Snowden sideshow

Is the search for NSA leaker distracting from more important issues?
Associated Press
Jun 29, 2013

Edward Snowden's continent-jumping, hide-and-seek game seems like the stuff of a pulp thriller — a desperate man's drama played out before a worldwide audience trying to decide if he's a hero or a villain.

But the search for the former National Security Agency contractor who spilled U.S. secrets has become something of a distracting sideshow, some say, overshadowing the important debate over the government's power to seize the phone and Internet records of millions of Americans to help in the fight against terrorism.

"You have to be humble on Day 1 to say, 'This isn't about me. This is about the information.'... I don't think he really anticipated the importance of making sure the focus initially was off him," says Mike Paul, president of MGP & Associates PR, a crisis management firm in New York. "Not only has he weakened his case, some would go as far as to say he's gone from hero to zero."

Snowden, he says, can get back on track by "utilizing whatever information he has like big bombs in a campaign," so the focus returns to the question of spying and not his life on the run.

Snowden's disclosures about U.S. surveillance to The Guardian newspaper and The Washington Post have created an uproar in Washington that shows no signs of fading.

A petition asking President Barack Obama to pardon Snowden has collected more than 123,000 signatures.

But the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., meanwhile, has called Snowden's disclosure of top-secret information "an act of treason." House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is among those who've called Snowden a "traitor."

The president has dismissed the 30-year-old Snowden as a "hacker" and he had pledged that the U.S. won't be scrambling military jets to snatch Snowden and return him to the U.S., where he faces espionage charges.

Snowden is possibly holed up in the wing of a Russian airport hotel reserved for travelers in transit who don't have visas to enter Russia. He might be waiting to hear whether Ecuador, Iceland or another country might grant him asylum. He fled Hong Kong last weekend after being charged with violating American espionage laws.

Some say Snowden is losing ground in the battle for public opinion by cloaking his travels in secrecy, creating more interest in his efforts to elude U.S. authorities than his allegations against the government.

By disappearing in Russia, he loses "access to rehabilitate himself in the public's mind," says William Weaver, a professor at the University of Texas at El Paso who has written about government secrecy.

"You have to keep selling yourself, if you will, and do it in a smart way so people don't get tired of you. ... His only hope was to hit a grand slam home run with the public and make it stick. For every hour that he's not doing something like that, he's in trouble."

Others say Snowden's personality is irrelevant and doesn't change his major argument — that U.S. intelligence agencies have lied about the scope of its surveillance of Americans.

Gene Healy, a vice president of the libertarian Cato Institute, recently wrote an essay denouncing pundits who've labeled Snowden a "grandiose narcissist" and a "total slacker." He maintains that the former contractor's revelations are all that matters. "The content of the message is far more important than the character of the messenger," he wrote in the Washington Examiner.

Healy said "the most disturbing" part of Snowden's disclosures was the massive amounts of data collected on citizens. "The potential abuse of that information represents a grave threat to American liberty and privacy regardless of Snowden's character and motivations," he wrote.

David Colapinto, general counsel at the National Whistleblowers Center, says it's not surprising Snowden has become an "easy target'" facing harsh criticism from those at the highest levels of government — people "who have a bigger megaphone than he does."

"The name-calling and whatever may happen in the future — we don't know what he's going to do," he adds. "We don't know what the government is going to do. ... It's pretty hard to pull out a crystal ball."

So far, America seems to be divided, according to polls taken in the first days after Snowden's leak of top-secret documents. Many people initially applauded the former contractor for exposing what they saw as government spying on ordinary Americans. Since then, though, government officials have responded with explanations of the program and congressional testimony attesting to the value of surveillance in thwarting terrorist attacks.

In one poll, a June 12-16 national survey by the Pew Research Center and USA Today, 49 percent of those surveyed said the release of classified information about the NSA program serves the public interest, while 44 percent found it harmful. For those under 30, the gap was dramatically larger. That group said it's good for the public by a 60-34 percent margin, according to the survey.

Still, 54 percent also said the government should pursue a criminal case against someone who leaked classified information about the program.

A second survey taken in that same five-day period found a similar split. The Washington Post-ABC news poll found that 43 percent support and 48 percent oppose criminally charging Snowden. But the survey also reported that 58 percent of Americans support the NSA's sweeping surveillance program.

Snowden has acknowledged taking highly classified documents about U.S. surveillance and sharing the information with the papers in Britain and Washington. He also told the South China Morning Post that the NSA hacked Chinese cellphone companies to seek text message data.

At this point, Snowden's main job is to stay out of prison and he has both a "powerful narrative" and major disadvantages, says Eric Dezenhall, head of a crisis management firm in Washington.

"The biggest thing on the asset side is the concern people have about government surveillance — it's very legitimate," Dezenhall says. "The weaknesses are having betrayed secrets he was entrusted with and the fact he ended up in these hostile countries. .... Public opinion doesn't move on nuance. (People think) You're a whistle-blower who's in Russia or China. So you think they have an answer to this problem? It's not very intelligent."

Gerald R. Shuster, a professor of political communication at the University of Pittsburgh, says if Snowden had remained in the U.S. and "stood his ground, he would have remained more heroic" and lawyers would have lined up to represent him.

But if he's brought back to face charges and "he's shown in handcuffs, the aura of idealism is over," Shuster says. "He's more and more perceived as a criminal."

Colapinto, the lawyer for the whistle-blower group, says it's too soon to know how Snowden's plight will play out.

"This is like a moving river," he says. "We're maybe midstream. We don't know where this will end up. I think history will judge him as things develop. But we just don't know the end of the story."

 

Comments

2cents

As long as your buying, they will keep producing over there with their slave labor!

registerer

May not really matter! The way President Obama is saddling our future generations with HUGE deficits there will be no way to spend their way out unless they give all of their money to the gov't. So, pick your poison, no money or the enviroment.

Centauri

The Federal Bureau of Intimidation is going after political activists and hactivists in order to keep the truth away from the people.

Snowden exposed to the people that the government was spying on them without warrants. The government has all kinds of information from chatrooms, private emails, your health records (violation of HIPAA), your private emails, phone calls and anything that you want private. The government with the help of private companies (stores) will know everything about you including what you buy.

Who will be watching the government if political activists and hactivists are intimidated, arrested and prosecuted?

Who will help you when the federal storm troopers come to your home without a warrant and arrest you for questioning your government? Nobody is going to help you because the federal goons are going after anybody who dares to expose the lies of the government and the ruling class.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/20...
"7 Anonymous Hackers Who Have Been Unmasked"

http://projectknightsec.com/

https://www.facebook.com/realkya...

http://www.restorethefourth.net/
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures...”

The Big Dog's back

Are you on the FISA court paulbot?

Mommy25

First they came for the whistle-blowers,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a whistle-blower.

Then they came for the Hacktivists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Hacktivists.

Then they came for the Christians,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Christian.

Then they came for the Gun Owners,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't the Gun Owner.

Then they came for the Conservatives,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Conservative.

Then they came for the Constitutionalists
and I did not speak out because I wasn't a constitutionalists

Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.

Centauri

Are the American people so brain washed in that they wish harm and death to silence whistle-blowers?

Do the American people want to hear the truth?

What has happened to freedoms in America?

Hope and change for the ruling class? It appears that way. Once they gain complete control of this nation, the freebies to the poor will stop. Those freebies were only meant to buy votes.

http://rt.com/usa/chalk-olson-di...
"Olson has been charged with 13 misdemeanor counts of vandalism for chalking slogans such as “No Thanks, Big Banks" and "Shame on Bank of America" on the sidewalks outside of branches in the San Diego area throughout 2012. Now as the criminal trial against him wages on in Southern California, the defendant and anyone remotely involved in the case are reportedly muzzled by a ban that could bring media coverage of the case to a grinding halt"

Soon letters to the editor of newspapers will be considered crimes against the government.

http://rt.com/usa/california-man...
"Jeff Olson, the 40-year-old man who is being prosecuted for scrawling anti-megabank messages on sidewalks in water-soluble chalk last year now faces a 13-year jail sentence. A judge has barred his attorney from mentioning freedom of speech during trial."

Freedom of speech cannot be mentioned during his trial.

deertracker

This guy is not a whistleblower. He is a traitor. He sought out that job to do exactly what he did. Execute him!

The Big Dog's back

Exactly right deertracker.

Mommy25

If you are afraid to speak out against tyranny (irregardless of the "side")

You are ALREADY a slave

The Big Dog's back

Don't let facts get in the way of your thinking.

Contango

Re: "Execute him!"

Just take him out back and SHOOT him eh?

Should he also be forced to dig his own grave?

So no day in court?

An EXCELLENT attitude for a good little mindless Barack-hole Nazi.

Centauri

“When the people fear the government there is tyranny, when the government fears the people there is liberty.”
― Thomas Jefferson

“If tyranny and oppression come to this land it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.”
― James Madison

“A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.”
― Thomas Jefferson

“Withholding information is the essence of tyranny. Control of the flow of information is the tool of the dictatorship.”
― Bruce Coville

“Those who are capable of tyranny are capable of perjury to sustain it.”
― Lysander Spooner

“Whatever crushes individuality is despotism.”
― John Stuart Mill

“Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and opressions of the body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.”
― Thomas Jefferson

“Experience hath shown, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.”
― Thomas Jefferson

“To conquer a nation, first disarm its citizens.”
― Adolf Hitler

“We just can't trust the American people to make those types of choices.... Government has to make those choices for people.”
― Hilary Rodham Clinton

“The only way to make a difference is to acquire power.”
― Hilary Rodham Clinton

"Silent acquiescence in the face of tyranny is no better than outright agreement.”
― C.J. Redwine, Defiance

Contango

Some good ones!

Here's a few more for ya:

“Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.”

- James Madison

“A foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of truth”

- Albert Einstein

“To stand in silence when they should be protesting makes cowards out of men.”

– Abraham Lincoln

Centauri

http://communities.washingtontim...
"WASHINGTON, June 19, 2013 — There was a time when the United States stood for freedom and liberty. There was a time when oppressed people who longed to be free would look to the United States."

"Today we are seeing events unfold that show one thing beyond a reasonable doubt and to a moral certainty: Obama supports tyranny around the world and opposes those who want freedom, especially freedom from Islamic tyranny."

Hope and change? Obama sweet talk?

The Big Dog's back

It's called Crony Capitalism.

Centauri

http://communities.washingtontim...
"WEST PALM BEACH, FL, June 29, 2013 – When Edward Snowden elected to release classified information to the world, he apparently saw himself as a Lone Ranger or Robin Hood-type hero, saving the world from big government eavesdropping.

Snowden presented himself as a reluctant champion, stepping forward only as a last resort, forced by a sense of duty to save the world."

Centauri

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/20...
"WASHINGTON -- Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday that Edward Snowden betrayed his country by leaking classified documents about the U.S. government's surveillance programs and warned that the former National Security Agency contractor may be spying for the Chinese government."

Dick Cheney and others are the real traitors. It doesn't matter if they are Republican or Democrats.

Centauri

http://rt.com/usa/drone-snowden-...
"Rep. Paul, who retired from Congress earlier this year after an unsuccessful bid at the presidency, has been outspoken in regards to both the Obama White House’s drone program and the need to protect whistleblowers. On the campaign trail last year he hailed Bradley Manning, the accused WikiLeaks source behind hundreds of thousands of sensitive files, and earlier this week he threw his weight behind supporting Snowden."

Centauri

http://www.freerepublic.com/focu...
"Politicians as diverse as Republican Speaker John Boehner and Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein called Snowden a traitor. So did former Vice President Dick Cheney, and President Obama said that for once Cheney’s words were music to his ears. On the other hand, former Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich, Republican Sen. Rand Paul, my Fox News colleague Bill O’Reilly and I have all referred to Snowden as a hero.

What did Snowden do that has those in power screaming for his scalp and those — generally — who fear the loss of liberty, including millions of young people, grateful for his courage?"

Centauri

http://rare.us/story/napolitano-...
"The first oath was to keep secret the classified materials to which he would be exposed in his work as a spy; the second oath was to uphold the Constitution.

Shortly after Snowden began his work with the NSA, he came to the realization that he could not comply with both oaths. He realized that by keeping secret what he learned, he was keeping the American public in the dark about what its government is doing outside the Constitution in order to control the public."

"The government persuaded a federal judge with a perverse understanding of the values and history and language of the Constitution to sign a series of orders directing the largest telephone company in the U.S. and the largest Internet providers in the world to make available to the government’s prying eyes all sorts of information about nearly all of us, thus allowing the feds to monitor our use of land-line and wireless phones, as well as our use of emails and texts. The numbers are staggering. Verizon has greater than 113,000,000 U.S. customers who generate or receive more than one billion phone calls every day. Americans text and email one another using the services of Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Facebook and others many billions of times every day.

The judge’s order was profoundly unconstitutional, as is the section of the Patriot Act that authorized it. The Constitution requires that the government demonstrate to all judges being asked to sign search warrants specific evidence of criminal behavior contained in the things to be seized. And it requires that the warrants themselves particularly describe the places to be searched or the persons or things to be seized."

Centauri
OMG.LOL.WT_

America Founded by Geniuses but Run by Idiots

If you can get arrested for hunting or fishing without a license,
but not for being in the country illegally … you might live in a country
founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

If you have to get your parents’ permission to go on a field trip or
take an aspirin in school, but not to get an abortion … you might live
in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

If you have to show identification to board an airplane, cash a
check, buy liquor, or check out a library book, but not to vote who runs
the government … you might live in a country founded by geniuses but
run by idiots.

If the government wants to ban stable, law-abiding citizens from
owning gun magazines with more than ten rounds, but gives 20 F-16
fighter jets to the crazy new leaders in Egypt … you might live in a
country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

If, in the largest city, you can buy two 16-ounce sodas, but not a
24-ounce soda because 24-ounces of a sugary drink might make you fat …
you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.
If an 80-year-old woman can be stripped searched by the TSA but a
woman in a hijab is only subject to having her neck and head searched …
you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

If your government believes that the best way to eradicate trillions
of dollars of debt is to spend trillions more … you might live in a
country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

If a seven year old boy can be thrown out of school for saying his
teacher is “cute,” but hosting a sexual exploration or diversity class
in grade school is perfectly acceptable … you might live in a country
founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

If children are forcibly removed from parents who discipline them
with spankings while children of addicts are left in filth and drug
infested “homes”… you might live in a country founded by geniuses but
run by idiots.

If hard work and success are met with higher taxes and more
government intrusion, while not working is rewarded with EBT cards, WIC
checks, Medicaid, subsidized housing, and free cell phones … you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

If the governments plan for getting people back to work is to
incentivize NOT working with 99 weeks of Unemployment checks and no
requirement to prove they applied but can’t find work … you might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

If you pay your mortgage faithfully, denying yourself the newest big
screen TV while your neighbor buys iPhones, TVs and new cars, and the
government forgives his debt when he defaults on his mortgage … you
might live in a country founded by geniuses but run by idiots.

If being stripped of the ability to defend yourself makes you more
“safe” according to the government … you might live in a country founded
by geniuses but run by idiots.

Sad But True

Centauri

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=...
"The Snowden Case What You're Not Being Told"

Centauri

A real MARINE would take out the domestic enemy with a .308.

The Big Dog's back

Gee, I think paulbot went over the edge.

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