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Two major American newspapers have printed contrasting views about the issue of Edward Snowden and whether he deserves clemency or a pardon. Many are familiar with the New York Times' take, as it was received with some fanfare here. Their argument was basically that Snowden revealed a treasure trove of information and therefore deserved "some form of clemency." The LA Times issued a quasi-rebuttal on January 7, noting, for example,

"And it’s hyperbole to argue, as The New York Times does in its editorial, that Snowden’s revelations prove that 'government officials have routinely and deliberately broken the law.'”

The LA Times understood that the Snowden treasure trove almost exclusively involved information that had nothing to do with Americans or the Constitution. In the remaining paragraphs, I intend to carefully establish why they're both wrong.

I.  THE NEW "SHOTGUN-STYLE" TOP SECRET INFORMATION DISCLOSERS

The first argument against a Presidential Pardon or Executive Clemency for Snowden boils down to two words: Negative Reinforcement. Behavioral psychologists know that reinforcement can affect behavior. Our tax code is mostly negative and positive financial reinforcement, at least when it comes to deductions, promoting some behaviors while discouraging others. Does Government want to promote or discourage the behavior of individuals like Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning?  

a. A Shotgun of Information Sprayed Willy-Nilly into the Information Marketplace

What happened with the Manning information was a document dump that was akin to taking a loaded data shotgun and firing it 750,000 times into the information marketplace not knowing if you might hurt someone. Snowden has taken a few more precautions, but as you'll see below in the subheading entitled "Damage to American Intelligence-Gathering Capabilities," there has still been a deleterious effect.  

Should a person be allowed to steal thousands or tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of Top Secret documents, disperse them into the wind, and then be allowed to point to one of the documents and say, "There. See. I was justified"? Should that behavior be encouraged or discouraged? Is such a blunt, dangerous and ugly process even necessary? And who gets to decide that " X " is a violation of the Constitution significant enough to permit the disclosure of 100,000 or 200,000 secrets?

In the case of sensitive military and intelligence-gathering information, I think the answer is obviously that a Government must discourage that kind of behavior, especially when there are alternative remedies available.

b. There Are Established and Effective Whistleblowing Procedures in Place

One question thrown about a lot in this debate is "Who elected Snowden?" That question deals with two fundamental issues: (1) Who decides, and (2) How should they decide. In a Democracy, officials are elected who appoint judges to determine questions of constitutionality. They also appoint officials to determine what should and shouldn't be classified and kept from the public at large. Legislators have also provided a system in which whistleblowers can bring attention to issues involving governmental illegality or waste.

That whistleblower system was effective enough in 2012 to encourage more than 1,000 people to contact the Office of Special Counsel. In fact, six months before anyone had heard of Edward Snowden, the OSC reported:

OSC is meeting its duties as an independent investigative and enforcement agency, bringing greater integrity and efficiency to the federal government. OSC is working harder, smarter and with better results than at any time in its history. The agency resolved 1,037 more cases in FY 2012 than in FY 2009. That is a 31% increase, even though staffing levels have remained largely unchanged these four years. Total favorable actions in PPPs in 2012 have increased by 89% over 2011 levels. The USERRA DP for veterans has achieved a 26% favorable resolution rate. More whistleblower disclosures have been resolved, 1,053, than in any previous year. This has truly been a record-setting year.

(emphasis added; Page 10 of the linked pdf). Thousands more contacted the Securities and Exchange Commission. Also well before Snowden, President Obama received praise from the Government Accountability Project for fighting for and ultimately enacting the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012, which included among its reforms provisions that would have applied to Snowden had he elected to follow that route, including:

"... federal employees now are protected (in addition to already-existing scenarios) from reprisal if they: are not the first person to disclose misconduct; disclose misconduct to coworkers or supervisors; disclose the consequences of a policy decision; or blow the whistle while carrying out their job duties."
Specifically, there was a mechanism in place since 2008 for Snowden to blow the whistle in a way that did not harm the country and still got the job done. This was the specific regulation in effect at the time he left for Hong Kong (highlighted in pink):

nsa5

Additionally, there has been whistleblower protection for DOD contractor employees since at least 2006 found in the Code of Federal Regulations.  Title 48 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Subpart 3.9 reads as follows:

nsa7

Statement of Acting DOD Inspector General Gimble, Feb. 14, 2006, at p. 5.  

II.  DAMAGE TO AMERICAN INTELLIGENCE-GATHERING CAPABILITIES

a.  Der Spiegel/Applebaum/"The Catalog"

The documentation that Snowden stole was disseminated to a number of people, and at least one of those individuals, Jacob Applebaum, working with Der Spiegel, has provided veritable seminars of information which could prove useful to terrorists, enemy states and high-end drug cartels. For example, here's a screengrab showing Applebaum during his "seminar," with a picture of one of the top secret NSA devices projected on a screen, including its specifications, and this device can be loaded into a drone to obtain wireless information from an unfriendly target while flying eight miles away:

applebaum

APPLEBAUM @ 16:13 of video linked above: "Here's an example. First Top Secret document of the talk so far. This is a close access operations box.... They say the attack is undetectable.... They say they can do this from as far away as eight miles to inject packets. So, presumably, using this they will be able to exploit a kernel, some vulnerability of some kind, parsing the wireless frames, and I've actually heard ... that they put this hardware in drones."
 

If you are the head of security for a terrorist organization or a drug cartel, what do you do with this information? I would bet that you set up drone observation posts, if not already in place, and institute a protocol of radio silence as soon as a drone is spotted. Below is another of the many top secrets that Applebaum gave away, this one detailing a hardware implant that the NSA could purportedly put into a computer sold to a foreign intelligence target. What is pictured below is a screengrab of exactly where inside the computer you might find the device:

applebaum1


APPLEBAUM @ 53:03 of video linked above: "Here's a USB hardware implant.... It will provide a wireless bridge into the target network with the ability to load exploits.... And here's where you look for it."
 

Again, if you are the head of security for a terrorist organization, enemy state or a drug cartel, what do you do with this information? I would bet that you'd open up all of your computers to look for this device. Most importantly, you would hold a seminar for all of your employees to go over everything exposed in the Applebaum talk or contained in the pages of Der Spiegel.  

b.  Other Valuable Bytes of Information for Terrorists and Foreign Governments

In the LA Times Editorial from January 7, the editors noted the following about a few of the other bytes of information that harm America's intelligence-gathering capabilities:

"Snowden also gave the Guardian a document showing that the NSA had intercepted the communications of then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during a Group of 20 summit in London in 2009. And Snowden revealed in an interview the specific dates and the IP addresses of computers in Hong Kong and on the Chinese mainland that had been hacked by the NSA over four years. Disclosing intelligence operations directed at foreign countries does nothing to protect Americans' privacy, and it doesn't seem to us like whistle-blowing.”
(quoting The New York Times editorial). Most recently, Snowden material has been published that has outted an NSA agent and given a violent terrorist organization the heads-up on exactly how they are being spied on.

III.  WHAT SNOWDEN ULTIMATELY REVEALED WAS THAT SPIES SPY, THAT GOVERNMENTS SPY ON GOVERNMENTS, AND THAT THERE IS A STRENUOUS THREE-BRANCH OVERSIGHT PROCESS INVOLVING NSA PROGRAMS

a.  Worst-Case Scenario.

At the very worst, there has been an active NSA program culling metadata that is so not-bad that even the panel that said it was illegal called for a "winding down" period. The one Judge who has ruled the program to likely be unconstitutional also stayed his injunction. Think about it this way:  Would a federal judge have asked Al Capone to "wind down" his activities? Would a police officer, having caught someone driving 60 in a 15 mph school zone, stayed any enforcement against that driver?

One of the reasons that the program is so not-bad and has been held constitutional by sixteen different judges on thirty-six separate occasions is because it is based on thirty-four-year-old United States Supreme Court precedent. Since the decision in Smith v. Maryland, 442 U.S. 735 (1979), it has been settled law that obtaining telephone metadata does not constitute a search under the Fourth Amendment. The rationale given by the Supreme Court was that a person did not have a "reasonable expectation of privacy" with regard to that information because the person was freely handing it over to a third party--the telephone carrier. Not stated in the opinion is the fact that telephone metadata (i.e. a telephone number, the number called, the duration of the call, and the time of the call) is not really a search because even if you have that information, with nothing more, you've got this:

nsa6


Does that really constitute a search? That may be the worst search ever. To illustrate the point, think of a game of "Hide and Seek" in which you have to find me, knowing only that (a) I am a person, (b) I am somewhere in the United States, and (c) I have an internet connection of some sort. Worst. Search. Ever.

b.  < 300 Unique Queries.

What we've found out is that during the entire year of 2012, the NSA ran a grand total of less than 300 queries of the data. Here's a screengrab of a letter sent by the Department of Justice and maintained on the ACLU website establishing that fact:

nsa


The procedures call for one of the twenty approved NSA agents to run queries only for telephone numbers that have been directly linked to terror actors or their foreign facilitators and financiers. For example, if other on-the-ground intelligence had identified a telephone number belonging to terror suspect Ayman Al-Zawahiri or one of his lieutenants, the NSA would "query" that phone number in the database to see if Al-Zawahiri had called any numbers in the United States. That type of search occurred less than once per day in 2012.    

c.  Actually There Are Four "Branches" of Government Providing Oversight.

We learned recently that there is a Privacy Panel created specifically to provide oversight for matters like this. The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board was created by act of Congress in 2004, but President Bush failed to get it up and running. President Obama forced it into action in 2011, with nominations of the five board members, having to re-nominate three of them because Republicans initially refused to confirm them. It is independent of the judiciary, the executive and the legislature. So, back in December 2011, about a year and a half before anyone had ever heard about Edward Snowden, the Administration went on the record as follows:

Independently established by Congress, the Board’s function is to analyze and review the actions of the executive branch and ensure that concerns with respect to privacy and civil liberties are appropriately considered in the implementation of laws, regulations, and executive branch policies related to counter-terrorism.
In the end, 98.5% of Snowden's revelations have had nothing to do with the Constitution or the privacy rights of Americans; rather, they deal with foreign spycraft. In my opinion--and I think it is patently obvious--Snowden's revelations about foreign spycraft will harm the country. Moreover, because of the public relations response to the issue, we've seen that there is a stringent, multi-tiered oversight mechanism scrutinizing that one domestic NSA program, including the following:

 1.  Judicial
     a.  Including hands-on forward reaching rulings that determine if a newly requested search is legal.
     b.  Periodic "wellness checks" of the system by the FISA Courts to make sure that what the NSA has been doing is still constitutional.
     c.  Right to appeal

2.  Legislative
     a.  Hearings in the House
     b.  Hearings in the Senate
     c.  Laws enacted by Congress

3.  Executive
     a.  Regulations drafted by the Executive Branch (most notably the DOJ)
     b.  Intra-agency regulations
     c.  Intra-agency supervision
     d.  Civil Liberties Protection Officers
     e.  Inspectors General

4.  Independent
     a.  Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board
     b.  The Whistleblower System, which could go through the Judiciary or Executive or the Legislative branch.
     c.  The right of the carrier to be heard.  
     d.  The media

IV. BELIEF IN GOVERNMENT AND IN THE RULE OF LAW

Suspicion of Government and Government employees has become the defining characteristic of Fox News. Democrats, on the other hand, have always been much more on the side of Government employees, although reasonably leery of the upper-echelon military. Most Democrats realize that NSA workers are trying to strike a balance between privacy and security, with the latter being an essential feature of all governments and the former being a linchpin in our unique system. Should we expect an entire agency to act perfectly at all times? Of course not, that's ridiculous. Should we expect an entire agency to turn its back on Executive, Judicial and Legislative oversight, regulations, laws, on-site supervision, the potential for whistleblowing, possible prison sentences and the loss of employment? Again, no, that's ridiculous. Keeping everything in check is the rule of law. The rule of law ensures that "capability" never becomes "actual reality."  

This leads to the "capability" versus "actual reality" dilemma. Sure, the United States Government has the capability to spy on every single person in the country. That capability has been with us for quite some time in one form or another, and it will be with us until the end of the republic. Our Government also has the capability, through its military, of destroying all domestic opposition and taking over the country. The Government could unleash the most spectacular biological agents and nuclear attacks ever known to mankind. But, that's the difference between capability and actual reality.  

For individuals interested in a healthy democracy, a functioning and viable whistleblower system is essential. Edward Snowden and his agents have played a public relations game to scare people about their Government, to make them suspicious of the whistleblower system, and to forget the rule of law. And that may be his greatest crime. For all of these reasons, Edward Snowden stands no chance of obtaining clemency or a pardon, and for the same reasons, The New York Times was wrong and lost in some strange hyperboleland, and the Los Angeles Times failed to go far enough in the other direction.    

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (40+ / 1-)

    Rand Paul is to civil liberties as the Disney Channel is to subtle and nuanced acting. On biblical prophesy: If you play the bible backwards, it says, "Paul is dead."

    by Tortmaster on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 04:00:15 AM PST

  •  The man hasn't been found guilty of anything. (17+ / 0-)

    Ergo, no pardon or clemency are in order.

    That news papers are nattering about this issue (result) merely tells us that people in the news business are also subject to having a poor sense of order, sequence and time. Of course, we could probably deduce that from the fact that they often report about a future they know nothing and can know nothing about.

    http://hannah.smith-family.com

    by hannah on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 04:13:45 AM PST

    •  I've spent a solid four ... (16+ / 0-)

      ... seconds reading and re-reading your takedown of the diary, and, frankly, I can't find any proof of your assertion of bunkness.  

      Rand Paul is to civil liberties as the Disney Channel is to subtle and nuanced acting. On biblical prophesy: If you play the bible backwards, it says, "Paul is dead."

      by Tortmaster on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 04:46:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Four . . . Heh, (23+ / 0-)

        Like your four branches of government? Does that include the legislative, to whom the NSA repeatedly lied and misled?

        What a crock.

        What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

        by agnostic on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 05:00:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It is clearly explained in the diary, unlike ... (5+ / 0-)

          ... the reason for your abusive hide-rate.

          I've stated it before on this board: Clapper was given the spy version of the "Have you stopped beating your wife" question. Any way he responded, he would have been in trouble. He could try his best not to lie and skirt the question, ask for a recess, fake a heart attack or give away Top Secret information. As the head of an intelligence agency, he chose not to give away Top Secret information.

          That was the correct decision, since he knew that Senator Wyden already knew the answer to the question. In correspondence that has been made public between the two since that hearing, it is apparent that Wyden knew that the program existed and what the program did, and that Wyden believed it to be constitutional.

          Rand Paul is to civil liberties as the Disney Channel is to subtle and nuanced acting. On biblical prophesy: If you play the bible backwards, it says, "Paul is dead."

          by Tortmaster on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 05:20:45 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You are very good..... (28+ / 0-)

            ...at making excuses for criminal behavior.  Clapper was under oath I believe.

            We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

            by delver rootnose on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 06:07:02 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  ok, i was really not gonna comment but then you (26+ / 0-)

            said this:

            It is clearly explained in the diary, unlike... the reason for your abusive hide-rate.
            after i cleaned off my keyboard from spitting my drink on it and used a kleenex to dry the tears of laughter from my eyes, i had to comment.

            Tortmaster, you are the king of daily dooshy drive-by HRs without explanation. you, of all people here, have got a lot of nerve questioning others HRs at this point.

            you are a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black, and i think you should know that it's been noticed.

            yeah, go ahead, HR my comment here - you have 5 triple D HRs to give today, and i wouldn't expect any less, but someone needed to call you on your hypocrisy here.

            "Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are." ~St Augustine "When it is dark enough, you can see the stars." ~Charles Beard

            by poligirl on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:27:19 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I will hr for personal attacks. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              fcvaguy, Hey338Too, duhban

              I'm not shy about that, but it's not kosher in my own diary. Please find an hr that didn't deserve it, and we will discuss. That shouldn't be hard, right, since it happens "daily"? Thanks in advance!

              Now, you've wasted a lot of time and energy without discussing the topic of the diary. Let me ask you the same thing I've been asking others:

              If Edward Snowden did everything the same except that he only took information about the NSA telephone metadata program, and if he only gave that information to one journalist, would he even need clemency or a pardon?

              Put that big, juicy brain of yours to work on that puzzle! I believe he'd not have needed clemency or a pardon, and that he'd'a been treated like a king. (That's even though every court that  had adjudicated the constitutionality issue had found the program to be legal.) In other words, even if Snowden had made just a reasonable attempt at following whistleblower procedures while not harming the country, he would be writing a book right now and breaking hearts during interviews on The Today Show and GMA.  

              Rand Paul is to civil liberties as the Disney Channel is to subtle and nuanced acting. On biblical prophesy: If you play the bible backwards, it says, "Paul is dead."

              by Tortmaster on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 08:22:39 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  How did he harm the country? (18+ / 0-)

                "Fragmented and confused, we have no plan to combat any of this, but are looking to be saved by the very architects of our ruination."

                by BigAlinWashSt on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 08:38:27 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  See the diary. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  NedSparks, Hey338Too

                  See also the LA Times editorial linked at the top of the diary. See the Applebaum video linked in the diary. The Der Spiegel article linked in the diary. See also the thedailybanter.com article recently published (and linked in the diary) noting that Snowden materials had outed an NSA agent.

                  The Applebaum video, in my opinion, standing alone, constitutes harm.

                  It is universally understood that the NSA brought down the Iranian nuclear reactor computers for quite some time, probably using a device or devices in the Applebaum video or in other Snowden materials. If that delay ends up saving lives that would've been lost in war, I would sure hate to lose that capability.

                  Rand Paul is to civil liberties as the Disney Channel is to subtle and nuanced acting. On biblical prophesy: If you play the bible backwards, it says, "Paul is dead."

                  by Tortmaster on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 09:25:00 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  BigAlinWashSt (6+ / 0-)

                  He did not. Diarist writes like someone who is listening to the voices in his head broadcasting out his posterior on this.

                  Hanna nailed it upthread.

                  Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

                  by divineorder on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 01:52:32 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  ok, i'm gonna address it all now... (24+ / 0-)

                first, i think yes, he would be criminally pursued the same even within the narrow parameters of the metadata collection alone.

                second, this is a personal attack that you are making right now on me:

                Put that big, juicy brain of yours to work on that puzzle!
                ok for thee but not for me?

                third, you are very selective in you HRs and they are not all for personal attacks and many are unwarranted. here are some examples:

                cases where you HRd the attack that you disagreed with, but not the attack that directly preceded (and precipitated) it:

                here

                and here

                also here

                ------------------------------------------

                now lest you say that in that last one the preceding comment is talking about behavior and not the person, well, neither was this gem, but you HRd it nonetheless

                another one talking about behavior and not the person, HRd by you

                the same applies to this one as well.

                --------------------------------------

                and in that above thread, you have 4 HRs, 3 of them questionable as well as a robust discussion by various kossacks of your habit of daily dooshy drive-by HRs.

                -------------------------------------

                and apparently, it's ok to call Snowden a traitor - reccable even - but not Obama and Alexander and the like

                ----------------------------------------

                and it's not only personal attacks. here's one followed by a short discussion of your daily dooshy drive-by HRs by various kossacks. again.

                ------------------------------------------

                and how about some schadenfreude for your morning. some tip jar HRs:

                this one

                and this one

                -------------------------------------------

                basically you wield your HRs often and not for just for personal attacks and many times on things that are just not HRd going by most reasonable standards. and they are almost solely used on people you don't like/agree with while the people that you do like/agree with get a pass for the same behavior. and it's become so blatantly obvious to a lot of folks here that just doing a "Tortmaster" vanity search gets you all kinds of comments, most having to do with your triple D HRing habit.

                someone once said that if you are HRing stuff all the time here or routinely using all of your allotted HRs, then you might be part of the problem (that's paraphrased; it was a while ago). most of the discussion around here doesn't really rise to HR levels, especially among long time kossacks, yet you HR all the time.

                both sides can do insults quite often especially in passionate argument, and yes insults are HRable, but you do not *have* to HR them. most folks practice this most of the time; i would suggest that you might think about practicing it as well.

                sorry to go OT, but you said show me and we'll discuss.

                "Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are." ~St Augustine "When it is dark enough, you can see the stars." ~Charles Beard

                by poligirl on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 10:10:28 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Thanks, poligirl. I missed this great bobswern (13+ / 0-)

                  diary, tortmaster HRed: http://www.dailykos.com/...

                  I'm going to make time to read it.  Very interesting.

                  How did you find all of Tortmaster's HRs?  I would like to find what he HRs so as to read the diaries and comments, because lots of them are really good quality posts.  

                  Information is the currency of democracy. ~Thomas Jefferson

                  by CIndyCasella on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 11:58:33 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  I could go on and on ... (0+ / 0-)

                  ... all day long about this stuff, but it is a big time-waster. If I see an adhom or somebody attacking (not critiquing, attacking) the Democratic Party, that person gets an hr. I won't spend 2 hours debating it, but I will tip a comment nearby that best explains my reasoning for the hr.

                  Perhaps you were angry with my hr of you? You failed to include that in your list. That was for this comment:

                  so good to see you Reggid. how've you been since (13+ / 1-) you left the help desk alone?
                  That's an adhom, and you got hred for it. Funny how you missed that in your links above. Are you defending it? That was rhetorical, as I'm not wasting any more time on this beyond this post. I also note that you have not shown the comments that I have hred. Here's some:
                  No, actually that would be (5+ / 1-)
                  Obama, the Dem Party establishment, and their blind supporters...

                  Thanks, Mr. Rove. (3+ / 1-)

                  Duh, it is homage to the posse's hysteria. (1+ / 2-)
                  Fucking Duh.

                  Really, the diary is quite trollish imo. (66+ / 2-)

                  Trollish = (38+ / 2-)

                  The only traitor are the traitors (14+ / 1-)
                  to the constitution: Obama, Keith Alexander and the like;

                  Me too. After Obama and Dem legislative (8+ / 1-)
                  majorities completely clusterfucked opportunities afforded by the financial crisis it is unlikely that I will ever again vote Dem except perhaps at the local level. Even that is highly questionable.

                  Should we assume that you suggestively selected the most benign hr's? Given the fact that you happened to miss the hr of you, that may be a plausible scenario. But, again, that's rhetorical. I think you just don't like this diary.

                  Rand Paul is to civil liberties as the Disney Channel is to subtle and nuanced acting. On biblical prophesy: If you play the bible backwards, it says, "Paul is dead."

                  by Tortmaster on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 03:08:33 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  see, you are selectively leaving out the context (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    DeadHead, Brecht

                    which proves the HRs are pretty much unwarranted and just triple Ds by you. it's convenient for you to leave out context.

                    also, you said:

                    I will hr for personal attacks. (3+ / 0-)
                    I'm not shy about that, but it's not kosher in my own diary. Please find an hr that didn't deserve it, and we will discuss. That shouldn't be hard, right, since it happens "daily"? Thanks in advance!
                    i painstakingly took the time to not only find several of your HRs (the list i provided is by no means exhaustive whatsoever) and not just link them, but link to the context and spell out the problem.

                    i only had an hour to spend on research so i used a vanity search of your name - that's how i found the ones i used. the fact that you clearly are conceding that there are more out there doesn't speak that well of you and kind of bolsters my case here.

                    and you don't only use them on personal attacks; even you seem to admit this in your above comment, so already you are being less than truthful.

                    no, i'm not mad at getting one of your triple Ds - it's kind of become a badge of honor and small entertainment source (i think i've had more than one as well - can't remember). and why would that be HRable unless of course you think Reggid was soooooo bad a kossack that it rises to the level of insult to compare someone to him? seems that you're admitting Reggid was toxic, which kind of makes me smile cuz it bolsters the case many of us made about him.

                    and no, it's not because i don't like the diary. the diary is fine; i certainly don't agree with it, but it's the establishment's party line and since the establishment is run by Democrats at this point, it's fair to find it defended here as much as i disagree with it. i understand that you would very much like to dismiss this entire conversation with me in order to avoid any kind of introspection, and that's a pretty convenient dodge TM. i've got no problem arguing topic if and when i think something's not being said; i don't need to resort to being punitive.

                    if i were you, i wouldn't take my word for it either. do a vanity search. read some of what you find. look at the names talking about it. it's a wide variety of kossacks, not just one very small group that you conveniently don't like. in fact, in fcvaguy's diary, there were even a few folks who are friends of yours that see the abusive HRs pattern. you don't have to do any introspection, but it couldn't hurt.

                    again:

                    basically you wield your HRs often and not for just for personal attacks and many times on things that are just not HRd going by most reasonable standards. and they are almost solely used on people you don't like/agree with while the people that you do like/agree with get a pass for the same behavior. and it's become so blatantly obvious to a lot of folks here that just doing a "Tortmaster" vanity search gets you all kinds of comments, most having to do with your triple D HRing habit.

                    someone once said that if you are HRing stuff all the time here or routinely using all of your allotted HRs, then you might be part of the problem (that's paraphrased; it was a while ago). most of the discussion around here doesn't really rise to HR levels, especially among long time kossacks, yet you HR all the time.

                    both sides can do insults quite often especially in passionate argument, and yes insults are HRable, but you do not have to HR them. most folks practice this most of the time; i would suggest that you might think about practicing it as well.

                    you don't have to stop your triple D HRing at all unless admin stops you at some point as it did before. and you can ignore me full stop if you want. the problem with your HRing has very little to do with me - i was just bothered by your hypocrisy, that's why i called you on it in the first place. but do some reading and you'll find it's far from just me or me and a couple other folks who disagree with you who think it's a problem. you can stay in denial if you want - i got no problem with that. i just know that if i had this many people saying "whoa" including people i count among friends, i would step back and see if maybe there was something to what they were saying.

                    just sayin'. anyway, have a good day Tortmaster. i'll see you around the blog i'm sure.

                    "Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are." ~St Augustine "When it is dark enough, you can see the stars." ~Charles Beard

                    by poligirl on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 09:02:27 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

              •  I'm glad you asked, Tortmaster. (16+ / 0-)
                Please find an hr that didn't deserve it, and we will discuss. That shouldn't be hard, right, since it happens "daily"? Thanks in advance!
                Nope, not difficult at all, and, you're welcome!

                I've posted this list before. Due to the fact you rarely, if ever, leave explanatory comments, likely because you know you'll get pushback for your HR abuse, I've had to post it as a reply to the comment you abusively HR'd at the time. There's likely been more since the ones I list below.

                One
                Two
                Three
                Four
                Five
                Six
                Seven
                Eight
                Nine

                And more, all in the same diary:
                Ten
                Eleven
                Twelve
                Thirteen

                Still more:
                Fourteen
                Fifteen
                Sixteen

                Some more:
                Seventeen
                Eighteen

                ..................

                Looking forward to your reply.

                Thanks in advance!




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

                by DeadHead on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 10:25:23 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  LOL! (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  fcvaguy, duhban, Tortmaster

                  I look at the first link, and it's Deadhead being a jerk.

                  True, being a jerk isn't HRable, but leave it to Deadhead to link to something that is really more embarrassing for him that it is for Tortmaster.

                  Say, completed your dossier on me yet?  My sig is getting absolutely nobody giddy in anticipation.

                  The dossier on my DKos activities during the Bush administration will be presented on February 3, 2014.

                  by Inland on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 11:31:25 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You forgot to read this one (9+ / 0-)

                    Victim of the system~Bob Marley

                    by LaEscapee on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 11:49:33 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  "I will hr for personal attacks" (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Tortmaster

                      Scandalous.  

                      Let's just say I'd rather see people HRing for personal attacks that the incredible hypocrisy of deadhead mocking someone as "the enforcer" of rules, getting HRd, and then...wait for it...acting as the enforcer in another diary, clearly expecting to be treated better than he treats others.  Again.

                      There's so many layers of douchenheimer going on, it's amazing.

                      The dossier on my DKos activities during the Bush administration will be presented on February 3, 2014.

                      by Inland on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 12:44:52 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                        •  Thanks. I enjoyed seeing WPODK (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Tortmaster

                          fall flat on his face trying to go beyond his usual passive aggressive posturing, and Nada Lemming get all pissed that someone provided a remedial education.  Good times, good times.

                          The dossier on my DKos activities during the Bush administration will be presented on February 3, 2014.

                          by Inland on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 03:23:47 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Once again (6+ / 0-)

                            you are handed your ass and you attempt to deflect and divert the conversation to be about others.

                            Victim of the system~Bob Marley

                            by LaEscapee on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 03:47:12 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You're six hours behind in your reading. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Tortmaster

                            Enjoy the debunkerage proving that Deadhead's attempt to understand the issues is a total fail.

                            http://www.dailykos.com/...

                            The dossier on my DKos activities during the Bush administration will be presented on February 3, 2014.

                            by Inland on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 03:50:25 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Debunking (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            TheMomCat

                            You didn't actually do.

                            The point was, why are the NSA discussions taking place nowadays more worthy of your trolling than they were back during Bush?

                            You never answered that.




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

                            by DeadHead on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 10:00:04 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  The only change is the appearence of WPODK. (0+ / 0-)

                            I guess that I can't answer that question, because I don't troll any diaries.  What's changed is the you, a johnny come lately, deciding to harass anyone who disagrees, or who who as ever disagreed, in every diary and dead thread where he feels safe knowing that he's not going to be punished for being the worst poster on daily kos.

                            And I won't ask you why you're obsessed with harassing people.  The internet is filled with people like you, scratching some sort of itch, and your opinion on why you do it is no more true than any of your other opinions.  

                            No, I'll just laugh while you complain about derailing and messing up diaries while you ask "questions" that have nothing to do with anything but your scratching that itch, as if you have managed to fool anyone.  

                            The dossier on my DKos activities during the Bush administration will be presented on February 3, 2014.

                            by Inland on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 07:53:57 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  ha ha ha ha ha (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            angel d, TheMomCat, Brecht

                            You don't troll any diaries?

                            Why do people keep calling you out for doing it then? And no, not just me. Many others.

                            A johnny come lately? People who've been here longer than you are saying the same thing. According to them, you've been doing this shit for years.




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

                            by DeadHead on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 12:26:30 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Nope. (0+ / 0-)
                            Why do people keep calling you out for doing it then?
                            It's a big internet.  You're just the worst poster, but not the only one who confuses disagreeing with trolling.

                            But hey, if you have the courage of your convictions, you should complain to admins.  Maybe they won't think you're lying.

                            The dossier on my DKos activities during the Bush administration will be presented on February 3, 2014.

                            by Inland on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 01:35:45 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner... (0+ / 0-)

                            I was busy watching you disrupt another diary.

                            You seem to be under the impression that I take offense at your considering me to be the worst poster on DailyKos.

                            I do not.

                            It's a compliment. If YOU think I'm the worst, I'm one of the best.

                            So thank you for your kind words.




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

                            by DeadHead on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 10:44:06 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Hey, found you another safe zone (0+ / 0-)

                            where you won't be scared to scratch your psychic itch.  It's got "Welcome DeadHead" written all over it.

                            http://www.dailykos.com/...

                            Don't be scared.  It's not like anyone is going to actually SEE you there.

                            The dossier on my DKos activities during the Bush administration will be presented on February 3, 2014.

                            by Inland on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 02:18:38 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Already found it on my own. (0+ / 0-)

                            And ignored you therein.

                            :)




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

                            by DeadHead on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 10:46:13 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  How RUDE your are! And funny, too! (5+ / 0-)
                            ... I don't troll any diaries.

                            I almost p'd my pants!  That's funny.  

                            The internet is filled with people like you, scratching some sort of itch, and your opinion on why you do it is no more true than any of your other opinions.  
                            That's the rude part, and it's a little creepy, too.

                            I don't believe you are a troll or a sockpuppet, agent provocateur (though you provoke and poke and poke), but you are a disruptor.  Whether that is an intended consequence of your on-line personality doesn't really matter, disruption is disruption.

                            Carry on, thanks for the laugh.

                          •  Yeah, it's all my fault Deadhead chases me (0+ / 0-)

                            for hundreds of comments, because I should know he's obsessed.

                            It's all my fault that he can't contribute a single substatitive comment while he delivers a million meta bullshit comments about me.

                            And I'm to blame for you doing the same.

                            Okay, well, I guess I'm going to disagree with your argument based on soiling yourself.

                            The dossier on my DKos activities during the Bush administration will be presented on February 3, 2014.

                            by Inland on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 01:39:37 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Funniest shit I've heard (5+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            DeadHead, TheMomCat, angel d, triv33, Brecht
                            I don't troll any diaries
                            Since reggid was caught answering with a sockpuppet.  

                            "It rubs the lotion on its skin" is not effective coalition building.

                            by Nada Lemming on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 01:03:19 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Still accusing me of being a sockpuppet? (0+ / 0-)

                            Because you're such an excellent judge of propriety, chewing out the guy who had the gall to show you up without your prior permission, telling him that he and I were the same person

                            Don't worry, Deadhead just assured me that nobody agrees with me, so you can stop being so pissed off at that guy.

                            The dossier on my DKos activities during the Bush administration will be presented on February 3, 2014.

                            by Inland on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 01:42:28 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Don't be so hard on yourself. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            TheMomCat

                            WPODK = Worst Person On DK, I take it.

                            You really aren't THAT bad, Inland. Close, but not quite.




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

                            by DeadHead on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 10:19:35 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  It's okay, Inland. (7+ / 0-)

                        I realize you're still smarting from another recent thread.

                        Repeated abuse of ratings, represented by the comments of Tortmaster's I listed, isn't "policing," it's responding to a challenge he made himself.

                        Or did you forget the part about him asking for people to supply examples of his bad hide-rates? I'm pretty sure a blockquoted that part of his comment wherein he made the request.

                        As usual, you dishonestly ignore that relevant information and present only the context favorable to your preferred outcome.




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

                        by DeadHead on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 02:04:40 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Oh, it's more than just okay! (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Tortmaster

                          It's deeply satisfying to see you demonstrate every fault that I attribute to you...voluntarily and out of cluelessness.

                          Please proceed, Governor.

                          The dossier on my DKos activities during the Bush administration will be presented on February 3, 2014.

                          by Inland on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 03:09:46 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I'm glad you're enjoying yourself. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Sandino

                            Because you're the only one who seems to agree with you.

                            And yes, I will happily proceed, Cliche.




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

                            by DeadHead on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 09:38:12 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Wrong again, dead thread guy. (0+ / 0-)

                            As it turns out, your hiding in dead threads might keep the disgust expressed with you to a minimum, but it's hardly just me.  Turns out, compulsively harassing people, even in the places where you feel safe, gets noticed.  That's why there's always a good laugh at your expense after you run away with your tail between your legs.  I'm sure you've read them, but if not, that's fine: we don't write the comments for people who aren't part of the community.

                            The dossier on my DKos activities during the Bush administration will be presented on February 3, 2014.

                            by Inland on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 11:34:33 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Okay, fellow dead-thread guy. (0+ / 0-)

                            Sorry, Inland, no one agrees with you.

                            Perhaps you'll find some support here.

                            Good luck.




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

                            by DeadHead on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 12:45:36 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Noone? (0+ / 0-)

                            That's going to come as a surprise to all the people who aren't cowardly hiding in dead threads

                            You're pathetically claiming that tiny, little world as your own personal bailiwick, sucking up the approval of single recs as if he proved you were somehow King of the Nobodies.

                            I guess I should just let you have it; like a yappy dog, you're barking like your a king when in fact you're penned in a tiny yard and scared of everyone who passes by.

                            The dossier on my DKos activities during the Bush administration will be presented on February 3, 2014.

                            by Inland on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 01:31:57 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner... (0+ / 0-)

                            I figured you'd prefer I waited until the thread was even MORE dead.

                            Your feathers appear to be ruffled.

                            I very much enjoyed watching you thoroughly debunk yourself in this diary, once again showing that you do, indeed, troll diaries.

                            Did you think I was going to take your bait in that diary?

                            If so, I'm sorry I disappointed you.

                            Now, who was "cowardly hiding in a dead thread," prior to this comment of mine?

                            You.

                            Who's only remaining line of attack is the pathetic claim that people are dead-threading, when he, himself, is doing the exact same thing?

                            Yours.

                            You can dish it out, but when the tables are turned, you cry like a baby about people "following your comments" and not posting a "single substantive comment" and just "posting meta comments" about you.

                            Perhaps if you stopped trolling, people wouldn't feel compelled to counter-troll you.

                            As for your "yappy dog barking like a king, but fenced in" drivel, well, I'll happily be thought of as such. Better that than to be thought of as one of the site's top three douchebags.




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

                            by DeadHead on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 10:36:00 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  Yes, because sarcasm is now HRable. (9+ / 0-)

                    According to you.

                    There was nothing in that comment that needed to be hidden from the site.

                    You've posted far worse without attracting a single HR.




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

                    by DeadHead on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 01:50:13 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Heh. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Tortmaster

                      You just don't get it.  You were mocking someone for calling for civility, sarcastically calling him "The Enforcer".  Then in a different diary, you do your own "Enforcer" bit.

                      It's hilariously hypocritical.  Personally, I  can't believe you were such a jerk to mock someone asking for civil responses, but to then do the same thing is all sorts of
                      clueless.

                      But hey....please proceed, Governor.  You're doing great, two whole recs from people of TRUE DISCERNMENT.

                      The dossier on my DKos activities during the Bush administration will be presented on February 3, 2014.

                      by Inland on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 02:03:31 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Like I needed another "Please Proceed, Governor" (0+ / 0-)

                        No, you're the one who doesn't get it.

                        My comment wasn't HRable.

                        Tortmaster asked for examples of his abusive HRs. I provided them.

                        What part of the phrase "fulfillment of request" don't you understand?




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

                        by DeadHead on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 10:04:46 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  You better hope..... (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    poligirl, DeadHead, Tortmaster, Brecht

                    ....the standard for getting HRed doesn't get lowered to being a jerk.

                    We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

                    by delver rootnose on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 05:23:00 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  HR'd (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  denig, Tortmaster

                  Hijacking diary, DBAD, and dragging crap from other diaries and the past into someone else's diary.

                  KOS: "Mocking partisans focusing on elections? Even less reason to be on Daily Kos."

                  by fcvaguy on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 12:48:17 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  I'm glad you excuse Clapper's behavior. (20+ / 0-)

            You've just debunked two parts of your own diary:

            III. ... THERE IS A STRENUOUS THREE-BRANCH OVERSIGHT PROCESS INVOLVING NSA PROGRAMS
            and
            IV. BELIEF IN GOVERNMENT AND IN THE RULE OF LAW
            •  Do you understand ... (0+ / 0-)

              ... what a Catch-22 situation is? Clapper had to break the law one way or the other. There was no way out!

              Even if Clapper had asked for a recess right after the question was asked, there was a camera pointing right at him and there were journalists in the room. Don't you think they would have known about the top secret program right at that second?

              I contend that the only way to have gotten out of that moment without breaking the law would have been to fake a heart attack. But, isn't that fraud?

              Moreover, the body that swore him in to testify knew that he was put into a Catch-22 situation. He was testifying to them. They knew the answer to the question already, and they knew he couldn't divulge top secret information.  

              Rand Paul is to civil liberties as the Disney Channel is to subtle and nuanced acting. On biblical prophesy: If you play the bible backwards, it says, "Paul is dead."

              by Tortmaster on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 08:29:13 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  This seems like bunk: (10+ / 0-)
        Should a person be allowed to steal thousands or tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of Top Secret documents,
        Are the documents missing from their original location?  I suspect not, hence they have not been stolen.
      •  Thanks for this great diary. He is simply not a (5+ / 0-)

        whistleblower. He has revealed information that was largely released in 2006 by a number of newspapers across the nation. In terms of information that might be new, most of it deals with surveillance that governments direct against other governments.

        The New York Times' promotion of the idea that the President should celebrate Snowden as some soothsayer who has saved us all, negates the fact that Snowden violated the law. He actually stole national security documents and then ran around to adversaries of this country proclaiming how the US government has been spying on them.  Sure, the President would simply be overjoyed about this. Does the New York Times even understand the concept of breaking national security laws and what is entailed in that? Unbelievable.

        •  Much ado about nothing? (11+ / 0-)

          Then surely as you say, since we know all governments spy on each other and he revealed nothing new since 2006 that newspapers had revealed anyway........

          Wouldn't you then agree that a presidential pardon would be in order for Snowden?

          He has revealed information that was largely released in 2006 by a number of newspapers across the nation. In terms of information that might be new, most of it deals with surveillance that governments direct against other governments.

          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 Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 10:21:20 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, even your solicitation for a pardon reveals (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Hey338Too, Tortmaster

            that you know he broke the law. If he hadn't done anything wrong there wouldn't be need for a pardon.

            •  He is charged under the Espionage act of 1917 (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              nota bene, Lost and Found, Tortmaster

              so hardly an admission from me that he broke the law, anymore than I would say that about Elllsberg.

              I think that Snowden's actions served the public good and that he should not be criminally charged, but allowed to come home in good grace and to be given a job by Obama in helping right the abuses of the surveillance state that we are living under.

              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 Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 03:54:50 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Yeah, because (0+ / 0-)

              "breaking the law" = "doing something wrong".

              Tell that to John Brown,  Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King, and Rosa Parks.  

              For starters.

              And, while we're at it, Daniel Ellsberg.  Who has a rather different opinion about Mr. Snowden than you do, and has both far more information and experience in this area than you'll ever have.

              "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 Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 08:10:16 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  I agree: (6+ / 0-)
          He is simply not a whistleblower.
          He's more than that.  

          He's a great patriot.  We need more people like him, not less.  He was very brave to do what he did, and I've very grateful he took the actions he did.

          Dallasdoc: "Snowden is the natural successor to Osama bin Laden as the most consequential person in the world, as his actions have the potential to undo those taken in response to Osama."

          by gooderservice on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 12:50:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  My few seconds of rebuttal (9+ / 0-)

        www.youtube.com/watch?v=UngjWrUo9sE‎
        www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1jlC3uKkRA‎
        http://www.youtube.com/...
        http://www.youtube.com/...
        http://www.youtube.com/...
        http://www.youtube.com/...
        http://www.youtube.com/...

        I hope you enjoy the videos as much as I did posting the links in your diary, thanks for the opportunity!

        No one is coming to save us, the future is in our hands.

        by koNko on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 10:01:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Should a person be allowed to steal thousands or (16+ / 0-)

      tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of private citizen's documents, e-mail messages, text messages, cell phone conversations and store them into huge data centers, and then be allowed to point to one of the documents and say, "There. See. I was justified"?

      No, because it's illegal.  The 4th amendment is the law of the land.

      Should a person be allowed to blow the whistle on systemic breaches against our right to privacy by government?

      Yes.

      Should journalists be allowed to write about these systemic breaches against our right to privacy by government?

      Yes.

      Information is the currency of democracy. ~Thomas Jefferson

      by CIndyCasella on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 10:47:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Edward Snowden... (36+ / 0-)

    ...is the kind of hero President Obama actually advertised himself as.

    Their respective moral characters stand in sharp relief. When has President Obama ever, ever, taken a serious risk for something he believed in?

    I think he won't get a pardon because he accurately made the President and his "national security" cronies look like liars.

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 04:44:35 AM PST

  •  The capability vs actual reality dilemma (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tortmaster

    Now there's one to ponder.  Will give me something to do with my mind today as I perform necessary but mindless tasks.

    If I have any spit left after I've licked my own wounds, I'll be glad to consider licking yours. Peace.

    by nancyjones on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 04:47:25 AM PST

    •  Left wing talking points and right wing (5+ / 0-)

      talking points and then America decides? I never object to listening to both sides of an argument and forming my own opinion.  

      If I comply with non-compliance am I complying?

      by thestructureguy on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 05:20:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Have you seen the latest ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      doroma

      ... polls?

      Rand Paul is to civil liberties as the Disney Channel is to subtle and nuanced acting. On biblical prophesy: If you play the bible backwards, it says, "Paul is dead."

      by Tortmaster on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 05:21:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What are the percentages on Global Warming (15+ / 0-)

        polls?

        The question is a non-sequitur.

        It also begs the question.

        I think it's safe to say that the Establishment has been pushing the points you make here, and the very concept of the Establishment in a functioning Democracy pushes those points and weighs heavy on all of our opinions.

        Now, I don't think I've seen 1 clear, concise statement of principles and state of being of this quest for omniscience to "protect the American People", but this is the Establishment line. It really is a great piece laying out the Pro-Establishment position, Tort. Thanks for putting it up there.

        I think you're wrong, btw. I think your acceptance of this stuff is naive and reductionist and does not take into account our current reality.

        It's like people believing that the FDA are protecting our food supplies. Or that the Chamber of Commerce is about supporting small business.

        The whole concept you are laying out here relies on an anachronism - that country just doesn't exist any more.

        Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

        by k9disc on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 05:39:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The Editorial Board of the ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Hey338Too

          ... Los Angeles Times, the writers at thedailybanter.com, the folks at LGF, President Obama, Attorney General Holder, UC Presdient Napolitano, Slate Magazine writers, all a bunch of right wing talkers, amirite?

          I think most people haven't seriously thought out the issue, and when they do, most will see the policy reasons piled a mile high against clemency or a pardon.

          Rand Paul is to civil liberties as the Disney Channel is to subtle and nuanced acting. On biblical prophesy: If you play the bible backwards, it says, "Paul is dead."

          by Tortmaster on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 06:06:53 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  America doesn't pardon people who hurt (11+ / 0-)

            the Establishment.

            Only common criminals and the Establishment may be pardoned.

            To pardon him is to admit that the intelligence gathering is bad and that blowing whistles is good.

            Pretty simple from most any angle.

            A Pardon would signal a massive departure from our normal business of government.

            Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

            by k9disc on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 06:17:37 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  4,000 people blew the whistle on ... (0+ / 0-)

              ... the Government in 2012 using the proper channels. Yet, we're talking about Edward Snowden. I have already asked this question below, but I think it is apt:

              Do you believe that if Snowden had done everything exactly the same except he only took information related to the NSA metadata program and provided it to only one journalist, he would even have to worry about clemency or a pardon?
              Would you admit that Snowden may have harmed the country with his actions? If you were charged with the security of 300+ million people, how would you handle Manning and Snowden?

              Rand Paul is to civil liberties as the Disney Channel is to subtle and nuanced acting. On biblical prophesy: If you play the bible backwards, it says, "Paul is dead."

              by Tortmaster on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 06:42:04 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  No, I do not admit it. (19+ / 0-)

                Any criminal organization or terror group was on notice long ago that we were spying on them. Only the poor americans paying for it all were unaware of the nature and extent, especially warrantless domestic spying (which is what Snowden exposed more than anything - despite your deliberate misstatements and lies to the contrary)

                If Snowden had gone thru channels, the following would have happened;

                a. Nothing
                b. He would have been arrested
                c. No American citizen would have ever learned of the extent of illegal, unconstitutional warrantless spying by America on Americans.
                d. Congress would have never held any hearings because the NSA would have continued to say "there's no there there."

                If you think that the US was harmed, you are all wrong. Rather, by opening this chapter, we get to clean out the scum running our intel groups, shut down worthless, but intrusive spying that violates our rights, and put our country on a more constitutionally supportable path. If anything, he has helped us long term, not hurt us.

                What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

                by agnostic on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:15:39 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  +1000. very well said! :D nt (7+ / 0-)

                  "Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are." ~St Augustine "When it is dark enough, you can see the stars." ~Charles Beard

                  by poligirl on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:37:08 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Good argument for the jury. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Tortmaster
                  If Snowden had gone thru channels, the following would have happened;

                  a. Nothing
                   b. He would have been arrested
                   c. No American citizen would have ever learned of the extent of illegal, unconstitutional warrantless spying by America on Americans.
                   d. Congress would have never held any hearings because the NSA would have continued to say "there's no there there."

                  This is a story that can be told to the twelve citizens chosen for the jury.   After all, every defendant has his "he came at me first" attempt to justify his actions.  But it seems to me the last thing that Snowden or you want is for twelve unbiased New Yorkers to hear it.  

                  The dossier on my DKos activities during the Bush administration will be presented on February 3, 2014.

                  by Inland on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 11:23:54 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  So, out of those 4000 whistles that blew, where (9+ / 0-)

                are the changes, the ones that are important enough for the media to report on, you know the ones that affect some companies bottom line.

                I'd love to hear some good whistle blower success stories, but I don't really think they are there, and I would think if there were a decent track record on whistle blowers that the Establishment would trot them out.

                I guess Binney and a few others are media commentators at times, so there's the proof right? But didn't he kind of go through hell for that? And what did his proper channels get him? Laughed out of rooms for the most part, until Snowden.

                For many of us, this is not some johnny come lately issue, and we actually have a public historical record on these NSA whistle blowers, and it seems as if they have been vindicated and proven to be a bit conservative in their assessment of the situation from their whistle blower days and went through hell to do it.

                More whistleblower disclosures have been resolved, 1,053, than in any previous year. This has truly been a record-setting year.
                What does that mean? Where are the frog marching banksters from all of those whistles blown at the SEC? Where are the stories about the whistles that blew on Wall St last year?

                I think I'll trust Ellsberg's insights more than the raw number of resolved whistle blower cases.

                Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

                by k9disc on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:44:38 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  No, not at all. (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Dallasdoc, nota bene, Tortmaster
                Would you admit that Snowden may have harmed the country with his actions?

                Dallasdoc: "Snowden is the natural successor to Osama bin Laden as the most consequential person in the world, as his actions have the potential to undo those taken in response to Osama."

                by gooderservice on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 12:56:41 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  There is so much bullshit here, it is tough (31+ / 0-)

    To know where to start. But, let me try.

    To "steal" is to take another's property without permission with no intention of returning it.

    He did not "steal" anything. The data is still there. He merely copied material that he was authorized to work with.

    This is evil propaganda, pure and simple. I call bullshit on such pseudo-intellectual twisting and mangling, not to mention selective editing.

    What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

    by agnostic on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 04:56:34 AM PST

    •  Your definition of steal is wrong. (10+ / 0-)

      And you don't know if he was authorized to work with. That's just his claim. He had access obviously but he very likely was not authorized to even read much less copy and disperse the information.

      And if he is so pure why did he take himself to where he thought he would be totally immune from any consequence before he disclosed.

      I don't let a ideological guy like Snowden decide what is legal.

      He says he did it to start a conversation. Well that occurred and yet he is still disclosing more and more stuff. He is a narcissistic anarchist in my book.

      The diarist's report is a valid way of looking at it. It is therefore not evil or propaganda.

      I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

      by samddobermann on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 05:29:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yet you apparently ARE quite content (16+ / 0-)

        to let a ideological guy like John Yoo decide what is legal.

        Probably Edward Snowden violated Federal laws as written. I have no problem with his prosecution... after the Bush-era criminals from Bush and Cheney on down are prosecuted. I have a BIG problem though with prosecuting some "political criminals" and letting others smirk in freedom and prosperity.

        When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

        by PhilJD on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 06:19:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, I'll just rely on the legal definition. (7+ / 0-)

        Now, i admit, that certain groups, like the Movie, Record Label and Gas Lamplighter's association that sued so many teenagers and threatened to jail unemployed moms for sharing a song DID try to redefine the word "steal" for their own economic benefit, but luckily reality and a far more rational approach has replaced that temporary sickness and legal lapse.

        I am not talking about any "purity" - that whole concept is a construct by the NSA and its minions to change the topic and to take away attention from the crimes being committed by our government.

        The Diarist has regurgitated GOP, NSA, and Obama Admin talking points that have been honed, tested, and repeated in many forums, in the hopes that the sting of the real story goes away in the kerfuffle. Given the tone of the diary, it seems to be working, at least with lapdogs, paid operatives, or those gullible enough to avoid rational thinking.

        Judicial supervision and control. What BULL. Even the FISA folks admit it does not work. See generally, former FISA judges who were lied to by Justice, the CIA and the NSA and don't like it one bit.

        Executive supervision? That is a guess, nothing more.

        Legislative?
        Q: Are you collecting domestic phone data?
        A: No.
        Yeah, that's some great supervision. I loved their reaction after Snowden proved that to be an utter lie.

        Lastly, calling an agency., a committee, or a group that has supervisory tasks (Extremely limited, by the way, and populated by ex-NSA creeps) is also calling the EPA, OSHA, USDOT, IRS, and other groups another branch of government. That is such a ineffably stupid argument that it hurts to bring it up.

        Ours is a CONSTITUTIONAL form of government. It has Seven (count em) S E V E N Articles, three of which create the working government, i.e. the Legislative, the Executive, and the Judicial. The other Articles deal with the creation of this document as an effective, enforceable entity, with the means of making the country work pragmatically, and with the chance to change the Constitution when needed.

        There is no 4th Branch of government, except in the minds of assholes who change the subject to confuse the issue and hide the outrageous crimes of the State against its people.

        What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

        by agnostic on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:29:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The very worst "abuse" that ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Hey338Too

          ... Snowden's revelations have shown is akin to a sorting machine out of calibration for a couple of hours in the Denver Regional United States Postal Sorting Center.

          That's all mine. Everything that isn't quoted or linked to is my work product. I have not taken anyone's arguments and "regurgitated" them here. Give me some credit for original thought!  

          What Snowden did reveal was the amazing procedures in place to protect privacy, and, most importantly, we learned that Government was doing all that oversight when they thought nobody was watching.

          By the way, I'm the cool outside troublemaker here, so don't even think of trying to take that away from me.  ; )

          Rand Paul is to civil liberties as the Disney Channel is to subtle and nuanced acting. On biblical prophesy: If you play the bible backwards, it says, "Paul is dead."

          by Tortmaster on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 08:45:30 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I would like ot recommend the comity of this (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tortmaster

            comment, but cannot.

            I just can't believe that what you came out of this with was a renewed faith in privacy protections.

            I do appreciate the tone and tenor, but jeez louise, open your eyes man.

            Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

            by k9disc on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 08:48:57 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I did a diary about ... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Hey338Too

              ... it a little while ago. Consider this: Digging into the scab of New Jersey politics has revealed new pockets of pus every day. Snowden absconded with millions of documents of information, and the best he was able to reveal was telephony metadata! That's been legal since 1979! (It was probably legal before that but the Supreme Court wasn't presented with the question.)

              All of that oversight protecting privacy was put in place and acted upon in secret, with the actors believing their actions would never become public for decades and decades. This is from my earlier diary on this topic:

              I've read the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court's ("FISC") recently published opinion, and I was immediately struck by one thing: It was an Advisory Opinion. One of the first things you learn about Federal Courts is that they don't do Advisory Opinions. That's because of the "Case or Controversy" requirement, which means that a case before a Federal Court must litigate a tangible interest between real parties that is ripe for adjudication.

              The other major attribute of Advisory Opinions is that they are prospective in nature. The litigant seeking an Advisory Opinion is asking the court: "Is this legal? Is this Constitutional? Is it advisable?" What I liken the FISC process to is the hoops that law enforcement and prosecutors have to jump through to obtain search warrants. Let me show you how the process worked in the FISC case. First you have a chest full of information or data like this ....

              Rand Paul is to civil liberties as the Disney Channel is to subtle and nuanced acting. On biblical prophesy: If you play the bible backwards, it says, "Paul is dead."

              by Tortmaster on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 09:48:47 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yea, I don't think metadata is all that has been (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Tortmaster

                revealed. It's content. It's infrastructure interception. It's plausible deniability and gaming of the system through secret joint relations with foreign intelligence agencies and corporate profits.

                It's crazytown with the ability to hoover it all and target individuals that threaten the Establishment.

                I think we'll have to agree to disagree. I'm sure we'll chat more about this.

                Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

                by k9disc on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 10:24:30 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  Ahhh..the Originalist view. Defining a word (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tortmaster, doroma, Peace Missile, NYFM

      the way it was defined when it was coined. Bork would be proud of this argument.  But I'll play along.  There are plenty of other laws he violated besides shoplifting.  Not sure why diary was HR'd.  

      If I comply with non-compliance am I complying?

      by thestructureguy on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 05:38:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  aah the strict constructionist... thinking Smith (12+ / 0-)

        is as germane today as when it was passed.

        Or something like that...

        We do these things all the time.

        I would counter the HR, but I do not want to recommend this diary. I think it is an honest representation of the Establishment line, and as such, I find the entire line of argument entirely disingenuous. It is predicated on a reality that doesn't exist anymore - it's an anachronism.

        Personally I don't know whether Tort is aware of this or not, but it doesn't matter. This is not only an allowable point of view, it is the point of view. This is the Establishment line. Clear as day.

        HRing this is a worthless endeavor. Better to step in and talk clearly about how this view of the NSA as protector of American citizen and bastion of law and crafted and overseen with legal care is absolute bullshit.

        The NSA is a collection of spooks and spies cashing in on the privatization and weakening of vital government institutions and self governance. Corporate profits are all woven into the NSA. It's a train wreck.

        Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

        by k9disc on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 05:53:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Sen. Leahy calls on congress to end (11+ / 0-)

      agree, agnostic

      Some Democrats do not buy the propaganda...

      Senator Patrick Leahy questioned how the Constitution allows the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of U.S. telephone records and repeated his calls for President Barack Obama’s administration to end the program during a hearing Wednesday.

      The Obama administration should heed the recent advice of the U.S. Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) and end the phone records collection program, said Leahy, a Vermont Democrat.
      “Is there anything in the U.S. Constitution that gives authority to the Congress to pass a law that enables and empowers an executive agency such as the NSA ... to open, to listen or to seize either the mail, the phone conversations or the electronic conversations of U.S. citizens?” asked Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
      Leahy called on Congress to vote to end the telephone records program. Congress should “ensure that this legal theory is not used by any administration to spy indiscriminately on its citizens,” he said. The U.S. Department of Justice’s current interpretation of the antiterrorism Patriot Act would allow the government “to acquire virtually any database that it might someday, down the road, for some reason, somehow find useful,” Leahy added.
      http://www.pcworld.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 Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:10:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A healthy functioning democracy? (21+ / 0-)

    If one is talking about a democracy, you can't possibly be talking about the USA. There is no functioning democracy in this country. We have the best government that money can buy.

  •  And the smith case? I've cited it more than once (9+ / 0-)

    It does NOT protect metadata as you imply. The decision is far more limited and nuanced, and the court itself admitted that other reliable sources were sufficient to allow a pen register to be used on one suspected criminal who repeatedly threatened his victim. That led to finding his address and phone book containing the victim's phone number, something he had denied having.

    What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

    by agnostic on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 05:07:30 AM PST

    •  Well, every court, and ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Inland, Justanothernyer

      ... that means all 37 of them, that have ruled on the constitutionality of the program has relied upon Smith v. Maryland except for one, and that court painstakingly, and wrongly, in my opinion, went to great lengths to distinguish it. So, your opinion is noted but doesn't reflect actual reality.

      I would argue that the NSA program is less intrusive than the fact pattern in Smith, as the authorities already knew the name of the suspect in that case. The law requires that the metadata in the NSA program be unidentifiable as to any person unless a warrant is obtained. That's why I prepared the graphic above showing the "FBI Most Wanted" search.    

      Rand Paul is to civil liberties as the Disney Channel is to subtle and nuanced acting. On biblical prophesy: If you play the bible backwards, it says, "Paul is dead."

      by Tortmaster on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 05:32:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  My personal communications are Top Secret (24+ / 0-)

    because I have lived a life that is free of doing bad shit to people.
    question:

    Should a person the NSA be allowed to steal thousands or tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of Top Secret documents, disperse them into the wind the NSA cloud, or whatever they call it, and then be allowed to point to one of the documents and say, "There. See. I was justified"? Should that behavior be encouraged or discouraged? Is such a blunt, dangerous and ugly process even necessary?
    No it isn't. And as you say alternatives are available.

    Edward Snowden should be allowed to return to his friends and family as a free man.

    •  I would just like to write this without the clever (15+ / 0-)

      strikethrough:

      Should the NSA (and all firms, contractors, subcontractors, and subsidiaries) be allowed to steal thousands or tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of my documents, disperse them into the cloud, and then be allowed to point to one of the documents and say, "There. See. I was justified"?

      Should that behavior be encouraged or discouraged? Is such a blunt, dangerous and ugly process even necessary?

      Ironic, eh?

      Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

      by k9disc on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 05:22:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  ^^^^THIS^^^^^^ (18+ / 0-)

      Burned is so right, plus Snowden didn't throw the documents into the wind, otherwise they would be available for us all to peruse.  Responsible journalists are weeding through the docs and even redacting things that could be harmful.  Hardly throwing them willy nilly into the wind.

      If debugging is the process of removing bugs, then programming must be the process of putting them in.

      by kharma on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 05:28:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  "[D]ocuments"? (0+ / 0-)

      The NSA isn't stealing documents or content at all. It is dumping faceless and nameless numbers into a hat. Moreover, by law, the Government cannot find out anything about those faceless or nameless numbers unless they connect directly to a terrorist's telephone number and the Government obtains a subpoena. As I've said before, there is 10x more information contained in telephone books and 100x more information in the long form Census.  

      You should have struck through the word "documents" and in its place inserted the phrase "unidentified numbers."  

      Rand Paul is to civil liberties as the Disney Channel is to subtle and nuanced acting. On biblical prophesy: If you play the bible backwards, it says, "Paul is dead."

      by Tortmaster on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 05:41:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If you believe this, (17+ / 0-)

        I have bridge to sell you.

        The NSA isn't stealing (shall we say 'collecting' instead) documents or content at all.

        190 milliseconds....

        by Kingsmeg on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 05:45:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, I believe that. (0+ / 0-)

          Of course, I should throw out the caveat that my opinion only goes as far as US Person content.

          I do believe in the rule of law, and the most fascinating aspect of the whole Snowden affair, for me, was to get an up-close look at the operations of the FISA Courts, the legislative oversight, the regulations written by Attorney General Holder, the detail of all the oversight that was done ... even though America wasn't looking.

          All of that, the massive framework to ensure protections of civil liberties, was done in secret. I saw a lot of men and women working hard to get the balance right between privacy and security, and I would never have seen it if the curtain wasn't lifted.

          Rand Paul is to civil liberties as the Disney Channel is to subtle and nuanced acting. On biblical prophesy: If you play the bible backwards, it says, "Paul is dead."

          by Tortmaster on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 06:19:13 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yesterday I listened to (11+ / 0-)

            an interview with a former FISA judge who was asked about the perception that the court is basically rubber stamping requests. His response was interesting. He stated that the mandate and purview of the court is restricted to the rules governing the actions of the executive regarding his obligations to execute the law and protect the nation and not the larger general constitutional questions. I'm sure lawyers would understand what he was saying but to this lay person it sounded a bit like a judge in traffic court does not stray into constitutional questions but rather confines the debate and decisions to matters regarding more localized laws and regulations. In that he implied the big questions may not always enter into the FISA courts rulings but are more restricted.

            All in all I found this a bit disturbing since beyond the FISA court the system seems to have created a branch of government that has very little real threat of constitutional challenge because it's all classified and therefore unassailable. Thoughts?

            Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

            by ricklewsive on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 06:42:13 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You can listen to him yourself (6+ / 0-)

              at this link

              James G. Carr, a federal judge in Ohio who served as one of the FISA judges, believes in the FISA process. But he also believes that the jurists currently serving need a more complete picture of some of the cases presented to them.

              "During my six years on the court, there were several occasions when I and other judges faced issues none of us had encountered before," Carr wrote last summer in the New York Times. "A staff of experienced lawyers assists the court, but their help was not always enough given the complexity of the issues. ... Having lawyers challenge novel legal assertions in these secret proceedings would result in better judicial outcomes."

              Carr argued that "Congress could ... authorize the FISA judges to appoint, from time to time, independent lawyers with security clearances to serve 'pro bono publico' — for the public's good — to challenge the government when an application for a FISA order raises new legal issues."

              Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

              by ricklewsive on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 06:53:37 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I did listen to the link. Thank you. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ricklewsive

                I was interrupted by business and missed some of the middle portion of the interview, so I will listen again. Very interesting stuff. I'm going to guess that this Judge was one of the ones who was spread out across the country, as he's from Ohio, so I bet he didn't get in on a lot of "the action."

                As for your question, I think you basically answered it yourself with your analogy:

                "... it sounded a bit like a judge in traffic court does not stray into constitutional questions but rather confines the debate and decisions to matters regarding more localized laws and regulations."
                Except I would add a couple of caveats:  (1) Even though traffic judges hear only traffic cases, there is always, always the over-arching question of constitutionality. Those judges are assigned to traffic court so they hear only traffic cases, which usually don't involve questions of constitutional law, but they sometimes do, including 4th Amendment stops for DUI, for example. (2) What the Judge spoke of at the beginning of the link was that according to the Constitution, the Executive is in charge of protecting the nation from foreign threats. I think the Judge was just saying that that's the President's responsibility, and the Court doesn't work out how to protect the nation from threats, it is only assigned the job, under the law, to make sure what is done by the Executive is constitutional. So, in your hypothetical, it is the Senior Judge in a courthouse who assigns another judge to hear traffic cases, but with regard to foreign security, it is the Constitution that divvies up the responsibilities between the Executive and Judicial.  

                Rand Paul is to civil liberties as the Disney Channel is to subtle and nuanced acting. On biblical prophesy: If you play the bible backwards, it says, "Paul is dead."

                by Tortmaster on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 11:19:51 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  I think you must have ... (0+ / 0-)

              ... misinterpreted what the Judge said, ricklewsive, as the very function of the FISA Courts is to ensure that the searches do not impact, unconstitutionally, privacy rights. That's the only reason they exist.

              Perhaps the Judge said that he was constrained by Supreme Court precedent? That some deference has to be given to an agency's regulations and interpretation of the laws provided for it by Congress?

              Still, those courts exist only to hear the privacy issues.

              Rand Paul is to civil liberties as the Disney Channel is to subtle and nuanced acting. On biblical prophesy: If you play the bible backwards, it says, "Paul is dead."

              by Tortmaster on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 06:53:47 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  this is astonishingly naive (5+ / 0-)
            the massive framework to ensure protections of civil liberties, was done in secret
            It's like you're totally unfamiliar with the career of Edgar Hoover.

            You WANT me on that server! You NEED me on that server!

            by nota bene on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 04:19:27 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Its just not true (19+ / 0-)

        to say that thie NSA is not collecting content.

         By law the government cannot find out these things about the faceless... the problem is they are not following the law. The NSA does not need a subpoena to trove information already in its 'corporate store'.

        http://www.emptywheel.net/...

        All that time, I increasingly believe, we should have been talking about the corporate store, the database where queries from the collection store are kept for an undisclosed (and possibly indefinite) period of time. Once records get put in that database, I’ve noted repeatedly, they are subject to “the full range of [NSA's] analytic tradecraft.”
        &
        The NSA prioritizes reading the content that involves US persons. And the NSA finds it, and decides what to read, using the queries that get dumped into the corporate store (presumably, they do some analytical tradecraft to narrow down which particular conversations involving US persons they want to read).

        And there are several different kinds of content this might involve: content (phone or Internet) of a specific targeted individual — perhaps the identifier NSA conducted the RAS query with in the first place — already sitting on some NSA server, Internet and in some cases phone content the NSA can go get from providers after having decided it might be interesting, or content the NSA collects in bulk from upstream collections that was never targeted at a particular user.

        The NSA is not only permitted to access all of this to see what Americans are saying, but in all but the domestically collected upstream content, it can go access the content by searching on the US person identifier, not the foreign interlocutor, without establishing even Reasonable Articulable Suspicion that it pertains to terrorism (though the analyst does have to claim it serves foreign intelligence purpose). That’s important because lots of this content-collection is not tied to a specific terrorist suspect (it can be tied to a geographical area, for example), so the NSA can hypothetically get to US person content without ever having reason to believe it has any tie to terrorism.

        In other words, all the things NSA’s defenders have been insisting the dragnet doesn’t do — it doesn’t provide content, it doesn’t allow unaudited searches, NSA doesn’t know identities, NSA doesn’t data mine it, NSA doesn’t develop dossiers on it, even James Clapper’s claim that NSA doesn’t voyeuristically troll through people’s porn habits — every single one is potentially true for the results of queries run three hops off an identifier with just Reasonable Articulable Suspicion of some tie to terrorism (or Iran). Everything the defenders say the phone dragnet is not, the corporate store is.

        "These are established professionals that have a liberal bent, but ultimately most of them if pushed will choose professional preservation over cause, such is the mentality of most business professionals" -BoA/HBGary/CoC

        by LieparDestin on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 06:02:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I believe this goes to ... (0+ / 0-)

          ... the "capability" versus "actual reality" dilemma. I will look at her blog tonight to gain context. If Snowden or any of the journalists had this information, though, I think I would have seen it.

          Upon thinking about it for a minute longer, this may also have to do with the material that the FISA Court told the NSA to destroy or use their best efforts to destroy, and if they couldn't destroy it then get rid of all of the data. That was in one of the cases that has been made public. I'll check out her site tonight and re-read that case.  

          Rand Paul is to civil liberties as the Disney Channel is to subtle and nuanced acting. On biblical prophesy: If you play the bible backwards, it says, "Paul is dead."

          by Tortmaster on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:40:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I did read that post, and ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LieparDestin

          ... did not find any evidence that shows the Government is using the three hops as an excuse to look at US Person content. A lot of conjecture, but no proof. On the other hand, I've heard an actual FISA Court Judge state that the three hops can only be used for telephone numbers.

          That is, if you have a telephone number for a terrorist in Yemen, and you see that it called a telephone number in the US, then they can check to see what numbers that telephone number in the US called, and if any of those numbers match another known terrorist number, you can then use that information. What the Judge said, though, was that even that much information wouldn't allow you to check for content. You'd need more. I don't know what he meant by "more," perhaps there had to be additional contacts shown by other calls to other known terrorists or perhaps the frequency of the calls is the "more" that is needed to look at content. The same goes for the "third hop."

          So, in a nutshell, they can only match telephone numbers that have been called. Once they have enough information, they can get a warrant for a physical search or a wiretap (i.e. look for content).

          I've been on that site once before, and I will keep looking at it in the future. Thanks for the link.

          Rand Paul is to civil liberties as the Disney Channel is to subtle and nuanced acting. On biblical prophesy: If you play the bible backwards, it says, "Paul is dead."

          by Tortmaster on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 03:29:58 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Still disagree (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tortmaster, TheMomCat

            with your conclusions but as Ive said the discussion is interesting. Marcy Wheeler is a national treasure (you may remember she was the go to person for coverage of the Scooter Libby trial, etc).

            "These are established professionals that have a liberal bent, but ultimately most of them if pushed will choose professional preservation over cause, such is the mentality of most business professionals" -BoA/HBGary/CoC

            by LieparDestin on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 04:47:32 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  It's funny, you can look at it like that, and (10+ / 0-)

        that's the way that the Establishment pushes it out there.

        From what I've read it seems to me that there is a retroactive permission that is sought through FISA. You don't go to FISA court with nothing, you go with a suspicion, and hopefully more than a suspicion.

        The question, to me, is how do you arrive at that suspicion if you can't look at any of the documentation.

        So that's a big problem for me.

        Another one is the 5 eyes. We seem to just send it out to our allies' spy services so they can send it back to us, and blammo - we've got a reason to hit FISA and go after that person.

        and then lastly -

        Omniscience is a powerful tool. It's terribly corrupting, I would imagine. It's bad enough that something like that exists within our government, but this is a public private partnership in a rapidly advancing field.

        There is no way that government is leading on this. Profits are, and that's terrifying.

        Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

        by k9disc on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 06:10:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  It has already been.... (8+ / 0-)

        ....proven that those numbers are not faceless and convey more information than I am willing to see in the hands of people who couldn't keep it safe from people like Snowden.

        For example if you made repeated calls to a proctologist one could learn you may be attempting to remove your head from your ass.

        We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

        by delver rootnose on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 06:23:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The indiscrimate collection of metadata... (6+ / 0-)

        is insidious at best. Any or all personal information the NSA desires -- about anybody -- can be extracted from it.

        'Cuz freedom can't protect itself ~~ EFF ~ EPIC ~ ACLU

        by markthshark on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 06:23:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Psych Link... (10+ / 0-)

    Awesome link - that has been my goto site for psych vocabulary for many years. Funny to see it there.

    A bit of a quibble, it's not negative reinforcement vs positive reinforcement you are thinking of, it's punishment or reinforcment.

    Negative reinforcement is putting pressure or pain on until the subject complies or performs the desired behavior. The removal of the aversive winds up reinforcing the behavior. It can be pretty brutal stuff, and is also in play every day, but I don't think that's where you wanted to go there.

    I agree with you that we live with a punitive hegemony, at least when it comes to poor small people who are literally worth less than rich big people. Rich big people live under a different set of rules where positive reinforcement is the only methodology that really motivates their behavior.

    It's interesting, positive training developed with marine mammals because in the paraphrased words of Ted Turner,"You can't choke chain a killer whale," and the only reason we do it with dogs is because we can and they take it.

    I guess I never really grasped the social implications of that statement, but holy shit do I now: the Big Guys and Big Corporate have to be managed with positive reinforcement, and negative punishment (humane training) due to size, scale, and temperament, but us little guys get positive punishment and negative reinforcement - because they can do it and we'll take it.

    That's quite an epiphany for me, what a great result of participating in this diary...

    Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

    by k9disc on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 05:11:23 AM PST

    •  Thanks for the clarification, k9disc. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      k9disc, doroma

      I had one psych class in college and enjoyed it but then forgot it. I blame my mother and my penis size.  

      As for the rest of your long comment, I agree with much of it, but I hope you don't give up. There is progress being made, and that is reflected in the polling that has shown up on the front page in the last 24 hours. Progressive ideas are winning.

      I would also note that the sheer volume of money being spent by the other side, as well as the lengths they'll go to (who fucking fucks with voting rights?), shows to me that they are scared.

      Rand Paul is to civil liberties as the Disney Channel is to subtle and nuanced acting. On biblical prophesy: If you play the bible backwards, it says, "Paul is dead."

      by Tortmaster on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 05:53:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Right on man. Super cool to have this idea come (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tortmaster, corvo

        to fruition here.

        It's really clarifying. I live and breathe that stuff, and it's in play in interpersonal interactions all the time - having a bit of knowledge can really help to smooth out situations.

        Like economics, it doesn't always transition to the macro in the same way. There's some counter intuitive stuff, or so it seems, until you see something like this:

        Orca get the cookies, dogs get the choke chain.

        And then it seems kind of obvious, and is a,"Doh!" moment.

        Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

        by k9disc on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 05:59:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The real reason - (9+ / 0-)

    He pissed off the people who could give him one, making them look bad.

    That's really all you need to know.  None of the rest matters.

  •  Although you do remind me of data that raises (11+ / 0-)

    another question.

    What we've found out is that during the entire year of 2012, the NSA ran a grand total of less than 300 queries of the data.
    We also know that on multiple occasions queries of the data were used to research lovers, wives, girlfriends, people the guys wanted to be girlfriends (stalkees).

    So of the 300, how many were personal abuses?  Or is the >300 just the official, supposedly 'legal' queries, and we simply were never given a total number for the stalker acts, possibly because they'd outnumber the '> 300' number?

  •  If you want some actual legal (16+ / 0-)

    analysis based on very precise readings of the law and of the programs and documents released I would recommend Marcy Wheeler at emptywheel.net. Her analysis is the best out there in its attention to detail, as well as often ahead of most other outlet by months.

    She would greatly disagree with the conclusions of this diary.

    "These are established professionals that have a liberal bent, but ultimately most of them if pushed will choose professional preservation over cause, such is the mentality of most business professionals" -BoA/HBGary/CoC

    by LieparDestin on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 05:47:08 AM PST

  •  If these screengrabs are so bad (7+ / 0-)

    and could hurt our troops, agents, etcetc... why are you reposting them? Does this not make you equal to Greenwald, Snowden, etcetc?

    "These are established professionals that have a liberal bent, but ultimately most of them if pushed will choose professional preservation over cause, such is the mentality of most business professionals" -BoA/HBGary/CoC

    by LieparDestin on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 05:54:34 AM PST

    •  There is a youtube iteration ... (0+ / 0-)

      ... with 40,000+ views already. Any terrorist organization or enemy state with the ability to harm the country has already dragged that data.

      Rand Paul is to civil liberties as the Disney Channel is to subtle and nuanced acting. On biblical prophesy: If you play the bible backwards, it says, "Paul is dead."

      by Tortmaster on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 06:26:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  maybe some lone terrorist didnt. (6+ / 0-)

        he was unaware of these things until for some reason he stumbled across this diary and it changes his whole plan of attack.

        Not that I actually believe any of that, but see how easy is to throw out the allegation.

        "These are established professionals that have a liberal bent, but ultimately most of them if pushed will choose professional preservation over cause, such is the mentality of most business professionals" -BoA/HBGary/CoC

        by LieparDestin on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 06:36:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  And by that I mean (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tortmaster, corvo, Kevskos, poligirl, Johnny Q

          you have now had to put yourself in the position of defending against baseless accusations of helping terrorists all because you wanted to go about your free speech rights and Id argue journalistic rights of writing about an issue you care about. This is what Greenwald faces everyday.

          While I disagree with the conclusions of the diary I do thank you for it and believe the more discussion the better.

          "These are established professionals that have a liberal bent, but ultimately most of them if pushed will choose professional preservation over cause, such is the mentality of most business professionals" -BoA/HBGary/CoC

          by LieparDestin on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 06:40:00 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  The damage is already done. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tortmaster, NYFM

      These screengrabs are already scattered around the 'net for any and all to see.

      Hard to see how 1 diary on Dkos is going to do any more damage.  Any bad guys with an interest in this stuff 1) likely already know about all this and 2) probably don't hang out on Dkos.

      •  Thats the whole point (7+ / 0-)

        Snowden is making. What he has released, the bad guys know. Al Qaeda knows we are tapping their phones. Targeting drones at them. Security/Hacking/Tech experts have been detailing this stuff and the capabilities for years. Al Qaeda knows. Snowden has not 'helped the terrorists'. He has however, shown that these programs are illegally bringing Americans into the net, and that the NSA has gone overboard in the name of 'security', to an extent that it has harmed relations with allies. And on top of that all, the programs are failures having helped thwart terrorism at all.

        This is why Snowden deserves not only Clemency, but that Nobel prize.

        "These are established professionals that have a liberal bent, but ultimately most of them if pushed will choose professional preservation over cause, such is the mentality of most business professionals" -BoA/HBGary/CoC

        by LieparDestin on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 06:33:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  HR at the tip jar? for what? Disagreeing with the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tortmaster, NYFM, WakeUpNeo

    diarist does not qualify for a HR smh

    •  Is it wrong that I am smiling? (9+ / 0-)

      Anyone who has witnessed the hordes of incomprehensible  HRs Tortmaster has dropped anytime he feels like it must surely appreciate the schadenfreude here.

      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 Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:03:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Is it wrong that I am smiling? (7+ / 0-)

        No.......

        Anyone who has witnessed the hordes of incomprehensible  HRs Tortmaster has dropped anytime he feels like it must surely appreciate the schadenfreude here.

        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 Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:45:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  If by ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CenPhx

        ... "anytime he feels like it," you mean when I see a personal attack, then, yes, that's when I feel like it. I may hold the record for longest-running "NR" status in daily kos history because I'd get caught up in those time-waster arguments. I'm avoiding them better now.

        What do you have to write about the topic of the diary? I've already learned a lot about behavioral psychology today, especially the orca/cookie and poodle/choke-chain model, and I think I've learned that many people here are as scared of a security state as I am of a future anarchy involving masses of people disregarding the rule of law and tearing the country apart or weakening it with secrets.

        Rand Paul is to civil liberties as the Disney Channel is to subtle and nuanced acting. On biblical prophesy: If you play the bible backwards, it says, "Paul is dead."

        by Tortmaster on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:49:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  what you fail to realize is that a security state (7+ / 0-)

          is guaranteed to evolve into future anarchy involving masses of people, tired, scared, upset that Big Brother does indeed watch their every move.

          Illegal surveillance is, to put it simply, illegal. The ease of misuse is horrifically possible, as is pursuing wrong-headed decisions secretly, based on the idea of "If you only knew what I know" and similar crap.

          Either we have a democracy or not. If we do, then the population must be informed in order to function responsibly. Acting in secret destroys the very foundation of a functional democracy.

          We should not be afraid of protests, but rather embrace them and support them when they point out a wrong, a problem, an issue that needs addressing.

          Let me put it this way, do you really want another Dick Cheney having unfettered access to all NSA data to be used for his own profits, political power, and whatever other devious thoughts go on in that bionic body?

          What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

          by agnostic on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 08:22:55 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  There has to be some secrets. (0+ / 0-)

            Nuclear weaponry? Biological agents? Military deployment information? Foreign spycraft? (And my contention is that the telephone metadata is foreign spycraft, as the end result is to locate foreign agents and their plans for action in the United States, but this category also includes the bulk of the material disclosed by Snowden about our operations in China and Iran and against terrorist groups, for example.)

            Who decides what is secret is an important question posed in this diary. I think we have the best system in place, even if it does need some tweaking now and will need more tweaking in the future.

            I'm with you on protests and whistleblowing, which I think is the purest form of protest. It directly entails ongoing illegalities, waste or fraud, and it is a protest from a person--very possibly the person with the most knowledge about the abuse--directly involved and potentially affected. I hate to see whistleblowing get a bad name on blogs because it is so important.

            As for your hypothetical, I don't want Cheney mowing lawns unless it is in a correctional facility. On the other hand, I understand the oversights in place, and I know that there will be whistleblowers and media in the future to expose those crimes (or at least the best possible system to detect  such malfeasance). I would contend that we now live in an "insecurity state" if you are bent on malfeasance. Hell, almost everyone in America now carries a camera, a video recording device and a way to record audio in their pocket or purse.

            Rand Paul is to civil liberties as the Disney Channel is to subtle and nuanced acting. On biblical prophesy: If you play the bible backwards, it says, "Paul is dead."

            by Tortmaster on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 10:06:17 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  asdf (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lost and Found, Tortmaster

          "... "anytime he feels like it," you mean when I see a personal attack, then, yes, that's when I feel like it."

          So, besides being a righteously naïve authoritarian type, you're also a self-appointed diary police, albeit d-list.

          Figures.

          Oh, btw, speaking of figures, some 12 recs, 18 tips and almost 200 comments?

          Sad.

          “Vote for the party closest to you, but work for the movement you love.” ~ Thom Hartmann 6/12/13

          by ozsea1 on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 12:03:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Recced, but question can be answered (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tortmaster, Witgren, FG, NYFM

    by noting that nobody knows what Snowden took. Even Snowden.  So forgiveness required forgiving the unknown, and that isn't going to happen.  

    My suggestion for Snowden, as it was during his stay in HK, to reach out for a plea bargain.  I hope he has.

    The dossier on my DKos activities during the Bush administration will be presented on February 3, 2014.

    by Inland on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 05:56:21 AM PST

  •  I haven't read all of this. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    doroma, Tortmaster

    But after a few screensfull it looks like a very good piece of work.  A preliminary thank you.

    Suggestion for Facebook: 50 free "starter friends" automatically as soon as you sign up.

    by dov12348 on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 06:03:13 AM PST

  •  I don't believe ... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tortmaster, CenPhx, ozsea1, poligirl

    ...Snowden was a DoD contractor and even if he was past experiences of other people trying that route and going to jail should prove what colossal BS your argument is.

    I keep wondering why you put so much effort promulgating untruths.

    We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

    by delver rootnose on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 06:05:33 AM PST

    •  I don't think Snowden was ... (0+ / 0-)

      ... interested in whistleblowing. But I am. I think all Democrats should be interested in an efficient whistleblower system. Can you answer this:

      Do you believe that if Snowden had done everything exactly the same except he only took information related to the NSA metadata program and provided it to only one journalist, he would even have to worry about clemency or a pardon?
       

      Why didn't he do that? Was it bad advice, and I mean pull-my-finger-level bad advice? Was it ideology?  

      Rand Paul is to civil liberties as the Disney Channel is to subtle and nuanced acting. On biblical prophesy: If you play the bible backwards, it says, "Paul is dead."

      by Tortmaster on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 06:33:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  He would be in the... (7+ / 0-)

        ..exact same position he is in now and the convictions of others for less proves it.  And if he just took info about the one program it would have been pooh-poohed away by people like you.

        And you have no comment about Snowden not being A DoD contractor.  I could be wrong about that I will admit.

        We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

        by delver rootnose on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 06:42:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  My understanding is that ... (0+ / 0-)

          ... Snowden was an employee of a DoD contractor.

          I disagree with your conclusion about what would have happened if Snowden did what I hypothetically suggested. I think he gets treated better than a whistleblower. I would admit that there is some question about that only because all of the courts had held the NSA program to be constitutional up to that point. That would have also made it difficult to blow the whistle to an Inspector General or a member of Congress. Still, I wish he'd tried, and if that didn't work, then forwarded the info to a single journalist.

          In every effective organization since the dawn of time there's been the rule that you "exhaust all your administrative remedies" or use the chain of command or have a trial before an appeal or "go ask your Mother first and see what she says."    

          Rand Paul is to civil liberties as the Disney Channel is to subtle and nuanced acting. On biblical prophesy: If you play the bible backwards, it says, "Paul is dead."

          by Tortmaster on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:07:49 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  as far as I know, NSA is DOD (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tortmaster

          it does not fall under DOJ or DHS.

          You WANT me on that server! You NEED me on that server!

          by nota bene on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 04:09:30 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  You say this like it's a BAD thing: (19+ / 0-)
    DAMAGE TO AMERICAN INTELLIGENCE-GATHERING CAPABILITIES
    ...and sorry, but until we see prosecution or at least serious criminal investigation of Bush-era torture and other war crimes, the "rule of law" in America is a dead letter.

    When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

    by PhilJD on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 06:10:26 AM PST

  •  Here's your bunkness takedown (15+ / 0-)
    b. There Are Established and Effective Whistleblowing Procedures in Place
    8 Whistleblowers Charged With Violating the Espionage Act Under Obama

    It's rather sad to see people who would rightly condemn these outrageous assaults on our civil liberties if a Republican did them (and they did!) with "It's O.K. If Obama Does It."
    ~

    •  I believe I have ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      k9disc

      ... addressed each of those cases multiple times before. It would take me hours to re-do that research and probably just as long to find my comments about them on dkos. The bottom line for each was that they weren't whistleblowers. (Although I think one may have been a whistleblower but was prosecuted under the Bush regime until his case dragged on to the Obama justice department, which took a misdemeanor plea.)

      There were 4,000+ Government whistleblowers in 2012. Why haven't we heard of any of them? Those folks followed the procedures and many of them undoubtedly helped the Government to function better in the future.  

      Rand Paul is to civil liberties as the Disney Channel is to subtle and nuanced acting. On biblical prophesy: If you play the bible backwards, it says, "Paul is dead."

      by Tortmaster on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:15:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You do know that it won't be rogue elements that (6+ / 0-)

        go wrong in the current iteration of the NSA and intelligence community in the future, it will be business interests that do that.

        Think about that for a moment. Seriously.

        Now, look at the Global War on Terror, same thing, it's not the rogue dictators that we're after, they're cool. It's the business interests that drive warfare.

        These things are now so privatized that your beautiful piece on checks and balances and trust in the sovereign state of America here is rendered fairly moot. We don't just have justice to contend with, not just the laws of man, but the laws of the market.

        What happens when dKos writers run afoul of business interests in the not so far off future? or Striking workers? What guarantees that we have constitutional protections and the rule of law?

        And that's what is so fucking scary about the path we're taking. When business interests trump sovereignty and self governance the people are in trouble. When business interests have access to omniscient intelligence? I have no idea, and shudder to think.

        Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

        by k9disc on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:58:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think we agree on the problem ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          k9disc

          ... but not on the solution. Mine is to win elections in the short term, watch the Republicans die out, and then move to my model "non-profit economy." We'd have to start out in a few certain industries to begin with, and just one competitor in each market, but eventually it would provide a cheaper and better product to the consumer. Imagine a non-profit television station that wasn't state-owned? We all have our dreams.  

          Rand Paul is to civil liberties as the Disney Channel is to subtle and nuanced acting. On biblical prophesy: If you play the bible backwards, it says, "Paul is dead."

          by Tortmaster on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 08:55:18 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I personally don't.... (9+ / 0-)

    ....think Snowden is all that important.  What he showed the government doing in our name is HUGLEY important.

    Your continued character assassination of an unimportant player in this imbroglio is a transparent attempt to distract us and discredit what he revealed.  If you can't assail the message kill the messenger.

    We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

    by delver rootnose on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 06:36:26 AM PST

    •  I have tried hard to avoid ... (0+ / 0-)

      ... characterizing Snowden while only discussing his actions. I have a more complete comment about this (to you) above.

      Rand Paul is to civil liberties as the Disney Channel is to subtle and nuanced acting. On biblical prophesy: If you play the bible backwards, it says, "Paul is dead."

      by Tortmaster on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:52:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  They may negotiate a plea deal that will (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tortmaster, duhban

    involve little jail time but he will have to plead guilty.

  •  Easily one of the most hardcore, rightwing... (28+ / 1-)

    ...pieces of propaganda (from one of the most hardcore, rightwing members of this community) to make it onto the pages of this blog since.... hmmm....When was the last time diarist posted something?

    The reasoning presented in this post is loaded with so much, cherry-picked and blatantly-contorted information (and, yes, outright conservative propaganda), it's actually funny.

    And, no, I won't be wasting my time supporting these comments. But, by all means do a search of this diarist's trolling in my posts...for years...for full/extensive documentation of their (Joe) McCarthy-like mindset.

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 06:50:40 AM PST

    •  no kidding. (15+ / 0-)
      Easily one of the most hardcore, rightwing...
      ...pieces of propaganda (from one of the most hardcore, rightwing members of this community)
      The diarist has FPer written all over him.

      Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

      by corvo on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:01:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  "I'll just drop a turd and move along" (7+ / 0-)

      Thanks for the silver lining.

      The dossier on my DKos activities during the Bush administration will be presented on February 3, 2014.

      by Inland on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:05:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  bobswern, you're not talking ... (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JoanMar, Inland, JackND, fcvaguy, second gen, duhban

      ... about my questioning your fiercely defended position that the US economy was ready to go into the second dip of a double-dip recession? Surely you don't hold grudges that long?

      Was it when I noted in your Snowden diaries that the NSA program was probably constitutional, citing the Smith v. Maryland, 442 U.S. 735 (1979) case, even before we found out that that's what 16 federal judges had relied on to find the program constitutional?  

      Rand Paul is to civil liberties as the Disney Channel is to subtle and nuanced acting. On biblical prophesy: If you play the bible backwards, it says, "Paul is dead."

      by Tortmaster on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:59:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ah, bob and his double dip. (6+ / 0-)

        The answer is, yes.  Bob will attack anyone for disagreeing, but he saves his superlatives (and his dump and runs) for the people who have shown him up in a decisive way.

        The dossier on my DKos activities during the Bush administration will be presented on February 3, 2014.

        by Inland on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 08:20:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, the infamous double-dip. My favorite! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          fcvaguy, duhban
          Timmy: What are you doing?

          George: What?

          Timmy: Did, did you just double-dip that chip?

          George: Excuse me?

          Timmy: You double-dipped the chip!

          George: Double-dipped? What are you talking about?

          Timmy: You dipped the chip, you took a bite, and you dipped again.

          George: So?

          Timmy: That's like putting your whole mouth right in the dip! From now on, when you take a chip, just take one dip and end it!

          Ah, the memories, Inland.

          Rand Paul is to civil liberties as the Disney Channel is to subtle and nuanced acting. On biblical prophesy: If you play the bible backwards, it says, "Paul is dead."

          by Tortmaster on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 10:12:05 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thing is, Bob remembers it more than anyone. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            fcvaguy, duhban, Tortmaster

            I don't think I've mentioned it, despite bob's MO of being a complete dick accusing people of ignoring facts.  But being shown up is clearly the source of his hatred.  He hates on people who appear in his diary to contradict him, and hates on people who post their own diaries to contradict him.  This is the second time I've seen bob drop a turd and announce that he's not going to stick around for comments.  

            The dossier on my DKos activities during the Bush administration will be presented on February 3, 2014.

            by Inland on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 11:27:57 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You completely make this sh*t up, then repeat... (5+ / 0-)

              ...it when you have no ammo in your "battle of wits," and you then hope that this lie--which you've been propagating for many years, now--becomes a truth.

              It's lame.

              And, this lameness is all that you've "got."

              So, frankly, I feel sorry for you.

              What you're referencing is my coverage of ECRI's prognostication that we were headed into a double-dip recession, back in 2010. And, like you've done in a couple of other instances, you attribute the commentary of others to me, as if I was making those statements.

              I don't prognosticate. I report (and, then frequently via the use of commentary from others, far more qualified to assess the economy). Most people in this community know this. (In fact, when you're not making shit up; you then revert to either: a.) "Bob is just cutting and pasting" mode, or, b.) "Yves Smith/Tom Ferguson/Bill Black/Matt Taibbi, etc., etc. have their heads up their ass." A few asshats here, such as yourself, won't acknowledge these self-evident truths, because they completely invalidate their lies "criticisms."

              So, repetition of complete fiction is all you/they have. When you're in this "mode," you discredit your own commentary with every passing word!

              Maybe one day you'll get a clue.

              "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

              by bobswern on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 11:50:16 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Huh. You sure take it personal, then, (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                duhban, Tortmaster

                when we disagree with someone else's opinion.  It's just you reporting other people of interest, with links.  It's not like your giving your opinion and providing links that don't support your conclusions.  It's not like you cited Krugman for saying that we are in a double dip, and looking at the link, finding that Krugman said no such thing.

                Or we can cut your crap.

                Nobody's to blame but you, both for the fake links, for being wrong, going fucking ballistic with ad homs in your diary, and your dump and runs in others.  It's all on you.

                The dossier on my DKos activities during the Bush administration will be presented on February 3, 2014.

                by Inland on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 12:51:22 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  Were you a V-Shaped recovery guy? (7+ / 0-)

        We had a double dip, or we're still having our first dip, Depression-style.

        The financial smoke, mirrors, social media and iPads might muddy the water a bit, but we're barely treading water with nary a lifesaver to be found.

        Our economy is far from healthy. It's very sick. 1 out of six in poverty. Housing bought up by institutions. We're sitting at the edge of corporate  colonialism.  

        At the very best, the economy was given a shot of morphine and we're experiencing some euphoria and some obvious "irrational exuberance".

        Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

        by k9disc on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 09:30:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  actually, it's about your crap diary (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tortmaster

        and not bobswern.

        Are you an attorney?

        “Vote for the party closest to you, but work for the movement you love.” ~ Thom Hartmann 6/12/13

        by ozsea1 on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 10:09:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Your upraters should be ashamed of themselves. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NYFM, Tortmaster, doroma, fcvaguy, duhban

      Matter-of-fact, BS, the tactic you just used is more synonymous with right wing practices than anything Tortmaster has written.
      a) accusation without evidence
      b) over-inflating support for a particular idea or person
      c) overweening pomposity
      d) depend on verbosity and ad homs to make your point rather than calm, rational debates
      Not to mention the oft repeated DKos rule of: DBAD!

      Since when is support for Snowden a leftwing position and reasoned opposition to what he did evidence of rightwing sympathies? You know who else supports Snowden?

      Sen. Rand Paul described NSA leaker Edward Snowden a “civil disobedient” and noted that others protesting the government like Martin Luther King Jr. had only faced short jail terms.
      Read more: http://www.politico.com/...

      Evidence of dwindling support for Snowden:

      Do you approve or disapprove of Snowden’s decision to leak information about U.S. surveillance activities?
      Strongly approve . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15%
      Somewhat approve . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21%
      Somewhat disapprove . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12%
      Strongly disapprove . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32%
      Not sure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20%
      https://today.yougov.com/...

      Maya Angelou: "Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

      by JoanMar on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 08:29:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't think it's the most Right Wing thing I've (7+ / 0-)

      seen here, but I do think it is one of the best illustrations of an Establishment piece we have.

      I also saw the disingenuous parts and RW framing - but that's Establishment stuff - it's what serious people say.

      Don't hate the playa hate the game.

      We're supposed to argue about the legalese - the logical fallacies - the byzantine lawyerly and scholarly stuff. If we're nibbling and quibbling around the edges of this all the better.

      The winning arguments are these:
      the NSA is a public-private partnership - like Fannie Mae. Government secrets meets corporate profits with omniscient spying capability. What could possibly go wrong?

      The NSA does not protect citizens, it protects the State and "national interests". Protecting the citizen has nothing to do with it.

      This technology is about controlling populations and individuals, the end.

      So, bob, I think that is where the dialogue has to take place. People know the NSA spies on people, but I don't think they know that it's corporate and profits are going down. I don't think they know the full capability. I don't think they know the realpolitik of the situation.

      Keeping us whining about logical fallacies and navigating and cross referencing legislation keeps us away from these, far more base level aspects of this issue. If this foundation (frame) is laid appropriately, then all kinds of movement immediately happens, and understanding is transformed.

      I think that's important for all of us who sit on the wrong side of the Establishment to keep in mind and try to practice.

      Peace~

      Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

      by k9disc on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 09:20:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm not sure (6+ / 0-)

      that this isn't the best, most elaborate snark written since A Modest Proposal.  

      I've been laughing my ass off for about an hour.  I have fresh stiches.in my bnelly, so I gotta go, but come on.  This guy is clearly putting us on.

      "It rubs the lotion on its skin" is not effective coalition building.

      by Nada Lemming on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 11:45:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  HRd (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NYFM, Tortmaster

      DBAD, personal attacks

      KOS: "Mocking partisans focusing on elections? Even less reason to be on Daily Kos."

      by fcvaguy on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 12:52:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Snowden won't receive... (11+ / 0-)

    ...a pardon or clemency because of one important thing:

    He poked the authoritarian establishment in the eye. He embarrassed them in front of the whole world. He revealed that our intelligence officials were breaking the law and repeatedly lied to their higher-ups. And that cannot be tolerated.

    The Grand Bargain must be stopped at all costs to protect the 99%.

    by cybrestrike on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 06:51:57 AM PST

    •  There's also the matter ... (0+ / 0-)

      ... of divulging millions of classified documents that could--and in my opinion do--harm the country, and also there's the matter of public policy to not positively reinforce mass disclosers or people who fail to use the actual whistleblower procedure or even a reasonable facsimile thereof.

      But, although we've attacked the same problem with different formulations, we've both arrived at the same answer, so there's that.

      Rand Paul is to civil liberties as the Disney Channel is to subtle and nuanced acting. On biblical prophesy: If you play the bible backwards, it says, "Paul is dead."

      by Tortmaster on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 08:04:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There is no evidence that these disclosures... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tortmaster, Johnny Q, Lost and Found

        ...have harmed anything except for revealing the fact that our surveillance apparatus is more about industrial espionage rather than national security.

        There is no justifiable purpose to hoovering up the vast amounts of information that the NSA and its corporate satellites suck up indiscriminately.

        The Grand Bargain must be stopped at all costs to protect the 99%.

        by cybrestrike on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 08:17:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  the Surveillance State thanks you for your (17+ / 0-)

    service.

    "Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are." ~St Augustine "When it is dark enough, you can see the stars." ~Charles Beard

    by poligirl on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:14:14 AM PST

  •  I would imagine you support the War OF Terror. (6+ / 0-)

    And that says it all.

    "Fragmented and confused, we have no plan to combat any of this, but are looking to be saved by the very architects of our ruination."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:28:06 AM PST

  •  I do not trust a word out of Clapper's mouth. The (9+ / 0-)

    man perjured himself, lied to Congress and the American people, and suffered no consequences. That the President remains in support of Clapper even after it was publicly acknowledged that he lied, removes my ability to give him any trust. I think, and this is my opinion, that they all all more afraid of what we don't yet know that what we already do know. I don't trust any of them and I sure will not listen to a known liar.

    "A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves." Edward R. Murrow

    by temptxan on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:28:42 AM PST

  •  Good survey, illogical conclusion. "1984." (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    poligirl, Tortmaster, aliasalias

    This:

    "For individuals interested in a healthy democracy, a functioning and viable whistleblower system is essential. Edward Snowden and his agents have played a public relations game to scare people about their Government, to make them suspicious of the whistleblower system, and to forget the rule of law. And that may be his greatest crime. For all of these reasons, Edward Snowden stands no chance of obtaining clemency or a pardon, and for the same reasons, The New York Times was wrong and lost in some strange hyperboleland, and the Los Angeles Times failed to go far enough in the other direction".
    NYT and LAT see the situation in historical context. That is what tortmaster misses in his development of the risks associated with building and operating this FBI-NSA data acquisition machine.

    All Hitler had were radio, movie newsreels, and speeches at rallies. His surveillance system was primitive.

    Also, obviously, the whistleblower system has failed in serial events where top tier bureaucrats were able to rely on the legal mechanisms to protect them. The whistleblowers were crushed. Change never, ever happened.

    What FBI-NSA have built is the surveillance system described first in the fiction "1984." There The Party used exactly such a machine to control the society. Here, all we have to do is wait -- another Aaron Burr or Dick Cheney or Richard Nixon will come along.

    Sociopaths, psychopaths -- many of them put their whole lives to efforts to dominate other people. They are the "Eagles" and we are the "ducks." Time and again they get to the top. They live to be "Big Brother."

    What Snowden revealed had been hidden. What he gives us is a chance to stop this thing. He gives us is a chance to save our civilization, not an iota less.

    Pardon, clemency ??? Stealing documents? Snowden as common thief?

    Problem for all that is that here at DKOS we all read "1984" and we saw the movie and we remember it. Unlike Obama, who has forgotten all about it. Who is MIA at defending the Constitution against all threats foreign and domestic.

    "I hesitate to agree with Ted Nugent...."

    by waterstreet2013 on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:33:50 AM PST

  •  Another lie that Tort ignores blithely (8+ / 0-)

    I have a bunch of friends who are prosecutors. We talk about politics, law, sports, and laugh that Chicago Sports pages could be the basis of Criminal Law 101 in any law school.

    Their biggest surprise? How quickly Defense Counsel across the country are picking up on how the NSA gives data on non-terror crime, mainly drug dealing and transportation, to local authorities, in order to point them in the right direction. Prosecutors have been instructed to fight these discovery efforts, but think that the Fruit of the Poisoned Tree doctrine will come back to bite them in the ass. If you ever needed more proof that non-terror actions were being spied upon and that data sent to local law enforcement, I cannot think of a better example.

    Or, better yet, the NSA's intrusion into the Occupy movement, where they sent reams of data to local authorities in order to castrate and defend the Occupy movement.

    To argue that the Intel being illegally  gathered is not being misused is to be stupid, willfully ignorant as a TeaBuggerer, or to doing a job here - as a paid undercover operative. Which are you, Tort?

    What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

    by agnostic on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:41:02 AM PST

  •  Tipped and rec'd to counter (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tortmaster, duhban

    unfair hr.
    Heck, I'd have tipped and rec'd anyway.

    Great job, TM.

    Maya Angelou: "Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

    by JoanMar on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:46:47 AM PST

  •  Priorities and perspective (11+ / 0-)

    I didn't read much of this.  I got as far as this paragraph:

    Should a person be allowed to steal thousands or tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of Top Secret documents, disperse them into the wind, and then be allowed to point to one of the documents and say, "There. See. I was justified"? Should that behavior be encouraged or discouraged? Is such a blunt, dangerous and ugly process even necessary? And who gets to decide that " X " is a violation of the Constitution significant enough to permit the disclosure of 100,000 or 200,000 secrets?
    It's beyond weird, ignoring the gleeful slaughter of innocent children, ignoring the machinery of a police state, while waxing philosophical about those who have exposed these things at great cost to themselves.  To put it frankly, it's fucked up.

    Here's a little paraphrasing that may help with the humanity challenged:

    Should a person be allowed to preside over the torture of hundreds of people and the the slaughter of tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of innocents and the displacement of millions of others and then be allowed to point to one terrorist attack a decade in the past and say, "There.  See.  I was justified?"  Should that behavior be encouraged or discouraged?  Is such a blunt, dangerous and ugly process even necessary?  [This could be a question about drone murders.]  And who gets to decide that " X " is a violation of the Constitution significant enough to permit the disclosure of 100,000 or 200,000 secrets?  [Correct answer:  the people of the United States through their representatives in congress who were lied to]
    All this talk of Snowden.  If he were revealed to be a serial killer responsible for the deaths of hundreds, that would have zero effect on the importance of what he revealed, and his crimes would still pale in comparison with the on-going crimes of the government of the United States, crimes which affect millions.

    It has been said that the worst crime known to humanity is the invasion of a sovereign state under false pretext, because all the other crimes follow.  And the diarist is prattling on about the need to discourage people from revealing the secrets of the rogue government which committed this crime, a crime which has gone unpunished.  Given the lack of perspective, this diary is disgusting.

    Secrecy is a hot bed of vanity. - Joseph Brodsky They who have put out the people’s eyes reproach them for their blindness. – John Milton 1642

    by geomoo on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 08:03:12 AM PST

    •  When you write this: (0+ / 0-)
      "All this talk of Snowden."

      ... are you including all the comments you have written in Snowden and NSA diaries? Does that, then, give me the right to question your humanity?

      Rand Paul is to civil liberties as the Disney Channel is to subtle and nuanced acting. On biblical prophesy: If you play the bible backwards, it says, "Paul is dead."

      by Tortmaster on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 09:09:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sounds logical . . . (8+ / 0-)

        . . . but it's not. Even if it were, I have never written a single thing about Snowden that wasn't in response to character assassination by others.  And even then, often in addition to countering the lies and innuendos, I also try to point out that the important thing, the thing that should be being discussed more than the real or imagined crimes of Snowden, is the very real continuing criminality of the US Government.  I think Snowden the person is interesting in the same way that a soap opera is interesting.

        I'll tell you when you can question my humanity:  when you find me being more concerned about how I or someone else looks to the world than about widespread suffering.  When you find me pretending that revealing widespread government criminality is a more serious crime than dropping bombs on families while they sleep, than rejoicing at the slaughter of innocents.

        Secrecy is a hot bed of vanity. - Joseph Brodsky They who have put out the people’s eyes reproach them for their blindness. – John Milton 1642

        by geomoo on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 10:16:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Tortmaster is taking a lot of shit (9+ / 0-)

    but this is probably one of the best diary I've seen on the site regarding this issue...he put together a compelling case even if you disagree with it, and no number of ad homs or hand waves will disprove what he put out there.

    I think Laurence Lewis wrote the best diary that goes in the other direction a little while back that talks about how the agency should be reined in though if a person with real totalitarian impulses (like Christie or Cruz) became President.

    •  He's getting some crap (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tortmaster, agnostic, Medium Head Boy

      for sure, but I see part of the problem is he mixed a couple issues together. The case is effectively made that there will be no pardons, but that seemed obvious. Our president does not look kindly on anyone breaking ranks and isn't all that inclined toward pardons in general. Plus, Snowden made a conscious decision to break some laws and that usually comes with consequences. Well, for most of us anyway.

      A large part of this diary goes beyond Snowden to a general defense of the surveillance programs and the contention the nation has been seriously harmed. I remain skeptical on that part as the claims of benefit or harm regarding the secretive NSA seems always to boil down to "You have to trust us on this." It's difficult to trust organizations or people who have been found to telling numerous untruths already. A year ago "55 serious terrorist threats" had been prevented because of this activity. Numerous challenges and revelations later, the last time I heard the actual number was, "Uh, none."

      It's impossible for the plain folk to gauge the value of these programs but so very easy to see some gigantic potential risks going forward that the super-secrecy feels dangerous. If all this gee wiz techno-magic could not anticipate the Boston Marathon bombers, even after one of them had been ID'd to the FBI, then what the hell good is it? What's it's real purpose? "Trust us" is not really cutting it.

      Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

      by ricklewsive on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 09:03:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think it's generally ... (0+ / 0-)

        ... understood that the NSA used one of their devices to infect the computers in the Iranian nuclear program. If that is true, then think of what it might have saved just because of a little delay.

        Additionally, the most recent Judge to rule that the metadata program was constitutional--I believe he was the one in the Southern District of New York--found that the program, if it were in place at the time, likely would have stopped 9/11. Of course, nobody knows if that is true or not because it can't be proved based on our current knowledge of space/time, but can anyone doubt it would make future attacks more difficult?

        I've always wondered if that "55" number was brought up and then retracted because if the United States Attorney opened the door to that evidence, it would allow more people to learn about classified information. I fully admit I got no proof of that, but that's how evidence in a courtroom operates.

        Rand Paul is to civil liberties as the Disney Channel is to subtle and nuanced acting. On biblical prophesy: If you play the bible backwards, it says, "Paul is dead."

        by Tortmaster on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 10:20:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  weasel phrasing (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Johnny Q, Tortmaster

          "... understood that the NSA used one of their devices to infect the computers in the Iranian nuclear program. If that is true, then think of what it might have saved just because of a little delay."

          very telling.

          Wondered how long it would take for you to trot out that rightwing militaristic squawking point.

          Trust, but verify. And this is not verification.

          “Vote for the party closest to you, but work for the movement you love.” ~ Thom Hartmann 6/12/13

          by ozsea1 on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 10:53:09 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  What people are forgetting (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tortmaster

          is that a lot of what was leaked has absolutely nothing to do with our 4th Amendment and is perfectly legitimate spycraft (such as how we operate in China, Russia, Pakistan, how Norway and Sweden spy on Russia, how Australia and Indonesia share information to deal with Indonesia's refugee problem).

          •  That is a valid and good point (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tortmaster

            Yeah, how Snowden did what he did might be described as amateurish and blunt, which I think one would expect of a young man unschooled in the application of intelligence. As Tort has said he probably took very bad advice.

            It's unfortunate these discussions devolve into sainthood/not sainthood arguments as it clouds peoples' minds as to the issues. Snowden broke laws and oaths and because of that faces certain consequences. I don't think he was unaware of that. Had be been more discrete in his disclosures I doubt the Powers That Be would be any less fervent in calling for his head on a pike, but it would be easier to defend some sort of mercy. But it's messy and will play out.

            People should not let that debate distract from the information revealed that should be of major interest to the citizenry of the nation. There is a separate debate to be had concerning the degree of intrusion that should be allowed in what we pride ourselves as the pillar of freedom and democracy.

            There are arguments on both sides of that debate but it seems pretty certain the intelligence community has had all these programs buttoned up so tight that debate would not have been possible without someone breaking the law to bring it to the nation's attention. Sure, there are channels, but seriously, has anyone made it through those channels to the reveal what's been going on so we could have a national discussion how just how much we wish to expose ourselves to in order to be "safe"? Not before Mr. Snowden.

            Snowden is neither a saint nor the devil. He's a guy who kinda ruined his life to do something he believed in. His fate should have little to do with our judgements about what kind of country we want to live in.

            Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

            by ricklewsive on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 06:25:48 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you, dpinzow! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      duhban

      I knew the shit was coming. I have an afternoon that is scheduled for shit, shit, a yelling at, and more shit. I'm used to it!  ; )

      Gotta run!

      Rand Paul is to civil liberties as the Disney Channel is to subtle and nuanced acting. On biblical prophesy: If you play the bible backwards, it says, "Paul is dead."

      by Tortmaster on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 10:25:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Some think themselves counterpropaganda agents (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      duhban, Tortmaster

      on the hunt.  Simple as that.  It's a mixture of megalomania, anti free speech, and an inability to see anyone else's point of view.

      The dossier on my DKos activities during the Bush administration will be presented on February 3, 2014.

      by Inland on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 11:13:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  if dkos is the jury (5+ / 0-)

    it appears you've lost your case

    Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

    by greenbastard on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 08:30:44 AM PST

  •  Tortmaster is an arrogant American (4+ / 0-)

    The arrogant Americans believe that only U.S. citizens have any legal rights and that the U.S. is the arbiter of rights for peoples of all nations.

    With this belief firmly held, the U.S. can do to citizens of any other country whatever it wishes to do, because the U.S. is the only moral nation and therefore whatever the U.S. does is morally acceptable.

  •  Once again -- (5+ / 0-)

    Snowden is evil.

    EVIL!  EVIL!  EVIL!

    So doesn't that make you feel better that the NSA, linking with other secret-keeping agencies pursuing personal and partisan political agendas and in concert with a government that has declared war on the world and which continues to run a secret gulag of torture camps, is taking down your every keystroke?

    "If you sing a song a day/ You will make a better way" -- Earth, Wind, and Fire

    by Cassiodorus on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 09:02:23 AM PST

  •  Is this some sort of performance art? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Johnny Q, Tortmaster

    Because it's comedy gold!

    It reminds me of this!

  •  Can't Agree (7+ / 0-)

    Obviously, until all the facts come out (if they ever do), neither one of us can assess Snowden's guilt or innocence, or whether he deserves clemency.  But the following facts seem undeniable to me:

    1.  Snowden exposed a massive surveillance program directed at American citizens.

    2.  Under this program, there is no requirement for probable cause -- everybody's records are vacuumed up indiscriminately and kept by the government.  To me, it seems clear that by definition this is an unreasonable search and seizure and violates the 4th Amendment.  The Privacy Board also found that it was unauthorized by the underlying statute, and members of Congress have weighed in to say that the statute was not intended to authorize such a program.

    3.  Obama himself has acknowledged that there are problems and that procedures need to change.

    4.  A federal judge and two executive branch committees tasked with reviewing the program have all concluded that it has not worked, in the sense that it has not prevented any terrorist attacks or even provided information that could not have been gotten through alternative, less intrusive means.

    The following is not a "fact," but there is little doubt in my opinion (and if you differ, I'd appreciate your explanation) that we would not have known any of this, no discussion would have taken place, and the two executive branch committees would not have weighed in on the program, in the absence of Snowden's disclosures.

    I for one am grateful to Snowden for revealing the above.  I'm also skeptical about the alleged damage to national security his diclosures have caused, but even taking those allegations at face value, I think the benefit of public disclosure of the incipient police state/surveillance society, on balance, far outweighs such adverse effects.  America is not America if it's not free, and if we lose our civil liberties, that would be far more damaging to our country than anything that could result from a terrorist attack.

    "[W]e shall see the reign of witches pass over . . . and the people, recovering their true spirit, restore their government to its true principles." Jefferson

    by RenMin on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 10:49:06 AM PST

  •  Agree with your conclusion but not your analysis.. (3+ / 0-)

    I agree that it is unlikely that Snowden will receive any kind of clemency or pardon, because the whole security apparatus would erupt (for good or for ill).  However, I disagree that Snowden had any kind of viable "whistle-blowing" procedure (which is ostensibly a government-blessed process to rat on the government,which in and of itself should raise questions), because there are still few in government (including the Pres.)who find anything at fault with regard to the NSA programs.  They think they are legal and have safeguards, etc., so there's nothing to blow any whistle on.  I should also remind folks that U.S. Senators Wyden and Udall attempted to "blow their own whistles" for years to no avail.  So, Snowden had no choice but go public.
    One other point:  how would folks like to line up at the government armory at the end of each month and turn over to the authorities all of the phone numbers called in the previous month?  Don't worry,they'll just throw the information in a box and probably won't look at it, but they might look if they need to some time.

  •  You've done me a favor! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NYFM, doroma, cheminMD, Tortmaster

    Unlike some other commenters, I believe your post had a lot of merit. I liked the sober analysis, reasoned arguments and explanations an old guy like me could understand. It forced me to ditch some preconceptions I held concerning the NSA and it's data gathering. If what you say is accurate, then Mr. Snowden indeed had other venues available to him to use without endangering lives. Thanks for your post!

    If ever I become entirely respectable I shall be quite sure that I have outlived myself- EV Debs

    by EdinGA on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 12:59:52 PM PST

  •  This is an effective diary: it makes a strong case (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    poco

    I disagree with many of the premises and conclusions. It looks to me like you're deeply committed to one perspective, so you stand there and give a thorough account of exactly half the story.

    But I commend you for putting a lot of thought and work into your argument, and for producing a nicely organized, well-written, lawyerly brief. If Daily Kos had more diaries like this, and less diaries screaming "Snowden = Hero!"; "No, Snowden = Traitor", our pie-fights would cover a lot more ground than they do.

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 09:11:56 PM PST

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