June 14, 2013

"Snowden is a ‘card’ that China never expected... But China is neither adept at nor used to playing it."

Said an editorial in The Global Times, which the NYT identifies as "a nationalistic mainland Chinese newspaper under the direct control of the Communist Party."
The commentary also called for China and Hong Kong to treat Mr. Snowden kindly enough so that others with national security secrets will not be discouraged from fleeing here. “China should make sure that Hong Kong is not the last place where other ‘Snowdens’ want to go,” it said.
The NYT ends the article with a quote from London lawyer Geoffrey Robertson, who has represented Julian Assange. Robertson criticizes the British government's threatening to fine airlines if they bring Snowden to their country:
“This is a power hitherto used only against those who incite terrorism, race hatred and homophobia — never before against whistle-blowers,” Mr. Robertson wrote in an e-mail. “The British government is simply afraid that its judges, who are fiercely independent, and the European court would embarrass its closest ally by ruling that Snowden could not be extradited because, even if his 'revelations' prove to be mistaken, he would be subjected to oppressive treatment akin to that being meted out to Bradley Manning”....
In Robertson's analysis, disclosing national security secrets is supposed to be less severe than private speech expressing the hateful ideas: Snowden is a "whistle-blower," who has released good and useful speech to the general public.

119 comments:

Gahrie said...

Snowden should be given a cell next to Pollard, and Hanssen.

gerry said...

So is he a goofball or a hero?

Paul Zrimsek said...

A liberal can forgive anything but disagreement.

Henry said...

Robertson criticizes the British government threatening to fine airlines if they bring Snowden to to their country

That's a strange power. Does the U.S. have anything like that?

pm317 said...

which the NYT identifies as "a nationalistic mainland Chinese newspaper under the direct control of the Communist Party."

Do I make the obvious comment?

So is he a goofball or a hero?

He need not be either but just a person who took into his own hands what he thought was a problem. Now is there a problem in what he has disclosed or not? We should quit making this about Snowden (which is what the supporters of govt+corporatocracy wants) and let us make this about collusion between information/communication companies, media companies, and Obama administration. Religion and state don't mix and in the same way politics and private enterprises should not be stuck at the hips with govt (esp. govt of one party).

Lem said...

So is he a goofball or a hero?

What does the commander in chief say?

Mitchell the Bat said...

People who express hateful ideas aren't allowed on airplanes?

The Drill SGT said...

Whether or not Snowden's revelations about PRISM constitute a crime under Title 18 and regardless he did good, his public statements and potentially private ones regarding NSA activities in China are clearly across the Title 18 line and might be treasonous as well.

Bring him back and try him...

edutcher said...

The Red Chinese, our pals, have been talking about a war for domination of the Pacific for about 20 years.

And this is just one more step in preparing for it.

gerry said...

So is he a goofball or a hero?

One can be both, although he isn't.

Lem said...

"As Edward Snowden speaks out, President Obama goes quiet"

On Politico 2 days ago.

Darrell said...

What does the commander in chief say?

http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-TV/2013/06/13/Third-Graders-Introduce-Obama-at-LGBT-Pride-Event

Follow Obama's narrative, not your own.

Mogget said...

If Snowden had, like Manning or the Obama administration, endangered the life or liberty of someone else, I could be more easily persuaded to view his crime as more serious. As it is, all he did seems to be to have made very public what MIGHT turn out to be a form of surveillance we do not desire to allow to continue. Big Government would, for its own purposes, like to discourage this sort of thing. We, however, should not be so hasty in lining up behind them. Let them swing in the wind for awhile.

Matthew Sablan said...

IF they wouldn't extradite a child rapist, why would they extradite someone who just leaked some secrets that everyone with half a brain sort of expected? Europe: Get over yourself.

bpm4532 said...

what has he disclosed that wasn't suspected or known in private industry tech circles?

I think the big scandal is that so much money is being spend with so little result. They couldn't find the Boston Bomber? They claim they would have found the 9/11 terrorists, but that's not a provable claim.

It is well known, it's easy to create a model that fits historical data but that these typically fail miserably when trying to forecast.

The problem with trying to find "patterns" is the classic failure of imagination to think up a pattern for the search, particularly given that the data is not just random, but filled with many patterns that are normal.

edutcher said...

PS Love the line "This is a power hitherto used only against those who incite terrorism, race hatred and homophobia".

For the PC crowd, "homophobia" is now equivalent to treason and terrorism.

Churchill must be spinning.

Dante said...

I don't care about these things, but I think the Madam might:

"In Robertson's analysis, disclosing national security secrets is supposed be to less

Should read "is supposed to be".

Freder Frederson said...

NSA activities in China are clearly across the Title 18 line and might be treasonous as well.

Gee, I missed the declaration of war, or even the designation of China as an enemy of the U.S., a necessary prerequisite for a charge of treason.

Dante said...

For the PC crowd, "homophobia" is now equivalent to treason and terrorism.

Don't you mean "homophobia" is worse than treason and terrorism?

Achilles said...

These programs and powers were meant to be used on foreign enemies and people in this country that acted as enemies of the country. When the Obama administration turned these programs on the general citizenry and law abiding Americans these programs went from being a security asset to something else.

Is Snowden a hero? Meh. Did he do the right thing telling Americans that the Obama administration is performing unreasonable seizures of private communications in direct conflict with the 4th amendment by reading their emails and transcribing their phone calls? Yes.

These programs needed to be developed and used on our enemies. But when fascists in our own government use them to suppress political opponents and the government misuses them then people need to speak out.

edutcher said...

bpm4532 said...

what has he disclosed that wasn't suspected or known in private industry tech circles?

I think the big scandal is that so much money is being spend with so little result. They couldn't find the Boston Bomber? They claim they would have found the 9/11 terrorists, but that's not a provable claim.


I think that's what the big show of the chair of the House Intel Committee saying he's lying was about.

The day before, Demos came out of that briefing scared to death. We've taken a good-sized hit because of the Choom Gang's use of an otherwise important program for partisan political gain and Rogers is doing the perfunctory, "Nothing to see. Move along".

Freder Frederson said...

In Robertson's analysis, disclosing national security secrets is supposed be to less severe than private speech expressing the hateful ideas.

The law is supposed to be used to keep people out of the U.K. who may incite violence. How is Snowden a threat to incite violence?

edutcher said...

Dante said...

For the PC crowd, "homophobia" is now equivalent to treason and terrorism.

Don't you mean "homophobia" is worse than treason and terrorism?


True that.

Achilles said...

Freder Frederson said...

NSA activities in China are clearly across the Title 18 line and might be treasonous as well.

Gee, I missed the declaration of war, or even the designation of China as an enemy of the U.S., a necessary prerequisite for a charge of treason.

6/14/13, 8:54 AM

The war was only declared by the Chinese. Like our friends in the ME who also openly declare war on us, we have failed to follow suit.

Chip Ahoy said...

National security secrets you say, and then grin, because it's not a secret at all. The thing that was not understood was the extent. The horrible extent of us ALL being spied upon ALL time. That is unacceptable.

Crime syndicate secrets is more accurate. They're patting themselves on the back for using computer experts and these same NSA techniques of pattern identification for identifying political opponents, identifying nonvoters and shaming, and dismissing it as the same marketing used by Amazon and other sales firms that we already accepted, the use of psychologists, basically to tailor their malinformation lies about opponents motives and intentions to target their low information voters of the sort analyzed and mocked here but quite effective for their base of voting retards, and they smile while they explain their excellence and their brilliance in shifting elections while ignoring they brought on the most corrupt election in history by parlaying government departments into the service of Party. It is criminal. How, you ask? By the thousands of Lois Lerners within government positions, including their high level lawyers and behavior analysts, that leap to the service of Party never questioning the extraconstitutionality of their activities, on the contrary, they all fell superior to their opponents and their quaint supplication to parchment. The only answer is to shut it down and start over. It's too corrupted to persist as it is.

Government employee labor unions with both official and unofficial kickback schemes with taxpayers as suckers. Touched by liberalism and so ruined.

They refuse to apply the techniques to mosques anyway so it's useless as with Boston, but useful with things like tea party individuals and Romney campaign.

The government is not trusted. Flatly. It cannot be trusted. They lie too much. Cover their asses too much. Behave too magisterially. If it were a company we'd already be looking for another one.

And nobody here is making a hero out of Snowden but I am pleased he kicked up the hornet's nest. More Snowdens please.

Bob Ellison said...

Snowden is allowed to talk out loud? Who gave him that right?

edutcher said...

Hate to say it, but Freder's right.

From Cedar's Scared Parchment:

ARTICLE III

SECTION 3.

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.

Bob Ellison said...

Chip Ahoy, well said. Wordy, as usual, but well said.

Achilles said...

bpm4532 said...

"what has he disclosed that wasn't suspected or known in private industry tech circles?"

The Taliban in Afghanistan had a general idea of what we were doing. But they didn't know how or what the capabilities were. In Iraq we crushed AQ because they had no clue.

"I think the big scandal is that so much money is being spend with so little result. They couldn't find the Boston Bomber? They claim they would have found the 9/11 terrorists, but that's not a provable claim."

We had 2 foreign governments, without these capabilities, tell us the Boston bombers were terrorists. Nidal Hassan was basically telling everyone to their face he was going to go nut balls.

We didn't need those programs to find them. We needed an administration that put as much effort into keeping us safe as it put into suppressing opposing points of view and groups it didn't like. If we turned the IRS on AQ or the Taliban instead of the Tea Party we would all be safer.

Bob Ellison said...

BTW, "Snowden" was the name of the guy dying in the bomber in Joseph Heller's Catch-22. I can't hear the name without thinking of that.

Colonel Angus said...

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.

Is treason even charged anymore? John Lindh wasn't even charged with treason.

traditionalguy said...

So much carefully constructed narrative went down the drain by the revelation of so little truth. Snowden's small dose of truth has really made the Nations rage.

Will Snowden be drawn and quartered? Maybe he can just turned over to Planned Parenthood's murder apparatus for a maximum late term abortion done Philadelphia style.

deborah said...

"We needed an administration that put as much effort into keeping us safe as it put into suppressing opposing points of view and groups it didn't like. If we turned the IRS on AQ or the Taliban instead of the Tea Party we would all be safer."

You can go a step further and say that the Boston bombing was a boon to the administration.

gerry said...

I think the big scandal is that so much money is being spend with so little result

Well, Choom is off to Africa to blow $100 million more of sequester-depleted citizen tax dollars on some pretty useless bullshit.

Where's THAT scandal?

I'm a racist, I guess.

traditionalguy said...

Has anybody noticed that the Chinese and the Al Qaeda are not sweating the NSA's gathering of targeting data found in the secret life of American citizens.

Ergo: the NSA is not at war with the Chinese or the Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabian Guerilla Army. The NSA is at war with American power that is controlled by American voters.

gerry said...

The NSA is at war with American power that is controlled by American voters.

The NSA is at war with American citizens.

Steve Reynolds said...

With Snowden you get egg roll

Mogget said...

It might be easiest to deal a definitive blow to al-Qaeda by letting it slip to the EPA and its environmentalist fans that that they support the continued use of coal-fired power plants or some such thing. Fanatics can be very heavy-handed in dealing with those who do not share their faith.

Achilles said...

I think it has become clear that the administration is more of an enemy of the American people than this guy is.

Oso Negro said...

Having worked with literally hundreds of Chinese in leadership positions over the past three years, I can say with certainly that while they are somewhat hobbled when it comes to handling direct interpersonal problems, they are brilliant at puzzling through complex multi-party conflict scenarios. Snowden is in fine hands if he is still in Hong Kong.

Colonel Angus said...

I think it has become clear that the administration is more of an enemy of the American people than this guy is.

For some of us, that was clear five and a half years ago.

edutcher said...

Colonel Angus said...

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.

Is treason even charged anymore? John Lindh wasn't even charged with treason.


Neither were the Rosenbergs.

Scott M said...

Smokescreen. The Chinese don't strike me as a bunch of incompetents.

Simon said...

As I noted the other day, if the situation were to change and extradition ceased to be a realistic option, the persuasiveness of the argument for Presidential authority to kill Snowden increases.

edutcher said...

And The Reds would then say, "Pay up".

Scott M said...

Smokescreen. The Chinese don't strike me as a bunch of incompetents.

They've had their slips over the years - they're much better at slaughtering coolies in the tens of millions - but they're trying to get their act together.

Colonel Angus said...

Neither were the Rosenbergs.

I think the charge against them was espionage. Lindh actively took up arms with the Taliban.

Simon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Simon said...

Freder Frederson said...
"Gee, I missed the declaration of war, or even the designation of China as an enemy of the U.S., a necessary prerequisite for a charge of treason."

EDutcher and I discussed this the other day. I am not persuaded that a state of war is a prerequisite to a treason charge. It seems to me that the elements of a treason charge (18 USC 2381) break down as follows:

A person who owes allegiance to the United States, who

Either (1) levies war against them,
Or (2) adheres to their enemies by giving those enemies aid and comfort, regardless of geographic location

Is guilty of treason.

This does not seem to require a state of war, much less a declaration of war. It does require that the aid and comfort that is given be given to an "enemy" of the United States, but whether a formal declaration of emnity is required, I truly doubt, since I'm unaware that such a thing has ever existed.

Colonel Angus said...

As I noted the other day, if the situation were to change and extradition ceased to be a realistic option, the persuasiveness of the argument for Presidential authority to kill Snowden increases.

It's one thing to take out an American that's hanging out with al qaeda in the Yemeni foothills. It's quite another to drone a guy who leaked NSA documents.

I don't think Obama is the brightest bulb in the drawer but he's not that stupid.

Freder Frederson said...

Is treason even charged anymore?

Last treason charges arose out of WWII, and some of those (e.g., Tokyo Rose) were eventually pardoned. Only one was executed.

edutcher said...

I think what the Rosenbergs could easily be construed as "adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort".

Question is, can you make it stick to the letter of the law? This was why they made it so stringent, people could be executed for simply disagreeing with the regime.

Which, I'm sure the Choom Gang would love. An improvement on swimming in cement sneakers.

Freder Frederson said...

I don't think Obama is the brightest bulb in the drawer but he's not that stupid.

He is certainly not as stupid as Simon.

MikeDC said...

Althouse quit lawyering and look at the truth you're lawyering past.

Argue the merits of your implied conclusion you make, that Snowden was "disclosing national security secrets" and not that he "has released good and useful speech to the general public".

I'll argue the latter.
1. The information he released appeared to be widely suspected already.
2. And especially by our actual enemies.
3. Which means that this massive and expensive system for extracting information from every American by the government with no oversight
...
has little real value in fighting our true enemies.
4. At the same time, it has massive value in the hands of unaccountable government officials who might use it to their own ends against Americans.
5. At the same time, there are already scandals going on because of just that (e.g. the IRS scandal).

Arguing that PRISM is useful and necessary for national security is like arguing an atomic bomb is necessary for securing your home from robbery.

gerry said...

I don't think Obama is the brightest bulb in the drawer but he's not that stupid

I think he's a CFL, which means he's definitely not the brightest, and definitely twisted.

Simon said...

Colonel Angus said...
It's one thing to take out an American that's hanging out with al qaeda in the Yemeni foothills. It's quite another to drone a guy who leaked NSA documents.
Not really. In both cases you have a traitor who is helping the enemy; I would certainly agree that the case is stronger when someone has actively taken up arms against the United States in league with the enemy, but simply providing them with aid and comfort satisfies the treason statute, and when the person cannot be apprehended and subjected to the criminal process (per Scalia’s Hamdi opinion), and if the President determines that they pose an ongoing and significant threat, I see no problem with dealing with them. When Kim Philby defected, would MI6 have been within its rights to kill him, if it concluded that he still posed a threat?
And by the way, I really dislike this fixation on drones. Drones neither add nor subtract anything from the question; they are simply a means. Whether it is a SEAL team or a cruise missile or a manned ærial vehicle or an unmanned ærial vehicle, the questions (with one exception not pertinent here) are exactly the same.

Simon said...

Mike, you lack the information to have an informed opinion, and so your speculation is just that—speculation.

AprilApple said...

Shut it down and start over.

Imagine there's no government with... corrupt in-it-for-life-to-line-their-pockets-and power-suck Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Hillary and Bill Clinton, Harry Reid et.al.


It's easy if you try...

bagoh20 said...

I'm wondering what people here would do if they found themselves working for the NSA and realized that the organization was spying on the entire American public in a way they believe was illegal and a gross violation of the Constitution, their work was part of it, and they could prove what they allege.

I'm not saying that is the case with Snowden or not, but if you were in the situation he claims he is, how would you handle it?

tim in vermont said...

Now that I think about it, the data gathering doesn't bother me that much, but what really bothers me is how Obama gets to have it both ways, and an honest politician has a hard time getting elected.

MikeDC said...

Simon, you lack the information to have an informed opinion, and so your speculation is just that—speculation.

tim in vermont said...

bagoh,
You would claim you were "just following orders."

Freder Frederson said...

As usual, "Hi I'm Simon, I'm not a lawyer but I play one on the internet" is wrong again in his analysis. He says " and when the demands of national security are such that he poses an ongoing danger, the executive is entitled to treat him as an enemy combatant on the battlefield and kill him in the same way that it can kill any other enemy. "

Showing that Snowden is an ongoing danger would be impossible and defies logic. He no longer has access to secret material and he has not declared any hostility to the U.S.

Colonel Angus said...

if the President determines that they pose an ongoing and significant threat, I see no problem with dealing with them.

Well neither do I but is this guy actually a threat at this point or just a point of embarrassment for the administration?

And by the way, I really dislike this fixation on drones. Drones neither add nor subtract anything from the question; they are simply a means. Whether it is a SEAL team or a cruise missile or a manned ærial vehicle or an unmanned ærial vehicle, the questions (with one exception not pertinent here) are exactly the same

Well I agree with you here. Drones are just a means to an end, just like a middle from an F18.

With regard to Snowden, having him taken out I think would turn even the most sycophantic Obama supporter off.

edutcher said...

Off Bloomberg, by way of Zero Hedge, thousands of firms are trading confidential data for classified intel.

This is a royal fuck up of unprecedented proportions.

And, on that note,

Freder Frederson said...

I don't think Obama is the brightest bulb in the drawer but he's not that stupid.

He is certainly not as stupid as Simon.


I disagree from time to time with Simon, as on this one (I think Choom has coasted for so long on his race, he really doesn't even bother thinking), but certainly Simon's no dummy.

Certainly smarter than Freder.

Mark O said...

Just follow the Soviet model. He's a dropout; he's mentally disturbed, a cross-dressing Little Red Riding Hood; he's a spy.

Be very afraid. Very.

edutcher said...

Colonel Angus said...

if the President determines that they pose an ongoing and significant threat, I see no problem with dealing with them.

Well neither do I but is this guy actually a threat at this point or just a point of embarrassment for the administration?


The issue is this guy has certain Constitutional rights. If the Choom Gang can revoke them for "Enemies of the State", we're all dead ducks.

bagoh20 said...

"...giving them aid and comfort".

I wish they would have not put it like that. If I'm living in a combat zone and a wounded enemy soldier collapses on my doorstep, I would hope it not treason to drag him inside and give him some water, apply a tourniquet, or wash a wound, while waiting for my side's troupes to arrive and take him.

Freder Frederson said...

If I'm living in a combat zone and a wounded enemy soldier collapses on my doorstep,

You are not giving the enemy aid and comfort. A wounded soldier who has put down his arms is no longer the enemy. In fact the Geneva Conventions require wounded or captured soldiers to be treated exactly the same as a soldier of similar rank in your military.

Aridog said...

Chip Ahoy said ...

The government is not trusted. Flatly. It cannot be trusted. They lie too much. Cover their asses too much. Behave too magisterially.

Just as I have said several times previously....and how it rankled me when I was part of it, and still does on principle. When I could I know what I did.

However, in my opinion, we're being played by Snowden and his story. If anything he's done effects real change by year after next, I'll be impressed...and not until. Somebody out there wants this to be about Snowden, as Snowden does, and who might that be?

Snowden "kicked a hornets' nest" just as Thomas Drake did, with far more credentials, years ago...he also went to the press...and accomplished nothing more than Wiebe, Binney, and Loomis did working through IG's and Congress.

And yet, here we are today, a decade later, acting all shocked and dismayed. Please.

edutcher said...

bagoh20 said...

"...giving them aid and comfort".

I wish they would have not put it like that. If I'm living in a combat zone and a wounded enemy soldier collapses on my doorstep, I would hope it not treason to drag him inside and give him some water, apply a tourniquet, or wash a wound, while waiting for my side's troupes to arrive and take him


That is not construed as treason. In the Civil War, for example, there were many examples of men of both armies treated by the same doctors.

Aridog said...

I agree with Bagoh20, but would ask Freder just how many of our current enemies have signed the Geneva Conventions and are bound by them?

That doesn't mean we aren't, it just means our enemies are not and will not accord us similar charity. More likely to slit a throat on video in fact...we have to deal with it.

Achilles said...

Simon said...

Colonel Angus said...
“It's one thing to take out an American that's hanging out with al qaeda in the Yemeni foothills. It's quite another to drone a guy who leaked NSA documents. ”
Not really. In both cases you have a traitor who is helping the enemy; I would certainly agree that the case is stronger when someone has actively taken up arms against the United States in league with the enemy, but simply providing them with aid and comfort satisfies the treason statute, and when the person cannot be apprehended and subjected to the criminal process (per Scalia’s Hamdi opinion), and if the President determines that they pose an ongoing and significant threat, I see no problem with dealing with them. When Kim Philby defected, would MI6 have been within its rights to kill him, if it concluded that he still posed a threat?
And by the way, I really dislike this fixation on drones. Drones neither add nor subtract anything from the question; they are simply a means. Whether it is a SEAL team or a cruise missile or a manned ærial vehicle or an unmanned ærial vehicle, the questions (with one exception not pertinent here) are exactly the same.

6/14/13, 9:53 AM

Big government conservatives never seem to miss a chance to side with the state against the people. Obama had two governments tell him about the Boston bombers and Nidal Hassan told him he was a terrorist. He still managed to turn his attention to his political opponents and the tea party. But you cannot bring yourself to admit the federal government is wrong, and should not have these powers. The republican party has been just as hostile to the tea party as the democrats.

I am so glad we have you guys to team up with democrats. Funny how even when republicans are in charge spending goes up and when democrats are in charge spending goes up. You guys wont even block spending to implement obamacare. It is almost like you want it to happen. I don't even think the republican party cares that Obama is going after US citizens.

Aridog said...

edutcher said ...

The issue is this guy has certain Constitutional rights...

IANAL, so I wonder...just what particular Constitutional Rights does Snowden have whilst ensconced in Hong Kong.

I ask because when I've lived in foreign countries, I never felt that I had all the rights I had when inside the USA.

Achilles said...

Freder Frederson said...

If I'm living in a combat zone and a wounded enemy soldier collapses on my doorstep,

You are not giving the enemy aid and comfort. A wounded soldier who has put down his arms is no longer the enemy. In fact the Geneva Conventions require wounded or captured soldiers to be treated exactly the same as a soldier of similar rank in your military.

6/14/13, 10:13 AM

The people we are currently fighting do not abide by, nor have they signed the Geneva Conventions. They are worse than animals. They purposely get their children injured and killed.

I am offended that people like you even compare them to us.

bagoh20 said...

Well that's good to hear. I'd hate to have to leave some you lefties out there in rain bleeding all over your red hammer and sickle flag when it gets hot up in here in the coming years. Remember, we just wanted to be free. You started it.

Achilles said...

Aridog said...

edutcher said ...

The issue is this guy has certain Constitutional rights...

IANAL, so I wonder...just what particular Constitutional Rights does Snowden have whilst ensconced in Hong Kong.

I ask because when I've lived in foreign countries, I never felt that I had all the rights I had when inside the USA.

6/14/13, 10:26 AM

Do we have rights in the US? Apparently it is a reasonable Search and Seizure to record all of our telephone calls and read all of our emails. They are the governments airwaves and internet after all.

Achilles said...

Apparently the supreme court is above the first amendment too.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/13/supreme-court-bans-protests_n_3437075.html

edutcher said...

Aridog said...

The issue is this guy has certain Constitutional rights...

IANAL, so I wonder...just what particular Constitutional Rights does Snowden have whilst ensconced in Hong Kong.

I ask because when I've lived in foreign countries, I never felt that I had all the rights I had when inside the USA.


I know what you mean, but the problem is the Constitution doesn't say we lose our rights if we go overseas.

Not trying to be contrary, but my point is, if we allow the Choom Gang to dictate who has what rights when and where, that would turn into the slipperiest of slopes.

edutcher said...

PS Not a lawyer, either, just an old Poli Sci guy. I go by the document as written.

It's supposed to be treated as the supreme law of the land, not the way some people regard certain Commandments as the Ten Suggestions.

Colonel Angus said...

IANAL, so I wonder...just what particular Constitutional Rights does Snowden have whilst ensconced in Hong Kong.

I ask because when I've lived in foreign countries, I never felt that I had all the rights I had when inside the USA.


You don't give up your rights as an American under US law simply because you visit another country.

On the other hand, let's say you're a nuclear physicist and move to Iran to help them develop nuclear weapons then I think a good argument can be made that you're a threat to national security and should be taken out at the first opportunity.

Rusty said...

It's the "penumbras, Ed.
They're fuckin' everywhere!!!

Sam L. said...

"Snowden is a ‘card’ that China never expected... But China is neither adept at nor used to playing it."
Said an editorial in The Global Times, which the NYT identifies as "a nationalistic mainland Chinese newspaper under the direct control of the Communist Party."

Chinese are smart. They'll find a way.

cubanbob said...

Whatever Snowden knows or has disclosed is something that hasn't been made clear if it ever will be made clear.
Suffice to say whatever his motives he has broken the law. That said, the real problem that Snowden has created is that he has stripped us of any illusions. If anyone had really gave it a bit a thought prior to this disclosure that could the government be able to do what has now been disclosed the only answer would have been yes. The technology has been in place for years. There was no great conceptual leap needed to implement this. We just didn't think about it and didn't want to think about it. Now we know and now we have yet another illusion stripped away.

I suppose there is a certain amount of delicious irony in Obama getting castigated by the Germans over this affair all the while it's a pretty safe bet every european country does pretty much the same. I believe its a pretty safe bet the only countries that don't engage in this type of surveillance to some degree are the ones that are too poor and technically unsophisticated to do so. Snowden has not only embarrassed the US but the West as well. The Chinese and the Russians are no doubt enjoying this scandal thoroughly.

edutcher said...

Colonel Angus said...

IANAL, so I wonder...just what particular Constitutional Rights does Snowden have whilst ensconced in Hong Kong.

I ask because when I've lived in foreign countries, I never felt that I had all the rights I had when inside the USA.


You don't give up your rights as an American under US law simply because you visit another country.

On the other hand, let's say you're a nuclear physicist and move to Iran to help them develop nuclear weapons then I think a good argument can be made that you're a threat to national security and should be taken out at the first opportunity.


Maybe that's a job for the FISA courts, but my problem is, with the media acting as Ministry of Propaganda, how hard would it be to portray some guy as another Julius Rosenberg to justify a contract on him.

(since we're talking about gangsters, we might as well use their jargon)

The Drill SGT said...

@MikeDC said...

I'll come back to the merits of PRISM and/or the merits of disclosing PRISM in a separate post, however, Snowden has:

1. taken TS/SCI classified files off an NSA server
2. Fled the US to a Communist country with those TS/SCI documents
3. revealed at least in public and likely in private, sensitive classified material involving the NSA's activities regarding China.

all three of those activities are forbidden under the agreements he signed with NSA. They are potential offenses under Title 18.

From a criminal perspective you have to assume he is innocent

From an intelligence perspective, you have to assume that every file he downloaded, every secret he knew and every source and method he used is in the hands of the guys in PLA Unit 61398.

Titus said...

Snowden has a carrot cock with bright red pubes.

Aridog said...

edutcher said ...

I know what you mean, but the problem is the Constitution doesn't say we lose our rights if we go overseas.

It doesn't say we retain them either, when on the soil of another soverign nation...unless I am missing it.

Colonel Angus said ...

You don't give up your rights as an American under US law simply because you visit another country.

Same issue...my experience is that when in country XYZ I am bound by XYZ's laws, even if in uniform, when off post, if a SOFA agreement is in place stipulating part or all of that jurisdiction.

I am not trying to be contrary either...I really just do not know, and would like to know, exactly what US of A Constituional rights we effectively retain when on the soil of another soveriegn nation? It is NOT a matter of what rights we retain as citizens per se...but what are actually in effect on foreign soil.

As I said, IANAL,..but maybe some Con-Law types could answer the question(s) and enlighten me.

The Dril SGT basically outlined my understanding of the key points, as they applied to me at least, while I was military as well as when a "Fed." It is precisely why, when I chose to blow a whistle, it was within the auspices of Executive Oversight [IG's and very senioor leadership] and Congress, and why I vetted my idea(s) with trusted associates. I see none of those precautions in Snowden's outburst, and frankly he has less standing for defense than Thomas Drake did for going to the press years ago.

edutcher said...

Aridog said...

I know what you mean, but the problem is the Constitution doesn't say we lose our rights if we go overseas.

It doesn't say we retain them either, when on the soil of another soverign nation...unless I am missing it.


I believe the assumption is, if the Constitution doesn't specifically say we don't have it, we do.

I think the issue is, as American, we retain those rights in our relationship to the Feds. What the local government does is determined by treaty.

These days YMMV.

Simon said...

Freder Frederson said...
"Showing that Snowden is an ongoing danger would be impossible and defies logic. He no longer has access to secret material and he has not declared any hostility to the U.S."

And Colonel Angus said...
"is this guy actually a threat at this point or just a point of embarrassment for the administration?"

The answer to both is "that depends." Has Snowden released all the material that he has? I don't know; do you know? To what information, other than that which he has already leaked, did he have access? I don't know; do you know? Of the information to which he had access, how much of it did he copy or commit to memory? I don't know; do you know?

I doubt that the President knows, either, but he is in a much better position to make that determination than we are.

Simon said...


MikeDC said...
"Simon, you [likewise] lack the information to have an informed opinion, and so your speculation is [lkewise] just that—speculation."

Yes! That's right; now you're getting it. Like Chip, you appear to have misunderstood the discussion we're in. This isn't a debate over whether the NSA programs are a good thing in which you take the con side and I the pro. That isn't my position at all. My position is precisely that neither of us has the information necessary to have an informed opinion, and so our speculation is, and can only be, just that: Speculation. This is a debate that we as members of the general population are incompetent to have.

Simon said...

Achilles said...
"Big government conservatives never seem to miss a chance to side with the state against the people."

Perhaps, but as has already been explained to you, I'm not a big government conservative—frankly, I'm not sure that any American conservative is, insofar as "big government" as we usually understand that term is beyond the compass of the anglo-american tradition. At any rate, I'm just a regular conservative, and perhaps that's not good enough for our libertarian friends, but it certainly doesn't make me in favor of big government, and your continuing insistence to the contrary is both ignorant and tendentious.

The Drill SGT said...

@MikeDc,
On the subject of PRISM, it is a specific case of a technique called "traffic analysis".

Who talks to whom, in what volumes, gives important tells on who is in charge, whether operations are planned and the very nature of covert cells or communications nets.

Used by a Government for illicit purposes to stifle dissent or pinpoint leakers, it is frighteningly powerful, whether you know that it could be used or not.

Does it still have value in the war on terror or against hostile agents of foreign powers. sure, even after this leak.

What we need to ascertain and squelch is any use of the tool for "political" (generic use of the term) purposes.

Bob Ellison said...

Simon said "My position is precisely that neither of us has the information necessary to have an informed opinion, and so our speculation is, and can only be, just that: Speculation. This is a debate that we as members of the general population are incompetent to have."

This is the problem, Simon. You seem to think yourself unfit to judge your government. If you are unfit, so are we all.

Don't be a little bitch. Go vote proper people into office, at the least.

Or are you trying for irony? My ironimeter sometimes malfunctions, but it's showing zero in this case.

Dante said...

I'm wondering what people here would do if they found themselves working for the NSA and realized that the organization was spying on the entire American public in a way they believe was illegal and a gross violation of the Constitution, their work was part of it, and they could prove what they allege.

So long as the information was being used to target Lefties in the way the IRS targets Constitutionalists, I think I might let it slide, for a while.

But seriously, there isn't enough information there. I could see letting something unconstitutional continue if I felt it could help the country to come back to a more constitutional framework. And I'm not talking about requiring CA to provide welfare benefits to illegals, either. I'm talking about pushing power back to the states and the people, to a republic as the original constitution meant for us to be.

elkh1 said...

The Global Times, which the NYT identifies as "a nationalistic mainland Chinese newspaper under the direct control of the Communist Party."

The NYT, which the Global Times identifies as "an American newspaper under the direct control of the Democratic Party."

Crunchy Frog said...

I think he's a CFL, which means he's definitely not the brightest, and definitely twisted.

But it's Moochelle that has the ballast.

jr565 said...

Lets first establish that China has been spying on us for ages. Not to mention stealing our technology. So, if we are monitoring them - its about flicking time. Does anyone other than this faggot pipsqueak who leaked all this stuff actually seem surprised at the revelation? Why the hell is he telling them?

This guy is no hero at all. He's divulging states secrets to an enemy. He should be serving life in jail, if not getting a bullet to the back of the head.

Then again, was China surprised that we were spying on them? How vague was his declaration? If it was revealing ways and means and detailed info then he is a fucking traitor.

Simon said...

Bob Ellison said...
"This is the problem, Simon. You seem to think yourself unfit to judge your government. If you are unfit, so are we all."

You present that as if it's a conclusion at which you've arrived, but that is precisely my argument. The American people are not qualified to judge this question because we are not and cannot be privy to the information necessary to judge this program. Period. The only place to which debate on this program can be rationally assigned is the executive branch. I don't like that any better than you do, but that conclusion follows ineluctably from the epistemological limits that any reasonable person has to admit.

"Don't be a little bitch. Go vote proper people into office, at the least."

And I have said exactly that—here, and repeatedly. The awesome power that we confide in the President should not be given to some chump, some first-term senator who's never held a real job in his life. We're going to give it to someone just because they're an idol of sorts? I mean, give me a break! We the people—a phrase, by the way, that should never be used except in this way—elected Obama. That was stupid, and I said that we shouldn't. But we did. Then we did it again, even though I said that it was even stupider to compound the mistake. It's far too late for buyers' remorse. I didn't vote for him. I bet you didn't either. Maybe next time, shaken awake into realizing just what position they're electing a man to, Americans will be a little chastened and will listen to us?

bagoh20 said...

" This is a debate that we as members of the general population are incompetent to have."

Jay Carney, Is that you? C'mon, we're on to ya. Hey, Tell Obama to come over to this blog so he can find out what his government is up to. I know he usually waits to read the newspapers for that, but they aren't really very informative on the subject.

Bob Ellison said...

Simon, I take it back. Please stop voting.

William said...

Snowden's pose as an anguished idealist would be more credible if it didn't look like he was simultaneously bargaining with China while releasing these secrets. But his own indiscretions protect him, to some extent, from clandestine harm. Suppose you're the agent who is given the order to off Snowden. What's to keep Snowden.2 from revealing the operation......First Manning, now Snowden. Maybe our intelligence people should consider using computers without USB ports or not letting IT people carry thumb drives at work, or something. Does every neurotic computer tech in the intelligence community have access to every government secret?

bagoh20 said...

" Does every neurotic computer tech in the intelligence community have access to every government secret?"

Look, we are far too incompetent to judge the competence of an incompetent agency full of incompetents. That takes professionals like Clapper and the FBI director who doesn't know what he had for breakfast this morning.

MikeDC said...

The Drill SGT said...
@MikeDC said...

Snowden has:

1. taken TS/SCI classified files off an NSA server
2. Fled the US to a Communist country with those TS/SCI documents
3. revealed at least in public and likely in private, sensitive classified material involving the NSA's activities regarding China.

all three of those activities are forbidden under the agreements he signed with NSA. They are potential offenses under Title 18.

From a criminal perspective you have to assume he is innocent

From an intelligence perspective, you have to assume that every file he downloaded, every secret he knew and every source and method he used is in the hands of the guys in PLA Unit 61398.


Yes, I'd agree with that most of that (though not that fleeing to HK is the same in practice as fleeing to the PRC).

The question remains though whether this actually means, in practice, that he disclosed true national security secrets.

I mean, is there operative intelligence? True secrets necessary for our protection, or a mountain of stuff stamped confidential.

This is the problem with whistleblowing in general. Everything is secret, and everything breaks the law.

But the assertion of breaking the law is not the fact of it, because you've got other laws to consider too. What the law really is is where those disputes between competing laws get settled.

That's what I'm objecting to Althouse running over and paying no mind to.

To put it a little more simply, a full accounting would say

1. The classified files taken by Snowden have a significant chance of revealing lots of lawbreaking itself. It's unclear they truly reflect dangerous sensitive information the government needs to keep secret for protection of the United States, or merely information that is dangerous, and sensitive because it discloses the widespread nature and extent of the illegal activities being engaged in by the government.

2. Fled to one of the few places in the world that's got a history of credible protest and independence from both China and the US.

3. Yes. Sensitive, but it's unclear if they are matters of national security. Or whether they're at all secret.

Basically, the law requiring him to keep secrets shouldn't rule the much more fundamental law (I'd argue it's implicit in the 1st Amendment) and that gives us redress against the government.

Basically, I'd argue it's an affirmative defense like necessity.

The Drill SGT said...

William said...
Maybe our intelligence people should consider using computers without USB ports or not letting IT people carry thumb drives at work, or something. Does every neurotic computer tech in the intelligence community have access to every government secret?


For 5-6 years now, USB drives have been forbidden in DoD computer spaces period. Whether on the TS, SIPRNET or NIPRNET, having a drive in your possession is a class I security breach. Last year, I was working for a while in main FBI HQ in just normal office spaces. Though there were low and high side machines on every desk. Plugging anything into a USB port (e.g charging your phone) was a firing offense

MikeDC said...

Also

Used by a Government for illicit purposes to stifle dissent or pinpoint leakers, it is frighteningly powerful, whether you know that it could be used or not.

Does it still have value in the war on terror or against hostile agents of foreign powers. sure, even after this leak.

What we need to ascertain and squelch is any use of the tool for "political" (generic use of the term) purposes.


Yep... It just seems evident to me that there is nothing at all set up at the moment to stop that power from being turned on us, No checks, no balances, nothing but a "trust us" from a government that's proven itself impossible to trust.

William said...

I think it's useful and instructive to note that no anguished idealist within the IRS has come forward to release information about that clandestine program.

Simon said...

bagoh20 said...
"Jay Carney, Is that you? C'mon, we're on to ya."

You know, years ago, when I would defend the President's use of executive authority to keep the country safe—which is, after all, his job—liberals would adopt a similar mocking tone: Ari Fleischer, is that you? C'mon, we're on to ya. Dana Parino, is that you? C'mon, we're on to ya. It wasn't any more persuasive then.

jr565 said...

Julius's and Ethel Rosenberg were executed for trying to divulge our nuclear programs to the Russians. What did this guy do that was different?the only thing different is that he wasn't working for china when he joined the NSA. Only, how do we know this isn't the case. If not the death PEnalty this guy should serve close to life in prison. In Gitmo.

jr565 said...

Tere is oversight on this program. But if the argument is there should e more oversight, I can understand and even agree. There should be a mechanism in place that shows that the program is t eing abused above and beyond what already there.

Only, that will not satisfy the critics since they seem to think they should have access to covert details and programs. So, if they set up a thrid party to monitor all the calls we made to show whether any searches we did we unlawful, it would still be done in secret. So, you wouldn't know the details. And if the group appointed came out and said there was no shenanigans, well then how could we possibly trust them.

If it was Rand Paul himself who oversaw it, he would be bound to secrecy. But if he said, that in this case the govt wasnt abusing the program the argument would be " what do they have on Rand Pal to make him cover up the program"

Incidentally, the critics put forward a link that shows that a number was incorrectly entered, and it sounds like there was a process in place to address it. So again, even with safeguards already in place its never going to be enough.

Finally, I keep hearing that the people who are with the program under Bush are now against it because its gone further, is kind of self serving on their part. Since, we don't know how far that program already went since it too was a secret program. So there will be some degree of trust in govt in overseeing the program.

But if the objection is that it has to involve overseas communication otherwise you'll object to it, you have to explain what surveillance should be allowed for terrorists who are American citizens, like Tsarnaev and who are operating in this country. Should their citizenship prevent any surveillance?

jr565 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jr565 said...

Simon wrote:
You know, years ago, when I would defend the President's use of executive authority to keep the country safe—which is, after all, his job—liberals would adopt a similar mocking tone: Ari Fleischer, is that you? C'mon, we're on to ya. Dana Parino, is that you? C'mon, we're on to ya. It wasn't any more persuasive then.

for the libertarians of the world, they were probably already against the surveillance program under Bush. THat was the imposition of the police state. And Bush was a Nazi.And they share the same view as the liberals.Because they are far left liberals at heart. Code Pink is A more moderate Ron Paul.

It's the people who defended Bush's programs like Sean Hannity and some of the people on these boards who are making me physically ill with their hear no evil see no evil bullshit. Google will not be their friends, just as it wasnt when democrats tried to play politics with Iraq. Hypocrites.

bagoh20 said...

"You know, years ago, when I would defend the President's use of executive authority to keep the country safe..."

So although you are incompetent to even discuss it, you're sure the program is the same now as then, and that no matter what is done, what gets reported, or what is leaked, we just have ignore it, and trust them.

Something I've learned by managing and delegating responsibility for most of life is that if you simply trust people and they know you won't be asking any questions, then you are encouraging abuse and disaster.

Protecting the country is not just their job, it's also ours. Challenging them is how we take responsibility. I don't want to say I told you so after the mess. I'd rather feel secure because the people in power know: I'm watching, I value my rights, and I will hold them accountable. We may for practical purposes have to do a lot of trusting, but saying we trust you, no matter what is reported or leaked is as irresponsible as voting for someone with zero qualifications. Doing both is foolhardy.

Aridog said...

Question: Given that a large part of this NSA revelation is *public outcry* over the potential for abuse and use against civilians in the USA....did Snowden offer one iota of evidence that PRISM or any other system has been used against US citizens, in any tangible fashion, in the US of A?

bagoh20 said...

What's all the exposure of secrets? I haven't heard anything that was unknown to the enemy, only things that the American people might be surprised at. This surveillance is widely expected by people risking their lives to kill us. They're evil - not stupid. The enemy have always expected it and are working around it. It will get less useful everyday, as it keeps getting bigger and knowing more about each of us. This is not static. The enemy will continue to adapt, and the government will continue to collect. Once they have all this data that's no longer very useful to fight terrorists, someone will use it for what they can.

Simon said...

bagoh20 said...
"So although you are incompetent to even discuss it, you're sure the program is the same now as then, and that no matter what is done, what gets reported, or what is leaked, we just have ignore it, and trust them."

Fair to say, I misspoke: I defend the President's discretion to make decisions to keep the country safe. And I don't trust Obama; I have to trust him, because he is the President and you have to deal with reality, but I don't trust him. I didn't vote for him, and I won't be voting for the democratic nominee next time, who is highly unlikely to be someone who can be trusted with the Presidency.

William said...

The IRS program specifically targeted individuals for their political beliefs and activities. This was not a case of potential for abuse. This was abuse. The best way to limit the potential for abuse in any government program is to vigorously prosecute such abuses when they occur....The abuse potential in the NSA program is limited only by one's imagination. Perhaps that's why it has gathered more outrage among the imaginative than the somewhat pedestrian scandal in the IRS.....I will feel America's a safer country when people despise Lois Lerner as much as they do Snowden.

William said...

Domestic surveillance: At the instigation of FDR, Hoover conducted several black bag operations against the Liberty Lobby and various German-American Bund organizations. This was done prior to our entry into WWII. When these operations are mentioned at all, they are mentioned in a laudatory way. Domestic surveillance is only a problem if you spy on leftists.....The outrage about the IRS program is muted in comparison to the NSA story. I think that's wrong.

MikeDC said...

Julius's and Ethel Rosenberg were executed for trying to divulge our nuclear programs to the Russians. What did this guy do that was different?

Err... he didn't give secret knowledge of weapons to our declared enemies that could be used to literally destroy our country and everyone in it.

Rather, he gave confirmed suspected knowledge of informational techniques that can't literally destroy anything and has a most obvious use to illegally influence and control people within this country who aren't enemies.

Aridog said...

William said ...

I will feel America's a safer country when people despise Lois Lerner as much as they do Snowden.

Amen. Prism has potential for abuse, and has been run up the pole to distract from actual abuse that has already occurred. Think IRS, Benghazi, HH&S Sibelius' solicitation of money bypassing appropriations [how many people even know that is illegal?], at al...

Simon said...

MikeDC said...
"he didn't give secret knowledge of weapons to our declared enemies that could be used to literally destroy our country and everyone in it."

Oh, so there's a threshold criterion that someone's only a traitor if the knowledge they convey to the enemy is an existential threat to the nation itself? So if the Rosenbergs had passed to the Soviets, say, details of our spy network in Russia, they would have been off the hook? So Aldritch Aimes, for example, was hard-done-by?