Boehner, Feinstein: Snowden’s a traitor

posted at 9:21 am on June 11, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

I guess this makes it bipartisan, no?  The Democratic chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Republican Speaker of the House don’t agree on large number of issues, but they both have the same assessment of NSA leaker Edward Snowden — that he is a traitor.  Boehner offered his take on ABC’s Good Morning America in an interview with George Stephanopoulos:

House Speaker John Boehner today called NSA leaker Edward Snowden a “traitor” who put Americans at risk by releasing classified information to the media.

“He’s a traitor,” the highest ranking Republican in the House of Representatives said in an extensive interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos. “The disclosure of this information puts Americans at risk.  It shows our adversaries what our capabilities are.  And it’s a giant violation of the law.” …

“The president outlined last week that these were important national security programs to help keep Americans safe, and give us tools to fight the terrorist threat that we face,” Boehner said. “The president also outlined that there are appropriate safeguards in place to make sure that there’s no snooping, if you will, on Americans here at home.” …

“There is heavy oversight of this program by the House Intelligence Committee on a bipartisan basis and the Senate Intelligence Committee,” Boehner said. “And that’s why I feel comfortable that we can operate this program and protect the privacy rights of our citizens.”

I’m actually on board with the idea that Snowden is a criminal, but that doesn’t mean that the NSA program is necessarily heroic, either.  Has Boehner confirmed that the NSA programs have those safeguards, or is he just taking Barack Obama’s word and those of the committee chairs for it?  Shouldn’t the leadership of Congress be able to speak from their own close oversight of such a powerful program about whether appropriate and effective safeguards are in place?  Because if Obama’s assurances on NSA are on the same level as those of IRS and State Department accountability, then we have a big problem.

Speaking of which, Boehner makes more or less the same point on credibility:

He said it was “inconceivable” that Obama could not have known about the targeting, despite the president’s claim that he did not know about the outcome of an inspector general audit until the report was released publicly.

“It would be inconceivable in my operation that my staff would know it and I wouldn’t,” Boehner said. “It just doesn’t pass the straight face test.  How could — how can your chief of staff — your general counsel know, and you not know?”

Now, let’s bring that back around to the NSA.  Do the two committees actually have effective oversight of the entire PRISM program, or are they just processing whatever the NSA and the administration tell them? Didn’t the House and Senate committees also hear from the IRS that no targeting was taking place at all, which later turned out to be a big, fat lie?

Senator Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, also called Snowden a traitor yesterday:

“I don’t look at this as being a whistle-blower,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calf.) said. “I think it’s an act of treason.” …

Democrats like Feinstein also said the source behind the leak of the NSA’s Internet and phone surveillance programs must be prosecuted.

“He took an oath — that oath is important,” she said. “He violated the oath, he violated the law. It’s an act of treason in my view.”

Treason?  Not really, but Snowden broke laws that would put him in prison for a very long time, if the US manages to catch him.  Right now, though, the rest of us would like a better idea of just how tight the leash is on the NSA, and whether the agency has returned to the days of Minaret.

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How is Snowden different from Binney?

Binney went to the NYT in 2012.

Why this focus on Snowden?

workingclass artist on June 11, 2013 at 1:52 PM

We are screwed

cmsinaz on June 11, 2013 at 9:37 AM

We’re on our own. No one has got our backs. Oh, they’ll put on their powdered wigs and make harrumphing sounds of outrage in front of the cameras but when it comes down to the street fight and the knives come out they’re nowhere to be found.

rrpjr on June 11, 2013 at 1:53 PM

Now, let’s bring that back around to the NSA. Do the two committees actually have effective oversight of the entire PRISM program, or are they just processing whatever the NSA and the administration tell them?

Also how many of those old geezers have clue one about technology of any kind. I remember McCain had a hard time figuring out how to operate his cell phone….

We need an independent review of the NSA done by people who have electrical engineering, programming, and IT backgrounds…plus also have an understanding of law and the constitution. Diane Feinstein, John McCain, Weeping John, and the Southern Belle are not technologically sophisticated enough to understand what the NSA is doing or not doing…

William Eaton on June 11, 2013 at 2:00 PM

We need an independent review of the NSA done by people who have electrical engineering, programming, and IT backgrounds…

William Eaton on June 11, 2013 at 2:00 PM

this would be a great idea.

jimver on June 11, 2013 at 2:05 PM

“If I Thought Censoring The Mail Was Necessary I’d Support It,” Lindsey Graham.

Akzed on June 11, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Boehner typically waited to find out which way the wind was blowing which is typical of the Me Too Party. After discovering that it was de rigueur to call Snowden a ‘traitor’ Boehner meekly said “Me too!”.

If leaking classified documents is a traitorous activity, why haven’t Obama, Hillary Clinton, Panetta, Holder, Sebelius,Reid, Pelosi, The Joint Chiefs Of Staff, the IRS head honchos and maybe 30,000 other employees working at the Triple Letter Agencies all been indicted?

MaiDee on June 11, 2013 at 2:05 PM

this would be a great idea.

jimver on June 11, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Sign me up. Um, is that a paying gig?

dogsoldier on June 11, 2013 at 2:06 PM

What you do for the least of my brothers you do for me…
 
I take my marching orders only from God, and if these people want jobs, let them have jobs…
 
MGardner on June 11, 2013 at 10:25 AM

 

Thanks a lot, brother.
 
Sincerely,
50% of American Black Males
 
rogerb on June 11, 2013 at 11:25 AM

 
There are jobs out there for them…
 
Part of the problem is the welfare state…
 
Why work when welfare is almost as much money???
 
MGardner on June 11, 2013 at 11:28 AM

 
Numbered for ease of use:
 
1)

There are jobs out there for them.

 
Cite your source.
 
Assuming you can, and keeping in mind that six in ten black males have a high school diploma or less, what demographics compete for these low skill/low wage jobs?
 

2)

Part of the problem is the welfare state…
 
Why work when welfare is almost as much money???

 
In the interest of preventing readers from seeing your position as little more than “blacks are lazy and just want to be on welfare but Hispanic illegals immigrants love working and just want feed their families”, I’ll ask you to cite your source here, too.
 
What percentage of 16-19 year old black males receive welfare, and what is the average amount per capita?

rogerb on June 11, 2013 at 2:06 PM

They use the traitor word way to easy…thought maybe they were talking about the obama admin and boehner and feinstein…really who is living up to their oaths anymore other than our military..mr boehner, ms feinstein do you really think you are? How about john kerry and one of obaas buds hanoi jane fonda…..come back when you have an answer

crosshugger on June 11, 2013 at 2:08 PM

“If I Thought Censoring The Mail Was Necessary I’d Support It,” Lindsey Graham.

It used to be that threatening the enemy was a sign of being hawkish. Now they seem more interested in threatening us to establish their hawkie bona fides.

Akzed on June 11, 2013 at 2:09 PM

forgot the m in obama in my post but no doubt who I am talking about….

crosshugger on June 11, 2013 at 2:10 PM

kim roy on June 11, 2013 at 1:27 PM

What exactly did you think that the NSA was in the business of, I mean all this while… building virtual bridges, cross cultural communication??? am just curious, coz everybody seems so inflamed and outraged at these latest ‘revelations’. why is this reveal more egregious than any previous?

jimver on June 11, 2013 at 1:52 PM

I thought they were spying on enemies of the United States, and maybe doing a little quiet development on the side.

This reveal is egregious to me because it informed me that my government is now doing tyrannical things on a scale I didn’t realize it would attempt. This is potentially a kind of mass secret, something you would read about in a dystopian novel.

I don’t understand why the fact that the raw data already existed has put your mind at ease with the idea of the federal government compiling and analyzing and storing it.

Axe on June 11, 2013 at 2:12 PM

C-span is now saying 2:15PM

bluefox on June 11, 2013 at 2:14 PM

I’m done with Boehner, Rubio, Cantor, and Ryan. Big statist, backstabbing pigs.

Can Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and a few others just start a 3rd party already?

Chubbs65 on June 11, 2013 at 2:19 PM

This is potentially a kind of mass secret, something you would read about in a dystopian novel. Axe on June 11, 2013 at 2:12 PM

Didn’t read the book, but in the movie Clear and Present Danger, Harrison Ford has NSA track down a phone call of the drug dealer using voice recognition, telling me that Clancy knew of their practice of recording all phone calls then, what, twenty years ago?

Akzed on June 11, 2013 at 2:22 PM

Didn’t read the book, but in the movie Clear and Present Danger, Harrison Ford has NSA track down a phone call of the drug dealer using voice recognition, telling me that Clancy knew of their practice of recording all phone calls then, what, twenty years ago?

Akzed on June 11, 2013 at 2:22 PM

In Enemy of the State(1998), Gene Hackman’s character claimed that instant voice-recognition software from phone calls was in usage at the time FISA was first born…around 1980.

This would fit with the notion that the Utah Data Center is currently set to house five zettabytes of data.

The entire internet is estimated to be half a zettabyte of data.

MadisonConservative on June 11, 2013 at 2:27 PM

It doesn’t put America at risk. It puts the ruling class at risk.

John the Libertarian on June 11, 2013 at 2:32 PM

Next year I plan to make a donation to Boehner’s Democratic opponent because this imbecile needs to be removed from public office. Conservatives worked so hard in 2010 so this moron could be Speaker?

Then he can spend more time with his new son-in-law.

bw222 on June 11, 2013 at 2:39 PM

Didn’t read the book, but in the movie Clear and Present Danger, Harrison Ford has NSA track down a phone call of the drug dealer using voice recognition, telling me that Clancy knew of their practice of recording all phone calls then, what, twenty years ago?

Akzed on June 11, 2013 at 2:22 PM

Meh. Voice recognition is only now beginning to work properly at all.

Anyway, all my books and movies are becoming real life, whether it was always that way and I never noticed, or it’s only just coming into flower now. :) I see Sigourney Weaver, I’m out of here.

Jimver can’t understand all the angst. I can’t understand how someone can have no angst over this one.

Axe on June 11, 2013 at 2:40 PM

Interesting that sheep like you are willing to excuse and hold up as a saint people like Snowden who have admitted to traitorous activity.

bluegill on June 11, 2013 at 11:18 AM

And, I had almost forgotten how stupid you are.

bw222 on June 11, 2013 at 2:43 PM

The Senate’s most prolific gun-grabber and an orange man are not what I consider to be compelling.

alchemist19 on June 11, 2013 at 2:44 PM

Interesting that sheep like you are willing to excuse and hold up as a saint people like Snowden who have admitted to traitorous activity.

bluegill on June 11, 2013 at 11:18 AM

So far he has exposed constitutional abuses. What makes HIM the traitor just on that? Now if he sells info to other countries, then we can use the traitor/treasonous term on the guy.

Chubbs65 on June 11, 2013 at 2:47 PM

If treason is revealing state secrets to America’s enemies, and if the political establishment basically considers us to be the enemy, then throwing the word “treason” around and calling Snowden a “traitor” kind of makes sense, if you squint a little.

Aitch748 on June 11, 2013 at 2:57 PM

Snowden is a traitor to the Fourth Reich.

VorDaj on June 11, 2013 at 3:16 PM

I’m actually on board with the idea that Snowden is a criminal, but that doesn’t mean that the NSA program is necessarily heroic, either.

I think the ship you are on board here is a U-Boat.

VorDaj on June 11, 2013 at 3:18 PM

The country we knew and loved is over. Why do we even talk about it anymore?

claudius on June 11, 2013 at 3:43 PM

These are the same people that have allowed terrorists to visit the WH; pray in the special place built for Muslims, and given them tours of our national security facilities. So don’t even begin to tell me that the WH gives a rat’s hind end about “national security” unless it’s politically expedient to bring it up.

There are people dedicated to this data mining effort; an organized and busy bunch of people. Their data collection is NOT for national security reasons; it is specifically being used to track American citizens. That’s a fact and it’s damning.

VorDaj on June 11, 2013 at 3:54 PM

Well, has the New York Times also committed treason for all the secrets they disclosed? And would Boehner call Jane Fonda a traitor as well?

Just curious. Or is treason being applied selectively?

JellyToast on June 11, 2013 at 4:01 PM

I thought they were spying on enemies of the United States, and maybe doing a little quiet development on the side.

This reveal is egregious to me because it informed me that my government is now doing tyrannical things on a scale I didn’t realize it would attempt. This is potentially a kind of mass secret, something you would read about in a dystopian novel.

I don’t understand why the fact that the raw data already existed has put your mind at ease with the idea of the federal government compiling and analyzing and storing it.

Axe on June 11, 2013 at 2:12 PM

all this data has already been collected and stored by credit card companies, cell phone companies, etc. the data being collected by the NSA has been available to them since it was available as an artifact. all the NSA is doing is use it to conduct post collection correlation searches, in other words, they are combing through all metadata available to them using computer algorithms and looking for patterns related to terrorist activity. then they use that information to inform more conventional intel gathering. so, why do you think corporate invasion of privacy is ok, or better or morally superior? for all we know they sell their metadata to third parties for marketing and sales purposes. a lot of people never seem to remember that this very blog produces metadata that is sold to pay the salaries of the bloggers. what about doubleclick? can they be trusted? are they selling this data to China? NSA? what happens to the Disquis data? any idea? nobody seem to be concerned with that aspect…I remember an MIT study a few years back that found that reviewing people’s social networking contacts alone was sufficient to determine their sexual orientation. remind me again, how many people are using FB? you’re trusting your phone companies (cell and/or landline) with your data like you’re trusting your bank with your financial transactions. they know when you buy a house, or when you go for surgery, divorce – they know everything. and they record all that info electronically and otherwise. why do you trust them with your information?

as for the ‘I thought they were spying on the enemies of the US’ – well, they did that, it just that it so happens that some of the said enemies reside/d in the US, they could be either US citizens, born or naturalized, or ‘visitors’, or simply on the US territory for whatever purpose (education, tourism), temporary or long term. also, you realize that in order to spy on the enemies of the US abroad, which you seem to have been aware that the NSA was doing, the NSA ‘invaded’ the privacy of millions of innocent foreign individuals whose only fault was that they were fellow citizens (residing in the same country that is) of some of the US enemies. why is that better or morally superior to, say, invading the privacy of millions of American citizens with the purpose of spying on the US enemies? what’s the difference really? ‘innocent’ is ‘innocent’ in all languages…

jimver on June 11, 2013 at 4:09 PM

If treason is revealing state secrets to America’s enemies, and if the political establishment basically considers us to be the enemy, then throwing the word “treason” around and calling Snowden a “traitor” kind of makes sense, if you squint a little.

Aitch748 on June 11, 2013 at 2:57 PM

Very good. To be called a traitor by the likes of Boehner is the highest of compliments.

sartana on June 11, 2013 at 5:01 PM

Snowdon…Traitor….not likely

Boehner, et.al…..Traitors to the Republic….you betcha.

You bring up that crap sammich Immigration bill…you’re the traitor.

III/0317

dirtengineer on June 11, 2013 at 5:04 PM

Really, really, REALLY tone deaf!

Seriously, people thought Romney had a gaffing problem? He may have occasionally put his foot in his mouth, but at least he never stuffed an entire HAND GRENADE in there.

Honestly, yet, the guy that leaked this probably meet the TECHNICAL definition of a, uh, well I don’t even want to say it. However, the program he unearthed is unethical AT BEST, and clearly beyond the bounds of what even the Patriat act allowed.

I don’t care if a handful of people in congress know about it.

I don’t care if you THINK you have safe guards in place.

I don’t care if you somehow think this is a good program. (Somebody kick Lindsey Graham please!)

This, is, the, EXACT sort of over reach that any self described conservative should be LIVID about. The fact the Mr Boehner isn’t, is EXTREMELY disappointing to me. Before, I figured him for ham handed but generally well meaning, now, I’m forced to classify him as another clueless elected bureaucrat!

Seriously, nominated Rand Paul already. I had a couple reservations before, but dangit, its obvious we need a true believer right now!

WolvenOne on June 11, 2013 at 5:48 PM

Hero or Traitor? My take.

kingsjester on June 11, 2013 at 9:30 AM

Enjoyed your article that you linked to. Great thoughts.

avagreen on June 11, 2013 at 6:16 PM

As I’ve said previously…….and incidentally, heard Stuart Varney same the same thing this morning……I’m going back to snail mail. Don’t think anyone’s going to rip up my envelope to read the contents.

Helps security and helps the Post Office.

avagreen on June 11, 2013 at 6:19 PM

How is Snowden different from Binney?

Binney went to the NYT in 2012.

Why this focus on Snowden?

workingclass artist on June 11, 2013 at 1:52 PM

Ouch. Double handed cross court backhand. That’s gonna hurt

WryTrvllr on June 11, 2013 at 7:22 PM

Boehner is a boob. The problem with surveillance is that there is never enough and you can’t trust that it won’t be misused.

aloysiusmiller on June 11, 2013 at 8:28 PM

so, why do you think corporate invasion of privacy is ok, or better or morally superior? for all we know they sell their metadata to third parties for marketing and sales purposes. a lot of people never seem to remember that this very blog produces metadata that is sold to pay the salaries of the bloggers. what about doubleclick? can they be trusted? are they selling this data to China? NSA? what happens to the Disquis data? any idea? nobody seem to be concerned with that aspect…

Our circles clearly do not overlap if you know nobody “concerned with that aspect.” Corporate invasion of privacy isn’t OK, better or morally superior . . .

Instead of going point by point through your remarks about private companies and the way they use the data — let me just point out that they are private companies and the way they use the data is constrained by the laws we create. They are also obliged to abide by the contractual agreements they have with their clients.

I remember an MIT study a few years back that found that reviewing people’s social networking contacts alone was sufficient to determine their sexual orientation. remind me again, how many people are using FB?

I’ve got a spider sifting Hot Air right this minute looking for English pejoratives. I’m also not the federal government. You are just saying that public information is public. Yes, it is.

you’re trusting your phone companies (cell and/or landline) with your data like you’re trusting your bank with your financial transactions. they know when you buy a house, or when you go for surgery, divorce – they know everything. and they record all that info electronically and otherwise. why do you trust them with your information?

I don’t know why you think the cell phone company knows when I go for surgery, but taking your assessment as true for argument’s sake — because they are a peer, an associate, and we have a business contract, and I’ve agreed to allow them to use information about me and to sell it if they want. I signed the paper. I get some things in exchange.

as for the ‘I thought they were spying on the enemies of the US’ – well, they did that, it just that it so happens that some of the said enemies reside/d in the US, they could be either US citizens, born or naturalized, or ‘visitors’, or simply on the US territory for whatever purpose (education, tourism), temporary or long term.

So you are flatly, unequivocally OK with surveillance of citizens without due process, or with some illusory “due process” so far removed from basic understandings of individual rights that it’s really just perfunctory. I’m not OK with that.

also, you realize that in order to spy on the enemies of the US abroad, which you seem to have been aware that the NSA was doing, the NSA ‘invaded’ the privacy of millions of innocent foreign individuals whose only fault was that they were fellow citizens (residing in the same country that is) of some of the US enemies.

I had no idea the NSA was spying on millions of people.

why is that better or morally superior to, say, invading the privacy of millions of American citizens with the purpose of spying on the US enemies? what’s the difference really? ‘innocent’ is ‘innocent’ in all languages…

jimver on June 11, 2013 at 4:09 PM

You keep using “better and morally superior” as the scale.

Information I voluntarily provide to my credit card company is none of the federal government’s business. A picture a person takes of me in the street is none of the federal government’s business.

“Because it’s there” is not a valid excuse for the federal government to collect information about me.

Axe on June 11, 2013 at 9:50 PM

8th district in Ohio, you voted for him. Repeatedly.

Republicans in the House, you voted for him to keep the Speakership.

Even though all the warning signs were there throughout the 2011-12 session. More focused on roads than accountability.

But nooooo. “We have to keep Boehner as Speaker, otherwise Pelosi gets back in!” Okay, last I heard the Speaker can only be elected on a majority vote, something Pelosi could NEVER have gotten.

Louis Gohmert tried his hardest to mount a campaign for an alternative GOP speaker. He got, what, 2-3 votes taken away from Boneless?

Somebody in Ohio-8 PLEASE run against this guy in the primary. And PLEASE use that “traitor” quote in your campaign ads.

TMOverbeck on June 12, 2013 at 8:03 AM

No, you’re a traitor, crybaby, to the American people because you broke your constitutional oath. Edward Snowden is trying to defend the American people. You don’t give a #$%^.

theaddora on June 12, 2013 at 11:55 AM

Well Boehner, there’s a whole lot of traitoring going on, right?

You poke your head out when it won’t get chopped off, to defend the right of the administration to do anything it wants.

I am surprised the media decided to waste air-time on you. You certainly have not come to the aid of the party.

virgo on June 13, 2013 at 2:31 AM

Boehner is finally ‘coming out of the closet’, exposing the fact that he is nothing more than a big, fat RHINO ‘PU$$ & has been for years!

EVERY time he had an opportunity to force spending cuts or block a Spending Limit increase he rolled over on his back like a $2 whore. He even bragged about how much he saved the American people in spending cuts only to have exposed that 85% of the ‘cuts’ he ‘won’ was Stimulus money that had not been spent yet, that he never got Obama to accept 1 proposed spending cut!

He wept like a biatch when he became Speaker of the House, & ever since then the American people have been weeping because of his cowardice, lack of leadership, & willingness to drop to b@nd over whenever Obama or Harry Reid told him to do so!

easyt65 on June 13, 2013 at 12:55 PM

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