Still think NSA-leaker Edward Snowden is a hero?

Former NSA employee, and famed PRISM whistleblower, Edward Snowden is now leaking top secret documents that appear to have nothing to do with the NSA eavesdropping on Americans, and everything to do with hurting the United States’ national security position vis-a-vis Russia before a key Obama-Putin summit.


According to a new story in the Guardian, Snowden is now leaking documents showing that in 2009 the United States intercepted communications from then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who was attending the G20 Summit in London.

The leak from Snowden comes only one day before President Obama is to meet with Russian President Putin at the G8 summit.

The Guardian is reporting in a second story, also leaked by Snowden, that during the same summit, British intelligence was surreptitiously monitoring foreign politicians as well.

But Snowden didn’t stop there.  He also leaked documents showing that British intelligence planned to spy on delegates to the Commonwealth summit.

A few journalists are already questioning Snowden’s motivation for the leaks, as these new stories seem to have little to do with Snowden’s initial claims for why he went public, to protect America’s democracy:


Just as questionable is the timing of the leak. The day before President Obama meets with Russian President Putin in Northern Ireland, Snowden leaks a document showing that the US spied on Russia’s then-President Medvedev.  So at worst he’s intentionally helping Putin, and at best he’s woefully ignorant of the real damage he’s causing US national security on the eve of a key summit with a nasty man running a far-more dangerous country than our own.

I went back and read Glenn’s initial story about Snowden – the story in which he revealed Snowden’s name (with Snowden’s permission).  And something bothers me about what Snowden told Glenn:

Snowden said that he admires both Ellsberg and Manning, but argues that there is one important distinction between himself and the army private, whose trial coincidentally began the week Snowden’s leaks began to make news.

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 purposely chose, he said, to give the documents to journalists whose judgment he trusted about what should be public and what should remain concealed.

How does revealing that the US spied on Russia further “the public interest” of anyone other than Vladimir Putin?

Remember, Snowden chose to work at the CIA and the NSA – our top two spy agencies.  He knew quite well what he was getting into. And the notion that the United States spies on Russia, or that Britain spies on foreign summit delegates, is hardly earth-shattering “oh my god I have to leak this” news.  Having said that, evidence of such spying is not usually publicly confirmed either. Nor was it terribly helpful (for us – it was quite helpful for the Russians) for Snowden to detail the manner in which the Brits spied on foreign delegates.

I can perhaps accept Snowden’s sincerity for leaking the news that Verizon was providing all of its customer calling data to the NSA, and the details of the PRISM program.  But with these additional revelations about the US, Britain, Russia and the Commonwealth, Snowden moves beyond his initial claim of blowing the whistle on the threat the surveillance state poses to the democracy he loves.  Our democracy won’t suffer one bit from the US spying on Russia (it might even be helped), or the Brits spying on the Commonwealth.

Snowden’s hero status is starting to suffer from mission-creep.  That is, unless Snowden is now trying to argue that domestic spying was not his main concern, but rather, he’s worried about the entire worldwide intelligence apparatus.

And if that’s the case, then Edward Snowden is sounding more and more like the man who joins the Army and then is shocked to find out he’s expected to kill people.  Such a man is either crazy, a liar, or a flake.

Which one is Edward Snowden?

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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343 Responses to “Still think NSA-leaker Edward Snowden is a hero?”

  1. Tóti says:

    Mr. Snowden probably thought it would be easier to live with the fallout of his whistleblowing than live with feeling like a coward.

  2. Tóti says:

    Funk those typos, it is “were” and “heroes,” I apologize.

  3. Tóti says:

    Still think NSA-leaker Edward Snowden is a hero?

    Yes, the first great hero of this century. Not that USA is bad, but it could break bad where it not for heros like E.S.

  4. RealityAlwaysBites says:

    NSA= Nasty Sociopaths Always…… Needless Stupid Agency…… Not Supporting America…… Nosy Stupid Aholes…. no matter what you call the sociopaths they aren’t American’s nor should any employee or contractor of the NSA be allowed to remain in the USA. Deport the traitors… or put them on trial and shoot them.

  5. moe stiven says:

    NSA broke and still is braking the law as well, one criminal is acusing another criminal thats all what it is but unlike obama or the nsa snowden is a little gear in the corrupt system.

    Snowden is a hero he had a sexy wife, lived in hawai and had a huge paycheck every month. So you wanna tell me he gave it all up because hes a spy so he could live in a cold foreign country?

  6. Tim Eskew says:

    Yes I still consider Snowden quite brave and heroic. Answering the question about leaks of spying against Russia…>> Self-preservation comes to mind, the enemy of my enemy is my friend (kinda). Everyone spies, it’s our nature. The intelligence complex we have forged into our cities and countrysides is quite vast and alarming when you consider that they’re pointing it inward. We might need secrets, but we also need to realize that these leaks will proliferate as the structure of gathering and refining intelligence is right now. Lock it down or learn to live with it.

  7. Jennifer Cohagen says:

    To answer your question, yes … still think NSA leaker Edward Snowden is a hero.

  8. Fuck America says:


  9. TVOR says:

    NO ONE thinks Snowden is a hero EVERYONE KNOWS he’s a traitor and should be EXECUTED on sight

  10. KPM says:

    And if this is all that is left of leadership then down it will go. Just as the german people of the late 30s did not find the moral center. Sad to say the normal guys and gals in America dont own even public media any more. If you dont march in goose step you dont get to speak in the post 911night mare that these lune toones call safe. Of all the things born of the home land age “safe” is not one. God Bless Dr Paul.

  11. KPM says:

    I dont think you get the depth of this event. But I am happy to belive that you should hold your secrets past the end.

  12. KPM says:

    Snowden is a HERO GOD YES. And the day of people laying down for this kind of crap is near end. Mr. Snowden think about maybe faceing these charges like Nelsen Mandella did. And know that if I am on a jury you will not just walk. They will owe you.The U.S. has been high jacked by some rich sad sick and GOD knows what else. I fear we must rise. And the media what a joke these guys ruin or money our freedom and yes our honor. We in America dont steal what we want. We dont make false reasons to go to war.WE IN AMERICA DONT TORTURE people.A And we dont give our soals to the bilderbergs or the Skull and bones or any body else. We LOVE OUR HOME stop the atack on our libertys now or face the wirlwind.AND fusion center add this to my profile as well. Keith P. Miller AKRON OHIO

  13. Cee says:

    Secret Recording of Edward Snowden and NSA Supervisor:

  14. John says:

    The writer, who is obviously still
    influenced by the anti-soviet days of the cold war, is taking this
    Nationalism to an extreme. Do you think that it’s alright for the
    Russains to spy on the US? Well, I’m sure the writer does not,
    because it wouldn’t be helpful “for us.”

    Espionage is morally wrong. It decontributes to those on the
    receiving end, while unfairly benefiting the perpetrating side. Not
    only were people affected by the espionage in this example, but the
    US was obviously not afraid of a Russain invasion (this isn’t the
    Cold War any more); nullifying most widely excepted justifications
    for espionage.

    the writer claims that Snowden has released the specific information
    only to benefit the Russains. If that were true (which it most likely
    isn’t; you can’t always assume motives are one dimensional), then he
    has conteracted the benefits the US has unfairly gained from spying
    on the Russains.

  15. jon says:

    They got Snowden, he was spotted in a building window

    check this footage out

  16. margaretsheridan says:

    The real betrayers to our Country are still here in the US….and are still in power and in process of preparing for overthrowing the People. Arms, ammuniton, armor vehicles……have you hear ? Just what is it that we think “they” – “our” government is preparing for………to “protect” us????? Nope.

  17. margaretsheridan says:

    Snowden is my boy, as well. A Patriot who disclosed to the American people that the government is spying on them, seizing effects which are prohibited in the 4th Amendment and NOTHING is being done except to try to justify it by the government people telling us it is PROTECTING us. It is PROTECTING THEM. It is VIOLATING US.
    If anyone thinks this young man did this for fame – they must be loony. He just sacrificed his career, his life as he knew it for a life of fleeing for standing up for the American Constitution and the freedoms guaranteed therein. Something that Congress has forgotten to check on when this administration people break one law after another and Congress turns the other way instead of dealing with the work of imploding our Country that these government people are currently doing.
    Do we have a Congress or do we have for the most part eunochs and eunochesses ?

  18. Jafafa Hots says:

    Answer to the question is YES.

    Is Americablog going to go into the push-polling business, by any chance?
    (I figure you might be practicing…)

  19. Leon Welch says:

    New Laptop, rubber gloves, scanner, motel parking lot, river, all in that order.

  20. Leon Welch says:

    He needs to buy a new laptop. Next park in a motel parking lot. Hook up. Spill your guts. Wipe down laptop and throw into river.

  21. Leon Welch says:

    And my oath to uphold our Constitution did not end when I left the military.

  22. Leon Welch says:

    I was in the military in the 60’s so I have known for many many years just how this government works. No big surprise to me. I think it is time that the rest of this country knows how it works also. My hats off to Snowden. I would only give him one word of advice and that is, stick to Hong Kong like a leech on a wet log.

  23. Leon Welch says:

    Snowden is not telling us anything that we did not already know. So what is the big deal. I guess the big deal is confirming what we already knew. What a screwed up world we do live in. Snowden my boy I wish you the best.

  24. jasonwhat says:

    Aravosis and others like Bob Cesca continue to be disingenuous about this leak. The front page of the Guardian was: Revealed how UK spied on its allies at London summits

    Bob and John have tried to make it seem like Snowden leaked about Russia to undermine the US. NO! The point of the story is to show how pervasive the spy apparatus has become and that US and UK are routinely spying on everybody at international summits. It was timed before G20 for maximum news impact. Snowden’s goal is to force us to face the reality of our permanent spy state by laying bare how off the rails we are.

    Furthermore, what all the attackers seem to be missing is that Snowden and Greenwald (hated by many liberal bloggers) are NOT the editors at The Guardian. They don’t set the headlines, they don’t control the schedule of the stories. This is not the “Snowden – Greenwald destroy America’s security sideshow” being pushed by detractors like John. This is a team of professional editors at the best paper in the UK and a paper of record in the US (WaPo) pouring through information and releasing what is newsworthy and in the public interest. Are those editors our enemies now too?

  25. usa is sputtering says:

    John Aravosis is a shill.

    Blatantly obvious he didn’t leak this stuff, they are just demonizing him while he is in hiding.

  26. sane37 says:

    I bet Snowden didn’t leak these documents. Its character assassination, to distract from taking action on the contents of the first leak.

  27. SpringTexan says:

    John is disappointing and the site has really gone down with all the cat videos and stuff. I only come here for Gaius Publius.

  28. JamesR says:


  29. JamesR says:


  30. JamesR says:

    YES! The giving of the information to US makes his act extraordinarily patriotic. no matter what else.

    Like I told a friend who’s wife had been having an affair with everyone at work, you’re the last to know. Literally – he was the last. We are the last. But at least we do know now. (This.)

  31. JamesR says:

    Good catch. He’s good enough, he’s smart enough, but doggone it people really don’t like him.

  32. JamesR says:

    We disagree, very disagreeably, on other issues, but you were exactly right and your comment stabs at the heart of the leak issue. “Like” (this) if I could.

  33. JamesR says:


    And I can quote you with proper citation because you have a searchable comment history.

  34. JamesR says:

    Thanks for allowing me to revisit the definition – I had thought Fisking was the reverse, that it was Fisk making the winning seeming arguments or last words. It’s because I never read the original source posts. Re-reading the definition it’s because it involved Andrew Sullivan, some of whose writing I do sometimes enjoy, but that in this case would cause my eyes to burn and brain great spasms of pain. So I still haven’t. It did cause me to read Robert Fisk, whom I liked and am now re-reading.

    In any case it’s way more melodious that a Sullivaning so that’s something LOL and thanks again.

  35. JamesR says:

    On the other other hand – not weighing in on the topic – coming from someone who has a loathing for Disqus on it’s user end and who also suspects it for mining info it also makes unsearchable, (me,) even though I can’t “like” any comment on this site (only this site, strangely,) I keep my profile the way it is, and am always logged in to make a comment so I always know what I posted, can edit, have a searchable comment history, and it’s always me and not an imposter.

    If there are more than one “Sweetie,” well, I don’t see the worth in arguing as if there were only one, you. About stuff you yourself may not have posted? Not to mention that we cannot search. Could happen / have had happened. (Speaking of “fraud.”) Just saying.

  36. JamesR says:

    Yeah – it’s so big and fortified now he can cruise the whole facility anytime he wants without getting stopped. Unlike a certain extraordinarily stupid desperate and traitorous congressman

  37. JamesR says:


  38. JamesR says:

    Without baiting you into speaking about what you can’t, I wold posit that whatever you dealt with did not involve the Government violating the 4th amendment rights of the entire population of the country. To start with. And you were a Government employee rather than a contractor. Two large differences between you and him. That and DOE seems to run a tight ship.

    Whistleblowing is not often legal – less and less so during these last few years, thanks to Hope and Change®, but it can be moral. The counterbalance between the legal and moral, that’s the real issue here I see.

  39. JamesR says:

    What Snowden initially did was patriotic. It was life-changing, life-risking, and self sacrificing, even if simultaneously potentially self promoting – it’s not a trade off, it’s a two-fer – one cannot deny the self sacrifice he committed even if that same act may have brought a few ‘positives’ as some would see them. I am not sure I would use the “H” word, but I don’t use that casually about lots of things others use it for, but I can’t disagree.

    His current action I would call calculated.

    And it’s something I don’t blame him for in the least. I cold see myself doing the same. AND we don’t know all the circumstances either – but from just what we know, the US government threatening to prosecute, ‘free press’ doyens having fainting spells a la Bob Schieffer (WTF you dinosaur the Cold War is over and the Telegraph is in every home these days, and the US has Gulags now,) congress calls for your head, sure go ahead, release some more. I would. It’s even expected.

    And, much of this could also be disinformation – we don’t know so why invest in (mostly) artificial outrage?? I don’t get it.

    Who really cares? Russia? Britain?? Don’t they already know??? The point is WE didn’t know. And Obama looks like the FOOL HE IS. Threatening someone who has a bunch of secrets right before a summit? Good God. Don’t ever play poker with this man. (There’d be no pleasure in beating such a hapless rube.) Though to be fair it isn’t all Obama’s fault – the REAL issue is, a la Bush, Clinton, and Bush and Cheney privatization – WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK IS A 29 YEAR OLD CONTRACTOR DOING HAVING ACCESS TO ALL THIS SHIT!?

    It could even be said, the way the Boulder Police have posited, that an unlocked door is an invitation and implies consent. (to an unconstitutional entry w/o warrant, another issue, but still World Gone Mad )

    Why the fuck aren’t our secrets safe? Why are we privatizing so much that should never be privatized? Cheap / bought Congress, and the string of Presidents before for sure, but this is what we got. Good we know. Good we’re offended. Good we change what our Government is doing. Good for patriots violating an oath that violates the Constitution. And GOOD that Real patriots have his back. And decry what our National Security State has become.

    In any case Real diplomats can make hay despite this, rational self-interest governs real negotiations, not rumors of the bleeding obvious or pretend offense. A real diplomat can use these issues to advantage, on both sides. World won’t end. A better deal just might be struck, if the diplomats are trained as they should be and if the parties truly want to find agreement. SO – this could not possibly affect anything in the Real World. Inside the Beltway and in Punditland it’s like flying monkeys are shitting on everything. But other than that so what?

  40. Roman Berry says:

    Yes, Snowden is still a hero. And you are still predictable. When it comes for standing up for the right thing on anything outside of LGBT issues, you can be counted on to look for (and find) any possible excuse to sit down.

  41. Dan says:

    SOB i spelled “your” wrong. Sorry. I think because i was mad and thinking “youre” an idiot and it just came out. but again, meant to say “Answer your own question”

  42. dan says:

    Heres an idea. Read through the policy pack you were given. THEN , read the Constitution of the United States of America. Then answer youre own question.

  43. Dan says:

    IDK why, but I like how youve worded it. Maybe its because its logical. IDK. but either way. Good comment.

  44. Dan says:

    simply said….. YUP, I still think hes a hero. A Patriot of the highest caliber. F Bill Orielly and his patriot or pin head show lol. Im talking about real Patriotism. This guy is just that. BTW, to the NSA screaners, i actually gave me real ID info on this post, please add this to my profile at your fusion center. oh…. and go fuck your selves. God Bless.

  45. KungFu says:

    It seems as if the journalist in this case is bitter and quite idiotic. Calling him crazy, a liar and a fake is just petty mud slinging. Its almost as if this article has been commissioned by one of the organizations that these documenys may well expose, and all they can do is whine and kick and smear Snowden’s character. Because very clearly, this particular tone on the matter is coming only from American news sources.

  46. Sweetie says:

    Yes, Iceland is even smaller and weaker.

    “The US is not going to drone bomb Reykjavik”

    That was never suggested.

  47. Sweetie says:

    Narcissism definitely explains why he left a cushy job to seek the wrath of the plutocracy. Nothing could be more selfish than whistleblowing. Think of how embarrassed Hillary Clinton was by Wikileaks!

  48. IronTheCurtain says:

    Hero. Yes.

  49. Aaron says:

    Who cares about his motivation? Is that really the issue? The issue is bigger than one person. It has to do with governments spying on their own people for no apparent reason.

  50. sdguppy says:

    Snowden’s more recent information and today’s “press conference” tell me that he is motivated at least as much by his narcissism as he is by the drive for transparency. And is taking the focus off the NSA story, which is too bad.

  51. Betty Eyer says:

    You are confusing the two issues. The topic of the surveillance can indeed be worthy of outrage. AND Snowden could be a plant, bought and paid for by someone else. Or he could be a narcissist who is motivated only by his ego to have the whole world’s eyes on him and hold this kind of power. If you believe without any corroboration that he is who he says he is and acted for the reasons he says he is acting, then you are a fool. Perhaps a noble fool, but a fool none the less. I can think up at least a half a dozen scenarios that could motivate him that are not at all noble.

  52. Proteus says:

    It is criminal behavior. Our governments are lying to us. They are breaking the law. The are violating the constitution. And the American public knows nothing about it. Read the exchange above from Clapper. If you cannot see the problem God help you.

  53. Outspoken1 says:

    I am soooo confused about the legality of Snowden revealing gov’t surveillance secrets. For 7 years, I worked at a top-secret gov’t nuclear weapons facility in the training dept. I had a top-secret clearance since I had to train on top secret procedures. Part of my clearance was a ‘need to know’; so if I did not ‘need to know’ I was not shown classified material. After I was downsized from that job. I no longer have the top-secret clearance, BUT I cannot legally discuss anything that I knew while in my job …. ever! If I were to write a book or article about my former job or the plant, the DOE has the right to review, edit and approve/deny.

    How can Snowden legally reveal all this information and not violate his security clearance? Security clearances do not end at the end of ones work – they end with ones passing.

  54. Naja pallida says:

    At some point he has to look out for himself, even if we make the assumption that his initial leak was entirely altruistic. Our government has all but said they want to lock him away in a cell to rot for the rest of his life. I would draw the conclusion that pretty much anything he does from this point out is to avoid that fate.

  55. Naja pallida says:

    Well, if it’s our embassy in Iraq, you could live pretty well! Practically like living at the Vatican, only with less Renaissance artwork. Though, I doubt any Ecuadorian facility is nearly so well equipped… no matter what, I’m sure it beats the cell waiting for him at Leavenworth.

  56. karmanot says:

    Channeling you again N.

  57. karmanot says:

    And flowers were bugged!

  58. JayRandal says:

    Since former VP Cheney calls Snowden a traitor hence he must be a hero instead. Cheney should have been impeached alongside of Dubya dunce. Both of them should have gone to prison.

  59. Betty Eyer says:

    Why can there not be two stories? Snowden and the surveillance.

  60. Betty Eyer says:

    And that, to me, is the biggest scandal. That this guy had this kind of clearance just because he knows grep.

  61. Betty Eyer says:

    This isn’t about left or right. This guy is trying to split the left into two factions – the old school Dems and the Occupy types – which at least in the short run, can only help the GOP. And I am very much a liberal (somewhat between those two camps) and I was suspicious of him from the get go. There is something about his history, his access to data and his behavior that just does not add up for me. That does not mean that we as Americans should not have a real dialogue about which is more important – our privacy or our safety from terrorism. We should also ask whether or not this giant database actually provides any safety.

  62. Betty Eyer says:

    What courage is there in exposing that the US and British governments have spied on other nations just before previous G8s, just before another G8 begins? Where’s the high minded principle there?

  63. Betty Eyer says:

    Because Snowden told him there was more. Duh. Snowden is making this into a big power play about how cool Snowden is. He’s nuts.

  64. RyansTake says:

    Knowing that the US and our allies are spying on fellow members of the G20 is something that is certainly in the public interest. These are basically diplomatic events. There should be no high-tech spying there.

  65. RyansTake says:

    Sweden has that reputation; Iceland does not. Iceland is not Sweden.

    Honestly, I don’t think it really matters why he chose any particular place.

    “Consider what the US is already doing… like drone-bombing American teens, before being confident that the US is more concerned about image than about revenge.”

    The US is not going to drone bomb Reykjavik any more than they would Hong Kong. Not for something like this.

  66. mpeasee says:

    …your right…maybe for a little while; but if I knew what this guy knew, I probably would not have done what he did. I would have quit, and found work that fit my values. But this is why I am grateful, and fight for people like Bradly Manning and Snowden, because not many of us have the courage to do what they have done.

  67. Sweetie says:

    Pink washing is an excessive focus on gay rights to obscure larger problems.

  68. mpeasee says:

    …sure I can believe it…The Tulsa race riots was a large-scale, racially motivated conflict on May 31 and June 1, 1921, in which whites attacked the black community of Tulsa Oklahoma. It resulted in the Greenwood district also known as the black wall street the wealthiest black community in the United States, being burned to the ground…that is the south for you…who knows if it will ever change.

  69. karmanot says:

    That’s often the case with your comments—-some just excellent analysis and then a skip. What did pink washing mean?

  70. Sweetie says:

    That was clearly not the point of my comment. I have been gay bashed myself, multiple times.

  71. Sweetie says:

    I guess you changed your mind, because you up-rated my comment quite some time ago. I can’t edit my comments, so that sentence wasn’t added after the fact.

  72. Sweetie says:

    Sweden has the reputation for quickly turning over people to the US, which is why Assange resisted going there for “questioning”. I have a feeling Snowden thinks Iceland would be a similar case. Consider what the US is already doing… like drone-bombing American teens, before being confident that the US is more concerned about image than about revenge.

  73. karmanot says:

    Yep! Is that what pink washing meant? It was so obtuse.

  74. Sweetie says:

    Everyone gets that you didn’t like the pink-washing comment, which is why you resorted to fabricating the gay-baiting accusation.

    But, the fact is that you used the rainbow suspenders thing several times in this topic to try to argue something. Trying to tweeze out exactly what your argument is hasn’t been easy. It appears to be something like this:

    Russia and Putin are much worse than the US, but the US should continue to engage them in a dialog because they are not unreasonable. It’s very important to maintain the charade, which no one believes in, that the US doesn’t spy on Putin. This charade makes the dialogue possible. The US shouldn’t go to war with Russia or try to assassinate Putin because they aren’t that bad. And, although Obama drone bombed a teenager and joked about it, and all the other things you listed, Russia’s anti-gay stuff is much worse.

    From what I’ve seen your position is fairly incoherent. If you are so upset about Russia’s homophobia and heterosexism, why not focus more directly on that by calling for sanctions, war, assassination, or something else? I would like to see the US take some sort of strong action, but our continual hypocrisy on human rights, which drone bombing is a major part of, undermines that. Attacking Snowden’s leaks, which amount to a minor diplomatic embarrassment — trying to turn them into an attack on gay people — doesn’t work. Transparency is the friend of gay rights, not excessive secrecy.

    But, regardless of the details of your argument, that has nothing to do with justifying your baseless accusation about me — one that your ignorance about the workings of Disqus also doesn’t justify.

  75. RyansTake says:

    I really don’t think our government would kill him if he got asylum in Iceland or Hong Kong, etc. 1) the damage is done. 2) it would cause a diplomatic nightmare. 3) it would only make him a martyr.

    I’m sure the folks in power think it’s better to let him live and try to smear him until people view him as an enemy. Of course, if they can extradite him back to this country, they will.

  76. mpeasee says:

    …interesting analysis…it would seem that he is self interested from that perspective…but, then who isn’t? …the ole altruisim and selfishness angle .

  77. karmanot says:

    Thank you. I appreciate the compliment. I’m better at fly fishing. :-)

  78. FLL says:

    All right, maybe some of my replies to Sweetie were excessive, but if you’ll read my reply downthread to Sweetie’s demand for an apology, it was the term “pink-washing” in response to my criticism of Putin’s government which I thought was disrespectful and an insult to folks who are getting beaten up by Putin’s thugs in Russia at this moment. I really haven’t changed my mind about that.

  79. RyansTake says:

    John — I love your blog, love your perspective… and have been reading Americablog for years… but I really don’t think you get to decide what is or isn’t in the public interest.

    If the US is spying on ambassador-type stuff at G20 meetings, that’s stuff I think I have a right to know. If other Western powers who are our close allies are doing the same things, I think that’s stuff we (and the citizens of our allies) have the right to know.

    I imagine a lot of other people would agree with me.

    I also don’t get the fixation with labelling Snowden a hero or a traitor. He’s neither. He’s a whistleblower. He’s a guy who was exposed to things that were absolutely gross and has gone far beyond any authority it should have. The NSA has lied about these programs repeatedly, up to and including the NSA director lying about them to Congress.

    Snowden served a purpose in leaking these documents and other abuses of power. That doesn’t make him a hero and he’s not claiming to be. But he’s certainly not a “traitor” or committing treason. He’s committing an act of civil disobedience, like millions of Americans have done before him.

  80. FLL says:

    Now I understand your inclusion of John’s quote. You felt that John was concentrating on something that was less important the the bulk of the argument. Although I still think that giving Putin an advantage is not in the public interest, Snowden wins the larger argument, which is his critique of domestic surveillance. I agree with you there. I think that when everything is weighed together, Snowden will have done more good than harm by starting a conversation about domestic surveillance and the unconstitutional Patriot Act,

  81. karmanot says:

    You had me until the ‘pink washing.’ What do you mean?

  82. mpeasee says:

    …I thought John was being myopic in the quote I posted.

  83. karmanot says:

    Imagine a life imprisoned in an embassy. I just hope they don’t destroy him like Bradley Manning. Obama has a real taste for blood and death when crossed.

  84. FLL says:

    My comment, which started your line of rhetoric, was:

    I just think it’s really sick to throw people in jail or deport tourists just because their wearing rainbow-colored suspenders. I am in sympathy with John’s point about giving Putin’s government a helping hand, and I think that Vladimir Putin is one sick f*ck.

    Your responded to that by saying: “Sorry, but the pink-washing ain’t working.” I thought that statement of yours was nasty, dismissive and an injustice to people in Russia who are fighting, at great personal risk, for civil rights. So the “evidence” that you are asking for is right on this thread. As far as your suggestion that I make it a part-time job to manually sift through months of blog threads looking for your comments (since you’ve cleverly disabled your comment history), the answer is no. If you really want people to quote from your comments on previous threads, then it’s up to you to do what everyone else does, which is to enable your comment history.

  85. Naja pallida says:

    Well, that’s probably why he’ll end up at an embassy someplace.

  86. karmanot says:

    In South America, I fear that the US could assassinate him in a matter of days.

  87. Sweetie says:

    You aren’t very good at trolling.

  88. karmanot says:

    Don’t use sock puppet. All males do sock puppet. It’s not something a Sweetie would want to leave in the NSA files.

  89. karmanot says:

    A thread with Sweetie, once she goes off the rails, is like knitting with barbed wire.

  90. Naja pallida says:

    Just saw a news article that said Ecuador is considering granting him asylum.

  91. Sweetie says:

    It’s pretty obvious that Iceland is too weak to provide much protection.

  92. karmanot says:

    rotfl!! snotty baby?—now that’s debating!

  93. Sweetie says:

    It’s not my research to conduct because I’m not the one who fabricated an accusation nor was I the one who supported the accuser.

  94. Bill_Andersoot says:

    And Greenwald knew this how?

  95. karmanot says:

    I didn’t call you a troll my dear. I said that I often up vote you on your occasional excellent comments. Now, reread the comment and stop slapping yourself. It’s not pleasant to watch your Donald Duck impersonation. I’m afraid you’ll have do your own research. I have no Duck in this contretemps.

  96. Sweetie says:

    Funny how no one can produce a detailed answer to support the accusation that started this discussion.

  97. karmanot says:


  98. Sweetie says:

    Calling me a troll won’t change the fact that FLL has yet to produce any evidence to support his/her accusation. Since you’ve decided to chime in, why not find it for him/her? That might be useful, after all.

  99. karmanot says:

    Thanks FLL, but don’t depend on me being a voice of reason. I have too many troll slams and down arrows in my resume, even though I am ‘incentivised’ to remain polite. I just can’t help myself.

  100. Sweetie says:

    Let me know when you’ve decided to either apologize for your gay baiting (calling a gay person, particularly a gay activist a gay baiter qualifies) or you have posted some evidence to support your character assassination.

  101. Sweetie says:

    This has nothing to do with “spirited debate”. It has everything to do with fraud.

    But, if you think someone is allowed to accuse someone of having a long and recognized history of gay baiting without having to produce even one shred of supporting evidence that’s your prerogative.

    This entire thing is a sad example of the character assassination game that is played again and again in national politics, although with less polish and panache. Dreadful, but hardly unexpected. I’ve dealt with this many times before. One can always count on underhanded tactics from people losing a debate.

  102. karmanot says:

    Love that word: Flaming and hand waving! I would add head bobble, shoulder roll and snap diva!

  103. FLL says:

    OK. I’ll take your advice because you’re a voice of reason. I completely understand Sweetie’s rationale for choosing that username: because the name “Absolutely Fabulous” was already taken, and therefore, unavailable. It’s just that the username “Absolutely Fabulous” is intriguing when combined with a defense of Vladimir Putin’s less than enlightened government. But your right, I’ll drop the speculation. Cheers, karmanot.

  104. ezpz says:

    Thanks – appreciate the detailed answer.

  105. ezpz says:

    BTW, and I know you didn’t address this to me, but I actually did look it up before asking, but it was a quick search which yielded the message ‘no definition found’.

  106. karmanot says:

    Piss off the Sweetie FLL and it’s a long haul. She considers spirited debate ‘stalking.’ At least with the new ^ names she knows how often I agree with her.

  107. Sweetie says:

    “As far as your comment history, we will have to rely on our memory since you’ve disabled your comment history.”

    How convenient to post a baseless accusation while claiming that it’s impossible to prove false.

    You could make the effort of looking through recent topics to find an example to support your accusation. But, that might

    a) require actual effort
    b) contradict your baseless accusation

  108. BeccaM says:

    That’s why I’ve more or less stepped well away from the focus on the “messenger” — because invariably, when the powerful are embarrassed, out come the excuses and the whistleblowers have their reputations and motives smeared.

    I honestly don’t give a damn anymore what Snowden’s motives were.

    I prefer to go to the first meta level: How can one lowly contractor have this much access? Or are we essentially seeing what happens when one of the Inner Party members breaks ranks?

    As you say, we have hundreds of thousands of these gov’t employees and civilian contractors with full access to the levers of the national security state — and apparently the only crime worth mentioning is when one of them lets the rest of us in on what’s being done in our name? Not the fact of 4th amendment violations so blatant it’s a no-brainer even for someone who isn’t an attorney to understand this should be deemed illegal and unconstitutional?

    As Chris Hayes remarked a few weeks ago, something that is known by a few hundred thousand people cannot actually be considered a secret.

  109. Sweetie says:

    You can imagine whatever you wish. The reality is that you have, like FLL, chosen to dodge the meat of the matter by engaging in fruitless sophomoric claptrap.

  110. FLL says:

    If I limit myself to the commentary on this thread, then I was replying to your objections about people criticizing Putin’s government or giving him a helping hand with information disclosures. I was also replying to your insistence that the U.S. government is “just as bad” as Putin’s. As far as your comment history, we will have to rely on our memory since you’ve disabled your comment history.

  111. Monoceros Forth says:


  112. Monoceros Forth says:

    Apparently not, since you’ve faithfully responded to everything I’ve posted within seconds! You’ve an odd way of expressing boredom. Back to chess for me.

  113. Sweetie says:

    Again with the job/work thing. Funny how I’m not receiving a paycheck for playing in the sandbox with snotty baby.

  114. Monoceros Forth says:

    Um…yeah. I guess following the provided link was also too much work.

  115. Sweetie says:

    Try again.

  116. Monoceros Forth says:


  117. Sweetie says:

    “You can try looking the term up.”

  118. Sweetie says:

    There is nothing incoherent about those posts. What is the opposite of concision, something your post clearly demonstrates?

  119. Monoceros Forth says:

    “Incentivized”? Is that even a word?

  120. Sweetie says:

    Forgive me if Googling insults directed my way isn’t my idea of a highly incentivized activity.

  121. Sweetie says:

    FLL posted a baseless accusation in an attempt to smear my character. FLL has refused to post even the slightest shred of evidence to support said accusations.

    I have to conclude that you’re either a sock puppet or someone who likes to insult people without cause. Either way, you bore me.

  122. Monoceros Forth says:

    “I have no idea.” Why am I not surprised? You can try looking the term up.

  123. Sweetie says:

    I have no idea. I wonder if this person is a sock puppet. It is mildly droll to see the same clumsy character assassination distraction tactics used against me in a topic about the same thing being done to Snowden.

    Good for laffs. Although in my case the accusations are so baseless as to defy, almost, belief. I guess reality hasn’t stopped the ad hominem train before so it won’t for little ole me.

  124. Monoceros Forth says:

    “Fisking” refers to the practice of responding to a post not with a coherent single response but with a series of one- or two-line responses to each sentence from the post being responded to. I understand the term comes from the intricate dissections that right-wing posters on various forums gave in response to posts from the journalist Robert Fisk, but I’ve seen the same technique as far back as 1993 on Usenet. I loathe it. Not merely does it lead to posts that take up twice as much space as they need to, it betrays an inability to come up with even one paragraph of thoughtful response to an argument. It’s easier just to insult, sentence by sentence, thereby giving the impression of delivering an unanswerable beatdown. Sweetie up above gave us a (thankfully short) taste of the method.

  125. MG1 says:

    Snowden on why he chose Hong Kong:

    Guardian staff

    17 June 2013 3:07pm

    I should have asked you this when I saw you but never got round to it……..Why did you just not fly direct to Iceland if that is your preferred country for asylum?


    Leaving the US was an incredible risk, as NSA employees must declare their foreign travel 30 days in advance and are monitored. There was a distinct possibility I would be interdicted en route, so I had to travel with no advance booking to a country with the cultural and legal framework to allow me to work without being immediately detained. Hong Kong provided that. Iceland could be pushed harder, quicker, before the public could have a chance to make their feelings known, and I would not put that past the current US administration.

  126. FLL says:

    Your own comment perfectly summarizes the original reasons why many people who cherish constitutional liberties thought of Snowden as a hero in the first place. You make a strong argument about domestic surveillance, and your argument stands on its own. Why then did you include John’s quote about how our democracy won’t be harmed by the U.S. spying on Russia? John is, of course, asking why Snowden thought this particular disclosure serves the public interest. Including John’s quote doesn’t add to your admittedly strong argument about domestic surveillance, which I agree with. Your inclusion of John’s quote only muddies the water and makes your argument less clear without answering the question of why helping Putin is in the public interest.

  127. Sweetie says:

    “Does anyone suppose Snowden is going to come out of this ahead? Ever?”

    Snowden doesn’t think so. His statements discussing his actions are altruistic. Altruism is hotly debated. Some think it’s delusion. Others argue that it is what makes us human.

    He said, also, though — that he doesn’t want to live in a police state. So, one could argue that his actions are self-interested.

  128. ezpz says:

    Excuse my naivete, but what’s a fisker?

  129. Monoceros Forth says:

    Heaven knows. Referring to a post of FLL’s that I’d describe as no worse than intemperate as “loathsome behavior” (“loathsome”??) when you’ve behaved no better yourself suggests your self-appointed “job” is to be a histrionic jackass. You’re doing well at it, I’ll have you know.

  130. Naja pallida says:

    Which is really the only motivation any of these contractors have to maintain the security clearance they have been granted. Does anyone suppose Snowden is going to come out of this ahead? Ever? Even if he lands a big book deal or something, he’s going to end up spending every penny he gets either protecting himself on the run, or for his legal defense (assuming he even gets one).

  131. ezpz says:

    Great comment. Thank you.

  132. karmanot says:

    Well done. There are levels we have yet to uncover. Did you know that Blackwell was protecting corporations and actually killed some people in NO during Katrina. The US has created a network of contractual security militias to act as defaco militarists outside the command of traditional military authority. When the Roman Empire began this type of government it went downhill fast.

  133. Sweetie says:

    Yeah. If I had his salary, a house in Hawaii, and a good family I would have more than likely taken the cowardly route and done nothing. Old and cynical is correct.

  134. mpeasee says:

    “But with these additional revelations about the US, Britain, Russia and the Commonwealth, Snowden moves beyond his initial claim of blowing the whistle on the threat the surveillance state poses to the democracy he loves. Our democracy won’t suffer one bit from the US spying on Russia (it might even be helped), or the Brits spying on the Commonwealth.”

    This position is interesting John; I think our (small d) democracy will suffer when you have spying (surveillance work) done by our government in close relationship with private corporations; I think this is very dangerous. Citizens have laws in place that can deal with private business gone amuck, but the government is a different beast, private businesses do not have the power to rendition you, break down your doors, and put you in prison with the help of the military and police, but the government does. There is also a nasty, but lucrative revolving door happing here, this Clapper fella was with Booz Allen, and now is the Chief Intelligence Offer for the government, and he’s a lier; a perjurer, in front of a Senate hearing. The Constitution has limits for what business can do and what government can do. This relationship is not one of them. I also think we should be asking what kind of government do we want to have, what kinda of world do we want to live in; not who is “real” Snowden, he’s following the Constitution. We never think we will be on the receiving end of this debacle because our insulation; either it be, our position, standing or our last names. Every last one of us should be diving deeply into the Church Committee reports from the 70’s.

  135. karmanot says:

    Simply put: Edward Snowden is a courageous, brave patriot. If he were as old and cynical as the lot of us, this defiant act against the criminality and traitorous anti-Constitutional activity of our government might never been called out or exposed. He’s young. He still believes in the highest values we citizens hold dear. He has put himself in great harm’s way because of these beliefs. He is an American hero, a profile in courage.

  136. ezpz says:

    Oh, sorry; my question was rhetorical because yes, I did miss the “was” word. I also didn’t realize you were quoting, thus making a rhetorical point yourself – not to mention that the quoted text was in itself ALSO rhetorical.

    Yes, you’re right….one of those threads.

  137. ezpz says:

    Never mind…wrong spot.

  138. jixter says:

    I can’t speak for anyone else who posts here, but I’d sure appreciate knowing the address of that 3rd party site, Sweetie. Would you please find it in your bookmarks and share it with me? Thanks!

    No need to keep re-posting my avatar. I am jixter.

  139. Sweetie says:

    What job would that be?

  140. Sweetie says:

    Everyone is still waiting for some proof for your accusation. Insults aren’t it.

  141. Monoceros Forth says:

    And to think you typed that one word and thence sat back with a smug expression on your face, thinking your job done. Guh.

  142. FLL says:

    You’re becoming more unhinged with every additional comment. I simply noticed something that I didn’t think you could do with Disqus, as did jixter. In what way, may I ask, am I digging myself deeper? And your comment below about how I should regard myself fortunate? This is going far beyond a lack of argumentation skills. Your commentary is becoming psychologically sketchy.

  143. Sweetie says:

    There’s a 3rd party site that lets you set an avatar. I don’t remember the name because it has been some time since I used it.

  144. jixter says:

    OK; I wasn’t aware that Discus allowed us to post without opening an account.

    But now, here’s another question: how are you able to have an avatar picture without having an account? I just tried uploading my avatar but it’s only showing as an addition to my post. How did you put yours on?

  145. Sweetie says:


  146. Sweetie says:

    Keep digging yourself deeper.

    The name Sweetie comes from Absolutely Fabulous. Someone else already registered the name so I can’t register it with Disqus. But, I like the name so I use it here. Also, as I mentioned, I generally don’t want to be bothered with logging into Disqus because I have my cookies set to auto delete. Is there anything else you’d like to know, or are you going to continue with your desperate character assassination tactics?

  147. Monoceros Forth says:

    Dude, you know you can edit a post, right? I’ve double-posted myself on a couple occasions but only out of stupidity.

  148. FLL says:


  149. FLL says:

    I tried that once myself, just to review Sweetie’s previous comments. Disabling the profile and previous comments does seem very sophisticated.

  150. worfington says:

    Edward Snowden: “It’s important to bear in mind I’m being called a traitor by men like former Vice President Dick Cheney. This is a man who gave us the warrantless wiretapping scheme as a kind of atrocity warm-up on the way to deceitfully engineering a conflict that has killed over 4,400 and maimed nearly 32,000 Americans, as well as leaving over 100,000 Iraqis dead. Being called a traitor by Dick Cheney is the highest honor you can give an American, and the more panicked talk we hear from people like him, Feinstein, and King, the better off we all are.”
    Yup, still a hero.

  151. Sweetie says:

    I don’t like to be bothered with the log in/cookies stuff, since I don’t like having them pile up in my browser.

  152. karmanot says:

    Absolutely true. We also invaded the Philippines and Cuba. We consistently plot to overthrow democratically elected governments, back dictators and embrace tyrants. America is steeped in an ocean of blood, waving its flag and calling out the Lord’s name for justification.

  153. Sweetie says:

    Read what I posted.

  154. jixter says:

    Hi Sweetie! Why is it that, when I hover my mouse over your avatar, no pop-up link to your profile appears? Everybody else’s does. I wasn’t aware that Discus gave us that option.

  155. Sweetie says:

    You may consider yourself fortunate that I responded to your loathsome behavior at all.

  156. worfington says:

    Still a hero. On the other hand, John is often a huge cheerleader for authoritarian repression.

  157. RonThompson says:

    OK, this is where I go away and don’t come back.

    By my count you have posted 11 comments on this chain. A few days ago you made statement that I characterized as “the most forthright statement of ‘I’ve got mine, jack’ I have ever seen at a progressive.left blog”.

    Since it’s all about you, Mr. Aravosis, I wish you well.

  158. FLL says:

    No, you fix the mess of your comment history. And no, my comment about your history of comments has nothing to do with drone warfare. Interesting that the only the refutation of my observation that you can come up with is “poppycock.”

  159. karmanot says:

    I don’t understand the question. You mean the word ‘Was?’ America may have been a beacon once, but in my lifetime that flame has dimmed or been extinguished with a rapidity that astounds me. I stated feeling this way when the Kennedy’s and King were murdered.

  160. Sweetie says:

    “However, my critique of your history of comments, which is what you replied to, is that you always seem to get a kick out of anti-gay outcomes.


    “Now I may be misinterpreting your history of comments, and if I you can show me that I am, then I’ll withdraw that particular criticism.”

    You’re just embarrassing yourself. Fix your own mess.

    “Nevertheless, the comment you replied to has nothing to do with drone warfare.”

    It certainly does.

  161. FLL says:

    You would have to call Julian Assange insane also, as he’s requesting asylum from Ecuador. You really need to work on your argumentation skills. Sarcasm is not a bullet-proof argument.

  162. FLL says:

    Thank you for reminding us, with your attached jpeg, of those killed in drone warfare I don’t approve of drone warfare any more than you do. However, my critique of your history of comments, which is what you replied to, is that you always seem to get a kick out of anti-gay outcomes. Now I may be misinterpreting your history of comments, and if I you can show me that I am, then I’ll withdraw that particular criticism. Nevertheless, the comment you replied to has nothing to do with drone warfare. I agree with you on that point, so your reply is aimed at a comment that I didn’t make.

  163. jixter says:

    I admire and trust Glenn Greenwald and I’ll wait to read what he has to say about this new development.

  164. karmanot says:

    Thanks for the correction :-) This is going to be one of those threads I think

  165. Sweetie says:

    Because everyone knows Iceland is all-mighty… well stocked to oppose the US’ will.

  166. karmanot says:

    I’m surprised you didn’t throw in New Town.

  167. Naja pallida says:

    If what Snowden has said is true, which I can only assume it is from the cries of “traitor” from all over, there are hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom only work for corporations, not our government, with enough security clearance to have access to pretty much whatever they want. There is no telling what this information could be used for. My first instinct would be corporate espionage. Second, would be to embarrass political opponents – or to ones already in office in line. Makes me wonder what they have on Al Franken.

  168. Sweetie says:

    Resorting to fabrication, eh? I am surprised. Oh well.

  169. FLL says:

    Your queer baiting isn’t working either, and I’ve noticed it on other threads too (regarding completely different topics), as I think other people have.

  170. karmanot says:

    Wrong, repeating this nonsense without proof doesn’t make it so.

  171. Sweetie says:

    Because someone who jokes about drone-bombing teenage boys and then does it is a much better person. Someone who advocates for preventative indefinite detention is a guardian of freedom and liberty. Someone whose approach, as a constitutional law scholar, is to shoot and dump is clearly more civilized.

    Sorry, but the pink-washing ain’t working.

  172. karmanot says:


  173. karmanot says:

    No he’s not. He stated common knowledge: The US hacks China, China hacks the US. He hasn’t leaked any state secrets. Where? Which ones? Give us a specific link.

  174. FLL says:

    Thanks to a good catch by ezpz (below), we now have a plausible reason why Snowden chose Hong Kong: He could have more easily been interdicted in other countries. Several months ago, a court in Hong Kong also ruled that the rules for asylum must be reviewed and revised, so Hong Kong could potentially have been a smart move on Snowden’s part. I’m with Snowden up to that point. My remaining question, which I think is the point of John’s post, is why disclose something that gives Putin another card in his hand? In what way does that serve the public interest? Snowden says that he reviewed each document with the public interest in mind.

    Yes, Becca, there are some who claim that I don’t approve of Putin’s 2014 calendar with all those beefcake photos of him. Not true. I don’t care what kind of calendar’s Putin poses for. I just think it’s really sick to throw people in jail or deport tourists just because their wearing rainbow-colored suspenders. I am in sympathy with John’s point about giving Putin’s government a helping hand, and I think that Putin is one sick f*ck.

  175. karmanot says:

    wrong, willy-niily

  176. karmanot says:

    We all slip up sometimes. Ron has good Ideas. I remember catching hell from John once when I called him an Obot. John manages to make people feel valued even when he reads them of filth—lol.

  177. BeccaM says:

    That’s how I feel about it, too.

    We have one contractor apparently with enough access to cause major national diplomatic incidents through information he was able to acquire in less than three months on the job.

    Now then, imagine having the power to search for anybody’s personal information, entirely on your own say-so that you have good reason to need it, and a guarantee of total secrecy that you did it. In addition to the gov’t labeling activist groups as ‘suspicious’ and tracking them, we’ll also have disgruntled divorcees looking to dig up dirt on their Ex’s. Corrupt back-handers taking bribes to let criminals know if they’re being investigated. Heck, celebrities being watched just because they can be.

    The potential for total corruption is enormous, especially given the complete lack of disincentives.

  178. ezpz says:


  179. Sweetie says:

    Doublethink forms the foundation of our democracy.

  180. karmanot says:

    This is where I disagree with you. I often vehemently disagree with John in these threads, but always find his voice rational and very informative. Secondly, the fact that he actively engages in the threads is admirable and I hope he never stops.—-Same with Gaius.

  181. Sweetie says:

    Left and right are bogus classifications.

    “How does revealing information about spying on the G20 or hacking of
    Chinese computers by the US do anything except confirm what we know
    intelligence services of different countries have been doing for many
    decades? Did he suddenly wake up one day and figure out that *oh my god* James Bond movies are _real_????”

    A better question is why so many people, including John, think it’s so important to maintain such a charade.

  182. karmanot says:

    Thank you!

  183. Sweetie says:

    “If it’s not shocking, then why is he leaking it?”

    a) Because he is trying to curry favor with such nations to prevent being killed by the US?

    b) Because he thinks there is an excessive amount of secrecy, including such matters. I’ve already asked why it’s necessary to maintain a charade, the charade that no one buys into — that countries aren’t spying on each other. Perhaps he thinks a more sane approach to nationalism is not one that invests so much in charades.

    d) Is this important, since it’s the media that is choosing to publish it? If it’s so terribly damaging to national security, why is the media allowed to publish it?

    “I’d argue that ‘confirming’ specific instances of spying on a foreign
    leader is ‘shocking’ news, and harmful to the spy agency/country doing
    the spies.”

    Yeah, I got that. I still disagree. Embarrassment doesn’t damage anyone, because embarrassment is a feeling someone gets when they’ve been exposed for wrongdoing.

  184. karmanot says:


  185. ezpz says:

    When was that?

    (And please see my reply to another comment by you below – or above…)

  186. mpeasee says:

    …sounds like someone is towing the msm line to me.

  187. karmanot says:

    “to be that ALL national secrets need to be out there for everybody.” Typical rhetorical propaganda non answer/question, which I maintain is spinning on point #4, the top of your pinhead.

  188. BeccaM says:

    I rather like Atrios’ take on this:

    I’m seeing responses along the lines of “How dare Snowden reveal that we spy on other countries and of course we spy on other countries everybody knows that.”

    It can’t really be both, you know.

    Unfortunately, John, I’m seeing you showing an inclination to head down the same road.

  189. ezpz says:

    Ah, your last sentence adds even more intrigue to this.

  190. karmanot says:

    “Sorry but I don’t buy that the US is just as dangerous as Russia.” I couldn’t agree more. The US is MORE dangerous and it’s 1000 world wide military bases are an expressed symbol of worldwide colonial domination. We could be more opposite in our views on this.

  191. FLL says:

    Good catch. Thank you.

  192. karmanot says:

    Brava Sweetie, hang in there.

  193. Naja pallida says:

    That really seems to be his main thought. To go some place where the US government really has no political pull. Iceland, or any European country, could easily have been pressured into turning him over. Ecuador or Argentina may have been a better choice, but they’re also not exactly known as shining examples of humanitarianism, even if we tend to consider China our “enemy”, and Ecuador not.

    Honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me to find out he isn’t in Hong Kong at all, but has just been using that as a surrogate location to protect where he really is.

  194. Snaggletooth says:

    Too few people really know about Hawaii…

  195. ezpz says:

    No no no…. I think you misread and/or misunderstood what I said – which is why I really wanted to find that link.

    Not Snowden, but the corporation he worked for – Booz Allen – I read that THEY (not Snowden) sold technology to foreign countries like Saudi Arabia and other ME countries and beyond.

    Please reread my comment.

  196. FLL says:

    Yes, he may have been panicking about time running out. I can see that. Perhaps if he had planned it better, he would have chosen Iceland. But I can’t believe anyone would be naive enough to think that he would only be dealing with the “special administrative district” of Hong Kong. Anyone knows full well that he would also be dealing with the central Chinese government.

  197. karmanot says:

    “to you people. I’ll make it simple.” Thank you condescending fascist troll.

  198. Sweetie says:

    Countries are an increasingly tenuous concept in an era of globalized finance/resources. He probably thought Iceland is too weak to protect him.

  199. karmanot says:

    You would be the kind of neighbor that would have turned a Jewish neighbor in to the Gestapo.

  200. Sweetie says:

    Never was. Did you know that we “opened up” Japan at the end of a cannon because we wanted their whales? Then we favored them again with nukes. Funny how American kids learn only one part of that tapestry.

    We annexed Hawaii like Hitler annexed Poland. We practiced Eugenics with more enthusiasm than the Nazis, and too few people today even know what Eugenics is. Our dear “founding fathers” fucked black women while endorsing slavery, subhuman racist arguments, and the like. We turned the St. Louis away. We threw Americans into concentration camps. We tested chemical/biological/radioactive weapons/materials/diseases on human subjects, including children.

    We created the Trail of Tears and all that. Manifest Destiny.

  201. karmanot says:

    I read that as nitwiting.

  202. Naja pallida says:

    The arrangements were Peruvian lilies, sweet peas, stargazers, and wireless microphones.

  203. Snaggletooth says:

    I think that technically you are correct, but I believe he was already running out of time when he left. Poor planning on his part, but considering the way this is playing out I am not surprised to have to consider that.

  204. ezpz says:

    Edward Snowden, in reply to the why Hong Kong question:

    “Leaving the US was an incredible risk, as NSA employees must declare their foreign travel 30 days in advance and are monitored. There was a distinct possibility I would be interdicted en route, so I had to travel with no advance booking to a country with the cultural and legal framework to allow me to work without being immediately detained. Hong Kong provided that. Iceland could be pushed harder, quicker, before the public could have a chance to make their feelings known, and I would not put that past the current US administration.”

  205. karmanot says:

    I can see you in the kitchen now making drone shaped sugar cookies and letting the kids decorate them with blood red frosting——-debiann’s Kabuki.

  206. karmanot says:

    “selling technology to foreign governments..” He didn’t sell anything, He made it specifically clear in his message. To think so is part of the smear campaign conducted against him..

  207. FLL says:

    Wasn’t Snowden still a free agent when he left Hawaii? I don’t think there were any Interpol warrants for his arrest.

  208. FLL says:

    I’m saying that Russia (or even China) is a very bad choice for someone like Snowden, who claims to support transparency and Internet freedom. Many other countries would have been far better choices. Dealing with Russia and China diminishes Snowden’s argument, which is a shame.

  209. karmanot says:

    “running off to Hong Kong was that he respected their stand against intrusive surveillance or some such drivel.” True, flying to Hing Kong was a tactic, As for the rest—-your usual ‘drivel.’

  210. Snaggletooth says:

    The trip also would almost certainly require a stop in another European country that might be inclined to turn him over to the US during a layover.


    “The main stipulation for seeking asylum in Iceland would be that the person must be in Iceland to start the process,” said Johannes Tomasson, the chief spokesman for Iceland’s Ministry of Interior in Reykjavik. “That would be the ground rule No. 1.”

  211. Randy Riddle says:

    Fascinating. Your argument, from the Left, sounds just like arguments against “liberal” academia “indoctrinating” students that I keep hearing from the Right.

    How does revealing information about spying on the G20 or hacking of Chinese computers by the US do anything except confirm what we know intelligence services of different countries have been doing for many decades?

    Did he suddenly wake up one day and figure out that *oh my god* James Bond movies are _real_????

  212. Sweetie says:

    It’s not bizarre to question nationalism, it’s sane.

    If you are the son of a person who criticizes the US, you get drone bombed.

    I’ll take jail over that, frankly.

    You are trying to rely far too much on the tu quoque fallacy. It doesn’t matter that Putin is corrupt if the US is also corrupt. Playing the “who is worse” game is trivial and even delusive.

    I think Putin sucks. I think the Russian political system is horribly corrupt. I think it’s terrible what happened to that area, which briefly showed so much innovative cultural richness in the nineteen teens and twenties, mainly because of Stalinism (including everything since which has been irrevocably influenced by it). That does not excuse the US’ corruption. It does not excuse our culpability. It does not justify Cold War 2.0, hyperbolic nationalism, and the like.

    If you’re not advocating war or assassination to take down Putin and the Russian government, then what exactly are you advocating? Are you saying that their system and their people are OK or are you saying they are so terrible?

  213. karmanot says:

    “The US is a bastion of principles, a beacon of altruism, and a shining majestic light of integrity upon the world.” ‘was.’

  214. FLL says:

    Your comment is ambiguous. You could be criticizing John for being too sympathetic toward Snowden, or you could be criticizing him for being unfairly harsh toward Snowden. When someone reads your comment, there is no way to tell which point you’re making. Your writing style may need a little tweaking.

  215. FLL says:

    No one is answering the question that I’ve been wondering about since the start of all this. Snowden isn’t stupid enough to think that the central Chinese government doesn’t have enough clout to twist arms in Hong Kong; so when you deal with Hong Kong, you must deal with the central Chinese government. And now Snowden’s disclosure of material helpful to Putin. My question again (and again and again and again) is why not choose Iceland (which Snowden himself mentioned) or Ecuador (like Julian Assange)? Why choose the Russian or Chinese governments? It’s only reasonable that people are curious.

    And for the sexually repressed, can we please have less commentary about why Putin isn’t so bad? By the way, when is Putin’s beefcake 2014 calendar coming out?

  216. Sweetie says:

    “I’m still waiting for what the hell kind of point the guy is trying to make.”

    Wow… You haven’t read much, like his statements that answer your question directly, have you?

    Start here:

    Here’s a tidbit:

    “I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant.”

  217. Snaggletooth says:

    As someone who disagrees with John a lot, by not sticking around and arguing your points with the community, your opinion is lost. If you really care about it, stick around and put your passion into the dialogue.

  218. Sweetie says:

    And the counterpoint is that academia is designed to make people think a certain way: the way that doesn’t run counter to the elite agenda.

    As a product of an advanced degree in academia, and someone who has spent much of my life in that setting, I can’t make a strong case for the advantages. After all, academia is the handmaiden of power, to summarize an argument of Chomsky.

    What good is all the perspective, deep and broad, if one confines oneself to security rather than putting one’s neck on the line like Snowden has? Academia teaches people to put themselves first. It is careerist rather than progressive or dissident.

  219. Snaggletooth says:

    If the page clicks can keep John running, I’m all for it.

  220. FLL says:

    Your sarcasm doesn’t answer my question. When you make statements like, “After all, we’re so much better than Putin,” people will reasonably question your motives. If you’re a Russian citizen and you wear a pair of rainbow-colored suspenders, you’ll get thrown in jail. If you’re a tourist and you do the same, you’ll be arrested then deported. You seem to get a kick out of that. Your statement about not being so much better than Putin is bizarre.

  221. Thariinye says:

    I am sorry, but I’m very disappointed with the tack you have taken in this post, and your previous posts on this issue. I’m not going to go into detail into the reasons why, but your coverage of this story, and some other existing concerns, have led me to the conclusion that I can no longer trust or respect your commentary on these types of political issues. I respect and admire your LGBT advocacy, reporting, and other things, but because of this issue and others, you have, as of today, lost a reader. Thank you, and goodbye.

  222. Snaggletooth says:

    “if he’s going to break the law in a huge way then he needs to have a good excuse for so doing”

    That’s not how our generation thinks. We’ve grown up with everything we could possibly imagine criminalized. Legal and illegal have absolutely no correlation to right and wrong amongst my generation.

  223. nicho says:

    I’m just loving all the newcomers here posting apparently from the exact same set of talking points.

  224. Naja pallida says:

    I, personally, think that having contractors so heavily involved in matters of national security is absolutely insane. I realize our government is already owned by corporations, and this is just the next logical extension of that, but mercenaries are always going to be in for the highest bidder. By the time we realize we’re no longer the highest bidder for some particularly important part of our security or intelligence apparatus, it may be too late. Not to mention, all the great blackmail material. Like I said below, I think we’re lucky Snowden has been releasing to the press, and didn’t just quietly sell all this information to Russia, or some one else, in the first place. It would be a very different ballgame if another country could use these leaks to embarrass us, instead of just the crumbling of our own poorly constructed house of cards.

  225. nicho says:

    Which raises a valid question in my mind: Is Jessie Canty the worst troll in history — or is she just an idiot?

  226. nicho says:

    Oh for heaven’s sake. Please try to at least improvise on the script you were given — unless you have orders not to.

  227. BillFromDover says:

    Would it surprise anybody to know that Russia spies on us?

  228. Sweetie says:


  229. nicho says:

    How many drones does Russia have. How many drones have they used? How many innocent women and children have they murdered with drones?

  230. Naja pallida says:

    My main issue is that this guy was a relatively low-level guy, who was a contractor, not even a government employee… and he still had access to all this high level stuff? That tells me our government is fundamentally insecure. If it wasn’t Snowden, eventually, it would have been someone else. We have thousands upon thousands of people with access to highly sensitive information. Some of those people work for third-party companies, who have no real interest in our national security, just a pay check. I think we’re lucky that he is leaking this information to the press, and didn’t just sell it to Russia or China in the first place.

  231. nicho says:

    I’m guessing they sold about five or six extra papers because of this. That statement is so 1970s.

  232. MyrddinWilt says:

    Nope, Greenwald has been saying all along that there is more coming.

  233. Sweetie says:

    Why flee the US in the first place? After all, we’re so much better than Putin. You know… the whole rule of law thing. We’ve innovated “shoot him and dump him into the ocean” as a replacement for habeas corpus, “jail journalists and whistleblowers” rather than elite criminals, and prison labor as a replacement for outsourcing.

    The US is a bastion of principles, a beacon of altruism, and a shining majestic light of integrity upon the world.

  234. MyrddinWilt says:

    Nobody is shocked to hear that GCHQ spies on people, it is the job of GCHQ to do exactly that. They took over that role from Bletchley Park at the end of WWII.

    The significance of this particular disclosure is that it damages the standing of the US with its closest ally. The US and the UK are the only two major powers that have an intelligence sharing relationship that is comparable to the UK/US relationship.

    What is incomprehensible is that a rather low ranking contractor with a modest resume and no operational need to know had knowledge of this operation. That is really showing a big hole in NSA competency.

    A while back I gave a presentation at a non-classified meeting where I suggested that the reliance on contractors to build cyber-engagement capabilities in the US was a major problem. The risk here is that the contractors are going to bribe congress into opening yet another dimension of Pentagon bloat.

    Afterwards I was told that I overestimated the extent to which contractors are involved in operational aspects. But it is looking to me as if the opposite is the case.

  235. BillFromDover says:

    There’s a lot of grey between hero and traitor and I believe simply bugfucking nuts falls into this area.

  236. Randy Riddle says:

    The last time I checked, the dot com boom and the shift to an Information Economy didn’t put brick and mortar universities out of business.

    I stand by what I say. With only a high school diploma, Snowden or other “geeks” might know programming, internet security, or the ins and outs of packet sniffing or artificial intelligence. But they really don’t know how to put that knowledge in a larger context.

    Believe me, I’ve dealt with people like Snowden in business. They know their stuff, have great enthusiasm for what they do, but can be clueless when it comes to managing or thinking strategically.

    Would you trust someone that’s the equivalent of a highly skilled computer technician with an almost unlimited pool of secret information that could have global impact on diplomacy or be misused for political or personal gain?

    With great power comes great responsibility. That responsibility doesn’t come from burying your head in an electronic box and ignoring what else is going on the world.

    I’m still waiting for what the hell kind of point the guy is trying to make.

  237. Naja pallida says:

    And maybe that is why nothing ever seems to work out for the better.

  238. Sweetie says:

    There is no such thing as good faith in elite politics.

  239. ezpz says:

    As has been said repeatedly, the ‘hero or traitor’ meme is being used to distract from the information being leaked.

    And who cares about the motives of WaPo and Guardian for publishing this – as long as it’s being published? And maybe, just maybe, they are channeling the reasons that they became journalists – which should be to reveal/release information however embarrassing to TPTB.

  240. FLL says:

    “Snowden has disclosed NSA spying on China and Russia because he is
    trying to gain the protection of those countries and avoid extradition.”

    In your comment, you seem to approve of Snowden’s choice of China and Russia. I don’t. There are other countries he could have chosen. Julian Assange has asked Ecuador for asylum, and is currently staying in the Ecuadoran embassy in London. Snowden himself mentioned that Iceland supports Internet freedom, and the Icelandic government even said that they would certainly consider an asylum request if Snowden were in Iceland. If Snowden had originally fled to Iceland, that would have made more sense from the perspective of human rights and information freedom. So what is it on this thread with all the cheerleaders for the Russian and Chinese governments. What’s up with that? Do people get their jollies watching Putin’s thugs beat up and jail civil rights demonstrators? You seem to approve of Snowden providing the Russians with information because he is in a “fight for his life.” But he could have fought for his life from Iceland or Ecuador. Why cozy up to Putin?

  241. BillFromDover says:

    Ain’t capitalism great?

  242. Sweetie says:

    I agree that whistleblowers should be held to a much higher standard than the politicians who were elected to represent us and follow the Constitution.

  243. Naja pallida says:

    Helping Putin or not, if we can’t be negotiating with other countries in good faith, how we we ever expect them to do the same? This isn’t the Cold War anymore, we don’t need to be spying on everyone we have a discussion with. I’ve never considered Snowden to be any kind of hero, but how he will be treated is likely going to prove his own point, one that many have been trying to get across – the US has fallen down an authoritarian rabbit hole.

  244. goulo says:

    Are you really suggesting that anyone who happens to be used by newspapers to sell newspapers is therefore not a hero?

  245. Sweetie says:

    still satire, even if unwitting

  246. MyrddinWilt says:

    Umm the Boston bombers own writings state that they regarded the drone warfare as their motive. So Greenwald’s prediction has been backed up by the facts discovered since. That does not happen very often with your Fox News.

    The drugs connection is hardly inconsistent. Bin Laden made money in Afghanistan providing protection for drug couriers. Almost all the money driving the Taleban was drugs money and that is why it is so hard to end the war there.

  247. dula says:

    You don’t know what he has, what it means, or what he is willing to reveal. So far it’s only been “old news” that everybody says they already knew anyway. At least that’s what they say when they attempt to spin this away from Barack Obama.

  248. Sweetie says:

    What, then, is a heroic whistleblower, particularly one in our current context?

  249. Indigo says:

    I don’t disagree with what he said but I don’t think Snowden’s a hero. He’s being used by the Guardian and the WaPo to sell newspapers.

  250. Snaggletooth says:


  251. MG1 says:

    Snowden has disclosed NSA spying on China and Russia because he is trying to gain the protection of those countries and avoid extradition. Despite the hyperventilating on cable by establishment folks who are sucking up the the government because they don’t want their access to power endangered, and now from you John, there is no news here. It defies credulity to think that China and Russia don’t already know the extent of our monitoring of their activities and our surveillance capabilities. Because of Snowden’s leaks, China or Russia might allow Snowden to stay in their countries because they enjoy embarrassing the US over something they already knew, and any the leverage they may gain from it.

    Understandably, Snowden is trying to avoid being a) disappeared by the CIA or b) extradited and held in solitary confinement for years, like Bradley Manning, in what the UN denounced as inhumane conditions. Or ask Thomas Drake, another NSA whistleblower, about how he was treated. To be a whistleblower against the DOD or the NSA is to be in a fight for you life.

  252. Snaggletooth says:

    It’s also a tactic he wouldn’t have to use if he didn’t have to worry about if he didn’t need to fear being “Manning”ed or “Guantanamo”ed after revealing the extent of military spying on American citizens at home.

  253. ezpz says:

    Edward Snowden:

    Dick Cheney Calling Me A Traitor Is The ‘Highest Honor’ For An American

  254. Badgerite says:

    I believe Snowden’s official explanation for running off to Hong Kong was that he respected their stand against intrusive surveillance or some such drivel. He went there and is leaking his brains out to try to ingratiate himself with a US competitor in the hope that there will be pressure in those countries to not turn him over to US authorities if they request his extradition. Likewise he is trying to make himself useful to the ‘anti US hegemon’ crowd. China and Russia would be prominent members. This is a tactic. It is not an act of conscience.

  255. pliny says:

    Snowden talked about some of this in the Guardian Q&A. His point was that gaining illicit access to computers that belong to other countries is a dangerous game. It’s all well and good to snag copies of Putin’s nude selfies *if you don’t get caught*.

    For all the data the NSA steals, they aren’t psychic. They can’t predict what might be connected to these systems. What if while trying to access usb devices, they activate the wrong piece of lab equipment somewhere and kill people? That’s an act of war. Against a nominal ally.

  256. SkippyFlipjack says:

    Um.. this is no minor leak.

  257. Snaggletooth says:

    I don’t care about whether Snowden is a “hero” or not. I give absolutely zero fucks about whether he is a spy or not. Bottom line, he turned over valuable information to the American public. Our government is so corrupt that even whistle-blower laws can’t be trusted to save him. So now he must go somewhere and he must bargain to get there. This is just more blowback.

  258. nicho says:

    When Obama recently met with the president of China in CA — even the floral arrangements were classified. Seriously.

  259. nicho says:

    What does high-school dropout have to do with it — except buttress the ad-hominem attack against Snowden. A brutal smear campaign currently being conducted online.

  260. nicho says:

    Please. The Russians already know what is in those documents. That’s why they have their own intelligence agencies, double agents, moles, etc. Snowden told them nothing they don’t already know.

  261. Dalai says:

    What past century did you time travel here from? Diplomas in the tech world are used for toilet paper if anything. What you know and can do is all that matters. And Snowden was good. Very good. The rest is also wrong. Sorry but your credibility = zero. Simply do a Wiki check on a persons background before typing next time.

  262. nicho says:

    No, pro NSA troll.

  263. Jessie Canty says:

    I don’t know how many times this has to be explained to you people. I’ll make it simple.

    He has documents that are potentially damaging to our national security. He stole these from the computers he worked on at the NSA.

    He also have absolutely zero knowledge of what these documents mean, as if it isn’t spelled out clearly what they mean, he gets them wrong. We saw this in the case of the prism program, which has been proven to be a far cry from what was originally reported.

  264. dula says:

    So which is it? Is he a liar and an unreliable fraud giving out meaningless old news or is he a terrible threat?

  265. Dalai says:

    My understanding is the USA, Chinese, and Russia are spying on their own private citizens as well as the private citizens of the other countries mentioned. Snowden (and others) consider that corrupt.

    We know one thing for sure. The NSA is playing with words, lying to the American public, using secret courts, warrantless wiretaps, and gag orders to proceed unchecked. And congress only knows what the NSA tells them.

  266. Sweetie says:

    A lot of people have difficulty with debate. They expect everyone to agree with them, whether they’re right or wrong. That is anti-intellectual and irrational. People need to stop personalizing ideas. This is a symptom of our ownership culture, whether everything and everyone can be bought, owned, and sold.

    It doesn’t matter to the universe who first came up with E=mc2. It shouldn’t matter so much to us either. However, our quaint method of ensuring elite luxury and environmental degradation mandates that we care.

  267. Only thing is, sometimes I’ve been told that people can feel stifled if the writer disagrees with them, they feel bad or uncomfortable disagreeing back. I guess I can see that, though hope it’s not true. I don’t mind anyone disagreeing so long as it’s polite and not “you’re a republican!” etc.

  268. LOL Uh, for 9 years I’ve been weighing in via the comments. Generally people like that :) Just because I disagree with some people doesn’t mean they’re not entitled to their opinion, or to disagree back (politely, of course :)

  269. Sweetie says:

    Our dear leader joked about killing teenage boys with drones shortly before doing exactly that.

  270. Sweetie says:

    There have been some musings on that subject, probably pushed for by competitors’ politicians and investors.

  271. Sweetie says:

    It’s a good thing when the article’s authors participate in the forum discussion, as long as the moderation is fair. I can’t figure out why you wouldn’t want to debate with everyone at the table, as long as they’re bringing substance to their position.

  272. FLL says:

    I agree with your point about transparency resulting in people being less gullible about nationalism. As far as “summit conferences,” I think it’s entirely possible for someone like Putin to jail people because they stand up for civil rights, but at the same time reject the idea of starting a worldwide nuclear war. I still think he’s a scumbag, but I don’t think he’s batshit crazy.

  273. Sweetie says:

    “Sorry but I don’t buy that the US is just as dangerous as Russia.”

    Which nation used nuclear weapons on civilians?

    “And yes, we should be spying on Russia”

    I never suggested otherwise.

    “Snowden knew we spied on Russia before he joined the CIA and NSA”

    As did practically everyone in the world.

    “His answers for why he leaked this latest information are lacking.”

    Lacking what? Some desired amount of nationalism?

  274. ezpz says:

    I wonder if the same people who are out to get Snowden will also pursue his former employer, Booz, Allen, Hamilton for selling technology to foreign governments….

    Funny thing (not haha) – computer crashed while searching for link, which I did see earlier.
    Then, when I clicked on a link suggesting it contained the searched information, I got a ‘page not found’ message.

  275. Sweetie says:

    “I do not believe in per se leaking every classified document in the entire US government.”

    Perhaps not, but consider the fact that the Obama administration is now classifying huge amounts of documents, documents that would not have been classified in the past. The attempt to build a Great Wall of Secrecy is clearly being made. And, according to analysts, overclassification is an old practice, which makes the trend even worse. Further, the Obama War On Whistleblowing is in play:

    Bernd Debusmann of Reuters in 2011:

    “many if not most of the ‘confidential,’ ‘secret’ and ‘top secret’ markings will fall under the label ‘overclassification,’ a practice that stretches back to the 1940s and has been criticized in a long string of reports by high-powered congressional commissions and academic experts.

    The latest comes from the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University’s law school. It says needless classification actually harms national security because it acts as a barrier to the exchange of information between government agencies and corrodes democracy. ‘Secret programs stifled public debate on the decisions that shaped our response to the September 11 attacks,” the report notes.

    Classification forced Americans to rely on leaked documents to debate such questions as the interrogation of detainees in secret overseas prisons or the government’s eavesdropping, without warrants, on Americans’ telephone calls

    … Steven Aftergood, who puts out a weekly newsletter, Secrecy News, for the Federation of American Scientists and has tracked classification policies for two decades. In his view, the Obama administration’s transparency policy lacks coherence and its implementation lacks consistency.

    The Brennan Center’s Elizabeth Goitein, lead author of the new report, says the current system suffers from an ‘implementation gap’ caused by a skewed incentive structure that all but guarantees overclassification.”

  276. The Guardian is citing him as the source for the various stories. I’m not sure what your point is – that the Guardian is now providing disinformation?

  277. Sorry but I don’t buy that the US is just as dangerous as Russia. And yes, we should be spying on Russia, and moreover, Snowden knew we spied on Russia before he joined the CIA and NSA. His answers for why he leaked this latest information are lacking.

  278. nicho says:

    Well, that takes the “Stupid Statement of the Day” award.

  279. I think that if he’s going to break the law in a huge way then he needs to have a good excuse for so doing. He had such an excuse, potentially, for PRISM. He does not seem to have any plausible reason for leaking the Medvedev and British stories. Which call into question his motivations, ethics, morality and more. I do not believe in per se leaking every classified document in the entire US government. So if one is going to start leaking documents, he needs a good reason. I’m not hearing one regarding these latest stories.

  280. nicho says:

    Snowden is a high school drop-out

    And apparently knows more about the Constitution than a certain Constitutional Law professor.

  281. Sweetie says:


  282. Sweetie says:


  283. Sweetie says:

    I shouldn’t have spent time responding to your longer post.

  284. Jessie Canty says:

    As I stated, it’s clear that he has access to sensitive documents and that makes him a threat and a thief. There is absolutely no reason to allow someone to steal our documents and leak state secrets with impunity. The NSA probably knows what he has already, but we probably won’t until Snowden releases more. Their reaction is completely in line with what you’d expect when someone steals states secrets and runs off to a foreign country.

    Further, HK has said that Snowden’s case will be handled in accordance with the law should we request their assistance. As of yet, we have not.

    Your rationalization is incredibly sad. It’s amazing to me the lengths of mental contortion that people are willing to go to justify what this man has done.

  285. debiannj says:

    He’s showing that he’s out for himself. He’s a traitor, and he’s compromising the USA. He needs to be nailed, and nailed now. If they can’t get him any other way, use a drone.

  286. Sweetie says:

    So, I guess you’re saying Putin isn’t so terrible after all. He can apparently be reasoned with. That seems to contrast some with:

    “a nasty man running a far-more dangerous country than our own”

    Why not be more honest about the spying that goes on? It seems to me that the only thing that will be lost is a bit of mind control for the plebs, who might be more inclined as a result of the transparency to view their governments with a bit less nationalistic fervor.

  287. RonThompson says:

    John, you had your say in the column. You can post a column any time you want, on any subject you choose. The “comments” section is for everybody else.

  288. Sweetie says:

    That explains why Rep. King wants Glenn Greenwald to be jailed and why he and other elites are calling Snowden a traitor. It’s why the media is reporting about extradition, hiding in Hong Kong, and defections.

    That sort of behavior is definitely the normal response to a random crank who makes things up out of thin air and a journalist who publishes those fictions.

    Daniel Ellsberg, the King of Cranks, claims Snowden’s leak is the most important in American History. Clearly, we’re dealing with a whole lot of nothing. Move along folks…

    All these bad bad people trying to disturb our football and Family Guy… Assange. Greenwald. Ellsberg. Chomsky. Snowden. I say round ’em up and give ’em some civics lessons!

  289. Jessie Canty says:

    1) Raises a valid question in my mind. That is, “Is Edward Snowden the worst spy in history to think this is something worth revealing, or is he just an idiot?”

    And you’re incredibly naive if you think these leaks do not place us at risk. World leaders play games, and if they have a reason to do bad things to you, they will seize on any excuse they have to rally public support behind military actions. We need not give people an invitation to act out on us.

  290. RonThompson says:

    To answer the question in the headline, yes, I still think Snowden is a hero. What, you thought I would think that everything he provides should hurt only one group of people?

  291. FLL says:

    Both countries have their finger on the nuclear button, so most people see the wisdom in the two countries maintaining communication with each other, no matter how hostile their governments act toward each other. Your question suggests that both countries would do well to cut off all communication with each other. Most people would disagree and not consider themselves insane, by Einstein’s definition or any other definition.

  292. Jessie Canty says:

    I’ve been saying from the beginning that this guy is a liar, a self-aggrandizing fraud. He clearly has access to some documents that say something, but anything that comes out of his mouth is turning out to be unreliable. Everything else is old news. (I’m still not convinced that he didn’t draw up those prism slides himself. They don’t really match with what we know about Prism.)

    I thought for sure that as the days go by he’d be found to be unreliable and people would come around. And that hasn’t happened. I’m beginning to think it’s not going to happen. Since we don’t trust the government, anything you say about them, no matter how ridiculous, is going to be taken at face value.

    And of course the idea that the American people deserve to know is certainly valid, but so far the only things that Snowden has revealed with any reliability have been reported in the media for years. Maybe if the American people missed it because they were watching football and playing Call of Duty and are only paying attention because it’s been delivered in what amounts to a reality TV drama, maybe they don’t deserve to know.

  293. Sweetie says:

    I don’t think these leaks significantly help Putin or his government.

  294. Sweetie says:

    My question is legitimate.

    “Summits between the U.S. and Russia have been going on for decades simply because the two countries are world powers”

    Refer to Einstein’s definition of insanity.

  295. Sweetie says:

    The point is that claiming that the exposing of common knowledge causes “real damage” to US national security is hyperbolic. As Greenwald said about the Wikileaks diplomatic cables, rather than “real damage” to national security, they mainly caused embarrassment. Frankly, I think the elites could do with more embarrassment, particularly when they joke about killing teens with drones and claim repressive dictators are members of their family. Embarrassment just might cause them to behave a bit better. One can hope.

    I am really not sure that it is a strong argument, either, that the charade that countries aren’t spying on each other needs to be maintained. It seems to me that that charade is only for the plebs, as any elite would be (at least nearly) fully aware of it.

  296. FLL says:

    No one is denying that Snowden was courageous for blowing the whistle on domestic surveillance, least of all me. It is possible that people are not two-dimensional cut-out figures, and that part of Snowden’s revelations do some good, and other revelations move in the wrong direction. What’s up with the “Very Bad Man” sarcasm? Do people get their jollies watching Putin’s thugs beat civil rights demonstrators in front of TV cameras?

    Summits between the U.S. and Russia have been going on for decades simply because the two countries are world powers, not because they like each other. If anyone in the media read the second paragraph of your comment, they’d laugh.

    You keep characterizing the leak about the U.S. spying on Medvedev as “a minor leak” and “at worst a slight embarrassment” and “unimportant.” That is a classic example of unsupported opinion.

  297. nicho says:

    Is he leaking it — or is someone saying he’s leaking it? What better way to create a distraction? Before you get your panties in a wad, make sure you’re not being played for a sucker by disinformation.

  298. Robert Martin says:

    In reference to point #1, while it can be argued that revelations of spying on other countries is expected one thing I have read concerning spying and the spy world is that you don’t exactly reveal what you were spying about. Your argument seems to be that ALL national secrets need to be out there for everybody. That doesn’t work in the real world. In reference to point #2 it may not affect national security, per se, but it DOES affect international relations. As for point #3 I refer you to points #1 and #2.

  299. nicho says:

    Exactly. If the CIA wasn’t spying on Putin, all its leaders should be fired and jailed for dereliction of duty. That’s what we give them 10 gazillion dollars a year for.

  300. Sweetie says:

    So we should elevate minor leaks that are at worst a slight embarrassment, condemn a courageous whistleblower, and elevate the security state, so that the US will have a nicer chat with the Very Bad Man? Fascinating.

    If Putin is so terrible, what good is going to come from this “key summit” in the first place?

  301. Robert Martin says:

    EXACTLY… Snowden tries to say, in one breath, “I vetted my information and only released what I saw as necessary to reveal that the U.S. Government is spying on the American people” yet in the next breath he is saying “Look at this… The U.S. Government is spying on everyone else, btw” and THIS information just happens to be about AND come before a meeting between the 2 sides that are affected by the leak (U.S. vis-a-vis Russia). If he was allegedly being SOOOO careful about what he was going to leak what is the reason for him leaking this? It almost DOES make him no better then Manning in the sense that, come hell or high water, He is thinking “WOW, I got all this information and I am going to leak, leak, leak.” without ANY concern at all for national security OR the responsibility he was given when given a security clearance for access to the information he is, basically, leaking willy-nilly.

  302. FLL says:

    OK, fair enough. You were addressing the part where I thought it was a bad idea to help Putin’s government. Is anyone really saying, “Don’t you dare criticize Putin’s government?” That just seems really creepy to me, but others may have a different take on it.

  303. Sweetie says:

    1. It’s not a revelation that the US spied/spies on Putin or any other major foreign politician. Everyone expects that, including the Russians.

    2. Snowden’s leaks have not caused “real damage” to US national security.

    3. The Cold War is supposed to be over. I don’t like Russia’s politics myself. I don’t like Putin. However, that is not enough to justify such Cold War rhetoric: suppress the truth or the bad guys win. The US is plenty dangerous, too.

  304. Drew2u says:

    Is there any description on how the spying took place? Was it also a case of gathering the internet to get Medvedev’s correspondences? If so, then the story would be that the information-gathering of private citizens took place in England/the U.K. and is the U.S. government now sitting on countless Allied citizen’s private correspondences as well as correspondences from just its own citizens?
    And in that case, that Utah facility isn’t just about spying on Americans, but spying on the world and holding the world’s data. That’s kinda fucked up.

  305. Sweetie says:

    I wasn’t addressing the bit about domestic spying.

  306. FLL says:

    Why is it difficult to understand that the present Russian government under Putin is a force for repression in the world? In what way, specifically, is John’s comment that you quoted ridiculous or superficial?

  307. FLL says:

    A closer look at reading comprehension, concerning what’s good and what’s horrible:

    “…the whole affair has done some good because it’s started a conversation
    about domestic surveillance. If Americans start questioning the wisdom
    of the Patriot Act and work towards repealing it in Congress, that would
    be a major improvement.”

    It’s clear from my comment that I don’t think the revelations about domestic surveillance are “horrible,” as you put it, but rather helpful for the national dialogue, especially concerning the Patriot Act. But that’s just the boring subject of reading comprehension. I know that subject bores many people. As far as leaks that help out the Russian government, I would distance myself from that sort of thing. People are judged by the company they keep.

  308. That’s my concern. This is part of the larger Wikileaks debate, and Snowden himself tried to claim that he was better than Bradley Manning in his handling of these leaks. He’s cast himself as part of the new “transparency” generation. So to me this story is as much about Generation Wikileaks as it is PRISM.

  309. If it’s not shocking, then why is he leaking it? It couldn’t have shocked his conscience if it’s not really shocking, so why is he leaking it?

    And I’d argue that “confirming” specific instances of spying on a foreign leader is “shocking” news, and harmful to the spy agency/country doing the spies.

  310. Exasperation is not an argument :)

  311. Sweetie says:

    The last line is mostly true, however… the desire to mock and condemn Snowden is also part of the story.

    It is a heroic thing to become a whistleblower.

  312. Sweetie says:

    It’s what they always do. Kill the messenger to avoid the message. Part of that game is to elevate unimportant things to the status of important things.

  313. Sweetie says:

    So, telling the truth is what’s horrible, rather than playing Cold War Warrior 2.0?

    And, it’s really shocking that the US and British governments spy on politicians. Stop the presses!

  314. Sweetie says:


  315. Sweetie says:

    Yup. But, the ad hominem brigade is out in full force with their false outrage and distractions. The US police state smiles.

  316. Sweetie says:

    “So at worst he’s intentionally helping Putin, and at best he’s woefully
    ignorant of the real damage he’s causing US national security on the eve
    of a key summit with a nasty man running a far-more dangerous country than our own.”

    Oh, give me a break.

  317. Monoceros Forth says:

    …techie…He’s a twenty-something libertarian.

    Oh, brother, one of those. I’ve worked with such persons. Heaven help us.

  318. madcap123 says:

    His latest releases do make it harder to like the guy. I believe that there is a duty to reveal illegal activity and “whistle blowers” are valuable. But it is starting to look like secret information has been sourced out, and is out of control, as well. And why is the Military collecting this data?

  319. Randy Riddle says:

    The “Wikileaks generation”, as you call it, is much more complex, with a wide range of motivations for leaking and opinions about how “information should be free” and the role of leakers in keeping a check on institutional power.

    Snowden is Deep Throat with no political savvy, a naive view of the world, and teenage angst. To me, he’s less significant that what he represents – a government collecting immense amounts of information on individual citizens and routinely sharing that information with hundreds of thousands of people that don’t have the maturity and responsibility to handle it properly.

    The story isn’t Snowden – the story is how the US created Snowden.

  320. FLL says:

    He may have dumped some releases initially and new releases about the U.S. vs. Russia now. Or he may have dumped all the releases at the same time. In either case, the motivation for the U.S. vs. Russia releases raises the question of his motivation because he specifically says that he evaluated each document. The world also knows that he Russian government made a very public statement saying that they would consider giving Snowden asylum. When I first heard that, I thought that Snowden would never consider helping the Russians. With the new revelations, I’m not so sure. Anyone in today’s world who comes in favor of helping the Russians is going to look like shit on a soda cracker. We’ll see.

  321. nicho says:

    So, we’re focusing on Snowden and not the massive invasion of our civil rights and the ongoing destruction of our democracy. Mission Accomplished!

  322. Yeah but what “corruption” is he exposing by going into the details of our spying on Russia? I just think it’s wholly inconsistent with his earlier rationale for leaking PRISM.

  323. Bea says:

    If he wanted to share something important to Americans it would be information about China, Russia, etc., spying on us personally. His second crime is that he tried to be a male model. Blah

  324. I agree. And like with the Medvedev leaks, proof of the fact that we’re doing something “everyone knows we do” is still damaging politically, and to national security when the details of how are leaked.

  325. Snowden himself is a huge story IMHO because, in addition to PRISM, this story is about the Wikileaks generation, which Snowden epitomizes.

  326. Randy Riddle says:

    Snowden is a high school drop-out and a techie, hired for a high-security job at a commercial firm. He’s a twenty-something libertarian. He’s young, inexperienced, and really has no larger conception about the implications of the work he’s doing, much less an understanding of politics and diplomacy.

    This is a man with the skills and experience of an Army private that has access to classified information of the highest level.

    Think about it. According to several news sites, there’s a good half million other “geeks” out there just like him that have access to the data being collected by the NSA.

    Does that make you feel comfortable about what our government is collecting and who has access to it?

    Is Snowden really the story here or is the story really about an intelligence infrastructure that’s outsourced and out of control?

  327. HKAnders says:

    Snowden is revealing details of those activities contained in classified documents. They are not illegal activities, and they are not activities that infringe on the constitutional rights of American citizens.
    Those details are state secrets. Snowden’s revelations hurt American national security efforts, and therefore they endanger Americans.

  328. nicho says:

    Did you copy that directly from the Fox News memo?

  329. nicho says:

    Oh for heaven’s sake. Of course, we’re spying on the Russians and the Chinese and hacking their systems. “State secrets?” Jayzuz! They’re hacking us. We’re hacking them. Anyone who didn’t know that shouldn’t be allowed out in public without adult supervision. That’s like revealing the “state secret” that the sun rises in the east.

  330. HKAnders says:

    Don’t forget about Snowden’s allegations about U.S. hacking against China.
    As reluctant as I am to toss around the word “treason,” Snowden is leaking state national security secrets. What’s the word for that? It certainly isn’t “whistleblowing.”

  331. Badgerite says:

    This should have been predictable to all this guys left wing supporters. Glen Greenwald is the Noam Chomsky of journalism. Before he broke this ‘story’ he was out there claiming that the Boston Marathon bombers were ‘radicalized’ because of Iraq, drones, etc. Another words, it was the fault of our foreign policy, not their radical ideology or murderous intent. This, of course, was before they tied the elder brother to a vicious and bloody murder with drug implications of three of his gym buddies a year prior to his ‘radicalization’.

  332. nicho says:

    Just remember that in that milieu, nothing is as it seems. You’re being gamed. This is all a distraction.

  333. Badgerite says:

    Probably all three.

  334. Proteus says:

    Or maybe he just had the information and courage to expose corruption. It’s interesting you use the word “tarnish” when exposing criminal behavior.

    An example…..

    March 2013 –

    SEN. RON WYDEN (D-Ore.): “does the NSA collect any type of data at

    all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?”

    Director of National Intelligence
    JAMES CLAPPER: “No, sir.”

    “It does not?”

    DIR. CLAPPER: “Not wittingly. There are cases where they could inadvertently perhaps collect, but not wittingly.”

    “Thank you. I’ll have additional questions to give you in writing on that point, but I thank you for the answer.”

  335. Dalai says:

    “the notion that the United States spies on Russia, or that Britain
    spies on foreign summit delegates, is hardly earth-shattering”. Correct.

    Snowden has stated his goals as exposing criminality and more transparency. His actions so far are consistent with those goals. He also had massive amounts of info which could seriously harm the USA national security. Nothing close to that has come out…unless you are paranoid or extremely scared person in general.

    Snowden had 2 options. Continue toeing the line with his high paying, easy, privileged job, and live in Hawaii spending his days surfing on the worlds greatest beaches with his smokin hot girlfriend…or….have the NSA and US gov after his ass for the rest of his life and probably end up in prision.

    He saw things which bothered his conscience and chose the latter.

  336. MoonDragon says:

    The acronym M(oney) I(deology) C(ompromise) E(go) is used to categorize motivations for spying. When I first heard Snowden interviewed a big red E appeared on the TV screen. He seemed like a kid screaming look at me, in spite of his words. Much of what he said spoke of exaggerated self importance (his level of access, authority, salary). He chose a flashy, eye-catching girlfriend. I’m actually beginning to wonder if I or M is entering into it – as in the ideology of the moneyed class. If he turns out to be less sterling of character than he originally presented, he’s told us some scary details about what most of us have suspected (never put anything into the ether that one doesn’t want the world to know) while tarnishing an American president, our allies, and a respected journalist. I don’t think our government should be spying on individuals, but I’m not sure any analyst worth the name is even capable of ignoring the urge to seek out and parse patterns in large scale data masses.

  337. Indigo says:

    Who is Edward Snowden? A high school drop out with a new toy and no cunning global political paradigm in his cute little head. Depth analysis does not apply.

  338. Pwill says:

    They shouldn’t have post like this in firs place it changes aShow all at once or dont its bad to show all one by one

  339. Bill_Andersoot says:

    These are new releases? I was under the impression Snowden dumped all of this stuff at the same time. That’s the impression Greenwald gave, anyway…

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