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Edward Snowden, Traitor

by Keith Koffler on June 10, 2013, 10:57 am

Let’s start with this. Edward Snowden is a traitor who should hang for his treason.

He is no hero. He is a man whom the United States entrusted with its secrets. Instead of keeping those secrets, he revealed them and then sought to evade the consequences, fleeing to Communist China, where he may yet deliver more secrets to a nation that, while not exactly an outright enemy, is deeply antagonistic to our interests and our way of life.

Snowden, while he may well feel personal outrage about the government’s monitoring of telephone records and Internet data, by his own admission had a predilection for betraying the United States before he caught on to these programs.

Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian, to whom Snowden has been leaking, wrote that Snowden “thought for the first time about exposing government secrets” way back in 2007, when U.S. agents recruited a Swiss banker, setting him up by “purposely” getting him drunk.

Now who would have thought a spy agency would ever do such a thing?

Snowden was outraged, but he apparently thought the election of Barack Obama, Blessed be his Name, would induce the CIA to stop getting Swiss bankers drunk.

When he discovered that Obama has at least some moorings in the real world, Edward found another secret to betray.

His putatively brave decision to reveal himself would seem to have actually resulted from the prosaic fact that the cops were on to him, having already visited his former Hawaii abode. His coming out lends no possible to benefit to his supposed cause of getting Big Brother off our backs; rather, it’s a distraction.

Having the spotlight on him does, however, make it more problematic for U.S. agents to put some sleeping potion in his Chinese takeout and whisk him back the United States. It also, of course, feeds his ego, which must be very large given the audacity of his crime.

And he’s very clearly telegraphed to the nation he supposedly cares so much about that he had access to many more secrets than he has released and that he’s technically in China and, holed up in his Hong Kong hotel, he’s just a taxicab drive away from being totally within the grip of the Politburo.

There is ambivalence in the land about the information Snowden has sent our way.

On the one hand, many are uncomfortable the government perusing so much of our information. Particularly this government.

President Obama and his fully politicized White House have shown their contempt for the Constitution, the rule of law, the other branches of government and the watchdog institutions of our society time and time again.

In Obamaland, laws are meant to be circumvented. The Supreme Court is to be vilified for making the “wrong” decisions. The press is to be bullied and intimidated. Opponents in Congress are cynical, politically motivated extremists who want to oppress Americans they don’t like.

The scandals that have been erupting didn’t come out of a black hole. Even if no one in the White House ordered the IRS to get busy smacking down the Tea Party, its agents knew what would please their masters.

On the other hand, many would agree with Obama when he said, “I think it’s important to recognize that you can’t have 100 percent security and also then have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience.”

Some of the very same people who are attacking Obama for amassing our data will be demanding to know after the next major terrorist attack “why didn’t you connect the dots??” But how do you connect the dots if you are not permitted to see them?

While Obama has undermined the very trust needed to conduct such intrusions into our privacy, he remains, after all is said and done, the president.

Everything one needed to know about the way the Obama White House operates was known last November. The American people took a look and reelected Obama.

We are a nation of laws and a representative democracy, not a direct democracy. One may think the White House needs a new paint job, but that doesn’t mean one can jump the fence and get started on the project.

Edward Snowden is no whistleblower. Whistleblowers expose illegal or clearly unethical behavior. The appropriateness of the telephone and Internet monitoring is being debated by reasonable people.

Snowden is a guy who exposed perfectly legal programs that were subject to oversight by both the judiciary and Congress. In doing so, he has given out secrets to our enemies in the war on terrorism. They now will have new knowledge about how to avoid detection and kill more Americans.

He made a unilateral decision about what was right. But the law, written and interpreted by democratically elected officials, says he was wrong. And so he committed what’s known as a crime.

He is a coward who instead of paying for his crime and standing by his “principles” made his getaway to Hong Kong, where he is hoping the corrupt and repressive Chinese government will save him.

Hopefully we can retrieve him from his hideout, scrub his laptop, and hang him.

Leave a Comment

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{ 173 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank June 10, 2013 at 11:08 am

I totally agree. If he had these thoughts in 2007 about outting leaks, he should be hunted down. along with the rest of the Obama trash!

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Scottso June 10, 2013 at 11:17 am

Luckily, i hope, the President just met with Xi. If Obama is the great diplomat he thinks he is, then Xi will arrest Snowden and send him back here.

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Playrighter June 10, 2013 at 11:18 am

Keith:

Thanks for an even-handed and thoughtful piece that will confound those liberals who complain about your partisanship. (You even left out the blatant hypocrisy of Obama for enforcing and extending the very policies he castigated Bush for.)

Still, you should prepare for attacks from Al Sharpton and the NAACP for your use of the term “black hole”.

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Justavet June 10, 2013 at 11:23 am

Keith, you above all should see this as the threat to human dignity it presents. The government has PROVEN it is not a trustworthy custodian of information. I remind you of Rosen, the AP, the IRS scandals as well as and Fast and Furious. All that is in the past two short years.

I am furious, that my private email, phone calls, chats and other communications are being warehoused by the government. IF you are not, you have lost, what I thought you had…..common sense.

Let’s face it, Snowden couldn’t have come frorward as a simple whistleblower. He wouldn’t have got one word of this out.

I am so disgusted with your stance. I will unsubscribe to your site. I now understand you are just another Washington insider who looks for the bureacracy to perpetuate itself.

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ArnoldLayne June 10, 2013 at 11:30 am

Is there any definition of treason to which you subscribe?

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Justavet June 10, 2013 at 12:27 pm

That is a stupid question. I will first remind you that George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams and many others were all considered traitors by their government.

Our 4th Amendement rights are being violated under the guise of security. If an American citizen is making the same figurative cry that Paul Revere made (basically, the government is coming), I do not consider this treason.

BTW, while in the Army I held a securityt clearance and so, I probably understand the consequences of divulging information better than you.

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rov June 10, 2013 at 2:41 pm

I agree with you because I thought the American government was different to what is told in “The Lives of Others (2006)”

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Wendy June 10, 2013 at 6:14 pm

Sorry Keith, he is a hero in my book!!

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We the people August 2, 2013 at 7:04 am

Hell Obama said the united states has rules
To follow(BIG JOKE) THE CONSTATUSION
IS JUST A PICES OF PAPER TO HIM..
OBAMA HAS COMITED TRESON AGANST
THE AMERICANS AND COUNTRY, AND NOW
GOING AFTER SNOWDEN ,ALL HE DID WAS
TO EXPOS OBAMA , OBAMA SHOULD
BE PUT IN JAIL BEFORE SNOWDEN
A BUNCH OF COWERDS IN WASHINTON
No fought I am being moneyed hu

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Julie Brueckheimer June 10, 2013 at 11:29 am

Keith, let me rearrange a few of your statements. You truly say that “We are a nation of laws and a representative democracy, not a direct democracy.” Yes, we are a nation of laws and Obama was duly (I question that) re-elected in November 2012. But you point out before that quote how much and in how many ways he has “undermined” the nation: “President Obama and his fully politicized White House have shown their contempt for the Constitution, the rule of law, the other branches of government and the watchdogs time and time again.”

In my books he is a traitor to this country as well and not my President regardless of whether the Congress does its duty or not.

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anneinarkansas June 10, 2013 at 11:35 am

Thank you. I agree.

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GotFreedom June 10, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Well said Julie.

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ArnoldLayne June 10, 2013 at 12:15 pm

Anarchy anyone?

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Mandy Manners June 10, 2013 at 4:46 pm

Either let the government spy on us or have anarchy?

Duh.

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swedishlady June 10, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Yes Julie, share your opinion there of whom the traitor really is.

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Star June 10, 2013 at 12:30 pm

My definition of treason is not some loose idea that anything you say about what is going on is treason. I want to see the evidence that this huge hoovering of info is worth sacrificing our privacy, even though it has prob been gone for a long time and we didn’t know it. I would say Snowdon violated his oath or terms of employment.

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Julie Brueckheimer June 10, 2013 at 12:45 pm

We do know for a fact that ‘innocent’ Americans were ‘accidentally’ spied upon and that the ‘evidence’ was ordered destroyed by a court and carried out by Holder. This was on Drudge and was an admission by Holder. We don’t know the extent of it, and given what Obama has done with the other tools at hand to go after his political opponents, people cannot be blamed for being suspicious.

You can rightly argue that Snowdon did violate his oath or terms of employment, and I don’t question that. What I am saying is that you can argue the same thing about Mr. Obama.

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Notafan June 10, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Ditto!

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gracepmc June 10, 2013 at 6:05 pm

Julie, Thoughtful. Well said. Thanks.

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Shane June 10, 2013 at 11:30 am

The inquisition, slavery, segregation, the holocaust and torture were also perfectly legal government programs. According to the author, if the government declares something to be legal, we should accept it as so. However, there’s a little thing called the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The Fourth Amendment is very clear, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” Yet, somehow it is now legal for the government to seize everyone’s data without probable cause even though it is a violation of the NSA’s charter?

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Julie Brueckheimer June 10, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Bravo, Shane. I have been ploughing through Schirer’s Rise and Fall of the Third Reich this summer, and after the failure of the Beer Hall Putsch in 1923, Hitler decided against trying a coup again. He decided to take control of the country legally, and although it took him ten years, that is what he accomplished.

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gracepmc June 10, 2013 at 6:13 pm

A revolution from within is insidious.

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srdem65 June 10, 2013 at 11:30 am

Before we string up the hanging rope, lets see if we should string up two ropes:
http://beforeitsnews.com/obama/2013/05/d-maxine-waters-obama-has-put-in-place-secret-database-with-everything-on-everyone-video-2450974.html

Congresswoman Waters revealed this information long before the actual details were exposed by someone that’s now being called a “traitor”.
Former CIA Director Leon Panetta revealed secret CIA information on the killing of BinLaden to a Hollywood movie producer. Will he, too, be brought up on charges?
VPBiden revealed Seal Team 6 information that some claim was responsible for their unfortunate deaths. Another “traitor”?

MrSnowden’s information on a secret government operation that invades the privacy of every American without exception is not “traitorous” to those of us who have good reason to fear that that information could be used against us by partisan employees.
Just as the IRS employees used and abused the confidential information provided to them to further the re-election of MrObama, we don’t have any reason to trust the holders of our private communications not to do the same.

The holders of secrets can’t claim that what they’re doing is legal and then insist that to reveal a legal operation is that of a “traitor”. We have laws and Constitutional protection of our privacy that require law enforcement agencies to prove probable cause to invade or trample on those rights.
The recent incident of our DOJ invading the privacy of MrRosen and his family in what was a illegal fishing expedition is proof that our government has no respect for our rights.

This government wants to erase our right to own firearms just as it’s own Homeland Security is stockpiling billions of rounds of ammo, and weaponized vehicles , but refuse to provide a reasonable answer as to it’s purpose.
We don’t trust our government to do what’s right anymore. They are the enemy of the people, not the individual who exposes their crimes.

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Michael McCarthy June 10, 2013 at 11:40 am

I’m with you, brother.

There are many “nat’l security is a victim of its own success” people out there. They claim that “all is well here, citizen, move along” and all that.

Jokes and anecdotes aside:

The tone of these apologists are ridiculous. Snowden is a hero. There are folks on both sides of the aisle sending the guy money. You gonna make us all criminals for aiding and abetting?

Here’s the thing. This is a fucking republic. We’re gonna keep it. You security types, authoritarian garbage men for bigger interests, you’re going to be held to account.

Way to go, srdem65. =)

-MM

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swedishlady June 10, 2013 at 11:57 am

Oh thank you, srdem, great comment. I was a little shocked when I read that Keith thinks that this young man should hang. But- given what the IRS, DoJ have done it´s hard to trust this government with handling massive information in a lawful way .And people are shocked about the revelation of this giant secret spy web and the monumental invasion of privacy. Is it then not OK, a moral imperative, for a citizen to report on a gross abuse of power ? ( I won´t start to talk about other historic events and Godwins law ).

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GotFreedom June 10, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Thank you srdem65, Michael and swedishlady–your comments are insightful and IMO right on!

The current regime, along with Congress–have abused their Constitutional authority; have not upheld their oath of office and have forgotten that they work for us.

Congress was all up in arms when it learned that the DOJ seized their “cloakroom”/press gallery phone records and yet, some in Congress think it’s okay when the feds seize your/my phone records? Hypocrites!

This country was not founded on do as I say; not as I do.

Mr. Snowden is a hero; too bad no one in govt has the backbone that Mr. Snowden has to stand up and speak out and fight back against the most corrupt govt in the history of our country!

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Girly1 June 10, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Brava, srdem!!!

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Julie Brueckheimer June 10, 2013 at 12:55 pm

x2

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x3m1st June 10, 2013 at 3:03 pm

The problem is there’s no one to expose this underhanded program to… can’t go to congress… they’re in on it and only do things when its to their advantage (i.e. the fat disgusting pig, author of the patriot act Sensenbrenner). The administration is corrupt… and ad it not been for the other zillion scandals going on right now, I bet WashPo and the guardian would have drawer 13′d this guy.

“National security” is nothing but another government scam. Period. The dog and pony show we get everyday is an act to convince the idiot public that these schmucks are on the job. In fact, all they’re doing is taking liberties away, killing thousands of people around the world and spending money. All of these will come back and bite each one of you in the ass one day.

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Sol June 10, 2013 at 10:37 pm

Well written.

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Mandy Manners June 10, 2013 at 11:33 am

What secrets has he given out? That our government is raping the Constitution?

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GotFreedom June 10, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Bravo Mandy–you are exactly right! Unfortunately, raping the Constitution is the objective of “the regime” as well as many in Congress and there is no one in the govt who will do what’s right and speak out for fear of tarnishing their “legacy” in Am. history!

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Mandy Manners June 10, 2013 at 12:20 pm

As you pointed out just above, FCMABBHO has trampled all over the separation of powers by spying on members of Congress while they were conducting our business. Rep. King is out for Snowden’s blood. I wonder if he’d feel the same if he was the target of the administration’s disregard of the Fourth Amendment.

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Brett June 10, 2013 at 11:34 am

I have never heard of or personally witnessed a security compromise as stunning as what I saw on Drudge on Friday:
A TS/NOFORN slide – literally for the world to see.
Regardless of the nature of the Special Access Program it referred to, this was just breathtaking. Just saving that image to your home computer could get you five years.

(in terms of information security, it seems we’ve entered the Age of the Smart-Ass Analyst)

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Michael McCarthy June 10, 2013 at 11:41 am

That is correct Brett.

I saw a TS/NOFORN slide on the Internet.

Don’t forget, TS/NOFORN isn’t a sacred right buddy.

See you on the Fields of Democracy sometime soon, eh?

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Brett June 10, 2013 at 12:05 pm

Access always has been the problem. If Manning could burn 200,000+ documents onto a CD that means that young soldier had too much access based on his need to know. Even he, the spy, had no idea – no possible clue – what the eventual damage would be and how many people it would affect..
The same rule applies to this technocrat, contract support-puke.
Too much access versus need to know.
Unfortunately, his case is going to be a true, Las Vegas production. And the IC is going to look very, very stupid.
But that program isn’t going away.

“…a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”

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Michael McCarthy June 10, 2013 at 11:36 am

I disagree Koffler.

Your logic is a product of all that you have to lose. You’re playing for the team that takes the field when the other team is on the bench. I don’t care for your type. Don’t forget: there are many Americans willing to fight and die for the kind of freedom you’re talking about giving up so willingly!

I didn’t fight in Afghanistan for nothing, but in many ways, it turns out that I did. I won’t make that mistake again.

Here’s another commenter: “I remind you of Rosen, the AP, the IRS scandals as well as and Fast and Furious.” Let’s be clear here. This is tyrannical. Snowden, like few others, is a champ. He stood up and did something. History will judge him.

You, on the other hand, are flailing like a baby about it. You wanna do something about it? There are those amongst us who will ACTUALLY do something to protect liberty.

-Michael

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Brett June 10, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Wow.
Mike, I think you’re being a little unfair to Keith. He’s been holding this President’s feet to the fire for four long years – oftentimes to the point I physically and spiritually cringe reading his column.
I’ve met a hundred guys like Mr. Snowden: Smart-assed, furiously idealistic and overconfident in their own intellectual power. They all seem have this crap-weasel look about them. And they seem to wait for the right moment to commit their insecurity so as to maximize their personal benefit and minimize inevitable prosecution. Snowden and that tosser from England who doesn’t understand Intelligence collection made their grand appearance after scandals 1 – 4 were already boiling away on the stove and Snowden was tipping the concierge in Hong Kong.
So now, not only has this program been compromised but the Chinese will very shortly have positive control of Snowden and his Top Secret Brain Matter.
Gee, that’s just GREAT.

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Julie Brueckheimer June 10, 2013 at 1:04 pm

I don’t know about Mr. Snowdon’s motive. If he takes refuge in totalitarian China, that would be, as Saddam would have said, the Mother of All Ironies. I think you miss the subtleties of Keith Koffler. He indicted Barack Obama as much as he did Snowdon. Where I differ with him is that he thinks Obama is hanging by a slim thread of legality.

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Brett June 10, 2013 at 2:33 pm

I’m just waiting for Gloria Allred’s noisy departure from LAX…

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WMP June 10, 2013 at 11:40 am

I agree with your article. I told my husband this morning – I believe what Mr. Snowden did was wrong and we both believe he should go to jail for life (or as Keith puts it hang for his treason), even if I am revisiting my own thoughts about what is and isn’t right for the government to obtain secretly. I agree that we can’t have 100% security without some intrusion into our private lives, but I also believe 100% security is not possible. While it may be true that had Mr. Snowden followed the rules and laws about whistleblowers the word may not have gotten out, however he could have quit his job and publicly announced that he could not continue to do a job that he believed was ethically wrong – believe me he would have found someone in the Press to push his story.

I do believe that there should be discussions about what can and cannot be done. Just because the Patriot act was re-approved in 2011, doesn’t mean it is the right thing to do or it shouldn’t be revisited again.

Mr. Obama is the President, and yes he was re-elected, but many of the things that are coming to light, IRS, AP, Rosen, etc. I believe might have made a difference in the outcome of the election. Perhaps he still would have won, but there would have been more discussion about these very important issues. I will not for a minute let him off the hook for much of what has happened under his leadership. It is simply appalling that the leader of the free world has been allowed to claim ignorance on so many issues. About a week ago, I told my husband I thought I would never get to a point in my life where I questioned my trust in our governments (federal, state and local), but unfortunately that’s where many of us are these days. It will take great leaps for our leaders to instill our faith in the government again. Especiall the IRS.

Perhaps if the other things hadn’t happened, these NSA leaks would not have been unsettling to the average American. Unfortunately you reap what you sow.

Should Snowden end up living in China or Iceland (I understand he is seeking asylum there), I believe that negates any good he says he intended. If he truly believes that what he did is right and needed to be done – he should have turned himself in to face the consequences of his actions.

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Playrighter June 10, 2013 at 4:23 pm

Interestingly enough, Jake Tapper (“The Lead” / CNN) just played clips of candidate Obama promising to have his Attorney General go through each of George Bush’s Executive Orders — and overturning any that were found to be unconstitutional.

For a guy claiming expertise on the Constitution, Obama seems to have a lot of trouble with honor and integrity.

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JimK June 10, 2013 at 11:54 am

Whistleblower or Traitor, depends upon who’s ox is getting gored. I think most people in the USA will feel that this is a whistleblower case, because it was their personal and private information that was being scooped up by a secret government agency.

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srdem65 June 10, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Good point. I’m outraged that my private communications have been breached by my government for a purpose not yet revealed.
If anyone, anywhere, can prove that what I say and write could be construed as a threat to my fellow Americans or national security, then what the NSA is doing is proper.

Nothing in my background or current life would allow any government agency to obtail a legal warrant to invade my privacy, so why is the NSA keeping records on me?

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MT for re-redistribution June 10, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Yahtzee!! If some administration flunky were to go before a judge to obtain a warrant to monitor MY personal communications, which is the LEGAL procedure (as I understand it), there would be no evidence whatsoever to issue a warrant, and any subsequent monitoring would be unconstitutional.

When those who define what is ‘legal’ are doing things that are so very clearly ‘illegal’, what recourse is there?

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Javier June 10, 2013 at 5:57 pm

Here’s what Edward Snowden has to say to all of you claiming “I don’t care, because I’ve got nothing to hide”:

“Because even if you’re not doing anything wrong, you’re being watched and recorded. And the storage capability of these systems increases every year consistently by orders of magnitude to where it’s getting to the point where you don’t have to have done anything wrong, you simply have to eventually fall under suspicion from somebody, even by a wrong call. And then they can use the system to go back in time and scrutinize every decision you’ve ever made. Every friend you’ve ever discussed something with. And attack you on that basis, to derive suspicion from an innocent life, and paint anyone in the context of a wrongdoer.”

Innocent until proven guilty? ….Oh hey, according to our records it shows that on Oct 7, 2006 you spoke with your friend about purchasing some Acetone from Home Depot. Acetone has been linked as an ingredient to home-made explosives. DERIVED SUSPICION.

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Mari June 10, 2013 at 10:20 pm

On a totally side noted, I can’t believe how much time and energy the NSA, CIA, FBI and other agencies must be wasting on monitoring all of these legal, harmless communications. My 17 year old has 3,000 to 6,000 texts a month (yes, really), 250 posts on Tumbler a day (their mandated limit), and lord only knows how many tweets and Instagram photos each week. If they are checking out her and all the other teens in the country, how do they root out all the junk and get to the communications that would reveal that someone wants to harm this country?

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Julie Brueckheimer June 10, 2013 at 12:58 pm

Excellent point. That’s why I think the IRS scandal resonates more with the public than Benghazi.

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Mandy Manners June 10, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Will the government go after Greenwald? If so, he better remain in Brazil where there is no extradition treaty with the United States.

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Misscheryl June 10, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Keith, me thinks you’re off base on this one.

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Notafan June 10, 2013 at 12:27 pm

I agree…..poor Keith is in his dream world on this for sure!

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Hielevation June 10, 2013 at 12:13 pm

A traitor to whom? To the administration and the government? Probably. But lest we forget, the President & the rest took an oath to defend and uphold the Constitution of the United States – the 4th Ammendment included. Looks like Mr. Snowdon is pointing out the fact they they are all instead undermining a Constitution which they deplore. So who is the traitor? The one who does the deed or the one who points it out?

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Susan June 10, 2013 at 12:13 pm

I’ve never been more outraged by one of your articles, Keith. The issue is not about Edward Snowden and whether or not you believe he is a traitor. The issue is about our government overstepping the bounds of their authority and violating the 4th Amendment of We The People under the guise of national security. The government has invaded every American’s privacy and has consigned to posterity every thought we’re typing on our computers, every personal conversation we’re having with our loved ones, and every online credit card or bank transaction we’re making. To what end? A handy enemies list when the financial collapse comes? This is a betrayal of trust of the greatest magnitude and I, for one, thank Edward Snowden for bringing the government’s actions to light. It is time for We The People to have an honest discussion about whether or not we are willing to surrender our individual freedom and liberty in the name of security. Count me as a resounding NO.

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MT for re-redistribution June 10, 2013 at 2:12 pm

bingo

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rov June 10, 2013 at 3:01 pm

Correct! “The Lives of Others (2006)”. BTW Susan; Thank you for introducing me (some time ago) to the M. Levin’s books and M. Levin Radio Show.

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Susan June 10, 2013 at 10:12 pm

You’re welcome, rov. The Great One is coming out with another book in August. Received my autographed copy of his father’s book “George Washington: The Crossing” a few days ago. It’s plain to see where Mark Levin got his love of country and passion for liberty from.

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Girly1 June 10, 2013 at 12:16 pm

PRISM is a flagrant overreach/abuse of power. It does nothing to protect us from those who want to harm us. The Snowden leaks did nothing to compromise national security, as Obama would have us believe. Good Lord, does anyone believe that the ‘evil doers’ are unaware of the govt’s spy tactics? OBL delivered his epistles to his A/Q army via courrier – not cell phones or email.

PRISM may have judicial and Congressional approval but it violates the illegal search and seizure laws of the Constitution. The Obama regime is the enemy within – not Edward Snowden. Just knowing that the life history of every American will be stored in a secret facility in Utah is mind-boggling. Who is monitoring the monitors? This is just the beginning….wait untl Obamacare kicks in and black boxes are installed in every vehicle beginning in 2019. Refrigerators are now harvesting information – “You are running low on milk”! Enough is enough!!!

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ColoComment June 10, 2013 at 12:17 pm

“Edward Snowden is no whistleblower. Whistleblowers expose illegal or clearly unethical behavior. The appropriateness of PRISM is being debated by reasonable people.”

“Reasonable people”? Who are you referring to? Congress? People like Elijah Cummings? “WE the PEOPLE” need to debate these issues relating to security v. 4th A, and the only reason that we’re talking about them now is because this guy exposed the program. Whether it’s a “perfectly legal program” and/or unethical may be your opinion, but the truth of it remains to be discovered.

Daniel Hannan included a great quote in a blog post the other day: ” ‘Necessity,’ said Pitt the Younger, ‘is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.’ ”

WSJ (pg.A4) today says that FISC rejected only 11 of 33,900 surveilance applications submitted to it between 1979 and 2012. ELEVEN. That’s “court oversight”? That’s “scrutiny”? Sorry, but no.

I hold no brief for Snowden; he presumably signed some form of nondisclosure & confidentiality agreement when he took government jobs. …so, presumably, did every one of the IRS agents and supervisory personnel involved in biased 501(c)(4) application processing. Every one of them needs to suffer the just and well-considered consequence for what he has done. Some of us may find one kind more deserving than another….

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Misscheryl June 10, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Well said!

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Star June 10, 2013 at 12:36 pm

Don’t forget, people say the Congress knew this all along–so I guess we are to trust them to “keep this in line”? No need to bother the citizens, greater minds will prevail.

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Misscheryl June 10, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Yeah, barry said congress was briefed on this long ago. My congressmen said that’s a lie – but your point is still relevant. As I posted below, it’s up to the citizens. I happen to think the IRS did our corrupt government’s bidding, while this guy became more and more outraged by the unconstitutional overreach of our corrupt government.

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Mandy Manners June 10, 2013 at 12:47 pm

From what I’ve been hearing and reading, only a few, high-ranking members of Congress knew about it.

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Mandy Manners June 10, 2013 at 12:39 pm

I’m waiting for the relevation that the NSA has targeted the phone records, computer usage and credit card history of members of the various groups that the IRS has screwed over.

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Otis Driftwood June 10, 2013 at 1:05 pm

hmmm an interesting thought. But why stop there. So many govt databases out there to tap and draw additional data from. Would not take much to do it. And would expand beyond just at the federal level.. if you know what your doing you can drill down through all the information layers around the world, not just at the local level.

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Star June 10, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Sure–they need to flag anyone who charged a pressure cooker–Paula Deen, oops, sorry… Or anyone who bought a ticket to Africa…Peace Corps, uh, our bad… Now. how to get these people off the list…oh, well…

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kathyd June 10, 2013 at 12:20 pm

I was hoping this article was another satire, similar to one from you that I read last week. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

I do not agree with you that Mr. Snowden is a cowardly traitor. It is people like him who have brought to the forefront many of the illegal activities carried on by Obama’s henchmen, i.e., Fast & Furious, the 100% fraudulent birth certificate circulated by the white house; the Benghazi cover-up, the ever billowing IRS scandals, etc.

Prior to being elected president, Obama supported whistleblowers, calling them heroes, and stating that they should not be punished. As with all of his lies since occupying the white house, his statements were only campaign rhetoric.

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Misscheryl June 10, 2013 at 12:21 pm

I guess according to the logic in this article – if someone openly speaks of the security issues regarding Benghazi – they’re traitors? It’s unfortunate that our corrupt government cannot be depended upon to make things right. There is nothing left to us but to bring these things to light ourselves. It appears there are no good men nor women left in Washington but then it’s always been up to the citizens, why change now. To some, Paul Revere was a traitor too.

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Cat June 10, 2013 at 12:23 pm

“He is no hero. He is man whom the United States entrusted with its secrets.”

Yes, Mr. Koffler, and the secrets involved illegal spying on all Americans.
It’s wrong, morally and constitutionally.

It took a whole lot of balls for Snowden to speak up, and it’s quite possible that he did it because he really thought he was doing the right thing. Try and wrap your head around that.

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Cat June 10, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Snowden exposed a practice our government is engaging in that is counter to our definition of liberty and privacy.
Treason, my ASS.

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Notafan June 10, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Completely disagree with you!!!!!

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Star June 10, 2013 at 12:39 pm

We should hang this guy? No beer summit even? Much less a hearing or trial? Pretty grouchy, Keith.

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Keith Koffler June 10, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Well, after a few beers, yes.

Good point – I do mean, assuming he’s guilty of what he’s acknowledged.

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Star June 10, 2013 at 1:23 pm

So with a confession–end of story. He may have personal demons that urge this into the open–he may be a nutjob. This may be a boon to know this–it has not played out. I think much of this was known–Echelon etc but no one really thought our leaders would take it to the max.

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Brett June 10, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Yes. The hanging part was a little…
I would not like the government to reaquire a taste for hanging.

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RickW June 10, 2013 at 12:38 pm

Wow, I knew I enjoyed this blog for a reason. Pro/Con all the comments are well thought out. Here is my $.02:

PERSONALLY, I could care less if I am being monitored. I learned a long time ago the technology exists to give me a prostate exam electronically so I say nothing unless I expect it to be repeated. If someone at a console in Nebraska wants to listen in on my g/f and I have phone sex, good for them.

That said, I too am outraged at the scope of what is being revealed on behalf of American citizens who expect they have a right to privacy. I’m glad Snowden revealed this but I do not think of him as a hero. This is a young man who milked the system for all its worth and is now milking it again by his new found celebrity.

Keith, your comment about him being hung for treason, while emotionally appealing, is meaningless in my opinion. Our very own SoS, John “Did I tell you I served in Vietnam” Kerry CLEARY should have been executed for his actions in the early 70s but was not. Yes, Snowden should be imprisoned for revealing national security techniques, strategies, however misguided they may have been.

OK thats my $.02

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Mandy Manners June 10, 2013 at 12:49 pm

PERSONALLY, I could care less if I am being monitored.

SNIP
***************

I care a great deal! My Fourth Amendment rights are not to be stolen by the very government they’re ensuring leaves me the hell alone.

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RickW June 10, 2013 at 12:52 pm

That’s why I said PERSONALLY, Mandy. I have that right as do you for your opinion.

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Mandy Manners June 10, 2013 at 12:57 pm

It’s not about opinions, Rick. It’s about our right to be secure in our “persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures,…”

The framers of the Constitution must be spinning in their graves.

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Star June 10, 2013 at 3:09 pm

I think anyone that comes to this list is pretty much lunch meat in the old NSA sandwich.

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Mandy Manners June 10, 2013 at 3:50 pm

From what I can tell, everyone who’s used a cellphone, land-line telephone, a computer or a credit card is on this list.

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DeniseVB June 10, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Didn’t Kerry just give Eygpt over a billion gazillion dollars ? Isn’t the IRS bullying people because of their politics? DOJ’s covering up a lot of garbage too. DHS is hording ammo, patting down grandmas, the disabled and toddlers.

What is this treason you speak of? I think Snowden’s another squirrel on the big scheme of things.

Now, can we get a “spy” capable of releasing Obama’s super-duper-secret-sealed college transcripts and financial records? Manning, Snowden, amateurs ! ;)

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Misscheryl June 10, 2013 at 12:48 pm

And don’t forget the EPA is leaking information on our farmers to nutjob environmental groups. i’m with you, Snowden is just a squirrel on a big, big wheel. No more, no less.

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Keith Koffler June 10, 2013 at 12:47 pm

I agree, Rick, lots of great comments. I knew many would disagree with the piece, but I’m enjoying the passion and thoughtfulness. Keep ‘em coming!

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RickW June 10, 2013 at 12:55 pm

I can’t #$%$%^#&&@ Keith..GG$^%#$@SJUYE…..Somethings #$%@% wrong with my Mac…#^$%^^%#(_@

“We now return you to our regularly scheduled broadcast, Dear Leader’s Helpful Hints for a Better Life. Enjoy!”

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DeniseVB June 10, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Keith, for your consideration …..

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/damianthompson/100220938/edward-snowden-has-blown-the-whistle-on-this-presidency-you-have-to-wonder-will-obama-see-out-his-full-term/

Not a traitor, a whistleblower who exposed proof of NSA overstepping their bounds, not secrets harmful to the U.S.

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GotFreedom June 10, 2013 at 12:49 pm

A couple of questions:

Why was/is this type of over-reaching data mining necessary?

Well, if we are to believe the feds, it’s to keep America safe and yet, did they keep Boston safe . . . did it stop the underwear bomber from getting on a plane and almost being allowed to follow through with his plot. . .did it stop the murders at Ft. Hood–NO!

In each of these terrorist cases, the feds knew in advance/had been warned and yet they didn’t do anything with the info they had received to stop any of these terrorists–why not?

It might be a different story if the feds were acquiring our personal info and TRULY keeping America safe but they aren’t and as with the IRS scandal, we have learned that anyone who opposes the “regime” will be targeted and intimidated–that, IMO, is what this data mining by the feds is really all about–who is against us and how can we blackmail them/intimidate them to keep quiet (why do you think Gen. Petraeus stepped down; because he was IMO blackmailed because he wouldn’t sign off on the Benghazi talking points about the video not to mention his wife works CFPB–not saying his alleged affair was okay; they used his emails against him and he had to choose; his job/his wife’s job/exposing his alleged affair).

Mr. Snowden has shown America how abusive a govt can become when they know that no one will stand up and speak out and fight back because they are afraid their legacy will be that they were the one who challenged the BHO/EH for their abuse of their office.

I don’t care who the elected official is–if they break the law; if they abuse their authority–they must be held accountable and that IMO is what Mr. Snowden has done by exposing the govt’s assault on our privacy!

http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2013/04/fail-russia-contacted-fbi-several-times-about-islamist-tamerlan-tsarnaev/

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2009/12/hoekstra-on-underwear-bomber-we-missed-him-at-every-step/

http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/02/03/fort.hood.report/index.html

http://cnsnews.com/news/article/obama-administration-gave-petraeuss-wife-187605-year-job

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Not Nabob the Knothead June 10, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Another distraction? A coincidence?
Another shift of the news to distract from bigger issues that this administration wants swept under the rug? Possibly to quieten the investigation of the Benghazi murders plus the incompetence of the Obama administration manageability.

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Julie Brueckheimer June 10, 2013 at 1:11 pm

Bingo!

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Marilyn Miller June 10, 2013 at 3:25 pm

I, too, have a niggling feeling about this whole thing. I smell a set-up, hoax, distraction. Maybe, like the IRS scandal, the Admin. is laying it all out on the table before 2014 to give people time to “fahgettabouddit”.

As for Snowden himself, I think he’s a Julian Assange wannabe.

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Geoff Caldwell June 10, 2013 at 1:04 pm

Ben Franklin:
“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Edward Snowden:
The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your emails or your wife’s phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards.

Now IF, and I do clarify as IF , Snowden is proven correct it would appear he’s a helluva lot closer to Franklin and the founders than the Rosenbergs.

The whole NSA thing reminds me of Animal House and the “double secret probation” of Delta House. Of course Delta broke the rules because they didn’t know what the rules were.

Yes, yes, there’s “Congressional oversight” by a few select committee members sworn to NOT say anything even if THEY feel legal boundaries have been crossed.

Yes, yes, there’s “Judicial review” by a top secret court, with unidentified judges, meeting out unscrutinized opinions.

The key to me personally is that there is no check nor balance upon the gatekeepers. You can’t challenge the Constitutionality of the “secret” proceedings because they are “secret” decisions made by “secret” people operating under “secret” legal opinions.

Add in the horrendous amount of “classification creep” that has infected the government over the past 30 years and you’ve got the perfect Petri dish to grow here to for unthinkable abuses of power.

I have no clue at this point whether Snowden is a patriot whistleblower or a traitorous scumbag, but I do know that the Patriot Act opened up one huge can of privacy worms and that the Obama administration has put those worms on steroids.

The Founders knew full well the danger of an ever present, all powerful government and wrote page upon page upon page to ensure future generations never forgot their warnings.

And it’s worth noting that all the signs for 9/11 were already there in the years before the planes hit the towers and there was no NSA web then.
And the NSA expansion failed to stop the underwear bomber, Times Square bomber, Benghazi, Ft. Hood, and the Boston bombings even with its unprecedented access to private information.

It’s just my two cents but from what I’ve seen so far, the “leak” has been targeted not to put operative lives in danger but rather to bring some long over due Brandeis “sunshine” in and start the disinfecting process.

In the end I guess it all boils down to if you “trust” the government with all your private data. I personally do not, others have no problem with it.

All I ask is that if you do side with the “trust” argument, at least take a moment to remember the centuries of history that are littered with the coffins of those who also “trusted” their government for the sake of their “security”.

Yes, we live in dangerous times, but so have previous generations. If we allow such overreaching, all encompassing surveillance for the sake of wink, wink “storing it for later, just in case” than bin Laden has won.

For once privacy is no longer seen as a pillar of liberty, it’s only a matter of time before the remaining rights become “negotiable” as well.

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Julie Brueckheimer June 10, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Beautiful post, Geoff.

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Susan June 10, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Ditto. Well said, Geoff.

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Mandy Manners June 10, 2013 at 1:19 pm

Yes, yes, there’s “Judicial review” by a top secret court, with unidentified judges, meeting out unscrutinized opinions.

SNIP
*************

I can’t find the link but, here’s a list.

Judge

Judicial district

Date appointed

Term expiry

Jennifer B. Coffman

Eastern District of Kentucky

May 19, 2011

May 18, 2018 (retired Jan. 8, 2013)

Rosemary M. Collyer

District of Columbia

March 8, 2013

March 7, 2020

Raymond J. Dearie

Eastern District of New York

July 2, 2012

July 1, 2019

Claire Eagan

Northern District of Oklahoma

February 13, 2013

May 18, 2019

Martin L.C. Feldman

Eastern District of Louisiana

May 19, 2010

May 18, 2017

Thomas Hogan

District of Columbia

May 18, 2009

May 18, 2016

Mary A. McLaughlin

Eastern District of Pennsylvania

May 18, 2008

May 18, 2015

F. Dennis Saylor

District of Massachusetts

May 19, 2011

May 18, 2018

Roger Vinson

Northern District of Florida

May 4, 2006

May 18, 2013

Reggie B. Walton

District of Columbia

May 19, 2007

May 18, 2014

Susan Webber Wright

Eastern District of Arkansas

May 18, 2009

May 18, 2016

James Zagel

Northern District of Illinois

May 18, 2008

May 18, 2015

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Star June 10, 2013 at 2:14 pm

That’s a list of unidentified judges that are identified? Wha? And what do we do with it–call the ones we know personally?

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Mandy Manners June 10, 2013 at 3:38 pm

I don’t know what to do with the list. I just put it out here.

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Star June 10, 2013 at 4:10 pm

If it’s a secret court–are you now in line for a hanging, Mandy?

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Mandy Manners June 10, 2013 at 5:48 pm

My list for hanging is quite small, and Snowden’s not on it.

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Star June 10, 2013 at 6:10 pm

Not what I meant. By the way, do we hang people here? I guess there might be a state where that is an option–no, wait, that is the firing squad.

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Mandy Manners June 10, 2013 at 6:26 pm

Utah has a firing squad.

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Geoff Caldwell June 10, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Yes, but knowing their “names” does nothing more than put a face to the “secrets”. Keeping the debate, the reasoning, the opinions, the rational all secret does not for a healthy Republic make.
I’m still torn on this personally. I do believe in strong national security but I also watched as Clinton ignored every sign of national security at the time and let Bin-Laden grow in strength for domestic political reasons and before the Bush administration got up to speed thousands of innocents lost their lives.
9/11 did not need a massive intrusion of privacy to be seen coming and even now with the intrusions Boston and Ft. Hood were not stopped and others only failed because of terrorist error and alert citizens on the ground.
At this point all I see Snowden having done is bring forth some well needed Brandeis “sunshine” into a very, very dark room of government intrusion.
In a few hours I could just as easily be siding with Keith and calling him a traitor in every sense of the word.
Time will tell as the facts come in.

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Mandy Manners June 10, 2013 at 3:29 pm

You said the judges were unidentified so I thought I’d post their names.

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Geoff Caldwell June 10, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Oh no, didn’t mean to come across rude, just that even knowing their name doesn’t take away from the other issues. Apologies it snark entered in. This is one of those issues that has two, four, eight sides from Sunday.

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Mandy Manners June 10, 2013 at 4:34 pm

I can’t call Snowden a hero or a traitor, but I’m glad he did what he did insofar as it shows us yet again how ruthless, reckless and illegal this administration is.

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Geoff Caldwell June 11, 2013 at 7:44 am

Couldn’t agree more on that point.

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Rick Clark June 10, 2013 at 1:14 pm

Very well written. For my blog I am attempting to research both sides of this issue. I agree this man is a traitor and needs to face the music. The broader issue is the program itself. We as a country must decide whether more freedom or more security. As the saying good “The greater the freedom, the greater the abuses”.

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Susan June 10, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Here’s how another good old saying goes…

“The policy of the American government is to leave their citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits.” ~Thomas Jefferson

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Darkangel June 10, 2013 at 1:20 pm

I’m of two minds on this.

The odds of being killed in a terrorist attack have been reckoned as somewhere around 20 million to 1. Terror events are so traumatizing, I submit, in part BECAUSE of their very infrequency. They’re scary as all get-out when they happen, but they don’t happen all that often. For comparison, the odds of being stung to death by insects are 72,494 to 1, meaning you’re 275 times more likely to get killed by insects than you are to get killed by a terrorist.

And yet, we’re somehow expected to just roll over and repeal the 4th Amendment, and deal with the EVEN ODDS of a police state, that we may somehow lengthen terrorism odds that are already at 20 million to 1, which is just short of the odds of winning a pick 6 out of 52 lottery.

Terrorists have to intentionally do a lot of things right to do something that ruins lives by the thousands; government busybodies just need to absentmindedly lose a laptop, or have it stolen, and you could be looking at a number of ruined lives with multiple commas. And government laptops grow legs with much greater frequency than terrorists launch attacks in the US.

And that’s before one gets to the possibility of government partisans deliberately leaking personal information on their enemies, which we have already seen in the IRS scandal.

So, statistically, I would contend that the greater threat to our lives, liberties, and pursuits of happiness comes not from foreign terrorists, but government apparatchiks with too much power over the lives of the people.

The argument that it’s civil liberties OR terrorism is a false dichotomy. There are, for instance, much better ways of keeping airlines safe than having government flunkies feeling up every poor sap that sets off a metal detector. Get rid of the TSA, let the airlines handle security for their own flights, and you’ll be amazed at what the private sector can do to improve both safety AND customer service…but that’s another rant.

Reagan was right: government is the problem. What we’re dealing with in the PRISM case is entirely too much government, with entirely too much power, to do entirely too much mischief, upon entirely too much of the citizenry.

And that, all so we may lengthen odds of 20 million to 1.

If government snoops are a bigger menace than foreign terrorists, then this case may have worked out to the betterment of liberty.

So that’s one mind. On the other…

To be honest, I can’t add much to the counter-argument that Mr. Koffler has herein advanced. There are certainly many good points to be had in there, some I never would have considered. It is a case with much merit.

There really are no easy answers here. I would respectfully submit, though, that had this gone through normal channels, it would ultimately have been placed in the circular file, and Fedzilla would have gone right on snooping.

As an aside, I have to wonder: how did this guy even get a clearance to begin with?

And, in closing, it must be asked: if the war on terror must end, then why must the police state be left intact?

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Trevor June 10, 2013 at 1:53 pm

Don’t trust this article. It’s utter bullshit. Quote: “Laws are meant to be circumvented.” Get real. Laws are there to follow them. Snowden IS a hero.

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Star June 10, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Isn’t this just workplace mischief anyhow?

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CiscoKid June 10, 2013 at 2:55 pm

A vigorous debate on this issue is what our elected representatives should be doing, not partisan posturing and finger pointing.
The arguments here today are some of the best I’ve read anywhere, anytime.
No insults, name calling etc., just good debate.
Maybe Congress should try the same.

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Brett June 10, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Wouldn’t you just love to be an high-level executive with Booz Allen Hamilton right about now?
“Honey…um…I gotta fly to DC next week…”

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Jim W June 10, 2013 at 3:17 pm

“I am veteran White House reporter Keith Koffler.” Quite enough said, thank you.

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Julie Brueckheimer June 10, 2013 at 4:49 pm

You’re new here obviously. I suggest you go back and read some of the archives.

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ColoComment June 10, 2013 at 4:09 pm

“Some of the very same people who are attacking Obama for amassing our data will be demanding to know after the next major terrorist attack “why didn’t you connect the dots??” But how do you connect the dots if you are not permitted to see them?”

Ahhh, the “some people” argument. Not the strongest arrow in the persuasion quiver….

Reading that I’ve done since 9/11 suggests that to speak of “connecting dots” is to apply a simplistic term to a very complex intelligence challenge. As with Taleb’s “Black Swan,” events may appear obvious in retrospect that are vague and seemingly inconsequential when first perceived. Connecting dots in intelligence work may involve as much serendipity as meaningful activity.

Those who accuse our intelligence agencies of failing to connect dots are asking for godlike omnipotence from mere humans. It may be emotionally satisfying to say, but realistically, it’s most often in hindsight that dots come together to form a picture.

OTOH, capturing for all time every bit and byte of data that We the People seed our daily lives with, just to have it available “in case” something, sometime, somewhere, may raise a suspicion of involvement — well, that’s going a titch too far.

This was an interesting article: http://www.cato.org/blog/national-security-bureaucracy-redefines-privacy-itself

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Star June 10, 2013 at 4:12 pm

This is the tack the WSJ took–if something happens, you didn’t prevent it if you were for revealing this. Who says anyone is stopping anything–even if this did not catch a lot of the attacks and maybe not one undetailed one?

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Star June 10, 2013 at 4:13 pm

I mean they say maybe it prevented one–no details.

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just-saying June 10, 2013 at 4:15 pm

“Everything one needed to know about the way the Obama White House operates was known last November.”
.
I don’t think so. Little was known about Benghazi, for example.
.

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Considering June 10, 2013 at 4:20 pm

In the 1930s in Germany, it became the law to collect information on a group of people. This led to homes and businesses being seized. This led to a group wearing a Star of David on their clothing. This led to the holocaust. People through the years have asked “Why didn’t they protest? Why did they go along?” Many have replied ” It was the law.”
Just because a very small number of politicians make a law does not make it a just law.
Imagine if , in Germany, someone had had the courage to “break” the law. Imagine if the media had had the courage to print the truth. The Gestapo, the Brown Shirts were all acting within the law.
Why did this man run? We may never know the bottom line reason — however — we HAVE seen what this administration does to those who stand up and speak about injustices. We have also seen that this administration promotes and defends those who betray our Constitution.

America would not have ever been created if British “law” had been followed. Just a few things to consider.

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MI June 10, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Keith is that you?

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Considering June 10, 2013 at 5:56 pm

nope

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severen June 10, 2013 at 4:22 pm

I am assuming this article is a wind-up or a clever satirisation of rabid right-wing reactionary lunatics. If it is, then well done, it’s really good.

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Danceswithtruth June 10, 2013 at 4:52 pm

How a traitor? By exposing overreach of a legal program? By pointing out that the government is misusing the authority and intent originally granted?

Where is National Security compromised? After 9/11 those who wanted to know, knew data-mining was occurring , and non-specifically to whom via the passage of the Patriot Act. The secrecy exposed here appears to be the collection of data from millions that realistically cannot all be part of an on-going investigation.

This following on the heels of abuses by the DOJ and the IRS. Two powerful agencies with the power to make life miserable for individual citizens. We are to trust yet another arm of the government that has the ability to squeeze the life out of us.

Personally, though I have nothing to hide should they be looking, they don’t have the right. That right is guaranteed. The moment I give even a smidgen of it away, even more will be taken. If you say “yes” once, it is more difficult to convince the other party of a “no” later; and typically you end up compromising. If you consistently say “no”, there’s no need to compromise at any point. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

The Patriot Act was an infringement on my right, and so is this.

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Darkangel June 10, 2013 at 5:33 pm

I thought of something else this afternoon, and I know this is a bit late to be coming back to the dance, but here goes.

I said in an earlier post that you’re more likely to die from a venomous insect attack than you are to die from a terrorist attack.

A thought experiment:

Suppose some horror story comes up in the news about an apartment or condo with a whole lot of bees in the walls. One day, there’s some kind of event that shakes the building, and the bees go nuts, pouring out of the walls and stinging hundreds of residents to death.

One of the environmental agencies then decrees that, for the safety of every American, every residence in the country will be visited by a government survey team, and photographed inside and out to look for possible bee infestations. No warrants, no due process, just a knock on the door from a government crew, and now your residence is being photographed inside and out, “for your own protection” from a bee infestation that, chances are, you probably don’t even have.

Americans would scream bloody murder at that, and rightly so.

And yet, here we are, with our DIGITAL homes being photographed inside and out, “for our own protection.” No, they may not know everything we do in our digital homes, but they know the layout…they know what’s in the closets…they know what’s under the bed…and so on.

How are we to feel like free citizens online, when we know that some federal snoop might be watching us at any moment?

Also, this sort of dragnet opens the door for selective prosecutions. It is humanly impossible to KNOW every single law on the books in the United States, much less FOLLOW every single one. It’s been said that every American commits three felonies a day without even knowing it.

So what happens when an all-seeing, all-knowing Fedzilla starts going after enemies of the regime, and not enemies of the state? Would that not make it an authoritarian government, the very sort of government most of our ancestors fled to get here?

A few years ago, Eric Schmidt, Google CEO, said, “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.” Question: if the Obama regime didn’t want anyone to know that they were doing this much spying on ordinary Americans, perhaps they shouldn’t have been doing THAT in the first place?

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Star June 10, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Did you see that self-righteous drip from Google say if you don’t want to be watched, maybe you shouldn’t do what you are doing. That SO misses the point. Maybe the NSA should profile his every step up the corp ladder–what he did to get to the position where he can pass judgment on what I should be doing!

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Star June 10, 2013 at 6:04 pm

I will tell you one thing I am doing, Google Boy–waiting for my ad check, which is down to nothing since Google figured out a way to keep more and share less with those who, you know, actually write the blogs.

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Star June 10, 2013 at 6:08 pm

Sorry, Darkangel, I just notice you are not a Google Boy fan, either. These people frost my cahooties!

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Darkangel June 10, 2013 at 6:28 pm

“Don’t be evil” seems to have been countermanded.

But, putting Google aside, I’m curious. What did you all think of the bee survey thought experiment? Does it make sense, or am I comparing apples and oranges? Help me out here.

I may have to find a way to communicate this to Congress–living near DC has its advantages–and I’d like to know if that’s a valid argument. It makes sense to me, but I formulated it, so someone else, constructive critique, please?

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gracepmc June 10, 2013 at 6:31 pm

Google doing a whole “thing” with OFA. Google is just data collection for the progressive left. My use is absolutely minimal.

Sometimes I amuse myself by wondering who wants to Be Boy King of the World more — Barack Obama or Eric Schmidt.

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Mandy Manners June 10, 2013 at 6:12 pm

A few years ago, Eric Schmidt, Google CEO, said, “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”

SNIP
***************

I rank that one right next to Edwin Meese’s assertion that only guilty people lawyer-up.

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usmc June 10, 2013 at 6:13 pm

I applaud Keith’s passion and his your consistent love of country. The focus should come off of Snowden and onto the lies, deceit and disregard of the Constitution regularly promulgated by this administration. Admiral Clapper head of the NSA committed perjury when he lied to Congress about this program.

Does anyone really think this program is about National Security?

Collecting and storing private citizens data is a clear violation of public trust. And what did the President call this? A “modest encroachment”? Showing your ID to enter a federal building or taking off your shoes at the airport is a modest encroachment but regardless of degree of encroachment none of it is acceptable for one simple reason – acceptance of any encroachment makes subsequent, more sinister encroachment a foregone conclusion.

I am afraid the public has become de-sensitized to the assault to our freedoms. No violation of the Constitution is acceptable in the name of security. Our great nation only remains secure in direct proportion to demand for and adherence to freedom and liberty.

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Mandy Manners June 10, 2013 at 6:59 pm

A “modest encroachment”? Showing your ID to enter a federal building or taking off your shoes at the airport is a modest encroachment but regardless of degree of encroachment none of it is acceptable for one simple reason – acceptance of any encroachment makes subsequent, more sinister encroachment a foregone conclusion.

I am afraid the public has become de-sensitized to the assault to our freedoms.

SNIP
***************

Like a frog in a pot of cold water.

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gracepmc June 10, 2013 at 10:49 pm

A “modest encroachment” is like calling an Obama vacation a “little get away”. p

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Voice of Reason June 10, 2013 at 9:01 pm

You are aware that the NSA listens to your telephone calls also. They read your personal e-mails and they have access to your internet browsing history as well as mine.

Are you saying that you have more loyalty to an institution that actively spies on you in secrecy than gratitude towards a stranger who let you know that you were being spied upon?

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security_is_hard June 10, 2013 at 9:28 pm

If that institution doesn’t operationally utilize the ability and occasionally saves me or someone like me from getting killed; yes. It is kind of like the protagonist that was supposed to die, but survives and then keeps watch over another character, protecting that person from the antagonists.

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security_is_hard June 10, 2013 at 9:24 pm

Snowden a traitor: agree. As incensed as some of you are about the *potential* for your communications to be analyzed, I am just as incensed that this short-sighted idealist unilaterally decided it was a good idea to expose an effective government counter-terrorism tool because he didn’t like it, thereby providing another clue to help our enemies circumvent. When the next bomb goes off and kills a bunch of people, I wonder if the people ranting about how “Snowden is a hero” will remember their words and rejoice that at least the people who did it did not have their rights violated. I hope he gets a bullet or worse.

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Misscheryl June 10, 2013 at 9:58 pm

yeah, and this government counter-terroism tool was so effective in Boston.

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Susan June 10, 2013 at 10:30 pm

Govt bureaucrats did a bang up job stopping the active duty Army jihadist at Fort Hood, TX too.

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Mandy Manners June 10, 2013 at 10:45 pm

Especially knowing he was radical.

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R. Haines June 12, 2013 at 4:10 pm

“…an effective government counter-terrorism tool…”

The obvious corollary is that there is an infinite number of other “effective government counter-terrorism tools” that could be employed. All telephone conversations being recorded, all e-mail and snail-mail communications being documented, identity cards being mandatory and checked every time one enters or exits a building, closed-circuit cameras on every corner, and so on. No doubt these methods would be even more effective at countering terrorism. But at what price?

You are arbitrarily drawing the line on the side of including PRISM. Others draw the line excluding it. What makes you right and them wrong? Since the matter clearly impinges upon our Constitutional freedoms, the ONLY way that this matter can be evaluated is if the public and the Legislative and Judiciary branches are made aware of it, and have a say in what is implemented, when and why. You don’t want that evaluation to take place; you want to leave it in the hands of the Executive branch, and with people with absolutely no public accountability.

No way. Not with MY Constitution, you don’t.

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R. Haines June 10, 2013 at 11:57 pm

What laughable hypocrisy! You’re excoriating Obama for his supposed abridgement of our freedoms and rule of law, but you’re conveniently ignoring the previous, Republican administration and its utter flouting of not only personal freedoms and the rule of law, but of international law as well. You can start that list with an unnecessary war that was predicated upon lies from the Bush-Cheney Administration and which resulted in the deaths of more than 4,500 US servicemen and women.

And you can follow that that back a couple of administrations to the Bush Sr. and Reagan Administrations, with Bush Sr.’s dirty hands in the CIA, Iran-Contra, etc. But that history of malfeasance from the past 3 Republican administrations hasn’t kept you from somehow linking Snowdon’s “traitorous behavior” with the ills of the Obama Administration; as if one begot the other.

What Snowdon is exposing isn’t the Obama Administration; it’s a pandemic that extends back to JFK and beyond; it’s our government’s proclivity for denying responsibility for the harm it does, and justifying every assault on freedom and decency in the name of consolidating power.

And it’s further laughable to see some self-appointed pundit who is so utterly partisan that he will defend the worst excesses of the government from ever seeing the light of day. Have you considered applying for a job with the Chinese Government? You already have the mentality they seek in employees.

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Mandy Manners June 11, 2013 at 8:18 am

Jerk.

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Misscheryl June 11, 2013 at 8:31 am

…and further laughable is that you refuse to name barry and clinton in your tirade. Hypocrisy, thy name is R. Haines. I disagree with Keith on this one, but you are what you hate.

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Misscheryl June 11, 2013 at 8:35 am

Oh and for your reading pleasure, from Pew Research:

http://www.people-press.org/2013/06/10/majority-views-nsa-phone-tracking-as-acceptable-anti-terror-tactic/

Now pipe down drama queen.

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R. Haines June 12, 2013 at 3:48 pm

“…and further laughable is that you refuse to name barry and clinton in your tirade. Hypocrisy, thy name is R. Haines.”

Not even slightly. I’m no great fan of Obama, nor am I happy with his performance, but even if he was guilty of every single charge leveled against him, he STILL would have done less harm to the US than Bush Jr. did. Clinton has plenty of blood on his hands as well, but again — it’s paltry compared to Bush Jr. or Sr. And — news to you, apparently — Clinton inherited a nation with a record deficit and left it with a record surplus, and got us into no new wars. Bush Jr.? Two new wars (one of them utterly unnecessary), and a new record deficit, not to mention the lowest global standing since…ever.

*crickets*

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Fuck You June 11, 2013 at 12:32 am

Keith Koffler I hope you die. Simple as that. If that is how you really feel then the world is better off without you and you should just fade away. Snowden did this for YOU and for everyone else who doesn’t deserve to have their private life invaded. You think the government always knows best? So all those horrendous experiments the government did to people during WWII and the heinous shit it’s done to it’s people since then is all in our best interests? You’re delusional.

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Mandy Manners June 11, 2013 at 8:17 am

Jerk.

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Magnus June 11, 2013 at 3:42 am

I live in Sweden, and from my point of view, Snowden is a hero: He reveals your government’s violation/betrayal of your constitution. (I certainly would have wanted to know if *my* government was violating Sweden’s constitution — and you ought to want to know that your government violates yours.)

I’m afraid that will all surveillance software, in the future when eventually a too-crazy president appears, he’ll easily convert your country to a dictatorship. “Turnkey tyranny” is a very good phrase, actually.

I’m afraid the U.S. is slowly slowly slowly heading towards a dictatorship. But people like Snowden might be able to prevent that from happening.

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R. Haines June 12, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Exactly.

What mechanism exists to restrain the most powerful organization on earth (the US government) from excesses of power? That’s a serious question. But Keith Koffler will not touch it, because he knows that there’s only one answer: exposing the facts to the media and to the public. And the ONLY way to do that is if those on the inside are willing to take risks, as Snowden has done.

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Tim June 11, 2013 at 5:48 am

You let it rip on this one Keith! Although I disagree It is refreshing to see that you’re not a staunch hard liner with the blinds on. Freedom of speech is a precious thing.

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R. Haines June 12, 2013 at 3:49 pm

“Freedom of speech is a precious thing.”

Irony Alert: lauding “freedom of speech” while calling for the silencing of Edward Snowden.

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Roger Banks June 11, 2013 at 10:39 am

Just despicable. You guys are sick. Just sick. You will defend government even as millions are murdered, because you have your lips wrapped around the State.

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Kate June 11, 2013 at 1:21 pm

“Edward Snowden is no whistleblower. Whistleblowers expose illegal or clearly unethical behavior. The appropriateness of PRISM is being debated by reasonable people.”

The appropriateness of PRISM is being debated by reasonable people outside of “the Beltway” only because Edward Snowden exposed it. You may not feel that PRISM represents clearly unethical behavior, but a very great many of us do. Your recent post about Snowden’s girlfriend exposes you as someone who can comfortably trivialize this debate. I find that disappointing.

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