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Russia Plans To Extend Edward Snowden's Asylum

Soulskill posted about 9 months ago | from the stay-awhile-and-we'll-listen dept.

United States 315

mendax writes "The New York Times reports, 'Russia plans to extend its offer of asylum to Edward J. Snowden beyond August, a Russian lawmaker said Friday at the World Economic Forum ... The lawmaker, Aleksei K. Pushkov, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in Russia's lower house of Parliament, hinted during a panel discussion that the extension of temporary refugee status for Mr. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor, might be indefinite. "He will not be sent out of Russia," Mr. Pushkov said. "It will be up to Snowden."'" Snowden said yesterday that going back to the U.S. is not an option because of the country's poor whistleblower protections "which through a failure in law did not cover national security contractors like [him]." He added, "This is especially frustrating, because it means there’s no chance to have a fair trial, and no way I can come home and make my case to a jury."

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Good... (1, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | about 9 months ago | (#46062475)

Maybe he can reveal how Putin is spying on Russians by any means necessary.

Re:Good... (0, Flamebait)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 9 months ago | (#46062503)

Snowden had better not do a movie along the lines of 2016 [imdb.com] , though. Vladimir has his foes show up in a cage [foreignpolicy.com] .

Are you guys trying to threaten Snowden ? (5, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 9 months ago | (#46062745)

Both you and "ackthpt" should be ashamed of yourself.

Unlike Mr. Edward Snowden, none of you have the guts to do the right thing, and yet, after the personal sacrifices Mr. Snowden has gone through - may even turn out to be a lifelong exile from the country he loves so much - you guys post smart-ass comments as if you are some how "better" than Mr. Snowden.

Re:Are you guys trying to threaten Snowden ? (4, Interesting)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 9 months ago | (#46063197)

I have a ring that lets me save at +4 vs. misplaced shame.
My remark was more about equating Putin and Obama's behavior toward dissidents than it was about Snowden himself.
You may not like Snowden, but in the broader context of the IRS scandal, and now this indictment against Dinesh D'Souza [politico.com] , the real people who should consider whether they bear any shame are those who re-elected Barack Obama. Not only do I reject your attempted shaming, I say the buck stops here with trying to pass it on.

Re:Are you guys trying to threaten Snowden ? (5, Insightful)

ATMAvatar (648864) | about 9 months ago | (#46063293)

The people who bear shame are those who voted Republican *or* Democrat in any national election.

Re:Are you guys trying to threaten Snowden ? (2)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 9 months ago | (#46063517)

Fair point, but I'd like to offer the flaccid excuse that it seemed we could get reform more quickly from the Republicans.

Re:Are you guys trying to threaten Snowden ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46063683)

Fair point, but I'd like to offer the flaccid excuse that it seemed we could get reform more quickly from the Republicans.

Had Romney won, we would have had Romney running for re-election in 2016. Hell Obama could then re-run too (or in 2020). As is, Obama is a lame duck effectively and can't run again. Romney is disgraced and won't run again. The slate is clean for 2016!

I voted for Gary Johnson (L) in the general and Ron Paul (R) in the primary. My conscience is clean.

Re:Are you guys trying to threaten Snowden ? (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 9 months ago | (#46063689)

not the voters' fault.

we had no one good to vote for! same as last time, and last time, and last time.

put someone truly good up there and then call us names if that guy does not get in.

what we have is a choice of kang or kodos. either way, we lose.

and no, voting 3rd party is a non-starter. don't even go there.

So, where do you want Snowden to go ?? (5, Informative)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 9 months ago | (#46063403)

My remark was more about equating Putin and Obama's behavior toward dissidents than it was about Snowden himself.

This world is occupied by 4.5 big thugs - China, Russia, USA, Japan, plus UK, which can only be rated as 0.5big, since they are living in their past glory.

USA is trying its best to hunt down Snowden. Japan and Britain are USA's lap dogs.

That leave China and Russia being the two entities left in this planet big and fierce and crazy enough to stand against USA.

So, where do you want Snowden to go ?

Sweden ? that another lap dog of USA ?

Bolivia ? Whose presidential plane was forced grounded by yet another USA lap dog (Spain) ?

I know very well (and I am not the only one in this) that Russia is far from the ideal location for Snowden to seek refuge in, but short of a miracle (that Obama and all his gang of traitors are thrown to jail), Mr. Edward Snowden is facing a stark future of being on the run all his life.

Re:So, where do you want Snowden to go ?? (3, Interesting)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 9 months ago | (#46063499)

Mr. Edward Snowden is facing a stark future of being on the run all his life.

At a really high level of abstraction, Snowden's acts are kind of like the invasion of Iraq; both Snowden and W undertook decisive acts with tangible historical impacts.
Hero? Goat? Who can say, sooner than a couple of decades?
The quite obvious thing for Snowden to do is get his name on a ballot and win election to Congress. That's tantamount to the voters giving the guy a pardon.

Re:So, where do you want Snowden to go ?? (3, Interesting)

cold fjord (826450) | about 9 months ago | (#46063703)

This world is occupied by 4.5 big thugs - China, Russia, USA, Japan, plus UK, which can only be rated as 0.5big, since they are living in their past glory.

Japan.... a thug? Really? And not just a 1/2 "thug" like you describe the UK, but a big thug? That is fascinating. Could you expand on that a bit? Between ninety to seventy years ago you would have been on solid ground, when Japan was at war with and occupying many of its neighbors, but today? How does that "thuggery" play out? Japan hasn't been fighting overseas wars like the UK has (to the credit of the UK). Why do you describe Japan as a thug?

Re:Are you guys trying to threaten Snowden ? (-1, Troll)

cold fjord (826450) | about 9 months ago | (#46063559)

Unlike Mr. Edward Snowden, none of you have the guts to do the right thing .... exile from the country he loves so much - you guys post smart-ass comments as if you are some how "better" than Mr. Snowden.

As you point out, neither of them stole 1,700,000 Top Secret intelligence agency documents and fled with them to live under the protection of American adversaries while dispensing many of them in a way to make them available to America's enemies. That has to count for something. As you point out, not everyone loves America quite so much. You included, apparently.

Re:Are you guys trying to threaten Snowden ? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46063713)

As you point out, neither of them stole 1,700,000 Top Secret intelligence agency documents and fled with them to live under the protection of American adversaries while dispensing many of them in a way to make them available to America's enemies.

Russia is an adversary of the US? That's quaint Cold War thinking. China is a US adversary? Last I checked, China is our largest trading partner (in terms of imports).

What China and Russia really are in the context of the NSA affair are two of the only nations on this planet that won't summary extradite an individual at the demand of the US government.

But yeah, Snowden should have just fled to one of our lapdog allies instead. What a dope that Snowden is.

Re:Good... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46062557)

Maybe he can reveal how Putin is spying on Russians by any means necessary.

Really? I don't get the rhetoric. What are you trying to say?

Snowden is at his mercy. Okay? We all know this.

We're in the UCSOA (United Corporate States Of America), we can say anything as long as it doesn't offend our corporate overlords.

By the way, WalMart is the Most Fair and Just employer EVER!

Silicon Valley has a legitimate gripe about getting qualfied help! Plah-ease do not hurt me...

Re:Good... (2)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about 9 months ago | (#46062559)

I'm pretty sure he doesn't want to be murdered if he is worried about getting a fair trial in the US.

Re:Good... (2, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 9 months ago | (#46062705)

Yes, but everyone knows about their spying. To learn the Russian government is secretly spying on their population would be about as scandalous as learning another Republican is secretly spending his time off at a gay club.

Re:Good... (5, Funny)

Dega704 (1454673) | about 9 months ago | (#46062729)

He already has the corrupt government of one superpower after his head, I don't think we should ask him to go for two. Maybe a Russian whistleblower will leak loads of damning details about Putin's government surveillance and be granted asylum in the US. That would be hilariously awkward.

Re:Good... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46063463)

He already has the corrupt government of one superpower after his head, I don't think we should ask him to go for two. Maybe a Russian whistleblower will leak loads of damning details about Putin's government surveillance and be granted asylum in the US. That would be hilariously awkward.

No, they'd swap prisoners, after each interrogated theirs fully.

Re:Good... (1)

bossk538 (1682744) | about 9 months ago | (#46063497)

It would be awkward, but the cynic in me says that the US and Russia would then find common ground for a mutual extradition.

Make him a Russian citizen.... (5, Interesting)

unixisc (2429386) | about 9 months ago | (#46062555)

.... and end this saga! Give him a home in the Sakha Republic - that place will get populated

Seems simple to me (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46062573)

Can't we privately send him to Mars with a 3D printer? He'll do fine over there and he'll be in a new paradise far away from decaying Earth.

Re:Seems simple to me (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 9 months ago | (#46062657)

Can't we privately send him to Mars with a 3D printer? He'll do fine over there and he'll be in a new paradise far away from decaying Earth.

Is going to Mars such a horrible thing? 200,000 people have signed up [torontosun.com] for a possible trip to Mars, why put Snowden at the head of the line?

Re:Seems simple to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46063049)

Only if you have to go there with one of the 200,000 people who have signed up. (Except for the few hot chicks who did it for fun.)

Re:Seems simple to me (2, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | about 9 months ago | (#46063231)

Only if you have to go there with one of the 200,000 people who have signed up. (Except for the few hot chicks who did it for fun.)

I hope "hot chick" is way down on the list of things they look for in an application - a "hot chick" is probably the person I'd least want to live with on mars, and I'd chose the nerdy chick (or dude) that sits in the basement all day building Arduino projects.

That's not to say that there are no nerdy hot chicks, but they don't seem to be the norm. Plus, my only relationship with a "hot chick" ended dramatically with a visit from the police, and almost a restraining order.

Re:Seems simple to me (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46063213)

I can never tell if people are joking, but are you mentally ill or just severely stupid?

Re:Seems simple to me (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 9 months ago | (#46063301)

I can never tell if people are joking, but are you mentally ill or just severely stupid?

You'll have to give a little more context if you'd like me to answer your insightful question - I have no idea what point you're trying to make. Am I crazy and/or stupid for suggesting that being banished to Mars can't be all that bad if 200,000 people would volunteer, or is it because I implied that Snowden shouldn't get a free trip to Mars when hundreds of thousands of people are in line in front of him?

Re:Seems simple to me (4, Funny)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 9 months ago | (#46063219)

Can't we privately send him to Mars with a 3D printer? He'll do fine over there and he'll be in a new paradise far away from decaying Earth.

Is going to Mars such a horrible thing? 200,000 people have signed up [torontosun.com] for a possible trip to Mars, why put Snowden at the head of the line?

First of all Mars [wikipedia.org] is in the United States. He can't go there. Second, the population is nowhere near 200K. It's probably closer to 2,000.

Re:Seems simple to me (4, Funny)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 9 months ago | (#46062853)

Hey who let James Clapper on slashdot

Re:Seems simple to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46063527)

He should be named James Crapper for the amount of lies and crap that come from his hole.

Why is this on Slashdot? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46062583)

I can understand the earlier developments relating to this whole incident being on Slashdot. There was the technological aspect to it. But at this point, this is purely political wrangling. There's no technology involved here. There's no science involved here. There's no mathematics involved here. Just realpolitik.

There are numerous other sites I can go to when I wish to read about such non-technical matters. Slashdot shouldn't be one of them, however. It should be the site I go to when I want news about science, technology and mathematics.

Please, editors, let's leave these purely-political stories off of the front page. I don't dispute that they have value, but they just don't belong here. There are other venues where they're appropriate. This is not one of those venues.

Re:Why is this on Slashdot? (5, Interesting)

ScottCooperDotNet (929575) | about 9 months ago | (#46062641)

It's on here because Snowden is the biggest whistleblower of his generation, and this article will get generate views and comments for a less-than-interesting Friday afternoon/evening.

Last time I checked, Russia's continual asylum was conditional on not releasing more information, otherwise Snowden had a year to find a new place to avoid a drone strike. One wonders if he made a deal, or the Russians just enjoy annoying the US.

Re:Why is this on Slashdot? (3, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 9 months ago | (#46062713)

Or both.

Re:Why is this on Slashdot? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46062749)

That was one of the initial conditions of his having been granted asylum in the first place. And leak those things he is technically not doing now, Greenwald and others and not Snowden were the ones technically releasing the documents afterward, after Snowden reportedly gave them the trove. I for one hope that Snowden maintains his asylum while the leaks continue on as before.

But yeah, I'm sure the Russians enjoy annoying the U.S. The United States war-hungry bullying is starting to become intolerable to those within and outside. Snowden should return to the U.S. and receive a full parade along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and then get his dick sucked by the finest of pseudoartsy pole-dancing hussies.

If you disagree with any of this, you are a cowardly statist bootlicker who would have a nervous breakdown going 5 minutes without Facebook and Twitter. Real men have balls of steel and troll the biggest and most powerful nations in the world.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:Why is this on Slashdot? (2)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 9 months ago | (#46062869)

My bet is on annoying the US, hell if where Putin I would.

Re:Why is this on Slashdot? (1)

jonwil (467024) | about 9 months ago | (#46062893)

I would have thought that the Russians had no love whatsoever for the US and that they would like seeing Snowden release everything he has and leave the US with egg on their face.

Or are the Russians using the same tricks and tools as the US (under different code names) and that's why they dont want Snowden to speak out?

Re:Why is this on Slashdot? (1)

deconfliction (3458895) | about 9 months ago | (#46063017)

my theory is that the Russians have less qualms and impediments to using the same types of tricks and tools as the US, however perhaps less technical ability. I say that latter thinking of Silicon Valley in the US and the history of the internet, though like the moon-landing style got-there-firsts, perhaps now the internet is mature enough that an early lead has evaporated.

Back to your question though- another reason to consider the Russians not wanting Snowden to speak out is because it would anger the U.S, and perhaps in a real-politik sense, Russia is still afraid of what a really-pissed-off USA-intelligence-inner-circle-elite can do to Russia. Or again as before, perhaps there is no superpower-imbalance in this day and age to enable that silenced-by-fear effect.

Re:Why is this on Slashdot? (4, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 9 months ago | (#46062951)

Last time I checked, Russia's continual asylum was conditional on not releasing more information,

Easy for him to live up to since he gave the entire trove to Greenwald, et al. Snowden hasn't released anything since, because he doesn't have anything left. [techdirt.com] Same reason all the talk about the FSB getting access to the files is also baseless speculation.

He hasn't been leaking it while in Russia.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46063539)

All of the information that has been leaked was leaked before he escaped to Russia. Snowden planned out a method of slowly releasing the information to journalists over time beforehand. He didn't bring any data with him to Russia or China. Every news item you've seen up until this point regarding leaked information from Snowden has been the slow wheels of fate his slightly younger self set in motion when he made the decision to become a whistle blower.

Re:Why is this on Slashdot? (4, Insightful)

deconfliction (3458895) | about 9 months ago | (#46062731)

I can understand the earlier developments relating to this whole incident being on Slashdot. There was the technological aspect to it. ... ... Please, editors, let's leave these purely-political stories off of the front page. I don't dispute that they have value, but they just don't belong here.

While I don't disagree that slashdot seems to put trollish/public-subset-opinion-polling/alarmist style headlines all over the front page more often than optimal, I have to disagree here about Snowden. I believe the Snowden revelations, and the way they came about, and continue to transpire as so, have so paradigm-shifted the computer and network security landscape, that articles such as this one are more than appropriate. First, it's merely a side-effect conveniency issue. While yes, some of your points may have merit, you have to forgive a bit that the slashdot audience really is that interested in how the Snowden saga transpires. I mean, this is some Epic War and Peace Shit going on here. A martyr being martyred slowly over years. How exactly, and how much pain and vindication end up in that story, I really think will have a profound place in the history of the internet's chapter in the history of humanity. This is a *BIG DEAL*.

And even setting asside that real-politik drama and the slashdot audience's 'non-technical' interest, you must look at the legitimate 'technical' interest of the slashdot audience. How Snowden is handled by the overwhelming powers that be, truly does shape how many of us here will be developing technology throughout the remaining future of our carreers. At some point, one is tempted to say - 'if computer security matters are treated this profoundly by the un-(directly)-opposable powers that be, then you know what, I'm actually going to stop worrying about whether the firmware in my BIGNAMEBRAND computer system or consumer device is a security risk or not. But if Snowden is fully vindicated, and reclaims the rights and protections of a free citizen of the United States of America, including rigourous protection of his freedom of speech, then I may well say- I'd like to spend more of my carreer working on more secure open source firmware.

Dunno...

Re:Why is this on Slashdot? (2)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 9 months ago | (#46062797)

I can understand the earlier developments relating to this whole incident being on Slashdot. There was the technological aspect to it. But at this point, this is purely political wrangling. There's no technology involved here. There's no science involved here. There's no mathematics involved here. Just realpolitik.

The "technological" angle is really the issue of the US government sub-contracting technological work, and giving those people no legal protections that you'd expect for someone working for the government. This is something that everyone in the tech field should think seriously about when considering doing government contract work.

Re:Why is this on Slashdot? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 9 months ago | (#46062799)

Whats wrong with legal side of how we got months of insightful new crypto and tech news? Thanks to the efforts of Snowden the history of US/UK gov computer science spending can be filled in from 199x to ~200x.
http://cryptome.org/2013/11/sn... [cryptome.org]
Without Snowden Slashdot would have been filled with years of the same old boring sock puppets. Bland, safe, bulk daily posting stories about trivial technical matters as they build mod points.
Now we understand the old talking points of:
Data sets are too big, telcos would never connect to govs, its only for foreign use, no vast surveillance of domestic groups, no parallel construction, the Constitution, private sector legal teams, press, political leaders, no cpu or cooling could cover that kind of sorting...
We now know nothing protected the public from a vast illegal domestic surveillance network over the years.
We now have news Snowden view of US legal protections for US contractors (as in computer specialist) who speak truth to power.
http://cryptome.org/2013-info/... [cryptome.org] Many people have tried to stay in the US legal system but thats getting expensive and color of law seems to be getting re interpreted per case.

In Soviet Russia... (5, Funny)

Dahamma (304068) | about 9 months ago | (#46062587)

whistle blows you!

Re:In Soviet Russia... (2)

Mashiki (184564) | about 9 months ago | (#46062767)

Sounds hot. I'm sure there's a rule34 application of it too.

Re:In Soviet Russia... (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about 9 months ago | (#46062929)

I am so getting a T-shirt with that printed on it.

Re:In Soviet Russia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46063601)

Finally! That joke is funny again!

--
Burton Samograd

Your regularly-scheduled Snowden story (0, Troll)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 9 months ago | (#46062601)

Just in case you'd forgotten that Snowden still exists, here's Slashdot to stir up all that nice outrage.

Re:Your regularly-scheduled Snowden story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46062753)

At least they didn't try to somehow fit bitcoin into this.

Re:Your regularly-scheduled Snowden story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46062809)

Have you noticed the mainstream news? All terrorism and Muslims and how dangerous Russia is and the Olympics will be. The usual FUD storm that happens every so often. I'd like to hear something about a whisleblower to counteract the thinly-veiled propaganda that is blasted at me all day.

Re:Your regularly-scheduled Snowden story (3, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 9 months ago | (#46062871)

Just in case you'd forgotten that Snowden still exists, here's Slashdot to stir up all that nice outrage.

So what? Snowden is "one of us" - I dunno if he had a slashdot account or not, he did post regularly on ars technica's forums. A great many of us here can identify with him - technical, libertarian, etc.

Of all the places on the net, slashdot is one of the few where snowden's personal story is just as relevant as role in the surveillance state debate.

Re:Your regularly-scheduled Snowden story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46063215)

Except for, you know, every few weeks more of his documents are leaked. There are new NSA stories popping up every few days/weeks, where do you think they are coming from?

With no disrespect mister Snowden... but: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46062615)

Well, when "whistleblower protections" are provided to "national security contractors"... it's usually from entities other than those who participated in the original contract!

TF2 (1)

pellik (193063) | about 9 months ago | (#46062617)

Engineer is spy.

Traitor (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46062625)

I don't care what you call it/try to spin it.

He should be tried and executed like any traitor.

Re:Traitor (2, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 9 months ago | (#46062811)

I don't care what you call it/try to spin it.

He should be tried and executed like any traitor.

The "should be tried and executed like any traitor" clause should be applied to Dianne Feinstein, James Clapper and all the rest of the bastards who have knowingly violated the Constitution of the United States of America, to the detriment of the nation of the United States of America and to the hundreds of millions of the citizens of the United States of America !

Re:Traitor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46062825)

[He's a] traitor

Except that's wrong, you fucking retard.

failure in law (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46062633)

Nope, that law does exactly was it's supposed to do - protect the guilty.

Re:failure in law (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 9 months ago | (#46062887)

I would give you the last of my mod points if I hadn't already posted +5 my good sir anon

Come stand trial. (0, Flamebait)

archmcd (1789532) | about 9 months ago | (#46062643)

It's BS that Snowden is unwilling to come back to the US to stand trial. I'm sure there are plenty of great lawyers who would work pro bono to take his landmark case, and if he was willing to fight, he might be able to affect more change to the government spying program and achieve the goals he set out to reach.

Re:Come stand trial. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46062677)

The problem is that the way the laws are written, he would not be able to mount an effective defense against the charges. He would only be allowed to (basically) answer the circumstances around his alleged taking of those NSA files and would be forbidden from bringing any sort of argument regarding the public's right to know, the government's own wrongdoing exposed by those leaked files, and such and so forth. He is obviously guilty of taking the files so it is a guaranteed guilty verdict.

There is no point for him to return until the laws allow for some type of whistleblower or public interest defense, which they currently do not.

Espionage Act of 1917 doesn't protect whistleblowe (4, Informative)

rwa2 (4391) | about 9 months ago | (#46063005)

Yep, this was handled yesterday in: http://news.slashdot.org/story... [slashdot.org]

http://online.wsj.com/news/art... [wsj.com]

Highlights:
In the Thomas Drake case, the administration retroactively marked documents as classified, saying, 'he knew they should have been classified.'
In the Bradley Manning case, the jury wasn't allowed to see what information was leaked.

Re:Come stand trial. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46063507)

He killed any chance to come back to the US the minute he started handing out data that had absolutely nothing to do with the publics right to know. The US bill of rights and constitution only applies to US citizens. Every country on the planet conducts foreign intelligence gathering on countries of interest with no differentiation between enemies and so called allies. His naivety in this matter is glaring. You may think this practice is wrong but until every single country ceases collecting foreign intelligence the practice will continue. He could have gotten off with little or no punishment if he had released only information related to US citizens. His appalling arrogance in deciding he alone knows what information is safe to release and which information might damage the US foreign relations has guaranteed he will be looking over his shoulder for a long time to come. In the meantime he best hope the Russian government doesn't need anything of importance from the US government because there is a long history between the 2 countries when it comes to making mutually beneficial exchanges of people for the right price. One outstanding mystery in this whole affair is why didn't Snowden attempt to release this data in such a way that the release could not be traced back to him. It wouldn't have been that hard.

Re:Come stand trial. (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 9 months ago | (#46062723)

Bad call.

Spend life in relative freedom, eating non-spicy Russian restaurants.
V.S.
Spend life in federal-pound-me-in-the-ass prison.

Re:Come stand trial. (5, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 9 months ago | (#46062759)

The US does have some protections for whistleblowers, but none he can use - national security information is specifically excluded, as is the public interest defence. Any trial would consist of this:

Judge: "Did you release classified information?"
Defense: "Only in the public interest."
Prosecution: "Public interest defense is not considered a valid cause for releasing classified information."
Judge: "Guilty. I sentence you to six hundred years in maximum security."

There isn't really anything he could say. That's even if the trial were fair - and it wouln't be. Chances are almost all the documentation will be classified so high neither he nor his lawyers would be permitted to see it, so he'll be defending against evidence he can't even know about. The only good thing for him is that he was a civilian contractor, so he at least would get a trial, rather than a military tribunal.

Re:Come stand trial. (1)

Dan East (318230) | about 9 months ago | (#46062905)

It's worse than that. He's already stated that he took the job in the first place to find damning information to release. That is one of the details about the whole Snowden saga that causes me reserve in using the term "whistleblower" to describe him.

Re:Come stand trial. (2, Insightful)

beckett (27524) | about 9 months ago | (#46063155)

snowden had been working in the defense industry for a decade before he decided to join Booz Allen et al. He had ample opportunity to find out what was really going on behind the curtain before he made the decision to blow the whistle.

Re:Come stand trial. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46063199)

soo... how else does someone who suspects the government of wrongdoing behind closed doors 'blow the whistle' ?

Re:Come stand trial. (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | about 9 months ago | (#46063225)

Interesting logic. Why does the logic for "If you decide to be X, then you aren't really X" work [for you] for whistleblowers but not doctors?

Re:Come stand trial. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46063025)

Re:Come stand trial. (4, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 9 months ago | (#46063207)

Possible, but very, very unlikely. The prosecution would be careful to block any jury member during selection who appears sympathetic to Snowden, citing grounds of bias.

Re:Come stand trial. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46063327)

In a TRUE fair trial, the jury would be informed about Jury Nullification . They would vote not guilty all counts, because of the great service he has done.

Re:Come stand trial. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46063611)

Actually he does have a chance... IANAL, but it would require him to argue (correctly) that yes he released the documents, but the documents were proof of a crime and the government doesn't have the power to hide evidence of a crime by classifying it. Thus the documents he took had no legal basis of being classified. If they were not legally classified, he broke no laws taking them.
A successful argument of this, would at least get the contents of the documents before a jury, at which point Jury Annulment - or at least a hung Jury - become a real possibility.

Re:Come stand trial. (5, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | about 9 months ago | (#46062815)

It's BS that Snowden is unwilling to come back to the US to stand trial. I'm sure there are plenty of great lawyers who would work pro bono to take his landmark case, and if he was willing to fight, he might be able to affect more change to the government spying program and achieve the goals he set out to reach.

Even great lawyers can't do anything when the evidence is hidden or heavily redacted in the name of national security. "Your honor, we'd like to introduce this document showing that the NSA was overstepping its legal bounds" "Objection! That document is classified top secret, so instead you can use this redacted version that is completely black except for the words "We", "love", and "freedom".

It's especially difficult when the lawyer is going up against an agency that has already shown itself willing to lie directly to congress -- supposedly the people that are overseeing the agency. If they don't mind lying to congress, why wouldn't they lie to a court?

With the deck stacked that heavily against him, what hope is there for any sort of fair trial? Esepcially when he's guilty of what he's accused of -- stealing and releasing classified documents. Without whistleblower protection laws to support him, the reason he stole the documents is immaterial.

Re:Come stand trial. (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 9 months ago | (#46062913)

If he came back he would die mysteriously and painfully inside a week of "natural causes".
Or be locked in some deep hole in ground and torcherd the same as Manning awaiting trial for three years until they break him.

Re:Come stand trial. (1)

anagama (611277) | about 9 months ago | (#46063399)

You could be on God or Satan's own legal team, and it wouldn't make difference. There is no way to have a fair trial in the US on this matter:

https://pressfreedomfoundation... [pressfreed...dation.org]

Snowden will not be able to make the case he'd like to make in court because, contrary to common sense, there is no public interest or whistleblower exception under the Espionage Act. In recent cases, prosecutors have convinced courts that the intent of the leaker, the value of leaks to the public, and the lack of harm caused by the leaks are irrelevant, and are therefore inadmissible in court.

This means Snowden would never be able to tell the jury that his intent was not to help foreign countries or harm the U.S., but to inform the American public about the government's secret interpretations of laws used to justify spying on millions of citizens without their knowledge.

Snowden would also not be able to explain to a jury that his leaks sparked more than a dozen bills in Congress, and half a dozen lawsuits, all designed to rein in unconstitutional surveillance. He wouldn't be allowed to explain how his leaks caught an official lying to Congress, or that they've led to an unprecedented review of government secrecy.

The jury would also not be able to hear how there's no demonstrable harm to the United States in releasing this information. And if the prosecution argued that some harm was suffered, Snowden wouldn't be able to explain that the enormous public benefits of these disclosures far outweighed any perceived harm.

Re:Come stand trial. (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about 9 months ago | (#46063501)

What a load of crap. We have already seen exactly what happens with regard to Manning Trials. Every single bit of evidence that demonstrates adherence to rule of law with regard to exposing crimes is buried under national security. Not one iota of evidence proving adherence to law is allowed. A public joke, a disgrace to justice, US law proving the corrupt money and power based nature of the system of injustice.

How stupid can you be to cite principles of justice with the US wealth and power based courts. Law enforcement routinely gets away with summary execution for contempt of cop. The poor and prosecuted and rich get away with everything or get laughable sentences. The US government has so blatantly corrupted justice that the trial system is now the punishment, with it extended for as long as possible and the enemy of the current band of politicians brutalised and even tortured during the whole process and to the point of death.

Seriously wake up to reality, the US is as bad as the Soviet Union, not worse, equally exactly just as bad. Three cheers for The Shrub and the Uncle Tom bringing American justice down so low (now there is a real challenge picking the worst of the two, technically the Uncle Tom is far worse because he is smart enough to know exactly the consequences of what he is doing and the Shrub, well that was really all down to Darth Cheney).

Conspiracy time (-1, Flamebait)

Powercntrl (458442) | about 9 months ago | (#46062671)

Anyone think it's more than a little coincidental that Snowden seeks asylum in Russia and then some Russian hackers stole all that credit card data from Target? Knowledge of backdoors and security vulnerabilities is pretty much the NSA's mission statement. Wouldn't surprise me in the least if he sold some information - the guy's gotta eat.

Re:Conspiracy time (1)

Shados (741919) | about 9 months ago | (#46062683)

Except that stuff happens all the time, with a bunch of different countries as the source, and many predate Snowden's events by a very, very long time.

Re:Conspiracy time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46062717)

Are you serious? Worst troll of the month.

Re:Conspiracy time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46063681)

They are from the NSA, and of course, they have to troll for their master.

Re:Conspiracy time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46062839)

The attack that was leveraged against Target has been hitting corporations for at least four years -- well before Snowden showed up in Russia.

So at least one AC doesn't think it even remotely coincides, other than the fact that he ended up in a country that's home to a Russian malware author who is currently famous.

And the stuff that was leveraged against Target points more to someone with knowledge of financial processing systems than someone with knowledge of Big Data or security vulnerabilities -- after all, the tech stuff was purchased on the black market; the real skill was in knowing how to effectively deploy it.

Re:Conspiracy time (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 9 months ago | (#46062995)

Anyone think it's more than a little coincidental that Snowden seeks asylum in Russia and then some Russian hackers stole all that credit card data from Target? Knowledge of backdoors and security vulnerabilities is pretty much the NSA's mission statement. Wouldn't surprise me in the least if he sold some information - the guy's gotta eat.

no just no.

Russia is stuffed to the gills with mellicious hacker working for the Russian mob, because Russia doesn't care about hacker targeting other countries.

Snowden fled to left for Hong Kong the free-ish part of China first and handed over his copies of the documents the Glen Greenwald and Laura Poitrus. When thing looked like china would turn him over rather than piss of their biggest trading partner the US, a member of wikileak arranged to get Snowden out of China and into Russia. Why Russia because there are only two countries that are;

A - Big enough to tell the USA to go fuck itself.
&
B - Not in cahoots with the USA.

They are Russia and China. China didn't want to upset trade relations so they were getting ready to hand him over that why Russia.

Re:Conspiracy time (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about 9 months ago | (#46063029)

That's not even worthy of a Flamebait mod--that's just stupid.

good points / bad points (0, Troll)

lophophore (4087) | about 9 months ago | (#46062733)

Snowden's revelations about the NSA spying on American Citizens should earn him immunity from prosecution as a whistleblower. That was a valuable and risky thing he did.

However, his revelations about NSA spying outside the USA have caused severe and lasting damage to the USA's reputation, and to the USA's ability to collect intelligence that it needs to defend it's interests, **including national security interests**. That was a dangerous and over-the-top thing he did -- it **is** treason, and the severity of that (IMHO) outweighs any potential immunity he might have deserved from the above.

Snowden dropped a tactical nuke when he could have used a stick of dynamite. This indicates to me that his goal was to bury the NSA, not to reform it. In my opinion, this moves him from hero to traitor, and he needs to answer for this.

I think he is relatively safe if he stays in Russia. "Relatively". Should he leave there, he should prepare to be dragged into a van with a canvas sack over his head -- the subject of an "extraordinary rendition." (This is of course illegal. I don't condone it, but I do expect it.) He's barely safe in Russia, and probably not safe anywhere else. He made his own bed, now he gets to sleep in it.

I fully expect this post to get down-moderated into oblivion.

Re:good points / bad points (1)

bug1 (96678) | about 9 months ago | (#46062841)

However, his revelations about NSA spying outside the USA have caused severe and lasting damage to the USA's reputation, and to the USA's ability to collect intelligence that it needs to defend it's interests

His revelations about NSA spying outside the USA have caused severe and lasting damage to the USA's ability to betray its allies.
The USA now has the oportunity to begin to earn the trust of its people so it can defend its national interests.

Re:good points / bad points (1)

lophophore (4087) | about 9 months ago | (#46063709)

Oh Please!

Do you not think the USA's allies were not spying on the USA? The French continue to conduct large scale industrial espionage against the USA to this day. They just have not had the whistle blown on them (yet.) It is pretty common knowledge that Israel spies on the USA continuously.

Re:good points / bad points (1)

MobSwatter (2884921) | about 9 months ago | (#46062847)

The nature of the issue required full disclosure, they have no business spying on our allies, or utilizing military resources in the acquisition of oil, turning military power on Americans, undermining private sector computer security of Americans, abusing the national security apparatus, or violating the constitution. If none of this were the case, then Snowden would not have had a gripe or anything unlawful to expose. Elite corps owning politicians is the problem, the NSA did as instructed and probably unknowingly created a corporate espionage cash cow and undoubtedly a symptom of the problem, what Snowden did was inevitable at one time or another, one cannot commit a crime and call it a secret, or create retroactive law to legalize it without showing hypocrisy. The corruption behind this needs to eat their crow and like it.

Re:good points / bad points (2)

hawguy (1600213) | about 9 months ago | (#46062851)

I think he is relatively safe if he stays in Russia. "Relatively". Should he leave there, he should prepare to be dragged into a van with a canvas sack over his head -- the subject of an "extraordinary rendition." (This is of course illegal. I don't condone it, but I do expect it.) He's barely safe in Russia, and probably not safe anywhere else. He made his own bed, now he gets to sleep in it.

Given that he's already said that all the docs will be released if he comes to an untimely demise, there seems to be little incentive for the USA to extradite him unwillingly, and much incentive for the USA to keep him alive and well.

He made his own bed, now he gets to sleep in it.

Which is why many people consider his acts heroric -- he sacrificed his own welfare and safety to reveal illegal activities by the US government.

Re:good points / bad points (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46063045)

Treason has a strict definition (which I am too lazy to actually look up). I don't think Snowden's actions were intended to give aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States ).

You are otherwise correct and it's a shame you are being downmodded. He hamstrung the US, because we were the best at a game he didn't like. Now everyone else knows what it takes to win.

Re:good points / bad points (2)

anagama (611277) | about 9 months ago | (#46063495)

The treason definition is in the constitution:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A... [wikipedia.org]

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

In this context, I would think "adhere" means something along the lines of "devotion" -- the only country Snowden showed devotion to was the US. He certainly didn't wage war.

Re:good points / bad points (1)

lophophore (4087) | about 9 months ago | (#46063765)

Merriam-Webster's first definition of "treason" is

"the betrayal of trust."

Snowden signed an agreement to keep things he learned on the job secret, and he betrayed that trust. Again, I don't disagree with him blowing the whistle on the NSA's illegal and unconstitutional surveillance of U.S. citizens going about their business here in the USA. My beef is that he unveiled way more than that, way more than he needed to, and I do not support that. I believe that was wrong.

My opinion is that his behavior crossed beyond "whistleblower" into the range of "criminal."

Snowden is Putin's ticket to a free ride (4, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 9 months ago | (#46062735)

The thing you have to understand here is that Putin is an authoritarian douchebag -- but he's not an idiot. He knows that there will be extra scrutiny on his polices during the Olympics. By having Snowden around, it's a reminder that the US isn't in a position to finger-wag over such things.

U.S. Willing to Talk if Snowden Pleads Guilty (5, Insightful)

schwit1 (797399) | about 9 months ago | (#46062795)

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01... [nytimes.com]

His response should be "you first".

Re:U.S. Willing to Talk if Snowden Pleads Guilty (5, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 9 months ago | (#46063663)

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01...

Is this a new thing now, where /. cuts off the hyperlink?
unmolested: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01... [nytimes.com]
a href: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/24/us/politics/us-willing-to-hold-talks-if-snowden-pleads-guilty.html?_r=0 [nytimes.com]

This is dumb and whoever implemented it is dumb.

The US pokes itself in the eye with a stick (4, Insightful)

Geste (527302) | about 9 months ago | (#46062861)

First, I'll stipulate that Snowden is a hero to me. Half my age. Twenty times the guts.

What really bothers me, though, is how the Administration bungled this. Amateur hour! The moment we arrogantly, petulantly forced Evo Morales airplane down in Austria, we pretty much guaranteed that Snowden would need to hole up and that Putin would take the opportunity to stick us in the eye. This is beyond amazing. We've put ourselves in the position where a vicious thug gets to posture as the nice guy and leave us with very little to do. We are depending on a thug to protect the fate and future of a man who initiated one of the most important discussions in our nation's political history. All because we couldn't think straight and realize that Ecuador or Venezuela or *anywhere" would be a batter outcome than what we got.

It's one thing to get poked in the eye with a stick, but quite another thing to run into the stick full tilt. Amateur hour.

Re:The US pokes itself in the eye with a stick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46063125)

We've put ourselves in the position where a vicious thug gets to posture as the nice guy and leave us with very little to do.

Internally Russia may not be what other countries consider PC, but their external policies are MUCH friendlier than the US'. Russia doesn't go around invading any country without nukes, they don't go around trying to assassinate all secular, democratically elected leaders who don't kiss their ass.

Re:The US pokes itself in the eye with a stick (1)

khallow (566160) | about 9 months ago | (#46063283)

Russia doesn't go around invading any country without nukes

Counterexample [wikipedia.org] .

they don't go around trying to assassinate all secular, democratically elected leaders who don't kiss their ass

None of the nuclear powers do. But modern Russia does poison people [wikipedia.org] with lethal levels of polonium.

Re:The US pokes itself in the eye with a stick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46063375)

Russia doesn't go around invading any country without nukes

Counterexample [wikipedia.org] .

they don't go around trying to assassinate all secular, democratically elected leaders who don't kiss their ass

None of the nuclear powers do. But modern Russia does poison people [wikipedia.org] with lethal levels of polonium.

And modern America carries out illegal assasinations and torture around the world. And in the US, the US government it carries out an illegal wiretapping program that would have made Beria proud. Where exactly is the difference ? Freedom means jack shit if your government doesn't obey the rule of law. And the rule of law has been sidestepped in the US for more than a decade. At this point it is just a matter of choosing the poison you want to die of. Russia or the US are different only in degree, not in nature.

Re:The US pokes itself in the eye with a stick (3, Interesting)

denis-The-menace (471988) | about 9 months ago | (#46063189)

Putin might be a thug but in America thug in government are a plenty.

Until a critical mass of corrupt politicians and their conspirators die off or a revolution occurs, there will be no whistleblower laws.

Government corruption is best measured on how bad whistleblower laws are in that country.

Unfortunately, the US government has become a thug (2)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 9 months ago | (#46063221)

We've put ourselves in the position where a vicious thug gets to posture as the nice guy and leave us with very little to do. We are depending on a thug to protect the fate and future of a man who initiated one of the most important discussions in our nation's political history.

Before I comment, I need to clarify that I am an American citizen, a naturalized citizen since I wasn't born in the United States of America.

It is true that Russia is a thug. And it is true that right now, as we correspond on /. the fate of the conscience of the nation of the United States of America rests on the decision of the Russian thug.

However, if we take a step backward, we can see that the government of the United States of America has become a thug itself, and a thug that is not unlike that notorious thug in Russia.

On the Snowden affair, only a thug would tried so hard to hunt down Snowden, so much so that they actually grounded a plane carrying the president of another sovereign nation.

The United States of America was the nation that I chose to be when I escaped from yet another thug - China - and I am very sad to say, the regime which is governing the land who has saved me from a thug has become a thug.

It will be Ok for Snowden .. (2)

dogandpants (3398905) | about 9 months ago | (#46063279)

Chris Hadfield (recent tweeting/singing Canadian Commander of ISS) has some very encouraging words to say about Russia and Russians. I think myself that Snowden *will* have to stay there and that the Russians were decent to extend his stay, virtually indefinitely. Snowden I think is a loyal American and would like to return home, but the USA with pronouncements and anima pointed against him at this point are not likely to let him return. At least, not when Manning is in jail.
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