NSA-leaker Edward Snowden is now hurting the PRISM story

I got an email this weekend from a reader who says she’ll no longer read the blog because she doesn’t like cat videos (seriously), and because she disagrees with my less-than-enthusiastic embrace of NSA leaker/whistleblower Edward Snowden once he started leaking the details of US spying on Russia and China.

Or this person, Boosterz, who wrote the following in the comments shortly after today’s story about Snowden and the NSA was published:

How is this anything other then administration water carrying? I have no desire to read obvious propaganda.

Urge to unsubscribe now overwhelming. RSS feed unsubscribed. Good day.

I’m always intrigued by “longtime readers” who disagree with one post – well, in this case with one title, and don’t even bother reading the post – and then write me, us, or any other progressive off forever.  Now, sure, a post defending slavery would merit writing someone off for ever.  Or a post arguing that women are genetically and intellectually inferior to men and therefore deserve to unemployed, barefoot and pregnant.  Fair enough.  But is Edward Snowden really in that same category of outrage?  Really?

Clearly, I have my suspicions that the answer is “no.”

Ed-Snowden

And at the risk of forcing any more “longtime readers” to flee  (just a warning in advance: I’m bad about writing things that pander to anything (or anyone), other than what I consider to be the truth), now that we have new revelations about Snowden leaking information about US spying on China, it’s time to revisit just how much a hero he is, but more importantly, whether Snowden himself is undercutting, and deflecting attention from, his case against the NSA and its spying on Americans.  I can think of no topic more important to discuss if you care about Snowden, the NSA, transparency and civil liberties.

As I’ve written before, there are multiple issues involved with Snowden and the NSA leaks.  One issue is PRISM and whether it’s a legitimate way for the US government to fight terrorism.  But when Snowden is elevated to icon status, and put in the same category as Bradley Manning and Julian Assage (a questionable category in and of itself, in my opinion), as some sort of new generation of proud world citizens we all should emulate, then yes, there is a second important issue at hand: the propriety of treating these men as heroes and providing an incentive for other Americans to follow their path.

And it’s not just an academic question.

I think Edward Snowden has damaged his cause by seemingly declaring all out war on spying – American spying, to be precise – which risks making him sound naive (as if the US can, or should, simply stop spying while Russia and China continue).  But there’s a second problem to Snowden’s actions.  By releasing information about the US spying on our #1 foes, Snowden risks coming off as having a problem with America itself.  And regardless of the merits of any such animus – disliking, and being perceived as trying to harm, America is not a great way to win over Americans.

And we are talking about harm now.

The leak of PRISM can be subjected to a legitimate cost-benefits analysis of whether the greater good outweighs the harm of making the program public.  But leaking the details of our spying on the Russians or the Chinese, it’s difficult to find a reasonable justification for leaking those documents.  And I’m sorry, but “we shouldn’t be spying on anyone” doesn’t strike me as a legitimate argument. As for the “harm,” it’s always beneficial to know the intelligence successes, and especially the methods by which that success came about, of your foes.

Edward-Snowden-2

But what’s worse, it causes a legitimate distraction.

After Edward Snowden leaked the fact the that US had intercepted communications of Russian president Medvedev, and now this past Friday we learned that Snowden has leaked the details of US spying on China, Snowden has made his intentions, and the legitimacy of what he is doing, a legitimate story.  And to the degree anyone thinks this detracts from the NSA PRISM story, they have only Edward Snowden to thank.  As journalists we don’t ignore good, important stories because they’re inconvenient.  And as I’ll argue at the end of this story, I think the question of Snowden’s hero status goes to the heart of the most important issue of this entire debate: the appropriate roles of citizens and government.

For someone to qualify as a whistleblower, the whistle needs a bit of refinement, a sharp edge, so to speak.  In my opinion, you need to be exposing a specific evil, and that evil can’t simply be that the US military kills people, or that US spy agencies spy on foreigners.   And even if you find a specific evil – like the Iraq war or the PRISM program – you don’t just release nearly a million documents (which Bradley Manning did), and claim that you were being judicious and careful about protecting legitimate American secrets.  There is no way Bradley Manning went through one million documents to make sure they were all: 1) legitimate whistleblowing; 2) safe to release, and that, 3) none put anyone’s lives at risk.

And I don’t buy the argument that Manning left it up to Wikileaks or the media to ensure that some deadly detail he leaked wouldn’t go farther.  That’s his job, as the whistleblower, to blow the relevant whistle.  THEN you can say, perhaps it’s the media’s job to make sure they don’t publish a story that’s going to get people killed.  But I do not accept the notion that a whistleblower doesn’t share some responsibility for at the very least attempting to ensure that he’s leaking relevant information to the very wrongdoing he’s claiming.  When you leak a million documents, you’re not trying to limit the damage, nor are you exposing any particular “crime.”

And the same goes for Edward Snowden’s document dump about Moscow and Beijing.  They have nothing to do with PRISM, or spying on Americans, and everything to do with either a dislike of the US, or a dislike of all spying.  And while I can respect that some people simply don’t like spying, and want us to stop, I don’t think it’s realistic, and I don’t think it meets the test of being a true whistleblower.  Everyone knows we spy on Russia and China, so revealing that fact doesn’t really convince the American people that it needs to stop.  It does however risk making it easier for Russia and China to avoid our spying the next time around.  So it hurts America, but doesn’t really help America – so why do it?

And if Manning and Snowden are heroes, is it now open season on all US spying?  Should we leak every classified document contained in the vaults of the CIA and the NSA?  And is anyone who does so a hero?

In my opinion, you’re not a whistleblower and you’re not a hero simply because you release classified documents.  And to the extent you are a hero for releasing certain classified documents, you undercut that hero status when you appear to be leaking additional documents willy-nilly.

None of this is to suggest that the PRISM revelation is any less significant due to Snowden’s subsequent actions.  But Edward Snowden himself has chosen to make Edward Snowden the story here, by his additional leaks, and his odd choice of nations to visit and leak about, which just happen to be America’s number one foes in the world (what’s next, leaks about American spying on North Korea, Cuba and Iran?)

And people who try to turn Edward Snowden, or Bradley Manning, into heroes, make it necessary for others to determine whether that hero status is merited.  So I don’t buy the argument that it’s somehow wrong or counter-productive to discuss the merits of Edward Snowden’s actions.  Rather than serving as a distriaction, such an analysis goes to the underlying cause that Snowden claims he champions, the rights and roles of the citizen versus the state.  I believe there is no more important discussion to be had if you truly care about transparency, civil liberties, and governance.

UPDATE: With today’s revelation, that Snowden will let the foreign press determine which American are too dangerous to Americans to publish, he’s off the whistleblower list for good.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • UNIXadmin

    I fail to see how this man is a hero! I’m strictly speaking from the viewpoint of a system administrator. His job was to monitor systems for performance such as CPU, memory, IO stats, VM stats, tuning, disk space, user security, system log monitoring for system errors as well as making sure the system was functioning to technical specifications. What he did was something NO system administrator has a right to do!! That is to compromise the very data we are supposed to be protecting. It is not our job to be looking at data contained on the systems. As a system admin myself, I have never looked at actual data such as HR information, company financial data, or customer data on the machines I was responsible for maintaining. It was not my concern nor my business to do so. If I did break that trust not only does the company have the right to fire me they also have the right to PROSECUTE me as that information is not mine to look at or violate! If he was a Systems Admin as what has been stated, he wasn’t doing his job that he was being paid to do!!! He had an agenda and he abused information and trust! He should be prosecuted in my opinion! Just because you have the capability to access information doesn’t mean you have the RIGHT to… If a fellow sys admin looked into my personal data on a company system that person should be fired as they abused personal information on systems, that is exactly what Mr. Snowden did!! I call into question this man’s moral character and his integrity!

    As a Systems Administrator I’m appalled at his behavior as it goes against the very integrity Sys Admins are supposed to uphold. Mr. Snowden abused the systems he was entrusted with for his own personal gain.

    A significant amount of trust is placed on System Administrators regardless of the industry we work in that is a trust that needs to be taken seriously by all system admins. I am a UNIX Administrator my love is maintaining, protecting and improving the UNIX systems entrusted to my care.

    If Mr. Snowden wanted to make changes in the way our Govt works then he should have used the correct avenue for doing so, such as running political office and being VOTED into a political office by the PEOPLE.

  • Richard Bittner

    Richard Nixon enemy list. Need I say more. Your naivete is quite glaring.

  • Tom Bowhaste

    The technologies being used by the United States government are truly beyond the comprehension of the average person on the street. Nobody really understands just how extremely intense the quest for control of the human mind has become. If your life seems different than twenty five years ago, there is a profound reason beyond your ability to discern it. It is a battle for control of the very essence of what makes us human.What we think, say, buy, and our general patterns of living.

    Snowden is the littlest speck of what is beneath the surface. Hopefully, the next releases of information will begin to expose the real truth. What if the NSA could flip voting results from the electronic voting machines? What if the NSA controlled the vote? These are the kind of things that would wake people up… we will see.

  • Carl

    If you’re referring to my style of word smithing, well I can’t help it if you’re an illiterate douche bag. That’s all you bro.

  • Carl

    That makes no sense, I made my point clearly. Sheesh, everybody’s looking for the ironic angle whether it applies or not. That seems to be a common trend today; people looking for some argumentative angle that opposes ideas based in conventional logic…as if it’s better to be anti-conventional than to hit the nail on the head. People are annoying.

  • Wowser

    So, you, in turn, do the same thing?

  • Carl

    What in Jehovah’s name are you rambling on about? I might agree with some of that but it’s so poorly put together I have no idea what you’re saying. You might try creating an outline of your thought logic so you can structure your posts a little more. Seriously you’re all over the place. Not trying to be a jerk but this is an important issue and we can’t cloud the waters with rantings from the town fool. There’s much too much at stake here.

  • Carl

    That’s one way of looking at it. But let’s face it, you don’t have any idea what was going on in his head. You’re just interpreting things your own way. But I imagine if he had hidden his identity, people would give him s#!t for being a coward in hiding.

  • Carl

    Also, there’s nothing fanciful about a hypothetical example that’s filled with ideas that have all already happened in recent history. I just put the pieces together to illustrate the big picture for those who cant see the potential for abuse. That’s just one example…there are millions of no good things that could come of this. I’d rather be ‘fanciful’ than another naive shlub who does a surprised double take at every national scandal, retains no memory of such scandals, and continues to be blown away by corruption because they don’t pay attention to what’s going on in the world. Stupid people have a way of isolating scandalous behavior without learning from the big picture. No go shave that mangy scruff on your throat dirtbag. :)

  • sdguppy

    I’m glad that he exposed the NSA snooping, but he didn’t have to reveal his identity. His immediately revealing himself and the videos and skype interviews are his own attempt to make the story about Edward Snowden.

  • Discit

    So he should have just let himself get quietly killed or arrested for doing the right thing, to make you feel better about actually looking into what he sacrificed his livelihood and comfortable life to expose? Honestly, if you want to make him the “whole story” and ignore the fact that we’re lied to our faces every day by the government and big companies, and that they can’t seem to stop lying, the same government you know has abused so much less so much more, well, nothing he did would have done you any good anyway.

  • Discit

    It’s not wrong to discuss the merits of Snowden’s actions, but you try to go on the run from an intellignet aparatus you know has murdered innocents and lied about it, with a press that has covered for their misdeeds under “national security” in the past. A government that pretends to be a paragon of virtue, using moral superiority as a cover to invade and cause strife to others. You expose them while understanding the depth they have infiltrated everyone’s privacy someday and tell me if you don’t act a little rash. I feel sad that people like you sit there and try to justify covering up all the crimes against us and the world forever, blocking any real chance of real change, just cheerleading the next big lie to feel like you’re “being progressive”. We already know we can’t trust the US government to decide what’s “national security” and what’s just to cover their crimes and corruption, so what would you do?

    I feel sorry for him because what he faces, and you, because you probably think you’re doing good while using the same old racist, nationalistic ideology that only our government can be trusted when we’ve learned for how long that’s just not true. So it’s a bad situation. You have the guts to do what’s right and face it someday and come back to us and tell us how impeccable everything you do is.

  • Discit

    You are way off base, I agree with John below.
    There’s no such thing as rights you only reserve for yourself and ignore for others. Those are called arrogant privileges, and if you think Americans are the only ones that deserve privacy and others around the world have no rights, well you are giving up our rights too.

  • John Christopher Sutton

    04/06/26/2013 A.D. im sorry, pal, but you are way off base about just about everything. edward snowden, bradley manning and julian assange are heroes because they all had the guts to expose all that is totally and morally wrong with the direction of this nation. they did precisely what had to be done because this country is being lead by a bunch of stupid hypocrites who intend to transform the u.s.a. into a 21st-century fascist italy. our elected leaders are violating the constitutional right of thier fellow citizens by any and every means and we as a people are entitled to learn what the hell is going on behind or beyond closed doors no matter how much it hurts. i do not want any of them sticking their noses into my personal affairs that have nothing to do with treason or espionage. i would have done the very same these guys are doing-revealing all the bullcrap thats being done in our name without our consent by the real traitors, be it republican, democrat or whatever-even if it means going to prison myself. edward james snowden is no more a traitor to his country than the late robert keeshan-captain kangaroo himself-or the late fred rogers as well as the late julia child. go out there and arrest the real traitors-the cia, the fbi and the damned nsa or dhs!

  • Carl

    You won’t see any evidence of anything if they do it right.

  • Carl

    I don’t think you fully understand how the subpoena process works. You have to volunteer info when requested and hope you don’t get caught holding out anything if you do. Companies, individuals and political groups hide information all the time. Information does not equate truth. You can paint any picture of ‘intelligence’ you want by selective presentation, filtering and focusing on information as it serves you. That’s power. To Peter Waltman’s point, you can make a lot of money off the right people in the digital age by selling your digital commodity.

  • Carl

    First of all, you can do a lot with meta data. Data mining technologies have come a long way. One person could indeed extract intelligence from such a massive data set with minimal effort using the modern data mining tools that would be absolutely necessary for this program to at all effective.

    You can’t compare social networking analysis to this; people have control of their social network presence. You can opt not to participate or choose the content you post. This is an intrusion on people’s lives. People need to use their phone, email and internet connections to live their lives. You can’t opt out of paying your electric bill and nobody’s going back to paper and analog communication any time soon.

    With such little transparency, how can you assert with any confidence what this program does, doesn’t do or will be doing 5 years from now? It’s not the categorization of the program you need to worry about, it’s the potential. All it takes is one or two rogue techies to exploit a very powerful commodity.

    The specifics of my example, in all honesty was in part jest, but it’s the bigger picture that still rings true. Information is power. Power corrupts. People corrupt. Most people are decent and honest, but all it takes is that margin of opportunists to exploit something that we would otherwise never have even known about. Even if Snowden isn’t your ideal poster boy of choice, his whistle blowing needed to happen. Technology is moving faster than ethics and the public discussion can keep up. This stuff needs to be addressed because the rate of technological advancement is exponential in nature. This is the time for the discussion.

  • smjhunt

    I totally agree with you. You would have to be naive to think that Russia and China don’t spy on us in any manner they have available. That’s what big countries do. I imagine the Chinese aren’t shocked by what Snowden revealed but rather by the fact that a low level person like this should not only have such carte blanch access as he claimed and somehow be able to spirit it away with him when he left.

    In my opinion, the real issue with information collection is what it is used for. If it’s used solely to help prevent terrorist attacks and to understand as much as possible about or global competition, I can’t see that as any great crime. However, if it’s being used for political purposes or personal attacks or some hidden agenda by the people in charge of the NSA etc. that would be something to blow the whistle on but I haven’t seen any evidence of that so far.

  • ComradeRutherford

    I think this whole thing is hilarious! The US impotently stamping it’s feet while China and Russia say, ‘Make me!’. Sure does show how the last 32 years of extremist Conservatism has made America impotent on the world stage.

  • sdguppy

    Regardless of his motives, Edward Snowden is truly now the story. It has become a huge game of “Where in the World is Carmen Diego?” and most of the media are jumping all over it, hysterical with their glee of something this rich for the 24 hour news cycle. Whether it is a vendetta against the US or simple (and obvious) narcissism, he is no hero.

  • http://twitter.com/okojo okojo

    Right now, I don’t consider Edward Snowden a whistleblower, I can consider him a suspect in espionage. The US has to find out what in the world he downloaded, and he had access to. He sounds like he is boasting about stuff to sell to the highest bidder..

  • Peter Waltman

    As Dylan Reeve put it well, “that’s an odd and slightly fanciful hyopthetical…”

    I should also add, it’s HIGHLY inaccurate – at least ccording to the published reports of what the NSA programs do. In contrast to this hypothetical (where the content of interactions are tracked), the programs do NOT track the content of interactions, rather they track the “meta-details” of the interactions (who, when, where, how often, duration, etc). Something your cell phone and email providers already do, as well as social networking sites like Twitter & FB.

    For the last decade or so, there’s been an emerging field in Computer Science called social networking analysis that attempts to analyze and understand social networks. Up to this point, the main focus has been on trying to identify the critical ‘hubs’ of these networks – those that are the best connected, and serve as bridges between different groups because these can often be the most influential.

    In the context of social networking sites, the idea is that if you can get these individuals to endorse a given product, they would have the greatest influence over their social network (as an advertiser you more bang for your buck getting the dude with 600+ friends to endorse his product than the guy with 10 friends).

    In the context of terrorist activities, the hub would be either an operations chief, or more likely someone like a courier that passes information between different cells (that otherwise wouldn’t have any contact with each other). In the case of a courier, you can use that information to identify the operations chief, however (similar to what was done when identifying Bin Laden). Or, yes, you could kill them and disrupt the overall network.

    To identify these networks requires large, large amounts of data – at amounts that is far too large for a single individual to analyze individually.

    It’s perfectly fine to object to that strategy if you still feel like that is an over-reach, but you seriously discredit yourself when you completely mis-categorize the project they way that the OP did.

  • HelenRainier

    EZ, you do not sound trite and your thanks is very much appreciated. I live near Ft Lewis (WA) and run into many active duty people. I make it a point to talk to them and thank them for their service. It does mean a lot to both those currently serving and those of us who have to know that we are doing/did is appreciated by the real heroes of this country — the common, everyday man and woman. WW II vets particularly are meaningful for me as the daughter of a WW II (now deceased). Almost without exception those vets I’ve run into are very humble about their service and many seem surprised by a small utterance of thanks. We can hope for better days but it’s damned hard to climb back up the slippery slope when you’ve started downwards to the bottom of it. Peace and Namaste to you, EZ.

  • samizdat

    I prefer to think of myself as lacking at least some of the naivete preventing you from seeing the truth of what our country is today.

  • ezpz

    Thank you. Yes, it does clarify your position even more. (As I said – I did understand the point you were making about the low standards for security clearances.)

    We’re definitely on the same page.

    At the risk of sounding trite: thank you for your service. I share your frustration, though I imagine that you, having taken that oath, must really be incensed about what is being done in our name to that Constitution and to the citizens of not only the US, but the world.

    Again, not to be trite, but let’s hope for better days.

    Peace…

  • HelenRainier

    Thank you for providing a bit of information that I was not aware of — that in fact Snowden does have a diploma. That being the case he has been erroneously portrayed in the press reports I have read. The main point I was attempting to make was have standards become so lax and poorly vetted that just about anyone can get the type of clearance that Snowden would have needed. That is also why I brought up Bradley Manning. Our government has been doing things over many years that don’t make a lot of sense. It seems to me that loyalty to our people (as in We, the People) has disappeared into the deepest sinkhole known and all we have are a bunch of clowns piling out of a too small car running the country. It was not my intent to cast aspersions on Mr. Snowden — quite to the contrary I see him as a whistleblower and not a traitor to this country. The traitors are, IMHO, inside the Beltway and masquerade as Representatives, Senators, and Administration officials who don’t give a damn about the Constitution that I swore to uphold and defend for 15 years and I don’t like that. I hope this clarifies my previous post.

  • ezpz

    Yes, I know the point you were trying to make, which was to question the standards used to grant top security clearances. And it’s a valid question. However, I isolated and quoted those words to make a rhetorical point because it seemed that you used them gratuitously to also make a rhetorical point in order to disparage him, like so many others who are referring to him as a ‘high school dropout’. If I’m wrong about that, I apologize, but again, I don’t see what that has to do with getting a security clearance, when in fact, he DOES have a high school diploma and other education and training.

    I’ve read that he had to ‘drop out’ of high school due to illness, and he did get a GED later.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Snowden

  • k b

    the only thing ed snowden is hurting is America’s ability to violate our rights and the US Constitution http://www.edsnowden.com

  • caphillprof

    Au contraire, Cheney is far from “cooked.”

  • HelenRainier

    Reread the entire sentence that the few words you took out of context is in. Have you had any experience with security clearances and how they are granted and what one has to do to qualify for a security clearance — especially a Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Intelligence? Perhaps that is the reason for your not understanding “the point.”

  • Roman Berry

    …just a warning in advance: I’m bad about writing things that pander to anything (or anyone)…

    No, you’re actually quite good at pandering to power when it’s a Dem in the White House. On Snowden, you are just wrong. You’re in with the “he’s endangering Americans” crowd and you’re all full of it. What Snowden is doing is revealing the depths of the evil that the US has become. If you’re looking for the monstrous empire standing astride and seeking to control the globe, we’re it.

  • Mark_in_MN

    And this leads me back to something I’ve been wondering about this or nearly any scandal involving release of classified information or allegations of spying. Everyone knows everyone else does it. Why should it matter that much to the government that someone spills a few beans to someone we aren’t in armed hostilities with? So it was something someone wanted to keep secret. Why does it get anything more than a shrug? It happened. No one was actually harmed in the process. Move on.

  • http://dylanreeve.com/ Dylan Reeve

    That’s an odd and slightly fanciful hypothetical…

    Ignoring the inappropriate actions of a government employee (one who somehow has access to a still-mythical database on all citizens) it’s hard to imagine how email could be broadly subpoenaed in a case like that.

    In fact in that case, if discrediting a detractor was the aim, no national security systems need be employed, that sort of discovery it likely to be well within the abilities of a decent private investigator.

  • Sweetie

    Secret courts are not courts of law.

  • Sweetie

    Shooting the messenger is the oldest trick in the book of politics.

  • Carl

    …and even if Snowden is a naive and misguided self-perceived
    soldier of justice, his actions still underline the danger of such a powerful technology.
    If he can go rogue under some ‘misguided’ attempt to save us from ourselves,
    then someone else could go rogue to accept a bribe from an interest group or
    corporation.

    Theoretical example: Let’s say some fast food burger joint
    starts using a chemical to make their cheese melt faster so they can churn out
    their product quicker…and some ‘hippie’ scientistactivist does research and finds that the
    chemical is highly carcinogenic and initiates a public awareness campaign. The
    burger joint need only form a private interest group on behalf of the
    ‘Heartland dairy farmers of America’ (with no paper trail to said corp) to
    quietly petition congress for aid in the matter (read: “who can help us
    make this go away?”). An opportunistic senator points them to a government
    employee (who would love to retire with a ferrari and beach front property);
    and queries the system for all the dirt on said activist that McBurger World
    needs to effectively neutralize the financial threat. McBurger World finds that
    Mr. Activist has a behavioral disorder (albeit treated and controlled), their
    lawyers file suit, knowingly subpoena his email and publicize the ‘wacko’s’ condition to
    negate his research. That’s all it takes to buck the system and exploit a well-intended
    national security.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    LOL! you got it!

  • FLL

    OK, Sweetie, when you have a good point, I’ll acknowledge it. I am no proponent of American exceptionalism. Although John has never mentioned American exceptionalism, he’ll have to answer that one himself. I don’t want to keep company with the drone warfare crowd, which is especially relevant now that the U.S. government and state and local governments want to use drones here in the U.S., presumably against domestic targets. No totalitarian state for me, thank you.

    It was unfortunate that the last presidential election only offered us two schmucks who both supported drone warfare (and both said so). If you want the gung-ho Iraq-War-supporting war mongerer, then Hillary’s your candidate. (Remember her 2002 vote in the Senate, the Iraq War Resolution?) If Hillary doesn’t cut it, pick differently. That’s what presidential primaries are for, right?

  • Carl

    If power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, and information is power, then absolute access to private information will corrupt absolutely. There may be some court oversight in the program, but the courts aren’t in the trenches with the people with unrestricted access. Federal law enforcement is notorious for acquiring warrants only after they have their case built. You may not be a terrorist with ‘something to hide’, but the minute that someone with access to this powerful system and technology has a personal or institutional interest that overshadows your own, you can be sure they’ll use it. If the King of England had phone taps and hidden cameras to keep tabs on the colonists a few hundred years ago, you can also be damn sure we’d have protection in the bill of rights. The reality is, no matter how worthy the fight or how much noise the public makes about this PRISM thing, there’s absolutely nothing you can do to stop this. He who controls information writes the story and the narrative…powerful technology has a funny way of getting into the wrong hands. Thousands of years ago, someone invented gun powder to make celebratory fireworks. How effective have the courts been at overseeing and controlling that?

  • ezpz

    “…Snowden, an alleged high school drop out….”

    Einstein failed his university entrance exam and had to go to a trade school before he could take the exam again.

    What’s your point?

  • ronbo

    Remember that Lightning kills more americans than terizm, John. Are you AS ready to run outside with that lightning rod each and every day as you are to burn the Constitution with each and every tapped phone call?

    The secrecy state is an attempt to institutionalize blackmail, bribery and manipulation. It has little to nothing to do with “security”. Unless, you are one of the power elite in the NSA who gets to use the information. Gosh, I’d like to know what stock to pick by listening in on some conversations. It would provide my best security for the future.

  • http://poodyheads.wordpress.com/ zorbear

    “Condescension” — that’s the stuff that makes my iced tea glass all wet in the summer, right?
    :-P

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Thank you Flipper for the spelling lesson. Condescension from you always brightens the day.

  • Rob

    I agree with John and with Jim Morrissey.

  • perljammer

    You are sadly misinformed if you believe that advanced weapons systems are classified in order to protect contractors from foreign competition.

  • HelenRainier

    Hi Indigo, what types of contradictions did you uncover?

  • Mrsexamme1965

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    But when you use that same access to tell other governments about our
    spying actions against them — well, what the fuck? Now he’s just
    currying favor with foreign governments from whom he may be seeking
    asylum. That’s messed up. If anyone’s distracting from PRISM it’s
    Snowden. Is there any way his newest leaks are justifiable?

  • Indigo

    I wish. I sorted through some background material and uncovered . . . contradictions.

  • samizdat

    Frankly, the more sunshine which illuminates the phony secrecy state and its practices, the better. Bring on more leaks! Let’s see it all! It’s not like this about National Security(tm) anyway. The military is OWNED by the contractors, so I have no sympathy for any complaints about secrecy and ‘hurting the troops’. Troops? Shit, the contractors don’t give a flying f*** about anything other than their own bottom line. If some leak reveals information about an arms system, so what? Just because the contractors are worried about competition from the Brazilians, South Africans, French, Chinese in the area of armaments sales, doesn’t mean their need for secrecy re their products should be a national priority. I just really don’t care.

    Let all of the secrets out, here in the US, in Russia, Britain, China, Syria, Iran, Egypt, Indonesia, Singapore, India, Pakistan. Everywhere. This bullshit has gone on for long enough, and I am well past the point where I care about the consequences. Embarrassment? Yes, let’s see it. Operations info? Bring it on. Systems designs and info? Let’s see what we’re paying for, and why. This planet cannot long survive with the entire populace on a war footing.

    Profit Kills.

  • HelenRainier

    Here’s what concerns me: how did Snowden, an alleged high school drop out, manage to get a minimum of a TS/SCI security clearance? I applied several years ago for an admin assistant position with Booz at Ft Lewis. It seemed that my military background and training as a military intelligence specialist would have been a good fit. I never heard anything from them. While in the Army I worked in S2 (Intelligence and Security) and part of what I did was review the massive pile of paperwork each soldier who needed a clearance or an upgrade had to fill out for accuracy and completeness. Each level of clearance at that time required a minimum of a background check and local records check. One of the things about clearances is you only have access to material commensurate with your clearance level and what you have a “need to know.” This is what has puzzled me about Manning. Why would an E3 have access to State Department documents? It doesn’t make sense. Where he was stationed in Afghanistan was an FOB if I remember correctly. Something is just not “right” about either of these cases. Anyone else have any ideas or info that will clarify any of this?

  • Sweetie

    Are we or are we not “judged by the company we keep”?

    If so, then you, John, and I are being judged by keeping company with the likes of Dick Cheney, Scooter Libby, Karl Rove, W, Greenspan, Obama and all the rest of the corrupt cronies, some of whom are war criminals.

    Or, you can continue to invest in the falsity of American exceptionalism, where bombing teenagers with drones and joking about it, to name one thing among many, isn’t really so bad after all.

  • FLL

    If you’ll read my comment again, you’ll see that the phrase “we are judged by the company we keep” was in the middle of several sentences about why it’s a good idea for Snowden to stay clear of Putin and his regime. I understand your response about drone warfare and the need to stop it, and I agree with you on that point. However, you included a comment about drone warfare as a response to my discussion of Snowden, who is in Russia at the moment. That makes it look like you think that a criticism of drone warfare is a rebuttal to people who think it’s a bad idea to deal with Putin more than necessary. Your point about drone warfare is not a rebuttal. The point in my comment about avoiding Putin remains valid.

  • SkippyFlipjack

    Sorry, that’s just nonsense. What he’s doing is giving the government every reason to try to corral him, making it clear that he has every intention of going country to country spilling more secrets to the press. It’s clear that he’s not trying to get the “DC fascists” to stop pursuing him, or he’s an idiot.

  • Sweetie

    I highlighted an assertion you made. It was part of your post. Do you care to figure out what my response means?

  • Indigo

    I think they’re cool but that might be because I have the same ones. :-)

  • Sweetie

    “At least he’s got nice glasses.”

  • Indigo

    I’m a longtime reader and discussant, since before AmBlog during the email letter days back before 9/11, (wasn’t it?) and I’m no fan of the Disqus(t) engine but . . . Snowden? I like his glasses.

    I’ve been sceptical of him since this story surfaced. Those first four frames of Power Point were lame, maybe lame enough to be an authentic example of US military thot-fusion, but also revealing web-buzz that was already out there. He’s a good Abbie Hoffmann figure though, and a suitable trigger for the PRISM discussion that is happening and, who knows, maybe he’s a nice guy. At least he’s got nice glasses.

  • FLL

    What does this have to do with my point about Snowden steering clear of Putin’s regime? The idea of a “reply” is to reply to the comment that was posted.

  • Sweetie
  • synnerman

    Aravoisis, I’m impressed that you haven’t succumbed to the strum and drang of knee jerk foreign policy. Nothing Snowden has revealed is new. What’s revealed is the amount so called progressives have not been paying attention to the FISA law of 1978, The Patriot Act, and the FISA amendment of 2008.

    Honestly, given the reaction, I think it’s less about the non scandal… because the “evidence” Snowden produced was documents that the law was being followed and more about the metastasizing and spread of the paranoia that has surrounded the Obama administration, exacerbated by a basic ignorace about how laws are made and Congress’ role in making snooping legal.

    So, for every vocal rage-quitter you have silent people agree.

  • FLL

    Snowden did the country a favor by starting a badly needed conversation about PRISM and the scope of domestic surveillance in the U.S. This conversation, hopefully, will lead to a reappraisal of the Patriot Act of 2001, which is where I believe this country took a wrong turn in the first place. In order to accomplish this, Snowden placed himself in a position where he had few options. There are certainly countries that value freedom of the press and Internet freedom, but those countries are almost all allies of the U.S., for example, Iceland and Canada, which are original members of NATO. Snowden will need to build a case over the next few years in order to get the governments of countries like Iceland and Canada on his side. The problem that poses is that he needs a country of residence in the meantime and a means of getting to that country. My hope is that Snowden is only releasing just enough documents about U.S. spying on Russia and China to get him safely to a third country. But even Ecuador, which is currently assisting Julian Assange, has recently passed legislation curtailing freedom of the press to some degree. The irony is that much of the content of these leaks could be published in the New York Times tomorrow, but they could not necessarily be published by newspapers in Ecuador because of the restrictive law that just passed.

    I can only guess about Snowden’s frame of mind, but my guess is that he would prefer a more freedom-loving country than Ecuador, and he would prefer that there were no need to leak documents about spying on Russia and China. I don’t think he has that luxury. One thing is certain: the longer he stays in contact with the Russians, the worse it will look for him. Yes, I know that Putin is posing for photo shoots to put together his male-model half-naked 2014 calendar. Let me use plain language. I think Putin is a sexually repressed KGB thug, not that other countries don’t have their own examples of that. We are judged by the company we keep. I think almost all on this blog (barring the occasional exception with psycho-sexual issues) would be happy to see Snowden steer clear of Putin’s regime, to whatever extent that is possible, while still reaching a country of asylum. Ecuador is no bastion of press freedom at the moment, but I wish Snowden well in making his case to the freedom-loving countries of the world. This certainly includes Argentina and Uruguay, which are also countries where Snowden might find a permanent home.

  • Sweetie

    “With today’s revelation, that Snowden will let the foreign press determine which American are too dangerous to Americans to publish, he’s off the whistleblower list for good.”

    That’s not how it works, any more than Ellsberg was bumped off the list for dumping Top Secret documents.

  • Sweetie

    Snowden is not “hurting the PRISM story”.

    False dilemma fallacy.

    The facts of the PRISM story don’t change depending upon what Snowden does or who he is. Irrational emotionalism about excessive, arguably lawless (secret courts are not courts of law), domestic surveillance is hardly the ideal to aspire to.

  • SkippyFlipjack

    At least with the last name you intentionally misspelled it.

  • cole3244

    in the military you don’t have to obey an illegal order, is that too treason or justice.

  • SkippyFlipjack

    I suppose if you’re one of the fifteen people that didn’t know that the NSA was spying on Russia and China you’d appreciate Snowden’s spreading that knowledge.

  • http://heimaey.us/ jim morrissey

    I think that they know we spy but they don’t always know when and were and how and what info we have. Of course systems have been compromised and they usually find out what parts but not always and even then it’s a lot of information to sift through – will we miss something, if they know we know they are spying are they adjusting their data to reflect that, are there codes we can’t crack or need to, and if we do is it meant to be cracked and well hey look over here, what’s that? it’s a distraction…? etc. etc. etc.

  • SkippyFlipjack

    That’s too bad, you’ll be missed.

    Wait, who are you again?

  • http://heimaey.us/ jim morrissey

    How is this news to people though? I agree with you but aside from bringing this to the public’s attention did anyone really believe this stuff wasn’t going on before? That they weren’t capable of all this before?

  • http://heimaey.us/ jim morrissey

    I agree with you. It’s very easy to put these whistle-blowers into immediate rock star cult pop status, but the truth is they are just people too. Snowden’s release of the NSA records was terrific I thought but the China/Russia spying will do no one any good. Yes countries spy on each other – duh.

    As for people leaving your site because of this, I doubt it. You’re not the only one with this opinion. You post things I disagree with all the time, and you give Andrew Sullivan pats on the back now and then (which I think is the worst) and I will tell you I disapprove. That’s what forums are for.Also who wants to agree on everything all the time anyway? I don’t go on these sites to be told how to think or just have people agree with me blindly. I go to hear other viewpoints and liberal ideologies which I may or may not agree with.

  • Bruce

    I think your point is right on, I would like to side unequivocally with Snowden, but I have my doubts about what his point is right now. I think these issues need to be thought through, to make sure that there is no lasting harm done. I have little trust in the Government but that being said, I have less trust in China, Russia etc…these are complicated times we need to be careful.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Thank you and don’t slam the digital.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Either way the goose is cooked.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Bingo!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Simply lucid snark…well done.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Please Badgerite leave your turds over at Breitbart where they will be appreciated.

  • nicho

    I thought I felt a disturbance in The Force.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I’ve spent that last thirty years not listening to the DiFi…..and for good reason.

  • nicho

    So the people would know. And we do have concrete evidence. We have computer logs. They know who has been by to visit and where they poked around and what they took.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Got that right dude, except that I call Barrack, ‘Obozo.’

  • caphillprof

    Sauce for the goose, is sauce for the gander.

  • pliny

    That’s a difference only in degree. Whistleblowers like Manning and Snowden see themselves as the ones trying to drop sand on that slippery slope.

  • http://www.theangryfag.com/ TheAngryFag

    I’m just operating on a “best case scenario” for the sake of argument.

  • john

    John,

    It seems to me that you need to get out of the Beltway Bubble and get some fresh air.
    I worked in a position similar to Manning and Snowden from 1969 to 1971 and have great sympathy for what they have done. And as far as I am concerned, the indiscriminate document dump is largely the point of the exercise.

    When every thing is classified, then everyone in vulnerable to be called traitor.
    From my experience, there is a huge inclination in the intelligence services to overclassify to provide bureaucratic CYA. It is also a way to cover corruption, incompetence and inaction.

    During my time, there were nine distinct US intelligence agencies. I read recently that there are now sixteen. This despite the smackdown by the Church committee in the mid ’70′s.
    National security is a major profit center for the military/security industrial complex. With secret budgets, it is a a con man’s dream. Military Keynesianism at the extreme.
    When I entered the intelligence service, I naively thought I would be undertaking a worthwhile endeavor. Boy was I wrong.

    I still think a good and competent intelligence service is a necessary part of good government and foreign policy. But America is probably not capable of that now.
    The NSA and all the others are a giant profit center for incompetent and lazy parasites, it’s time to remove the veils of secrecy and bring a little light to the situation.

    It’s all about the greed, like so much of the rest of our government.

  • orogeny

    Maybe he could threaten to set of a bomb in Times Square or something…that would show that damned American government!

  • emjayay

    I thumbed up that comment, but there is a word missing. You’re welcome. You can delete this now.

  • emjayay

    Thanks John. This is a complex issue. Actually a lot of issues dealt with here being politics (or you know, life) are complex. I appreciate a bit of questioning on any issue. If it was all NSA bad bad bad and Snowden good good good AB wouldn’t be worth reading. Some people don’t seem to be able to see things that way.

    I’m thinking of those on the imbecile right who while not knowing much at all about history or current events or anything else think Obama is the antichrist spawn of satan and a tyrant and a Kenyan Communist reincarnation of Hitler etc. and call him and his wife – and anyone who thinks they may have their good points – all kinds of names they think are oh so clever. Or for that matter commenters here at AB who seem to suffer what I suppose is a bit of the left wing version of the same kind of thinking. And occasionally even the same kind of sub-juvenile name calling.

    Dog or cat videos however only have one side. Adorable.

  • caphillprof

    If you listen closely to Sen. Diane Feinstein, there is no oversight. They don’t know.

  • http://www.theangryfag.com/ TheAngryFag

    John, let’s be honest here. No one in Washington DC gives a rat’s ass if something was exposed the lead to danger of intelligence operations. If they did Scooter Libby would not have taken the fall for Dick Cheney and the rest of his cronies would be in jail for treason after leaking Valerie Plame’s identity putting her and everyone else she came into contact with in danger in a tangible (I say tangible because it can actually be measured rather than this nebulous concept the NSA tries to sell us on with the PRISM thing). And all over a political vendetta against Plame’s husband and even then Libby took the fall on charges of obstructing justice and perjury. But what the US will do is pursue people who embarrass it like Plame, like Manning, like Assange and now Snowden.

    The revelations about PRISM should be nothing new either. Most people are old enough to know what ECHELON was/is and PRISM is just the latest version of that. Only this time it is a little scarier because, as Snowden pointed out, nothing but POLICY keeps it from being misused. And how many people in this nation, regardless of where one falls on the political spectrum, can honestly say they trust a policy regarding material like this? I sure as hell don’t. And the so-called “oversight” they prattle on about is just patronizing because there is no real oversight as the people those judges of the secret court and the congress people whom receive the reports, are classified and thus never seen by the folks who are supposed to be the ultimate rulers of this nation, the American People at large, never get to see it.

    So we’re supposed to sit back and wrap ourselves up in the so-called security blanket of George W Bush, Barak Obama, or whatever tool lives in the White House (and let’s face it, they pretty much are tools these days. Jimmy Carter was probably the last real president) provides us to protect us from the boogeyman and the monster under the bed. And thus once again terrorists have won.

  • Badgerite

    Well, we don’t beat people up and put them in jail because they compile and release the names of children killed in a school building collapse where governmental managers were involved in purchasing shoddy building materials and pocketing the remainder. China, just recently, did do that.

  • slowriver

    John, I think part of the problem with your analysis is that you are viewing this as a political story or a narrative, in other words, something where the players or actors can be characterized as legitimate whistleblowers (or not), and be judged accordingly. What he is doing is not about crafting a narrative as a whistleblower or being a hero. It’s about executing a specific plan with a specific goal in mind: exposing the NSAs programs to the American people as an unconstitutional violation of their rights. Every move Snowden has made in support of this goal has been strategic, from gaining employment with Booz, to selecting what documents to select for exposure, to fleeing to Hong Kong. The same goes for his releases on Russia and China, in my opinion. There is a well-known concept in software development called “scope”. It defines the domain in which a system operates. With the initial release, the domain was the NSA, Obama, Washington leadership, and the American people. By releasing these other documents he greatly widened the scope of his actions, expanding the number of parties (most importantly the Chinese and the Russians), all of whom now have a vested interest in him, his whereabouts, his safety and immediate future. So that I think is what he accomplished by releasing them — in other words, it was a strategic move. He could have of course just released them privately, but what does that accomplish? Not much, other than putting the administration in an obvious and only mildly annoying diplomatic situation. So it doesn’t matter one whit what people think about what he has done as a political story, and whether he is a legitimate whistleblower or not. That’s window dressing. The important thing to consider is that he is being strategic about affecting the outcome he wants, which is to reveal the depth and extent of the PRISM and other related programs and to foment a movement against it. So far he seems to be accomplishing exactly that.

  • jakethesnake

    Add me to the list of readers who has lost respect for this blog. You are entitled to write what you want, and I’m entitled to stop reading your bullshit. The idea that Snowden has harmed America with these leaks is a farce. He has harmed the secret government and the people who benefit from it, not America. The guy is humanity’s hero and you are a fool for not recognizing it.

  • Badgerite

    Well said!

  • SkippyFlipjack

    If Russia etc knew about the spying, why did he release that info?

    Also, we say we know everything about the spying that other governments are doing, but that’s not necessarily so. If a Chinese dissident came out with details about some of our servers their guys had hacked, it would probably provide something useful, at least in answering some open questions or giving additional patterns to watch for in the future. As I’ve said before there’s a difference between knowing you’re being watched and actually getting concrete evidence of it.

  • jomicur

    “he’s going out of his way to hurt this country” Yes, in response to his country’s attempts to hurt HIM for rendering an inestimable service to the American people via his heroic stand against domestic spying. He is making it clear now to the DC fascists that they have a great deal more to lose if they keep pursuing him. And I don’t blame him one bit. A man has a right to self-defense.

  • SkippyFlipjack

    I’m not sure that people are necessarily trying to shift focus from PRISM, just trying to understand the motives of this guy and how credible he is. If you are so disgusted by the actions of the US against its own citizens that you take a job with the expressed aim of gathering data to release to the public, you’re doing that at great personal risk and it seems arguably commendable. But when you use that same access to tell other governments about our spying actions against them — well, what the fuck? Now he’s just currying favor with foreign governments from whom he may be seeking asylum. That’s messed up. If anyone’s distracting from PRISM it’s Snowden. Is there any way his newest leaks are justifiable?

  • Monoceros Forth

    It’s like old-time Usenet users making a big honking deal about dropping other users into the killfile. Just freakin’ leave.

  • nicho

    All the talk about Snowden, where he is, his motivation, his education, his girlfriend, his salary, is just a giant red herring to take attention away from the real story. This is the “Reality Creation Machine” at its best (worst). Had these things been revealed in the US 30 years ago, there would have been rioting in the streets. Now everyone just sits around and shits on Snowden.

  • BlueIdaho

    Yes, if anyone thinks their account at the local bank is secure, think again. I worked in the industry many years and witnessed losses in the millions by banks that were hacked. All it takes is sending an innocuous email to a bank employee with an imbedded link, which of course they click on. The bad guy is then in the bank’s network and can retrieve account numbers, credit card numbers, etc. So if it is that easy for the average hacker, hacking into systems by a foreign government should be a piece of cake.

  • http://firefeeder.blogspot.com/ Stratplayer

    Have a nice life.

  • usagi

    Yes, clearly it’s not as though the constant stream of revelations about what a terrible, awful, nasty person Edward Snowden is could have been pushed by someone with an agenda to shift the topic from the fact that the US is now doing to every person in the country (and most of the world) what the Stazi only imagined doing in the wettest of their dreams to what a terrible, awful, nasty person Edward Snowden is.

    You’re choosing to contribute to making the conversation about Edward Snowden, John. You find it newsworthy, and it’s your blog. You could as easily declare that the people involved are not important and completely restrict the conversation to implications of what is now known about the domestic spying, but as you say in your last paragraph, you think discussing the merits of the person are important. Why you don’t realize that’s going to alienate a chunk of the audience you’ve built is beyond me.

  • SomeYankInRio

    Don’t get defensive John, I’m another one of those long time readers and I admire your work. You’ve got a blog and you’re entitled to write whatever you want. It just seems like you’ve lost the independant voice I/we have come to expect and admire. I

    t’s reminding me a bit of Dan Rather getting hung on Dubyas military record because he was fed a forged document – not because the story was false.

    We all set priorities regarding what’s important. The shit the US govt has been doing since the PATRIOT Act was rammed through is a shame to National ideals. Just asking you to focus on that rather than what could almost be called a sting operation against PRISM.

  • balmoral
  • statelymansions

    So let us for a second consider your closing comments of this post. Namely:

    “…I don’t buy the argument that it’s somehow wrong or counter-productive to discuss the merits of Edward Snowden’s actions. Rather than serving as a distriaction (sic), such an analysis goes to the underlying cause that Snowden claims he champions, the rights and roles of the citizen versus the state. I believe there is no more important discussion to be had if you truly care about transparency, civil liberties, and governance.”

    If what you believe is truly the case, then you need to set aside the patriotic-colored specs through which you’re viewing this, and have a hard look at just how much the content of these leaks resemble–in fact emulate–the very governments we as Americans are all to happy to skewer for their plight on human rights and civil liberties.

    At the end of the day, it’s horrible to have to accept such an unthinkable scenario, but we no longer seem to resemble any shining cities on hills, etc. Regardless of your political affiliations, this is wrong.

    And as to whether or not he is actually leaking more information to any governments ahead of key meetings as is being proposed: to that I’d pose this question:

    If our government is willing to spy on its own people, is it really above lying about one in the interest of making the rest of us feel like we have a common enemy?

  • nicho

    So how do we know that the Russians and Chinese know about every
    incident of snooping, taking their documents or communications?

    Please. Businesses know — and so do governments. Start reading up on the whole snooping business. You would be shocked. As the saying in the security field goes, There are only two types of organizations: Those who know their systems have been compromised and those who don’t know they have.

    For beginners, you could start with Joel Brenner’s “America the Vulnerable: Inside the New Treat Matrix of Digital Espionage, Crime, and Warfare.” Brenner was a former senior counsel at the NSA.

    http://joelbrenner.com/america-the-vulnerable/

  • orogeny

    I think Cheney should have gone to jail..both for the Plame leak (treason) and for his war crimes. The fact that he managed to get away without punishment doesn’t change what Snowden has done. At this point, he’s going out of his way to hurt this country.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I don’t think that’s true at all, and we have no way of knowing what they do and don’t know about our spy efforts. We didn’t Snowden was, for all intents and purposes, spying. We didn’t know he took the Booz job with the specific purpose of removing classified documents. So how do we know that the Russians and Chinese know about every incident of snooping, taking their documents or communications?

  • nicho

    But when Dick Cheney betrayed an undercover CIA agent it wasn’t treason. Snowden should get the same treatment Cheney got.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    If you actually read my story you’d have those answers :)

  • nicho

    A couple of points.

    We know the Russians and Chinese — and others — are spying on us. We know that they compromise our systems. We know when. And we know what information they extracted.

    The same goes for the Chinese and the Russians. They are not idiots. The are tech savvy. They know we are spying on them, and they know (after the fact) what we looked at and got.

    So, Snowden told them nothing of value. The only ones who were in the dark about this were the people. Those are the people that Snowden gave valuable information to.

    But again, focusing on Snowden plays right into the government’s hands. That’s what they want. They want everyone to focus on Snowden and not the extensive spying. What the rest of us should realize is that if the Russian and Chinese governments can’t secure their systems. If the CIA, FBI, White House, etc, can’t secure their systems, what the freak is going on with your bank account? Your Amazon account? Your Facebook account? Your credit card accounts?

    If the government can waltz into the Russian and Chinese high-security computer systems, what do you think they’re doing to scoop up your supposedly password protected private information?

  • SomeYankInRio

    Seems to me the one’s trying to remove focus from PRISM are the ones that are tarring Snowden for other actions. Blaming the messenger doesn’t change the message. Now explain again how PRISM doesn’t violate the 4th amendment? Secret courts and secret warrents against it’s own people are things you expect to hear about from the Chines, the Russians. Are you accepting that the US should act the same way?

  • Kalex

    Thanks John, you are spot on! I don’t see anything heroic or necessary about leaking information on NSA’s spying activities vis-a-vis the Chinese and Russians. In fact I believe it constitutes treason.

  • Boosterz

    How is this anything other then administration water carrying? I have no desire to read obvious propaganda.

    Urge to unsubscribe now overwhelming. RSS feed unsubscribed. Good day.

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