How Does This Guy Still Have a Job?

So sorry, Congress, now that you caught me in a lie (FUCK YOU SNOWDEN, GELLMAN, AND GREENWALD!):

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has apologized for a “clearly erroneous” statement he made to Congress over the National Security Agency’s surveillance activities.

In a letter to Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), released publicly on Tuesday, Clapper said he was mistaken when he told Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) that the United States did not collect data on millions of Americans.

“My response was clearly erroneous — for which I apologize,” Clapper wrote in the letter dated June 21.

“While my staff acknowledged the error to Senator Wyden’s staff soon after the hearing, I can now openly correct it because the existence of the metadata collection program has been declassified,” Clapper said.

Clapper’s statements at the March 12 Senate hearing have received enormous scrutiny ever since news stories revealed the NSA’s telephone and Internet surveillance programs last month.

Clapper directly contradicted those stories in his comments on March 12.

“Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” Wyden asked the intelligence director at the hearing.

“No, sir,” Clapper replied.

Clapper has some greatest hits, too:

From 2001 to 2006, Clapper was the director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the agency that analyzes imagery taken from the skies to provide information on insurgencies, nuclear sites, terror camps and troop movements.

After the U.S. began the Iraq war, Clapper suggested to reporters in 2003 that Iraqi officials, perhaps working without the knowledge of Saddam Hussein, moved evidence of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs outside the country before the war started.

Before the war, Clapper’s outfit was one of several intelligence agencies that endorsed conclusions that Iraq was working on chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. His agency analyzed satellite photos.

“We certainly feel there were indications of WMD activity,” Clapper told reporters in October 2003.

Serial liar and an idiot. But, you know, Greenwald hates America and Snowden is worse than Hitler.

We are clearly better off elevating sociopaths and serial liars like Clapper to positions of great power than we are listening to people exposing these lies, because let’s face it, Greenwald is gay and doesn’t even live in the US and may have somehow tarnished Obama’s image, and well, hell, Snowden is effeminate and had a pole-dancing girlfriend. Not to mention, he left the United States! Anyone with faith in America would stay here no matter what. Our track record with leakers is impeccable. Really, it was all just mistakes.

Plus, this kind of stuff just harshes my buzz:

Although I am sure half of you morans are more concerned about embarrassing Obama (the most powerful man in the world who is not up for re-election) and Snowden’s white privilege, what these leaks are about are blatant and egregious abuses of government power. I’m not making these guys out to be heroes, but the way so many alleged liberals and Democrats are turning them into villains of the worst kind reminds me of the folks in the Holy Grail debating what floats.

Your bullshit doesn’t.






358 replies
  1. 1
    dewzke says:

    Very small rocks?

  2. 2
    Yatsuno says:

    Feel better now?

  3. 3
    lamh35 says:

    “Snowden’s white privilege…” ummm what?

  4. 4
    Alexander Wolfe says:

    *slow claps*

  5. 5
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Like Greenwald himself, you pretty much step all over whatever point your trying to make by getting obsessed about a degree of Greenwald obsession out all proportion to what I see in the comments. But it’s your blog. So have fun.

  6. 6
    Patricia Kayden says:

    “villains of the worst kind”?

    No they’re just not heroes. That’s about it.

  7. 7
    kc says:

    Preach it!!

  8. 8
    Tommybones says:

    Amen!!!!!!

  9. 9
    JPL says:

    This is the type of thread that John posts when he wants to spend more time with the dogs and cat. He just lets us rant among ourselves and that we will do..
    Have fun all!

  10. 10
    Loki says:

    Very small b0ts.

  11. 11
    mathguy says:

    The video is beyond disturbing.

  12. 12
    Cacti says:

    Brogressive Cole gives a shout to his fellow brogressives Snowden and Greenwald.

    Did you tune into Fox and Friends to watch your BFF Glenn today? Did it bring back any happy memories for you JC?

  13. 13
    Botsplainer says:

    Greenwald is going down, John. It is a matter of short time, The racist Paulite fucktard is talking himself into an indictment as Snowden’s co-conspirator, and there is an extradition treaty.

    Had he ever been a competent lawyer or even a decent human being, he’d have handled it better.

  14. 14
    Voncey says:

    Well, in Clapper’s defense, if he couldn’t answer yes because he would have been revealing classified information. If he’d said he couldn’t answer, he would have, by implication, admitted to the existence of such a program. I don’t see how he could have answered that question without lying or breaking the law.

  15. 15
    Soonergrunt says:

    So Fire Clapper.
    It has precisely fuckall to do with whether or not Snowden broke the law. As does everything ever said about Glenn Greenwald.

  16. 16
    Hill Dweller says:

    Let’s see what happens to Clapper before going bat shit crazy. If he stays on, I’ll join the ranting. But I suspect he will “retire” quietly in the next month or three.

  17. 17
    the Conster says:

    So no one seems to know what’s in the Patriot Act or how to comply with it. I blame Obama.

  18. 18
    Yatsuno says:

    @Soonergrunt: Dammit. I was just about say that.

    Oh a friend of mine just became a music prof at U of O.

  19. 19
    Chris says:

    because let’s face it, Greenwald is gay and doesn’t even live in the US and may have somehow tarnished Obama’s image, and well, hell, Snowden is effeminate and had a pole-dancing girlfriend. Not to mention, he left the United States

    Yep, those are the only reasons anyone has been disagreeing with Greenwald or Snowden, the only reasons anyone ever could disagree with them, or could possibly fail to go along with their narrative. Boy, I’m glad you cleared that up! I’ve seen the light! Who’s with me?

  20. 20
    Botsplainer says:

    (Sung to the tune of Bartok the Magnificent)

    They call me Greenwald, the incompetent;
    The specifically, tragically incompent;
    A mammal so inflammable I wrecked the day, I tell you my ego is SOK!

  21. 21
    White Trash Liberal says:

    Fuck you for this, John.

    Lest you forget, your ass voted to help put this system into place. You had a conversion, but guess what? Myself and others were protesting this shit back while it was being implemented.

    You want to know who else supported the system and trusted the administration that made this shit happen? Greenwald and Snowden.

    So fuck you.

    Clapper is a god damned sycophant and disgrace. His head should be on a pike. Greenwald is also a god damned disgrace for failing to vet his bombshell materials and drowning a very real problem in overblown hysterics. Snowden is a god damned disgrace for marketing and releasing details of how the United States spies to foreign competitors. And overstating his capabilities. And failing to state the regulations in place on how he could access what he claimed he could.

    This whole episode is a clusterfuck. This clusterfuck began and liberals like me were telling dinosaurs like you this is exactly what would happen. And you fucking stomped on us. And now you and GG are KING PROGRESSIVE telling us liberals we love Obama too much to handle the truth.

    Fuck you. Seriously, fuck you.

  22. 22
    jon says:

    His job is to go before Congress and say what needs to be said. And as long as governments have secrets, government workers will lie. Can’t avoid it, unless you shoot the Congressmen who don’t ask questions such as “Is Glorious Leader extra glorious on this day?”

    Really, this is the lamest Gotcha! since that stupid movie in the late 80s. Okay, maybe not that bad, but close.

  23. 23
    Cacti says:

    @White Trash Liberal:

    Lest you forget, your ass voted to help put this system into place. You had a conversion, but guess what? Myself and others were protesting this shit back while it was being implemented.

    Ex-drunks make the most obnoxious teetotalers, don’t they?

  24. 24
    RandomMonster says:

    Greenwald is gay and doesn’t even live in the US and may have somehow tarnished Obama’s image, and well, hell, Snowden is effeminate and had a pole-dancing girlfriend. Not to mention, he left the United States! Anyone with faith in America would stay here no matter what.

    Here I thought I was just skeptical about whether Snowden revealed anything we didn’t already know in the aftermath of the Bush-era warrantless wiretapping scandal. But thanks to you Cole I now know I’m just homophobic and America Fuck Yeah. Speaking of someone looking for some villains to hate tonight…

  25. 25
    4tehlulz says:

    So when’s your interview with Eric Bolling?

  26. 26
    Violet says:

    How long before the “Clap On!” Clap Off!” jokes start?

  27. 27
    PopeRatzo says:

    Bless you, John Cole. I wasn’t sure I’d ever hear these things from the loyalist Left.

    Snowden doesn’t matter. Greenwald doesn’t matter. Whatever their personal failings, believing that they are the story is playing into the hands of people who mean you no good.

    There’s something a lot more important to talk about than Glenn Greenwald. Funny how he was a hero to the same people who now loathe him, all because he’d finally had enough of the Black Nixon. And Edward Snowden is less than inconsequential compared to the fact that we’re not living under secret laws, secret courts, secret warrants, secret prisons and secret presidencies. Kill lists. Espionage Act. Insider Threat.

    In five years, it’s going to be hard to find anyone who will admit to having been a supporter of the surveillance state back in 2013, but for now, we have to live in a fractured universe.

  28. 28
    Lolis says:

    I am annoyed as hell that Greenwald has not revealed all these amazing crimes he says he has. I don’t get what the hold up is. In general, people reveal their most compelling information first. It is time to put up or stop whining. I am sick of Snowden whining too. If he is proud of what he did, stand up for it and stop hiding.

  29. 29
    Redshirt says:

    Let’s all just read Betty’s thread from this morning and call this one a wrap.

    Or, 500 comments, here we come!

  30. 30
    lojasmo says:

    @White Trash Liberal:

    Pretty much all of this, without so much “fuck you”.

  31. 31
    Corner Stone says:

    “Clapper had no choice! He had to!”

  32. 32
    Cacti says:

    @lamh35:

    “Snowden’s white privilege…” ummm what?

    There’s no such thing as white privilege. Just ask the guy from Honkeyville, West Virginia.

  33. 33
    Violet says:

    @Redshirt: Yeah, no kidding. The horse is dead.

  34. 34
    Yatsuno says:

    @PopeRatzo: lolwut?

  35. 35
    RandomMonster says:

    @Chris:

    Who’s with me?

    Apparently I am.

  36. 36
    michelle says:

    So you would have preferred Clapper declassifying material on his own by answering?

    This is a stupid gotcha.

  37. 37
    Throwin Stones says:

    And away we go!

  38. 38
    Socoolsofresh says:

    I love it. Watch out John, soon these people might want to have a referendum on you being allowed to post. Never mind that it’s your blog. Obviously your patriotic tendencies must be put into full consideration.

  39. 39
    PopeRatzo says:

    @jon:
    <

    His job is to go before Congress and say what needs to be said. And as long as governments have secrets, government workers will lie.

    And it’s the job of other people to “do what needs to be done” and expose his goddamn lies.

    So now you’re saying, “He’s supposed to lie to Congress, because Republicans”?

    Holy shit. This is shameful.

  40. 40
    Corner Stone says:

    Hitler Lives!: The John Cole Story

  41. 41
    Cacti says:

    @PopeRatzo:

    I wasn’t sure I’d ever hear these things from the loyalist Left.

    Cole is the loyalist left? LoL

    More like the left-ish libertarian too embarrassed to vote GOP anymore.

  42. 42
    mk3872 says:

    Stop talking about Greenwald like he is a liberal.

    He (and Snowden) are huge Paulites and Libertarian supporters.

    Liberals are not showing ANY double-standard whatsoever to like Obama and bash Greenwald.

  43. 43
    Yatsuno says:

    @Violet: This is BJ. Equines doth not expire here so they may continue to be flogged ad infinitum.

  44. 44
    Corner Stone says:

    Cole, you poor bastard. The New Era of Civility ™ is hard.

  45. 45
    LT says:

    Glad you’re on the right side of this. So many otherwise good smart people are not. Very frustrating to see Josh Marshall, Charles Johnson, Garance Franke-Ruta, even the very good TBogg, and so many others, join the smear campaign against Snowden.

    The thing that really bugs is that they would all say “We’re not doing that! We’re just making honest observations!” When a person is up against the most powerful people on Earth, and is in the midst of that getting a public lynching – everybody throwing punches is helping that effort. There is no excuse. It’s like saying, in 1971, “Ellsberg – he really is kind of creepy. Kind of a grandstander – just sayin’.”

    Especially with things like this being revealed. Really actually big important things – that could use their voices and headlights, y’know. . The DNI lying to Congress is a big fucking deal.

  46. 46
    mk3872 says:

    Clapper is an idiot and so is Greenwald. Those things are not mutually exclusive.

    Clapper should be fired and Greenwald should be slapped by Snowden’s father for exploiting his son and leaving him in limbo in Russia.

  47. 47
    kc says:

    @Voncey:

    Then why is he admitting it now?

  48. 48
    El Cid says:

    Barton Gellman and the Washington Post are fucking going down for this.

  49. 49
    The Other Chuck says:

    He apologized to Feinstein? For what, not spying on us enough?

  50. 50
    Corner Stone says:

    what these leaks are about are blatant and egregious abuses of government power

    “NOTHINGBURGER!!”

  51. 51
    Cacti says:

    @LT:

    and is in the midst of that getting a public lynching

    Words have meanings.

    “Public Lynching” =/= people saying not nice things about him

  52. 52
    Yatsuno says:

    @kc: Hand in cookie jar. Clapper had no choice but to spill his guts, no doubt after a long talking to from his superiours.

  53. 53
    White Trash Liberal says:

    @PopeRatzo:

    Fuck you too. Black Nixon my ass. Nixon covered up crime. COINTELPRO actively destroyed people’s lives. Nixon lied to prolong the Vietnam War and bombed Cambodia.

    Greenwald was always a putz. He’s a civil libertarian troll who used to love the second amendment, secure borders, and trusted Bush. Then history begins magically the moment Greenwald decides it does. Never has Greenwald contextualized the history of the National Security State. It is always outrage merchandising. Always. He’s fucking useless even when he’s right.

    Just because you buy into his “with us or against us” rhetorical stance, doesn’t make you the better progressive. It just makes you a pouty little snotfaced dipshit with delusions of Thomas Paine grandeur.

  54. 54
    Liberty60 says:

    @Soonergrunt: So imprison Snowden.

    It has precisely fuckall to do with what was revealed.

  55. 55
    Botsplainer says:

    @PopeRatzo:

    There’s something a lot more important to talk about than Glenn Greenwald. Funny how he was a hero to the same people who now loathe him, all because he’d finally had enough of the Black Nixon. And Edward Snowden is less than inconsequential compared to the fact that we’re not living under secret laws, secret courts, secret warrants, secret prisons and secret presidencies. Kill lists. Espionage Act. Insider Threat.

    *chuckle*

    Love all the hysterics from people who willingly click EULAs that specifically allow every bit of their data to valued third party business partners in Manila, Bangalore, Lagos and Kindle, all while bitching about privacy.

    Is there anyone more cravenly hysterical than a white male from America, whether left or right?

  56. 56
    mk3872 says:

    @LT: How do feel about Snowden releasing personal information about NSA employees?

  57. 57
    Svensker says:

    @mk3872:

    What, because we’re only team cheer leaders and if someone’s wearing a different color jersey we have to boo, no matter what?

    Gotta say, Cole, your commentariat is not making me feel happy. Nuh uh.

    Depressing as hell.

  58. 58
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    and so many others, join the smear campaign against Snowden.

    “smear campaign”? The jackass made the story all about himself with his game of catch me if you can, and the questions about what information he has given to the Chinese and Russians are not illegitimate

    The DNI lying to Congress is a big fucking deal.

    Yes. It is. People picking on Glenn Greenwald is not. So why does Cole turn a post about Clapper in to a Leave Britney Alone! screech about Glenn Fucking Greenwald

  59. 59
    Voncey says:

    @kc: The existence of the program was made public by Greenwald/Snowden and the administration and Congress verified it. Now he’s just making nice with Congress.

  60. 60
    patroclus says:

    Snowden’s dad compared him to Paul Revere today, so I’m not sure if I’m believing this stuff about how Snowden supporters aren’t calling him a hero so much. I think John is trying to switch the narrative a little here – the reality is that he’s getting Dear Leader worship, which seems a bit odd after his flights to the PRC and Russia, two notorious non-freedom-loving countries. Ellsberg hid for awhile in Boston but then turned himself over to the authorities at the Boston Courthouse. Snowden would be better regarded if he hadn’t have gone on the lam worldwide.

  61. 61
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Yup, the story is all about Greenwald, even John’s story. Greenwald has assured us of that in just about any coverage of this issue.

    FP Troll Rating: 1.7/10

  62. 62
    kc says:

    @mk3872:

    The double standard is defending Obama for doing things that would outrage you if Bush were doing them.

  63. 63
    burnspbesq says:

    @Voncey:

    Well, in Clapper’s defense, if he couldn’t answer yes because he would have been revealing classified information. If he’d said he couldn’t answer, he would have, by implication, admitted to the existence of such a program. I don’t see how he could have answered that question without lying or breaking the law.

    This, pretty much. And Wyden, who is on the Intel Committee, had to know that if he asked the question the way he asked it, he wasn’t going to get a straight answer. I generally think Wyden is one of the good guys, but I’m wondering what his agenda was here.

  64. 64
    kc says:

    @White Trash Liberal:

    So where do you stand on the system now?

  65. 65
    mk3872 says:

    @kc: Why would you assume that I would be outraged at NSA spying under Bush?

  66. 66
    White Trash Liberal says:

    @lojasmo: I don’t like being kicked in the teeth by a dry drunk.

    “I used to be all fucked up on Bush, now I’m all fucked up on Greenwald”

  67. 67
    gnomedad says:

    @lojasmo:
    “Welll, it’s got some ‘fuck you’ in it.”
    “‘Ow much?”
    “Three. Rather a lot, really.”

  68. 68
    William T says:

    Clapper, appointed by Barrack Obama and confirmed by the Honorable Senator Diane Feinstein. I’m just shocked, shocked, mind you, that you don’t realize every member of Congress present at the hearing knew damn well that Clapper, an appointee of the Executive Branch of government, was lying under oath.

    When will you say a word about Franciscan Father Francois Murad, who died after fighters linked to the jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra attacked the monastery he was staying at? They would be the group funded by Nobel Peace Prize winner Barrack Hussein Obama.

  69. 69
    Corner Stone says:

    @mk3872:

    How do feel about Snowden releasing personal information about NSA employees?

    How do you feel about not fucking goats this week?

  70. 70
    lacerda says:

    WINGULARITY ALERT: The North Carolina senate just added Sharia law to their anti-Sharia law bill.

  71. 71
    Cacti says:

    @White Trash Liberal:

    I don’t like being kicked in the teeth by a dry drunk.

    Yeah, more than a little obnoxious to get finger wagging from guys who were hunky-dory with “God told me to end the tyranny in Iraq.”

  72. 72
    LT says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: This comment thread is making that idiotic comment funnier by the second.

  73. 73
    Botsplainer says:

    I still can’t figure out why white male Americans get their panties in a bunch about metadata – basically, their cellphone bill – being in an easily searchable form.

    Why are they such trembling pussies, paranoid over law enforcement having tools?

  74. 74
    Corner Stone says:

    @patroclus:

    Snowden’s dad compared him to Paul Revere today, so I’m not sure if I’m believing this stuff about how Snowden supporters aren’t calling him a hero so much.

    You mean, like his own dad?

  75. 75
    muddy says:

    Greenwald was just on Chris Hayes’ show talking about the Bolivian plane that had to drive in a circle. At the end, Chris says how we don’t even know if that 1st July statement even came from Snowden, because no one knows where he is. I waited with interest to hear what Greenwald had to say about it, but then Hayes just said, Thanks Glen! What the hell?

    Then they went to click 3 and the one about Mitch McConnell was great.

  76. 76
    The Thin Black Duke says:

    Maybe this petulant, lame-ass temper tantrum would resonate more with me if it wasn’t coming from someone that voted (twice!) for the rich white stupid entitled sociopathic asshole who helped implement this Big Brother shit in the first place.

  77. 77
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    I didn’t like domestic surveillance when Bush was doing it; I don’t like it when Obama is doing it. There is a difference though. Obama seems to be abiding by a bunch of fucked-up laws with which I don’t agree, while Bush just did shit. That difference is huge as far as rule of law goes.

    Please flame away from both sides now.

  78. 78
    kc says:

    @mk3872:

    Oh, my bad. If you’re all for rampant domestic spying no matter who’s in charge, then never mind.

  79. 79
    White Trash Liberal says:

    @kc:

    WHO IS DEFENDING THEM?

    Jesus, this statement is bullshit. I want the system reformed. I think it is beyond bad and accountability must be in place.

    I wanted that before, during Bush. Hell, the expansion of surveillance after the OKC bombing during Clinton upset me too.

    But telling me that I am not sufficiently outraged because I don’t hate Obama enough is sophistry. That because I don’t hate Obama I tacitly approve of a system I have been railing against my whole adult life… Just patent horseshit.

  80. 80
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @LT: If Cole had posted about Clapper without all the whiny sarcasm about GREENWALD!, what do you think this comment thread would look like?

  81. 81
    Corner Stone says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Burn heretic!

  82. 82
    I am not a kook says:

    Is there any blogger(*) around who is interested in bringing light, and not heat, into this discussion? Betty Cracker tried, but only got rape threats from the bloghost-protected troll.

    This emotional wallowing is embarrassing. You want to talk about issues? Obviously the best way to do that is to implying people disagreeing with you or questioning Greenwald are homophobes.

    (*) Seriously, any reality-based analysis anyone would like to promote?

  83. 83
    Mnemosyne says:

    We are clearly better off elevating sociopaths and serial liars like Clapper to positions of great power than we are listening to people exposing these lies, because let’s face it, Greenwald is gay and doesn’t even live in the US and may have somehow tarnished Obama’s image, and well, hell, Snowden is effeminate and had a pole-dancing girlfriend.

    Are we even allowed to talk about Snowden’s multiple interviews with the South China Morning Post giving out details about US spying operations in China, or does that all fall under “Glenn Greenwald is gay!” as unfair personal information?

  84. 84
    4tehlulz says:

    Betty Cracker tried, but only got rape threats from the bloghost-protected troll.

    lol for real?

  85. 85
    MomSense says:

    I had one too many mojitos for this. Going back to watching men in lycra cycling down the promenade des anglais. Continuez!

  86. 86
    Hoodie says:

    Clapper is DNI, which requires Senate confirmation. He’s in that job because Leon Panetta is too old/can’t do everything and Obama stuck with the Republican hack Clapper because he didn’t want a nomination fight for what is really a figurehead position, anyway.

  87. 87
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Corner Stone: Just for the record, from which side are you flaming?

  88. 88
    Yatsuno says:

    @muddy: An hour-long format is not Chris’s friend.

  89. 89
    Gavin says:

    @White Trash Liberal: I’m sorry, but this notion that Greenwald somehow did not vet this story is fucking bogus. Did he draw inferences about the scope of the program that have since been disproven? Qualifiedly, yes. But for fuck’s sake, who doesn’t start reading any GG screed about national security issue assuming he’s describing the absolute worst-case scenario he could envision? Frankly, I’m glad who blew the whole thing out of proportion. I think there’s a pretty solid argument that the only way of compelling the national security state to paint an honest picture of the extent and oversight of the PRISM and metadata programs was if they thought it was good PR to do so.

    Frankly, though, I still have my doubts that they have come completely clean. A lot of the minimization protocols implemented alongside PRISM look, to me at least, peppered with loopholes that could be easily exploited any time the agency felt it had a strong interest in retaining data inadvertently vacuumed up from explicitly domestic sources.

  90. 90
    Corner Stone says:

    @muddy: What I took from that segment, paraphrased, was this:
    GG: “Yeah, I believe from what I know of Ed that those thoughts are consistent with his principles and thoughts. The wording seemed strange to me, too. I have no way to confirm where it came from or who is the author. He’s under a lot of stress so who knows what that can do to you.”
    So, shorter GG: “Consistent thoughts, but strange verbiage. Not sure about it.”

  91. 91
    burnspbesq says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    How dare you think rationally about this, you fuck?

  92. 92
    patroclus says:

    @Corner Stone: Yeah, it was in the Guardian story. Paul Revere didn’t go run and hide in the PRC and Russia so the comparison seems inapt. Do you agree that Snowden is like Paul Revere?

  93. 93
    White Trash Liberal says:

    @kc: I have made myself clear for 20 years that the national security state creep is destroying free will. Congress needs to scrap and revise the entire clandestine apparatus to enforce regulations and prevent abuse now that we are totally immersed in data about everything we do.

  94. 94
    kc says:

    @White Trash Liberal:

    I assumed you had been reading the comments to this and other poss about the NSA. Plenty of people defending it, or blowing it off as no big news.

  95. 95
    Corner Stone says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Just thought I’d get it started.
    But since I believe these actions are not following the law, I’m going to say I am flaming you from the Constitution side.

  96. 96
    LT says:

    @burnspbesq: It’s all Wyden’s fault!

    You need better commenters, John.

    Marcy Wheeler called. She just put your balls in a chipper:

    http://www.emptywheel.net/2013.....-efficacy/

  97. 97
    Josie says:

    I’m sorry, John, but you need to take a deep breath. I am not an Obot, but I didn’t care for Greenwald’s obsession with his own purity before this stuff started and I still don’t like him – probably never will – just don’t like people who think they are purer than I am. I have been on this earth longer than most of you, and I think Greenwald is an incurable egotist and Snowden is a callow fool. That doesn’t make Obama perfect, but the perfect should not be the enemy of the good. You should all use that energy to work to register voters in all the states who are seeking to disenfranchise them and to reinstate women’s rights to make decisions about their own health care. Then, if you have any energy left over, put it on climate change.

  98. 98
    Laertes says:

    @mk3872:

    The double-standard comes from the people who liked Greenwald just fine six years ago. Wanna talk about shit we already knew? Anyone who was paying attention could have told you that Greenwald was going to continue being a huge pain in the ass to whoever held the White House regardless of party. The people who have only noticed that he’s a dick since Obama took office simply weren’t paying attention.

    JC: Hells yes. You crushed it. I love the whining in this thread. You’ve upset all the right people, for all the right reasons.

    @mk3872:

    Oh stop. Snowden is a grown man. How desperate ARE you to make Greenwald the bad guy here? This right here is sad. Get a grip/.

  99. 99
    4tehlulz says:

    @Josie: Obot.

  100. 100
    LT says:

    @patroclus: If Snowden had leaked information about a secret government child-raping ring, nobody would be talking about where he went to protect himself. Or his “word choice” in statements.

  101. 101
    burnspbesq says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I believe these actions are not following the law,

    Based on what, pray tell?

  102. 102
    Corner Stone says:

    @patroclus: I think using his dad’s comments to categorize a group of people is pretty specious.

  103. 103
    lol says:

    @LT:

    Look at what happened to Richard Armitage.

    One man heroically exposes nepotism at the CIA and all you hear from hypocritical lefties is endless discussion of his motives and not what he blew the whistle on.

  104. 104
    patroclus says:

    @muddy: Glenn had ample time to explain why he thought that countries have no respect for asylum anymore even though he omitted that Snowden has yet to actually apply for asylum in Bolivia, so there hasn’t been anything to show respect for. Chris wisely let Glenn’s inaccurate statements stand and moved on.

  105. 105
    Sloegin says:

    Looks like this is gonna be an epic thread.

    I’m expecting there will be enough partisan dissonance and discord to free Brick Oven Bill from the Shadow Zone.

  106. 106

    As a lifelong liberal I have a confession to make- I never really gave a crap about privacy. I used it as a cudgel during the Bush years to insult Republicans and call them hypocrites, but the only thing I didn’t like was that Bush was doing it. I’m being totally honest here- if a good liberal is in charge I say fuck it, spy away. I don’t think privacy from the government is worth two shits and the only reason why I wouldn’t like being outed on the internet is because I don’t want to get marketing calls and because some future employer might take offense at my liberalism.

    You can look up my internet history and find that maybe I got irked about FISA at some point in 2008, but I was just caught up in the zeitgeist. I know that doesn’t say much about my integrity, but fuck it I don’t care, I’m not getting paid to comment on the internet. I have no reputation to uphold.

  107. 107
    kc says:

    @White Trash Liberal:

    “But telling me that I am not sufficiently outraged because I don’t hate Obama enough is sophistry”

    Who is telling you that? Not me. I don’t hate Obama at all, but I am pretty disturbed by all this.

  108. 108
    Corner Stone says:

    @burnspbesq: I believe, as does the ACLU and other groups who have now brought legal challenges, that the use of a warrant for millions of people over an overly broad range is mass surveillance. And therefore unconstitutional. As the FISC itself has issued an opinion on.
    I’m interested to see the challenges make their way through the system.

  109. 109
    LAC says:

    Great…. Another drunken screed ending with a “fuck you”. It must be Tuesday.

  110. 110
    maya says:

    What team should I root for here? It’s like watching the Yankees play the Tejas Rangers. Too bad they can’t both lose is about all I can muster. GG and Snowden heroes? That horse can’t trot. Clapper is a security head and a liar too? The latter quality is a prerequisite. And John Cole, the fervent convert? Gee, our own St. Paul.

    I just tune in here, from time to time, for the comedy. Life’s too short for much else but whenever I see Not-So Feinstein involved (my senator, whom I stopped checking the box for two terms ago- DINO war profiteer), I know it must be something really, really, scrumptiously stupid. Carry on.

  111. 111
    Van says:

    So what was the real purpose of these leaks? To embarrass Obama? To a certain extent the president is a captive of the national security apparatus. And where are the cries from Republicans to put real limits on this? Congress could actually pass laws that curb these powers, but Republicans will only use it as an anti-Obama political issue. The only outcry is from the left and maybe a few libertarians. I think the main purpose of this whole thing was so Greenwald could gloat and say”See liberals, I was right, Obama is worse then Bush, etc etc etc.”

  112. 112
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I don’t agree with the fucked up laws either, but what’s key for some of us legal types is that President Obama is actually following them, where as W just ignored them. It’s a matter of a government of laws not men. Or, what Omnes said.

  113. 113
    patroclus says:

    @Corner Stone: But do you think Snowden is like Paul Revere?? Or are you just going to ignore the question as usual? John said he’s not calling Snowden a hero – but others are (read the comments to the Guardian if you think it’s just his father). Do you agree or disagree? Or are you just going to ignore the question as usual?

  114. 114
    gnomedad says:

    Taking a slightly longer view

    Once the cost of surveillance reaches zero we will be left with our outdated laws as the only protection. Whatever policy actions are taken as a result of the recent leaks should address the fact that technical barriers such as cost and speed offer dwindling protection from unwarranted government surveillance domestically and abroad.

  115. 115
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Liberty60: Well, there’s the small matter of the fact that he has rights under the law.
    I hope that he gets caught. I hope that he gets tried. I hope that trial is as fair as we can make it, and he is only convicted of those charges that the government can prove beyond a reasonable doubt. And then, if he’s convicted, I hope that he gets a sentence appropriate to the gravity of his crimes.
    Doubtless that bothers some people.
    Those people are morons.

  116. 116
    different-church-lady says:

    Wait… did somebody say mojitos?

  117. 117
    Botsplainer says:

    When I look at Snowden, he appears to be the kind of guy who would stand in the back of the Woolworth’s dining area, snickering as Ron Paul cleared out “them coloreds” with an axe handle.

    Greenwald, of course, would agressively and gleefully fight off any civil or criminal actions against Paul. He’d also do it for free….

  118. 118
  119. 119
    kc says:

    @patroclus:

    It’s a stupid fucking question.

  120. 120
    Corporate shill says:

    @burnspbesq: I pretty much feel the same way. We should all be shocked. Shocked! That a Director of Intelligence lied to Congress in an open hearing. It happens all the time and yes, both sides do it.

    I don’t know if Cole just got a bug up his ass or if he has plans for the evening and wants to keep everybody occupied, but it would be poetic justice to have this post mercifully bigfooted long before it gets to 200 comments.

  121. 121
    burnspbesq says:

    @Laertes:

    Umm, for those of you scoring at home, Greenwald was a charlatan, a bully, a third-rate legal analyst and a craptastic writer in 2005. None of that has changed. I ran out of different ways to say “a dick who is right a fair amount of time is still a dick” sometime around Q4 of 2007. Now, because of his mistaken but unshakable belief in his own rectitude, he’s a likely felon who is right a fair amount of the time, which makes him even less useful.

  122. 122
    Yatsuno says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): The laws need to be changed, starting with repeal of the Patriot Act. Now if only there was an institution out there that could do this…hmm…no don’t tell me it’ll come to me…

  123. 123
    LT says:

    @Josie: Your comment simply highlights was a childish, cliqueish peson you are. Nothing else.

    P.S. Marcy Wheeler has more:

    Brenner of course doesn’t mention that Clapper had had warning of this question, so should have provided a better non-answer. Later in his post, he understates how revealing telephone metadata can be (and of course doesn’t mention it can also include location). He even misstates how often the phone metadata collection has been queried (it was queried on 300 selectors, not “accessed only 300 times”).

    But the really hackish part of his argument is in pretending this whole exchange started on March 12.
    __
    It didn’t. It started over a year ago and continued through last week when Keith Alexander had to withdraw a “fact sheet” purporting to lay out the “Section 702 protections” Americans enjoy (see below for links to these exchanges).
    __
    The exchange didn’t start out very well, with two Inspectors General working to ensure that Wyden and Mark Udall would not get their unclassified non-answer about how many Americans are surveilled under Section 702′s back door until after the Intelligence Committee marked up the bill.
    __
    But perhaps the signature exchange was this October 10, 2012 Wyden letter (with 3 other Senators) to Keith Alexander and Alexander’s November 5, 2012 response.
    __
    On July 27, 2012, Alexander put on a jeans-and-t-shirt costume and went to DefCon to suck up to hackers. After giving a schmaltzy speech including lines like, “we can protect the networks and have civil liberties and privacy,” DefCon founder Jeff Moss asked Alexander about recent Bill Binney allegations that the NSA was collecting communications of all Americans. Wired reported the exchange here.
    __
    It was this exchange — Keith Alexander’s choice to make unclassified statements to a bunch of hackers he was trying to suck up to — that underlies Wyden’s question. And Wyden explicitly invoked Alexander’s comments in his March 12 question to Clapper.

    http://www.emptywheel.net/2013.....-and-hack/

  124. 124
    John Cole says:

    @PopeRatzo:

    Snowden doesn’t matter. Greenwald doesn’t matter. Whatever their personal failings, believing that they are the story is playing into the hands of people who mean you no good.

    Why does no one fucking get this?

  125. 125
  126. 126
    mk3872 says:

    @Corner Stone: This is from Der Spiegel

    SPIEGEL has decided not to publish details it has seen about secret operations that could endanger the lives of NSA workers.

  127. 127
    handy says:

    @Botsplainer:

    Really now? Tell us more about all the made-up villains in your head?

  128. 128
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Corner Stone: Here’s the thing, as long as the Administration is following the laws on the books, the actions are legal. Duly passed and signed legislation is presumed to be constitutional up until the courts find it not to be so. Right now, none of this shit has been found unconstitutional. Hence, it is legal. (Note: I do not equate legal with good, justifiable, etc.)

    FWIW I think that much of it should be found unconstitutional, but I don’t hold out a lot of hope of it happening in the near future. Odds are better of getting some of the shitty laws repealed.

  129. 129
    Redshirt says:

    The whole damn system is out of order!

  130. 130
    Mike Lamb says:

    @michelle: No, as over-used as it may be, you invoke the state secrets privilege and don’t freaking testify in the first instance.

  131. 131
    Josie says:

    @LT: That’s new; I’ve never been called a peson before.

  132. 132
    LT says:

    @burnspbesq: “Greenwald … ’s a likely felon.”

    Ladies and gentlemen, David Gregory has entered the thread.

  133. 133
    patroclus says:

    @Van: I think there’s a legitimate purpose behind the leaks – to spark a debate and to get more transparency and oversight over the NSA spying process. If that happens, and the declassification which led to Clapper’s letter and the statements by the FISA judge are good signs that it is working, then that will be a good result.

  134. 134
    mk3872 says:

    @Laertes: Snowden stated in interviews that he was an avid reader of Greenwald’s.

    Greenwald surely told him he could protect him and they he had to dump NSA document to be a true hero.

    Yes, Greenwald is fully responsible for Snowden’s fate.

  135. 135
    LAC says:

    @Josie: do you think that would happen? I love what you are saying, but adults think like that. This is “I’m trying out a new bourbon and Obama suxs!!!” thread.

  136. 136
    Laertes says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Felon my ass. If you’re going to agitate to have inconvenient journalists thrown in jail you might as well go ahead and join the Republican party already.

  137. 137
    Soonergrunt says:

    @burnspbesq: Based on something he pulled out of his ass, of course.

  138. 138
    different-church-lady says:

    Well, if Congress is upset about this, they’ll be having a grand jury indict Clapper any day now.

    Heh… I crack myself up.

  139. 139
    Laertes says:

    @John Cole:

    Some of us do, but we’re buried under an avalanche of stupid.

  140. 140
    Joel says:

    Jimbrowski must wear the cap, just in case the young girl has the clap…

  141. 141
    mk3872 says:

    @burnspbesq: All true. But apparently when we have a Dem POTUS, your supposed to love everything Greenwald does.

  142. 142
    pete says:

    @burnspbesq: Greenwald is useful for raising questions, but worse than useless at answering them. He’s the guy who yells “fire” (which is useful if no one else has noticed) but he’s never the guy who shows people the way out, let alone the one who picks up the extinguisher.
    He’s also a lawyer in the very worst sense of the word, with no feel for politics.
    I’m not so sure he’ll get busted, though.

  143. 143
    Botsplainer says:

    Isn’t the bottom line here something like this?

    White male Americans have an inalienable right to conspire to commit terrorist acts against their representative government without fear of surveillance over networks which were largely created by government.

  144. 144
    Morbo says:

    Excellent job discussing the content of the leaks and not the personalities involved. Bravo.

  145. 145
    JWL says:

    I read your words a few times before getting their gist, Cole. But, yeah, agreed.

    Conventional wisdom has it that people grow more conservative as they age. In certain respects, that is surely true.

    However, and politically speaking, that’s not the case in the United States.

    What passes for the conservatism of today’s republican party is the wet dream of American fascists. It’s a nightmare, a Frankenstein monster, that draws its strength from the fear and ignorance of the very stupid.

    Americans will, and sooner rather than later, disavow the big scare tactics of the GOP. It long ago happened in California, a blue state that might as easily have remained red, had it not been for the stupidity, bigotry, and ingrained intolerance of its republican shot callers.

    You must know what I’m getting at, Cole. You’re one of those people who have already wised up. The only difference being that you wised up years ago.

    “…But you can’t fool all the people, all the time”.

  146. 146
    LT says:

    @Soonergrunt: In the greater game of government v. citizen, you have stated plainly what side you are on. And as you present yourself as a Lefty, that disappoints.

    Is there any question that you would have called for the jailing of Daniel Ellsberg? And that your focus would have been onhim, not on what he revealed? I don’t think there is. And I think that’s true for a lot of “Left” pundits. Again – disapointing.

    ADDON: For those who will no doubt crack on “government v. citizen” – remember that our Founders set up a system of government specifically and purposely based on suspicion of government, and suspicion of power, and gave citizens ways to fight that power.

  147. 147
    patroclus says:

    @kc: Followed by a non-responsive ad hominem non-answer. Which is pretty typical from those who apparently consider Snowden to be just like Paul Revere.

    John, at least, addressed the issue.

  148. 148
    J says:

    @Tommybones: I’m going to echo Tommybones ‘Amen’. If I thought that John Cole was being intemperate or unfair, a glance at many of these comments has demolished that idea.

  149. 149

    Or to put it differently- the information is out there, it will be collected. The corporations already have your private info. Private armies will too. At some point feudal southern state governments are going to collect it too. Does it make sense to force the federal government to buy it from Google? Of the above entities, only one of them ever secures any rights for you.

  150. 150
    Corner Stone says:

    @mk3872: Your good friend at LGF also followed it up with this:
    “Spiegel Online’s article doesn’t specify what kind of information they’re talking about, but “endanger the lives of NSA workers” strongly suggests there are names of personnel in there”

    Oh. Well then. That’s definitive. Strongly suggests. Indeed.

  151. 151
    Laertes says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    Since it’s nearly certain that he’ll be tortured* should be be captured, I can’t bring myself to even hope for his capture. He surely will be at some point, but that’s going to be a dark day.

    * extended solitary confinement is torture, no matter which party is ordering it.

  152. 152
    lol says:

    @LT:

    Fact 1: Greenwald bragged on Twitter that he was working with Snowden in February, long before those lamestream media types at the Post ever heard of him.

    Fact 2: Snowden got a job at Booz Allen in March with the express purpose of leaking material.

    Now in the days since people put those two facts together and thought “Isn’t that the textbook definition of espionage?” Greenwald has rapidly backtracked his initial claims of hipster journalism all the way to “I had no knowledge of anything”.

    Interesting that the people saying we shouldn’t take the government’s word for it are also claiming we should just take Greenwald’s word for it and not even investigate the matter.

  153. 153
    burnspbesq says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I’ve been a member of the ACLU since before you were a gleam in your daddy’s eye, and they’ll get a chunk of my estate, but I know better than to accept at face value unsubstantiated allegations in a complaint that’s written as much to inflame public opinion and troll for $ as for the court’s enlightenment.

  154. 154

    @Botsplainer: Thank you. I don’t get what these people think they are protecting.

  155. 155
    Corner Stone says:

    @Soonergrunt: I answered the question. If you don’t like it you can go fuck yourself.

  156. 156
    Laertes says:

    @patroclus:
    Oh for Christ’s sake, it’s his DAD comparing him to Paul Revere. Can you maybe understand that his dad isn’t representative of the entire set of people who aren’t grabbing pitchforks and joining the fucking lynch mob?

  157. 157
    Francis says:

    In some order:

    1. Glenn is not the real issue. He is, however, a mostly insufferable self-important blowhard who uses far too many adjectives in his writing.

    2. Snowden’s personal life is absolutely not the issue. How he managed to get his job and what he actually knows are real issues.

    3. Bush broke the law. That’s a big deal. Obama is apparently complying with the law. That’s a big deal. Clapper got caught lying to Congress. That’s a big deal and he should resign immediately. If he doesn’t have a generic answer — I’m sorry Congressman, but national security precludes me from answering your question in open session — at hand whenever he might get close to having to lie, then he’s too incompetent to do his job.

    4. We still don’t know the full extent of domestic surveillance. We never will. What’s the biggest deal of all is that Congress knows full well that they’ve given the Executive some very broad powers — and has shown NO SIGNS AT ALL of rolling those powers back.

    really people, eyes on the prize. This is an issue that must start with Congress. If I want to be partisan about it, I’ll scream about Boehner not doing anything about a new bill to roll back the PATRIOT Act. But frankly this is an area, much like banking regulation, where we see just how terrified the average Congresscritter — both D and R — is of taking on powerful interests.

  158. 158
    burnspbesq says:

    @Corporate shill:

    We should all be shocked. Shocked! That a Director of Intelligence lied to Congress in an open hearing.

    True enough, but I’d be happier if Clapper hadn’t had to lie in response to that question.

  159. 159
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @burnspbesq: The other aspect of this is that until and unless the ACLU and/or other lawsuits are successful, the programs are legal. Intrusive and wrong headed, but legal.

  160. 160
    LT says:

    @lol: You’re a liar.

    Nothing else to say to you.

  161. 161
    Corner Stone says:

    @burnspbesq: I happen to believe it has merit.
    I’m interested to see how it goes.

  162. 162
    Emma says:

    Women are being pushed into handmaiden territory. Unions are being disassembled down to the ground. The working class is disappearing. Banks are gearing up for another round of overselling real estate. Racism and right wing paranoia are doing booming business.

    And all you want to do is join the “martyrs to government evil brigade”.

    By the time you bring your heads out of Greenwald’s ass the president’s name will be Nehemiah Scudder.

  163. 163
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Josie: Testify!

  164. 164
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @Soonergrunt: Clapper would have been better off pulling an Ollie North and admit that he lied. As it stands, even if he was fired, odds are he;ll wind up a Booze, CSC, SAIC or any other number of corporate welfare queens.

    And the shit just got a whole lot more real:

    LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — The plane carrying Bolivian President Evo Morales home from Russia was rerouted to Austria on Tuesday after France and Portugal refused to let it cross their airspace because of suspicions that NSA leaker Edward Snowden was on board, the country’s foreign minister said.

    Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca denied that Snowden was on the plane, which landed in Vienna, and said France and Portugal would have to explain why they canceled authorization for the plane.

    “We don’t know who invented this lie. We want to denounce to the international community this injustice with the plane of President Evo Morales,” Choquehuanca said from La Paz. Morales had earlier met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a summit of major gas exporters in the Kremlin.

    In an interview with Russia Today television, Morales said that his South American country would be willing to consider granting asylum to Snowden.

    If I was Secretary General of the UN, I’d strip the US of its Security Council seat over this kind of stunt, Interpol’s Red Letter on Snowden notwithstanding. And the WaPo Editorial on Snowden takes the biscuit, when they themselves are sitting in the whole fucking presentation-talk about being a tool…

  165. 165
    burnspbesq says:

    @Laertes:

    Go read 18 USC 793(c) and 798, and come back and explain why they don’t apply to what Greenwald has already admitted doing.

  166. 166
    patroclus says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I don’t think repeal is likely, but greater transparency and oversight could certainly be added. For example, why aren’t appointments to the FISA court independently confirmable by the Senate? Why isn’t a regular non-classified report made to Congress (and the people) about activities made every six months or so? Why can’t a lot more of this stuff be de-classified? Why can’t there be a FISA court oversight committee of judges – why is there just one level? Why is there no privacy ombudsman that can argue for privacy in front of the FISA court and make the proccess at least arguably more adversarial?

    Surely, there could be some changes to maddress some of these concerns.

  167. 167
    lol says:

    @LT:

    Greenwald himself said he was working with Snowden in February. Snowden himself said he got the job in March with the express purpose of leaking material.

    Are you saying they’re lying and we shouldn’t take them at their word?

  168. 168
    I am not a kook says:

    @John Cole:

    Why does no one fucking get this?

    I don’t know, maybe somebody who has a widely read blog could spend 15 minutes instead of 15 seconds on a post to marshall some facts and fact based reasoning, instead of a squid cloud of emotional triggers. For a start. Frame the discussion.

  169. 169
    Emma says:

    @patroclus: Yes. Finally. Solid suggestions.

  170. 170
    Corner Stone says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I’m also of the opinion that legal does not equal good.
    I am also of the belief that legal does not always mean just either.
    It seems to me that in years past we have successfully prosecuted individuals for following duly passed laws.
    I also believe that it’s our duty to challenge laws we believe to be unjust, unfair or illegal.

  171. 171
    burnspbesq says:

    @pete:

    I’m not so sure he’ll get busted, though.

    You may end up being right, but there’s plenty of time left on the statute of limitation.

  172. 172
    MikeBoyScout says:

    CLAPP on

    CLAPP off

    CLAPP erroneous

    The Clapper!

  173. 173
    magurakurin says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    put me in your column. Sounds about right.

    and Cole will probably regret this post in a day or two. Certainly next month when all this sorts out.

    As to Snowden and Assange and Wikileaks, I just can’t get to them as good guys. They seem like anarchists to me and not the good kind (men are basically pure and good it’s only the bondage of society and government that corrupts them kind) but rather the bad kind (The Joker: some men like to watch the world burn kind)

  174. 174
    Keith G says:

    @Corner Stone:
    I saw that too. Jesus Christ there are some stupid people here. The instinctive need to defend the security state follies just because Obama is the current president is beyond comprehension.

  175. 175
    Botsplainer says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    At some point feudal southern state governments are going to collect it too.

    They’ll just buy 30 years’ worth of your pr0n habits from Google, and hold it as a bargaining chip for your future cooperation. I figure North Carolina to be the leader on this – those candy-assed Duke kids will be especially vulnerable.

    In the meantime, Greenwald will sip a caiperanha on the beach and write another screwed viliying a liberal. After he finishes his drink, he’ll check his bank balance for his latest transfer from the Koch brothers.

  176. 176
    Poopyman says:

    @Yatsuno: @Omnes Omnibus: This this this, a thousand times this.

    The PATRIOT Act was passed and the Dems got rolled on it. No one knew what was in it then and nobody was eager to advertise what was in it later on. And then they went and reauthorized it.

    All the screeching is about perfectly legal but questionably unconstitutional (“unquestionably” in my mind) activities laid out post 9/11. If you want to put the genie back in the bottle you have to regain the House with people who want to do this

  177. 177
    LT says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Bush’s Gonzales-backed warrantless wiretaps were *legal*. Much of what Ellsberg revealed was *legal*.

    Are you Devo? No, you are #derp.

  178. 178
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @patroclus: I don’t think repeal is likely either, and I would certainly support any efforts to improve the process and make it better comport with both the letter and spirit of the Fourth Amendment. The FISA court and what we know of its record really bothers me. Awfully rubber-stampy if you ask me.

  179. 179
    Poopyman says:

    Can you people type slower? I’m having a hard time keeping up.

  180. 180
    LT says:

    @lol: You are a liar. If you are honestly interested in those points. yo ucan google them. Otherwise – you’re just a liar. And not worth a shit nickel.

  181. 181
    Corner Stone says:

    @Emma: WE CAN’T CARE ABOUT ANYTHING ELSE UNTIL THIS ONE SPECIFIC THING IS FULLY LITIGATED!

  182. 182
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @LT: You didn’t really get what I was saying at all, did you?

  183. 183
    Redshirt says:

    I think Greenwald and Snowden’s real goal was to tear apart Balloon Juice. To make BJer fight BJer. And look! It’s working!!

  184. 184
  185. 185
    Laertes says:

    @magurakurin:

    As to Snowden and Assange and Wikileaks, I just can’t get to them as good guys.

    The point, you’re still missing it. Nobody gives a shit if they’re good guys. The panopticon is getting some much-needed time in the spotlight, and several lies have been revealed. To whatever extent “we already knew” much of this stuff, we clearly didn’t know it enough because nobody was raising this kind of hell a month ago. We sure as hell learned something.

    Anyone who thinks this story is about whether or not Greenwald and Snowden are “good guys” (Spoiler: They’re not) isn’t paying attention, or for some reason doesn’t want to.

  186. 186
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @John Cole: Why is it so important to you to feel like you’re alllll alooooone with everyone being sooooo meeeeeaan to you and your straggling band of holdouts, the last best hope for decency and conscience? Tiresome.

    Snowden is a self-aggrandizing clown who talks like an Alan Moore character. Greenwald has been a predictable clown for so long he may as well be called Harlequin.

    Also, hey, notice this! There’s more!

    Also, Clapper lied, and pretty much no one has any investment in defending him. Also, the FISA Court needs to step out of the shadows to make some assurances that what they’re authorizing isn’t too sweeping. Also, surveillance and security shouldn’t be farmed out to private contractors with no loyalties.

    These are the issues Snowden and Greenwald raised. These are some of the ways to move forward on them.

    You’re right, to a point. This certainly isn’t hard. This is what most of us _have actually been saying_, and you’d realize it if you stepped away from your pathetic pity-party with all the other poor misunderstood geniuses.

  187. 187
    Yatsuno says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I’d be down with repeal of the FISA Act as well, or at the very least a huge reform so at the very least we have some idea what is happening there. I am also of the opinion it has spread way beyond its current mandate, but I could just be an unserious hippie about that.

  188. 188
    patroclus says:

    @Laertes: I could understand it better if those that are defending Snowden would actually address John’s point about whether they consider him to be a hero. And it’s not just his Dad – any quick perusal of the comments at the Guardian will give you many more examples and the comments from Evo Morales as well. A couple of days ago, it was Ben Franklin to whom Snowden was being compared by many commenters at BJ. Which is it for you – Ben Franklin or Paul Revere?

  189. 189
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Corner Stone:

    It seems to me that in years past we have successfully prosecuted individuals for following duly passed laws.

    Are you talking about Nuremberg?

  190. 190
    Keith G says:

    @burnspbesq: The problem in your statement is Clapper didn’t have to lie. There are such things as closed sessions.

    And to riff on something mother used to say, “If you have to lie about it, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it.

  191. 191
    burnspbesq says:

    @Howard Beale IV:

    If I was Secretary General of the UN, I’d strip the US of its Security Council seat over this kind of stunt,

    Would you, now? Based on what provision of the UN Charter that gives you the power to make a permanent member of the Security Council un-permanent?

  192. 192

    @FlipYrWhig: I kind of feel for Cole though, having his buddy dissed day in day out on here has got to be rough. Not that Greenwald doesn’t deserve it.

  193. 193
    Soonergrunt says:

    @LT:

    For those who will no doubt crack on “government v. citizen” – remember that our Founders set up a system of government specifically and purposely based on suspicion of government, and suspicion of power, and gave citizens ways to fight that power.

    No. They didn’t. The created a system whereby the citizens were supposed to take an active role in the government and by so doing function as the strongest check on the power of individual leaders over the citizenry. They created a system whereby the citizens ARE the republic. The suspicions they harbored were of men, not of the government.

    @Corner Stone: The difference between you and me is that I can separate what I think the world should be from what the world actually is. Your butthurt is your own problem.

  194. 194
    Mike Lamb says:

    And to answer the question that is the title of the post: he’s still got a job because he in lying to Congress, he did was he was told to do.

  195. 195
    Emma says:

    @Corner Stone: No, shithead. Your metadata (you know the shit you spread throughout the Internet like the flower girl at a wedding scatters rose petals) is not as important as thousands of women dying in back-alley abortions and thousands of people losing their jobs and their retirement.

    Call me when you start your pac to lobby Congress about your issue.

  196. 196
    trollhattan says:

    Are we feeling our airborne freedumbs?

    Several times every day, at airports across the country, passengers are trying to walk through security with loaded guns in their carry-on bags, purses or pockets, even in a boot. And, more than a decade after 9/11 raised consciousness about airline security, it’s happening a lot more often.

    In the first six months of this year, Transportation Security Administration screeners found 894 guns on passengers or in their carry-on bags, a 30 percent increase over the same period last year. The TSA set a record in May for the most guns seized in one week – 65 in all, 45 of them loaded and 15 with bullets in the chamber and ready to be fired. That was 30 percent more than the previous record of 50 guns, set just two weeks earlier.

    Last year TSA found 1,549 firearms on passengers attempting to go through screening, up 17 percent from the year before.

    http://seattletimes.com/html/n.....sguns.html

  197. 197
    Laertes says:

    @patroclus:

    I could understand it better if those that are defending Snowden would actually address John’s point about whether they consider him to be a hero.

    I’m not sure if you’re asking me, but no, I don’t think he’s a hero. I think he did a lot of good and a lot of bad, and one doesn’t cancel out the other. He’s a complicated guy who did a complicated thing, and anyone who insists on having an uncomplicated view of the situation is going to come out a fool.

  198. 198
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @John Cole: Because they believe that if Obama and the Dems cave on this issue it’ll drive the GOP back into the presidency-FSM help us if they still retain the House and re-take the Senate.

    But the cat is out of the bag, Pandora’s box has been opened, you can’t put the Genie back in the bottle, and you’ve closed the barn door after the cows have left.

  199. 199
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig: …mayyyyybbbeee…

  200. 200
    different-church-lady says:

    @Emma:

    Sit down Loleen, this may be rough. Honey… the president of the United States is named Nehemiah Scudder.

  201. 201
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Howard Beale IV: “If I was Secretary General of the UN, I’d strip the US of its Security Council seat over this kind of stunt…” considering that the Secretary General has no power at all over the Security Council because he’s only the meeting leader for the General Assembly, how do you think he’ll do that, exactly–to the country that provides 22% of the UN’s operating budget, the land upon which the UN is headquartered, and more than half of the logistical support for UN expeditionary and peace-keeping operations?

  202. 202

    Is there a reason why Snowden hasn’t pointed out that his career in the intelligence community goes back farther than Obama’s as President, and most of his time spying was done under Bush? I get the feeling when he talks he’s not connecting the Republicans with passing everything the intel community has ever wanted. And in 2008 he supported McCain. Is that because of McCain’s history as a civil libertarian?

    Thirty years ago THE PUZZLE PALACE was published. Even before the NSA the CIA and FBI (and DIA and all the alphabet soup) have been spying on Americans since they’ve been around. ECHELON was around in the 90s. I was in the anti-war movement in the sixties and was undoubtedly spied on. My union was spied on in the late 80s by the privatized spy ring run out of the ADL for South Africa at least (and, believe me, the info on our union was of more interest to people in Washington, DC than Pretoria). I suspect that the government has a file on anyone who has ever been politically involved and leans to the left.

    This is nothing new. What makes Snowden so special, aside from him always seeming to release revelations about countries Obama is conducting diplomacy with? I wouldn’t be surprised if this guy was recruited by someone like the Germans when he was swapping out keyboards in Geneva.

  203. 203
    Emma says:

    @different-church-lady: And here I thought he was a Kenyan Gay Mooslim!

  204. 204
    Yatsuno says:

    @Keith G: Actually, all he had to say was that he could not answer that question in open session because of national security and we wouldn’t be having this conversation. He should be fired for gross incompetence. Plus being a Bush holdover. There’s enough of those around already.

  205. 205
    different-church-lady says:

    @Laertes:

    anyone who insists on having an uncomplicated view of the situation is going to come out a fool.

    Hey, who let this non-insane person in here?

  206. 206
    Corporate shill says:

    @Corporate shill: Sigh.

    At least there’s a new thread above.

  207. 207
    LT says:

    @Soonergrunt: Holy shit. The separation of powers, just for starters, was not based on suspicion of government and power? That’s too stupid to contemplate.

    The suspicions they harbored were of men, not of the government.

    Fucking hell.

    You’re talking about *men in government*.

    And freedom of the press – wasn’t enshrined so us citizens could shine light on, expose, fight government?

    Fuck a fucked dog, Grunt.

  208. 208
    Haydnseek says:

    @different-church-lady: I saw what you did there…

  209. 209
    Corner Stone says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    The difference between you and me is that I can separate what I think the world should be from what the world actually is. Your butthurt is your own problem.

    Thankfully for my soul, there are many differences between us. I happen to be quite handsome, with a certain rakish charm. You are not.
    But as for your silly comment, I understand quite well the way the world works. I also understand my desire to change some small piece of that in some small ways I am able.
    So take your silly and childish butthurt somewhere else. You’re ridiculous.

  210. 210
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @SatanicPanic: “Why does no one get this?” is one step too fucking far. Sure, there are differences of opinion. Sure, people are deliberately being dicks to one another because there are two sides and it’s fun to spar. But, you know, we’re way past the point, if we ever weren’t past it, where We The Commenters start talking about not Snowden, not Greenwald, but the issues raised by Snowden and Greenwald. Everyone pretty fucking well gets this.

  211. 211
    Mike G says:

    Clapper suggested to reporters in 2003 that Iraqi officials, perhaps working without the knowledge of Saddam Hussein, moved evidence of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs outside the country before the war started.

    To where — his sworn enemy Syria, his sworn enemy Iran, or US allies Turkey or Kuwait? Transparent bullshit to anyone who wasn’t a geopolitical moron, which excludes about 80% of the press corpse and 99% of Fox News viewers.

    This is why this asshole still has a job (and why he got the job in the first place) — he’s a moral coward ever ready to tell lies that serve the powerful scum that permanently control the US government.

  212. 212
    LT says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    Is there a reason why Snowden hasn’t pointed out that his career in the intelligence community goes back farther than Obama’s as President, and most of his time spying was done under Bush?

    He has spoken exactly to this. Google.

  213. 213
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @burnspbesq: I’m sure they can change the charter unless you’re saying it’s carved in stone and can never be amended/changed-in which case, the UN becomes nothing more than a mental masturbation execise of real idealists that has little clout.

  214. 214
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I also believe that it’s our duty to challenge laws we believe to be unjust, unfair or illegal.

    No disagreement from me. I give money to ACLU. My point was sort of technical. Obama’s administration is doing crappy things wrt domestic surveillance; as far as I can tell, it is not doing illegal things. If the courts find any of these things to be unconstitutional, then continuing to do them would be illegal. AFICT you and I agree that there seem to be constitutional problems with the domestic surveillance legislation. I will be rooting for the ACLU lawsuits to succeed. Until and unless that happens, however, it is not accurate to describe the programs as illegal.

  215. 215
    magurakurin says:

    @Laertes:

    yeah well lucky for me and any other of us morons you have the clarity of vision to get it right. Thank God for that.

  216. 216
    Corner Stone says:

    @Emma: Ok, dumbass. Since you don’t get it let me spell it out for you.
    Some of us can do more than one thing at a time. Some of us can even focus on caring and working on more than one thing at a time.
    So don’t tell me about “metadata” when this is not what is important here, in this specific discussion.

  217. 217
    piratedan says:

    get back to me when someone has proof that any laws have been broken in this entire affair, other than Clapper lying to Wyden in an open session regarding classified information; if that’s even breaking the law or he’s just stupid for not knowing this was coming and telling him that it’s classified and he couldn’t say it there. Until then John, have a beer and watch the Pirates. Oops, almost forgot that Eddie Baby has allegedly broken some laws, something something espionage act… ok, you may continue.

  218. 218

    @Soonergrunt: And let’s not forget who would be left behind- China and Russia. Those are countries with strong histories of respecting their citizens’ wishes…

  219. 219
    different-church-lady says:

    @Emma: Nairobi, ma’am. Isn’t everyone?

  220. 220
    burnspbesq says:

    @patroclus:

    I don’t think repeal is likely, but greater transparency and oversight could certainly be added. For example, why aren’t appointments to the FISA court independently confirmable by the Senate? Why isn’t a regular non-classified report made to Congress (and the people) about activities made every six months or so? Why can’t a lot more of this stuff be de-classified? Why can’t there be a FISA court oversight committee of judges – why is there just one level? Why is there no privacy ombudsman that can argue for privacy in front of the FISA court and make the proccess at least arguably more adversarial?

    I’d be down with all of that, although I’m not sure how a FISA appellate court would work.

    I’d also be down with a brute-force repeal of the entire PATRIOT Act.

    We have a lot of work to do in order to get a Congress that would consider any of that.

  221. 221
    some guy says:

    I used to beleive in the 4th Amendment to the Constitution until I learned Greenwald used to be a Republican and Snowden lied to his employer. Now, not so much. Viva la policia!

    and yes, fuck all the lickspittles in this thread.

  222. 222
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @Soonergrunt: Now that we know that we’re backstabbing and front-running the UN, perhaps the UN should move somewhere else.

  223. 223

    @FlipYrWhig: Some night he’s gonna get drunk and post “WAKE UP SHEEPLE!”

  224. 224
    Laertes says:

    @magurakurin:

    Some liars have been exposed, some really dangerous programs have been hauled into the light, and a bunch of people are suddenly more interested in holding their government to account.

    To whatever extent you see that as a good or bad thing, do the motives or personality flaws of Greenwald and Snowden make any difference?

  225. 225
    burnspbesq says:

    @Howard Beale IV:

    Who is this “they” to which you refer?

  226. 226
    Redshirt says:

    Can someone summarize the pro-Greenwald/Snowden position for me? I’m not sure I fully get it.

  227. 227
    LAC says:

    @Corner Stone: Jaysus. Getting more shrill by the minute, aren’t you ?

  228. 228
    patroclus says:

    @Laertes: Thank you for actually addressing my questions! I think Snowden, by making this issue all about himself, has obscured the debate he was trying to spark and has clouded the issue unnecessarily. Like Ellsberg, he should turn himself in to the authorities and face whatever music is coming. If persecuted, he’ll look like a victim and be appealing. Right now, as an international fugitive on the lam, he is hindering any reform effort. In my view, at present, in Russia or wherever, he is no hero and to compare him to Paul Revere or other patriots is insulting. I wish his defenders would actually admit this and advise him (via public opinion) to stop the charade and come home and make public criticisms of America in America.

  229. 229
    Emma says:

    @Corner Stone: Really? Because each time your mancrush tries to come out with a revelation it’s never about a crime but about something done legally. AS LONG AS THE PATRIOT ACT EXISTS IT IS LEGAL TO COLLECT AND STORE METADATA FOR LATER REVIEW WITH A FISA WARRANT. I don’t like it, and have said so repeatedly. But it is neither illegal or previously unknown. And your baby boys have screwed the pooch and the necessary conversations won’t take place.

    But please go ahead. The Crusade ships leave from dock #4.

  230. 230
    chopper says:

    because let’s face it, Greenwald is gay

    for fuck’s sake, son, go sober up. you’re embarrassing yourself. and that’s saying a lot for a guy that busted his ass mopping naked.

  231. 231
    LT says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I took that what you were saying, through several comments, added up to a defense of the programs. I’ll be happy to retract my comment if I was mistaken.

  232. 232
    Corner Stone says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: As an officer and a lawyer allow me to ask an ethical question. What is your duty when faced with an order you believe to be illegal? What is it when faced with executing a law you believe to be illegal?

  233. 233
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Corner Stone: So the collection of metadata that you’ve been yelling all day is “surveillance!” isn’t important after all? OK, then.

  234. 234
    Chris says:

    @Mike G:

    To where — his sworn enemy Syria, his sworn enemy Iran, or US allies Turkey or Kuwait? Transparent bullshit to anyone who wasn’t a geopolitical moron, which excludes about 80% of the press corpse and 99% of Fox News viewers.

    That’s not the most ridiculous thing about that claim.

    The most ridiculous thing about the “he DID have WMDs, he just MOVED them!” claim is the notion that somehow, Saddam had WMDs, but didn’t use them to save his own regime and his own life in the face of an American invasion. This is a guy who had no qualms about using WMDs in the Iran-Iraq war; he had no qualms about using them on his own Kurdish population, which wasn’t even much of a threat at the time; and we’re supposed to believe that, when it was his own neck on the line, he had WMDs but didn’t even try, or threaten, to use them.

  235. 235
    Laertes says:

    @Redshirt:

    The position you’re asking about can be summarized as “Greenwald and Snowden are an irrelevant distraction. We’d rather talk about the ever-growing surveillance state and what can be done to rein it in.”

    It’s not pro-Snowden. It’s anti-anti-Snowden, which maybe looks like the same thing right at first.

  236. 236
    amk says:

    nice trolling, cole.

  237. 237
    burnspbesq says:

    @Laertes:

    Some liars have been exposed, some really dangerous programs have been hauled into the light, and a bunch of people are suddenly more interested in holding their government to account.

    It’s perfectly OK for the valuable public service that Snowden and Greenwald performed to be taken into consideration. At sentencing.

    And FWIW, part of the reason I’d like to see Greenwald get indicted is that it’s long since time that we figured out whether the application of 793(c) and 798 to a media defendant is Constitutional.

  238. 238
    different-church-lady says:

    For a thread that’s about Clapper, we sure ain’t spending much time talking about Clapper.

    Can’t imagine how that happened…

  239. 239
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Bob In Portland: My hunch is that Snowden had a come-to-Jesus moment after reading a lot of Greenwald, so he started to think there was something more objectionable about Obama in particular presiding over these newly normalized surveillance activities. And, you know, I can see that, if I want to give him the benefit of the doubt. I still think the underlying story is a mess, because it started out as “OMG the NSA is vacuuming up everything and spying on everyone!” and it slowly became “the NSA is collecting a lot of information without being asked what they’re doing with it by anyone vigilant or skeptical.” That can still be alarming, or need to be reconciled with the 4th Amendment, but it’s not the initial story, and the hyperbolic treatment of the original story is what Greenwald and Snowden still have to answer for. And I don’t think “But we were just raising issues, never mind how it happened!” is good enough. But the issues, once raised, should in fact be discussed, even if they’re old news, and ideally there should be new laws and court cases that put pressure on the status quo.

  240. 240
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Laertes:

    To whatever extent you see that as a good or bad thing, do the motives or personality flaws of Greenwald and Snowden make any difference?

    Their personality flaws? Not much. Their motives in exposing details about US spying on China, Russia, and Germany? Yes, I think those are important to know. Is Snowden an idiot who didn’t realize that other countries would be able to make hay out of the revelations, or did he just not care, or was his purpose to embarrass the US internationally?

    Snowden doesn’t get a free pass for giving classified information to China and Russia because he also, as an aside, released some information about FISA investigations.

  241. 241
    angler says:

    Sucks when the blog father turns on the amen chorus, doesn’t it? He does it every so often, and the steam parade is enjoyable. Thanks JC, you are the master self troller.

  242. 242
    LT says:

    @Laertes:

    Some liars have been exposed, some really dangerous programs have been hauled into the light, and a bunch of people are suddenly more interested in holding their government to account.

    #golfclap

  243. 243
    Emma says:

    @different-church-lady: Not me. Though my family does hail from the Canary Islands. Close enough to Africa, I guess.

  244. 244
    Tractarian says:

    So many strawmen packed into one post…

  245. 245
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Corner Stone:

    What is your duty when faced with an order you believe to be illegal? What is it when faced with executing a law you believe to be illegal?

    You mean like seeking a declaration from a judge that the law is illegal? Or if the order came from a judge, seeking an appeal?

  246. 246
    lol says:

    @Laertes:

    Did you think the motives and personality of Richard Armitage were relevant when he exposed CIA nepotism?

  247. 247
    Tractarian says:

    By the way, he still has a job because he has a nasty habit of keeping classified information classified.

    Unless you think he should have committed a felony by leaking this in front of Congress?

  248. 248
    LT says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Their motives in exposing details about US spying on China, Russia, and Germany?

    Is it a requirement of being a good citizen being okay with spying on allies? Does the requirement mean I can’t take Germany’s side (or my home now, for that matter, in Australia) on this?

    Note: This is a question about foreign relations, morality, and taxpayer money.

  249. 249
    Laertes says:

    @patroclus:

    I’m with you to an extent, but I can’t go so far as to say that this guy owes it to the Republic to hand himself over to a torture apparatus simply so that his plight will free up some airtime on CNN. He’s already sacrificed plenty.

    On the bright side, even if our torturers don’t get their grimy hands on him, it’s only a matter of time before something bad happens to a photogenic white girl and our collective attention wanders.

    In any case, whether it’s Snowden, a pretty white girl to be named later, or some other obsession that’s filling all the airtime, it’s not like a sensible discussion of the national security apparatus would be the next topic in line.

  250. 250
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @LT: In the very comment to which you replied I wrote this about the programs:

    Intrusive and wrong headed, but legal.

    You consider this a defense? I am actually one of the people trying to have a discussion about what is going on. It is important, at least to me as a lawyer, to have the terms of the discussion framed correctly. Recognizing that the programs are currently legal (although being litigated) matters.

  251. 251
    Poopyman says:

    @burnspbesq:

    We have a lot of work to do in order to get a Congress that would consider any of that.

    True enough. Too bad we can’t harness all the energy going into the comments section of one shitty little blog to help elect more Democrats. That would be a start ….

  252. 252
    LT says:

    @Tractarian:

    Unless you think he should have committed a felony by leaking this in front of Congress?

    Erick Erickson’s ball’s are calling for your lips.

    Note: The fact that you don’t see that Clapper could have 1) informed Wyden the day before the hearing that he should not ask the question, 2) said “no comment”, 3) said, “That question has been answered in a closed session, Senator,” 4) any number of other things = you are derp.

  253. 253
    different-church-lady says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    It is important, at least to me as a lawyer, to have the terms of the discussion framed correctly.

    See, that’s where you’ve gone wrong: you’re trying to have an honest discussion with polemicists.

  254. 254
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @patroclus: IANAL but this all sounds great to me. From time to time I’ve speculated about some entity that could watch the watchers on the model of the civilian review boards some police departments have to answer to. And moving in the direction you describe would seem to be a clever left-right or at least Dem-Rep collaborative opportunity. That’s what civil libertarians should be pushing for.

    For that matter, why not get Ron Wyden interested in a presidential campaign? Make this his thing and be a giant pain in the ass about it so that the front-runners can’t ignore civil liberties issues.

  255. 255
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Howard Beale IV: It’s not like the Secretariat or the General Assembly would be missed in Manhattan.
    Or on the world stage, for that matter.

  256. 256
    lol says:

    When you get down to it, isn’t Aldrich Ames a heroic whistleblower too?

    He blew the whistle on American espionage overseas but took care to limit the exposure of this information to solely the affected countries.

    Sure, he was paid handsomely for this information, but I think we should avoid discussing motives and focus on what he uncovered.

  257. 257
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    I know I should wait until James Clapper’s death to use this line but..

    Clap On
    Clap Off
    The Clapper.

    ETA: Now, Violet, now, dammit!

  258. 258
    different-church-lady says:

    @Poopyman:

    Too bad we can’t harness all the energy going into the comments section…

    I doubt something that wouldn’t singe a cork is going to do much to flip the congress.

  259. 259
    Poopyman says:

    @Emma:

    But please go ahead. The Crusade ships leave from dock #4.

    I hear that the mounted knights are on sparkle ponies.

  260. 260
    patroclus says:

    @burnspbesq: Title III of the USA Patriot Act is the International Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Abatement Act – which contains regulation of banks and financial institutions and implements Know Thy Customer rules and enhances the economic sanctions available to policy-makers and bank regulators to target individuals and business entities that are engaged in terrorism, money laundering or narcotics trafficking. This is mostly good law and should not be repealed, in my view. Only the part of the Patriot Act dealing with the NSA and privacy violations is at issue here. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater is not a good idea in my view. In a prior thread, I listed 11 ideas to try to rein in the NSA and this program, but it was mostly ignored and I was called names and my questions were ignored.

    We really need to get off Snowden and Greenwald and their monstrous egos if we’re ever going to have a serious discussion about this. They are hurting; not helping. I wish more would realize this.

  261. 261
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Corner Stone: Back when I was a soldier, I would have to be damned sure it was illegal before I refused to carry out an order. Torture, shooting civilians, things like that… If it was a matter where opinions differ, and right now, on surveillance, that is where the law stands, I would follow the order or resign my commission.

  262. 262
    Corner Stone says:

    @Bobby Thomson: That is not what I have been yelling about.

  263. 263
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Corner Stone: You’re about to run into that whole “world as it is and not as you want it to be” thing again.

  264. 264
    Laertes says:

    @lol:

    Would Aldritch Ames be any less of an asshole if he had pure motives? Just like Snowden, what matters is what he did, not what he set out to do.

  265. 265
    LT says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: It matters if a big part of the discussion @Omnes Omnibus: In three separate comments you’ve said it. And this was the first:

    I didn’t like domestic surveillance when Bush was doing it; I don’t like it when Obama is doing it. There is a difference though. Obama seems to be abiding by a bunch of fucked-up laws with which I don’t agree, while Bush just did shit. That difference is huge as far as rule of law goes.

    We’re not supposed to read that as a defense of Obama?

    Never mind that it is by all accounts simply wrong. What Bush did was *legal*. And Obama has *expanded* Bush’s fucked up legality.

  266. 266
    freemark says:

    from Ellsberg’s interview in Salon http://www.salon.com/2013/06/1.....t_partner/

    Why is he not in the country? And I think the current climate is such that if he were in the country, we would have no more chance to hear from him than you or I or anybody has had from Bradley Manning. He’d be in jail, he might be in the same cell in Quantico — at best — as Bradley Manning was for ten and a half months, in isolation. Or he might be in Guantanamo.

    FRIEDMAN: That was my sense as well. That he…

    ELLSBERG: He would not be out on bond as I was 40 years ago. I was able to speak very freely in this country out on bond during my trial. And to speak not so much about my case as to the war, and to put my message out about the nature of the war and why it should be ended.

  267. 267
    Mnemosyne says:

    @LT:

    Is it a requirement of being a good citizen being okay with spying on allies? Does the requirement mean I can’t take Germany’s side (or my home now, for that matter, in Australia) on this?

    You can take Germany’s side, if you like, but you probably should not believe their protestations that they certainly would never, ever do such a thing. Germany is spying on the US, we’re spying on them, and we all pretend it’s not happening until someone releases embarrassing information.

    Another commenter posted a claim yesterday that the only four countries that the US does not spy on are Great Britain, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, so you may not need to defend your adopted country as fiercely as you think.

    Note: This is a question about foreign relations, morality, and taxpayer money.

    Actually, the more important question is, are we strictly doing surveillance, or are we meddling? I don’t think there’s a huge moral problem with countries keeping tabs on each other, but there’s a really big problem with them using that information to try and interfere in that country’s politics or economy.

    My question for you is, Do you think the United States should be gathering information on, say, labor unrest in China and how that government deals with it, or is it none of our business?

  268. 268
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: And of course, there’s a difference between orders that are illegal and those that may, from one frame of reference vs another, seem immoral.

  269. 269
    Poopyman says:

    @different-church-lady: This thread became not about Clapper in the last 4 paragraphs of Cole’s post, so blame him.

  270. 270
    Mnemosyne says:

    @freemark:

    Ellsberg does realize that Snowden is a civilian, right? How is he going to end up at Quantico? Manning was still an active servicemember when he was arrested, which is why he’s at a military prison.

    Sorry, but everything I’ve heard Ellsberg say about this case makes him sound like a hysteric who doesn’t actually understand that the military has its own separate justice system.

  271. 271
    burnspbesq says:

    @patroclus:

    Title III of the USA Patriot Act is the International Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Abatement Act – which contains regulation of banks and financial institutions and implements Know Thy Customer rules and enhances the economic sanctions available to policy-makers and bank regulators to target individuals and business entities that are engaged in terrorism, money laundering or narcotics trafficking. This is mostly good law

    And at least somewhat redundant in light of FATCA.

    I just think from the perspective of getting public support on this issue, making fine distinctions between baby and bathwater is likely to be counter-productive. Whatever the rallying cry is, it needs to fit on a bumper-sticker.

  272. 272
    Corner Stone says:

    @Soonergrunt: Just stop man. You’re embarrassing yourself trying to pin that bullshit on me. You’re going to look long and hard into my soul before you find any evidence of starry eyed dreamer.

  273. 273
    different-church-lady says:

    @Poopyman: It became not about Clapper in the very first sentence.

  274. 274
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Poopyman:

    True enough. Too bad we can’t harness all the energy going into the comments section of one shitty little blog to help elect more Democrats.

    Oh, I’ve already been informed that electing more Democrats won’t help (because shut up, that’s why), so our only choice is to whine in the comments sections of blogs until the NSA hauls us all away.

  275. 275
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @LT: What Bush did was legal? What are you referring to? If it’s the warrantless wiretapping thing, you know, “warrantless.” Team Dubya came up with a lot of windy justifications for things (e.g., by saying that executive powers were essentially absolute when it came to war), but the way I remember it, the controversial part was that they were not in accordance with standing law, even FISA. No? Any of the resident lawyers want to jump in here?

  276. 276
    El Cid says:

    @Mike G:

    This is why this asshole still has a job (and why he got the job in the first place) — he’s a moral coward ever ready to tell lies that serve the powerful scum that permanently control the US government.

    Remember, Colin Powell’s service which greatly sped along his career along to trusted pro-war liar was as an upright military officer willing to treat the spin he received from superiors as actual knowledge in order to denounce those who had witnessed brutalities such as and including My Lai.

    While a horrific example of a Vietnam war crime, the My Lai massacre was not unique. It fit a long pattern of indiscriminate violence against civilians that had marred U.S. participation in the Vietnam War from its earliest days when Americans acted primarily as advisers.

    In 1963, Capt. Colin Powell was one of those advisers, serving a first tour with a South Vietnamese army unit. Powell’s detachment sought to discourage support for the Viet Cong by torching villages throughout the A Shau Valley. While other U.S. advisers protested this countrywide strategy as brutal and counter-productive, Powell defended the “drain-the-sea” approach then — and continued that defense in his 1995 memoirs, My American Journey. (See The Consortium, July 8)

    After his first one-year tour and a series of successful training assignments in the United States, Maj. Powell returned for his second Vietnam tour on July 27, 1968. This time, he was no longer a junior officer slogging through the jungle, but an up-and-coming staff officer assigned to the Americal division.

    By late 1968, Powell had jumped over more senior officers into the important post of G-3, chief of operations for division commander, Maj. Gen. Charles Gettys, at Chu Lai. Powell had been “picked by Gen. Gettys over several lieutenant colonels for the G-3 job itself, making me the only major filling that role in Vietnam,” Powell wrote in his memoirs.

    But a test soon confronted Maj. Powell. A letter had been written by a young specialist fourth class named Tom Glen, who had served in an Americal mortar platoon and was nearing the end of his Army tour.

    In a letter to Gen. Creighton Abrams, the commander of all U.S. forces in Vietnam, Glen accused the Americal division of routine brutality against civilians. Glen’s letter was forwarded to the Americal headquarters at Chu Lai where it landed on Maj. Powell’s desk…

    …The letter’s troubling allegations were not well received at Americal headquarters. Maj. Powell undertook the assignment to review Glen’s letter, but did so without questioning Glen or assigning anyone else to talk with him. Powell simply accepted a claim from Glen’s superior officer that Glen was not close enough to the front lines to know what he was writing about, an assertion Glen denies.

    After that cursory investigation, Powell drafted a response on Dec. 13, 1968. He admitted to no pattern of wrongdoing. Powell claimed that U.S. soldiers in Vietnam were taught to treat Vietnamese courteously and respectfully. The Americal troops also had gone through an hour-long course on how to treat prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions, Powell noted.

    “There may be isolated cases of mistreatment of civilians and POWs,” Powell wrote in 1968. But “this by no means reflects the general attitude throughout the Division.” Indeed, Powell’s memo faulted Glen for not complaining earlier and for failing to be more specific in his letter.

    Powell reported back exactly what his superiors wanted to hear. “In direct refutation of this [Glen’s] portrayal,” Powell concluded, “is the fact that relations between American soldiers and the Vietnamese people are excellent.”

    Powell’s findings, of course, were false. But it would take another American hero, an infantryman named Ron Ridenhour, to piece together the truth about the atrocity at My Lai. After returning to the United States, Ridenhour interviewed American comrades who had participated in the massacre.

    On his own, Ridenhour compiled this shocking information into a report and forwarded it to the Army inspector general. The IG’s office conducted an aggressive official investigation and the Army finally faced the horrible truth. Courts martial were held against officers and enlisted men implicated in the murder of the My Lai civilians.

    But I trust somebody like Colin Powell, and if Colin Powell says we got to trust our sources to blow the shit out of Iraq, then, by God, it’s good enough for me and plenty of elected leaders!

  277. 277
    Poopyman says:

    @different-church-lady: Ooooh! I missed that one. Thanks!

  278. 278
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Mnemosyne: Back when Ellsberg did his thing, and he was a military officer before he did his thing, the military justice system only prosecuted offenses that were “military in nature” such as AWOL/Desertion, Disrespect to a Superior, and so forth. Crimes on the battlefield were ALWAYS prosecuted by Court-Martial.
    Most other crimes were prosecuted by civilian authorities. That changed in the 1980s. But the military has NEVER had jurisdiction over US persons on US soil.

  279. 279
    Corner Stone says:

    @Emma: My contention is not primarily with the metadata, although I hate every part of that too.
    When are you going to snap to it? This isn’t about just metadata.

  280. 280
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Laertes:

    On the bright side, even if our torturers don’t get their grimy hands on him, it’s only a matter of time before something bad happens to a photogenic white girl and our collective attention wanders.

    Uh, dude, you really think he’s better off being questioned by Putin’s guys than by the FBI?

    You may want to read up on the recent history of the KGB before you decide that Snowden is better off with the Russian security forces than he is with us. Frankly, the fact that he can’t be found in Russia is making me very nervous for his personal safety, and it ain’t because I’m worried about what the US might do to him.

  281. 281
    patroclus says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Thanks – it doesn’t have to be my specific ideas. It can be anything to build more oversight and transparency into the process. Surely, someone can come up with a reasonable reform proposal that could build support across the political spectrum and be debated democratically and in the open. There’s already been a little more de-classification and a tiny bit more transparency, but I think there could and should be a lot more. Action in this Congress seems unlikely, but some sort of bill should be introduced in order to generate real debate. But if we stay obsessed with Snowden/Greenwald, ain’t nuthin gonna happen.

  282. 282

    @LT: I went through seven pages on Bing and couldn’t find anything Snowden said about spying in the Bush Administration. I saw that Snowden says that Obama is running an unconstitutional government, although all those programs and more have been going on since before Obama took office. I saw that in 2009 Snowden said that leakers should be shot in the balls.

    But I’ve never seen him acknowledge that all those years he was working for the CIA, the NSA et al as being evil or unconstitutional or even maybe a little wrong. But then maybe you could supply a link.

  283. 283
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @LT: I disagree with your conception of what was happening under Bush. Also, you are moving the goal posts. First, you suggested that I was defending the programs. Now, you switch to suggesting that I was defending Obama. Which do you want to argue? I haven’t defended the programs. I have said that Obama isn’t currently breaking any laws while his administration does something with which I strenuously disagree. That’s a pretty tepid defense at best.

  284. 284
    ChrisNYC says:

    Why is what Clapper did bad? He corrected the testimony to Wyden right afterward. I know rep democracy is soooo passe but other than that not following. Did Clapper say something mean about gg?

  285. 285
    LT says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Ellsberg does realize that Snowden is a civilian, right? How is he going to end up at Quantico? Manning was still an active servicemember when he was arrested, which is why he’s at a military prison.

    Sorry, but everything I’ve heard Ellsberg say about this case makes him sound like a hysteric who doesn’t actually understand that the military has its own separate justice system.

    Quantico Brig Wiki:

    Over the years, there have been some prominent inmates at the Brig, to include John Hinckley, Jr., a would-be presidential assassin, Clayton J. Lonetree, the Marine Security Guard who provided classified information to the KGB while stationed at the U.S. Embassy, Moscow from 1984–1986, and Rayful Edmond, largely credited with introducing crack cocaine into the Washington, D.C. area.

  286. 286
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Corner Stone:
    Apparently, “deep into your soul” is comment #95 in this thread.
    Right here’s where you showed your ass:
    But since I believe these actions are not following the law, I’m going to say I am flaming you from the Constitution side.
    You know– the part where you mistook your wish about what the law should be with what the law is when you engaged in your starry eyed dreams of defending the Constitution–from somebody who had to explain it to you.

  287. 287
    kc says:

    @Emma:

    Again, it’s possible to care about more than one issue at a time. At least for some people, it is.

  288. 288
    lol says:

    @freemark:

    That’s right, Snowden would be in a military prison. Or Cuba. This hysterical nonsense is why I stopped taking Ellsburg seriously on this stuff.

    He’s was a hero but he’s entirely too credulous of people who are supposedly trying to emulate him.

    @Laertes:

    And what Snowden did was blow the whistle on established US law (big whoop) while handing off intelligence to other nations hoping to get something in return. That’s espionage. Fuck him.

  289. 289
    Redshirt says:

    @Corner Stone:

    My contention is not primarily with the metadata, although I hate every part of that too.
    When are you going to snap to it? This isn’t about just metadata.

    What’s it about then?

  290. 290
    LT says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: @ChrisNYC: Why are you simply taking Clapper at his word? Wyden says Clapper did NOT correct.

  291. 291
    Soonergrunt says:

    @LT: And Hinckley and Edmond were under the guard of US Marshals. Most of the FBI, and quite a lot of the Marshals Service have extensive facilities there.

  292. 292
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @LT: Um, where did I say that I was taking Clapper at his word about anything?

  293. 293
    LT says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: “Now, you switch to suggesting that I was defending Obama.”

    Jesus fuck. Word games now? Obama = the programs. For fuck’s sake. YOu even said as much in your very first comment:

    I didn’t like domestic surveillance when Bush was doing it; I don’t like it when Obama is doing it. There is a difference though. Obama seems to be abiding by a bunch of fucked-up laws with which I don’t agree, while Bush just did shit. That difference is huge as far as rule of law goes.

  294. 294
    Mnemosyne says:

    @LT:

    You probably should have looked up the Rayful Edmond case:

    Edmond was arrested in 1989 at the age of 24. His arrest and subsequent trial were widely covered by local and national media. Judicial officials, fearful of reprisals from members of Edmond’s gang, imposed unprecedented security during the trial. Jurors’ identities were kept secret before, during, and after trial, and their seating area was enclosed in bulletproof glass. The presiding judge even barred the public from the trial in an effort to protect the jury. Edmond was jailed at the maximum security facility at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia and flown to the Federal Court House in Washington, D.C. by helicopter each day for his trial. Authorities took this unusual step due to heightened fears of an armed escape attempt. This gang was believed to have committed over 400 murders not including the attempted murder of a local pastor, the Reverend Mr. Bynum, who was shot 12 times during an anti-drug march in his Orleans Place neighborhood.

    But, yes, it’s true that attempted presidential assassin John Hinckley Jr. was put at Quantico rather than being held at a regular jail, so that totally proves that Snowden would be jailed there, too.

  295. 295
    LT says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: “@LT: Um, where did I say that I was taking Clapper at his word about anything?”

    Sorry, that was meant to be only to Chris.

  296. 296
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @LT:

    a bunch of fucked-up laws with which I don’t agree

    Yeah, that’s a fucking defense of the programs.

  297. 297
    Laertes says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    You’re only thinking of him
    You’re only thinking off him
    You’re only thinking and worrying about him

    Bless you.

    For my part, there’s nothing new about the Russian government torturing people, and the blood isn’t on my hands when they do. I’m a lot more angry about it when my government does it. There was a time when we could be troubled to pretend to be above such things.

  298. 298
    LT says:

    @Mnemosyne: No, it just shows that not ONLY military personnel go there.

    If Ellsberg was being sloppy on that point, I still have about 18,000 megatons more respect for him on these issues than your sorry ass.

  299. 299
    ChrisNYC says:

    @LT: for me I was going just on the squib Cole posted. Didn’t know wyden disputed. Tho wyden seems iffy to me. He only ever seems to come out to burnish his cred.

  300. 300
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Laertes:

    For my part, there’s nothing new about the Russian government torturing people, and the blood isn’t on my hands when they do. I’m a lot more angry about it when my government does it.

    I’m sure that will be a great comfort to Snowden — at least I’m being tortured by someone else’s government and not my own!

    @LT:

    No, it just shows that not ONLY military personnel go there.

    Gosh, two out of how many hundreds of military prisoners! That proves that Ellsberg is totally right!

    If Ellsberg was being sloppy on that point, I still have about 18,000 megatons more respect for him on these issues than your sorry ass.

    Yes, I realize that you’re only interested in hearing the most hysterical comments about what maybe possibly could potentially have happened in the worst case scenario rather than, y’know, facts.

  301. 301
    Mark B says:

    I’m fairly sure that this point has been made many times before on this thread, but Clapper is pretty much duty bound to not tell the truth about classified programs. If he gave an answer that hinted at the existence of a program, he would have been betraying his duty to keep them secret. I suppose the most graceful way to answer the question would have been to change the subject, but apparently he didn’t succeed in that.

  302. 302
    LT says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: You say you were simply *pointing out* that they were legal, to make sure to your lawyerly mind that this was being framed correctly.

    Are there a bunch of people (is there a single on here) arguing about this based on illegality? Because I’ve seen very little of it. People have talked about *unconstitutionality* – but I haven’t heard much of anything about illegality. Greenwald says specifically that the programs are legal.

    This makes your “legal!” statements seem strawmanish to me, which is why I took them to simply be a defense of the programs, and of Obama.

    And you haven’t spoken to the fact that Obama isn’t simply and hesitatingly – as you seem to put it – following Bush laws – he has *expanded* through legal interpretation those bad laws.

  303. 303
    Laertes says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I’m sure that will be a great comfort to Snowden — at least I’m being tortured by someone else’s government and not my own!

    I’m not sure how much I give a shit about whether or not it’s a comfort to Snowden. I didn’t send him to Russia. Dude made that decision on his own. The consequences are on him, not me.

  304. 304
    LT says:

    @Mark B: Fuck. This is exactly how bullshit talking points work.

    It has been pointed out too many times to count that that defense of Clapper is bullshit. He got the question the day before the hearing. And Wyden gave him the chance to correct it after the hearing. He refused.

    You need to read Marcy Wheeler.

  305. 305
    Emma says:

    @Corner Stone: What is it about? The government has been collecting info on its own citizens since forever. The Internet has just made it much easier. The only way to ride that tiger is to make sure the reins are good and strong:

    –Come to grips with the concept that privacy means a much different thing to us than it does to a 20-something with 3500 Facebook friends and an app that allows them to track her physical movements on their phones and make sure the law reflects the consensus of the citizens.

    –Repeal the Patriot Act.

    –Tighten the FISA rules

    –Push back against the Supreme Court’s recent decisions that have allowed the militarization of law enforcement

    You know what all those things need? More damn Democrats in Congress.

    You know why we won’t get any of these? Because the conversation that Snowden and Greenwald started is about them.

    You know what tires me? The idea that the United States is one step away from a military dictatorship that would put North Korea to shame because… well, it could happen.

  306. 306
    LT says:

    @ChrisNYC: Fuck. Wyden? He’s one of the best we’ve got.

  307. 307
    White Trash Liberal says:

    @LT:

    Expanded?

    Pray tell.

    What I know is that the Bush administration was wiretapping without warrants until that was forcibly curtailed.

    I want to hear your definition of expansion. Show your work.

  308. 308
    Corner Stone says:

    @Soonergrunt: You apparently missed where I said the ACLU, et al, lawsuits have been filed and I believe they have merit. Also that I am interested to see what happens next.
    That sounds pretty close to how it works when someone believes a law to be unjust or illegal. Doesn’t seem too starry eyed to me at all.
    I don’t need Omnes to explain any of this to me. I engaged him in a limited conversation on differing views, where we differed at all that is.

  309. 309
    spacewalrus says:

    @John Cole: I imagine people like you have trouble not making this about Snowden and Greenwald because YOU’RE CONSTANTLY MAKING IT ABOUT SNOWDEN AND GREENWALD. That’s what happens when YOU insist that certainly individuals are beyond criticism. You throw a tantrum when anyone raises ANY criticism (kind of like the sad spectacle of you defending Greenwald a few years ago when he singled-out a blogger as the next Leni Riefenstahl). But you’re totally not the one lost in hero worship. Just don’t question Greenwald or Snowden. I think it also hurt Snowden’s cause when lefties like some over at sites like DailyKos started cheering on people telling our country to “Go fk itself.” SOS as OWS. So stubborn and short-sighted, that you take steps and use rhetoric that burns down the bridges you need to advance your cause. How many Americans do you think tune out when moonbats push messages like, “Foreigners told Americans to go fk ourselves! YAY!”

    But hey, drive them web clicks, man, because this is totally about the issues and not about keeping the Rage-O-Rama in full gear.

  310. 310
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @LT:

    Are there a bunch of people (is there a single on here) arguing about this based on illegality? Because I’ve seen very little of it. People have talked about *unconstitutionality* – but I haven’t heard much of anything about illegality. Greenwald says specifically that the programs are legal.

    The legality of the programs has come up on a shitload of threads here. It is a basis for some arguing the Snowden was a whistleblower. Also, Corner Stone raised the issue on this thread.

    As to the rest, why make it a fight about Obama? Why pick a fight with me? I am not supporting the programs; if you can read through what I posted on this thread and come to the conclusion that I support domestic surveillance programs, you need to get some sleep. That being said, the programs are currently legal. If one doesn’t like them, one can work to get the laws repealed/changed or support groups like the ACLU who are litigating them. The rest is commentary.

  311. 311
    Corner Stone says:

    @Emma:

    You know why we won’t get any of these? Because the conversation that Snowden and Greenwald started is about them.

    That is precious. How about we not give a shit where Snowden is, or who GG gives an interview to?
    And instead of screaming “other things!” at us all, we talk about making some of the other things you list actually happen. If Ed Snowden and GG can stop us from those things, just because they exist, then what kind of pathetic sacks are we?

  312. 312
    LT says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: All right.

    By the way, people who say that whistleblowing only involves exposing illegal activity are idiots. We have legal protections for whistleblowers who, amonth other things, expose massive waste, and mismanagement.

  313. 313
    Keith G says:

    @Corner Stone: You have a soul?

  314. 314
    Emma says:

    @Corner Stone: Well, let’s see. I’m average Ms. America here. I don’t give much of a shit about many of these issues. Getting my house paid and my kids fed and clothed, and maybe putting a little away for a trip to Disney World for the youngest’s birthday in two years. I hear about the whole “government is spying on us” and sure it makes me really uncomfortable. Then I find out that the guy who’s telling us all of this just buggered off the China and spent a couple of weeks as a guest of the Chinese government where, right as the President is having a major conversation with the Chinese about BIG economic issues, he releases information about our government’s intelligence gathering against the Chinese. Next time I look, he’s in Russia kissing up to Putin. So when someone like you or I try to convince her the topic is important she will focus on what Snowden has done because she sure as hell doesn’t have the time to spend several days reading up on it. And she’s never had someone she knows in trouble because of what the government is doing, so… meh.

    It’s not about you and me, CS. We’re political geeks, fully invested. The people we have to move is the vast mass that doesn’t have the time or the interest. And all they are getting are “Snowden did this” and “Snowden did that”. And in spite of Ellsberg’s own words, Snowden doesn’t measure up. Ellsberg blew the whistle, stood his ground, and took all the shit that was thrown at him.

  315. 315
    Mandalay says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Go read 18 USC 793(c) and 798, and come back and explain why they don’t apply to what Greenwald has already admitted doing.

    That isn’t the issue. The poster quite reasonably took umbrage at you branding Greenwald as a “likely felon”, and the onus is on you to substantiate your claim.

    You need to explain why it is “likely” that Greenwald will be charged, “likely” that he will be prosecuted, and “likely” that he will be found guilty.

    And if that is all too much for you then you shouldn’t really be calling Greenwald a “likely felon”.

  316. 316
    ChrisNYC says:

    @LT: sorry. I think he plays to dkos and does nothing else. He has cred so if he was serious he could use that for more than cable ranting. We need a conversation about privacy v security, about the forever war, even gasp about citizen v state more generally. Wyden could be the bridge (like barney frank on fin issues tho he might actually have been a double agent). But he settles for the ranting which only serves to preserve the status quo. And maybe that’s the goal.

  317. 317
    different-church-lady says:

    @LT:

    We have legal protections for whistleblowers…

    Well, then Fast Eddie’s got nothing to fear if he comes on back, right?

  318. 318
    Emma says:

    @kc: Is it? haven’t seen you in any other threads but these. But then again I don’t necessarily look close at nyms.

  319. 319
    Corner Stone says:

    @Keith G: That was the punch he never saw coming. Good luck, suckergrunt!

  320. 320
    Mandalay says:

    @Laertes:

    Anyone who thinks this story is about whether or not Greenwald and Snowden are “good guys” (Spoiler: They’re not) isn’t paying attention, or for some reason doesn’t want to.

    Exactly so.

  321. 321
    different-church-lady says:

    @Mandalay: If I were to be intellectually consistent I’d say you’re absolutely right on that point.

    Yes. Well. Intellectual consistency is overrated, don’t you think?

  322. 322
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Corner Stone: If you say so.

  323. 323
    LT says:

    @ChrisNYC: Fuck. That bugs me. He is so much NOT a ranter. That’s one of the things I like about him. (He ws MY senator for 20 years.)

    We disagree.

  324. 324
    LT says:

    @different-church-lady:

    “Well, then Fast Eddie’s got nothing to fear if he comes on back, right?”

    We have legal protections for people falsely accused of crimes, too. You Are Derp.

  325. 325
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Corner Stone:

    That sounds pretty close to how it works when someone believes a law to be unjust or illegal.

    Well, that’s how some people who respect the rule of law (such as the ACLU) roll. Others just do WTFTW, but apparently it’s character assassination to point that out.

    Pop quiz: which approach is more likely to achieve actual change in the law?

  326. 326
    LT says:

    @Bobby Thomson: “Well, that’s how some people who respect the rule of law (such as the ACLU) roll. Others just do WTFTW, but apparently it’s character assassination to point that out.”

    You are anti-whistleblowing. Thank you for letting us know.

  327. 327
    Gus says:

    It’s time to retire the stupid, faux-clever coinage “brogressive.”

  328. 328
    david1234 says:

    I do not understand why Clapper still has security clearance. He clearly cannot be trusted. There is good reason to believe that he has committed a felony.

  329. 329
    Mandalay says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Also, Clapper lied, and pretty much no one has any investment in defending him.

    They don’t now, since Snowden has skewered Clapper, but just a few weeks ago Obama and Feinstein were falling over themselves to defend Clapper, even though they knew he had lied to Congress:

    Obama “certainly believes that Clapper has been straight and direct in the answers that he’s given” claimed Press Secretary Jay Carney on Tuesday.
    Leading congressional Democrats have similarly offered unswerving defense of Clapper. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein told ABC, “There is no more direct or honest person than Jim Clapper.”

    Let’s be clear here: Obama (or Carney if you want to be pedantic) and Feinstein were LYING. They knew fucking well that Clapper had lied to Congress, and still defended him as being honest. The whole system is rotten to the core.

  330. 330
    Mandalay says:

    @patroclus:

    A couple of days ago, it was Ben Franklin to whom Snowden was being compared by many commenters at BJ.

    Links?

  331. 331
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @LT: Not at all. But there are responsible ways of whistleblowing, like, for example, writing a letter to Judge Scirica.

  332. 332
    magurakurin says:

    @Mandalay:

    you were calling them fucking heroes just a couple of days ago. Your holier than though attitude really gets old. I know what the fuck is going on. So does basically everyone here. You seem to think you have some sort of monopoly on the “truth” or “awareness.” You don’t. People are just disagree over the value of what you call “revaltions” and “whistleblowing.”

    You’re just a dickhead, like all the rest of us. So climb off you fucking hobby horse and come back to the mud with the rest of us serfs, shit heel.

  333. 333
    Surly Duff says:

    @LT:

    Bush’s Gonzales-backed warrantless wiretaps were *legal*.

    You keep harping on this, and yet it is absolutely wrong. Bush ignored FISC. Obama got FISC’s permission.

    And yes, saying Obama is following the law is a defense. A pretty damn good one. It doesn’t mean he’s in (as Obama himself put it) a “moral safe harbor”, but it does mean Congress shares as much or more of the blame for the increased surveillance.

  334. 334
    Mandalay says:

    @Mark B:

    I’m fairly sure that this point has been made many times before on this thread, but Clapper is pretty much duty bound to not tell the truth about classified programs. If he gave an answer that hinted at the existence of a program, he would have been betraying his duty to keep them secret.

    You are correct that several posters have argued that Clapper is pretty much duty bound to not tell the truth about classified programs, but just claiming that does not make it so. AFAIK there was nothing to prevent Clapper from openly replying that he would be happy to respond to the question in a secret briefing.

    If you have any links that suggest he could not have given such a reply, and instead was duty bound to lie to Congress, I’d be interested to see them.

  335. 335
    Mandalay says:

    @magurakurin:

    you were calling them fucking heroes just a couple of days ago

    Not true. You have a link to back that up, or shall we just agree that you are a liar?

  336. 336
    Surly Duff says:

    @LT:

    You are anti-whistleblowing. Thank you for letting us know.

    This has nothing to do with whistleblowing. Whistleblowers can be protected under the law, anyway. In order to be a whistleblower, you have to actually blow the whistle on something illegal, not just something that offends you in some abstract way.

  337. 337
    John O says:

    FSM knows I’m WAY late on this, but this is a post that pretty much explains why I have BJ up as my only permanent tab.

    Sorry, John C. I like it when you rant and are possibly generally more unhappy, for which I apologize. You’re one of my favorite polemicists ever, and you’ve swung both ways. Very impressive.

  338. 338
    John O says:

    @Surly Duff:

    Awww, eat me.

    Just because something is LEGAL doesn’t make it right. FWIW, I think it is pretty hard to argue with the idea that Snowden is a personally courageous person. It isn’t easy to ruin your own life. Or at least I would think it would be hard. I’ve never done it, and would venture to guess few of the rest of you have, either.

    This shit needed to be discussed. Ask the Yurp’s where they stand on the guy. Me, I’m still agnostic, but I don’t for a minute question the young man has Stones.

  339. 339
    LT says:

    @Surly Duff:

    ” This has nothing to do with whistleblowing. Whistleblowers can be protected under the law, anyway. In order to be a whistleblower, you have to actually blow the whistle on something illegal, not just something that offends you in some abstract way. ‘

    No you don’t. You’re wrong. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

    Really.

  340. 340
    Debbie(aussie) says:

    Am very late to this party. Just want to add – THANK YOU John.(a million x thank you)
    ETA: now off to read comments. Should be interesting

  341. 341
    LT says:

    @Surly Duff: Bush’s wiretaps et al. were signed off on by Yoo and Gonzalez. They were *later found illegal*. Same could happen here.

  342. 342
    magurakurin says:

    @Mandalay:

    you can call me whatever you want. Don’t care. You’re a fucking asshole and a tiresome one at that. And I’m pretty sure I can get a working majority on that judgment around here.

  343. 343
    Socoolsofresh says:

    @Mandalay: I said yesterday that a comment made by Benjamin Franklin about not giving up liberty for safety would have branded him as a Libertarian Paultard by people here. As you well know about these dudes, they misread it and now think it was a direct comparison to Edward Snowden.

  344. 344
    El Cid says:

    We need to have serious, mature discussions about security programs no one has to tell us about.

  345. 345
    Socoolsofresh says:

    @El Cid: Specifically, the security program of the Russian Airport Snowden is in. What is he eating? Is airport security complicit in this? Is he able to get a wifi connection? I think we are ready to have this discussion and its too bad people are overlooking this.

  346. 346
    SeattleSlew says:

    Thanks for this post. As a liberal I am so tired of the left making excuses for Obama on these issues simply because he’s ‘our guy.’ Fuck that! It’s all wrong no matter who is doing it. Believing otherwise makes you a sucker or a hypocrite. The fact we’ve enabled the security state due to blowback from our imperial foreign policy is precious irony.

    Snowden and Greenwald could be the biggest scumbags on the Earth but it doesn’t change the nature of what they revealed.

    That video makes me sick and it makes me angry. It shows how dehumanizing and gruesome war is and the folly of a capricious use of military power.

    And maybe that’s the point. Perhaps people are angry at the messengers because they would rather not know. Sure Iraq is brutal but that’s over there. Sure my government is doing surveillance but I’d really just assume the details than know. That way I don’t have to deal with some really ugly questions.

    Buck up folks. Principles only matter when they are inconvenient.

  347. 347
    ruemara says:

    @kc: If that’s so, why are so many people on this thread, who have been flaming others for insufficient condemnation of Obama, never present on any of those other threads that deal with the problems Emma mentioned? It’s often very amusing how such august liberals fail to make their presence known when it involves voting rights, or women’s rights.

  348. 348
    AxelFoley says:

    @White Trash Liberal:

    Fuck you for this, John.

    Lest you forget, your ass voted to help put this system into place. You had a conversion, but guess what? Myself and others were protesting this shit back while it was being implemented.

    You want to know who else supported the system and trusted the administration that made this shit happen? Greenwald and Snowden.

    So fuck you.

    Clapper is a god damned sycophant and disgrace. His head should be on a pike. Greenwald is also a god damned disgrace for failing to vet his bombshell materials and drowning a very real problem in overblown hysterics. Snowden is a god damned disgrace for marketing and releasing details of how the United States spies to foreign competitors. And overstating his capabilities. And failing to state the regulations in place on how he could access what he claimed he could.

    This whole episode is a clusterfuck. This clusterfuck began and liberals like me were telling dinosaurs like you this is exactly what would happen. And you fucking stomped on us. And now you and GG are KING PROGRESSIVE telling us liberals we love Obama too much to handle the truth.

    Fuck you. Seriously, fuck you.

    Pwned.

  349. 349
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @PopeRatzo: The surveillance state just began in 2013? When was the Patriot Act which authorized the surveillance state enacted? Let’s not pretend that GG or Snowden have revealed something that just started now.

    For those of us who don’t like the Patriot Act (and didn’t like it from the get go), the answer is to put pressure on Congress to repeal it or change it. That’s about it. There’s no evidence that the current administration is acting illegally.

  350. 350
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    @patroclus: Yes, but that shit requires, like, work. Why bother when you can write angry screeds on the internet and wait for the next President Superman to fix everything?

  351. 351
    PopeRatzo says:

    @Botsplainer:

    Love all the hysterics from people who willingly click EULAs that specifically allow every bit of their data to valued third party business partners in Manila, Bangalore, Lagos and Kindle, all while bitching about privacy.

    Where the fuck is the EULA I signed to accept the terms of NSA spying?

  352. 352
    Rex Everything says:

    Huh, looks like I missed last night’s party…

    I’m not making these guys out to be heroes, but the way so many alleged liberals and Democrats are turning them into villains of the worst kind reminds me of the folks in the Holy Grail debating what floats.

    Your bullshit doesn’t.

    Beautiful, Cole. BEAU – TEE – FUL ! !

  353. 353
    Rex Everything says:

    @White Trash Liberal:

    Fuck you for this, John.

    Lest you forget, your ass voted to help put this system into place. You had a conversion…

    …now you and GG are KING PROGRESSIVE telling us liberals we love Obama too much to handle the truth.

    Fuck you. Seriously, fuck you.

    And this, my friends, is what we call a Squid-cloud of Butthurt.

  354. 354
    scott says:

    Game, set and match to the dude from West Virginia. Analytical focus on the issues and a refusal to get distracted along with moral courage and passionate commitment to the truth, regardless of whom it might make uncomfortable. Along with Digby, this is a guy who I’ve always treasured because he calls it as he sees it without consulting the party line first (or ever). He rulz!

  355. 355
    Mike Jones says:

    Dear Clapper: Fuck you, you lying fuck. It’s a disgrace that you’re not resigning and being charged with lying to Congress, and a bigger disgrace that you’re not being fired.

  356. 356
    Tractarian says:

    @John O:

    Just because something is LEGAL doesn’t make it right.

    That is undoubtedly true. At the same time, it is also undoubtedly true (despite LT’s unsourced protestations to the contrary) that you get no legal protection for “whistleblowing” on an activity which, while legal, is not, in your mind, “right”.

    I think it is pretty hard to argue with the idea that Snowden is a personally courageous person.

    Here goes. Merriam-Webster defines “courage” as “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty”. Snowden didn’t “persevere” or “withstand” anything; he ran.

    Besides, even if he was “courageous”, it was only in a daredevil or kamikaze type of way. Doing something obviously illegal and stupid /= courage. Thank goodness this guy didn’t have any kids he had to abandon just so we could have this “conversation”.

  357. 357
    JR in WV says:

    @LT:

    O My FSM!!

    you mean the RCC / Vatican is in control of our precious Secret data collection systems?

    There is no hope!

    I post this because no one will see it… if someone tells a joke in the woods and no one is there to hear it, did the tree fall?

  358. 358
    LT says:

    @JR in WV: I saw it.

    It was sort of funny.

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