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Electronic surveillance
I have it on no authority that Edward Snowden is in cahoots with evil space aliens, or maybe orcs and trolls, or maybe even ... Satan itself! I'm sure this is bad, although to be honest, I'm not sure what exactly cahoots might be, or how one gets into them or out of them. But the important thing is that I can put the word "Snowden" into a sentence with something that the target audience generally considers Very Bad, because if you can't actually assassinate someone, character assassination will have to suffice!

Now, I am offering no evidence for my allegation, unless you count my fevered imagination, but that at least puts me in the exalted company of Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), who last weekend alleged that Snowden is Up To No Good with Russia! Which was particularly insightful of Rogers, given that he last summer was hinting that Snowden was Up To No Good with China, which makes perfectly logical sense, if your sense of logic includes the hallucination that China would send an invaluable espionage asset to Russia.

The real point for Rogers was, of course, once again to distract attention from Snowden's actual revelations, from President Obama's ineffectual response to those revelations, or the possibility that if those revelations forced even the president of the United States to go through the motions of reviewing them, assessing them and responding to them by at least pretending to change the policies revealed by those revelations, then maybe the person who brought the revelations to the public isn't a treasonous traitor, after all. Maybe he's actually a whistleblower. And maybe when a whistleblower brings to public knowledge abuses that even his own critics at least feel the need to pretend to need to reform and/or end, said whistleblower has served a major public service. In a rationally coherent universe, anyway.

Also playing the demonize Snowden game, last weekend, was Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who at least had the grace to play coy, not openly hinting that Snowden is in cahoots with Russia, but instead responding to a question by saying that we don't know whether or not he is. We also don't know whether or not Snowden is in cahoots with evil space aliens, or maybe orcs and trolls, or maybe even Satan itself! See how that works? Because it's always fun to put the burden on proving a negative. If Feinstein had wanted to give an honest but less inflammatory answer, she could have said that there's no evidence to support the allegation.

But if Rogers and Feinstein and their media enablers would rather that people not focus on the abuses revealed by Snowden, or the ineffectuality of the proposed pretend reforms of those abuses, it seems that's exactly what we should do. Over the fold.

In his speech last week on NSA reform, President Obama once again made a dubious attempt to downplay the extent of the scandal, and overall left more questions open than closed. The public was unimpressed with the speech, and for the first time is opposed to the NSA collection of phone metadata. The European public and European commentators also were unimpressed. The inimitable emptywheel analyzed the speech in excruciating detail, and eviscerated it. But no one really expected the proposed reforms to do much more than prevent another Snowden from being able to reveal abuses that, for the most part, will continue.

The White House and other defenders of the NSA vacuum surveillance have tried very hard to obfuscate that facts. ProPublica distilled these efforts into four "questionable claims," which must be read in their entirety at the ProPublica site.

1. There have been no abuses.

2. At least 50 terrorist threats have been averted.

3. The NSA does not do any domestic spying.

4. Snowden failed to take advantage of whistleblower protections.

Peace Action Wisconsin has compiled a comprehensive list of what we have learned, thanks to Snowden. This also must be read in its entirety at the linked site, but the bullet points can be summarized thusly:
How the NSA Spies

-XKeyscore sys­tem

–Prism pro­gram

–Bound­less Informant

–Tap smart­phone data

–Mon­i­tor inter­na­tional finan­cial trans­ac­tions

–Defeat inter­net pri­vacy and secu­rity encryption

–Pay other spy agencies

–NSA dis­guised itself as Google to spy

Who the NSA Spies on

-Ver­i­zon customers

–For­eign embassies

–Pres­i­dents of Brazil and Mexico

–Petro­bras oil company

–The UN

–Al Jazeera Broadcasting

–India

–China

Addi­tional NSA leaks

–Audit finds NSA vio­lated pri­vacy rules thou­sands of times

–NSA shares raw intel­li­gence includ­ing Amer­i­cans’ data with Israel

–National Intel­li­gence Pro­gram “Black Budget”

–US judges sign of on domes­tic com­mu­ni­ca­tions “inad­ver­tently” col­lected by NSA with­out a warrant

And even this list is incomplete, as it doesn't include such other major revelations as the NSA's refusal to deny it spies on members of Congress, or the tapping of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone, or the daily collection of hundreds of millions of text messages, or spying on the European Union, or even the infiltration of online gaming worlds. Even a cursory perusal of these targets raises the obvious questions of what they have to do with terrorism, and what the real purpose of this mass surveillance might really be. And then there's the little matters of the government oversight board determining that the NSA bulk phone calls program is screamingly illegal, and a federal judge ruling that it might be unconstitutional.

Whether or not the White House and its allies understand the depth of the problem they have helped create, the Snowden files have changed the world, and the world is responding (pdf) substantively to those changes, even if the White House and its allies are not. Congressional reformers in the United States also continue to push for genuine reform.

Given the attempts to change the narrative to questions about Snowden, or to pretend away the depth and breadth of the still unfolding scandal, the White House continues not to get the message. Reflexive defenders of mass surveillance, such as Mike Rogers, will continue to fight the dissemination of the message. But it's too late. The message is out, and it continues to get out. Demand for genuine reform continues to build, both in the United States and around the world. The information revealed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden leaves no other option. The White House would best serve itself and the nation if it also supported genuine and substantive reform. Perhaps President Obama ought to revisit the substantial NSA reforms supported or proposed five years ago by Sen. Obama.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The politicians don't want us to know the truth (63+ / 0-)

    Left or right, its the way our government works. The reality is that with all these incredibly intrusive NSA programs there shouldn't be terrorism, EVER in the USA which begs the question, what do they REALLY want this information for? As long as a few acts of terrorism get through now and then they can keep beating the dead horse that its not quite effective enough and we need more.

    It's fear, nothing more, nothing less, and Americans in general fall for it all the time.

    •  well written comment (16+ / 0-)

      Fear sells especially in a nation that thinks it is exceptional and preaches exceptionalism. ie chosen status.

      Now the day will come in America that the snowden's will meet with a lot  worst fate than snowden is getting or would get.

      America is heading for a police state control by the rich and corp America.

      Even Obama is in on the  spy on all Americans reality. who really controls America? not the politicians.

      Wake up America the empire is self destructing like all empires do. national arrogance and ignorance are first cousins.

    •  Terrorists: The new Red Menace (43+ / 0-)

      Osama bin Laden was a godsend to the national security state, which was starving for a new boogeyman since the fall of the Berlin Wall.  China was pretty weak sauce, and the real enemies -- big corporations -- were their allies rather than their enemies.  Hence 9/11 came along at a very opportune time, and whether Tora Bora was deliberate or not, the failure to catch Osama there was certainly convenient for their budget and power-mongering ambitions.

      At least the Soviet Union was a real enemy, with the potential to destroy us.  Osama bin Laden killed fewer people than JP Morgan Chase, if you look at the economic effects of the 2008 crash, so he was always a somewhat artificial threat.  My sig line refers to this phenomenon.

      Obama speaks for the national security state, in his deeply disingenuous speech.  Seven months after Snowden first surfaced, and that's the best he could come up with?  Maybe nobody in the Oval Office is to be trusted on these matters, but this incumbent, like the last one, is firmly in the camp of lying to us and letting the police state continue to do as it pleases.

      We have always been at war with al Qaeda.

      by Dallasdoc on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:40:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Snowden interview to be broadcast today.... (25+ / 0-)
        The U.S. National Security Agency is involved in industrial espionage and will grab any intelligence it can get its hands on regardless of its value to national security, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden told a German TV network.
        In text released ahead of a lengthy interview to be broadcast on Sunday, ARD TV quoted Snowden saying the NSA does not limit its espionage to issues of national security and he cited German engineering firm, Siemens as one target.
        "If there's information at Siemens that's beneficial to U.S. national interests - even if it doesn't have anything to do with national security - then they'll take that information nevertheless," Snowden said, according to ARD, which recorded the interview in Russia where he has claimed asylum.
        http://uk.reuters.com/...

        For our fallen solders who come home from Afghanistan to Dover AF mortuary, "God bless the cause of "The Good War" for which they died" - As if any war can be called Good in its 13th year, America's longest war.

        by allenjo on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:58:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, spying is just as much ECONOMIC for the (15+ / 0-)

          1 percent as it is to stop terrorism, which as now defined INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM.

          Beyond corrupt.  Poke that Big Eyeball where it hurts:

          Question any refutation of Snowden or over-reach with two questions:

          1.  Is it verifiable? (Fancy way of asking if it is a brazen lie)
          2.  Is it name calling or innuendo? (Ad hominem arguments)
          3.  Is it distraction? (Favorite of MSM and Justin Bieber!)
          To date, each counter-argument has failed this test.  Whereas what Snowden has revealed does meet this "1-2-3 Is It Propaganda Test."

          Separation of Church and State AND Corporation

          by Einsteinia on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 12:14:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  tech industry would like to give the impression... (12+ / 0-)
            Hoping to reassure overseas customers, major tech companies (including AOL, which owns The Huffington Post Media Group) have asked the Obama administration for permission to be more open about how they responded to past requests for data from the U.S. government.

            They argue the government snooped on their networks without their knowledge.

            Recent reports based on documents provided by Snowden revealed that the NSA spied on Google and Yahoo customers, unbeknownst to the companies, by secretly tapping cables that connect data centers around the world.

            "The impression is that the tech industry is in league with the U.S. government," Cate said. "But the industry would like to give the impression that they're victims of the U.S. government, too."

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

            For our fallen solders who come home from Afghanistan to Dover AF mortuary, "God bless the cause of "The Good War" for which they died" - As if any war can be called Good in its 13th year, America's longest war.

            by allenjo on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 12:29:01 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  No,we haven't always been at war with al (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        iburl, Kombema, Calamity Jean, RFK Lives

        Qaeda.  As Sibel Edmonds tells us, and an author like Richard Labeviere, in his book Dollars for Terror (published before 9/11), at least until 9/11 the U.S. was supporting and funding al Qaeda.

        The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

        by lysias on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 03:22:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It was also funding the IRA (0+ / 0-)

          and had been for decades. One of the major reasons they were so successful is because of the arms and money sent from the US and the Libyans.

          We've been in bed with and on both sides of every major terrorist organization you can name. We are now reaping what we have sewn sadly, but for the corporations it is being over-used in this campaign of fear. Now that the Russians pose no major threat to our safety, the government has to ratchet up the fear of terrorist groups.

          What saddens me today more than anything is any event that happens unexpectedly is labelled an act of terrorism before anyone even looks twice at it. America has all but redefined the meaning of the word.

        •  Oh, dear. (0+ / 0-)

          Dallasdoc was telling me just the other day that he wasn't sure that people got the 1984 reference in his sig.

          I couldn't quite believe him.

          Now I do.

          "A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence agst. foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home." - James Madison

          by gharlane on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 10:13:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Godsend . . . . or golem. (0+ / 0-)

        Funny how we essentially created bin Laden when he werved our purpose (whatever it really was) in supporting Islamic fundamentalism in Afghanistan.

        And, of course, Osama was at one point in time a CIA asset.

        Like our other thuggish minion, Saddam Hussein, both men died when we had no further purpose for them.

        Fiat justitia ruat caelum "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."

        by bobdevo on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 03:17:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Say it again (0+ / 0-)

        I left this message for another story on Daily Kos but will repeat for this story. Until we elect teachers, plumbers, firefighters and the like as our leaders we will always fall into the trap we are in. That basically goes for pretty much every country. Look at history. Who screwed things up for the general population? Kings, Queens, career politicians, generals, the wealthy and so on. We need to gut the system world wide and now because it is the system that was put into place eons ago that is responsible for the most part. Maybe that sounds like revolution talk or socialism or whatever but who cares what it sounds like. The reality is that what we have now isn't working. It never has except for a small handful of mentally unstable people throughout history who's only purpose in life is the accumulation of wealth, power and control. Only a lunatic would be interested in micromanaging thousands, tens of thousands or even millions of lives.

    •  Unfortunately, America is Not exeptional (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      allenjo, Mysteron, NonnyO, Laconic Lib, quill

      when it comes to government and political lying.

      Except when it comes to believing our government officials (elected or appointed) and politicians don't lie.

      Yup, the lies are about fear.

      "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

      by Ginny in CO on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:49:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Joe McCarthy lied to stir up fears 6 decades ago (10+ / 0-)

        His tactics have been used in a much more sophisticated fashion in the past decade.

        Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

        by RFK Lives on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 01:09:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The U.S. IS exceptional in claiming jurisdiction (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Catrina, Ginny in CO, Catesby

        over crimes (under its law) committed anywhere in the world.  Just what gives the U.S. any jurisdiction over what Assange (an Australian citizen operating abroad) has done?  Why is it a crime for a foreign national to reveal outside the U.S. information that is classified under U.S. law?

        The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

        by lysias on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 03:25:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, the first thing you do (0+ / 0-)

          is define it as a "war."  Presto, insta-jurisdiction.  That whole "crime" and "investigating" and "police work" think is for sissies, UN types and Europeans, especially French people.  But with war.... aaaah!  Now yer talkin'.  Now we can get something done.  And any poor innocents who get in the way are just collateral damage.  Regrettable, but necessary.  (And remember: We have always been at war with Al Qaeda.)  And the world is the battlefield.  From Afghanistan to Berlin to your cell phone and Google account.  They have to do it to Keep Us Safe.

          "A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence agst. foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home." - James Madison

          by gharlane on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 10:19:43 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  That's not correct. (0+ / 0-)

          All nations claim jurisdiction over crimes committed across international borders even if the person was physically outside the country and was not a US citizen. How do you think, for example, international hacking incidents are prosecuted? "Oh, we can't get him, he's a Canadian!"?

          It's however worth noting that while it's a general international standard that crimes committed across international boundaries are treated as if the person committing them is located in the nation where the crime occurred (regardless of their actual physical location), that doesn't mean that they'll necessarily be extradited if charged. Some nations have no extradition treaties, some have them but enforce them poorly, and some carve out exceptions (for example, Sweden doesn't allow extradition for intelligence or military crimes, while the UK does).

          Even when there's no such barriers to extradition, the standards to meet for extradition are generally very high - the court system (in which there are generally a lot of appeals) must prove that the crime the person is charged with would also be its equivalent crime in the sending state, and that the person would not be subjected to worse interrment conditions in the requesting state than are allowed in the sending state. And usually even if the judicial system approves an extradition at every level, the state itself then generally has the right to refuse extradition on its own. And if the person has been surrendered from another state, or is facing other charges locally, or a number of other things, it becomes far more complicated still. As a result, extradition is famously difficult. Even getting Abu Hamza to the US from Britain (the US's closet ally) - we're talking about a guy pretty much everyone hated and who was explicitly working to try to set up terrorist training camps inside the US - took almost a decade, and pledges that he wouldn't even go to supermax prison (which the EU considers not to meet human rights standards).

          Concerning Assange: the DOJ has stated that while the investigation is not closed, they have found nothing on which to prosecute Assange that wouldn't also apply to the New York Times, which is a line they stated they're not willing to cross. There were some claims by former and current Wikileaks personnel that the US tried to entrap Assange into ordering hacking attempts against US targets, but he didn't take part personally (it's sort of a long story... basically Wikileaks and Anonymous kept working closer and closer together as time went on, and ultimately there were entreaties from Anonymous for direct action at whatever target Wikileaks wanted, but it turned out in the end that the main Wikileaks contact within Anonymous was working as an informant in exchange for immunity to prosecution, and by that time, Wikileaks' internal member dealing with the Anonymous contacts had himself turned informant, having grown disillusioned with what Assange was doing with the organization).

          Já þýðir já. Nei þýðir nei. Hvað er svona erfitt við það?

          by Rei on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 12:41:02 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  So you think publication (abroad) of info that the (0+ / 0-)

            U.S. has classified is one of those crimes that triggers extraterritorial jurisdiction?  Does that give Russia or China or Iran or anybody else the right to try Americans whenever an American publishes material that their law prohibits the publication of?  Was Iran's fatwa against Salman Rushdie legally legitimate?

            And don't say that the difference is, they don't have the power.  That's just another way of saying might makes right.

            The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

            by lysias on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 09:17:57 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Where did I say that? (0+ / 0-)

              Even the DOJ doesn't believe publication of classified information is something they could prosecute, let alone me. And as I explicitly mentioned, for an extradition to occur for a crime, the judicial system of the sending state must also determine that what is alleged would be a crime in their state as well.

              Did you even read what I wrote?

              Já þýðir já. Nei þýðir nei. Hvað er svona erfitt við það?

              by Rei on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 09:21:14 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  Exceptionally dangerous, too. n/t (0+ / 0-)

        Fiat justitia ruat caelum "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."

        by bobdevo on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 03:17:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  thought he was is Moscow, not Cahoots /nt (5+ / 0-)

      Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

      by annieli on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 12:23:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I never realized (5+ / 0-)

      that "the land of the free, and the home of the brave" was snark.

      "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

      by Orinoco on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 12:25:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  NSA doesn't want our politicians (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kombema, quill

      ... to know what they're up to.

      Bruce Schneier testified to congress behind closed doors (according to his web-site), saying that they don't  understand what the NSA is up to, and the NSA wasn't being very helpful or informative.

    •  Let's break this into two parts. (0+ / 0-)

      First, what makes you really believe that the politicians with clearance don't know what was and is going on? Do you realize that both houses do have their own SCIF and access to the same documents Snowden had? That the congresscritters have their own staff who can also access data in those SCIFs?
      The lack of sheer outrage on both sides of the aisle isn't tipping you off? The lack of immediate and intensive hearings, with no obfuscation, no delays, no lies permitted did not tip you off?
      Erm, take off the rose colored glasses, they're really, really, really dirty and you can't really see through them.

      Second, Snowden is not a whistleblower. He never attempted to utilize any whistleblower process, did not bring the matter to his Congressional leaders, he did not even bother to communicate with domestic media. He instead ran to foreign media, with the most sensational claims, no successes in intelligence that were beside those reports that were capitalized upon (I know, I've read the original reports and we capitalized upon the intelligence successes).
      That is not a whistleblower, it's a prima donna. Of the "I want what I want, I don't want to do the right thing the right way, pay attention to me now!" school.

      Are there abuses? Not in the way that you think, more in a technical and Constitutional way. That is quite important, as we either have a Constitution or we do not.
      Abuses like scooping all data available and retaining it without reasonable suspicion of US citizens. That is a biggie in and of itself!
      Abuses in that FBI agents sit alongside NSA agents reviewing that data.
      However, his exposing the program before foreign media is without precedent. US news organizations have exposed classified data in the past and withstood pressure, the Pentagon Papers is a fine example of that.
      But instead, he went to foreign media first. He then tries to play the victim card, when he did everything possible to cause the problems he now suffers. Problems that he was briefed upon when he got his clearance and annually after.
      Sorry, but I have no pity for him at all and do not consider him a whistleblower.

      Now, for a newsflash for you.
      Out here, in the real world, every nation that can spies upon other nations, even friends. That is ancient news to anyone who has ever worked anywhere near national intelligence programs. It hasn't lessened, it's increased in the internet age.
      Literally terabytes per hour go flying about in those efforts by every nation with even slight capabilities of internet surveillance. Indeed, about the only nation I can think of that does not have an information espionage and information warfare unit is Somalia.

      I don't mind him going to the press if he at least attempted to use the proper channels, of which there are many in this nation.
      But, no. He instead avoided every legitimate means, then assiduously avoided using US press means, opting instead to exhibit classified information to foreign press organizations, in ways that are designed to cause the utmost in embarrassment, as every leader knows what goes on in the espionage world, but instead they have to give bread and circuses to their ignorant populace, as he's yet again proved that the US never  met a secret that it could keep.
      In short, it's possible to do the right thing in the wrong way. Once upon that course, things always end up going off the wire.

      •  Are you aware (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gharlane

        that 4 former NSA employees (with a total of 144 years of experience between them) who took the "appropriate" whistleblower steps to report what they perceived as abuses within the NSA years before Mr. Snowden, have sent a letter to President Obama asking for a meeting with him?
        They'd like to share with him the information they reported years ago that was never acted upon.
        Their efforts to expose inappropriate NSA activities made them all targets of ridicule, and several were prosecuted, but there were no investigation or actions taken to look into their concerns.
        The four are hoping that relating what they tried to get out in the open years ago will help Obama understand the pattern of deceit & illegalities that have been practiced under multiple NSA Directors, including lying during appearances before Congress.
        YOOHOO- WHY DO YOU SUPPOSE EDWARD SNOWDEN CHOSE TO TAKE A DIFFERENT ROUTE?
        Why do you suppose that a current legislator & a former director of the NSA &  CIA publicly suggested that Snowden be added to the President's "Kill List"?
        Their games have been exposed!
        Would have never happened if Edward Snowden had followed the "legitimate" path, any "whistleblower process".
        As for the domestic media, you mean the ones owned by Rupert Murdoch, GE, the ones whose major investors are Bain Capitol/Thomas H Lee private equity firms (Clear Channel), or National Amusements, which holds controlling interest in CBS/Viacom, and others.
        All the major commercial media in this country are owned by investors from private equity firms, insurance companies, investment firms, corporations, etc..
        Could you suggest which media source you would have approached with this hot potato?
        Compare the reporting in the Guardian and other international papers with the edited reporting from U.S. media sources, and perhaps you'll understand why Mr. Snowden made the choices that he did.
        There's a whole slew of individuals who should be investigated, and perhaps incarcerated here, but Edward Snowden is not one of them.

    •  "Shouldn't be terrorism ever?" (0+ / 0-)

      Certainly, the Patriot Act went too far in trampling the Bill of Rights; and, certainly, these methods of information gathering need to be reeled in considerably.  This is a fact that should have been recognized before the Patriot Act was passed, and certainly before it had existed for over a decade.  It is naive or disingenuous, however, to think or allege that all terrorism can ever be prevented.  Also, while the NSA may collect all those data, there is no way that they could possibly analyze those data in real time.

      As for whether Snowden is a whistleblower or traitor, he is probably a little of both.  He has reportedly admitted to taking his job with the intent of revealing the NSA's practices, which would seem to make him a spy.  He has also revealed more details about surveillance activities, especially those involving foreign heads of state, thereby jeopardizing US foreign relations, than it was necessary to reveal in order to make his point.  I don't know if he is doing it to feed his ego or the egos of his handlers at wikiLeaks, but his agenda is apparently about more than merely blowing a whistle on the overreach of the NSA's activities.  

      If he has proven nothing else, Edward Snowden, as well as  Bradley/Chelsea Manning and others, has demonstrated that the US can't allow a million people access to secrets and expect those secrets to be kept.  

    •  Not quite true. (0+ / 0-)

      While there are some conservatives that support the NSA programs, the GOP is incorporating into their platform a crackdown and condemnation of NSA abuses.

      Of course, one could argue that this is pure politics and wouldn't have happened under a conservative administration--and they'd be correct. However, they are seeking to turn an issue that has public support to their advantage, and while there are a number of Dems also likewise in opposition, it would be prudent for Obama and the rest of the Dems to pay more than lip service to needed reforms, because if our party stays in the wrong camp, it's going to come back and bite us in the ass.

      To sum up, it's wrong from a moral and civil rights perspective, and it's also wrong from the strategic political perspective.

  •  After the Flying Tsarnaev Brothers struck (34+ / 0-)

    on the heels of the Underwear Bomber and the Time Square Bomber, the only people still pushing this are folks with a financial, pure politics or both motives.

    The NSA has spent Billions annually for the last 10 years and thus has left us completely defenseless against Morons.  Well Done NSA, Well Done

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:22:07 AM PST

  •  I've heard that Snowden (37+ / 0-)

    was once in cahoots with the NSA. That by itself is a black mark on his character.

    None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

    by gjohnsit on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:22:39 AM PST

    •  Like Selling Weapons to the Iranians to fund the (11+ / 0-)

      Contras I'm sure it seemed like a really neat idea at the time.

      I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

      by JML9999 on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:31:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  or sending Osama Bin Laudin (5+ / 0-)

        Afghanistan to train the Taliban and Islamic fundies  to fight the Russians. The  NSA doesn't care about security they don't call them spooks for nothing. The ends they protect and serve mean us all harm globally. Cheney said we have to go to the dark side to fight the' terrist's who are gonna kill yer family'. Terrorism has always existed always will.

        If the US really wanted to stop global terrorism the first thing they would do is dismantle the dark side and get rid of the creepy crawlers. Their main job seems to be to reek havoc globally and create terrorists. anywhere that resists the US's 'interests'.

        Not the peoples in our nations interest as we too are pre-criminal terrorists and could become enemies of the state if we step out of line. Obama says the NSA is protecting American business interests which is a cruel joke as the global multinational business's our government protects are working against our national  interests.

        •  U.S. on same side as Al Qaeda in Libya and Syria. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shaharazade

          Judging by the results — Meteor Blades' "Show me what you do" — the real goal of the U.S. always was to smash and destabilize all these countries, one by one. The plan hasn't changed since 2003.

          There is little doubt that some of the most hawkish ideologues in and around the Bush Administration entertain dreams of a kind of endless war. James Woolsey, a former director of Central Intelligence who has been proposed as a Minister of Information in Iraq by Donald Rumsfeld, forecasts a Fourth World War (the third, of course, having been the Cold War), which will last “considerably longer” than either of the first two. One senior British official dryly told Newsweek before the invasion, “Everyone wants to go to Baghdad. Real men want to go to Tehran.” And then, presumably, to Damascus, Beirut, Khartoum, Sanaa, Pyongyang. Richard Perle, one of the most influential advisers to the Pentagon, told an audience not long ago that, with a successful invasion of Iraq, “we could deliver a short message, a two-word message: ‘You’re next.’ ”
          http://www.newyorker.com/...
          It's a matter of public record that this war with Iraq is largely the brainchild of a group of neoconservative intellectuals, who view it as a pilot project. In August a British official close to the Bush team told Newsweek: "Everyone wants to go to Baghdad. Real men want to go to Tehran." In February 2003, according to Ha'aretz, an Israeli newspaper, Under Secretary of State John Bolton told Israeli officials that after defeating Iraq the United States would "deal with" Iran, Syria and North Korea.
          http://www.nytimes.com/...

          The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war. ♥ ♥ ♥ Forget Neo — The One is Minori Urakawa

          by lotlizard on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 10:13:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Perhaps they are benevolent aliens (16+ / 0-)

    trying to save us from ourselves...

    Or it's a cookbook...

    It always seems impossible until its done. -Nelson Mandela

    by chuckvw on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:22:50 AM PST

  •  "said whistleblower has served a major public (15+ / 0-)

    service."

    How can anyone who wants to live in a rational coherent country pretend otherwise?

    then maybe the person who brought the revelations to the public isn't a treasonous traitor, after all.

    Maybe he's actually a whistleblower. And maybe when a whistleblower brings to public knowledge abuses that even his own critics at least feel the need to pretend to need to reform and/or end, said whistleblower has served a major public service. In a rationally coherent universe, anyway.

    For our fallen solders who come home from Afghanistan to Dover AF mortuary, "God bless the cause of "The Good War" for which they died" - As if any war can be called Good in its 13th year, America's longest war.

    by allenjo on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:24:29 AM PST

  •  Nah, Snowden's only an idealist. (8+ / 0-)

    I think he's in cahoots only with himself.

    2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

    by TRPChicago on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:24:55 AM PST

  •  As far as the stuff NSA has done (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hooper, stevemb, sweatyb, fcvaguy

    Only the stuff related to spying on Americans, and sharing that data with Israel is an actual problem. The reality is that countries spy on each other. Enemies, allies, whoever, they all spy on each other. Therein lies the problem with Snowden, he revealed stuff that he really shouldn't have, in regards to spying on other countries. Whether it's an embassy or Merkel or whatever, it's what the NSA and CIA were established to do.

    But spying on Americans, that's a big no no. If regular law enforcement needs a warrant or subpoena for that stuff, then the NSA and CIA should have to at least go through the trouble of finding probable cause.

    Snowden's detractors definitely shouldn't be trying to make him out to be some sort of super villain, but his supporters shouldn't be trying to make him out as a saint either.

    First they came for the farm workers, and I said nothing.

    by Hannibal on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:25:08 AM PST

    •  If given the choice between Snowden... (19+ / 0-)

      leaking all that he did or none of it, I'll take the former.




      Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us. ~ J. Garcia

      by DeadHead on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:59:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's not a zero sum game (0+ / 0-)

        He could have released only some of it, he chose not to. He acted irresponsibly in doing so. It also makes the whole whistleblower thing problematic, since he released stuff that was legal, and a part of the NSA's job. He didn't sell the information or give it to a specific government, so it's also wrong to call what he did treason. Reckless, irresponsible, ham-handed, but not treason.

        First they came for the farm workers, and I said nothing.

        by Hannibal on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 07:36:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  For me, it is. (0+ / 0-)

          When retrospectively weighing the totality of his actions.

          It's water under the bridge, and what I'm saying is, I'm glad he at least did what he did, instead of not doing it at all, out of fear of being too "reckless."

          I refuse to let minor qualms with some of his leaks trump the significant ones.

          Perhaps it's easier for me to look at it in such an "all-or-nothing" way because I'm still unsure as to what exactly you, and others for that matter, consider "irresponsible."

          If we already knew about this "legal" stuff that's "part of the NSA's job," then what's the problem?

          Which leaks do you feel were particularly problematic and why?




          Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us. ~ J. Garcia

          by DeadHead on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 09:39:47 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, stupid stuff (9+ / 0-)

      Like spying on allied heads of state.  Allowed by law and the Constitution, if you don't mind that there seems to be no particular protective purpose it serves that would justify the blow back WHEN it comes out.

      Just because something is "legal" and "Constitutional", doesn't mean that it can't be really f'n dumb and dumber.

      •  There's certainly room for that discussion (0+ / 0-)

        And I wasn't saying that it was right or wrong, just that the NSA and CIA, when they spy on other countries, are doing their job. Perhaps their jobs shouldn't exist, or should be changed, but to act surprised when it's made public that allies spy on each other is disingenuous at best.

        First they came for the farm workers, and I said nothing.

        by Hannibal on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 07:32:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  qsdf (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KingCranky
      The reality is that countries spy on each other.
      Evidence that Angela Merkel or another European ally was wiretapping the Oval office?

      If everyone commits a crime by the way, does that crime stop being a crime?

  •  let's not forget the ad hominem attacks (17+ / 0-)

    I'll point out this delightful hatchet job over at TNR, and add to this excellent list of claims about Snowden. Wilentz's point seems to be that because Snowden was or is something of a Paul-ite, we should discount all his NSA revelations, which is pretty definitionally ad hominem.

    I wrote a long diary about it, but the tl;dr: A major way people discount Snowden (and Greenwald and the rest) is to make the story about Snowden's personality or politics instead of about the substance of what he's brought to light.

    "Don't let it end like this. Tell them I said something." -the last words of Pancho Villa

    by Shef on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:26:03 AM PST

  •  Personally, I think all our spy agencies should... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    whenwego

    ...be free to collect any information they want.  People who want to hobble surveillance only have something to hide.  I don't care if they listen to everything I post on the internet or say on the phone.  I've nothing to hide and if it helps them to find a bad guy, then I've done my part.

    Our enemy is a faceless, countryless enemy acting without much to give him or her away.

    Look at all the school and mall shootings -- our spy agencies are not even collecting enough information to stop them.  So what are you worried about other than being a victim of a crazy person.

  •  Will somebody freaking primary DiFi in CA? (11+ / 0-)

    I mean, enough is enough already!

    And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

    by Pale Jenova on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:32:40 AM PST

  •  If anybody is in league with trolls and goblins (10+ / 0-)

    may I suggest that it's the people who named their company Palantir.

    I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:38:27 AM PST

  •  for what its worth (15+ / 0-)

    the pressure needs to be focused more on Congress.

    WHAT WE'LL DO ON FEBRUARY 11th:

    If you're in the US: Thousands of websites will host banners urging people to call/email Congress. Plans may change, but we intend to ask legislators to oppose the FISA Improvements Act, and support the USA Freedom Act, and enact protections for non-Americans.

    Feb 11th: The Day We Fight Back against mass surveillance.

    Sure hope to see some support here at DKos on that day, and every day.

    Thanks for the diary, LL.

    If I can't dance I don't want to be part of your revolution. ~ Emma Goldman

    by Lady Libertine on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:42:36 AM PST

    •  That is awesome. (7+ / 0-)

      Gives me an outlet for my anger about this. No one enjoys it when I start calling politicians' offices!

      It would be great if there were an action diary, just before we needed to make our phone calls and emails, that included some easily quotable facts and info, especially listing the proposed bills by folks like Wyden, Udall or Sanders, so we can indicate what we want our reps to vote on and why.

      You see things; and you say “Why?” But I dream things that never were; and I say “Why not?” --George Bernard Shaw, JFK, RFK

      by CenPhx on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 12:24:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  yeah, really in the cahoots with evil aliens, that (11+ / 0-)

    is why he will have a live interview in an hour with those evil German aliens on ARD TV, which you can watch here in an hour at 3:45 pm EST.

  •  Nah, it's just Boris and Natasha. n/t (4+ / 0-)

    I'm not paranoid or anything. Everyone just thinks I am.

    by Jim Riggs on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:56:43 AM PST

  •  Oh yeah? Here's my irrefutable refutation! (17+ / 0-)

    I have nothing to hide...and I just want to be safe...And this is just a white privilege issue...And talking about it just helps the Republicans...and if we don't let the NSA do whatever it wants, the terrorists will kill us all!
    Have I covered everything?
    Meanwhile, back in the real world...vacuuming up my phone records and internet browsing history, and those of my family and friends and colleagues, apparently did nothing to prevent the Tsarnaev brothers from carrying out their murderous attack, and the ones killing our family and friends and children are not terrorists but almost always homegrown killers with anger problems or mental illness histories with easy access to guns. About which nothing can be done, because Freedom! Or something.
    And besides, it's not like government agencies with vast surveillance and intelligence capabilities have ever misused them to infiltrate, disrupt, or try to entrap groups of American citizens trying to exercise their rights to demonstrate, protest, and change government policy  - organizations like civil rights or environmental or labor groups or that sort of thing! Right? Right??

    •  You took the words right out of my mouth (7+ / 0-)
      I have nothing to hide...and I just want to be safe...And this is just a white privilege issue...And talking about it just helps the Republicans...and if we don't let the NSA do whatever it wants, the terrorists will kill us all!

      My invisible imaginary friend is the "true" creator

      by Mr Robert on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 12:00:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  "Show me a man, I will FIND you a crime". (8+ / 0-)

        In various forms attributed to Cardinal Richelieu and Lavrenti Beria.

        With sufficient information, only the most absolutely bland and boring people have "nothing to hide".  Since one of the things surveillance has been used for is to suppress people exercising their rights IN the US - you could become a target for expressing an opinion that someone in the NSA doesn't like.  For example: "the NSA is far too intrusive, without effective oversight, unable to prove that it can accomplish its mission, and hideously expensive to boot.  Cut it WAY back and get rid of a lot of the paranoid freaks that it employs".

  •  who (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    al23, jakewaters, Orinoco

    I'm not quite into glorifying Snowden.  What he disclosed was bad--but neglecting his obligation to keep state secrets is troubling to me.  Who determines which info needs to be exposed?  Who determines what info is not important for our security?  Whistle blowing is an important --even patriotic-- exercise--but it should be exposed to a more appropriate agency than to a reporter.  No solution would be perfect, but opening up everything to an individual's fickleness is wrong.  On top of all the other problems, how do we know the complete story is being told?

     

    Actions speak louder than petitions.

    by melvynny on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:57:16 AM PST

  •  Snowden: NSA Involved in 'Industrial Espionage' (11+ / 0-)

    on TV today

    chris hedges calls what is going on a corporate coup d'etat

    what better support for the coup than spying for companies?

    to go along with the bought out politicians

    Snowden: NSA Involved in 'Industrial Espionage'
    In an exclusive television interview to air Sunday night, the NSA whistleblower speaks at length with German public broadcaster ARP TV

  •  You don't have to go as far afield as Rogers (6+ / 0-)

    to get attacks on Snowden. There were plenty of these people on this very site making the same complaints. As every fact that Snowden alleged has bee born out to be correct, I have been waiting for apologies. Its been more like crickets.

    I won't believe corporations are people until Texas executes one. Leo Gerard.

    by tgrshark13 on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 12:02:52 PM PST

    •  Taking the authoritarian, "father knows best," (0+ / 0-)

      … "you vote to pick leaders, you should trust them, you shouldn't need or want to know what those leaders are actually doing in your name" position means never having to say you're sorry.

      The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war. ♥ ♥ ♥ Forget Neo — The One is Minori Urakawa

      by lotlizard on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 10:32:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Church Committee (4+ / 0-)

    I recall during the last big spook scandal that the Church Committee addressed the problem of illegality of this type by government employees.  

    It was meant to be received as a solution to a very egregious failure of the intelligence agencies to behave like good Americans.  

    Well you see what happened. The didn't get all the cancer and now it has grown and metastasized.

    I wouldn't count on Obamacare for a cure.

    "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness," Allen Ginsberg

    by Hermenutic on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 12:05:18 PM PST

  •  I'm starting to believe that about Google (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Timaeus, maryabein, allenjo, whenwego, hooper

    Of course, anytime you search for something on the web, you get bombarded with ads for like products.  Understand that, don't mind that.  Happens on this site all the time, those ads popping up.

    The other day, I looked up in my yellow pages and called a local plumber on the phone.  The very next minute, up pops an ad for "looking for a local plumbing contactor?"

    Freaky.  But it gets worse.

    I have a friend who rescues feral cats with her own funds, and every now and then, I send her a check to help out.  So--there I was the other day, putting a check and a little card into the envelope.  Probably with my computer on, don't recall.

    Then I go to the Dailykos site and up pops--an ad for Alley Cat Allies.

    I can swear, I can feel it itch, the place where they implanted the chip.

  •  Snowden is an evil psychotic terrorist dude. (5+ / 0-)

    No.  Really.  Just like those guys in MAN OF STEEL, DARK KNIGHT RISES, and TREK INTO DARKNESS.  Any person who claims to be hero of the people and not abide by the wishes of the military is an evil psychotic terrorist dude.

  •  They are trying to make Snowden into some kind (8+ / 0-)

    of Sydney Reilly, when in fact he IS a whistleblower, blowing the whistle on J. Edgar Hoover's wet dream.

    Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

    by commonmass on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 12:12:48 PM PST

  •  Great stuff, LL... (9+ / 0-)

    I noticed her more deft handling of the smear too, she's just smarter than Rogers(admittedly not that high a bar):

    Also playing the demonize Snowden game, last weekend, was Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who at least had the grace to play coy, not openly hinting that Snowden is in cahoots with Russia, but instead responding to a question by saying that we don't know whether or not he is.
  •  What a disastrous government we have in (8+ / 0-)

    this country.  This, the failed expenditures for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the feeding of the TBTF banks, the refusal of meaningful responses to climate change.  A govt completely out of touch with the needs or rights of its people and the earth generally.

    We need something else.  I think we should turn our attention to what this something else should be.

    "So listen, oh, Don't wait." Vampire Weekend.

    by Publius2008 on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 12:17:44 PM PST

  •  A Federal judge also ruled ACA unconstitutional (5+ / 0-)

    Doesn't mean a whole lot until it gets to the Supreme Court, really.

    Again, I think this stuff is all a tempest in a tea pot.

  •  this article goes too lightly on Obama (9+ / 0-)
    Perhaps President Obama ought to revisit the substantial NSA reforms supported or proposed five years ago by Sen. Obama.
    "perhaps"? hell, perhaps he should do the correct thing and pardon Snowden for triggering even feeble attempts to reform the greatest threat to our open and free society since McCarthy.  but Obama won't pardon, or even make overtures to bringing Snowden home.  why? oddball perceived midterm politics? or is he so encased in grima-wormtongues that he is actually deluded?  i'd really like to read a reasoned article that attempts to answer this particular question:  why is Obama so wrong-headed about whistle-blowers?
  •  Could it be...? (7+ / 0-)

    Now, I'm not sure I know for whom Snowden is working, but......

  •  Actually your analogy isn't apt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stevemb, duhban

    While their arguments do make you prove a negative, the logic lies in his association with our economic, political, and even military enemies. Both of whom have zero legitimacy when it comes to privacy or civil rights.

  •  I fear Snowden and his contacts. (5+ / 0-)

    Its one thing to protest your governments actions, its another to sabotage your own government.

    Its one thing to sacrifice yourself for your cause, its another to sacrifice others without their consent.

    Snowden represents to me the kind of spirit Ron Paul is looking for, the Kochs are looking for.  Its like blowing up a lab during antiwar protests and killing someone in the Vietnam years.  I'll take Martin Luther King's path.  He took risks beyond imagining himself.  

    Snowden fled right into the hands of someone renowned for his contempt for dissent, privacy and safety for citizens.  That tells me all I need to know about Snowden.

    When I watch the euromaidan coverage and think how Putin figures into that suffering I cannot believe anyone here would revere Snowden at this point.

    •  Well, we all get to speak for ourselves. (4+ / 0-)

      We have a Constitutional amendment about that. For now, anyway.

      Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

      by commonmass on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 01:00:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  dude, you really do need to know more..... (7+ / 0-)
      Snowden fled right into the hands of someone renowned for his contempt for dissent, privacy and safety for citizens.  

      That tells me all I need to know about Snowden.

      For our fallen solders who come home from Afghanistan to Dover AF mortuary, "God bless the cause of "The Good War" for which they died" - As if any war can be called Good in its 13th year, America's longest war.

      by allenjo on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 01:23:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's perfect. (9+ / 0-)
      Snowden represents to me the kind of spirit Ron Paul is looking for, the Kochs are looking for.  Its like blowing up a lab during antiwar protests and killing someone in the Vietnam years.  
      and
      Snowden fled right into the hands of someone renowned for his contempt for dissent, privacy and safety for citizens.  That tells me all I need to know about Snowden.

      When I watch the euromaidan coverage and think how Putin figures into that suffering I cannot believe anyone here would revere Snowden at this point.

      and from the diary:
      But the important thing is that I can put the word "Snowden" into a sentence with something that the target audience generally considers Very Bad, because if you can't actually assassinate someone, character assassination will have to suffice!
    •  Could You Be More Specific? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      allenjo, DeadHead, dicentra, Laconic Lib
      Snowden fled right into the hands of someone renowned for his contempt for dissent, privacy and safety for citizens.
      Are you referring to:

      1. Evil Space Aliens,
      2. Orcs and Trolls, or
      3. Satan

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

      by stevemb on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 01:34:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm sure he refers to Putin (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jakewaters

        and he is correct on that point

        •  No, he isn't. (6+ / 0-)

          How many fucking times does it need to be said before people get it?

          HE WAS EN ROUTE TO ECUADOR. THE US GOVERNMENT REVOKED HIS PASSPORT. THIS STRANDED HIM IN RUSSIA.

          OKAY?

          10-4?

          ROGER.

          OVER AND OUT.




          Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us. ~ J. Garcia

          by DeadHead on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 05:56:25 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  So he had to got to Russia to get to (0+ / 0-)

            Ecuador? Then he had to stay in Russia? Yeah, right. Whatever.

            •  I think I would stay put (in Russia) .. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              DeadHead, TheMomCat, stevemb

              ifin I saw the Bolivian PRESIDENT's plane turnt around ...
              yep .. sure would

              https://thedaywefightback.org/

              by Bozmo2 on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 06:37:36 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Yeah, right, whatever, yourself. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              lotlizard, stevemb

              Instead of coming across like an argumentative buffoon incapable of reading, much like you claimed about the diarist upthread, try reading:

              After disclosing his identity, he fled Hong Kong and landed at Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport on June 23, reportedly for a one-night layover en route to Ecuador. US officials had revoked his passport on June 22. [6] According to Snowden and his traveling partner, Sarah Harrison, he was unable to leave the Moscow airport transit zone with a revoked passport. [7] He remained there until August 1, when the Russian governmentgrantedhim a one-year temporary asylum.




              Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us. ~ J. Garcia

              by DeadHead on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 07:22:40 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  look dude (0+ / 0-)

                I am HAPPY he delivered the goods on the NSA. Look at my comments on this. But don't be naive about where he is and what their intentions/motives are.

                •  Of course you are. (4+ / 0-)

                  You're so happy about him "delivering the goods on the NSA" that you completely ignore the facts surrounding his being in Russia, and go out of your way to ascribe ill intent to him, even when no proof of such intent exists.

                  The same common, run-of-the-mill cognitive dissonance that's been seen with regularity here over the last seven months.




                  Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us. ~ J. Garcia

                  by DeadHead on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 10:29:37 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  You're really uninformed, aren't you? (7+ / 0-)

      Snowden was en route to Ecuador. His passport was revoked, effectively stranding him in Russia.

      Not his intended destination. His choices are limited.

      Here is an excellent comment by nota bene, posted in another diary awhile back, which goes into more detail on that aspect.




      Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us. ~ J. Garcia

      by DeadHead on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 04:04:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You again? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DeadHead

      The smear merchant appears, wrapping him/herself in the mantle of MLK. I hope that you realize that Sarah Palin does that too.

      At least you didn't associate Snowden with the John Birch Society and the KKK like you did in a previous comment.

      A proud member of the Professional Left since 1967.

      by slatsg on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 09:56:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  "fled right into the hands of someone renowned for (0+ / 0-)

      his contempt for dissent"

      Total fucking bullshit, repeating an oft-told lie.  He was travelling THROUGH Russia when the US cancelled his passport.

      Fiat justitia ruat caelum "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."

      by bobdevo on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 03:22:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I've said it before (8+ / 0-)

    I'll say it again, no matter who is in the WH or Congress, now that they have this power, they won't give it up.

    If you are not the lead dog, the view never changes.

    by RepresentUsPlease on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 12:51:26 PM PST

    •  What from the outside looks like an awesome power (0+ / 0-)

      from the inside I suspect is a mighty weighty responsibility.  

      The buck and the digital intelligence bit stops there, not on the press room floor or the witty postings on even our well intentioned idea exchange.  

       

      "I'll press your flesh, you dimwitted sumbitch! " -Pappy O'Daniel

      by jakewaters on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 01:18:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Pres is responsible, as for everything, but (0+ / 0-)

      the power is not actually theirs.  The agencies have agendas of their own.  See the histories of Hoover, Dulles, etc.  Both played their ostensible bosses for dupes and fools and basically did whatever they wanted.

      •  A president has the legal power to stop them. (0+ / 0-)

        They may assassinate him, the way they did JFK, but to chicken out, out of fearing of being killed, is an abdication of responsibility, a failure of duty.

        The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

        by lysias on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 03:29:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Let's slow that one down a bit, eh? (0+ / 0-)

          You have a lot going on in one sentence there.

          Pardon me for being obtuse but
          who is the 'him' who you believe may be assassinated?

          Do you mean Snowden or the President?

          More to the point, the 'they' you assert may kill 'him' is, who exactly?

          Now, 'the way they did JFK' refers to which CT exactly?

          The 'chickening out, out of fearing to be killed' you assert has happened refers to which action on whose part?

          And how does this alleged inaction rise to the level of 'abdication of responsibility' or a 'failure of duty?'

          "I'll press your flesh, you dimwitted sumbitch! " -Pappy O'Daniel

          by jakewaters on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 06:06:09 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  True, but we don't know what realities appear to (0+ / 0-)

          the Pres at any given time.  One can't fight all battles head-on and expect to win any of them.  And isn't O doing more than any other Pres to curb the spy agencies, even this little bit?

  •  Congressional "leaders" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Robert, Laurence Lewis

    Apparently intelligence is not a prerequisite for the leadership position on either the House or Senate Intelligence Committee.  These people are hurting America badly - Snowden is not.

  •  Of course, the truth is that it doesn't (5+ / 0-)

    matter whether Snowden is a spy or a whistleblower when it comes to the facts he has revealed.

    The debate about Snowden's motivations has absolutely NOTHING to do with the veracity of the information revealed.

    It's just another version of shoot the messenger. So boring and so obvious.

    And we have seen lately that President Obama has dissed his own expert policy review panels, never mind what Snowden says.

    President Obama has revealed himself to be either not very bright, or not very concerned with the civil liberties contained withing the Constitution, take your pick.

    When you have the state acting against the interests of the people, what do you call that state? Never mind what you call Obama, Feinstein, Rogers, and the national security surveillance  apparatus, including the massive private conglomeration of entities sucking on the national security teat.

    The call data program has been evaluated by 2 policy review groups and 1 federal judge, numerous civil liberty experts and found to be a worthless piece of shit,with no discernable intelligence value and an infringement of civil liberties, yet the Prez, DiFI and Buck Rogers heartily defend it.

    That gives off a very telling signal to me.

    The Fierce Urgency of Later

    by Faroutman on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 03:24:21 PM PST

  •  I just have several questions about Snowden: (0+ / 0-)

    1) Who actually is paying his bills?  Who are his handlers?

    2) What exactly are his true credentials?  Does he have a Bachelors, Masters or Ph. D degree?  What school did he graduate from?  What did he specialize in to make him qualified to work in high security IT work?

    3) Since his involvement with the government was traced as far back as the Bush Administration, did he find the practices of the previous American regime copacetic?

    These are questions that I've always wanted to find out to add to my knowledge about this situation.

    "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." --Benjamin Franklin

    by politicalceci on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 03:29:21 PM PST

    •  The answer to your question #2 is well known. (0+ / 0-)

      Check Wikipedia, for example.

      •  So, he doesn't have a degree. (0+ / 0-)

        The article didn't mention what qualified him for such sensitive work unlike other systems analysts.  

        "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." --Benjamin Franklin

        by politicalceci on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 08:22:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  He worked for them and somehow they decided (0+ / 0-)

          he's qualified. People without degrees are promoted every once in a while if they are good at what they do. And apparently he was.

          •  But was he trained by qualified people? (0+ / 0-)

            That makes a difference when a person is without a degree and does apprentice work--especially when it comes to obtaining highly sensitive documents.

            "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." --Benjamin Franklin

            by politicalceci on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 08:37:43 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  he was not down with the bush stuff (0+ / 0-)

      3) Since his involvement with the government was traced as far back as the Bush Administration, did he find the practices of the previous American regime copacetic?

      According to his statements, he was hoping that Obama would put an end to some of these programs.  

      To the NSA douchebag who is reading this: "Those who give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

      by Indiana Bob on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 03:26:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  His Arstechnica posts... (0+ / 0-)

        ...don't support that claim. He was never an Obama supporter. Also, Congress had already passed FISA reforms in the second half of 2008, so there wouldn't have been any reason to believe that it was going to be a front burner issue politically in 2009.

    •  If you need a degree to get a job in IT.... (0+ / 0-)

      you're probably not very good at it.  Snowden clearly has some skillz . . . . they still don't know how much stuff he knows about.

      Fiat justitia ruat caelum "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."

      by bobdevo on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 03:26:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Although, it is clear that Snowden knows something (0+ / 0-)

        I am still skeptical on a few points.

        When someone is doing something that is highly meticulous or sensitive for an important entity, don't credentials matter?

         In most cases, people don't get hired without the right qualifying skills. In fact, some folks have to do so many years of study along with extra courses (in the form of an internship, fellowship or post-doctoral appointment) in order to be hired for certain positions. Students even have to get certifications and licenses in vocational schools documenting that they are qualified in the skills that were studied.

          Would a person like a surgeon operating on them without the degrees, certifications, training or proof of internship?

        Documents aside, it just makes me wonder what kind of workers are hired by the government to do top secret, classified work that affects a large number of people nationally or internationally if accredited certifications or credentials don't matter.

        That's all.

        "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." --Benjamin Franklin

        by politicalceci on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 09:53:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Hey, I was told it was just a (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lysias

    "White Privilege" issue anyway ...

  •  PRISM and XKeyscore were both allegations... (0+ / 0-)

    ...that were never proven through actual corroborating evidence. It's fascinating that so many Snowden supporters simply won't admit that.

    As soon as the PRISM claims were published in The Guardian, all of the major U.S. tech companies immediately went on record saying that the claims were false and begged the government to allow them to reveal some of the information on the true nature of the program to the public. The government agreed to a limited release of info, and it was subsequently proven that PRISM acquired information through a standard subpoena process that involved legal supervision on both sides. No backdoors. No unlimited access. No lack of supervision. Not illegal.

    XKeyscore? The "evidence" for the allegations regarding XKeyscore was a single PowerPoint slide. No other slides. No context. No corroborating documents. Just a single slide that Glenn Greenwald provided his own personal interpretation of in terms how it related to NSA surveillance. In essence, it never rises above the level of unsupported speculation.

    •  XKeyscore (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Laurence Lewis

      Had 32 slides in the presentation not just one. The Guardian redacted one of them entirely while publishing the other 31. O Globo Fantistico showed the redacted one in Brazil.

      Other slides in other presentations - from the PRISM deck concerning the UPSTREAM collection also mention XKEYSCORE associated with various SSO collection points. These slides were not published in the Guardian or the Washington Post but were shown in Brazil.

      You can find job listings that contain XKEYSCORE as a required skill along with the names of other programs that have also been leaked. You can also find it in LinkedIn profiles.  All you have to do is see the other listed skills and based on what we have seen of other leaked programs know how it fits in.

      Heck, you can now figure out what many of the other code named missions and systems do that previously were only words in job ad or LinkedIn profiles thanks to the Globe and Mail in Canada publishing the OLYMPIA presentation.

      Saying that there is no evidence for such programs is silly at this point.

      The government hasn't declassified any information related to these systems (except for small portions of PRISM) so they offer no comment about them nor mention them by name. However, they do not deny their existence. Nor do they admit their existence. If they acknowledge their existence then the government can be FOIA'd for documents related to them.

  •  Support the EFF and ACLU (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis

    I'm not even American and I do.

  •  Snowden. (0+ / 0-)

    I'm sorry progressive or not I think Snowden is a media whore and a traitor to his country.  

    If he took a job for a private company then leaked their research to competitors not only would he not have a job he'd never work again.

    As far as I'm concerned the BOY has given us no revelations.  He should never be allowed back in this country.  He is where he belongs in the arms of Mother Russia!  I hope he's enjoying suckling at Putin's breast.

  •  Even the States are beginning to respond. Don't (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis

    forget this:

    Washington state lawmakers introduced a bill Tuesday that would prohibit state and local officials from providing "material support" to the National Security Agency.

    If the bill becomes law, it would deny NSA facilities access to water and electricity from public utilities. The bill would also outlaw NSA research partnerships with state universities and forbid companies with state contracts from working with the NSA.

    "If you have a contract, you're not going to anymore and the prosecutor can bring charges," explains Republican state Rep. David Taylor, who introduced the bill with Democratic state Rep. Luis Moscoso.

    Source: USNews

    The article goes on to state:

    Legislators in several other states – including Arizona, California and Indiana – are sponsoring similar bills, all modeled on the state-level "Fourth Amendment Protection Act" proposal drafted by the Tenth Amendment Center.

    But Washington state is the first where a known NSA center might be affected. That NSA listening post, located within the U.S. Army's Yakima Training Center, is in Taylor's district.

    I credit the national and international push back against illegal and unconstitutional NSA activities squarely on the shoulders of Snowden. So does the other side, only they call it blame.

    "I guess you think you can psych me out by saying really random stuff." -Sora, Hollow Bastion, KH2

    by SphericalXS on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 02:43:57 PM PST

  •  The Real Villian (0+ / 0-)

    The real villain in this affair is the one who is going after Snowden - Eric Holder - who stated in Public that he would never, ever prosecute a criminal bankster after they destroyed millions of American lives. If that isn't criminal treason, I don't know what is.

    The real traitor will get a ten million dollar job at one of his crony banks the minute he gets out of office.

  •  Secrets Kill (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis

    Secrets kill. Vietnam and Iraq, costing thousand of our lives and trillions of dollars, were Both based on fraud. We needed a Snowden than.

  •  "Snowden is in cahoots...": (0+ / 0-)

    A more credible critique of Snowden's associates, beliefs, and possible motives appeared in the current issue of the New Republic, written by Princeton history professor Sean Wilentz.  Laurence Lewis should check it out.
    Carl Silverman

  •  Article (0+ / 0-)

    I appreciate the article but my sentiments are the same.  At the end of the day, if there is anyone who does not believe that Russia, and every other country, is NOT spying on everyone else; then you are sadly naive.  This behavior of running from country to country "sharing" information is going to catch him one day.  There's a saying: any dog that will bring a bone, will carry one! These people don't trust Snowden, they are using him. And as soon as they have no further use for him, he's gone!

    •  he's not sharing with the countries (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wilywascal

      he's sharing with the public. it's not only about spying on other countries, it's about spying on the american public, without probable cause. it's about establishing and normalizing a surveillance state.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 01:58:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Unsupported smear, false premise, logical fallacy. (0+ / 0-)

      There has been no evidence to support that Snowden is "sharing" information exclusively with any particular country where he has sought asylum, as you insinuate. He has gone public with his knowledge, with the principle beneficiaries intended to be the American people. The only government that is going to trust Snowden is one committed to transparency, and that excludes Russia and China. Sadly, it also omits the U.S., despite Obama's pledge to bring transparency to our government.

      Just because others do something doesn't necessarily mean we should, nor is it any guarantee of a corresponding right or necessity. The same holds true for possessing a means or capability. It doesn't instill that it is prudent, wise, or necessary to use that capability. If we could build an army of clones to be used as fodder for the war machine, it wouldn't justify human cloning. We have nuclear weapons, but is using them justified for anything but retaliation in like?

      Any number of nations impose all kinds of restrictions on civil liberties in the name of security; does that mean you want our civil liberties likewise restricted? Or are you just being selective here with what you personally don't value enough to fight for, and/or lack the foresight to perceive the potential ramifications of?

      I don't think anybody objects to spying for purposes of security against antagonistic nations that pose a legitimate threat to our national security (not our economic security or an imagined "right" to preeminence). But that shouldn't mean wholesale spying on innocent civilians on the off chance something of possible value might be gained. And there is no imperative for spying on nations that are transparent and open about their policies and intentions, or that pose no clear and present danger or threat to our physical security.

      What other nation has the same spying capabilities being utilized by the U.S. in conjunction with its allies? So you are starting from a false premise--that they are doing the same thing. While some may certainly seek to spy on rivals as well as enemies, they lack the same capabilities and the scope and scale is nowhere near what is seen with what the U.S. has been engaging in.

      Moreover, when other countries seek to spy on the U.S. or its citizens, we and our government are rightly outraged and not only condemn, but usually penalize the offenders, exhibiting a hypocritical double standard. The proper approach is to discourage unnecessary spying, not encourage or condone it.

  •  Going to Cahoots (0+ / 0-)

    Well you realize that Snowden would have to go to Cahoots with someone, if not an entire country, because one cannot go to Cahoots alone.   You have to be in Cahoots with someone.

    •  Going where? (0+ / 0-)

      It isn't "to" cahoots; the phrase is "in cahoots." And just because it couldn't be perceived at the time that the world was round didn't make Earth flat. You are starting from your own preconceived notion without offering any valid evidence to support your assertion.

      Today, Daniel Ellsberg is widely regarded as a hero for exposing government lies by copying and distributing the Pentagon Papers. How is Snowden's act in substance significantly any different?

  •  Excellent compilation and analysis, Laurence! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis

    One small item you may want to clean up in your block quote from Peace Action Wisconsin:

    –US judges sign of [off] on domes­tic com­mu­ni­ca­tions “inad­ver­tently” col­lected by NSA with­out a warrant
  •  Screw Snowden (0+ / 0-)

    Snowden is a coward and a traitor and he should be tried for treason. We should be using the Olymipcs as a smoke screen to put in an extraction team to bring his sorry ass home. If it were up to me he would hang on the White House Lawn as an example to all other would be traitors.

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