Election 2012 NSA President Obama Security

Snowden in 2009: NY Times Sources Should Be “Shot in the Balls”

I’ve seen complaints that we appear to be on a mission to smear Edward Snowden with some of the stories we’ve shared and questions we’ve asked — questions we still don’t have answers to — but I have to say that nothing we’ve shared here before even remotely compares to what Ars Technica published today which could very well be the final nail in the coffin. And in my own defense, my interest is in establishing what is true, not merely what is fact.

Thus far we only had vague implications that Snowden was supportive of Ron Paul and evidence that he donated to Paul’s 2012 campaign, but thanks to the detective work of Ars Technica, we now know his devotion goes far beyond that.

After arriving in Switzerland and implying that most Swiss males ‘look gay,’ he later went on to detail his love of the Gold Standard and Ron Paul, his hatred of Ben Bernanke, his fondness of short-selling stocks, his admiration for John McCain, and — more importantly — his views that leakers like himself should be “shot in the balls.”

In the months following the 2008 election, he discussed his embrace of a return to the gold standard and his admiration of its highest-profile champion.

In his more hyperbolic moments, Snowden spoke about the fall of the dollar in near-apocalyptic terms. “It seems like the USD and GBP are both likely to go the way of the zimbabwe dollar,” he suggested in March 2009. “Especially with that cockbag bernanke deciding to magically print 1.2T more dollars.”

On the 2009 election

During the election, Snowden suggested he could support Obama if he were somehow to join forces with his opponent, John McCain. Snowden saw McCain as an “excellent leader” and “a guy with real values,” unlike Bush. But he wasn’t dreading an Obama presidency. “We need an idealist first and foremost,” he wrote. “Hillary Clinton, I think, would be a pox on the country.”

Once Obama took office, Snowden groaned about his policies with increasing frequency. Fears that Obama might revive an assault weapons ban didn’t sit well with him as a defender of the Second Amendment. Another sticking point was social security.

And on shooting leakers “in the balls”

Livid about the across-the-board defense cuts that were planned under Obama, Snowden acidly joked that “[m]aybe we could just outsource our defense needs to india.”

Worse yet, during a remarkable January 2009 chat, Snowden wrote that Obama had “appointed a fucking politician to run the CIA.” In that same conversation, he vented his rage over reading a New York Times article about US actions in Iran, which was based on confidential leaks.


I don’t agree with Snowden. I don’t believe leakers should be “shot in the balls,” but I do believe they should be prosecuted if they have broken the law. A whistleblower who has revealed criminal activity would and should be protected from prosecution, however Snowden is not a whistleblower because he did not reveal anything illegal.

Joe Mullin writing for Ars Technica can only speculate on what happened between 2009 and 2013 that transformed Snowden into who he is today, but I’m willing to take a stab at it myself.

Here’s what happened in 2009


And here’s what happened in 2012


Our own MrBrink would tell you that I speculated (admittedly with more colorful language) that these two events are what transformed Snowden into the person he is today, but the evidence to support that hypothesis is now stronger than ever.

I myself have changed a great deal since 2009, but whereas I was less trusting of government during the Bush years and have become more trusting today, Snowden followed an opposing path on which his trust of government has diminished since President Bush left office.

Bush destroyed nearly everyone’s trust in government, Left and Right, but apparently that wasn’t the case for Snowden. The blame for his disillusionment can be placed at the feet of the nation’s first black president. A man who Snowden admittedly did not vote for.

For the purposes of discussing the substance, what little there is, of what Edward Snowden leaked, his political views do not matter, but the lionization and political idolization of him by certain characters on the Left has now gone beyond annoying to embarrassing.

Not surprisingly, those who naively declared that they would “Stand with Rand,” can also be counted among those who would stand with Snowden. And, lo and behold, we found out days later that Rand Paul would be okay with using a drone to take out a petty liquor store thief.

Now that we know that the NSA did not have sweeping direct-access to Americans’ data all times and that a court order is required to proceed with surveillance of foreign suspects, and now that we know Edward Snowden is a false idol, my hope is that we (or more importantly the liberal sphere of the fourth estate) can refocus on things that really matter such as climate change, immigration reform, and the impending assault on voting rights.

  • thehoopoe

    As if we needed more evidence that he is a confused rube.

  • D_C_Wilson

    His user name is “TheTrueHooha”?

  • blackdaug

    Well, there seems to be something missing in these comments,so I will provide it:
    “Leave Britney….I mean Snowden alone!! Leave him alone!! Haters!!
    But..really….if you are reading this Ed…can I call you Ed? I feel like I know you at this point.
    Like Charlie Sheen…without the hookers and coke.
    Ed… I would just like to take my share of responsibility for forcing you to adopt these desperate measures.
    You see, back in 08 and again in 2012 ….I snuck into a local government installation……. ….and get this…………voted for Obama!
    Like three times! (Not all at once…..but you get the idea…..)
    If I had known it was going to lead to all this…..well..I would have done it anyway.
    Das Vadana….nutball….

  • muselet

    Whatever else one can say about Edward Snowden, he’s a Grade-A weirdo. I don’t doubt he has the chops to be an effective sysadmin, but holy cats, didn’t his oddities raise at least one little red flag during his hiring or the security clearance process?

    Also, too, this.


    • Joyce M

      Yes, but they hired him anyway. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/21/usa-security-snowden-idUSL2N0EW1T420130621

      Hiring screeners at Booz Allen Hamilton, a contractor for the National Security Agency, found possible discrepancies in a resume submitted by Edward Snowden, but the company still employed him, a source with detailed knowledge of the matter said on Thursday.

      • muselet

        Yup. If there’s any justice in the world, BAH won’t be trusted to do security screenings ever again.

        “Hey, Ralph! This guy lied on his resume and he’s crazy as a shithouse rat.”

        “Can he do the job?”

        “Looks like it.”

        “Did he check the box that says, ‘I am not an agent of any foreign government or terrorist organization’?”


        “Good enough for me, Larry. Issue him a badge.”


      • carowe

        sequestration – saving the government money with no ill effects. Somebody really good would have cost more.

    • thehoopoe

      Nah. He’s a typical poorly educated white male libertarian.

  • BlueTrooth

    As much as the important issue is not Snowden, his story is central to the “other” issue of whistleblower vs leak vs espionage vs political espionage. There’s a whole lot of scenarios and some great fictional “spy thrillers” that can be created from the basics we know. I mention political espionage because ideology has been central to the “Snowden story” although he made an effort to dismiss ideology right from the start. He implied he may have been a “supporter” of the President when that is clearly not the case. His return to NSA-related work with the specific goal of stealing documents comes on the heels of a GOP thumping. Did Snowden have contact with Darrell Issa? It would make a sensational conspiracy theory that a left leaning Breitbart type organization certainly wouldn’t let pass without at least connecting a few dots. But seriously, I believe that Snowden is really all about Snowden and he gave in to temptation and promises. He’s a wannabe “rock star” in the tech world and now he’s in this thing way over his head. I don’t believe he acted alone, but those dots have yet to be connected.(although they are in plain sight). In the end, we’ll probably be shaking our heads at the age-old trap of “blind ambition” with a digital twist. Regarding NatSec, I’m not as convinced he has caused irreparable damage, but I know full well he has released no “new” information or illegal activity beyond foreign surveillance that China is certainly aware of(and it’s debatable whether it’s illegal, considering the mild response by China and/or Russia). PRISM has been fairly well covered in books and articles and there’s actually legislation regarding the reforms involving FISA and access to data. I’ll plug Kurt Eichenwald again as well. There is a tie-in with Voting Rights that I do hope the Civil Libertarians can make some time for. The predominant method of “reform” the conservatives are pursuing is a “Voter ID” law which is a privacy concern, as well as other facets. Voter ID provides a political database of immense power and probable abuse at the local, state and national levels. Immigration is a central issue regarding civil rights and reducing carbon emissions? Why worry about civil rights when the planet is dying?

    • carowe

      Interesting perspective. Much of it is in line with my own suspicions the day this story broke, which have only been turned from casual speculation to constantly being matched with stuff that breaks later. Hadn’t thought about the voting rights thing but it would make sense. Thank God Scalia and Thomas aren’t on the FISA court. Or are they?

  • astrocat96

    While I find myself in general agreement with both you and Bob on this topic, I think you might be oversimplifying Snowden’s mental justification for turning into a leaker. From this article, as well as previous statements of his in The Guardian, he doesn’t come across as a rabid Obama hater. He may not have voted for him, but he has admitted that he liked Obama’s ideals to a certain degree.

    It seems more likely that his employment inside the security state apparatus led him to discover things that affected his conscience in such a way that he felt he had a moral obligation to come forward and tell the public.

    Now, strength of conviction doesn’t excuse his actions by any means, but it does help explain how he justified it in his own mind.

    • Rollo Tamasi

      “He may not have voted for him, but he has admitted that he liked Obama’s ideals to a certain degree.”

      That’s pretty much verbatim to what every phony concern troll says in comment sections in their weak and misguided attempts to sway Obama supporters.

      “I voted for Obama twice and I’m so disappointed because of . . .”

      It’s bullshit. It’s bullshit coming from phony concern trolls and is bullshit coming from Snowden.

      • missliberties

        “They” have been saying this about Obama since day Two. They are so very very disappointed.

        It wouldn’t matter who was President to these types, because war crimes, etc.

    • venezia3540

      So how does it explain his outrage at the NYT for leaking about the illegal wiretapping during GWB, while he was already working in some capacity in national security, yet he finds the same exact thing “affecting his conscience” only four years later?

      • Rollo Tamasi


    • Joyce M

      Snowden had been in Hong Kong before. When Mr. Snowden came to Hong Kong from Hawaii in late May, he looked up a person whom he had met on a previous vacation here. That person, whom Mr. Ho declined to identify but described as a well-connected Hong Kong resident, became Mr. Snowden’s “carer.” From the NY Times article.

      He admitted he took the position with the purpose of stealing U.S. intel, which the Chinese wanted.

      • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

        Yeah, a lovely little ‘wink, wink, nudge, nudge’ there. The info just so happened to be what China wanted AFTER he’d already been there. Things that make you go hmmmmmmmm.

        • Joyce M

          Snowden also divulged British and Australian intelligence. He lied on his resume, was caught, but hired anyway. Who helped him get the job will be part of a criminal investigation.

          • missliberties

            Can’t wait to find out. You are all over this story. IN a good way.

    • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

      affected his conscience in such a way that he felt he had a moral obligation to come forward and tell the public.

      Snowden himself has already admitted that months before he took the NSA job he’d decided he was going to “leak” classified material and claimed to be in touch with Greenwald at this time. If there was some previous experience or revelation from his prior security work that caused him to come forward, why didn’t he go forward with that info? If it was such a huge game changer for him it would probably have been for us too. But that’s not the info he gave us….and it’s unclear when he developed this conscience. I mean, wanting to shoot leakers in the balls to becoming one is kind of weird, isn’t it? What was the profound revelation that made him want to go into the NSA? And why when he was there did he only leak legal classified info to the world, some of which has hurt our relationships with China, Russia, etc. If terrorists take advantage of this new SIGINT and are able to hurt the U.S. via an attack, there will be some serious calls for Snowden’s head. Not to mention, more than enough proof to send him to prison for the rest of his natural life.

    • mdblanche

      To me, Snowden’s views sound like he’s just a combo of Paulite and government-employed libertarian.

    • carowe

      Meh. The whole leaker / whistleblower persona is a cover – damage control attempt to distract from what he was doing for megabucks from the Chinese (and now probably some from Russia as well). A calculated attempt to adopt a Julian Asange persona (not that he’s anything to admire, either) in the hopes that public opinion would rush to his side. Which for some lesser beings is the case. But it isn’t very effective because it was poorly planned and poorly executed and darn if these little facts and recollections don’t keep trickling out to belie the story.

    • DetroitSam

      It seems that you missed the latest Snowden revelation: He got the job with the intelligence agencies for the specific purposes of collection information to use against the U.S.
      Why hasn’t he also released info to show that the countries he has placed so much faith in are spying on this country? Also, too, hacking?
      This guy is looking for fame and by working with that whore Greenwald, he is destined to go down in history as just what he is: A F*%*#*G TRAITOR.

  • missliberties

    The guy is a brillaint paranoid? Or a not so genius freak?

    Glenn Greenwald is now embarssing himself even further, adding to the paranoia factor stating in his new screed, that Edward Snowden has distributed archives of his stolen documents to “many different people,” just in case “anything happens” to him.

    Greenwald is just as paranoid and is NOT a journalist any more than Pam Geller or Robert Spencer are journalists.

    It’s always fun to read Charles Johnson at LGF when it comes to this story. They make the story more fun by adding a dash of humor.


    Bob is correct, in that we will now have MORE secrecy not less.

    • beulahmo

      I don’t know whether Greenwald is paranoid or not, but intel professionals are laughing at his naiveté — in a sort of horrified way. Telling the world that Edward Snowden has a “dead man’s switch” on him makes him a target for anyone interested in making the U.S. look bad having its classified info exposed. What the fuck?

      • missliberties

        The same small group of people on the left, the green weenies, that claim to be hard core liberals, and have used Greenwald’s ‘brilliance’ to bash and trash Obama for years sure as heck don’t contribute much to the discussion.

        It’s hilarious that they think this was a brillaint move, these info release triggers, to prevent Snowden from being assassinated. Wait, what? It is plainly obvious that these folks have not now, nor will they ever support democrats or President Obama, because drones, war crimes, and now the glorification of Snowden as a true ‘hero’.

        It just boogles my mind.


        • beulahmo

          Sorry — I can’t go to dailykos. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the link; it’s just that I avoid dailykos completely in the interest of self-preservation. :)

          • missliberties

            I hear ya. The purists drive me crazy.

      • Bubble Genius

        That, of course, is assuming that anyone else around the world actually thinks of Greenwald as an actual reporter who reports facts. Oh, wait, China got fooled by the Onion, didn’t they. Never mind.

      • blackdaug

        Yeah…I am not even sure Greenwald is much of a lawyer, much less journalist, given the stream of crazy coming off the Snowman…..that GG himself is channeling to the public.
        In the past week, he has basically confessed premeditation to commit a felony, and implicated his own mouthpiece as a co-conspirator.
        Add this new “Somebody kill me now to expose the evil empire!” sign he has glued to his own forehead….and GG doesn’t exactly come across as a 21rst century Clearance Darrow.

    • mdblanche

      You know, the first time I read this my brain processed it as “Glenn Beck” instead of Greenwald.

      • Bubble Genius

        Six of one…

  • Joyce M

    He seems so much like Robert Hanssen, who was a major hypocrite. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JPmiGTT6tI

  • Carpe_Jvgvlvm

    But you’re STILL not talking about Prism. I don’t care if Adolf Hitler Jr. was the whistleblower; check out the freaking MESSAGE and not the messenger.

    • Joyce M

      I read about Prism in 2008 and 2009 in the Wall Street Journal. It’s not anything new. What Snowden has done with his trip to China is accelerate the Chinese hacking program that’s transferring defense and business technologies to China. Now, in Russia, we will see an acceleration of identity theft and hacking into American’s financial accounts. He even told the world about SIGINT. Now, terror groups are changing their modes of communication.

      • Cobbesca
        • Joyce M

          Why didn’t Snowden go to the mat with these articles? http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120511973377523845.html

          The Chinese needed the information Snowden stole. The U.S. was about to let companies and it’s defense department, hack back if the Chinese intrusions continued.

          When Mr. Snowden came to Hong Kong from Hawaii in late May, he looked up a person whom he had met on a previous vacation here. That person, whom Mr. Ho declined to identify but described as a well-connected Hong Kong resident, became Mr. Snowden’s “carer.”


          • missliberties

            Have people forgotten how many American CEO’s use China to hide their business profits to commit money crimes? It is not beyond imagination that someone on the ‘inside’ either here or in China, with a free market high profits agenda put Snowden up to this.

            If one was going to speculate this all seems fairly obvious. Along with scandalsgate this all seemed time to effect the most damage possible to what some people call Obama’s agenda.

          • Cobbesca

            Umm…so? Fuck Snowden, seriously. I don’t give a damn about his motives, his hairstyle, who he voted for, or where he is. But I do care about the NSA/Alexander Keith lying, and Clapper lying, etc..ad nauseum. Care to take another crack at that one? Sheesh, you say nothing new here, I present you with just such a case and you careen off into Snowden mania. Ol’ Bobby Cesca has trained you well. If you can’t even stay on track with actual events and not more speculation, conjecture and bug-eyed conspiracy theories then there’s really no point in debating you. I’ll just continue to fling facts at the Snowden/GG inspector’s club. Forest people, forest. Get the fuck away from the trees, they’re just a distraction. 

        • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

          Um, Snowden didn’t reveal the trade deal that Pierce is talking about there. And he didn’t reveal the supposed inaccuracies in the NSA’s material on Domestic Spying. Udall is making a contention but can’t prove it in public because his knowledge is also classified. But if Udall knows so do other Congressional members and if they know, that’s called oversight. If they feel it’s inaccurate then they should and hopefully will force the NSA to correct it. If they feel it’s wrong and should be illegal, then they need to change the law. Ideally they’d get rid of all domestic spying and the entire Patriot Act. But again, nothing new, nothing illegal. So you’ll have to give another example because this one isn’t proof of “new revelations” resulting from Snowden’s leak.

    • beulahmo

      PRISM itself doesn’t bother me as long as the minimization used remains durable. What I’d like to discuss is whether too much stuff is being classified. I keep seeing investigative journalists making the criticism that classification of info is being over-used.

      • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

        This is a legitimate conversation to have and I would welcome it.

        • DetroitSam

          Before any conversation can begin, one must first find out the facts.
          Not Snowden facts. Continuing to blather nonsense is not conversation.

    • ursulas


    • mrbrink

      We should be talking about PRISM= We are slowly backing away from this radioactive bomb of a foreign policy saboteur we put on the world’s doorstep.

      “The Messenger…” is that what you are calling him?

      Too funny.

      • JMAshby

        He has a mission to set the truth free. Today is the day.

        • mrbrink

          Tomorrow the world will have its eyes wide opened by the truth. I’m sure of it.

          • blackdaug

            If any thing happens to him, there will be truth spewing all over the fucking place! Spewing truth! Get buckets!

          • mrbrink

            How do you say, “Jack Ruby” in Russian?

          • blackdaug

            Yep. As others have pointed out, he really seem to have complexity misunderstood the usage of a “dead mans switch” in this context.
            Its not supposed to be a device that encourages other “enemies of your enemy”….to kill you.

    • mdblanche

      It’s hard to focus on the message when the messenger keeps acting like the Grand Galactic Inquisitor: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGbPs5y3oz8

    • DetroitSam

      Perhaps you should spend a few moments trying to understand what is really going on before posting stupid. Snowden is no hero. And you don’t have even the vagest clue about PRISM.