June 19, 2013

"Here come the Edward Snowden truthers."

"What’s surprising about the Snowden theories is that one might think he’d be a sympathetic figure to people deeply skeptical of government power. But instead of holding him up as hero (or even a traitor), some are intent on labeling him a co-conspirator."

36 comments:

Lem said...

Sweet.

Nomennovum said...

The appearance of the Truthers after any huge and controversial government action is like the appearance of maggots on a carcass. Predictable ... almost to the day.

Bob Ellison said...

Now the truth can be told. My alpaca, George, is Edward Snowden.

Dante said...

Hey, just because you are paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you.

Seriously, either Snowden isn't too bright, unprecedented illegal activity is going on, or he is a plant.

Any of these could be true. But one thing is for certain. The government is getting harder to trust.

Lem said...

Wolf wrote that she has a "creeping concern"...

I hope it doesn't require surgery.

Kohath said...

When you make up stories, you might as well make up interesting ones.

Also, conspiracy theorists think they're special precisely because they're in a tiny minority. The conspiracy theories have to be unbelievable enough to cause the vast majority to reject them, otherwise the conspiracy theorists are just ordinary.

bpm4532 said...

It's hard to figure out who is deranged here, the Snowden supporters or critics.

You have to just know that all that information isn't just being used for identifying terrorist threats. It's got to be heavily used against and to find whistle blowers and leakers. They likely justify it because if they don't stop the leaks and information flow, it will impair their ability to find terrorists (or just start labeling people terrorists to justify the collection and use of data).

bpm4532 said...

The AP is reporting that people are clamming up due to the threat of being found out or overt intimidation.

madAsHell said...

Information in classified projects is highly compartmentalized, and only provided on a need-to-know basis.

There is some indication that he has documents covering a significant breadth of areas. That's the real scandal. How did that happen!?!?!

madAsHell said...

Obama has found his Emmanuel Goldstein.

lemondog said...

Ergo: Snowden is likely a government stooge.

To what end?

edutcher said...

People are beginning to see Big government for what it is.

It can't be because all the flaws are showing.

It must be a plot.

elkh1 said...

What has Snowden disclosed that America's enemies have not already known or assumed?

Only in America was anyone surprised that they were being snooped.

bpm4532 said...
"It's got to be heavily used against and to find whistle blowers and leakers."

Mission to cover up Big Govt malfeasance accomplished.

Mary Beth said...

Those conspiracy theorists have more faith in the government (or some parts of it) being efficient than I do.

Philip Ngai said...

Who implements the compartments and grants access to them?

The system administrator.

What was Snowden's job?
The system administrator.

ndspinelli said...

I'm waiting for Oliver Stone's take. The more coke he has up his nose the crazier the conspiracy theory.

Bryan C said...

I'm more suspicious of the people who want to make the NSA scandal all about Snowden.

Tim said...

R.I.P. James Gandolfini - Suspected heart attack, in Italy.

51 years old.

Yikes!

Revenant said...

Seriously, either Snowden isn't too bright, unprecedented illegal activity is going on, or he is a plant.

What the NSA is accused of doing would pretty much have to be unprecedented, given that it wasn't technologically possible until recently.

Brew Master said...

Salon is a bit late to the conspiracy theory angle on this...

We've been speculating about Obama's possible complicity in leaking the NSA story. To participate in this conspiracy theorizing — come on, you know you want to — you need to come up with reasons why Obama and his people would see a benefit to his political interests in releasing this story. We know that in the post-Benghazi period, the administration has dropped scandals on top of scandals. The IRS scandal was dumped on top of Benghazi, distractingly.

Guess who said this?

http://althouse.blogspot.com/2013/06/if-nsa-leak-is-bid-by-obama-to-gain.html

madAsHell said...

The system administrator.

Fifteen years ago, they used removable media which could then be physically controlled in a safe with a paper trail. I can't believe that system has changed.

elkh1 said...

Mary Beth said...
"Those conspiracy theorists have more faith in the government (or some parts of it) being efficient than I do."

They do the evil parts quite efficiently. All govts do, in their genes.

They collect our phone records quite efficiently, but couldn't catch a known terrorist because of a misspelled name. They can background check legit gun buyers very efficiently, but can't stop gun bangers getting their Saturday night specials. They pass laws quite efficiently, it's the enforcing part they can't do.

Well, no govt is perfect. The Third Reich did run the trains and their furnaces very efficiently. Stalin's KGB was almost as good as our NSA.

n.n said...

The point of criticism is not the revelation that the government engaged in extra-Constitutional activities. That is a serious violation of the law and the government agents involved should be made to answer for their transgressions. The point of criticism is that Snowden chose to collaborate with foreign, arguably hostile, powers. His credibility, and motives, became suspect with that choice.

Chuck said...

Salon is so sadly confused. They just don't know what to do.

They have been served up what they might like to think is the most monumental invasion of civil rights in a generation, conducted by those organizations that the left loves to hate; the NSA, the CIA, the Defense Department and the, uh, Obama White House.

It's that last part that screws everything up and leaves them all scratching their heads. The Obama White House! How can it be? The Chosen One? Hope and Change?

Salon might never figure this one out. There's more than one dimension to it.

Zeb Quinn said...

No one ever lost a cent misunderestimating the intelligence of the American voters.

Bruce Hayden said...

It will be interesting to see how this eventually works out. I am a bit cynical about him. He seems to have made a lot more money than his education would seem to warrant, and he seemingly had a lot of access that he probably shouldn't have had. I would wonder how someone with his lack of academic credentials got a job with that firm in the first place, given their reputation, but they have apparently admitted that he worked for them.

Still, I must say that this is an interesting way to take some of the heat off of Obama and his Administration for what appears to be significantly more egregious spying on Americans than the stuff that they complained so much about under Bush (43).

In any case, I would not put CIA involvement beyond the realm of possibility - I think that they took out Gen. Petraeus, and may have helped fan the flames about Benghazi, esp. when it appeared that the State Department was trying to put much of the blame on them. Probably thanks to them, we know that both the White House and State Department knew that it was a terrorist attack from the first, and that they had completely rewritten the CIA talking points to eliminate terrorism and place the blame on that video, which everyone involved knew had not relevance to the well planned military attack.

Simon said...

There seem to be people who just revel in this conspiracy stuff, and the best option is for civilized people to just ignore them.

Simon said...

I mean, honestly, who the hell has cared what Naomi Wolf or Alex bloody Jones think about anything for, what, twenty years? Thirty? Ditto the increasingly-ridiculous Chomsky.

William said...

I have been reliably informed that the CIA has hired key media people to spread wacky conspiracy plots so that people's attention will be diverted from the CIA's true purpose.

Writ Small said...

They have been served up what they might like to think is the most monumental invasion of civil rights in a generation, conducted by those organizations that the left loves to hate; the NSA, the CIA, the Defense Department and the, uh, Obama White House.

You underestimate the Left's powers of rationalization. I tuned in to a Blogging Heads episode and Bill Scher summarized it like this.

When the surveillance programs were instituted under Bush, the Left was skeptical they would be administered responsibly and so criticized them. Eight plus years have now passed and there have been no indications of abuse - no reports, no leaks, nothing. Even Snowden did not say abuse was taking place. He merely described the capability. Therefore, the Left has rationally and collectively changed their minds, and these programs are now A-OK.

Please don't suggest hypocrisy. They're having none of that.

The Drill SGT said...

madAsHell said...
Information in classified projects is highly compartmentalized, and only provided on a need-to-know basis.


Ought to be.

Snowden seems to have info on domestic stuff, code words US-Brit sources/methods e.g the Russian CDMA stuff and Chinese IP router hacks. That is a very wide portfolio for a new guy in Hawaii.

My experience a long time ago on an NSA farm team, was that the remote locations collected and analyzed their region. We had NO access to out of country stuff. It was all done at Meade. I might expect him to know about China, but not UK/Russian stuff


Chip Ahoy said...

My dad showed us inside the building that controlled the radars that scanned the skies for airplanes and spy planes and bombers and invaders and ne'er-do-wells bent on harming our happy little island and what I saw was impressive, our imagined enemies were outward. Snowden was shown something more vast than that, a whole magnitude of order more vast, if only one magnitude of order more vast, scanning for enemies inward. We're all Pogo up in here nowadays, we have met the enemy and he's right here. The radars that scanned above the horizon are now the computers that scan below it and a thousand times more vast than SAC. I'm guessing, I just pulled that out of my butt, I thought 1,000 sounded good for hyperbole I could bargain down from there.

(It's a really cool patch, a gauntlet holding lightning bolts, red bolts, on an heraldic escutcheon -- that's a shield or else a keyhole cover, clouds for AF, and um, uh, olive branch for peace, mustn't leave out the peace part, that bit is in there too)

elkh1 said...

n.n said...
"The point of criticism is that Snowden chose to collaborate with foreign, arguably hostile, powers. His credibility, and motives, became suspect with that choice."

He should stay and be a sitting duck? Or shot by the FBI by mistake, of course, like that Chechen guy in Florida? Or "disappeared" by the NSA as their agents were overheard to have said? Or sent to jail like that filmmaker who "caused" Benghazi? Or rot in jail without trials for years like Manning Bradley?

Obama has declared the War on Terror was over, why snoop? Frankly the hostile powers knew, they hack Big Govt's computers, they provide chips, electronic components to Big Govt to run its snooping operations.

We don't live in our parents' America any more. Snowden may not be a good guy, neither is Big Govt. Big Govt. has more power than Snowden and the hostile powers to do harm to the country.

The IRS shenanigans have destroyed Big Govt's credibility. Uncle Sam changes from a good-hearted uncle into a dishonest, sinister, sneaky control freak.

The Drill SGT said...

I'm guessing, I just pulled that out of my butt, I thought 1,000 sounded good for hyperbole I could bargain down from there.

LOL, The PC I'm using has 100 times the CPU that the IBM super computer of 1983 had. e.g. 3090 CPU

NSA Ft Meade is the largest employer in the state of Maryland AND the largest user of power.

Tibore said...

Well...

1. Naomi Wolf. I'd call her an Intellectual Lightweight, but that would imply she had any intellectual weight to begin with.

2. Webster Tarpley and Alex Jones: Tarpley's a conspiracy fantasizing gadfly who'd find a way to insert government malfeasance into someone milking a cow or walking to the store. He's prominent as a 9/11 truther, and I'm just not surprised that he's glommed onto the Conspiracy Of The Month. And Alex Jones... that's the dark side of entrepreneurship: He's someone who's found a way to monetize paranoia. While I do think he believes, albeit weakly, the stuff he pushes, he really pushes it to line his pocket. He's a carnival barker, and paranoia's his 3 ring circus.

3. 9/11 Truthers hating Greenwald: I'm not surprised. Truther activities seem to me to very closely resemble activity of the early communist agitators - if you don't hew the "Party Line" from A to Z, there's something wrong with you, and you're automatically not merely an outcast, but an active enemy. I've read a truther who, no kidding, tried to call Noam Chomsky a neocon puppet. When your political worldview is so out of whack that Chomsky looks right wing to you, then you're way off the sanity reservation.

city said...

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