Edward Snowden, NSA Leaker: Hero or Fool?

Well, he outed himself – a former CIA and NSA employee until just recently working as a contractor for the NSA is the man who leaked the spying plan.  Now, what to make of it?

I’m not sure if he’s a hero or a fool – but he does have some guts because at the very least, Uncle Sam is going to want to drop on him like a ton of bricks.  Whether or not that happens remains to be seen – now that he’s self-outed and not easily detainable by the government, things might not go so bad for him.  What he’s done, in strictly legal terms, probably carries a lot of “20 to life” terms.  We’ll have to see how this plays out.

I’ve been pondering this whole mess and I’ve come to the conclusion that the ultimate problem we have is a misunderstanding of just what the threat is.  The government – especially under Obama, who is desperate to propagate the myth that Islamist extremism poses no great threat to the United States – is engaging in massive intelligence gathering in a desperate effort to stave off terrorist attacks before they happen.  Of course, we have seen how well this works in Boston.  Now, of course the government probably has thwarted a large number of attempted attacks – but can’t tell us about them because to do so would reveal sources and thus jeopardize ongoing efforts to keep after the terrorists.  But, also, Boston does show that even the most massive intelligence gathering leaves gaps.  In other words, no matter how much data they mine on us and everyone else in the world, they will never catch all the terrorists – and the terrorists will keep after us, forever, unless we stop them, permanently.

Permanently stopping them means going to war with them and chasing them to the ends of the earth and killing or taking all of them.  Now, will we do that?  Not now.  Not just because Obama is unable to see the threat, but because America is tired of fighting the Islamists.  American wars can go upwards of 5 years, but no longer – we just don’t have the patience beyond that.  Especially if there’s no clear-cut goal in sight.  We’ll have to wait until the Islamists hit us again, very hard, and then hope we have leadership which sees the path to true strategic thinking.

Meanwhile, I think I’ve had enough of this intelligence gathering.  We need laws specifically prohibiting any government employee, at any level, from obtaining or retaining data on any American without a warrant – and the warrants must have an expiration date, upon which the target of the warrant is informed of its existence and 100% of the data collected in connection with it – seriously; all the original documents mailed to the target so he can see what was found (I’d like it to be no more than 90 days, but others I’ve discussed it with say it has to go longer – but it must have a drop dead date).  Intelligence gathering overseas and among foreigners I don’t give a darn about – knock yourself out, NSA.  But on Americans?  No.  Dad fought on Saipan and Grandpa in the Argonne to stop this very sort of nonsense from happening.  Enough is enough.


32 thoughts on “Edward Snowden, NSA Leaker: Hero or Fool?

  1. Cluster June 10, 2013 / 12:17 am

    Edward Snowden: I mistakenly believed in Obama’s promises

    That’s a powerful statement folks.

  2. bardolf2 June 10, 2013 / 12:30 am

    Rand Paul On NSA Spying: “I’m Going To Challenge This At The Supreme Court”

    What I want to know is how someone dumb enough to trust Obama’s promises manages to get a $200,000 per year government contractor job at 29 years of age.

    • M. Noonan June 10, 2013 / 12:41 am

      There are a lot of oddities in his story – we’ll have to see.

    • The Return of Rathaven June 10, 2013 / 4:45 pm

      He took a pay cut from his job as the President’s Security Czar.

  3. seniorwoman June 10, 2013 / 2:16 am

    We haven’t heard the full story yet. And like you, I have a hard time with gathering data on millions of Americans. The USA has caused its own problems by inviting terrorists here thru our absurd immigration laws. This latest shooting in CA by a Taliban supporting Afghani. The Boston bombings by 2 young terrorists. All immigrants, all terrorists.

  4. neocon01 June 10, 2013 / 8:18 am


    close the borders, deport deport deport,
    close the IRS, NSA, ATF, and dozens of other national agencies that never existed for the first 200 years of our nation and let the states handle it.

  5. neocon01 June 10, 2013 / 8:39 am

    Reining in Fascism
    By Richard Winchester

    If fascism exists in America — and the IRS targeting the Obama Administration’s political and religious foes, Department of Justice spying on AP reporters, labeling a Fox News journalist a felon, and the NSA collecting millions of Americans’ phone records indicate it does — how could it be changed to the republic established by the Constitution?

    Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/06/reining_in_fascism.html#ixzz2VogDMfvT

    • Amazona June 10, 2013 / 8:55 am

      Great article. One part that really stood out is this:

      “There are many ways to measure government’s size and power, but three are: (1) how much it spends as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP); (2) how much of a nation’s wealth is taxed; and (3) how much of people’s lives government regulates.

      Federal spending rose from about 18% of GDP during most of the years between 1945 and 2008 to roughly 24% after 2009. If we add spending by state and local governments, the percentage of GDP going to the public sector rises to approximately 40. With Obamacare – which amounts to a federal seizure of one-sixth of the economy — total local, state, and federal government spending will rise to 50% of GDP or more.”

      Another is the desire to eliminate the IRS, something I have been advocating for years. No agency should have the unrestricted power that this one has. However, rather than a flat tax I prefer a consumption tax, because this will tax those whose income is illegal or otherwise non-reportable. Even drug dealers and prostitutes buy things.

      • neocon01 June 10, 2013 / 8:20 pm

        I prefer a consumption tax, because this will tax those whose income is illegal or otherwise non-reportable. Even drug dealers and prostitutes buy things.

        there would be no “reportable income”, just pay as you buy…we have that in Fla.ALL pay, ALL pay the same rate.

  6. Amazona June 10, 2013 / 8:48 am

    “The government – especially under Obama, who is desperate to propagate the myth that Islamist extremism poses no great threat to the United States – is engaging in massive intelligence gathering in a desperate effort to stave off terrorist attacks before they happen. “

    I think the statement “….desperate effort to stave off terrorist attacks before they happen….” is as assumption, given the evidence in the past few years of this administration’s determination to use the full power and authority of federal agencies to silence, or at least impede, dissent.

    I will make the same argument in favor of basic data mining that I made when the Left was howling at the moon over it being done in the Bush administration. While I don’t have the sophisticated data analysis skills that I hope some in government have, I can see the merit in establishing and understanding some patterns.

    For example, we could still establish a pattern of “normal” phone calls, regarding average number of calls made in a certain time period, length of calls, and so on. This information would let us set up a system that would alert us if, for example, suddenly 15 calls, each lasting 15 seconds, were made from one number, and then each of those numbers were to do the same. At this point a quick check could establish whether or not the callers and recipients were soccer moms in a phone tree to let everyone know of the team picnic, or a terrorist cell initiating an action.

    What has me alarmed is the information that every single phone call and email is recorded. Sure, recording is not the same as monitoring, but the actual calls are there in an archive and can be accessed at will. So our personal privacy is now not protected by law, or by the Constitution, but is dependent on the will of whoever is in charge. Not necessarily “in charge” of the government, but in charge of the actual archive.

    Look at the steps that have been taken to get us to this point. The decision was made that “we” should be able to record all telephone conversations. The technology to do this was developed. There was another decision to implement the technology. The technology was implemented. These are four very big steps. (Just the infrastructure necessary to house this vast body of information is huge, taking billions to create and not being accomplished overnight.) And now we are told that the actual USE of what was recorded is too big a step to even be considered plausible.

    Yeah, right……

    • seniorwoman June 10, 2013 / 12:54 pm

      Word patterns : jihadi, Allah Akbar, bomb, Tea Party, Conservative.

      The liar in chief and his moon bats are staunchly defending the Patriot Act and FISA not to mention PRISM. I remember years ago in a far, far away Bush galaxy when the “I don’t know anything” President and his bat chit crazies were aghast and angered by this Act.

  7. Retired Spook June 10, 2013 / 8:58 am

    I’ve been to NSA on a number of occasions between 1976 and 1989. There IS a reason they refer to it as “No Such Agency”. The level of accountability is pretty near zero, and the capabilities were mind-blowing even back then. I can’t begin to imagine what they are today, and I have a pretty vivid imagination.

    Throughout my signals intelligence career it was drummed, nay, beat into our heads that intercepting and monitoring communications from American citizens was a no-no. Now I realize this was before the War on Terror, and that the dynamics are quite different today. Plus we have developed into a populace that seems to be willing to accept constant encroachments on our liberty and privacy in exchange for security. I, for one, don’t believe that will turn out well.

  8. Amazona June 10, 2013 / 9:00 am

    No matter what you think about Snowden, this is a powerful statement:

    “The primary lesson from this experience was that “you can’t wait around for someone else to act. I had been looking for leaders, but I realised that leadership is about being the first to act.”

  9. Jeremiah June 10, 2013 / 9:24 am

    I highly respect and commend this young man for his bravery. He is a hero. A hero for the American people. The US Constitution guarantees our right against illegal searches and warrants.

    We would probably be shocked to find out some of the things that this regime is doing to us illegally through technological advances.

    • neocon01 June 10, 2013 / 2:42 pm

      obama’s IRS official testifying to congress.

  10. Doug Quinby June 10, 2013 / 5:46 pm

    It seems as though the GOP establishment and Democrat establishment both have their minions attacking Snowden today so I will be on the side of what he has done is very good for the country in the long term, though in the short term he will be GWB’d.

    I will assume that if he outed all this information because there was a crime committed then he should be protected under whistleblower status. That is: if a government agency illegally collected my personal internet information without a warrant, since I am not covered as one of the approved reasons to collect my data…
    Basically, he will NEVER see the inside of a courtroom in this country.

    The U.S. government can’t afford to have him stand on a criminal trial and have his appeal heard to the supreme court which would slap down the NSA and it’s fisa court and have them physically destroy nearly all the information they collected.

    He is very dangerous to the U.S….not because he is considered a spy, but because he will stand for liberty, and our overreaching federal government does not want liberty to win out.

    He will never have a trial in a U.S. civilian criminal court – never.

  11. dbschmidt June 11, 2013 / 2:59 am

    Remember Carnivore? Officially known as the Digital Collection System 1000 (DCS-1000), Carnivore captured data traffic that flows through an Internet service provider (ISP). The system prompted a flurry of criticism from privacy advocates when it was announced in 2000 during the Clinton administration.

    At the time that Carnivore was “shut down”, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) speculated that, “FBI’s need for Carnivore-like Internet surveillance tools is decreasing, likely because ISPs are providing Internet traffic information directly to the government.”

    Not blaming Clinton, or any other administration, but pointing out that this has been underway “for our safety & security” a lot longer than anyone in government will admit unless caught. I tend to trust Benjamin Franklin and the founders more than any administration official within my lifetime. One of Franklin’s more famous quotes was ”They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety” Seems like someone has already “gotten to” Cummings in that respect.

    It is time for a return, no matter how painful, to a Constitutional government which should look a lot more like Texas than Washington D.C.—140 days every two years to take care of the people’s business rather than getting all up into the people’s business. We just had a new “record holder” take over the longest term in Washington D.C. at some 57 plus years. Can anyone really know what the regular folks need with that kind of life inside of a bubble? Could make me think islands could tip over and other stupid things (too many to mention here).

    Benjamin Franklin also noted “ We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid” which could go a long way toward explaining why our founders wanted an educated and enlighten populace as voters in the new nation. A great downfall if you pay attention in these days.

    It will be a long hard slough to return this nation to the “shiny city on the hill” or we continue down this path as the Romans before us. “Trust” is something I have never had in government because none have ever been “transparent” but as Benjamin Franklin also noted (or was it a Clinton?) “Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead.”

    Welcome to PRISM and all of those we will not know of until they are also exposed. I am sure the Utah NSA data center is just for building the newest PS3 video games. Edward Snowden—Hero or Fool? No hero but definitely a fool. All he has done is buy some time until his name is out of the spotlight and he feels the full weight of this corrupt and vengeful government come crashing down on him. God rest his soul.

  12. Amazona June 11, 2013 / 8:33 am

    Let’s face it, it is pretty alarming to have top administration officials publicly declare that peaceful citizen groups like the TEA Parties are “domestic terrorists”. When the full force of the largest, most powerful and least accountable federal agency, the IRS, then targets these groups, it is beyond alarming.

    But what I think is most significant here is the fact that apparently millions of Americans have so bought into the Leftist rhetoric of political opposition being “the enemy” and therefore deserving of every bad thing that can happen to them. When this radical polarization of the citizenry is accepted, and combined with that same demographic believing that the government’s size, power and scope should not be limited, we have the makings of a true and frightening tyranny.

    Any potentially despotic government needs a citizenry to monitor it and rein it in. We are now seeing the true agenda of the Left’s decades-long demonization of political opposition, of its targeting political opposition as “the enemy”, of validating the most vile and hateful attacks on strangers just because they have different political positions—it is to create a situation in which a significant number of Americans is quite sanguine about the stripping of liberties and rights and the imposition of government tyranny when these happen to that “enemy”.

    We are seeing this happen right now. Those on the right, and too few on the Left, are against the mass recording of all electronic communications among Americans, without warrants or oversight, but most of the obedient Left are quite fine with it, as long as the Left holds the reins of power and they can feel that these incursions into personal privacy will not be abused because of the essential wonderfulness of those in charge. (And we need to remember the inherent belief that anything that happens to “the enemy” is justified, even if that “enemy” is defined by nothing more than a different political belief.)

    This takes us back to a book that is more and more relevant—“Conflict of Visions” by Thomas Sowell. In it he defines the essential conflict of visions as that of one vision seeing all humans as essentially imperfect and susceptible to corruption or error, and therefore the importance of process to limit the amount and degree of personal power, while the other vision believes that some individuals are above these weaknesses and human defects and therefore should not be restricted by process but allowed to do as they wish.

    We see this in the attitudes toward the Constitution. The Constrained Vision says that the Constitution can only be changed through the process established to accommodate change, a stately process which, by its slowness, mitigates the ability of individuals to impose their personal preferences, while the Unconstrained Vision declares that the Constitution is a “living document” which should “evolve” as current events dictate, and should be seen as a “guide” to government, meaning it can be followed or not as the current leaders see fit.

    Now we are seeing this regarding the current abuses of personal rights and liberties—-the process is dismissed as unimportant by the Unconstrained Vision folks, because their faith is in those who are doing the abusing. Their support is entirely based upon who is in charge, and the underlying principles of Constitutional rights are secondary. If the administration were to change and those “enemies” were to achieve power, then the entire attitude would shift, but it is always dependent on people, on personality, and never on principle or process.

    • Jeremiah June 11, 2013 / 9:37 am

      Excellent analysis there, Amazona.

      You should have been a Constitutional scholar, and went on to vow for a position in the Federal judiciary. Though you might still could, if that’s a possibility.

      Gotta run…

      • Amazona June 11, 2013 / 1:45 pm

        Thanks for your kind comment, Jeremiah.

        I can’t say enough about the books of Thomas Sowell. I am putting together something prompted by my latest reading of “The Vision of The Anointed” and asking Spook to post it for me as a blog thread. I started reading it and nearly every paragraph reminded me of things we have discussed here. His “Conflict of Visions” helped me understand how it is the basic assumptions of people regarding humanity that form their political affiliations. It is kind of a tough read and I still want to form a book club starting with that, as I think it would be a great book to discuss.

        As I say, “in my spare time…”

      • Jeremiah June 11, 2013 / 9:47 pm

        I look forward to reading your contribution.

    • neocon01 June 11, 2013 / 10:00 am

      We are seeing the results of that big government here in Fla the GZ- travon debacle. A GOP governor overrides local police, prosecutors office appoints a political hack “special” prosecutor who slaps MURDER (2nd degree = LIFE) charges onto a man because of out of state agitators, racist thugs and the usual suspects with megaphones and their RENT A- Mob’s threatened civil unrest.
      NONE of us are free from this threat of big BRO if they decide to make an example of you.
      Funny with up to 50 shootings a week in chicago the POTUS, congressmen, governors, senators and mobs in several citys had to focus on this one….WHY??
      GUN CONTROL, and the crushing of the second amendment. The left HATES Fla’s stand your ground law and cherry picked a shooting, blew it 10,000 times out of proportion and made it a national event to further their unconstitutional agenda.
      Sucks our GOP governor RAN straight into their trap with his eyes wide open.

      • Amazona June 11, 2013 / 2:40 pm

        neo, this is what happens when an “issue” (racism) takes over rational thought. There can be a stampede to try to get ahead of the “issue”—in this case, to prove the determination of the Florida GOP or at least its governor to make sure the boy was not killed due to racism.

        It was foolish and as we can see very damaging. But it is what happens when people feel strong danger emanating from an event because of the distorted perceptions of others. We need leaders, who are proactive, not weak sheeple who are reactive and who have knee-jerk reactions to things without thinking them through.

        On the surface, yeah, it probably seemed like a good idea—–appoint a special prosecutor to make it clear this is being taken seriously (thereby going along with the false claim that this was ever more than a simple self-defense case) and even letting him file serious charges. It could have been seen as a way to deflect hysteria till the whole thing had a chance to blow over, while providing cover to the pols.

        But the Unintended Consequence was that it fed the hysteria, saying in effect to the howling mob “Even the white Republican power structure realizes this is murder”. And now it is too late to unring the bell.

        I don’t think anyone really realized how vile and vicious the Lefty Lemmings are. I know I was very surprised to see the venom and vitriol spewed here about George Zimmerman, the glee with which the Left tossed “Innocent Until Proved Guilty” overboard in favor of verbal lynch mobs howling for his blood. When I am surprised at the depths of Leftist depravity, it has to be pretty darned dramatic.

        But without a scintilla of evidence, these knuckle-dragging cretins were ready to kill the man, inventing things that simply did not exist to “prove” Trayvon to be a sweet innocent kid just strolling along with his Skittles, to “prove” Zimmerman to be a crazed black-hating vigilante out for blood, to “prove” that Zimmerman stalked Martin to shoot him down, etc.

        OK, I can accept that we have people out there so morally deficient and amped up on blind hatred of an imagined Other, fed by their delusions that this actually reflects moral superiority, that they can be comfortable being part of howling mobs like this. I can accept that panicked politicians can be stampeded into rash declarations before fully evaluating the situation.

        What I cannot, and WILL not, accept is that the head of the nation’s law enforcement arm refused to address the blatant call by an organized group for the death of a man convicted of nothing, which actually offered to pay someone to kill him. This is inexcusable, this is indefensible, and this is the worst indictment of many regarding this event.

      • M. Noonan June 11, 2013 / 11:30 pm

        Important to remember, of course, is just why Obama did it – because he wanted race-hatred whipped up for the 2012 elections. Just as the “war on women” nonsense was a ploy to get people to hate Romney more than they were disappointed in Obama. It was the 2002 California gubernatorial template expanded on to the national scene. And the Democrats will not stop it – in fact, we can expect that in 2016 they’ll be even more cruel and hateful.

  13. tiredoflibbs June 11, 2013 / 6:42 pm

    Mindless drone: “The spying on Americans was something that the Bush Administration was hellbent on doing years ago. Remember the public fight over the FISA Court?”

    Ahhhh, yes….. It’s Bush’s fault – regurgitating the dumbed down talking points by an ignorant and low information voter. If you recall the public fight over the FISA Court, warrantless wiretaps were allowed up to a point and were used on international calls. Who gave us FISA? Bush? I hope you are informed enough to know that it was Carter that gave us that and then used by Clinton on US citizens, especially those who worked for foreign corporations, to get first hand knowledge to formulate trade deals. But why am I bringing up details to a mindless drone who can’t think for himself.

    Perhaps obAMATEUR should not have voted to expand wiretaps through the FISA amendment. Now before you jump up and down screeching Bush, Bush, Bush, maybe you should know that both the Patriot Act and the FISA amendment have been up for renewal and obAMATEUR signed them without hesitation. It would have been easy to let them lapse and not partake in the activity you were so hostile towards Bush but give obAMATEUR a pass under his watch.

    The mindless drone is predictable as always.

    So are you. Woof Woof. //Moderator

    • neocon01 June 11, 2013 / 7:37 pm

      I hope you are informed enough to know
      should have stopped there followed by…..The mindless drone is predictable as always.
      and saved a bunch of typing…. LOL 🙂

      • neocon01 June 11, 2013 / 8:06 pm

        License, Registration and…Cellphone: N.J. Bill Would Allow Cops to Look Through Your Phone After an Accident

  14. Amazona June 12, 2013 / 8:46 am

    OT, but interesting:

    From a post by Ben Howe, posting on RedState http://www.redstate.com/2013/06/11/rep-peteolson-repjoebarton-want-to-expand-government-with-the-rfsmandate/

    “In the first decade of this century, our brilliant leaders embarked on a quest to shove off the global warming that isn’t happening, and decided that they’d take some steps to force us to be less dependent on foreign oil and more dependent on corn. Ethanol as it is known, was subsidized and encouraged with great gusto in an attempt to greenify our roads.

    In 2005, they took that encouragement a step further by mandating that a percentage of fuel be blended with ethanol. Up to 15 percent blending actually. Why only that much? Because any more can damage engines, which will be great for greenifying our roads because our cars will be broken.

    But ok, so they required a blend and they stopped short of destroying our cars. Bravo. As it turns out, that blending limit is about the only thing they got moderately correct. What they got wrong was how much total needed to be blended into the fuel supply as mpg standards increased and fuel consumption went down. This created an issue where ethanol blenders were being required by government to continue blending ethanol beyond safe amounts in order to comply with the ridiculous mandate. This forced blenders to buy future supplies of ethanol to blend into future supplies of fuel that they may or may not sell. Not surprisingly, fuel prices rose as a result.

    Are we having fun yet?

    Of course all of this was at the cost of something we commonly call “life sustaining food.” By taking so much corn out of the market for gas. And while kids starved all over the world, farmers, looking to make some of that sweet sweet government dough, began harvesting the living crap out of corn. This led to less crops being used for other types of food. So the price of corn skyrocketed along with every other food on the planet. Of course, that restricted the supply of food worldwide which, you may not know, is what we also feed animals like pigs and cows. So farmers that deal with animals had to pay more for feed which made their livestock more expensive which drove up meat and poultry costs as well.

    So after restricting the food supply, starving children, driving up your grocery bill and increasing the cost of fuel, was the government done yet? Of course not! Because now they want to expand it!

    Unbelievably enough, Republicans are jumping on board.

    Not content with the destruction currently in the RFS Mandate’s wake, Reps. Pete Olson and Joe Barton (R-TX) are pushing HR. 1959 which would expand the RFS mandate to include natural gas based ethanol.”

    It’s not the most well-written post I’ve seen, but it does do a decent job of outlining the insanity of the whole ethanol scam.

    (And BTW, ethanol-treated gasoline DOES destroy engines, at least the smaller engines we see on lawn mowers and such.)

    The whole alleged purpose of ethanol was to moderate the need for more petro fuels by stretching gasoline with a “green” additive, and to decrease pollution because the ethanol is supposed to burn”cleaner”.

    Well, like most of the airy-fairy rainbows-and-unicorns wonderful-ideas-thought-up-over-a-cup-of-chamomile-tea, the whole ethanol scam is and always has been riddled with Unintended Consequences. From the additional petro fuel needed to run the equipment to harvest the additional corn crops to the vast quantities of fertilizer needed to grow corn which has been running off and filtering into aquifers lately, polluting drinking water to the REALLY vast amount of water needed to grow corn (in an era of drought when water is needed for other things) to the change from other crops to corn to take advantage of government lunacy, the whole ethanol fiasco has been a portrait of Leftist good intentions run amok and creating far more problems than they were ever intended to solve.

    We could have focused on biodiesel, which at least can use seed crops which are not dependent on fertilizer and lavish watering, but those delicate Leftist noses do turn up so at the very thought of diesel, which is perceived as “dirty”. If the Left had truly wanted to expand fuel sources beyond petro fuels, they could have used all that government money to subsidize a system which would have made millions of acres of semi-arid land productive, growing crops which produce oil to be processed into biodiesel and which do not compete with food crops for land or water. But no, most Volvos don’t run on that smelly old diesel, like those big stinky noisy trucks. They needed something that would fit into their lifestyle.

    Now, to complete the cycle of lunacy, there is a push to convert natural gas, which is already plentiful and a clean-burning petro fuel, into ethanol, so it can be used to supplement gasoline instead of simply converting gas-run vehicles to natural gas.

    It boggles the mind.

    • Retired Spook June 12, 2013 / 12:40 pm

      It boggles the mind.

      Understatement of the year!

      • neocon01 June 13, 2013 / 7:19 am

        It boggles the mind.
        Understatement of the year!

        ONLY OUR minds….THEY have a PLAN and it aint good for US!

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