Patterico's Pontifications

12/17/2013

Snowden to Brazil: I’ll Trade Secrets for Asylum

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:32 am

The Snowden story is endlessly fascinating to me, because it’s hard to come away from it with a black and white perspective. Yesterday a federal judge comes out with a ruling that the surveillance Snowden revealed is probably unconstitutional — and, interestingly, confers standing on the plaintiffs in part because of Snowden’s revelations. Score one for Snowden! And then, today . . . this:

National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden says he would be willing to help Brazil investigate NSA spying on its soil, but could not fully participate without being granted political asylum because the U.S. government “will continue to interfere with my ability to speak.”

In a lengthy “open letter to the people of Brazil” obtained on Tuesday by The Associated Press, Snowden also commended the Brazilian government for its strong stand against U.S. spying.

Snowden that he’s been inspired by the global debate ignited by his release of thousands of National Security Agency documents, and that the NSA’s culture of indiscriminate global espionage “is collapsing.”

Kinda sounds like what a traitor would do, no? Protect me from the USA and I’ll give you their secrets.

It’s all shades of gray, isn’t it?

100 Comments

  1. it’s no different than making a deal to speak out against any other fascist organization really

    Comment by happyfeet (8ce051) — 12/17/2013 @ 7:51 am

  2. Kinda sounds like what a traitor would do, no? Protect me from the USA and I’ll give you their secrets.

    Yes, yes it is what a traitor would do.

    It’s all shades of gray, isn’t it?

    The darkest shade, only. There’s no white left. A little yellow, maybe.

    Comment by nk (dbc370) — 12/17/2013 @ 8:04 am

  3. Brazil is notable for its tranny porn. Snowden and Manning maybe could make some movies together.

    Comment by nk (dbc370) — 12/17/2013 @ 8:07 am

  4. “Get this: The USA is spying on Israel! Gimme something?”

    This guy has nothing to offer and nowhere to go.

    Comment by CrustyB (5a646c) — 12/17/2013 @ 8:09 am

  5. Given that that country is actively trying to arrest him for being a patriot, no, its not being a traitor. He is trying to survive. I don’t begrudge him what he is doing to survive. He is a hero and a patriot for revealing the unconstitutional spying. Especially because he’s only trying to help other countries avoid the same unconstitutional spying (not because it violates their rights, but because the government is not authorized to do such a thing).

    Comment by Patrick H (f854d7) — 12/17/2013 @ 8:19 am

  6. Yep, bunches of shades of grey and we’re all getting f*cked.

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (87ba2e) — 12/17/2013 @ 8:26 am

  7. Greetings:

    If I may comment on the Brazilian government’s “strong stand against U.S. spying”, I noticed that it didn’t retire the loan it accepted from the Obama administration for its petroleum industry’s development.

    Or, as was said in the Bronx of my youth, “Talk is cheap.”

    Comment by 11B40 (4f217f) — 12/17/2013 @ 8:51 am

  8. I’m shocked gambling is going on here’

    http://www.theverge.com/2013/11/5/5068024/brazil-admits-to-spying-on-us-russia-iran-diplomatic-targets-after-nsa-criticism

    Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 12/17/2013 @ 8:56 am

  9. Honestly lets not pretend Eurasia or EastAsia is better then Oceania,

    Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 12/17/2013 @ 9:01 am

  10. As for Julian’s new hosts;

    http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/12/16/3822485/ecuador-lashes-out-at-internet.html

    Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 12/17/2013 @ 9:06 am

  11. Wonder if he’ll move in with Greenwald and his boyfriend and share their “exile”…

    Comment by mojo (6db70b) — 12/17/2013 @ 9:13 am

  12. What the NSA is doing against America is also treason, if you consider the “United States” to be the people and not the government.

    “We had to burn down the Constitution to save it” remains unconvincing.

    Comment by Kevin M (536c5d) — 12/17/2013 @ 9:13 am

  13. Snowden? Patriot? Hardly. If this were 1941 he’d be trading in secrets about how the US had broken the Japanese diplomatic and naval codes in time for the Japanese to change them by the Battle of Midway.

    Which is an apt analogy for what he did in China, when he revealed what we knew about them and their espionage activities against the US, although it wasn’t reported that way.

    The illegal NSA domestic surveillance leaks are a diversion to distract from the massive amounts of legal foreign surveillance information he stole. Which is of course China’s and Russia’s interest in him. As if the assistance they provided to his flight from the US was coincidental.

    To fall for the idea that Snowden is a patriot for revealing NSA’s domestic spying activities is to fall for the misdirection. Which is no doubt Putin’s plan.

    Comment by Steve57 (e607ae) — 12/17/2013 @ 9:16 am

  14. I just point out the context that is left out of these ‘breathless’ pieces, is he Christopher Boyce, not exactly, although there are some rhymes, is he Phillip Agee, closer,

    Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 12/17/2013 @ 9:22 am

  15. in his young life Mr. Snowden’s done more to advance the cause of freedom than Meghan’s coward daddy done in all his years

    merry christmas Mr. Snowden

    Comment by happyfeet (c60db2) — 12/17/2013 @ 9:32 am

  16. It’s like Mandela. How do you evaluate a person’s contributions when it’s a mixed bag? I don’t know the answer but I have a feeling history is full of people whose contributions came with strings attacked.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 12/17/2013 @ 9:34 am

  17. However, I have a feeling liberals would be enthusiastically supporting Snowden if we had a Republican President, which leads me to ignore anything this Administration and its media say about Snowden.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 12/17/2013 @ 9:39 am

  18. I’m still of the belief that Snowden is being run by the Russians or the Chinese and has been since before his revelations.

    Comment by SPQR (768505) — 12/17/2013 @ 9:40 am

  19. Well Thomas Drake and Binning (sic) was saying much the same thing, but the global surveilance net, extends everywhere, from the FSB to the Brasilian state agency, to the NSA and GHCQ.

    Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 12/17/2013 @ 9:45 am

  20. If this were 1941

    Snowden’s main revelations have to do with spying on the American people, not with spying on people we are at war with.

    Assuming that is, the US Government is not at war with the American people. Hard to say sometimes.

    When it comes out that they ARE using location metadata and they ARE spying for internal political reasons, will you still go on about Purple and Enigma?

    Comment by Kevin M (536c5d) — 12/17/2013 @ 9:47 am

  21. Well more like Yardley’s revelations about ‘the Black Chamber’

    Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 12/17/2013 @ 9:49 am

  22. 12. What the NSA is doing against America is also treason, if you consider the “United States” to be the people and not the government.

    Comment by Kevin M (536c5d) — 12/17/2013 @ 9:13 am

    Whether you like your surveillance state or not, you will keep your surveillance state courtesy of Obamacare.

    All in the name of providing better health care and preventing fraud.

    Just wait until people find out about the “Federal Data Services Hub” which will have information on everyone in the US from the IRS, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, the Veterans Administration, the Office of Personnel Management, the Social Security Administration, state Medicaid databases, and the Peace Corps, among other agencies. It will contain your income and financial data, family size, citizenship and immigration status, incarceration status, social security numbers, and private health information.

    In fact, it will contain information that doctors will be compelled to ask for even though there is no medical need for it. So be ready to detail your sexual history so the gub’mint can have electronic access to it.

    http://nypost.com/2013/09/15/obamacare-will-question-your-sex-life/

    “This is nasty business,” says New York cardiologist Dr. Adam Budzikowski. He called the sex questions “insensitive, stupid and very intrusive.” He couldn’t think of an occasion when a cardiologist would need such information — but he knows he’ll be pushed to ask for it.

    The president’s “reforms” aim to turn doctors into government agents, pressuring them financially to ask questions they consider inappropriate and unnecessary, and to violate their Hippocratic Oath to keep patients’ records confidential.

    Embarrassing though it may be, you confide things to a doctor you wouldn’t tell anyone else. But this is entirely different.

    Doctors and hospitals who don’t comply with the federal government’s electronic-health-records requirements forgo incentive payments now; starting in 2015, they’ll face financial penalties from Medicare and Medicaid. The Department of Health and Human Services has already paid out over $12.7 billion for these incentives.

    Dr. Richard Amerling, a nephrologist and associate professor at Albert Einstein Medical College, explains that your medical record should be “a story created by you and your doctor solely for your treatment and benefit.” But the new requirements are turning it “into an interrogation, and the data will not be confidential.”

    The only question your doctor can’t ask you is if you own a firearm. As if that’s the only way that information can make it into this database.

    And if you thought it was bad when the NSA was monitoring your phone records and online activity under the national security umbrella, just wait until the IRS monitors under the rubric of preventing tax evasion and under reporting income to qualify for subsidies on the Obamacare exchanges.

    http://money.msn.com/credit-rating/irs-tracks-your-digital-footprint

    The Internal Revenue Service is collecting a lot more than taxes this year — it’s also acquiring a huge volume of personal information on taxpayers’ digital activities, from eBay auctions to Facebook posts and, for the first time ever, credit card and e-payment transaction records, as it expands its search for tax cheats to places it’s never gone before.

    …”It’s well-known in the tax community, but not many people outside of it are aware of this big expansion of data and computer use,” says Edward Zelinsky, a tax law expert and professor at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and Yale Law School. “I am sure people will be concerned about the use of personal information on databases in government, and those concerns are well-taken. It’s appropriate to watch it carefully. There should be safeguards.” He adds that taxpayers should know that whatever people do and say electronically can and will be used against them in IRS enforcement.

    So be angry at the NSA abuses all you want. But all you’re ultimately getting rid of is the foreign surveillance. Not the domestic surveillance.

    Comment by Steve57 (e607ae) — 12/17/2013 @ 9:51 am

  23. I will point out that the NSA has done nothing whatsoever to dial back its spying and the administration seems intent on doubling down.

    What we may have here is the Hoover Files on steroids, where no one is willing to go up against an agency that has deep dirt on everyone.

    Comment by Kevin M (536c5d) — 12/17/2013 @ 9:51 am

  24. Kevin M., Snowden’s revelations have also undermined our relations with our allies – such as Germany – who benefits from that?

    Comment by SPQR (768505) — 12/17/2013 @ 9:51 am

  25. Snowden’s revelations have also undermined our relations with our allies – such as Germany – who benefits from that?

    Apparently Barack Obama, since that seems to be his plan from the first day he took office.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 12/17/2013 @ 9:55 am

  26. Looks like Snowden’s principled stand is rather unprincipled. I wonder what Snowden’s father will say about this revelation—NOT!

    Comment by Amalgamated Cliff Divers, Local 157 (f7d5ba) — 12/17/2013 @ 9:55 am

  27. We don’t seem to do anything that furthers our long term interests;

    http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2013/12/two_guantanamo_detai.php

    Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 12/17/2013 @ 9:55 am

  28. Steve,

    I don’t limit it to the NSA and I’ve been upset at this since the Supremes said my bank account could be inspected at will by the IRS back in the 70′s.

    There ought to be a stronger version of the Fourth Amendment, clearly stating that private information held under contract by third parties is still private information.

    US v Miller: http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=425&invol=435

    Comment by Kevin M (536c5d) — 12/17/2013 @ 9:57 am

  29. DRJ, the idea that Snowden is being run by Obama administration would have a delicious appeal were I a true conspiracy theorist nutbar.

    And the incompetence of doing so in such a way as to undermine the administration so much would only reinforce the conspiracy theory.

    Comment by SPQR (768505) — 12/17/2013 @ 9:58 am

  30. SPQR–

    Oh, c’mon. If a foreign leader is shocked that someone is listening to their cell phone calls or reading their email, they need to be replaced for being too stupid to run a country.

    They should maybe consider strong encryption.

    Comment by Kevin M (536c5d) — 12/17/2013 @ 9:59 am

  31. I will bet a thousand dollars against a jelly donut that Germany has been attempting to intercept Obama’s communications for a while now. I would hope he’s using strong encryption, too.

    Comment by Kevin M (536c5d) — 12/17/2013 @ 10:02 am

  32. The things that did work, we discontinued, and we tried to put those who carried them out in jail;

    http://hotair.com/archives/2009/08/25/cia-docs-eits-worked/

    Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 12/17/2013 @ 10:04 am

  33. SPQR,

    I know you know this but, for the record, I wasn’t suggesting Snowden is part of an Obama plot. To the contrary, I bet Obama is furious that Snowden would do anything to stand up to his authority or tarnish his legacy. (It’s fine to do this to Republicans but how dare Snowden do this to a fellow true believer?) But the one thing I don’t think Obama cares about is whether Snowden is damaging our relationship with our traditional allies.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 12/17/2013 @ 10:16 am

  34. Back at the ranch:

    http://nypost.com/2013/12/16/iran-nuke-deal-quietly-collapses/

    Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 12/17/2013 @ 10:19 am

  35. Obama hates Western civilization and is naive. That’s a terrible combination.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 12/17/2013 @ 10:24 am

  36. 20. Snowden’s main revelations have to do with spying on the American people, not with spying on people we are at war with.

    Comment by Kevin M (536c5d) — 12/17/2013 @ 9:47 am

    Yes, of course. Snowden was given safe refuge in China and Russia because they’re interested in the civil rights of US persons.

    You can’t believe the 1% of the information Snowden stole that Greenwald et al have chosen to publicly release (The Guardian Editor in Chief’s estimate of how much they’ve printed http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25205846) is representative, can you? Especially when Greenwald has gone to great lengths to claim that Snowden asked him to only release information that was in his judgement was in the public interest.

    1% of the documents were in the public interest. Or as the Guardian’s editor in chief put it:

    “We have published I think 26 documents so far out of the 58,000 we’ve seen,” he said.

    Snowden gave his press contacts lots of information that has nothing to do with domestic surveillance. And he wanted that message to get out when he let them interview him.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/09/edward-snowden-nsa-whistleblower-surveillance?guni=Network%20front:network-front%20full-width-1%20bento-box:Bento%20box:Position1

    “I carefully evaluated every single document I disclosed to ensure that each was legitimately in the public interest,” he said. “There are all sorts of documents that would have made a big impact that I didn’t turn over, because harming people isn’t my goal. Transparency is.”

    He stole all sorts of documents that would harm people. He just didn’t turn them over to the press, he claims. But he made sure to steal them.

    Are you really that distracted by the small percentage of information that has been revealed that has to do with the NSA’s domestic activities? That’s not what he’s going to be trafficking in for the rest of his life. It’s all the other stuff he stole, as he told a WaPo reporter he contacted during the same timeframe as he contacted Greenwald and Poitras (but whose name escapes me at the moment) that’s worth all the money.

    Comment by Steve57 (e607ae) — 12/17/2013 @ 10:25 am

  37. “Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 12/17/2013 @ 10:16 am”

    On target, fire for effect.

    Comment by SPQR (768505) — 12/17/2013 @ 10:35 am

  38. 30. SPQR–

    Oh, c’mon. If a foreign leader is shocked that someone is listening to their cell phone calls or reading their email, they need to be replaced for being too stupid to run a country.

    They should maybe consider strong encryption.

    Comment by Kevin M (536c5d) — 12/17/2013 @ 9:59 am

    Foreign leaders who are concerned that someone will eavesdrop on their communications don’t use cell phones or email.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/16/nsa-dmitry-medvedev-g20-summit

    American spies based in the UK intercepted the top-secret communications of the then Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, during his visit to Britain for the G20 summit in London, leaked documents reveal.

    The details of the intercept were set out in a briefing prepared by the National Security Agency (NSA), America’s biggest surveillance and eavesdropping organisation, and shared with high-ranking officials from Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

    The document, leaked by the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and seen by the Guardian, shows the agency believed it might have discovered “a change in the way Russian leadership signals have been normally transmitted”.

    Who could possibly think it’s in the public interest to know that the NSA monitors the Russian leadership’s secure communications? As if there’s anything wrong with the NSA monitoring their SATCOM links.

    I’ll tell you whose interest it’s in, and who thinks the NSA should be stopped.

    The Russian leadership.

    And, pray, tell me Kevin; who’s sheltering Snowden at the moment?

    Comment by Steve57 (e607ae) — 12/17/2013 @ 10:37 am

  39. The US President travels with a little outfit known as the White House Communication Agency, which is a joint military unit.

    http://www.disa.mil/Careers/WHCA

    And by “little” I mean truckloads of equipment because, as I said, national leaders who are at all interested in secure communications don’t use email and cell phones.

    Not even to take selfies.

    Comment by Steve57 (e607ae) — 12/17/2013 @ 10:42 am

  40. For me, the Snowden NSA revelations added new shades of gray to the already existing shades of gray palate with respect to a balance between privacy and espionage/spying for “national protection”. The “we’ve got to spy on all our citizens in order to protect all our citizens” –and the way it is being done with virtually no oversight– is a very iffy proposition if one truly believes in the protections our Constitution supposedly guarantees.

    Whether Americans consider him a hero or the devil or something in between, the question of how young Snowden as a contractor could so easily be hired, could gain unlimited access, and be able to copy and walk away with all this apparently unsecured data is the question that I want answered. Is it incompetence within the agency which has become too powerful to manage, or something else even worse? Hey, you don’t supposed Kathleen Sebelius is clandestinely running the NSA, too, do you ?

    Comment by elissa (8a28dd) — 12/17/2013 @ 10:46 am

  41. Obama defends his nuclear deal with Iran in a telephone call to the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings Institute at the annual Saban Forum probably on Saturday, December 7, 2013: (transcript)

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.562259

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (3bb3ae) — 12/17/2013 @ 10:49 am

  42. Edward Snowden says….could not fully participate without being granted political asylum because the U.S. government “will continue to interfere with my ability to speak.”

    Right now, it is Russia which is interfering with his ability to speak, not the United States, because it was a condition of Putin granting him asylum that he do nothing further against the United States while he is there, but if he could find a pl;ace to go to, fine.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (3bb3ae) — 12/17/2013 @ 10:52 am

  43. 20. Snowden’s main revelations have to do with spying on the American people, not with spying on people we are at war with.

    Comment by Kevin M (536c5d) — 12/17/2013 @ 9:47 am

    We weren’t at war with Japan for most of 1941. We certainly weren’t at war when we began spying on them. In fact, we began trying to break their codes a long time before we went to war with Japan.

    http://www.navy.mil/midway/Dyer.html

    Captain Thomas H. Dyer

    As the lead cryptanalyst at Station HYPO in Hawaii from 1936 to 1945, Thomas H. “Tommie” Dyer led the team that was responsible for most of the breakthroughs in reading Japanese naval communications during the war in the Pacific. After the war, he continued a brilliant career and went on to be one of the three primary cryptanalytic trainers, along with William Friedman and Lambros Callimahos, for both Armed Forces Security Agency (AFSA) and National Security Agency.

    Born in Osawatomie, Kansas, in May 1902, Thomas Dyer graduated from the Naval Academy in 1924. After serving tours as a radio or communications officer, he was assigned to the Department of Naval Communications’ cryptanalytic organization, OP-20-G, in May 1931. There he trained under Agnes Driscoll and developed procedures for using IBM tabulators to ease the burden of sorting through the myriad of possible solutions for breaking codes and ciphers. This earned him the accolade “the father of machine cryptanalysis.”

    It isn’t much of a mystery what a naval cryptanalyst would be spending most of his time on at Pearl Harbor in 1936, is it? Especially since Japan had officially considered the US its most likely adversary in any Pacific war since the 1922 Washington Naval Treaty.

    Which is why it’s an apt analogy for what Snowden revealed to China about what we know about them and their attempts to conduct espionage against us. And our counterespionage practices against them. Because just like in May 1941 we weren’t at war with Japan, when Snowden got on that plane in May 2013 we weren’t at war with China. But there’s no doubt that China views us as their main adversary in the Pacific.

    Comment by Steve57 (e607ae) — 12/17/2013 @ 11:12 am

  44. I did not vote for this joker, and so refuse to regard him as any kind of free speech hero. People are going to die because of his shenanigans.

    Comment by The Sanity Inspector (ca8d89) — 12/17/2013 @ 11:20 am

  45. Kinda sounds like what a traitor would do, no? Protect me from the USA and I’ll give you their secrets.

    More like a sane person. Snowden did a great benefit to the USA’s people so they’re aware of what’s going on. He shouldn’t put his head on the tyrannical police state’s chopping block any more than a Soviet or Chinese dissident would.

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 12/17/2013 @ 11:50 am

  46. Yes, of course. Snowden was given safe refuge in China and Russia because they’re interested in the civil rights of US persons.

    Purely irony and counting coup. Both those countries have an interest in pointing out the US’s hypocrisy whenever possible.

    Comment by Kevin M (536c5d) — 12/17/2013 @ 11:51 am

  47. I don’t limit it to the NSA and I’ve been upset at this since the Supremes said my bank account could be inspected at will by the IRS back in the 70′s.

    Goodbye right to remain silent.

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 12/17/2013 @ 11:52 am

  48. We weren’t at war with Japan for most of 1941

    Potayto, potahto.

    Comment by Kevin M (536c5d) — 12/17/2013 @ 11:53 am

  49. And, pray, tell me Kevin; who’s sheltering Snowden at the moment?

    As if this proves a damn thing. The US shelters thousands of foreign dissidents for all kinds of reasons. Snowden embarrasses the US government and that is good enough reason for them to play keep-away with him.

    That being said, my feelings about Snowden are conflicted. Particularly since he isn’t a classic whistleblower; he sought out the information with the intent of exposing it. That’s spying, and he really needs to pay something for that.

    Someone suggested yesterday that the question wasn’t whether he should be shot, or get the Medal of Freedom, but which order the two should happen.

    Comment by Kevin M (536c5d) — 12/17/2013 @ 12:00 pm

  50. Yes, it’s not the same, remember he is part of Assuange’s organization, who has made accomodations with Moscow, RT is their champion,

    Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 12/17/2013 @ 12:19 pm

  51. No medal, only the edge of a spade at the base of the skull. It’s clear, now, that he did not reveal domestic spying out of altruism. It was simply the first prong of his two-prong attack on the United States — create domestic problems; create international problems.

    Isn’t his Russian visa only good for one year, BTW? It may not be his option to move to another country. Heh!

    Comment by nk (dbc370) — 12/17/2013 @ 12:22 pm

  52. it’s like every wrong decision is being made;

    http://legalinsurrection.com/2013/12/asa-issues-member-talking-points-to-counter-university-pushback-over-israel-boycott/

    Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 12/17/2013 @ 12:26 pm

  53. I don’t know why anyone has to feel like they need to characterize Snowden as a hero or traitor. It’s a pointless exercise because we’re all in the dark, including the US government, Greenwald and the courts. He could be either, neither, or, in varying degrees a hybrid of both depending on the context.

    We can only comment on what has been released so far, otherwise we’re pissing away time. We know about PRISM, we know about mass collection of phone records, Angela Merkel, etc.

    On those points, I’d say it was clear the government (Obama, Bush and the leadership in both parties) has misled the people as to what our rights are, broken international treaties.

    We don’t know what else Snowden has seen, good or ill, but we know he didn’t dump it all willy nilly like Manning, so he is far more considerate of what he’s doing. The deals with rival nations might tick us off, but he doesn’t have a lot of options and it’s better than facing what Manning got.

    Personally, I believe in the 4th Amendment right to privacy in pur papers and effects, but a security threat could trump that so the devil is in the details. I know both sides are proven liars, including the head of the NSA who just lied to America under oath, so as usual it’s a mixed bag of complex details….

    Comment by Warren S. (1ba204) — 12/17/2013 @ 12:43 pm

  54. Is Kevin M a Truther? :)

    I suppose that it’s too much to hope for that some harm comes to Mr Snowden while he is in Russia.

    Comment by The realistic Dana (3e4784) — 12/17/2013 @ 1:16 pm

  55. ==Comment by Warren S. (1ba204) — 12/17/2013 @ 12:43 pm–

    Warren, your post was well thought out and you presented the complexities and incongruities that the Snowden case raises for many of us. We just don’t know.

    Comment by elissa (57f24f) — 12/17/2013 @ 1:26 pm

  56. Is Kevin M a Truther?

    Which Truth™?

    Comment by Kevin M (536c5d) — 12/17/2013 @ 1:52 pm

  57. nobody better not hurt Mr. Snowden

    first of all he is a very nice person and second of all he is fighting for our freedoms

    he’s made tremendous sacrifices on our behalf already and will surely make many many more in the coming days

    me I’m a pray for his safety

    Dear God please don’t let nobody hurt Mr. Snowden and help him complete his work for so we all can breathe free again one day. Ok thanks.

    Comment by happyfeet (c60db2) — 12/17/2013 @ 2:22 pm

  58. We can only comment on what has been released so far, otherwise we’re pissing away time. We know about PRISM, we know about mass collection of phone records, Angela Merkel, etc.

    We can definitely comment on that. For instance what the Guardian published about the Russian leadership comms. No doubt that information was of great interest to Putin. But leaking details of the NSA’s attempts to analyze Russian leadership communications isn’t in the US public’s interest, and it has nothing to do with internet or cell phone communications.

    But besides what’s been released we also know how people have characterized what they’ve seen and haven’t released.

    Including Snowden himself, who told the Guardian in his original interview in Hong Kong that the information he possessed would harm people. So why did he remove it from a secure environment?

    And then there’s the editor in chief of the Guardian, who is quoted in the BBC article I linked to earlier telling Parliament:

    Mr Rusbridger told the committee: “There’s stuff in there about Iraq, Afghanistan, we’re not even going to look at it. That’s not what Edward Snowden was doing when he wanted responsible journalists to go through this material.

    So we know Snowden purloined legitimate foreign intelligence information. Unless of course one holds the truly bizarre opinion that the US should not collect intelligence in countries where US forces are or have been in harm’s way.

    And we know that Snowden gave the Guardian the names of intelligence operatives who are at risk. That’s implied in my reference to Snowden’s comments to the Guardian that he didn’t want to release information that would harm people. But the Guardian’s Rusbridger was more revealing in his Parliamentary testimony.

    Rusbridger denied placing intelligence agents at risk, saying the Guardian had “made very selective judgments” about what to publish and not revealed any names.

    “We have published no names and we have lost control of no names,” he said.

    That’s just one news source, the Guardian. Which doesn’t plan on publishing much more than the 1% of what its already published out of the 58,000 files in its posssession, according to what Rusbridger told Parliament earlier this month.

    So it isn’t like we don’t have any sort of clue about what types of information Snowden took. And it’s quite obvious, apart from these revelations, that its of great interest to our adversaries. But if we can’t comment on how reporters have characterized what they’ve chosen not to publish, and we’re not just talking about the people at the Guardian, as if their characterizations of that information can’t be trusted then we also can’t comment on what they have published. Either you believe what these people say about what Snowden leaked to them or you don’t.

    Comment by Steve57 (e607ae) — 12/17/2013 @ 2:24 pm

  59. Snowden should come back to the US, turn himself in, and explain he was exposing unconstitutional abuses against his country.

    That would probably ruin his life, but what life does he have to look forward to? What he did could be construed as good, but he needs to take the consequences. He should demand a jury trial.

    All this ‘I’ll trade secrets for my own welfare’ does not make me sympathetic. I understand the argument ‘he’s just doing what he needs to survive’, and reject it as not sufficient reason to give up secrets.

    Comment by Dustin (e6111c) — 12/17/2013 @ 2:39 pm

  60. Snowden should be hanged, shot and then burned down. In that order.

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (18cd23) — 12/17/2013 @ 2:58 pm

  61. Perhaps the people who committed the crimes Snowden reported should also pay the lawful consequences.

    Comment by Dustin (e6111c) — 12/17/2013 @ 3:05 pm

  62. I agree, Dustin, and he would do that if he were an honorable man. Of course, if he were an honorable man, he could have done that to start with. After all, it appears he had already turned over his files to a foreign journalist. There was no reason for him to run, too.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 12/17/2013 @ 3:30 pm

  63. Having said that, I think there is an argument he ran because the Obama Administration has declared war on whistleblowers. So there is a deficit of honor on both sides.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 12/17/2013 @ 3:31 pm

  64. Won’t disagree with that, Dustin. It’s on the record, so take care of Snowden’s sorry ass and then line the pretty perps up, all in a row.

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (18cd23) — 12/17/2013 @ 3:34 pm

  65. If Snowden is executed, then what will Charles (The Bad Charles Johnson)Johnson of LittleGreenFootballs.com have left to blog about ?
    He’ll have to resort to blogging about smooth jazz. Or cycling. Or Gay French Cinema. Or something.

    Comment by Elephant Stone (6a6f37) — 12/17/2013 @ 3:54 pm

  66. 59. …All this ‘I’ll trade secrets for my own welfare’ does not make me sympathetic. I understand the argument ‘he’s just doing what he needs to survive’, and reject it as not sufficient reason to give up secrets.

    Comment by Dustin (e6111c) — 12/17/2013 @ 2:39 pm

    Pretty much where I’m coming from.

    This is typical of Snowden:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/code-name-verax-snowden-in-exchanges-with-post-reporter-made-clear-he-knew-risks/2013/06/09/c9a25b54-d14c-11e2-9f1a-1a7cdee20287_story.html

    Snowden contacted the WaPo’s Gellman as well as Greenwald and Poitras.

    In an e-mail on May 24, he dropped a bombshell. Whistleblowers before him, he said, had been destroyed by the experience. Snowden wanted “to embolden others to step forward,” he wrote, by showing that “they can win.” He therefore planned to apply for asylum in Iceland or some other country “with strong internet and press freedoms,” although “the strength of the reaction will determine how choosy I can be.”

    He alluded to other options, aware that he had secrets of considerable financial value, but said, “I have no desire to provide raw source material to a foreign government.”

    To effect his plan, Snowden asked for a guarantee that The Washington Post would publish — within 72 hours — the full text of a PowerPoint presentation describing PRISM, a top-secret surveillance program that gathered intelligence from Microsoft, Facebook, Google and other Silicon Valley giants. He also asked that The Post publish online a cryptographic key that he could use to prove to a foreign embassy that he was the document’s source.

    I told him we would not make any guarantee about what we published or when. (The Post broke the story two weeks later, on Thursday. The Post sought the views of government officials about the potential harm to national security prior to publication and decided to reproduce only four of the 41 slides.)

    Snowden replied succinctly, “I regret that we weren’t able to keep this project unilateral.” Shortly afterward he made contact with Glenn Greenwald of the British newspaper the Guardian.

    The idea that he had some altruistic motive to just tell the truth is simply not credible. He had a plan all along to steal secrets that had considerable financial value. The idea that some foreign government would pay good money for information about an NSA domestic spying program targeting US persons within the US is naive beyond belief.

    Putin didn’t give Snowden asylum simply because he embarrassed the US. Putin gave him asylum because he views Snowden as commodity to be bought and sold. Exactly as Snowden attempted to present himself to whatever foreign embassy with which he wanted to make contact, using the WaPo to establish his bonafides.

    Even more significantly he demanded guarantees that the WaPo would publish the entire powerpoint brief. The WaPo only published four of the slides. The Guardian only published five. If Snowden had had his way more information would have been made public than two newspaper’s thought decent. As Gellman later tweeted, some things need to remain secret.

    http://twitchy.com/2013/06/10/there-are-things-that-should-remain-secret-washington-post-guardian-withhold-prism-slides/

    BTW the Guardian didn’t publish whole PRISM brief either; chose ~same slides the WP did. There are things in there that should stay secret.

    But then, not if Snowden had his way. As is typical for Snowden, the vast bulk of the information he stole is not in the public interest. Somewhere between 90 and 99%, based upon what the WaPo and Guardian intend not to publish.

    But it’s exactly what should remain secret that makes Snowden valuable to the countries in which he’s seeking refuge.

    Comment by Steve57 (e607ae) — 12/17/2013 @ 3:58 pm

  67. Snowden should be given a guided tour of the nearest land-fill.

    Comment by askeptic (2bb434) — 12/17/2013 @ 4:02 pm

  68. Snowden should be given tasty holiday treats and hugs – lots n lots of hugs!

    Comment by happyfeet (c60db2) — 12/17/2013 @ 4:08 pm

  69. mister happy, if you want to hug a traitor to america, that’s something that you should consider adding to your match.com dating profile

    Comment by Elephant Stone (6a6f37) — 12/17/2013 @ 4:12 pm

  70. Those CIA hit squads are not as impressive as the Bourne films led me to believe.

    Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 12/17/2013 @ 4:13 pm

  71. 67. Snowden should be given a guided tour of the nearest land-fill.

    Comment by askeptic (2bb434) — 12/17/2013 @ 4:02 pm

    Not likely in Russia. American defectors simply die mysterious deaths at their safe houses.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/23/world/edward-lee-howard-50-spy-who-escaped-to-soviet-haven.html

    Edward Lee Howard, the former C.I.A. agent who defected to the Soviet Union in the mid-1980′s after a disappearing act in the New Mexico desert, has died. He was 50.

    ”The embassy has received reports that Edward Lee Howard died on July 12th,” said Richard A. Boucher, the State Department spokesman, confirming his death. Another official said the department had confirmed the death with Mr. Howard’s next of kin.

    Mr. Howard’s death remains as mysterious as his life. The Washington Post said he died of a broken neck in an accident at his dacha. But in a report by RIA-Novosti, the Russian government’s news service, an unnamed Russian foreign intelligence officer, who said he knew Mr. Howard, denied ”this version of Howard’s death,” but gave no further details.

    ”He is indeed dead,” Vladimir A. Kryuchkov, the former K.G.B. chief, said in a phone interview. Mr. Kryuchkov, who was imprisoned as one of the leaders of a coup against Mikhail S. Gorbachev in 1991 but who is now free, said he had received a call informing him of the death, but refused to give more information.

    Comment by Steve57 (e607ae) — 12/17/2013 @ 4:19 pm

  72. Looking back Steve, it’s a wonder we had any secrets left, between Ames and Hansen, they left the cubbard bare, then Nicolson gave up the names of all the recruits he encountered at the Farm,

    Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 12/17/2013 @ 4:25 pm

  73. 63. Having said that, I think there is an argument he ran because the Obama Administration has declared war on whistleblowers. So there is a deficit of honor on both sides.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 12/17/2013 @ 3:31 pm

    There is also an argument to be made that Snowden has given Obama the ammunition he needs to legitimize a war on whistle blowers. Especially as Snowden raises his public profile…

    …the U.S. government “will continue to interfere with my ability to speak.”

    In a lengthy “open letter to the people of Brazil” obtained on Tuesday by The Associated Press, Snowden also commended the Brazilian government for its strong stand against U.S. spying.

    Snowden that he’s been inspired by the global debate ignited by his release of thousands of National Security Agency documents,…

    …after originally telling interviewers he didn’t want attention.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/09/edward-snowden-nsa-whistleblower-surveillance?guni=Network%20front:network-front%20full-width-1%20bento-box:Bento%20box:Position1

    Despite his determination to be publicly unveiled, he repeatedly insisted that he wants to avoid the media spotlight. “I don’t want public attention because I don’t want the story to be about me. I want it to be about what the US government is doing.”

    If he wants to avoid the media spotlight, releasing an open letter letter to the entire country of Brazil that somehow and not so mysteriously finds its way to the AP for publication indicates a poor grasp of the concept.

    But then this isn’t the first time Snowden has said one thing, only to go on to do the exact opposite of what someone who meant what he said would do. If he wanted to see more “whistleblowers,” not less, he’d have kept a lower profile. It seems he can’t just disappear into the background. He craves the limelight.

    Then there’s the information he has released. I think the people who claim his major revelations have been about the NSA’s domestic spying activities and invasions of privacy have short and/or selective memories.

    Snowden says in his open letter to the entire nation of Brazil that:

    “There is a huge difference between legal programs, legitimate spying … and these programs of dragnet mass surveillance that put entire populations under an all-seeing eye and save copies forever,” he wrote. “These programs were never about terrorism: they’re about economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation. They’re about power.”

    No one who believes what Snowden just said would have released the entire 178 page “black budget” summary to the press. Anyone else besides me remember that?

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/black-budget-summary-details-us-spy-networks-successes-failures-and-objectives/2013/08/29/7e57bb78-10ab-11e3-8cdd-bcdc09410972_story.html

    The $52.6 billion “black budget” for fiscal 2013, obtained by The Washington Post from former ­intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, maps a bureaucratic and operational landscape that has never been subject to public scrutiny. Although the government has annually released its overall level of intelligence spending since 2007, it has not divulged how it uses the money or how it performs against the goals set by the president and Congress.

    The 178-page budget summary for the National Intelligence Program details the successes, failures and objectives of the 16 spy agencies that make up the U.S. intelligence community, which has 107,035 employees.

    The summary describes cutting-edge technologies, agent recruiting and ongoing operations. The Post is withholding some information after consultation with U.S. officials who expressed concerns about the risk to intelligence sources and methods. Sensitive details are so pervasive in the documents that The Post is publishing only summary tables and charts online.

    So once again, why would someone steal a document and hand it over to newspapers that details how the entire US intelligence community performs against the goals established by the USG, the successes, failures, and objectives of those agency, and details about technology, agent recruiting and ongoing operations worldwide if that individual believes for an instant much if not most of that activity is legal and legitimate?

    I’ll tell you why; that’s the kind of information the people he’s shopping himself around to will pay for. Not the NSA domestic spying activity.

    As far as not releasing details, that didn’t last long at the WaPo:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/to-hunt-osama-bin-laden-satellites-watched-over-abbottabad-pakistan-and-navy-seals/2013/08/29/8d32c1d6-10d5-11e3-b4cb-fd7ce041d814_story.html

    To hunt Osama bin Laden, satellites watched over Abbottabad, Pakistan, and Navy SEALs

    The U.S. commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden was guided from space by a fleet of satellites, which aimed dozens of receivers over Pakistan to collect a torrent of electronic and signals intelligence as the mission unfolded, according to a top-secret U.S. intelligence document.

    The National Security Agency also was able to penetrate guarded communications among al-Qaeda operatives by tracking calls from mobile phones identified by specific calling patterns, the document shows. Analysts from the CIA pinpointed the geographic location of one of the phones and linked it to the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where other evidence suggested bin Laden was hiding.

    The disclosures about the hunt for the elusive founder of al-Qaeda are contained in classified documents that detail the fiscal 2013 “black budget” for U.S. intelligence agencies, including the NSA and the CIA. The documents, provided to The Washington Post by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, make only brief references to the bin Laden operation. But the mission is portrayed as a singular example of counterterrorism cooperation among the U.S. government’s numerous intelligence agencies.

    …Also playing a role in the search for bin Laden was an arm of the NSA known as the Tailored Access Operations group. Among other functions, the group specializes in surreptitiously installing spyware and tracking devices on targeted computers and mobile-phone networks.

    Although the budget does not provide detail, it reports that Tailored Access Operations “implants” enabled the NSA to collect intelligence from mobile phones that were used by al-Qaeda operatives and other “persons of interest” in the hunt for bin Laden.

    Separately, Tailored Access Operations capabilities were used in April 2011, the month before bin Laden was killed, when U.S. forces in Afghanistan relied on signals intelligence from implants to capture 40 low- and mid-level Taliban fighters and other insurgents in that country, according to the documents.

    …In addition to the satellites, the government flew an advanced stealth drone, the RQ-170, over Pakistan to eavesdrop on electronic transmissions. The CIA also recruited a Pakistani doctor and other public health workers to try to obtain blood samples from people living in the Abbottabad compound as part of a vaccination program to determine whether the residents might be related to bin Laden.

    That doctor was convicted by a Pakistani court in May 2012 of “conspiring against the state.” A senior judicial official on Thursday overturned the 33-year prison sentence for Shakil Afridi on technical grounds and ordered a retrial.

    So, how does this square with Snowden’s oft professed goal of merely wanting to stop illegal, unconstitutional mass surveillance but not to interfere with “legal programs, legitimate spying?”

    What details this budget doesn’t contain about ongoing operations is contained in the information he stole that makes him marketable. There is zero doubt about that.

    Comment by Steve57 (e607ae) — 12/17/2013 @ 5:04 pm

  74. 71. Vladimir Putin didn’t want giving asylum to Edward Lee Howard to be an issue between him and the United States, and he didn’t want to turn him over to the United States, because that would impact the way other double agents trusted Russia.

    So he secretly killed him.

    Howard defected when there was still Communism.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (9fe80b) — 12/17/2013 @ 5:09 pm

  75. an awkward situation all around;

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/12/16/syria-s-saudi-jihadist-problem.html

    Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 12/17/2013 @ 5:30 pm

  76. Steve, it is not inconceivable that Howard expired in those same woods that claimed “Riley, Ace of Spies” at the hands of Felix Dzerzhinsky’s Cheka almost a century ago.

    Comment by askeptic (2bb434) — 12/17/2013 @ 5:33 pm

  77. so to sum up, we have one of Mustafa Setmarian’s top men, he planned the London and Madrid bombings, now Zawahiri’s delegate to the Syrian jihadists, and among the martyrs, the son of a Saudi General, this can’t possibly turn out badly

    Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 12/17/2013 @ 5:43 pm

  78. Interesing conjecture, I always thought he had been caught crossing in from Finland;

    According to British intelligence documents released in 2000, Reilly was executed in a forest near Moscow on Wednesday November 5, 1925. According to eyewitness Boris Gudz, the execution of Sidney Reilly was supervised by an OGPU officer, Grigory Feduleev; another OGPU officer, George Syroezhkin, fired the final shot into Reilly’s chest. Gudz also confirmed that the order to kill Reilly came from Stalin directly. After Reilly’s death there were various rumors about his survival. Some, for example, speculated that Reilly had defected and became an adviser to Soviet intelligence.

    Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 12/17/2013 @ 5:48 pm

  79. Some of our foreign spying secrets were revealed. So what?

    We have enemies in Pakistan but we have much worse enemies much closer to home… namely in Washington. The terrorists or the Russians aren’t going to invade us and turn us into a surveillance state where our every communication is monitored. They do not have that capability. They aren’t going to use the apparatus of power to stamp out the political opposition. They aren’t going to burn our foodstuffs for fuel. They aren’t going to flood across our borders and completely transform the country into something closer to what they are accustomed to. They aren’t going to set up a crony based economic system to drain us dry or implement a legal system with no real basis in our foundational principles.

    Someone beat them to all of those things. Our spying on other countries is only justifiable to protect a legitimate entity that respects the rights that were enshrined in the Constitution we once had. Since our government is not complying with our Constitution and is violating our rights it has no legitimacy or right to exist. Thus we cannot justify our foreign actions either. Just like how the spying the Soviets did was wrong in perpetuation of the tyranny they had at home while ours was just even though it was constituted of the same acts, our foreign spying now can no longer be justified in furtherance of an oppressive government at home. You can’t protect something by destroying it.

    Snowden had his priorities right. We are a fascist state now and someone had to do something besides sit on their ass and post on the internet. Good on him.

    The fact that people are talking about what should be done with Snowden when the real problem is what should be done with the judges, bureaucrats and politicians who have abused us shows just how badly people are missing the point. Until enough of these people are hanging from trees to serve as a lesson to others none of us are safe. What happens to Snowden is of absolutely no consequence and will neither hurt nor help us in any significant way by comparison because what our spying was putatively supposed to prevent has already happened.

    Comment by Thatch (0b86d9) — 12/17/2013 @ 6:59 pm

  80. Snowden should have went to Sen. Wyden. By law he would have to give him whistle blower status.
    The turd is a traitor, who works for Putin.

    Comment by mg (31009b) — 12/17/2013 @ 7:02 pm

  81. Snowden had no business saying anything about foreign espionage. Zero, zilch, zip, nada, none. There is nothing illegal, unethical, or unpatriotic, in spying on foreign powers. When he did that, he showed his true colors.

    And on that point, anybody who had a hand in hiring him, or vetting him, or had ever worked with him, had better have been put under a microscope. Maybe he did slip through the cracks and maybe “yeah, right, he slipped through the cracks”.

    Comment by nk (dbc370) — 12/17/2013 @ 7:15 pm

  82. Pardon and Medal of Freedom, stat.

    Comment by Sam Paris (1cedb6) — 12/17/2013 @ 7:34 pm

  83. 79. …Our spying on other countries is only justifiable to protect a legitimate entity that respects the rights that were enshrined in the Constitution we once had. Since our government is not complying with our Constitution and is violating our rights it has no legitimacy or right to exist. Thus we cannot justify our foreign actions either. Just like how the spying the Soviets did was wrong in perpetuation of the tyranny they had at home while ours was just even though it was constituted of the same acts, our foreign spying now can no longer be justified in furtherance of an oppressive government at home.

    Comment by Thatch (0b86d9) — 12/17/2013 @ 6:59 pm

    You are actually serious with this pabulum? Which group of American citizens whose lives are protected by foreign intelligence gathering aren’t legitimate entities?

    The SEALs on the Bin Laden Raid? The troops in Afghanistan? Or the agents whose lives he has jeopardized by releasing their names to the press?

    Comment by Steve57 (e607ae) — 12/17/2013 @ 7:49 pm

  84. I guess they’re just a bunch of suckers who deserve to be killed because they didn’t mutiny when this electorate was stupid enough to vote Obama into office. Twice.

    Which would have gotten them killed or landed them in jail. A fate Snowden decided avoid and instead retire to a nice tropical paradise like Brazil. By selling them out to the highest bidder.

    Snowden’s name really should be snowjob. He acted with far less integrity then the people he sold out. And he did sell people out. Yet you think Snowden’s the hero. The guy who’s in it entirely for himself.

    Comment by Steve57 (e607ae) — 12/17/2013 @ 8:00 pm

  85. #81… what nk said.

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (18cd23) — 12/17/2013 @ 8:03 pm

  86. Edward Snowden is the true meaning of christmas

    Comment by happyfeet (8ce051) — 12/17/2013 @ 8:30 pm

  87. Real evil I think:

    http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2013/12/17/Snowden-document-shows-Norway-works-with-US-to-spy-on-Russia/UPI-35421387318218/#ixzz2nneS7Nyp

    Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 12/17/2013 @ 9:41 pm

  88. One of the local stations (KTTV, I think?) this morning was running with the teaser that faced with a winter in Russia, Snowden was looking for a warmer climate.

    I immediately thought of Guantanamo Bay.

    Comment by malclave (1db6c5) — 12/17/2013 @ 9:47 pm

  89. Edward Snowden is the true meaning of christmas

    Not quite but you’re on the right track, happyfeet. http://i.imgur.com/Bp0y2gi.jpg

    Comment by nk (dbc370) — 12/17/2013 @ 9:50 pm

  90. There’s no way he can reliably return the stolen information, so there is not going to be a deal.

    Well, there shouldn’t be a deal.

    Comment by htom (412a17) — 12/17/2013 @ 10:17 pm

  91. There is also an argument to be made that Snowden has given Obama the ammunition he needs to legitimize a war on whistle blowers

    And won’t that be a joke, since Obama and his ilk have created the atmosphere where rabid anti-American fanatics like Nidal Hasan are given free reign until it’s too late.

    Moreover, I’m now more apprehensive about the IRS and other government agencies, along with thugs into the “knockout” game (ie, garden-variety criminality), than I am about 9-11 or Boston-Marathon subversives.

    We’re moving closer to the moment when we’ll be no better than what’s true of a typical citizen of Mexico, who proclaims: “Oh, I’m so worried about Islamic terrorists!” [while his head and limbs are lopped off by narco gangs, or his monies are seized by crooked cops, or he leads a meager existence while entrenched government officials live the high life].

    Comment by Mark (58ea35) — 12/17/2013 @ 10:43 pm

  92. narciso @87, it’s amazing how so much of Snowden’s leaks benefit Russia, isn’t it?

    And by amazing, naturally I mean not really.

    http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-08-26/world/41446952_1_edward-snowden-snowden-s-russian-consulate

    Report: Snowden stayed at Russian consulate while in Hong Kong

    MOSCOW — Before American fugitive Edward Snowden arrived in Moscow in June — an arrival that Russian officials have said caught them by surprise — he spent several days living at the Russian Consulate in Hong Kong, a Moscow newspaper reported Monday.

    The article in Kommersant, based on accounts from several unnamed sources, did not state clearly when Snowden decided to seek Russian help in leaving Hong Kong, where he was in hiding to evade arrest by U.S. authorities on charges that he leaked top-secret documents about U.S. surveillance programs.

    It doesn’t take much to see how this can all tie together. Alisher Usmanov owns Kommersant.

    http://russianmind.com/content/alisher-usmanov-mysterious-oligarch-uzbekistan

    Dubbed “the hard man of Russia”, Usmanov enjoys extensive ties with Putin’s regime and once curried favour by paying £20 million for the art collection of the late cellist Mstislav Rostropovich and handed it over to the Russian state. He also rescued the Bolshoi ballet from bankruptcy and bought the rights to some beloved Soviet-era cartoon characters and presented them to a children’s charity proposed by Putin. Last year he gave away £74 million to charities, notably the Russian Arts and Sports Foundation. These gifts were all astute political moves by a man always keen to show his nationalistic credentials in contrast to other oligarchs who spend more of their time in their private jets and the hedonistic pleasures of the south of France than in mother Russia.

    It would be classic Putin to leak the fact that Snowden actually was at the Russian consulate in Hong Kong (and Snowden did say he wanted the WaPo’s help to authenticate his bonafides to the people at an undisclosed embassy, although there are only consulates in Hong Kong; see #66). Putin would enjoy rubbing Obama’s face in the fact that Snowden’s arrival in Moscow was really no surprise at all despite official statements to the contrary. Again, classic Putin. See his mocking NYT editorial to witness the dripping disdain he has for Obama.

    In fact, it would simply be classic KGB to manufacture the public persona Snowden has been publicly operating under. Idealistic young American serves his country as NSA analyst. Becomes disillusioned by the American spy agency’s contempt for the Constitution and rule of law. Strikes a blow for internet freedom and personal privacy by leaking documents he joined Booze Allen to steal.

    And flees to China, then onto Putin’s Russia?!? But of course, he was just a scared, idealistic young man working entirely alone and just doing what he had to do to survive. That’s the narrative, right.

    It’s patently unbelievable, but that would appeal to Putin, too. That he could get Americans to believe the unbelievable, if only Snowden could steal just enough bait about NSA domestic spying to sucker the American public to believe the greatest NSA spy ever to flee to Russia is a true American hero.

    Someone once asked Putin what skills he could have possibly have developed in the KGB that would qualify him to be the leader of Russia. He replied “working with people.” As a former KGB case officer, that phrase had a specific meaning. That meaning is more like “playing a fish.”

    Not that I’m implying that Putin was personally running this operation. Just that he’s enjoying himself with it, now they’ve got their hands on Snowden and his treasure trove of information.

    He’s probably never manipulated an entire country so thoroughly before.

    Comment by Steve57 (e607ae) — 12/17/2013 @ 11:45 pm

  93. 90. There’s no way he can reliably return the stolen information, so there is not going to be a deal.

    Well, there shouldn’t be a deal.

    Comment by htom (412a17) — 12/17/2013 @ 10:17 pm

    No, whatever information Snowden stole is gone for good, and has been compromised. But if you think he wasn’t working alone then you’d want to get him back so you can plug all the leaks.

    http://investigations.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/08/29/20234171-snowden-impersonated-nsa-officials-sources-say?lite

    Edward Snowden accessed some secret national security documents by assuming the electronic identities of top NSA officials, said intelligence sources.

    “Every day, they are learning how brilliant [Snowden] was,” said a former U.S. official with knowledge of the case. “This is why you don’t hire brilliant people for jobs like this. You hire smart people. Brilliant people get you in trouble.”

    Snowden doesn’t strike me as particularly brilliant. And the NSA has and does still hire brilliant people for all sorts of jobs, and they don’t get you in trouble.

    But of course, if I had information that led me to believe Snowden wasn’t capable of accessing all the information he stole all by his lonesome, I would never publicly say that.

    The NSA still doesn’t know exactly what Snowden took. But its forensic investigation has included trying to figure out which higher level officials Snowden impersonated online to access the most sensitive documents.

    This I don’t believe. The list of people who have access to the black budget has to be pretty short.

    Comment by Steve57 (e607ae) — 12/18/2013 @ 12:18 am

  94. What old line, ‘if I voted for McCain, they told me,
    reporters would be subpoenaed, CIA leakers would be be indicted’ turns out to be ironic, I pointed up the irony, that both his current home, and his prospective one, not to mention, that of his patron, Assuange, all look askance at civil liberties, it’s a Kang vs. Kodos thing.

    Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 12/18/2013 @ 3:40 am

  95. Funny how this works out,

    http://mato48.com/tag/saudi-arabia/

    Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 12/18/2013 @ 3:54 am

  96. Brilliant video from hero Glenn Greenwald: ‘NSA’s goal is elimination of privacy worldwide’

    Comment by Former Conservative (6e026c) — 12/19/2013 @ 5:02 pm

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    loan against the potential future proceeds you may receive from your lawsuit.

    Comment by http://noloanfee.com (91864e) — 12/20/2013 @ 8:12 am

  98. 18.Comment by SPQR (768505) — 12/17/2013 @ 9:40 am

    I’m still of the belief that Snowden is being run by the Russians or the Chinese and has been since before his revelations.

    I don’t think it was exactly like that. He had some secret help, and maybe even knows something about it, but thinks anybody helping him was a fellow American equally troubled by what he saw.

    In other words, Snowden is a useful idiot.

    And what we hear now about him having more. I don’t think he has anything more, aside from what he encrypted and gave to Glenn Greenwald.

    I think ths is disinformation.

    Remember, the U.S. government has no idea what had access to. And they think he sometimes signeed in under otgher people’s names. That belief, by the way, would clear everybody else.

    I think a greta part of the whole Snowden operation was to get some things out into the open, so if the NSA saw a change in behavior by some organizations, they would not suspect a spy or mole.

    And now everything that anyody notices through changes in behavior will be attributed to Snowden – if the people in charge of counterintelligence are sufficiently idiotic.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (dbe090) — 12/23/2013 @ 7:44 am

  99. 95. Yes, Prince bandar wants Islamcists, who will make sure there is no democracy or elections or constitution guaranteeing liberties in Suria, and no let-up in hatred of Israel, but who will not support mnore than minimal terrorism or oppose Saudi Arabia.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (dbe090) — 12/23/2013 @ 7:47 am

  100. Comment by Steve57 (e607ae) — 12/17/2013 @ 11:45 pm

    It would be classic Putin to leak the fact that Snowden actually was at the Russian consulate in Hong Kong

    That’s probably just Putin clearing the decks for Olympics, just like his pardons. That he was at the Russian consulate is probably already known, so he let’s it become more public, so it can’t become a story later.

    But Snowden probably never thought he is working for the Russians. In fact, according to #66 he’s got to prove to the foreign government that is the leaker.

    (and Snowden did say he wanted the WaPo’s help to authenticate his bonafides to the people at an undisclosed embassy, although there are only consulates in Hong Kong; see #66).

    That would show you Snowden’s relative ignorance.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (dbe090) — 12/23/2013 @ 7:55 am

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