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View Diary: NYT: Greenwald, Poitras, MacAskill, Gellman Win Polk Awards (38 comments)

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  •  I agree. It was an excellent debate. (1+ / 0-)
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    I especially want to thank Daniel Ellsberg for the Pentagon Papers and for clearing up something I've been trying to get across for quite some time. When James Clapper was answering the question posed by Senator Wyden about US Person searches, Clapper knew the false statement he was making, but he also knew that the Congressional Committee knew the statement was false. That is what Ellsberg said in so many words at 21:30 in the linked debate.

    That raised a question in my mind: Did Snowden take the job at Booz Allen because he saw Clapper's testimony, and he didn't know that Congress was "in on it"? Here's the timeline:

    Clapper testified on March 12, 2013, which is about three months before Snowden left the country.

    Snowden took his Booz Allen position approximately three months before he left the country.

    In February 2014, Snowden gave an interview to a German reporter and stated the following:

    Snowden: The breaking point is seeing the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, directly lie under oath to Congress – there is no saving an intelligence community that believes that it can lie to the public and to legislators who need to be able to trust it and regulate its actions. Seeing that really meant for me there was no going back. Beyond that, it was the creeping realization that no one else was going to do this. The public had a right to know about these programs. The public had a right to know that which the government is doing in its name.
    (emphasis added). Did Snowden not know that Congress knew the details about the program? Did he not know that Congress knew that Clapper was lying? That raises other questions as well, including: Would Snowden have done what he did if he knew that Congress was aware of the NSA program?

    There were other aspects of the debate I enjoyed, and I listened to all of it, but I think it is important note, as Daniel Ellsberg did at 50:40 of the linked debate:

    "Of course there must be intelligence, and, of course, there must be secrecy about it."
    The questions in my mind are: Who gets to decide to give up national secrets; and, How are they to give them up if they have valid reasons to do so? I believe that a conscientious whistleblower has an absolute right to give up those national secrets that establish a violation of the law, but no more, and that there are procedures available to do so.  


    Rand Paul is to civil liberties as the Disney Channel is to subtle and nuanced acting. Ron Paul thinks he's a wit, but he's only half right.

    by Tortmaster on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 04:50:18 AM PST

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