Economy FISA NSA Open Thread

The Chase


Artist – David Fitzsimmons

I agree with most of what Jeffrey Toobin has to say here, arguing that Snowden is neither a hero or a whistelblower. Particularly these passages.

These were legally authorized programs; in the case of Verizon Business’s phone records, Snowden certainly knew this, because he leaked the very court order that approved the continuation of the project. So he wasn’t blowing the whistle on anything illegal; he was exposing something that failed to meet his own standards of propriety. [...]

The American government, and its democracy, are flawed institutions. But our system offers legal options to disgruntled government employees and contractors. They can take advantage of federal whistle-blower laws; they can bring their complaints to Congress; they can try to protest within the institutions where they work. But Snowden did none of this. Instead, in an act that speaks more to his ego than his conscience, he threw the secrets he knew up in the air—and trusted, somehow, that good would come of it.

He trusted that information to Glenn Greenwald, which almost guaranteed that nothing good would come of it. He’s toxic to rational debate and he makes it impossible to stake out a middle ground or compromise.

  • JozefAL

    “. . . arguing that Snowden is neither a hero or a whistelblower.” Considering the fact that Snowden FLED THE COUNTRY, I’d certainly agree that he’s no hero. As to his being a whistleblower, we can argue that over and over, but I’ve NEVER heard of a genuine whistleblower who FLED THE COUNTRY before “blowing the whistle.”

    What terms best describe people who FLEE THE COUNTRY? Let’s see: Fugitives from justice? Greedy rich people who don’t want to pay their fair share of taxes on money they made as citizens? People unwilling to face the consequences of their actions?

    Now, granted Bradley Manning was in the military at the time he was captured so his chances of fleeing the country were pretty minute, but anyone who suggests that Snowden should be considered another Manning is out of their fucking minds.

    • villemar

      I like what Charlie Pierce had to say about this guy’s self martyrdom: “I am sorry, but this is the stuff of bad airport spy fiction. (“Rendered”? The Triads? Please.)”

  • muselet



  • blackdaug

    “They didn’t break the law by eavesdropping. We all want eavesdropping — aggressive eavesdropping on Al Qaeda. They broke the law by eavesdropping without the judicial oversight that law requires.”

    — Glenn Greenwald

    Feb. 6, 2006

    Full quote:
    “The scandal is not about whether or not we should be eavesdropping: we’re going to eavesdrop — we should be eavesdropping. The question is about whether the President will exercise the awesome power of being able to eavesdrop on the communication of the American people in violation of the law — meaning without judicial oversight, without anyone knowing what he is doing — or in accordance with the law, meaning with judicial approval by the secret FISA court.”

    ……Without approval of the FISA court. ……..
    ..but for this President, in GG’s opinion….approval of the court is no longer enough.

    found @Driftglass….another damn obot.

  • trgahan

    If the history of Snowden’s government security career reported on NPR is accurate then his sudden conscience about the extent of Government intelligence gathering and the rights of American citizens is dubious indeed.

    But it is no worse than everyone who went from “You must always be loyal to your government!” in 2007 to “NEVER trust the Government” in 2008. Including many of the trolls running around this site and the Banter…

  • missliberties

    Information is power and GG has more, bigger, expanding stories coming soon.

  • KABoink_after_wingnut_hacker

    Lots of hair on fire nonsense on the blogs the last two days calling GG a genius and hero.
    Greenwald’s just a hack and an rank opportunist milking this old canard for his ego.
    After all, governments spying on people is hardly news.
    It would be nice to repeal the abomination called ‘Patriot Act’, but that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

  • Daniel Kalban

    GG should be considered a hack and a lunatic; and perhaps a seditionist.

    • Lady Willpower

      Is he even a U.S. citizen anymore?

      • Daniel Kalban


  • MrDHalen

    All this collective freakout because Greenwald decided to rewrite the USA Today NSA story from a few years ago and decided to leave out all the stuff that happened after that?

    Children, I am not amused!

  • nellcote

    So GG has 37 powerpoint slides that even the (liberal!) WaPoo wouldn’t publish. Do you feel safer now? Is that what his threatening tweet to Clapper was about? And LOL now GG’s trying to delete his tweet claiming he’s been working with Snowden since Feb.

    • missliberties


    • js hooper

      Wait WTF?…Greenwald is trying to distance himself from Snowden?

    • Oscar Jimison

      Snowden goes from new NSA contract employee to exposing classified programs in less than three months. That’s a pretty quick turn around time for someone who wasn’t on a mission from the get go. He should be prosecuted. Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself, but if it turns out that GG colluded with Snowden to “infiltrate” the NSA for the purpose of exposing classified programs and materials, he should be prosecuted too.