NY Times Editorial Asks Obama for Clemency for Snowden

An editorial in the New York Times requests clemency for NSA surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden.

In retrospect, Mr. Snowden was clearly justified in believing that the only way to blow the whistle on this kind of intelligence-gathering was to expose it to the public and let the resulting furor do the work his superiors would not.

...When someone reveals that government officials have routinely and deliberately broken the law, that person should not face life in prison at the hands of the same government.

The editorial concludes with:

...President Obama should tell his aides to begin finding a way to end Mr. Snowden’s vilification and give him an incentive to return home.

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    Bravo NYT (5.00 / 4) (#1)
    by squeaky on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 02:55:23 PM EST
    Snowden is true patriot IMO. He put everything on the line to defend the Constitution.

    He should be granted Clemency ASAP and hired as a consultant to make sure that the NSA and other Government spy agencies are working within the bounds of US law and the US Constitution.

    Good on the NYT (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Dadler on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 03:18:44 PM EST
    With their relatively recent history of shilling for the falsified company line, in relation to war and destruction and death, the "paper" is to be praised for such a clear statement in support of Snowden and genuine transparency. Does Obama have the nads to do a 360? More importantly to him, if he even believes Snowden deserves clemency and praise, does Obama possess the rhetorical skill to sell it?

    Either way, I will tip the cap top the NYT today. Life in a free country should always surprise you, and today it has.


    I Think the Real Question... (5.00 / 4) (#12)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 09:03:48 AM EST
    ...is the Times doing what it does best, shilling for the administration ?  Without a doubt, I mean seriously, what they are under 'new management' (that should be in gigantic air quotes for effect).

    Is the Administration setting a trap or truly trying to reign him in because of what he will release ?

    If I had to guess, Snowden gotz himself a monster hand and the NSA/Obama Inc knows it.  A hand so glorious, that they might be willing to give him a pass with the understanding that the public never see it.  But if Snowden liked the easy route, he'd be in Hawaii right now with his girl on a sandy beach like all the other NSA contractors.

    I can't imagine anyone facing life in prison trusting our government enough to just give in.  21st century America is not a trustworthy government, nor is the New York Times a trust worthy press outlet.


    Well, actually, the national security ... (none / 0) (#15)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 02:11:01 PM EST
    Scott: "But if Snowden liked the easy route, he'd be in Hawaii right now with his girl on a sandy beach like all the other NSA contractors."

    ... apparatus out here in the islands is hardcore, given that the City and County of Honolulu is the most militarized municipality in the entire United States, and its personnel aren't whiling away the hours with the babes at the beach. They're put through their paces, and they're sent home if they don't perform optimally to their superiors' satisfaction.

    It's a rather odd dichotomy, really, since Hawaii along with Massachusetts is easily one of the most politically liberal states in the union. But political ideologies aside, most local residents recognize that government personnel, military and civilian alike, have an important job to do, and we are content to let them do it with minimal interference. I chalk that up to the longstanding residual effect of the Dec. 1941 Japanese naval assault on Pearl Harbor, and the resultant imposition of martial law in the islands during the Second World War.



    OK Donald... (5.00 / 4) (#25)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 03:58:45 PM EST
    ...you know what I meant, and I pretty sure at some point he and his girl have been on a beach in Hawaii, what should I have said, "Locked in a windowless NSA fortress in Hawaii" ?

    It really had nothing to do with my point, which was that Snowden doesn't seem like the kind of person to take the easy route, which is what the admin will need if they decide to grant him some sort of leniency with a 'no more leaks' contingency.


    I love (5.00 / 3) (#44)
    by lentinel on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 06:22:40 PM EST
    the way the administration has responded so far to calls for "clemency". They say that Snowden should return and he would be given a fair trial - all the protections etc.

    In a pig's eye.

    He'd be in a black hole faster than the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland.


    He would be if he returns now. (none / 0) (#49)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 06:49:23 PM EST
    But I also think that both time and public opinion are presently on his side, at this point. If he has the patience to do so, he should maintain his present public posture and simply wait them out.

    Question....., (none / 0) (#72)
    by NYShooter on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 01:03:39 AM EST
    Not up on the minutia of Snowden's travails, so, I gotta ask: What's his connection to Julian Assange & WikiLeaks that I've seen mentioned in some article? (I think it was in Business Insider.)

    Do you know about this? I don't see it mentioned anywhere here. And, since I know less about Wiki Leaks than I do about the Snowden affair I wonder if you could catch me up to speed?



    Well (none / 0) (#16)
    by squeaky on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 02:40:53 PM EST
    Again minimizing the choice Snowden made.  Interesting...

    Snowden characterized his life in Hawaii as paradise, big paycheck for relatively little work. The decision to give that up was huge. Your characterization of him being in a military camp on a short leash comes from where?


    Funny (none / 0) (#20)
    by jbindc on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 03:01:03 PM EST
    Since Donald didn't even mention Edward Snowden in his comment.

    Donald (5.00 / 2) (#48)
    by lentinel on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 06:33:21 PM EST
    has already laid some contempt upon Snowden - alternately demeaning him as someone insignificant, to someone who is an attention seeker.

    The Times at least concluded  that Snowden had done a positive service for the country in revealing the nature of the geeks who are picking up all kinds of personal information - and the freaks who are their immediate employers.

    It is a position with which I'll wager that Donald is not very sympathetic.


    Browser Problems? (3.00 / 4) (#21)
    by squeaky on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 03:16:31 PM EST
    Donald's comment was in response to the ScottW714's comment which he put in blockquotes at the beginning of his comment:

    Scott: "But if Snowden liked the easy route, he'd be in Hawaii right now with his girl on a sandy beach like all the other NSA contractors."

    Looks to me like Donald taking issue with ScottW714's accurate (imo) assessment of Snowden's situation prior to his whistleblowing.



    Reading problems? (none / 0) (#22)
    by jbindc on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 03:25:28 PM EST
    It looks like SCOTT said something about Edward Snowden, and Donald was giving factual information on the general dynamics of the very liberal Hawaiian population at large and the dichotomy of the very insular military / security culture that is also prominent and how the two groups co-exist.

    That's not what I said at all, squeaky. (none / 0) (#28)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 04:50:35 PM EST
    I was commenting on Scott's mischaracterization of life in Hawaii as an extended beach outing. I said absolutely nothing about Edward Snowden.

    NonSequitur? (none / 0) (#34)
    by squeaky on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 05:13:39 PM EST
    Just waxing poetic? Weird that your response to a comment about Snowden, had nothing to do with Snowden but some arcane aspect of Hawaii?.

    Snowden characterized his life in Hawaii as paradise..  guess you are off on a tangent about other people who live in Hawaii.


    The NYT editorial takes (5.00 / 5) (#3)
    by KeysDan on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 05:05:52 PM EST
    a principled and courageous stand, key to which is identifying Edward Snowden as a "whistleblower."   Found in the editorial's concluding paragraph is, to me, the foundational defense of Mr. Snowden's actions: "When someone reveals that government officials have routinely and deliberately broken the law, that person should not face life in prison at the hands of the same government."

    As for a suitable remedy, the NYT  argues that it is "time to offer a plea bargain or some form of clemency...."    Justice would point to a pardon as the appropriate form of clemency.  If a bargain is necessary, it should be clemency in exchange for skipping punishment for James Clapper, director of National Intelligence who lied under oath to Congress when testifying that NSA was not collecting data on millions of Americans--the truth we learned from Edward Snowden.

    Giving the Pulitzer (5.00 / 5) (#5)
    by scribe on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 06:33:57 PM EST
    to Greeenwald, The Guardian and Snowden would be a good start.

    As would be giving the Nobel Peace Prize to Snowden.  Gawd knows the selection committee has a lot to make up for, giving Obama the award for ... being elected.  And, as time and events have borne out, he sure as hell hasn't really justified the committee's choice.

    Seems (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Mikado Cat on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 08:32:57 PM EST
    like one way to stop the leak, they have tried just about everything else.

    NYT does as far as I can tell exactly what the WH wants it to do, when it wants it, etc. No reason to see this as other than a "unofficial" press release.

    Snowden deserves some kind of protection, but I would also like to see the rest of the information revealed and the operations either shut down or properly monitored.

    Well, as far as I can tell, ... (none / 0) (#14)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 01:50:22 PM EST
    ... you pretty much do exactly what your friends at Fox News and AM squawk radio want you to do, whenever you post right-wing Obama-bashing comments such as this. So I guess in the end, it all sort of balances out, huh?

    stop the insults please (5.00 / 3) (#36)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 05:17:21 PM EST
    I don't watch (none / 0) (#73)
    by Mikado Cat on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 06:52:13 AM EST
    news or listen to talk radio, and generally spend more time on sites like this with a left bias to see what is spinning, so if I hear something originated by Fox, its second hand from some one such as yourself.

    Bu-bu-bu-bu-but, Jeralyn, ... (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 09:15:37 PM EST
    ... Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post says that Edward Snowden is "smug, self-righteous, egotistical, disingenuous, megalomaniacal, overwrought" -- and further, that "George Orwell himself would have told Snowden to chill":

    "Yet the existing oversight, while flawed, is not as feckless as Snowden portrays it, and the degree of intrusion on Americans' privacy, while troubling, is not nearly as menacing as he sees it. In the government's massive database is information about who I called and who they called in turn. Perhaps the government shouldn't have it; surely, there should be more controls over when they can search it. But my metadata almost certainly hasn't been scrutinized; even if it has, the content of the calls remains off-limits."

    (Sigh!) Personally, I think that woman's oddly misplaced sense of ethical propriety, coupled with her ingratiating deference to the D.C. establishment of which she's part, serves only to highlight everything that's wrong with the Beltway press corps today.


    She thinks he should have... (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by unitron on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 11:24:27 PM EST
    ...taken the Ellsburg route.

    Ellsberg disagrees

    Could be. (none / 0) (#13)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 01:41:00 PM EST
    But I think what also comes across in Ms. Marcus's screed is that she's clearly more than a little perturbed that Edward Snowden's revelations embarrassed people whom she's had and maintained good relations all these years, fellow Beltway denizens such as James Clapper.

    If I have one serious reservation about the actions taken by Snowden and then-Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald did, it's that they appeared all too willing to seek out the limelight and insert themselves as central characters into their own otherwise compelling storyline. This made it all too easy for hostile journalists like Ruth Marcus to personalize the issue and make them the primary object for no small amount of public scorn and ridicule, rather than have to address the uncomfortable issues raised by Snowden's national security revelations.

    Contrast that with the behavior four decades earlier of Daniel Ellsberg, who was perfectly content and even eager to remain anonymous, and thus let the incendiary content of the so-called "Pentagon Papers" speak for themselves.

    Of course, the Pentagon Papers story happened just before the Watergate scandal, when Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein and their editor Ben Bradlee made investigative journalism exciting and fashionable -- not to mention personally celebratory and financially lucrative -- with "All the President's Men." I mean, forty years ex post facto, does the general public really remember the name of the reporter at the New York Times who first broke Ellberg's revelations back in 1971, never mind the name of his editor?

    (For the record, that reporter was Neil Sheehan, who would eventually author what's now considered to be one of the truly seminal non-fiction accounts of the Vietnam War, his 1988 Pulitzer Prize-winning A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam. And Sheehan's editor at the Times, who helped him review and analyze reams of Pentagon documents in an ultimately successful attempt to make some sense of it all, was the indefatigable Gerald Gold, who died in relatively comfortable obscurity in Aug. 2012.)



    BS (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by squeaky on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 02:43:27 PM EST
    If I have one serious reservation about the actions taken by Snowden and then-Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald did, it's that they appeared all too willing to seek out the limelight and insert themselves as central characters into their own otherwise compelling storyline.

    Maybe your were sick of Snowden before you had a chance to see the video of his original disclosure, and failed to watch what he had to say. He speaks specifically as to why he came out in public, and it is a million miles away from your characterizing him as some kind of ego maniac who wanted to bask in the public as a star.


    Hush, already. (none / 0) (#31)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 05:01:40 PM EST
    I'm getting really tired of you trying to pick fights with many of us here, by blatantly mischaracterizing what we say.

    Is your life really that devoid of purpose, that you have to constantly resort to creating strawmen in order to draw attention to yourself? You've now done that twice to me in the same thread.

    Suffice to say that I really have no further interest in explaining myself to you, since you have repeatedly demonstrated a remarkable tendency to pay attention to only the stuff you want to hear.

    Have a nice day.


    Leave the Kitchen if You do not like Heat (none / 0) (#32)
    by squeaky on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 05:09:23 PM EST
    You have consistently downplayed Snowden's whistle blowing here at TL.. Not sure why, but this latest smear of you're, suggesting that he did because he craves attention is absurd.

    He made a very clear statement as to why he came out as the NSA whistleblower. From all accounts he is not someone who seeks the limelight, quite the opposite.

    If you do not like your comments to be challenged go somewhere else, blogging is not for you. Telling those who don't swallow your swill to hush up, is poor. But that is your way apparently.


    No, my dear. My issue is solely with you. (none / 0) (#46)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 06:30:07 PM EST
    Over and again, you've deliberately misconstrued what I said for your own purposes. What those purposes are, I haven't the foggiest and frankly, I really don't give a rat's a$$. I've the right to express my own opinions, which I consider just as valid as yours.

    My immediate stated concern with Snowden and Greenwald involved their public tactics once the story broke. For your part, you've now twice gone to rather absurd lengths in this thread to imply that I'm somehow questioning their overall motives behind the NSA leaks.

    At best, that's totally disingenuous on your part, and if one is charitable inclined, one might observe that your reading comprehension is perhaps less than stellar. At worst, what you're doing is outright deceitful. What exactly are you trying to prove here -- that nobody, but nobody, can be more liberal on the burning issues of the day than you?

    Really, squeaky, I'm through arguing with you about this. To paraphrase Clint Eastwood, it's like talking to an empty folding chair on a public stage. And unlike the old guy, I'm not inclined to waste any more of my time.



    My Dear? (none / 0) (#50)
    by squeaky on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 06:54:18 PM EST
    Your position is obvious regarding Snowden. No need to hedge, Donald, as you are entitled to your opinion and your comments reflect your position on the subject.

    I think Snowden is a hero and a true Patriot who took great personal risk; a sacrifice for the greater good.  

    Your backtracking and trying to counter the impression that you are, and have been, less than thrilled with the actions of Snowden and Greenwald is also obvious.

    All that can be distilled from your many many words is that in your opinion Snowden sought the limelight and acted impulsively (uncalculated). What is your conclusion? Do you believe that Snowden failed? Or that his mission was misguided in the first place?  

    Have never praised Snowden's efforts?  

    Resorting to personal attacks against me does not bolster your argument or credibility.


    Transcript (none / 0) (#39)
    by squeaky on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 05:36:04 PM EST
    GLENN GREENWALD: One of the extraordinary parts about this episode is that usually whistleblowers do what they do anonymously and take steps to remain anonymous for as long as they can, which they hope, often, is forever. You, on the other hand, have this attitude of the opposite, which is to declare yourself openly as the person behind these disclosures. Why did you choose to do that?

    EDWARD SNOWDEN: I think that the public is owed an explanation of the motivations behind the people who make these disclosures that are outside of the democratic model. When you are subverting the power of government, that that's a fundamentally dangerous thing to democracy. And if you do that in secret consistently, you know, as the government does when it wants to benefit from a secret action that it took, it will kind of get its officials a mandate to go, "Hey, you know, tell the press about this thing and that thing, so the public is on our side." But they rarely, if ever, do that when an abuse occurs. That falls to individual citizens. But they're typically maligned. You know, it becomes a thing of these people are against the country, they're against the government. But I'm not. I'm no different from anybody else. I don't have special skills. I'm just another guy who sits there, day to day, in the office, watches what happening--what's happening, and goes, "This is something that's not our place to decide. The public needs to decide whether these programs and policies are right or wrong." And I'm willing to go on the record to defend the authenticity of them and say, "I didn't change these. I didn't modify the story. This is the truth. This is what's happening. You should decide whether we need to be doing this."



    Two things: (5.00 / 4) (#23)
    by Anne on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 03:39:55 PM EST
    I think it less likely that Greenwald, Poitras and Gellman sought the limelight as much as that they felt there was some measure of personal safety associated with being in it - and - when there is a concerted campaign launched to discredit those who were the recipients of the Snowden treasure trove of secrets, staying in the limelight in order to correct the record and defend one's actions seems entirely appropriate.

    That could very well be. (none / 0) (#40)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 05:46:41 PM EST
    But I'd also offer that there's a fair measure of security to be had in endeavoring to maintain one's anonymity, too.

    Hindsight's always 20 / 20, of course, but I think it's safe to say that the serious backlash from the national security establishment in the wake of the Snowden leaks was entirely predictable. It's simply my own observation that by deliberately elevating their own public profiles, Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald (albeit perhaps inadvertently) offered themselves up as tempting and convenient scapegoats for those persons who desired for obvious reasons to shift the focus away from the contents of those leaked NSA documents, and onto something -- hell, anything!! -- else.

    The naked public appeal to people's patriotism -- which in this case involved the purposeful demonization of Snowden as a traitor to his country -- may well be the last refuge of political scoundrels. But sad to say, those appeals have more often than not successfully worked their intended magic in the minds of the general public.

    Back in the fall of 2004, as the Bush Texas Air Guard AWOL story threatened to upend that year's presidential race, the Bush / Cheney campaign successfully managed to shift the focus away from the candidate's whereabouts during the latter days of the Vietnam War, and onto the messengers themselves -- in that case, Dan Rather and CBS News -- by questioning the authenticity of one specific supporting document.

    Ten years later, Dan Rather's professional reputation remains in somewhat of a shambles, however undeserving that is, given that the document in question has never been conclusively proved a forgery. And meanwhile, we still don't know where George W. Bush was for those 14 months in question during 1972-73. Mission accomplished.

    I believe that Snowden and Greenwald took an uncalculated risk of potentially eclipsing their own story, by taking a very public personal posture so early on, particularly before we were all able to fully ascertain the serious extent of the NSA's wrongdoing.

    But my beef certainly isn't with Snowden and Greenwald, who probably did what they thought to be in their best interests at the time. I don't discount the fact that they were very much concerned with the potentially adverse personal consequences to themselves, given what they were undertaking. Like I said above, hindsight's always 20 / 20.

    Rather, my issue is with the Beltway establishment and those like Ms. Marcus who act in that establishment's service, and by doing so, continue to sell their souls in the process.

    Happy New Year, Anne. I hope you had a nice holiday season.



    Happy New Year to you, too, Donald; (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by Anne on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 05:57:40 PM EST
    Christmas with a 1-yr old is a special thing, for sure, and even if my grandson didn't have a clue what was going on, the rest of us completely enjoyed seeing the holiday through his eyes!

    Ruth Marcus...jeez...she represents some of the worst of the Village mindset; I tried, but could not read her entire op-ed - it was about seven kinds of disgusting.

    And she gets paid for writing that garbage.


    Uncalculated Risk? (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by squeaky on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 06:17:59 PM EST
    From what Snowden has said the risk was planned and quite calculated. Not sure as to why you would characterize someone with as much smarts and experience as Snowden or Greenwald as
    taking uncalculated risks. Are you suggesting that they are just naive youngsters out for fun?

    As for the beltway echo chamber and in particular the right wing pundits you have quoted, there is zero surprise in that.

    Do you really think they would have any less vile had Snowden kept his identity a secret?

    I know that you are sick of hearing Snowden but here is what he said regarding the calculation of his risk in going public:

    Despite his determination to be publicly unveiled, he repeatedly insisted that he wants to avoid the media spotlight. "I don't want public attention because I don't want the story to be about me. I want it to be about what the US government is doing."

    He does not fear the consequences of going public, he said, only that doing so will distract attention from the issues raised by his disclosures. "I know the media likes to personalise political debates, and I know the government will demonise me."

    Despite these fears, he remained hopeful his outing will not divert attention from the substance of his disclosures. "I really want the focus to be on these documents and the debate which I hope this will trigger among citizens around the globe about what kind of world we want to live in." He added: "My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them."

    He has had "a very comfortable life" that included a salary of roughly $200,000, a girlfriend with whom he shared a home in Hawaii, a stable career, and a family he loves. "I'm willing to sacrifice all of that because I can't in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they're secretly building."

    The Guardian


    Link (none / 0) (#18)
    by squeaky on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 02:44:56 PM EST
    If you, in fact did watch his youtube announcement outing himself as the NSA leaker and need to refresh your revisionist memory,

    here it is...


    Link Here (none / 0) (#19)
    by squeaky on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 02:47:35 PM EST
    why would you even read her? (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 05:17:55 PM EST
    LOL! That's a very good question. (none / 0) (#42)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 06:08:31 PM EST

    But then again, if one is to take issue with the establishment's position, as we are by supporting Snowden's bid for clemency, I think it probably helps to first try to learn what that establishment is thinking.

    And in that regard, Ruth Marcus has long been one of the bellwethers of establishment opinion within the Beltway. In this case, if you read her closely, she goes to great rhetorical lengths to avoid taking direct issue with the actual results of Snowden's revelations, and she grudgingly acknowledges that the public discussion over these matters was probably long overdue.

    While also realizing the inherent problems with reading between the lines of an op-ed, I'd offer that if Marcus is indeed the Beltway barometer I think she is, then the establishment is probably quietly looking for a graceful way to back down from their previously stated public positions regarding Snowden's legal disposition.

    That there may not be any graceful exit strategy for them is beside the point, at least for right now. What Marcus is doing here is really just so much kabuki, but she's nevertheless admitted with this column that the establishment has lost the NSA arguments on its merits -- and that's an important thing to know, if we want Snowden to be able to return the the United States with minimal or no consequences to his personal freedom.



    Speaking of Ruth Marcus... (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by unitron on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 06:57:47 PM EST
    ...Hornsby often strikes me as a jerk, but I enjoyed this tweet of his:

    Richard Hornsby ‏@RichardHornsby

    .@RuthMarcus Glad founders didn't just "stick around, test the monarchy, be punished, & argue they were justified in defying the crown!"

    LOL! (none / 0) (#69)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun Jan 05, 2014 at 07:34:51 PM EST
    Whenever Ruth Marcus is on TV, she sort of reminds me of one of Lily Tomlin's old "Laugh-In" characters, The Tasteful Lady.

    Glenn Greenwald ripped her a new one the other night on CNN.


    Bring him home, clemency...pardon (4.63 / 8) (#10)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 11:58:11 PM EST
    He is a citizen, he was a civilian and a contractor.  This was breach of contract and if we are giving a pass to Wall Street I can't see how Snowden doesn't get one.

    Can't really be treason the same way someone in uniform is.  Sorry, can't be, doesn't work for me, and the powers that be are corrupt and vile bringing big business and corporations into national security and spying as they have and they fully deserve everything they are experiencing and will continue to experience.  They have lost their way, they have utterly lost sight of the Northern star.

    He can always (none / 0) (#33)
    by Politalkix on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 05:09:25 PM EST
    come home in handcuffs and go through a trial.

    If he does not want a trial in the United States, he can remain in Russia under the protection of Putin. Russia has plenty of good beaches.


    Why downrate my opinion? (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 12:06:58 AM EST
    It is only an opinion just as yours is.  So tiresome around here anymore.  Discussion is broken

    When I read things like this: (5.00 / 4) (#58)
    by Anne on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 08:57:31 AM EST
    The world is still reeling from the incredible revelations made by Der Spiegel and Jacob Appelbaum over the NSA's well funded quest to control the world's information. The most newsworthy revelation, at least at first, was DROPOUTJEEP a software program that gives the NSA total access to your iPhone.

    But that is just the beginning of the revelations. As Appelbaum's hour long presentation at the 30th Chaos Communication Congress provided even more amazing details of NSA's  future plans and current operations for dominating global communications and intelligence or, as Appelbaum put it, a "planetary strategic surveillance system."

    There's a lot to unpack that involves both software and hardware tools but let's start with the NSA's three key systems to handle the internet:

    • TURMOIL is deep packet inspection or a passive dragnet surveillance sensors for interception system for the entire internet.

    • TURBINE involves deep packet injection (infection).

    • QFIRE is infrastructure for the other two systems - a way to systematically use TURMOIL to find you then use TURBINE to infect your computer.

    Appelbaum claims TURMOIL violates the Fourth Amendment because it acts as a "general warrant dragnet surveillance system." Whereas TURBINE is not passive but aggressive exploitation into a computer system - also a legally dubious prospect if not legally authorized.

    QFIRE poses even more problems because it compromises other people's routers (not the target) to make sure they can localize attacks which may also violate the Fourth Amendment.


    I can't understand why the people behind this and responsible for it are being defended, and those revealing it or responsible for obtaining the information about it are being treated like traitors.  

    I'm sorry, but cheering for the police state, for policies and activities and programs that are painting over our rights and freedoms with an opaque coat of totalitarianism, doesn't work for me.

    And please don't bother defending it on the basis that it's keeping us safe; no one is safer when so much power resides in the government.


    What doesn't work for me (none / 0) (#67)
    by Politalkix on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 11:03:59 PM EST
    Bedwetting about government surveillance by lefties in America. It is as bad as bedwetting about Islamic terrorism by righties in America.



    What doesn't work for me (5.00 / 3) (#68)
    by Yman on Sun Jan 05, 2014 at 12:49:50 PM EST
    Labeling legitimate concerns about constitutional rights "bedwetting by Lefties" and comparing those legitimate concerns to irrational Islamaphobia on the right.

    Do you really think it makes you appear to be a rational centrist?


    I Read that and All I Thought Was... (none / 0) (#77)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 01:33:12 PM EST
    ...beats bedwetting over the War on Christmas, Madrassas, internment camps, and the always popular non existent voter fraud... IOW, it's a real issues, not made up pandering for the slow witted.

    I do love when the Obama haters get behind him and defend his policies, even indirectly to dumb to realize it's an issue that if they got behind the 'lefties' could seriously tarnish Obama Inc.


    Very balanced opinion (none / 0) (#57)
    by Politalkix on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 08:41:37 AM EST
    on the Snowden affair link unlike the emotional NY Times opinion.

    Then you believe Nixon was correct, I assume (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by Dadler on Sun Jan 05, 2014 at 09:23:16 PM EST
    For going after and prosecuting Ellsberg as he did. You don't think the NSA would do the same break-in job with his shrink today? They wouldn't even have to break in now. The hack attack would be whack. Why would Snowden believe he could get a fair shake in today's post9-11 environment, in which we torture, abuse, throw into solitary on a whim, in which he would be beholden to justice system terribly rigged against defendants? (By the way, it's ironic that your bedwetting charges could easily and rationally be made against egregious post-9/11 responses/wars, which resulted in these breaches of constitutional protections, which lead you to make the bedwetting claim here.)

    Snowden's been demonized by the Obama adminisration to an inexcusable extent -- I'd love to see Hillary, for one, try to reconcile the chasm of logic and humanity between her progressive Ellsberg stance of old (I safely assume she was not part of the pro-Nixon, lock Ellsberg away or execute him for treason crowd) and her completely opposite Snowden stance of today -- and I cannot see how, sans a pardon and guarantees he not be prosecuted, Snowden could ever get a fair trial, or ever stand a chance of being the anything but recipient of what we all now will be cruel and unusual punishment. And I can't see Obama or others in the anti-Snowden camp doing 360s on this issue. So Edward Snowden is stuck in no-person's land and will, even if another country gives him permanent asylum, likely remain in that awful position for a good portion of his life.


    "The hack attack would be whack." (none / 0) (#75)
    by Mr Natural on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 10:18:43 AM EST
    I like that sentence.

    re Clinton & pro-nixon - Hillary Clinton was one of John Doar's two key staffers when Doar, as special counsel to the House Judiciary Committee, ran Tricky Dick to ground.

    If Clinton rolled over on the Constitution I'd be bummed, but hardly surprised.  Nobody's really surprised when presidents get comfortable with power, kick off their shoes, and reveal the inevitable feet of clay.  


    The Break in That Brought Nixon Down... (none / 0) (#78)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 01:42:36 PM EST
    ...is legal today, so long as they got a warrant from the secret court that doesn't ever deny warrant requests.  Sure they would have had to claim the Democratic National Committee was some how related to terrorism, but Fox News is required by their  Mission Statement to make that very claim every 10.5 mins, so no problem.

    Plus of course, they don't have actually break in anymore, they just walk right in electronically, no warrant necessary.  and I suspect what they could find is infinitely more valuable than an actual break-in.


    Good and balanced article (none / 0) (#60)
    by Green26 on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 10:13:35 AM EST
    The article is certain worth reading. Thanks for calling it to our attention.

    Snowden's revelations (none / 0) (#4)
    by Politalkix on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 06:04:24 PM EST
    are not going to prevent China or Russia from building quantum computers and breaking all encryption systems. It will just harm the United States by throwing more obstacles. link

    If you think that scenario's (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by jondee on Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 06:47:21 PM EST
    worrisome, just wait till the filthy lucre fetishizing "job creators" at Goldman Sachs et al get their paws on a quantum computer.

    this is off topic (none / 0) (#35)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 05:16:49 PM EST
    Does not mean (none / 0) (#38)
    by Politalkix on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 05:31:19 PM EST
    that Goldman Sachs or JP Morgan won't get their hands on a quantum computer if China gets its hands on one. After all, JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs are highly regarded employers of the offsprings of China's political elite. link

    Is it just a coincidence that the original destination of Snowden's flight was Hong Kong? Hong Kong is a bankster's paradise, which was obviously not lost on the libertarian minded Snowden. Irrespective of how many gullible idiots or politically motivated people try to portray Snowden as a saint, I will remain convinced that his flight to Hong Kong had more to do with earning the filthy lucre while working with banksters, than anything else.


    There's a third option (none / 0) (#56)
    by Yman on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 08:39:35 AM EST
    Is it just a coincidence that the original destination of Snowden's flight was Hong Kong? Hong Kong is a bankster's paradise, which was obviously not lost on the libertarian minded Snowden. Irrespective of how many gullible idiots or politically motivated people try to portray Snowden as a saint, I will remain convinced that his flight to Hong Kong had more to do with earning the filthy lucre while working with banksters, than anything else.

    Other people may just disagree with your characterization of Snowden and his motivations, particularly since those conclusions are nothing more than utter speculation based on his choice of Hong Kong as a destination.

    Should others assume those conclusions are "politically motivated", or ...?


    That is why you need a trial (none / 0) (#59)
    by Politalkix on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 09:11:42 AM EST
    Snowden's work and associations with Switzerland, Hong Kong, libertarianism, etc just screams to me that the Snowden saga may have a bankster core story that needs to be investigated. You won't get much information without a trial.

    But you have enough information ... (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by Yman on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 08:53:24 PM EST
    ... to make the specious argument about Hong Kong and an imaginary link between Snowden and bankers, not to mention claim that those who support Snowden's actions are "gullible idiots or politically motivated."

    Guess baseless claims and insults don't require a trial ...

    ... or any evidence.


    Yep. Trial by Crude Innuendo. (none / 0) (#76)
    by Mr Natural on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 10:22:32 AM EST
    The Joe McCarthy standard.

    Snowden shouldn't and won't be (none / 0) (#11)
    by Green26 on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 12:05:09 AM EST
    pardoned. Snowden has done enormous damage to US and world security. It isn't in our system of government, and shouldn't be, that individuals be allowed or encouraged to unilaterally make decisions to disclose information like this. Such a policy would be a disaster. He started a national and world debate, but that doesn't and won't trump the damage he has done nor the laws he has broken. He is much more of a traitor than a hero, in my view.

    Why don't you (4.50 / 8) (#29)
    by Repack Rider on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 04:57:19 PM EST
    list the damage done, that is equal to or greater than the rape of the Fourth Amendment?

    Some examples of damage done are: (none / 0) (#53)
    by Green26 on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 10:57:05 PM EST
    providing a general roadmap and description of techniques to enemies and terrorists as to how the US is conducting intelligence,

    disclosing specific intelligence/spying activities;

    the NSA director said the disclosures caused irreversible damage to the US,

    Putin told Snowden to stop damaging his American partners,

    senior UK intelligence officials have stated that the disclosures has caused serious damage to UK intelligence,

    a former CIA director says Snowden is the most damaging leaker in US history,

    damage to US because US allies now think the US isn't capable of doing anything in secret or keeping it secret.


    But don't the people who were engaged ... (none / 0) (#51)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 07:13:46 PM EST
    ... in illegal and unconstitutional domestic espionage activities in the first place, also bear some share of the blame for whatever the damage that's been done to our national security?

    We are a nation of laws, and not of men. And if there is indeed a long-term threat to the national security of our country, I would argue that it most likely comes from those people in high places who have exhibited an unfortunately tendency to consider their activities exempt from the rule of law, rather than from those who may feel compelled to take extraordinary and even extra-legal steps themselves, in order to call such persons to account.



    Using the courts as the litmus test (none / 0) (#52)
    by Green26 on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 10:30:31 PM EST
    for determining whether the program, or aspects of it, are illegal or unconstitutional, it looks like the federal courts are split 1 to 1 so far. I trust that those who believe in the rule of law, also believe in the court system.

    Snowden did one good thing (none / 0) (#55)
    by unitron on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 06:58:09 AM EST
    As did Manning.

    They showed us how sloppy we really are at keeping secret the things that supposedly are in need of being kept secret, and in Snowden's case, that outsourcing work the government should be doing to private contractors isn't the magic cure-all some would have us believe.

    Neither one of those guys should have been able to get their hands on nearly as much as they did, and who knows how many other Mannings and Snowdens there have been who sought out the highest bidder instead of the press.

    Good point on lack of US control (none / 0) (#61)
    by Green26 on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 10:25:44 AM EST
    While control is probably difficult, it seems that there was surprisingly little control and oversight, at least in certain areas.

    It's been reported that Snowden persuaded 20-25 colleagues to give him their passwords in order for him to gather information. They were later fired. This figure was mentioned in a Fred Kaplan article linked by Politalkix above.


    We classify more material now than ever (none / 0) (#71)
    by Dadler on Sun Jan 05, 2014 at 09:35:36 PM EST
    The secrecy has got to end. Maybe, and I mean MAYBE, one percent of this crap, irony intended, needs to be classified or top-secret, the rest is usually done to cover incompetent asses and/or keep all of us pesky and free American citizens from making any waves. It's the message that is important, not persecuting the messenger. But it happens over and over. History repeats. Unpleasantly.

    Joe Nocera of NYT is in Brazil. (none / 0) (#62)
    by oculus on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 12:28:22 PM EST
    He advocates for Brazil to grant Snowdem asylum. Brazil's government is mightily pissed at NSA:


    Yes, NSA was able to (none / 0) (#63)
    by KeysDan on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 02:02:26 PM EST
    eavesdrop on the Brazil president, Dilma Rouseff (personal calls, text messages, and emails).  And, Petrobas, the state-owned oil company.  Perhaps this is more to do about industrial spying by government for industry than to thwart terrorism plots.

    And, as for the Daniel Ellsberg model for a fair trial, Nocera notes: "It is worth remembering that another whistleblower, Daniel Ellsberg, was eventually put on trial for leaking the Pentagon Papers. The case was thrown out of court largely because of government misconduct, starting with the break-in of the office of Ellsberg's psychiatrist. At least as it concerns NSA, government misconduct is now official policy."   Seems that Nocera believes a government misconduct defense would no longer be operational.  


    Joe Nocera is not an attorney. (none / 0) (#64)
    by oculus on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 02:18:33 PM EST
    Are there more shoes to drop? (none / 0) (#74)
    by Mikado Cat on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 07:00:36 AM EST
    Is there more material that could be revealed, or has Snowden released it all to others?

    What would clemency mean?

    Closed door hearings by congress?

    Has anybody else tried to come forward via "legal" channels and do some whistleblowing?

    Seems to me as long as Snowden has outlaw status the government has zero control over him, and as soon as that outlaw status is diminished the government control increases.