Snowden Gets Asylum in Russia, Leaves Airport

Russia has given asylum to Edward Snowden for a year. He has left the Moscow airport. He is with a member of the Wikileaks legal team.

Why only a year? Maybe Russia is hoping that in a year's time, the U.S. will reconsider its refusal to hand over Victor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko in exchange for Snowden.

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    I'm (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by lentinel on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 10:25:02 AM EST
    glad for Snowden.

    That Russia did this is replete with irony.

    We are about to put Manning in a Gulag, and Russia is giving shelter to a dissident.

    I just hope that Jeralyn's speculation about Russia waiting for the US to come through with an exchange for Bout and Yaroshenko does not materialize. Snowden faces a most uncertain future and a prospect of 30 years imprisonment should he be returned to our country.

    According to the article linked to above about such a trade, "this scenario was deemed impossible by experts, including Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena." I hope they're right.

    It's nice to see some rumblings in the Congress about what the NSA is doing and the data it is collecting. If they actually did anything to curtail these fascist activities, it would be a genuine breathe of fresh air. But I'm not optimistic. Things have gone so downhill, and so many evils are now deeply entrenched in bureaucracy that I don't see us digging ourselves out anytime soon.

    But I am glad for Snowden.
    He deserves a break - and it is truly humorous to me that Russia is the country giving it to him - and to us.

    Impossible? (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by bmaz on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 10:33:53 AM EST
    Highly doubt that. There are such things as extradition compacts and international protocols and the like, but they historically are not particularly binding in the least. Extradition and prisoner swaps are really almost entirely diplomatically controlled - if an agreement can be reached, it can happen.

    But (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by lentinel on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 10:55:57 AM EST
    Snowden is not a prisoner - unlike Bout and Yaroshenko who have been convicted and are currently serving sentences...

    But of course, anything can happen.

    It will be an anxious year for Edward.


    Don't you imagine, though, that Snowden (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Anne on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 10:56:28 AM EST
    is going to be working on moving on from Russia?  I just don't see him hanging around there for too long, and it may be easier now for him to make other arrangements.

    It will be interesting to see whether this slows down or stops the publication of more information, or whether there will be more revelations.  I feel like each new piece that's been revealed makes what we already know seem even worse than we thought.

    The more we learn, the more boggled my mind is that so few people have come forward to blow the whistle on it; that really may be the scariest thing of all.  So far.


    Seems to Me... (5.00 / 4) (#20)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 12:34:34 PM EST
    ...like there has to be a boat or a flight from Eastern Russia to South America that doesn't enter US friendly territory.

    To your comment, isn't one of the conditions of being in Russia that he not release anything more, but that doesn't seem to apply to the Guardian.  So hopefully they have everything.

    The fever in which they are going after him surely provers he got a lot more dirt to dish out.  I for one cannot wait, maybe something will sink in to the majority of people not paying attention and hit lots of nerves so we can shed a bright light on the shadow government that thinks rules don't apply to them.

    I also wonder if Obama's new found authority to kill Americans without a trial via covers Snowden.  If not, surely some soulless lawyer is working on a memo to justify it.

    The Obama administration today argued before a federal court that it should have unreviewable authority to kill Americans the executive branch has unilaterally determined to pose a threat.

    I would like to know what they mean by threat, because Snowden is surely a threat to their never ending lies.


    Thanks for posting that quote (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by BackFromOhio on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 05:38:38 PM EST
    All I can say is simply shocking.  And the rule of law?

    What rule ? What law ? (none / 0) (#52)
    by gbrbsb on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 06:16:25 PM EST
    Oh, c'mon, Anne! (none / 0) (#16)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 12:07:11 PM EST
    Why, who knows -- in a year's time, Snowdon could really come to love his presently undisclosed location.

    US has already shown (5.00 / 4) (#46)
    by BackFromOhio on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 05:28:48 PM EST
    that it deems itself above such international laws in both its efforts to ground an international flight and its pursuit of someone claiming political asylum.

    The flight was not only an international flight (5.00 / 3) (#49)
    by sj on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 05:36:25 PM EST
    but it was carrying a Head of State. The US doesn't think laws apply it Itself. What was it Nixon said? "When the President does it, that means it's not illegal". These are levels of illegal that would have had him green with envy.

    Small Correction to your International Law Belief (none / 0) (#54)
    by CoralGables on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 06:39:52 PM EST
    There is no such thing as International airspace over another country. You fly over "their airspace" only if they let you.

    But the effort (none / 0) (#66)
    by BackFromOhio on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 08:42:34 AM EST
    to capture Snowden by grounding the plane violates law of asylum, I believe.

    Could you explain what you mean (none / 0) (#70)
    by CoralGables on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 10:16:14 AM EST
    by "grounding the plane". I take that as you saying the US (or some other country) forced the plane to land. That is an Internet fallacy.

    "Grounding the plane" (none / 0) (#72)
    by sj on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 10:45:52 AM EST
    I think you are assuming a lot when you "take it" as saying the US forced the plane to land. The plane was not permitted to take off. It was not granted airspace. It could not fly. It was grounded. Is there a term more acceptable to you?

    Actually, the plane was in the air and (5.00 / 2) (#74)
    by Anne on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 11:43:13 AM EST
    forced to land in Vienna:

    On Tuesday, Morales' presidential plane - returning from Moscow - was forced to make a sudden stop in Vienna, after Spain, France, Portugal and Italy abruptly blocked their airspace to him. In Vienna, officials inquired whether the plane was carrying Edward Snowden, the wanted US citizen who leaked details of extensive classified US electronic surveillance programs last month.

    Morales blamed Washington for masterminding the audacious scheme.

    "At 3 or 4 pm we are forced to land the plane in Austria. At 6 pm the US ambassador delivers an extradition request in Bolivia, which is proof that is the work of the US, who used European countries for their aims," said Morales.

    "My first thought when I was forced to land was: how can European countries obey the will of the US? I imagined these nations were defenders of democracy."

    So, it was "grounded."


    With all due respect (5.00 / 2) (#78)
    by CoralGables on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 12:05:59 PM EST
    Morales saying he was forced to land is probably what started this BS. The pilot asked for and was granted landing rights in Vienna to refuel because they didn't have a route to Bolivia, nor to their primary or secondary re-fueling stops (Lisbon or the Canary Islands).

    And that's what they did, and flew the next day after receiving flyover rights.

    Forced to land? No. Needing to land somewhere eventually due to fuel considerations and granted? Yes. There's a huge difference. They could have also chosen to fly back to Moscow, but Vienna was much closer and made much more sense.


    I don't want to get into another (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by Anne on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 12:36:16 PM EST
    how-many-angels-can-dance-on-the-head-of-a-pin discussion, but as I understand it, no, the pilot of the plane was not ordered by any government to land the plane; in fact, it seems they were in a position of having to beg to land somewhere so they could refuel.

    Perhaps the bottom line here is that the plane was not permitted to follow its original flight plan due to being denied permission by the governments of the countries in the flight path to fly over these countries.

    There clearly was government involvement, with permission denied by some, and having to be granted by another.  I'm not aware that there has been any admission of US government involvement in these decisions, but I have trouble believing there weren't phone calls made, etc.


    Anne (none / 0) (#85)
    by CoralGables on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 12:57:57 PM EST
    the entire story reminded me of a neighbor when I was a kid. He was one of the original Cuban immigrants that came to the US.

    Flying out of Miami International one day he looked out the plane window on the tarmac and in his strong cuban accent said to the person next to him, "it's probably a beautiful day in Cuba. It wouldn't be the worst day to be hijacked"

    The plane was sent back to the gate, he was removed from the plane, missed his flight, and held by the feds for 24 hours...In his own words later he laughed it off and said..well I guess I was really stupid.

    When Morales was leaving Moscow, the media was asking questions about giving asylum to Snowden. He laughed and said something like, I don't have time now. I'm off to meet Snowden and have a plane to catch.

    And the chain of events was set in motion.


    You're right (none / 0) (#76)
    by sj on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 11:53:08 AM EST
    This time I was the one making assumptions. I assumed that when CG used the term "forced the plane to land" that he referred to something more deliberate and involving other planes. And I was buying into that definition. There is more than one way to force a landing, and this way -- blocking access to airspace when a plane needs refueling -- is definitely one of them.

    That's why I asked for an explanation (none / 0) (#73)
    by CoralGables on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 11:30:45 AM EST
    So the original commenter could clarify his terminology of grounded.  

    Since you've given your thoughts, no explanation really needed. The plane did fly. It likely wasn't permitted flyover rights for France or landing rights for Portugal. The pilot chose where he wanted to go which in this case was Austria because without flyover rights he didn't have enough fuel to reach his final destination. It was never "grounded". He could have also flown back to Moscow had he so chosen.

    Flyover rights are at the whim of any country. They are granted or denied whenever they want. It doesn't break any laws. For years planes flew around Cuba. Now we pay a fee to enter their airspace when they approve it. Without approval and flying into another country's airspace, you can be grounded by that nation but that didn't happen in this case.


    That is one way a plane is grounded (4.00 / 3) (#75)
    by sj on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 11:48:12 AM EST
    It likely wasn't permitted flyover rights for France or landing rights for Portugal.
    Why do you want to minimize what happened there? A plane carrying a head of state was a) not give access to air space, and b) was asked to submit to a search by Spain. This is a Big Deal. Why do you want to minimize it by getting all "it doesn't break any laws"? Maybe you don't care much about the South American countries, I don't know. But again, this is a Big Deal there. And rightly so, imo.

    I'm on the "didn't break any law" (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by CoralGables on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 12:12:22 PM EST
    because I was in a conversation with the original poster that said it "did" break International law. Then you decided to jump in and take offense to me asking for clarification of his comment without you ever following the direction of the conversation.

    I should have been smarter and ignored you when you decided to butt in. That was my failure.


    International law (none / 0) (#84)
    by sj on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 12:52:44 PM EST
    Diplomatic immunity is a form of legal immunity and a policy held between governments that ensures that diplomats are given safe passage and are considered not susceptible to lawsuit or prosecution under the host country's laws, although they can still be extradited. It was agreed as international law in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961), though the concept and custom have a much longer history.
    I could admittedly be wrong in my assumption that diplomatic immunity and privileges apply to a Head of State.

    It would be nice if now (5.00 / 3) (#45)
    by MO Blue on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 05:27:45 PM EST
    that Snowden has been given asylum, we could move away from the emphasis being on him and spend more time discussing the information that he disclosed.

    Probably a unrealistic hope, since condemning him is IMO meant to distract from what the government is doing.


    Except (none / 0) (#58)
    by Mikado Cat on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 08:17:46 PM EST
    How many in the general public even understand what he is releasing beyond the most superficial?

    I have wonder if any of it was really secret to anybody that really cared to know about it?


    How can the public care (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by BackFromOhio on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 08:45:12 AM EST
    if the news media utterly fails in its job to cover the issues, including the laws that have been broken by the spying or at least, from the media's point of view (if functioning), alleged to be broken?  Why is there no coverage of what the Patriot Act allows, the function of the FISA court, Section 215, and so on.  The media could be doing such a public information service, but has totally lost its way by detouring for many years now into the politics of entertainment value.  

    Oy (none / 0) (#61)
    by MO Blue on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 08:39:29 PM EST
    Interesting view (none / 0) (#2)
    by jbindc on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 10:32:50 AM EST
    "He deserves a break."

    Yes... (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by lentinel on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 10:52:08 AM EST
    it is interesting...

    Bless his heart (2.25 / 4) (#5)
    by jbindc on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 10:54:27 AM EST
    the poor thing has been living in an airport.

    What's your view of Daniel Ellsberg? (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Dadler on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 11:16:59 AM EST
    Do you think he should have been convicted and jailed? And do you think it's not a tad more scary today for people like Snowden, acting on conscience, to imagine being thrown into a hole, tortured, etc.?  IMO, this is no different than Ellsberg, and because of that this nation should have learned its lesson, but we haven't. Well, except to the extent that the American people have forty-plus more years of hegemonic propaganda in their heads.

    I often wonder about some of those who comment (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Angel on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 11:37:19 AM EST
    on the Snowden affair and whether they even know the facts related to the Pentagon Papers or Daniel Ellsberg.  

    Sure (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by jbindc on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 11:53:17 AM EST
    Like the fact that Ellsberg wanted to remain anonymous and was only outed by Neil Sheehan.Or that Ellsberg worked with Sen. Kennedy's staff and discussed it with other Senators (since a Senator cannot be prosecuted for things he says on the record in the Senate), and portions of the Pentagon Papers were entered into the Senate record.

    Unlike Mr. Snowden, who, if he felt he was doing the right thing, but did not want to be called to account, could have also remained anonymous, and not living in the Moscow airport.

    I guess I question those who DON'T understand how this is a different scenario.  Must need to get back to history class....


    jbindc - it isn't always about you. My comment (none / 0) (#12)
    by Angel on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 12:01:48 PM EST
    was directed to Dadler.  Why are you always so defensive?

    Maybe the 2 rating (none / 0) (#15)
    by jbindc on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 12:04:11 PM EST
    for starters.

    And your history.


    Lack of empathy for another human being rates (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Angel on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 12:09:33 PM EST
    a 2 star in my perspective.  And as such has nothing to do with my comment to Dadler.  

    It seems like something other (2.00 / 1) (#31)
    by christinep on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 04:26:38 PM EST
    than "lack of empathy" -- rather, it resembles more a rating based upon something said with which you disagree.  That would be a type of censorship of its own.  Wouldn't it be better if we all curb the downratings routine that seems to show up most during major philosophical disagreement.  Clearly, jbindc is expressing her opinion about the consequences/upshot of certain leaks involving certain government information ... an area where there are strong, passionate opinions on both sides.  Can't we accord each other respect for very different opinions without recourse to attempts to psychoanalyze the mental state or deep personal feelings of any who oppose our views.  

    You would be wrong. Read her comment again (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Angel on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 05:09:12 PM EST
    and perhaps you'll understand why I said "...lack of empathy."  If you don't, well, frankly I could not care less.  

    Based upon your immediate statement, then, (none / 0) (#55)
    by christinep on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 06:47:00 PM EST
    If you don't agree with you, then the person doesn't count.  (e.g. "If you don't, well, frankly I could not care less.")  I don't agree with you ... and, isn't that ok, isn't that my right?  Or, in blogs, is it not possible to say "Ah, ok, I see you disagree...and feel strongly about it.  Maybe next time we'll align."

    Actually it has to do with your trying to analyze (none / 0) (#56)
    by Angel on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 08:15:21 PM EST
    my ratings and my comments when I could not have been more clear in my explanation.  I'm perfectly fine with disagreement, what I don't like is disagreeable.

    You are certainly correct (none / 0) (#57)
    by christinep on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 08:17:28 PM EST
    that we -- those on different sides of big issues--can disagree without being disagreeable.  Sorry if I cam across as disagreeable.

    Apology accepted, but the truth is the (none / 0) (#60)
    by Angel on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 08:23:50 PM EST
    "disagreeable" wasn't aimed at you.  

    Angel has comprehension problems (1.33 / 3) (#40)
    by jbindc on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 05:18:08 PM EST
    Notice I did not mention her by name, nor directly accuse her of anything,but she assumes I was specifically talking about her.

    And then it is assumed that I'm the one with no empathy.

    What a joke.  But typical of her.

    No biggie.


    LOL (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by Angel on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 06:03:09 PM EST
    All anyone needs to do is look at the comments and see what the parent comment was and they can deduce who replied to whom and in what context.  No need to try to rewrite history which is your typical modus operandi.

    What's interesting to me are (5.00 / 5) (#11)
    by Anne on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 11:59:03 AM EST
    Ellsberg's views on Snowden, and how much respect he has for him given how much higher the stakes are now.

    Ellsberg was out on bond the entire 2+ years he was awaiting trial - does anyone think Snowden would see the light of day while he was awaiting trial, 'cause I sure don't.  I see him getting a version of the Manning treatment.


    I agree. (none / 0) (#13)
    by Angel on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 12:03:05 PM EST
    I appreciate (none / 0) (#14)
    by jbindc on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 12:03:11 PM EST
    Why Ellsberg admires Snowden.

    But there is no comparison between the situations after the actual leaks.  Their actions afterward is what determined the next series of events and how they were treated.

    They are no way the same.


    If you take the Snowden situation and (5.00 / 9) (#18)
    by Anne on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 12:21:54 PM EST
    transport it back to Ellsberg's day, I have no doubt that he would have also been treated like anyone else charged with crimes - afforded the opportunity to be free on bond pending trial.

    If you took Ellsberg's situation and transported it to the present day, what happens to Ellsberg?  Does he look at how the government went after Binney and Drake and Kiriakou and others, and feel any confidence he can get anyone to address his findings, or that he will be treated fairly?  Does he think he would be allowed to be free pending trial?

    It's my opinion that Snowden acted as he did because he was aware that if he didn't, chances were (1) what he knew would never get disseminated to the American people and (2) that he'd get treated even worse than those who came before him.

    You want Snowden to go through the same process Ellsberg did, but it's not the same world, jb. This is the world where we passed a law to prevent people like Snowden from having the protections afforded to whistleblowers, so it's my opinion that the choices he had within the system were all weighted toward the government prevailing, which really means he had no choice but to do what he did.


    Or (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by jbindc on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 12:32:13 PM EST
    If you took Ellsberg's situation and transported it to the present day, what happens to Ellsberg?  Does he look at how the government went after Binney and Drake and Kiriakou and others, and feel any confidence he can get anyone to address his findings, or that he will be treated fairly?  Does he think he would be allowed to be free pending trial?

    Maybe he decides on a different course of action. Maybe he quits his job and doesn't release any information.  Maybe he picks a different reporter to trust.  "What-if" games are fun to play in the parlor, but really have no bearing on reality.  

    You want Snowden to go through the same process Ellsberg did, but it's not the same world, jb.

    Exactly my point.  There are those who keep comparing the two as if they were the same situations, with the same actions by the players, and clearly they are not.  I think Ellsberg thought of the country first, but I feel that Snowden, while maybe trying to right some wrongs, also thought he would get to feed his ego and go down in history.  I think he completely miscaluculated the consequences and thought he would be welcomed with open arms by several countries and would be hailed as a hero.  And that just didn't work out for him and then he panicked.


    Not even close (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by sj on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 12:59:50 PM EST
    You want Snowden to go through the same process Ellsberg did, but it's not the same world, jb.

    Exactly my point.

    You can only make your "point" by completely ignoring the one made in the comment you are responding to. And then you justify it by talking about what you "feel" Snowden intended. That isn't a point. It's only an opinion.

    JB... (5.00 / 4) (#22)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 01:08:03 PM EST
    ..your making the point for Snowden, why would he possibly go the same route of the guy who's sitting in prison ?
    Maybe he quits his job and doesn't release any information.

    It takes a special kind of person to actually bring up the notion of just turning ones back on something they feel is unjust and illegal, and doing that would be just plane pathetic.  

    Its why we are right here talking about this, because of the thousands of jack@sses who turned their back before Snowden who took the easy way out.  Not sure how that jives with the whole taking responsibility bit you keep using for Snowden.

    That one sentence, while I find deplorable, certainly gives me a better understanding of your view.  Snowden should turn himself in and face the music, after all he could have just walked away.  

    To me, and many others, that simply was not an option.  People with integrity don't walk away when they see injustice and/or criminality.


    My view (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by jbindc on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 01:17:16 PM EST
    As I have repeated ad naseum here, is that, if you are willing to commit a crime (whether you agree with the law or not), then you should stand up and face the music. Running away and hiding or making excuses is what children do -adults take responsibility.

    The whole premise of civil disobedience (which this wasn't) was standing up for something, even if it meant you went to jail.  See Martin Luther King, Jr. for example. What Snowden did may allow for some good to come from it - that's great, and that's what martyrs do.

    I have no patience for someone deliberately breaking the law, and then acting surprised when they are called to account for their actions.  I also have no patience for those who say, "Well, we think the law is stupid, so therefore we should just ignore it."

    And again - he did not have to reveal himself.  He made a choice. None of this would have happened if he just kept his mouth shut.  

    Why does everyone want him to be treated like a helpless victim in all of this?


    Your view (5.00 / 4) (#24)
    by sj on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 01:33:27 PM EST
    is that there is also only one sort of "valid" consequences to accept -- the one that you think is appropriate. This is where your law 'n' order perspective becomes a mentality. And it shuts out critical thinking that can broaden empathy and world view.

    In my opinion.

    And I just want to say, I'm rather queasy that you think he could have "just kept his mouth shut". I guess some people think ignorance is better than breaking "the law". And frankly, since you have that opinion, anything else you say on the topic can be completely dismissed.

    In my opinion.


    Duly noted (none / 0) (#25)
    by jbindc on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 01:39:27 PM EST

    I would be able to put more faith in (5.00 / 5) (#26)
    by Anne on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 01:51:48 PM EST
    your premise if both sides were playing by the same rules, but they're not.  In fact, what Snowden is exposing is the massive failure by the government to play by the same rules it wants to hold him to.

    And while it's true that two wrongs don't make a right, what kind of accommodation do we make when one of those wrongs actually brings, arguably, a much larger wrong to light?  

    And what does it say when the government passes a law that yanks the safety net out from under an entire group of people who just happen to be working in the agency that's engaging in massive invasions of privacy?

    I think Edward Snowden is the least surprised of anyone that his government wants his head on a plate; I don't think he "ran away" because he didn't want to face the music, but because he feared for his life.  How could he not?

    I guess you see no punishment factor in what Snowden's life has been reduced to.  You mocked him for living at the airport for the last month, as if that were so much different than being confined to a US prison cell.  You make no allowance for the punishment he imposed on himself by his choices, perhaps because you regard what he's been living the last two months as some kind of excellent adventure.  

    I find is about ten kinds of disgusting and ironic and fked up that you would apparently have more respect for Snowden had he just quit his job and kept his mouth shut, because that's the law-abiding choice.

    I don't think everyone wants him to be treated as a helpless victim - I don't even think people see him as a victim at all.  I, at least, see him as someone who followed his conscience, in the best way he could to make sure people would know what he had found out; I don't take points off because he didn't do it in a way that put him at more risk than he already signed up for.

    There are, apparently, a precious few people who are willing to risk their lives and their futures to shine a light on the many ways in which our government is betraying us, in hope that we can right those wrongs.  

    And all you seem to care about is that they be punished in ways you approve of.

    Way to keep your eye on that ball!


    I don't think JB was talking about punishment (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by vicndabx on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 02:05:33 PM EST
    Accountability takes many forms. Explaining yourself to the people you are trying to protect IN the country you are trying to protect is one form of that.

    Fact is, the gov't isn't the one breaking the law here.

    Further, isn't it a little troubling that Snowden took advantage  of what this country has to offer (in terms of choices, education, career, etc.) and then he flees to countries, that, to put it mildly, are on the opposite side of the spectrum? He was worried about getting killed? C'mon.


    It's troubling to me that you are (5.00 / 3) (#28)
    by Anne on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 02:22:48 PM EST
    troubled by Snowden "taking advantage" of being a citizen, and apparently don't regard what NSA is doing as in any way taking advantage of us, or even breaking the law.

    I probably shouldn't respond further, because we aren't going to agree on any of this, and I don't feel like getting into the sandbox this afternoon.


    Agreed (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by sj on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 03:54:57 PM EST
    Accountability takes many forms. Explaining yourself to the people you are trying to protect IN the country you are trying to protect is one form of that.
    Explaining yourself to the people you are trying to protect while NOT in the country you are trying to protect is another form.

    And I am not the least bit troubled that Snowden "took advantage" of what this country -- the country of his birth -- has to offer while also taking seriously the totality of what this country is supposed to stand for.  


    Shorter Anne (none / 0) (#32)
    by jbindc on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 04:28:09 PM EST
    The ends justify the means.

    Seems you don't like it when politicians use that line of reasoning.  Why is it ok in this case?


    No, not even close, jb. (4.50 / 6) (#34)
    by Anne on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 05:00:00 PM EST
    I wish I could say I was surprised that that's what you want me to be saying, but I'm not.  Not surprised, and not saying that.

    You really just don't get it, you're not going to get it, and there's not much point in trying to help you get it.


    Great (none / 0) (#35)
    by jbindc on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 05:00:36 PM EST
    I have the same opinion of your thoughts on the matter.

    You will never get it.


    You aren't even able to properly (4.25 / 4) (#37)
    by Anne on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 05:09:27 PM EST
    comprehend/analyze what I'm saying, so the opinions that flow from that are equally flawed.

    I don't know about you (5.00 / 2) (#47)
    by sj on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 05:31:54 PM EST
    but I'm disengaging, LOL.  This is reaching "It's about the Rolling Stone cover!!!!" levels of miscomprehension and hostility and I just let myself get sucked into it. Again. D@mn.

    Thanks for engaging though (5.00 / 5) (#62)
    by ruffian on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 10:26:16 PM EST
    Every time I was about to type something I saw you or Anne had already said it better.

    After Snowden made the decision to release the materials, I don't really see the need to fault him for any course of action he chose for himself.  I don't think avoiding extradition makes his disclosures any less helpful to the country. It is his personal life that is being upended - that would have happened no matter what he chose, and he knew it. I don't have any reason to believe he did it to get glory for himself. Even if he did, fine with me - he took his chances on that happening too. He certainly knew how many people would be against him - there was no automatic hero status coming his way.


    Well said (5.00 / 2) (#63)
    by sj on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 01:22:48 AM EST
    The sacrifices that both he and Bradley Manning made to bring these things to light are staggering to me. No "glory" is worth that, imo. The motivation comes from a deeper place than that. I love my family fiercely and even though I chose to be away for a while, I knew they were always there and will always be my soft landing for anything that comes my way. To risk never seeing them again? I don't think I have the inner strength to make those sacrifices.

    They saw their dharma and they acted, and, while it may sound melodramatic, I am truly humbled when I meditate on it.


    I comprehend (2.67 / 3) (#39)
    by jbindc on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 05:16:13 PM EST
    I don't agree with you.  It's pretty arrogant to assume that because someone doesn't agree with you that they have comprehension issues.  However, I think there are many times that YOU don't comprehend because you are so wedded to your point of view that nothing will move you off of it. I can't remember the last time I saw you start off with "You may have a point.  I agree with A, B, and C, but I don't agree with the other points you make."  It's always that YOU are correct in your world view.

    Snowden is a hero - government is bad.

    We got it. And got it again.  And again.  And again.


    I don't have a problem with your (5.00 / 4) (#64)
    by Anne on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 06:58:01 AM EST
    not agreeing with me - I really don't; what I have a problem with is that you reshape my opinions, and then disagree with them, I guess so that you can have the argument you want.

    If I'm going to concede that you may have a point about something, I like to make sure that you actually know what it is I'm saying, and so often you demonstrate that you don't.  Worse, no matter how and from which direction I try to make my thoughts clearer, you won't let go of your initial analysis.  And as much as you fault me for never conceding a point, I don't ever see you saying, "oh - thanks for the explanation, I see what you're saying now."

    On the subject of Snowden, Manning and Assange, it always ends with you summing up my point of view by claiming that I attach hero status to these people.  I've never said that.  I know you think I've implied it, but what you infer doesn't make you right about what I've said.

    Are they heroes?  I think that remains to be seen, actually, which is why I haven't attached that label to them.  And, I think it's a term that's lost some of its meaning by being attached to too many things that fall more into the category of doing one's job.

    I think they are courageous, for what they have put on the line, for what they have been willing to give up, to sacrifice, but they haven't "saved" anything yet - that struggle is ongoing.  Maybe in a few years, we will be able to look back and say that these men helped save the democracy, that they started us on a better path, and maybe I'll be willing to call them heroes.  

    As for the other side of your corollary - "government is bad" - I think in this instance, on these issues of privacy and Constitutional rights and privileges, government is not serving us well.  And much of the actions and policies connected to this area are also not serving us well.  

    I'm not someone who never wants anyone to be accountable, or to suffer the consequences of their actions.  I've tried to make the point that Snowden is suffering consequences, but you refuse to accept that because they aren't all strictly legal ones.

    If your points can't be made without changing the ones I've clearly stated into something else, it's my opinion that there's a problem with your argument.  Like I said, I don't have a problem with anyone disagreeing with me, but if you're going to put words in my mouth, or manipulate what I've said, we can't have an honest debate.  


    Ironic (none / 0) (#65)
    by jbindc on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 08:40:28 AM EST
    You put words in my mouth all the time. You always want to jump on me for this sin, but I hope you are aware that you do it yourself.  I'm sorry if you think I'm twisting your words -  I don't think I am, based on not only the comment at hand, but the history of things you have said, but if you feel I do, then I will try to explain myself better. But I think you should realize that you are just as guilty of this. (Now awaiting your defenders to try and step in here with sniping and the handing out of the requisite "2" ratings).

    Sometimes I offer my opinion and you disagree - that's fine. That's called "having a conversation". But sometimes I feel that this place becomes a frenzied echo chamber and when I think people are missing the WHOLE story, I like to present another side to the story. Some people don't seem to be comfortable with that and want to assign opinions to me or jump to conclusions

    So let's make a deal - try to read each other's coments without both jumping to conclusions, ok?

    The longer this goes on, I don't find Edward Snowden to be someone who is worthy of admiration and respect.  I think he had other options, and the very fact that he admitted to deliberately taking a job where he could mine data, expose it, and then just take off from everyone who loved him without telling them, and then announcing his deeds to the world tells me a whole lot about his personality.  And the ironic thing is he is now reported to be staying with American friends he "met on the internet".  He then has the nerve to say "the law is winning" and is acting indignant about the US government, when he, himself, broke the law.  Chutzpah at its finest.


    The Kremlin has said it will not extradite Snowden to the U.S., but has gotten assurances from Snowden that he will not engage in activities harmful to the United States while he is in Russia.

    Right.  Because he's shown himself to be so credible that Russia is going to believe him and trust him.  The man is an admitted liar and someone willing to sell out his country. (The information he leaked on how our government uses our data without a warrant is a completely separate issue from Edward Snowden and his actions and is a completely different discussion).

    The Russians may use him and try to manipulate any usable intelligence they can get out of him, but after that, you think he's just going to live peacefully in the outskirts of Moscow all the rest of his days?  Benedict Arnold betrayed his country, but got an appointment to the British Army as a general.  But his colleagues never completely trusted him and he and his wife never were fully accepted into British society. Nobody trusts someone else's betrayer.

    I certainly don't want physical harm to come to him, just as I don't wish harm on anybody, but if he thinks he will live his days out peacefully in the outskirts of Moscow, then I think he's also delusional.


    Reminder (5.00 / 2) (#68)
    by BackFromOhio on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 09:04:06 AM EST
    "...he himself broke the law...."

    He is still innocent until proven guilty.  The information he has exposed indicates that our government has broken the law and rigged the rules so that Congress would not know and legal proceedings could not be brought challenging he illegality.  Given the state of our media, er, entertainment industry pretending to journalism, if Snowden had stayed in the U.S., provided the info, etc., we would not even have access to foreign press coverage providing objective reporting, not to mention U.S. press.  In other words, had Snowden remained stateside, the cover-up would have been far more effective at keeping information from the U.S. citizens and their elected officials.  


    While I may not always be (5.00 / 3) (#69)
    by Anne on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 09:59:35 AM EST
    successful at it, I make a conscious effort to frame my comments in terms of what I think and what I feel, not just about the issue at hand, but also about what others are saying.  There's a difference between saying what I think about what you said and saying that you said something you didn't say at all.  If you think I've put words in your mouth, or that I've responded to something you've said in a way that demonstrates I misunderstood, you should feel free to call me on it, and maybe that will allow us to fine-tune the conversation in a way that contributes to discussion, as opposed to taking away from it.

    Where you and I differ here is that, for me, Edward Snowden isn't the story.  He's the vehicle by which we have learned about what our government has been doing, and it's now up to us to take it to the next level.  If Snowden had made other choices, we wouldn't be having these conversations, and those responsible for and involved with these programs would not be forced to be accountable for them.  

    From what I understand, he began to be concerned about what was going on, and took the job where he could have access to more information so that he could find proof of his suspicions.  Was there a better way to handle it?  I don't know.  Others before him had tried to bring their concerns to the attention of the powers that be, and didn't get too far, so I think it's possible he knew he was going to need proof that wasn't going to be able to be disappeared.

    His decision to leave the country without telling his family was not for his glorification, but for their protection, so that they would not be drawn into this any more than was inevitable, or subject to arrest.  Maybe you find it a personality flaw to want to protect the people one loves from being accountable for one's own actions, but I don't.

    As I said, I think the more we focus on Snowden as the story, the less attention we pay to what it was he revealed.  Which plays right into the hands of people like Alexander and Clapper and Obama, who seem to be pretty hacked off that someone exposed these programs.

    Whatever happens to Snowden will play out in time, and that he is not in the clutches of the US government now does not mean he will never be.  I don't think anyone is trying to argue that he didn't break the law, just that sometimes the law has to be broken in order to  bring these kinds of things to the public's attention.

    I don't understand why you think Snowden has a credibility problem, but whatever information he had is in the hands of others - The Guardian, for one - and it will be others who decide when and what to release from here on out.  And as far as I know, he has no access to or ability to access any additional information.

    As for being willing to sell out his country, I don't understand why that is your focus, and not the ways in which our country has sold us out, all of us.  Unless you're fine with knowing that all of our communications are being collected and stored for future use and none of us has any way to stop it.

    I also don't know how what he did is selling out his country.  He didn't give or sell the information to any other government, hasn't profited in any way from what he did; I don't see the comparison to Benedict Arnold at all.  

    I think Snowden's expectations of what his life will be like from here on out are much smaller than what you imagine he has or even wants.  I suspect he will not be making a life in Russia, but will be moving on to a location that better suits him on a number of levels.

    Who knows?  We could both be wrong.  And while I share your wish that no harm come to him, he really isn't my focus.


    See, this is where we differ (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by jbindc on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 12:42:30 PM EST
    As for being willing to sell out his country, I don't understand why that is your focus, and not the ways in which our country has sold us out, all of us.  Unless you're fine with knowing that all of our communications are being collected and stored for future use and none of us has any way to stop it.

    You say he's NOT the story.  I say there are TWO stories. You are trying to assign a motivation to me ("Unless you're fine knowing all our communication....").  Of course I'm not fine. But that is a completely separate issue. I'm a little concerned that any Tom, Dick, or Harry can finangle their way into a job where they have access to secret information.  Today it's Snowden - who's to say someone like him ISN'T selling our secrets, or collecting our personal information for nefarious reasons?

    But I don't understand how someone can say, "Move along, nothing to see here" with regards to Snowden.

    I think he will not be moving on and will eventually be in a US prison at some point.


    Don't faint, but I don't disagree that (5.00 / 2) (#90)
    by Anne on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 01:42:54 PM EST
    there should be discussion about the NSA's and related contractors' internal security and safeguards and hiring practices and such; we are lucky - so far - that Snowden's plans for the information weren't to sell or give it to foreign governments.  If the protocols were such that he could gain access, it stands to reason that the same access could have been attained by someone who did plan to sell it to the highest bidder.

    I will grant you that it's part of the picture, but it isn't the part that is of most concern to me.  I am far more focused on what the NSA was doing, the lying to Congress about it, the lack of true, auditable oversight, and the closing off of avenues for future Snowdens to come forward with their concerns.


    You realize that Snowden's employer (5.00 / 3) (#94)
    by MO Blue on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 03:04:23 PM EST
    Booz Allen was absolved of any responsibility and has been awarded several additional contracts.

    While all the attention is being diverted to Snowden, Booz Allen is moving along full steam ahead with none of your stated concerns being addressed.  


    You got it? (3.67 / 3) (#42)
    by sj on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 05:20:16 PM EST
    You say this
    Snowden is a hero - government is bad.
    as if quoting Anne and then have the gall to follow it up with this?
    We got it
    How embarrassing for you. I mean I know you don't know enough to be embarrassed for yourself, but jeez... that's seriously cringe-worthy.

    Oh I think we get you (3.67 / 3) (#38)
    by sj on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 05:13:50 PM EST
    I know exactly what you are saying (unlike your Twisted Tales of Anne). I just find it incredible that someone who is not [ostensibly] a "security" state troglodyte could be so determined to carry water for them.

    Again (3.50 / 2) (#41)
    by jbindc on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 05:18:44 PM EST
    You opinion is duly noted.

    We don't care, of course, but it is noted.


    Ha! As if... (3.67 / 3) (#43)
    by sj on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 05:23:43 PM EST
    ...I could believe that you even understood what you have "duly noted". LOL

    Duly noted again (2.00 / 2) (#44)
    by jbindc on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 05:25:00 PM EST
    You find me stupid.


    Too bad there isn't an "ignore" feature for you.

    Good day.


    Really ? (4.40 / 5) (#29)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 03:00:51 PM EST
    I also have no patience for those who say, "Well, we think the law is stupid, so therefore we should just ignore it."

    Good to here, you live with a guy in Maryland, right ?.

    MARYLAND § 553. Unnatural or perverted sexual practices.

    Every person who is convicted of taking into his or her mouth the sexual organ of any other person or animal, or who shall be convicted of placing his or her sexual organ in the mouth of any other person or animal, or who shall be convicted of committing any other unnatural or perverted sexual practice with any other person or animal, shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) or be imprisoned in jail or in the house of correction or in the penitentiary for a period not exceeding ten years, or shall be both fined and imprisoned within the limits above prescribed in the discretion of the court.

    10 year max.

    I know the SCOTUS overturned sodomy laws, but many states still enforce them.  And according to your own words, it's your obligation to turn yourself in let the courts decide if you committed a crime.  The law has not been repealed.

    Not sure when you lives in Texas, but same laws, and if it was before 2003, you definitely broke the law here.  And if you happened to own more than than 6 female pleasuring devises in Texas, you committed a felony.

    Let us know what happens after your turn yourself in to face the music, or stop with the non-sense about 'a law is a law' and 'people who break them should be punished'.


    No I do not. (none / 0) (#33)
    by jbindc on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 04:28:47 PM EST
    Sounds like (none / 0) (#59)
    by Mikado Cat on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 08:21:43 PM EST
    That law could apply to eating a typical cheap hot dog, no part of the animal is "wasted" when it comes to making hot dogs.

    Dunno about that... (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by bmaz on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 06:33:23 PM EST
    ...Drake, Kiriakou, Kim and Sterling were all afforded pre-trial release, so I do not think it is a given that Snowden would not have been. Manning is inapposite because of the difference between Article III courts and UCMJ jurisdiction.

    Snowden is seeking political asylum (5.00 / 8) (#48)
    by BackFromOhio on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 05:35:26 PM EST
    and has protections of international law. The fact that the US has already violated those laws in this case demonstrates that Snowden took the only course available to him.

    As for your speculation that he is motivated by desire for the limelight, I could not disagree more.  He could have had far more limelight had he disclosed the info he has prior to or during the presidential campaign and he chose not to.

    To attribute personal/selfish motives to someone who has risked his life and lost all contact with his family in the hopes of helping to preserve what's left of our democracy is a disservice not only to Snowden, but anyone else who would put the well-being of our nation before personal safety and relationships.

    His father is worried sick; he left his girlfriend, and he may well never see any of them again.  He is not asking for sympathy for his condition and neither am I, but instead expressing my disbelief that you could impute egotistical motives to someone who has already sacrificed so much.  I know that I, for one, would probably never have the courage to give up so much.


    According to his Russian attorney, (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by Zorba on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 10:23:26 AM EST
    Snowden does have a place to live, and has already received job offers.


    Forty-three percent backed giving Snowden asylum in a July 18-22 poll of 1,601 Russians, compared with 29 percent against it, according to the poll.


    Site violator (5.00 / 1) (#112)
    by oculus on Sun Aug 04, 2013 at 03:48:45 AM EST

    Whistle blowing and harming the country (none / 0) (#77)
    by Mikado Cat on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 12:02:42 PM EST
    Don't go hand in hand. I think there much have been alternatives to damaging the country by giving the information to the Guardian vs some responsible secure person, congress, whatever.

    How did it harm the country? (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by shoephone on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 12:07:59 PM EST
    Be specific.

    You can't be serious (2.00 / 1) (#86)
    by vicndabx on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 12:59:42 PM EST
    or rather, you can't be interested in having a serious discussion about what was done.  Pros and cons, risk/reward.

    Answer the question and then (none / 0) (#87)
    by shoephone on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 01:06:57 PM EST
    I'll consider you to be serious.

    That's a question that can't be answered (4.00 / 3) (#88)
    by vicndabx on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 01:25:44 PM EST
    and you know that.  I also know I'll get wet if I stand out in the rain w/o an umbrella.  It's a given.  The unknown is how bad is the harm.  

    Point is we don't know what he took, and who's been a recipient of what he took.  Beyond that, the geopolitical impact certainly harms us.


    Ha. Total non-answer. (5.00 / 4) (#89)
    by shoephone on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 01:34:03 PM EST
    You have no idea what harm was done, you just know in your bones that it was done.

    We do, in fact, know some of what Snowden has, because it's been written about by Greenwald, Poitras, et al, in the Guardian. And we're going to read about a lot more of it over the coming months. Good. Everything I've learned so far is not harming me or my fellow citizens at all. It's helping us understand the nafariousness of the secret, shadow government, and the people who run it, who continue to lie to us about it every day.


    I can flip that around on you also (none / 0) (#91)
    by vicndabx on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 02:01:47 PM EST
    how do you know we haven't been harmed?  How do you know some key plan hasn't been disrupted?

    Let's talk about the usefulness of disclosing that which was deemed private by those we've elected to represent us in gov't.

    The disclosure has happened and most people really don't seem that outraged about it.  People were bothered by the spying but most seem to accept it as necessary in today's cyber environment.

    Yet, we don't know how the disclosures have prevented or will prevent us from doing that which is needed to protect innocent people.

    If it comes out that someone is actually harmed, will you change your thinking?  If so, would it make sense to wait until that happened to change your thinking?

    I'll give you a concrete example to play with.  Say the info about Stuxnet had come out before we were able to use the virus to slow down Iran's nuclear capabilities.  Iran gets the bomb.  Do you think the world would be safer or not?  Would it have been better to keep Stuxnet under wraps or not use Stuxnet at all?


    If we'd been harmed in any significant way, (5.00 / 3) (#92)
    by Anne on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 02:37:27 PM EST
    they'd have been blasting us with the gory details morning, noon and night to make sure we were properly frightened into letting them do whatever they want.

    As it is, they've done a lot of hemming and hawing about whether it's the Hoover It All Up programs that have led to any successes or good old traditional legwork done the old-fashioned way - with warrants specific to the case.

    I think it's a mistake to make the level of outrage the metric by which we judge whether something is good or bad; there are a lot of people in the terminal stages of cancer because it grew quietly to no immediate outward effect.


    In order: (5.00 / 3) (#95)
    by shoephone on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 03:07:34 PM EST
    1. Neither of us knows that the country either has or hasn't been harmed. I base my opinion on what we do know so far. You base yours on...I don't know what.

    2. "Deemed private"? Sorry, but when my privacy is the one that's being violated, and I am totally innocent of any activities that are the basis for those violations, then all bets are off. The shadow government doesn't get to outsource its operations to a privately owned corporation that is completely opaque and unaccountable to the citizens -- the taxpayers who are, unbeknownst to them, funding these secret operations.

    3. "The disclosure has happened and most people really don't seem that outraged about it.  People were bothered by the spying but most seem to accept it as necessary in today's cyber environment."

    This one is barely worth responding to: Are you focusing on polls? Poll results are different, based on which organization conducts the poll (eg., Rasmussen vs. McClatchy), or on which date the poll is conducted.

    Furthermore, it is blantantly untrue and just plain silly to claim that "most people" don't care about this issue and just accept it as necessary. I know for a fact that the offices of senators and congressional reps are being flooded with calls and emails about it -- because I've spoken to staffers in some of those offices, some in my own state, some in other states. There is tons of outrage on this.

    4) "Yet, we don't know how the disclosures have prevented or will prevent us from doing that which is needed to protect innocent people."

    As already stated, we don't have any evidence that the disclosures have harmed our nation's ability to protect innocent people. We just have the usual excuses and lies from the White House, the DOJ, and the spies running the show. On the other hand, we have learned that the government itself has been secretly operating in ways that are violating the privacy rights of millions of innocent Americans, and that the congressional reps and senators tasked with oversight of these programs either opposed them in their current form (Wyden, Udall) or didn't even know how they were being conducted in the first place. None of which inspires any confidence in our government.

    5) "If it comes out that someone is actually harmed, will you change your thinking?  If so, would it make sense to wait until that happened to change your thinking?"


    6) Another "IF" scenario, and this is not about Stuxnet, the U.S. government spying on Iran. This is about the U.S. government spying on its own citizens. Each and every one of us. On every single bit of communications we emit. In secret. Lying about it to Congress. Lying about it to us.


    Value exists in these programs, IMO (3.50 / 2) (#104)
    by vicndabx on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 10:37:58 PM EST
    While yes, I agree, there have certainly been requests, I doubt the "shadow government" is looking for you or anyone you know.  

    In fact the numbers, in terms of percentages of actual users of each of the programs, is actually not that significant.

    For example, out of approx. 1 Billion Facebook users:


    requests received by Facebook between July and December 2012, affecting 18,000-19,000 accounts

    (I'm assuming you must only be talking about access to social networking software and data, because I'm sure you know the gov't can't access telephone conversations w/o a warrant.  The phone call log stuff has been around for decades and was deemed constitutional by the Supreme Court a long time ago.)

    Further, by ignoring the example I provided and the questions I asked, you do not consider the other side of the coin - that there is some value to be had in keeping some things secret.  The answer IMO, is not to say, well Congress sucks, so we have to do it.  The answer is to improve the oversight that Congress provides.  As you so aptly put

    Poll results are different, based on which organization conducts the poll (eg., Rasmussen vs. McClatchy), or on which date the poll is conducted.

    Yes, the public is fickle and not always the best place to air that which requires careful deliberation.

    What Snowden did does not allow us to have that careful deliberation.  He brings a broadsword to that which requires a scalpel.


    If they're not looking for me (5.00 / 3) (#106)
    by shoephone on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 11:00:50 PM EST
    then they should quit capturing and cataloguing all my communications and internet searches, instead of lying about how its necessary for them to do it.  The xKeyscore documents Snowden provided to the Guardian show that the NSA not only has the ability, but has been taking advantage of the ability to access all of that -- without warrants, and without any oversight.

    You are free to believe whatever you want to about the value and legitimacy of these programs. I base my opinion on what has been publicized, and the fact that so many of our representatives feign ignorance or opposition, and that former intelligence agents have been blowing the whistle and trying to warn us about this for years. I don't care about your hypothetical arguments. I'm dealing with what I actually know about what is occurring.


    Absent Snowden, are we having any (5.00 / 3) (#108)
    by Anne on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 09:31:50 AM EST
    deliberation at all?  Are we asking people like Clapper and Alexander questions, and drawing conclusions from what they aren't telling us, or what they are proved to be lying about?  Are we understanding that, as has been reported extensively, the vast quantities of metadata being collected allow for a considerable amount of information to be known about us even if actual content isn't being examined?

    And should the question of whether or not these programs should be allowed to continue turn on whether they are useful?  Or should there be an overarching and higher standard that applies?

    Why, within the criminal justice system, do we routinely apply the constitutional standards governing the rights of individuals when it would be so much more useful and infinitely easier not to?  Would you buy your government's explanation of usefulness if it wanted to bring to the criminal justice system the programs it has created under the heading of national security?

    Because I have a feeling that you may not be as fully informed about what is and isn't being collected, what it can and can't tell about our activities, and what has and hasn't been going on with efforts to rein in and provide more specificity to these programs, I'd like to suggest that you read some of the fine, if not wonky, work on this being done by Marcy Wheeler.  Just take a look, for starters, at this post, and see where that takes you.

    And let's talk about Michael Hayden, remember him?

    Here's Marcy, writing about a Washington Times article discussing the Snowden incident, and Michael Hayden's thoughts on it:

    To WT's credit, they do acknowledge that Hayden currently works for the Chertoff Group, one of the most corrupt profiteers off the war on terror.

    But it doesn't mention that Hayden's the guy who decided it'd be a good idea to outsource NSA's IT to companies like Booz Allen Hamilton so as to get more people "from this culture" working on NSA's programs in the first place.

    More importantly, it doesn't mention that the 2009 Draft NSA IG Report that Snowden leaked provided new details about how Hayden made the final decision to continue the illegal wiretapping program even after DOJ's top lawyers judged it illegal in 2004.

    Edward Snowden leaked new details of Michael Hayden's crime. He leaked new details of how Hayden betrayed the public trust in probably more serious fashion than Edward Snowden has.

    And yet somehow Michael Hayden continues to be the primary go-to guy to talk about how serious this leak is? Michael Hayden gets to opine about how Edward Snowden should be made an example of?

    Now, perhaps applying Hayden's own logic would have been valuable years ago. Perhaps if Hayden had been made an example of himself, after he betrayed the public trust and broke the law, we not only would have more trust in the NSA, but we have a better understanding of what NSA did then and is doing now.

    But since we didn't, Michael Hayden remains one primary exhibit about why Snowden's leaks, however illegal, have a certain legitimacy.

    Because so long as Michael Hayden runs free, we know the government refuses to police itself on these issues.

    It's all very rich for one criminal to call for another criminal to be made an example of. But the responsible press should at least point out how ironic it is that the criminal who escaped justice insists those who have exposed new details of his own crime get the full brunt of it.

    Please, I beg of you, don't keep repeating sound bites from network news reports.  If we're going to have the kind of deliberative discussion you say you want and we need, we have to drill down into this a lot deeper than what we're getting from news anchors and people who read off of teleprompters.


    Hmmm (2.00 / 2) (#109)
    by vicndabx on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 11:24:58 PM EST
    I don't remember hearing about Stuxnet on the news.

    I wonder did you watch the hearings? I did.

    I see you too do not want to discuss the level of transparency needed using an actual example.

    I find your assumptions insulting. Merely because I don't swallow your side whole I must not have my sources straight. I need Marcy to tell me gov't insiders have the hookup?  I am shocked shocked shocked. I also didn't know lawyers were judges now.

    You would prefer the cart before the horse approach. Fire everyone, reveal everything, then discuss whether it was worth it. I don't think that's a good idea.


    Anne (none / 0) (#110)
    by Politalkix on Sat Aug 03, 2013 at 11:45:24 PM EST
    You are padding your paragraphs with generalities while avoiding specific topics like Stuxnet. Cyber warfare programs like Stuxnet have allowed the United States and Israel to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions for the time being without taking more provocative steps like bombing Iran's nuclear facilities or using military force.
    IMO, that is a good thing.  

    Really (5.00 / 3) (#98)
    by lentinel on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 03:20:29 PM EST

    You're talking in riddles.

    The geopolitical impact, whatever that is, has no meaning whatsoever.

    What hadn't been made clear was the extent to which we're spying on our own citizens - wholesale indiscriminate spying.

    The outing of Valerie Plame - there was an example of someone being put in real danger.

    But this? Please. Don't you think that people around the globe have been aware for some time that we're not quite what we purport to be?


    "some responsible, secure person," (5.00 / 3) (#80)
    by shoephone on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 12:09:54 PM EST
    "congress, whatever."

    LOL. Yeah, "whatever" about sums up the intellectual heft of your comments.


    Pretty sad (2.00 / 1) (#101)
    by Mikado Cat on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 05:00:33 PM EST
    If there is no member of congress you would trust.

    I would pick a couple, and tell them do something or within 30 days the same information goes to the media.


    "Do something"? (5.00 / 3) (#102)
    by shoephone on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 05:40:28 PM EST
    What is it you think they could do in thirty days or less to repair the damage that's been done so far? Are the two congresspeople you would pick be able to -- on their own -- shut down the programs? The foundation for this nonsense was laid on 9/12/2001, and the unaccountable secret spying programs began in earnest in 2002. In the ensuing eleven years, programs have been expanded upon to a degree where many of those in office have had no idea what has  really been going on...and you think it's realistic that two of them -- ANY of them -- would "do something" to change it in thirty days time??

    You have a fundamentally warped view of how congress works.

    And, as far as trust goes, many of those given phony oversight powers have been bought and paid for by defense and security contractors.  


    It has been over thirty days since (5.00 / 3) (#103)
    by MO Blue on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 06:30:38 PM EST
    Snowden first released information. Approximately 535 members of Congress have this information. Please advise exactly what they have changed in these programs since they received the information.

    Did Congress charge NSA personnel with perjury for lying to Congress and the American people. No.

    Have any of the programs been dismantled? No.

    Has Booz Allen lost their contracts? No. In fact, they were relieved of any responsibility and were given additional contracts for over a billion dollars.


    According (5.00 / 3) (#96)
    by lentinel on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 03:13:24 PM EST
    to Obama, who some consider responsible and secure, congress had been given this information. If this is true, you can see how little they cared about it. How little it bothered them. And Obama called this massive spying, "an inconvenience". His impulse is to protect the program.

    So much for the responsible and secure ones.

    Simply put, the entrenched bureaucracy wants to do whatever they want to do and to be accountable to no one.

    So, ultimately, they have to be challenged from without.


    You mean we can't rely on DiFi? (5.00 / 2) (#99)
    by shoephone on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 03:26:39 PM EST

    Of course it was (5.00 / 3) (#100)
    by sj on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 03:57:35 PM EST
    His impulse is to protect the program.
    There is already so much invested in this program. From Booz Allen to the data center in Utah, and who knows how much in between, there is no way "they" will willingly back down and say oops.

    Sen. Obama warned about Patriot Act abuses. (none / 0) (#105)
    by MO Blue on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 10:58:08 PM EST
    President Obama proved him right.

    And Barack Obama was one of nine senators who signed a letter criticizing the then-current version of the legislation for providing insufficient protections for civil liberties.

    The senators focused on Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which allows the government to obtain "business records" that are "relevant" to a terrorism investigation. Sen. Obama and eight of his colleagues worried that the provision would "allow government fishing expeditions targeting innocent Americans. We believe the government should be required to convince a judge that the records they are seeking have some connection to a suspected terrorist or spy."

    Congress eventually re-authorized the Patriot Act, including Section 215. A few years later, Obama was elected president of the United States. And under President Obama's watch, the NSA engaged in surveillance suspiciously similar to the broad "fishing expeditions" Sen. Obama warned about.

    The government has argued that records of every phone call made in the United States are "relevant" to counter-terrorism investigations generally, allowing them to obtain information about the private phone calls of millions of Americans -- exactly the kind of argument Sen. Obama warned the government would make if the language of Section 215 wasn't tightened.

    Oh, but that was even before he fibbed about (none / 0) (#107)
    by shoephone on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 11:06:00 PM EST
    how he was going to courageously filibuster the FISA law of 2008.