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Eager to prevent more revelations, Obama administration might consider a light sentence -- but offers no promises

Thanks to one man, the people of the United States now have evidence of exactly how exactly the federal government is using general warrants and forcing Americans to pay tens of billions a year to effectively spy on themselves. 
In the past seven months America was confronted with the cold reality through a series of releases that revealed that the government -- via the National Security Agency (NSA) -- was spying on virtually every American with a mobile phone or internet, typically storing your personal data for 15 years in "temporary" storage
I. Pardon? Nope. Leniency? Maybe.
Now the administration of President Barrack Obama has offered a vague promise of possible leniency if the man behind those leaks -- former U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) analyst and NSA contractor Edward Joseph Snowden -- agrees to a strict set of terms.

Edward Snowden
Edward Snowden has currently been granted refugee status in Russia.
[Image Source: Wikimedia Commons]

The administration is demanding that Mr. Snowden immediately stop his quest to disclose details of U.S. spying on Americans and American allies, destroying all remaining records.
Mr. Snowden has acknowledged that quest may have broken lesser U.S. laws, but he has asserted that if he did not disclose he would be violating the most sacred law of the land -- the U.S. Constitution.
That's not acceptable, says the Obama administration.  It has long argued that secrecy and the need for "protection" from a large federal presence, trump the Constitution.

We The People
Leaker Snowden says he's defending the Constitution.

In addition to giving up his efforts to defend the Constitution, Mr. Snowden would have to plead guilty.
President Obama's Attorney General, Eric Holder, disclosed at University of Virginia question and answer session what the U.S. would "maybe" be willing to do in return.  In exchange for ending the ongoing leaks, returning to the U.S. for trial and imprisonment, and pleading guilty, AG Holder says the U.S. Department of Justice's (DOJ) lawyers would be willing to "engage" Mr. Snowden's lawyers about possibly pleading guilty to a lesser set of offenses.  He remarked:
Instead, were he coming back to the U.S. to enter a plea, we would engage with his lawyers.

President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder [Image Source: AP]

Civil liberties groups, citizen petitions, some business leaders, and even some members of Congress have encouraged the President and DOJ to consider a pardon for Mr. Snowden.
The President has refused the possibility of a pardon.  But he's growing desperate to find a way to otherwise stop Mr. Snowden from continuing to leak details.
II. More Leakers Loom in Wake of Misleading Speech
The President has reason to be nervous. 
While some intelligence analysts have expressed a desire to see Mr. Snowden dead in the ground, according to a recent anonymously sourced Buzzfeed piece, others are on the far side of the fence.  Some of the pressure from the intelligence in support of Mr. Snowden is merely political.  A group of former CIA officials went as far as to travel to Russia to present Mr. Snowden with a special award for his actions.
Others in the intelligence community are showing their support in a way far more dangerous to the administrations objectives -- by emulating Mr. Snowden's stand.

Jesselyn Radack, a lawyer who serves as the National Security and Human Rights Director at the Government Accountability Project (GAP) (, says that more whistleblowers from the NSA are coming forward.  Inspired by Mr. Snowden's actions, she says "a handful" of individuals approach her and her colleagues over the summer.  She commented recently to ABC News:

I think the government hopes to chill speech by employees in the national security and intelligence fields, especially those at the NSA and CIA, but the unintended consequence is [that] more and more whistleblowers are coming through the doors of the Government Accountability Project (GAP).  I think courage is contagious, and we see more and more people from the NSA coming through our door after Snowden made these revelations.

There definitely could be more revelations in addition to those that Snowden has revealed and that are continuing to come out.

Aside from inspiring more leakers, Mr. Snowden and his press allies, such as Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald, have strongly hinted that more details of domestic spying programs may be on the way.
The Obama administration is at a critical juncture as the President last week delivered a speech urging Congress not to limit the NSA's powers while seemingly promising to use his executive authority to stop domestic surveillance.

Obama on NSA spying
The Obama administration is hoping bring Mr. Snowden in could kill true discussion about the federal government spying on everyday Americans. [Image Source: The Washington Post]

Upon closer inspection the speech's language and certain comments revealed the President's true intention was not to stop spying at all, but to continue it, while making certain vague, unverifiable, and/or marginally consequential promises of new accountability efforts.
III. Public Image Limited
The White House was very hopeful that this double wording would go unnoticed.
Unfortunately it wasn't, as top civil liberties agencies and many news agencies were savvy enough to decode the President's message.  Even the public seemed relatively aware (as much as they were aware of the NSA issue in the first place) of the distance between words and reality.  

Congress is currently mulling over legislation that would end general warrants -- a legal construct that was last used against the American public by the British empire under the days leading up to the American Revolution.
The Obama administration is quietly pushing Democrats and its Republican allies in Congress to reject this measure. 
But what about Mr. Snowden?  Is it a good deal for him?
All things considered, the deal carries no guarantees.  Assuming some reduction of the maximum sentence -- say to 10 to 15 years -- is offered, the deal isn't particularly good.  But it also isn't quite as bad as you might think.

Currently Mr. Snowden stands charged with three offenses:
The U.S. clearly has a relatively weak case against Mr. Snowden, largely because it can't prove exactly what documents he provided journalists and what records he took.  Pfc. Bradley Manning, who leaked a larger but less impactful set of documents, was changed with a number of counts of espionage and government theft, among other charges. 
However, he discussed his activities in great detail before his arrest in logged conversations.  Furthermore, he used his own access to obtain documents, which were further traceable since he was accessing them from a remote location (while deployed in Iraq).  By contrast Mr. Snowden cleverly gained the credentials of other NSA officials (according to accounts), so it’s virtually impossible to prove he used those credentials and what actions on each account were his.
Perhaps conceding that multiple Espionage Act offenses would be impossible to prove, the DOJ begrudgingly conceded to only charge Mr. Snowden with a single count on each violation.
That means at most, if a judge was to go for the harshest consecutive sentence, he would earn 30 years in prison and be ordered to pay up to $750,000 USD in restitution.
IV. Reports About Snowden "Waiting Out" Charges: Inaccurate
One legal inaccuracy that's been floating about and needs to be debunked in the notion that if Edward Snowden waits things out, the government will be unable to try him a decade or two down the road.
It is true that the U.S. most charges carry of statute of limitations.  Theft of Government Property carries a limit of five years.  In other words, by sometime in late 2018, the first charge would no longer be legally possible [PDF].  The same appears to be true about the 18 U.S. Code § 798 (a)(3) charge.
But the first flaw in the "statute of limitations" strategy is that the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 changed language in 18 U.S. Code § 794 to state that charges under 18 U.S. Code § 792-794 have no statute of limitations.
So in theory even if the clock was ticking, no new charges are filed, and the law doesn't change, Mr. Snowden would still face at least 10 years in prison.
But that premise is still flawed as 18 U.S. Code § 3290 clearly states:
No statute of limitations shall extend to any person fleeing from justice
Most recently it was revealed that the NSA had two entire factories devote to installing bugs on consumer electronics and was installing tens, if not hundreds of thousands of bugs a year.
So in some ways if the Obama administration did follow through with its promise of amnesty, the deal would perhaps be the best hope of Mr. Snowden walking as a free man in the U.S. within the next decade.
V. Should One Trust the Untrustworthy?
On the other hand the deal also has its flaws.  The most glaring is that the administration has already proven that it can't be trusted.  Given the degree of double talk emanating from the Obama regime, Mr. Snowden may be hesitant to trust the Obama administration to deliver a fair trial and partial amnesty, even if he cooperates.
Second, while the statute of limitations is not an option, it's possible that a future President could offer either a more concrete amnesty deal or even a Presidential pardon. Senator Rand Paul (R-Kent.) -- a contender for the White House in 2016 -- has expressed much more mixed thoughts on Mr. Snowden, indicating partial amnesty might be the best path given the unconstitutional actions by the NSA that the whistleblowing revealed.

Sen. Rand Paul
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kent.) [Image Source: The NYT]

Lastly, Mr. Snowden still appears to have most of the leverage.
The leaker is currently relatively safe from raids or extradition attempts as he's currently residing in Russia outside of Moscow.  During his process of turning over documents to reporters in June, he had first fled to Hong Kong, China, then flew to Russia.  For some time he was stuck at the airport in Moscow, before being granted asylum in August.
The initial asylum deal lasted one year and officially called upon Mr. Snowden to do more leaking.  Russia is considering an extended asylum status for Mr. Snowden, who recently got a job working as a web developer for a top Russian commercial website.
Aleksei K. Pushkov, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in Russia’s lower house of Parliament, said Friday at the World Economic Forum:

He will not be sent out of Russia.  It will be up to Snowden.  The U.S. has created a Big Brother system.

The accusation is seemingly accurate, if ironic considering the source.

Mr. Snowden has denied that the asylum damages his credibility or that he is "spying for Russia".  He commented to The New Yorker recently:

[The spying claims]] won’t stick … because [they're] clearly false, and the American people are smarter than politicians think they are.  It’s not the smears that mystify me. It’s that outlets report statements that the speakers themselves admit are sheer speculation.

But he faces a tough decision about what his long term objectives are.  If he does wish to return to the U.S., his home country, he must come to grips with the fact that he will likely serve prison time.  Timing is certainly an important thing for him to consider, given political factors and their potential impact on his legal status.

VI. Spying Revelations Continue

If he's considering the deal, he gave no sign of it. Earlier this week the leaker said in an interview there was "no chance" that he would receive a fair trial in the U.S. and that he had no current plans to return to his home country.

He also stoked discussion of the potential for the U.S. to use its all seeing eye to perform corporate espionage against domestic and international firms on behalf of campaign donors or the military.  He comments:

If there is information at Siemens that they [the NSA] think would be beneficial to the national interests, not the national security, of the United States, they will go after that information and they'll take it.

This statement calls into question comments by President Obama, who in his recent speech said:

We do not collect intelligence to provide a competitive advantage to U.S. companies or U.S. commercial sectors.

The President may be speaking honestly, but the administration is on the defensive after a particularly damaging set of information released just before the New Year.
That information indicated that the NSA was attacking both Americans and citizens of ally nations with malware, via auto-generated queries.
While the Obama administration claims there's "no sign of abuse" via such activities, the facts say otherwise.  Recently documents reveal the NSA "accidentally" breaks the law over 3,000 times in a single year after obtaining expanded powers via general warrants granted in 2011.  Many violations are minor, but others are more serious.  Eight agents, at least, were found to have spied on their current or former lovers, a practice called "LOVEINT".
The NSA also reportedly paid tens of millions to security firms and hackers to try to sabotage global encryption standards, putting Americans personal finances and even national security at risk.
Given the NSA's monitoring of fiber cables carrying confidential financial information and its efforts to crack encryption, foreign companies have come to increasingly view U.S. firms with suspicion.  Given the Obama administration's spying and close ties with large American special interests such as JPMorgan Chase & Comp. (JPM), many overseas buyers now feel it is simply safer not to do business with the U.S., much as China was long avoided for similar security fears.
This betrayal of trust is expected to cost Americans more than just taxes and civil liberties.  Industry experts say the spying revelations could cost American businesses $35-45B USD over the next three years. In Asia alone, sales were down $1.7B USD in Q3, as Asian customers turned to domestic options, wary of U.S. spying.  European customers are staying away from American products at a higher rate, as they believe they are untrustworthy.
VII. Freakenomics: U.S. Spent $150B+ to "Maybe" Stop One Terrorist Attack
Intelligence budgets peaked during Obama's first term (data sources: 1, 2, 3, 4) and remain high, as money has been shuffled from military intelligence to national intelligence:
intelligence budget
National intelligence program (NIP) and military intelligence program (MIP) budgets under Presidents Bush and Obama. [Image Source: Jason Mick/DailyTech LLC]

After spending an estimated $150B+ (out of six years' combined intelligence budget of $300B USD) one would hope for some sort of results.  But in the years since President Obama took office, retiring/resigning NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander could only identify one, or possibly two terrorist "plots" that were stopped with the help of spying.

The massive spending, minimal returns, and willingness of the Obama administration to help sabotage encryption suggests that securing the nation is not the true objective of the spying program.  It is unclear what the true objective is.

Given all that's at stake it's not suprising that Mr. Snowden is wary of being paraded as a "guilty" criminal in exchange for sentencing amnesty.

Sources: Eric Holder at Univ. of Viriginia Miller Center, The New York Times [1], [2], BBC News

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"It is unclear what the true objective is."
By NaughtyGeek on 1/27/2014 5:11:04 PM , Rating: 5
With the militarization of police departments, training of the military in control of "civil disobedience," strong moves to disarm the populace and massive spying upon the people I can only see one direction this could be heading and it doesn't involve Constitutionally protected freedoms.

RE: "It is unclear what the true objective is."
By BSMonitor on 1/27/14, Rating: -1
RE: "It is unclear what the true objective is."
By JasonMick on 1/27/2014 6:54:57 PM , Rating: 4
Military police? Hmm, or could be a response to a ridiculously heavily armed population...
You're funny.

This reminds me of the "the government is afraid of us" line I saw somewhere. So hilarious.

So basically you're advocating a heavily armed occupying force implementing martial law and general warrants, a la the British Empire pre-Revolution because Americans own guns?

That seems pretty disturbing rhetoric there.

Sure, the guns debate is a bit overstated light firearms are no match for modern weaponry aside from an attrition standpoint (see the second Iraq War), but I find it more alarming that you're ok with the growing heavy-handed police presence and the government taxing us to spy on every American in the country, who's not living in a cabin in the mountains someplace.

You honestly think that's Constitutional and a legitimate use of taxpayer dollars?

You honestly think general warrants that eliminate due process, and treat you (assuming you're an American) and every other American as a criminal are okay??

Love cowards and their guns.
So everyone who owns/uses guns is a coward?

What about Obama?

Looks like the 'ol POTUS is one of your "cowards". Thanks for clearing that up for us.

RE: "It is unclear what the true objective is."
By SeeManRun on 1/27/2014 7:16:07 PM , Rating: 2
While the military could certainly quell a localized uprising without much issue, it certainly could not quell the entire country if it rose up and revolted, and likely would have trouble if a small percentage of the country started rebelling in all the cities.

And just because he gave a reason for the police becoming military like, doesn't mean he is fine with it. It doesn't take agreement to rationally explain something.

RE: "It is unclear what the true objective is."
By Ammohunt on 1/27/2014 10:00:54 PM , Rating: 1
The military will never "Quell" anything is this country and you are stoned to think an all volunteer military comprised of people like us would ever take up arms against a pissed off public is will NEVER happen folks.

RE: "It is unclear what the true objective is."
By SPOOOK on 1/27/2014 10:46:27 PM , Rating: 3
don't go to china the same Chinese people are doing this to ther own people killing Torture put in jail for nothing

By Ammohunt on 1/28/2014 9:59:04 PM , Rating: 2
Are you actually comparing America to China to make some inane point? Really?

By ppardee on 1/28/2014 5:17:07 PM , Rating: 3
Right. Americans would never take military actions against other Americans. That would be a like a civil war! That could never happen in America!

RE: "It is unclear what the true objective is."
By Murloc on 1/28/2014 7:24:03 AM , Rating: 3
except that it's never like that. Never will the whole country rise up as one.

That's just not reality.
Even in a dictatorship, a segment of the population is fine with the system.
This can also be geographically motivated, see blue & red.

This american idea that the government can do whatever it pleases because the people can rise up is stupid and it leads straight to Syria-like situations.

RE: "It is unclear what the true objective is."
By maugrimtr on 1/28/2014 9:54:48 AM , Rating: 2
Things the people have to overthrow the government:

1. "Guns"
2. Gunpowder & Commercial Explosives
3. Rocks (or Bones)
4. Sand (or Dirt/Gravel)
5. Bricks
6. Wood
7. Water
8. Private Aircraft
9. Parachutes
10. Fists (and assorted body parts)

Anything else? Because they surely do not have nuclear weapons, warplanes, helicopters with rockets, tanks, satelites, drones, the NSA, chemical and biological weapons.

The US rising up is a myth - you get what you pay for, and you've paid for a ludicrously overpowered armed force.

RE: "It is unclear what the true objective is."
By AssBall on 1/28/2014 10:18:43 AM , Rating: 3
You don't get it.
The military isn't going to backlash against it's own people, even if commanded to. It will be the MILITARY that rises up and unseats everyone in Washington, eventually, and be backed by the citizens' will.

By ClownPuncher on 1/28/2014 5:09:40 PM , Rating: 2
Hey, nice to see someone who reads and understands a little history here. The branches of our military, for the most part, would not stand against those they are sworn to protect.

By tamalero on 1/29/2014 10:46:48 AM , Rating: 2
That is why the NSA is required, they would just dronekill any instigator before the nation could reach mass revolt levels.
Its better to kill the source, and keep the sheep calm with food and circus.

By NullSubroutine on 1/28/2014 10:46:12 AM , Rating: 4
Sure, the guns debate is a bit overstated light firearms are no match for modern weaponry aside from an attrition standpoint (see the second Iraq War)

I see this "argument" made a lot, not saying it's yours, but it is very wrong. While you like to think that Tanks, Jets, Helicopters, and the wide arsenal of weaponry available to the US military would mean even a well armed civilian population would stand no chance right?

Wrong, first and foremost, take the tank for example, big powerful, nearly unstoppable, but two simple things to consider - the fuel required to run it, and the personnel required to operate it. Each point of logistics are venerable and while it is not as exploitable in the example you gave for the Iraqi population, it leads to the second point.

Despite the US military's awesome power, it can not use said level of power on its own population without complete and utter revolt of the population, but also large ranks of the US military personnel. While there are always be individuals who, no matter the order will follow orders, most will not turn against US citizens. There might always be isolated incidents of them firing and even killing people (as has occurred in the past), but of almost all the brave men and women in uniform that I know that serve or have served, are most likely to be the first ones to line up against any tyrannical government in arms.

Most any general uprising (say on a state level) will not be AR vs Tanks, but AR+Tanks vs AR+Tanks. The armed civil militia will be huge in providing peace and security within a rebelling area, protect supply lines and logistics, and provide general force against the lightly armed personnel on the other side. With ex military/national guard making up for a crap load of the militia command and control (having experience fighting against an insurgency, they will know how to fight as one).

Simply put, without an armed population to backup whatever means of resistance (captured, stolen, or converted) a rebelling government acquires, it will be doomed. Having individuals with firearms and ammunition, is still a huge boon of defense not only against foreign invaders, but also a tyrannical one at home.

/rant over

RE: "It is unclear what the true objective is."
By BSMonitor on 1/28/2014 5:23:49 PM , Rating: 1
You sir, might also be an idiot if you are not a game designer. Who exactly is going to support your munitions needs after the government occupies said facilities. Which are all licensed to the federal government.

FYI, to all you idiots and your "armed" population.

No one wants to live in your post apocalyptic world. That's why the federal government will not do as you suggest. The only way this "might" happen.. Is if the 300 million of us tried to forceful take back some of the 1%'s wealth. Then they might resort to using the fed's military to attack us. But the 1% have nothing to gain by using the military to occupy America.

Such narrow minded idiocy. They have nothing to profit by for doing so.

By NullSubroutine on 1/29/2014 7:44:01 AM , Rating: 2
You sir, might also be an idiot if you are not a game designer. Who exactly is going to support your munitions needs after the government occupies said facilities.

Ignoring the ad hominen attack, the scenario I spoke to was, as I stated, at the state level. Munitions for the US military are built in a few different armories that are scattered around the US (one I've been to was Rock Island Armory in IL) in addition to the storage of munitions in other areas.

While a general uprising (some of federal government maintains control) dominance of munition facilities would be a key logistical point of control for either side, and there can't be any assumption that either side will have de facto control over them. Even if one side were to keep control over one (such as RIA), there is always the concern of sabotage by workers, or attacks of convoys coming to or from the armory.

However, control over manufacturing is a long-term concerned in conflict, a more immediate strategic point of interest is going to be logistical depots of fuel, munitions, and food. As well as any NG Armories where equipment is stored. Small arms are necessary to take or control these.

FYI, to all you idiots and your "armed" population. No one wants to live in your post apocalyptic world. That's why the federal government will not do as you suggest.

Again ignoring the attack, I never said I desired such a scenario, only that the argument that has been made is poor. Nor would conflict within this nation be "apocalyptic". Nations have risen and fallen throughout all of humankind's existence, it is rather naive to think the USA, in its current form will continue to operate in its current form, whether larger or smaller, for the rest of eternity.

Is if the 300 million of us tried to forceful take back some of the 1%'s wealth. Then they might resort to using the fed's military to attack us. But the 1% have nothing to gain by using the military to occupy America.

I don't know what sort of scenario you are talking about or imagining, but there hasn't been revolution or uprising of what you seem to be describing. The "wealth" today doesn't really exist in a way that allows anyone to "take it". It isn't as though there is a vault of all the wealthy that peasants can storm and acquire.

The US's money exists in imagination, however, money is derived from the actual wealth of the country, its power. This includes the people, the businesses, the natural resources, the military, the land, the production, and so on. Should a rebellion or collapse of the Fed occur, conflict is going to be for control over these things of power that which, wealth is derived. While such an event will be dangerous, people will die and things will be destroyed, barring a non-conventional (NBC) conflict, it will not be apocalyptic.

By BSMonitor on 1/28/2014 5:10:08 PM , Rating: 2
My gods, you are paranoid Mick.

Your blogs are what are laughable.

"the government", do they have a Death Star??

By BSMonitor on 1/28/2014 5:11:15 PM , Rating: 2
My gods, you are paranoid Mick.

Your blogs are what are laughable.

"the government", do they have a Death Star??

Snowden is a Hero
By BZDTemp on 1/27/2014 5:40:16 PM , Rating: 2
Clearly some fear that hr has more to tell and they used all possible tricks to try and prevent that.

Some say that he has damaged the US, but that is like saying the criminal is the one calling the police not the one that did the crime. Rather Snowden has pushed the world in a direction where openness can be found, but of course it will take a long time to get there and for the US to be trusted again by it's Allies not to mention it's own citizen will take a very long time.

Snowden should be made an honorary citizen in many countries of this World, but that will not happen since the reach of the US long. Just look at how much of the world turned a blind eye to the practice of "black" flights taking prisoners to countries that allow torture, something which due to some sick logic apparently makes it okay for the US to use torture.

RE: Snowden is a Hero
By BSMonitor on 1/27/14, Rating: 0
RE: Snowden is a Hero
By JasonMick on 1/27/2014 6:47:13 PM , Rating: 5
Hero?? Hiding behind China, then Russia.

Revealing national security information that endangers our public servants serving abroad.

Clearly you have no idea what a hero is. He could have leaked specific information to CNN/Fox News... Took a stand in Washington if they came after him.. Instead he flees the country..

He is the definition of a coward.
And yet if he was a Russian or Chinese defector who came forth to expose details of their spying on and oppression of citizens, potential corporate espionage, spying on allies, etc., he'd be hailed by you as a hero, right?

See the double standard there?

I honestly don't think Snowden cares that much about Russia or China's oppression -- he's more worried about political oppression back home. If he has to flee to China because the U.S. is that corrupt and at war with the Constitution, doesn't that say something?

If Deep Throat was around today, the feds would be hunting the leaker(s) down and charging him with felonies. Nixon wouldn't be impeached because spying on everyone would be legal to "fight the terrorists" and breaking the law would be dismissed as "accidents". Ditto for Daniel Ellsberg.

While Manning provoked a discussion, but his releases were largely not very impactful which questions his decision to leak them. The charges against him seemed punitive, but some prison time seemed warranted, particularly since he did not leak to reputable media sources, and what he did leak offered at best proof of military misconduct, not direct assaults on the American people and the Constitution.

By contrast Snowden is revealing facts of how the government is spying on its own citizens via general warrants -- something not seen since the time of the American revolution.

Who do YOU think Snowden is supposed to leak to? The government? Even disclosing his findings to Congress would likely be a crime under the current law. And considering most of Congress passed the funding for the programs that he's warning us about, do you really think they or the Obama administration would take his complaint seriously?

That's like complaining the Yakuza is killing people, by going to the business owners that fund the Yakuza... not going to work, most likely.

Or would you rather he surrendered so the Obama administration can parade the imprisoned analyst about like a trophy? Does every leaker have to be a martyr as well?

If you can't see the merit to exposing that kind of fascism, you're not going to notice your freedoms when they disappear....

Face it -- these days the U.S. isn't very far removed from China or Russia in terms of censorship, surveillance, and opppression, as much as our media loves to demonize them.

RE: Snowden is a Hero
By garagetinkerer on 1/28/2014 1:41:21 AM , Rating: 2
Hi Jason,

I think while Manning's conduct may not be covered in code (as in he may have broken the law regarding such actions), but in principle it was the right thing to do. For heaven's sake, Gitmo is still operational, and most of the prisoners there are being acquitted and it is not too hard to guess why. If Gitmo was on US soil, taxpayers would be looking at perhaps law suits against the government for being plain daft. What is being done there is against all international norms, and some still condone it, as it is not them who're paying the price of their fears. May be when the work camps will be started once again, then perhaps will people see the light. Then again, may be some would be overjoyed with employment opportunities.

RE: Snowden is a Hero
By lifewatcher on 1/28/2014 12:20:27 PM , Rating: 2
Say, Jason,
Where is the line between disgruntled oppressed people acting against the oppressor (government) and a pack of terrorists also known as "evildoers"? They are both going against the establishment in power. In an attempt to organize the masses to stand for themselves, means of communication are needed. Same goes for those threatening the society because they are...well, just haters.
From one of them, the government should be able to protect itself and us all. Against the other, however, no defenses can be deployed.
Care to shed some light what you would do, if given the ultimate power to defend the country?

P.S To those believing that soldiers are our "brothers and sisters" and will never turn their guns on us - keep an eye on Google, their A.I. focus and DARPA awards. I know it sounds far-fetched, but the day will come...

RE: Snowden is a Hero
By BSMonitor on 1/28/2014 5:12:52 PM , Rating: 2
Really? Not far removed from China or Russia? Do you have cable??


You are a lunatic.

RE: Snowden is a Hero
By tamalero on 1/29/2014 10:55:09 AM , Rating: 2
the example is sort of simple.

US = open cage but with huge fort-like borders with guards armed to the teeth and your rights dont count anything in these borders.

Russia = virtual shackles everywhere.

they're both sort of "prisons".

RE: Snowden is a Hero
By Ahnilated on 1/27/2014 7:36:19 PM , Rating: 3
He is 100% a hero and a whistle blower. I don't care how the trolls here try and blacken his name. I wouldn't even put it past the Govt. to send out the trolls to try and smear his name.

RE: Snowden is a Hero
By StormyKnight on 1/27/2014 10:39:47 PM , Rating: 1
Love cowards and their guns.

He is the definition of a coward.

So, you're implying he has a gun? Doubtful the Russians would allow that.

Run Snowden Run
By SteelRing on 1/27/2014 7:40:17 PM , Rating: 2
I have not a seen monkey in the wild come willingly to be chained for the rest of its life, which is what Snowden's gonna get if he ever stepped his foot back in this country.

He should have known he already declared his life as US citizen forfeit when he left the country, so might as well stick with it. Sooner or later some black-ops agent is going to get him anyway and his days are numbered, so enjoy it while you can.

RE: Run Snowden Run
By marvdmartian on 1/28/2014 7:46:31 AM , Rating: 2
Pretty sure by "engage", Obama really meant, "target". As in, with a Hellfire missile.

Sure hope Snowden likes vodka!

In exchange for ending the ongoing leaks,
By lagomorpha on 1/28/2014 9:07:15 AM , Rating: 3
In exchange for ending the ongoing leaks,

Snowden no longer has access to any of his files, they're all in the hands of journalists and security researchers who are providing daily leaks.

Snowden has no power to stop ongoing leaks and Obama is fully aware of this. This is nothing but an attempt by Obama to paint Snowden as a villain and claim the moral high ground by offering a "reasonable deal" that he thoroughly knows is impossible all while distracting the public from the real issue.

By lagomorpha on 1/28/2014 6:28:10 PM , Rating: 1
And the worst part is, most of the American people are actually stupid enough to swallow this bullshit.

Tell the US Government ...
By petrosy on 1/27/2014 4:55:28 PM , Rating: 2
to go F themselves!

statute of limitations
By TheEinstein on 1/27/2014 5:22:11 PM , Rating: 2
If tried in absentia he can be convicted without problem by Obama.

Oh Lord
By mmatis on 1/28/2014 7:33:28 AM , Rating: 2
please exterminate the evil destroying this country, and every one of their enablers, and return this nation to the Constitutional Republic that it is supposed to be. Amen.

So tired of this
By DukeN on 1/28/2014 10:59:20 AM , Rating: 2
I can't believe this is the only Snowden picture out there. Is there no God!?!?

He surrenders to everybody
By overlandpark213 on 1/30/2014 2:43:35 AM , Rating: 2
The Middle East hates us more, not less after Obama apologized to all of them. Now he bows down to them. He'll surrender to this punk. It's all he knows how to do. Obama and Holder are getting more and more of our people killed from their incompetence. Someone needs to throw them in jail. Maybe then, no more of our border patrol agents will be killed because Holder hands the drug cartels the weapons that kill our people. I'm sure Killary 2016 is ready to go for part two of the slaughter Obama started.

By superstition on 2/3/2014 9:01:15 AM , Rating: 2
It's amazing that you neglected to even mention Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers -- such as the fact that Ellsberg never went to prison even though, unlike Manning, his documents were marked Top Secret.

Don't fall for it Mr Snowden
By lemonadesoda on 1/28/2014 7:41:14 AM , Rating: 1
You are a showcase. And you will be made an example of. These points are obvious. And the term "engage" has only one meaning in politics: an adversary that must be vanquished

Snowden broke oath, US Govt broke laws
By dnoonie on 1/27/14, Rating: -1
RE: Snowden broke oath, US Govt broke laws
By ritualm on 1/27/2014 9:09:47 PM , Rating: 5
What Snowden did was wrong. He took an oath to protect the data that he stole.

He has never sworn to the oath of secrecy and confidentiality of classified information. He swore to protect the US Constitution against all foreign and domestic threats.

In other words, he did nothing wrong.
What Snowden did was wrong and he should go to jail for it.

You can go to jail even if you support everything your government is doing, funny how that works out.
Also keep in mind that we are at war.

With whom?

The government is literally waging war against its own citizens, and it's winning. Does this look wrong to you yet?
What does that mean in this situation?

It means you're willfully ignorant and blind to reality.

RE: Snowden broke oath, US Govt broke laws
By blueaurora on 1/27/2014 9:53:17 PM , Rating: 2
I'm a HUGE snowden supporter and yes he did swear. Do you realize the kind of hoops you have to go through in order to get any kind of decent clearance?

The man broke the law and if he didn't no one would ever know about the illegal actions we are paying for against ourselves without our own knowledge. I think if he could get a jury of his peers they would give him a VERY light sentence but of course this wouldn't go to jury.

By TSS on 1/27/2014 11:30:58 PM , Rating: 4
He shouldn't be tried at all wether he broke the law or not.

Sometimes it's OK to break the law and expect to not be punished for it. Mainly in situations where the law (or authority) itself is wrong and criminal. Otherwise you'll get situations like the US pre-snowden where everybody's too afraid of what will happen to speak up against the status-quo.

If you want a more stricter version, then how about snowden being the last in line to be tried in court. First the people who set up/authorized/ran the whole unconstitutional system. Starting with either Bush or Obama.

By PaFromFL on 1/28/2014 8:32:48 AM , Rating: 5
Breaking the constitution is much more serious than breaking a single law. Snowden made the right call and should be honored as a patriot.

By SPOOOK on 1/27/2014 10:51:27 PM , Rating: 2
the government broke all laws

By BSMonitor on 1/27/14, Rating: -1
RE: Snowden
By BZDTemp on 1/27/2014 5:57:56 PM , Rating: 3
So "Ignorance is Bliss" is your motto?

Are you really buying into that spying on everyone and his Mother is creating more security. If anything it is causing mistrust, more secrecy and maybe even hate. How do you imagine Allies of the US feels about being spied on?

It may be that Snowden is blowing the Whistle but that is a good thing. For real change to happen all the crimes needs to come out in the open. Then next is the rebuilding of trust and while it will take decades so did the cold war and look how far we have come since then.

RE: Snowden
By ritualm on 1/27/2014 8:32:24 PM , Rating: 3
BSMonitor is like Ammohunt, apparently - he's been conditioned by the MSM to believe his government never ever lies to him.

When an unfree nation is more free than the so-called Land of the Free, there is a problem. Too bad over 99% of Americans don't realize this, as they're too busy watching Game of Thrones to think independently.

RE: Snowden
By garagetinkerer on 1/28/2014 1:48:41 AM , Rating: 2
You Sir/ Madam, are a true patriot. I do not have the option to vote you up, or i would now.

RE: Snowden
By PaFromFL on 1/28/2014 8:42:34 AM , Rating: 2
I think 99% is pessimistic. Political correctness suppresses free speech mainly to hide the true number of citizens who disagree with the party line. Most people have always known their leaders were full of crap, but why risk criticizing the government when you know you have almost no chance of changing it?

RE: Snowden
By garagetinkerer on 1/28/2014 1:46:24 AM , Rating: 2
If only people who're supporting such extremes, if they had their lives ripped into and then shredded and then some more, then perhaps they would be more tolerant and more accommodating and overall more humane. Alas, those who speak bravely here in the internet forums, they never had to do anything than go to school/ college/ job, come back home, have fun weekends etc. It is only once that you're the one who's being stepped on, then the whole point of view changes. Unfortunately, people are all mostly like this. Compassion for your fellow human is a rare thing these days. Quite unfortunate that.

RE: Snowden
By ProZach on 1/28/2014 5:51:25 PM , Rating: 2
Completely agree with the point that one must have walked the path in order to fully understand.

Throughout history there have been individuals in various scenarios labelled as being the primary (or even singular) source of the blame or guilt, a common strategy of distraction and/or misdirection.

I believe Snowden knows quite a bit about history. I would be surprised if he accepted any deal from the current/corrupt administration. If he did make a deal I would wonder if it was to spare his friends or family from harassment (a "political practice" occurring in areas of South America).

Basically, a government who has no accountability for the laws it governs or the people it collects taxes from is saying they have no respect for human life. The persons in the current administration responsible for NSA abuses should either tender their resignation and stand trial (like they expect Snowden to do) or be removed from duty and subsequently imprisoned.

RE: Snowden
By BSMonitor on 1/28/2014 5:05:23 PM , Rating: 1
"Ignorance is bliss"

That was you before Snowden. Only a complete moron didn't know they had programs like this already.

If I was to do anything illegal, I certainly would not involve my phone, computer, tablet or any other device that essentially is broadcasting everything I do all over the world...

The whole notion that he revealed something of value is laughable.

RE: Snowden
By boobo on 1/29/2014 1:56:35 AM , Rating: 3
You're contradicting yourself.

Here, you say that everyone already knew the info Snowden revealed.

Elsewhere, you say that our diplomats are in greater danger because of what he revealed.

If everyone already knew everything he revealed, then the danger did not increase for anyone. If the danger increased for someone, then it's because new information (that was not known before) got released.

You can't have it both ways.

RE: Snowden
By AFUMCBill on 1/28/2014 10:15:24 AM , Rating: 2
If Benghazi taught the world nothing else, it is that the current Administration could not care less about either the safety or lives of its own Diplomats, much less anyone else.

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