NSA Whistleblower Comes Forward, Says 'I Don't Want To Live In a Society That Does These Sort of Things'

Edward SnowdenThe GuardianThe whistleblower behind the past week's revelations about U.S. government snooping on telephone calls and the Internet is 29-year-old Edward Snowden, a systems analyst who once worked for the Central Intelligence Agency and now (well, probaby not anymore) works for a defense contractor with access to intelligence documents (Booz Allen confirms his employment and expresses dismay). He has voluntarily allowed the Guardian and the Washington Post to reveal his identity in order to explain himself, and in full expectation that the Obama administration and intelligence services will come after him. In his interviews with those newspapers, he comes off as a disillusioned patriot who has grown horrified by the growing security state and the danger it poses to privacy and liberty. "I don't want to live in a society that does these sort of things," he told the Guardian.

From the Guardian:

In 2003, he enlisted in the US army and began a training program to join the Special Forces. Invoking the same principles that he now cites to justify his leaks, he said: "I wanted to fight in the Iraq war because I felt like I had an obligation as a human being to help free people from oppression".

He recounted how his beliefs about the war's purpose were quickly dispelled. "Most of the people training us seemed pumped up about killing Arabs, not helping anyone," he said. After he broke both his legs in a training accident, he was discharged.

After that, he got his first job in an NSA facility, working as a security guard for one of the agency's covert facilities at the University of Maryland. From there, he went to the CIA, where he worked on IT security. His understanding of the internet and his talent for computer programming enabled him to rise fairly quickly for someone who lacked even a high school diploma.

By 2007, the CIA stationed him with diplomatic cover in Geneva, Switzerland. His responsibility for maintaining computer network security meant he had clearance to access a wide array of classified documents.

That access, along with the almost three years he spent around CIA officers, led him to begin seriously questioning the rightness of what he saw. ...

Over the next three years, he learned just how all-consuming the NSA's surveillance activities were, claiming "they are intent on making every conversation and every form of behaviour in the world known to them".

Like many Americans, he nursed hope that the election of Barack Obama would rein in the growth of the surveillance apparatus, but instead he "watched as Obama advanced the very policies that I thought would be reined in."

The Washington Post adds:

Asked whether he believed his disclosures would change anything, he said: “I think they already have. Everyone, everywhere now understands how bad things have gotten— and they’re talking about it. They have to power to decide for themselves whether they are willing to sacrifice their privacy to the surveillance state.”

Snowden also expressed the hope that the NSA surveillance programs would now be open to legal challenge for the first time. Earlier this year, in Amnesty International V. Clapper, the Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit against the mass collection of phone records because the plaintiffs could not prove exactly what the program did or that they were personally subject to surveillance.

“The government can’t reasonably assert the state secrets privilege for a program it has acknowledged. The courts can now allow challenges to be heard on that basis,” Snowden said.

Snowden is currently holed up in Hong Kong and plans to seek asylum in "countries that believe in free speech and oppose the victimization of global privacy." Iceland is mentioned as a possibility.

In the wake of Snowden's revelations, politicians and intelligence agency bureaucrats have sought to justify the wide-reaching surveillance as necessary to battle terrorism. But journalists have already pointed out that the one specific case mentioned, a 2009 bomb plot targeted at the New York subway system, was actually foiled by traditional police work.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper calls the revelations "literally gut-wrenching." Let's hope he's in for some serious continuing heartburn as Snowden's efforts are followed-up upon with efforts to cripple the surveillance state.

The Guardian has a video interview with Edward Snowden here.

More Reason coverage of the NSA scandal and reactions to the surveillance revelations can be found here.

(H/T Mike M.)

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  • mr lizard||

    Tom Clancy just called, he wants his plot back.

  • Jerry on the boat||

    How long before neocons will claim he is being bankrolled by the Chinese government?

  • Sevo||

    You reckon Obozo's negotiating the extradition of the guy with Xi?

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    I'm kind of jealous about the "holed up in Hong Kong" part. I friggin' love Hong Kong.

  • Sevo||

    "Let's hope he's in for some serious continuing heartburn as Snowden's efforts are followed-up upon with efforts to cripple the surveillance state."
    Let's hope they are followed up with something more than 'Trust me!'

  • mr lizard||

    Old Rand needs to come out swinging on this. Promise to dismantle the NSA and bitch slap the FBI. He just needs to keep repeating that over and over until he crushes it at the poles.

  • stoneymonster||

    You know who else liked to crush the Poles?

    Sorry.

  • Brett L||

    No he meant crush the Proles!

    (Although, I guess Stalin works both ways.)

  • Sevo||

    Should have read your comment first...

  • ||

    Lindy West?

  • Sevo||

    Josef Stalin?

  • Fatty Bolger||

    The fat stripper?

  • ||

    I already said that!

  • Fluffy||

    Lindy West would clean up as a stripper if she took twenties to put her clothes back on.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Oh, I thought you had an entirely different kind of pole in mind. Lindy West as a stripper... [shudders]

  • ||

    Oh, I meant penii, too.

  • Mike M.||

    He's talking about possibly trying to file a class action lawsuit against the government. Has a sitting member of Congress ever done anything like that before?

  • ||

    Congressmen sue over tax laws/rules they don't like all the time, and often get slapped down for lack of standing. It wouldn't surprise me if one of those tried the class action route.

  • Fluffy||

    I think he should sue over the fact that the program's existence wasn't disclosed to him even though he's expected to vote on their funding.

    The committees have no constitutional standing so the fact that the intelligence committee heard about this program is meaningless.

    The Congress can vote to keep its proceedings secret, but a part of Congress cannot vote for keep its proceedings secret from the rest of Congress. That would be the basis of my suit if I was Rand.

  • DarrenM||

    I'm sure the courts would rule that he has no standing.

  • sasob||

    He just needs to keep repeating that over and over until he crushes it at the poles.

    Both north and south? :-)

  • Mark22||

    Obama probably only learned about the NSA surveillance when he heard about it on the news.

  • free2booze||

    "I carefully evaluated every single document I disclosed to ensure that each was legitimately in the public interest," he said. "There are all sorts of documents that would have made a big impact that I didn't turn over, because harming people isn't my goal. Transparency is."

    That's not to say that he isn't capable of releasing more documents. Could be a case of "if anything happens to me, send this envelope to reporter X". This guy put a huge target on his back. It can't hurt to have some sort of insurance.

  • Brett L||

    Oh, I think that's exactly what the CIA and NSA will read into that statement.

  • Mike M.||

    Hat Tip to beloved Reason commenter Mike M.

  • jdtuccille||

    Yes, you earned that one.

  • Mike M.||

    Hey, thanks man, that's kind.

    It makes me both sad and angry that good men have to flee America in fear of their lives because of our government. This is not how America is supposed to be.

  • SeaCaptain(Yokeltarian)||

    There should be a million of us with pitchforks outside of the Bountiful NSA data center....if this was a sane country.


    Nothing will come of this. People like feeling "safe" with the brownshirts collecting everything about them.

  • free2booze||

    Nothing will come of this.

    Exactly. Maybe something would have come from this if the information had been leaked right before a vote to reauthorize the Patriot Act.

  • SeaCaptain(Yokeltarian)||

    Yep. Until the plots of land that the Pentagon and NSA currently inhabit become farmland, only then can we claim victory.

  • Mike M.||

    Like many Americans, he nursed hope that the election of Barack Obama would rein in the growth of the surveillance apparatus, but instead he "watched as Obama advanced the very policies that I thought would be reined in."

    How can this possibly be true, when Shrieking Idiot told us all just the other day that every person who voted for Block Yomomma knew back in 2008 knew that he would be doing all this?

  • Killazontherun||

    Hey, I have an idea. Let's use the high level of tolerance the American people have for minorities as a weapon against them. Bring out one of our assets, polish that turd that will appeal to young voters and remind boomers of a young, handsome Sidney Poitier. We will have to recruit from within, of course. Any one like that in mind? Oh, really? His mother worked at our preferred bank for money laundering in South Asia for years. Step father a former military officer on our pay roll? Why this candidate is perfect!

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    It is encouraging to see popular culture ridicule minority politicians too. Witness:

    and Herbert Love (played by Arrested newcomer Terry Crews), a charismatic, philandering California Republican congressional candidate explicitly modeled after Cain. Both are black, bespectacled, and intensely conservative and anti-Obama, and Love's "low-high" economic prescription sounds an awful lot like Cain's widely blasted 9-9-9 tax plan. (Furthermore, both men use Krista Branch's song "I Am America" in their campaigns, and Love's campaign manager looks, acts, and smokes like Cain's 2012 chief of staff Mark Block.)

    http://www.motherjones.com/mix.....evelopment

    "Low-High" Dat's my plan!

  • Sevo||

    Palin's Buttplug| 6.9.13 @ 6:56PM |#
    "It is encouraging to see popular culture ridicule minority politicians too."

    It's pathetic to see you defend a lying asshole regardless of ethnicity.

  • PapayaSF||

    He chose [Hong Kong] because "they have a spirited commitment to free speech and the right of political dissent"....

    Umm, what?

  • ||

    at least it's not Singapore!

  • CatoTheElder||

    Because HK really does have a spirited commitment. When you get off the Star Ferry at Kowloon, there's a booth with anticommunist, anti-Mao literature and a dozen or so anti-communists anxious to discuss with Kowloon shoppers from the Mainland. The signs for it are mostly in Chinese, but some are in English.

    Go to a bookstore and you'll find Mao - The Unknown Story, a blistering biography, and Mao's Great Famine on prominent display.

    Walk by the US embassy, and you'll likely find some protest against the CIA that embarrasses the PRC as much as the CIA.

    Log on the Internet, and it's like the US but probably much faster.

  • ||

    I call bullshit on this bit from the Guardian article:

    By his own admission, he was not a stellar student. In order to get the credits necessary to obtain a high school diploma, he attended a community college in Maryland, studying computing, but never completed the coursework.

    In 2003, he enlisted in the US army and began a training program to join the Special Forces. Invoking the same principles that he now cites to justify his leaks, he said: "I wanted to fight in the Iraq war because I felt like I had an obligation as a human being to help free people from oppression".

    That sounds like he signed up as MOS 18X, the special forces recruitment option. But I predict to a high probability they would never give a HS diploma waiver to someone for that in 2003. During extremis (like say 2005-2007) the Army will hand out more HS diploma waivers than they want to (

  • ||

    Thanks, squirrels. No less than sign, got it. To continue:

    During extremis (like say 2005-2007) the Army will hand out more HS diploma waivers than they want to (less than 1%), but I can't see it for special forces. Here's the current requirements.

    Requirements for Initial Accessions into the Army:

    (3) High School Diploma Graduate (Tier 1). (HSSR authorized for DEP-In only. Must have high school diploma prior to ship date).

    If this actually happened someone at the recruiting office did something fraudulent. Which...isn't impossible, I guess, but is unlikely.

  • SeaCaptain(Yokeltarian)||

    Is the military still treating homeschoolers like shit?

  • ||

    Huh, I have no idea how that works. Never heard of or thought about the issue before.

  • ||

    Someone at another forum who knows more about recruiting than me says this isn't actually an issue. The recruiters and the Army apparently give 18X away like candy because it's a free recruit who will probably ("90%") fail or change his mind en route and then they can put him wherever they want. If he does pass, then great, they've got an SF soldier.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    Wow. Things sure have changed. When I enlisted as an 11 series in the mid-90s, you got a choice of ONE of the following: duty station, MOS (11B/11C/11H/11M), airborne, or Ranger in your contract IF you had a HS diploma or higher. GED got shit and no GED or diploma = not enlistable.

    SF enlistment option? Hah hah. Put your time in first, boot.

  • SeaCaptain(Yokeltarian)||

    Why Hong Kong? I would have fled to New Zealand or Belize or something.

    This guy has the class and credentials to be the most valuable whistle blower in history....unlike Manning, who just dumped informant's names on the internet.

  • Mike M.||

    Agree 100%. Snowden looks like someone with a lot more credibility and sincerity than Manning or Julian Assange.

  • ||

    What credentials do you think he has that are valuable, let alone "most valuable in history"?

  • SeaCaptain(Yokeltarian)||

    a systems analyst who once worked for the Central Intelligence Agency and now (well, probaby not anymore) works for a defense contractor with access to intelligence documents

    The fact that he went overseas before he leaked info says alot....he's smart.

  • ||

    I think he just wanted to break up with his girlfriend.

  • mr lizard||

    I've totally used that before to fend of a wannabe girlfriend.

  • ||

    I hooked up with this DC girl who'd been recently and cruelly dumped by some other Army guy. Later her defense contractor moved her to Hawaii for a 6 month job, where I heard she quit, got a new job, and stayed.

    I'll laugh for an hour straight if this is her.

  • mr lizard||

    Stupid squirrels.... Anyways I don't date DC chicks.

  • ||

    Did you have to go to Yemen?

  • Ray||

    Hong Kong because he'd have to be deported twice before he could be tried in the US (Hong Kong to China, then China to US), and of course Hong Kong almost never deports to China in free speech cases and China almost never deports to the US in espionage cases. Also, any attempt by the CIA to kidnap him and bring him back to the US would create a major diplomatic kerfuffle with China.

  • SeaCaptain(Yokeltarian)||

    New Zealand won't even let American flagged ships into their ports....especially American Naval vessels.

  • Ray||

    See Kim Dotcom...

  • jassonmma||

    Exactly what I was thinking. NZ has been the US gov't bitch is certain areas.

  • juris imprudent||

    Ah, you might have noticed that Kim Dotcom is running around a free man in NZ and not rotting in some U.S. facility.

    The N.Z. judge bitch-slapped the NZ govt toadies over what they gave to the FBI.

    I don't think the Kiwis would show a whole lot of humor about another dance like that.

  • ||

    Googling around I can only find evidence that this applies to nuclear powered US Navy ships.

  • SeaCaptain(Yokeltarian)||

    Nope. Every American flagged ship has to go through very extensive inspection.

  • Fluffy||

    I hope you're right.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Also, any attempt by the CIA to kidnap him and bring him back to the US would create a major diplomatic kerfuffle with China.

    He'll have a tragic traffic accident or commit suicide after a hidden bit of depression.

  • Tonio||

    Bulgarian KGB hit.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    They'll just send Batman.

  • wareagle||

    he "watched as Obama advanced the very policies that I thought would be reined in."

    Edward, by what calculus did you and a lot of other allegedly smart people surmise that Obama would rein in anything having to do with govt power? Did you ignore or simply refuse to listen to or read all the things Obama has either said or written that would point to the opposite conclusion.

    I have no problem with what he did but fuck him and his self-righteousness. All these folks suddenly finding religion over what a mendacious statist Obama is - and always has been - are all the example one ever needs of the rise of hte low-information voter.

  • Mike M.||

    Look, Obama is one of the most naturally gifted sociopathic liars this country has seen. Even a couple of Reason's top contributors got taken in by this SOB back in '08.

  • SeaCaptain(Yokeltarian)||

    Even a couple of Reason's top contributors got taken in by this SOB back in '08.

    This doesn't mean much.

    Then again, I come here for the commentariat, not the articles.

  • SIV||

    The articles? I come here for the KM-W pictorials.

  • robc||

    I didnt vote for him, of course, but I thought he might be slightly better than Bush on civil liberties. I knew he was going to be absolutely horrible on everything else, but held out a slight bit of hope in that one area.

    Of course, I was horribly horribly wrong about that.

  • SIV||

    Man all you cosmos fell for that...

    Hopey-changey Kool-Aid doesn't taste so good on the way back up, does it?

    lol j/k ;)

  • juris imprudent||

    It's the burning sensation when you piss that really teaches you.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    'Right-o.

    And Libya is exactly as bad as Iraq. EXACTLY THE SAME.

  • Sevo||

    Palin's Buttplug| 6.9.13 @ 6:59PM |#
    'Right-o.
    And Libya is exactly as bad as Iraq. EXACTLY THE SAME."

    No, it's pretty bad, but not as bad as Afghanistan, dipshit:
    "At this point, the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan is almost double the number present when Bush left office."
    http://reason.com/archives/201.....tcontainer
    Nice try on the picking of the cherries.

  • DarrenM||

    Obama is one of the most naturally gifted sociopathic liars this country has seen

    Obama has one skill which he has leveraged very effectively to get where he is. He is a very good liar.

  • Rrabbit||

    Too many voters seem incredibly gullible. Voters all over the world, not just in the US. Given the choice between a candidate who tells them the truth, and a professional liar who promises that he will make everything better for everybody without anybody having to work for it, they will vote for the liar.

  • KPres||

    bah, most people vote for my people! or free shit! and then disguise that with whatever reasons they're fed.

  • ||

    Keep in mind this kid was only 24 or so in 2008, much easier to be taken in by the snake oil salesmen when you haven't seen their show repeatedly.

    Of course the 46 year olds who were duped by Obama have far less excuses.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    And how would McCain have been better?

    War in Soviet Georgia, Iran, and Syria at the same time?

  • Sevo||

    Palin's Buttplug| 6.9.13 @ 7:01PM |#
    "And how would McCain have been better?"

    "Obama! Maybe better than MCain"
    Dipshit

  • SIV||

    McCain only had weeks to live from his skin cancer. A vote for McCain was a vote for President Sarah Palin, remember?

  • SIV||

    We could have cleaned up the libraries, cured the gays of their perversions, burned the witches and paid down the national debt on rape kit-profits by now.

  • ||

    And cured cancer:

    Think about the cures for cancer that didn't happen b/c we spent our time and talent on this Spy vs Spy stuff.
  • juris imprudent||

    The plastic shit stopper says

    DERP, DERP der, der, der, DERP

  • DarrenM||

    And how would McCain have been better?

    McCain would have been better because he would have been checked by a Democratic Congress. Also, Palin is a lot easier on the eyes than Biden.

  • ||

    "...the 46 year olds who were duped by Obama have far less excuses."

    ^This.

    There is no excuse. Shitweasel is exactly who he always said he was. He told everyone right up front what he was. I distinctly remember many people looking right at his behavior and telling me that it wasnt what it looked like, or just denying the reality of it in the face of it. It was fucking bizarre.

    I even showed on person a video of shitweasel saying that under his plan energy prices would necessarily skyrocket. Twice in the space of a year. I showed them the video the first time and they seemed confused. I showed it the second time because they denied he said it. To this day that person has blocked that from their memory, and I bet if I called them now and asked them they would say he never said it.

    Delusion and wishful thinking is what got that piece of shit marxist elected.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    "Marxist"? Proof that you are an idiot.

    I know, Buffett, Gates, Jobs, Ellison, Soros and all our top capitalists that supported Obama are really just Marxists looking to have government confiscate their businesses.

  • PapayaSF||

    "The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them."

  • CatoTheElder||

    Crapitalists, not capitalists.

  • Sevo||

    Palin's Buttplug| 6.9.13 @ 7:41PM |#
    ..."I know, Buffett, Gates, Jobs, Ellison, Soros and all our top capitalists that supported Obama"...

    Dipshit, are you familiar with the phrase 'appeal to authority'? You should look it up, since you just proved yourself to be a lying pile of shit one MORE time.

  • Jerryskids||

    When in living memory have voters ever had a choice of a political candidate who tells the truth?

  • Mark22||

    Well, it wasn't unreasonable to assume that Obama would be better than Bush had been or McCain or Hillary would have been.

  • Lord Humungus||

    what was that collective noise? The sound of a bunch of progressives statist heads blowing up?

    This man has my praise for doing what he believes. And a good move to publicly come out. This way he is safer from "accidents".

  • Sevo||

    "what was that collective noise? The sound of a bunch of progressives statist heads blowing up?"

    Are you kidding? Di Fi says she's just find with this. What's the big deal?
    Obozo says 'Trust me!'.

  • wareagle||

    you actually believe proggy heads are exploding? Come on. No, they're not; they're going to do what they always have done - spin, deflect, obfuscate, anything but admit the painfully obvious.

  • Lord Humungus||

    sure, why not. Explode first... then make up the lies later. But there will be a collective outrage - a hypocritical one at that - for the actions of this whistleblower.

  • CatoTheElder||

    A revolution is not a dinner party.

    Obama must identify enemies of the people to secure the revolution.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    you actually believe proggy heads are exploding?

    One thing I noticed is that it took a few days for the lefties to get their talking points straight.

    They're either saying it isn't that big a deal, or blaming BOOOOOOOOOOOSH for having signed in to law the PATRIOT Act which set up the framework for all of this to happen.

    Nothing will be learned from this because neither lefties or righties are really horrified with what happened. Righties are mad because Obama is doing it, lefties mad because BOOOOOOOSH set it up.

    We are fucked.

  • Sevo||

    "NSA claims know-how to ensure no illegal spying"
    Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/news/pol.....z2VksQ7KqS
    Yeah, please define "is", and I'll consider that statement.

  • The Bearded Hobbit||

    Where are the Snowdens of yesterday?

    ... Hobbit

  • Fluffy||

    Note to Snowden:

    FIRST, get to nonextraditable location. THEN, announce publicly that you're the leaker.

    I am fairly sure the ChiComs are going to hand this guy over wrapped up all nice and with a bow on top.

  • ||

    The Chinese are not handing over anyone in an espionage case, especially when it is this public.

  • General Butt Naked||

    I don't think he'd go into an extraditable location without a get out of jail free card.

    He seems pretty smart so far, and I hope him all the best.

  • Fluffy||

    OT:

    OH NO, Iain Banks died.

  • ||

    Who?

  • robc||

    I asked in the other thread, but trust your opinion too. Any recommendations on what of his to read, as Ive read none of it.

  • ||

    For non-SF The Bridge is good (although its surrealistic dream/coma stuff does have SF-lite elements).

    The Crow Road is a Scottish family drama/murder mystery that is not only quite good but regularly features on lists of "best first line" novels. ("It was the day my grandmother exploded.")

  • Fluffy||

    I bet his lack of a high school diploma is something the progressives will latch on to and make the linchpin of a lot of pop psychology crap about how this guy is really an evil racist who just hates Obama.

    White guy, no high school diploma, accident washes him out of Special Forces - they're going to say that he's "crazy" because his "white guy entitlement" was frustrated, so he turned into an evil Tea Party racist with the kind of hero / martyr complex they ascribe to Randroids.

    Just a prediction based on their past M.O.

  • ||

    See my upthread doubts he was really (legitimately) enlisted for the special forces try out option. Even if he somehow was without a diploma, it's doubtful he ever made it to special forces selection, let alone training. Two broken legs sounds like airborne school, which he would have headed to right after infantry training.

    I've always suspected the SF enlistment option is largely a scam to fill out their airborne infantry numbers with the smart washouts who never would have signed up for straight infantry.

  • Bradley Strider||

    Apparently he donated to a previous Ron Paul campaign. Pop psychology is always handy (see Bradley Manning), but I think that will be their main angle.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    It will definitely be something along those lines.

  • Mike M.||

    You can tell that the "Journolist" crowd hasn't officially decided what their talking points are going to be regarding Snowden because neither Shrieking Idiot nor Chony Krugnuts has shown up here yet, and neither one of them are anywhere near intelligent enough to come up with a cogent opinion about all this on their own.

  • MJGreen||

    Ugh, I just can't even fathom the number of smug, pithy blog posts by progressives about how this guy didn't even graduate high school.

    Though I'm sure McCainite conservatives will use the same lame tactic.

  • DarrenM||

    lack of a high school diploma

    Actually, that was the mistake they made. He didn't get properly indoctrinated in the higher education system.

  • ThatSkepticGuy||

    "I bet his lack of a high school diploma is something the progressives will latch on to and make the linchpin of a lot of pop psychology crap about how this guy is really an evil racist who just hates Obama."

    Just read three comments on Huff 'n Puff Post making this exact claim.

  • Fluffy||

    Twitter is claiming he was a big Ron Paul supporter.

  • ||

    What are they basing this on?

  • Fluffy||

    Campaign contribution.

  • CatoTheElder||

    http://www.ibtimes.com/nsa-whi.....n-does-nsa

    NSA Whistleblower Revealed: Edward Snowden Donated $500 To Ron Paul’s 2012 Presidential Campaign: Does NSA Whistleblower Have Libertarian Leanings?

  • Sevo||

    I'll bet RP is a big Snowden supporter as of just about now.

  • Fluffy||

    You just know that Lew is going to come out pro-Snowden full bore, and that will put Ron on the spot, and when Ron endorses Snowden's action it will put Rand on the spot.

  • ||

    Very good point. If he doesn't walk the line on this very carefully, his 2016 campaign will be over before it starts.

    The GOP has not historically been very keen on "national security" whistleblowing, but most of Rand's supporters are going to be very much in the Pro-Snowden camp.

  • RBS||

    Yep

  • Irish||

  • Irish||

    The best part of all this is that it erodes the left-right stupidity and lets you see who the fascists are regardless of their political affiliation.

    Glenn Beck tweeted praise towards Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald, and a conservative and progressive teamed up and started getting pissed with Glenn Beck for 'saying good things about a traitor.' Someone who claimed to be a liberal progressive said that 'Civil liberties don't matter if you've been killed by a terrorist.'

    It's funny watching the fascists on the left and right fight it out against the civil libertarians without TEAM nonsense getting in the way.

  • malk||

    At Guardian interview:

    "A lot of people in 2008 voted for Obama. I did not vote for him. I voted for a third party."

    Johnson?

  • RBS||

    2008
  • malk||

    That other LP dude back in 2008?

  • General Butt Naked||

    There wasn't one.

  • Fluffy||

    Aw, man, you just made me remember that I, too, voted for Barr.

  • Sevo||

    Still better than the alternatives.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Nope, Wayne Allen Root is now, then, and always will be the worst alternative. Ever.

  • malk||

    yeah total self imposed black out of that...yikes...

  • ||

    THAT was a good year for not voting.

  • James Sinclair||

    I physically covered the names on the ballot with my hand and filled in the circle next to "Libertarian". Only way I could stomach it.

  • malk||

    If he did vote third party in 2008, based on the tiny info. I know about the guy, I'd say 80% chance he voted LP...not that the voting matters but an actual out in the open libertarianish person about to get no small amount of attention, media and otherwise. Speculation, yes - this is a discussion board after all...

  • ||

    2008 would have been Barr

  • ||

    Beat me to it, that's what I get for reading so slowly

  • SIV||

    Maybe Snowden voted for Chuck Baldwin.
    Ron Paul endorsed him.

  • ||

    One thing in the interview I doubt is his assertion that he had the "authority" to review people's data or establish surveillance. I'll believe as an IT dude with access to the systems he had the ability to do it, but very much doubt that under internal rules (let alone the law) he was permitted to do so.

    That, the high school drop out thing, and the SF claim make me think he's a bit naive and narrow/obsessed so that he's going to get somewhat besides the point shit like this wrong and damage his credibility. Something to keep in mind when the counter attack comes and scores some true but irrelevant hits.

  • Fluffy||

    I don't know, man.

    I've been tangentially involved in government IT projects, and the IT guys end up doing EVERYTHING, because the non-IT government hacks can describe what they want to do but are always too fucking incompetent to DO it.

    So they end up leaning into the IT guy's cube, Office Space style, and saying, "Uhhhh...yeah...I'm going to need you to go ahead and pull that data for me."

    Maybe the NSA has a better class of government hack, but maybe not.

  • ||

    A plausible theory on this I just read is that he was using computer-geek speak for "authority" - he had the computer permissions to do this, but almost certainly not the legal authority to do so on his own initiative.

  • DarrenM||

    It doesn't matter. If this is true, his detractors will just use the definition that best fits their goals and claimed he lied. You see it all the time.

  • ||

    I took that part to mean that he was put there as a spy. Note the phrase "diplomatic cover". People don't need "cover" for publicly legitimate positions.

  • ||

    Well, I'm guessing they don't want to identify the code clerks (or secret IT dudes) so that the host nation counter intel guys don't chat them up or try to blackmail them, so they give them a legit title/job at the embassy. I think that's all this is about. The CIA head gets a title like "economic attache," this guy gets something more gofer-like. And they all have some level of diplomatic immunity as recognized embassy personnel.

  • Sevo||

    I'm pretty sure that any CIA employee, regardless of job, is given cover.
    Imagine an admitted KGB employee in the (former) Soviet embassy; nope, no KGB employees here!

  • ||

    Agreed, I just don't think CIA employee with diplomatic cover always = "spy" as most people would use it.

  • Sevo||

    That was my point; you were more clear.

  • SugarFree||

    Slate's super-slurpers are screaming "traitor."

    A preview of shrike's talking points for the Morning Links.

  • ||

    I don't actually see the article depict him in a negative light. And the comments are on his side too. All the info is pretty much the same stuff as in the above story. I'm really not sure what you're seeing that I'm not.

  • Irish||

    The comments at the top are on his side. Go down halfway. It seems like the initial Slate readers were hardcore against him, and then a bunch of civil libertarians showed up later to talk about how full of shit they are.

    Benton Love
    Thank you Edward Snowden. Thank you for leaking our state secrets. Thank you for taking it upon yourself to decide what should and not be classified.

    Because it would be ridiculous if the NSA or the Senate oversight committee or the President or any of our other duly elected representatives were to decide this.

    This is for you, Edward Snowden, 29 year old knower of everything and moral arbiter to decide, in contravention to the non-disclosure agreements you signed, in contravention to the State Secrets Protection Act (passed also by our elected, multi-cameral government)

    Thank you also for running off to Hong Kong, within easy reach of the Ministry of State Security, who--you may be surprised to hear this--will be interrogating you shorty. If I were to guess as to the classification of this interrogation, I would guess that it will be "aggressive".
    Lisa, Skeptical, guest2, Emily and arriba65 like this.

    That pile of statist stupidity is one of the top 'liked' comments on the page.

  • ||

    According to commenter "Chris"'s list, this sounds like #2:

    Chris
    Well the comment boards dealing with NSA surveillance have been up for a while. Let's see if we have enough for a bingo card.

    1. If you are not guilty of anything you don't have anything to worry about.
    2. It's all legal, the Patriot Act says so.
    3. This is old news, why bring it up.
    4. Bush did it before Obama did.
    5. Terrorists! Oh my.
    6. It's just a bunch of phone numbers, no really harm.
    7. ????
    LilSharpEars, Thor's Mighty Wren, Formerly Phred, xdt and Charles House like this.
  • mr lizard||

    Wow total NSA staffer troll.

  • MJGreen||

    I'm sure this same guy was abhorred by torture administered under BOOOSH.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    Because it would be ridiculous if the NSA or the Senate oversight committee or the President or any of our other duly elected representatives were to decide this.

    As I mentioned the other day, no politician can be considered "duly elected" if they're doing shit like this that we don't even know about.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    I am all for him leaking this info. I support Open Society after all.

    The fact that Obama has not been forthcoming is no surprise to me. I am just thankful that he cleared the low bar of not lying us into any Trillion $+ wars.

  • DK||

    In the future, could you just shorten that by writing #3 and #4.

  • Sevo||

    Palin's Buttplug| 6.9.13 @ 7:06PM |#
    ..."The fact that Obama has not been forthcoming is no surprise to me"

    Yeah, you knew it all along. You were just supporting everything the the guy does because BOOOSH, right?

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Palin's Buttplug,

    I am just thankful that he cleared the low bar of not lying us into any Trillion $+ wars.


    So you're saying he can anal-rape you all he wants (he's so dreamy, after all), sick the IRS, the NSA or the DHS on you, just as long as he doesn't start another war under false pretences. Because the bar is supposedly already low enough. Am I right, so far?

  • Generic Stranger||

    Don't forget being able to murder drone you because FYTW.

  • Sevo||

    Oh, and:
    Palin's Buttplug| 6.9.13 @ 7:06PM |#
    ..."I am just thankful that he cleared the low bar of not lying us into any Trillion $+ wars."

    No, just added a couple of $Tn to the existing ones, dipshit:
    "At this point, the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan is almost double the number present when Bush left office."
    http://reason.com/archives/201.....tcontainer
    Back to the spin-design program.

  • ThatSkepticGuy||

    "I am just thankful that he cleared the low bar of not lying us into any Trillion $+ wars."

    That's not a "low bar", that's just a goalpost you keep moving.

    "At least Obama didn't start any wars!"

    "Yes, he did."

    "Well . . . at least Obama didn't start any ILLEGAL wars!"

    "Iraq was sanctioned by both parties in Congress. Libya was not authorized at all."

    "Well . . . at least Obama didn't commit any war crimes, or torture people!"

    "Yeah, he fucking did, you lying, delusional twit."

    "Well . . . at least Obama didn't start any wars that cost INFINITE GAJILLION DOLLARS!"

  • ||

    No one's commented yet on the CIA/Swiss banker story? I'm sure that wasn't to get data on anything we would care about...

  • Sevo||

    In fairness, there was no comment about bankers in the pull quotes.
    Given its neutrality, CH was spook-ville in WWII and may well still be.

  • ||

    On this night of the Game of Thrones season finale I see no one is asking the real question: what's Edward Snowden's relationship to Eddard Stark?

    I hardly think this is a coincidence.

  • Chloe||

    Both of them are going to lose their heads to a prissy, narcissistic, spoiled brat?

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    Dammit Chloe, you win the thread.

  • ||

    +4 heads

  • ||

  • ||

    http://obamaischeckingyouremai.....2498185767

    Privacy? HA!

    Also, creepiest photo ever.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    The Jarrett creature is about to strike the guy in the chair.

  • SeaCaptain(Yokeltarian)||

    It only took a few hours for the progtards to get all worked up that the whistle blower wasn't a graduate of the indoctrination camp.

    Good, obedient students become good taxpayers.

  • DK||

    I think this is what they meant by "Most Transparent Administration Ever". When Obama says, "Trust us", he's been secretly training whistleblowers so that future administrations are held accountable. Unfortunately for him, he's done so much shit that his students have ended up betraying him.

  • Sevo||

    Ya think he'll try to run that up the flag pole?

  • DK||

    No, but maybe I should troll some proggy sites.

  • WomSom||

    Dude is like totally rocking it man, I like him.

    www.AnonStuff.tk

  • Jerryskids||

    After that, he got his first job in an NSA facility, working as a security guard for one of the agency's covert facilities at the University of Maryland. From there, he went to the CIA, where he worked on IT security. His understanding of the internet and his talent for computer programming enabled him to rise fairly quickly for someone who lacked even a high school diploma.

    Sorry, but this guy doesn't exactly sound like James Bond - but we are supposed to believe that the same intelligence services that can't guard against this guy can be trusted to keep all of our electronic records secure? If this guy can this easily get top secret files to the Guardian, how many co-workers do you suppose he has who are delivering the same and more to foreign intelligence services? Apparently the CIA hasn't learned anything since The Falcon and the Snowman.

  • Sevo||

    OK, what is the point?

  • Bruce Majors||

    All our facebook profile photos are now mug shots, thanks to the NSA

    http://fantasyfelon.com

  • lawngnome||

    You mean thanks to the morons who post them. I find it ironic that people who don't want government agencies snooping into our lives voluntarily post their entire lives on the internet

  • GLK||

    Two things come to mind. 1) If the NSA were any good at disseminating reams of data then how could the Boston bombing (among other things)even happen? 2) WHY does the NSA want to know everything about virtually everyone? In other words, once they collected literally billions of bits of data on every citizen what where they planning on using it for? It seems to me that while everyone's focused on what happened, it makes more sense to focus on the reasoning behind it. The scary thing is, even now, we have politicians trying to tell us what to do with the minutiae of our lives under clever guises like cost and environmental concerns. Right now, you have the freedom to shake off a lot of their intrusiveness by virtue of your private lives. But what if your life isn't private anymore? Being fined or jailed for non-compliance doesn't seem like a whacko conspiracy theory anymore does it?

  • Helen||

    If you think Laura`s story is good..., five weaks-ago mom in-law worked and got paid $9421 sitting there a sixteen hour week from their apartment and there co-worker's sister-in-law`s neighbour was doing this for nine months and recieved a check for more than $9421 part time from a labtop. applie the information on this page, mojo55.COM

  • lawngnome||

    government activity not illegal = not a whistleblower

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