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Edward Snowden Is No Hero

Memo Pad National News

Edward Snowden Is No Hero


Mohandas Gandhi went to Yeravda Central Prison.

Martin Luther King Jr., went to Birmingham jail.

Nelson Mandela went to Robben Island.

Edward Snowden is going to Venezuela.

Or not. His destination was up in the air as these words were written. A Russian lawmaker tweeted on Tuesday that Snowden, the fugitive former U.S. contractor, had accepted asylum from Venezuela. Then the tweet was deleted and the official word was that there was no official word.

Whatever happens, one thing is obvious. Wherever Snowden goes, he has no intention of coming home to answer for what he did.

One struggles to know how to feel about that.

Many of us, after all, believe he struck a blow for freedom in leaking classified information revealing the breadth and depth of government spying on private citizens. But he seems not to have thought through the implications and likely outcomes of that act. How else to explain the fact that he has wound up trapped in the international transit zone at the Moscow airport, unable to enter the country, yet unable to leave because he has nowhere to go?

Well, that’s not quite accurate. Snowden is reported to be fielding offers of asylum from several nations, including, besides Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua. It is worth noting that these would-be benefactors all have problematic recent relations with his own country. Surely that plays a part in their eagerness to get their hands on him.

One wonders if he understood what he was getting into. Civil disobedience is never without risk and one accepts this going in. To practice civil disobedience is, after all, to break the law in the conviction that doing so serves a higher moral law.

A visitor from China once asked Dr. Bernard Lafayette with some amazement how such a thing could be justified. Was that not a recipe for chaos? If every citizen can choose for himself or herself which laws to obey and which to ignore, does that not show disrespect for the very rule of law? Lafayette, a hero of the civil rights movement, said no, because civil disobedience does not seek to evade punishment. One shows one’s respect for the rule of law, he said, by submitting to the penalties prescribed for breaking it.

Leonard Pitts Jr.

Leonard Pitts Jr. is a nationally syndicated commentator, journalist, and novelist. Pitts' column for the Miami Herald deals with the intersection between race, politics, and culture, and has won him multiple awards including a Pulitzer Prize in 2004.

The highly regarded novel, Freeman (2009), is his most recent book.

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  1. John Pigg July 10, 2013

    There is nothing to be gained from returning home and being locked away for the next twenty years. But if he is free you can guarantee this will be a campaign issue in 2014-16. Dr. Ellsburg argues persuasively that the US in 2013 isn’t the US in 73. A lot of illegal measures that were used by Nixon are now legal.

    You ask why Snowden doesn’t allow himself to be thrown in prison for the next 40 years if he is right? Well maybe because he wants to win, I am not sure if any of the Civil Disobedients you mentioned would have leapt at the chance of going to prison if they knew it would hurt their cause, and lead them to be ignored.

    You are right, Snowden is no Hero, he is a whistleblower. Stop making this issue about the ethics of Snowdens personal choices, make this an issue about Civil Liberties, Democracy, and Secret Courts. In 10 yrs nobody will remember Snowden, but the impact of these government programs in the name of security will have long term and lasting effects on Democratic process.

    1. Sand_Cat July 10, 2013


    2. Lamashtar July 10, 2013

      What the NSA is doing is about the NSA. What Snowden is doing is criminal, and goes directly against what Martin Luther King Jr said was necessary for civil disobedience.

      1. David L. Allison July 10, 2013

        What you are saying is simply not true. What the NSA is doing is about the United States of America and the country needs to know if proper bounds have been placed on the NSA conduct. We know that the NSA commited the crime of lying to congress under oath about the very issue that Snowden disclosed to us.
        Snowden may be accused of some criminal conduct but he has not been convicted so what he actually did has not yet been determined to be criminal conduct. And I seriously doubt that you have any real knowledge of Dr. King or understanding of what he said was necessary to undo the abridgement of civil rights.

        1. Lamashtar July 11, 2013

          “In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law, as would the rabid segregationist. That would lead to anarchy. One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust. and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.” Letter from Birmingham Jail, MLK

  2. daniel bostdorf July 10, 2013

    Hogwash Mr. Pitts…or as Biden states: “malarky.”

    In revealing MASSIVE U.S. government’s eavesdropping on everyone around the world, Snowden has performed a greater public service—equal to or exceeding Gandi-King-Mandela that you list– This act is far important from a GLOBAL civil rights point of view of the RIGHT to privacy….This act by Snowden outweighs any breach of trust he may have committed.

    He IS a HERO Like Daniel Ellsberg, who released the Pentagon Papers, and Mordechai Vanunu, the Israeli nuclear technician who revealed the existence of Israel’s weapons program.

    Snowden’s revelations are profound and has brought to light important information
    that deserved to be in the GLOBAL public domain

    He has done no lasting harm to the national security of his country.

    We live in the year 2013. Not the 50’s, 60’s 70’s 80’s etc…Our planet is a very small “home” for all of us given the instantaneous nature of mass communication globally…

    Gandi-King-Mandela and hundreds if not thousands of lesser know HEROS of others did not have the “luxury” of this mass communication to get their messages of conscious no-violent civil disobedience out to the planet.

    The notion that Snowden must come “home” to be some sort of hero is ridiculous on its face value. It is a farce to state that coming back to the USA “is the worst possible choice.”

    Mr. Pitts: to state this as justification for non-hero status is illogical: “But he seems not to have thought through the implications and likely outcomes of that act. How else to explain the fact that he has wound up trapped in the international transit zone at the Moscow airport, unable to enter the country, yet unable to leave because he has nowhere to go?”

    What does that haveto do with the greater over-riding principle of non-violent civil disobedience? Nothing. Ghandi-King-Mandela went to jail and were confined…..jail may not have been an “international transit zone” but the collective messages of Gandi-King-Mandela outweigh the petty notion that they were not heros because they couldn’t or wouldn’t “go home” to face the people?

    Mr. Pitts: I believe the CIA or NSA or someone spiked your water.

    You also erroneously state: “Civil disobedience is, almost by definition, an act of faith.”

    No it is not….it is an act of courage and heroism to rush into the burning building of fascistic eavesdropping, attempt to put out the flames, and carry out the victims.

    The victims this time are the people of this planet burned by the invasion of privacy.

    Privacy—a fundamental right of all human beings.

    Snowden IS a hero.

    1. RobGinChicago July 10, 2013

      That Snowden “has done no harm to the national security of this country” is simply not your call to make. Those who are duly advised and informed and are charged with the responsibility of making that call have determined that Mr. Snowden has done harm to the national security of this country.

      1. daniel bostdorf July 10, 2013

        The greater harm has been perpetrated against the civil rights of the citizens of this planet by our “national security” intelligence gathering agencies, not Snowden.

        Suspending the Bill of Rights and the right of privacy is a civil rights violation. Period.

        The Global Principles on National Security and the Right to Information (called the Tshwane Principles, after the municipality in South Africa where they were finalized), assert that laws should protect public servants—including members of the military and contractors working for intelligence agencies—who disclose information to the public so long as four conditions are met: (1) The information concerns wrongdoing by government or government contractors (defined in some detail); (2) The person attempted to report the wrongdoing, unless there was no functioning body that was likely to undertake an effective investigation or if reporting would have posed a significant risk of destruction of evidence or retaliation against the whistleblower or a third party; (3) The disclosure was limited to the amount of information reasonably necessary to bring to light the wrongdoing; and (4) The whistleblower reasonably believed that the public interest in having the information revealed outweighed any harm to the public interest that would result from disclosure.

        In this case, Snowden “reasonably believed that the public interest in having the information revealed outweighed any harm to the public interest that would result
        from disclosure.”

        He is a hero.

      2. Sand_Cat July 10, 2013

        If it’s not his call because he doesn’t know enough, just who is to blame for that? It most certainly is the call of the voters, which is one of the main reasons why so much stuff is hidden from them by declaring it “Secret.”

  3. Dominick Vila July 10, 2013

    Idealism is a great attribute, but it takes a back seat when compared to patriotism and common sense. Revealing classified information that compromise our national security, and then fleeing to China and Russia is anything but patriotic. Snowden is a traitor, should be arrested, tried and if found guilty should pay for betraying his country in the pursuit of a chimera that ignores the reality of the world we live in.

    1. gvette July 10, 2013

      As long as you like the government looking at all your calls, and e-mails, maybe, they may post them for all to read.

      1. Dominick Vila July 10, 2013

        Do you honestly believe the NSA is going over grandma’s chocolate cookies recipes? One of the most unfortunate parts of this specific issue is the tendency of some to trivialize and demonize activities that have been going on for decades and that are of critical importance to our national security.
        The only thing that is absent from this debate is alternatives to what our government has been doing to keep us safe. Should we just ask the likes of Osama bin Laden to be nice to us?

        1. gvette July 10, 2013

          The thought that the government even cares, is funny. They were warned about the Boston bomber, and what did they do? give me a break.

          1. Dominick Vila July 10, 2013

            The FBI interviewed the older Tsarnaev brother, was unable to extract any information from him, without violating his constitutional rights, and let him go. What we need is more effective intelligence gathering, sharing of information, and more robust interrogations when there is a good likelihood that the suspect may be a terrorist. Obviously, they could lead to errors and violations, but considering the threats we face we must make up our minds: embrace philosophical ideals and risk another 9/11, or do whatever we have to do to avoid a sequel.

          2. Free for me July 10, 2013

            I vote to embrace philosophical ideals and take a risk. I do not believe that surrendering my civil liberties makes me safer. In fact, it dishonors the very ideals upon which my Constitution was founded. The pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness and the rights to my privacy and to be free of impoundment enshrined in the Bill of Rights by definition mean that I accept that I will not always be safe from harm. Freedom means accepting a given level of crime in order that I remain free. Giving that same freedom to my neighbor may result in harm to me, but that is a price that I am willing to pay for the greater good of all.

          3. TZToronto July 10, 2013

            Robust interrogations? What? Waterboarding? Beatings with a rubber hose? What do you have in mind. The Constitution is there to protect the people against precisely those things you are suggesting. I’m surprised, Dominick. Yeah, 9/11 was very, very bad, but does that warrant (no pun intended) taking away the Constitutional rights of the people? Pearl Harbor was very, very bad, too, and a lot of Americans of Japanese descent were imprisoned in America out of irrational fear. Today we condemn the internment of those people, but suddenly it’s OK to deny Constitutional rights to the entire country? Well, at least the bit-by-bit dismantling of the Constitution is an equal-opportunity dismantling.

          4. WhutHeSaid July 10, 2013

            Say, I have an idea: We could blow ourselves up first, before any evil terrorist could do it. That would really show them!

        2. David L. Allison July 10, 2013

          We seem to drone-bomb the “likes of Osama bin Laden”, not call them on the phone. As to alternatives to keep us safe, Dominick, that is really what the government is supposed to be doing.

        3. WhutHeSaid July 10, 2013

          For all of the posts that I read from you that are so insightful, I remain amazed at how obtuse you appear on this issue.

          Nobody ever claimed that the NSA was out to steal grandma’s cookie recipes — is that the best that you can do on a serious topic? What is more likely is that some government employee of contractor will steal grandma’s identity and empty her savings account. Did you forget that there are real people who work for the NSA that have their own ideas aside from official policy?

          Next, whatever information that is collected can be accidentally released to other agencies or the public at large. It’s happened before, and it will happen again. Only stringent safeguards and an absolute minimization of scale is capable of protecting privacy when the information heap is this vast. Don’t forget about the people who would find it much more convenient to mine a vast data store to glean information they want rather than try to hack each citizen individually.

          Yes, we should ‘ask the likes of Osama Bin Laden to be nice to us’. That’s a basic common sense approach. If and when we find that asking doesn’t work then we consider the alternatives as necessary. What was NOT necessary was arming and training Bin Laden and his pals in the first place. We whacked ourselves with the stupid stick, and now — having seen the result of our mistakes — you blithely insist that we whack ourselves with an even bigger stupid stick for good measure. When are you going to suggest that we try not pissing the rest of the world off with secret operations that inflict violence and death on people in other parts of the world? Is that a difficult concept?

          One of the surest ways to get yourself hurt in public is to walk down the street pissing other people off. This is a basic concept that everyone should have mastered by the age of 4, yet we have grown adults that don’t seem to get it. It doesn’t matter if you are 10, 100, or even 1,000,000 times more powerful than everyone else. There are certain lines that, when crossed, guarantee violent reaction.

          Finally, and to me most importantly, is the point of safety versus our values. You cannot dispute that the framers of the US Constitution saw government overreach and tyranny as a very critical danger. We have woven into our values a basic premise that some things are more important that guaranteed safety. Do you really mean to suggest that the fear of a incredibly unlikely event should make all of us just disregard the 4th Amendment? Where does it end? Wouldn’t we all be safer if we just built prisons all over the country and locked ourselves behind bars so no boogeyman could reach us? Do we restart torture? Should we start preemptive nuclear attacks against Pakistan, Yemen, Iran, etc., etc.? When do we start torturing our own citizens?

          If you are THAT fearful that you are willing to try to force ME to give up my rights, then you are in quite a pickle, because now you are pissing me off too. Now you are making enemies of your own countrymen. Either you are so cowardly that you’ve made your situation even worse, or you aren’t really that fearful at all — you just don’t give a shit about anyone else’s rights and the ‘safety’ issue is a ruse. Which is it?

      2. Lorr July 10, 2013

        2005 New York Times did an article on the warrantless National Security Agency (NSA) wiretapping. Where was the outrage than? Snowden brought it to the front pages and we need to have a discussion about: A) Do we need to repeal the Patriot Act or Reform the Patriot Act to narrow its scope. B) Are we willing to give up any privacy for National Security or no privacy. C) Can we arrive at a balance to have both. D) If we do not want to give up any of our privacy, than we can not blame the sitting President (Republican or Democratic) if we fail to stop terrorist here at home. E) Do we agree there is a need for some secrecy when it comes to National Security or if we are completely transparent are we giving a blueprint to our enemies.

        The other item we have to discuss and that is the FISA court. One man nominating 11 judges for this court is wrong. Justice Roberts has the sole responsibility of nominating these judges and currently it is made up of 10 Republicans and 1 Democrat. In today’s political environment does anyone doubt their decisions are based on Political Ideology. It should be comprised of 3 Republicans, 3 Democrats, 2 Independents and 2 Libertarians, this way all prospective are weighting in on Privacy vs. Security.

        1. elw July 10, 2013

          Most sensible, fair and balanced comment I have read on this blog. I agree 100%; we need to have a National conversation about where we as a Nation want to go with all this. I worry that most people are so caught up in their black and white world that we are no longer capable of having real conversations as a Nation any longer.

          1. TZToronto July 10, 2013

            I fear that such a conversation is too little and too late. The Constitutional horse has left the barn, and I fear that we won’t be able to catch him to get him back in his stall.

        2. Sand_Cat July 10, 2013

          There was plenty of outrage. Unfortunately, most of us were desperate enough to avoid another four years of Republican abuse of the Constitution that we voted for Obama despite his vote for the FISA law: as a tee-shirt I saw said, “I voted – then I vomited.”

    2. disqus_ivSI3ByGmh July 10, 2013

      AMEN, Dominick, AMEN!

    3. Michael Schore July 10, 2013

      Really? You know for sure that the information was both classified and legal? When I used to work with these intel thugs they couldn’t do anything on US soil. They should not be trusted or believed because there is no one watching the hen house anymore. The politicians now monitoring them are totally useless.

      1. Dominick Vila July 10, 2013

        I worked at top secret locations – in the USA – and the people that work there are neither thugs nor traitors. The overwhelming majority are patriotic, dedicated, and hard working individuals determined to do whatever it takes to protect our country. As for nobody watching the “hen house (s)” that unsubstantiated opinion does not reflect reality.
        Unfortunately, THUGS like Snowden do infiltrate our classified facilities, obtain information, and share it with the entire world at a time when we are already vulnerable to cyber espionage and potential threats.
        While it is true that our foes already suspected most of what Snowden revealed, his disclosures confirm our capabilities, activities, and goals. That is not what a loyal American should do.

        1. Michael Schore July 10, 2013

          I too worked with many agencies who did amazing work WHEN there was a real enemy. Anyone who would do some of the things that have been revealed IS a THUG.

          If you believe my explanation of facts that the hen house has not been watched is unsubstantiated opinion then explain to me why the FISA court has never seen a request it didn’t approve? That is nonsense! Unquestioned patriotism is a dangerous thing.

          If you are willing to give up your rights or freedoms in the name of security you deserve neither. You are also a coward.

          Loyalty is a subjective and two-way street. When someone disrespects me, such as monitoring communications on American soil or murdering American citizens abroad, their is no basis for loyalty.

          1. Dominick Vila July 10, 2013

            FISC has turned down about 10 requests out of a few thousand, which is clearly ridiculous and questionable.
            The issue for me is not whether or not our system is perfect, or whether some of the attacks against us and the anti-American feelings that exist in some many countries – and among certain groups in the USA – are not caused by obtuse foreign and domestic policies that incite ire, but the unfortunate reality that when push comes to shove, it is our duty to defend our families, friends, neighbors and our country.
            Snowden revealed, or as a minimum, confirmed activities that were suspected but never acknowledged. Those revelations may result in greater emphasis on counter-espionage and tactics designed to undermine our ability to gather intelligence.
            Yes, there are questions and concerns regarding intelligence gathering at home, but considering 9/11 and, more recently, the tragic actions taken by the Tsarnaev brothers, the last thing we need is searching from an elusive Nirvana.

          2. Michael Schore July 10, 2013

            Oh, boo 9/11 hoo 9/11, so sad, 9/11. More of my Brothers in Arms have died in Iraq for false reasons than died on 9/11. Stop using that as a lame excuse for everything. Bush’s lies have killed 200,000 Iraqis. Do you blame them for being mad at us as a society?

          3. Dominick Vila July 10, 2013

            No, I don’t blame the Iraqis for fighting to restore their sovereignty, especially when we consider that they had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11. Interestingly, the homeland of most of the 9/11 terrorists got away with murder and instead of punishment for special privileges when Bush granted them Most Favored Nation status.
            Thank you for your service. One of my grandsons is in the Army. I understand where you are coming from. The way governments, corporations, and the elite use our troops to achieve their geo-political and economic goals is sickening.
            For starters, we should respect the rights of other people, we should avoid offending them, we should never invade countries without justifiable reason or replace their form of government, we should not try to replace their traditions and values with ours, and we should not interfere in their internal affairs.
            All that being said, until we learn to mind our own business, we must do whatever it takes to protect our country, regardless of how obtuse our leaders may be, or perhaps because of it.

          4. WhutHeSaid July 11, 2013

            Wow. Just wow.

            You don’t see any issue with your logic? Allow me to paraphrase it:

            We shouldn’t go around doing stupid things but until we learn to do smart things let’s add a few more stupid things to our ‘To Do’ list.

            Are you serious? Are you drunk? You realize that the Iraq war was a case of the government manipulating fear over 9-11, right? So now you offer the sage advice that we give up our personal privacy in response to a stupid mistake, which was caused by an earlier stupid mistake, which was caused by opportunists in the government manipulating public fear, which was caused by stupid secret policies, which was caused by….

            Get the picture here?

          5. Dominick Vila July 11, 2013

            Fear was part of what was behind the invasion of Iraq. The decision to invade Iraq was conceived long before 9/11 for reasons that had absolutely nothing to do with that tragedy and the probability of more attacks. Cheney and Rumsfeld never forgave our former ally, Saddam Hussein, for turning down their contract bids on behalf of Halliburton and Bechtel, and awarding those contracts to Russian and French firms. Another reason was a geo-political and military strategy resulting from the paranoia that dominated our psyche throughout the Cold War, we felt a need to surround the former Soviet Union with what Reagan referred to as a “shield”. Saddam’s fateful decision to invade Kuwait, and the need to transform a pathetic president into a war hero after 9/11 to avoid well deserved blame and guarantee his re-election and GOP control of Congress were major contributors in the decision making process. Pressure from the House of Saud was another.
            I agree with your statement regarding the fact that our government has been using fear to achieve some of its goals. That, by the way, is a common tactic used by governments worldwide to achieve their goals or stay in power when they are so weak that there is a high probability of losing control. The reason I support robust intelligence gathering is because I am convinced that, regardless of the root causes of terrorism and the radicalism of some people, we have a duty to mitigate the probability of more terrorist attacks. I also know that, as a superpower, our foreign policy, influenced by economic imperatives, will not change any time soon and, therefore, anti-American sentiments and their consequences will continue for as long as our global policies are in place. My top priority is my family, friends, neighbors and my country, and that will never change.

          6. WhutHeSaid July 12, 2013

            Your priorities are no different from most other people’s priorities, so why must you repeat them over and over — haven’t you convinced yourself yet?

            The difference is that you are trying to impose your insecurities upon MY family, MY friends, MY neighbors and MY country. 9-11 was a big deal, yes, but it was a deal partly of our own doing by the same ignorant thinking that we should allow our government to do anything it thinks is best for our safety — even if we don’t know what it is. In reality, your fear-mongering and scorn for individual rights is EXACTLY the kind of thinking that starts all of the violence in the first place. If we worried more about what the CIA was doing with Bin Laden many years ago, we probably wouldn’t have had the attack on the Towers.

            I say that you and people who fan the flames of fear are culpable in the terrorism that we do suffer. You wish more of the same stupidity — done in secret — that caused all the problems to begin with, and only little wit can excuse you.

            Finally, I recommend that you drop the argument that we must retain the same type of foreign policy that has gotten us into trouble due to ‘economic imperatives’ — that’s just plain ludicrous. Do you have any evidence at all to support that theory? If so, let’s hear it.

          7. David L. Allison July 10, 2013

            Not a couple of thousand, not several thousand but many thousands of search requests by the secret court and not 10 or so but 6 ‘initial’ requests denied. I assume they were resubmitted and became some of many thousands approved to spy on, among others, American citizens.

          8. Sand_Cat July 10, 2013

            “Unquestioned patriotism’ isn’t patriotism.

          9. WhutHeSaid July 11, 2013

            You are absolutely correct – it’s either fanaticism or idiocy. We’ve seen what happens when a country goes there.

          10. ThomasBonsell July 10, 2013

            The FISA court has seen many requests it hasn’t appoved. You never hear about them for two reasons:

            1) Concern of the court is so severe that the request is withdrawn before the court rules.

            2) Concern of the court causes the requesting entity to redo the request so that it addresses the court’s concerns.

        2. David L. Allison July 10, 2013

          Hmmm. Secret Courts, no jurys. Secret budget, both amount and what it is being used for. Suspects locked in torture rooms for months. Lies by the head of the agency to congress. Lies by operations persons in the agency to congress. Violating American’s 4th amendment with abandon. Then lying about it. Writing rules in secret to govern themselves as they see fit. That was, by the way, the “intelligence” community that totally missed the _2nd_ attack on the world trade center, missed the foreign agents taking flying lessons, let the Saudis go during the US no fly zone and then blamed it on everyone but themselve. Most of them got promotions.
          Now they may not be “thugs” because thugs are usually a bit more blunt than these guys. This group is far more like, and I apologize to my Sycilian friends, the Mafia and the individuals, the Mafioso.
          No, Snowden is a whistle-blower who told Americans facts that we were entitled to know about and to have our Congress and Administration stop. And for me, anyone who goes up against the Mafia is a hero and entitled to live in a safe house any where he can find one.

          1. Dominick Vila July 11, 2013

            The people to blame for the existence of FISC does not include our intelligence personnel. The pressure should be on Congress to put an end to something that has been in place since 1978.
            Snowden was not informing the American people, he was confirming suspicions held by countries worldwide using an international forum. That’s what makes him a traitor.

        3. WhutHeSaid July 10, 2013

          You know, it’s amazing that you cannot see the irony in stating that people at top secret locations are ‘neither thugs nor traitors’ yet in the very next breath condemn Snowden as both. Do you see where I’m going with this?

          1. Dominick Vila July 11, 2013

            No irony there. There are rotten apples everywhere. The fact that a thug gained access to classified information, enjoyed the confidence and support of our government, and did not hesitate to betray that confidence by giving classified information to The Guardian and to every media outlet worldwide regardless of how much damage he was causing to our ability to support effective counter espionage and protect our national security, does not mean most of the personnel who dedicate their lives to keep us safe, those who risk their lives gathering information abroad, or those who perform thankless duties that the average American does not seem to appreciate are thugs.

          2. WhutHeSaid July 11, 2013

            You prove MY argument more with each post. If there is one skunk in the works there will be more. Who is to say that the next Snowden doesnt instead decide to turn a profit by selling personal information?

          3. Dominick Vila July 11, 2013

            I doubt we will have to wait for the next Snowden to see an example of overt materialism at the expense of our national security. Snowden is likely to do so as soon as he settles in Venezuela, or wherever he ends up living.
            I accept facets of the Patriot Act, not because I enjoy losing my rights, but because a necessary evil is at times preferable to unmitigated suffering. 9/11 remains fresh in my mind, it was not an abstract or an aberration. It happened, and it is incumbent upon us to support those who are determined to prevent a sequel.
            There are alternatives, of course. We could abandon our global interests and become a Switzerland or a Scandinavian country. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, people in those countries enjoy a higher standard of living and better quality of life than we do, but that is a decision we must all make. The choice is between remaining a superpower and doing whatever we have to do to face the consequences of our actions, or become an irrelevant player on matters of global interest.

          4. WhutHeSaid July 12, 2013

            Indeed 9-11 did happen, and it was partly the fault of rabid fear mongers not unlike yourself. I do believe that we need intelligence activities, but not carte blanche. That’s the point, and not paying attention as you insist is necessary is exactly how we get into trouble.

            Your argument about remaining a ‘superpower’ and ‘doing whatever we have to do to face the consequences’ (I suppose this means imposing your fear upon everyone) is utterly baseless. We don’t have to abandon our freedoms to remain powerful — what evidence do you have to support this latest theory? We’ve retained our global status AND our integrity and values for quite some time now. When did we all of a sudden have to choose one over the other?

          5. Dominick Vila July 12, 2013

            This latest theory? Where have you been the last several decades? The military actions we took when we went to Vietnam was because we feared a domino effect that would eventually result in the establishment of communism throughout Southeast Asia and much of the world. Today we import garments from Vietnam and buy them at WalMart. We invaded the miniscule island of Grenada because Reagan was, apparently, convinced that PM Bishop was going to fly his old Cessna to the USA and drop coconuts on our heads, and when he warned us of an imminent Nicaraguan invasion of the USA he did it because he was convinced that hordes of Nicaraguans were ready to cross the border and subdue the American population and our military using rotten Chiquita bananas. The same happened when he dealt with the Iranian Ayatollahs while claiming to support an embargo and no diplomatic relations with that “evil” country.
            I am not justifying or embracing the paranoia that have consumed our psyche and influenced our decisions for so long. In fact, I deplore it. My support of a robust intelligence gathering apparatus is based on the conviction that neither our foreign or domestic policies are going to change, the fact that we are not likely to abandon our global interests or our tendency to impose our values and goals on people who don’t share our cultural or economic goals, and the knowledge after spending half of my life overseas, that the policies and actions we continue to impose upon others are behind the anti-American sentiments that serve as a catalyst for the attacks that have taken place in the USA and against our global interests.
            For me it is not a matter of fear, I am too old to worry about mortality, my priority is based on the conviction that since our priorities and interests are not about to change, the only option is to do whatever it takes to minimize the probability of attacks on U.S. soil or against our interests abroad. I don’t have a problem with your idealism, I simply don’t that giving up a semblance of freedom is too high a price to guarantee or improve our national security capabilities.
            The real problem is that those who remain intent on finding evil in everything we do, regardless of who is responsible for it, often use hyperbole to make a point. Our intelligence agencies are not interested in Grandma secret chocolate cookie recipe, or who your favorite football team is, they are keeping an eye on people who, they believe, are planning to harm Americans and our institutions. While some of the examples I cited above are clear examples of paranoia or insecurity, there is no question that some people are determined to make us pay a price for our arrogance and greed. Are you ready to accept the consequences of our actions and let another 9/11 happen?

          6. WhutHeSaid July 12, 2013

            It sounds to me like you’ve thrown in the towel. You claim to deplore the dis-ingenuity and plain old mistakes that cause so much anti-American sentiment throughout the world , yet your apparent answer to these problems is to accept them as inevitable, retire to the old follks’ home, and pull the covers up over your nose and pray that your uncle Sammy keeps you warm at night.

            So you’ve given up on the idealism that has always driven the evolution of the US? What of the younger generations — are they just supposed to accept the timid resignation of old farts and allow this country to start a large moral and spiritual decline? I’m not talking about bible-thumping zealots, so don’t try going there — I’m talking about the healthy self-doubt and self-regulation for which our government institutions was designed, and for which America has become famous.

            Yes, there are people who use fear and subterfuge to pursue their economic goals, and that is deplorable — but predictable. Everybody understands this happens, and it is usually deplored in public when uncovered — rightly so. But you seem to feel that more of the same is an answer to the problem, or at least that we have all been defeated by this cynicism and should just go ahead and give up. You are selling millions of young people short who haven’t had the chance to take a crack at these issues — and for what? Some warm and fuzzy feeling that you are safe from being blown up while puttering around in your back yard?

            I think we’ve established that nobody cares about Grandma’s cookie recipe except perhaps for Grandma. Try using real examples, like your SSN or bank account information. That’s where the primary danger always lies — not that it’s the only one, mind you — and these silly examples demonstrate a dearth of real examples. You’ve repeated stated that intelligence employees are wonderful people, yet bitterly attack Snowden (also an intelligence employee) as if he was a budding Osama Bin Laden. My opinion is that he is a disillusioned young man who had no idea what he was about to get himself into, and now finds himself a man without a country. But aside from his obvious violation of his own oaths, the things that he uncovered have created real concern among US citizens and friendly countries as well. For every intelligence employee like Snowden, how many are there who would just quietly violate privacy to sell information to others? That’s one of my concerns, although it is far from the only one.

            You claim that it’s not a matter of fear, yet you say that you’re willing to forgo some liberty for the sake of safety. If it’s not fear, then what it it? Are you now taking it upon yourself to express fear for everyone else? Under what justification do you attempt to force your view of this issue, and the accompanying loss of privacy, on other people who have a different opinion? There is no proof that even if we scrapped the Bill Of Rights entirely that we could prevent events like 9-11. In fact, what you advocate is to withdraw from active participation in our own government. You appear to have given up, being no longer willing to address the REAL issues that cause events like 9-11 in the first place, content instead to settle for some nebulous warm and fuzzy feeling. In short — you’ve given up. Millions of Americans haven’t, and deserve to get a shot at addressing the real issues head-on. I haven’t given up either.

          7. Dominick Vila July 12, 2013

            I guess you are relatively new in this forum. The opinions I expressed about the root causes for anti-American sentiments in parts of the world or among certain groups of individuals is not a sudden capitulation. I have expressed that opinion time and again during the past couple of years on The National Memo. The rationale I am using to support facets of the Patriot Act is the fact that since we are not going to change our interests in global hegemony, market expansion, and the foreign policies that support our geo-political and economic goals, we have no choice but to prepare for the consequences of those policies and our actions. Yes, we could all hold hands and hope for the best, but doing so would be suicidal. The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter who started the mess we are in we, as Americans, have a duty to protect our country. Those old farts you so readily dismiss or ridicule understand that concept a lot better than you do, and many are willing to sacrifice some liberties to guarantee our country remains safe for many years to come.
            Subject: Re: New comment posted on Edward Snowden Is No Hero

          8. WhutHeSaid July 12, 2013

            This old fart is most certainly NOT willing to blindly throw away my hard-earned freedoms for somebody else notion of the ‘warm fuzzies’. You also know full well I’m not new to this forum, and your willingness to accept the root causes of terrorism and settle for warm pablum is cowardly in spirit aside from your claim that you no longer fear mortality.

            You have a right to be cowardly about these issues if you wish, but you don’t have a right to impose your resignation and defeatism upon others. That’s my point, and there are many who agree with me who aren’t paranoid lunatics or Obama-bashing Tea Bigots. Methinks, at least on this issue, that you need to type less and read more. I appreciate that vast majority of your posts, but I absolutely and vehemently disagree with your take on this issue.

          9. Dominick Vila July 12, 2013

            I don’t like the Patriot Act, for the same reasons you don’t, but in the absence of a better alternative I have no choice but to support some facets of that legislation.
            One of most important reasons I deplore the Bush presidency is because of the ambivalence and incompetence he showed when he was warned time and again of a high probability of an imminent terrorist attack on U.S. soil. We paid dearly for his indifference. I believe that both our leaders, and all of us, must do whatever it takes to keep our country safe.
            By the way, I am not criticizing your idealism or determination to preserve our rights or our values, I simply believe that as a result of technological limitations our intelligence community has no choice but to gather information using the tools that are available to them to prevent people like the Tsarnaev brothers to carry out their criminal acts.

          10. WhutHeSaid July 13, 2013

            There is no ‘absence of better alternative’. The better alternative is to use our noggins to make sure that our intelligence agencies don’t get involved in dirty little wars that kill real people for no good reason. History shows us also that the more we spend on military toys the more effort is spent finding excuses for using them. We spend an outrageous amount of money on defense — far eclipsing every other country in the world — but there is a point of diminishing returns here.

            Throwing up our hands and proclaiming that we trust Uncle Sam to do the right thing is the lazy alternative. We can’t expect to know every little detail about intelligence activities, no, but that’s no excuse for complacency. We need to be aggressive and proactive about policing what our government is doing in our name. If we aren’t, then we have only ourselves to blame when such predictable events occur. As vile and despicable as 9-11 was, it was also fairly predictable given our prior behavior with respect to Osama Bin Laden.

            You may trust the government to behave like perfect angels with every citizen’s privacy now. Would you feel differently if, God forbid, somebody like Michele Bachmann ever made it into the White House? Think about that for a minute and give your honest opinion.

        4. Fern Woodfork July 16, 2013

          You Got That Right My Friend!! :-)!!

      2. Eleanore Whitaker July 10, 2013

        It was classified. Why else would Snowden EVER have had to have security clearance to work for the government? DUH

        1. Michael Schore July 10, 2013

          Who says it was classified information? Do you even know who gets to determine that? Like most Americans who have never worked with classified info, you simply don’t understand what is going on and believe in the “powers that be” to do the right thing. I no longer trust any pol of any persuasion.
          So freaking duh back at you!!!

          1. David L. Allison July 10, 2013

            Relax, Michael. In her earlier rants she said that “spying on US citizens” was just old news since Bush II told us about it so Snowden was both unpatriotic and dumb for releasing the information.

          2. Eleanore Whitaker July 11, 2013

            Nah…Snowden is typical of his generation…a pointless amoeba too stupid to know that you don’t stick your nose where it doesn’t belong lest you want to be noseless. Snowden admitted in a public interview he had every intention of handing over any US Intelligence secrets to US enemies…not unlike Assange…the Great Twerpage Savior of the World of the Great Middle Aged lazy loafers.

          3. David L. Allison July 13, 2013

            Ignorant mean spirited female puppy troll determined to move away from the issue in the article.

          4. Eleanore Whitaker July 13, 2013

            He’s a 26 year old Twerpie Generation Little Lord Fauntleroy. The world according to David L. Allison isn’t making it these days. Boo hoo…Some of these Twerpie Generation bois genius get themselves in hot water and then look around for someone else to clean up the poop they leave behind. Clean it up yourselves.I am mean spirited when a 26 year old Know it all who refused to follow the rules just to show ass to the world becomes a danger to our country. That you don’t shows where your loyalities lie. Time to leave that Twerpie Generation self made cocoon of prenatal comfort and grow up. “NO” is a word your Twerpie Generation hates most.

          5. charleo1 July 10, 2013

            So how big is your bunker? Look, if we want better policy,
            I think we can assume we need to elect better leaders.
            Because, your alternative seems to include it’s own form
            of tyranny. Living our lives in fear, and mistrust of our
            government. I submit we might do that in any number of
            places around the world. The good news is, we have a
            system that guarantees us the tools to fix it. The Founders
            said. Here’s the framework. It’s not perfect. This is an
            experiment, it’s never been done before. It may not work.
            But it won’t run by itself. I think this Country went 50 years,
            with a voter turn out for National elections at about 30%!
            And fewer still kept up with the issues. And we picked our
            representatives too often, on the most superficial of factors.
            And before we knew it, most of those getting elected were
            not listening, or governing for the people anymore. But,
            more for those that were paying their campaign bills.
            That’s F’d up. We know it. But the deal in this Country is
            still the same as always. If it’s F’d up. It’s our job to fix it.

          6. Eleanore Whitaker July 11, 2013

            Clearly you do not know of where you speak. My first employer was an ombudsmen to the SBA. Two of my relatives work for the ATF and FBI…that enough knowledge of what’s classified and what isn’t? It is time for your kind to stop sabotaging this presidency and to stop insisting you have to know every detail of what the government does even when it’s for your protection. Sorry, but your kind would have been great allies of Hitler during WWII. You can’t keep your mouths shut long enough to listen to others because belligerence is more important. As I stated, if Eisenhower was president, Snowden would have been hung in the public square. Why would any American think a 26 year old who admitted in public he only took that security job to leak security secrets be supported by your kind?

          7. Michael Schore July 11, 2013

            Really? I don’t know of what I speak? For four years I carried TS-SCI clearances and was read into many Black programs within the Intelligence community. I worked directly with personnel in the CIA, NSA, and other (at the time) unmentionable government agencies. I saw at the time some very dubious classification of information so don’t have the gall to tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about. You are allowing your fear and lack of intelligence to guide you. Get the freak over it. This isn’t about sabotaging “this” president but in calling him out. I worked on both of his campaigns and many other Dems during the last 15 years. Their lack of spine and caving into things like the (un)Patriot(ic) Act and the abuse of the FISA court have so disgusted me that I will never do that again. I keep waiting for Obama to come to NC so I can heckle him.

          8. Eleanore Whitaker July 11, 2013

            No …you don’t. You lost credibility the minute you tried to blame it all on the Dems. I’m guessing you forgot who invented those red, yellow and orange National Security warnings? Sorry If I don’t believe your version of what you saw. I find these days the Great Middle Aged Twerpage languish in exaggeration to the point of obtusity. I have no fear. I know classified information isn’t for my eyes. Do you also peek through the keyhole into McMommy and McDaddy’s bedroom because you feel so justified in knowing EVERYTHING that goes on in this world? Assange and his twerpage are flotsam in the sea of life when it comes down to validity.

            You live in NC? Well….that DOES explain a lot…is there a more bigoted state than NC? With its howling banshee bois in their Bull nosed Bully Boi pickups and that rag flag Stars and Bars flyin’ high to scare off the minorities you NC backwards think is such a fun game? Thank you for showing your stars and bars colors. I have relatives in Fayetteville, Pikeville and Goldsboro…don’t you dare try and tell me about NC and its bigots.

          9. Michael Schore July 11, 2013

            You freaking bitch! You have no idea of my life or my politics. You also don’t pay attention to the news from NC. We are fighting back. You have no idea of my view on race relations but you bring this up as well as the disastrous Bush administration. I have lived in NC only for the last 16 years and am very familiar with its shortcoming.

            You ignorant freaking bitch…go to hell. You are what is wrong with the Democratic party.

          10. Eleanore Whitaker July 13, 2013

            Ah yes…Another ranting, raging Great White Middle Aged American Male who has to show ass….Guess what oh mighty one…I am a freaking bitch and I am proud of it. NC isn’t fighting back..Your sucklers of the federal trough will just look to other states to get you out of the mess your boi geniuses of neoconservatism manage to wallow in on a regular basis…But I am so thankful for your compliment…Now I am certifiable a freaking bitch becaue Michael Schore has declared it so…The World According to Bull Males of the South. Spare me your Bull Male superiority. You put your pants on the same way we all do…one leg at a time…Or, maybe that’s why the NC ignernt bull males all swagger so? They put two legs in one pant leg? roflmao. Try again. Not impressed.

    4. m8lsem July 10, 2013

      After thinking this over since the story broke, it now occurs to me that the real villain in this whole scenario is the House Republic Caucus and certain of the U. S. Senators on that side of the aisle, who have been more interested in making life difficult for the President than in governing the nation.

      In the kind of government we used to have, when people in Congress tried to work together sincerely and not manipulatively, this situation could have been handled by Snowden privately talking to someone in Congress who would have notified the correct committees and both parties, which would have initiated discussions with the Administration to work out what was really going on and adjust law as necessary. If Mr Snowden were not satisfied, then he could have revealed his quasi-professional espionage and we’d be where we are.

      As it happened, Mr Snowden has educated not only the American public (in somewhat inaccurate lack of detail either by him or by the Guardian – creating initial impressions of everyone being always wiretapped), but also educated Al Qaeda and the ilk. Thus our task of making sure Jihadists don’t pull off another 9/11 is compromised.

      He should come home and face the consequences, get on the witness stand to defend himself. He may not have the personal maturity to do that.

      1. TZToronto July 10, 2013

        Would he get a fair trial? Would we even get a chance to see or attend such a trial? Somehow I think that the government might be afraid to let Snowden get on the witness stand and blurt out all of those secrets that everyone (America’s enemies and friends) has known all along anyway? Does anyone really think that China doesn’t know that the U.S. has been spying on them electronically? I can remember a time when you wouldn’t swear on the phone for fear that the phone company would come and disconnect your phone–as if they were listening. Well, now it appears that they ARE listening. How does that make everyone feel? Who can you trust? The phone company? Nope. The U.S. government? Not so much.

        1. Lamashtar July 10, 2013

          Something bad might happen, therefore abandon your country and the rule of law!!!!

          1. TZToronto July 11, 2013

            Perhaps he should have consulted a lawyer before doing what he did. On the other hand, I would fear for my life if I were Snowden. Don’t you think the U.S. government will try to charge him with treason?

        2. disqus_il6KG9d3VM July 10, 2013

          Yes, he would get a fair trial.

          1. TZToronto July 11, 2013

            You are very trusting. I would hope he’d get a fair trial in a regular court.

    5. daniel bostdorf July 10, 2013

      He did not commit treason because, if you knew anything about the legal basis for treason, you wouldn’t make a baseless claim.

      Treason can only occur when the Congress has officially declared war.

      I see no declaration of war….I only see NSA abuses of global privacy…

  4. danc45 July 10, 2013

    This article is baloney. Snowden is doing the right thing. If he returns, he and his secrecy issues will become silent as he is locked away into obscurity. Mr. Snowden and his issues will survive as long as he is free, relevant, and continues to make news. I say great work Edward. You are a patriot. Doing nothing would have only made him a prostitute to corruption.

    1. disqus_ivSI3ByGmh July 10, 2013

      You are entitled to your opinion as Mr. Pitts is to his. In this case I happen to strongly agree with Mr. Pitts and not with you. Having been in a position years ago where I had access to classified information on a daily basis, I did my job and went home every night knowing that if I spoke to anyone about what I knew it could compromise our national security. Apparently Snowden, who had less than a stellar history of employment, somehow managed to get a job he was neither qualified for in training or eligible for in reliability, got access to information that he should have understood was not HIS to share, and did so anyway without any thought as to the consequences.

      The people Mr. Pitts cited at the beginning of the article were all aware their actions were in violation of laws on the books and were willing to accept the consequences for their actions. Snowden was unwilling to do so. Therefore, not only is he a traitor for his actions, he is also a coward for not being willing to face the consequences of his actions. Dan Ellsberg knew what he was doing was illegal, and he was willing to face the consequences. Apparently he has no faith in our system to provide judgement for Snowden.

      Once he decides to accept whatever legitimate offer of asylum he receives, and finds himself in that country for the remainder of his life, he will find himself to not be welcome there, either, once the novelty of his presence wears off, and that country receives all the information that he has.

      1. daniel bostdorf July 10, 2013

        what was your job? With whom?

        1. Sand_Cat July 10, 2013

          Probably top secret info. It always is when the questions are uncomfortable.

          1. WhutHeSaid July 11, 2013

            Yeah, and please note how considerate these so-called ‘experts’ who worked in intelligence agencies usually are about the rights and concerns of other Americans. “We’re good guys — you can trust us. And if you don’t then fuck you, you witless worms.”

      2. danc45 July 10, 2013

        You know, before your slap yourself on the back, I thought I would let you know that I had a Top Secret-SIOP-ESI security clearance while in the military. I too never divulged information. However, spying on American citizens at home, when the Government has denied doing so is not only secret, but also a lie. When I held Top Secret information I was instructed to not answer questions about it. I was not instructed to lie. There is something wrong with our Government when it lies to cover-up its breaking of the Constitution.

        It is the Government who is breaking the law. Snowden is brave soul who elevated his convictions above living a wonderful life making good money. You know, I served in Vietnam, and I remember the Mai-Lai massacre, where Lt. Calley was court marshaled because he participated and did not reveal the illegal action he witnessed, even though the Government covered it up by making it secret.

        What Mr. Pitts says is wrong. If these people had been so willing to accept responsibility for their actions, they would not have wasted all sorts of time and money making the Government prosecute them. They would have just pled guilty…right?

        In addition, Mr. Snowden is showing a great sacrifice giving up a lucrative job, going into hiding the rest of his life, and continuing to release information to expose many more lies told by our Government. If he had given up, end of exposure and back to the lying business for our Government. Snowden had principles–good for him…and us.

        1. Dave July 10, 2013

          spying on American citizens at home

          That’s just bullshit. They’re obtaining information you’re voluntarily turning over to third parties. No one is spying on you.

          1. Sand_Cat July 10, 2013

            You haven’t a clue what they’re doing, or what they’ll do in the future should they get away with this. It’s YOU spouting the bullshit here.

          2. Honor2 July 10, 2013

            Is anybody on this forum so important that the government will take the time to spy on him/her? I think not. Surely if spying is done on the American citizens it will be done on people of primary importance, not the average Joes out there. Too many folks are just plain “hung up on themselves.”

          3. Sand_Cat July 10, 2013

            So it’s OK to abuse the rights of people, just so long as you and I aren’t bothered?

          4. Independent1 July 10, 2013

            I say that especially holds true when there are 2.4 billion phone calls made in America each day and are 294 billion emails sent. Only totally parnoid idiots without an ounce of common sense would believe that the NSA could be spying on them when it has its hands full just figuring out which if the 2.4 billion phone calls to check to find what has to be nothing more than a handful of potential terrorist related calls. The NSA has to be focusing on a super select fragment of the calls and emails made each day – there is no way that the NSA analysts can be wasting their time monitoring calls that do not have a high probablity of yielding so worthwhile intelligence. People posting here that think the NSA is monitoring everyone’s calls are totally delusional.

          5. Independent1 July 11, 2013

            Think real hard, with 2.4 billion phone calls stacking up each day and 294 billion emails – how much indepth monitoring of your, mine or any of the other 99.999% of Americans do you suppose the NSA can be doing if they’re really trying to locate that 100 or so phone calls really associated with some kind of terrorist or other danger to America???

          6. WhutHeSaid July 11, 2013

            Listen, I don’t want 2.4 billion calls or pieces of information — I just want YOURS. Post you SSN, name, address, and bank account number(s) here NOW.

            See how easy it is to deflate your argument? They don’t have to go through 2.4 billion to nail you — just one.

          7. Independent1 July 11, 2013

            And exactly why would they choose to waste their time on mine out of the 2.4 billion?? You’re so delusional I shouldn’t even be responding. What is some NSA monitor doing? Sitting around waiting for me to pick up the phone?? You have to be a total delusional to believe the NSA is targetting Americans that it hasn’t associated with some kind of nefarious activity – believe what you will, you’re every bit as much a Paranoid as Thomas Jefferson was when he was absolutely convinced that if the federal government was allowed to create a standing army that it would make the states subservient to its powers. We’ve seen just how right Paranoid President Jefferson was haven’t we????????

          8. WhutHeSaid July 12, 2013

            Moron. If 10,000 people explained it to you you’d still be too stupid to retain the knowledge. Nobody claims the NSA is targeting you, dolt, so you may quit making that stupid argument. There are REAL PEOPLE who work for the NSA and related agencies, every single one of whom could come up with their own ideas on what to do with your personal information (or mine).

            Of course you don’t care — you’re sooo scared of those evil terrorists and the government is your very best pal. Don’t worry — you can still send them your panties whenever you wish, and show up periodically to offer up you and your family for cavity searches. I don’t care. But when you start trying to force ME into your government-fellating fear-fest — you’re going to have a problem.

          9. danc45 July 10, 2013

            Sorry Dave, that’s BS. What I voluntarily tell others is not part of the public domain. If I tell someone you’re dying of cancer, but I was told not to tell you, that isn’t part of the public domain. Breaking a promise is not part of the public domain. if I said I was cheating on my wife, that shouldn’t be part of the public domain. If I said you were ugly to a third party, that isn’t part of the public domain. What I told a third party is between them and me…period. If that’s not the case, then I guess you aren’t for prosecuting the person who taped Mitch McConnell through a closed door. Privacy is privacy. It should not be broken accept with permission or a warrant.

            Don’t tell me no one is spying on me. You don’t know, unless you are spying on me

          10. Dave July 10, 2013

            What I voluntarily tell others is not part of the public domain

            No one is accessing your content. They are simply obtaining metadata you willingly turn over to third parties.

            The Supreme Court says you have no right to privacy in that material. They said, and I quote: “This Court consistently has held that a person has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information he voluntarily turns over to third parties…. This Court has held repeatedly that the Fourth Amendment does not prohibit the obtaining of information revealed to a third party and conveyed by him to Government authorities, even if the information is revealed on the assumption that it will be used only for a limited purpose and the confidence placed in the third party will not be betrayed.”

          11. danc45 July 10, 2013

            Oh, right. Of course you’re talking about the Supreme Court of Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, Roberts and Alito. They’ve brought us the great Citizens United, Voter ID, and corporate favoritism decisions. I done accept their decision of privacy rights as conservatives don’t accept Obama being born in the US.

            Then, there is no privacy for Mitch McConnell in his meeting to derail Ashley Judd. Since he openly and illegally talked about and strategized with his taxpayer paid staff about it, and traveled them at taxpayer expense to his Louisville office, he just needs to serve some time in graybar hotel.

          12. Will July 10, 2013

            FAIL. If you Googled what Dave quoted, you’d see it was written by a liberal Supreme Court justice.

          13. Sand_Cat July 10, 2013

            Again YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY’RE DOING! Or are you one of them? And the “third party” one “told” is not voluntarily disclosing it to the government. And finally, we may have to put up with the rulings of the gang of right-wing lunatics who are the majority in our Supreme Court for the time being, but that does not make these actions “Constitutional” in anything but a technical sense, and we can at least hope (probably in vain) that someday the majority will actually be interested in upholding the Constitution as their oaths say and will consign the abuses of the Roberts and Rehnquist Courts to the septic tank of history, where they belong.

          14. WhutHeSaid July 11, 2013

            Here is your own personal bullshit test:

            Post your SSN, name, address, and bank account number here. Hey — you’ve given this information to third parties, so what’s the big deal?

        2. Independent1 July 11, 2013

          The government IS NOT spying on American citizens at home – where are you getting that BS?? And the 4th Amendment DOES NOT guarantee you total privacy!! It protects you from UNREASONABLE searches and seizures. – NOT TOTAL PRIVACY!! And I’d be willing to bet that neither you nor anyone else would be able to convince the Supreme Court that what the NSA is doing is UNREASONABLE, especially if the NSA is able to prove to SCOTUS that by preventing around 50 terrorist like attacks this passed year, that they’ve potentially saved hundreds or maybe thousands of Americans their lives.

          There were 2,606 terrorist-like attacks perpetrated in America between 1970 and 2011 (attacks that were intented to kill people or create large scale property damage – like destroy a railroad) with 226 of those attacks resulting in fatalities – one was the 9/11 attack. There could have been a lot more than 2,606 but something that occurred after 9/11 drastically decreased the number of attacks in the past 10-12 years – I’ll let you guess what that was.

          1. WhutHeSaid July 11, 2013

            Say, may I ask how many pairs of your panties you’ve sent to government employees this year? Just curious.

      3. Sand_Cat July 10, 2013

        First of all, while in the HELL is our government outsourcing such jobs to private contractors? God knows what the companies will do with this information should it be to their advantage to do so. I guess since corporate America owns our government, they figure what the hell.
        Sorry, I can’t agree with you.

  5. Michael Schore July 10, 2013

    Ellsberg is exactly right. Why should Snowden return, so he can be tortured like Manning? What nonsense. Additionally, the people the author mentions had no other choice. Travel was nothing then like it is now. Why not go on the run and further promote your cause?

  6. Kansan July 10, 2013

    Jeff Olsen chalked public sidewalks in front of Banks of America in San Diego. The City Attorney chose to try him for 13 counts of leaving protest messages in water-soluble chalk. He could have received 13 years in prison for his acts.

    Now according to Pitts, it would seem, he should have been wiling to spend a year in jail awaiting trial, or 13 in prison for his acts.

    The jury in the case essentially nullified the law, so Olsen is free.

    The United States has given sanctuary to terrorist mass murderers. Dr. Orlando Bosch, who attacked a Polish freighter in Miami harbor with a bazooka was given parole by George H.W. Bush.

    Orlando Bosch Ávila (18 August 1926 – 27 April 2011) was a Cuban exile terrorist, former Central Intelligence Agency-backed operative, and head of Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations, which the FBI has described as “an anti-Castro terrorist umbrella organization.” Former U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh called Bosch an “unrepentant terrorist”.He was accused of taking part in Operation Condor and several other terrorist attacks, including the 6 October 1976 bombing of a Cuban civilian airliner in which all 73 people on board were killed, including many young members of a Cuban fencing team and five North Koreans. The bombing is alleged to have been plotted at a 1976 meeting in Washington, D.C. attended by Bosch, Luis Posada Carriles, and DINA agent Michael Townley. At the same meeting, the assassination of Chilean former minister Orlando Letelier is alleged to have been plotted. Bosch was given safe haven within the US in 1990 by President George H. W. Bush, who in 1976 as head of the CIA had declined an offer by Costa Rica to extradite Bosch.


    1. Lamashtar July 10, 2013

      Your first example supports traditional civil disobedience, not running away and acting like a criminal.

      1. David L. Allison July 10, 2013

        Because you or anyone accuses someone of being or acting like a criminal, does not make the person a criminal or, unless the actions he has taken are proven to be criminal, you can not even say he is or was “acting like a criminal”.

      2. Mark Forsyth July 10, 2013

        He who disobeys and runs away,lives to disobey another day. A patriot is one who is willing to tell the truth in the face of the burdensome lie.

  7. RodgerMitchell July 10, 2013

    Exactly what secret did Snowden reveal to our enemies?

    1. Dave July 10, 2013

      You can start with the fact that he revealed the US had developed
      Stuxnet. That information greatly helped Iran.

      1. Sand_Cat July 10, 2013

        It’s the least we owe Iran for all the rotten and completely unjustified things we did to them. Assuming they even really want nuclear weapons, why the hell do you think they do? Couldn’t possibly be to deter a certain large country known to violate its own and international law at will – often at the same time it’s self-righteously calling on others to follow them – from invading one of the “axis of evil” countries as they have invaded or destroyed elected governments in others for equally trivial reasons.
        And you talk about massive overreactions. Why do you suppose Iran and a host of other countries – including those Pitts discretely mentioned as having “problematic” relations with the US – hate the US and cheer whenever we suffer attack, even if they are not able to participate?

        1. Dave July 10, 2013

          Are you actually that naive? You think it’s okay for Iran to have nuclear weapons. Iran has already gone on record to say they want to see Israel wiped off the face of the map.

          1. Sand_Cat July 10, 2013

            The guy who said that is no longer president, or didn’t you get the memo? Besides, people say a lot of things when they have justified anger and are not in a position to do anything about it.

      2. RodgerMitchell July 10, 2013

        Yep, that was a big secret — from you and me — not so much from Iran and the rest of the world. Actually, even you must have suspected that since Israel was accused, America must have been involved.

        The reason Snowden is being chased harder than bin Laden, is he revealed secrets the administration didn’t want Americans to know.

        1. Dave July 10, 2013

          This has nothing to do with “the administration.” This is a representative democracy. We elected leaders — Obama and the Congress — to make decisions. They have decided. We never elected Edward Snowden. It isn’t his place to overruled democracy.

          He is also revealing a great deal more than Stuxnet that will hurt this country.

          1. David L. Allison July 10, 2013

            Sorry to keep doing this but your logical error is called “truth by assertion”, When you say “he is also revealing …..that will hurt this country, you have not convinced anyone, just expressed in a firm way, what you believe.
            As to your assertion that “They (the congress and Obama) have decided”; simply not true. Two members of the NSA lied directly to the congress on exactly the principle issue that Snowden revealed. That is why Senators sent a letter to Obama and NSA director demanding to be told the truth, AFTER Snowden made his disclosures.
            The Patriot Act is the law, passed by Congress and signed by Bush. The regulations that the “intelligence” community and Bush wrote were not made public and, it turns out, did not represent the public. The continuation of the regulations developed and implemented during the Obama administration also were not adopted by the representatives of the people.
            Other than that you got it all right.

          2. RodgerMitchell July 11, 2013

            Every day our “elected leaders” lie to us. The Iraq war was based on a monstrous lie. I wish there had been an Edward Snowden to tell us about it, before we uselessly killed 4,000 American soldiers and maimed many thousands more, just so Bush could strut on an aircraft carrier.

            You may have blind trust in our “elected leaders.” I don’t. That’s why I welcome investigative journalists, who each day reveal secrets our “elected leaders” try to keep from us. Not trusting “elected leaders” is why we have freedom of the press.

            As for the “great deal more than Stuxnet” (which everyone knew about anyway), what else did Snowden reveal?

  8. Jim_Klimaski July 10, 2013

    Snowden revealed the extent that our government is spying on us. China and Russia didn’t learn anything from this disclosure, but we should have. Instead of outrage, our elected leaders and the mainstream media are mischaracterizing the disclosures and making this a story about Snowden. Knowledge is power and the government can use this knowledge gained from all your communications – e-mail, telephone call, tweets – to control you whenever it wants. If this were the 70s, Congress would be holding hearings on this travesty of spying on American citizens. Now they parade the leaders of this spy ring to brag about their phoney successes in protecting us. If they were so good, then how was it that the Boston bombers weren’t prevented from carrying out their plan. The information was there, but instead NSA was more interested in the quantity of their collection and not the quality. General Alexander should be fired.

    1. Dave July 10, 2013

      Snowden revealed the extent that our government is spying on us

      An absurd overreaction. Let us know when the police start following you and opening your mail. You gladly give Facebook ten times the information the NSA has access to, which you already turned over to third parties anyway.

      China and Russia didn’t learn anything from this disclosure

      And you know this how?

      the government can use this knowledge gained from all your communications – e-mail, telephone call, tweets – to control you whenever it wants

      Bullshit. Don’t tweet then if you’re so paranoid.

      how was it that the Boston bombers weren’t prevented from carrying out their plan

      The New York subway bombers were stopped.

      1. Jim_Klimaski July 10, 2013

        Paranoid I’m not Dave. I use my full name here. I rarely use either Facebook or Twitter, but I do pay attention to what i hear and what I read. I also pay attention to the U.S. Constitution and what is being done by NSA is a violation of the 4th Amendment. Read Director Clapper’s clarification of his testimony before Congress. And listen to what is said and not said. As for the NYC subway bombers, the Government has not said that PRIZM was used in identifying them.

        While the collected information may not yet be used against U.S. citizens now, the potential is there. You might spend some time reading about how FBI and Cia misused their authority back in the 60s and 70s. Read the report prepared by the Senator Church Committee released i the late 70s.

        1. Dave July 10, 2013

          what is being done by NSA is a violation of the 4th Amendment

          It is not. The Supreme Court and the federal courts have repeatedly upheld the NSA’s activities and have repeatedly said that collecting metadata does not violate the Fourth Amendment.

          1. Jim_Klimaski July 10, 2013

            I don’t believe that is all that is being collected. Review Director clapper’s revised statement to Congress.

          2. daniel bostdorf July 10, 2013

            Doesn’t make it right…and we need to repeal the “Patriot” Act.

            The Global Principles on National Security and the Right to
            Information (called the Tshwane Principles, after the municipality in South Africa where they were finalized), assert that laws should protect public servants—including members of the military and contractors working for intelligence agencies—who disclose information to the public

          3. David L. Allison July 10, 2013

            And the citation from the Supreme court finding that “this” metadata collection is within the bounds of the 4th Amendment is Where? The answer is Nowhere. There has not been a ruling on this specific issue. You can _assume_, if you like that the current court would rule in favor of the folks who lied to the Senate about this accumulation _utilization_ of metadata and allow the invasion of citizens persons or property without a warrant. But that would be an assumption.

      2. David L. Allison July 10, 2013

        Another angry fact free rant from someone who really really likes our military and “intelligence” parts of our government just the way it is and has been for the twenty years. All you offer is denial and naked assertions without foundation.
        The US Supreme court has never seen all of the rules and regulations regarding the implementation of the Patriot Act. When those rules and regulations allow many thousands of secret warrants to be issued by a secret court appointed by a right wing judge with all but one judge republicans, The fourth amendment, at least, is at risk.

  9. bogmart July 10, 2013

    Imagine you are in the military, overseas during wartime, World War II. This is before computers, satellites, the Internet or email. You write letters home to family and friends, and each message is read by a censor before being put on the mail plane or ship. Any reference to where your unit was or what it was doing or what other units are nearby. The censor will blacken anything that would reveal this. I have seen many such letters. No one thought his civil rights or privacy were being abused. This was done for the protection and safety of our armed forces in case any mail was captured by an enemy. Just for information.

    1. Sand_Cat July 10, 2013

      An entirely different situation in virtually every respect.

      1. bogmart July 11, 2013

        Thanks for your response. Of course, there are many differences. My reaction to Edward Snowden at the beginning of this was that he was an egomaniac, bent on being the center of attention. Now I understand that this issue has many sides and I am willing to listen to arguments all around. But I cannot spend the rest of my life fearing my own government. As you may have guessed, I was present during WWII and my husband is a vet of that war. We also remember the OSS, forerunner of the CIA, and we knew that some Americans were being spied upon, but we did not run around screaming against the government.

  10. elw July 10, 2013

    I was very conflicted in my feels about what Snowden did when it first became public. But Snowden, by his words and actions, has helped me come to the conclusion that he is no hero. I will not go so far as to call him a traitor, but I still do not rule that out. I am old enough to have lived through other whistle blowers and to be able to compare their behaviors and words to Snowden’s. Snowden is very different. Snowden not only ran to countries that are hostile to the US, he says the very same things that they do about the US. Once more how does anyone release secret information about their own country that he claims is violating people’s right to privacy and then flee to countries that are worse and openly and consistently have a terrible and public record for some of the worse human rights violations in the world. Countries that have been caught doing the very same thing he is accusing the US of doing. No I do not see a hero, I see a man who lacks moral conviction and desperate; when I listen to him speak about what he has done I hear convoluted reasoning and conflicting responses to questions. He is no hero, maybe a confused and easily influenced person at best, but clearly one who broke the law of the land and has not got the guts to stand and face the consequences.

    1. Sand_Cat July 10, 2013

      Look what happens to most whistleblowers: any of them been nominated for heroism lately?

      1. elw July 10, 2013

        What whistleblowers are you talking about and what do you mean by lately?

        1. David L. Allison July 10, 2013

          Whoops, back to uninformed opinion combined with totally off topic and silly questions. Mr. bosdorf could have fairly replied ‘google it’ but he is a gentleman.

      2. daniel bostdorf July 10, 2013

        This has nothing to do with the topc, Mr. of Ms. Troll .

        A social media troll as someone who seeks to lure or bait people into negative, disruptive rhetoric for their own edification or to commandeer an otherwise free-flowing discussion among colleagues. They don’t recognize anyone that may be interested in discussing something that bores them and opt to criticize or yell “boring” instead of engaging in the discussion. They choose to belittle those who seek the information and discourse as well as those who try to provide it. They simply have no interest in anything that is not self-serving. Trolls will defend their focus on expressing contrary opinions as an honorable attempt to rid the online community of fake-experts, get to the truth of a matter or enlighten their followers; however, their intent has nothing to do with community building or public enlightenment.

        1. Sand_Cat July 10, 2013

          OK, you think it has nothing to do with the topic?
          Sorry, I disagree. I believe it has been claimed by knowledgeable persons (I don’t keep a running bibliography of who and what I read, but this was not from some right-wing source) that the Obama administration has been at least as vigorous in prosecuting whistleblowers as its predecessors, probably considerably moreso, which was the reason for the post to which you take exception.

          And if you consider me a troll, fine. Most of my posts retaliate against other trolls, and my type of response is what I believe they deserve. As far as public enlightenment and community building, if I thought either had a snowflake’s chance in hell, particularly on this kind of forum, I might change my methods.
          I do not attempt to divert the discussion to irrelevancy, but to lampoon and shame those I consider liars or willfully ignorant and point out the falsehood of their claims. For the record, I would not put elw in either of those categories, but I find it appalling so many people who appear to be thoughtful, well-informed, and intelligent are willing to join the lynch mob in this case, which – perhaps I misread your posts – appears to be your own position.
          Finally, it’s MR. Troll to you.

          1. daniel bostdorf July 10, 2013

            In revealing MASSIVE U.S. government’s eavesdropping on everyone around the world, Snowden has performed a greater public service—equal to or exceeding Gandi-King-Mandela — Snowden’s act is important from a GLOBAL civil rights point of view ie of the RIGHT to privacy….This act by Snowden outweighs any breach of trust he may have committed.

          2. Sand_Cat July 10, 2013

            OK, I agree. What has this to do with either of my posts?

          3. daniel bostdorf July 10, 2013

            I am responding to the topic and not your posts.

          4. Sand_Cat July 11, 2013

            Then why are you posting in answer to me?

          5. daniel bostdorf July 11, 2013

            good point—apology—thought I was posting to main feed not you…

    2. daniel bostdorf July 10, 2013

      The Global Principles on National Security and the Right to
      Information (called the Tshwane Principles, after the municipality in
      South Africa where they were finalized), assert that laws should protect
      public servants—including members of the military and contractors
      working for intelligence agencies—who disclose information to the public
      so long as four conditions are met: (1) The information concerns
      wrongdoing by government or government contractors (defined in some
      detail); (2) The person attempted to report the wrongdoing, unless there
      was no functioning body that was likely to undertake an effective
      investigation or if reporting would have posed a significant risk of
      destruction of evidence or retaliation against the whistleblower or a
      third party; (3) The disclosure was limited to the amount of information
      reasonably necessary to bring to light the wrongdoing; and (4) The
      whistleblower reasonably believed that the public interest in having the
      information revealed outweighed any harm to the public interest that
      would result from disclosure.

      In this case, Snowden “reasonably believed that the public interest
      in having the information revealed outweighed any harm to the public
      interest that would result
      from disclosure.”

      He is a hero.

      1. elw July 10, 2013

        That conclusion is your opinion. You have a right to it but it does not make it the right one. I still stand by mine.

        1. daniel bostdorf July 10, 2013

          appreciate your viewpoint–thanks—my conclusion is based upon facts, not opinion…

        2. David L. Allison July 10, 2013

          And all of us will stand arm in arm to protect your erroneous opinion.

          1. daniel bostdorf July 10, 2013

            Give me 12 reasons why it is erroneous?

          2. David L. Allison July 10, 2013

            Only if you give me 12 why it is correcteous.

          3. daniel bostdorf July 11, 2013

            troll you are ie:

            A social media troll as someone who seeks to lure or bait people into negative, disruptive rhetoric for their own edification or to commandeer an otherwise free-flowing discussion among colleagues. They don’t recognize anyone that may be interested in discussing something that bores them and opt to criticize or yell “boring” instead of engaging in the discussion. They choose to belittle those who seek the information and discourse as well as those who try to provide it. They simply have no interest in anything that is not self-serving. Trolls will defend their focus on expressing contrary opinions as an honorable attempt to rid the online community of fake-experts, get to the truth of a matter or enlighten their followers; however, their intent has nothing to do with community building or public enlightenment.

      2. Jim Myers July 10, 2013

        Do you honestly believe that Snowden read, analyzed, and decided that each and every one of the thousands of classified documents he disseminated was government wrongdoing, worthy of exposure?

        By what justification can you possibly think this was an honorable act?

        Who gave him the right to decide who lives and who dies by his actions?

        Did he have sufficient expertise in each area of security that
        qualified him to make that decision?

        Sometimes, there is a much larger picture that one small piece of information may not reveal, but that one small piece of information might be crucial to the entire operation.

        Some of the security information he divulged had nothing to do with the belief that the United States was mishandling information.

        One glaring example was the exposure of next generation security systems for military equipment, and the design specifications for military equipment not yet manufactured, or in real world use.

        This could cost the United States years of planning and massive expenditures, and may cause security breaches for years to come.

        Snowden committed Treason. Plain and simple.

        An act that can, and likely will, cost the lives of many military and civilian contractors.

        People you and I may, or may not, know. People with families.

        How many American families will suffer because of his actions?

        If he honestly feels justified in his actions, he should be man enough to stand trial and defend his actions.

        Otherwise, he is nothing but a glorified coward who got in over his head.

        1. daniel bostdorf July 10, 2013

          It has nothing to do with your antiquated and bizarre macho testosterone driven ” he should be man enough to stand trial and defend his actions… or that he is a coward.

          he did not committ treason because, if you knew anything about the legal basis for treason, you wouldn’t make a baseless claim.

          Treason can only occur when the Congress has officially declared war.

          I see no declaration of war….I only see NSA abuses of global privacy…

          Snowdne already proved he has cojones by whistle-blowing about the the unconstitutional acts and practices of this government as dozens of whistle blowers before him.

          he is braver than you and me. Period.

          He has done NOTHING to “cost the lives of many military and civilian contractors” CONTRARY to your statements. Please back up this paranoid view on your part with verifiable FACTS….not opinion.

          Snowden acted appropriately, and legally, as did Daniel Ellsberg and others, to expose the corruption of the “surveillance state” that is doing more harm nationally and globally than anything Snowden has done.

          You may want to suspend your Constitutionally protect privacy rights, but not me.

          Snowden has clear authority under The Global Principles on National Security and the Right to Information.

          He exercised his responsibilitiies not only to his conscious but in service to the USA in protecting The Bill of Rights, and in service to humanity of this planet by exposing the NSA.

        2. David L. Allison July 10, 2013

          Daniel: you are ranting again with a number of unanswerable questions to which you deeply believe, but have no proof whatsoever, the answers would be true. You then make assumptions, some of which are demonstrably untrue and others, the truth of which cannot be determined. It is an interesting but silly way to try to argue your point that Snowden is a bad guy. You start out by saying, in effect, “I think Snowden is a bad guy” and finally close with a comment saying, in effect, “I think Snowden is a bad guy and should be punished.”

          try harder next time with, you know, facts and things, like Kansan and Bostdorf have done. They convince people. You just confuse people with “today I hate… blah, blah, blah. I really hate… blah bla bla.

          1. daniel bostdorf July 10, 2013

            This article is about Pitts and his false claim Snowden is no hero.

            I far from rant about anything.

            If anything, you are a troll..you offer NOTHING of positive, constructive dialogue on this topic do you???….

            You exhibit troll behavior and thinking:

            A social media troll as someone who seeks to lure or bait people into negative, disruptive rhetoric for their own edification or to commandeer an otherwise free-flowing discussion among colleagues.

            They don’t recognize anyone that may be interested in discussing something that
            bores them and opt to criticize or yell “boring” instead of engaging in the discussion.

            PLEASE NOTE: They choose to belittle those who seek the information and discourse as well as those who try to provide it. They simply have no interest in anything that is not self-serving.

            Trolls will defend their focus on expressing contrary opinions as an honorable attempt to rid the online community of fake-experts, get to the truth of a matter or enlighten their followers; however, their intent has nothing to do
            with community building or public enlightenment.

            Your personal rant about me is inappropriate and troll like.

            Back to the discussion:

            In revealing MASSIVE U.S. government’s eavesdropping on everyone around the world, Snowden has performed a greater public service—equal to or exceeding Gandi-King-Mandela — Snowden’s act is important from a GLOBAL civil rights point of view ie of the RIGHT to privacy….This act by Snowden outweighs any breach of trust he may have committed.

  11. Sand_Cat July 10, 2013

    I like how this jackass (the author) presumes to dictate what Mr. Snowden must do to be a hero, not that Snowden is necessarily even interested in the role.
    The actions of the NSA – under all the pseudo-patriotic, pseudo-legal justifications – are and continue to be violations of the Fourth Amendment, and possibly others as well. With essentially meaningless oversight from a kangaroo court that answers to no one because no one with any interest in opposing can even see its rulings, we have the perfect machinery in place for dictatorship, especially when added to corporate ownership of most areas of our government and the extreme right’s ownership of our Supreme Court (would the Supreme Court even be allowed to review, much less overrule, the FISA court?).
    In this environment, any form of resistance whatsoever is heroic. And of course, Mr. Pitts is very selective in his choice of heros that Mr. Snowden must emulate. Why not Francis Marion, George Washington, and all of the other “traitors” who fought their government to establish this country?

    1. John Pigg July 10, 2013

      Kudos for mention of the “Swamp Fox”.

      I also like your point on the complete independence of the appointed judges of the FISA court.

  12. Mark Forsyth July 10, 2013

    While I would not call Snowden a hero I don’t regard him as the traitorous villain he is made out to be.Spying has gone on a long time and I agree that a certain amount of it is pertinent to our National Security.However,it is clear that the spying program as it exists,is ripe for corruption and the violation of civil liberties.What has also been revealed,is that there is technology available that could be implemented into the program that would protect the privacy of civilians while maintaining National Security.Those government officials who operate the spying program have thus far blocked the use of the technology preferring instead to maintain the status quo.
    Representatives from Britains’ Intelligence and Media communities were on the air at the time Snowden went to Russia.Both Britain and our own government share voluminous amounts of intell.The reps stated that after close examination of the info Smowden released thus far,that the release posed no serious security risk to either country.
    So,who are you going to believe? What Snowden has done is to cause us to have a long overdue discussion about the Patriot Act and the balance of National Security and Civil Liberty.I think Americans deserve to have this discussion and hammer out a solution.We also deserve not only National Security but also to be secure in our individual private lives from government intrusion.

    1. daniel bostdorf July 10, 2013

      I agree with you when you state: “What Snowden has done is to cause us to have a long overdue discussion
      about the Patriot Act and the balance of National Security and Civil
      Liberty.I think Americans deserve to have this discussion and hammer out
      a solution.We also deserve not only National Security but also to be
      secure in our individual private lives from government intrusion.”

  13. howa4x July 10, 2013

    When the Vietnam war was raging Daniel Ellsberg made a courageous decision. To release papers showing how we were loosing the war. He stood firm and said try me. and they did and the govt lost the case. Snowden went into the NSA for the sole purpose of stealing secrets. That is treason and different from Manning. Everyone that doesn’t live under a rock knows that the govt was spying on us. Ever since GWB pushed through the patriot act there has been a reading of emails ands eavesdropping, that was no revelation. His crime was to expose the work that we were doing in other countries and who was doing it. This put CIA agents in danger. We depend on these overseas networks to pick up threats that are emerging from other countries. What Snowden did was actually make us as a nation less safe and damaged some of the networks beyond repair.

    1. daniel bostdorf July 10, 2013

      In revealing MASSIVE U.S. government’s eavesdropping on everyone around
      the world, Snowden has performed a greater public service—equal to or
      exceeding Gandi-King-Mandela — Snowden’s act is important from
      a GLOBAL civil rights point of view ie of the RIGHT to privacy….This
      act by Snowden outweighs any breach of trust he may have committed.

  14. charleo1 July 10, 2013

    One of the central questions we are discussing, and trying without much success
    to answer. Is our government illegally, and gratuitously spying on us, for reasons
    that are suspect? Or, is our government acting in good faith to the oath taken by
    all those to whom power is entrusted? To protect, and defend The Constitution of
    The United States? And by that, the safety, and security of the Country? There are
    those with personal experience, and background in this very complicated field.
    That on the whole, seem to indicate, our actions fall within the scope of necessity.
    With the occasional caveat. For the rest, their opinions seem to be driven much
    more by their already pre-conceived opinions of the government, formed perhaps
    long ago. But, having little or nothing, to do with the actual facts about the program,
    it’s oversight, or lack thereof. If the person was generally mistrustful of the
    government before. They generally assume the information being collected is
    excessive, and being collected with far too little oversight. For reasons that are
    too often, assumed to be part of the individual’s darkest fears about their government, they may have harbored for years. One fellow was sure it was part
    of a well planned, blackmail scheme. Whereby politician, and patriot alike would be compromised. Another was sure it was all about the corporate takeover, that was already being carried out. These people see Snowden’s actions as a great service to his Country. To which I say hold on. When did it become naive, to start from a position of first supporting one’s government? As one would start from a position of innocent until proven guilty? And try the case based on the facts, and not as an opportunity to put the government on trial for the Iraq War. Which I read in some
    of the comments. There were many of us disagreed with it. Many of us believe, the public was lied to. Others may find the tax policies are inherently unfair. But, we can’t wrap all of our grievances into this case, and expect to have any chance of coming up with the correct answer. And, that is the point here, isn’t it? That’s what we want. One fact we know, is the first attack on The World Trade Center, with the
    intention of bringing at least one of the buildings down, was carried out in 1993.
    The results were not satisfactory to the terrorists. But they didn’t try again, for
    another 8 years. Which tells us, we may not know for years, if the actions of Edward
    Snowden informed a free people of a threat to their liberty. Or, if by a bit of the information gleaned by the acts of Snowden. A terrorist ring was able to adjust their actions in such a way to bring their plan in under the radar, to a successful and deadly conclusion. And would that change the opinions of those that now hail
    him as a hero? Let’s be very careful here. As my wise friend Dominick Vila, advises.
    Patriotism, and common sense will serve us in good stead here.

  15. irishtap July 10, 2013

    I’m very disappointed and frankly surprised at Leonard Pitts for suggesting Snowden come back to the land of ‘Milk and honey and a whole lot of surveillance’. Dr. King himself was a victim of wire taps and espionage – probably killed by Hoover’s FBI. I believe the point needs to be made that nobody but Snowden is aware of the extent and reach of NSA surveillance making him both extremely valuable to the citizenry for what he can teach us and by equal measure, damnable to his previous employer for what he has the capacity to expose to the light of day. Does it really need to be explained that Snowden – an extremely bright man, knew his best option was to leave the country he loves in effort to save it? He being aware – as most of us are, he faced impregnable obstacles for telling his side of this sordid accosting of our democratic principles. The man had no viable alternative but to leave – that’s on the damned fools whom voted for the traitorous ‘Patriot Act’ and NSA – not Mr. Snowden. What good would he do us sitting in solitary confinement for the rest of his life, where he would be subjected to harsh/unreasonable treatment? Spy apparatus would use media assets in constant effort to vilify him as a terrorist in waiting. This man gave up one hell of a lot to warn us. He is a “victim” as much as a “hero” in my book. It’s that low life Clapper whom should be brought up on charges!

  16. Eleanore Whitaker July 13, 2013

    Those men in this country who call themselves “men” are phonies to their marrow when they pretend they are supporting Snowden out of a sense of patriotism. How is endangering the lives of others in the country “patriotic.” First there were Beatniks, then Hippies, then Yippies and Yuppies and now? The Twerpies….these are young men who protest how right they must always be like a bunch of overindulged Little Lord Fauntleroys. Snowden is a part of this breed. He operates on bloated ego that tells him what a genius he must be to have an entire government at his mercy. Think again oh stupid Twerpie. Who’s country will he have to beg entrance to for all his pathetic attempts at showing his oh so superior genius now? Roflmao!

  17. commserver July 15, 2013

    I agree that Snowden is no hero.

    If you notice, Russia has asked that he stop saying anthing, fearing that it might antagonize the US.

    China has ignored him.

    Wouldn’t you think that these countries would be eager to get their hands on him?


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