Allahpundit on reports that Snowden is paying off hostile countries by revealing our secrets:
This is why it gets stupider by the day to say that the story of his escape is merely a distraction from the far more important story of U.S. surveillance capabilities. How is it “distracting” to know there’s a guy running around in China and Russia with huge stores of state secrets, essentially blackmailing the government to let him leak selectively with impunity or else he’ll leak indiscriminately? On what planet is that a non-story?
It depends upon what you think is important. If you’re wedded to the narrative of Snowden-as-hero, then he Struck a Blow for Truth and Justice, and it hardly matters that he is furnishing unfriendly countries with information that has zero to do with exposing surveillance of U.S. citizens — but gives those countries a propaganda victory, or perhaps something even more valuable, like a technical roadmap of our surveillance network. To make a whistleblower omelet, you gotta crack open a few choice secrets for our enemies, to encourage them to facilitate your escape from the country you’re trying to save. As Rick Ellers says, Snowden needed to “ingratiate” himself:
Greenwald said he would not have published some of the stories that ran in the South China Morning Post. “Whether I would have disclosed the specific IP addresses in China and Hong Kong the NSA is hacking, I don’t think I would have,” Greenwald said. “What motivated that leak though was a need to ingratiate himself to the people of Hong Kong and China.”
But I’m sure Mr. Putin isn’t requiring much from Snowden in the way of information.
By the way, Dersh has some pretty harsh words for Ellison (Via Hot Air Headlines):
ALAN DERSHOWITZ: Well, it doesn’t border on criminality — it’s right in the heartland of criminality. The statute itself, does punish the publication of classified material, if you know that it’s classified. And so, Greenwald — in my view — clearly has committed a felony.
And for him to take umbrage at the question — now, he’s right though that the government doesn’t usually go after the publishers. They don’t go after The New York Times, The Washington Post, in the Pentagon papers case, though they could have! They don’t go after other newspapers — in the WikiLeaks case — though they could have. They’ve made a discretionary decision to go after the leaker but not the publisher.
Look, Greenwald’s a total phony. He is anti-American, he loves tyrannical regimes, and he did this because he hates America. This had nothing to do with publicizing information. He never would’ve written this article if they had published material about one of his favorite countries.
The more I learn about Snowden, the more I find his actions distasteful — and I haven’t seen anything he revealed that is obviously a violation of the Fourth Amendment. When media outlets broke the SWIFT story during Bush’s tenure, I was outraged. While I was torn about prosecuting the journalists, I wanted to explore whether the journalists should be prosecuted if they knowingly helped reveal classified information about an effective and legal program — and I leaned slightly towards the view that prosecution was wise. Tell me why I should not feel the same way about this. I know it’s very fashionable to say that it’s unthinkable to “prosecute journalists for journalism” — but if national security information is legitimately classified, helps us fight terrorism, and is knowingly revealed by a “journalist,” I don’t know that such actions are obviously beyond prosecution.
As I said in 2006, a lot of it comes down to whether the journalist is exposing wrongdoing or whether they are just telling our secrets. Often they think they are doing the former when they are just doing the latter.
Does a spy get to be a hero if he is revealing secrets to “We the People” as well as Russia and China to buy off their cooperation?
UPDATE: Thomas Ellers weighs in:
I’m too SUPER-IMPORTANT to be prosecuted. So good DAY, sir!