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Monday, June 10, 2013

On the NSA Leaker

Just a quick post while I wait for my ride to the airport.

I have been reading about the fellow, Edward Snowden, who claims to have leaked the NSA's PRISM program to the Guardian.

Sorry, but I don't like him or what he did. The United States has the right to defend itself and people who swear an oath to protect the nation's secrets must honor that oath. I don't like it when senior people, such as Panetta, give out details which should remain secret, and I don't like it when worker bees, such as Snowden and Manning, take it upon themselves to give all sorts of sensitive data to the media or Assange. There are still ways, even under this corrupt thuggish Obama misadministration, to handle matters without throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

I think the NSA, IRS, DOJ, etc, are out of control. If Snowden saw things that should not be, and he did not trust his agency's IG or other administration offices--understandable--there are Congressmen and staffers with the proper level of clearances to whom he could have turned before dumping everything on a rabidly anti-American newspaper, and then fleeing to China. The manner in which he acted undermines Snowden's credibility, and opens him to charges of treason, Chinese espionage, sabotage, etc. Not the way to go.

45 comments:

  1. I, uh, understand that Congressmen (and maybe staffers, too, for all I know) ALL have to have cell phones that are issued on the Verizon network. For security purposes.

    I think that had he went to his congressman, he'd have been held incommunicado in jail.

    Fleeing to Hong Kong, though, a place not known for affordable cost of living, I have to wonder who is paying for this. China?

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  2. Politicians know what's up already. They don't care. Thet will never fix it because it will never threaten them.

    It's us vs them. Your "us" is Feinstein's "us": the government. My "us" is the rest of America. If the government is doing what Snowden showed us it is, it is my enemy. It is an active threat to me. It is like a home invader casing my house, but infinitely more powerful.

    The home invader's friends think he's a nice guy, but misguided. To them, he "us". They are not the target. To me, he is Grendel, and the law in my state says he's so evil I can kill him if he kicks my door down. I agree with the law.

    Sorry, I have no friends in intelligence. Only enemies. I'm prey to them, or at best an inert obstacle. Snowden is objectively on my side.

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  3. Guess he could have called Senator Dianne Feinstein's office and unloaded.

    After all, it was her senate committee that approved it.

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  4. I'm with Mr. Mad on this one. Perhaps it's because I also used to be part of the State Dept., too. I've known people in intelligence, many of whom are indeed good, patriotic people--and I wouldn't be surprised if some of them have found ways to talk to people on the Hill.

    I have a lot of near and dear folks who are on the Left. Many of them have told me both that the Afghanistan war is "the one we have to win" and that Assange needed to get a medal. My reply was that what Assange did probably put almost all of the US military's Afghan intelligence resources in serious danger, along with their extended clans to the nth degree.

    Also, if you think that US foreign policy should put a premium on humanitarian issues, you can't get foreign governments to agree without a certain amount of secrecy--especially if you want a non-Western country of first asylum to be nice to a refugee population. Once something's in the media, a government is committed to the word that got out, and it'll dig in its heels.

    I also strongly suspect that Snowden may be in Chinese pay. If the PRC doesn't try to arrest him and answer an extradition request, I'll know it to be true. And, to Matt Walker, the PRC isn't objectively on your side at all. It's the last, best hope for 20th century totalitarianism, and knows it.

    Yes, I believe that the O's administration has been going too far for a very long time. That's a reason why I like this blog. But the US government does have to keep secrets--including ones of greater import than Obama's real birth documentation and the academic record of "the most brilliant president ever" (like Ceaucescu, the "genius of the Carpathians"?)

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    1. Kepha?

      You of course (I'm pretty sure) recognize this link for what it is - tho' not of course all that Manning wrought - but your point needs expanding [I'm of the opinion] if only to differentiate Manning from Snowden.

      For the rest of us folks who may not at the time, recognized (or perhaps - paid attention to) how this would [ultimately] play out when it came to such places on maps that few Americans could even with the continent of Africa laid out the general outlines of countries - play out.

      Mostly "we" just sat back and watched. Some few were alarmed.

      Courtesy of Manning:

      https://www.fpri.org/docs/alt/201102.helfont.wikileaks.pdf

      Arkie

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    2. Kepha: "I also strongly suspect that Snowden may be in Chinese pay" I agree, this one really smells. It also brings up the question of just what are these agencies doing on the handling of their own data that allows these rather low placed (Manning is another) people such wide and deep access?

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    3. James?

      It also brings up the question of just what are these agencies doing on the handling of their own data that allows these rather low placed (Manning is another) people such wide and deep access?

      ASVAB scores research is something you might be interested in.

      Arkie

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    4. Arkie: The ASVAB point is a good one worth a discussion unto itself, but it's not exactly where I was going. This guy has made the public statement that ""I had access to the full rosters of everyone working at the NSA, the entire intelligence community, and undercover assets all over the world. The locations of every station, we have what their missions are and so forth." if true (and I suspect exaggeration on his part) that is astounding. How are these agencies handling their let us say proprietary information in such a way that low level people (Manning is another) could have such breath and depth of access? It's the structural organization of their data that seems to have gone off the deep end.

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    5. Assange released stuff which, if I'm correctly informed, got people killed by the Taliban. If it merely embarrassed politicians, I'd be more understanding.

      Also, Assange revealed stuff we were doing to foreigners, and quite frankly, in a conflict against foreigners, USG is more or less on my side. In the deepening conflict between USG and the American people, USG is very emphatically not on my side. Assange was not on my side. Snowden is. So the hell with Assange.

      I don't want the government to be my enemy, but people in the government keep telling me that I AM their enemy if I say out loud that I would prefer to be treated as a citizen rather than a subject, or a pet. That's not OK, and I mean that in a people-have-been-celebrated-as-national-heroes-for-dying-about-it sense of "not OK". I don't care if they're preventing a few terrorist attacks a year. We'd save a hundred times as many lives banning motorcycles and swimming pools. Why don't we? Because this is supposed to be a free country, that's why.

      OK, then. God bless Snowden. What a sad shame it happened far too late to change anything.

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    6. I recognize your point James - Matthew's too - and tho' it's not my blog I'll get to attempting a reply (but it would appear I'm gonna take multiple hits so I want to take time for "most" of the incoming to be "came" - and then deal with it all) ... James? You've been on this site long enough, steady enough to've seen my comment concerning outside contractors - and the costs.

      True. I limited to direct $ costs - & I used a GAO thing (assessing $s which doesn't quite get to the crux) but I'll remain engaged.

      You've seen my mentions of my doing "after actions" and while we both understand this current thing is fundamentally a different animal - and this is Diplomad's blog - meaning: his 'sum up' will most likely be much different from mine, I'll nevertheless try to address/answer all the contentions personally emplaced.

      I'd ask James Sir - forbearance. Diplomad's gonna be gone (as I understand it) a week. It's 2300 10JUN13 - I'll have it on your desk 15JUN13.

      I'm not a blogger. Not an excuse as I'm not one to offer any.

      Arkie

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    7. Snowden is on Snowden's side, no-one else's. Either that or he is psycho. Failure to realize this is little more than choosing to be naive.

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  5. 1. Comparing Mr. Obama to Ceaucescu is pushing really hard.
    2. The lid has come off and I don't like anything I see.
    3. Will they be able to put the lid back on?
    4. Are there any real threats that justify NSA's programs. (And, no, I won't surrender my freedoms to prevent a handful of terrorist bombings. Not even for the children.)
    V/R JWest

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  6. I'm torn. I believe this fellow did what he felt he had to do, but was against us as America, but again FOR us, as individual Americans. I am horrified at what this and previous administrations have permitted. But, really, when it comes down to it, I think each of one us knew deep in our hearts that the government was snooping on us, it's just been exposed as the truth now. The absolutely disgusting part is that I have a sneaking suspicion that the Obama administration used all this information to their political benefit, i.e. reelection. And THAT'S ultimately the problem with collecting this kind of data. I too am not prepared to give up my liberty for some (possible) safety.

    I am afraid it's getting to be pitchfork and torches time, folks. Our government in whole and in part is no longer "ours".

    LibertyGrace'sGrandma (#13)

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  7. LibertyGrace'sGrandma?

    I tend to fall within Diplomad's general parameters of opinion. Although I'd not lump this Snowden schmuck in with Manning [Manning being active-duty military & at the time, in-theater.]

    I'm torn though. For the truth about Benghazi to emerge before a bunch of people serve out the terms required for full retirement - it's gonna take leakers. Most likely, actively serving CIA leakers.

    But like Diplomad, I'm queasy. A smallish excerpt then the link;

    "In the history of unauthorized disclosures of classified information, a voluntary admission of having committed such disclosures is the exception, not the norm. And it confers a degree of dignity on the action. Yet it stops short of a full acceptance of responsibility. That would entail surrendering to authorities and accepting the legal consequences of “subverting the power of government” and carrying out “a fundamentally dangerous thing to democracy.”

    There are occasions when breaching restrictions on classified information may be necessary and appropriate, suggested Judge T.S. Ellis, III of the Eastern District of Virginia in a June 2009 sentencing hearing for Lawrence Franklin, who pleaded guilty to disclosing classified information in the “AIPAC” case. But in order to reconcile an unauthorized disclosure with the rule of law, he said, it must be done openly.

    “I don’t have a problem with people doing that [disclosing classified information to the press] if they are held accountable for it…,” Judge Ellis said. “One might hope that, for example, someone might have the courage to do something that would break the law if it meant they’re the savior of the country; but then one has to take the consequences, because the rule of law is so important.”

    “Simply because you believe that something that’s going on that’s classified should be revealed to the press and to the public, so that the public can know that its government is doing something you think is wrong, that doesn’t justify it. Now, you may want to go ahead and do it, but you have to stand up and take the consequences,” Judge Ellis said then."


    http://blogs.fas.org/secrecy/2013/06/snowden-leaks/

    Arkie

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    1. Snowden was not obligated to turn himself in to authorities, any more than an escaped slave is obligated to turn himself in. The latter case is more dramatic, but what the two cases have in common is that owning slaves is a moral crime whether the law allows says so or not -- and massively violating the Fourth Amendment is also a moral crime. Happens it's pretty sketchy on Constitutional grounds, too.

      If I inform on the mafia, even in violation of their code of silence, am I obligated to hand myself over to their enforcers? No. They are engaged in criminal acts. They deserve their punishment.

      Snowden was not a priest. His job at NSA was not a confessional.

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    2. See above.

      Arkie

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    3. I agree, Mathew. In the end, Snowden will be known as a terrorist or as a freedom fighter. Which side is going to be writing the next generation of history books? I suspect that some wanted those pesky minutemen to report to King George for proper discipline. I am glad they didn't.

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  8. While I agree with our Host that Mr. Snowden needs to be held accountable - a trial, such as should be given, may not give a guilty verdict. As an author friend (and retired lawyer/LCol) noted - the Constitution trumps some of the security laws Mr. Snowden may have broken. That being the case, it's possible a trial would not necessarily give the verdict some might expect.

    Cheers!
    Rob T.

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    1. That being the case, it's possible a trial would not necessarily give the verdict some might expect.

      WOOO! Could that surely be?!!!

      Oh my I'm so surprised!

      I can't depend on Nancy Grace's telling me somebody's guilty on the face of it and then, I have to end my soap opera understanding that all I heard Nancy explain to me was a simple MISUNDERSTANDING?

      (Oh right now that you mention it, Manning would be UCMJ - Snowden either a "lamplighter" or the possibly worse "whistleblower" didn't put himself under the possible jurisdiction of a FISA Court simply by taking to a Hong Kong hotel?

      I'm reckoning it's very unlikely Snowden will ever be subject to a verdict. I think it likelier he'll be a "pedestrian traffic statistic."

      Hong Kong you know, they drive on the "wrong side."

      Arkie

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  9. I would like to know what he actually did release... Everything that has been published appears to be little more than dog-n-pony material describing those intel programs Snowden saw as being unconstitutional. Fact is most of the information has been in the wild for years - but no one ever took it too seriously. He offers confirmation complete with security warning and logos. I am unimpressed.
    Lots of talking heads claiming these materials aid the enemy. Really? The local jihadist has $80 billion a year to cobble together data servers and software to detect and analyze patterns in phone records and e-mail chains? That is a stretch if ever there was one.
    What I think important is first these programs exist. Snowden went through the looking glass and returned to tell us. Second, given the IRS, AP, and Fox News scandals we KNOW the Obama administration has and will use any tool at its disposal to attack political enemies to gain and hold power.
    Snowden may be merely telling us that the threat of tyranny is much greater than most perceive.
    Sure, Snowden broke the law. Unless you believe nothing is illegal if the president does it, how many laws (both manmade and God given) has Obama and his administration broken.
    Snowden says he knows the peril he has placed himself in. He says he did it because none of us can trust our current government. Anyone disagree with that point? If Snowden is correct our government is collecting data on each and everyone of us - even if we are not the foreigners they claim to be looking for.
    On the bright side, ammunition is starting to reappear in the commercial marketplace. Perhaps the activity of a couple of our congress critters has had some effect - even if they stand little chance of seeing their work become law.

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    1. Fact is most of the information has been in the wild for years - but no one ever took it too seriously.

      Some have been paying attention. And none of it was in the wild.

      For instance in Harry Reid's district:

      http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/ff_nsadatacenter/

      Arkie

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    2. "For instance in Harry Reid's district:"

      Bluffdale is in Utah, but hey, I guess that's close to Nevada. I did read that article when it came out last year.

      I actually fail to see how these revelations damage the information gathering capabilities (or actual intelligence collected) of the United States. Unlink Manning or Assange, I don't see anyone endangered by Snowden's making sure the world learns about what has been going on. The publicity will hurt the credibility of the administration and the big technology companies (and BAH), but as they say in technology, "that's a feature, not a bug."

      What I will enjoy over the coming weeks is the Europeans howling about their treatment (even lower privacy protections than the U.S. affords its own citizens). Never thought I would take their side (versus the United States) on anything, but this time, they are right - they need alternatives to turning a huge percentage of their web traffic, e-mails, and such, over to the United States government.

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  10. using meta data to find Paul Revere
    http://minx.cc/?post=340785

    If they did simple terrorist profiling at airport, could figure out how to stop ft hood attack, followed up on Russian tips for marathon bombers, I might consider they are serious about terrorism (even tho pres says that war is over). But really, they're playing w/ their new toys and seeing it's power and to heck if it tromps on the 4th amendment. This is all about power as I see it.

    jmb

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    1. You are exactly right. Creeps with fancy toys serving their overlords.

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  11. PRISM -- and the Enemies of This State - by Diana West

    This is exactly what has happened.

    What we are left with is a rigid set of official lies and government propaganda.

    1) "Profiling" is worse than terrorism
    2) Terrorism is generic, unpredictable
    3) Islamic movements such as MB are evolving toward Jeffersonian democracy; give them time and money
    4) "Islamophobia" must be eradicated -- like the plague.

    Adhering to this ideology, "naturally" Uncle Sam must see every American as a suspect. "Naturally," 100 million Verizon customers "must" have their phone records "mined," or "stockpiled" or whatever verb best describes this meta-government, mass computerized intrusion that is so very, very ripe for politicized targeting and widespread abuse. "Naturally," the now-infamous PRISM program permits, as Jed Babbin writes at the American Spectator, "the FBI or NSA to have its own equipment on-site at [various Internet companies] and that equipment is apparently enabled to penetrate and access the “SIGADs” in question without any further interaction with the Internet company." "Naturally," there must be still more and deeper state supervision of Americans to fend off the enemies of this ideological state, whoever they might be. The undifferentiated paranoia this reflects is distinctly Soviet.

    The post-9/11 hyperstate, then, isn't acting to pre-empt jihad terrorism or vectors of sharia aimed at our Constitution; it is acting to implement its own perverse ideology -- an ideology influenced if not entirely fostered by an Islamic deception operation. Pure and unscathed even by what the Michael Haydens of the intel world likely consider the odd attack, this ideology becomes more important to our leaders than anything else. Such leaders include Michael Hayden, FBI Director Mueller, JCC Gen. Dempsey, not to mention Presidents Bush and Obama. Their ideology -- that Islam has nothing to do with this latest historical cycle of jihad we are living through -- has become more important to them than public safety, facts, liberty itself.

    Is it really such a leap to see how opponents of the ideology become enemies of this state?



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  12. Good for Snowden. He actually did something to expose the peeping tom sons-of-bithces.

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  13. Snowden. How did that boob get a security clearance in the first place? I'm constantly baffled by how people who are either potential security risks (Manning) or act suspiciously over a long period of time (Ames, Anna Montez, etc) continually get their clearances renewed.

    There is quite a bit that is not right about this story (articulated quite well by other posters). I suppose we'll see.

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    1. Getting a security clearance is not that challenging for a young man who hasn't walked on the wild side, yet.

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  14. We have a rogue Administration whose bad acts have proven to be impervious to consequences. All bets are off.

    pmc

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  15. Regardless of the "legality" of collecting a specific level of data, After the revelations that the IRS targeted Conservatives and shared Tax-payer information with Progressive/Liberal organizations in support of Obama's re-election efforts; following the AG (Holder) ignoring a Congressional subpoena for documents regarding the Fast & Furious investigations, with the POTUS then putting those documents under the lid of the WH; and now seeing how the DoJ wiretapped the AP, going so far as to lie to a Judge to get a specific wiretap on Rosen...
    We are now supposed to trust this (or any future) Administration from abusing this collected data source? We are supposed to trust some low-level intern with access and an axe to grind won't leak any information in support of his cause?

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  16. @Kelly J:

    While I am highly suspicious of Snowden and his ilk, and am watching to see if China grants him asylum, I'm not completely against those here who thinks the government is too snoopy. Further, the lengths to which the O's administration has gone goes beyond Watergate, in my opinion.

    However, since everyone raises the Constitutional issue here, I believe firmly that the Founders intended the impeachment provisions to be used--and far more oftener than they have been. Congress and the Courts were put in place to be watchdogs on the Executive Branch; the executive, through veto power, and the courts were put there to check and balance the Congress; while Exec and Congress, through powers of appointment and confirmation (and impeachment, in the case of Congress) are there to keep an eye on the courts.

    Further, I'll grant that one of the great problems we have is the erosion of public trust--and the Left, with its ideology and rhetoric of class conflict has a lot to answer for in this area. Unfortunately, this will not be built up unless America experiences both a spiritual revival and a rebuilding of the "little platoons" of American society that allow us to know and cooperate with the political opponent in areas other than the political arena.

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    1. The ONLY problem I have with Impeachment is that it then leaves us with President Biden. My issue with that is that Biden had a stroke and the section of his brain responsible for pausing is damaged. That is why "Joe is Joe." He is incapable of pausing to think about his actions/responses before he makes them. He acts on his initial impulse. Everytime.
      And that is someone who should not have access to the nuclear trigger.

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  17. Well, Diplomad, suppose, hypothetically, that the mechanism of the United States federal government was genuinely at war against the American people. Suppose "it can't happen here" was wrong. We'll skip over the fascinating history of how such a situation could come about. Edward Snowden had to choose a higher loyalty, his loyalty to the American people, over his obligation to his employer.

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  18. I ain't buying what they are selling, Dip. IIRC, there was a Chinese guy picked up a week or so ago on charges of espionage. Just coincidentally before the meeting between the two leaders. They meet out in California sans Mrs. Obama. That started sounding like Obama was looking for a way to return the spy just as he returned the Russian spies (Anna Chapman et.al.). It's pretty hard for Obama to ask the Chi-Coms to play nice on the intwebtubes when he is doing the same thing.

    This doofus didn't even have a high school diploma, but he was makinng $122,000 a year? Aftert working a short stint at the C.I.A?

    Naw, this constant drip of scandals- all going to foreign press- was a build-up to this one. Or maybe they have more. This is a professional job. Obama has learned the hard way not to step on the C.I.A.'s toes re Benghazi.

    The guy flees to China saying what a wonderful place it is that doesn't eavesdrop on it's people? Pulease.

    The guy will never see a day in the Leavenworth Hilton.

    R.M.

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  19. We need more truth tellers and whistleblowers in all areas of our society. I am sick to death of corruption and wrongdoing and unethical behavior being hidden and condoned because Americans are too afraid of the consecuences of speaking up. Mr. Snowden is only problematic because of "security" issues but he, at least, seems willing to take what both the corrupt and law-abiding want to dish out.

    Maybe we can start discussing the real security threat: an increasing number of Muslim immigrants in the US and our unwillingness to profile them.

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  20. A message from the President:

    If your Windows computer isn't set to "automatic" - Please be quick to visit Microsoft Update.

    We'll get the appropriate Apple stuff out ASAP.

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  21. Snowden as a traitor seems to be a very good hypothesis.
    Snowden has thrown official DC in a spin cycle of fear, rumor mongering, scapegoating and posturing and the secret part of the government is in full CYA mode. Who's crystal ball are they watching now? Snowden has distracted the USG as completely as possible short of finding a tranny in Lincoln's bedroom.

    Snowden has embarrassed every foreign partner of the NSA. How many will stop working with the NSA?

    Snowden has gotten the Euro's hot and lathered up too. Bound to reduce their willingness to co-operate with the US of A.

    All in all, the Chinese intel service couldn't have dreamed up a way to throw his counter parts intel services into disarray.

    Plus they get to de-brief Snowden. Plus Snowden will have all sorts of goodies to bring to his de-briefers.

    I'm calling it an intel operation launched by the Chinese.

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  22. That's good, Anon, but I still think the prime suspects are 1) The Chi-coms, 2) The Russians. Think Anna Chapman of Snowden's girlfriend the acrobat/pole dancer. http://dailycaller.com/2013/06/11/here-is-the-nsa-whistle-blowers-alleged-girlfriend-photos/

    3) The CIA doesn't take kindly to being tossed under the Benghazi bus.

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  23. I don't KNOW & SPECULATING - there's the least littlest possibility this kid Snowden drew the short straw.

    AS I UNDERSTAND IT - this stuff was not "next-door-compartment" and so, shouldn't have been accessible door to door.

    For instance, the paperwork should've been in a place separate from the programs.

    Something "fishy" here - I wonder if we're about to be in up to our eyeballs in Syria (or some other snakepit)?

    Arkie

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  24. specific treason now , not human rights.
    Sometimes it's good to be an American as if he was Russian or Chinese his days on this earth would be numbered.
    MikeNZ

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    1. The Chinese do have him. His usefulness to them is the only guide post to his future. His use of Hong Kong as so called sanctuary and the details of his employment and departure from Hawaii strongly suggest he has been working with the Chinese for awhile. Not sure if his actions fit a treason charge, but espionage laws definitely.

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  25. Here's the problem as I see it. First, with the IRS going rogue nobody can assure me the information won't be used for purposes other then intended. Second, the JTTF is notorious for destroying the reputations of those that it targets, like the mopes in the Hutaree militia. Third, if this information is used, even in passing, in a criminal investigation, one could reasonably expect a defense attorney to demand and expect depositions and documents. Failure to offer up these documents would create a Constitutional problem. Further, while certain members of the legislature and courts say this is all on the up-and-up, who has standing to bring the matter before the Supreme Court to be certain? Has FISA ever been brought before the High Court? Fifth, the people that are saying this program averted terrorist attacks are the same sort that, after 9/11, claimed we could "absorb" these attacks.

    This eavesdropping has nothing to do with terrorism.

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  26. When a government sets to spying on it's own people like they were all subjects, it is not doing so on their behalf. The Stasi wasn't in East German and the NSA isn't in America.

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  27. If there were justice in the world Snowden would be living in the White House and Obama would be in hiding.

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  28. ...I disagree with your entire premise vis-a-vie the "leaker" (I actually think that the NSA and the obama administration orchestrated the leak)

    ...but by your analogy then following orders is ok even if they are wrong.

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