sbfriedman Wrote: I don't think the debate really should lie in trying to figure out if what Snowden did was currently illegal or not. Or, to say it a different way, what I think is that Snowden knows that what he did is at least currently considered against some laws. But I feel that he chose to the see the bigger picture and acted accordingly, knowing full well that one day he would most likely have to pay some kind of price for standing by what he thought was right.
Sometimes (and I do emphasize 'sometimes', leaning toward in rare times) you have to break the law to do the right thing. As history has shown, the law isn't always right. Status quo needs to challenged every once and a while. Laws change and evolve. They are made by people after all. Once upon a time, a great many things were legal/illegal, or unregulated/under-regulated. Many things have changed since, and will continue to do so into the future. That may sound vague, but I'm sure everyone here can think of at least a half dozen examples with no problem.
I think Snowden did what he did to bring light to the fact that we need to reform our surveillance programs in a big way. And he realized that the system is so out of step with our constitution and the ideals of true personal liberty, he had to do something drastic just to see real change. An organization cannot completely operate in the shadows. Regardless of your trust in ANY system, its a known fact that power begets more power.
That's why our entire system is built on the premise of extensive checks and balances. If you do away with the checking and the balancing, you get a major problem. That problem is systemic. Snowden is part of the solution. If no one is willing to say "hey, we are going to far with all this" in government, in fear of being 'destroyed' politically (or worse publicly and losing your career) then if not someone like Snowden... when would we EVER get to shine a light on the problems and get real reform? I do not believe that any government organization, for any reason, should be able to operate as they alone see fit. Trust us, they say. I say, no. Your track record does not warrant it. The FISA court is unfortunately not enough either.
SB, how much of a 'bigger picture' could he see after only working for the contractor for 3 months (we'll assume he was at the NSA the entire 3 months) with a program as complex as the meta-data system (which he didn't have legal access to)? How much of a 'bigger picture' can he get when he had to illegally obtain other peoples passwords and logins, which would take time? I think the 'bigger picture' is that he went in there with an agenda and ignored anything that doesn't support him. (And yes it is possible to create a program that would make a permanent copy in less than three months, you modify the existing program so that it saves a permanent copy to a separate location and leave the rest of the program alone. 1 line of code and it would take him maybe a month to find where he needed to put it, considering his background as a computer person at the CIA...)
Zach, if your callous or heartless, what does that make me? The entire time I was thinking, "And? What's the problem?"... Of course I've had venison and watched it go from the buck to my plate... As for the bugs being used to make dye? So what? There are places where they don't even crush them before eating them. I've lived to many places and eaten too many things most American's would just go "ewww" to, to be bothered by how its made... The problem with the food isn't so much how its made, but how much of it people eat in one sitting.
Zach F Wrote:Poor comparison. Benedict Arnold did something to specifically help his country, England. In England he is considered a patriot. He betrayed the colonies, so in the colonies he is considered a traitor.
Snowden, did something specifically to help his countrymen and Constitution, the document he was sworn to upheld. The people he hurt or embarrassed were the people in the government that he felt were betraying the American people.
The government needs secrets. Unveiling everything to the public is irresponsible. But the public needs to be able to trust the people in charge so that their Constitutional rights aren't being trampled on. A situation that has been hard to do for the last 2 administrations.
If it turns out that there was no corruption, or the corruption was just limited to a couple of people then what Snowden did was wrong. He made a huge mistake. But, if it turns out that corruption is as widespread as Snowden claims. And that Snowden tried every standard channel in his power to stop it, then I'm on his side. Even the execution of his plan centered around an effort to protect state secrets while exposed the corruption he felt was there.
Just out of curiosity Zach, how many people do you think will lose their life if Snowden releases those names? How many people (granted they may be terrorists/supporters of terrorism) will be killed for being compromised? Your argument seems to be that the ends justifies the means.
Also, considering how long meta-data collection has been going on and without it being abused or showing signs of corruption, until Snowden comes along, it (to me) points to where the corruption is... If he had tried every standard channel (as you suggest) and the corruption is as wide spread as he claims, then HOW did he keep his job? The first thing they'd do when he started making noise is fire and discredit him. He wasn't fired until after he leaked the information. And I'm sure he could uncover as much corruption as he claims there is in ONLY 3 MONTHS of working for a private contractor, meaning he probably only worked at the NSA for 2 or 2 1/2 months (considering paperwork and processing times) I should also point out that he wasn't cleared for access to what he leaked. He used log ins and passwords that he lied to get from people working at the NSA office in Hawaii. That in and of itself is a crime (espionage when talking about classified information) www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/08/net-us-usa-security-snowden-idUSBRE9A703020131108
Once we can get past that fact, then we can move on to Iranian history. Mosaddeq was elected, not appointed, as Iranian Prime Minister in 1951 and was overthrown in an August 1953 Coup conducted by the CIA and British authorities. He was attempting to usher in an Iranian democracy and the United States wanted nothing to do with that because we wanted their oil. The Shah was basically a figure head at this time until the CIA propped him up and ushered in his absolute rule until his countrymen wanted nothing more to do with him and threw him out in 1979.
Try again, Mosaddeq as 'elected' by the parliament, not the people of Iran. His name was put forward by the Shah and voted on by their parliament. In the US we call that being appointed...
Zach F Wrote: There is also a difference between what the NSA is capable of doing and they are actually doing. If the NSA is capable of hacking my phone and turning it against that is one thing. An uncomfortable, but legal thing. If the NSA has hacked my phone without due process then that is something else entirely. That is a violation of the 3rd and 4th Amendments.
Clearly, the Congress has already validated some of the claims of Snowden. Snowden is only a patriot if his claims are true. I don't think I would classify him as a traitor since every action he has taken has been, at least in his mind, to protect the U.S. Constitution and the citizens of this country.
The same could be said of Benedict Arnold, Zach, that he betrayed the colonies, in his mind, to protect the citizens of his country, and we know what history (even British history, and they are the ones Arnold betrayed the Colonies to...) says about him... What I want to know is what the rest of the SIC says. So far all I've seen is comments from a Senator who ran on the policy that the government shouldn't keep secrets, period. If anyone would know what was going on its the SIC, so why only comments supporting Snowden from 1 member of the SIC?
RanmaMOJ Wrote: You do realize that not all the Senators have the same level clearance right? You'll notice that the USA FREEDOM act did NOT come from a member of the intelligence committee.So, on one hand, a senior intelligence committee member like Ron Wyden is discredited in your mind because he is openly against secrecy? But, the House members that assembled the USA Freedom bill, and all the members of Congress that have publicly said that we need to reign in the NSA's ability don't really know what they are talking about because they don't have the clearance that someone like Wyden does??
Who then is qualified to have an opinion on this matter? Anyone? Or just anyone that agrees with you? Makes me wonder what YOUR level of clearance was in the Intelligence field. Judging by what you gather and know of Snowden, did you have as much clearance as him? More? That's also an important distinction to consider, when weighing what you KNOW about this organization that would rather do everything behind doors and in secret.
Actually, considering I don't know what caveats he had, I can't say exactly if my security clearance was the same, but I did have a TS clearance. I was a 98C in the US Army. I know I had the same clearance and caveats as the NSA liaison that worked in the building I worked in. And I know a bit more about the program than what I have said or will say here. (For the record a 98C is an Signals Intelligence Analyst. I was also trained in Collection Management, meaning I dealt with Imint and Humint as well...)
What do you mean by 'come are the days where if we can't win in a few months we retreat'? We have been in Afghanistan since October 7, 2001. We were in Iraq for nine years. We lost 6,717 service members and had another 50,897 wounded in these two conflicts. What in the world do you mean when you say we retreat after a few months? We've been in a constant state of conflict since October of 2001.
And how soon after we went into Afghanistan was the MSM calling for us to pull out? Maybe six months? In Iraq it was what, 3 or 4 months and they were calling for us to pull out...
As for Iran, could you get your times right? Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi became the Shah of Iran on 16 September 1941... Mohammad Masaddegh became the Prime Minister on 21 July 1952. So please, explain to me how on earth the CIA helped Reza consolidate power by overthrowing Massaddegh, when Reza was ruler of Iran DURING Massaddegh's time as prime minister. Also, Massaddegh was appointed as prime minister by Reza and was approved in a 79-12 vote by the parliament. And a prime minister is NOT THE LEADER OF A COUNTRY. A Prime Minister is the equivalent of the Speaker of the House or Senate Majority leader.
Sorry; Ranmojo, I guess you are the "traitor"; you keep forgetting the government is here instituted by and for the people. What he did is correct.
The government itself is at fault by creating more and more terrorists by their own actions. More and more countries around the world dislike the American attitude and policies. We would have no terrorists at all if we would "feed" the world instead of fighting them. How many terrorists did we fight in 1920 ? I guess none. The militaristic arrogance started after WWII ; we give some leaders a lot of money and or weapons or helped selective dictators in place etc. So what do you expect as result? Now we have the "fear" factor in place; that keeps America save, for sure. The NSA is pure a result of our own policies around the world; so blame this country itself, not the terrorists
Can the personal attacks Dutch.
"We would have no terrorists at all if we would "feed" the world instead of fighting them"?!? What dream land do you live in? You want us to feed them instead of fighting them? You mean like we did with Al Qaeda in the 80's? We gave them food, weapons, and money. You mean like we did in Iran before their revolution? Look at how that turned out for us... America started getting weak after WWII. Gone are the days where when an enemy demands the surrender of a US General, his answer is "Nuts", and come are the days where if we can't win in a few months we retreat. And if Snowden is such a hero, why does even Obama call him a traitor?
A Japanese Admiral once said that they should attack while the US is weak, but if they do they need to press all the way to DC or they would lose. This Admiral was the one who lead the attack on Pearl Harbor and there is a very famous quote attributed to him when Japan attacked and didn't press. "I fear all we have done is awaken the sleeping Giant"
Just in the 1900's, counting the year 1920, I count at least 8 terrorist attacks in the US. 8 in 20 years... 7 of those were bombings and 1 was an assassination of the President of the United States (President McKinley)
RanmaMOJ Wrote: If Snowden has 1.7 million secret documents, its because HE created a program to bypass that. That means HE, not the government, created the documents and violated your privacy. The only time an actual person would read your e-mails/listen to your phone calls at the NSA is if very specific conditions are met. If they aren't there isn't even a copy that can be recovered unless a traitor like Snowden creates a program to create permanent copies. By revealing what he has about the program (which admittedly is why I can say what I have here) he has given intelligence (You know, like Al Qaeda) to groups that would seek to harm the US and can now find ways to work around the system. Snowden is no hero, he's a traitor that has put peoples lives in danger.Few questions for you then, since you have worked in the intelligence field.
Does the NSA have access and ability to (or have they in the recent past) to surveillance and bulk data from various collection methods that is constitutionally unlawful? If not, regarding the abilities and bulk data collection that we know it does have in its wheelhouse, do you personally think they should have the level of power that they currently do? And the follow up to that question, at what end should their powers ever be reigned in? OR should they get to have unlimited powers, all in the name of security and freedom? ... It is a serious question, not just rhetorical. I would like to hear where you personally draw the line.
I will counter what you said above with (for now) two pieces of evidence they are clear to me that even if you don't believe that the NSA has too much ability, some people that really know constitutional law do.
1. The USA FREEDOM Act, which stands for: Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet-collect. The name alone clearly understands and admits to overreach and over-ability by our national surveillance programs.
2. U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon found that the NSA phone surveillance program appears to violate the Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches and seizures. He also said the Justice Department had failed to demonstrate that collecting the information had helped to head off terrorist attacks.
If Snowden is just some lowly hacker that played an otherwise working and completely above board and lawful system, why in the world would judges be using words like 'Orwellian'? Why in the world would the US House pass a bill with the acronym that spells out USA FREEDOM Act? For appeasement to Snowden?? For appeasement to a trumped up controversy and a traitor?? No. I don't think so. Snowden isn't just a hacker that played a surveillance system. Ron Wyden, a Senior Senator on the intelligence committee doesn't think so either.
You do realize that not all the Senators have the same level clearance right? You'll notice that the USA FREEDOM act did NOT come from a member of the intelligence committee. Oh, I'll grant you that on the surface it looks like a violation of the 4th Amendment, and people like Snowden can create a violation by making work-a rounds to have the data become permanent, but that isn't how the meta-data system is truly programmed. What the District court judge was ruling on was the declassified aspects of the system (Essentially what Snowden revealed) and NOT the full system. They didn't reveal the full system to the judge because the news was watching the trial. I'll tell you this, the US doesn't usually keep things classified to hide them from its citizens, it keeps them classified to hide them from the countries/groups that would use the information against the US. As for Ron Wyden, he ran on a platform of Government transparency, of course he's against keeping the program secret and wants to demonize it, he's against secret programs period.
Let me shed some light on this subject. (Having worked in the intelligence field I know what I'm talking about) The metadata system when used with voice communications works a lot like your DVR. It creates a temporary recording that is kept for the length of the phone call unless specific words/phrases are used or the communications are with specific countries. If none of those are true the system automatically deletes the temporary file with a DOD deletion program that writes over that area 7 times, so the info is unrecoverable. With E-mails it works the same, the files are kept just long enough for a program to scan for specific phrases/words/recipients. If none of those occur it automatically deletes them. If Snowden has 1.7 million secret documents, its because HE created a program to bypass that. That means HE, not the government, created the documents and violated your privacy. The only time an actual person would read your e-mails/listen to your phone calls at the NSA is if very specific conditions are met. If they aren't there isn't even a copy that can be recovered unless a traitor like Snowden creates a program to create permanent copies. By revealing what he has about the program (which admittedly is why I can say what I have here) he has given intelligence (You know, like Al Qaeda) to groups that would seek to harm the US and can now find ways to work around the system. Snowden is no hero, he's a traitor that has put peoples lives in danger.
Also, watch the video (that was posted in this thread) carefully. He was no spy, he was never trained as one. Every time he makes a statement about his past as a spy he looks down, whenever he talks about being a technician and working with computers he makes eye contact with the interviewer. Interviewing 101, always maintain eye contact. If someone breaks eye contact (especially to look down) it generally means they are lying, and a 'trained spy' would have maintained eye contact to show his sincerity...