most certainly is reaping the consequences of his actions.  That you want him to do it within the confines of the institutional structure, Snowden made the decision, after seeing the Obama administration's response to previous whistleblowers, that he wasn't going to take that route.  There are consequences to that, and he's paying them - just beginning to pay them.

    Funny - I have never SAID what "price I want him to pay", just that if someone is going to bend the rules, break the law, deliberately do something they know is wrong, then they should also be prepared to take the consequences that follow - whatever those consequences are.  I don't know what "price I want him to pay" (because I don't have all the facts) but apparently YOU know what "price I want him to pay". Amazing! You know my thoughts before I have them, Karnak!

    ...Snowden made the decision, after seeing the Obama administration's response to previous whistleblowers, that he wasn't going to take that route.

    Really? Actually, it seems he made the calculated decision to collect and leak the documents in the first place, even years after seeing the Obama's administration's response to whistleblowers, and yet, he did it anyway . This was not a case of panic where he leaked it and then had an "Oh, sh!t!" moment.  It is very possible that he may have already had some information he wanted to leak, and then got the job at Booz so he could get MORE information.

    It is possible that Snowden got all of his files from Booz. Initial reports detailing the use of a thumb drive to exfiltrate the information from Booz suggest that the government therefore had a good sense of what was taken. But it would mean that he had no files when he first contacted the press. Snowden reached out to the Washington Post's Barton Gellman on May 16 with evidence of the existence of the PRISM program. His relationship with the Guardian's Glenn Greenwald goes back further, with his having contacted the reporter in February, indicating that he had "information" that would be of interest. This was well before he began work at Booz, which fired Snowden the day after he went public on June 9. Greenwald didn't actually communicate with Snowden until "a few months ago," according to a timeline from the Huffington Post -- at which point he had files in his possession.

    I'm not sure why you can't see this for what it is - 2 separate stories.  The first is the story about what was revealed - PRISM, NSA wiretapping, etc.  The second story is about Snowden - where did he come from?  How did he get his jobs?  Where is he?  What are his motivations?  What else is there?  Who else is involved?  For you to think that this is merely a "distraction" is merely a cynical ploy to not look too deeply at someone whose actions you support.  Kinda reminds of the Wizard of Oz - "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!"


    Maybe Snowden did not have protection (none / 0) (#145)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 03:33:53 PM EST
    under the Whistleblower's Protection Enhancement Act.

    Snowden had virtually no legal protections as a member of an intelligence agency contractor (Booz Allen Hamilton). In These Times reported that "as part of last year's Whistleblower's Protection Enhancement Act, rights for whistleblowers were enhanced for many categories of federal employees, but intelligence employees were excluded from coverage under the act. Likewise, intelligence workers--both federal and contract employees--were excluded from whistle blower protections offered to military contract employees under the most recent National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)." link

    Since you are a stickler for obeying the law (none / 0) (#73)
    by MO Blue on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 04:50:42 PM EST
    what do say about the fact that the FISA court found the National Security Agency's surveillance under the FISA Amendments Act to be unconstitutional and the Justice Department has filed a motion to keep that ruling secret?

    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. link h/t Edger and NYT link

    I would say (none / 0) (#81)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 06:03:01 PM EST
    the FISA Court already said it will not object to the opinion being released. But nothing will happen for a while:

    However, the ruling will not make the opinion immediately available to the public, and EFF will have to pursue the matter in a lower court -- where it initially filed its plea -- which would then decide whether the document is eligible to be released under FOIA.

    And I'm still not sure what this has to do with Snowden's actions, or the fact that he probably will not be able to avail himself of a whistleblower defense, since after discovering what he thinks was illegal activity by the government, he did not go through the channels available to him to secure such a defense. That is a completely separate issue.


    From all appearances the government (5.00 / 3) (#88)
    by MO Blue on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 10:00:27 PM EST
    has been pursuing actions that have been ruled unconstitutional. Thought that might make a difference on how you felt about Snowden releasing the information on the government's actions.

    I guess not.

    I don't view it as a completely separate action. I view it as a citizen notifying the public that their government is breaking the law.


    The scope of the FISA court's ruling (none / 0) (#107)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 12:23:41 PM EST
    in unclear.  Did it trim back or completely srike down.  Did the government adjust to the opinion.

    You are setting up a classic Catch-22 with the FISA court:  If the FISA court agrees with the government, it is a rubber stamp proving its ineffectiveness; if it rules against the government, it is showing how illegiitmate the program is.

    I take comfort from an adverse FISA ruling--there is, at least in this one instance, a viable check on goverment spy programs.  I want more judicial review from the FISA court, a better legal architecture to reign in the spy programs....

    But you can you the FISA ruling in a heads-I-win-tails-you-lose argument.


    One good way to correct that (5.00 / 1) (#117)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 01:00:45 PM EST
    is to make the rulings public. The FISA court said that they were willing to make their ruling public. Maybe, the Obama could stop taking additional court action trying to silent them.

    Also, maybe those in the Obama administration could stop lying to Congress and the American people.

    Back at an open congressional hearing on March 12, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) asked Clapper, "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?" Clapper replied, "No sir ... not wittingly." As we all now know, he was lying.

    Two senators on the intelligence committee on Monday accused the National Security Agency of publicly presenting "inaccurate" information about the privacy protections on its surveillance on millions of internet communications.
    "Unfortunately, we can't describe the inaccuracy in detail without divulging information that is currently classified. For now we can say that there is an inaccurate statement in the fact sheet publicly released and posted on the NSA website that portrays protections for Americans' privacy as being stronger than they are."

    How about the Obama administration letting those who are responsible for oversight on the programs be allowed to do their job and report their findings without risk of being charged with releasing classified information.


    Releasing the opinion (none / 0) (#118)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 01:11:08 PM EST
    sounds like a good idea....I would not dismiss out of hand the need for portions of the opinion  to be redacted....

    Regardless of whether the data mining is of meta-data only, or whether the actual conversations of broad swaths of the populace is being listened to, or if there has been no misuse of the data, it is clear that there are very few protections against abuse...

    We need an overhaul of the FISA laws and the overall legal architecture to protect privacy....because without such, abuse appears inevitable.


    We are mainly in agreement on this (none / 0) (#124)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 01:33:20 PM EST
    About the only place where we may have a slight disagreement is on redacting information on the FISA opinion. Guess it would depend on how much was redacted. It would a travesty IMO if they redacted so much information that nothing was actually disclosed.

    Did Snowden have whistleblower protections? (none / 0) (#151)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 04:19:07 PM EST
    Post by digby said

    In These Times reported that "as part of last year's Whistleblower's Protection Enhancement Act, rights for whistleblowers were enhanced for many categories of federal employees, but intelligence employees were excluded from coverage under the act. Likewise, intelligence workers--both federal and contract employees--were excluded from whistle blower protections offered to military contract employees under the most recent National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)."

    AN AXE LENGTH AWAY, vol. 46 (none / 0) (#38)
    by Dadler on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 11:34:30 AM EST
    So, where is Snowden? CBS News told me (none / 0) (#85)
    by caseyOR on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 09:42:03 PM EST
    tonight that Snowden was not on the plane to Havana today. Scott Pelley and John Miller speculated that maybe Putin was detaining Snowden so that Russia could mine all the data on his computers. Or, maybe, Putin decided to make a deal with the U.S.

    So, anybody know what's going on here? Did Snowden pop up somewhere else in the world? Hanoi, maybe?

    Scott Pelley and John MIller (5.00 / 3) (#91)
    by shoephone on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 11:36:12 PM EST
    Everyone's free to access whatever media they want, but I have to say, CBS News (or NBC or ABC, for that matter) is not the place I would look to for deep analysis on these issues. Pelley's and Miller's conjecture holds no more than weight than yours or mine. In fact, I'd posit that most of the commenters here at TL have more knowledge, and exhibit more analytical skill and thoughtfulness when it comes to such issues as these.

    I agree. I don't look to them for any (none / 0) (#92)
    by caseyOR on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 01:27:11 AM EST
    analysis, deep or otherwise. But, as I don't have cable, I do watch broadcast news to get some sense of what is happening. You know, have we gone to war with any other countries, did a hurricane hit somewhere, and in this case, did Snowden get on a plane in Moscow?

    I think NBC had a producer (none / 0) (#121)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 01:14:15 PM EST
    on the plane, so it would have knowledge beyond just the expertise on this blog...

    On his way to Ecuador (none / 0) (#87)
    by Edger on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 09:56:20 PM EST
    17:21 Edward Snowden is on a safe route to Ecuador, said an attorney to WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.

    17:17 Edward Snowden is on a safe route to Ecuador, said @justleft, an attorney to WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.

    17:12 Mr Patino was also asked if Snowden were to travel to Ecuador how he would do this. The FM refused to answer the question while he added that the government of Ecuador has the right for sovereign decisions and US has to respect them.


    Misdirection (none / 0) (#95)
    by jbindc on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 09:52:59 AM EST
    My guess is he is still in Russia, even though Russia is denying he was ever there.

    Yep (none / 0) (#100)
    by jbindc on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 10:32:57 AM EST
    Don't think that comment is completely accurate. (none / 0) (#119)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 01:13:58 PM EST
    Russia has stated that since that Snowden never left the airport's transit area, he never officially crossed the Russian border.

    Putin is now adhering to (none / 0) (#122)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 01:17:31 PM EST
    international law and the niceties of airports not being part of his country?

    If Pussy Riot were in the terminal, would it surprise anyone if they would somehow be "escorted" out to Moscow proper.


    Sure Putin adheres to international law (5.00 / 1) (#125)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 01:54:46 PM EST
    when it suits his fancy and would ignore or find ways around it whenever it would meet his current agenda. The U.S. has also had flexible interpretations of international law during the Bush and Obama administrations depending on their agenda.

    But to the best of my knowledge, Russia never denied that Snowden flew into Moscow's international airport.


    I am so tired of American superiority (5.00 / 1) (#128)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 02:08:26 PM EST
    And America being the police officers of the globe, and both parties thinking we can bring democracy to anyone else while we tear our own apart. I do not mind another global leader telling us NO right now.  How arrogant our leaders have become!

    You kind of have to wonder on how they could (5.00 / 2) (#136)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 02:42:28 PM EST
    have possibly handled this situation any worse if their intention was to get Snowden extradited back to the U.S.

    Charging Snowden under the Espionage Act and Congresscritters publicly declaring his quilt and one opining on how past spies were shot, gave countries an automatic exception to their Extradition Treaties.

    Snowden's defense team in Hong Kong is likely to invoke part of the extradition treaty with the United States, which states that suspects will not be turned over to face criminal trial for offenses of a "political character."

    Then you have harsh statements made by Obama's spokesman Jay Carey and chest pounding by members of Congress regarding Putin and our relationship with Russia and China.  Not the best way to promote cooperation.


    What Snowden has achieved so far (none / 0) (#86)
    by Politalkix on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 09:56:12 PM EST

    "In China, Snowden left an astonishing feat in his wake: he actually improved the credibility of government censors and information-security czars, who make up one of China's most unloved groups. Fang Binxing, a computer scientist known as the "father of the Great Firewall" for his role in developing China's censorship régime, is so unpopular among his countrymen that he has been pelted with eggs and shoes while giving speeches; when he opened a social-media account in 2010, people called him a "eunuch" and a "running dog" and someone Photoshopped his head onto a voodoo doll. For years, Fang justified government intervention on the Web largely by arguing, as he once did, that unseen enemies abroad "sit comfortably at home, thinking only of how, through their fingertips on a keyboard, they can bring chaos to China." He warned that using telecom equipment from international companies like Cisco threatened China's national security. Snowden has given Fang and his cohort new reasons to argue for stricter control of the Web."

    Why Don't I think... (5.00 / 2) (#96)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 10:05:57 AM EST
    ... you give a F about China's internet.  And not to point out the obvious, but no one in China is worried about Snowden snooping...

    The US Government is actually the entity responsible, but nice try.  Just like they were the ones responsible for the world being outraged about torture, not John Kiriakou.


    What Snowden enabled is: (none / 0) (#115)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 12:50:43 PM EST
    He has enabled Chinese dissidents to complain openly about internet spying and prying, using Amerika's revealed programs as a proxy for the highly effective Chinese surveillance and censorship.

    And you know this (5.00 / 1) (#131)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 02:18:41 PM EST
    is what is happening in China, how?  A revival of protests?  How do you know this?

    Ecuador may not work out (none / 0) (#157)
    by CoralGables on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 10:01:28 PM EST
    Seems there is a preferential trade deal between the US and Ecuador that expires at the end of July if it's not renewed. With 40% of Ecuador's exports coming to the US, the business community in Ecuador appears none to pleased with the possible prospect of granting asylum to someone that might kill a huge portion of the nation's business.

    Snowden in Russia (none / 0) (#158)
    by Politalkix on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 12:05:29 AM EST

    "But in Moscow, Mr. Snowden was being compared to cold war dissidents. "I have never heard of any case when the United States would extradite someone's fugitive spy," said Vlacheslav Nikonov, a member of Parliament. "It just never happened. Why would they expect that would happen?"

    Even the Russians think of Snowden as a "dissident" or a "fugitive spy", irrespective of what a section of the lefty blogosphere is projecting on him.

    I think of him as a dissident (5.00 / 1) (#159)
    by sj on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 01:27:03 AM EST
    Why not? That is an honorable position. And recall, please, that it is the US that accused him of espionage. They are simply throwing that ball back.