Edward Snowden Today: Maybe We Don't Need Any Spy Agencies At All


In a Google Hangout-ed interview to a D.C. Cato Institute conference on surveillance that is going on right this second as I type, former NSA and CIA guy Edward Snowden suggests something few people with government agencies have the nerve to suggest: maybe those agencies don't need to exist at all.

Snowden suggested that our major modern spy agencies arose during the rush of World War and perhaps didn't need to survive them at all, and now "can be replaced by methods of law enforcement," even when aimed at foreigners like Vladimir Putin: "Do we really need an NSA and secret courts to wiretap Putin?" when he thinks any judge through any normal specific targeted law enforcement procedure would give permission to do so.

He seems to think the extension of normal law enforcement procedures to even the countries' overseas desires to investigate would work OK, and maybe we don't need "secret organizations that inevitably push beyond" any limits we might imagine we want to hold them to, once they are able to disappear behind a screen of "national security secrecy." 

Snowden also says he still hopes one day to be able to return to the United States, and thinks it appalling that as a matter of course Amazon does not encrypt your book searches from prying spying eyes.

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  1. Asking the questions I’d expect of a cowardly, callow, traitorous traitory TRAITOR such as himself

    /conz EVERYWHERE

    This is a question I’d never considered. Now I’ll consider it. Thanks, Snowden, you magnificent bastard…

  2. “Do we really need an NSA and secret courts to wiretap Putin?” when he thinks any judge through any normal specific targeted law enforcement procedure would give permission to do so

    Sounds like a challenge.

  3. “Do we really need an NSA and secret courts to wiretap Putin?”

    Anyone who thinks that foreign intelligence is ever useful has watched too many spy movies.

    1. Or they just don’t view reality through the same myopic lens you do.

  4. “extension of law enforcement” looks like “war on Drugs” to me. Epic fail.

    1. I think this is an extremely legitimate criticism. Part of intelligence collection is collecting people who haven’t necessarily done anything wrong, who might very well be considered patriots by their own country. I don’t see how you can enable that without giving whatever police power employing that the kind of power you’d find in a police state.

      1. I’ve lived 40 years hard-partying, building a 25 year business, doing drugs to this day, making awesome children, making money, marrying hot wife money, building a place in the woods, creating patents, loving freedom, with a HUGE middle finger right up the ass of authority and I have every intention of living life to the fullest WITHOUT EXPECTING the fucking government to track my rather pure existence with their fucking bullshit.

        I love this country. But FUCK it if it decides to act like a goddamn nazi.

        1. I agree with you that I don’t want the government tracking my existence. Or yours.

          Now answer me a question. What the fuck probable cause does the government have to spy on Vladimir Putin? I don’t see dick all reason to say he’s committed any crime against U.S. nationals.

          Yes, he’s our adversary. Yes, his interests aren’t necessarily consistent with ours. Yes, if he were a U.S. politician, I sure as hell wouldn’t vote for him.

          But, none of those things are crimes. And I, for one, sure as fuck don’t want to see them turned into crimes.

          But, that doesn’t mean I don’t think we sure as hell shouldn’t be collecting every piece of information we can about the bastard.

  5. Of course we don’t need one… right? I mean, who would read these comments without them though?

  6. But the government needs to know and when government needs to know…well… your cock juice is their news.

  7. Slap Sammy is the man dude.

  8. Don’t be silly Snowden. The USG does have legit reasons to be, and intelligence agencies are necessary for the USG to do that job.

    1. Cylli toxicity is legit and reason of Cylli are like cookie crumbles on xmas day… eatable and not notable.

  9. Ironic coming from a guy hiding behind a KGB agent’s skirts.

  10. Natalie . even though Steven `s artlclee is nice… I just purchased Peugeot 205 GTi after earning $6824 thiss month and-even more than, ten grand this past-month . with-out any question its my favourite job Ive had .
    Best way to keep join========

  11. Exactly how does the U.S. Government or any agent of the US government “legally” wiretap Putin’s phone?

    In any case, while I agree that our intelligence agencies get carried away too often, I still think there’s a significant difference between policing U.S. citizens in the U.S. and having surveillance of foreign citizens on foreign soil. Espionage is not merely an extension of local law enforcement activities.

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