Skip to comments.Free Edward Snowden -- Really?
Posted on 01/05/2014 7:52:22 AM PST by Kaslin
Former CIA Director James Woolsey has pronounced that the proper punishment for National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden would be for him to be "hanged by his neck until he is dead."
The news media want to hand him not a rope but a pedestal.
The Guardian editorialized last week that its high-profile source is a hero worthy of a presidential pardon. Likewise, The New York Times opined that the Obama administration should offer Snowden "a plea bargain or some form of clemency that would allow him to return home" and serve less time than the three decades he faces under a pending criminal complaint so that he can enjoy "the hope of a life advocating for greater privacy and far stronger oversight of the runaway intelligence community."
Who knows? Mayhap The Gray Lady can give Snowden a blog whence he can lecture readers about privacy rights, as he did in a recent Christmas greeting video.
In one sense, Snowden, 30, is a sympathetic figure. In an ocean of anonymous leakers, he came forward to put a name on the avalanche of information he shared with Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald and The Washington Post's Barton Gellman. That singular act gave credibility to the leaks, ended any debate as to what the NSA is doing and peeled off the gauze that camouflaged an industrial-sized intelligence bureaucracy that couldn't secure itself.
On the other hand, if Snowden can lift about 1.7 million classified documents without penalty, any contractor can leak state secrets with impunity. No other superpower on the planet would entertain such self-destructive folly.
Snowden has argued that he had a moral duty to challenge an intelligence machinery that was out of control. Hudson Institute senior fellow Gabriel Schoenfeld, author of "Necessary Secrets: National Security, the Media, and the Rule of Law," is not impressed. Snowden outed U.S. intelligence "for engaging in activity that almost every state engages in." The former contractor then went into hiding in China and Russia, where he enjoys temporary asylum. "I think it is disgraceful," quoth Schoenfeld, that Snowden lectures Washington but "doesn't have the courage to criticize abuses of free speech in his host country."
To reach its "free Snowden" position, the Times quoted a federal judge who found the NSA program to be "almost Orwellian" while ignoring another federal judge who upheld the program's constitutionality. The Times also ignored testimony that "telephony metadata" prevented as many as 50 potential terrorist attacks, including a 2009 plot to blow up the New York subway.
In essence, the Times is stuck in 2007, when then-candidate Barack Obama railed against the "false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we provide." Obama abandoned that convenient campaign rhetoric after he won election and became responsible for the nation's security.
The Times, however, clings to the 2007 fantasy that surveillance is not a national security tool. Snowden shares that fantastic view, so the paper of record doesn't want him to pay the criminal price for civil disobedience.
Even some intelligence dons entertain the idea. Last month, Rick Ledgett, the head of the NSA's Snowden task force, told "60 Minutes" that he considers amnesty for Snowden -- in exchange for Snowden's handing over the rest of the secrets he purloined -- "worth having a conversation about." Ever since, I've had this sneaking suspicion that some D.C. black hats want to cut a plea bargain or pardon deal that could make the embarrassing press stories disappear.
Former CIA spokesman Bill Harlow is not unfamiliar with that sneaking suspicion. He thinks Snowden is a "traitor." If the administration is toying with a deal, he said, it would send a catastrophic message to would-be leakers. To wit: "Just make sure you steal enough."
It's almost funny when you follow the editorial boards' logic. The papers argued that Snowden is a hero because he leaked material about which the public has a right to know. Then they supported granting amnesty or leniency if Snowden would agree to hand over any remaining documents rather than share them with the world. A trial would give Snowden the opportunity to tell his story, the American public a chance to find out what exactly Snowden leaked and Washington the burden of proving a criminal case -- but the Times and The Guardian apparently prefer a backroom deal.
He’s a hero pure and simple. Our government needed to be exposed and he did it.
Depends on how you look at it
I look at t as a situation without heroes.
Personally I think a much closer look at Booz Allen needs to be taken. The fact that Woolsey works for them now and James Clapper worked for them in the past and they get multi-billion dollar govt contracts sure sounds like cronyism to me.
Well Harlow, if you must destroy the village in order to save it, then I'm not with you; count me out. (My Lai redux)
Substitute constitution for village above and that's what we face.
You broke the law Harlow and now you moan about a person blowing the whistle on your lawbreaking and you dare to call him a "traitor".
Plenty of 'agency' people say you don't need to be recording all of us on every phone call, every email, every Skype session, every internet search etc., in order to track terrorists.
You see Harlow, we as Tea Party conservative patriots have already been designated in your policy notebook as right wing wacko fringe radical terrorists etc. It won't be long before your off-book hidden Federal Reserve backed budget is used against us as you make our members start to 'disappear'. Just as the IRS hounded us and continues to harass us, you will zero your assets on us and find a pretext to go Waco on us. But you will go further with a lot of cleverly constructed strange disappearances and accidents.
Harlow, you are not CIA, you are KGB and your worst nightmare is seeing us take the reins of power where among the first actions should be having your fate mirror Ceausescu's.
Harlow, Tea Party Patriots are going to see if you and your circle have absolute power yet over elections by way of public opinion shaping media and control over election offices in critical counties on the turf of your Detroit like urban archipelago. Because if you don't have absolute control you're toast. You've got 10 months.
Booz Allen is an asset of CIA and DIA; always has been and always will be.
Harlow and Woolsey would make the US a country not worth defending. Thus, we could follow their prescription and then dismantle the CIA and NSA.
He should be given some sort of "freedom medal", and a statue with an information plaque erected in Washington, and then shot or hung.
He is a hero, however he will never be safe here
Maybe if we stopped opening our borders to those who want to kill us and stopped funding their operations and giving them Cabinet positions we wouldn't need such Orwellian levels of snooping. Maybe that's the point.
Since the only ones now defined as "terrorists are Christians, Tea Party members, Veterans, etc. I have to wonder what those alleged "terrorist attacks" were.
As Edmund Burke allegedly said, “All it takes for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing”.
Mr. Snowden, at great personal risk; exposed OUR government, abusing our Constitutional rights in an ongoing, premedicated and illegal manner. Mr. Snowden, knowing that he was going to be persecuted, chose to do the right thing, instead of the easy thing.
That's not a very high standard, is it Debra?
Shot and hung for what?
Exposing illegal activities by the government? Who’s side do you claim to represent? Killing a whistleblower is a great way to protect Obama and his cronies - who have held the Constitution in utter contempt, and continue to work to destroy it. You appear to be wanting to use murder, to further Obama’s goals.
Edward Snowden lost practically everything he had, to expose the illegal activities of the NSA. He lost his career, his income, his life in the USA, his personal relationships, his home - because he exposed how intrusive the Government has become in tracking it’s citizens, steps the KGB would admire.
And you want to kill him?
It is now illegal to blow the whistle on the 4th branch of government doing illegal things...
And meanwhile, the real traitors are immune.
I’m using him as my Write-in candidate.
It’s undeniable that Mr. Sowdon conclusively revealed the illegal and unconscionable spying on American citizens by the NSA. No matter what else you say about the guy, this is a truly heroic act.
It’s the Federal government that’s conniving against the people. This is truly heinous and evil and it’s nothing less than a declaration of war by the Federal government against the American citizen.
Well, this state/country has a Consitution that prohibits such activity without a warrant.