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(ABC)   Eric Holder asks Russia to return Edward Snowden, promises not to torture or execute him. Much   (abcnews.go.com) divider line 133
    More: Obvious, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Russia, U.S., torture, Espionage Act  
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1450 clicks; posted to Politics » on 23 Jan 2014 at 7:08 PM (46 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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m00
2014-01-24 03:41:07 AM  

mr smart the great: hey im usally against it but their is a occasional person who does deserve it.

hitler, and child rapists.


Not to threadjack, but that's pretty sick of you.
 
2014-01-24 03:46:00 AM  

NBAH: Fifth amendment protects against self-incriminating confessions i.e. ones attained during torture.


He already publicly confessed to committing a crime.

I'm mostly on his side.  I have a serious problem with where he chose to run to, though.
 
2014-01-24 03:50:56 AM  

Gyrfalcon: The point is, whistleblowers DO, in fact, take proprietary or classified information. Because the information they're making public has been concealed from general knowledge and so no matter how important it is for the public to know about it, it is still legally theft and/or a violation of their employment contract. The fact that you want the law to magically go away because the crime was done for the greater good does not mean that it was less of a crime.


THIS.  No amount of idolatry for him will cleanse him of that deed.  That is why Snowden must face justice without any hope of amnesty.


cirrhosis_and_halitosis: I'm honestly surprised that the US gov't is pursuing Snowden. Russia will never hand him over and it just puts the NSA scandal that they successfully brushed under the rug back on the front page. But much of what the US gov't is up to nowadays is unconstitutional and its citizens don't seem to care.


Are you completely sure that they aren't pursuing alternative avenues or that someone just doesn't give a fark for him being above room temperature?  It's not as if the US doesn't have the ability to turn up the heat on Russian interests as well as Snowden's accomplices.

It's not a matter of if, but when he returns for his inevitable and evidence-based conviction.


NBAH: There's no question about NSA's wanton unconstitutionality. That's why no one talks about it.


Only if you blindly believe whatever Snowden throws at the media.  Bring him to the US, pump him full of who knows what, do who knows what, and he'll tell stuff just to make it stop.  Then repeat for as many accomplices as can be done.  One does not fark with your own country's intelligence agencies, aid and abet hostile countries, and not face justice in the only court that counts - the court of law as practiced in the United States of America.

The evidence against him is staggering enough that he is afraid of having to face the courts in a legally(as opposed to PR) indefensible position.  Unfortunately, it only gets worse for him the longer it takes.
 
2014-01-24 03:53:33 AM  

Gyrfalcon: The point is, whistleblowers DO, in fact, take proprietary or classified information. Because the information they're making public has been concealed from general knowledge and so no matter how important it is for the public to know about it, it is still legally theft and/or a violation of their employment contract. The fact that you want the law to magically go away because the crime was done for the greater good does not mean that it was less of a crime.

I find the weird moral relativism displayed in this case slightly unnerving, the mindset that allows people to say "X is not a crime because it was committed for a perceived greater good," especially when coupled with the complete inability to see that EVERY crime that is committed (except strictly personal ones) are justified in the name of the greater good--which is why they have to be treated as such. Yes, absolutely, the excesses of the NSA needed to be brought to light (again, because people have such freakishly short memories)--but that does NOT mean Snowden gets a free pass and shouldn't be brought to trial because you see, Scooter Libby made the exact same justifications for his outing of Valerie Plame--it was in the best interests of the American public at the time. Now I know you don't like Libby and think he didn't even get what he deserved--which is exactly why you can't go making these kinds of moral justifications.

If we're to be a nation of laws, then what's good for the goose has to be good for the gander, or at least try to be; OR we can expect that next time some asshole we don't like (like Libby) will spill a bunch of secrets we don't want spilled and we'll have to like it because some likeable whistleblower was allowed to slide. If you want to be a nation of "good intentions for the greater good," be aware there's no real endpoint to that slope. After all, Darryl Issa's Benghazigate is being pursued for the benefit of the public's right to know--I assume you're okay with that? And if not, wh ...


It isn't about endorsing some nebulous Hot Fuzz greater good concept. It is a particular excuse, that the crime was undertaken for the purpose of exposing, and did expose, massive illicit government activity which could not have otherwise come to light.

That doesn't mean his behavior wasn't technically criminal, but it does provide plenty of reason for the government to decline to prosecute him, or offer him immunity so he can aid them in prosecution of illicit activity at the NSA (...hang on, I'm stopping for a laugh at the idea that could ever happen...wait...ok...), or to pardon him.

Police and prosecutors exercise their discretion every day to forgo prosecution of people with far less excuse for their illegal actions than what exists in Snowden's case. It is a looooong farking way down that slippery slope of yours before you even get to stuff that is already accepted as perfectly legitimate.

And the sudden concern with letting anyone get away with any technically illegal activity in service of a greater good" is bizarrely ironic in light of that being essentially what the NSA and other such agencies DO.
 
2014-01-24 03:57:37 AM  

firefly212: If Obama wasn't such a damned pussy, he'd pardon Snowden, let him come back, and just let it go... he lost a farking round by violating everything the fourth amendment stands for, and he's just being a f'n baby about it now. Admit defeat, move on.


Obama would never pardon someone who made him look bad.  That's hubris, not pussiness - but I agree, Obama is a spineless pussy as well as an arrogant bastard.
 
2014-01-24 04:03:36 AM  

Gyrfalcon: Not really, because in your analogy, the woman "worked her way" into getting into that room with the intent of essentially stealing the files. Burglary is the breaking and entering into a building with the intent to commit a felony therein, and since she formulated the plan to enter the locked room BEFORE she had legal access, she's committed a burglary.


You seem kinda stupid for a JD, so here it is again:

She got a job (assuming nothing).

During the job she suspected wrongdoing.

She made efforts to investigate her suspicions.

Her suspicions were correct.

She collected proof, and revealed the proof.


But keep going - there's a reason why decent society despises lawyers.
 
2014-01-24 04:13:32 AM  
Decent was supposed to be bold, obviously.
 
2014-01-24 04:45:28 AM  

ignacio: Cagey B: It's f*cking disgraceful that the prospect of indefinite detainment and torture by American authorities is so plausible that the AG had to specifically promise not to.

Indefinite detainment is the punishment for the crime he committed, and nobody's promised not to inflict it on Snowden. They promised not to torture or execute him, neither of which we were ever planning to do. Say what you want about our information gathering techniques, but we have never tortured anyone punitively, just for the hell of it.


You have, you know. The very best interpretation of US torture is that a blind eye was turned to punitive torture. After all, it was a potent pysch weapon against other internees.
 
2014-01-24 05:55:11 AM  

The Bestest: mongbiohazard: Snowden is a hero, no question whatsoever.

There are plenty of questions.. pretty valid ones too, else there wouldn't be threads like this.



How about we address the valid questions about the legality of the practices Snowden exposed before determining the legality of exposing them?
 
2014-01-24 06:23:17 AM  

Gyrfalcon: The point is, whistleblowers DO, in fact, take proprietary or classified information. Because the information they're making public has been concealed from general knowledge and so no matter how important it is for the public to know about it, it is still legally theft and/or a violation of their employment contract. The fact that you want the law to magically go away because the crime was done for the greater good does not mean that it was less of a crime.


Laws are an artificial construct. Look at the act, not the law, and then try to determine if it was the right thing to do. If it was the right thing to do and the law is in conflict, than the law is wrong and needs to be changed. Outing Valerie Plame was the wrong thing to do. Releasing this stuff about the NSA was the right thing to do. No, it wasn't legal, it was just done secretly enough that it was beyond challenge by the courts or Congress- both of which freaked once they saw the details.

When I see anybody pushing heavily on the "they're a criminal and must be punished no matter what the extenuating circumstances" bit, I get very uncomfortable. That's what authoritarian regimes do. When you speak of the law as some immutable and unchangeable thing that's beyond reproach, you're echoing the proud tradition of the Jim Crow south and just about every other losing movement in history defending indefensible laws. Hope you're happy.
 
2014-01-24 06:47:42 AM  

grimlock1972: Snowden willing and knowingly broke the law, he plotted to do so well before he committed his criminal acts, he has admitted as much.

yes he revealed what the NSA was up to in regards to US Citizens, but the ends do not justify the means.

Also i would not be surprised if he is giving Russia secrets in exchange for his safe haven.

I do not want him dead, i want him to face trial and more than likely be convicted.

He is no hero he is a criminal.


It is true he's a criminal, but then when the laws are unjust it's difficult to see why someone would be in favor of considering the crime legitimate.
 
2014-01-24 08:05:15 AM  
So we'll only give him a little peril?


First the Spankings, then the oral sex!

Did he set alight the grail shaped beacon?
 
2014-01-24 08:09:54 AM  

Dr Jack Badofsky: globalwarmingpraiser: ecmoRandomNumbers: snuffy: just trade snowden for holder

I'm OK with this.

 What you said.

And can we add shooting Holder in the balls post-trade?


He'd have to grow 'em first.
 
2014-01-24 08:10:26 AM  

Snarfangel: Even if we were to accept all of the bizarre rationalizations for what the NSA did, has anyone heard anything on why random, run-of-the-mill contractors should have access to so many of our nation's most important secrets? This isn't a former President blurting out something he was told in a briefing, this is a random schmuck who was hired for a job that (presumably) did not involve every bit of information the NSA collected.

You can't tell me that people under color of authority aren't looking up the records of ex-girlfriends or just people who annoy them. There seems to be nothing in place to prevent it. Maybe if the Fed got their own house in order, the Snowdens of the world wouldn't have access to all of the embarrassing bits. "Here is all the scandalous information of the President of Mali -- and nothing else!" wouldn't grab headlines.



Supposedly Snowden used his position as a systems administrator to acquire other peoples' log-ins and passwords which he then used to access the data he stole. Data to which he would not normally have had access to.

That's according to an article I read on Ars or the Reg a while back, which claimed to be from unnamed sources in the NSA. I don't think I've heard any kind of official account of what happened.

However Greenwald did wind back that initial claim that Snowden had authority to access everything (up to the President's email), so the idea he didn't have clearance to access the data may have some truth to it.
 
2014-01-24 08:18:52 AM  

TheShavingofOccam123: Funny. We didn't ask until the Olympics kicked in.

Maybe NBC will get an interview with Snowden. We'll finally learn all about Snowden's childhood dreams that were crushed by a tragedy but then fulfilled through hard work, pluck and the grace of God.

Nothing like giving an emperor a chance to impress the peons with his magnanimity. (The emperor is Putin not Kostas.)


Yeah, my first reaction was 'We haven't even asked for them to send him back yet?' That seems like a fairly major first step. How long did it take?
 
2014-01-24 08:36:03 AM  

Sgygus: "Snowden should have gone through the proper channels ..."
Are you f'ing kidding me?  The story of his life would have been "... and he was never seen nor heard of again".



Yeah, I am pretty sure Snowden was aware what happened to Thomas Drake, and knew that working through "proper channels" was pointless and only gets you threats of prosecution for violating the espionage act.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Andrews_Drake
 
2014-01-24 09:10:43 AM  

doctor wu: That is seriously delusional. His motives are crystal clear to those of us who are not insane. The government was violating your rights, your neighbour's rights and everyone else's, Snowden recognized this and had the balls to expose it. He is absolutely, 100% a hero.


Except that most of the information that has been released has NOTHING to do with NSA activities in the U.S.
 
2014-01-24 09:51:39 AM  
Just change the name from torture to enhanced interrogation. Problem solved.
 
2014-01-24 09:53:30 AM  

You'd turn it off when I was halfway across: Supposedly Snowden used his position as a systems administrator to acquire other peoples' log-ins and passwords which he then used to access the data he stole. Data to which he would not normally have had access to.


Snowden didn't have legal access to any data. He was the network guy.
He told users he needed their passwords to do his job.

He then took everything he could get. Indiscriminately.
The vast majority of this data has nothing to do with U.S. citizens.

If Edward Snowden had just released the information about domestic surveillance,
then I would agree that he was a hero.

Instead he fled to a foreign country and has released information about non-domestic programs.
He is also holding back information as 'protection' against criminal penalties.

Snowden is trying to blackmail the U.S. by threatening release of national security information.
This makes him a criminal and (possibly) a traitor.
 
2014-01-24 09:53:45 AM  
 

m00: But I hope in the above case, nobody would seriously defend the government. Why? Because it's so outrageous.


Gyrfalcon would.  I have him tagged as "Lawful Stupid".

The most important thing, from his perspective, is that laws must never be violated.
 
2014-01-24 10:06:55 AM  

m00: If you don't think the NSA wiretapping was particularly outrageous, that's fine. But it's circular reasoning to think Snowden should be punished for no other reason than ge leaked info to the public that the government didn't want leaked.


Can we prosecute him for everything he leaked not related to domestic surveillance?
 
2014-01-24 10:08:06 AM  

snuffy: just trade snowden for holder


Why trade?
Let them keep both.

/Consider it a gift.
 
2014-01-24 10:24:57 AM  

Cagey B: It's f*cking disgraceful that the prospect of indefinite detainment and torture by American authorities is so plausible that the AG had to specifically promise not to.


What's worse is that he is lying.
 
2014-01-24 11:27:23 AM  

snuffy: just trade snowden for holder


Make Russia take Bieber in the trade as well.
 
2014-01-24 01:51:52 PM  
If they don't, are US back terrorists going to attack the Olympics?
 
2014-01-24 02:42:10 PM  

sethstorm: cirrhosis_and_halitosis: I'm honestly surprised that the US gov't is pursuing Snowden. Russia will never hand him over and it just puts the NSA scandal that they successfully brushed under the rug back on the front page. But much of what the US gov't is up to nowadays is unconstitutional and its citizens don't seem to care.

Are you completely sure that they aren't pursuing alternative avenues or that someone just doesn't give a fark for him being above room temperature?  It's not as if the US doesn't have the ability to turn up the heat on Russian interests as well as Snowden's accomplices.

It's not a matter of if, but when he returns for his inevitable and evidence-based conviction.


The US has absolutely zero leverage to make Russia hand over Snowden.  Putin just made the US blink in the standoff for WWIII, do you think he gives a fark about any empty threats from the US?

Russia really didn't want him, but Snowden was a gift that fell in their laps. They would probablyallow him to leave of his own accord if he was granted political asylum in another country.Holding on to him is a permanent middle finger against US criticism of Russian human rights policies.
 
2014-01-24 03:20:49 PM  

powtard: Yet still, nobody talks about the constitutionality of the NSA activities. We are seeing an incredible paradigm shift from data collection of suspects to data collection of everiyone, stored for eternity, to be revealed whenever the govt and its affiliates decide they either consider you suspicious or just want to know what you've been up to. Is an omniscient government constitutional? Oh wait, nevermind, we should speculate about torture or argue about whether it was bush or Obama that's brought us here...


In fairness, most of the concerns about the constitutionality of the NSA activities revealed in the leaks are about as well-founded as the speculation that Snowden would be tortured if he was extradited.
 
2014-01-24 03:42:55 PM  

LordJiro: Remember, we should ignore the other state secrets and intelligence operations he compromised because some people didn't know the government spied on everyone it can, like it has since at least the Cold War.

Espionage is OK if it reveals something objectionable among everything else!


Unconstitutional violations of the 4th Amendment by the gov't are OK if they reveal something illegal amongst everything else!

/what a fun game. Your turn!
 
2014-01-24 03:51:52 PM  

Biological Ali: In fairness, most of the concerns about the constitutionality of the NSA activities revealed in the leaks are about as well-founded as the speculation that Snowden would be tortured if he was extradited.


You probably didn't intend that the answer to both is, "legitimate."
 
2014-01-24 03:55:21 PM  

El Pachuco: Biological Ali: In fairness, most of the concerns about the constitutionality of the NSA activities revealed in the leaks are about as well-founded as the speculation that Snowden would be tortured if he was extradited.

You probably didn't intend that the answer to both is, "legitimate."


Well, obviously. I wouldn't give that answer because it's patently false.
 
2014-01-24 08:14:02 PM  

cirrhosis_and_halitosis: Putin just made the US blink in the standoff for WWIII


*eyeroll*
 
m00
2014-01-25 12:42:03 AM  

Without Fail: Can we prosecute him for everything he leaked not related to domestic surveillance?


The government can prosecute anyone for anything. We have juries, in theory, to limit the worst abuses of this principle. Problem we're getting into now is secret courts, tribunals, indefinite detention, rendition, etc. This is exactly the reason Snowden blew the whistle, and no he's not going to get a jury trial. Or a fair one.

Ultimately, it's up to the American people to exert pressure on the legislature via the election process if they feel strongly about this issue. Unfortunately, Congress (and apparently the President) weren't aware what the NSA was doing. I'm sure they were happy to get the intel and not ask too many questions where it came from.
 
2014-01-25 02:17:20 AM  

Without Fail: Instead he fled to a foreign country and has released information about non-domestic programs.
He is also holding back information as 'protection' against criminal penalties.

Snowden is trying to blackmail the U.S. by threatening release of national security information.
This makes him a criminal and (possibly) a traitor.


THIS.

cirrhosis_and_halitosis: The US has absolutely zero leverage to make Russia hand over Snowden.


All it takes is a US President that doesnt give a fark that it's Russia.  That, and the US can always lean on "journalists" and organized crime.  Either way, the key is to not care that it's Russia and to consider Snowden supporters as open season.
 
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