NSA-leaker Snowden defects to Russia

NSA leaker/whistleblower Edward Snowden has reportedly requested political asylum in Russia, the Associated Press is reporting, quoting Russia’s Interfax news agency.


AP says Interfax is citing a Russian foreign ministry official as the source of this story.

I’ve said my piece about Edward Snowden.  Seeking political asylum with one of America’s great foes – a country that routinely abuses the human rights of its citizens far more than anything anyone can claim about America – is a slap in the face to everything Snowden claims he cares about.

You do not run into the hands of the Russians if you’re a hero fighting for freedom, transparency and democracy.

Russian police detain a gay rights activist during an attempt to hold the unauthorized gay pride parade on May 28, 2011 in Moscow, Russia. kojoku / Shutterstock.com

Russian police detain a gay rights activist during an attempt to hold the unauthorized gay pride parade on May 28, 2011 in Moscow, Russia. kojoku / Shutterstock.com

I guarantee you the Russians are not doing this out of the goodness of their hearts.  They are going to milk Snowden for every secret they can get.  And judging by the reports of what Snowden stole from his last job, the damage to our national security might in fact be quite real if the Russians get their hands on this material, if they haven’t already.

And for those who keep yelling that Snowden isn’t the story, of course he is.  PRISM is one story. And Snowden is another.  A quite important story.  And everyone who lionized Snowden, who proclaimed him a hero, helped to make him a story, and now increasingly the story.  Heroes are role models. And if people are going to preach that Snowden is an example of how we should all act, then his actions will be scrutinized.

Russian police attack gay protesters outside the State Duma today. (A href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=pLSd-e2Vi-g#!">Video by Dmitry Zykov)

Russian police attack gay protesters outside the State Duma today. (Video by Dmitry Zykov)

As I wrote before, we clearly haven’t heard the last betrayal from Edward Snowden.  The young man has a remarkable ability for self-promotion and bad decisions.  I was as shocked as anyone when I first read Glenn Greenwald’s, and the Washington Post’s, reports on what Snowden had leaked.  But in addition to being an advocate for changing my country for the better, I’m also an advocate for my country.  I don’t try to change America because I hate it, I try to change it because I love it.  And Snowden, for my tastes, started entering anti-American territory a while ago.  And when you’re out to destroy my country, rather than improve it, I draw the line.

Feel free to disagree.  After all, this isn’t Russia.

Russian anti-gay thugs kick an LGBT rights activist. (Photo by Ilya Varlamov, with permission)

Russian anti-gay thugs kick an LGBT rights activist. (Photo by Ilya Varlamov, with permission)


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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195 Responses to “NSA-leaker Snowden defects to Russia”

  1. quax says:

    Holy smokes Sherlock. That’s a new one. Will be waiting to see when the beltway crowd is going to parrot that one.

    Just one tip: When tending your comb-over be careful to not displace the tin foil hat.

  2. sherlock9 says:

    Snowden is a “defector”. The term means to turn your back on your duty and allegiance to your home country and flee somewhere else, with no intention of returning. If Snowden had “real” cajones, the ones that it takes to stand up for what you believe, he would have come back and faced the music for what he had done. Then, he would have been a hero and a patriot. Now, as of 8/3/2013, he is just a punk traitor, getting away with stealing software and secret documents that were not his to abscond with. A true whistleblower is someone who points out wrongdoing to the public. Stealing highly classified software and programs is not whistleblowing. I feel that he was always a double agent for the Russians, and was planted in the US intelligence community at a young age, and finally given orders to embarrass this country because the timing was right. He used the “human rights” activist moniker as a cover to get away with the crime. During the whole episode, he seemed to have some type of under-the-table connection that was far beyond what Wikileaks could offer for his safety. His complete defiance in answering for what he had done was staggering, to say the least, and his demeanor bordered on arrogance. He left his so-called family and country without so much as a second thought. I would be willing to bet that his father defects also, and that would be the clincher. The fact that he flew to China with his “booty” before the story broke is the giveaway to his intentions, because any reasonable intellect would have went to the country that he would seek asylum from as the first move, which would have been Ecuador.. China was a “blind” so that when the inevitable passport revoke was issued, he could have a straight shot to Moscow without entering into any airspace with US ties during the flight, thereby avoiding capture. In hindsight, it is easy to see that it was all planned.

  3. Snowden was here.

  4. Skeptical Cicada says:

    I doubt it. Smug condescension is how you make yourself feel superior.
    I have no respect for your constant insistence upon being a knee-jerk apologist for power, and your snide arrogance won’t change that.

  5. SkippyFlipjack says:

    So the answer is no, you don’t want to have a conversation in a normal adult way because you’re determined to be as unpleasant and unlikable as possible. OK, I’m done taking your troll bait.

  6. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Ah, more smug bullying in your endless excuse-making. Such a congenital apologist.

  7. Skeptical Cicada says:

    What I get is that the administration wants desperately to staunch any discussion of what it’s doing, that there is no consensus at all that it’s unacceptable, and that you live in a fantasy world where you imagine “most people” think whatever you think, congenital apologist.

  8. SkippyFlipjack says:

    No, “whistleblower” became “spy” when Snowden followed up his whistleblowing by leaking classified NSA info that had nothing whatsoever to do with listening in on Americans. He changed the conversation all by himself.

  9. Ford Prefect says:

    Okay, then what’s your working definition of “spy”? Because what’s happened within this discourse is whistleblowing has been turned into “spy,” purely as a means of deflecting the wholesale rape of the constitution (and democracy itself) and all our rights by our own intelligence community and their political/corporate benefactors.

    I personally don’t care about Snowden. But the crimes he’s exposed are important.

  10. If Edward Snowden is returned to the United States he will be tortured.

    That is a fact.

    It is the official policy of the Department of Justice in such cases to keep the defendant in solitary, which means at least 22 hours of no human contact a day, and a “recreation session” which consists of being alone in a slightly larger room.

    This sort of treatment has been defined as torture by the UN Rapporteur on torture.

    I’m not talking Bradley Manning here, though the judge did rule that he was subject to abuse, I am speaking to the case of Wen Ho Lee, (Clinton DoJ, BTW) Cwhere he was held in solitary for 9 months. (I would also argue that this was a deliberate attempt by the authorities to extract a confession to the worst charges, but that is a separate matter)

    When people ask why Ellsberg did not flee, and Snowden did, you need to understand that, even under Nixon at his worst, there was no prospect of torture.

    Let us be clear here: Edward Snowden will be tortured for months, if not years, if he returns to the United States, HE WILL BE TORTURED FOR MONTHS, IF NOT YEARS.

    If you do not believe that he will be held under punitive solitary confinement, you are naive. If you do not believe that extended solitary confinement is not torture, then you are deluded.

  11. SkippyFlipjack says:

    I’m not saying that’s what happened, just that I think the definition of “spy” is broader than the way you’re using it.

  12. SkippyFlipjack says:

    Again, you’re having the two-weeks-ago discussion. I’m eager to hear your thoughts on the growing Iran-Contra scandal.

  13. SkippyFlipjack says:

    You do get that the discussion has shifted, right? Most people are in agreement about the domestic spying. When the leaks shifted to foreign spying Snowden lost a lot of supporters, John included. That’s what he’s talking about regarding changing the country for the better or worse. How are you missing this?

  14. cambridgemac says:

    Odd that the gang of 7 didn’t downrate this.

  15. Skeptical Cicada says:

    LOL!!! He’s wanted for LEAKING to the PUBLIC classified information about the government’s massive spying on its own people. Trying to label it “sharing state secrets” is political disinformation worthy of the Bushies.

  16. cambridgemac says:

    Sad that the downvotes on this are so high. No arguments made against you – for example, suggesting that Snowden’s whistleblowing contained false or inaccurate information – or that civil liberties are being shredded. The animosity to Snowden is a phenomenon….

  17. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Give it up, congenital apologist. He’s referring to the sweeping domestic spying. Spare us the diversionary tactic that you’re cutting and pasting from the DNC.

  18. cambridgemac says:

    Pommes de terristes, I think. Scans better. :)

  19. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Congenital apologist strikes again.

  20. SkippyFlipjack says:

    Where in the Constitution does it address espionage activities against foreign countries?

  21. SkippyFlipjack says:

    John made it pretty clear, didn’t he? I’m not sure that “requesting asylum” is technically synonymous with “defecting to”, but that was his choice of words, and he links to his sources.

  22. cambridgemac says:

    And for those who want to reprimand a gay man (me) for not condemning Russia for its trampling of human rights, I present this story from today’s Raw Story:

    “He’s not exactly known for bad behavior, but even the former host of the children’s show Reading Rainbow fears he will be mistreated by police because of his skin color.

    Actor and director LeVar Burton explained Monday on CNN that he
    follows a particular procedure every time he is stopped by police to
    avoid a potentially deadly confrontation. He removes his hat and
    sunglasses, rolls down his window, and puts out his hands to show he is
    not armed.

    “I do that because I live in America,” Burton added. He said that as a responsible parent, he taught his son to follow the same procedure…”


  23. cambridgemac says:

    John, it’s time to retire loaded propaganda terms like “defector.” The word was borrowed from the Soviets by the US media and government. It implies that people are products that can become “defective” – something that corporations, Teabaggers, and the Koch Brothers may believe, but surely not gay activists. (Reflect a moment…..)

    Now that the Cold War is over, because Russia withdrew from all of its imperial possessions and adopted capitalism, let us reflect on whether Russia is an “adversary” of the US. If it is not an “adversary,” then the term defector is not only offensive, it is absurd and meaningless. Both countries are capitalist oligarchies with democratic constitutions that are not observed in practice; Russia’s national elections are more rigged than ours, but it’s not clear to me that state and local elections are less democratic there. The rich and powerful usually escape prosecution in both countries, but not always. The media in Russia don’t seem less free to me than American media. How is Russia an ‘adversary” of the US?

    Were the men who fled to Canada or to Sweden during the Vietnam War “defectors?” Why not? One can reasonably argue that Sweden embodies values that are very different from and opposed to American values. To wit, Swedes so abhor violence that spanking one’s children is a punishable offense; Sweden forbids corporations from targetting advertising to children under 12 (NO FREE SPEECH!!!); Sweden provides high quality education and health care to all (SOCIALISM!!); Sweden provides pensions to all! And finally, there is sex…. So, I ask, why not refer to the 3,000 draft evaders (and soldiers) who went to Sweden as defectors?

    I think it’s time to retire this word from AmericaBlog.

  24. mikeyDe says:

    John, you need to take down this embarrassing blog entry. All day I looked in vain for news reports substantiating your defection claim. Snowden is a train wreck of his own making, we don’t need to make things up. (still, as an infomaniac I’m glad he did what he did — always nice to know how my money is being spent in my name — all in for glasnost’ no matter where it come from.)

  25. ronbo says:

    Perljammer is strictly following the bought-and-paid-for media’s command to condemn the man and ignore what the man has revealed. Never, ever look behind the curtain our ruling elite have so gracefully provided for our “protection”.

  26. ronbo says:

    If the SS chase a suspect and he/she runs into an ice-cream parlor, it’s not because he wants a banana split. Think deep and not out of fear.

  27. ronbo says:

    John is shamelessly exploiting unrelated elements to smear Snowden. Why? Why did our nation’s dark days of overblown and outlandish fear of communism persist? Terism is just another tool of manipulation. John has obviously succumbed; fear has successfully stalled his logic and reason.

  28. Roman Berry says:

    But in addition to being an advocate for changing my country for the better, I’m also an advocate for my country. I don’t try to change America because I hate it, I try to change it because I love it.

    So now you’re trying to assert that Snowden hates America? You seem to be confused. You are conflating Snowden’s actions with hating America when in fact his actions are just the opposite. He did what he did because he loves his country and the principles set down in the Constitution on which is was founded. Snowden is standing up for America. You? You’re sitting down. Worse, you can’t seem to wrap your head around the idea that what a real patriot does when confronted with a government that is criminal is to expose it and oppose it.

    Oh yeah…

    Snowden withdraws asylum request: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64JvfXLIY5I

  29. SkippyFlipjack says:

    I think the ‘right to seek asylum’ is generally what you allow someone who shows up at your doorstep. Governments don’t tend to tell the people wanted for crimes in their country ‘sure, travel around, visit whomever you need to visit, let us know when you’re back and we’ll deal with you if no one else will take you in’ — particularly citizens who are wanted for sharing state secrets.

  30. Indigo says:

    And so we are left with this question: How did a punk IT guy turn into a flashpoint of controversy over so many apparently unrelated issues?

  31. Indigo says:

    True enough but post-conflict sniper wars go on for centuries. Protestant-Catholic stone throwing in the Upper Midwest, for example, came along with immigrants from Europe. Buddhist-Moslem rioting is left over from territorial migrations that happened 4 and 5 centuries ago. Mexican Americans in the Southwest understand they’re living in conquered territory but usually say very little about it because it’s dangerous to speak up in the face of Police Brutality. And so it goes around the world. The South is no exception but the fact of the matter is that the voter suppression efforts will be turned aside in the courts in due time and, honestly, the South is not going to rise again. Neither is Paula Dean. :-)

  32. Roman Berry says:

    In your day, huh? Seems as if your day has passed.

  33. Badgerite says:

    What President Obama meant when he said he would not allow any ‘wheeling and dealing’ over Snowden was that he expected Snowden to be handed over on request without the US giving anything in return to ‘purchase’ his return to the US. No carrots. He clearly did not mean that the US would not exert any diplomatic pressure to get him back. Away from the computer, this kid isn’t so bright. The United States is not stopping him from seeking asylum, whether he is granted asylum is up to the countries he is requesting it of ( at this point it is reported to be up to 19). The US is under no obligation, moral or legal, to support his request for asylum abroad since he, after all, violated United States laws.

  34. okojo says:

    It is easier to discredit him by filing one count of espionage against him.. They revoked his passport when he was in Hong Kong, and it appears that Wikileaks helped him to get to Russia, and what was going to appear to be a brief stopover.

  35. Andy4us says:

    Once they revoked his passport, then he couldn’t travel. So he his stuck in Russia. So what option does he have, but to apply for asylum in Russia. And it becomes much easier to discredit the messenger once he applies for asylum in Russia, as the Cold War is still in many peoples minds.

  36. Ford Prefect says:

    It’s possible. But again, why would someone put out their shingle in public this way? He’d have to be the worst spy in history to be so stupid. This isn’t a BS Hollywood movie. Once he’s exposed, he’s on borrowed time and the odds of him even seeing his 35th birthday get lower all the time.

    I get that certain interested parties have to demonize the dude as if he’s Mata Fuckinhari in order to cover their own sorry asses and their own crimes, but please….

  37. quax says:

    Assuming that Snowden couldn’t leave because his passport is no longer accepted, then the only way to get out of the international terminal purgatory was applying for asylum with Russia. This will allow him to get travel papers drawn up by Russia (if they play along) and that’ll allow him to then leave for greener pastures.

    The term ‘defection’ doesn’t make sense unless you share a McCain mind-state and are stuck in perpetual cold war. Putin is deplorable, but Russia is not the Soviet Union.

  38. SkippyFlipjack says:

    I think a spy could be a free agent, collecting information to sell to the high bidder. No?

  39. Ford Prefect says:

    If he’s a spy, then he’s serving a foreign power, because that’s what a spy is. That could also mean a corporation, for that matter, but a foreign power nonetheless.

    You said he’s a spy. That means you think he’s working for a foreign power, by definition.

  40. ezpz says:


  41. ezpz says:

    “Um…” I don’t think we’re talking about a ‘view’ or the ‘spaciousness’ of his cell. No, we’re talking about the cruel, degrading, inhumane treatment that Manning was subjected to for an excessive pre-trial period of time. Maybe YOU don’t care about things like that, but you don’t get to speak for those of us who DO care about human rights and dignity as well as international law.

    “While a three-star general was ordering Bradley suffer senselessly abusive treatment at Quantico, the Convening Authority in his court martial was trying to shield him from the public view,” said Jeff Paterson of the Bradley Manning Support Network.”



  42. SkippyFlipjack says:

    It is your fault though that you responded to his comments on your views and behavior by calling him names. You get the difference, right?

  43. FauxReal says:

    I thought he could take them on as a cause but then considering where he ran to and his asylum request maybe he agrees with Putin.

  44. okojo says:

    The Russian Government may had wanted to debrief Snowden and looked at the material he was carrying, before allowing him to leave. They could hold him for many reasons, given he left Hong Kong without a passport, had flimsy travel papers, and they know he is a political hot potato.

    What the Russian Gov’t would be interested if Snowden has them, are the FISA and President Executive orders to the NSA for PRISM and especially for Boundless Informant. Basically what the NSA is looking at, and if possible how they acquired their data mining.

  45. FauxReal says:

    This asylum request, his revealing his country’s secrets to other countries, his statement today and his letter to Ecuador are making him sound more anti-American than a champion of the Constitution.

    From The Guardian article about Snowden seeking asylum (not written by Greenwald):

    “Russia maintains one of the world’s most developed intelligence mechanisms and is widely believed to engage in snooping on its own citizens. In stark contrast to Russia’s approach to Snowden, whom Putin likened to the Soviet-era dissident Andrei Sakharov, Russian
    whistleblowers are often attacked – one, the anti-corruption activist Alexey Navalny, is currently on trial and another, the lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, died in prison.

    And yet Assange remains a champion of the Kremlin. Earlier this month, the WikiLeaks founder, who had a television show on the Kremlin’s English-language propaganda channel
    Russia Today, said he had advised Snowden to seek asylum there.”

    I don’t believe his motives are so pure.

  46. okojo says:

    It sounds like they are already bargaining him to the Americans..

  47. karmanot says:


  48. okojo says:

    I don’t think the US shot their foot by revoking his passport, it made travel for Snowden very difficult, while the US is basically bargaining to get him extradited.

  49. perljammer says:

    I was quoting Ford Prefect. But if you had actually read the thread, you would have known that.

  50. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Given that you think constant snide personal attacks apparently are good form, I don’t see where you’re in any position to lecture anyone else on good form. But that’s okay. I don’t think being a congenital apologist like you is good substance, and I think that’s more important than form.

  51. SkippyFlipjack says:

    You’re probably the only one who didn’t realize I was referring to your use of ‘moron’.

    Carrying arguments from thread to thread is also bad form but it seems to be pretty much all you have to offer so I don’t see you fixing that.

  52. Skeptical Cicada says:

    I called him “John,” which is his name, and I don’t need the permission of a congenital apologist to criticize whatever I deem worthy of criticism in whatever way I deem appropriate.

  53. SkippyFlipjack says:

    Criticize people’s opinions all you want but calling names is bush league and poor behavior online or anywhere.

  54. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Generally, I would agree. But just declaring something “anti-American” is exactly her usual tactic. It’s been used for decades against progressives, so it’s like nails on a chalkboard.

  55. FLL says:

    Snowden was in Russia on Sunday, June 23. He was expected to leave on a flight for Havana, Cuba on Monday, June 24. In fact, reporters spotted Ecuadorean diplomatic personnel at the Moscow airport on June 24, diplomats who could only tell the press that they didn’t know why Snowden didn’t board the flight that he had booked and paid for, and said that they just didn’t know where he was. The press has reported that Joe Biden called the Ecuadorean president, Correa, on Friday, June 28 to urge him not to grant asylum to Snowden. The missing information, which only the Russian authorities can answer, is why the suddenly cancelled travel plans on Monday, June 24 and the four-day gap between June 24 and June 28? All accounts from the press, Ecuador, Wikileaks, etc indicate that the Ecuadoran government was still ready to accept Snowden at least as late as Friday, June 28, the day of Biden’s call. Snowden should have been in Ecuador one week ago.

  56. Skeptical Cicada says:

    It’s not my fault you attacked me without even looking at the photos in his post.

  57. karmanot says:

    Don’t call me a moron Cicada, you are your own worst enemy. When you are good, you are good. But most of the time are a petulant asshole.

  58. karmanot says:

    Well, on this I disagree. Comparing John to Bachmann is like comparing Einstein to an amoeba.

  59. karmanot says:


  60. karmanot says:

    “Anyone with two or more functioning synapses”and that’s you, oh condescending one?

  61. perljammer says:

    Who said he was hired by a foreign power? Aside from that, he spent quite a while gathering information. “Anyone with two or more functioning synapses” should realize that what has been made public is very likely the merest tip of a very large iceberg, the bulk of which may never see the light of day.

  62. karmanot says:

    Or like a perljammer squid ejecting a cloud of disinformation and obfuscation to aid in and be complicit in the hiding of State crimes against the American people.

  63. Skeptical Cicada says:

    He just did use them, moron, or maybe you missed those three huge photos of bashed gays having nothing whatsoever to do with his raving about Snowden.

  64. karmanot says:

    Skeptical Cicada’s tribe consists of one: Skeptical Cicada, who however wiggy at times speaks with an eloquence and passion for freedom, human dignity, and civil rights that you seem to have forgotten. As for you—-not so much.

  65. karmanot says:

    So yeah—-Perljammmer out of a desire for notoriety fully endorses the American security/police state.

  66. karmanot says:

    You are stepping out of line again Cicada impugning John’s motives and slandering his character by charging he would use the beaten gays in Russia as some kind of leverage. What is a disgusting spectacle is you tainting perfectly good reasons to take issue with john by this kind of juvenile behavior.

  67. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Sorry you don’t care for the accurate summary of John’s “argument.”

    No one said being a congenital apologist would be easy.

  68. mirror says:

    The espionage charges guaranteed he would turn to the most immediate state that could offer him protection. The administration wanted just this outcome to divert attention from the revelations. And its working.

  69. SkippyFlipjack says:

    Speaking of cartoonish…

  70. Ford Prefect says:

    This just in from Edward Snowden himself. He makes a point or two:

    One week ago I left Hong Kong after it became clear that my freedom and safety were under threat for revealing the truth. My continued liberty has been owed to the efforts of friends new and old, family, and others who I have never met and probably never will. I trusted them with my life and they returned that trust with a faith in me for which I will always be thankful.On Thursday, President Obama declared before the world that he would not permit any diplomatic “wheeling and dealing” over my case. Yet now it is being reported that after promising not to do so, the President ordered his Vice President to pressure the leaders of nations from which I have requested protection to deny my asylum petitions.

    This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile. These are the old, bad tools of political aggression. Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me.

    For decades the United States of America has been one of the strongest defenders of the human right to seek asylum. Sadly, this right, laid out and voted for by the U.S. in Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is now being rejected by the current government of my country. The Obama administration has now adopted the strategy of using citizenship as a weapon. Although I am convicted of nothing, it has unilaterally revoked my passport, leaving me a stateless person. Without any judicial order, the administration now seeks to stop me exercising a basic right. A right that belongs to everybody. The right to seek asylum.

    In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised — and it should be.

    I am unbowed in my convictions and impressed at the efforts taken by so many.


  71. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Agreed. Spewing such meaningless jingoism as “anti-American” is also no more convincing when John does it than when Michelle Bachmann does it.

  72. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Let me also add how repellent it is for John to exploit the victims of those gay-bashings in Russia to advance some unrelated personal agenda about Snowden. Well, thank goodness those gays were beaten, so John could use them for his own ends, huh? What an absolutely disgusting spectacle.

  73. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Apparently you think anyone who disagrees with you just needs a little smug correction from your arrogant ass. Think again.

  74. perljammer says:

    Apparently you are the representative of everyone who has disagreed with John, and have polled your tribe and found them to be in unanimous agreement with you on this. If that is so, then I humbly apologize for misinterpreting their position. If not, then not so much.

  75. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Fuck you, congenital apologist for power. John’s post was cartoonish. Oh, Russia beat some gays, so I’m supposed to call Snowden a pinko Commie spy and tell Obama it’s okay to do whatever he wants. Fuck you.

  76. Skeptical Cicada says:

    We aren’t overlooking anything, smart ass.

  77. Ford Prefect says:

    Then please explain which foreign power was stupid enough to hire a “spy” who would immediately go public with all the info they worked so hard to get for themselves?

    Espionage is about obtaining information for one’s own advantage. Going public with it would wipe out any such advantage. But maybe you’re right and some morons somewhere else actually hired this guy only to get burned.

    The fact he went public means he’s not a spy. That much should be obvious to anyone with two or more functioning synapses.

  78. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Take off the tin-foil hat. Those voices you’re hearing in your head aren’t aliens.

  79. perljammer says:

    Here’s another possibility. The foreign intelligence was what he was really after; finding the PRIZM stuff was a bit of serendipity that enabled him to distract the public, like a fighter aircraft ejecting a cloud of chaff to evade tracking radar. Just to be clear — I’m not advocating that this is what actually happened; just propounding a theory.

    At any rate, there is a distinct difference between coming across illegal activity in the course of your work and then coming forward with the evidence, and seeking a job in pursuit of classified information. The first is referred to as “whistleblowing”; the second, as “espionage”.

  80. SkippyFlipjack says:

    Um.. I think when people say he should face American justice, they’re really not caring either way whether he has a nice view from a spacious cell and a speedy trial.

  81. Greg Saunders says:

    “Would love to hear Pussy Riot’s thoughts on Edward Snowden. Oh right, we can’t.”


  82. SkippyFlipjack says:

    I’d hazard to guess that people don’t really care about that stuff. They’d say that compiling leakable information for a year is admirable (easy argument to make) and that he probably figured that hiding in plain sight was the best way to keep himself safe (again, a reasonable argument).

    Where I think they have a problem with John is that he seems to believe — and I agree — that the people who get whistleblower protection reveal crimes, not just things that their employer wishes to remain secret. Spying on Americans? Shit, we want to know about that. Spying on the Russians? Well.. right, that’s kind of what the NSA does. Revealing that isn’t the work of a whistleblower, and a lot of people have turned on Snowden because of it.

  83. perljammer says:

    A couple of points that seem to have been overlooked by many of the posters who have taken exception to your article, John.

    1. No one would know Edward Snowden’s name if he hadn’t outed himself in a very public way. He is a hunted man because of his desire for notoriety, not merely as a consequence of the revelations he has made. The G-Men would have eventually figured out who he was, but he could have been long gone and his trail very much obscured, if that was what he wanted.

    2. He didn’t just stumble across the information he has released in the normal course of his job with the NSA, and then, in an agonizing but heroic act of conscience, blow the whistle. Oh, no. By his own admission, he took the job for the express purpose of gaining access to, and releasing, classified information. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/01/us/job-title-key-to-inner-access-held-by-snowden.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0. And if you don’t trust the NY Times, there’s this: http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1268209/snowden-sought-booz-allen-job-gather-evidence-nsa-surveillance

    So yeah — Snowden is a story, exclusive of the information he’s released. And a pretty nasty story, at that.

  84. SkippyFlipjack says:

    Much of what Snowden did he did because he was young and, like most of us, inexperienced in the world of high-stakes international law; it wasn’t part of a plan. I heard some analysis of his time in Hong Kong; he apparently was really surprised by how quickly things were moving. He thought he’d sort of be able to hide out there for a while and figure out his plan while extradition talks slogged on. They told him, look, you’ll have to be in custody for this, and you’ll get no Internet access, so he had to split.

    Also, remember, this is about spying on other countries, so it’s not unconstitutional. I think we’re all in agreement about the unconstitutional stuff. Snowden chose to move to shakier ground.

  85. Outspoken1 says:

    When you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas!!

  86. Kevin Johnston says:

    I may be in the minority here but I agree. Snowden could do some real damage if the
    Russians get to him.

  87. SkippyFlipjack says:

    Actually John’s readers keep insulting their own intelligence with their simplistic knee-jerk responses to his posts regarding Snowden. You’re absolutely right, we should be focused on WHAT was leaked, and following his initial, valuable-to-us-Americans leaks Snowden has just been pissing out secret intelligence that has nothing to do with spying on Americans. That’s when many people started to reassess the situation, while many people here simply started to dig in.

  88. Ford Prefect says:

    Um, no they didn’t do anything to control the GOP. Pelosi took the constitution off the table the moment she become Speaker. Then for four long years, they did everything possible to make sure the GOP stayed viable. They’re still doing that, although with the GOP in control of the House, they needn’t be quite so obvious about it, since Harry Reid bends over backward to make sure they still have a veto in the Senate.

    As for the fake scandals, what you say is true, but the sad part is that when presented with REAL scandals, the Dems refuse to investigate at all.

  89. Ford Prefect says:

    Yeah, I would generally say that too. I’m fine with putting them in different boats, as long as they stay out to sea, where perhaps they won’t hurt so many people. Slow boats to antarctica would do nicely!

    Obama wants to destroy Syria outright by arming people with cannibalistic tendencies. He’s backing Morsi in Egypt and that’s working out really, really well, if civil war is the desired outcome. I shudder to think how many corpses will have Obama’s fingerprints on them by the time he leaves office.

    The fact remains though, that we aren’t Russians and can’t do anything about him or that regime. Obama, on the other hand, is very much our problem.

  90. Finn says:

    Aravosis, your authoritarian is showing…

  91. Ford Prefect says:

    Apparently, quite a few badges are being given out today. ;^)

  92. I’m definitely not going to say Obama, or the US government, is not corrupt or responsible for atrocious war crimes. But I would not put Obama and Putin in the same boat, nor would I put Russia and the US in the same boat. If I could pick a modern government as a stellar example, it would probably be Sweden, definitely not the USA. That said, I still believe Russia is a far worse place than the USA, on average, for a person to live.

  93. MyrddinWilt says:

    Not necessarily.

    I am pretty sure that the NSA was asked to do things that really upset some employees during the Bush administration and that the release of tips to Josh Marshall that led to the arrest of Nay, Foggo, Walker, Cunningham etc. was retaliation.

    I don’t see a particular reason why Obama would have had motive to do what I suspect of Bush. He hasn’t needed to play the character assassination game that the GOP works on.

    But the power to wiretap does not rest with Obama or even Holder or the courts. That power is in the hands of unelected, unaccountable NSA employees and contractors like Snowden. For every Snowden or Manning there have to be ten similar breaches where the person was lining their own pockets or worse.

    Hoover abused his powers on an epic scale and the building is still named after him.

  94. MyrddinWilt says:

    Yes, I blamed Congress for not impeaching him for war crimes including torture, murder and illegal war. Instead they passed laws that purport to give carte blanche.

  95. karmanot says:

    You are entitled to your opinions WW and do so quite eloquently. A badge of honor is how many down arrows you accumulate for telling the truth. :-)

  96. karmanot says:

    I know :-)

  97. bushtheidiot says:

    Calling Snowden a “defector” to our “great foe,” smacks of how antiquated your mindset is.

    And stop with the pro-American self-aggrandizement. Putting pictures of Russians beating gays in a leak article was a cute trick, but it doesn’t pass the sniff test. America commits just as much evil as any other super-power in the world. Sure, it’s more civilized to use our “legal system” to imprison minorities and dissidents and allowing those minorities to blow each other away in the streets by the thousands than beating them in the streets and torturing them, but it doesn’t mean we are any better than the Ruskies.

    The bottom line is they one bested us on this one, and there is no honor for Snowden in returning here to be crucified in the press and in what would be a completely lopsided prosecution.

    He revealed that the US makes China’s tech spying programs look like backwater child’s play. And you have not identified one shred of evidence showing that any information he has released has “damaged” national security.

    So just move on, the sanctimonious crap on the Snowden story is not your strong suit.

  98. FLL says:

    That’s why I think that concentrating on blaming Snowden himself is going in the wrong direction. I think it will take a while for all of the information to come out.

  99. Bill_Perdue says:

    My conclusion is the obvious truth. You’re an excuse monger.

    “there was no reference in my comment to American government…” I commented about your excuse mongering for the Democrats and Republicans who control the government.

  100. karmanot says:

    Oh yes, the old ‘common sense’ meme.

  101. BeccaM says:

    I think there is much we’re not being told, and a whole lot that is being spun furiously by the Powers That Be.

    Personally, I’m struck by the parallels between this case and what happened to Ellsberg back in the early 70s. Dirty tricks and character defamation didn’t stop with Nixon.

  102. cole3244 says:

    i’m not in snowdens shoes so how can i say i wouldn’t do the same if accorded the chance, the real question is if america is that repressive and if you go by the facts of our recent conflicts and war atrocities i would have to say yes.

  103. pliny says:

    I’m confused. Why did you use a picture of Bradley Manning when you said “This isn’t Russia?”

  104. FLL says:

    It was reported that, early on (when Snowden first arrived in Hong Kong), a representative of the Icelandic government said that they would assess Snowden’s request for asylum if he arrived in the country.

  105. BeccaM says:

    Because (1) Iceland hasn’t made an offer of asylum, and (2) they said there was a chance they’d agree to extradite him to the U.S.

  106. FLL says:

    Vice-president Biden called the president of Ecuador and talked him out of granting Snowden asylum (with lures of trade agreements, etc.) But that still leaves other countries as possibilities for asylum, doesn’t it? The “special administrative district” of Hong Kong allowed Snowden to fly from Hong Kong to Moscow (perhaps with the tacit approval of the central Chinese government in Beijing). So why hasn’t Snowden been allowed to fly from Moscow to Iceland (or any other destination)?

  107. Jafafa Hots says:

    Russia says Snowden will NOT be given asylum if he continues to leak.
    Sure it could be (and probably is) lies, but to frame this whole thing in a cold war mentality is just ridiculous.

  108. mereside says:

    Exactly, is the story about what he found or where he went?

  109. FLL says:

    In all of my comments, I’ve made it clear that I don’t think Snowden staying in Russia is Snowden’s choice, but rather the decision of the Russian government, and that information is coming out now. As far as my comment above, I was merely answering Whitewitch’s question about Russia. I’m not trying to link the scandal about domestic surveillance with anything happening in Russia; I’m merely answering the narrow question posed by Whitewitch.

  110. Whitewitch says:

    You are right Sweetie, there is a difference in having and abusing….sadly those that have abuse. It is the way it is…and if you give this President powers, you might regret when the next President sits in office, whom you do not support, for he/she/it will have those same powers. It is better not to empower either party.

  111. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Sorry, but what in the hell does any of this have to do with Russia’s horrendous record on gay rights?

    Okay, Barack Obama can invade my privacy and assault my civil liberties any time he wants because Snowden went to a county that has an unrelated anti-gay record. WHAT!?

  112. FLL says:

    Your “conclusion” about my comment is an obvious lie for the simple reason that there was no reference in my comment (the one you replied to) to American government or its policies. You really lie a lot.

  113. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Cheers, John. You’re the only progressive blogger who sounds like a reactionary John Birch Commie-hater from 1950.

  114. Whitewitch says:

    FLL – I hear you on the human rights front. Then – America has its own human rights issues – clearly not as deep or horrid as Russia, or Putin if you give him all the credit for same. I think I meant I did not see Snowden “being a traitor for seeking asylum from the US and those that would like to see him disappear” because Russia is a an enemy in the sense of seeking to destroy the US. They can barely manage their own economy and do not have the war machine of decades ago…so I consider Snowden the same as I did a week ago, or two weeks ago…a man trying to demonstrate his view of an America that is actively seeking to remove OUR rights. Sorry – I did not mean to offend any of the my brothers and sisters…

  115. Bill_Perdue says:

    My conclusion is that your politics are based on apologies and excuse-mongering for Democrats and refusing to acknowledge that they are as bad if not worse than any than Republicans.

    My response to you wasn’t angry, it was informative, informing people about your right wing politics. As for your lie that “An angry response when someone criticizes Putin can only mean that the person is in sympathy with Putin’s government”, my views since the demise of the USSR have always been against Putin and his like. as expressed today when I said “Stalinism is alive and well in the Russian Federation and other former Stalinist run republics. Anti-gay laws were eliminated entirely by the Bolsheviks in 1917 but re-instituted in the 1930’s as part of Stalin’s repression and destruction of the Bolsheviks not killed defending the Revolution. Now it’s being used as a diversion while Putin and others move right in support of the ‘gangster’ capitalism of the new Russian ruling class made up of enormously rich former bureaucrats and criminal gangsters. It’s up to us to do all we can to support our Russian sisters and brothers.”

    I’ve been saying much the same since 1991.

  116. Skeptical Cicada says:


    The Administration wants as many stories about Snowden for as long as the MSM can keep chasing that distraction.

    Meanwhile, the unprecedented, extralegal, unmonitored wall-to-wall spying on Americans continues.

  117. Guest says:


    You seem to be the only progressive blogger with any common sense regarding this guy. Just a narcissist trying to claim something every body already knew.

  118. Whitewitch says:

    I get that karmanot – it is not the same as being an “enemy” of the United States – as in WWII or North Korea…I was talking about it as in the old “cold war” meme. Did not mean to imply they are far to GLTBQ, but then neither are some of our own American “patriots” eh?

  119. karmanot says:

    I couldn’t agree more.

  120. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Misinformation or disinformation? I’d be surprised to learn that John is misinformed about the meaning of “defect.”

  121. ezpz says:

    “Whoever is running the executive will take as much power as possible.”

    Were you this blaze’ when Bush was abusing executive power?
    Did you blame Congress then?

    Will you be this nonchalant if/when the next (R) president overreaches on executive power?

  122. karmanot says:

    I go for re-branding them as pomnes de terrorists

  123. Blogvader says:

    *slow clap*

  124. ronbo says:

    “defects to Russia”?!? Someone seems to be on a misinformation rant. I expect better from you than poutrage.

  125. FLL says:

    That’s exactly what I quoted from the Politico article below (the section in boldface).

  126. BeccaM says:

    Personally, I’m leaning more toward this explanation, too.

  127. ezpz says:

    It’s been widely reported that Biden personally called the president of Ecuador, and as a result, Ecuador is reconsidering.

  128. karmanot says:

    The voices in that roll of aluminum foil said as much.

  129. Skeptical Cicada says:

    The loaded language has made this post a total caricature of reasoned thinking. I’ve never called Snowden a hero either. I don’t give a damn who he is, what he is, or where he is.

    The information he leaked is ACCURATE. The real story here is what it tells us about the shredding of civil liberties by this administration.

  130. karmanot says:

    “the South will rise again.” It was defeated, but I fear Indigo that it is still waging a defense against Northern aggression and embracing a new slavery called ‘voter suppression.’

  131. UncleBucky says:

    Well. He better start learning Russian. ;o)

    I wonder if they sell Rosetta in the airport?

  132. FLL says:

    You haven’t offered any evidence to contradict my statement. In fact, if you’ll read my comment below, I’ve helpfully put the sections of the Politico article talking about U.S. pressure on Ecuador IN BOLDFACE.

  133. Sweetie says:

    “Putin clearly stymied any efforts by the Ecuadorean government to offer Snowden asylum…”

    The US, by contrast, highly encouraged Ecuador and other nations to take him.

  134. Sweetie says:

    Great post. It’s unfortunate that Snowden may play a small role in PR for Russia as it currently is, but it’s much more unfortunate that he had to sacrifice his career, family, and well-being to expose massive corruption — and that no one is going to do anything about that.

    Snowden didn’t create Russia’s anti-gay climate, he didn’t drone bomb civilians (including an American teenager), and he didn’t create the massive lawless surveillance apparatus. He blew the whistle. How many people would be this outraged if he were just an ordinary person visiting Russia as a tourist? The outrage stems from him leaking the secrets that were kept from us.

  135. FLL says:

    OK, I wouldn’t use that loaded language to describe Snowden myself only because I really don’t think that he is a free agent at this point (see my comment below). Putin clearly stymied any efforts by the Ecuadorean government to offer Snowden asylum, and that information is now coming out.

  136. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Well, let this genuine long-time reader say that this post is one of the most repellent pieces of party hackery that John has ever posted. I’m truly surprised. What sort of paleo-Republican anti-Commie programming has this episode triggered in John?

    “Defect” meant changing sides–going over to the other country and delivering military secrets to it. It did NOT mean seeking asylum after leaking classified information to the GENERAL PUBLIC by way of the NEWS MEDIA. I’m sorry to say that it seems John needs to get out of the fucking Beltway for five minutes and stop being sucked into the insider crusade against leakers. He has made himself a caricature with this goofy post.

    The REAL story here is NOT who leaked or where the leaker is. The fucking story is WHAT was leaked and WHAT it reveals about how even the Obama Administration is now shredding civil liberties. Every bullshit story about Snowden is another distraction from the real fucking story.

    And just why the fuck would ANY country want Snowden to stop leaking? They want to know how the Obama Administration is busy spying on all of them too. I note that France just demanded that the U.S. stop these activities directed toward it. Is John going to treat us to another goofy post about how we need to rename french fries “freedom fries” because France has become a “traitor”?

    What an insult to your readers’ intelligence.

  137. BeccaM says:

    I’m sorry, John, but I’m having a problem with all the loaded language you’ve been using with respect to Snowden. “Defects” versus “seeking asylum from the only nation currently offering it to him.”

    For my own part, as far as I can recall, I never called him a hero. Nor do I feel he’s a villain. Personally, I thought he was smart in skedaddling and in going public with his identity, and very stupid in what he’s chosen to leak while on the run. I don’t know exactly why he did what he did, and I doubt anybody really does, except maybe Glenn Greenwald.

    But I for one am sick to death of my supposedly democratic government operating a lawless, unconstitutional police-state surveillance regime. The thing I’m most angry about now is how the focus on this is already just about gone.

    They told us in the aftermath of 9/11, they needed extra ‘tools’ to chase terrorists, wherever they may be. Now we’ve learned the apparatus, the secrecy, and the general attitude of lawlessness spread into every corner of our government. The new Keystone XL pipeline route? Secret. “Inadvertently” gathered information on U.S. citizens? Already being turned over to the FBI for further investigation. Our allies in the European Union? We’re bugging their offices. German internet traffic? It’s being hoovered up, wholesale. Some nameless analyst working for a private company decides to eavesdrop on his ex-wife? We’re not even allowed to know if it happens. Congressional oversight? Repeatedly given baldfaced lies in lieu of sworn truthful testimony. FISA oversight? We all know that’s a joke because they’ve never rejected a single request since 1978.

    Yes, Russia is now a horrible country — but where else is Snowden going to go at this point? The State Department revoked his U.S. passport, so right now, his only option is whoever will grant him asylum. Moreover, seeing what we’ve done to Bradley Manning and other whistleblowers, I’d think that any leaker currently free from the tender mercies of the U.S. justice (sic) system would most likely prefer to stay that way. “Let’s see… life in maximum security prison, probably solitary confinement, with no chance of parole ever… or learn Russian?”

    That’s my question, John: Where else is Snowden supposed to go?

  138. FLL says:

    I agree with your suggested areas for improvement in your first two paragraphs. You cannot conclude that by criticizing Putin, I am trying to excuse any shortcomings of the American government. It simply means I’m criticizing Putin. An angry response when someone criticizes Putin can only mean that the person is in sympathy with Putin’s government. Nowhere in the comment you’re responding to did I mention the shortcomings of the American government or excusing them.

  139. Bill_Perdue says:

    Consider that stolen.

  140. karmanot says:

    I love it: The Republicans made Obama do it (fill in the blank)

  141. Bill_Perdue says:

    The truth is that Congress and the WH, no matter who runs them, are for internal spying and wars of aggression. Pretending that Republicans are more at fault than Democrats is an ‘untruth’. They’re equally at fault.

  142. Indigo says:

    Twentieth century anachronisms are not useful tools for examining or resolving the complexities of the 21st century, the Kaiser is not to be feared anymore and it is highly unlikely that the South will rise again.

  143. karmanot says:

    Idiot, look up the definition of ‘treason’ in the Constitution and get back to us.

  144. Sweetie says:

    “Whoever is running the executive will take as much power as possible.”

    There is a difference between having power and abusing it.

  145. Bill_Perdue says:

    The questions for us to address – and correct by leaving the right wing Democrat and Republican parties in the dust and moving left – are the use of internal spying on a vast scale, torture, kidnapping and murder by Obama and his predecessors and ceaseless criticism of Obama and Democrats in Congress who refuse to pass ENDA or repeal DOMA – gleefully supported by Republicans – among many other crimes.

    The questions for us to address regarding neo-Stalinist attacks on the LGBT communities in the Russian Federation and other former states of the USSR will center around organizing protests and using of forms of mass pressure to show solidarity with our Russian sisters and brothers.

    Attempting to excuse Obama by criticizing Putin is just another DNC disinformation ploy. It won’t work. Democrats (ans Republicans) are the enemy.

  146. karmanot says:


  147. karmanot says:

    Russia is the enemy of every GLTBQ human on the planet.

  148. MyrddinWilt says:

    Whoever is running the executive will take as much power as possible.

    It is the job of Congress to keep control of them. Democrats didn’t make enough of an effort to control Bush but they did some. The Republicans would rather investigate fake scandals they know are fake from the start.

  149. Sweetie says:

    The tough rhetoric from the president really put the Russians on notice, too:

    “That other country… the one where flying the rainbow flag is now anathema. We just don’t do things that way here. You see, we have this little thing called freedom. It exists because of our democracy. And, you can’t get that with secret courts. You can’t get that without habeas corpus. You have to be committed in every respect to the rule of law, from the far reaches of foreign battlefields to the centers of the largest cities.

    We are a light of liberty for the world. Just as the al-Awlakis. We have a total commitment to freedom of speech. This includes press freedom and the freedom to wear rainbow suspenders. Snowden may have sided with extreme secrecy. He may have chosen the wrong path that other guy has taken. But, stand here with me today to say no to vast warrantless surveillance, no to a shadow judiciary, no to assassination and yes to habeas corpus.

    Finally… let us remember all the times we could have done things like throw whistleblowers in prison, solitary confinement, and given them sham tribunal “trials”. You know, like that other guy would. Let us remember each instance where we rose above the easier corrupt path and said no, let’s follow GE, Wal-Mart, Exxon Mobil, Koch Industries, Bank of America, and the many other corporations who have consistently stood for Truth, Justice, and the American Way!”

  150. Bill_Perdue says:

    You and John are wrong. It’s not treason, it’s warning us about government coercion and US depredations against nations around the world.

  151. Bill_Perdue says:

    “Of all of the Rights we cherish, the right to privacy is the most fundamental, yet it is also the least “absolute”, in my opinion.” BlueTooth


    “First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

    Then they came for the socialists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

    Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.” Martin Niemöller

  152. FLL says:

    Americans don’t have any particular monopoly on considering Putin’s government an enemy of basic human decency. Look at the pictures from Russia that John included in his post. Most freedom-loving people around the world consider Putin’s government an enemy of freedom. Would you agree, Whitewitch? I have valued your opinion before.

    Now, if you’ll permit me, Whitewitch, I’ll address this part to Americablog readers in general. If you don’t like people criticizing Putin’s officially sponsored gay bashing, you’ll post an angry response anytime anyone does, usually centered around a completely different topic, like drone warfare. People can connect the dots. Duh.

  153. Sweetie says:

    Snowden was an idiot for creating a lawless surveillance regime.

    It sure is a good thing we have tough media watchdogs like David Gregory to let the many concerned members of Congress know about this threat to our freedom.

    I was so pleased to hear the president repudiate the concept of secret courts. As he said “a secret judiciary is simply a rubber stamp for tyranny”.

    Abdulrahman al-Awlaki will surely be a witness at Snowden’s trial, one that may become even more watched than Bin Laden’s. And, I am really looking forward to the Navy Seals floorshow.

  154. Bill_Perdue says:

    Murder, kidnapping and torture as instruments of state police began in earnest under Clinton and Bush. (They’ve long been policy in a minor way but they they were key ingredients of state policy under LBJ and Nixon and included murder MalcolmX, the Black Panthers and tens of thousands of Vietnamese.)

    You’re correct to say that McCain and Romney would have been just as bad. There are few significant differences between the two parties in relation to union busting, empire building and feeding the obscenely bloated rich.

    The reason this is taking place is not the Republicans in Congress. That’s a lie. Congressional Democrats are just as rancidly right wing as their Republican cousins voting for FISA and the Paytriot Act (as Obama did) and by promoting NDAA and accepting without protest Obama’s claim that he has the right to commit racist murders and victimize American citizens like Anwar al-Aulaqi, Samir
    Khan, ‘Abd al-Rahman Anwar al-Aulaqi and Jude Mohammed.

    Pretending that the Democrats and Republicans are not the joint venture of empire building, wars of aggression, mass murder of civilians and using murder, torture and kidnapping is just partisan propaganda.

  155. Sweetie says:

    as opposed to predator drones.

  156. FLL says:

    Dead on target. That is exactly the conclusion that you would come to based on the material I got from the Politico article:


  157. gaylib says:

    Reeealllly? Who’s forcing you to come here? The Russians? The NSA?

  158. Sweetie says:

    So did Abdulrahman al-Awlaki.

  159. ezpz says:

    Seriously? When will you start holding this president and the democrats accountable for anything, and stop using the no longer credible or applicable excuse that it’s all the republicans’ fault?

  160. gaylib says:

    He made his bed, now he can lie in it.

  161. Ford Prefect says:

    Did I say the Russians were saints? Of course not. Given the change in his situation, I’m guessing he’s pretty well fucked. Ecuador isn’t working out, so he’s a man without a country now. I would be just as terrified of having my fate in Putin’s hands as Obama’s. They’re both lawless tyrants, after all.

  162. Ford Prefect says:

    Right. Obama has nothing to do with any of this. Nor is he using the Espionage Act more than all previous presidents combined. Yep, none of this is on him! He’s just a bystander in all this! It’s not like he’s running the executive branch or anything!

    So, in 2017, when we get a GOP emperor, will you still be making these lame rationalizations? You do realize that every effort Obama has made to make the imperium free from any legal or moral restraint will also accrue to his GOP successor, don’t you?

  163. MyrddinWilt says:

    +1 Anyone who tries to draw sharp lines in that world does not know what they are talking about.

    There is important material in the Snowden disclosures but as with the drone wars, none of this started under Obama, there is no reason to believe that McCain or Romney would have done any different.

    The reason this is taking place is that the Republicans in Congress insist on giving the executive the authority to do so. They blocked the attempt to close Bush’s torture gulag in Cuba and under Bush pushed through a bill to give immunity from prosecution for illegal searches.

  164. mononucleosis says:

    If Russia grants him asylum, they can issue him a Russian passport. Then he can continue his journey to where he really wants to go.
    Travel problem solved and U.S. gets tweaked.

  165. America has its fair share of war cries, but the Russians are certainly no saints. He said he was prepared to suffer for his actions and he will – the Russians will turn on him when he’ sno longer important.

  166. FLL says:

    The most up-to-date source of information I can find is an article on Politico (link here). Have you read this yet, John? It seems to indicate that Snowden staying in Russia is not really his own choice. A summary:

    “Edward Snowden is “under the care of the Russian authorities” and can’t leave Moscow’s international airport without their consent, Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa told The Associated Press Sunday in an interview telegraphing the slim and diminishing possibility that the National Security Agency leaker will end up in Ecuador.”

    And there is this from the Politico article indicating that those in the Ecuadorean government might have changed their mind when they considered U.S.-Ecuador trade agreements (emphasis mine):

    “He [Correa] repeatedly emphasized the importance of the U.S. legal process and
    praised Vice President Joe Biden for what he described as a courteous and appreciated half-hour call about the Snowden case on Friday. He similarly declined to reject an important set of U.S. trade benefits for Ecuadorean exports, again a contrast with his government’s unilateral renunciation of a separate set of tariff benefits earlier in the week.

    ‘If he really could have broken North American laws, I am very respectful of other countries and their laws and I believe that someone who breaks the law must assume his responsibilities,’ Correa said. ‘But we also believe in human rights and due process.’

    He said Biden had asked him to send Snowden back to the United States immediately because he faces criminal charges, is a fugitive from justice and has had his passport revoked.

    ‘I told him that we would analyze his opinion, which is very important to us,’ Correa said, adding that he had demanded the return of several Ecuadoreans who are in the United States but face criminal charges at home.”

    But the plot thickens even more. In addition to U.S. pressure on Ecuador, it looks very much like the Russians have not allowed Snowden to move on beyond Russia (also from the Politico article):

    “Ecuadorean officials believe Russian authorities stymied the country’s efforts to approve a political asylum application from the former NSA systems analyst, according to government officials with direct knowledge of the case.

    Those officials said Ecuador had been making detailed plans to receive and host Snowden. One of the officials said Russia’s refusal to let Snowden leave or be picked up by Ecuadorean officials had thwarted the plans. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the case by name.

    One of the officials said Snowden had intended to travel from Moscow to the Ecuadorean capital of Quito. The official said Ecuador had also asked Russia to let Snowden take a commercial flight to meet Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino in Vietnam or Singapore, where Patino was on an official trip.

    The Russians rejected all of Ecuador’s requests to let Snowden leave Moscow, or to let an Ecuadorean government plane pick him up there, the official said.”

    My own conclusion is that the U.S. gave Ecuador tempting reasons to reconsider, and in addition, the Russians said, “Even if Ecuador wants him, we won’t let him proceed to Ecuador.” Does anyone have any information to contradict the Politico article?

  167. MyrddinWilt says:

    Snowden was an idiot for going to Russia in the first place. I thought it unlikely they would let him out again.

    The administration bungled as well. They should have considered this as a possibility when they revoked Snowden’s passport.

    Putin is not going to hane Snowden back unless he gets Victor Sheymov in return. Sheymov is a KGB defector from the cold war era. If we give up Sheymov, the Russians will kill him.

  168. Ford Prefect says:

    Heh. It’s good to know the Cold War is still alive and well! And while I’m glad “we’re” not Russia, it’s also a shame “we” are so keen to outdo them as authoritarians. At some point, the US will be at least as bad as Putin’s Russia. In one sense–the number of innocent people we kill around the world right now–“we’re” already well ahead of Pootie.

    I think Snowden’s primary concern is avoiding torture and possible murder at the hands of the current regime in the US. If the US can’t get him, they’ll probably just kill him as soon as is convenient. That’s the way this president rolls, after all.

    Lastly, if Americans ever had to stop killing all the messengers, I’m not sure what would happen in this country. I’ve tried to imagine even one decade without some sort of Red Scare and I honestly have no idea what that would be like. Our authoritarian traditions are very strong in this country.

  169. Filbert Bilge says:

    I think that John should at least give some thought to the possibility that Snowden may be being held against his will. Why would the Russians allow him to leave without getting as much information as possible from him and his laptops. Snowden has no powerful friends at this point, and it seems that the Russians would be holding all the cards.

  170. Naja pallida says:

    Let’s see… a cell in Leavenworth where he will probably rot, or worse, be tormented like Bradley Manning, for the next four or five years before he even gets a hearing, much less a trial – which will be a mockery anyway, because for all intents and purposes people like you have already convicted him, so there is no possible way it could be fair… or applying for asylum and hiding in some other country, that isn’t going to do those things. Tough choice. Even if that country is Russia, it still beats our “justice” system.

  171. voltronforce says:

    PRISM is the ultimate betrayal of the Constitution. Maybe Snowden saw what is happening to Bradley Manning and he doesn’t want a show trial and to spend the rest of his life in jail. I totally understand his decision.

  172. MyrddinWilt says:

    When their President started having people murdered in London using polonium poisoned tea pots.

  173. stldem says:

    This article in the LATimes this morning states that Snowden applied for asylum in 15 countries. Doesn’t sound like he “defected” to Russia.

    MOSCOW — Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked U.S. security secrets and is now a fugitive, met Monday morning with Russian diplomatic officials and handed them an appeal to 15 countries for political asylum, a Russian Foreign Ministry official told The Times.http://tinyurl.com/noltw3c

  174. Whitewitch says:

    When did Russia become our “enemy” again. While I agree that we should be discerning about what Snowden might have done, I can’t get past this new enemy meme. I am frustrated that we have countries that we continue to consider our enemy while still pushing the “global” world view.

  175. perljammer says:

    Actually, he hasn’t taken asylum, and he’s not likely to do so because it’s only being considered under terms and conditions that he’s unlikely to agree with.

    Saying that defection is terminology that is part of the dustbin of history doesn’t make it so. A defector is a person who gives up allegiance to one state and takes up allegiance to another state, in a manner considered illegitimate by the first state. The term entered the collective consciousness during the Cold War, but that doesn’t mean the Cold War is the only applicable context for the concept or the term.

  176. ninjakiller says:

    “You do not run into the hands of the Russians if you’re a hero fighting for freedom, transparency and democracy. ” You do if your own government wants to arrest you, charge you with treason, and more than likely execute you. Getting reeeeaaaaaalllllllll sick of your shit John. You’re on the wrong side of this one.

  177. Well said, John. When Snowden began leaking state secrets about U.S. intelligence operations against other countries, he crossed the line. I don’t think “treason” is too strong a word.

  178. ezpz says:

    That can be turned around to say that those who are defending this president for things they rightfully railed against when Bush was doing it obamabots have no credibility to destroy, because they have zero credibility to start with.

  179. ezpz says:

    Ditto that “PPPFFFTTT!”

  180. karmanot says:

    “With regard to the obsession with “Obama” and “Obamabots”…seriously,
    it destroys any credibility you may be pursuing outside the realm of
    fervent fans of Mr. Greenwald and/or Edward Snowden” PPPFFFTTT!