Snowden plans more leaks about US spying abroad, will let foreign press decide if leaks endanger Americans

Edward Snowden appeared to first admit to the South China Morning Post today that he took classified documents from the NSA, without regard to whether the content would be so damaging to the United States that it should not be released publicly.  Then he appears to suggest something far worse.

This is an important and nuanced point, as Snowden appears at first to be claiming that in fact he’s showing due diligence to concerns for American national security by screening classified NSA documents before he releases them to the media.

But Snowden also seems to be admitting that he did not make that determination, that it was safe to remove these documents from the NSA, before he removed those documents from the NSA.

Regarding the classified documents showing that the US had spied on China, here’s what Snowden had to say today:

“I did not release them earlier because I don’t want to simply dump huge amounts of documents without regard to their content,” he said.

“I have to screen everything before releasing it to journalists.”

Why does he have to screen it?  At first, I thought it was to make sure the secrets weren’t too dangerous to be released publicly.  But then Snowden continues:

“If I have time to go through this information, I would like to make it available to journalists in each country to make their own assessment, independent of my bias, as to whether or not the knowledge of US network operations against their people should be published.”

Note that Snowden is now admitting a few things.  First, that that he plans on releasing the details of US intelligence efforts against far more countries.  Who’s next?  Exposing US efforts against Iran, against Cuba, against North Korea? Against Syria?


But it gets worse.  In that quote above, Snowden appears to be suggesting that the delay in releasing more documents has not been because he’s worried about compromising US national security – but rather, that he wants to make sure the right documents get to the right countries, meaning the only delay is due to him having to go through the documents and make sure that country X gets country X’s documents, and country Y gets country Y’s.

After he sorts through the documents, Edward Snowden says he will let journalists in those countries decide whether it’s safe and appropriate to print the classified documents he took from American intelligence, and whether the information he’s released poses a danger to our country.  He wouldn’t want to let his “bias” as a former NSA employee, someone who actually understands the damage these documents can pose to American lives, interfere with the determination of the damage these documents might pose to American lives.  He’d rather let non-experts, foreign experts, decide if information they don’t fully understand puts American lives at risk.

Does Edward Snowden really think the press in any foreign country is going to show a lack of “bias,” as he puts it, as to whether the classified information in their hands is damaging to the United States’ national security, or that it will put American or other lives at risk?  Who is the Chinese press going to side with?  How about the Russian media?  How about Iran?  Or North Korea?  Or Syria?

Speaking of Syria, is Edward Snowden going to undermine the opposition in Syria by making it more difficult for the US to spy on that country?  Will Snowden’s defenders still defend him if he gets Arab Spring activists killed?  It’s all in the name of transparency, right.  And it’s all evidence of how the US spies on other countries, and that’s wrong, regardless of the victim of our spying.  Either it’s wrong or it’s not, and Edward Snowden says it’s all wrong.  And we are not to question his motives or his actions.  So it must be wrong when we spy on Assad in Syria too – intelligence that could very well help Arab Spring activists and combattants.

I’m sorry, but it is incredibly dangerous what this man is now doing.  This goes far beyond whistle-blowing.  Edward Snowden has a vendetta against US intelligence operations overall, and has made it his one-man mission to expose classified US operations around the world without regard to the harm he may cause America or Americans.

Edward Snowden is no whistleblower, and he’s no hero either.

And for anyone, like Snowden, who seems to believe that the US is just as “bad” as Russia or China, ask yourself how the Russians or the Chinese would have dealt with their own homegrown Edward Snowden.

His entire family would be in jail, if they were still alive at all.

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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222 Responses to “Snowden plans more leaks about US spying abroad, will let foreign press decide if leaks endanger Americans”

  1. Alex D says:

    His leaked data affects intelligence operations in dangerous places. Making their job harder, not easier. He is not capable of knowing the consequences of his actions (already, terrorist groups are changing their communication methods.)

  2. Peter IT Guy says:

    Wrong once again, the Arab Spring was all due to Manning and WIkileaks, one of the first cables that was released was to show the corruption of the Tunisia Gov’t something Hillary Clinton didn’t care about. If it wasn’t for Manning there would not have been a Arab Spring but of course America jumps in and tries to put THEiR choice of leaders in Eqypt etc who are all Muslim Brotherhood. America is a 2 faced country of the worst kind. They blame Al Queda for terrorism then they support them but call them Rebels in Libya and now Syria. When will you Americans WAKE UP !!!

  3. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    This is just bizarre. Seems ES was all over the Ars Technica chat boards a few years back, raging against people who leak government secrets. (Actually, he was raging about a lot of stuff…attitude for days.) Not even sure what to make of this.

  4. Robert says:

    Your point of view is expressed very well. I find much to agree with. Well done.

  5. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    OK, thanks for clarifying. Still can’t agree with the elitist correlation theory, though, just because I’m not seeing it in real life. I work with teenagers here in Oakland, and they don’t seem to view him as any hero; they think he’s a chump. I wouldn’t even suggest the Pancho Villa connection, because some of them would laugh like hell. Besides, he stole all that shıt for free without even getting paid? Chump! And have you seen his GIRL? Chump, chump, chump. But the most common theme goes like this: Figures a damned white boy can drop out of high school and get a job just like that, making all that money.

    Which is, of course, JUST the kind of notions they need to have reinforced, because kids in Oakland are just too too cheery and optimistic about life; it gets on your nerves, really. So yeah, thanks Ed, for inspiring them with that big dose of cynicism.

    No, he’s really no hero in this neck of the non-middle class, and at this point, I’d be surprised if a lot of people here are even thinking about him anymore. There are several local stories that everybody’s talking about now…a local gang rape, some drama around a police shooting, and for national news there’s the Zimmerman trial. That crazy boy with the glasses was hella weeks ago.

    Again, agree that the wealthy are being hogs and causing a lot of preventable problems. But if Mr. Snowden was hoping to be a hero of the downtrodden, he really should have done some marketing research ahead of time, because he’s lost control of the narrative.

    And yes, his story took a harsh new turn when he turned up in Russia. I don’t wish any ill on the guy, either, but dang, Dude! It’s like watching a Greek tragedy play out in real time. Hiding out in freaking Moscow, who knows how the Russians are treating him, and who’s hanging around all the time now but this guy:

    Must have been a drag, too, to see Rand Paul, of all people, chilling back on his support. Mr. Paul had little choice, though; hell, he’s on both the Foreign Relations committee and Homeland Security, and he can’t afford people thinking he’s had any hand in this mess. Neither Mr. Snowden nor Mr. Greenwald have done him any favors, and I bet nobody thought that through ahead of time either.

  6. Ford Prefect says:

    I would venture to say it’s not the republic on its deathbed, but the empire. The republic ended some time ago.

  7. Bubbles says:

    Reread what I said.

    I was not making Snowden out to be a hero either.

    What I said was, where you (meaning a person, meaning a 3rd person) falls on the Snowden issue is determined by where they are in relationship to the establishment – not where Snowden is in relationship to the establishment (Snowden in the 1st person, not the 3rd person).

    I agree Snowden had a middle class wage. He was a smart kid presumably with a reasonable work ethic but only a GED. Once upon a time, a smart hardworking person withonly a GED could get jobs that pay like that. My father was one of them. I have two degrees, including a law degree, and I nor any of my siblings come close to what my father made.

    But all the people who have fallen out of the middle class, they could give a [email protected] @ss about an establishment that has failed them.

    The elites in this country are on the make and on the take for themselves, exclusively. They don’t give a sh!t about anything other than their own estate. Its closing in on a feeding frenzy. The rich, especially, insist upon a 7% ROI. If the economy is not growing, then they have to steal rents from other sectors to get it, which is what they are doing. Now they know how to do it, they’ll continue to do it which means more and more of the middle class are going to have to take an enormous hit. Tough sledding and all that.

    People who have been kicked out of the middle class are more than likely going to look favorably upon someone who has poked the establishment in the eye. And that’s all this is – a poke in the eye. The elites of the political establishment are upset – feeling some discomfort. Unlike the elites, Snowden has not gained comfort for himself. Really, I think he’s screwed and things are going to get much worse for him.. His best option may be living out life in the Russian airport.

    You know things are pretty bad when a renegade becomes something of a hero. Like Poncho Villa or Robin Hood or something like that. This is the Roman republica in its death throes.

  8. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    Not when it’s trying to boss me around.

  9. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    Actually, it was quite prescient. Vlad Putin has announced that no, Russia won’t be extraditing Edward Snowden, and no, nobody in the Russian government has as much as seen or spoken to him. (He’d never admit otherwise, of course, and not only because it would mean capital charges against Mr.. Snowden.) Meanwhile, nobody in the airport has seen hide or hair of ES and everybody in the place is still looking high and low.

    So here’s my question. What possible disadvantage would it be to Russia for the SVR to snatch everything from Mr. Snowden, besides or including the clothes on his back, dump him in some remote dungeon or shallow grave and say, “Seriously, what Snowden? Never saw the guy.” ?

  10. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    What? Look, I agree with much of your assessment of the dangerous oligarchy, but I’m sure not making the connection to Mr. Snowden being any kind of a hero. And “once in the middle class, but having lost that standing…” um, what? The dude was making $200K a year. He walked away from that job and from a gorgeous life on a breathtaking Hawaiian island. However else you feel about him, Edward Snowden’s got little place to be crying the poorhouse blues. That’s about the worst excuse I’ve read for him yet.

  11. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    Love, love, love that plan, but who’s going to be left behind, and who’s even going to even WANT to take on the task of serving in that new government with so many Americans complaining that ALL government is corrupt?

    If the United States collapses, there are plenty of people just waiting to rebuild it according to their own chosen ideals. I’m just concerned that those people, and those ideals, won’t even resemble the ones you think will be left behind to do the job.

  12. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    They didn’t just smash corporate windows, though. How about the locally owned stores whose owners had poured their savings into having little shops of their own where the rest of us could go buy clothing and baked goods made right here in Oakland? How about the customers at the local music clubs, who had to huddle in the back while those windows were broken? How about the stores and cars with little kids inside? How about the cars of low income elderly people who couldn’t afford theft insurance and are still stuck taking the bus or just staying home all the time?

    And the whole strategy was stupid anyway. Places like the Gap and Bank of America have all the money in the world; they can afford security guards to guard their stuff, and company carpenters to come board up the windows before sunrise the next morning. It’s the smaller places that got looted. The big companies can afford to sit it out for months after their customers all evaporate because everybody’s afraid to go downtown. The Gap executives care not whehter you buy your overpriced Levis in Oakland or Walnut Creek. It was their low wage workers who suddenly had no jobs. It was the locally owned stores, and credit unions, and coffee shops and restaurants closing their doors for lack of business, and laying off a lot of other struggling people, because they just hadn’t the resources to rebuild, much less stand empty for weeks and months.

    You just don’t know…it was bad, really bad. And the most infuriating thing was, most of the rioting kids didn’t even live here. It wasn’t Oakland kids breaking out their own family’s windows, throwing bricks down the street not caring which neighbor they might hit, and shıtting in their own nest. Some of these kids came down from UC Berkeley, some of them came from surrounding, wealthier neighborhoods that were too fancy to “Occupy,” and increasingly, toward the end, some of them came from all over the country, all decked out in their Doc Martens and Gap flannel shirts, ready to FK SHT UP, YO! Why? Not because Oakland is any bastion of corporate power, are you kidding me? No, we were where the PARTY was, dude! Good weather, good weed, hella anarchist chicks, and the thrill of being an outlaw. Plus, the street cred…I was in OAKLAND, dude, I mean, OAKLAND, the REAL deal!

    What a steaming pile. Maybe that whole experience plays into my reactions to Edward Snowden. Civil disobedience is wonderful when there’s a purpose and a plan; hell, there wouldn’t even be an America without it. But I have serious little patience anymore for spoiled, privileged, attention-seeking young people who fly off the handle and create all manner of trouble without even stopping to think whom they may really wind up hurting. It’s hard for me to look at his face, and read about what he’s done, and see anything beyond one more pissy loud white boy who’s so blinded by his own impatience and self involvement that he doesn’t know what real problems are.

  13. Ford Prefect says:

    Excellent comment!

    Perhaps that’s why a serious majority of this country approves of Snowden, while the elites (Obama right along with them) keep falling in the polls.

  14. robert says:

    No not make Snowden King, that’s silly at best, but its getting those out of office who are corrupt and leaving those who want a return to a republic form of Government is best (in the sense the citizens are the rulers and not the elected officials)

  15. robert says:

    that’s a great line of yours__ “leery of whatever less ‘corrupt’ government you may have in mind”…as far as I’m concerned a less corrupt government is better than a more corrupt form of government.

  16. Bubbles says:

    The actions of our elites have been disturbing me for years.

    They no longer care about the public interest. Not in the least.

    We are a repetition of the Roman Republic in its final days.

    There is likely to be more Snowdens. He represents the meek reactions of the once mighty middle class to their loss of status. But eventually the Snowden’s will die out and then their will be nothing left but Rich and poor. Governing and governed.

    Hero or goat? It doesn’t matter. Sign of the times? yes, indeed.

  17. Bubbles says:

    Where you stand on Snowden depends upon where you sit in the hierarchy of our own establishment. Elite’s are anti-snowden.

    But the country, overall, is now suffering under its second generation of failed elites. The ice berg first appeared above water with MCI/world-com. Then Enron. Then rogue elites who could care less about the public interests went wild.

    There was the systematic destruction of the labor movement. The Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore, ignored the popular mandate. Clinton signed the repeal of Glass Steagall. Bush’s tax cuts had the effect of moving $5 trillion from the demand side of the economy to the supply-side (the elite side) of the economy. across the entire decade. The combine effect of his other policies moved at least another $5 trillion, and probably much more. After the credit markets ran out, demand imploded, dragging the finance sector with it. The finance sector, wall street, was fixed in legislation that only took days. Main Street received only a patch, that took months and was only one fifth of what was needed – five years later employment is still only a fraction of what it once was. Media avoids reporting on the stuff that makes the elite uncomfortable and the masses comfortable. This is a total failure of the elites to act in the public’s interest.

    The people who direct, guide and control this establishment are now spying on us. Upon whose interest do you think they act?

    These days are hardly any different than the last days of the Roman Republic. The Senate, representing the Patrician class, manage to kill all agents that acted on behalf of the lower orders. The last one was Julius Caesar himself. When Augustus finally took over, he was careful not to interfere with the Senate’s property interests.

    Snowden is a rorschach test. Where you fall in the hierarchy of American establishment is indicative of where you fall on Snowden. Increasingly Snowden’s is a desperate affair. Such is the way for millions of Americans who were once in the middle class, but have lost that standing to make room for wealth being shifted to the economic elites.

    Unfortunately, the fate of the middle class, or much of it, looks a lot like that of Snowden. There may yet be a political party named after him. Wouldn’t that be a hoot.

  18. Ford Prefect says:

    When government’s behave badly, it’s fairly common for people to point that out. When RW droids like Fox-viewers do it, they’re just being partisan. When people who believe in Good Government do it, you should listen. You probably won’t, but you should.

    You say “we create America.” That’s rubbish, if you listen to the Democratic Party elites. It’s rubbish if you listen to everyone in the Obama administration that isn’t named Barack Obama. If people don’t like BO, or whomever his fascist successor will be, it’s because they behaved badly enough to earn that dislike.

    You seem to have a wee problem figuring out where responsibility lies.

  19. Ford Prefect says:

    A police state is a police state is a police state. It matters not who is currently in charge. In January 2017, a Republican will regain control over the police state that has grown so vicious under BO. Perhaps you can console yourself now, but in 2017 you’ll be forced to recognize the crimes of your preferred master.

    As for “revolution,” it’s not something I relish, but it really doesn’t matter what I think. As Charles Tilly observed, “Revolutions aren’t made, they happen.” So it doesn’t matter what you think of the “kids” either. Besides, they’re not the ones who created an environment in which smashing a storefront seems like a good way to spend the afternoon.

    Your guy is the one currently in charge of creating strife in this country.

  20. skippytheflatfish says:

    It’s posts like this that make it clear that there is nothing progressive about the host or the site. John Aravosis is just Juan Williams in gayface.

  21. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    You’re welcome not to read them. Thought we’d come to that agreement, but It’s always a welcome revelation when people who claim to be all about freedom throw mud at anyone who doesn’t swallow their narrow brand of it.

  22. Not Impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    Heh…oops…the response above was meant for Ford, below. Pox on my clumsiness; kitten on lap.

  23. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    I wasn’t thinking of money, but of a reasonable amount of faith and trust. Not blind faith and trust, of course, but I’m seeing a real “government baaaaaad” spirit in our country that’s not only fatalistic, it’s lazy and very dangerous.

    We, the people, create the government. We create America, too, and if we make the kind of country where everybody hates the President, and the only rewards of the office are monetary, then we’re going to wind up with the kind of Presidents who like that arrangement just fine.

  24. Sweetie says:

    Your posts read like paid propaganda.

  25. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    The companies haven’t been prosecuted because there are no laws against the phone companies or Facebook compiling call records and tracking users’ online behavior. If more Americans demanded the kind of legislation that would bolster our privacy, and voted in representatives who would make it happen, those laws could easily be passed.

    But Americans are too busy on Facebook, clicking their “Like” buttons right and left and uploading photos of themselves in their underwear, or of their houses, or of their own children.

    Looks to me as though you think “making my own judgments” means agreeing with you, and sorry, them’s not the rules.

  26. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    The tone in which you’ve just dictated how I should think and feel makes me somewhat leery of whatever less “corrupt” government you may have in mind.

  27. robert says:

    Lets not be chasing “red herrings” here, the US gov’t IS spying on its own citizens and YOU should be OUTRAGED. This Gov’t is so corrupt its actions have been made acceptable by the rationals spewed forth such as “it can’t be changed’, ‘they aren’t the only ones’ or ‘what can you do about it, nothing’. Wake up and STOP THEM. Once the Gov’t has a monopoly on the use of ‘force’ you might as well kiss the US of A and it’s the ideals it stood for goodbye.

  28. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    We may or may not agree on this, but under the circumstances, I’m thankful that President Obama’s in office. I shudder to think of the ramifications of a Romney or McCain having control over the police state.

    But in this economic climate, any government with half a brain would be worried about the storm I hope we’re able to avoid in this country. The harsh truth is, when a few people have all the money, and the many are homeless, hungry, and worried for their kids, an increasing number of the many ARE going to start just taking what they need, and killing to get it, and tearing down the walls where piles of it are stored.

    And that may or may not be justified, but when riots like that spread, a lot of innocent people wind up being robbed and trampled.

    Saw a small microcosm of the French Revolution when the Occupy Oakland movement was in full swing here. I totally supported them at first; a lot of us did! But damn, some of those kids (and most of ’em didn’t even live in Oakland, btw) didn’t care which old grandmother’s stuff they broke or how many little kids they frightened or showered with glass. They’d caught the fever, and it all turned careless, selfish and mean. That’s what I worry about.

    But yes, the clueless slobs sitting on these stagnant piles of money could easily solve the problem, speaking of patriotism. And that doesn’t mean building more jails, for Christ’s sake. An ounce of freaking prevention, right?

  29. Ford Prefect says:

    … it may take some kind of a drastic, tragic, widespread crisis to really open America’s eyes.

    It’s already happening. That’s why Washington is building out the police state so furiously.

  30. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    Very good point about the destructive influence of the misanthropic oligarchy. I would love, too, to see a new WPA-like system emerge, particularly one that values the contribution of artists and writers.

    Sadly, though, it would probably require the kind of economic restructuring that just doesn’t seem feasible in our current political climate. When President Roosevelt died, for instance, the tax rate for Americans in the uppermost bracket was 94%, and it remained in the 90s for many years afterward.

    One of the biggest villains in our country’s economic history was Ronald Reagan, along with the profoundly evil men who propped up the senile old puppet and “his” greed-driven policies. The effects of his malevolent “revolution” have snowballed over time, and are largely responsible for the vast chasm we see today between the “entitled” überwealthy and everybody else:

    Having gotten their claws on almost all the money, the gazillionaires will continue to fight tooth and nail, by any means necessary, to hang onto it. (Hence the sinister machinations in play by the likes of Karl Rove and the Koch brothers.)

    And as a result, a lot of Americans have been duped into believing, “Taxes baaaaaaaad!” and actually voting AGAINST their own self interests.

    Combine that with President Wienertot having run up a horrific deficit pursuing the war-driven fortunes of himself and his cronies, and there’s just not a lot of money available for the federal government to institute the kinds of policies that FDR put into place, let alone the kind of Americans serving in Congress who would pass such a plan.

    So I’m with you all the way, but sadly, I’m afraid things will get a whole lot worse before they get better. The kinds of drastic reforms our economy needs would be fought at every turn, and while I regret saying this and truly, truly hope I’m wrong, it may take some kind of a drastic, tragic, widespread crisis to really open America’s eyes.

  31. Ford Prefect says:

    Then make “full time” a 30-hour work week. Investment will create jobs. If the private sector won’t do it (they won’t and are currently holding US workers hostage to get special arrangements like importing cheap labor) then the public sector can do it. No big woop. FDR did it and gave us the fastest growing economy in US history. He hired writers, playwrites, photographers… all sorts of people.

    This isn’t rocket science. It’s all been done before. We don’t have good policies now because our corporate overlords don’t want them.

  32. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    Thank you. I’ve probably said about all I have to say here, and repeating myself would be rude to the other bloggers. But it is encouraging to know that there are other Americans who aren’t rushing to join the Church of Saint Edward.

  33. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    With you on a single-payer health care system. As for the right to a job, however, I’m not clear on how that would work, unless you mean that the government should create jobs for people who don’t have them.

    That’s one solution, of course, but it still operates on the premise that it’s necessary for everyone to report in to something called A Job, and have someone else tell us how to spend the hours of our day, in order to collect the currency that makes basic survival possible within our current economic system.

    Might it not be more realistic, or at least more interesting, to consider that the reason there aren’t enough Jobs is that, within the context of advancing technology, there’s just not enough work to be done anymore that requires everyone to put in a 40-hour week?

    Of course, accepting that reality would mean coming up with an alternative system for distributing wealth, or food, or housing, or whatever. But the idea of “creating jobs” where there really aren’t as many to be done anymore has always struck me as a kind of backward way of addressing the situation.

    Automation and technology should, in theory, lead to an increase in leisure time, during which people could pursue endeavors of their own choosing, meaningful or otherwise. But our current system doesn’t really allow for that kind of situation to emerge.

  34. Sweetie says:

    Greenwald has been threatened by two “journalists” so far with arrest for the crime of conducting actual journalism: Gregory and Sorkin.

    U.S. newspapers ‘showed no antipathy toward the act’ and ‘far from
    opposing the measure, the leading papers seemed actually to lead the
    movement in behalf of its speedy enactment.'” — on the 1918 Sedition
    Act which criminalized speech critical of the government and military

  35. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    Yeah, sadly, I had a feeling you’d choose Door Number Two, a.k.a. the lazy way out. Fair enough; will scan past any further of your comments. Nothing kludges up an intelligent blog site more surely than an empty snipe fest.

  36. Ford Prefect says:

    Democracy involves an informed electorate that has actual choices to make. We do not have that now. Ours is a heavily propagandized society in which both parties are essentially the same. Democratic Fascism versus Republican Fascism.

    As an alternative, I would suggest a constitution with a bill of rights, like we used to have–although it could be greatly improved on, like a right to a job and a right to healthcare. I would also suggest a democracy, the existence of which was once rumored in the US, but never fully implemented. Also, a free press, as opposed to the sycophantic bootlickers we have now.

    Lastly, for some reason, I have a hard time accepting holier-than-thou remarks from right-wing authoritarian followers.

  37. Sweetie says:

    You have been given more relies than your posts deserve. They lack substance, frankly.

  38. Sweetie says:

    Or they can do what Snowden did and be vilified by an Obamabot.

  39. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    So are vapid pronouncements. Care to explain what you mean by that, or am I just on your nerves for not seeing things your way?

  40. Sweetie says:

    Once again, it’s clear that you’re more concerned about the public learning about a massive illegal surveillance program than you are about things like drone bombing American teens without explanation. Your wonderful Obama did that, as well as abandoning habeas corpus in other instances, such as the refusal to capture and try Bin Laden.

    Let me know when Snowden even comes close to doing the bad things Obama has done and/or endorsed and I might care to bother replying to your posts again. The Obama/Putin debate is vastly more worthwhile than an Obama/Snowden debate.

  41. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    See, that’s the premise that has me worried. The American people are not powerless. THAT, to me, is the cop out of all cop outs. It’s easy to pretend that the government is some bloodthirsty monster that none of us had any hand in creating, but that is just not how Democracy works.

    Still wondering about those suggestions for an alternative system, by the way. Anyone can sit in a computer chair and complain; that requires neither imagination nor conviction.

  42. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    Sorry, I don’t think stealing stuff, running away from home, and leaving his loved ones in the lurch qualifies Mr. Snowden as any kind of a hero.

    And I’m not romanticizing Obama; he’s not perfect, and I don’t expect him to be. But I do respect his intelligence, agree with most of his decisions, and trust that he has the best intentions for our country foremost in his mind. Have never had the luxury of expressing that kind of confidence in any other President in my lifetime, and it’s not something I take lightly. (Mr. Carter is a fine man too, by the way, but it was clear early on that he was out of his element dealing with the political machinery that is Washington DC.)

  43. Ford Prefect says:

    I hardly think that anyone who stands to “retire” with $100-200 Million in the bank right after leaving office is in a thankless position. He’s being “thanked” by all the right people, which is to say banksters, frackers, weapons manufacturers, mercenary corporations and so on. He’s going to have the biggest super yacht of any ex-president!

  44. Ford Prefect says:

    Cop out:

    it’s because the American people have allowed that situation to evolve.

    Blame the powerless for wrongs committed by the powerful. As for the constitution, it’s being shredded by the very same guy you pledge fealty to.

  45. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    I’m more interested in asking other Americans, particularly those who seem to view our government as the enemy, what alternatives they’d like to see to our current Constitutional Republic. America is what WE make it, and so is the American government.

    It’s very, very easy to say “the government sucks and can’t be trusted,” but for all the complaining, I’m not seeing any constructive suggestions as to an alternative. Edward Snowden as King, perhaps?

  46. Sweetie says:

    It’s also not just a matter of defending privacy. It also involves moving the court system back into the light where it belongs.

    Secrets courts are not courts of law, no matter how scary you think Mitt Romney is.

  47. Sweetie says:

    And yet you think it makes sense to romanticize Obama as you did in your “thankless job, horrific bullet” post above.

    It is heroic to choose to lose a cushy job, a home in Hawaii, a cute girlfriend, and all the rest — as Snowden, not Obama — has — in order to try to improve the condition of the nation by defending privacy.

  48. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    No, what’s bothering me is the spectacle of so many of my fellow citizens romanticizing Edward Snowden (as in, Edward who?), and taking his every utterance as sacred truth, like he’s some pie-eyed piper.

    It’s increasingly obvious that America is starving for heroes, but I’m not seeing how this guy fits the bill.

  49. Sweetie says:

    wow… just … wow

  50. Sweetie says:

    “And if the US Government goes away, and the Constitution along with it, of course, then what’s our alternative?”

    Why don’t you ask the current government about that constitution? It’s patently obvious that they haven’t read it recently. Obama is trying to recreate the 1918 Sedition Act as we speak.

  51. Sweetie says:

    Your rhetoric is utterly empty.

  52. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    On that point, we may have to agree to disagree, because I see him as a credit to the office of President and think we’re damned fortunate, as a country, that he was willing to take on such a thankless job at all.

    I recall the Nixon years, the Reagan years, and the Bush years far too vividly to not be appreciative of President Obama. And that’s to say nothing of Mitt Romney’s sleazebaggery. Still very thankful that our country and the world dodged THAT horrific bullet last November.

  53. Sweetie says:

    So, you side with someone who openly advocates for “preventative detention”, jokes about bombing teenagers with predator drones (and then does so), thinks habeas corpus can be thrown away in favor of shoot and dump, and all the rest…

    The thing that really bothers you is people finding out about a massive domestic surveillance complex, with courts that are not courts of law because they’re secret as the alleged check?

    If so, you’re an authoritarian, which is its own form of blindness.

  54. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    It’s hard to know how I’d react to that, because it’s all theoretical. I will say that I don’t buy into any moral equivalencies between Presidents Obama and Bush. Mr. Obama is a Constitutional scholar and a very bright man, while Bush was an inept little puppet who, in my opinion, should never have slithered into office in the first place. Maybe calling “apples and oranges” is intellectual laziness on my part, but the two men are so, so different that it’s just how I see things.

    However, Mr. Obama will not be in office forever, and I don’t take it for granted that I’ll always have the luxury of trusting my President. Under somebody else’s tenure, maybe the Prism program, etc. would be a lot more dangerous (presuming, of course, that the NSA doesn’t have it’s own checks and balances in place to prevent the system’s abuse by inept little puppets, Cheneyesque slimeballs, or Nixonian psychopaths.) So a national conversation around the issue is not, by any means, a bad or unhealthy thing. I just don’t feel that Mr. Snowden has earned the right to be lord and master of that conversation.

  55. Ford Prefect says:

    It seems to me Obama proves this statement, just as his predecessors did:

    It’s reaching a point where the only people who will even consider running for office will be REAL power hungry criminals, or complete idiots, because no thinking person is going to want the aggravation of the job.

  56. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    Where you see a whistleblower, I see a lying thief throwing a tantrum. Where you see traitors to the Constitution, some of whom work in the White House, I see a lot of broad speculation.

    Some days it amazes me that the President doesn’t say, “To hell with all this noise; the girls and I are packing up and heading back to Chicago. Run America yourselves.” It’s reaching a point where the only people who will even consider running for office will be REAL power hungry criminals, or complete idiots, because no thinking person is going to want the aggravation of the job.

  57. Mark_in_MN says:

    Those companies not bing prosecuted? What? That’s crazy. why would the government prosecute these companies for doing it own bidding, for cooperating with their program? Besides, it isn’t the companies that stand accused of violating the constitution (which doesn’t restrict them directly in the first place) but the government. It’s the government conducting illegal searches, not these companies. I think they should be chastised for cooperating, but the major problems lies with the government, specifically the NSA. And if your going to wait for the supreme curt to rule, like a know-nothing, your probably going to wait a very long time because these sorts of things have a glaring problem with anyone being able to establish standing because of a nice little catch-22 the government has constructed for itself to avoid accountability in such matters.

    Clearly you are really not interested in actually listening and making your own judgements, being much more interested in running interference for the national security apparatus and casting doubt and aspersions in order to undermine the very legit ate and serious issues of government conduct that Snowden’s information raises, whether your impressed by him nor not.

  58. Ford Prefect says:

    If Snowden were Chinese and did the exact same thing, he’d be called “hero” by Obama himself, given asylum, large sums of money and lavish dinner parties by Obama’s right-wing friends.

    John is suggesting, but not saying explicitly, that Snowden is a Chinese spy. But what kind of spy hands over docs to a friggin’ newspaper? An oddly incompetent one! Spying is done to gain advantage via access to other people’s secrets. Making them public destroys any such advantage, doesn’t it?

    Lastly, look at the way our system works. If you see a crime being committed, you will go to prison (or worse–see: Manning, Bradley), while the criminals get a get out of jail free card from Barack Obama. You may even be murdered outright.

    That environment not only invites more devastating measures, it DEMANDS them. Quite frankly, it’s insane to accuse a whistleblower of being irresponsible, when the criminals being protected are traitors to the constitution and some of them work in the White House.

  59. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    If that were the case, companies such as AT&T and Facebook would have been prosecuted a long time ago. Will wait for the Supreme Court’s ruling on whether or not Prism violates the Fourth Amendment. I’m not inclined to blithely accept Mr. Snowden’s pronouncements on the matter, nor yours, all due respect.

  60. kmcdevitt says:

    I very much appreciate your comments. I’ve been saying almost the exact same thing to my friends for the last week. He committed a grave and serious act against his country and his government. If he feels that taking such an extraordinary step, with potential consequences of such magnitude, was warranted as a matter of principle, as an act of civil disobedience, then he should be prepared to answer for it and accept the consequences.

  61. goulo says:

    Whether or not he’s assessing WELL is a separate issue. I was just responding to John’s claim that the quotes showed that Snowden ISN’T assessing, when they don’t seem to actually say that at all, and indeed seem to say that he IS assessing.


    Fair enough point about the Iraq War example being openly approved by congress (and for that matter most US citizens at the time) (and agreed about the sad problem of US voters continually supporting this kind of stuff).

    If you like, consider a different example where someone got a job in the White House explicitly to find and leak evidence about Bush/Cheney doing some secret evil thing which Congress didn’t approve – e.g. a smoking gun film with Cheney saying “I’ll screw Joseph Wilson for trying to mess with our plans; I’ll out his wife.” or Bush & Cheney saying “This must never be made public, but let’s give our guys the green light to torture those prisoners” or whatever. I suppose people wouldn’t be complaining too much about the leaker’s deception in getting the job just to find and leak such things – even if they’d never even heard of the person a month before.

  62. Mark_in_MN says:

    If your not seeing it, your blind. The very collection of the data, massive amounts of data broadly scooped up (not targeted to specific individuals based on prior suspicion), required to make a program like Prism useful or necessary is itself the constitutional violation. It matters not what kind of “safeguards” for privacy or whatnot there might be, the search and seizure of the massive data dumps involved is a huge, massive, gaping, drive-a-Mac-truck-through-it, violation of the US constitution.

  63. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    Wouldn’t you think, though, that the NSA has more important things to do with their time and money? I’ve seen no evidence whatsoever to indicate that they’ve got a dossier on every US citizen. From where I’m sitting, that’s a lot of panicky speculation.

  64. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    Speaking of grand conclusions, it’s disturbing me greatly to see the number of Americans who are lining up to suck Edward Snowden’s dichotomy. What has this guy done to earn so much blind trust?

    What if “To Serve Man” turns out to be a cookbook?

  65. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    Sorry, not seeing any of that. I’ve read nothing to indicate that the people in charge of the programs that involve sifting through all that data haven’t taken great care to avoid violating the Constitution. If you have any hard evidence to the contrary, do share.

  66. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    Perhaps you can share a link to YOUR blog, where surely those three or four different articles are just waiting to be read.

    Or…is it easier to sit back and complain that somebody else isn’t reporting on them to your satisfaction?

  67. Mark_in_MN says:

    He’s confirmed that they are still collecting data like that, and doing so on a massive scale despite constitutional prohibitions to the contrary. He’s told us what the government should never have been hiding. He’s exposed what the government should never have been doing: activity injurious to our republic and the freedoms its meant to be protecting rather than violating.

  68. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    Honestly, I don’t care whether Mr. Snowden’s assessing the information before he passes it on. I have no confidence in him as Grand Assessor. A month or so ago, I’d never even heard of this person; what has he done to earn my trust or anyone else’s?

    And what “corruption” has he revealed that’s even remotely equivalent to the Iraq war/Halliburton connection?

    Remember too, by the way, that the war with Iraq could not have happened if our Congress hadn’t allowed it. It’s also important to consider that our Congress, as well as Bush and Cheney, were all elected by the American people. If Americans don’t like thugs running the show, the solution is simple enough; a lot of people need to quit bending over and voting thugs into office.

  69. goulo says:

    I meant “lost in translation” not only literally but in the sense of journalists not always reporting accurately (either misquoting, or quoting literally correctly but out of context). But sincere thanks for confirming that the quotes are from the linked article (which I still can’t see).

    To me, the quotes as quoted say what I wrote before. I don’t see any place in those quotes where he says he’s not assessing the leaked items. Indeed, in those quotes, he states again that he wants to assess the items before passing them on to journalists.

    The fact that he ALSO leaves it to foreign journalists to assess what they want to print in no way implies that he hasn’t assessed what he leaks to them. I honestly don’t understand how John (and you?) are getting from those quotes that he isn’t assessing them before passing them on. Is there something else from the article I’m not seeing?


    FWIW I said nothing about his motivations about working at BAH. I’m not sure how it’s relevant. You can find plenty of examples of people praised for sneaking into a place to expose corruption (and I believe I’ve seen such examples on americablog).

    If someone had taken a job at the White House specifically to expose some smoking gun film of Bush & Cheney directly saying “Let’s lie to start a war in Iraq so our Halliburton stock value will increase!”, I doubt many here would have complained about it that person’s motives of taking the job.

  70. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    I’m still waiting to hear what good Ed Snowden has actually done. What, exactly, has he revealed that’s been of any benefit to anyone? If there were people in the 21st century who didn’t know or assume that our National Security Agency was collecting data by means of computers and cell phones, it’s because those people haven’t been paying attention in the first place.

  71. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    To the extent that America is “no longer a force for good in the world,” which is something I don’t completely buy into, btw, it’s because the American people have allowed that situation to evolve.

    And if the US Government goes away, and the Constitution along with it, of course, then what’s our alternative?

  72. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    The link works for me (although I had to relax my script blocker to read the article). Mr. Snowden’s words are framed in direct quotes, just as they are here. Moreover, there’s this:
    Asked if he specifically went to Booz Allen Hamilton to gather evidence of surveillance, he replied: “Correct on Booz.”
    Ed Snowden speaks English, so there would have been no need to translate his remarks.

  73. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    In hell, I hope, but the fact that he hasn’t been doesn’t make what Ed Snowden did any less reckless, illegal, or potentially dangerous to other people.

    And lets be pragmatic here. Going after Cheney at this point would open up a huge can of worms that would still be slithering away in this after that courtroom when the old geezer finally puts that other foot in the grave.

  74. Also it’s incredibly naive to think that governments have nothing to hide and shouldn’t do shit they doesn’t need to get exposed. I mean, come on. And I’m always on time and life is perfect blah blah blah

  75. perljammer says:

    I respectfully disagree. Anyone capable of functioning in society knows how to “pay attention” to more than one thing at a time. It’s not at all difficult to be totally pissed about the NSA’s domestic surveillance while at the same time being disgusted with Snowden’s attention-whoring.

  76. NorthKoreasunshine says:

    John, you are drawing some pretty grand conclusions from a single quotation. Would it kill you to wait for further developments before you you condemn Snowden? You sound like an incompetent right-winger.

  77. SkippyFlipjack says:

    fyi, sarcasm doesn’t always come through well when written, so your ‘retribution for the Revolutionary War’ remark almost sounded like you were serious.

  78. caphillprof says:

    You are ignoring reality.

  79. lynchie says:


  80. lynchie says:

    who did he jeopardize? Go back to your job and CIA or NSA. “I don’t think they would have done them unless we were concerned for our safety”. How naive are you? They did them because then can. And what the hell does broadband speed have to do with wire tapping, and spying on Americans. I know if you have done nothing wrong you have nothing to fear. I call bullshit

  81. lynchie says:

    You made my point we don’t know. It is mostly speculation by talking heads. The only reporter involved is Greenwald. As I said we should all chill and see where this goes. The government is going to spin and cover its ass. Lie and expect us to accept it. That is how the Patriot Act was portrayed and named. If you criticize it you must not be a Patriot. There is no question what Snowden has revealed so far is factual. CIA lying, NSA lying, OHighness lying and they are all running to do a coup on Snowden. They did the same to Ellsberg, MLK, and painted them as communist, anti american, etc.

  82. SkippyFlipjack says:

    I think maybe you haven’t really been following the news or something. You sum up the discussion this way:

    Fantasy Point: Shouldn’t we be freaked out about the possibility of Mr. Snowden exposing this Orwellian data collection scheme to other fellow humans – er – countries, some who are even our real enemies? … The attempted logic here is that it is okay to spy on your family and friends if your stated goal is to spy on your enemies or “potential” enemies.

    It’s not about being “freaked out” about exposing the data scheme to others — that discussion was over after the first wave of revelations. Snowden has since moved on to revealing information about our hacking computers in mainland China, for example, and he’s saying he’s got a lot more information like that. You have the “attempted logic” backwards — it’s really that no, it’s not okay to spy on family and friends, and it’s good to reveal that behavior, but not okay to reveal spying efforts focused outside our country.

    Whether it’s OK to spy on other countries during peacetime is a separate and valid question.

  83. FunMe says:

    So I guess it is safe to say that America’s so called government will be consistent with everyone. Right?

    OK, so I am waiting for Dick Cheny to be indicted soon. Right?

  84. Bill_Perdue says:

    Our worst enemies are in the WH and Congress.

  85. Bill_Perdue says:

    Write them in for every office you vote for.

  86. goulo says:

    John, you seem to be misunderstanding or misrepresenting the quotations which you cite. Snowden didn’t say that he was letting journalists decide about appropriateness instead of himself deciding about appropriateness. The quotations you cite seem to me to be saying that Snowden makes his decisions about appropriateness (from his US point of view), and then journalists decide about appropriateness in the context of their own countries.

    Unfortunately I can’t reach the news article you linked to in order to see the full context. :/ It would not surprise me also if some nuances were “lost in translation”.

  87. dula says:

    I haven’t seen any leaks yet that have hurt other Americans like the Cheney leak that hurt Valerie Plame and murdered her informants. Perhaps you’re correct and there will be more damaging info to come. Americans better get used to the idea that because the US is no longer a force for good in the world, there will be other conscientious Americans with the influence to try and stop its malicious intentions (the Germans who hid Jews from the Nazis were breaking the law and considered traitors). Our government is now merely the enforcer of the will of corporations. Corporations are willing to destroy the Earth’s environment and her economies for their own gain. Whistleblowers may be comfortable with being accused of “treason” towards a sociopathic US government as long as they see themselves as patriots/stewards of the Earth. Humans without borders.

  88. Mark_in_MN says:

    That, of course, assumes that he has any information that really could cause harm to his family and friends and that his behavior is “reckless” in regards to his safety. So far, nothing he’s said or reveals indicates anything of the sort. He’s not putting our country in danger, yet some are acting as if the sky is falling as a result of all this. Last I checked, the sky is still up there, and is likely to remain up there.

  89. Mark_in_MN says:

    And those villains who don’t like us will try to hurt us, and sometimes succeed in hurting us, regardless of the number of classified NSA, CIA, FBI, or whatever-other-piece-of-the-national-security-alphabet-soup documents that any number of people might leak yesterday, today, or someday in the future. Keeping this stuff under several layers of iron, chains, and the like won’t change that either.

  90. goulo says:

    Of course they have the time and money to have dossiers on every American, and manpower is not very relevant with such mass automated collection of data.

  91. Mark_in_MN says:

    Short of releasing military plans for a operation underway or codes that could trick some uncritical commander to launch an attack without proper authorization, is there really that much classified information which could do actual and truly serous harm to the United States except in the fevered minds of the “intelligence” community who have dug their heads so deeply into their game that they can’t really tell reality from their concocted world? Embarrassing the United States isn’t real harm. It’s barely even imaginary harm. Apart from the good he did (whatever his motivations, which seem to me to be utterly beside the point) in revealing our governments shenanigans with the Prism program, embarrassment seems to be the most one could claim for the supposed “damage” he’s done. And, part from the revealing of the Prism program, the whole thing has been a yawn so far except for the overwrought protestations of the national security apparatus and its lackeys.

  92. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    “Argue merit NOT personality. One rests on reason the other is ad homonym.”

    Forgot where I read that…hmmm…

  93. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    I have no reason to think that the NSA has a file on me. They surely haven’t the time, money, or manpower to be compiling dossiers on every single American, and I can’t imagine why they’d be inclined to.

    But if I’m wrong, it’s probably only because they wanted my recipe for rum raisin gingerbread, and in that case, the more the merrier.

    How do you know this Snowden fellow doesn’t have a file on YOU? Muahahahahaaaaa.

  94. Max_1 says:

    Argue merit NOT personality.
    One rests on reason the other is ad homonym.

  95. Max_1 says:

    You can’t argue any better?

  96. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    That raises a very interesting question. Why in hell should I take it for granted that Edward Snowden is telling the truth? Just a few weeks ago, I’d never heard of the guy. Maybe he’s acting with good intentions. Maybe he’s being bankrolled by hell knows who. Maybe he’s struggling with the initial phases of paranoid schizophrenia. I don’t know what his story is, but I find myself unable to blindly accept that he’s the best guy in the room to tell us what is going on.

  97. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    I’m not getting how his interests in protecting US security should have ended. Maybe he doesn’t love our country, but he does still have family here. For somebody who thinks so little of the United States government, he certainly seems to take for granted that no harm will befall his parents, siblings, or girlfriend as a result of his reckless behavior.

  98. Jessica Rice says:

    right, I pay my taxes too, and as a citizen of one of the hotly terrorized states in the U.S., and for the consideration of the other taxpaying citizens of the US, we should ALL respect the security of OTHERS paying into the Security fund, just in case we have a hard time respecting with empathy. These other countries haven’t even put laws on the books yet to give that same consideration to their people let alone us. Our government (our prior Repub govn’t was sociopathic at best) but we should have to hold the PEOPLE responsible for poor effect to FOLLOW the laws we have since discarded (violation of human rights). There’s some authoritative command in respect for life in case you just like using a big word, christ

  99. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    Cure insomnia?

  100. Max_1 says:

    Just remember:
    The NSA has a file on you!
    Regardless if you approve or disapprove of Snowden…
    … The NSA has a file on YOU.

    Now, what will they do with the info they have on you?

  101. Jessica Rice says:

    Ugh, you are manipulating with YOUR comments, as none of us could possibly want to *look dumb* or be fooled into thinking what we’re thinking. You know what, most of us know what this smells like, and there are fools all over the place, Snowden’s one of them due to his sheer selfishness.

  102. FLL says:

    What other reason for all the whining about Putin not being such a bad guy and how it’s no big deal if people inadvertently give him a helping hand? Why so touchy when people criticize Putin’s thug government?

  103. Jessica Rice says:

    Okay, we have no idea why our government was really watching them but something tells me they had reason, China’s been in the hot seat for a while now, and I don’t think it’s a mystery that some of these players would love to sabotage the US without a thought. And he goes and hides there because they would of course LOVE to have him.

  104. Max_1 says:

    Shorter John Avarosis:
    “I’ve jumped the shark, boys.”

  105. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    Marcus, something I’m finding ridiculous amid all these blog conversations is that some of the very same people who are going on and on about freedom seem to care nothing for the freedom of people like John Aravosis to speak his mind. “I don’t agree with you, so you need to shut up” is hardly a convincing argument on freedom’s behalf.

  106. Max_1 says:

    Not that I’m singling anyone out here…

    But you’re gonna do it, anyway?

    WHY belittle yourself so cheaply?

  107. usagi says:

    Going with What Digby Said is generally a good plan on most things, especially this sort of topic.

  108. Max_1 says:

    And how might you be risking your life collecting ALL digital DATA of US CITIZENS?

  109. FLL says:

    This is from your comment:

    “But of course, you’re not paying attention because you say you hope Snowden is out of Russia… the latest news is that Snowden WAS NEVER IN RUSSIA. That was released many hours ago.”

    I can read. You cannot write.

  110. Jessica Rice says:

    he seems like a lonely young person hoping to make friends with a bunch of radical liberals since he’s the definition of anti-sociable… I’m liberal but sh**, not a jerk, would have kept my mouth shut and jeopardized the people all around the globe. Because some of these countries WILL use the information against each other!

  111. Jafafa Hots says:

    Actually I kind of LIKE it when crimes and government corruption are easy to reveal.

  112. Max_1 says:

    Yes, swat at gnats while swallowing flies…

  113. Max_1 says:

    An “It Gets Better” campaign is needed, indeed.

  114. Jafafa Hots says:

    thinking is not a synonym for reactionary

  115. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    Mr. Aravosis, I for one appreciate your observations here. I don’t know Ed Snowden, I didn’t vote for him, and I don’t appreciate him taking it upon himself to abscond with a lot of NSA data and anoint himself the only person on earth who’s fit to decide whether and where it should be distributed.

    This is the United States, where “the government” isn’t some nebulous “them against us” enemy. WE create the government. That’s what the Constitution’s all about. I can’t imagine that President Obama or anyone at the Justice Department is happy about having to charge this guy with espionage, but what in hell choice do they have? If they let Edward Snowden off with a pat on the head and a tsk tsk tsk, what message would it send to the next security thief whose motives may not be as pure as Mr. Snowden claims his to be?

    There has to have been some more productive, less ridiculous way for him to make his concerns known. He’s acting like some pouty kid who’s run away from home. Nor am I at all impressed with Glenn Greenwald, who seems to have been in a position to have possibly prevented this tragedy if he hadn’t gotten all caught up in landing such a Big Scoop. If he were a decent person, he’d have counseled Mr. Snowden that hey, know what? Everybody pretty much knows that the NSA collects information on people. It’s NOT worth throwing away your life, breaking your parents’ heart, and making yourself an enemy of the people. But no, it seems Mr. Greenwald’s happy to bolster his big 15 minutes by throwing the naive Mr. Snowden right under a bus.

    This is a very sad situation, to be sure, and part of me does feel sorry for the guy. But at the end of the day, he betrayed my country, and that means he betrayed me. And no, I don’t trust him to “do the right thing” as he flies all over the place with a bag full of information that could put other Americans at risk. Nor do I trust the governments of the countries he’s chosen to visit to let him pick and choose what details he shares with them.

    Mr. Snowden’s made his bed, and now he’ll have to lie in it. I just hope he doesn’t take other decent people down with him. There’s absolutely no way of predicting whether that will happen, and my guess is that Mr. Snowden’s ability to prevent it from happening is dwindling by the day.

  116. Max_1 says:

    Wait till John denounces the pacifists for placing the Nation in danger…

    … Oh, never mind. He just did.

    Goebles would luv ya John… Just luv all over you.

  117. Jafafa Hots says:

    You cannot read.
    Snowden in Russia was pure speculation. Snowden NOT in Russia was pure speculation. Snowden going to Iceland, Ecuador, wherever else… all speculation.

    You do not know. I do not know. We do not know where Snowden is or how he got there.

    All we have is speculation from the media and disinformation from the same NSA spooks that lied about this program.

    You have gone off on a rant based on information you have been spoonfed by institutions with an agenda. You have no way of knowing what of it is bull.

    No tin foil hat, no conspiracy theory. It’s called advertising-suported broadcasting. They spew out BS as bait. They sell what they catch to advertisers. What they catch is your eyeballs. The more engaged or enraged they make you feel, the more they get your eyeballs.

    If it’s true, if it’s false, they don’t give a shit either way. They don’t particularly care about knowing themselves. They don;t have time to worry about INFORMING you… they have airtime to fill.

  118. Max_1 says:


    Dear John,

    Where is the story about how the White House and it’s DoJ is quashing a 2011 FISC (FOREIGN Intel Surveillance Court) ruling on the EFF case?

    WHY no story and public education about the UNCONSTITUTIONALITY it found the NSA is perpetrating AGAINST the American public?

    As a blogger, what part of the story you put out there, matters.

    Truth or half truths?

    BOTH the EFF case and the upcoming ACLU case name the NSA as a branch of the US Military.

    WHY no story on the history of the Posse Comitatus Act?

    Do your readers a service and tell the WHOLE story, not just the parts that make your pov “pretty”!


  119. FLL says:

    No, honestly, Jafafa Hots, I’m fascinated. This is the first time I’ve heard anyone suggest that Snowden went from Hong Kong to a country other than Russia. What’s your source? If it checks out, I’ll give you a gold star for Internet reporting and Snowden a gold star for brilliant strategy. I don’t think there’s anyone out there who would suggest that Snowden is still in Hong Kong, which is counter-intuitive because it would be too dangerous for Snowden.

  120. Max_1 says:

    John, John, John…

    … As a blogger, how are you supporting your First Amendment Rights of your sources?

    Oh, what sources?

    OK then, as a citizen who runs a blog, aren’t you concerned with the tracking of activity the NSA is doing on YOU through YOUR wed blog? And of the AQ hits it produces? Kind of frames you for NSA pickings… NO?

    Support and defend your 1st amendment (speech and association and press) and your 4th, search warrants based on probable cause, specific papers and person to be searched…

    Your Freedom may count on it.

    Sure, Snowden has crooked teeth, and wears glasses and oh, did you hear this one… dropped out of High School and had to get a GED instead… Funny, I know. And get this, he has information as to HOW the US MILITARY has SPIED on YOU in VIOLATION of FISA law and the Posse Comitatus Act.

    But who the FUCK cares… RIGHT?

    We’re on a man hunt… YES?

    Shark Jumping only means one thing… eaten up by JAWS!

  121. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    Ben, I was thinking along the same lines when I read Mr. Snowden’s confession today. Seems to me he’s dancing awfully close to being charged with capital espionage. Knowing so little about the guy, I’m wondering now if he’s some troubled, deluded soul with a hero/martyr complex, hoping to commit suicide by DOJ.

  122. FLL says:

    Was never in Russia? This is pure speculation on your part, as is most of your comment. The beltway media? Please furnish me with a link that substantiates your claim that Snowden was never in Russia, and that this news was released many hours ago. Furnish me with the link, and I’ll decide, along with the other readers, whether your news sources are rational or delusional. Until you furnish some source for your statements, they are just hot air, as well as sounding much like tin-foil conspiracy theory. If it turns out that you and your news source are correct, I will happily admit that you scooped the news story before anyone. Now out with it. What’s your news source.

  123. Not impressed with Ed Snowden says:

    I’m no Bush fan by any stretch, but imagine the public reaction if Mr. Snowden had pulled this petulant stunt in the weeks following the 9/11 attacks. I think a lot of Americans have felt so safe, for so long, that it’s too easy to forget that there are very real villains in the world who hate America and every one of us who live here.

  124. benb says:

    It’s just nutty to say he took the job BA to get access to classified info and release it to the public. I don’t know if the report is true or, if it is, that Snowden is telling the truth. Thank god Wikileaks jumped in with a lawyer…somebody needs to tell Snowden to shut up.

  125. BeccaM says:

    I’ll go with what Digby said.

    Sadly, I also think that this whole episode is an excellent illustration of how easily a nation accepts authoritarian policies without even noticing it is doing it. Indeed, the focus on personalities is possibly one of the ways in which it happens. It’s also true that not many people seem to care much about the substance of this issue.

    For instance, the leak to McClatchey about the Insider Threat Program is getting no traction at all. None of the major newspapers or political shows have followed up as far as I can tell. They’re so interested in chasing down Edward Snowden (which I understand, it’s a helluva story)and insinuating that Glenn Greenwald is an aider and abettor (which is truly despicable and completely unacceptable) that they can’t seem to find the time to discuss the larger story that’s been uncovered by all of this: our government is secretly using new technology in ways that threatens our liberty and destabilizes the world.

  126. Jafafa Hots says:

    They went fishing for gullible and you bit.

    First, the people who claim revelations about China and Russia have hurt the US are the very same people who have been and continue to lie about these programs.

    Sure, revealing the fact that we spy on China (which everyone including them knows) after we just got done objecting to them spying on us thus making us look like hypocrites can be cynically played by the Chinese as propaganda for their citizens, just as “Snowden harmed the US!” is being played cynically by our government to its citizens as propaganda, but beyond that it’s a total non-event. Same with Russia.

    We’re going to keep buying cheap Chinese plastic slave-labor made shit, and we’re going to keep making oil deals with the Russians. Gay rights?

    Gay rights? Guess how much less does our government gives a shit about LGBT Russians than it does LGBT Americans.
    I can’t tell you the answer – division by zero error. They don’t gibve a flying fuck in either case.

    Was Obama going to use LGBT rights as pressure, a wedge, a talking point 0or negotiating tool in dealing with Putin?
    Only in the fever dreams of fictional characters in your own dreams.

    ZERO effect. Not helping Russia, not helping or harming Russian gays.
    Your concern over the issue is admirable. Your tying it to Snowden is delusional.

    But of course, you’re not paying attention because you say you hope Snowden is out of Russia… the latest news is that Snowden WAS NEVER IN RUSSIA. That was released many hours ago.

    Is that a lie? Was he really there? Did he lie and not go there to fool people? Did he never intend to go there?

    We don’t know. All we know is the bullshit the corrupt beltway media has been spewing.

    Why are you listening to them? Your very comment that I am replying to exposes that you have been played for a fool at least once.

    Watch those reflexes.

  127. FLL says:

    The two issues are completely different. The U.S. has complained about Chinese spying, and of course, the U.S. does the same thing. But then international espionage is inherently hypocritical, and it has nothing to do with constitutional rights or civil rights. Then why insist on conflating the two issues, you ask? In the case of China, no one would really have a motive. But in the case of Putin’s government? Well now, I’m sure there are plenty of bigots out there who are just tickled pink to see Putin’s goon squads beating people for holding up a rainbow flag in public.

  128. FLL says:

    I’m not calling the Chinese government some great force for evil now, in 2013, and I don’t think progressive people need to make opposing the Chinese government a priority. I think a better priority would be to work to repeal the Patriot Act. And guess what, Jafafa Hots? I’d have said the same thing during the Bush era, seeing as the Patriot Act was passed in 2003. Now let’s move on to the second example. During the Bush era, Putin’s government was not yet involved in a country-wide, government sponsored pogrom against gay people. But if that had been the case during the Bush era, I don’t think people with any sense of decency would support giving Putin a helping hand. I honestly hope that Snowden is out of Russia or is somehow allowed to leave and travel on to another country of asylum. If Snowden has no choice but to cooperate with the Russians in order to secure his freedom, I can understand. But for “progressive” commenters to find amusement in helping Putin is swimming in the wrong direction. I think I’m being overly tactful by phrasing it that way.

  129. Peter says:

    WTF does revealing our spying on Russian and China have to do with the constitutional rights of americans? I have never had a problem with spying on Russia and China, whether it occurs under Obama, Bush, Reagan, or Carter.

  130. Jafafa Hots says:

    Imagine yourself writing this if Snowden had revealed exactly the same things under Bush.

    Nope, neither can I.

  131. Finn says:

    I’m not interested in Snowden or what his exact actions or motivations were, I’m only interested in the discussion that needs to be happening in light of what he revealed. Snowden is not the story and smearing his character does nothing about my opinion about the information that was revealed through him.

  132. Jafafa Hots says:

    It’s events like these that expose some people’s inner authoritarian.

  133. FLL says:

    You are rephrasing the question “who paid you to disagree with me?” Your question assumes that no one could disagree with you if they were speaking in good faith, and the only reason that someone could disagree with you is if they were being bribed. You should be able to understand why this line of questioning would not be taken seriously.

  134. FLL says:

    In my comments on this and other threads, I never expressed any anger about the Chinese finding out about NSA spying. That was a case of hypocrisy because the U.S. has complained of late about Chinese computer hacking. (The pot calling the kettle black.) The documents about NSA spying on China (and the hypocrisy involved in international espionage) is simply a different topic than domestic surveillance. I just think it doesn’t shed much light on anything to conflate the two.

    Is the world a better place if documents concerning international espionage are revealed? It all depends on the countries involved. The reason I haven’t complained about the Chinese is because their society is slowly becoming freer and more respectful of individual rights, even though China still doesn’t have a democracy. Revealing documents that give Putin’s government a helping hand, in contrast, makes the world a decidedly worse place. And, unless I’m mistaken, Snowden is still in Russia. One comment downthread says that John is coming down on the wrong side of history to criticize Snowden’s leaks of international espionage documents. Let me edit that comment. More to the point, Putin is coming down on the wrong side of history, and the vast majority of people around the world know it. All those violent anti-gay pogroms may amuse some bigots. Saying so is not “character assassination.” It’s very easy to connect the dots. The best thing Snowden could do to help the cause of press and Internet freedom is leave Russia and not return until the current regime of thugs and fundamentalist Orthodox Christians is replaced.

  135. Pricknick says:

    There will be better days John.
    Stay focussed.

  136. worfington says:

    Tom Caiazza, a spokesman for Wyden, said: “Unfortunately, we can’t describe the inaccuracy in detail without divulging information that is currently classified. For now we can say that there is an inaccurate statement in the fact sheet publicly released and posted on the NSA website that portrays protections for Americans’ privacy as being stronger than they are.”
    But let’s talk some more about what a “narcissist” Ed Snowden is.

  137. BloggerDave says:

    It’s clear that your reply was just an excuse to launch Ad Hominem attacks on John which we all know undermine whatever your point was… Feel better now?

  138. Dave of the Jungle says:

    We don’t know what information he’s carrying on his laptops. The government is right to be concerned about this. We’re not assured that it’s about domestic matters only.

  139. FLL says:

    And all I said was “don’t expect a reply”… and violà. Well, that was easy. I think John’s post is pointing out that although exposing domestic surveillance is a plus, revealing documents about international espionage constitutes a different ethical matter. Is revealing international espionage a good thing? It all depends on the countries involved, doesn’t it? I cannot imagine how anyone can want to give a helping hand to someone like Putin, whose cure-all is encouraging anti-gay pogroms. That’s just not in the same category as exposing domestic surveillance in the U.S. Isn’t that the point of John’s post? To draw a distinction between the two? Unless, of course, you don’t think there is a distinction between the two.

  140. Dave of the Jungle says:

    Welcome to the history of the world.

  141. Marcus J. Hopkins says:

    I certainly believe that other nations will spy on us – what I do take exception to is raising a fuss when spying on the part of other nations is revealed, and reviling those who expose our own spying efforts.

  142. FLL says:

    The article that you link to mentions the root of the problem:

    “…vast post-9/11 spying networks in which military, police, and federal agencies appear to be in cahoots.”

    The Patriot Act is the source of the problem for the very fact that it gives government these sweeping powers. There was international espionage long before the Patriot Act, and there always will be international espionage. Handing Putin information that will help him is swimming in the wrong direction (unless you like people getting arrested for wearing rainbow-colored suspenders). We need to get rid of the Patriot Act. I’m asking you to focus on the problem itself (the Patriot Act), not exacerbating another problem (a sexually repressed thug like Putin).

  143. FLL says:

    Your question is so reasonable and obvious, but don’t expect a reply.

  144. Dave of the Jungle says:

    So, if we stop spying on other nations, they’ll all stop spying on us because they respect us so much? Is that what you think?

  145. FLL says:

    (1) My first point has to do with your argumentation style. “Let’s get two things straight” is almost as bad as “case closed.” A pitiful way to open your argument. Edit that phrase out and your writing will improve. Your welcome.

    (2) Gerontocracy? John has appeared on recent events with media types. He’s young, but no, he’s not a middle school pupil. Are you?

    (3) I believe what the post is about is international espionage, which will be a fact of life as long as there are countries. I don’t think international espionage ended when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, do you? If Russia and China enthusiastically engage in espionage, then why would you describe the U.S., Britain and France doing likewise as “stupid shit?” People might describe your argument with the same term.

    Not that I’m singling anyone out here, but why do sexually repressed men tend to support Vladimir Putin? Is it because of those photo shoots for the 2014 half-naked calendar? Just wondering.

  146. DrDignity says:

    Alex, I don’t think Snowden, Assange, WikiLeaks or Daniel Ellsberg have endangered any lives. The present police state is the wet dream of any future American Stalins or Hitlers for which the groundwork has already been laid: the Patriot Act, FISA, PRISM, NSA. The Stasi of the Deutsche Demokratische Republik would have gotten a large woody for all the information available in this computer, connected age. The American consumer sovereignty of our age clouds any rational thought & most have swallowed the lies & propaganda whole. The red herrings of “National Security,” “country at war,” terrorists lurking everywhere” are wearing very thin. I can’t believe the body language & concealment of laughter when facing the cameras from our grand Stasi Congress or that idiot prince, or present POTUS. Yes, Alex, celebrate people like Ellsberg, Assange, Manning, Greenwald. They are the truth-tellers & heroes in this age of cynicism, the glibness of the lie, the manufactured crises & the subversion of a once great nation that stood for something. Please open your mind & heart to this great man, Charlie Chaplin, who will tell you something about the brutes of our present age.

  147. Dave of the Jungle says:

    Let’s all pray for John before he keels over on us.

  148. BeccaM says:

    I know. I’m pretty sure I’m a few months older than he is and I ain’t no relic yet.

  149. karmanot says:

    Couldn’t agree more.

  150. karmanot says:

    Happy to oblige.

  151. karmanot says:

    You go hide in the basement Mr. scaredy. It will be OK down there. Don’t worry.

  152. karmanot says:

    “John Aravosis is a relic of a gerontocracy desperately trying to stay relevant,” John, a relic of gerontocracy? Really? ROTFL

  153. bachelard says:

    You know, I read this blog religiously for a few years and finally
    stopped when you jumped in bed with Andrew Sullivan once too often. This
    post can be boiled down to the usual slippery-slope argument that is
    the favorite of conservatives, no matter what the issue.

    you’re going to call for more objectivity in appraising Snowden’s
    actions, John, perhaps you could take your own advice. This post is rife
    with assumptions, grandiosity, self-contradiction, and a bit of ad
    hominem sharp-shooting.

  154. Marcus J. Hopkins says:

    Let’s get two things straight:

    1.) John Aravosis is a relic of a gerontocracy desperately trying to stay relevant, but whose time has long since passed. He is part of a Cold War-era generation that lives in constant fear of violent reprisal at the slightest provocation. This leads us to…

    2.) If the U.S. doesn’t want to risk our national security, we need to stop doing stupid shit. Simply put: we have absolutely no right to cry foul when other nations spy on us and plot against us if we are going to do the same. If they’re so afraid of their deep, dark secrets getting out, don’t do shit that needs to be exposed.

    It’s ridiculous for those on the Professional Left to cry foul about Freedoms of the Press being destroyed and protecting whistleblowers and then turn around an vilify said whistleblowers.

  155. ezpz says:

    Then there’s this little tidbit that the whereabouts and whatabouts of Snowden seem to be drowning out:

    Obama’s crackdown views leaks as aiding enemies of U.S.

    “…the Obama administration was pressing a government-wide crackdown on security threats that requires federal employees to keep closer tabs on their co-workers and exhorts managers to punish those who fail to report their suspicions.

    President Barack Obama’s unprecedented initiative, known as the Insider Threat Program, is sweeping in its reach. It has received scant public attention even though it extends beyond the U.S. national security bureaucracies to most federal departments and agencies nationwide, including the Peace Corps, the Social Security Administration and the Education and Agriculture departments. It emphasizes leaks of classified material, but catchall definitions of “insider threat” give agencies latitude to pursue and penalize a range of other conduct….

    Read more here:

    So those who are maligning Snowden and calling him everything from a narcissist to a felon to a traitor who should face his accusers are okay with this Insider Threat Program?

  156. Humanist says:

    Wow. Just, wow. Before you begin to enjoy your fantasy of the guilt and dastardly deeds and intentions of Mr. Snowden and even, wow, Mr. Greenwald too much, perhaps you should research what has happened and is happening to Mr. Bradley Manning as a result of his service and placing trust in his fellow Americans.

    One other thought: What about the news outlet that Mr. Greenwald works for, The UK Guardian? It’s a British newspaper. The British were our enemies in the Revolutionary War! Doesn’t this smell like retribution?

    Enjoy your delusion…

  157. ezpz says:

    John says:

    “I’m sorry, but it is incredibly dangerous what this man is now doing. This goes far beyond whistle-blowing. Edward Snowden has a vendetta against US intelligence operations overall, and has made it his one-man mission to expose classified US operations around the world without regard to the harm he may cause America or Americans.”

    No, John, this IS about whistle blowing of what the US is doing and planning to do to its own citizens:

    Anti-War Activists Targeted as ‘Domestic Terrorists’

    Shocking new revelations come as activists prepare to sue the U.S. military for unlawful spying

    – Sarah Lazare, staff writer

    And you want him to come back to face US in/justice – like Manning?

  158. Humanist says:

    I hesitated to reply to an arbitrary argument but after reading through the comments, it inspired me to elaborate on a key point being made in an effort to be the spoon full of sugar:

    Fantasy Point: Shouldn’t we be freaked out about the possibility of Mr. Snowden exposing this Orwellian data collection scheme to other fellow humans – er – countries, some who are even our real enemies? (“First, that that he plans on releasing the details of US intelligence efforts against far more countries. Who’s next? Exposing US efforts against Iran, against Cuba, against North Korea? Against Syria?”)

    There is no grander paranoid delusion than the foundation for that question or the basis for the argument to support it. The attempted logic here is that it is okay to spy on your family and friends if your stated goal is to spy on your enemies or “potential” enemies. And the built in defense for that delusion is: If family or friends find out about the spying, then they are obligated – in the name of “national security” – to not say anything because that would be aiding and abetting the enemy, or even fantasy enemy, which then makes that friend or family member a traitor or, an enemy.

    A similar logic is used to defend collateral damage to innocent civilians, a moral crime of acceptance of immeasurable magnitude. (“So some innocent men, women, and children got maimed and killed while we were gunning for the bad guys. We do everything we can to minimize it. What? Do you not support our troops? Do you not love freedom? Why don’t you just go join ’em and we’ll kill you too!”)

    Intelligence gathering against an enemy in the time of war is a tactical weapon of war. Spying during peace time is a form of oppression and has always been used throughout history to manipulate populations and/or pursue devious goals for dubious interests. One can argue that this is different. But to that I say, welcome to your delusion.

  159. FauxReal says:

    Well I’m just a little old lady out here in the boonies. At first I thought it was a good thing that Snowden got the attention of Americans. We had been too compliant and those who raised issues with The Patriot Act and Bush’s were dismissed with “You don’t have anything to worry about if you aren’t doing anything wrong.” Now those same people are using Snowden’s revelations to bash this Administration. But at least we’re having a discussion.

    Then I was conflicted about him because of the countries he’s choosing for his odyssey and that he was providing information (through journalists) to China and Russia and now those revelations are causing problems for our country.

    But with these new revelations about him taking that job for the purpose of accessing the information and that he will be giving more information to more countries and leaving it to journalists from those countries to make a determination, I’m not so conflicted anymore.

    I have to add that I’m also beginning to wonder about Greenwald since he was first contacted by Snowden in February. Just how involved was Greenwald in the planning?

  160. Alex D says:

    I don’t think I will melt when others find out what our government has done, but then again, I’m not risking my life trying to get information about North Korea right now. Sure is nice to sit here in my comfortable house and celebrate a guy who was on his job for a few weeks who decided what classified information should be shared with the press. He does not know what he is doing, and he is endangering people’s lives.

  161. TheAngryFag says:

    ” Do you think we will melt when we know what our government has done in
    our names? If you are reading this, John, please note that the 1953
    Nuremburg treaties which the US signed in 1953 state that no employee is
    obliged to shield war crimes or crimes against humanity. Do you think
    that this current administration & the one previous commited no

    QFE. You took the words right out of my mouth.

  162. ezpz says:

    Moi aussi.

  163. SkippyFlipjack says:

    I gave you an upvote for that :)

  164. mirth says:

    FYI: A down vote from me, not karmanot.

  165. mirth says:


  166. lynchie says:

    But the press is doing all the reporting. We don’t in fact know if Snowden has said anything even close to what has been claimed.

  167. SkippyFlipjack says:

    I always know when you’re on the board because every one of my posts gets downgraded.

  168. SkippyFlipjack says:

    ah ok

  169. SkippyFlipjack says:

    A few responses — one, disagreeing isn’t trolling. Two, I didn’t say the conversation went over your head, we just disagree about the point “humanist” is making and the relevance to the discussion at hand. Three, on your general point, I think that following and commenting on all of Snowden’s information releases, which I think John is doing, shows consistency rather than an attempt to shift focus. This current post isn’t on a story about Snowden pulling wings off flies when he was a kid, it’s a reaction to his most recent quotes and his most recent revelations.

    Lastly, I can see how you might say that “humanist” is dismissing a red herring; I just think that his/her subsequent paragraphs are unnecessary because they go on to argue about the importance of Snowden’s original revelations, which nobody is arguing with.

  170. DrDignity says:

    John, why are you so afraid of Snowden? Do you think we will melt when we know what our government has done in our names? If you are reading this, John, please note that the 1953 Nuremburg treaties which the US signed in 1953 state that no employee is obliged to shield war crimes or crimes against humanity. Do you think that this current administration & the one previous commited no crimes? Let’s just ring a bell: the invasion of a sovereign nation based on lies with 100,000 + deaths, the invasion of Afghanistan, the drones which kill indiscriminantly with many casualties, including children, torture, the black hole prisons, Abu Ghraib, the kill lists, the pursuit of whistle-blowers, the torture of Bradley Manning, the perversion of the US Constitution, the UN Declaration of Universal Human Rights, the super surveillance, the war on free speech & the press.. If the current administration committed none of the above, then, they’ve nothing to fear from Snowden, Wikileaks, Manning or Snowden or the American people. John, just because the administration salutes the flag & wears flag pins on the lapels, don’t be taken in by any of it!

  171. Bob Munck says:

    So it’s everyone else’s fault

    I didn’t blame anybody; the word “problematic” was carefully chosen.

    Sarcasm always brings the danger of being taken literally, especially in these days when irony is on its deathbed.

  172. nicho says:

    Funny the Koch Brothers were just saying the same thing.

  173. nicho says:

    That’s why they’re getting us to spend time on Snowden

  174. karmanot says:

    Skip is just flipp’n BS again

  175. Reasor says:

    You and I seem to have a fundamental disagreement on what constitutes taking part in the discussion. I don’t believe that criticizing the point of Jon’s post as a distraction from the larger story’s more important aspects can possibly be the same thing as having missed the point. Jon’s point is acknowledged, and then disagreed with, with an explanation of why it’s disagreed with. That’s not failure to engage, it’s just disagreement.

    If you’ve got a counterargument explaining why these daily attempts to shift the focus back onto the whistleblower and off of the whistle itself are not a waste of Jon’s time and ours, let’s hear it, but don’t tell me the conversation is going over my head. I’m taking part in the discussion. Humanist is taking part in the discussion. You’re trolling.

  176. SkippyFlipjack says:

    So it’s everyone else’s fault for not understanding what you thought you were getting across.

  177. Bob Munck says:

    It didn’t read that way to me.

    See? Problematic.

  178. JD234 says:

    This essay begins with rhetorical questions:
    “Who’s next? Exposing US efforts against Iran, against Cuba, against North Korea? Against Syria?”

    Then it moves into speculation based on the absence of affirmative denial:
    “Snowden appears to be suggesting that the delay in releasing more documents has not been because he’s worried about compromising US national security”

    It then moves into xenophobia that sides with the NSA over “foreigners”:
    “He’d rather let non-experts, foreign experts, decide if information they don’t fully understand puts American lives at risk.”

    Followed by pure right-wing-style storytelling mixed with rhetorical question, with no grounding in evidence whatsoever:
    “Speaking of Syria, is Edward Snowden going to undermine the opposition in Syria by making it more difficult for the US to spy on that country? Will Snowden’s defenders still defend him if he gets Arab Spring activists killed?”

    Followed by mind-reading and hysteria:
    “Edward Snowden has a vendetta against US intelligence operations overall, and has made it his one-man mission to expose classified US operations around the world without regard to the harm he may cause America or Americans.”

    And finishing with an irrelevant America-love-it-or-join-the-Russians:
    “And for anyone, like Snowden, who seems to believe that the US is just as “bad” as Russia or China, ask yourself how the Russians or the Chinese would have dealt with their own homegrown Edward Snowden. His entire family would be in jail, if they were still alive at all.”

    This is the most right-wing thing I have ever read on this site, not because of the conclusions, but because because the “logic” — a string of speculations, rhetorical questions, and bellicosity — is the warp and weft of reactionary thinking. WTF?

  179. SkippyFlipjack says:

    “Still, that may be a better bet than letting the NSA decide” was sarcasm? It didn’t read that way to me.

  180. SkippyFlipjack says:

    replying to a post and ignoring the whole point of the post isn’t really ‘recognizing a red herring’, is it? This thread is about Snowden’s revelations regarding foreign citizens overseas, so discussing 4th amendment protections seems to show that someone isn’t taking part in the actual discussion.

  181. Reasor says:

    On the contrary, his comments make it seem (to me, at least) that he’s able to spot a red herring when he sees one.

  182. SkippyFlipjack says:

    Emphasis mine:

    What Mr. Snowden has brought to public discussion is some perspective of the magnitude and depths of which the surveillance of all of us occurs in the name of “national security”.

    You might be missing the point of the current discussion. Most people agree that Snowden did something good in shining a light on the surveillance of all of us. What’s being discussed now is the additional revelations about surveillance of those who are afforded no protections at all under our Constitution, foreign governments. Your comments make it seem like you’ve missed this distinction entirely.

  183. Bob Munck says:

    Wow, just . . . wow.

    Sarcasm is problematic for some people, isn’t it?

  184. Humanist says:

    I respect Mr. Aravosis’ opinion most of the time but there are those times where Mr. Aravosis is too much of an DC/political insider and this slant causes him to skew way outside of what’s best for the people.

    Mr. Aravosis has adopted the “traitor” position as it pertains to Mr. Snowden and the evil beast he has revealed. Using scare tactics right out of the Shock Doctrine, Mr. Aravosis wants us all to be scared to death of Mr. Snowden revealing super secret important stuff to “Russian media? How about Iran? Or North Korea? Or Syria?” that will then be a smoking-gun-in-the-form-of-a-mushroom-cloud or something that will harm all of us and we should be scared shitless about this fantasy. Cheney much there Mr. Aravosis?

    What Mr. Snowden has brought to public discussion is some perspective of the magnitude and depths of which the surveillance of all of us occurs in the name of “national security”. Every despicable and “evil” society whose skeletons litter the landscape of our history employed the very practices and rationales that are being exposed again today. The Romans through the Nazis (and beyond) utilized the same privacy invading tactics and super-secret “activities” to oppress and subvert their populations, always using the excuse of “national security”.

    There is a reason the 4th Amendment exists and it is a more powerful defender of freedom than millions of millions of troops. The issues that Mr. Snowden has brought to the forefront of public view are in direct violation of the 4th Amendment here at home and are incongruent with the concepts of freedom.

    Instead of debating whether Mr. Snowden is a hero or a traitor – or indulging in silly fantasies of what effects the information he has exposed will have – we should be debating why there is a National Security Agency, a Central Intelligence Agency, a FISA Court, et al. We should be demanding that the 4th Amendment be upheld stringently and these super-secret activities cease forever. History has shown irrefutably that there are only two elements of a society that benefits from spying: (1) The evil entities that will exploit it to the detriment of the larger population, and (2) The spies themselves.

    If one still does not understand the scope and magnitude of this, merely contemplate the fact that the President of the United States – rather cavalierly offering a defense of the NSA story before the media was successful in switching the focus to Mr. Snowden and his whereabouts – said that this all amounted to just a small invasion of privacy and was worth it in the name of national security. Besides the rumble of Benjamin Franklin spinning in his grave, don’t forget that Barry Obama just wiped his ass with the 4th Amendment, threw it in your face, and is now daring you to do something about it.

    Mr. Snowden did something. Mr. Aravosis is out getting Barry Obama some more toilet paper.

  185. SkippyFlipjack says:

    I agree with you, Snowden needs to just shut up and lie low.

  186. nicho says:

    Right, we should leave it to the unbiased US media, or the unbiased NSA, or the unbiased Congress, or the unbiased White House — WOW. Maybe we should just let the Koch Brothers decide.

  187. nicho says:

    Every minute we spend talking about Snowden is another minute the corporatist overlords are clapping their hands in glee. We’re not paying attention to our corrupt, criminal government. Who knew they could count on the leftists in the Netroots to support them in distracting us from the real issue?

  188. keirmeister says:

    Ok, that’s too funny! :)

  189. mirror says:

    Aside: I don’t get why we are not having more discussion of how insecure it is to have the US government contracting out national security to private firms who also serve other people and foreign states. Why should I share the assumption that Booz Allen will have more loyalty to the people of the United States than to the Saudi royal family?

    John: sorry I broke my word…

  190. Mrsexamme1965 says:

    мy coυѕιɴ ιѕ мαĸιɴɢ $51/нoυr oɴlιɴe. υɴeмployed ғor α coυple oғ yeαrѕ αɴd prevιoυѕ yeαr ѕнe ɢoт α $1З619cнecĸ wιтн oɴlιɴe joв ғor α coυple oғ dαyѕ. ѕee мore αт…­ ­ViewMore——————————————&#46qr&#46net/kkEj

    Seriously? No really, are you
    serious with this nonsense? Are you really so naive as to think it best
    to leave it to (biased) foreign press to make these decisions? Wow,
    just . . . wow.

  191. SkippyFlipjack says:

    The entire discussion on this page is predicated on the idea that the South China Morning Post is accurately conveying Snowden’s words. So your reply isn’t really to my point but to the whole thread.

  192. pliny says:

    It’s worse than that. If NSA is this lackadaisical about handing out access to their panopticon ‘o data, then there’s no guarantee that China and other non-state actors haven’t acquired access as well.

    There’d be limits to how much data they could move without detection, but NSA has already stored it all, a hacker would just have to exfiltrate the results of queries.

  193. lynchie says:

    How do you know any of that is true. The Chinese media don’t have a stellar reputation in truth telling. Let’s be calm and see if this guy lands somewhere safe and can tell us what is going on and what and how he did it.

  194. lynchie says:

    but not a total a hole either

  195. Indigo says:

    Good old The Guardian, home of spills and thrills. I’ve been looking at The South China Morning Post’s articles but I don’t see further insight there. The story about the story seems to have more legs than the story.

  196. Reasor says:

    Fleeing to countries that we don’t have strongly enforced extradition treaties with isn’t a sign of guilt, it’s how asylum works.

  197. SkippyFlipjack says:

    He has zero to lose except the sympathy of the thinking public.

  198. Indigo says:

    PRISM is the story, Snowden is the soft underbelly, not a hero.

  199. Indigo says:

    I agree with you, once the nonsensical charges flooded the media, any rational discussion possible with Snowden ground to halt. Now it’s just another deadly game of (Obama) Tag. He’s got those drones, ya know. They’ll take him down somehow somewhen somewhere.

  200. keirmeister says:

    A couple points:

    1) We really need to have a conversation about how this guy got access to so much sensitive data and the negative effects of privatizing government operations.

    2) Are there any other pictures of this dude? I’m getting really tired seeing this same photo. ;)

  201. SkippyFlipjack says:

    The Chinese media, for one, was reporting on what he was telling them about our hacking efforts against Chinese targets. Of course the US media is going to report on that story. What do you expect them to do? Who’s causing the distractions here?

  202. A_nonymoose says:

    Regardless of how you feel about Snowden — hey, what about that NSA, hunh? A real bunch of professionals, yeah buddy! I really trust them with all MY personal information!

  203. HermeticallySealed says:

    Seriously? No really, are you serious with this nonsense? Are you really so naive as to think it best to leave it to (biased) foreign press to make these decisions? Wow, just . . . wow.

  204. SomeYankInRio says:

    It doean’t matter where he’s “traipsing”. Who is reporting on it? Those that WANT the distraction. I know a blog’s an expensive hobby but whomever is offering you subsidies in whatever form – please John, don’t play into their hands.

  205. sireasoning says:

    Once the US charged him with espionage, his interests in protecting US security interests. The treatment of Manning and the fact that the US government is now hostile to him only motivates him to release documents that are beneficial to his protectors. He has zero to lose at this point for releasing anything and everything. It was an incredibly stupid miscalculation on the part of the Obama administration to file charges before they even knew if they could secure him. However at this point one has to ask what is the greatest risk to our freedoms and security. A ragtag relatively impoverished set of religious conservatives with hostile intent upon the US, or an overreaching national security apparatus controlled by the most powerful country in the world whose elections are now financially under the control of a handful of extremely wealthy corporations.

  206. Sweetie says:

    The foreign press? Like The Guardian?


  207. SkippyFlipjack says:

    That part is absolutely true — there are serious issues when a contractor on the job for three months has access to this breadth of damaging information.

  208. cole3244 says:

    the real criminal is not snowden but the thugs we put in charge of america, as ther chip away at our rights we focus on others at our peril.

  209. tballou says:

    I am starting to believe that is the case. John is coming down on the wrong side of history on this one.

  210. SkippyFlipjack says:

    That was the case two weeks ago. But as Snowden traipses around the globe playing Johnny Intelseed he’s making sure that he is and continues to be the story, moving focus away from PRIME. Don’t blame the press, blame him.

  211. Naja pallida says:

    Again, I am in complete agreement. He still isn’t the story. He’s the distraction from the story… and playing along with that is just sad.

  212. Naja pallida says:

    If a low-level contractor has access to the entirety of our NSA surveillance operations, there aren’t a few holes in the system. The system is a hole. It is completely and fundamentally broken to the point of ineffectualness. It seems to me their scramble to get their hands on him is exactly because they don’t really know just how much he has, and they’re scared to death what he’s going to release next. Not because it will be a threat to national security, but because it will be a further embarrassment to the already sad, bloated, agency that could.

  213. worfington says:

    Snowden/Manning ’16. Got hope?

  214. caphillprof says:

    Edward Snowden is not the story, never was.

    John’s interest in Snowden must somehow be related to his interest in making Establishment television appearances in the District of Columbia.

  215. usagi says:

    I think a more useful discussion to be having right now might be how he managed to get the access he did. There are apparently a few holes in the system, but having a conversation about what a terrible, awful, nasty person Edward Snowden is fine, too. Something I am finding myself wondering through is if the US hadn’t decided to make an example of him they way they have if he might have been a bit more thoughtful about releasing the information (and it also raises the question of whether the US actually even knows what classified materials he has in his possession).

  216. Bob Munck says:

    He’d rather let non-experts, foreign experts, decide if information they don’t fully understand puts American lives at risk.

    Still, that may be a better bet than letting the NSA decide.

    ask yourself how the Russians or the Chinese would have dealt with their own homegrown Edward Snowden.

    Shame on you. That’s a standard right-wing trick: make up a hypothetical situation, make up a doubly-hypothetical way someone might react to it, and then draw conclusions from your works of fiction. You’re also justifying our behavior by saying that someone else is even worse.

  217. Dave of the Jungle says:

    It seems pretty obvious that the kid has shot himself in the foot.

  218. SkippyFlipjack says:

    Where’s Jason Bourne when you need him?

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