Friday news dump: U.S. charges Snowden with espionage

posted at 8:24 pm on June 21, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham

According to an unsealed criminal complaint against him:

Federal prosecutors have charged Edward Snowden, the man who admitted leaking top-secret details about U.S. surveillance programs, with espionage and theft of government property, according to a criminal complaint that was unsealed Friday in U.S. District Court in Virginia.

The United States has asked Hong Kong to detain Snowden on a provisional arrest warrant, The Washington Post reported, citing unnamed U.S. officials.
The complaint charges Snowden with theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified intelligence to an unauthorized person — allegations that amount to espionage in the United States under the federal Espionage Act.

The full complaint is here.

National security reporter Eli Lake notes:

Glenn Greenwald called the charges “vindictive,” adding:

There’s always this option:

An Icelandic businessman linked to WikiLeaks said he has readied a private plane to take Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who exposed secret U.S. surveillance programs, to Iceland if the government grants him asylum.

“We have made everything ready at our end now we only have to wait for confirmation from the (Icelandic) Interior Ministry,” Olafur Vignir Sigurvinsson told Reuters. He is a former director of DataCell, a company which processed payments for WikiLeaks.

“A private jet is in place in China and we could fly Snowden over tomorrow if we get positive reaction from the Interior Ministry. We need to get confirmation of asylum and that he will not be extradited to the U.S. We would most want him to get a citizenship as well,” Sigurvinsson said.


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Comment pages: 1 2 3

Yawn. Good for him. I’m glad he did it and hope he finds a place to live.

The FEDS in the US have committed their own crimes against the US Constitution and its citizens. I hope Snowden finds a good place to wait it out.

TX-96 on June 23, 2013 at 8:00 AM

Hang in their Mr. Snowden. Thank you for alerting us that our government is corrupt and doesn’t care a fig for the Constitution. We will do our best to right this wrong. We will try to make it safe for you, too.

BetseyRoss on June 23, 2013 at 10:13 AM

Frankenstein wants his monster back and the neighboring villages aren’t cooperating.

dddave on June 23, 2013 at 12:38 PM

Standard intelligence logic would indicate that if Snowden could disclose what we think he could disclose, the major part of the program is now compromised. This means it probably can’t be relied upon to supply significant intelligence going forward, even if it had value before.

The notion that gathering more and bigger information haystacks, means you find more needles, is just technology-for-technology’s sake. Do experienced intelligence people think this is worth their time?

If your subject knows they are under surveillance, they are not going to be helpful by sharing information as they did before. Anyone with anything sensitive to share will not be using email or mobile phones.

virgo on June 23, 2013 at 1:16 PM

If your subject knows they are under surveillance, they are not going to be helpful by sharing information as they did before. Anyone with anything sensitive to share will not be using email or mobile phones.

virgo on June 23, 2013 at 1:16 PM

If they did something as simple as typing email messages in a word processing document file, putting it in an encrypted archive and sending that as an attachment, it would largely invalidate the haystack-searching.

It’s one thing to merely intercept messages, but having the CPU power to decrypt everything in a timely fashion? That’s quite another.

MelonCollie on June 23, 2013 at 1:28 PM

I’m reading Chris Kyle’s book American Sniper now, and he says that in Iraq soldiers’ calls home were digitally monitored for keywords and flagged when those words were used, for security reasons.

Draw your own conclusions.

Akzed on June 23, 2013 at 2:17 PM

Heard HAL got banned. He is too stupid to understand that MKH swings the fastest banhammer on the internet…plus, she’s preggers. (Ask a woman how tolerant she was/is with pregger hormones. I know that I had no tolerance for anything, especially idiotic men.)

Can’t say that I will miss the despicable toad. LMFAO!

Resist We Much on June 23, 2013 at 3:24 PM

I’m still on the fence on where I sit in regards this whole matter, but its clear to me that he broke laws in terms of violating his agreement he signed when obtaining his clearance, and thus has broken laws.

But the fact that it took so long for the Obama administration to get around to charge him is yet one more example of their incompetence.

CharlieCA on June 23, 2013 at 4:54 PM

I’m not sure that Mohammed in Yemen didn’t already assume that we are monitoring his email and cellphone commo. We know for sure that OBL was intentionally off the grid to avoid being snooped.

So in reality, it seems as though PRISM is mainly classified so that Americans cannot fully understand it and punish their politicians at the polls. You have to wonder in this day and age of classification how much material is simply classified to keep it secret solely from Americans. That’s disturbing.

guinneach on June 23, 2013 at 5:06 PM

I’m still on the fence on where I sit in regards this whole matter, but its clear to me that he broke laws in terms of violating his agreement he signed when obtaining his clearance, and thus has broken laws.
 

CharlieCA on June 23, 2013 at 4:54 PM

 
+1.
 
I still trying to find out whether, as an employee for a private contractor, he pledged an oath to protect the Constitution, signed a nondisclosure agreement to protect the government, or both.
 
I’ve heard speculation, but I haven’t gotten a good answer (or texts of the oath(s)) yet.

rogerb on June 23, 2013 at 7:24 PM

I’m still on the fence on where I sit in regards this whole matter, but its clear to me that he broke laws in terms of violating his agreement he signed when obtaining his clearance, and thus has broken laws. CharlieCA on June 23, 2013 at 4:54 PM

Ok, he broke laws, so therefore he has broken laws. Gotcha.

Sometimes when people refuse to break laws their only defense becomes, “I vas only follovink ordahz.”

Akzed on June 23, 2013 at 8:16 PM

If it wasn’t so pathetic, the irony of this whole thing would be humorous:

This President – who when running for the office praised ‘whistle blowers’, declared there should be MORE of them, & that they should be protected NOT targeted – & the Federal Government – that is trampling the Constituion & every Americans’ rights underfoot by SPYING on every American citizen (by collecting EVERY daily phone call, e-mail, tweet, Facebook Post, blog post, photo, & video) – is charging with Espionage (SPYING) the WHISTLE BLOWER who exposed what Obama & our government is doing to its own citizens / this nation!

easyt65 on June 24, 2013 at 8:21 AM

Comment pages: 1 2 3