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Edward Snowden, provider of surreptitious government surveillance documents, has temporary safe lodging.

In spite of assurances that Edward Snowden will receive a fair trial, not be tortured or executed, his Russian guardians have thus far refused extradition petitions.

The Justice Department has charged Edward Snowden with the following criminal offences: Theft of Government Property—Unauthorized Communication of National Defense Information—Willful Communication of Classified Communications to an Unauthorized Person.

The Constitution requires defendants' presence during proceedings but Mr. Snowden could formally abrogate this right and request a trial in absentia .

Mr. Snowden has acknowledged theft and publication of aberrant
National Security Agency data mining programs.

So the probing question is, does a citizen by whatever means have the responsibility and right to expose unlawful government activities?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Technically no. (0+ / 0-)

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 07:45:22 PM PDT

    •  On what basis? (0+ / 0-)

      M.L. King seemed to believe in the right of civil disobedience, if you disagree, why quote him in your sig line?

      400ppm : what about my daughter's future?

      by koNko on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 03:08:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But not a legal right (0+ / 0-)

        We certainly have a long history of civil disobedience in this country but it has always been against the law, by definition. Often times those participating will get punished less than they otherwise would, but that's no law.

        If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

        by AoT on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 05:27:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Morally, ethically, yes. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lowgun, koNko

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    by Bisbonian on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 07:50:32 PM PDT

  •  He would be a fool to agree to that. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CroneWit
  •  An interesting concept -- with Skype (0+ / 0-)

    Probably impractical, but an interesting thought.  These, days, there's no real reason for a person to be physically present to be actively involved in a proceeding.

    Another interesting application of this would be to have Snowden appear (electronically) as a sworn-in witness in a Congressional hearing.

  •  his only hope is to stay out of the clutches (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RageKage, PhilJD

    of the US and its minions. If they grab him, it's like Manning, or worse. Solitary, naked humiliation. Along with.. who know? We don't even get to know anymore.

    This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

    by Karl Rover on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 09:21:33 PM PDT

    •  What unlawful government activity has he exposed? (0+ / 0-)

      He and his mouth Greenwald have exposed a lot of supposed system capabilities, but so far, they have provided ZERO evidence of any actual wrongdoing at all, much less any government-sanctioned wrongdoing.  Until and unless they provide evidence of any actual illegal, sanctioned, warrantless eavesdropping on Americans, Snowden is just a criminal.

      •  If only Snowden hadn't done what he did, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PhilJD

        the NSA could be happily conducting these extremely controversial programs with none of the attention discussion and criticism they are now getting.  That would be so much better.  Snowden is a terrible person for causing all of that to happen.

        Totally, Reggid.  We were way better when all this was totally secret.

        We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both. - Former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

        by RageKage on Wed Jul 31, 2013 at 10:02:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nice non-answer (0+ / 0-)

          Your attempted deflection and evasion is hereby rejected.

          Again, what unlawful use of these systems has he exposed?

          Still waiting.

          Anyone?

          Anyone?

          Bueller?

          Bueller?

          •  You will not get an answer ... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Reggid

            ... to your excellent question, Reggid. By the way, the Government has the capability of forcefully stealing every American's property within a week's time. It's called the Armed Forces.

            Of course, that particular brand of paranoia is rightly frowned upon.

            I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

            by Tortmaster on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 12:25:23 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Go to your room. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            stevemb, Karl Rover

            If you are going to be an obnoxious troll, there is no reason to expect a reply.

            My 5 year old daughter has better behavior.

            400ppm : what about my daughter's future?

            by koNko on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 03:18:20 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  What unlawful activity has he exposed? (0+ / 0-)

              there is exactly ZERO evidence of any sanctioned abuse of the eavesdropping capabilities.  So, what, specifically, has he shown?  That if someone wanted to deliberately violate the law, and deliberately skirt safeguards, one might potentially be able to eavesdrop illegally?  

              Um, yeah -- so what?

              •  I have to hand it to you (0+ / 0-)

                Your tin foil hat is absolutely impenetrable with facts and you are so persistently hostile to anyone with a different perspective it does not invite discourse that resembles productive discussion in any way.

                So I have no reason to waste any time trying. Normally, I would not say such a thing. Normally, I would take the time to debate. But in the past few days, I've read enough of your comments to realize that would be a total waste of time for us both so take this as a sign-off.

                Ignore me and I'll ignore you.

                Live and let live. Enjoy your space.

                Don't take it personally, we are just 180 degrees apart and that is the way it is.

                400ppm : what about my daughter's future?

                by koNko on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 09:36:38 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Depends on the legal standards applied (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Karl Rover

        By rule of law by the Constitution, he has already released evidence of that.

        By rule of secret FISA courts, we don't know and may never know but that itself suggests unconstitutional activity since there is no balance of powers in that court, so on the face of it we can discount any secret rulings.

        By the rule of Reggid, I'm sure Snowdon, Manning and any other whistle-blower is guilty as hell of whatever you decide.

        But that is of no practical consequence.

        400ppm : what about my daughter's future?

        by koNko on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 03:15:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  He revealed that he had access (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Karl Rover

        to all sorts of information that no one should legally have access to without a warrant. For one.

        Just as importantly he revealed the programs that the government claims are legal but were until now unable to be tested in court as to their constitutionality. There has already been a case filed that could not have been without these releases.

        He also revealed that the NSA has been constantly lying to the public and, in at least one case, directly to congress.

        This information is about more than just what's illegal.

        If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

        by AoT on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 05:34:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Um, no he hasn't -- you're making things up (0+ / 0-)

          He hasn't shown us ANYTHING that anyone has illegally obtained without a warrant.  That is a complete fabrication.  Even Greenwald and Snowden aren't making that claim -- so why are you?  Did they dupe you into confusing and conflating potential capabilities with actual unlawful abuse?

          •  So you want him to release more document (0+ / 0-)

            to the public while at the same time you are claiming that what he's released already borders on treason? No, he doesn't have absolute proof of these things, but the information he released was good enough for the courts to start a case to determine the legality of some of these programs. You don't seem to understand that we don't actually know whether these programs are legal or not because the court hasn't ruled on them yet. Or are you saying that the court cases that have finally been brought and accepted by the court are based on nothing?

            If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

            by AoT on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 06:27:50 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Um, I'd like some actual, you know, EVIDENCE (0+ / 0-)

              Greenwald and Snowden are the ones making these claims -- so, what are they waiting for?  Their entire premise rests on this claim that any analyst could use the programs designed for foreign surveillance and easily eavesdrop on Americans instead, without a warrant, without authorization, without restraints, and without consequence.  THEY are the ones claiming this, so you know, it would be kinda nice if, after all these months, they actually gave us something, anything, that actually showed us that their key claim is even remotely true?

              Wouldn't that be nice?

              •  So you want more illegal document releases (0+ / 0-)

                and you want him punished for releasing documents.

                The real question is what exactly do you want as evidence? They certainly aren't denying that they're collecting the information, even if they claim they aren't actually "collecting" it. You just don't care that they have access to literally everything?

                If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

                by AoT on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 08:27:20 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  He Reminds Me Of The Lawyer In An Old Joke (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  AoT, Karl Rover
                  So you want more illegal document releases and you want him punished for releasing documents.
                  "First, I will prove that my client never rented this van. Next, I will prove that this van was already damaged when my client took possession. Finally, I will prove that this van was in perfect condition when my client returned it."

                  On the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog... but everybody knows if you're a jackass.

                  by stevemb on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 10:18:19 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  Uh, no. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Reggid, sewaneepat

    If a citizen sees illegal activity taking place, and there is classified information involved, he or she should take it to the organization's ombudsman, or to one of the Congressional Intelligence committees. Or law enforcement (the FBI, for instance). You don't run off to China and do a data dump in the Guardian. Not if uncovering illegal acts is your true goal.

    •  Plus, he has yet to reveal any illegal activity (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sewaneepat, doc2

      All we know so far is what the systems potentially may be able to do in terms of potential capabilities (which is still a matter of dispute).   We've yet to see any actual evidence of any such abuse or illegalities.

      It really makes one wonder -- if, as Snowden claims, he could have sat there and at any time eavesdropped on anyone, anywhere, without authorization or consequence, then WHY DIDN'T HE?   I mean, he's already proven that he was willing to commit serious crimes, even potentially committing treason, to make his claims.  We know he would infiltrate a contractor solely to work on a higly-classified program with the sole purpose of stealing highly-classified materials, including many having nothing to do with his allegations, and would then immediately flee to China and Russia with them, and threaten to harm the US with release of some of those documents.

      So why, if he was willing to go through all that and become a fugitive from potential espionage/treason charges, did he not gather any evidence that any illegal, warrantless eavesdropping was actually occurring with the approval of the government?

      It seems to me, based on his behavior and what he and Greenwald are NOT saying, that either (a) he could not actually do what he claimed he could; and/or (b) he knew that if he tried, he'd be caught.

      In other words, the fact that he didn't prove his claim when he himself had the chance certainly suggests that the meat of his claim is a load of bunk.

    •  The omsbudsman at a corporation? (0+ / 0-)

      You're acting as if everyone he could have gone to didn't already know what he released, including members of congress. Literally hundreds of thousands of people know the information he released and you're pretending he just didn't inform the right people?

      If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

      by AoT on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 05:38:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  ya know (0+ / 0-)

    Russia granted Snowden asylum today....

  •  Some People Are So Cynical! (0+ / 0-)
    In spite of assurances that Edward Snowden will receive a fair trial, not be tortured or executed, his Russian guardians have thus far refused extradition petitions.
    In spite of assurances that millions of dollars are ready to be wired from Nigeria once a few minor fees are taken care of, some people have thus far refused to reach for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

    On the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog... but everybody knows if you're a jackass.

    by stevemb on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 10:14:43 AM PDT

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