Useful Idiot

Okay, it’s one thing to claim that, as a matter of conscience, you absconded with classified documents to expose overreach at the NSA. It’s quite another to crawl up in Vladimir Putin’s lap and nestle your muzzle up against his nut sack. Via Gawker:

In case you can’t watch it:

“I’ve seen little public discussion of Russia’s policy of mass surveillance,” Snowden said. “So I’d like to ask you: Does Russia intercept, store, or analyze the communication of millions? And do you believe that simply increasing the effectiveness of law enforcement agencies can justify placing societies, rather than individual subjects, under surveillance?”

Putin welcomed Snowden’s question, even recognizing him as a sort of colleague.

“Mr. Snowden, you are a former spy. I used to work for an intelligence agency,” Putin said. “We can talk one professional language.”

“First of all, our intelligence efforts are strictly regulated by our law,” he added. “You have to get the court’s permission to stalk a person. We don’t have a mass system of interception. With our law, it cannot exist. Of course, we know criminals and terrorists use technology for their criminal acts and of course the special services have to use technical means to respond to their crimes. Of course, we do some efforts like that but we do not have mass scale effort. I hope we don’t do that. We don’t have the money or the kind of devices they have in the United States. Our special services are strictly controlled by the society and the law, and are regulated by the law.”

Well, thanks for giving Putin the opportunity to clear that up, Brave Patriot Snowden! Putin’s denials of mass surveillance on the part of his government are, unlike Mr. Clapper’s, 100% reliable, so it was a really important question to ask and can in no way be construed as abetting a dead-eyed, post-Soviet KGB revanchist’s propaganda campaign.

Look, I’m glad the NSA spying issue finally got some attention and that the president has proposed needed reforms. I’m grateful to the journalists who made the discussion impossible NOT to have, yes, even Mr. Greenwald. But if there was any doubt that Snowden himself is a fucking tool, it has been removed, at least for me.






388 replies
  1. 1
    TopClimber says:

    On the other hand, Putin is now very publicly on the record. Let us see if his claims hold up to scrutiny or come back to further tarnish his credibility.

  2. 2
    JPL says:

    @TopClimber: Glenn Greenwald will be reporting on Putin’s honesty anytime now.

  3. 3
    omnissiah says:

    I can understand not biting the hand that feeds you, but actively participating in that hand’s propaganda is another thing entirely. A lot of people are going to need to find a new hero.

  4. 4
    marduk says:

    @TopClimber: What planet are you on? Putin’s “credibility”?

  5. 5
    chopper says:

    oh, this is gonna be fun.

  6. 6
    Meg says:

    Putin also publicly said there weren’t any Russian troops in Crimea or E Ukraine, which is totally believable..

  7. 7
    Dangerfield says:

    @TopClimber: Are you serious?

  8. 8
    Tommy says:

    I will just say this. If there is one large/powerful country in this world that I bet spies on its citizens 24/7 it is Russia. I will never forget. 1992. In grad school. Russia was supposed to be “free” at this time. They sent about 35 journalist to our journalism school (LSU) to learn how a free press works. I was the president of the grad school association (long story). I got to plan all the evening activities (I got them really drunk).

    Within seconds of meeting them they told me who the “government minders” were and not to speak openly around them.

    Oh and a few of them stuck me with a $580 tab at Pat O’Briens in New Orleans. I can assure you as a poor grad student I was not happy about this. Maybe took me a year to pay that credit card bill off.

  9. 9
    todwest says:

    In Snowden’s (potential) defense, he’s a man without a country who can’t really afford at the moment to piss off his Russian patrons. And it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Kremlin forced him to say something like this in order for him to have permission to appear. We simply don’t know what kind of duress he might be under, do we? Or, Snowden could be total lick-spittle. Hard to say at this point.

  10. 10
    Morbo says:

    @TopClimber: I’m sure Russia has dialed back its internet surveillance and does nothing now like it used to 14 years ago.

  11. 11
    Botsplainer says:

    Thanks for taking up the cudgel, Betty. I’d wondered if it would be you or Doug to FP the thing.

    As I said a couple of threads below, Alex Litvenenko must’ve been unavailable for comment, and oppo activists, politicians and journalists indisposed.

  12. 12
    Nancy B. says:

    Mr. Putin, your campaign seems to have the momentum of a runaway freight train. Why are you so popular?

  13. 13
    Yatsuno says:

    Of course, we know criminals and terrorists use technology for their criminal acts and of course the special services have to use technical means to respond to their crimes.

    Uh-huh…

    Of course, we do some efforts like that but we do not have mass scale effort. I hope we don’t do that.

    Now we’re in LOLWUT territory.

    We don’t have the money or the kind of devices they have in the United States

    This is either an outright lie or a suggestion that the Russian security services are total incompetents.

    @JPL: Nonsense, because to Griftwald it’s irrelevant. The United States is the only true oppressor in the world. Just ask him. He’ll handwave this whole thing.

  14. 14
    pharniel says:

    I do find it interesting that in the gigantic treasure trove of information about US and other countries cyber-activities only the US and it’s allies are ever released and nothing about China or Russia.

    Things that make you go Hmmmm.

  15. 15
  16. 16
    Botsplainer says:

    @Tommy:

    Oh and a few of them stuck me with a $580 tab at Pat O’Briens in New Orleans.

    Hurricanes weren’t more than 6 bucks then.

    Color me impressed. That’s a lot to drink, even for a Russian (the national sport has always seemed to be binge drinking to me – I tried to party with them and fell way behind).

  17. 17
    delosgatos says:

    If someone comes to my house and points out that I have a leaking pipe behind the wall that I need to fix, I’d be grateful. If in the course of doing so they break my plates, track mud on the carper, spill ink on the couch, kick the dog and leave a dump in the toilet, and on the way out scratch their initials in the door, spray paint graffiti on the front walk, pull up all the plants in the yard and let the air out of my car tires, it would kind of tend to overshadow my gratitude.

    Certain blogger emeriti might accuse me of wanting the pipe in the wall to burst and ruin the plaster and floor if I called the guy an asshole, but I think I’d be justified.

  18. 18
    Belafon says:

    Did anyone else catch the catch the row between Charles Johnson and Greenwald? All I can say is that Greenwald really needs to read his sources before he links to them.

  19. 19
    Amir Khalid says:

    Edward Snowden should come to Malaysia. He’d make a great mainstream media journo, especially in a government-mouthpiece newspaper.

  20. 20
    Karen in GA says:

    Okay, please don’t hit me (or at least, not in the face). But I haven’t paid too much attention to Snowden or Greenwald themselves. I mean, it makes sense that people who take on the US government (or multiple governments) would be self-aggrandizing assholes, because you kind of need that ego and desire for drama in order to take on a fight of that size. Not that it’s always necessary to be a (an?) S-AA, but it probably helps, and proof that someone is a (an?) S-AA says nothing about what they may or may not have revealed.

    So anyway. What are the odds that Putin made Snowden do this as a condition of continuing to live in Russia?

    ETA: Or just re-read what todwest (@7 above) said.

  21. 21
    Tommy says:

    @pharniel: I think it could be said Russia and China are not what you’d call allies. I strongly suggest The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America, by James Bamford. Basically the NSA works with the Birts, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. They are the five nations that have banded together to do most of what has been reported.

    The book was written years before the Snowden stuff and I might argue what is reported is even more scary. When you have these nations (US and England way at the top) basically you have the entire Internet backbone globally.

  22. 22
    maximiliano furtive, formerly known as dr. bloor says:

    @todwest: Yeah. The obvious possibility is that this is essentially a hostage video with a twist.

  23. 23
    El Tiburon says:

    If you pulled this Q&A without stating who it was, i would think it was Jake Tapper and Prez Obama.

    For f*cks sake Putin and Russia are not our mortal enemies.

    Snowden has forever changed the debate on govt spying and HE is the tool?

    With all due respect Ms cracker, go suck on an egg.

    So stupid.

  24. 24
    Augie says:

    Look DougJ touched upon this in a whole other way, but I don’t care if people who espouse hurtful, demeaning conservative rhetoric and policies are “nice and gentle” in real life and conversely I really don’t care if people who expose government wrongdoing are really assholes in person. To be honest, we need much more of the latter. Every fuckwit #tcot I argue with on twitter ultimately calls me an asshole within three tweets and I, frankly, embrace the description.

  25. 25
    Tommy says:

    @Botsplainer: There were a lot of people. Not just 2-3.

    My favorite moment was towards the end when I took 3 of them back to my apartment. We’re smoking bongs. The guys and gal were so impressed with the bong. They’d never seen one. They told me I should come to Russia cause they have much better pot.

    That was me building bridges to another nation :)!

  26. 26
    Dangerfield says:

    @marduk: That would be plane I really hate the U.S. Snowden is nothing more than a fucking clown. Fuck him and Greenwald

  27. 27
    GregB says:

    Did Putin pat Snowden on the head the way Saddam did when he used that little British boy for a world wide propaganda show piece?

    Yeah, this pretty much dispels the notion that Snowden is a concerned American patriot.

  28. 28
    Botsplainer says:

    @Tommy:

    The book was written years before the Snowden stuff and I might argue what is reported is ever more scary. When you have these nations (US and England way at the top) basically you have the entire Internet backbone globally.

    Bamford is a crank, barely a step up from Casolaro – a hyperbolic extrapolator.

    Besides, “scary” is your government rounding you up for mere statements of opposition. Not so much for the mandated retention of a database that can be viewed for cause.

  29. 29
    Ecks says:

    @Yatsuno: Oh, I’m quite sure that the US is currently far more technologically adept at mass reading of internet communication that Russia is. That’s not to say that Putin wouldn’t if he could.

  30. 30
    Botsplainer says:

    @Tommy:

    My favorite moment was towards the end when I took 3 of them back to my apartment. We’re smoking bongs. The guys and gal were so impressed with the bong. They’d never seen one. They told me I should come to Russia cause they have much better pot.

    Benzine additives will always make weed stronger….

  31. 31
    Cacti says:

    So, did Putin do that trick where he drank he a glass of water while his puppet spoke?

  32. 32
    Fair Economist says:

    Snowdon doesn’t have much choice at this point. Nuzzle the sac, or guzzle the polonium cocktail.

  33. 33
    Amir Khalid says:

    @GregB:
    As I remember, the little boy didn’t fall for the great man’s charm, and so Saddam’s little propaganda show fell kind of flat.

  34. 34
    RandomMonster says:

    @TopClimber:

    On the other hand, Putin is now very publicly on the record. Let us see if his claims hold up to scrutiny or come back to further tarnish his credibility.

    His claims will certainly come to light, because Russia is a free society with a transparent government. Unlike the US, which is an authoritarian fascist state. And to say otherwise is to be all America Fuck Yeah and shit.

  35. 35
    Tommy says:

    @Botsplainer: Have I gone to a right wing blog and not noticed it?

    Why is Bamford a crank?

    For folks that don’t know about him, here is a quick bio:

    James Bamford (born September 15, 1946) is an American bestselling author and journalist noted for his writing about United States intelligence agencies, especially the National Security Agency (NSA). Bamford has taught at the University of California, Berkeley, as a distinguished visiting professor and has written for The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Harper’s, and many other publications. In 2006, he won the National Magazine Award for Reporting for his piece “The Man Who Sold The War,” published in Rolling Stone.

  36. 36
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    @El Tiburon: Brogressive Apologists For Authoritarianism: “It doesn’t count when I’m not the one being oppressed!”

  37. 37
    evolved beyond the fist mistermix says:

    The only surprise here is that it took so long for this to happen.

    I wonder what other tunes Snowden is singing in private for his supper.

  38. 38
    Cassidy says:

    Watching the liberaltarian suburbanites turn on each other will be fun.

  39. 39
    AnonPhenom says:

    @Botsplainer:
    Besides, “scary” is your government rounding you up for mere statements of opposition. Not so much for the mandated retention of a database that can be viewed for cause.

    Nah, I think both of those things are ‘scary’.

  40. 40
    Cacti says:

    Let me queue up the excuses for our resident Snowwald leg humpers:

    “He doesn’t have any choice!”

    “Obama forced him to go to Russia!”

    “It was never about Snowden!”

    “Uhhh…Iraq!”

  41. 41
    maximiliano furtive, formerly known as dr. bloor says:

    @Cacti:

    “Excuse” and “explanation” are different words.

  42. 42
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    @Cacti: Throw in some Putin apologizing and you’ve got a bingo.

  43. 43
    scott says:

    Number of shits given about the moral worth/cuddliness of public figure who does something useful: Zero.

  44. 44
    The Dangerman says:

    @El Tiburon:

    Snowden has forever changed the debate on govt spying and HE is the tool?

    Yes.

  45. 45
    Cacti says:

    @evolved beyond the fist mistermix:

    The only surprise here is that it took so long for this to happen.

    Predictable as the sun rising in the east, Snowden’s resident BJ hype-man shows up with excuse #1 (he has no choice).

  46. 46
    Tommy says:

    @Ecks: Not so much. Both Russia and former Russian states are known as high level programmers. In fact the small area of programming I work in some of the best are in Russia.

    Don’t believe me, go to Google and search for high level security conferences and see how many speakers have Russian last names.

  47. 47
    Betty Cracker says:

    @El Tiburon: With all due respect (i.e., zero), fuck you. Ernesto Miranda forever changed police interrogation procedures, but it doesn’t mean he wasn’t a low-life scumbag.

    As I said, yeah, I’m glad NSA overreach was exposed and I hope like hell something is done to dial it back. But Snowden appearing on TV to lick Putin’s scrotum hardly advances the cause of privacy in the digital age.

    To Augie‘s point above, I don’t require Snowden to be a saint, and I’ve never been one of the people who said he was morally obligated to risk jail to expose the NSA. And I pretty much concluded he was an asshole when I learned he identified as libertarian.

    But his participation in this dog-and-pony show reveals that he’s a) willing to blow Putin to capture a news cycle, or b) he’s willing to be Putin’s trained monkey because he’s too cowardly to refuse to appear. Both options undermine his brave man-of-conscience shtick.

    @scott: I’ll tell you why I think it matters: Snowden’s performance will be used to undermine reform efforts here. I’d bet a c-note on it.

  48. 48
    RandomMonster says:

    @evolved beyond the fist mistermix:

    I wonder what other tunes Snowden is singing in private for his supper.

    How about the one that goes “Here’s a hard drive full of secrets, help yourself”

  49. 49
    amk says:

    @Karen in GA: The lil ratfucker can always go back home.

  50. 50
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    @Tommy: That’s another bingo. If you don’t think the FSB’s going all in on hacking, I’m not sure what I can tell you.

  51. 51
    NCSteve says:

    @pharniel: Well the obvious answer is that the NSA only spies on Americans and the citizens of its allies and doesn’t even bother spy on its adversaries. Because it’s that evil.

  52. 52
    geg6 says:

    @Cacti:

    That’s pretty much covered it.

    Brave, brave Sir Edward! LOL!

  53. 53
    Cacti says:

    @RandomMonster:

    How about the one that goes “Here’s a hard drive full of secrets, help yourself”

    That’s not true!

    Mistermix probably has an unsourced article that says so.

  54. 54
    scott says:

    @Betty Cracker: If reform efforts can be undermined by an appearance on a talk show, then they must not be too robust, seems to me.

  55. 55
    GregB says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Yes, he was a defiant little chap.

  56. 56
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I’ll tell you why I think it matters: Snowden’s performance will be used to undermine reform efforts here. I’d bet a c-note on it.

    And yet another bingo!

  57. 57
    RandomMonster says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I’ll tell you why I think it matters: Snowden’s performance will be used to undermine reform efforts here.

    This.

  58. 58
    Lurking Canadian says:

    If there’s one man you can trust to tell you the truth about surveillance activities, it’s a former officer of the KGB!

  59. 59
    Tommy says:

    @RandomMonster: Snowden could have taken a sledge hammer to Putins head and somebody in our Congress would use that to undermine reforms here. If you are going to use this tact, it undermined something, then he can’t say anything. You can’t say anything. I can’t say anything.

  60. 60
    Betty Cracker says:

    @scott: There’s no such thing as a “robust” reform effort in a country where about half of the legislature comprises batshit crazy howler monkeys who fantasize about endless war and live to shovel billions to the military industrial complex. There are tenuous, watered-down half-measures, or there is the status quo. Brave Sir Snowden just gave the status quo forces a PR coup with a bonus villain.

  61. 61
    RandomMonster says:

    @Tommy:

    Snowden could have taken a sledge hammer to Putins head and somebody in our Congress would use that to undermine reforms here. If you are going to use this tact, it undermined something, then he can’t say anything. You can’t say anything. I can’t say anything.

    Nobody cares what you or I say, because the press isn’t going to quote us. But they will quote Snowden. Do you see the difference?

  62. 62
    Chyron HR says:

    @El Tiburon:

    Snowden = Jake Tapper

    Is that your final answer?

  63. 63
    Xantar says:

    @Tommy:

    Actually, if Snowden said absolutely nothing from the moment he entered Russia, reform chances might have improved because then the story wouldn’t be about him all the time.

  64. 64
    feebog says:

    For all those who are in the “he didn’t have a choice/he was coerced” camp, let me remind you his defection to Russia was voluntary. No one kidnapped him and put him on a plane to Moscow. If he didn’t think that Putin would use him in exactly this way he is an even bigger fool than anyone thought him to be.

  65. 65
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    Yeah, this is totally just like Clapper lying.

  66. 66
    Zandar says:

    Snowden as Putin’s propaganda tool?

    All together now, kids.

    HOOCUDDANODE!

  67. 67
    evolved beyond the fist mistermix says:

    @Cacti: Troll is easily trolled.

  68. 68
    Tommy says:

    @RandomMonster: Of course I see the difference. IMHO the guy is in a box. Seems he can’t do anything. Lets just say you are Snowden. You are asked on a TV show in Russia. I’d like to be on a TV show. Your asked the question in the video, which we know we won’t get an honest response, what else do you want?

  69. 69
    Cacti says:

    @feebog:

    For all those who are in the “he didn’t have a choice/he was coerced” camp, let me remind you his defection to Russia was voluntary. No one kidnapped him and put him on a plane to Moscow. If he didn’t think that Putin would use him in exactly this way he is an even bigger fool than anyone thought him to be.

    Then there are those of us who thought, based on his travel destinations and the location of his publicist (err…the brave journalist who assisted him), that he was in the pocket of BRIC the entire time.

  70. 70
    Tommy says:

    @Xantar: I have no idea what that means.

    In the US?

    In Russia?

    If you are putting reform changes in either nation on Snowden then we got serious problems.

  71. 71
    japa21 says:

    @El Tiburon:

    Yes he is still a tool. Remember, he positively detested people doing the things he did up until, oh, 2009. He dumped, without any review, information far beyond what his stated intent was.

    And yes, he changed the debate. Along with GG, he changed it from a realistic view of what is done and what can be done about to a hyper overreactive shouting match by making accustaions, many of which have been shown to be wrong, without any real evidence.

    Yes, the NSA techniques need to be examined, reviewed and, as appropriate changed. This needs to be done with an objective eye on all those aspects. That is exactly what was already in process at the time Snowden did his thing. Thanks to his antics, adided and abetted by GG and others, that objectivity is pretty much out the window.

  72. 72
    PsiFighter37 says:

    In Mother Russia, you voluntarily submit all private information to the KGB – there’s no need for spying because Russians are so willing to give up their personal information. Duh.

    And of course Snowden is a fucking toolbag. All about #1…if he actually cared about intelligence reform, he wouldn’t be acting like Vlad’s bitch. That’s pretty much a surefire way for Feinstein, Rogers, and the others on the intelligence committees in Congress to forget about reforms altogether.

  73. 73
    Cacti says:

    @evolved beyond the fist mistermix:

    Troll is easily trolled.

    Don’t has a sad mixy.

    Regale us with another tale of the NSA’s “outrageous” intel gathering activities on China.

  74. 74
    Tractarian says:

    Win. This is, truly, all that has to be said about the Snowden affair.

  75. 75
    Chyron HR says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader:

    “Clapper lied” is the new “Saddam eats babies.”

  76. 76
    Freemark says:

    Snowden licked Putin’s sack. So what. He could have swallowed and asked for seconds. It doesn’t matter. He’s a douche. The only thing I care about is anything he has revealed about the NSA wrong. The answer is no.

    The other thing to keep in mind is if Snowden had been in ANY western country we would never have learned everything he has revealed. He would be gagged in solitary confinement. I also doubt he has revealed anything to Russia or China that they didn’t already know. It was the average citizens in America and other countries that were in the dark, not other countries clandestine security forces.

    Russia had agents deep in the CIA. To think they don’t have dozens working for subcontractors, especially considering what we know of their security procedures, is ridiculous.

  77. 77
    Cacti says:

    @Chyron HR:

    “Clapper lied” is the new “Saddam eats babies.”

    “NSA!” is the brogressive equivalent of “BENGHAZI!”

  78. 78
    Cacti says:

    @Freemark:

    I also doubt he has revealed anything to Russia or China that they didn’t already know.

    Well, if you doubt it, that’s good enough for me.

  79. 79
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    @Freemark:

    The other thing to keep in mind is if Snowden had been in ANY western country we would never have learned everything he has revealed. He would be gagged in solitary confinement.

    Brazil’s really keeping a clamp down on that Greenwald guy. Isn’t Julian Assange still a guest of the Ecuadorians as well?

  80. 80
    scott says:

    @Betty Cracker: So if it’s all watered down meaningless change or no change at all, and it’s all just PR, who cares about a talk show?

  81. 81
    RandomMonster says:

    @Tommy:

    IMHO the guy is in a box. Seems he can’t do anything. Lets just say you are Snowden. You are asked on a TV show in Russia. I’d like to be on a TV show. You ask the question in the video, which we know we won’t get an honest response, what else do you want?

    He’s in a box of his own making. I’m sure there’s enormous pressure on him. Still, publicly playing the propaganda tool for a lizard like Putin is nauseating.

  82. 82
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Freemark: It matters because, as PsiFighter37 notes above, it will be used as an excuse to round-file the reforms proposals altogether.

  83. 83
    Betty Cracker says:

    @scott: I didn’t say “meaningless,” I said watered-down. I’d rather have a half a loaf — or even a single slice of bread — than nothing at all. That’s why I supported the watered-down, corporate-friendly ACA. It’s better than nothing.

  84. 84
    David in NY says:

    Snowden won the Pulitzer Prize and Betty Cracker didn’t. Wonder why?

    Here’s why. The story isn’t about Snowden — it’s about the NSA. And sniping at Snowden is a chump’s game (seemingly enjoyed by many here, for God knows what reason). But the commenters on BJ don’t give out Pulitzers, thank god.

    Crappy posts like this just play into the right wing’s game of changing the subject from the NSA to Snowden. The problem we’re in a position to address, ’cause it’s in our country, is that the NSA is totally out of control, totally arrogant about abusing its power, and it’s important to keep the heat on them, and not falling into the right wing’s trap of playing the “is Snowden bad?” game instead of “What is to be done about the NSA?”

    Unfortunately the useful idiot in this piece is Betty Cracker, who is giving aid and comfort to our real enemies (I deeply regret to say), like, say, John Yoo and his ilk See: http://www.eschatonblog.com/20.....icane.html

  85. 85
    The Dangerman says:

    @RandomMonster:

    He’s in a box of his own making.

    He saw a few roof shingles missing on the house and, to fix it, poured gasoline throughout and tossed a match. If he didn’t think the Fire Marshall might have a few questions for him, he’s an idiot.

  86. 86
    kindness says:

    While I question Snowden’s choice of safe harbor, I have no doubt that had he stayed in any area that has an extradition treaty that he would now be jailed in solitary confinement and we would know nothing of what he thinks.

    That being said, I’m glad he did what he did.

  87. 87
    Comrade Mary says:

    Oh, we’re supposed to pity the poor “hostage” now? Fuck that. He chose to put himself in a position where he could prop up Putin. Dogs, lying down, fleas.

  88. 88
    Zandar says:

    @David in NY:

    “Snowden won the Pulitzer Prize and Betty Cracker didn’t. Wonder why?”

    Betty’s application was after the deadline?

  89. 89
    Cervantes says:

    @Tommy: I assume Putin’s appearance on the show was live. There was a live studio audience, too, but Snowden was not in it: the NYT article says that his “appearance” was pre-recorded; the article does not say where, when, or why his question was taped.

  90. 90
    Cacti says:

    @David in NY:

    The story isn’t about Snowden

    Did I call that one, or what?

  91. 91
    Seanly says:

    Once again, the Simpsons were there first:
    Lisa Simpsons: “Mr. Burns, Your campaign seems to have the momentum of a runaway freight train. Why are you so popular?”

  92. 92
    DougJ says:

    Thanks for posting this. As a commenter noted, I was going to post it if you didn’t.

  93. 93
    askew says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    @El Tiburon: With all due respect (i.e., zero), fuck you. Ernesto Miranda forever changed police interrogation procedures, but it doesn’t mean he wasn’t a low-life scumbag.

    That is an excellent analogy.

    After watching this video, does anyone seriously believe that Snowden didn’t hand over those classified docs to Russia and China seriously?

  94. 94
    Cacti says:

    @David in NY:

    Snowden won the Pulitzer Prize

    Cool!

    So did Maureen Dowd and George Will.

  95. 95
    RandomMonster says:

    @David in NY:

    Crappy posts like this just play into the right wing’s game of changing the subject

    I don’t know if this has ever occurred to you, but it is actually possible to hold two thoughts in one’s mind at the same time, i.e., one can be critical of the NSA and thankful there is pressure to reform it, AND critical of Snowden. It doesn’t have to be one or the other.

    And the guilt-by-association Yoo reference is cheap rhetoric.

  96. 96
    cmorenc says:

    Snowden is admittedly a character of mixed merits and demerits. Nevertheless, in making his revealations to the US public about the extraordinary, lawless extent of NSA surveillance of our own citizenry, the US government forced him to become an outlaw and fugitive, applying relentless pressure to deny Snowden any sort of refuge anywhere BUT a country like Russia with the power and ability to harbor him with impunity from that pressure. You expect him to diss his hosts in his only safe haven from a very long prison sentence in a supermax prison in the US, where he’d spend 23 hours a day in a minimalist concrete cell with limited sunlight and one grudging hour a day allowed limited recreation e.g. playing basketball by himself? True, his cuddling up with Putin is not admirable behavior at all, but it’s at least understandable from Snowden’s perspective. What would you do in his situation – I mean, what would you probably *really* do, as opposed to what you’d like to imagine you’d hopefully do in his situation? OK, so you wouldn’t have had the nerve and balls to make the revealations in the first place, but suppose you had done so, in the interests of exposing gross abuses of citizen’s constitutional rights by the NSA, who are treating the fourth and fifth amendments as worth less than used toilet paper…would you have accepted asylum in Russia, or would you have accepted that doing the time in a U.S. supermax is the price of doing the crime of exposing criminal behavior by the U.S. government?

    Let’s don’t get started on the mixed merits and tarnished purity of Glen Greenwald, who is safely camped out in Brazil while acting as Snowden’s enabler and chief egger-on.

  97. 97
    Betty Cracker says:

    @David in NY: Snowden didn’t win the prize; the journalists who exposed the story did, and like I said, I’m glad they started the conversation. Unfortunately, Snowden just undermined whatever good that might have done. That was the fucking point, which flew right over your head.

  98. 98
    Cassidy says:

    @Cacti: only if he has some unnamed and unconfirmed sources. Don’t forget, the people who have some very popular “rate my junk/ vag” threads exercise a little more skepticism than mix.

  99. 99
    mk3872 says:

    LOL … Another lesson in hero worship for Cole and emoprogs!

    Snowden stole our spy agency’s secrets, fled to Russia, buddies up to Putin and is now a propaganda prop on Putin’s TV Show.

    But the Pulitzer committee proves his credibility and proves that he is truly a patriotic American!

  100. 100
    mk3872 says:

    @cmorenc: Ewww … your Snowden crush is embarrassing. He stole secrets, gave them to Brazilian anti-US crusader Greenwald and is now a propaganda prop for Putin. But thanks for revealing the secrets of our spy agency, Eddie!!

  101. 101
    Cacti says:

    @cmorenc:

    the US government forced him to become an outlaw and fugitive

    That’s B-I-N-G.

    And actually, it was his violation of numerous statutes that turned him into an outlaw. His flight to avoid prosecution was what made him a fugitive.

  102. 102
    Belafon says:

    The best part about a post like this is how quickly we devolve into name calling.

  103. 103
    fidelio says:

    @The Dangerman: We are not, in this wonderful world we live in, restricted to only one tool. We can have lots of tools, maybe even more tools than we would care to.

    Just look around and count them.

  104. 104
    cane giallo says:

    @todwest: Snowden is a man without a country because he CHOSE to be a man without a country. He should have either made better getaway plans or faced the consequences of his actions. He wound up in Russia because he couldn’t think two steps ahead.

  105. 105
    gogol's wife says:

    @El Tiburon:

    Google Litvinenko, Politkovskaya, Budanov, Klebnikov, and Markelov. Just for a start.

  106. 106
    Mnemosyne says:

    @David in NY:

    Snowden won the Pulitzer Prize and Betty Cracker didn’t.

    Uh, no, the Washington Post and the Guardian US won the Pulitzer Prize. Saying that Snowden won it is like saying the Pulitzer committee awarded the prize to Osama bin Laden in 2002.

  107. 107
    Cacti says:

    @cane giallo:

    Snowden is a man without a country because he CHOSE to be a man without a country. He should have either made better getaway plans or faced the consequences of his actions.

    No way.

    It’s society’s fault that I robbed that liquor store!

  108. 108
    David in NY says:

    @Cacti: But of course, it’s true. Just as it’s true that the Pentagon Papers story wasn’t about Daniel Ellsberg, say.

    Betty, and you, might take to heart Felix Frankfurter’s observation that “the safeguards of liberty have frequently been forged in controversies involving not very nice people.” And the real story here is about assuring “the safeguards of liberty” and not, as Betty and others seem to think, whether Mr. Snowden is a “very nice” person. Betty is falling into the trap set by the likes of you and other right-wing fanatics to make people forget what’s really at stake — and agency of our government turning against us, and being proud of it.

  109. 109
    Cervantes says:

    @David in NY:

    Snowden won the Pulitzer Prize and Betty Cracker didn’t.

    Snowden did not win a Pulitzer. Newspapers that published and discussed his revelations did.

    Generally I appreciate what Betty Cracker writes here. If she has not yet been awarded a Pulitzer (I have no idea), it’s certainly not her fault!

    As for the rest of your comment, it’s helpful to me. Thanks.

  110. 110
    todwest says:

    @cane giallo: Ah. So it’s okay if he made this statement under duress…because he chose to go to Russia. If the Kremlin is torturing him, no big whoop. The fact that he’s an American citizen? Who the fuck cares.

  111. 111
    RandomMonster says:

    Actually, it should be said that Snowden didn’t win a Pulitzer, two newspapers did. All Snowden got was a crappy t-shirt and an autographed picture of Vladimir Putin.

  112. 112
    Cacti says:

    @David in NY:

    But of course, it’s true

    And it’s true, because you say so.

    Good enough for me.

    lol

  113. 113
    burnspbesq says:

    @todwest:

    We simply don’t know what kind of duress he might be under, do we? Or, Snowden could be total lick-spittle. Hard to say at this point.

    Does it matter? He has allowed himself to be used. Strike four.

  114. 114
    rda909 says:

    Comical. Griftwald promotes a David Koch initiative yesterday eliciting a chorus of “Hey, maybe the Kochs aren’t as bad as Obummer!” and now this today. These are the people so many purity progressives have been championing the last year at the same time denigrating the most liberal president in many generations.

    And no, ‘lil Eddie did NOT “start the conversation” or help make change with the NSA at all, and in fact has hurt the progress that was being made before anyone heard of Eddie. From the very beginning this was a propaganda operation to divide Obama/Democrat’s supporters. Don’t know how much more obvious they can make it. Anyway, we’ve got elections to win in a few short months to stop the complete takeover of America by literal fascists, so toodle-oo.

  115. 115
    Cervantes says:

    @gogol’s wife: Just curious: why do you list those particular names?

  116. 116
    Jeremy says:

    Snowden and Greenwald are right wing frauds. Yes, some of the NSA’s actions need to be reigned in, but it’s obvious that Greenwald has ODS, and Snowden based on his online remarks back in 2009 is a far right wing lunatic.

  117. 117
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    If there is one large/powerful country in this world that I bet spies on its citizens 24/7 it is Russia.

    @Tommy: You misspelled “United States of America”.

  118. 118
    todwest says:

    @burnspbesq: Yes, it matters to me, because I am not a sociopath who thinks he has never made a bad decision.

  119. 119
    gogol's wife says:

    @Cervantes:

    For the edification of people who think that Putin = Obama. These stories are a sample of Putin’s Russia. Just Politkovskaya would do, though.

  120. 120
    cmorenc says:

    @mk3872:

    @cmorenc: Ewww … your Snowden crush is embarrassing. He stole secrets, gave them to Brazilian anti-US crusader Greenwald and is now a propaganda prop for Putin. But thanks for revealing the secrets of our spy agency, Eddie!!

    I don’t have any crush on Snowden – there’s a profound difference between understanding another’s behavior and excusing it, which you seem to be lacking. I’m simply observing that once he made the choice to reveal the extent of NSA snooping, he was from that point on under intense pressure as a relentlessly hunted, hounded man, and many folks are not strong enough to maintain anything approaching scrupulously noble behavior under such conditions. Understanding why Snowden may have become favorably captivated by his Russian hosts is not at all the same as admiring him for it, or giving him a pass for it.

  121. 121
    Freemark says:

    @Betty Cracker: And I guess Nixon can unresign now that Woodward fellated Bush. Seriously, he asked a question that Putin answered with a prepared talking point. Sure it would be better for the ’cause’ if he hadn’t helped Putin, but don’t you think saying this undermined everything is an overreaction?

  122. 122
    Cacti says:

    @rda909:

    Comical. Griftwald promotes a David Koch initiative yesterday eliciting a chorus of “Hey, maybe the Kochs aren’t as bad as Obummer!” and now this today.

    I lurved Matt Taibbi’s latest brogressive opus: “Bush was tougher on corporate crime than Obama”.

    Sure, other than those 8-years of letting Wall Street loot the store and crash the national economy on his way out, and the rampant war profiteering for his cronies.

  123. 123
    RandomMonster says:

    @David in NY:

    you and other right-wing fanatics

    Now you’ve made it abundantly clear how seriously I should take your opinion on, well, anything.

  124. 124
    Cacti says:

    @cmorenc:

    I don’t have any crush on Snowden – there’s a profound difference between understanding another’s behavior and excusing it

    Saying the United States forced Snowden to become a criminal and a fugitive…

    That would be excusing.

  125. 125
    Mnemosyne says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!:

    Actually, he misspelled “Great Britain.” Which is another reason why people who screech about the US being a “surveillance state” have no clue what they’re talking about.

  126. 126
    Senyordave says:

    It’s quite another to crawl up in Vladimir Putin’s lap and nestle your muzzle up against his nut sack.

    Gonna take more than a few beers to erase that image from my mind.

  127. 127
    Belafon says:

    @David in NY: The problem is, that unlike Ellsberg, the parties involved in this made it about them. Why do this trickle out a little at a time? Why set up a “if you kill me, then I’ll release all these documents” scenario? Why not just release all the documents? Ellsberg knew he might get prosecuted.

    I personally would argue that Snowden himself undermined the ability for us to have a meaningful conversation about the relevance of the documents by his actions. His and Greenwald’s mini-dumps have actually made it easier to debunk, especially because so many of Greenwald’s statements include the “well, they could do this, but they have to get a court order” paragraph, and because Snowden has run off to the two countries that we still global concerns about – China-Taiwan, and Russia-Eastern Europe &Iran (here’s a fun question: Would Putin have gone after Ukraine without Snowden?) – and mysteriously, there’s nothing about those two countries.

    No, Snowden is no victim here.

  128. 128
    Betty Cracker says:

    @David in NY: Oh bullshit. I’ve been vocal about the need to rein in the NSA and have called out other people (and been called out in turn myself) for disregarding what I consider the very grave threat posed by mass surveillance. The reason I call Snowden a useful idiot is because I think this latest action undermines the effort to reform the NSA. Not that anything I say or do amounts to a fart in a whirlwind, seeing as how we’re on a fucking blog.

  129. 129
    Roger Moore says:

    @Tommy:

    IMHO the guy is in a box.

    He’s in a box of his own making. He can’t come back to the US not because it’s impossible but because he is unwilling to face the consequences of his actions. If he doesn’t like being Putin’s puppet, he should go to the US embassy, turn himself in, and have his day in court in the US. That’s an unpleasant choice, but it is a real one.

  130. 130
    David in NY says:

    @Betty Cracker: You know what I mean. There’s no Pulitzer without Snowden. And the real story is the NSA, for which he’s responsible. And you’re not helping things with crappy pieces like this.

    And you’re totally missing the point. A jerk like Clarence Earl Gideon was entitled to a lawyer, even though he was a jerk, and talking about whether he was a jerk is totally irrelevant to the question he posed about our constitutional rights. Daniel Ellsberg was a thief; but that’s not the point. The point was, as Frankfurter noted, that they were engaged in assuring “the safeguards of liberty” and not whether they were “very nice” people.

    I do think that focusing on Snowden’s character and faults is just playing into the hands of people the right wing, who would cover up the NSA’s wrongdoing. I do not disagree with someone above who said observed that we could hold two ideas in our head as the same time, but this Snowden bashing is essentially irrelevant to the actual dispute about liberty. To give it equal billing with the incursion on our liberties by the NSA shows an inability to keep two ideas in proper portion to one another depending on their importance, Accordingly the far less important issue of Snowden bashing should not take over the discussion about our liberties as it does in your post. It creates a false equivalence — Snowden and NSA both bad, so zzzzzz. This is not good. And I don’t think your last line comes close to righting the balance.

  131. 131
    Belafon says:

    @RandomMonster: That was funny.

  132. 132
    Freemark says:

    @The Sheriff’s A Ni-:Brazil and Ecuador aren’t ‘western countries’. Also Greenwald and Snowden aren’t the same person. Just wanted to clear that up since you didn’t seem to know that.

  133. 133
    Narcissus says:

    Snowden spilled secrets that have led to necessary public attention to surveillance issues, and is also willing to do agitprop for Putin. Both of these things can be true.

    For all we know he might find Putin’s principled defense of traditional values inspiring.

  134. 134
    Scott S. says:

    @David in NY:

    Unfortunately the useful idiot in this piece is Betty Cracker, who is giving aid and comfort to our real enemies (I deeply regret to say), like, say, John Yoo and his ilk

    Betty wrote a blog post. John Yoo authorized torture. Same, same.

    Have you considered, David in NY, the many benefits of shooting yourself in the head?

  135. 135
    amk says:

    @Cacti: Wow. Despite the kenyan’s doj record fines of billions dollars collected from banks and the wall street firms?

    The loony left seems to be afflicted with ODS worse than the teapartytwits.

  136. 136
    Cervantes says:

    @gogol’s wife: OK. I don’t know anyone who thinks Putin is Obama, but perhaps you travel in different circles than I do!

    Also, I have not seen a list of (say) Yemeni mothers and children killed by US drones, but even such a list would not prove — or even suggest — that Obama is Putin. It would, however, be a list.

    Anyhow, I asked about your list because I wondered if you intended some allusion to Russian surveillance capabilities. I understand now that you did not intend any such. Thanks.

  137. 137
    Belafon says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!: If we do, we sure are lousy at it. Why didn’t we do anything about Bundy before he got all the other wingers all excited? Have we disappeared the guy on the highway doing his sniper thing? What about all those people who keep making threats against the president? Why is Joe Walsh posting comments about Biden and his one black friend?

    We are so freakin’ lousy at spying. If we’re this bad, this spying is not an invasion of privacy, it’s entirely a waste of money.

    Heck, we couldn’t even stop the guy who built a confetti pressure cooker thingy for the Boston marathon.

  138. 138
    Jeremy says:

    @Cacti: Like I said before – Obama Derangement Syndrome. These people would praise the devil and put down Obama. I wonder what these losers are going to do come 2017 because Obama hate on the far left and far right is growing stale.

  139. 139
    rda909 says:

    @Cacti: Didn’t see that. At least true motivations are being revealed beyond any reasonable doubt now, so that’s good. Yea, credit card restrictions, consumer protection bureau, and little things like FATCA and on and on, which purity progressives seem to ignore for some reason, are CLEARLY nothing compared to what Republicans in the White House would be doing:
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/ro.....en-fatter/

  140. 140
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Belafon:

    This is kind of where my thinking has been going lately: the US is not, despite what the hysterics say, currently a surveillance state even on the level of Great Britain. The public service that Snowden has done for the US is to interrupt our journey down that road. It is a great public service in and of itself, but it’s not the same thing as challenging a strong surveillance state.

    I think it’s a worthy goal to stop us from moving further in that direction, but I get very impatient with the people who try to claim that living in the US is just like living in Russia or China. Come the fuck on.

  141. 141
    MaximusNYC says:

    @Augie:

    I don’t care if people who espouse hurtful, demeaning conservative rhetoric and policies are “nice and gentle” in real life and conversely I really don’t care if people who expose government wrongdoing are really assholes in person.

    Bingo. I don’t give a toss about what kind of person Snowden is. The obsession with him and Greenwald as individuals (and the tribalist tendency to condemn them simply because the information they’re producing might reflect badly on Obama in some way) is a distraction from the information they’ve revealed. What the NSA and affiliates have been doing is of major historical significance and concern.

    Increasingly I’m losing respect for people (and media sources, including blogs) that focus over the soap-opera aspect of politics — personalities, drama, who said what today — more than the bigger policy implications. TPM has gone far down this road — about 7 out of 10 stories on their front page are along the lines of “Sarah Palin/Eric Cantor/Rush Limbaugh said WHAT? OH NO THEY DIDN’T!” clickbait. It’s politics as reality TV.

    If your fixation on interpersonal drama is your main reason for being interested in political affairs, you are missing the forest for the trees.

    That’s not to say that the foibles of the stupid aren’t sometimes entertaining, and I’m not above joining in the pointing and laughing. But when one becomes unable to absorb important information because of a preoccupation with the identity of the messenger, something’s wrong.

  142. 142
    gratuitous says:

    @El Tiburon: Yeah, I just scanned the block quote and sort of skipped by it without looking too closely. I figured it was another quote from one of those distinguished scholars at a fine liberal university like Cal Berkeley or Stanford. Taking a second look and seeing it was our old pal Vlad struck me as to the similarities between an oppressive regime in Russia that everybody hates and that goes around invading other countries on the flimsiest pretexts, blowing enemies and neutrals alike to Kingdom Come, while denying any wrongdoing and our own beloved United States of America.

  143. 143
    MomSense says:

    Much as we love to make everything that happens in the world all about us/US, this exchange is useful for Putin’s interests domestically and regionally.

    It also hurts reform efforts here and I’m sure much damage has been done to our signals intelligence.

  144. 144
    Cervantes says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    The reason I call Snowden a useful idiot is because I think this latest action undermines the effort to reform the NSA.

    Whereas I find I do not yet have enough information about “this latest action” to even know what actually happened, never mind judge it.

    Do you have other sources than what’s in that Gawker article?

  145. 145
    RandomMonster says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I think it’s a worthy goal to stop us from moving further in that direction, but I get very impatient with the people who try to claim that living in the US is just like living in Russia or China. Come the fuck on.

    This.

  146. 146
    amk says:

    @Mnemosyne: Yup. Come the fuck on is right.

  147. 147

    @Jeremy: They will find a new host, the next Dem candidate for President will do quite nicely.

  148. 148
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @todwest:

    he’s a man without a country who can’t really afford at the moment to piss off his Russian patrons. And it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Kremlin forced him to say something like this in order for him to have permission to appear. We simply don’t know what kind of duress he might be under, do we?

    And whose fault is that? Natural consequences, Crimea river, etc.

    Or, Snowden could be total lick-spittle.

    Why is it either or?

  149. 149
    different-church-lady says:

    @amk: Fines? FINES? That’s like a slap on the wrist with a wet noodle. We have this amazing torture apparatus and justice will not be served until we turn it on the banksters!!!” But it won’t happen because OBAMA IS WORSE THAN NIXON!!!

    /generic-emoprog-rant

  150. 150
    Jeremy says:

    @MaximusNYC: Well Greenwald hates Obama. He hated the guy since he decided to run for office in 2007. So you could also say that he might view this issue as a way to make Obama look bad, while going along with his agenda.

  151. 151
    Cervantes says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I get very impatient with the people who try to claim that living in the US is just like living in Russia or China.

    Do such people exist?

  152. 152
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    @Freemark:

    Brazil and Ecuador aren’t ‘western countries’.

    I’m just going to leave this here for everyone else to marvel at.

    And looking at all the Brogressive water carrying for Putin now, I can’t wait to see them doing the same for RAND PAUL when he throws his hat in the ring.

  153. 153

    @Cervantes: Some of them post here.

  154. 154
  155. 155
    different-church-lady says:

    @gratuitous:

    Yeah, I just scanned the block quote and sort of skipped by it without looking too closely.

    I… smell… PULITZER!!

  156. 156
    Cervantes says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Really? I had not noticed.

  157. 157
    gogol's wife says:

    @Cervantes:

    The commenter I was responding to was equating Putin and Obama.

    Have you read anything about the civilian casualties in Chechnya?

  158. 158
    Belafon says:

    @Bobby Thomson: Sometimes it’s OR in the logic-computer science sense. Maybe people should write ||, but that also means parallel in geometry.

  159. 159
    cane giallo says:

    @todwest: WTF are you talking about? I am not saying I’m in favor of any maltreatment of Snowden. I’m saying he’s an adult capable of making adult decisions and he made a VERY bad one. He is an American citizen and could return to this country if he chooses. He put himself in a bad place in Russia and can get out of it by facing the music in the US. He had to have known the possibilities of what could happen to him (either there or here). He put himself in danger because you can’t trust Putin. Basically he is a very poor planner, but that doesn’t mean he deserves torture or whatever in Russia because of his poor planning.

  160. 160
    Jeremy says:

    @The Sheriff’s A Ni-: Lol ! The stupidity is amazing. So countries like the U.S and Canada are western but no other nation on this side of the globe is Western. Okay…got it !

  161. 161
    Betty Cracker says:

    @David in NY:

    Accordingly the far less important issue of Snowden bashing should not take over the discussion about our liberties as it does in your post.

    I’ll never be your Amy Goodman. Sorry.

    Here are the two thoughts you can’t seem to entertain at once: 1) NSA reforms are important, and 2) Snowden is a huge part of the NSA story. You yourself demonstrated the latter by incorrectly identifying Snowden as a Pulitzer winner.

    It’s not some tragic accident that Snowden is central to the story since he has orchestrated mass media events to underscore his own role. Also, those of you who are tut-tutting the focus on Snowden from Mount Olympus might want to think about how shit actually gets done in this country absent bags of money from billionaires.

  162. 162
    C.V. Danes says:

    You do know that if he had badmouthed Russia, their government would probably have sent him on his way. So this was probably said so that he wouldn’t find himself in a CIA torture chamber somewhere.

    Just sayin’

  163. 163
    gogol's wife says:

    @Cervantes:

    You think that Putin is more restrained in spying on his citizens than Obama (the great inventor of surveillance in the US) is? Putin is, was, and will always be a KGB man, and his behavior bears that out. I don’t have time to explain the ways in which the list I gave is related to the culture of surveillance and reprisal in Russia — I shouldn’t have spent even this much time here. It’s a waste.

    Okay, time to go work now.

  164. 164
    burnspbesq says:

    @todwest:

    Yes, it matters to me, because I am not a sociopath who thinks he has never made a bad decision.

    Congratulations, you’re on a roll: two incoherent comments in a row.

    No idea who that’s supposed to refer to. Certainly not me: I’ve already made one bad decision this morning. I foolishly got into a battle of wits with an unarmed man.

  165. 165
    David in NY says:

    @Betty Cracker: First, sorry, had I seen the linked comment of yours I would not have been so testy. Wish it had been part of the original post, as to which I still believe that you were making the very mistake your reference to Enersto Miranda should point out — it’s the principle at stake here, not the person.

    I think what Snowden is doing now is so unimportant, in comparison to what he has let us know about our government, that they are really incomparable — not even close. And I thought it quite wrongly (without your later comment) suggested the opposite, which is also the current argument of those who are not friends of liberty and are friends of the NSA.

  166. 166
    MaximusNYC says:

    @Jeremy:

    Maybe Greenwald does hate Obama. I don’t know, and I don’t care. What I’m concerned with is the content of the information he is publishing. I’m smart enough to read past Greenwald’s lawyerly spin (and he does lay it on thick).

    Also: Did y’all actually watch the same clip I watched? Snowden asked Putin whether Russia does bulk surveillance. Period. He didn’t kiss up, he didn’t bow down, he didn’t say, “Well, thanks, Vlad, I accept your answer at face value.” Where is the boot-licking (and licking of other things) attributed to him by commenters in this thread?

    People like you have been shouting for MONTHS: “Why doesn’t Snowden ask Putin about Russia’s own surveillance programs?” Now he has. You got what you wanted. Of course Putin’s response is ludicrous. That stands as an indictment in itself. Snowden was not a contractor for Russian intelligence — he’s not in a position to do anything else. He asked the question; maybe there’s a Russian Snowden who can provide the answer.

  167. 167
    MomSense says:

    @David in NY:

    Betty Cracker is like John Yoo???

    WTF but that is insane.

  168. 168
    todwest says:

    @cane giallo: Great. We agree. So, it’s just possible Snowden made this statement under duress. This was my entire point. What do his “bad decisions” have to do with anything? Glad we cleared that up.

  169. 169
    todwest says:

    @burnspbesq: I happen to feel for the guy, because I possess a human trait known as “empathy.”

  170. 170
    Chyron HR says:

    @MaximusNYC:

    maybe there’s a Russian Snowden who can provide the answer.

    Hey, maybe there’s a Brazilian Greenwald who can recruit him.

    Oops, I just mindlessly worshipped dear leader Obama again, didn’t I?

  171. 171
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    We have the public figurehead of the civil liberties movement giving a personal appearance and interview with a guy with a shady human rights record who’s currently carving himself pieces of eastern Europe.

    If that doesn’t make you go ‘hm’, then try this: Imagine a young Daniel Ellsberg having a nice sit-down public interview with Leonid Brezhnev.

  172. 172
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @David in NY:

    Snowden won the Pulitzer Prize and Betty Cracker didn’t. Wonder why?

    If you’re trying to make a legitimate, intelligent point in a post, this is pretty much the wrong way to go about starting off your post.

    Just some friendly advice.

  173. 173
    burnspbesq says:

    @C.V. Danes:

    So this was probably said so that he wouldn’t find himself in a CIA torture chamber somewhere.

    No one will ever mistake the facilities in which Federal defendants awaiting trial are held for a Ritz-Carlton. And no one doubts that so-called “CIA torture chambers” existed in the past and may still exist today.

    But if we ever get our hands on Snowden, he’s going to the former, not the latter. He’ll get the best defense money can buy, a fair trial, and all the appeals he wants to pursue if he’s convicted.

    If you think otherwise, you’re not playing with a full deck.

  174. 174
    Cervantes says:

    @gogol’s wife: In this comment? I don’t see an attempt to equate the two people or the whole history of all their respective actions. I do see the suggestion that it’s worth comparing Putin’s assurances on surveillance with those issued by Obama or other US officials. This act of comparing does not prove anything, obviously, but is it per se offensive to you? It isn’t to me!

  175. 175
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Freemark:

    Brazil and Ecuador aren’t ‘western countries’

    Yeah, that’s why they’re in the Eastern hemisphere. Idiot.

  176. 176
    boatboy_srq says:

    Look, I’m glad the NSA spying issue finally got some attention and that the president has proposed needed reforms. I’m grateful to the journalists who made the discussion impossible NOT to have, yes, even Mr. Greenwald. But if there was any doubt that Snowden himself is a fucking tool, it has been removed, at least for me.

    For me that was clear from his first publicly-visible choices (Hong Kong as a first destination, because it’s a “bastion of free speech”? Really?). The kicker for me, though, was his documented beginnings as a would-be whistleblower (in 2007) which didn’t bear fruit until his preferred candidate for POTUS flamed out. I don’t have a problem with his going public: I have a problem with his timing. If he were really doing this just to out the US’ intel efforts as extralegal and otherwise offensive, he had enough material in ’07-’08 for that, and waiting did nothing except let the Shrubbery off the hook.

    I’m sure the US needed the kick-in-the-pants Snowden’s revelations gave it. But the more I see of Snowden, the more he looks like an incurious, wilfully-illiterate Paulbot who’s honked off that his guy didn’t win in ’08 and can’t be arsed to learn about the world around him beyond how much unConstitutional privacy-invading stuff Washington does. In some alternate universe I can see him trying to meet with President Paul to tell him firsthand about all the shenanigans, and going just as international-press postal when his Original Libertarian hero does nothing with the revelations.

  177. 177
    Jane2 says:

    So if Snowden/Greenwald were more “likeable”, this would free us to discuss the actual issue?

  178. 178
    cmorenc says:

    @Cacti:

    @cmorenc:

    the US government forced him to become an outlaw and fugitive

    That’s B-I-N-G.

    And actually, it was his violation of numerous statutes that turned him into an outlaw. His flight to avoid prosecution was what made him a fugitive.

    Without the violation of the statutes by Snowden, we would never have been able to have the revealations of the extent of gross violations of laws and constitutional rights by the federal government. That the messenger (Snowden) is himself a considerably flawed piece of work, both with respect to his apparent cozying up to Putin and with respect to his failure to exercise prudent discrimination in his revealations of the extent of NSA surveillance does not negate that without the revealations, the NSA’s own criminal lawlessness would never have been exposed.

    Would the American public be better off being dumb and happy about the total evisceration of the fourth and fifth amendments by the NSA? The laws you speak of protect both secrets and lawbreakers grossly misusing that cloak of secrecy. And yes, Snowden is a schnook. A useful schnook and tool in different ways for both the American public and Putin.

  179. 179
    Cervantes says:

    @MaximusNYC:

    Also: Did y’all actually watch the same clip I watched? Snowden asked Putin whether Russia does bulk surveillance. Period. He didn’t kiss up, he didn’t bow down, he didn’t say, “Well, thanks, Vlad, I accept your answer at face value.” Where is the boot-licking (and licking of other things) attributed to him by commenters in this thread?

    As I pointed out above, the NYT notes that Snowden’s “appearance” on the show was pre-recorded, not live.

  180. 180
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @gogol’s wife: The culture of surveillance in Russia goes back centuries. It’s nothing new. Which is why Putin’s pathetic little statement is such a hoot.

    I really loved Greenwald being indignant about the NSA conducting activities against China. Spy agency with charter to spy overseas spies overseas. Film at 11.

    If Greenwald’s concern were strictly with the NSA violating its charter and spying domestically, he wouldn’t have mentioned that. But Greenwald has a different agenda.

  181. 181
    burnspbesq says:

    @todwest:

    If you want to feel empathy for someone who deserves it, feel empathy for Chelsea Manning, a dumb kid who got in over her head and was hung out to dry by people she mistakenly trusted. Snowden is a criminal who did what he did with full knowledge of its illegality and skedaddled in order to avoid the consequences of his criminality.

  182. 182
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Cervantes: Pre-recoreded means very editable.

  183. 183
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Belafon: Yes, but not Or in the sense of mutually exclusive.

  184. 184
    David in NY says:

    . @Betty Cracker: “Snowden is a huge part of the NSA story.” I guess what I object to is this, the short range (and pretty intemperate in language) focus on a story that’s really a long range thing — how much our government is spying on us. In the long range, nobody’s going to give a damn about Snowden’s personal failings, any more than people can tell you about Ernesto Miranda or Clarence Gideon’s misconduct. And I think putting so much focus on Snowden really does a disservice to the incredibly important question at issue. Though I thought your earlier comment corrected that by recognizing that the personal story is not necessarily so important as the bigger question.

  185. 185
    Belafon says:

    @Jane2: Actually, I believe the answer to that is Snowden returning to the US. The only reason they are the story is they keep making themselves the story, or, in Snowden’s case now, Putin keeps making him the story.

  186. 186
    🌷 Martin says:

    @todwest:

    So, it’s just possible Snowden made this statement under duress.

    I wonder what other classified information Snowden would then be giving the Russians under duress.

    You can’t have this both ways. Either Snowden is simply playing whatever game is necessary to keep him in the limelight which undermines whatever principles everyone wants to ascribe to him, or he ran to a somewhat oppressive nation with a history of rights abuses with a laptop full of national secrets and is now acting as an agent against the US – whether by choice or bad decision making doesn’t much matter.

  187. 187
    Cervantes says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    You think that Putin is more restrained in spying on his citizens than Obama (the great inventor of surveillance in the US) is?

    Did I say anything of the sort? (No.)

  188. 188
    Cervantes says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Yes, and … ?

  189. 189
    burnspbesq says:

    @cmorenc:

    Without the violation of the statutes by Snowden, we would never have been able to have the revealations of the extent of gross violations of laws and constitutional rights by the federal government.

    Fine. So he can have the minimum sentence permitted under the guidelines, minus a downward departure for service to the public, with credit for time spent in pretrial detention. He’ll be out in time to go back to Russia for the World Cup.

  190. 190
    Karen in GA says:

    @amk: Sure he can. Or he can stay where he is. That’s up to him. I don’t know the guy, so I have no say in it. I only wondered whether Putin forced him into this, because it seems like a such dumb thing to do voluntarily.

  191. 191
    different-church-lady says:

    @burnspbesq: CHELSEA MANNING! GITMO! BANKSTERS!

  192. 192
    todwest says:

    @burnspbesq: I feel empathy for her too, believe me. I don’t agree with you at all on Snowden, but that’s another discussion. You implied that, if the Kremlin coerced this statement out of Snowden, then that’s okay by you because he’s a criminal. I took exception to that. No one should ever be placed in such situations, even if the person in question is a monster. We set standards so that even the worst of us receive due process and the full protection of the law. Snowden violated a criminal statute, and may someday have to answer for this. This is why we have courts. But it’s not relevant to our discussion. Until then, we can try to psychoanalyze him from a distance, but this is a pointless endeavor. We don’t know the psychological underpinnings of why Snowden made this stupid statement. And I don’t see why you need to drift into ad hominem.

  193. 193
    Socoolsofresh says:

    Yay, so Snowden talks with Putin on TV and all you tribalists feel super validated! Time to break out the champagne! This whole NSA thing was a major nothingburger! Glory be, you guys were right all along! Sorry it took so long to realize that, but you guys knew, just knew that it was going to turn out like this! Guess everyone can call it a day and start worrying about the important things, like racism and abortions, and stop worrying about dudebro concerns, like the government giving you zero privacy! Such a petty issue! Such wise sages you people are! In the end, Obama is always amazing! You voted for Obama, you didn’t vote for these lowlifes Snowden and Greenwald. Why do they insist on saying and doing things?

  194. 194
    marduk says:

    @cmorenc:

    That the messenger (Snowden) is himself a considerably flawed piece of work, both with respect to his apparent cozying up to Putin and with respect to his failure to exercise prudent discrimination in his revealations of the extent of NSA surveillance does not negate that without the revealations, the NSA’s own criminal lawlessness would never have been exposed.

    Well this is dumb. If it’s agreed that Snowden is both a whistleblower AND a traitor then why keep defending him? He should be in jail, now let’s talk about NSA reforms. He both did the american public a service AND betrayed us. It’s not that tricky.

  195. 195
    David in NY says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I have apologized to Betty (and she and others have noted the factual error) for my testiness. And I always appreciate your gentle reminders. As Betty said, though, “it’s just a blog,” and I would add “it’s just a blog comment. But seriously, I hope I’ve reduced that questionable opening to a coherent position, that one might say was “intelligent” or at least “legitimate.”

  196. 196
    rda909 says:

    @Karen in GA: “it seems like a such dumb thing to do voluntarily”

    Sort of like lying to get a job specifically to steal classified information from the U.S. government, and then running off to Russia, by way of China, with the information in tow…you mean that kind of dumb?

  197. 197
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Cervantes: Vlad showed what Vlad wanted to show.

  198. 198
    different-church-lady says:

    @cmorenc:

    Would the American public be better off being dumb and happy about the total evisceration of the fourth and fifth amendments by the NSA?

    No, they would not. But they would also be better off without baseless categorical statements such as “total evisceration of the fourth and fifth amendments” being yapped into cellphones while the rest of us are trying to understand the complexity of the play.

  199. 199
    Belafon says:

    @gogol’s wife: Does anyone feel like we’re close to having a Pussy Riot style lockup in this country? Anyone?

    I think that’s part of what makes this conversation about the NSA hard. We’re the US. We don’t do anything until it’s a crisis. Thus, we’ve got to make this into a crisis for people to pay attention. But we’re lousy at making things into crises. Instead of “The NSA could spy on you if their current capabilities fell into the wrong hands” we have “the NSA is watching you have sex and is preparing to rig the Electoral College.” And this is if we can just focus on the NSA. What we generally have in this country is “the NSA knows what your favorite toothpaste is, send me money if you want to know more.” And so all we do is yell at each other.

  200. 200
    Belafon says:

    OK, I’m being moderated and I don’t know why.

  201. 201
    Mnemosyne says:

    @burnspbesq:

    But if we ever get our hands on Snowden, he’s going to the former, not the latter. He’ll get the best defense money can buy, a fair trial, and all the appeals he wants to pursue if he’s convicted.

    Plus, if Snowden did turn himself in, the Obama administration has a vested interest in having Snowden appear to be treated as fairly as possible with every constitutional protection he’s entitled to, because the whole thing will play out on the world stage. Any subsequent administration, not so much. So if Snowden really claims to be terrified of being thrown into a “CIA torture chamber,” his best chance for that not to happen would be to surrender before Obama leaves office.

  202. 202
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    I should have brought more popcorn.

  203. 203
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Socoolsofresh: Oh, wonderful. BJ Dudebro #1 chimes in, and proceeds to make an ass of himself, for the umpteenth time.

  204. 204
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    @Mnemosyne: I don’t know, President Hilary would likely accord him the same.

    And he could always be hinging on President RAND welcoming him home with open arms and Medal of Freedom.

  205. 205
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Socoolsofresh:

    Guess everyone can call it a day and start worrying about the important things, like racism and abortions, and stop worrying about dudebro concerns, like the government giving you zero privacy!

    I do love how the government (potentially) collecting cell phone metadata is “zero privacy,” but the government mandating a vaginal probe on a woman is just one of those things women have to grin and bear. I mean, having the government physically probe your body couldn’t possibly be a civil liberties violation, amirite?

  206. 206
    Belafon says:

    @The Sheriff’s A Ni-: The FPers ought to be required to give a 15 minute warning if they are going to post a Snowden, Greenwald, or NSA thread.

  207. 207
    Cervantes says:

    @Socoolsofresh:

    Yay, so Snowden talks with Putin on TV

    Actually, the NYT says otherwise.

    @Villago Delenda Est: Exactly.

  208. 208
    Mnemosyne says:

    @The Sheriff’s A Ni-:

    I dunno — I’m thinking of the Roman Polanski case. If he’d negotiated his return and punishment 30 years ago, the LA District Attorney’s office probably wouldn’t be quite so entrenched in their position that he must agree to jail time in order to come back to the US. The longer Snowden waits, the more difficult his negotiating position gets.

  209. 209
    different-church-lady says:

    In order for me to feel empathy for Snowden’s situation, I would have had to, at some time in my past, worked for a major government spy agency, deliberately taken a job in order to steal classified information, and fled to a foreign country with said information.

    Sorry, but it’s just impossible. I guess the rest of you have had much more colorful job experiences than I have. All I can offer is theoretical sympathy for his plight, having to imagine myself in such a situation, rather than having actually lived it.

  210. 210
    David in NY says:

    @RandomMonster: I as just referring to Yoo’s tactic of pretending that the story is not about Snowden’s “crimes” not the revelations about the NSA. See http://digbysblog.blogspot.com.....fused.html I hardly meant to associate anyone with torture.

  211. 211
    🌷 Martin says:

    @marduk: Snowden is not a whistleblower in my view. A whistleblower should seek any internal mechanisms to report misconduct, only going outside if necessary. He had several allies in Congress that he did not even attempt to seek out. To me this puts him in the same category as stand-your-grounders that actively bypass calling police to deal with a situation in favor of just pulling the trigger, because their goal isn’t to deal with the situation, their goal is to pull the trigger. Among other consequences, this undermines any system of internal regulation by suggesting they are ineffective and pointless. We should not endeavor to have governance that lacks internal regulation. Why even bother having Congress as a check against the executive if you refuse to even attempt to use it as such? And whistleblowers do not flee jurisdiction because whistleblowers by definition believe that they have performed a lawful act by uncovering an unlawful one, and defending the lawful act is core to the action.

    And for those that would kneejerk assert partisanship and an ineffective congress, his allies are all Democrats that have been making steady progress against this issue, now beginning to win over some individuals like DiFi.

  212. 212
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Cervantes: Just the Snowden-Putin exchange in the video itself and a lifetime of experience watching how politicians use events like this to manipulate public opinion. You can see a micro-demonstration of the effect it might have right here in this thread, with people who have always thought NSA surveillance is a nothingburger crowing about how this proves that Snowden is a traitorous scumbucket, and, ergo, nothing to see here, folks, just move along. And these are Democrats! Wait until Rep. Peter King gets ahold of it!

  213. 213
    different-church-lady says:

    @Belafon: WordPress has empathy for you, and wants you to reconsider what you’re doing with your day.

    Sadly, WordPress doesn’t seem to care nearly as much about me.

  214. 214
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Mnemosyne: Seeing as Socoolsofresh doens’t have a vajayjay (just as Greenwald does not) why should he care about that?

    “The problems of others do not concern us, the Galtian supermen of America.”

  215. 215
    Belafon says:

    @Betty Cracker: Can you unmoderate me, please?

  216. 216
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Meanwhile, back in the real world, Pavel Durov, founder of VKontakte (sort of “Russia’s Facebook”) reveals that the FSB, back in December, demanded that VKontakte supply it with the personal details of Ukrainian account-holders associated with the Euromaidan movement. Documentation here.

  217. 217
    chopper says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    being penetrated against your will by someone acting on behest of the government may be something that directly effects a woman’s life, but it’s nothing compared to the government having access to your cellphone metadata. get with the program, ladies.

  218. 218
    Marc says:

    @Jane2:

    If the actual issue depends on their credibility, why shouldn’t we care about it? If Snowden is simply selling secrets to Russia and China his actions look very different than they do if he’s some civil liberties patriot. Context is incredibly important in issues like this, and he’s sitting there, with a straight face, pretending that the US spies and Russia doesn’t. How can you then take other things that he says at face value? How do you know what the documents that he didn’t release said?

  219. 219
    different-church-lady says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Plus, if Snowden did turn himself in, the Obama administration has a vested interest in having Snowden appear to be treated as fairly as possible with every constitutional protection he’s entitled to, because the whole thing will play out on the world stage.

    YEAH? WELL THAT’S NOT WHAT OBAMA THOUGHT WHEN HE WATERBOARDED CHELSEA MANNING!

    [note: I’m not a huge advocate of Little Green Footballs, but a “emoprog” font similar to the “wingnut font” sure would come in handy right now…]

  220. 220
    chopper says:

    @David in NY:

    I hardly meant to associate anyone with torture

    “when i made the hitler comparison, it was merely because you also are a vegetarian. jeez, chill out.”

  221. 221
    rikyrah says:

    Putin knows ..

    Like knows like.

    Snowden is a traitor.

  222. 222
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Gin & Tonic: That’s very different, and you know it. It’s in the service of Russian imperialism, not American. That makes it perfectly OK.

    /Bob in Portland

  223. 223
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @chopper: Prezactly. Extremely lame, Dave. Extremely lame.

  224. 224
    chopper says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    yes, but the ukranians are all a bunch of neo-nazis, amirite?

  225. 225
    Cassidy says:

    Okay everyone. Take a break. I’ve got some fish sticks and french fries in the oven and watching the liberaltarian internal slapfight has made me hungry, but I don’t want to miss anything. This is too precious.

  226. 226
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Belafon: Done. I suspect it was the p-word…

  227. 227
    🌷 Martin says:

    @Mnemosyne: Well, if you’d stop being so slutty, they wouldn’t need to lojack your cooter. It’s your own fault, really.

  228. 228
    Ash Can says:

    I’m glad to see this covered here. I was expecting crickets. Thanks, Betty (and DougJ, who said he would have done it if you hadn’t).

  229. 229
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Betty Cracker: Yes. The P-word. It’s a good thing that Tweety (the animated cartoon character, not the live action political cartoon character) says “puddy-tat” and not “the P-word.”

  230. 230
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Ukrainian state security says that of the 63 “pro-Russian activists” it arrested after yesterday’s attack on the Mariupol base, at least 10 hold Russian passports. I’m sure they’re just tourists.

  231. 231
    RandomMonster says:

    @David in NY:

    I as just referring to Yoo’s tactic of pretending that the story is not about Snowden’s “crimes” not the revelations about the NSA. See http://digbysblog.blogspot.com…..fused.html I hardly meant to associate anyone with torture.

    Sorry if I misunderstood you, but your argument seemed to go like this: “You are criticizing Snowden’s character rather than the NSA. John Yoo ALSO criticized Snowden’s character rather than the NSA. We all hate John Yoo. Therefore you should only criticize the NSA.”

  232. 232
    liberal says:

    @MaximusNYC:

    Maybe Greenwald does hate Obama. I don’t know, and I don’t care. What I’m concerned with is the content of the information he is publishing. I’m smart enough to read past Greenwald’s lawyerly spin (and he does lay it on thick).

    Agreed. It’s sad how so many O-bots don’t get that.

  233. 233
    cbear says:

    @burnspbesq:

    He’ll get the best defense money can buy, a fair trial, and all the appeals he wants to pursue if he’s convicted.
    If you think otherwise, you’re not playing with a full deck.

    A fair trial?
    If he’s convicted?

    Oh sure, with virtually every gooper in the country screaming for his blood, numerous gooper politicians calling for his summary execution, and more than a few self-identifying “liberal/progressive” morons eager and willing to pull the switch or, at the least, advocating his immediate incarceration….
    Why, hell, it’s practically a no-brainer.
    C’mon down Ed Snowden, and accept your prize.

    REGARDLESS of your views as to the character, motives, efficacy, patriotism, etc. etc. etc of Snowden and his actions, the notion that he would receive a “fair trial” at this point is hilarious.

    Not to mention that he would be immediately whisked away to enjoy the many comforts of one of our supermax prisons for at least 2-3 years before he even came to trial.

    You’re a few cards short of 52, my friend.

  234. 234
    David in NY says:

    @Belafon:

    The FPers ought to be required to give a 15 minute warning if they are going to post a Snowden, Greenwald, or NSA thread.

    Second the motion — might save me my intemperate and erroneous opening sentences.

    @Belafon: As to your earlier suggestion that Greenwald-Snowden ought to have dumped everything out at once, and that this somehow undercut their bonafides, I thought the explanation was that even they thought there was stuff there that shouldn’t necesssarily be made public. And did I say Snowden was a victim? I thought I was just trying to advocate focusing on the principles and not the personalities.

  235. 235
    Cassidy says:

    @🌷 Martin:

    Well, if you’d stop being so slutty

    Look, let’s not get ahead of ourselves with this kind of advice, generally. We don’t need you cockblocking everyone.

  236. 236
    liberal says:

    @🌷 Martin:

    And for those that would kneejerk assert partisanship and an ineffective congress, his allies are all Democrats that have been making steady progress against this issue, now beginning to win over some individuals like DiFi.

    Yawn. Congress has been completely ineffectual for quite a long time now.

  237. 237
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Accidental tourists of the FSB, I’m sure.

  238. 238
    Cacti says:

    @Socoolsofresh:

    Guess everyone can call it a day and start worrying about the important things, like racism and abortions, and stop worrying about dudebro concerns, like the government giving you zero privacy!

    Is any surprised that Soclueless identifies abortion and privacy as separate issues?

    Brogressives of the world unite!

  239. 239
    Belafon says:

    @Belafon: OK, everyone, I have been unmoderated (thanks, Betty) and it’s the greatest comment ever. (or not)

    I would have tweeted this, but I’m not allowed on twitter at work. One of those places in the US that actually does spy.

  240. 240
    Cassidy says:

    @cbear: No it’s not. Considering how public it would be, every single rule and protocol would be followed to the letter. It would probably be the fairest and most transparent trial in history. Fortunately for him he’s white and the darling of liberaltarians and emoprogs.

  241. 241
    marduk says:

    @🌷 Martin:

    Snowden is not a whistleblower in my view.

    I understand your position but being a bit of a ‘brogrammer’ who has worked in telecom I’m glad that the american people got to see some of the abuses the NSA was perpetrating, and if Snowden had stuck with revealing their illegal activities I would have happily given him the benefit of the doubt.

  242. 242
    liberal says:

    @David in NY:

    In the long range, nobody’s going to give a damn about Snowden’s personal failings, any more than people can tell you about Ernesto Miranda or Clarence Gideon’s misconduct. And I think putting so much focus on Snowden really does a disservice to the incredibly important question at issue.

    Yes, pretty amazing that commenters here appear to deny this or obfuscate it.

  243. 243
    Socraticsilence says:

    @El Tiburon: Yeah get back to when Obama has the Koch’s arrested an half of Fox’s talent die in unrelated yet strikingly similar “gang violence”.

  244. 244
    Bob In Portland says:

    @Meg: Kiev said that there were, that they’d captured some, and yet they haven’t produced any to see.

  245. 245
    Cacti says:

    @Cassidy:

    It would probably be the fairest and most transparent trial in history.

    He’d also have a line around the block of hotshot trial lawyers practically begging to take his case.

  246. 246
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Just the Snowden-Putin exchange in the video itself and a lifetime of experience watching how politicians use events like this to manipulate public opinion.

    This. Those pols with a vested interest in giving more money (With a handsome return from contractors for themselves) to the NSA, CIA, DIA, DHS, etc., will use anything as grist for discrediting the notion of reforming those agencies.

  247. 247
    Cassidy says:

    @Socoolsofresh: I know right! Those pesky gays and woman and blacks and hispanics and native americans wanting equal treatment getting in the way of your private porn stash. How dare they? So rude.

  248. 248
    liberal says:

    @cbear:

    You’re a few cards short of 52, my friend.

    Agreed, though in Burnsie’s case we already knew that.

  249. 249
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @liberal: Congress basically abandoned its legitimate oversight role in national security matters the instant Reagan was elected to the Presidency, and had not made too much of an effort since. Well, unless you consider blow jobs and BENGHAZI! to be important national security matters.

  250. 250
    David in NY says:

    @RandomMonster: As you put it, what I said was not so different from your reconstruction — except I was thinking about Yoo’s latest statements about Snowden and the Pulitzer (essentially focusing on Snowden’s “crimes” rather than the NSA’s spying), noted in my link, not as you put it as the formulator of our program of torture or someone we hate. I just wanted to make clear in was not my intention to compare anybody to a torturer, though I did think such a strident focus on Snowden’s personality played into the hands of apologists for the NSA (of whom Yoo was the one who came to mind).

  251. 251
    liberal says:

    @Cassidy:
    Yeah, exactly—because it’s not logically possible to take liberal/progressive stances on spook agency issues and the abortion issue simultaneously. /snark

  252. 252
    Cassidy says:

    I just want to know, of all the liberaltarians claiming he’d be whisked away and disappear and secret trials and all that if he came back, is that an Illuminati plot or a Free Masons plot? Is there some sort of connection between the two? ZOMG!!! Is Ichabod Crane getting reborn!

  253. 253
    Cacti says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Accidental tourists of the FSB, I’m sure.

    Rather like those “pro-Russian protesters” who didn’t know the Kharkiv opera house from the city hall.

    Or those hundred or so guys in Dontesk with the black masks, green uniforms, and anti-tank weapons, that just sort of showed up out of nowhere.

  254. 254
    liberal says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    That might be correct as to the timing, though I don’t think it’s so much a Reagan era swing as it was that the post-Watergate era was very, very atypical (sadly).

    My main point is that Congressional “oversight” seems to have meant, for decades now, that an extremely short list of members are privy to some of what’s going on (very very top leadership in both parties, chairs of intelligence committee, and not much more). And they almost never say or do anything.

  255. 255
    Cassidy says:

    @liberal: No snark needed. Watching the liberaltarians shit all over themselves trying to treat this as “THE WORST HUMAN RIGHTS CRISIS OF ALL TIME EVER!!!!!!!!” has provided me more than a couple hours worth of amusement. So keep going.

  256. 256
    liberal says:

    @Ash Can:
    Yeah, thank God we have someone on the case, pointing out that Snowden isn’t as white as the driven snow.

    Much more important than, say, Sy Hersh’s claims that perhaps the rebels were the ones actually responsible for those sarin attacks.

  257. 257
    Cacti says:

    @David in NY:

    As you put it, what I said was not so different from your reconstruction — except I was thinking about Yoo’s latest statements about Snowden and the Pulitzer (essentially focusing on Snowden’s “crimes” rather than the NSA’s spying),

    A quick exercise in David-logic:

    David supports Snowden, Ron Paul supports Snowden, Stormfront supports Ron Paul.

    Therefore, David definitely supports Stormfront.

  258. 258
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @David in NY: Well, there’s a reason for a “strident focus on Snowden’s personality”. It’s mirroring Snowden’s own strident personality. He very obviously sought to be antagonistic and in your face, and he succeeded on both counts. Which makes him seem less like a whistle blower concerned with abuses and more like a self promoter…which we know Greenwald excels at, so they go together very well.

    Anyone paying attention for the last, oh, I don’t know, 34 years or so knows what the NSA has the capability to do. The change is that under the aegis of the Dark Lord, the NSA started using that capability domestically in spite of processes in place to restrict that use; the deserting coward malassministration basically ignored all that for fun and profit. It certainly doesn’t help that Clapper “misstated” things blatantly to US Senators in hearings, either.

  259. 259
    MomSense says:

    @🌷 Martin:

    lojack your cooter

    Just spit good old tap water all over my computer screen!

  260. 260
    Cacti says:

    @liberal:

    Much more important than, say, Sy Hersh’s claims that perhaps the rebels were the ones actually responsible for those sarin attacks.

    Maybe someday soon, Sy can produce something a little more tangible than “unnamed sources close to the matter” to substantiate his yarn.

  261. 261
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @liberal:

    My main point is that Congressional “oversight” seems to have meant, for decades now, that an extremely short list of members are privy to some of what’s going on (very very top leadership in both parties, chairs of intelligence committee, and not much more).

    Could it be that the short list of members simply doesn’t have the technical knowledge to even ask the right questions? There are more than 120 lawyers in the House and something like 45 lawyers in the Senate. That’s not a dig at lawyers. It does suggest to me that their expertise lies somewhere other than high tech surveillance.

  262. 262

    Sometimes people’s knees jerk so strongly that they knee themselves in the face.

  263. 263
    RandomMonster says:

    @Cacti: Or it’s a variant of “You know who else attacked individuals rather than government agencies? Hitler.”

  264. 264
    Ash Can says:

    @marduk:

    if Snowden had stuck with revealing their illegal activities

    He hasn’t even done that. He’s revealed activities that are fully in compliance with existing laws. Now, whether those laws would pass legal muster if examined more carefully by the courts, that’s something that needs to be addressed. In the meantime, though, delosgatos @ #17 hit the nail square on the head.

  265. 265
    Betty Cracker says:

    @liberal: The point isn’t that Snowden isn’t snowy enough: It’s that by cozying up with Putin, he has handed the people who really don’t want any changes at the NSA a perfect excuse to ignore the problem.

    Why is that so difficult to understand? Do you guys really think that optics and personalities are irrelevant in the reality show political arena and that lofty concepts such as “liberty” and “security” are discussed as Platonic ideals?

  266. 266
    David in NY says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    more like a self promoter

    See, this I don’t get. He’s self-promoted himself into exile and not much of a future, and near as I can see. I could see an argument (though I’d disagree with it) that he’s a modern Burgess or Maclean, betraying his country out of principle and fleeing to the USSR. But Snowden didn’t just secretly hand over classified information. (Ironically if he had, he’d probably still be working at the NSA.) Instead he made some of it public, so people could see what the NSA was doing. I’m not sure he had any idea what would happen, but I also don’t think he’s stupid, and you’d have to be stupid to have worked at the NSA and believe the government wouldn’t come after you and make your life much less comfortable.

    But really, I don’t care much because the issue is the NSA. It isn’t him.

  267. 267
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Ash Can:

    He’s revealed activities that are fully in compliance with existing laws.

    And if they aren’t then Congress will pass things like the 2008 FISA Amendments Act to make certain that they are.

  268. 268
    Kristin says:

    @burnspbesq: Exactly. All the hysteria (started by Greenwald’s dishonest hyperbole) about how Snowden is sure to be renditioned to Egypt or whatever is as crazy as comparing Betty Cracker to John Yoo or saying that Obama is worse on surveillance than Putin.

  269. 269
    Botsplainer says:

    Glenn Greenwald is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.

  270. 270
    Ash Can says:

    @liberal:

    Snowden isn’t as white as the driven snow.

    That’s the understatement of the day. Like I said, delosgatos @ #17.

  271. 271
    Karen in GA says:

    @rda909:

    Sort of like lying to get a job specifically to steal classified information from the U.S. government, and then running off to Russia, by way of China, with the information in tow…you mean that kind of dumb?

    No. I realize that by not mentioning any of that in my original post, it probably looked like I mentioned all of it — so just to clarify here, in case anyone else is wondering if I mentioned it by not mentioning it: I didn’t mention any of that.

    Thanks for asking.

  272. 272
    cmorenc says:

    @different-church-lady:

    No, they would not. But they would also be better off without baseless categorical statements such as “total evisceration of the fourth and fifth amendments” being yapped into cellphones while the rest of us are trying to understand the complexity of the play.

    The NSA practice of feeding unconstitutionally gathered information to law enforcement for their use in building purely domestic criminal cases against citizens (having nothing to do with terrorism), with law enforcement fraudulently concealing the source and creating fictitious plausible alternative grounds for obtaining warrants is pretty damn categorically “baseFULL”.

  273. 273
    different-church-lady says:

    @Belafon:

    and it’s the greatest comment ever. (or not)

    I thought the Ferris Beuller quote was quite clever.

  274. 274
    todwest says:

    @🌷 Martin: Or, the third option is that he’s in a completely foreign country, without the protection of his embassy, and so he needs to keep his Kremlin handlers happy. We don’t know if his appearance was voluntary, or if it was made under duress. And I get awfully tired of Manichean “It’s either this or that” pronouncements, as if the person uttering the statement is privy to some hidden gospel no one else can see. The fact is, good people do stupid things. The reverse is also true. There are no absolutes. Snowden is a human being, flawed like the rest of us. But I don’t care that he has flaws. It’s entirely tangential to the fact that our federal government is grossly violating the law, and that the officials who are sworn to uphold the constitution of the United States are not doing so. Snowden, for good or ill, ripped the lid off this. I don’t care about anything else. And the people who are making more out of Snowden’s criminality than they are the NSA’s ciminal activity are actually undermining any chance we have of eventually getting at the truth.

  275. 275
    David in NY says:

    @Betty Cracker: Look, it would be vastly more important to public policy for you to be saying that the fact that Snowden is every bit as bad as you think he is doesn’t change one whit what we know about our government’s invasions of our privacy, which is the real, lasting issue here, and that those who are dwelling on him are just changing the subject to avoid confronting that continuing issue.

    What’s so difficult to understand?

    Which questions are actually important? Obviously, what the NSA is doing, whether it’s legal, and whether, if it is legal, it ought to be? Not how bad Snowden is.

    Your only defense is that the media, and particularly the right wing media, will concentrate on the last question. But that’s just a fact. How are you helping deal with it? How are you advancing the cause you seem to care about, curtailing abuses by the NSA? I don’t think you are. Blaming Snowden is pointless and counterproductive.

    What’s so difficult to understand?

  276. 276
    chopper says:

    @cbear:

    i think he’d be flayed alive and publicly decapitated the moment he steps off the plane. then his remains would be roasted and eaten by peter king. you heard it here first!

  277. 277
    Kristin says:

    @Betty Cracker: This is also true of much of what has been written about what Snowden discovered. There is so much over-the-top hyperbole that any real issues are obscured. The problem with the self-promoters involved here is that they have no self-control. They have a story and they want to be heroes (and also seem pretty vehemently anti-US or at least want to be perceived as such), so they will scream and yell at the top of their lungs that these are the worst privacy abuses ever, while burying the truth about various items they’re reporting on later in their articles, especially when that truth contradicts their screaming and yelling. The conversation could have been better, but they have left the holes for people to poke in their story.

  278. 278
    dr. luba says:

    An old Soviet Era joke. Radio Yerevan call in show:

    Q: Is it true that there is freedom of speech in the Soviet Union, just like in the USA?

    A: In principle, yes. In the USA, you can stand in front of the White House in Washington, DC, and yell, “Down with Reagan!”, and you will not be punished. Equally, you can also stand in Red Square in Moscow and yell, “Down with Reagan!”, and you will not be punished.

    Enjoy your Soviet freedoms, Mr. Snowden.

  279. 279
    Cacti says:

    @todwest:

    We don’t know if his appearance was voluntary, or if it was made under duress

    I guess that’s one of the hazards of seeking refuge in the borders of one of the world’s preeminent human rights abusers, to escape criminal prosecution.

    Poor dear.

  280. 280
    Ash Can says:

    @Betty Cracker: It’s just that they’re so happy that someone finally effectively stuck it to the NSA that they’re not just willing but compelled to overlook the manner in which he did it, and the possibility he may have been on the, ahem, other guys’ payroll at some point before he fled the country, if not all along. The failure to overlook all that iffy stuff would necessarily call into question their belief that getting what they’ve wanted has been an unmitigated good.

  281. 281

    I demand that my heroes and causes get every benefit of every doubt but am unwilling to extend any benefit of any doubt to my enemies. I’m open minded like that.

  282. 282
    todwest says:

    @Cacti: Sounds like you’re rooting for his potential abusers.

  283. 283
    AxelFoley says:

    @omnissiah:

    I can understand not biting the hand that feeds you, but actively participating in that hand’s propaganda is another thing entirely. A lot of people are going to need to find a new hero.

    Who didn’t see this coming, though? Seriously.

    Dude steals U.S. secrets, goes to two of the most repressive countries on Earth, and no one thought he’d be made into a useful idiot?

  284. 284
    Cacti says:

    @todwest:

    Abuse implies a lack of consent.

  285. 285
    AxelFoley says:

    @todwest:

    In Snowden’s (potential) defense, he’s a man without a country who can’t really afford at the moment to piss off his Russian patrons. And it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Kremlin forced him to say something like this in order for him to have permission to appear. We simply don’t know what kind of duress he might be under, do we? Or, Snowden could be total lick-spittle. Hard to say at this point.

    Fuck ’em. He made his bed.

  286. 286
    Cacti says:

    @AxelFoley:

    Fuck ‘em. He made his bed.

    And if he’s not enjoying his new digs, he can always surrender himself to the US embassy.

  287. 287
    AxelFoley says:

    @El Tiburon:

    HAHAHA, why am I not surprised this schmuck is defending Putin and Snowden?

  288. 288
    Ash Can says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: And that’s pretty much the problem in a nutshell. There are people in the legislature who think differently, but so far their American Freedom Act has gotten nowhere. In the meantime, it’s legitimate to ask whether it was worth it to have details regarding the NSA’s foreign espionage procedures (i.e., its actual, legally-compliant job for many years) blabbed to friends and foes alike in order to restart the debate regarding the NSA’s domestic capabilities.

  289. 289
    Mnemosyne says:

    @cbear:

    Not to mention that he would be immediately whisked away to enjoy the many comforts of one of our supermax prisons for at least 2-3 years before he even came to trial.

    You mean just like Greenwald was whisked away to a hidden location by the FBI when he came here last week to accept his journalism award?

    I’m not sure who’s more disappointed that didn’t happen, Greenwald or his fans.

  290. 290
    amk says:

    @todwest: So your boy is getting abused/will get abused in US. He is getting abused in russia. Despite no proof offered by you. Can’t seem to catch a break, does he? Poor thing.

  291. 291
    Betty Cracker says:

    @David in NY: I said right in the original post that I’m glad the NSA shenanigans were brought to light, and I’ve amplified that in subsequent comments. You’re quibbling about the word count I gave to the general NSA topic vs. the verbiage expended commenting on a Snowden-related news story that broke today. That seems petty, even for a blog comment.

  292. 292
    amk says:

    @Mnemosyne: pre-emptive poutrage is the hallmark of loony left/paultards

  293. 293
    nhoj says:

    @Cacti: Bullshit! You’re a white suburban punk, just like me!

  294. 294
    Cacti says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I’m not sure who’s more disappointed that didn’t happen, Greenwald or his fans.

    I was surprised he didn’t shove a Customs agent to get himself a publicity arrest.

    But GG tends to like to let others take the legal heat, like his life partner/document mule.

  295. 295
    LanceThruster says:

    Stay gold, Pony Boy.

  296. 296
    Cacti says:

    @nhoj:

    Bullshit! You’re a white suburban punk, just like me!

    Ummm, okay then.

  297. 297
    Cassidy says:

    We don’t know if his appearance was voluntary, or if it was made under duress.

    Fucks given:0

  298. 298
    Jim pharo says:

    I’m sure Mr. Snowden is having no trouble at all with the Russian authorities and can routinely tell them to jump in a lake at his whim.

  299. 299
    different-church-lady says:

    I’m not sure who’s more disappointed that didn’t happen, Greenwald or his fans.

    Clearly his fans. During that notorious bit of nonsense his Orc Army got a bit ahead of even the man himself, who was saying, “Well, there’s a non-zero chance, but exactly what that risk is I’m not sure.”
    But his fan base was quite certain he and the rest of the Fab Four were quivering in terror over the idea of being arrested the moment they tried to set foot on the medal platform.

  300. 300
    different-church-lady says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    That seems petty, even for a blog comment.

    I had no idea there was an increment of petty that small.

  301. 301
    Archon says:

    Nobody could rationally game out for me how the government collecting personal data would eventually turn us into East Germany. I’ve been called a fool and naive for not seeing how self-evident the link was. To that end I think the hyperbole from Snowden supporters and those who think the NSA overreach is the most important issue of the day has really clouded the issue for those who recognize the overreach but also don’t think the NSA is the reincarnation of the Stasi.

  302. 302
    cbear says:

    @Mnemosyne: Hmm, since I mentioned neither Greenwald nor a “hidden” prison in my comment your response is either ignorant, stupid, or uninformed.
    Pick one, or all.

    What I said was:

    …he would be immediately whisked away to enjoy the many comforts of one of our supermax prisons for at least 2-3 years before he even came to trial.

    And if you somehow believe that he would not spend, at the very least, 2-3 years in a supermax prison–perhaps you would care to share with me and the class (irrespective of his guilt or innocence or your opinion of his actions) how he could possibly expect anything less?

    As per usual, you expertly build a straw man and then proceed to light your ass on fire in a muddled attempt to burn it down.
    Good work.

  303. 303
    chopper says:

    @Cacti:

    dude, Repo Man.

  304. 304
    different-church-lady says:

    @Archon: You’re making sense. Who let you in here?

  305. 305
    Schlemizel says:

    @Nancy B.:
    +++ Simpson ref – This is why we need ‘like’ buttons!

  306. 306
    Raenelle says:

    I cannot throw punches to my left.

    Whatever piddly-ass thing ES did that’s got everyone’s ass so fried must, by the nature of things, be inconsequential compared to what the Right’s doing. Furthermore, I suspect that a lot of this is defensive posturing in the face of an expected r-w attack, better known as hippie punching. I know I’ve read it before, recently, somewhere on these blogs, but it just doesn’t matter if the messenger is a saint. It is incredibly irrelevant. Oh, and if you think this prompt shaming and shunning of someone who has helped this country immensely will give you any credibility with those on the right, where have you been for the last 6 years that you could possibly believe that.

  307. 307
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @rda909:

    Comical. Griftwald promotes a David Koch initiative yesterday eliciting a chorus of “Hey, maybe the Kochs aren’t as bad as Obummer!” and now this today. These are the people so many purity progressives have been championing the last year at the same time denigrating the most liberal president in many generations.

    Yup.

    the only silver lining is that this whole thing has peeled off a lot of dudebro progressive racists who are now out in the open about their libertarian, white supremacist, social darwinist views

    they put themselves on the outside, which is better than them continuing to fuck stuff up on the outside

    When you attack the president that ALREADY enacted most of the NSA reforms you’re crying about while you weren’t paying a LICK of attention, you show who you really are.

    And it is the mark of the dudebro to believe that you can go online, engage in criminal acts, and then be immune from anyone from local law enforcement up to the highest echelons of government obtaining warrants and subpoenas and catching your ass.

  308. 308
    Cassidy says:

    @different-church-lady: Can’t be having that shit. If you’re not fucking crazy, get out!

  309. 309
    Jim Reed says:

    I have never met Mr. Snowden so I have no idea as to his core motives or beliefs.

    I do know that as a matter of survival he had no choice but go to Russia. If we had not forced Iceland to reject sanctuary or been so quick to force international aircraft down in our quest to bring him to heel, this discussion would not be taking place.

  310. 310
    Tommy T says:

    May I now call Snowden an arse badger?

  311. 311
    different-church-lady says:

    @Raenelle:

    I cannot throw punches to my left.

    Well, there’s an easy way around that: just define anyone you want to throw a punch at as “to your right” and get on with it.

  312. 312
    AxelFoley says:

    @Cacti:

    Did I call that one, or what?

    Sure as hell did.

  313. 313
    David in NY says:

    @Betty Cracker: I guess I think you didn’t really understand the comment to which you linked. I did not criticize the “word count” of anything you said but the point of view you appeared to adopt, accepting the actual relevance of Snowden’s conduct to the debate about the NSA’s conduct and its legality.

  314. 314
    Kerry Reid says:

    @nhoj: Plate, shrimp, plate of shrimp.

  315. 315
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Cacti: Wow, Taibbi has lost his mind. The name “Madoff” means nothing to him? There’s an entire TV show, American Greed, devoted to the scoundrels and scum that GWB and his so sleepy they were horizontal SEC enabled during the 2000s.

    Most of them got prosecuted post crash. Under Holder’s DOJ. Just a little coinkydink.

  316. 316
    burnspbesq says:

    @Botsplainer:

    Glenn Greenwald is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.

    You definitely need to get out more.

  317. 317
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Narcissus:

    For all we know he might find Putin’s principled defense of traditional values inspiring.

    So Snowden is a fascist? Well, well, you’re going lower than even his detractors.

  318. 318
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @rda909: Their objections boil down to “I’m not rich, the government should be helping me be rich and not other people be rich, why are the 1% of 1% getting richer while the people I’m around are getting less poor? Fuck Obama, he was supposed to topple the mighty from their thrones so I could be the rich guy, it’s my turn. I’m voting GOP, dammit!”

  319. 319
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @MaximusNYC:

    Bingo. I don’t give a toss about what kind of person Snowden is. The obsession with him and Greenwald as individuals (and the tribalist tendency to condemn them simply because the information they’re producing might reflect badly on Obama in some way) is a distraction from the information they’ve revealed. What the NSA and affiliates have been doing is of major historical significance and concern.

    Increasingly I’m losing respect for people (and media sources, including blogs) that focus over the soap-opera aspect of politics — personalities, drama, who said what today — more than the bigger policy implications. TPM has gone far down this road — about 7 out of 10 stories on their front page are along the lines of “Sarah Palin/Eric Cantor/Rush Limbaugh said WHAT? OH NO THEY DIDN’T!” clickbait. It’s politics as reality TV.

    Your above-it-all rhetoric would have more bite if Greenwald had just released the documents. Instead, our main source of information is Greenwald and his buds and what they choose to put out, and they choose to put it out in sensationalistic and misleading ways, leading to these repeated, James O’Keefe-style “gotcha” news cycles of everyone going hysterical over the latest claim and 48 hours it’s been completely walked back.

    Greenwald made it all about him. He’s not a reliable source and since he’s still holding onto “the cache” his credibility becomes extremely important.

  320. 320
    MaryRC says:

    @Zandar: Betty didn’t select the correct Type of Application information on the SF424 (R&R) cover form, her submission was single-spaced and she named her dogs as sponsors.

  321. 321
    srv't says:

    You people just don’t realize what a master Snowman is, he’s laid a trap for Putin and he walked right into it.

  322. 322
    burnspbesq says:

    @cbear:

    And if you somehow believe that he would not spend, at the very least, 2-3 years in a supermax prison

    You keep saying that, and you keep failing to provide any evidence to support it.

    Can you name one person, in the entire history of FCC Florence, who has ever been housed there while awaiting trial?

    Can you cite a currently applicable BOP regulation that would allow for anyone awaiting trial to be housed there?

    Didn’t think so.

  323. 323
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @burnspbesq: Not only that, Chelsea Manning’s revelations were important and did some good–I understand where the other side is coming from on this, but if anyone should be compared to Ellsburg, it’s Manning–whereas Snowden’s biggest revelations were to fuck up some of our anti-terrorism work and rile up shit with our allies (and it was over some ancient-history incidents anyway–odd agenda there, Greenwald trying to smear Obama with stuff that Bush did). Most of the stuff about the NSA once all the hype was torn away was very old news and only one NEW reform, as opposed to the stuff already in place from the two D congresses, 2007-2010, to keep the metadata off-site with a contractor. Given how well the contractors vetted our national security hires I feel really awesome about that move.

    Funny how these dudebros never give a SHIT about the corporate, Silicon Valley and otherwise assaults on our privacy, and how they can go on and on about drones but don’t care when social media is used as a platform to criminally harass and stalk victims leading to their deaths or suicides. Because dudebros.

    It’s like this: two houses on the block, one has a leaking pipe in the basement (NSA domestic surveillance and those unauthorized accesses), one is one fire with a baby inside (stop&frisk, school-to-prison pipeline, racially biased justice system).

    Dudebros let the baby die of smoke inhalation while they round up a posse to plug that leaky pipe. Water in the basement could lead to black mold!

  324. 324
    dmbeaster says:

    @David in NY:

    Crappy posts like this just play into the right wing’s game of changing the subject from the NSA to Snowden.

    Uh, no. It is Snowden’s conduct that is changing the subject. And that is the obvious point of the post, which you missed.

    As pointed out by many, whether or not Snowden is a saint or a scoundrel matters little re the NSA abuses debate (unless you are Greenwald, who cannot control himself). But Snowden behaving in this manner does give the NSA allies cover.

  325. 325
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @burnspbesq: Hush, burnsie, you’re interrupting his Very Important authoritarian torture fantasies.

  326. 326
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Another Holocene Human: Honestly? I find the incessant “dudebro” bashing just as annoying as the “NSA-drones” screeching, which is damn near as dumb and irritating as the “Benghazi” melodrama.

    For fuck’s sake. We’re liberals. We can walk and chew gum. We can do nuance. We can be concerned with corporate privacy invasions, government surveillance, stop and frisk, abortion, healthcare, etc. This isn’t a multiple choice issues questionnaire that only allows you to pick one or limits you to your top three. You can even weep bitter tears over the dessert tortoise if you want to — it’s really okay!

  327. 327
    chopper says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    nuance is often lost among all that noise. i’ve had admittedly minor, non-controversial points on the matter shat upon because someone or another got all pissed about the ‘dudebro guys’ or the ‘drones guys’ or whatever.

  328. 328

    TBOGG unit. clapclap clapclapclap
    we can do it

  329. 329
    cbear says:

    @burnspbesq: Ah, I see my mistake–I said “supermax prison” which in your reasoned estimation cannot possibly be correct as we routinely imprison those people our government deems grave national security risks in ClubFed-type facilities with conjugal visits, tennis, and all the amenities.

    Please accept my most humble apologies for misstating—oh, wait:

    From the Federal Bureau of Prisons-

    Only persons convicted of violating Federal laws (that is, laws of the United States) are sent to Federal prisons. Some individuals awaiting trial for violating Federal laws are also held in Federal prisons.

    Now, neither of us know exactly where Snowden would be housed as he awaits trial, but I think it might be more than a little reasonable to assume that it would probably be in a maximum security setting with all the attendant pleasures that experience provides–And, it very well could be a federal prison.

    Does that satisfy your curiosity as to the question of exactly where he would be held, as you blithely ignore the whole point of my comment–which was that he would be imprisoned for 2-3 years in a maximum security setting.

    You’re 0-1, but please feel free to play again.

  330. 330
    cbear says:

    @Betty Cracker: Excellent!

  331. 331
    different-church-lady says:

    @cbear: Soooo… if you were being unspecific about where he’d theoretically be locked up, why did you bother being specific about where he’d be theoretically locked up?

  332. 332
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    It’s like this: two houses on the block, one has a leaking pipe in the basement (NSA domestic surveillance and those unauthorized accesses), one is one fire with a baby inside (stop&frisk, school-to-prison pipeline, racially biased justice system).

    I say we should be able to, and should, deal with both.

  333. 333
    Cassidy says:

    @cbear: Usually, they’re housed in the closest prison facility to where the trial is taking place; usually not a federal facility. That’s kind of a no-brainer.

  334. 334
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @cbear: Seems you’re 0-2, or at least that’s the number of times you’ve moved the goalposts. First, a fair trail doesn’t count if the accused is held in a supermax before trial. Second, you said supermax but didn’t really mean supermax and people who didn’t read the words you didn’t write are poopyheads.

  335. 335
    Cacti says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    Wow, Taibbi has lost his mind.

    Well, he went to work with Greenwald.

    Full-time ridiculous Obama hate is his new profession.

  336. 336
    chopper says:

    @Cassidy:

    that’s what you think. they’ll actually send him to a secret super-high security base on the moon. the *dark side* of the moon.

  337. 337
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @burnspbesq: Why don’t we all play a game of solitaire?

  338. 338
    cbear says:

    @different-church-lady: Ah, another moron steps up to question the fact that I said “supermax prison” while willfully ignoring the point of my comment.

    You’re absolutely correct. He might be held somewhere else while awaiting trial.

    How about this:He would be confined in a “maximum security setting”.
    Does that satisfy you? Or would you like to try and marshal some feeble argument that he could reasonably expect something less?

  339. 339
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @cbear: You really get testy when your rhetorical devices are exposed, don’t you?

  340. 340
    Cassidy says:

    @cbear: There is no point if you start off with a large neon sign flashing “I don’t know what the fuck I’m saying”. So, why don’t you just try being an honest idiot instead of an aggrieved liar.

    What you were trying to say, and I paraphrase, is : Them scawy fedewal gubmint people are going to take him and put him into a fedewal pwison and it’s scawy because fedewal gubmint and NSA and reasons!

    Although, being real, if I were going to prison, I’d prefer a federal one. They’re nicer, still run by a gov’t of some sort as opposed to a private, for profit prison, and most of the people there are doing serious time and all they want is to be left he fuck alone to do it. State prisons tend to be a little more crazy.

  341. 341
    different-church-lady says:

    @cbear: I’m just wondering how many of the other things you say I shouldn’t take literally because you didn’t mean them.

  342. 342
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @cbear: The general rule is that federal criminal defendants who are given pretrial detention (because of, for example, being a flight risk) are held in the county jail nearest the federal court in which they are being tried.

  343. 343
    different-church-lady says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: You don’t understand: county jails are not outfitted with waterboarding operations, and therefore would not apply to Snowden’s case.

  344. 344
    cbear says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Yes, you are absolutely correct, Omnes.

    However, I honestly don’t think you can seriously argue that would be the case for Snowden as he has, rightly or wrongly, been labeled a national security threat by our government and is considered worse than a terrorist by many.

  345. 345
    LT says:

    I bet Putin’s favorite scene in Scarface is when F. Murray Abraham is shoved from a helicopter with a rope around his neck.

    I would issue a Snowden a full pardon AND a Medal of Freedom were I POTUS.

    But it’s obvious the poor bastard is in way over his head.

  346. 346
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @cbear: It would not surprise me if a hypothetical Snowden defendant was held in federal custody. I dispute the idea that he would be held in a maximum security facility.

  347. 347
    Keith G says:

    The amount of hot air and name calling above highlight the notion that we are in the middle of a story that has significant issues yet to play out. Unfortunately Betty has done little here of probative value.

    But if there was any doubt that Snowden himself is a fucking tool, it has been removed,

    It’s certainly possible that he is a tool, as tools are so very common. And if he is…..big deal. What he says, where he lives, or what this young man has for breakfast is only an issue for those lacking imagination or those already in possession of an axe to grind.

    What he has provided to us is a chance for us to have an intelligent discussion about important relationships in our society that many of our leaders seem to wish would be delayed or even scuttled.

    Judging from some of the comments above, maybe an intelligent discussion was never in the cards.

  348. 348
    Mnemosyne says:

    @cbear:

    And if you somehow believe that he would not spend, at the very least, 2-3 years in a supermax prison–perhaps you would care to share with me and the class (irrespective of his guilt or innocence or your opinion of his actions) how he could possibly expect anything less?

    I would respond, but it looks like you finally realized that your knee-jerk hysteria made you look like a dumbass.

    And if you can’t figure out what the connection is between your prediction that Snowden would be immediately thrown into supermax as soon as he set foot in the US and Greenwald’s prediction that he was going to be arrested as soon as he arrived in the US, I’m guessing you couldn’t find your ass with a flashlight and both hands.

  349. 349
    cbear says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Respectfully, I don’t see how it would be anything else.

  350. 350
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Keith G:

    What he says, where he lives, or what this young man has for breakfast is only an issue for those lacking imagination or those already in possession of an axe to grind.

    You’ve described the very people who are actually in a position to reform the NSA. If Snowden’s coziness with Putin would have no affect on that important work, I wouldn’t give a shit if he took up residence in Lenin’s Tomb and ate Putin’s toenail clippings for breakfast.

  351. 351
    Cassidy says:

    @Keith G: Keep fucking that chicken.

  352. 352
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @cbear: Why?

  353. 353
    Cassidy says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: BECAUSE REASONS AND NSA!!!!

  354. 354
    jimbo57 says:

    Ohhh, in Russia, the government can’t “stalk” citizens without permission from the courts. I’m sure Anna Pollitskaya will be relieved to hear that.

  355. 355
    cbear says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: When you have virtually every wingnut in the country screaming for his blood and calling for him to renditioned, thrown into Guantanamo, killed, etc. etc—the howling from many on the left–not to mention his having been labeled a national security threat by more than a few of our highest government officials–where the hell else are they going to house him?

    The best he could hope for is Metropolitan Correctional Center, NY, which is a federal max security facility and pretty damn harsh.

    Again, as I have stated several times–rightly or wrongly, and regardless of anyone’s feelings regarding his actions–Snowden is fucked, and should he return I think its extremely reasonable to believe that he will be treated as harshly as was Chelsea Manning.

    I know many people here believe that’s also perfectly acceptable and he deserves whatever befalls him.

    As someone who has more than a little experience with our “regular” federal and state justice system and the conditions under which countless people are held (forget what happens to anybody considered a national security threat), I don’t.

  356. 356
    LT says:

    Bett Cracker finally gets upfront with the hostility she’s always had for Snowden. O yay.

    Good move, Edward. Provocative stuff. I look forward to what’s coming.

  357. 357
    LT says:

    @El Tiburon: Thank you. John might as well have invited Charles Johnson to be a FPer here. Tiring.

  358. 358
    LT says:

    @Betty Cracker: “But Snowden appearing on TV to lick Putin’s scrotum hardly advances the cause of privacy in the digital age.”

    Calling into a TV talk show? All this post proves is that you’re irrational hate-glasses are doing the expected. We don’t know the whole story here, but there are a lot of possibilities – and a lot of really good ones. I’m inclined to believe the good ones – because Snowden has a rock solid track record on honesty and integrity.

    P.S. Daniel Ellsberg thinks you’re a sick little shit. That should bother you.

  359. 359
    Binky Bear says:

    Would it be funny if the whole Snowden experience was a triple flip, with Snowden outing a pile of documents which many detractors say include things that were already well known or assumed, to use as his bona fides in becoming closer to Russian hacking circles which are reputedly in that delicate nexus of organized crime, big business and state intelligence?
    That would be hella sick. Not too different from Lee Harvey Oswald or Vitaliy Yurchenko?

  360. 360
    LT says:

    @cbear:

    Again, as I have stated several times–rightly or wrongly, and regardless of anyone’s feelings regarding his actions–Snowden is fucked, and should he return I think its extremely reasonable to believe that he will be treated as harshly as was Chelsea Manning.

    I know many people here believe that’s also perfectly acceptable and he deserves whatever befalls him.

    Make no mistake – they would have done the same to Ellsberg. They may as well be Bush Republicans.

  361. 361
    LT says:

    @Keith G: Spot fucking on.

  362. 362
    LT says:

    @LT: Goddamn it. I’m LT.

    Have been for years here. You are going to confuse people.

  363. 363
    LT says:

    @LT:

    “But it’s obvious the poor bastard is in way over his head.”

    The anti-Snowden crowd – like our Cracker – has said that about 50 times already. Never once came true for them.

  364. 364
    LT says:

    @Freemark: “Sure it would be better for the ’cause’ if he hadn’t helped Putin, but don’t you think saying this undermined everything is an overreaction?”

    Snowden undermined everything! When he X in June, when he X in September, when he X in January….

    Snowden has always been at undermining with undermining.

  365. 365
    LT says:

    Ron Wyden asked James Clapper a question and Clapper lied.

    RON WYDEN JUST PROVED HE’S A TOOL! THIS UNDERMINES EVERYTHING HE EVER DID! DERP!

  366. 366
    Cassidy says:

    Speaking of useful idiots….

  367. 367
    different-church-lady says:

    @Cassidy: Shhh! We’re finally gonna get a TBu! Don’t scare him off!

  368. 368
    burnspbesq says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    you’re interrupting his Very Important authoritarian torture fantasies.

    How dare I?! Smack me upside my poopy-headed head!

  369. 369
    burnspbesq says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    It would not surprise me if a hypothetical Snowden defendant was held in federal custody. I dispute the idea that he would be held in a maximum security facility.

    If we assume for purposes of discussion that Snowden would be tried in Alexandria, the nearest Federal facility is a minimum security joint in Petersburg, VA, about two hours away (possibly two and a half in rush hour). There is, somewhat surprisingly, no MDC in Washington or Baltimore. I think you were right the first time: he’d be held in the Fairfax County or Alexandria City jail, or perhaps in the brig at Quantico.

  370. 370
    Zandar says:

    @burnspbesq:

    If we assume for purposes of discussion that Snowden would be tried in Alexandria, the nearest Federal facility is a minimum security joint in Petersburg, VA

    nearest that we know of.

    Clearly the eleventy billion Seekrit Torture Dungeons And Drone Hangars Obama has are closer.

  371. 371
    different-church-lady says:

    @Zandar:

    Clearly the eleventy billion Seekrit Torture Dungeons And Drone Hangars Obama has are closer.

    There aren’t that many, but they’re on wheels so he can move them around underground tunnels.

    But what’s wrong with a good old FEMA camp?

  372. 372
    Bill Arnold says:

    Interesting musings on Ed Snowden by Jeffrey Lewis at armscontrolwonk.com
    (It is not a sympathetic piece.)

  373. 373
    J R in WV says:

    Years ago the first blogosphere posting and articles about Eschaton appeared. In the mid 2000s IIRC…

    Eschaton is an organization of English-speaking (at least mostly) nation-states which combine to record and analyze all electronic communications in the world.

    Yes, everyone with their eyes open knows that the oligarchs and government agents in Russia do anything that strikes their fancy to maintain their total control over mother Russia.

    Just as the Red Chinese Communist Party will run a tank over an unarmed peaceful protester to make a point. [A co-worker’s friend went to China to install networking tech for the Olympics. The mirrors in his room had tiny red lights behind them when all the room lights were turned off late at night. This was because every western technician setting up infrastructure for the Chinese Olympics was under observation 24/7]

    And the NSA will record this blogosphere conversation – with real names and physical addresses cross-referenced, and keep it for ever.

    The big headline on Google News today is the count of how many millions of faces the FBI has already cross-referenced in their total awareness program.

    Our license plates are recorded at most intersections – all the new cruisers have 4 cameras to record every license plate every cruiser passes, 24/7… In Britain there are CCTV cameras everywhere, no one is off camera ever, is the impression I get.

    I haven’t been to Britian, and don’t really want to go. My Leatherman tool would make me subject to arrest for carrying a dangerous weapon! Pointed knives in a kitchen are illegal!

    1984 was 30 years ago, people, and things are right on schedule.

  374. 374
    Cacti says:

    @LT:

    Bett Cracker finally gets upfront with the hostility she’s always had for Snowden. O yay.

    You never really loved him, Betty!

  375. 375
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Cacti: What amuses me about this is that BC has been on the NSA/Bad side of this argument, but hasn’t been a pro-Snowden or pro-GG person. If I cared enough, I could link to the thread where LT went after me for similar views.

  376. 376
    MaximusNYC says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    Your above-it-all rhetoric would have more bite if Greenwald had just released the documents. Instead, our main source of information is Greenwald and his buds and what they choose to put out, and they choose to put it out in sensationalistic and misleading ways, leading to these repeated, James O’Keefe-style “gotcha” news cycles of everyone going hysterical over the latest claim and 48 hours it’s been completely walked back.

    Greenwald made it all about him. He’s not a reliable source and since he’s still holding onto “the cache” his credibility becomes extremely important.

    I ain’t “above it all” — as I said, I enjoy a little mockery of the idjuts now and again. I just try not to let “rooting interest” cloud my perception of facts.

    The knock on Wikileaks was that they did precisely what you recommend: they released everything, and didn’t hold back stuff that could get people killed.

    The outlets Snowden leaked to (far more than just Greenwald — the list so far includes the NY Times, WaPo, Guardian, Der Spiegel, and I believe others as well) are the ones vetting the info and choosing what to release and what not to release.

    But the singular obsession with the supposed perfidy of Snowden and Greenwald trumps all of these facts for some people. I’d say your fuzziness on the facts I cite above reinforces my point.

  377. 377
    MaximusNYC says:

    And here is what Snowden actually thinks of Putin’s reponse to his question:

    In his response, Putin denied the first part of the question and dodged on the latter. There are serious inconsistencies in his denial – and we’ll get to them soon – but it was not the president’s suspiciously narrow answer that was criticised by many pundits. It was that I had chosen to ask a question at all. I was surprised that people who witnessed me risk my life to expose the surveillance practices of my own country could not believe that I might also criticise the surveillance policies of Russia, a country to which I have sworn no allegiance, without ulterior motive. I regret that my question could be misinterpreted, and that it enabled many to ignore the substance of the question – and Putin’s evasive response – in order to speculate, wildly and incorrectly, about my motives for asking it.

  378. 378
    LT says:

    @MaximusNYC: Snowden has just demolished every last criticism of the call-in. Thanks for that link.

    https://twitter.com/trevortimm/status/457019081859018752

  379. 379
    dopey-o says:

    @Freemark:

    I also doubt he has revealed anything to Russia or China that they didn’t already know. It was the average citizens in America and other countries that were in the dark, not other countries clandestine security forces.

    IIRC, snowden claimed (a:) everything he took with him to hong kong was highly encrypted (b:) he took nothing with him to russia.

    so let us ask a couple of questions in the spirit of critical thinking. would snowden employ highest-level cryptography, knowing that the NSA had compromised the RSA-based commercial crypto products?

    if snowden had taken laptops, hard drives or USB drives with him when he left hong kong, exactly how many security checkpoints would he pass thru before he was relieved of them?

    finally please remember – and i think Mr. Bamford will back me up – we pay Admiral Clapper to lie. Putin does it for free.

  380. 380
    uriel says:

    @Socoolsofresh:

    Guess everyone can call it a day and start worrying about the important things, like racism and abortions,

    So, what you’re saying is you’re something of an ass? Got it.

  381. 381
    jank w says:

    to paraphrase some tweeter:

    is ron wyden an utter tool because he asked james clapper if nsa spied on americans in SOME open forum?

  382. 382
    jank w says:

    also, fuck off betty cracker

    also too
    http://boingboing.net/2014/04/.....ore-298273

  383. 383
    Betty Cracker says:

    @LT:

    P.S. Daniel Ellsberg thinks you’re a sick little shit. That should bother you.

    Oh yeah? Well JESUS finds you as offensive as a wet burrito fart in a two-man elevator. I suggest barbed-wire boxer shorts in penance.

  384. 384
    Cassidy says:

    Shorter LT: My purity it purer than yours!

  385. 385
    Betty Cracker says:

    @jank w: First of all, a hearty “fuck off” right back at you!

    Now that we’ve dispensed with the pleasantries, onto the substance, such as it is: Snowden’s statement doesn’t clear jack shit up. He regrets that it could be misinterpreted? He thinks it mirrored Wyden’s questioning of Clapper during a Congressional hearing?

    If he really thinks lobbing that grapefruit at Putin constituted any kind of serious challenge or that the power dynamic resembled the Wyden-Clapper exchange, we can add two more check marks under the “Snowden — naive ninny?” heading. I’ve tended toward that view of him anyway, and he continues to add corroborating evidence.

  386. 386
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Cacti: From where I sit, you are every bit as irrational and fanatical on this issue as LT & Co. Sometimes both sides really do do it!

  387. 387
    LT says:

    @Betty Cracker: A Russian journalist says this is a breakthrough moment – and Betty Cracker, great Russian expert on the intertubes, STILL holds on to her irratonal hate-born view that this proves the ooposite. *Perfection.*

    P.S. Your Jesus metaphor was apt. Mine used an actual person.

  388. 388
    fka AWS says:

    well, this was fun.

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