Snowden: Mission accomplished

posted at 8:31 am on December 24, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

But what exactly was the mission? Was it to expose an overreaching surveillance state and force accountability onto it? Or was it to cripple American intelligence and diplomacy? Thanks to the scope of the cache that Edward Snowden took and then released from the NSA and its British counterpart GCHQ, plenty of evidence can be cited for either conclusion, and will fuel debate for decades.

That, Snowden told Barton Gellman of the Washington Post, was the mission:

Snowden is an orderly thinker, with an engineer’s approach to problem-solving. He had come to believe that a dangerous machine of mass surveillance was growing unchecked. Closed-door oversight by Congress and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court was a “graveyard of judgment,” he said, manipulated by the agency it was supposed to keep in check. Classification rules erected walls to prevent public debate.

Toppling those walls would be a spectacular act of transgression against the norms that prevailed inside them. Someone would have to bypass security, extract the secrets, make undetected contact with journalists and provide them with enough proof to tell the stories.

The NSA’s business is “information dominance,” the use of other people’s secrets to shape events. At 29, Snowden upended the agency on its own turf.

“You recognize that you’re going in blind, that there’s no model,” Snowden said, acknowledging that he had no way to know whether the public would share his views.

“But when you weigh that against the alternative, which is not to act,” he said, “you realize that some analysis is better than no analysis. Because even if your analysis proves to be wrong, the marketplace of ideas will bear that out. If you look at it from an engineering perspective, an iterative perspective, it’s clear that you have to try something rather than do nothing.”

By his own terms, Snowden succeeded beyond plausible ambition.

That much, at least, is true. However, as I’ve noted a few times in writing about Snowden, that mission wasn’t his to accomplish, at least not in the manner in which Snowden acted. His supporters claim that the actual avenues of legitimate whistleblowing are so totally corrupt that Snowden had no other choice but to expose highly-classified data through the media, but that’s a pretty self-serving argument for those supporters, most of whom are in the media.

Interestingly, Snowden doesn’t spend much time defending that choice, at least not in Gellman’s profile. Snowden talks a lot about discussing the matter with colleagues, but doesn’t make much of a claim of having tried the legitimate avenues of whistleblowing first, other than what appears to be a single instance of going to his direct superiors. There is no mention of other avenues, which includes as a last resort going to Congress with evidence of wrongdoing. (The NSA denies that Snowden even raised the issue, a claim which Gellman includes.)

Snowden does address this issue, although in the context of answering another criticism:

“That whole question — who elected you? — inverts the model,” he said. “They elected me. The overseers.”

He named the chairmen of the Senate and House intelligence committees.

Dianne Feinstein elected me when she asked softball questions” in committee hearings, he said. “Mike Rogers elected me when he kept these programs hidden. . . . The FISA court elected me when they decided to legislate from the bench on things that were far beyond the mandate of what that court was ever intended to do. The system failed comprehensively, and each level of oversight, each level of responsibility that should have addressed this, abdicated their responsibility.”

“It wasn’t that they put it on me as an individual — that I’m uniquely qualified, an angel descending from the heavens — as that they put it on someone, somewhere,” he said. “You have the capability, and you realize every other [person] sitting around the table has the same capability but they don’t do it. So somebody has to be the first.”

Feinstein and Rogers aren’t the only two members of Congress, though.  Senator Ron Wyden has fought for years to get the NSA under control, for instance; why not contact Wyden with the information that Wyden clearly wanted? Wyden isn’t alone, either. This sounds more like a retroactive rationalization, a claim that Snowden made without ever testing its legitimacy.

What would going through channels have done for this debate? Snowden could have done that while still fleeing the country to protect himself, and perhaps even could have accomplished the latter with a little less risk. That would have helped control the information that got out in order to minimize diplomatic damage by shielding legitimate intelligence operations. If that still didn’t work to expose the abuses, then Snowden still would have had Plan B, and we would have had a test of whether anyone in Congress was willing to take on the NSA and the intelligence community in a responsible manner.

We’ve discussed Snowden for months, and now he’s had his say in the matter directly. It’s worth reading in its entirety. How do readers see Snowden now? Take the poll:


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That much, at least, is true. However, as I’ve noted a few times in writing about Snowden, that mission wasn’t his to accomplish, at least not in the manner in which Snowden acted. His supporters claim that the actual avenues of legitimate whistleblowing are so totally corrupt that Snowden had no other choice but to expose highly-classified data through the media, but that’s a pretty self-serving argument for those supporters, most of whom are in the media.

Blah. Really? You mean like how someone is being held accountable for the death of an ambassador and three others?

One possible someone might be the next president. The rest that may be accountable proceed on their merry ways.

The media says what suits them and if there was any chance of the public actually doing something, they wouldn’t be paying cheap lip service to Snowden – they’d be actively Palinizing him. But you should know this.

So please don’t BS any of us by stating the above.

Nothing will change because we’ve been brainwashed to accept statism and falsehoods and aren’t willing to do what it takes to actually take back the country.

kim roy on December 24, 2013 at 1:56 PM

If Winston and Roosevelt had listened to certain high placed”traitors” from within Germany we could have prevented WW2. We didn’t and millions died. Sometimes betraying a regime is preferable to keeping mum and allowing the regime to be more firmly entrenched. Face it, Dubya the compassionate conservative enabled big brother with the misnomer Patriot Act, instituted the apparatus with TSA, DHS and enlarged the scope of domestic spying.

The founding fathers knew something about security risk when they enshrined the right to be secure from unwarranted searches of possession and papers. If they had foresight to see telephonesand digital documents they would have included that in their terminology of “paper”. In their time, preventing the govt from searching one’s papers was just as risky as one would never know that a group of people could be plotting with the French, Spanish or the British to undo the nascent Republic. But the FF understood that liberty comes with risks but that a secure state is tyranny. They left it up to the people to secure their freedoms and not leave it to an ever hungry for power government. But here we are subject to the whims of a regime.

AH_C on December 24, 2013 at 1:57 PM

You know nothing about Putin unless of course you work for the SVR or FSB.

Keep kidding yourself.

Only a moron would think that in country that has officially a state controled media would allow a private citizen from another country to go on television without consent and prior textual approval.

jerryofva on December 24, 2013 at 1:53 PM

Prove that I made that claim. You might find out who the “moron” is around here.

Schadenfreude on December 24, 2013 at 1:59 PM

Again, some of you so-called righties, are worse than the most inane trolls on HA.

Schadenfreude on December 24, 2013 at 2:00 PM

This guy was a dept. of justice whistleblower. See how far it got him, the good man.

Schadenfreude on December 24, 2013 at 2:03 PM

Catastrophically poor security by the NSA allowed a Freelance Anachist Spy like Snowden to access AND steala calamitous amount of secret material.

NSA heads should roll.

But Snowden needs to serve time for fraud, theft and allowing China and Russia to steal his stolen goods as he heads back to America, ultimately.

His procedure was dangerous to our national security, however (-is anyone as naively idealistic as Snowden purports to be?) he rationalizes this disgorging of materials to everyone on Earth, including our enemies.

His methods are as bad as the NSA’s.

Mirror idiots.

profitsbeard on December 24, 2013 at 2:11 PM

The Brits must be really “moronic”.

Snowden will say “Great Britain’s George Orwell warned us of the danger of this kind of information. The types of collection in the book – microphones and video cameras, TVs that watch us are nothing compared to what we have available today. We have sensors in our pockets that track us everywhere we go. Think about what this means for the privacy of the average person.”

The head of News and Current Affairs at Channel 4 explained, “Edward Snowden’s decision to reveal the extent of surveillance programmes was one of the most significant news events of the year. The information which he has placed in the public domain raises serious questions for democratic society. This is an opportunity for our viewers to hear from him directly and judge for themselves what he has to say.”

Snowden will end his message with a positive note, “Together we can find a better balance, end mass surveillance and remind the government that if it really wants to know how we feel asking is always cheaper than spying.”

Schadenfreude on December 24, 2013 at 2:12 PM

His methods are as bad as the NSA’s.

Mirror idiots.

profitsbeard on December 24, 2013 at 2:11 PM

True, but he is smarter than they are.

He carried a copy of the constitution with him. They didn’t follow it.

Schadenfreude on December 24, 2013 at 2:16 PM

I love the whining about why Snowden didn’t go through proper channels while whistleblowing, completely ignoring the people who DID go through the proper channels prior to him who got completely railroaded and accomplished nothing. So basically, Ed wanted Snowden to simply accomplish nothing like all of the other whistleblowers. . . .

Google William Binney.

thphilli on December 24, 2013 at 1:55 PM

You know, Snowden only had two paths to take…lol

One of my criticisms of him is his limited imagination. He’s a smart guy – I figure he should have put those smarts to better use. When I look at what he’s said & done with the information he illegally acquired, I start to understand why he’s made his decisions, and my understanding is not to his credit!

If I had been in his position, I wouldn’t ever have used the excuse, “Well, if I could trust the American powers that be, I would never have left the US.” Let me welcome you to the imperfect-as-ever, real world, Edward – how are you going to navigate its waters?

If you want to say that my conclusions about him indicates something negative about my character, and that I’m less of a realist and/or more of a fool than Snowden, go right ahead. Don’t be surprised to see that I’d hold you to the same standard though, alright? :)

Anti-Control on December 24, 2013 at 2:21 PM

Wow!… There seems to be a lot of conflict with this “Snowden” thing. Jeez!
Was Snowden a whistleblower?: Yes.
Was Snowden a traitor?: Yes.
What’s the problem people?…
Snowden exposed the fact that the NSA was (is) spying on Americans.. Nobody likes to be spied on so I guess that is good we have been made aware of it. If we didn’t already know….
Our potential adversaries are being spied upon and Snowden told them how we do (did) it.. Well… That’s kind of treasonous for an American to do such a thing.

Even as a contractor, Snowden signed an affidavit stipulating his loyalty to the United States and his promise not to betray her. It is one of the requirements before being granted a top secret security clearance. .. there is nothing in there or in fine print that says “well, only if you agree”..
So even with the domestic spying revelations, he is already in breech. Even if it may be morally right to go public with that, technically it could still mean jail. And the government has all rights to prosecute. He signed the affidavit.

When it comes down to informing other nations on the techniques of how we spy on them, that is an act of treason. It is not whistle blowing. Its treason.. This is not my opinion. It is fact.. If you just open a law book or even a dictionary, or perhaps read the US constitution, you will see… Snowden has committed harm and put America at greater risk with his revelations. Its treason.

Enough with this back-and-forth about if he is the good guy or the bad guy.. When he started revealing national secrets to other nations, he became the bad guy.. Thats it. no more room for discussion. It isn’t my opinion… It is what it is..

Al Hall on December 24, 2013 at 2:33 PM

No QOTD thread yet so I’ll say it here…..Merry Christmas everyone. All the Limerick’s best to you and yours and may you win the lotto and end up where you want to be. Enjoy. Happy New Year too.

Limerick on December 24, 2013 at 2:37 PM

Snowden is a tragic figure bc he had hoped the American people would respond to his revelations by shutting down the police state the feds have constructed, but instead we have meekly accepted it. Now of course, we’ll get more.

Snowden, for all his faults, at least understands enough to know that we are not going to be a free country any more, and he tried to do something about it.

Its not the release of the documents that is treasonous. Its the procedures and practices the documents record, that is criminal and treasonous, and the politicians who defend it, who are treasonous.

rightwingyahooo on December 24, 2013 at 2:54 PM

YES: HE AND GREENWALD AND THE GUARDIAN HAVE ALL ADMITTED HE STOLE MILLIONS OF FILES AND THAT THEY HAVEN’T RELEASED MUCH OF THEM YET.

wake up.

[reliapundit on December 24, 2013 at 12:57 PM]

Sorry. I was out on errands.

All I have to say for now is that I have skimmed through a minimum of three pages in on about 6 different searches, using primarily million & documents, for Greenwald and Snowden and I came up with one here Jeffery Toobin asserted without any evidence or reference whatsoever that that was how many docs Snowden stole. The best I could come up with was Greenwald saying he had thousands.

The only use of millions I saw was how many persons rights were violated by the NSA in their purported serial and continuous illegal activities. (Which by the way if the program is found to be unconstitutional then the NSA will be possession of hundreds of millions if not billions of ‘stolen’ records.)

So you need to show where Snowden and Greenwald both admitted that Snowden stole millions of documents, or apologise for being in error. Until then, don’t bother me with your “facts”. After you do, I’ll be ready to debate this further, including your previous comment about libertarian Germany and Israel.

Dusty on December 24, 2013 at 3:01 PM

Putin is a greater force for Good in the world than Obama. Someone disagree with me. I will wait.

antisense on December 24, 2013 at 3:13 PM

The public already has a say in how they are governed. But thank you very much, Mr. Snowden, for making it possible for the Russians or the Chinese to do the same.

In other words, go pound sand, kid — you betrayed everything to people who wish America harm — and you are continuing to do so.

Or, in still other words, Apology Not Accepted.

unclesmrgol on December 24, 2013 at 3:22 PM

Putin is a greater force for Good in the world than Obama. Someone disagree with me. I will wait.

antisense on December 24, 2013 at 3:13 PM

Obama may rail against the rich, but Mr. Putin sent one to prison for ten years merely for challenging him in an election.

unclesmrgol on December 24, 2013 at 3:23 PM

He hasn’t betrayed me, nor lied to me. He’s told me my government was betraying and lying to me.

Axe on December 24, 2013 at 1:10 PM

But… but… he broke the LAW! He didn’t go to his supervisors in the NSA and complain about constitutional violations. He didn’t go to his congressman and do the same. His failure to go through the proper mandated channels is the only reason we even know his freaking name or what the NSA has been doing the last 8 years.

Honestly, we have a secret agency, acting outside of its founding mandate that has almost zero congressional oversight, run by secret courts and people are bleating about Snowden not following the rule of law? Really?

Wendya on December 24, 2013 at 3:37 PM

Did Snowden undermine the government? You bet. Government security isn’t the same as “national” security. A government that undermines and ignores even the twisted toothless version of what poses as the constitution today isn’t a government that should ever feel secure.

For you so-called conservatives that want to see Snowden strung up on the gallows and yet are concerned about the invasion of our private lives being perpetrated by out government. We wouldn’t know these things without the revelations he provided.

Secret courts, secret laws, secret rulings, how can these things possibly exist in the land of the free and the home of the brave? How can these things exist in a government of, for and by the people?

James Clapper should be drawn and quartered in the mall for his treason.

crashland on December 24, 2013 at 3:51 PM

Honestly, we have a secret agency, acting outside of its founding mandate that has almost zero congressional oversight, run by secret courts and people are bleating about Snowden not following the rule of law? Really?

Correct. A corrupt fed government, court system, local government and local police are all fine with the GOP establishment types and their supporters here.

Just so long as the peons do as they’re told and obey the rules set up for them, while they are pushed out of the way for others deemed even more pliable.

Laws that protect the citizens can be ignored and are, daily and in perpetuity. Laws that restrain us damn well better be obeyed, eh McCain-Graham types?

yeah, no.

rightwingyahooo on December 24, 2013 at 3:58 PM

But… but… he broke the LAW! He didn’t go to his supervisors in the NSA and complain about constitutional violations. He didn’t go to his congressman and do the same. His failure to go through the proper mandated channels is the only reason we even know his freaking name or what the NSA has been doing the last 8 years.

Honestly, we have a secret agency, acting outside of its founding mandate that has almost zero congressional oversight, run by secret courts and people are bleating about Snowden not following the rule of law? Really?

Wendya on December 24, 2013 at 3:37 PM

I expect that you, as a perfectly consistent person, have never complained when the Preezy’s selective about which laws he unilaterally chooses to enforce.

Do you not care all that Snowden’s openly shown a willingness to share stolen US surveillance secrets with foreign governments? From where do you think Snowden gets the right to decide for himself to which American laws he’ll allow himself to be subjected? Considering that he broke US law & ran away from facing the consequences of that, what do you make of his psychology/maturity when you see him complain that his passport has been frozen?

Anti-Control on December 24, 2013 at 4:04 PM

None of you Snowden supporters have yet to justify his revealing of national secrets to foreign entities..
You are beginning to p!ss me off… Tell me why it is better for me and my family that the Russians and Chinese are now able to better hide their true intensions from us.

Al Hall on December 24, 2013 at 4:09 PM

If you think that the feds give one quarter of a damn about you and your family being safe from the Russians and Chinese, you are dumber than your average bear.

The State department and US armed forces are falling all over themselves to get as tight with the Chicoms and Muscovites as they possibly can. As for our enemies, they telegraph their intentions toward us openly, and nothing Snowden gave them will change a damn thing.

rightwingyahooo on December 24, 2013 at 4:15 PM

He is a lying, narcissistic P-O-S.

rlwo2008 on December 24, 2013 at 4:18 PM

He is a lying, narcissistic P-O-S.

So are the elected representatives of the democrat constituency of the US, along with about 80-90% of those of the republican.

Lets clean them up first. When we can get the banks to follow the law, get our immigration laws enforced, and repeal Obamcare, Frank-Dodd, and dismantle the crony-capitalism that is destroying what little is left of our economy, then we can all get our peacock feathers in full display about Snowden.

Deal?

rightwingyahooo on December 24, 2013 at 4:24 PM

SF:

Of course you made claim. You thought it was big deal that your hero Ed Snowden was going have X-mas TV broadcast like that proved something. You also stated you know Putin or specifically more about him. No one who has not sat down and talked with the man knows much about Putin. Have you sat down and talked with him? I certainly haven’t. If you have I can only guess that you are current or former of the Soviet intelligence and Security apparatus.

Now to the entire thread. Rather than merely make fun of people I posed a legitimate question about a potential threat from Boko Haram. (link provided.) I asked for suggestions on how you would meet your own requirements for Constitutional surveillance and get the job done. I don’t have answer and it seems all you Constitutionalists don’t either but I know this for a fact all you will be attacking the government for its failure to stop an attack if it goes down.

jerryofva on December 24, 2013 at 4:44 PM

Snowden: Mission accomplished

Congrats, now come back and face the consequences of your vigilantism. Plan a good last meal you traitor.

Rogue on December 24, 2013 at 4:44 PM

I don’t have answer and it seems all you Constitutionalists don’t either but I know this for a fact all you will be attacking the government for its failure to stop an attack if it goes down.

jerryofva on December 24, 2013 at 4:44 PM

Couldve stopped 9-11 by enforcing the immigration laws, and all the police state nonsense since then, has prevented nothing.

Everything the feds have done since 9-11, including the wars, has gone up in a smoke of federal debt, and saved not one life.

Meanwhile the lack of enforcement of our immigration laws kets up to 25 americans killed every day.

Snowden is manifestly not the problem, the corruption and incompetence of the federal government, is.

rightwingyahooo on December 24, 2013 at 4:51 PM

Thats it. no more room for discussion. It isn’t my opinion… It is what it is..

Al Hall on December 24, 2013 at 2:33 PM

Thanks for the laugh. The irony escapes many on the so-called right.

Schadenfreude on December 24, 2013 at 4:53 PM

His supporters claim that the actual avenues of legitimate whistleblowing are so totally corrupt that Snowden had no other choice but to expose highly-classified data through the media

If three former NSA workers who actually created these programs tried to get the attention of congress to no avail and had their names and reputations drug through the mud, then Snowden may have a point.

When a National Security Agency contractor revealed top-secret details this month on the government’s collection of Americans’ phone and Internet records, one select group of intelligence veterans breathed a sigh of relief.

Thomas Drake, William Binney and J. Kirk Wiebe belong to a select fraternity: the NSA officials who paved the way.

For years, the three whistle-blowers had told anyone who would listen that the NSA collects huge swaths of communications data from U.S. citizens. They had spent decades in the top ranks of the agency, designing and managing the very data-collection systems they say have been turned against Americans. When they became convinced that fundamental constitutional rights were being violated, they complained first to their superiors, then to federal investigators, congressional oversight committees and, finally, to the news media.

To the intelligence community, the trio are villains who compromised what the government classifies as some of its most secret, crucial and successful initiatives. They have been investigated as criminals and forced to give up careers, reputations and friendships built over a lifetime.

I do agree that he could have informed Wyden while fleeing with the information, and if nothing happened, then he could have gone public.

Patriot Vet on December 24, 2013 at 4:56 PM

Putin is a greater force for Good in the world than Obama. Someone disagree with me. I will wait.

antisense on December 24, 2013 at 3:13 PM

That obama enabled Putin to take the ‘moral’ mantel is the travesty of them all.

Schadenfreude on December 24, 2013 at 5:01 PM

jerryofva on December 24, 2013 at 4:44 PM

You’re full of bs. I simply stated that he’ll speak (as does the queen sometimes). It’s a British tradition to have a contrarian view.

Schadenfreude on December 24, 2013 at 5:03 PM

The bottom line is Snowden is the least of our problems and is being used as a diversion by the GOP establishment to rally support for a corrupt police state status quo that is illegal under the constitution these scum swore an oath to, mostly by using the old cold war tactics of “anything we do is justified by the war or terror”….

They are the traitors, Snowden is least among them.

rightwingyahooo on December 24, 2013 at 5:05 PM

Do you not care all that Snowden’s openly shown a willingness to share stolen US surveillance secrets with foreign governments? From where do you think Snowden gets the right to decide for himself to which American laws he’ll allow himself to be subjected? Considering that he broke US law & ran away from facing the consequences of that, what do you make of his psychology/maturity when you see him complain that his passport has been frozen?

Anti-Control on December 24, 2013 at 4:04 PM

I’ll be completely honest. I’m not nearly as concerned about China or Russia as I am about the US Government’s attacks on our constitutional rights. Our government was formed to protect those rights, not abridge them in the name of national security or for any other reason. Their cavalier treatment of the Constitution is a greater threat to us than any random terror attack. Try to see the big picture here.

Wendya on December 24, 2013 at 5:10 PM

Their cavalier treatment of the Constitution is a greater threat to us than any random terror attack. Try to see the big picture here.

Wendya on December 24, 2013 at 5:10 PM

Yes. It’s so huge and un-missable now, that theres no excuse for even worrying about Snowden.

It’s like a dog whistle, it shows you who the dogs really are.

rightwingyahooo on December 24, 2013 at 5:14 PM

From where do you think Snowden gets the right to decide for himself to which American laws he’ll allow himself to be subjected?

Irony alert. The NSA, the congress and the entire executive branch, as well as the federal reserve, do this every day, and affect your life far more negatively than anything snowden could do.

rightwingyahooo on December 24, 2013 at 5:15 PM

DUSTY – YOU ARE INCOMPETENT SEARCHER.

AS OF DECEMBER 3, THE GUARDIAN ADMITTED TO HAVING 580,000 FILES FROM SNOWDEN:

The Guardian has published only one percent of the leaked documents it received from former NSA contractor and famed leaker Edward Snowden, the newspaper’s editor said Tuesday.

Alan Rusbridger, appearing before British Parliament, said the newspaper had not put lives at risk or harmed national security by publishing the leaked documents, the Associated Press reports. Rusbridger said Snowden leaked a total of about 58,000 files, the vast majority of which the paper has not, and will not, publish.

Read more: NSA Leaks: Guardian Has Only Published 1% Of Edward Snowden Docs | TIME.com http://world.time.com/2013/12/03/guardian-editor-says-paper-only-published-1-of-snowden-nsa-leaks/#ixzz2oQx6u9IX

reliapundit on December 24, 2013 at 5:24 PM

HI DUSTY;

HIS TOOK ME 3 SECONDS ON GOOGLE:

NSA: Snowden Stole 1.7 MILLION Classified Documents And Still Has Access To Most Of Them
MICHAEL KELLEY
DEC. 13, 2013, 4:52 PM 13,299 27

inShare
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snowden
REUTERS
Edward Snowden is seen in front of the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in central Moscow. The image was released in October.

The upcoming 60 Minutes will detail how NSA contractor Edward Snowden “managed to steal an alleged 1.7 million documents from the NSA.”
That is a truly mind-boggling number.

Glenn Greenwald originally said that he and filmmaker Laura Poitras received 10,000 files from Snowden in Hong Kong, and NSA chief Keith Alexander recently said Snowden took as many as 200,000.

Now the NSA tells CBS that it believes Snowden stole 1.7 million classified documents, leaked 200,000 to journalists he met in Hong Kong, and still has access to 1.5 million.

The implications of that last part are especially troubling given that he has been living under the patronage of Russia post-Soviet era security services (FSB) since he reached out to the Kremlin in Hong Kong and arrived in Moscow on June 23.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-many-docs-did-snowden-take-2013-12#ixzz2oQxyMGZL

SNOWDEN TOOK MILLIONS.

HE DID NOT NEED 10,000 TO PROVE NSA OVERREACH; THEREFORE, HIS AIM WAS NOT EXPOSING OVERREACH.

WAKE UP!

reliapundit on December 24, 2013 at 5:27 PM

The NSA admitted, under oath, about a week ago, that not one terrorist attack was thwarted by their illegal spying on the legal US citizens.

Schadenfreude on December 24, 2013 at 5:34 PM

None of you Snowden supporters have yet to justify his revealing of national secrets to foreign entities..
You are beginning to p!ss me off… Tell me why it is better for me and my family that the Russians and Chinese are now able to better hide their true intensions from us.

Al Hall on December 24, 2013 at 4:09 PM

Put your panties back on.

Do you honestly believe that the Chinese and Russians don’t already have this information? C’mon now. Be honest with yourself and/or wake the F up.

The damage was done on election day in 2008. The Russians own Iran and most of the ME and the Chinese own us economically.

All Snowden really did was tell us what was going on and embarrass the Obama regime.

kim roy on December 24, 2013 at 6:35 PM

I’ll be completely honest. I’m not nearly as concerned about China or Russia as I am about the US Government’s attacks on our constitutional rights. Our government was formed to protect those rights, not abridge them in the name of national security or for any other reason. Their cavalier treatment of the Constitution is a greater threat to us than any random terror attack. Try to see the big picture here.

Wendya on December 24, 2013 at 5:10 PM

I asked you some questions; you decided to answer not one of them. Would you like to me infer that you really wanted to answer them, and that it wasn’t your intent to ignore them while changing the subject so that you could get on a soapbox, putting me down in the process? lol thank you for the laughs!

I guess it all depends on whose ox is getting gored to people like you, isn’t it? :)

Anti-Control on December 24, 2013 at 6:37 PM

The NSA admitted, under oath, about a week ago, that not one terrorist attack was thwarted by their illegal spying on the legal US citizens.

Schadenfreude on December 24, 2013 at 5:34 PM

This is the same organization that is now trying to tell us that Edward Snowden is somehow a threat to national security. And I’m just supposed to buy that?

gryphon202 on December 24, 2013 at 6:38 PM

None of you Snowden supporters have yet to justify his revealing of national secrets to foreign entities..You are beginning to p!ss me off… Tell me why it is better for me and my family that the Russians and Chinese are now able to better hide their true intensions from us.
Al Hall on December 24, 2013 at 4:09 PM

Those damn Rooskies, if it weren’t for the NSA, who knows how many would be slaughtered or maimed at the Boston marathon. oh wait.because they were too focused on real patriots the Tsarnev brothers slipped under the radar. But, but the Rooskies or the Chinks might launch a premptive nuklearh attack… yeah.

You know what? At least 1 third of the colonials thot the FF were traitors to the crown and diligently sought to stop and or kill the traitors. Yes Snowden is a traitor but traitor to what or whom? To the American way of life or to the big brother regime? What he did was illegal but was it immoral? Hmmm. Wonder what Dietrich Bonhoeffer or Canaris or Oster or even Rommel would say to that? What of the Rote Kapelle, merely a bunch of intellectuals and artists that sought to stop the madness? Heck, even Jesus was executed as a traitor to Judaism.

AH_C on December 24, 2013 at 6:41 PM

Now the NSA tells CBS that it believes Snowden stole 1.7 million classified documents, leaked 200,000 to journalists he met in Hong Kong, and still has access to 1.5 million.The implications of that last part are especially troubling given that he has been living under the patronage of Russia post-Soviet era security services (FSB) since he reached out to the Kremlin in Hong Kong and arrived in Moscow on June 23.Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-many-docs-did-snowden-take-2013-12#ixzz2oQxyMGZLSNOWDEN TOOK MILLIONS.HE DID NOT NEED 10,000 TO PROVE NSA OVERREACH; THEREFORE, HIS AIM WAS NOT EXPOSING OVERREACH.WAKE UP!
reliapundit on December 24, 2013 at 5:27 PM

Hmm. It believes or it knows. Just as a matter of linguistic accuracy 1.7 million does not equal millions eleventy111! Color me unimpressed and given the multiple lies it has been caught at, color me skeptical of anything this regime says.

AH_C on December 24, 2013 at 6:47 PM

The results of this poll show how screwed the Republican party is. There is zero chance of a candidate we can all get behind in 2016.

rndmusrnm on December 24, 2013 at 6:49 PM

Irony alert.

Yes, it sure is, eagle eye! ROFL

The NSA, the congress and the entire executive branch, as well as the federal reserve, do this every day, and affect your life far more negatively than anything snowden could do.

rightwingyahooo on December 24, 2013 at 5:15 PM

And what lawbreakers in Washington & the in NSA do has what to do with Snowden, the laws he broke, and the stolen info he chose to share with foreign governments? He violated oaths; the sharing of that info was not the act of a patriot.

I realize you can’t admit it because you lack the integrity, but people like you are no different than Choomie when it comes to selective enforcement of our laws – you’re just fine when members of “your team” break the law, and you hypocritically whine like b!tches when the “opposing team” does it. You are not trustworthy…

Anti-Control on December 24, 2013 at 6:51 PM

RWYahoo.

I give you credit for onsideration. What got in the way of stopping 9-11 was not enforcement of immigration laws. It was things like probable cause that prevented the issuance of warrants that could have uncovered the plot. The pesky Constitution that you want to uphold prevent any action because after the Warren Court decisions on Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights you have to the show a legitimate reason to get search warrant. “I think this guy is terrorist doesn’t cut it with judges anymore.

jerryofva on December 24, 2013 at 6:53 PM

Are we still talking about the traitor?.. Let’s move on to Christmas..

Al Hall on December 24, 2013 at 6:54 PM

<blockquotePut your panties back on.

Do you honestly believe that the Chinese and Russians don’t already have this information? C’mon now. Be honest with yourself and/or wake the F up.

The damage was done on election day in 2008. The Russians own Iran and most of the ME and the Chinese own us economically.

All Snowden really did was tell us what was going on and embarrass the Obama regime.

kim roy on December 24, 2013 at 6:35 PM

So are you defending the guy or not?

Al Hall on December 24, 2013 at 6:57 PM

Sorry. I’ve been drinking.. So, are you defending the guy or what?

Al Hall on December 24, 2013 at 6:59 PM

Snowden is a hero

Had he not done what he did, where would we be right now?

We would be ignorant as bricks about the massive illegal data mining

His motive does not matter.

There was no other way for him to accomplish this reveal. Hong Kong was the correct route. If he asked me if he should go to a US Congressman or Senator, I would have advised not. Whom should he trust?

I would not speak openly on the subject in question in any capitol office. The office buildings themselves should not be trusted

I am grateful he acted now, before the election

That data mining is ongoing. There is no way for the commoner to know how the data is being used, regardless of promises, and that data mining can be used to have advance info on any and every aspect of the coming elections

Any communications about Snowden’s reveal would have gone instantly into the data pool, into the mining stream, and been available to those who would have been able to take him down

entagor on December 24, 2013 at 7:05 PM

kim roy on December 24, 2013 at 6:35 PM

Oh.. And by the way… I have never put panties on… But I have taken plenty of them off.. ;-)

Al Hall on December 24, 2013 at 7:05 PM

It just gobsmacks me, you folks who are asking “Are you defending him?” Well, what? Are you saying you now consider the U.K. Guardian and the NSA to be reliable sources about what goes on in the NSA? Or any of the United States media, for that matter?

gryphon202 on December 24, 2013 at 7:11 PM

As to whether Snowden is a hero or traitor, contrast how another famous leaker, Daniel Ellsberg, also accomplished his revelations to the public in a clandestine manner and with the help of the press, but Ellsberg was willing to pay the price, to stay in the US and face prosecution. His conviction was later overturned on the basis of government misconduct, but still, he’d been willing to go to prison and take the consequences.

Snowden, on the other hand, not only fled but also provided all this stuff away to foreign governments, and . . . Russia? Putin? Really?

ugottabekiddingme on December 24, 2013 at 7:18 PM

He is a lying, narcissistic P-O-S.

rlwo2008 on December 24, 2013 at 4:18 PM

Yes, he is, obama and Clapper.

Schadenfreude on December 24, 2013 at 7:23 PM

Sorry. I’ve been drinking.. So, are you defending the guy or what?

Al Hall on December 24, 2013 at 6:59 PM

I suppose I am. I’m not happy about it – I’d much rather see avenues open to whistleblow, but that’s just not reality.

Reality tells me that this was pretty much the only way to do it.

I guess I’m just not seeing the problem because I already figure the Russians and Chinese know all this. Look who is running the government. You don’t think the R & C already have everything they need?

kim roy on December 24, 2013 at 7:32 PM

Snowden, on the other hand, not only fled but also provided all this stuff away to foreign governments, and . . . Russia? Putin? Really?

ugottabekiddingme on December 24, 2013 at 7:18 PM

We don’t know what he’s given foreign governments. I mean, we know some, but I don’t trust a single damn thing the media tells me about this, let alone government figures. You people are so quick to look for ulterior motives and unintended consequences in government actions — except when you’re not.

gryphon202 on December 24, 2013 at 7:37 PM

Aunt Marge’s apple pie recipe is of no interest.

NavyMustang on December 24, 2013 at 11:23 AM

Then why do they have it stored in their data center in Utah?

Solaratov on December 24, 2013 at 9:05 PM

kim roy on December 24, 2013 at 7:32 PM

Hmm… Okay.. Lets move on.. Let us fight the good fight together..

Al Hall on December 24, 2013 at 10:19 PM

There should be riots in the street over what we’ve learned – that there aren’t is just proof America is no longer a free society. that America doesn’t have a Republican in the White House.

KMC1 on December 24, 2013 at 10:29 AM

Burke on December 25, 2013 at 3:36 AM

So SF, Snowden gave his speech. I am sure that you missed the irony of Snowden prattling on about big brother given that he is under surveillance by human and electronic means 24/7.

You want to shut down big brother? Shut down the internet. Not going to happen so get rid of your internet connection, smart phone and TV. Go back to written communication and economic transactions. At a minimum you have to at least stop posting on Hotair. That would be a win-win. NSA won’t be waiting with baited breath for your next comment and the overall intelligence of the postings will go up.

jerryofva on December 25, 2013 at 9:04 AM

Enjoy your sheepledom, jerry.

You know nothing of the world.

Pretend that obama is better than thug Putin, you utter fool.

You are no better than the trolls of HA. They, in fact, have more functioning brain cells.

No, I didn’t hear/read his speech. I care more about America and her freedom than about Russian thugs. Your obama made Putin king of the world, something you’ll never get.

Schadenfreude on December 25, 2013 at 12:42 PM

Leftists always want to shut opposing views off.

Schadenfreude on December 25, 2013 at 12:43 PM

“However, as I’ve noted a few times in writing about Snowden, that mission wasn’t his to accomplish …” – E.M.

And you would know about duty, honor, country … how?
The man deserves the Presidential Medal of Freedom from WE the People.
~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on December 25, 2013 at 12:46 PM

Check this out everyone.

They know you well.

YOU don’t even know who’s your president.

Schadenfreude on December 25, 2013 at 12:47 PM

People wanted Snowden to go through channels in the Obama/ Holder era? LOL

I wish he had stayed in the US so that his trial, conviction and imprisonment could have further exposed the corrupt government of its hypocrisy, rather than go to our enemies and have that be a means for critics to dismiss or disregard what he brought to light.

evergreen on December 25, 2013 at 2:47 PM

I see SF is reduced to raving like lunatic.

jerryofva on December 25, 2013 at 2:58 PM

The question with all these posters defending the NSA and secrecy is “Do they really believe what they’re saying, or is the NSA pressuring them into saying it by threatening to leak the appalling details of their web usage?”

I mean, kiddy porn or S&M sites? Who’s to say the NSA is just making it up, if the NSA says otherwise?

PersonFromPorlock on December 25, 2013 at 3:06 PM

The matter won’t be resolved, IMO, until a drone strike drops a traitor-sized Hellfire on his head.

A message needs to be sent. Several, actually.

notta_dhimmi on December 25, 2013 at 3:18 PM

People wanted Snowden to go through channels in the Obama/ Holder era? LOL

I wish he had stayed in the US so that his trial, conviction and imprisonment could have further exposed the corrupt government of its hypocrisy, rather than go to our enemies and have that be a means for critics to dismiss or disregard what he brought to light.

evergreen on December 25, 2013 at 2:47 PM

That makes two of us. No FISA court is going to expose this mess for what it is.

gryphon202 on December 25, 2013 at 3:51 PM

Snowden was fired by the CIA when he was caught trying to access files he had no clearance for. This was two years before he pulled the same stunt as a contractor with the NSA. That alone should have barred him for any job! in this government. What is public knowledge is bad, but what has been brief to the intelligence committees must be very bad for them to act this way. Ed, and the other posters are right, Snowden had ways of getting his concerns out while protecting sources and methods. The fact one should keep in mind is this, Snowden was a trained CIA officer, he knew basic trade craft and had wide knowledge of US intelligence in general. His actions to date only leave more questions unanswered. My gut tells me, like Edward Lee Howard, we will fine out things that made Snowden turn, and it will have nothing to do with NSA, Obama, etc. etc.

flackcatcher on December 25, 2013 at 7:07 PM

Here are 3 NSA whistleblowers who tried to go through channels and their lawyer talking about Snowden.

They think Snowden did a great service and one says he’s going too far in talking about spying activities in foreign countries. The same gentleman thinks he should face up to prosecution himself so that he can help prosecute the guilty parties in the government.

evergreen on December 26, 2013 at 2:29 AM

Here are 3 NSA whistleblowers who tried to go through channels and their lawyer talking about Snowden.

They think Snowden did a great service and one says he’s going too far in talking about spying activities in foreign countries. The same gentleman thinks he should face up to prosecution himself so that he can help prosecute the guilty parties in the government.

evergreen on December 26, 2013 at 2:29 AM

I’m in that camp. The only way that we’ll know what’s really going on is for it to come out in open court. I think a large part of the reason that Snowden hasn’t submitted himself to justice, though, is his legitimate fear of being tried under a FISA kangaroo court warrant.

gryphon202 on December 26, 2013 at 6:32 AM

So the assumption is Wyden is a valid mouthpiece for all the NSA employees who realized what they were doing was totally illegal? OK. How many went to him? Why didn’t this story break before? How do you know Wyden isn’t just a part of the machine. Just another level of control? Give me some names.

that mission wasn’t his to accomplish, at least not in the manner in which Snowden acted. His supporters claim that the actual avenues of legitimate whistleblowing are so totally corrupt that Snowden had no other choice but to expose highly-classified data through the media, but that’s a pretty self-serving argument for those supporters, most of whom are in the media.

I typically despise the media. This may be the one time they do something right. Every day we learn more about just how far beyond the pale the NSA has gone. There basically is no privacy left in this country. Damage to our foreign surveillance, c’mon, they do the same thing, and we always suspected it anyway. Now we know. And I’ll bet you it’s much worse than that. So whose mission was it. You’re right though, a slave has no right to throw off his chains. The guy’s a hero in my book. People get the government they deserve.

WryTrvllr on December 26, 2013 at 7:37 AM

I typically despise the media. This may be the one time they do something right.

WryTrvllr on December 26, 2013 at 7:37 AM

Or it may not be. I’m totally gobsmacked over how many self-proclaimed conservatives all of a sudden see the UK Guardian and the Washington Post as 100% credible sources of information in re: the Snowden affair.

gryphon202 on December 26, 2013 at 7:42 AM

And what lawbreakers in Washington & the in NSA do has what to do with Snowden, the laws he broke, and the stolen info he chose to share with foreign governments? He violated oaths; the sharing of that info was not the act of a patriot.

I realize you can’t admit it because you lack the integrity, but people like you are no different than Choomie when it comes to selective enforcement of our laws – you’re just fine when members of “your team” break the law, and you hypocritically whine like b!tches when the “opposing team” does it. You are not trustworthy…

Anti-Control on December 24, 2013 at 6:51 PM

He violated oaths. Well, methinks the most important oath was the one Barack Obama took, and, seeing as he can’t even faithfully execute his own crowning achievement, well………

Maybe they should be prison buddies.

WryTrvllr on December 26, 2013 at 7:55 AM

Or it may not be. I’m totally gobsmacked over how many self-proclaimed conservatives all of a sudden see the UK Guardian and the Washington Post as 100% credible sources of information in re: the Snowden affair.

gryphon202 on December 26, 2013 at 7:42 AM

true that. They are still selectively editing this story to protect Obama. And, despite even that, this sounds horrible.

WryTrvllr on December 26, 2013 at 7:58 AM

And, oddly, I haven’t heard huge news stories about CIA operatives being rounded up and executed. I may have missed them. Putin would have just loved to embarrass O’bozo regardless.

I heard 1000 stories about the outing of Valerie Plame. She’s still breathing.

Have I missed any stories? Seriously. I would like to know.

WryTrvllr on December 26, 2013 at 8:05 AM

The debate about the NSA, privacy and constitutional limits is credit only to Snowden. Without Snowden, there would not have been any debate, only lies and limitless abuse.

David Blue on December 26, 2013 at 10:55 PM

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