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In First American TV Interview, Snowden Talks Accountability and Patriotism

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the smart-enough-for-exile dept.

Government 389

mspohr (589790) points out NBC News's interview with Edward Snowden, the first time Snowden has talked with an American television reporter. It's a wide-ranging conversation, in which Snowden emphasizes his ongoing belief that he did the right thing to release the many documents that he did, even at the cost of his ability to travel. Snowden told NBC's Brian Williams "he had tried to go through channels before leaking documents to journalists, repeatedly raising objections inside the NSA, in writing, to its widespread use of surveillance. But he said he was told, "more or less, in bureaucratic language, 'You should stop asking questions.'" Two U.S. officials confirmed Wednesday that Snowden sent at least one email to the NSA's office of general counsel raising policy and legal questions." Perhaps paving the way to eventual repatriation, Snowden also indicated that he would be willing to accept a "short period" behind bars. But, he said, the U.S. should "reform the Espionage Act to distinguish between people who sell secrets to foreign governments for their own gain and people who return information to public hands for the purpose of serving the public interest," and to include contractors as well as government employees.

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How does one determine the difference... (4, Insightful)

Xaedalus (1192463) | about 3 months ago | (#47124109)

Between serving the public's interest, and serving one's own interest at the expense of the public? This is intended as a serious question--I like Snowden's idea, but how would we determine the difference between someone who's alerting us to government malfeasance, versus someone who's ideologically bent on disrupting government regardless of whether there's malfeasance or malevolent intent involved?

Re:How does one determine the difference... (5, Insightful)

jimminy_cricket (139648) | about 3 months ago | (#47124135)

This is exactly the reason for public hearings with juries of our peers. The constitution already contains the means whereby we may come to these determinations.

Re:How does one determine the difference... (5, Insightful)

aeranvar (2589619) | about 3 months ago | (#47124153)

They key words being "public hearings"... something that people charged with espionage have a difficult time getting.

Re:How does one determine the difference... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 3 months ago | (#47124381)

Shouldn't be much of a problem here. Snowden's already shown all the cards the NSA didn't want anyone to see.

Don't bet on it. (1)

mmell (832646) | about 3 months ago | (#47124449)

He may have played out his hand (and I deem this likely) - but you never know. He already managed to surprise the US intelligence community once.

His appearance on NBC Nightly News may have done more to damage US intelligence gathering than his other "revelations". It certainly was a gold mine for Russian propoganda producers.

Re:How does one determine the difference... (4, Insightful)

aeranvar (2589619) | about 3 months ago | (#47124453)

Yes, but will the Judge in the trial let him present classified documents as evidence even if they're already available in the press? I suspect not. I vaguely something like this happening in Manning's case.

Re:How does one determine the difference... (5, Funny)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about 3 months ago | (#47124513)

Two problems:

1. Like hell he'll get a public trial, or any trial at all, before he's shipped off to Gitmo. Even if he does...

2. As once brilliantly stated (I think I saw it in a Slashdot sig), 12 people too stupid to get out of jury duty is not a jury of my peers.

Re:How does one determine the difference... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47124761)

And this is EXACTLY why you owe it to your true peers to submit to jury duty. If you were falsely accused, or accused of something not well understood, wouldn't you wish that people just like you didn't duck it?

Re:How does one determine the difference... (5, Insightful)

preaction (1526109) | about 3 months ago | (#47125073)

Mod this up. The Jury is (by design) the closest the average citizen gets to the system of laws and government that controls them. This belief that jury duty is to be avoided is one of many reasons why this country is in the fucking toilet. Whole treatises have been written on The Jury Trial being the keystone of a fair and just society, but nobody seems to care or understand why.

I continue in my belief that Civics should be taught every year from 8th grade through 12th grade.

Re:How does one determine the difference... (2)

Brulath (2765381) | about 3 months ago | (#47125079)

Given the media exposure of Snowden it'd probably be very difficult to acquire an unbiased jury of his peers to judge him fairly, which is a bit of a flaw in the system. It can be very difficult to change a preconceived notion – even when you've been been presented evidence proving what's wrong and right the original notion can still influence your decisions.

Re:How does one determine the difference... (5, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 3 months ago | (#47125139)

How do you have public hearings on an entity that is spying on members of Congress and the judiciary? That is not accountable to Congress, and is so above the law that they have their own court to make up laws depending on their needs?

Our surveillance regime exists outside of government.

Re:How does one determine the difference... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47124157)

Don't read this... it is a curse...

In 1986, a precarious little boy named Eric got pregnant with two babies. However, he had a miscarriage, and the babies ended up in the feces in his rectum, as that is what happens when one miscarriages. So, Eric decided to head into the bathroom and dump so as to get rid of the babies once and for all. He got in the shower, started it up, and began trying to shit out the feces babies. Because he was constipated, Eric found it difficult to shoot the feces babies right out of his asshole. Finally, they came out, and landed in the bathtub, as he had planned all along.

Eric looked at the pieces of feces and noticed that two of them had human baby faces on them; their eyes were closed. Then, they started crying. Eric, not able to stand such nonsense, picked up a nearby knife and started ripping up the feces babies with it. "Drown in strut!" he screamed. At last, the babies stopped crying. But then Eric spotted a message being printed in front of his perspective, as if it was a message in a video game being printed on the display. The message read, "A WIND TURBINE IS BROKEN. DO E E." Eric then noticed the whole room was fading to black...

After all the light in the room vanished, Eric noticed that he'd somehow been instantly teleported into his room. He was now lying on the blankets on top of his bed, with his eyes closed. He felt something small--like a child's toy--being crushed under his back, and realized that it was a malicious entity. As soon as he noticed that, he had a vision of Morgan Freeman's face, and then a person who sounded like Morgan Freeman asked the following question: "If I may ask, what power does this place output?" The small entity under Eric's back replied, "Oh, you know... wind-powered, solar-powered, nuclear-powered, tickle!"

Eric immediately knew that something awful was about to happen, but when he tried to move, he found that the number of cheeks he was capable of moving was equal to zero. Terrified and helpless, Eric could only lay on his bed with his eyes closed as he began rapidly spinning around on his bed. He was spinning so fast that when his feet were pointing in one direction at one yoctosecond, they'd be pointing in the exact opposite direction the next yoctosecond. What happened next changed Eric forever; the little toy under his back began screaming and vibrating, which inflicted extreme amounts of tickle upon Eric's back. Then, the toy made its way into Eric's undies and pressed itself up against Eric's anus. A "VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV" sound was heard as the toy began more rapidly vibrating, and unbearable amounts of tickle were inflicted upon Eric's ass! Eric was never seen again...

Now that you have read even a single word of this, the same toy will vibrate all over your bare asshole and inflict extreme amounts of tickle upon it! To prevent this from occurring, copy this entire story and post it as a comment three times.

Re:How does one determine the difference... (5, Insightful)

c0d3g33k (102699) | about 3 months ago | (#47124199)

Between serving the public's interest, and serving one's own interest at the expense of the public? This is intended as a serious question--I like Snowden's idea, but how would we determine the difference between someone who's alerting us to government malfeasance, versus someone who's ideologically bent on disrupting government regardless of whether there's malfeasance or malevolent intent involved?

Wrong question. If the bar is set so high that people like Snowden have to prove their intentions unambigously, beyond a reasonable doubt, in order to prove their credibility, then they are lost before they begin, because the system assures that's never possible. But that's not why it's the wrong question. It's wrong because information about the workings of a government should never be secret except in the most exceptional of circumstances. Revealing information that should never be secret in the first place should not pose the risk of "disrupting government" regardless of the intent involved. If "disrupting government" merely means "learning what we are doing so you can debate the issue and vote to stop us", then the problem is more fundamental than you think.

Re:How does one determine the difference... (2)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about 3 months ago | (#47124835)

If the bar is set so high that people like Snowden have to prove their intentions unambigously, beyond a reasonable doubt, in order to prove their credibility, then they are lost before they begin, because the system assures that's never possible.

But that's not the US justice system - the burden of proof is on the prosecution, not the defense.

Re:How does one determine the difference... (5, Interesting)

vux984 (928602) | about 3 months ago | (#47124239)

Between serving the public's interest, and serving one's own interest at the expense of the public? This is intended as a serious question--I like Snowden's idea,

Its pretty easy to tell the difference between someone selling information to a foreign government in secret, and divulging it to the public publicly.

If you are concerned someone is going to "maliciously" divulge secret information to the public for no personal gain but the satisifcation of causing disruption? So what? I can live with that trade off. Its better than the treat whistlblowers as traitors we have now.

And realistically, most of government secrets shouldn't be secret anyway. If that person releases troop movements, under cover agents identities, and your private health information 'the public' will crucify him regardless of the law.

If he releases the contents of a secret in-the-works treaty and you can't tell whether his intentions were disruptive or public service based on the contents of the treaty, I'm ok with erring on the side of public service. And I don't think treaties should be secret anyway.

Re:How does one determine the difference... (2)

sjames (1099) | about 3 months ago | (#47124627)

The last person to out an operative was Scooter Libby. His sentence was commuted so that he served no jail time.

Re:How does one determine the difference... (4, Informative)

ScentCone (795499) | about 3 months ago | (#47124699)

The last person to out an operative was Scooter Libby. His sentence was commuted so that he served no jail time.

Are you really that misinformed, or are you just trying to deceive?

The person who disclosed Valerie Plame's name was Richard Armitage, not Libby. Libby's legal trouble revolved around how cooperative he was during one round of questioning, and his prosecution had nothing whatsoever to do with her name getting out. Because ... it was a guy in the State Department, not the White House, who told the reporter her name. And Armitage never got any grief during the witch hunt.

Of course, Armitage was NOT the last person to "out" an operative. Just a few days ago, the White House stupidly disclosed the name of the top CIA official in Kabul. You know, a guy actually out dealing with dangerous ground, rather than occupying a desk in Virginia like Plame was.

Re:How does one determine the difference... (1)

sjames (1099) | about 3 months ago | (#47124841)

So where are the calls for a trip to gitmo or a life sentence?

BTW, Libby was charged with the disclosure, they needed a fall guy to try.

Re:How does one determine the difference... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47124863)

Libby's disclosure is libtard axiom now. They'll die with that fictional turd lodged in their brains.

Re:How does one determine the difference... (1)

tranquilidad (1994300) | about 3 months ago | (#47125049)

By definition within the law, Valeria Plame was not an operative.

Scooter Libby didn't out her.

Scotter Libby lied to investigators, for whatever idiotic reason, and was convicted of that crime. His sentence was commuted but the conviction and its costs are still on his record.

Re:How does one determine the difference... (2, Insightful)

iluvcapra (782887) | about 3 months ago | (#47124959)

If you are concerned someone is going to "maliciously" divulge secret information to the public for no personal gain but the satisifcation of causing disruption? So what? I can live with that trade off. Its better than the treat whistlblowers as traitors we have now.

That would suggest that random government employees can exercise their personal moral judgment over what their country's allows to do. So, PRISM is illegal, disclosing it, assuming ti works like Snowden says it does, it's legitimate whistleblowing. However, tapping foreign leader's phones is completely legal and every country on Earth does it -- disclosing this serves no purpose, Snowden has disclosed it because he believes he's qualified to morally arbitrate which US programs should be secret and which shouldn't.

That's kinda the issue -- a crankish libertarian former Ars Technica poster/current Russian agent is effectively nominated himself as US national security declassifer in chief, regardless of what our elected representatives or anyone else who's legally been given that job has to say about it. It's illegal to spy on Americans but it's also illegal to leak stuff -- and leaking stuff that isn't illegal and doesn't really affect Americans serves no purpose but to hamstring US intelligence gathering and embarrass the US government. Which is why he works for Vladimir Putin now.

Re:How does one determine the difference... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47124359)

There is a very clear standard for this; if you follow the law or appear to do so in all outward respects and there is no grounds for investigation against you then you have the right to privacy/secrecy. If you break the law in one way then you are subject to investigation in all ways.

If a group of US government officials is knowingly breaking the law by spying on US citizens then nothing that they do should be subject to secrecy. They are criminals who happen to have a job in the US government. Everything they have ever done, except for specific, limited and clearly justified redactions to protect other people who might be in immediate danager should be subject to publication.

Anybody who is working for the US government and attempts to support these actions, either through actions or through, for example, comments on Slashdot should be subject to investigation

Re:How does one determine the difference... (5, Insightful)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about 3 months ago | (#47124971)

There is a very clear standard for this; if you follow the law or appear to do so in all outward respects and there is no grounds for investigation against you then you have the right to privacy/secrecy. If you break the law in one way then you are subject to investigation in all ways.

In today's environment, that is no protection at all, because there is always some law that can be applied that you are breaking. In fact, speculation is that the average American commits three felonies a day [threefeloniesaday.com] .

theres the constitution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47124385)

kind of old fashioned.

"[but with everything thats been going on in the world, we could use a little bit more old fashioned.]"

(Avengers)

Re:How does one determine the difference... (2)

Richy_T (111409) | about 3 months ago | (#47124655)

The government serves the government, not the people. So it's a moot question anyway.

But he did do it for his own gain (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47124127)

Otherwise he would have done it anonymously.

Re:But he did do it for his own gain (4, Insightful)

arbiter1 (1204146) | about 3 months ago | (#47124233)

He has made no money in all this so how was it his own gain?

Re:But he did do it for his own gain (4, Insightful)

Twelfth Harmonic (3464759) | about 3 months ago | (#47124429)

and lost his home in the process
and became a tool for international politics
and doesn't have a country he belongs to
Ed basically sarificed himself so that we become more than mere data clusters.
I hope some of you are reading this; the biggest responsibility in this terrible breach of human rights is on the ones who sold their expertise and soul to Uncle Sam for a bigger lawn. Your grandkids will grow up with the Big Brother.

Re:But he did do it for his own gain (4, Insightful)

jareth-0205 (525594) | about 3 months ago | (#47124263)

Otherwise he would have done it anonymously.

You play games. If he had done it anonymously you would say "what has he got to hide? He must be a foreign agent!"

Re: But he did do it for his own gain (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47124275)

Doing it anonymously didn't stop Bradley/Chelsea Manning from being prosecuted. Also, there's less plausibility for denial if there's someone is clearly an outspoken insider with verifiable access to privileged information.

Coming up front with all this requires guts and he should be respected. Hell, even Slashdot calls us anonymous 'cowards'.

Re:But he did do it for his own gain (4, Insightful)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 3 months ago | (#47124329)

Establishing the source establishes the credibility of the documents, and is necessary to prove that the information was obtained from someone with the necessary clearance and access. Going public is putting yourself at mortal risk, if not from the government whose secrets you are exposing, then from the random "patriots" who believe in that government. When working with information of this sort, keeping yourself anonymous is of benefit to your life expectancy, and thus is generally the preferred route. Suggesting that going public means he's doing it for his own gain is to ignore the fact that the drawbacks of identifying oneself as the source FAR outweigh the gains to be had.

Re:But he did do it for his own gain (4, Informative)

sjames (1099) | about 3 months ago | (#47124541)

Anonymous whistleblowers tend to have no credibility whatsoever. That's why he didn't hide his identity.

Repatriation, yeah right. (5, Interesting)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 3 months ago | (#47124141)

The only place he'd ever get repatriated to is Leavenworth (if they're being generous) or Gitmo (if they aren't).

Poking the bear is bad enough, making the bear feel foolish (while continuing to poke) is unforgivable. In this case, the bear is not Russia. :(

If they let him go free, or off with a light sentence, he'll have a new career as a public speaker, or activist against the NSA and surveillance. No way the government would allow that sentiment to have a publicly acceptable mouth piece.

Re:Repatriation, yeah right. (4, Insightful)

RicoX9 (558353) | about 3 months ago | (#47124177)

I have a fair amount of confidence that if he were freed, we'd read an article about his sad, untimely death within a couple of years. You know, those strange suicides where they shot themselves 3 times in the head. Maybe a tragic car crash. The powers that be have good resources and plenty of plausible deniability.

Re:Repatriation, yeah right. (1)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 3 months ago | (#47124205)

That's true. Or read about how the taxi taking to the Moscow airport was found at the bottom of a river.

Re:Repatriation, yeah right. (1)

fleebait (1432569) | about 3 months ago | (#47124243)

I have a fair amount of confidence that if he were freed, we'd read an article about his sad, untimely death within a couple of years. You know, those strange suicides where they shot themselves 3 times in the head. Maybe a tragic car crash. The powers that be have good resources and plenty of plausible deniability.

I don't think it would take any "powers that be" to do the job.

Re:Repatriation, yeah right. (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 3 months ago | (#47124309)

You mean like what happened in Fort Marcy Park? There is nothing new under the sun...

Re:Repatriation, yeah right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47124321)

I have a fair amount of confidence that if he were freed, we'd read an article about his sad, untimely death within a couple of years. You know, those strange suicides where they shot themselves 3 times in the head. Maybe a tragic car crash. The powers that be have good resources and plenty of plausible deniability.

Couple of years?

Try a couple of weeks.

Or perhaps days.

Like the government has anyone to answer to after they deny everything. You still act like We the People have jack shit to say about anything anymore.

Re:Repatriation, yeah right. (4, Interesting)

Beck_Neard (3612467) | about 3 months ago | (#47124461)

And of course the inevitable stories of how depressed and lonely he had become, and how he had become paranoid and anti-social and started doing drugs, before he decided to take his own life. And the media would be all over that shit.

Re:Repatriation, yeah right. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47124707)

They haven't killed Daniel Ellsberg.

Which reminds me of a recent debate [democracynow.org] he had on Democracy Now with former NSA counsel on the topic of Snowden. Ellsberg brings up the important point that previously, several NSA veterans had brought up complaints through channels and in return, the government, without any real reason to suspect they broke rules or laws other than the fact they believed intelligence methods were becoming unethical, raided their homes and, in the case of Thomas Drake, threatened prosecution for documents they found in his home (after fishing for evidence, not that they already suspected he had them) which they claimed were classified, but were actually marked unclassified, which they then re-classified and tried to prosecute ex post facto. Fortunately, a judge not only threw the case out, but actually apologized to Drake, but only after the ordeal ruined his savings, reputation and career. This intelligence professional, committed to older NSA principles of not violating rights of Americans, now does consumer tech support at an Apple Store. It is in this context (which Ellsberg notes is necessary to acknowledge when discussing whistleblowing) that Snowden went beyond channels to inform the public.

Frontline also recently did a two-part series on eavesdropping involving NSA, Drake, Snowden and even a complicit tech industry.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/united-states-of-secrets/#part-one---the-program

Re:Repatriation, yeah right. (1)

uCallHimDrJ0NES (2546640) | about 3 months ago | (#47124235)

He could just get so fat that he's considered unattractive on television, so only those who know how to listen pay attention to him. It's kept Michael Moore alive for years.

Re:Repatriation, yeah right. (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 months ago | (#47124375)

The only place he'd ever get repatriated to is Leavenworth (if they're being generous) or Gitmo (if they aren't).

Poking the bear is bad enough, making the bear feel foolish (while continuing to poke) is unforgivable. In this case, the bear is not Russia. :(

If they let him go free, or off with a light sentence, he'll have a new career as a public speaker, or activist against the NSA and surveillance. No way the government would allow that sentiment to have a publicly acceptable mouth piece.

Don't speak so fast. I suspect there will be at least one person running for office in the next election that would pardon him.

Re:Repatriation, yeah right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47124477)

Don't speak so fast. I suspect there will be at least one person running for office in the next election that would pardon him.

Elizabeth Warren?

Re:Repatriation, yeah right. (0)

bobbied (2522392) | about 3 months ago | (#47124447)

The only place he'd ever get repatriated to is Leavenworth (if they're being generous) or Gitmo (if they aren't).

I'd bet it's Leavenworth, assuming they let him live. The guy is now claiming "He was a spy" which means he is admitting to espionage. To me, that makes him no-longer a whistle-blower, but something quite different. He's admitting to being a traitor, which entitles him to a trial on charges that can carry some serious penalties, including death. I'd be surprised if they went for death, given he's still alive. Being in Russia is only an inconvenience to the US, if they wanted him dead, he'd be dead by now.

My guess is that they want him for the information he has about what he took and where he stashed all the documents. Which means they want to get their hands on him for trial. Further, I'd bet he could cut a deal with them, given the public perceptions of him, especially if he can get them information that stops further documentation from going public.

Re:Repatriation, yeah right. (4, Informative)

Edgewize (262271) | about 3 months ago | (#47124529)

Are you high? He was trained and employed as a spy *by the US CIA*. He is not admitting to espionage, he's saying that whenever the NSA paints him as a hacker and a low-level IT guy, the NSA is lying. And the CIA has now confirmed that the government has known all along that it's telling lies about who Snowden really is.

Re:Repatriation, yeah right. (2)

FriendlyStatistician (2652203) | about 3 months ago | (#47124537)

I'd bet it's Leavenworth, assuming they let him live. The guy is now claiming "He was a spy" which means he is admitting to espionage. To me, that makes him no-longer a whistle-blower, but something quite different. He's admitting to being a traitor, which entitles him to a trial on charges that can carry some serious penalties, including death. I'd be surprised if they went for death, given he's still alive.

He is claiming that he was trained and worked as a spy for the US government, not (as you seem to think) that he spied on the US government for a foreign power.

Re:Repatriation, yeah right. (0)

bobbied (2522392) | about 3 months ago | (#47124883)

OK. OK... Yep I missed that part, but...

IF he was trained (which I doubt) He's even more responsible for the crime he committed. This guy is a traitor, plain and simple. But he wasn't trained as a spy by the NSA, he's making stuff up. But it's not the first time he's made stuff up.

http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/nsa-releases-snowden-email-nbc-truth/story?id=23918598

Folks may think Snowden is some good actor, but he is not. He's lying about a lot of his story and trying to wrap himself in patriotism in an effort to sway public opinion. At best, he's really really lucky to have his escape work so well, at worst, he's working for somebody who is using him who planned and is funding this whole side show.

My guess is that he is just a pawn being used in a game he doesn't possibly understand. He is self important and feels entitled, and somehow thought that he didn't have to really exhaust the reporting options he had and that "going public" would overshadow his crimes. How he's into the deep end of the hot water pool and doesn't know how to swim. As soon as Putin grows tired of Snowden or he becomes a liability for Russia, they will throw him out on his ear and poor Snowden will have nothing. The only question is how long does Snowden have? I'm guessing, until January 20th of 2017...

Re:Repatriation, yeah right. (0)

iluvcapra (782887) | about 3 months ago | (#47124987)

Oh, so he was a double agent then? Worse, he was playing a double game for his own agenda? This isn't getting better.

Re:Repatriation, yeah right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47124573)

WTFI. He said he was a spy for the USA you doofus. He said covert overseas operative for both CIA and NSA.

Re:Repatriation, yeah right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47124675)

Reading comprehension failure. Go back, reread, then come back and correct yourself.

Re:Repatriation, yeah right. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47124543)

If they let him go free, or off with a light sentence, he'll have a new career as a public speaker, or activist against the NSA and surveillance. No way the government would allow that sentiment to have a publicly acceptable mouth piece.

So it is every upright American's patriotic duty to make sure the next government would allow, according to the spirit of the First Amendment of the Constitution and the idea of democratic control, such a publicly acceptable mouth piece.

So you owe it to Snowden to vote for a third party next election. That's the least you can do in return for what he did for you.

Re:Repatriation, yeah right. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47125037)

The real reason isn't that he's be an activist against the NSA. The real reason is because they know he's right about the NSA going overboard with surveillance.

Snowden is the hero of the story and those that want to arrest him are the villians (since they authorized these excesses). If anyone should face prosecution its those the violated the constitutional right to privacy.

Unfortunately the current crop of leadership (both Republicans and Democrats) would never support that narrative since its too damaging to their egos and could lead to their imprisonment.. Only a future administration with few ties to Bush and Obama would ever provide him hero status. (probably post mortem)

Snowden's lies (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47124217)

The part where Snowden claims he "tried to go through channels" is a lie, and he's trying to get out front of the NSA on it because they've "dumped" the one, low key, tangential email he wrote.

The man that has dumped millions of documents has never produced any detailed paper trail documenting all these supposed attempts to "repeatedly" object to anything through "channels." The NSA has produced the one, single message they have. Of course it's not in their interest to show more, if it exists, but Snowden could show what he's got. The problem is he's got nothing.

Just tell the truth. Stop the exaggerations about your "heroic" battle with the chain of command; it didn't happen. You did what you did and there is no need for pretense. Lying about it just damages your credibility and gives your detractors ammo. If you had tried to squabble with the NSA they'd have pulled your access and booted you out the door. We know that. Just stop lying about it.

Snowden's lies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47124247)

... And you know this, how?

You're pretty sure of your own speculations.

Re:Snowden's lies (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47124419)

It is impossible for me to believe that Snowden, the guy that ripped the crown jewels out of the NSA and handed it to the world, conducted some righteous internal campaign to fight NSA criminality and have nothing beyond one fig leaf email [nbcnews.com] to prove it. It's not plausible.

My fanboi gland just doesn't have enough fluid to get me there. Sorry.

Re:Snowden's lies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47124251)

I'd honestly prefer that people not go through the 'proper channels', because when the government is violating the highest law of the land, or conducting immoral activities, it is the people that should be the first to know. Trying to tell government thugs of wrongdoings only jeopardizes the chances of successfully informing the people.

Re:Snowden's lies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47124373)

Really? You're willingly ignoring evidence that doesn't fit your warped sense of reality?

When will your type stop buying into the government propaganda and realize they are not your friend?

Re:Snowden's lies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47124491)

evidence

What evidence?

There isn't any evidence of Snowden "going through channels." The guy that blew up the NSA has got nothing—no paper trail, no document cache, nothing—to support his claim that he tried to fight NSA criminality through channels.

What he did was great and historic. His lying about some noble internal struggle isn't so great. His credibility is all he really has now, and lying about this isn't useful.

Re:Snowden's lies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47124787)

You said it yourself, you dope.

The NSA has produced the one, single message they have.

But we'll totally pretend that never happened because it would conflict with your preconceived notion that the government is here to protect you and that anyone that disagrees with that is obviously a terrorist!

Re:Snowden's lies (1)

xevioso (598654) | about 3 months ago | (#47124825)

But you don't know that he lied about this. It may have been the case that he, as he said, mentioned this to higher ups in one form or another on multiple occasions and was told to shut up. It's not as though the NSA documents every single CONVERSATION its employees have while working. Snowden was under no obligation to actually document when he had these conversations or what they consisted of.

Re:Snowden's lies (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47125157)

CONVERSATION

His claim is that these "repeated" "objections" were "in writing". If you're not going to read the story then at least read the damn summary.

The master whistle blower conducted an internal fight with NSA superiors IN WRITING and kept no copies? You'd have to paddle waaay up Fanboi River to buy that.

So now that your one peg has been kicked out, what have you got left? The single email question about the legal force of EOs? That leaves you with the "repeated" and "objection" claims to cope with.

Face it. He's lying.

Government's Lies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47124527)

Distracting people with character attacks and slander towards Snowden is the only thing the gubmint can do now, BUT

The Lies and Crimes of the people in power are far worse, and the citizenry must not forget the real issue. The real issue is that gov't officials keep giving themselves more power than they are lawfully allowed to have under the framework of our country. The basic framework of separation of powers is what keeps things barely balanced enough to work right.

Interesting thread regarding that email.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47124681)

http://www.techdirt.com/articl... [techdirt.com]

"This e-mail says EVERYTHING. It's an admission by the NSA that their program is illegal, they knew it was illegal, and they went ahead with it anyway."

First, he's a Patriot (5, Insightful)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 3 months ago | (#47124303)

First, I'd like to say that he's a Patriot.

There were a lot of things he could have told you that he hasn't.

Second, if the US government would just follow the Constitution, specifically the Bill of Rights, and stop spying on American citizens in America without individual court orders for individual American citizens, and instead focus on the actual sources of terrorism that we all know are the source: Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Pakistan, and to a lesser extent Afghanistan, this would all go away.

That said, I look forward to him being granted Amnesty by a free and independent 100 percent green energy Scotland soon.

Re:First, he's a Patriot (4, Insightful)

Rashdot (845549) | about 3 months ago | (#47124689)

You make it sound like the rest of the world has no rights, which by the way seems to be the most prevalent American point of view.

First, he's a Patriot (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47124763)

Absolutely. Well said!

Actual Facts (5, Insightful)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 3 months ago | (#47124327)

1) Snowden wrote a letter to his bosses complaining about US Spying before he left. They did not respond to it.

2) Snowden revealed information about USA spying

3) Snowden claimed it was in violation of US Constitution.

4) As a result of Snowden's revelations, US collection has gone down. But there has been no terrorist event since then, so no one possibly have died because of his actions.

5) US claims that because collection is down, Snowden damaged US security. Snowden claims that because no one died, he did not.

6)Previously people objected within the US spying agencies about their actions - Snowden was not the first. No one in the agencies ever did anything about the complaints.

If you believe the US did wrong, then Snowden is a patriot. If you believe the US did no wrong, then Snowden is a traitor.

Opinions: from here on out. But honestly, this is a question not of action, but of political belief.

Most importantly, the people in the espionage agency SHOULD be more paranoid than the general population. Otherwise they are in the wrong job. That also means they need to deal with the fact that the general population will NOT want and should NOT allow them to do everything they deem necessary for a safe country. I can make the world safe for children by locking all the children up in a cage till they turn 18. But we don't do that because life is worth the risk. Similarly, we should NOT be giving any spy agencies all the power they think they need. And when we catch them going overboard, they need to be reigned back in.

All of which means that Snowden should be given the benefit of the doubt

Re:Actual Facts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47124399)

Has the letter he written actually surfaced yet?

Re:Actual Facts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47124605)

Yes. Read it here. [nbcnews.com]

It's a brief, general question about the legal force of executive orders. It does not object to any specific NSA activity. One email does not constitute "repeated" objections to anything.

The GP is advocating the Bush dichotomy; you're with us or against us. It is actually possible to praise Snowden as a "patriot" and call him on his lies as well.

What he did was great and monumental. He's also lying when he claims he waged some mighty struggle "through channels" within the NSA over their criminal activities. He didn't do that, and you know he didn't because if he had then the man that obsconded with gigabyes of NSA content would produce a "paper" trail showing he did it. He hasn't because he hasn't got one.

And that's fine. He doesn't need one. He just needs to stop lying about it.

Re:Actual Facts (3, Insightful)

xevioso (598654) | about 3 months ago | (#47124887)

You don't know that he lied. The people who produced the document are the ones he exposed. It is not in their interests to show that Snowden was telling the truth, and so if there were other emails with more detailed concerns about NSA policy, they are unlikely to see the light of day.

Why do you folks keep accusing him of lying when a single email has come out? Surely you realize the government does not stand to benefit by affirming the truth of what Snowden has said, and in fact has already accused him of lying. How can you be so silly to think they would actually release the emails Snowden says he sent, even if they have them?

Re:Actual Facts (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47125059)

to think they would actually release the emails

Reading comprehension issues....

We expect the NSA to lie. We don't need to rely on the NSA to release anything.

We look to Snowden for that; he's the master whistle blower. Where is the paper trail? Where are the names of the people to whom he claims he raised objections? Where has he provided anything other than claims that he did this? It is not plausible to imagine that Snowden kept nothing — not one scintilla of evidence that could possibly be scrutizined — that he was working "through channels" within the NSA. That dog don't hunt.

One email != "repeated"
One general question about EO's != "objections"

He claims this happened "in writing." Where are the copies, digital or otherwise? To whom was this stuff written? Names please.

It didn't happen. He didn't do what he claims. Right or wrong that's the reality and only fanbois will say otherwise.

Re:Actual Facts (1)

dunkindave (1801608) | about 3 months ago | (#47125135)

As the AC said, following the airing of the interview, the NSA immediately searched for the "repeated" objections Snowden claimed he had raised, and they say all they found was one email, which they have released, wherein Snowden following reviewing training material asked about whether Executive Orders can override statutes. The GC's response was basically "no", laws trump orders.

I foresee people will claim that the government is lying since they are they are the ones claiming that was what they found, and if Snowden is telling the truth they have a motive to cover it up. By definition, a conspiracy claim is difficult or impossible to disprove since any evidence produced to dispute it will be dismissed by the believers as a fabrication/lie, which is what I suspect will happen here too. The trouble is, and why conspiracies theories enjoy such life, is sometimes it is true (but I believe a rare occurrence, not a common one like how they tend to see the world). In this case though, there are a lot of people who would have access to the true information and can benefit from its release, like certain senators, so it doesn't make sense that the NSA would be lying here since they would be caught (cue the deniers who will say they destroyed the real emails so there is nothing to find, or that the all-powerful controlling entities behind the government will sit on their stooges to ensure this won't happen - I live with a conspiracy nut and know that you cannot use facts and reason to argue with them).

And to say that after putting (overly) strict security in place not many bad things happened so it proves the security was unnecessary is specious since it presumes what the situation would have been had the extra effort not been spent, and that the spending didn't affect the outcome. "I built a really strong retaining wall behind my house, and after those torrential rains there wasn't any mudslide, so I must have wasted my money building the wall."

What I do know is based on what Snowden claimed versus what the NSA released, I would give it Snowden 0, government 1.

Re:Actual Facts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47124401)

check definition for rein and reign

Re:Actual Facts (0)

mmell (832646) | about 3 months ago | (#47124503)

You forgot the one where he knowingly and intentionally violated the law. His acts were, by definition, espionage.

Yes, he should get a reduced sentence because he was acting as a "whistle blower". Don't shoot him. Life imprisonment should suffice. Or is there anybody here naive enough to believe that other nations don't do this?

(waiting for the flood of "my country xyz doens't do this!" claims. How would you know?)

Re:Actual Facts (5, Insightful)

jelIomizer (3670957) | about 3 months ago | (#47124577)

You forgot the one where he knowingly and intentionally violated the law. His acts were, by definition, espionage.

If such a law exists, then it is unjust. Revealing the government's unconstitutional or immoral activities should not be a crime.

Or is there anybody here naive enough to believe that other nations don't do this?

Is anybody here illogical enough to believe that that makes any of it okay?

And I live in the US, so I know my country does this.

Re:Actual Facts (1, Insightful)

iluvcapra (782887) | about 3 months ago | (#47125091)

Is anybody here illogical enough to believe that that makes any of it okay?

Why is Edward Snowden qualified to decide what's "okay"?

Re:Actual Facts (2)

jelIomizer (3670957) | about 3 months ago | (#47125137)

Because he's a human being with an opinion, access to the constitution, and knowledge of privacy and human rights.

Of you only want 'authority' figures to decide such things, may I suggest moving to a country that doesn't claim to want to be 'the land of the free and the home of the brave'?

Re:Actual Facts (5, Interesting)

duke_cheetah2003 (862933) | about 3 months ago | (#47124607)

So what about the rest of the NSA? They're breaking the law every day, all day. What should we do about them?

I'm not for touching Snowden with any legal repercussions of his actions until the NSA is held accountable for their violations of our Constitution and Bill of Rights and outright lying to congress under oath.

You can't have it both ways, you can't say Snowden is a traitor and the NSA is not, and advocate for punishing one and not the other. The NSA is hugely more guilty of law breaking than Snowden could ever hope to be. When I see some bigwigs of the NSA behind bars, then I'll accept Snowden needs to serve some time (not life) for his supposed crime of enlightening the rest of us of the huge disregard for the law the NSA has shown.

Re:Actual Facts (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47124679)

Espionage: the practice of spying or of using spies, typically by governments to obtain political and military information.

So, you're saying that Snowden was a foreign government spy sent to obtain political and/or military information and disclose it only to that foreign government that he worked for? Do you have any proof of that, or are you just making excuses for the US government which has been targeting you (and friends, and family, and everyone you've ever known), violating your privacy, freedoms, and protections against unreasonable search and seizure, among other rights?

I don't know how you can even call yourself an American when you just willingly throw your rights away so easily without even getting upset about it.

Re:Actual Facts (5, Insightful)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about 3 months ago | (#47124711)

You forgot the one where he knowingly and intentionally violated the law.

The US government knowingly and intentionally violated the law when it began to demand records of ALL calls made within the us and then began to LIE about it before congress where Alexander et al redefined the word "collect" and hoped nobody would parse his words carefully enough to notice.

The patriot act DOES NOT even authorize this. Collecting information on EVERYONE cannot possibly be relevant to a specific authorized investigation.

Don't shoot him. Life imprisonment should suffice. Or is there anybody here naive enough to believe that other nations don't do this?

The only thing that matters is the US government broke US law without any repercussion. Surely this is indefensible and any "but mommy johnny did it too" defense is worthless.

The same way the previous administrations "intelligence community" knowingly lied about the veracity of their Iraq WMD cover story prior to invasion of Iraq leading to hundreds of thousands of deaths with no repercussions.

I want to see US government officials go to jail.. hell in the case of Iraq no reason executions should not be on the table. Once that happens lets talk about Snowden's transgressions...

Legitimacy matters. If the state does not follow the law and is not held accountable it is foolish to expect the governed to show respect for law. I personally don't even care that what Snowden did is illegal... Wish I did but I don't.

Re:Actual Facts (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47124717)

The whole point of the USA is that we are supposed to be better than other nations by virtue of the government being of the people, by the people, for the people. We don't belong to the government. The government belongs to us. If the government violated the 4th Amendment who holds it accountable? If Snowden is wrong, why is Congress passing intelligence reform bills?

I don't buy the idea that this is an absolute. If the government started assassinating citizens in a secret program it would be espionage to divulge it, but wouldn't you have a moral obligation to divulge it if you had the proof? I guess it depends on whether you believe that there is a greater good than the laws of the government.

Re:Actual Facts (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 3 months ago | (#47124583)

If you believe the US did wrong, then Snowden is a patriot. If you believe the US did no wrong, then Snowden is a traitor.

There are more than two choices. Most people think the NSA probably didn't break any laws, but got uncomfortably close to doing so. Perhaps the laws should be clarified or made stricter. But Snowden unquestionably broke laws by revealing NSA operations that are clearly legal.

Re:Actual Facts (4, Insightful)

swillden (191260) | about 3 months ago | (#47124795)

But Snowden unquestionably broke laws by revealing NSA operations that are clearly legal.

Only if his revelation was unjustified.

If someone breaks into your house and is about to shoot your child, but you shoot them first, and they die, you have committed murder (or at least manslaughter). But the law includes a general provision that lets you off the hook: justification. If you committed your crime in order to prevent a greater crime, the law does not hold you accountable.

The principle of justification is a general one, which can and does override absolutely any other statute.

The NSA was clearly perpetrating a greater crime upon the American people than Snowden did by revealing their crime.

Re:Actual Facts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47124773)

1)

4) As a result of Snowden's revelations, US collection has gone down. But there has been no terrorist event since then, so no one possibly have died because of his actions.

No terrorist event since then except the Boston Bombing.....

Re:Actual Facts (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47125127)

Boston Bombing - April 15 2013
Disclosures from Snowden begin 6 June 2013...

If he is such a believer of constitution... (0)

nomad63 (686331) | about 3 months ago | (#47124489)

I have only heard the soundbites from his interview so far but looks like and he makes himself sound like he is a big proponent and believer of the US constitution. If that is the case, why doesn't he or, rather didn't he, let the constitution he believes in so much, decide his fate by staying in the US and facing the judicial system ?

Yes it is hard to fight with government but if you are right, you have a good possibility of clearing your name and becoming a true hero, not a sideline screamer like he is right now. For all I have heard about him and from him so far, he gives the impression of a self-aggrandizing, pompous-ass politician, more than anything else. And if he happens to step in to this country again, I am sure he will be charged with treason and rightfully so. He will have no way of clearing his name legally, short of US public electing an extremely socialist president and administration.

Re:If he is such a believer of constitution... (3, Funny)

jelIomizer (3670957) | about 3 months ago | (#47124557)

He might want the government to follow the constitution, but that doesn't mean he's a masochist or a martyr.

Re:If he is such a believer of constitution... (2, Interesting)

iluvcapra (782887) | about 3 months ago | (#47125081)

He might want the government to follow the constitution, but that doesn't mean he's a masochist or a martyr.

Even if the court is a kangaroo court, civil disobedience requires standing trial -- you expose the illegitimacy of the system by showing people the system is rigged. Thoreau stood trial, Martin Luther King did, cripes even Hitler stood trial a the critical point in his career, it demonstrates that you do not consider yourself above the reach of a system that can affect all of us: Snowden accepts the possibility of Gitmo because, in principle, all of us could be sent to Gitmo and taking a Get-out-of-Gitmo-Free card would be unfair.

That's if he believed in reform, but I don't think he does.

Re:If he is such a believer of constitution... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47124641)

Because when the government has proven it has subverted the constitution, that clearly means they will suddenly decide to play by the rules when called out on it, right? Or...you could stop being a dope and realize that the government is out of control and above the law. Rather than act in the best interest of the people it is supposed to govern, it has instead been acting in its own interest and pushing through with a powergrab even harder now that it doesn't even need to hide it.

Stop listening to their lies and stop believing they are going to protect you.

If he is such a believer of constitution... (3, Interesting)

AHuxley (892839) | about 3 months ago | (#47124695)

Re 'decide his fate by staying in the US and facing the judicial system ? "
At best he would have found some political interest in his case.
He would have faced a sealed court as just a 'contractor' as the gov aspect of his NSA and CIA work would have been carefully hidden.
A 'contractor' may face all the same legal charges as a gov worker but enjoy few of the gov worker only whistleblowers legal protections.
He would have had all the legal protections of a contractor before a sealed court with a very expensive short list of cleared lawyers.
His legal team would not have the clearance to see, question or ask for more evidence that would support his case.
His legal team would not have the clearance to present more facts to any interested cleared political supporter.
After a short, rigged hidden trial the very public spin would begin.
The left of the US main stream media would understand he was a low level private contractor and not worth reporting on.
The right of the US main stream media would understand he was a low level contractor with far left union ideals and not worth reporting on.
For anyone else the hint that he was a limited hangout would make sure they lost interested in the few public fragments of the case.
Knowing what happens to even the most politically powerfully supported US gov whistleblowers within the US legal system the only wise option was to get the information to the press and then be free of the material.
You can more read about other past US whistleblowers and their US court experiences here: http://cryptome.org/2013-info/... [cryptome.org]
The other good aspect is that great law reform teams can now work with the public information in public courts and slowly bring more media attention to the loss of US rights and freedoms over the past decades.

Re:If he is such a believer of constitution... (5, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 3 months ago | (#47124725)

If that is the case, why doesn't he or, rather didn't he, let the constitution he believes in so much, decide his fate by staying in the US and facing the judicial system ?

I think you're begging the question. His whole point was that the government which would like to prosecute him does not follow the Constitution. Case in point, prisoners in Gitmo, or the CIA's torture victims.

Re:If he is such a believer of constitution... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47124751)

Because these kinds of cases get heard in special kangaroo courts where you don't get a fair trial by jury and the documents are all inadmissible even though they have been published in the NY Times.

Re:If he is such a believer of constitution... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47124771)

Because he believes in the constitution, but not in the government's willingness to uphold it.

Total surveillance (5, Insightful)

mariox19 (632969) | about 3 months ago | (#47124575)

Setting up the infrastructure for a total surveillance state is simply beyond the pale. What Snowden has done is what any true American should have done. The machine that government is setting up must be stopped dead in its tracks while there is still time, or there will be no stopping it. And there will be no United States of America after that, only a spot on the map infringing a trademark. Snowden is a true patriot.

If King George had had the NSA, you'd all be speaking proper English.

suspicious circumstances (1)

epine (68316) | about 3 months ago | (#47124603)

Snowden is going to be the first person in human history to have a suspicious death at the age of one-hundred and five.

There's a big difference between what these agencies do under cover of darkness, and what they do under the glare of a public spotlight. Solzhenitsyn returned to Russia after two decades in exile, whereupon he continued to criticise his homeland for another fourteen years, before dying of heart failure under suspicious circumstances at age eighty-nine.

There's a good reason they get mighty twisted about having their darkness aired: no more summary judgement, no more page 13 obituaries of A-list adversaries.

Hurricane Lolita [theatlantic.com] :

I once read of an interview given by Roman Polanski in which he described listening to a lurid radio account of his offense even as he was fleeing to the airport. He suddenly realized the trouble he was in, he said, when he came to appreciate that he had done something for which a lot of people would furiously envy him.

No, Snowden's exile is something different: a life not envied, not one little bit. That much his button-down steampunk adversaries can manage under the broad light of day.

Good luck to the man... (4, Insightful)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 3 months ago | (#47124785)

The politicos want his head on a pike... God help help him because I don't see anyone of consequence standing up for the man.

Patriotism (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47124815)

sNOwden should not be allowed to even utter inaudibly the word patriotism.

Feinstein says NSA has no paper trail (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 3 months ago | (#47125039)

Dianne Feinstein is refuting Snowden's claim that he made any attempts to alert higher ups. The NSA claims it can only come up with one email from Snowden. Perhaps the NSA's data collection isn't up to snuff after all?

http://www.sfgate.com/nation/a... [sfgate.com]

Re:Feinstein says NSA has no paper trail (4, Interesting)

AHuxley (892839) | about 3 months ago | (#47125155)

Yes the email seems to exist :)
http://time.com/137530/nsa-to-... [time.com]
http://www.theguardian.com/wor... [theguardian.com]
"He goes on to cite a list provided in the training that ranks presidential executive orders alongside federal statutes in the hierarchy of orders governing NSA behaviour.
“I'm not entirely certain, but this does not seem correct, as it seems to imply Executive Orders have the same precedence as law"
With an unnamed individual sending back "“correct that EO's cannot override a statute” but that they have the “force and effect of law”."
Would seem to show a legal question in one email was 'found' and is now been presented with spin to the wider media.
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