Edward Snowden

Here is Why Edward Snowden Couldn't Have Gone Through 'Proper Channels'

Snowden's lawyer, Jesselyn Radack, explains why whistleblowers are the targets of government prosecution.


Would Edward Snowden be better off if he had gone through official channels to expose multiple National Security Agency programs that violated the privacy rights of Americans? Snowden's lawyer, Jesselyn Radack, says no and points to the track record of whistleblowers who have faced criminal investigations over speaking out officially.

"Tom Drake, Bill Binney, Kirk Wiebe, and Ed Loomis did go through the proper channels "and all of them fell under criminal investigations for having done so." Radack told Reason TV Editor-In-Chief Nick Gillespie.

While Edward Snowden has become a popular debate topic posed to Democratic and GOP hopefuls, the real issue may be the U.S. government's war on information. For more watch, "Edward Snowden's Lawyer on the Government's War on Whistleblowers."

NEXT: Who Supports the Troops?

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  1. “Proper channels” is their out. They can pretend to believe in the transparency, accountability and constitutionality behind Snowden’s actions while still being able to shut down transparency, accountability and constitutionality. They know damned well it made no logical sense trying to report misdeeds to those already well-briefed on said misdeeds and expect anything but a jail cell.

    1. I would like to see Snowden tried in a US Court. A trial would lay out for the public the absurdity of the government’s position here. Here we have a case where the government is doing something that is likely illegal, and certainly controversial and doing it without the knowledge of the public. And the government’s position is that anyone who tells the public about this is committing treason.

      People get too wrapped around the axle about the facts of this case and don’t think enough about the principles involved. Imagine for a moment that instead of listening into everyone’s phone calls, Snowden has discovered that the NSA was doing something really nasty like wire tapping and blackmailing its own and the President’s political enemies. That knowledge would have been just as classified and revealing it just as much of a crime under the letter of the law as the information Snowden leaked. There is no “but it is illegal” exception to the national security laws. And by the logic of the people who want Snowden prosecuted, he would be just as guilty if he leaked that information or indeed any government misconduct.

      Snowden’s legal case is not about wiretapping. It is about whether the government can make it a crime to reveal government criminal activity.

      1. “I would like to see Snowden tried in a US Court. ”

        I don’t think so — wouldn’t most of the evidence be declared classified and, as a result, most the critical proceedings moved to closed chambers?

        1. I think he means that he’d like to see him tried in open court. I do agree, though, that the US courts are anything but “open.”

      2. That’s not going to happen. He would not get a trial and he’d never see the light of day again. Right now, he has 2 options, Russia and life in prison, possibly with torture.

      3. The FBI did excatly that for 40 years under Hoover and continued for a time after Hoover was out and Nixon still in.

        Hoover had written and signed authority from FDR that he never disclosed but felt like game him immunity if it was in the National Defense.

    2. I have evidence that a major party presidential candidate repeatedly broke the law and belongs in jail.

      How do I go through the proper channels to make that happen?

      1. All your channels is belong to us.

        /the gubmint

      2. You don’t. See my post below. Going through channels only makes any sense if it is about something the higher ups don’t know about. If the wrong doing involves and is approved by the highest officials in the country, there is no “going through channels.

    3. “Tom Drake, Bill Binney, Kirk Wiebe, and Ed Loomis did go through the proper channels “and all of them fell under criminal investigations for having done so.”

      Well no shit. That’s what the proper channels are there for – to give you a heads-up on what rat bastards aren’t team players respecting the code of omert?.

      I just recently watched a documentary on Bill Phillips and the Knapp Commission and it’s hard to see how there’s a bit of difference then and now or at the local or federal level.

      1. I wish NSA were corrupt. It is not that they are corrupt. It is that they are dedicated and think they are doing good and think that means they should be above any standards of behavior or accountability. If only they were just petty crooks, we would be in a lot better shape.

        1. Ridiculous. As Snowden and many others have pointed out, the nsa freaks were sharing video numbers with each other so they could have a group voyeur laugh fest on the job – with whatever some perv found.
          Not only that but all the congress, all the judges, and obama himself were under the scope, obama way before he was potus (sauce is one of the less mentioned democrat whistle blowers)-

          Don’t think for a minute they don’t know they are leeches and frauds just to expand and paycheck and benny and rob and pillage and spy – ALL of them so far said the rules changed and they saw how going after the average American suddenly became the policy and thing to do and screw the rules.
          Stop fooling yourself.

  2. The proper channel argument is ridiculous. You go through channels when you find something that the top people don’t know is going on. Going through channels is how you inform them. You go through “proper channels” when you find out your boss is stealing. In this case, the top people all knew about and approved of these programs and were fine with not telling the public. So there is no point in going through proper channels. You are just informing the top people of something they already know and approve of. Some computer geek contractor is not going to cause them to suddenly see the error of their ways.

    For someone in Snowden’s position the choices were either go public or shut up and do nothing. You can object to him going public. You cannot however in any reasonable way object to his “not going through channels”, because doing so would have been pointless.

  3. Snowden could indeed have gone through proper channels if he was suicidal, masochistic, and lusted after massive ruby-red monster-veined government cock shellacking deep into the eyeball of his crinkly chocolate-tan starfish ruining into an orgy of hell his financials and general existence, both present and future.

    Proper channels of modern governance are the slice and dive pantheon where little humans get turned into slivers while left and right wingers rejoice over the white picket fence protecting the system to the point these apple-pie scarfing mongrels eat marshmallows, sing charming songs together, and hold white picket fence painting parties. Never mind the yard full of blood behind the fucking thing.

  4. Even his lefty worshippers at the Daily Beast understand that Block Yomomma’s open declaration of war on the domestic energy sector is going to have negative repercussions for the country and the democratic party’s electoral prospects.

    1. I tried reading the article but the page throws up a giant red banner over the screen.

      1. Well, it starts out with an extremely meaningless line of drivel. Behold the stupid:

        Forget that red state-blue state stuff. The real chasm dividing the US is economic, with one economy for industry and one for tech, and the friction between them is getting fierce

        WTF? Tech and industry are at odds with each other? And here I thought they went hand in hand.

        And wait, there’s more meaningless drivel:

        Today we see a growing conflict between the economy that produces consumable, tangible goods and another economy, now ascendant, that deals largely in the intangible world of media, software, and entertainment

        So, industry and tech are at odds with each other? If someone embraces software, they automatically are against making stuff?

        This is just so fucking stupid already, I can’t read further.

        1. “with one economy for industry and one for tech, and the friction between them is getting fierce”

          I’m guessing this is some type of whites/Asians vs non Asian “people of color” signaling.

          1. It’s dumber than pure shit no matter what it’s trying to be.

            1. That’s an insult to pure shit, which has its uses.

              1. The monkeys at Salon can fling it at each other while scratching out nonsensical pseudo babble.

                1. Oops, that was Daily Beast. Are they trying to be Salon?

                2. I wouldn’t say it’s “nonsensical” as much as a stupid way to phrase “a service economy vs. a manufacturing economy”. As you point out, it’s not a choice of either/or. If we manufacture a product or produce a service does that mean we don’t grow food either?

                  1. So we’re just going to be a service economy and scrap all of those 3D printers and biotech labs? What services are we going to offer? Maybe we’ll just have mattress factories and nothing else. Someone has to provide mattresses for the new dominant service industry, ‘Snowflake Survival and Safe Place Services’. Maybe we can 3D print the mattresses?

                    1. What services are we going to offer?

                      What are you talking about? A country of 300 million can absolutely survive on an economy based around producing social apps for hipsters. To his “credit”, though, that is not the author’s argument as much as good old fashioned ‘Ooooooh, like a rock!‘, hardhat fetishism.

    2. Is there a Democrat policy that is helping their election chances? They should have stuck with free shit, that was actually working. But no, they had to go full on batshit and pursue the climate change and gun control foolery. Well, it’s nice to see them self destruct.

      1. The comedy that would flow from a Trump offer of “free” guns would be uuuuuuuuuuuuuge.

        I mean, the Dems offer free everything on the grounds that that people have the “right” to them, while right there in the Constitution it says we have an actual right to guns.

        1. Lets say it costs $500 to buy a quality handgun. You could by 10,000 examples for five million dollars. For the amount of money Trump probably spends on his clothes and dry cleaning, Trump could offer a free handgun to the first 10,000 people who agreed to do say 10 hours volunteer work for his campaign.

          That would be comedy gold. It would probably be the most entertaining and awesome political story of my lifetime.

    3. Falling food prices? Where? Not in New York. Chickens and eggs are becoming pre-depression scarce and prices have almost doubled in the last year.

      1. After massive top no trickle down inflation, “falling prices” “destroys economies” – the latest and greatest FU to one and all.

        If there was a real economy, not total fake inflated bubbleworks, falling prices would increase sales and heighten GDP and economies.
        But we’ve got a fake and fraud monetary factory, not an economy.

        1. I do wonder if the left is so batshit batty that they really believe you can have a major economy based entirely on unlimited debt and snarky Twitter comments, or if it’s simply that their hatred for those who disagree with them is so great they’re doing all this simply out of spite.

  5. Snowden betrayed his government to protect his country. And I am just fine with that.

    1. Hey bagger! Government is what we do together!

  6. Bill Nye is a very sad little man.

    Why is Bill Nye so angry?

    1. I think what happened was Nye saw Bob Newhart on the Big Bang Theory and realized it was his future. Everything he does now is just him trying to avoid his fate of being a real life Professor Proton.

    2. Nye demolished climate deniers in a Salon exclusive, that is all I need to know.

      1. It’s never a “fierce debate” with those guys.
        There’s alway grey matter splattered on the walls.
        Every. Single. Time.

    3. In a Salon exclusive, the scientist discusses his new book, “Unstoppable,” and the urgent need for climate action

      Bill Nye is a “scientist” like Kanye West is a “musician”. Nye has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, and his pre-“Science Guy” career consisted entirely of engineering gigs for Boeing and other aerospace firms.. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t know about science; however, the man has never “professionally” done science. I don’t see why it’s not good enough to refer to the man as an engineer.

      1. Isn’t it Tony, our own little climate warrior who’s fighting a brave battle against us ‘deniers’ around here, who always tells us that engineers are not ‘real’ scientists? So why is this guy who’s not even a real scientist trying to pontificate to us deniers?

        *Lights the retard signal*

        Hey Tony, Bill Nye isn’t a real scientist, don’t you agree?

        1. Anthony Watts is not a scientist and thus his opinion is invalid. But hey, Brad Pitt knows what he’s talking about.

          1. Bill Nye also, he played a real scientist on TV. And just check that bow tie. Only really smart dudes wear a bow tie, amirite?

        2. Tony has never missed an opportunity to hoist himself on his own petard.

        3. A scientist with incorrect politics is wrong, and a non-scientist with correct politics is right. Duh.

      2. Actually – engineers do science every day when debugging a design. Some are better at drawing useful conclusions from the evidence than others.

        1. engineers do science every day when debugging a design.

          No one said they don’t “do” science. I “do” dentistry twice a day when I brush my teeth; however, I wouldn’t expect others to call me a dentist.

      3. If were President I would deal with Nye and make him an example to others. I would have a a friendly reporter ask me about his statement. I would respond as follows

        “I don’t understand why Professor Proton is so angry all of the time lately. He used to be such an example to children and now he just seems angry.”

        “Mr. President, what do you mean Professor Proton”

        “Isn’t that the name he went by on his TV show?”

        “Ah no, he is ‘the science guy'”

        “Are you sure, I think it might be Professor Proton, but regardless, he seems really angry”

        “What do you think of what he said?”

        “People ask me why I don’t consider climate change or whatever they are calling it these days and my answer is what am I supposed to say to things like this much less take it into account in making policy? A few degrees warmer is going to turn the world into the road warrior? That is crazy. And so much of what they say is crazy that you end up just turning it all out”.

        That would do a couple of things. First, Nye would spend the rest of his life having low information America thinking he is Professor Proton. Second, that combined with calling his bullshit what it is, crazy bullshit, would make an example of Nye. Yes, the warmist cult would have a fainting fit about it, but a good number of them would think twice about saying crazy shit in the future for fear of being posterized like Nye.

      4. Science is a process. Any one who uses that process is a scientist regardless of their degree, anyone who doesn’t use that process is not, also regardless of their degree.

        1. When my clients want a new solution, I just mock up something that I know won’t work and present it to them. They look at it skeptically and say ‘I don’t know, I don’t think this is what we were envisioning. Also we tested it and it doesn’t work’. And then I scream at them ‘DENIERS!’.

          Is that science?

          1. You are wise in the ways of climatology.

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  8. My question isn’t about whether Snowden could have gone through proper channels.

    My question is about why the people who committed the crimes that Snowden exposed haven’t been indicted.

    1. Good question.

      As somebody around here likes to say, principals vs. principles: who does the crime determines who does the time.

      I know he is just a politically appointed hack, but I have a dream that one day I will see James Clapper do the perp walk.

    2. Citizen faith in government is an infinite resource mined feverishly by stone-faced authoritarian careerists. Accordingly, cracks in the ambrosia governing facade are rarely created from within which is the fuck why real corruption is never addressed. Only schleps who commit adultery and use the party credit card for paving their goddamn driveway get a slight drubbing.

      Rending human liberty to extreme extents within the tortured experiment of free society is a burgeoning vice of these modern governments.

      Aside from a wiley miniscule minority the fucking scribes and strait-laced journo brigades eviscerate everyday society over its consumption of drugs, sugar, shitty movies, and couch-centric lethargy as they race like roaches from investigating the thugs, losers, tyrants, and manipulators that pack the walls and halls of government in all its shapes and locations.

      Fucking makes me sick to my brain that motherfucking AP is pissed at nasty comments yet ejaculates into its own goddamn mouth every second of every day in a sunny rose garden of circle-jerking scholar clowns while thousands of government officials the world over are held accountable to fucking nothing aside from the occasional token, “Hey, look, world, we wrote an article on a government fuck who stubbed his toe on massive pile of money some bitch left lying in the rotunda!”

  9. If Edward Snowden really believed what he did was proper, he has an obligation to stick his head in a woodchipper. Because martyring himself for his cause will make the information he disclosed suddenly more palatable or something.

    1. It is more than that. It is not just that he should do that. It is that because he didn’t, the underlying issues his leaks raised no longer matter. If Snowden personally is anything but a perfect American hero, then everything the NSA does is totally okay and off limits to criticism.

      1. “then everything the NSA does is totally okay and off limits to criticism.”

        The realities of oppression are lost on the memories of purpose.

        1. The whole thing is absurd. I really hate the focus on Snowden. Snowden was important right up until the moment he his send and revealed all of the information. After that, he doesn’t matter. What matters is the contents of what he revealed, once it was clear it was legitimate.

  10. Dude that makes like no sense at all man. None.


  11. I assume by “proper channels” she was referring to the Clinton Foundation. Maybe if he had donated to it he would have been rewarded with good karma?

    1. BOOM! goes the dynamite.

      Noyce 🙂

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    ———- http://www.4cyberworks.com

  13. The proper channels for Binney meant a SWAT RAID in the midddle of the night with guns in his face as he stood naked in his shower.

    It’s awesome, proper channel.

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