NYT: Give Snowden a Break

The New York Times editorial board urges clemency for NSA whistle blower Edward Snowden:

The revelations have already prompted two federal judges to accuse the N.S.A. of violating the Constitution (although a third, unfortunately, found the dragnet surveillance to be legal). A panel appointed by President Obama issued a powerful indictment of the agency’s invasions of privacy and called for a major overhaul of its operations.

All of this is entirely because of information provided to journalists by Edward Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor who stole a trove of highly classified documents after he became disillusioned with the agency’s voraciousness. Mr. Snowden is now living in Russia, on the run from American charges of espionage and theft, and he faces the prospect of spending the rest of his life looking over his shoulder.

Considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight. He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service. It is time for the United States to offer Mr. Snowden a plea bargain or some form of clemency that would allow him to return home, face at least substantially reduced punishment in light of his role as a whistle-blower, and have the hope of a life advocating for greater privacy and far stronger oversight of the runaway intelligence community.” — New York Times

40 thoughts on “NYT: Give Snowden a Break”

  1. Running to China and Russia — how did that help Americans understand that both the government and corporations are into our private stuff? Running to repressive governments did exactly what???

    I tried to listen to Snowden’s December message to Americans…how about just watching the movie, Edtv?

    We do get it, Edward. But, you are still a thief and I have more empathy for all of the humans sitting in jail for selling pot. If there is clemency, it should be for those humans sitting in jail for marijuana possession.

  2. Pogo,

    I love your resolution regarding LP.

    Life is too short to spend time what iffing.

    You and LP go for it. Wishing you both much success . 😉

  3. No one has less use for the governments snooping than do I.

    Any damn fool including myself had to know that when the government and it’s legislators formulated and embraced such measures as the Patriot act, indefinite detention, or torture, that spying on it’s own citizens would become standard operating procedure.

    The degradation and erosion of our civil liberties was the first and saddest casualty of the world wide war on terror.

    Snowden may have fleshed out the story and given us some of the particulars, but in general terms he told us little that we did not already know or suspect.

    As for the Times, they are just plain wrong.Snowden is nothing more than a misguided self serving little snitch. He may not rot in prison, but he may damn well rot in Russia.

  4. Whew!! Threads changing so quickly I got whiplash. Jace, thanks. It actually is quite the commitment of time and treasure, but worth every minute and penny. Otherwise I’d just fritter the time away in meaningful pursuits and buy crap I don’t need.

  5. wrt Snowden I’m between the horns of a dilemma. I think spying on our country and disclosing its secrets – which is what Snowden did – is and should be punishable severely. On the other hand, I believe what the government was doing – spying on us and using our secrets – is unconstitutional and reprehensible. The admin’s excuse (same as the old boss) that “every” court that has reviewed the matter has held that it is constitutional is laughable – since those courts have been FISA courts that have not heard the opposing side (us). When fed courts have entertained teh issue, the decisions have been split as I understand it.

    It’s really a false choice – both can be wrong.

    So what’s a poor boy to do?

  6. oh yeah… is that the same New York Times editorial board that cheered us into the Iraq war… maroons.

    I’ll echo what BlondeW and Jace said… and I’ll agree with whatever Flatus says too.

  7. Craig.

    IM with you and the NYT. I would not be if it weren’t for the type of news that we get from cnn, their

    twin fox…and all the other non news stations.

    I wish we had a Snowden in each and every part of the government…

    If we want to hunt down anyone for hurting the government and its citizens….how about making those that knowingly created the housing debacle, the lose of peoples houses, 401s….etc, etc…….

    Where are they now?

    In the United States……doing what they do best….with the help of Obama…….and his family…the Bushes….

    Wall st…reported that they had the best year (2013) since 1997

    I would gladly trade a Snowden for 100 of these Mother.Frrrrs….I don’t remember the last time that i used that term….but thats who they fkd along the way…..mothers…so the name fits no?


    That is just my point.! How many people can connect those dots…5-10%….even 20%?

    Snowing….No not snowden…snowing like crazy, but not so cold…..used to love going out in it when i was a kid……still a kid at heart..will bundle up….take a walk…throw a cpl of snow balls in the pk…abut 3/4 mile walk then double time it back to the house…for something hot……….later

  8. I’ll talk about other intelligence people (Snowden wasn’t an intelligence person–he was on the periphery so far as I can tell, but I haven’t delved into his story beyond enough to get the gist of it).

    I was an intelligence person and am now a former one. There are still things that I may not talk about under penalty of law. That does not trouble my conscience.

    The people in the groups I worked in were comfortable in talking about our mission, its objectives, the best ways of achieving them, the personal and political ramifications should we be caught red handed, and the clear separation of domestic from foreign involvement.

    Our charter was strictly foreign intelligence. Others worked in domestic counter-intelligence, i.e., identifying and neutralizing outsiders’ efforts to do us harm.

    Periodically we would bring in the booze and have a party behind sealed doors where people could air any thoughts or concerns without fear of retribution, etc.. Lots of good positive feedback came from these sessions.

    We were highly disciplined. No one went out on their own–that could risk disaster in all sorts of realms. By necessity, many programs were tightly compartmented. I believe this compartmentalization to be in our national interest.

    Should the collection and storage of meta-data be discontinued? I think that would not be in our national interest. Should the telephone companies handle the data storage? I think that would be a costly idiocy that could risk a disastrous delay in our recognition that immediate action was needed.

    I think Mr Snowden should be prosecuted if a valid indictment is presented.

    Clearly, he should not have had access to classified information; the vetting system failed us. We simply can’t have people selectively grabbing bundles of documents/data that support their position, and handing them out for all to see.

  9. “take a walk…throw a cpl of snow balls in the pk…abut 3/4 mile walk then double time it back to the house…for something hot……….later”

    …..have to correct that. I don’t have a house anymore….

  10. Solar,

    You got me. You’re right only a small number of people can connect the dots or more accurately, take time to do it.

    I feel like we owe it to ourselves to be somewhat consistent. The unauthorized leaking of state secrets to further a personal agenda or policy is wrong no matter who does it or for what reason.

    In a perfect world Snowden and Cheney and Rove would be sharing would be spending eternity together in some nice Siberian Gulag.
    The former for the NSA leaks and the latter for the outing of Valerie Plame. I don’t see any false equivalency here. It was wrong then and it is wrong now.

    Now try and stay warm. 😉

  11. I’m not in possession of the necessary intelligence required to entertain even a penny’sworth of opinion on the NSA, Mr. Snowden, or Russia.

  12. Pogo, your A-pillar leak sounds like a must fix. Does your gut tell you to pull the window and verify the integrity of the seal provided by the window gasket?

  13. Onliest thing the government’s ever asked me about is which republican I’d like to vote for or would I like to just stay home? (SC)

  14. Oh…..they did ask me if I wanted Medicare and I said, “Why, yes, I think I do.” And then they reminded me about staying square with the IRS.

  15. Jace,

    Not my intention to get you, just saying stuff out loud is all.

    Once i started to inform my self about all of the activites that our government does behind our backs….that leads into wars, Savings and loan thefts, etc, etc,

    I do agree with what you also said about losing our liberties….what i don’t agree with is…not that you said it…but some people blame just the republicans…..they are both equally to blame imo…..

    made it back fast…pretty nippy out there…..will warm up getting my daily tune up……

  16. Flatus – the A pillar leak is a recurring problem – and yes, it’s a must fix. Really a poor design – damn German engineers. It’s a design that doesn’t implicate the window – it’s a drain originating in the sunroof frame and terminating in the vent cavity front of the windshield. The maple seeds and other airborne tree detritus are small enough to get in but too big to drain out. The blogs are all over it.

    btw, what you said about Snowden – good on you.

    Solar, hope the snow you’re getting decides to miss us, but it’s not looking promising. They ain’t predicting that we’ll get the light, fluffy stuff they say New England will get – we’re supposedly in for a mix turning to snow later. We call that a mess around here.

  17. Flatus, thanks for the list. Part of LP’s holiday break responsibility is to ID 5 schools to contact. Once he does that we’ll go to player ID camps in their areas or he’ll go to their camps. He’s a good student, and if his ACT/SAT scores come out high enough, he should be OK even with selective schools. He was inducted in to NHS last year and carries very close to a 4 pt, avg., taking honors and AP classes. Athletic and a good student. Not a bad combo for a kid looking at colleges.

  18. Solar, I spoke too soon – snow just started falling. Better run put the cover on the windshield being as how I hate to scrape.

  19. pogo,

    Lol…..im glad to share some of the snow with you…..Tony is going to get just the cold……..

  20. Pogo,

    What ever you and LP decide….i know it will lead to all things done with the right values…..you’ve already won…the rest is just execution…..and your doing that each and every time that you do something.

    Execution of something planned out…..that is the hardest thing to do…..

    Or in my case…..I better get the floors swept and mopped….or Judy will …..running my finger across my throat……..

  21. There is something about the sound of Ed’s whistle that just isn’t correct. Normally, I would be for the whistle blower. The whistle blower who is challenging authority and principles, but I do not get that with Ed.

    In reality, I fear data rape from the private sector more than the government. The doctor’s office has all of my pertinent and private information. All in writing and input electronically. The office file has my ssn, my DOB, my credit card for payment, my family health history….all in the hands of recent graduates of doctor office admin degree. It was the only job they could get.

  22. Timely reminder: all those nifty Amazon Gift Cards that came your way over the holidays are itching to be redeemed. I know a scenic route that leads through Trail Mix….

  23. In reality, I fear data rape from the private sector more than the government.

    Blonde Wino,
    yeah, me too. and there’s no morning after pill, plan b or place to hide once we are permanently plugged into the system.
    assimilate or be absorbed or both. resistence is futile.

    re nyt:
    laughable that a newspaper in an industry with the prime objective of uncovering other people’s secrets is crying crocodile tears about protecting their privacy. they wouldn’t be too happy at similar exposure and wholesale dump of proprietary business secrets.

    re ed:
    at least chelsea (nee bradley) had compassion* for those she may have hurt…. not one whiff from ed of taking responsibility and facing the consequences. ironically chelsea appears more of a man than ed in that regard.


    I am sorry that my actions hurt people. I’m sorry that they hurt the United States. I am sorry for the unintended consequences of my actions. When I made these decisions I believed I was going to help people, not hurt people. …

  24. patd… hercules?!!!… ROFL!

    it’s wintertime… it’s January… we’re going to get a foot of snow… yeah… so…

    OMG the hyperbole of weather people is almost as bad as politicians… :smile:

  25. A most difficult issue, but one that arises from the failure of the Congress, White House and courts to act rather than react to the failures of our form of government. The misnamed Patriot Act was not the first slashing of the fabric of our Constitution and Bill of Rights. Snips at the edges had preceded this attack on our rights.

    I cannot cover much, as I too have a background in certain things which allowed me knowledge that cannot be shared.

    Snowden is probably the most important whistle blower this country has ever had. He made public the very fact that an agency had broken the law, not accidentally, but on purpose. Not only did the agency break the law, it did so on a scale that was and still is almost impossible to grasp.

    Technically, it did things that still are amazing. I will hazard a guess that the fantastic shrinking of the physical size of storage medium along with the tremendous increase of storage inside that medium is related to the increase in spying on Americans, and others.

    It is not the listening in on our Allies, along with our not so friendly foe that bothers me. It is the complete and total sucking in of American data for “just in case they are terrorists” that is horrible. The law laid out few reasons to not spy on Americans, and the NSA could not even follow those.

    How much real and true damage has been done by the releases of the files is probably something we on the outside of the gate will never know. In certain agencies you never release what you know and do not know. In this case the agency wants to amplify how hurt it is, whether there is hurt or not.

    Is what Snowden did good? Bad? Evil? Treason? My thoughts are many good things will happen directly because of his actions. First is a change to how the NSA secures data. But there are limits there. Second, hopefully the Congress does act to rein in this rogue agency. There is no reason to spy on all Americans, unless this country is turning into what the Soviet Union used to be. Third, even if the nastiest of the nasty change communication habits, that is intel too.

    The bad, he is in the hands of a country not known for it’s manners when handling people with knowledge.

    Prison for the whistle blower. No. The whole history of punishing those who upset the powers by those who pull back the curtain and show the magician is not even wearing pants did not deter Snowden. Letting him stay where he is is probably not the best answer either. It is like leaving a bright shiny present in front of a three year old, it will be opened and broken. Let him stay in the confines of a neutral country, safe from revenge by the U.S. and safe from the curiosity of countries such as China and Russia.

  26. Better to light a candle than sit and curse the power company.

    very very profound, senor sturgeone

  27. and while we’re on today’s tweets, this one caught my eye as worthy of retweetdom:

    God @TheTweetOfGod

    Retweet this and something good will happen at some point in the near future that you can choose to attribute to having retweeted this.

  28. Solar,

    Someone breaks into my home and I kill them to protect my family, I take responsibility for my actions and trust that the justice system will protect me. I don’t run to Taiwan or Russia to avoid taking responsibility and seek asylum from the oppressive government of my home.

    Manning at least had the integrity to face the music for her actions. Snowden does not.

    The abuses of the NSA have been known to us since 2002.

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