Edward Snowden

Lawmakers Offer Snowden Film Cross-Promotion with Report Blasting Him

House Intel Committee says he was no whistleblower.


Dennis Van Tine/UPI/Newscom

This is a movie promotion strategy like no other. Oliver Stone's retelling of Edward Snowden's surveillance whistleblowing, Snowden, hits the theaters Friday. There's a big push now to attempt to convince President Barack Obama to pardon Snowden and allow him to return home.

Ron Bailey made note of this new effort yesterday. My own cynical take is that Obama is only interested in correcting the overreach in prosecutions of citizens during previous administrations. He has demonstrated absolutely no interest in even remotely restraining the authority of his own Department of Justice in any way whatsoever. The "right people" are in charge. There will be no pardon coming.

Now, this afternoon, the House Intelligence Committee decided to wade into the world of film promotion by releasing a summary of a classified report extremely critical of Snowden. And it's a bipartisan critique. Every member of the committee signed a letter to Obama urging him not to pardon Snowden.

The report, a result of two years of investigation, concludes that Snowden was not a whistleblower at all and didn't attempt to properly bring problems with National Security Agency (NSA) snooping to lawmakers before snatching documents and fleeing the country. And the report makes it personal, accusing Snowden of feuding with coworkers and accusing him of lying about the reasons he left the Army (he says broken legs—they say "shin splnts") and lying about his education. Wondering what any of that has to do with whether his whistleblowing exposed illegal NSA surveillance? Keep wondering.

Read the summary of the House's report here. The full report is classified, so we have no actual foundation to evaluate the assertions presented in the summary. On Twitter, Snowden offered a handful of responses accusing the lawmakers themselves of misleading the public:


Advance reviews of Snowden are decidedly mixed. Maybe the spat will increase the film's profile? Reason's film critic, Kurt Loder, will be offering his take Friday morning.

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  1. Of course he didn’t “bring problems to lawmakers”. The Obama administration had made it blatantly clear what happened to people who dared to do that. Even with everything that happened to him he’s still better off having disclosed to the media instead.

  2. Reason’s film critic, Kurt Loder, will be offering his take Friday morning.

    I’d rather read what he has to say about Blair Witch.

    1. If it’s as good as the original, I’ll be rooting for the witch.

  3. Oliver Stone versus a bipartisan committee of Congress…right now, the way I see it, it’s the Congresspersons who have a greater credibility problem.

  4. Stone can be pretty insufferable when he’s focusing on old events (no Stone, people didn’t hate Alexander because he was gay, they hated it because it was a goddamn mess, but you get bonus marks for trying to film legit phalanx combat) and with his politics I can imagine it lacking all subtlety. It probably doesn’t help that, at least from the trailer, Stone’s knowledge of computers is lacking.

  5. Good evening, I’m Alistair Cooke, and welcome to another episode of Things that Jump Out At You Theatre.

  6. Oliver Stone can be trusted to turn Snowden’s fascinating and important story into a confusing bore.

    If Stone doesn’t screw it up, I’ll be surprised,

  7. Does Snowden still have that super hot girlfriend or did she break up with him?

    When I saw how hot his girlfriend was my respect for him doubled. Not only did he go into exile so he could let the public know the truth but he gave up tapping that sweet sweet ass every night.

      1. On the strand, maybe.

        In Indiana she’s an 11.

        1. She moved to Russia to be with him, if I’m not mistaken. So, she’s what? a 2 there?

  8. “The report, a result of two years of investigation, concludes that Snowden was not a whistleblower at all and didn’t attempt to properly bring problems with National Security Agency (NSA) snooping to lawmakers before snatching documents and fleeing the country.”

    Everything the government has done to Snowden since his story broke has shown how right he was to flee their wrath for exposing the truth.

    Everything the Obama administration has done to Snowden since this story broke has confirmed that Snowden had no reason to think bringing the NSA’s abuses to the attention of the NSA would have been met with anything but condemnation for bringing it to their attention.

    They were abusing the rights of 300 million Americans, and they were doing it on purpose.

  9. Yeah, much as I approve of what Snowden did – heck, even if he was a traitor and selling secrets to the Russians he exposed a hell of a lot of traitors and traitor-apologists in the US government – and hope the real point of it all doesn’t get lost, I don’t know as how I’m willing to go to the lengths of watching an Oliver Stone screed to support him.

    1. Yeah, whatever Snowden is guilty of, it doesn’t absolve the responsible individuals at the NSA for their crimes.

  10. I’m beyond “Pardon Snowden”.

    I’m for indicting whomever was responsible at the NSA.

  11. Meanwhile, the less photogenic Bradley Manning rots in prison. The overwhelming evidence that both these guys released was classified because it was not meant for American eyes. The enemy already knew that some helicopter blew the shit out of a van of journalists and kids.

    1. It just occurs to me – if the government accomodates Bradley Manning when he identifies as a woman, maybe it could accomodate him when he identifies as someone who shouldn’t be in prison? That would be much less of a stretch.

    2. Meanwhile, the less photogenic Bradley Manning rots in prison.

      They’re not remotely the same, and it is an insult to Snowden to compare the two.

      There’s also the point that manning was a moron, and did nothing to protect himself, whereas snowden thought the process through and left the country before leaking. Its not some disparity of justice or something that one is in jail and the other isn’t; its just a fact that Manning was stupid.

      Manning’s dump of diplomatic cables isn’t remotely similar for a variety of reasons – but the main one was that there was no comparable flagrant violation of the constitution which he could claim to be exposing

      All Manning exposed was routine, if embarrassing, business of the State dept and pentagon. Stuff that in some cases was banal and completely unjustified in terms of ‘public interest’ – and in some cases which compromised officials/processes/intelligence for no good reasons other than ‘because he could’. In other cases the stuff he leaked exposed some ’embarrassing’ or sensational items, but which still didn’t have nearly enough significance to justify any real “Whistleblower” defense at trial.

      I think manning was probably over-prosecuted and shouldn’t have received the severity of punishment that he did. But that he should have been prosecuted and convicted was without doubt. He should have known the consequences, and considered what benefit he was serving.

      1. whereas snowden thought the process through and left the country before leaking.

        Snowden claims he ended up in Russia becaues he didn’t have a plan after the leak.

        1. Sure, but getting out of the country in the first place (and going somewhere he could be reasonably certain he wouldn’t be extradited) was all that mattered as a first step. He was smarter in a wide variety of ways, not just his CYA efforts.

          1. He was smarter in a wide variety of ways, not just his CYA efforts.

            Sure, in the sense of being greater than zero.

  12. Some memorable Snowden quotes:

    Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.

    Bathtub falls and police officers kill more Americans than terrorism, yet we’ve been asked to sacrifice our most sacred rights for fear of falling victim to it.

    I did not reveal any US operations against legitimate military targets. I pointed out where the NSA has hacked civilian infrastructure such as universities, hospitals, and private businesses because it is dangerous.

    If I were a Chinese spy, why wouldn’t I have flown directly into Beijing? I could be living in a palace petting a phoenix by now.

    Being called a traitor by Dick Cheney is the highest honor you can give an American

    Abandoning open society for fear of terrorism is the only way to be defeated by it.

  13. I’m working on a self-help book. I think I will call it The Derpose Driven Life. Meanwhile, I am also tinkering with my theory of Proto-Herpo-Derpopean, the ancestral form of stupidity from which all modern stupidity is descended.

        1. And Rita Hayworth didn’t give good face.

    1. If you could find a way to concentrate that power, you could invent dull fusion.

      1. I would, but I haven’t figured out how to prevent a total derponic reversal. The last time that happened, Thom Hartmann got a TV show.

  14. So…Snowden is this Bad Person who had totally corrupt motives for telling the public how their rights were being massively violated by the government.

    Instead, let us admire the upstanding citizens who committed these massive violations, and the lower-level workers who did the right thing and kept their mouths shut while the Constitution got raped.

    1. Thought experiment: Imagine a world where Snowden kept his mouth shut…he would be helping the domestic enemies of the Constitution, contrary to his solemn oath, but at least he’d still have his job, still have his country, and Important People wouldn’t be accusing him of all sorts of wrongdoing.

      1. IT contractors take a solemn oath?

        1. I’m too lazy to look it up, but I thought he swore to defend the constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic, yes, even as a contractor. I could be wrong.

  15. On Twitter, Snowden offered a handful of responses accusing the lawmakers themselves of misleading the public

    Uh, I think I’ll take the word of our public servants over that of a traitor who fled to Russia. Was Edward Snowden ever elected by the people? Yeah, thought not.

    1. Don’t forget that the committee members are *bipartisan*! They represent the distilled wisdom of *both* our great parties!

  16. OT: Apparently these people down in Georgia forgot that the Constitution and the First Amendment applies to Muslims too.


    1. They want “a burial preparation facility, a school operated by the mosque and 21 acres for residential use.”

      I’m not clear whether the residential parts are going to be zoned as part of a place of worship, but the article is open to that interpretation.

      Anyway, if supporting the Constitution means assuming that this all legit, and expediting the permit process, then go for it. I wouldn’t trust the government with the power to decide which Muslims are suspicious and which ones aren’t.

      And who knows, maybe this isn’t suspicious at all.

      1. What I find hard to take is the After School Special-esque tone taken by the journalists and the CAIR people – any suspicion of this project is simply ignorant redneckery and stereotyping, but this can be a great Learning Experience for these crackers to learn that Muslims Are People Just Like Them.

  17. Never hire a 500 pound loudmouth to coach your football team.

  18. Every member of the committee signed a letter

    and here are the members =

    Majority party =
    Devin Nunes, California, Chair
    Jeff Miller, Florida
    Mike Conaway, Texas
    Peter King, New York
    Frank LoBiondo, New Jersey
    Lynn Westmoreland, Georgia
    Tom Rooney, Florida
    Joe Heck, Nevada
    Mike Pompeo, Kansas
    Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Florida
    Mike Turner, Ohio
    Brad Wenstrup, Ohio
    Chris Stewart, Utah
    Minority party
    Adam Schiff, California, Ranking Member
    Luis Guti?rrez, Illinois
    Jim Himes, Connecticut
    Terri Sewell, Alabama
    Andre Carson, Indiana
    Jackie Speier, California
    Mike Quigley, Illinois
    Eric Swalwell, California
    Patrick Murphy, Florida

    1. * in case anyone wants to donate to the campaign to replace them with a Houseplant

      1. I’m worried about single payer and what happens to our Second Amendment rights if both Hillary wins the White House and the Democrats take control of the Senate.

        Because of that, I think I prefer Joe Heck to a houseplant, but just because I want him in the Senate doesn’t mean he can’t kiss my ass.

  19. Posted in wrong thread =

    Time to dismantle fraternities and the sexism, rape culture and binge drinking they encourage

    This was provoked by some comments from a KA chapter @U Richmond which, to be honest, struck me as fairly bullshit bluster. “look out virgins, here we come”.

    *noted: KA had something of a reputation in my day. It was considered the most “southern” of the Frats, and was famous for some racist-ish behavior at UVA in the late 80s, and Vandy when i was there; the most notable one was to make pledges dress up like Confederate soldiers and march back and forth in front of black fraternities. And it wasn’t like a one-time thing. more-recent example. I was actually once kicked out of one of their parties for “being a yankee”, (*my date was the president of her sorority, and the 2 were having a joint function. they were upset to learn that they didn’t have unilateral “kick yankees out” authority) Most people thought they were silly and boorish (duh), but at least it kept them all in one place. It allowed the rest of the frats to be comparatively ‘cool’ by sucking away all the redneck-mooks

    1. **double footnote = KA was kicked off Vandy campus in 2004, then again in 2012 for unspecified ‘hazing’ related complaints. I found this detail sort of funny =

      For the duration of Kappa Alpha’s suspension, the Kappa Alpha house was given to Vanderbilt’s three African-American fraternities, Alpha Phi Alpha, Phi Beta Sigma and Omega Psi Phi. These fraternities did not previously have a specific facility for meeting

      1. I’d say “sounds like some stand-up guys,” but I’m not sure how well they can stand up after all the mint juleps they drink.

        1. What do they say on campus when they find real white racists?

          “Hey, we found a real one this time, I mean like not made up like the others!”

  20. Ken Shultz|9.15.16 @ 10:28PM|#
    “Oliver Stone can be trusted to turn Snowden’s fascinating and important story into a confusing bore.”

    And one worthy of derision.
    It’s a shame Eastwood didn’t tackle this instead of the feel-good Sully movie. Eastwood can ‘cover’ moral issues well; Stone, not so much.

    1. I agree.

      Eastwood is good at that sort of thing. Subtle, moral complexity, not passing judgement, comfortable with a little ambiguity, etc.

      Stone is a moaning tool who has been recycling tired 60s cliches his whole life.

  21. We urge you not to pardon Edward Snowden, who perpetrated the largest and most damaging public disclosure of classified information in our nation’s history.

    Damaging to whom, is the question.

    Mr. Snowden is not a patriot.

    Neither was Nathan Hale, just for example.

    He is not a whistleblower.

    Sure looks that way from here.

    He is a criminal.

    So was Nathan Hale.

    If Mr. Snowden returns from Russia, where he fled in 2013.

    He was fleeing to Latin America, you mendacious twits. You yanked his passport and stranded him in Russia. Subsequently, with the complicity of the European nations, you effectively stopped and searched Evo Morales’ presidential plane in Vienna because Wikileaks inadvertently tricked you into thinking he might be onboard. And you want to say Snowden’s the criminal? I’d like to see what would happen were Air Force One stopped and searched in Quito because Maduro incorrectly suspected Obama of trying to smuggle a Russian dissident out of Colombia.

    Rather than avail himself of the many lawful avenues to express legal, moral, or ethical qualms with U.S. intelligence activities.

    Just what kind of simpletons do you think you’re dealing with?

    America’s intelligence professionals take Mr. Snowden’s disclosures personally.

    Not personally enough for my liking.

    1. “America’s intelligence professionals take Mr. Snowden’s disclosures personally.”

      So they’re not professionals? Pros take criticism as a chance to rebut or grow.

    2. He was fleeing to Latin America, you mendacious twits.

      Fleeing to Latin America and wound up in Moscow. This makes sense to you?

      1. the US pressured a variety of countries to deny him entry. It was a process of elimination which left few options. Is your point that, “he ended up in russia”, ergo, he must be in bed w/ “the enemy”? If he were located elsewhere, would you feel better?

        1. “he ended up in russia”, ergo, he must be in bed w/ “the enemy”?

          Of course he is. It’s a truism. Putin isn’t hosting him for the lulz.

          If he were located elsewhere, would you feel better?

          Nah. He’s pissing off all the right people where he is.

          1. Sidd,
            Check aisle 6; special on tin-foil hats.

      2. Fleeing to Latin America and wound up in Moscow. This makes sense to you?

        The itinerary was Hong Kong > Moscow > Cuba > Ecuador. Several different flights were purchased, to increase confusion for US intelligence.

        If your face was recently made known worldwide, and you were on the run from US intelligence, would it be better to escape in a way that “makes sense” to Sidd Finch, or not?

  22. Every song on the radio sounds the same to me.

    1. “they say that time heals all things
      they say you can always forget;
      but the smiles and the tears across the years
      they twist my heart strings yet!”

    2. Try this, before you dive back into the derp.

      1. I’m pretty sure even the most reclusive hermit has heard that song, which is one of my favorites.

            1. Was it you who first introduced us to this one?

              1. I think that was Almanian. I forget which deplorable found this gem:


                1. I know *I* was the one to share this.

                    1. Ha, even Derpetologist himself couldn’t take that last one.

                      This should be partial compensation.

                    2. You don’t want to know what I’m willing to take:

                      I’ve listened to things you’ve only heard in your nightmares.

                    3. I hesitated to post this, since it takes something which was fairly dumb and tasteless to begin with and dials the crappiness up even higher.

                      But you can take it. Right?

                    4. I own this cd. It has to be a collector’s item at some point, right? …….Right?

                    5. I’d hold onto it…something to scare the children with.

                      Or try this, if they’ve been really bad.

    3. Which of these is the good song?

      This is kind of a cross between Spot the Not and Song Roulette.

    4. they are. there are like a dozen formulae you hear in pop songs over and over again. we’ve been in a rut lately that’s a lot like the late 1990s, where there’s hundreds of cookie-cutter toons being churned out. everything sounds the same.

      I think its hilarious – and not common-enough knowledge – that so many pop hits of the last 20 years were all written by the same swedish dude. His ‘happy/snappy’ melody style is easily spotted, and you hear it being cut/pasted into a wide variety of formats these days. everything from country to electronic music uses lots of the same sorts of phrasing; its basically “jingle-science” applied to pop-music.

      And producers know what they’re doing; they basically take whatever new beats are generated from the club scene, and then layer the pre-packaged vocal/melody hooks on top, and shop them to the leading faces that are trending on twitter. Its tin-pan alley all over again, only higher-tech.

      1. Did I get this link from someone on here?

        Anyways, my old joke was cue the Arcade Fire/CTAF if you want something to sound big and important. And I think that song fits the Millenial Wa Oh.

        1. See above – George Orwell predicted a Versificator, a computer which generates pop songs. Is this anything like that idea?

          1. I don’t know where I’m looking above. But, I think I’ve heard of this Orwell idea before. This idea is probably similar. The interesting idea is whether pop songs are curated to fit the mood of the populace or whether the pop songs drive the populace to a certain mood. Or, does it matter, and it’s about how singularly important people like Max Martin, identified by GILMORE, are the drivers.

            Culture vs Curators is always the question, I think. I saw a commercial for like a Hyundai Crossover/Minivan/Stationwagon that had like Trap music playing to show off how fun the car is. And, I mean, it’s basically a station wagon. Were there ad execs who weighed Trap vs Rock vs Classical? Should the fact that they chose Trap tell you how lame Trap is? Or are they that hip to culture?

            1. “I don’t know where I’m looking above.”

              The song from *1984* – “they say that time heals all things” etc.

              1. 1984 was 32 years ago. I can’t remember every #1 hit from that year.

                  1. Butts makes a joke; a tutorial. What’s your former name? Mr. Orthodox Catholic?

                    1. Notorious UGCC, but I thought best not to associate the poor Ukrainians with my posts.

                    2. Eh, I am partially descended from Ukrainian(though, my Aunt’s further investigation found Tatar to be a possible older lineage) stock. I am more Irish Catholic, if I am religious/ethnocentric….But I think my Russian/Ukrainian descended relatives are probably the weirdest/best.

                      Anyways, do you think music comes from culture or is culture the driver of music? Or is it a mashup or both? And does technology play a role? I think we’ve seen technology change music massively ever since the electric guitar, and that’s just the past 70 years. But, did culture have a role in that?

                    3. ANSWER: I don’t know much about music, but I know what I like.

                    4. The most individualistic answer there can be. Just let me listen to what I like

                  2. Oh I remember. Eddie, I like you.

        2. yeah, arcade fire does the same epic-3 chords with ‘anthem-chant’ over it in almost all their songs. but its not that the actual melodic structure is actually the same, its more the production style and song-structure which builds to inevitable crescendo.

          its this sort of shit that i’m really talking about. its like the same few elements put into a blender. plenty of “wa-ooo” there for you.

          1. Computers man. This song has all of the same elements as Friday(LOVE YOU REBECCA BLACK!). I wonder how complaints about this tripe that you posted can be compared to people complaining about disco. And, is comparisons to disco to recent of an event to worry about. Should we be comparing culture today to say, culture of 1840 or something? Technology may be different, but collective egos are the thing I worry about.

            1. I wonder how complaints about this tripe that you posted can be compared to people complaining about disco

              Well, to some degree, yeah. I’ve actually been listening to lots of disco lately. Lots. it is of course very formulaic. i haven’t been as much into many ‘song’ elements of disco tho, as much as the club jammies which are just bass-groove & chant driven.

              here’s 2 examples of a sub-genre of “Soul-Song Disco” that both basically copy a Barry White formula:

              – Sweet Daddy Floyd, “I can’t help myself

              – Jimmy Bo Horne, “I wanna go home with you

              I think the “worst” of the copy-cat disco was later, when it everything had layered strings and a squealing female vocalist. The stuff (like here) where it overlaps with ‘dancefloor soul’ is really my jam. Its still not that different from the modern stuff in its approach. Tho i give the older stuff much more credit for just being simpler and not beating your skull in with the saccharine melody, and grooving much harder.

    1. “Cut, try that again.

      “This is Alistair Cooke, and welcome again to Jump Out and Grab You Theatre.”

  23. I can’t wait for the flood of videos like this after Trump wins:

  24. Gillespie further confirmed his ‘coastal elitist’ attitude on tonight’s Red Eye episode. Discussing the stupid Vanderbilt pronoun dictates, he said something to the effect of “any college in the South subtract 600 points from the SAT”…

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