Top Ten Ways the US Government will Smear, Slight Whistleblower Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden said that he stepped forward because he came to realize that the US government is engaged in invasions of Americans’ privacy on a vast and unprecedented scale, and was hiding its interpretation of the law from the American people. Given that the NSA is contravening the 4th amendment guarantees against unreasonable search and seizure, some Americans consider him a hero.

The governmental class, however, will attempt to destroy Snowden, with well-practiced tools of propaganda, demonization, and distortion, as a way of taking the focus off their own alleged wrong-doing. This is how it is done (although the points are given in the future tense, most have already been trotted out).

1. Snowden will be called a traitor for revealing to the American people the secret actions of the US government as they affect the American people.

2. Snowden will be called a defector for going to Hong Kong, which is ultimately under Chinese rule.

3. Questions will be raised about Snowden’s mental balance.

4. It will be alleged that Snowden does not understand the secret programs on which he blew the whistle.

5. Government spokesmen will assert without evidence that his allegations are simply untrue.

6. Charges Snowden did not make, such as that the government is engaged in warrantless wiretapping of telephones, will be denied. This is a form of misdirection.

7. It will be alleged that the domestic surveillance is legal, even thought that assertion has never been tested in the courts because the US government won’t reveal the victims of its program, so no one is recognized by the courts as having standing to sue. (Everything the Soviet Union did was legal, too, by Soviet law).

8. A small, uncontroversial part of his charges will be admitted, to take the focus off the iceberg under the sea.

9. It will be alleged that Snowden has aided terrorists in eluding observation (even though we have no evidence that major terrorist plots were defeated by data-mining).

10. It will be alleged that what Snowden did was wrong, since Americans could always just have had a democratic dialogue on the secret programs instead. They are hoping you don’t notice that they had kept it secret from you and prevented a democratic dialogue.

Posted in US politics | 57 Responses | Print |

57 Responses

  1. “Questions will be raised about Snowden’s mental balance.”

    Yes, that was done after the Meir Kahane assassination when federal officials announced the gunman was emotionally unstable, thus allaying the American public’s concern about a possible terrorist act.

    After the gunman was acquitted of murder, the Justice Department eventually convicted him of RICO conspiracy after alleging criminal association with the terror organization that was involved in the WTC bombing – and claiming the Kahane killing was in furtherance of a conspiracy, thus avoiding application of a double jeopardy defense.

    The feds have already released information on Bradley Manning suggesting an unstable family background and being a misfit in the Army.

  2. dear governmental class and workers at #nsa .. i am deeply sorry, but you have to change your ways and your worldviews because humans aren’t going back in the box

    get over it, move on, evolve .. and anyway, you secretly know that living in fear is killing you. and us.

  3. Further on down the road, it will come to pass that the notion of contracting or subletting the functions of government to outside agencies will be seen as a grave error.@ As we know, the limits of governmental oversight are tested when ‘civilians’ are given the opportunities to do what was traditionally civil service or military in nature. Consequently, agents of conscience have an easier time “going rogue” than those with a life-long commitment to an organisation or to a career track. People who are more prone to standing by their principles are much more of a risk to the overall objective of the “team” than those who feel some kinship or deep affinity for that part of the system into which they have insinuated themselves.
    We might desire many of the elected officials to have “Bulworth” moments, times when they set aside the accepted talking points and status quo in order to utter the unvarnished (perhaps even roughly hewed) truth just as a matter of conscience and personal integrity. This might be seen as a breath of fresh air in the otherwise oppressive staleness and humidity of discourse but – depending on the level at which it occurs – it might be just as powerful as an Oklahoma tornado, causing the removal of too many sacrosanct structures upon which too many people rely for stability and consistency.
    Young Mr Snowden perhaps sees himself as a latter-day Daniel Ellsberg* or John Dean** who displayed, as Ellsberg stated yesterday, “the kind of courage that we expect of people on the battlefield.” As Mr Graham from South Carolina has uttered, we are at war; the only question that remains is who the combatants are and which side should anyone be on. While Barry O has stated that the NSA does not spy on Americans, the governments that are set apart from the people have their own alliances. And, who’s not to say that the Americans share information with the Brits, e.g., who in turn give the “American” government information on its own citizens? Thus, the notion of internal spying and warring is rendered null … sort of.
    Many of us served to defeat the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War, serving to bring down the forces of totalitarianism, one such being the East German Stasi.*** We know all to well what kind of ‘war’ the benevolent politicians of the GDR waged on their own people! What is reprehensible is that those in the Bush41 administration who couldn’t decide how to maintain a robust military following the defeat of the “East” engendered a transformation of the American governments into the very foes we once fought, manufacturing enemies against whom the military is pitted in an imperial fashion to reorder the World in ways that the one-time Commies could only fantasise about.
    Young Mr Snowden may be vilified and made into the new poster boy-demon for national security. The possible outcome of all of this will be to use him as an excuse to further increase the size of the government to bring functions and tasks BACK into the civil or military service. This would, thereby, serve to provide increased pressure upon employees or members in ways that young Bradley Manning knows all-too-well. The threat of personal disgrace and national shame will be drilled into every person involved to the point of hardly ever being able to resist the machinations of government for fear of losing personal status and security and all of the other needs identified by Maslow and others.**** Principal trumps principle.
    And, so, the next stage of regression that will be touted as ‘progression’ may be whittling the contractor force down or passing laws that will – in effect – make the employees liable to increasingly severe penalties through allegiance to the system rather than the Constitution. Given the state of the economy and budgetary concerns, the most effective methods with the least expense should be chosen. Does anyone feel a draft?

    @ link to
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  4. One guest on Fox, not unexpectedly, is supporting the death penalty for Snowden.On Morning Joe one MSNBC correspondent asked, ” Will Snowden have more support than Bradley Manning, who is considered by many to be a traitor.” A traitor? By who… Dick Cheney? It’s the kind of prejudiced banter we have come to expect from journalist.

    The American public is not interested and will gladly side with the crowd who continues to wave the bloody shirt of 9-11, claiming as Diane Finestein did, that Snowden should be prosecuted.

    • Oh, I see the problem. You used ‘journalist’ and ‘Fox’ in the same sentence.

      Those two are mutually exclusive.

  5. Dear Prof. Cole,

    Thank you for your continued coverage of this subject. One chilling side effect of government surveillance that hasn’t been mentioned in the press is the self-censoring of
    dissent. A few weeks ago, before the latest revelations, I wrote a comment on a NYT article in which I criticized the government’s use of torture, drone attacks and assassinations. When the eavesdropping programs were made public, I remembered my comment and wondered if my remark and others like it, written by similarly disaffected
    individuals, would result in being put on an “enemies list.” Does the New York Times hand over the email addresses of its commenters to the N.S.A.? A while back I would have considered such a question utterly crazy; now I’m not so sure. Just the fact that people might think
    twice about public criticism of the government is one more erosion of our freedom.

    Reading comments in other forums, I am dishearted by the number of people who believe that government surveillance of the type that Snowden exposed is perfectly fine. It isn’t fine; it’s monstrous. The American people are so afraid of Al Qaeda’s taking away their freedom that they’re surrendering it voluntarily.

    Thank you again, and please keep up the good work.

    Susan Toyofuku
    Bettona, Italy

  6. Also has already been stated in WaPo this morning (Tues. 11 June) that the “honorable thing” he should do to continue the honorable action of outing the secrets is to turn himself in. In what way would that be honorable? If that’s so honorable why did we give asylum to the blind Chinese dissident, Solzhenitsyn, and all the others we’ve protected over the years from their own govts? Cold comfort to Bradley Manning when they give him the death penalty or put him away for life that he’s doing the honorable thing. Should Assange leave the British embassy and let himself be extradited to Sweden and the US? Should the folks in Taksin Square and Tahrir Square and Tianamen Square just lie down and allow themselves to be arrested b/c it’s more honorable to surrender to the oppressors so your voice can be silenced? I don’t get it.

  7. Germany may have been an even better example than the Soviet Union of how things were done ‘legal’.

    Perhaps we should have a good nickname for the President come out of this: ‘Obama Légalité’

  8. The government is to blame for this sorry state of affairs but so are “We, the people” which, lest we forget, is the foundation of our Constitution.

    We’ve let one administration after another get away with doing this stuff “for our own good” with barely a murmur of discontent from the body politic, nary a protest, hardly a pane of glass being broken. Where is our outrage? Where is our long, hot summer?

    Millions of people get themselves all worked up over nothing more than a right wing wet dream that claims the government is coming to take their guns – which isn’t happening, isn’t planned, isn’t anything more than a wacko conspiracy theory gone amuck.

    But when the government can spend undeclared billions to track granny’s calls to her family and a maiden aunt’s e-mails to her eight year old nephew, no one says a word.

    Why do “We, the people” get so worked up over the 2nd Amendment, which isn’t under any threat, and care not one whit for the 4th – which is being knocked down faster than a trailer park in a tornado?

  9. First data mining information in the aggregate is no more invasive to individuals then data sets collected by business in marketing. So I am going to speak from a Business Marketing Perspective. When patterns emerge from the aggregate summaries, then you can dig deeper into the Personal Identifying Information that is found in normal public and published directories to focus marketing efforts into target markets.

    In this Snowden disclosures it appears we are finding standard Marketing Science applied to National Security and Federal Criminal Investigations of Enemies of our County. I would think Snowden is a Luddite. Just as a group of early 19th century English workmen destroyed laborsaving machinery as a protest, we find Snowden attempting the same activity against the application of Modern Technology for National Security.

    Now Snowden acted to violate his Top Secret Security Clearance, and he did it on purpose. The Luddites were guilty of property damage, a criminal activity. Snowden is begging us to put him on trial for violation of his sacred oath required for his Clearance, and I think America must give him his trial for his betrayal against his country.

    • Except that the Luddites were protesting a far greater injustice, the destruction of a fairly healthy and self-sufficient English peasantry by the new money power of corporate capitalism:

      1. the rich bought Parliament to redefine private property, seizing the Commons that had existed for centuries, thus leaving the peasants with no food options so that they would have to move to overcrowded, disease-ridden cities and drive down wages for those very industrialists. That in turn made life worse for the millworkers who had been protected by tradition from the monstrous Social Darwinism that bastards like Herbert Spenser preached.

      2. British democracy was a joke; only 1% of English men could vote. Not a legitimate government.

      3. the American rebels, Mr. Lunsford, did far worse than the Luddites, for arguments not entirely different than Mr. Snowden’s. Double standard?

    • The idea that the type of data mining practiced by the NSA and the uses and side effects which accrue from it is as innocuous as marketing trackers might be questioned by two generals whose careers were ended or abbreviated by the NSA and the FBI and their methods.

      Both Generals Petreaus and Allen were caught in the web of an investigation that originally did not have them as targets.

      But the pattern analysis of phone calls and email links led the FBI to access their email accounts — and the rest is history.

      Just ‘collateral damage’ of course …

  10. You forgot to add that he will be associated with some form of sexual deviance.

  11. Thank you so much for this, Juan. Through all of the obfuscating and lies we are about to encounter, it is critical for us all to remember — no government of any kind, democratic or otherwise, at any time, has _ever_ collected this much information about its populace.

  12. And then there are the ad hominem attacks which are so very reflexive: see the example of Bradley Manning.

    I would expect Snowden’s relationship with his family to be used to delegitimize him, as is already being done with his GED. The fair and balanced news now often preface his name as, “High School Dropout………..”

    I was impressed by the deeper argument being made by neocon, imperial presidency, CIA Director-for-20-minutes, James Woolsey, immediately following the NPR airing of Snowden’s statement for The Guardian yesterday:

    link to

    Woolsey was apoplectic, as were I imagine any number of the elites who run things officially or unofficially. Their indignation will take many forms, in addition to following the standard distortion & smear and free-standing ad hominem delegitimization models. The core of his indignation, and that of others, boils down to “How dare you Little Man….just WHO do you think you are…..”

    And we have to give Woolsey etal credit, in terms of facing their argument for what it is: We do have a representative form of government who has allowing this situation to develop, perhaps tacitly or as a matter of benign neglect. Snowden had essentially said his understanding and judgement of the state of things is superior to the collective judgement of the elites running things. There’s a lot to digest in that argument, viewed in its entirety.

    • Look, this is a much bigger problem for Booz Allen than for the federales. They’re in the game for well over $6 billion, and are themselves ultimately an expendable (though expensive) asset of the Carlye Group (assets of $17 billion.)
      The revolving door (a cliche that gags me — I have in mind a filthy, far more accurate, simile in mind) from Booz Allen and the NSA/CIA/JSOC/FBI clot has been spinning since 1940, one way or another.
      Most recently, uber patriots Woosley, Clapper, McConnell, Hathaway — CIA, NSA, NSA, NSA, respectively — all Booz Allen executives before and/or after governmental service.

      In the words of career guy at Booz Allen I’ve known for forty years who wrote in an email to his colleagues after the 2008 election: “Don’t worry. No matter who the President is, we still run things.” He claimed this cheered everybody up quite a bit.

  13. The same m.o. will undoubtedly be used against Greenwald as well. In fact, on June 6th, one day after the story broke in the Guardian the NYTimes (Noam Cohen & Leslie Kaufman) initiated the same “distancing” tactic the paper unconscionably used on Assange & Manning once it had digested and published *their* leaks (Wm. Keller drew the short straw on that one.)

    Deconstructing the NYTimes article (which appeared top- left, above the online fold):

    The lede: “After writing intensely, even obsessively, for years about government surveillance and the prosecution of journalists,…”

    a) Why “obsessively?” Intimation of possible mental imbalance.

    “Late Wednesday, Mr. Greenwald, a lawyer and longtime blogger…”

    b) He is a “blogger,” not a “professional journalist.” Probably subscribes to a different set of publishing ethics.

    “The leak, he said, came from ‘a reader of mine’ who was comfortable working with him. The source, Mr. Greenwald said, “knew the views that I had and had an expectation of how I would display them.”

    c) Indicative of some kind of possible collusion or collaboration between source and non-professional “journalist”?

    “Mr. Greenwald’s experience as a journalist is unusual, not because of his clear opinions but because he has rarely had to report to an editor.”

    d) He is a loose cannon whose publishing ethics have not bee shaped by the guidance of a professional editor.

    “That [Greenwald’s] computer is in Brazil, where Mr. Greenwald spends most of his time and lives with his partner, who cannot emigrate to the United States because the federal government does not recognize same-sex marriages as a basis for residency applications.”

    e) Lives on the edge of a normative American experience, by virtue of his homosexuality.

    “Mr. Greenwald grew up in Lauderdale Lakes, Fla., feeling like an odd figure.”

    f) Difficult childhood (homosexuality/latent?) Probably contributes to possible mental imbalance.

    “By the time Mr. Greenwald was studying law at New York University, “he was always passionate about constitutional issues and issues of equal justice and equal treatment,” said Jennifer Bailey, now an immigration lawyer with a nonprofit organization in Maine, who shared a tiny apartment with Mr. Greenwald in the early 1990s.”

    f) Extremely confused as young man. “Passionate” nature noted. Bisexual?

    “As Mr. Greenwald tells it, the last decade has been a slow political awakening. “When 9/11 happened, I thought Bush was doing a good job,” he said. “I was sucking up uncritically what was in the air.”

    g) Evidently harbors feelings of betrayal by his government; revenge a possible motive?

    “Gabriel Schoenfeld, a national security expert and senior fellow at the Hudson Institute who is often on the opposite ends of issues from Mr. Greenwald, called him, “a highly professional apologist for any kind of anti-Americanism no matter how extreme.”

    h) Nice touch: expert opinion solicited of & rendered by someone who will undoubtedly appear as a witness for the prosecution. In March ’06, Schoenfeld in fact called for the indictment of several reporters/editors at the NYTimes (of all places!) after that paper broke the NSA wireless surveillance story.He subsequently testified before a congressional committee on the responsibilities of the press in wartime.

    Close: “Ms. Bailey has a slightly different take. Because of his passions, she said, “he is just as willing to make enemies of anybody.”

    i) “Passions” again. Has anger issues, authority issues. Sexuality issues not resolved. He bites and could possibly be rabid.


    from: link to

  14. David Brooks really got the ball rolling in today’s to

    What really gets me is what a snob Brooks is, making a big deal of Snowden quitting high school. If, as he claims, he was recently making $200,000 a year in Hawaii, maybe quitting high school was a good career move.

    The question Brooks and a lot of other critics of Snowden can’t answer is: If Snowden didn’t reveal what is going on, who would?

  15. So now we will learn just how dumbed down America has truely become. Has this country come to that point that we are oblivious to it own freedom. Or is American freedom only for the 911ers use?
    How do you tell others to wake the f up or forever be spied and controlled?
    I take the points of the article to heart.
    We need to learn from these whistleblowers and forget what BHO tells us because he is not as truthful as he appears.

  16. Attempts to shoot the messenger already have begun.
    link to
    “Judging by his comments reported in the news media so far, Snowden was obsessed with the danger of data mining but completely oblivious to his betrayals and toward the damage he has done to social arrangements and the invisible bonds that hold them together.”
    To suggest that blowing the whistle on abuse of power is a betrayal of a “social arrangement” entirely misses the point.

  17. Not a whistleblower Juan. He’s just exposed what many of us who opposed the Patriot Act’s FISA amendments said at the time this program was, for all intents and puroses, authorized. Certainly PRISM is the forseen and forseeable and legal result of that enactment

  18. Just this morning the Obama administration is waving the red flag of immigration reform. Misdirection, me thinks, so that Snowden and mass government domestic spying will drop from the newscycle as we work ourselves into a frenzy over 3% of the population.

  19. All this was outed in 2006.
    link to
    Sorry but color me not surprised and not outraged. The fact is, Snowden was talking with Greenwald and a movie producer a month before he was hired at BAH. He lied about his salary ($120K not $200K) and he lied to his employers about his credentials. He lied about what he knows, no way can one little techie have info on every single NSA agent and their whereabouts as this dope claims.
    We are supposed to laud this dirt bag because he rehashed old NSA news? This guy is as lame as they come and anyone who jumps on his bandwagon is going to be butt hurt for quite some time.

    • Those assertions sound like classic first-pass, knee-jerk disinformation. Maybe its true? Why not post a link to your source/s and see if it holds water?

      seems to me there was some serious problems with transparency a couple years ago with the editors there and what they had or didn’t have or what they claimed to have had but couldn’t release concerning the exemplary snitch, Adrian Lamo…
      Could we approach this source with a little skepticism, please?

  20. A liberal Democrat talk show host suggested that Snowden may want to sell information to the Chinese.
    The problem is that most Americans don’t care that private companies as well as the government can read their emails. In fact, a lot of people would spy on their neighbors if some authority asked them to.

    • “talk show host suggested…..”

      Wouldn’t YOU, based on what the list provided in this post anticipated, suspect that thought might’ve been put into their pretty little ear…..?

  21. You might also mention that terrorist organizations have been aware of NSA’s activities for decades. Snowden will be deified by some for stating the obvious, while security experts and the media will be dismayed at the revelation.

  22. Excellent piece. Sadly, there are even more attempts to smear Snowden, courtesy of NYT columnist David Brooks. In perfectly Orwellian style (“War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength”), he writes today:

    “He betrayed the cause of open government. Every time there is a leak like this, the powers that be close the circle of trust a little tighter. They limit debate a little more. He betrayed the privacy of us all. If federal security agencies can’t do vast data sweeps, they will inevitably revert to the older, more intrusive eavesdropping methods.”

    Right, he who exposed unwarranted government secrecy and snooping betrayed the causes of open government and of privacy. Because, you know, now the government has to work even harder to spy on us and keep us in the dark, and that’s all his fault. If we just all submitted and decided we didn’t want to know what’s being done, this would be so much easier…

  23. Kudos Juan for shining light where it should be directed.

    Mr, Snowden said his greatest fear was that the American people would do nothing about what’s happening. It is sad but that appears to be happening along with the misinformation and misdirecting by many journalists and their sources. If nothing comes of this now, nothing ever will. Truly sad.

  24. “some Americans consider him a hero”

    To blow the whistle publicly and in doing so trading in a very cosy life for one of hardship and constant danger is certainly impressive.

    Are you among those who consider him a hero?

    • Indeed I do consider him a hero, the same way I consider Daniel Ellsberg a hero for telling the truth about the Vietnam War.

    • Yes, Snowden is very brave and therefore quite the hero. Like Nordic Gods, who knew the ‘giants’ would ultimately defeat them, yet the Gods gave their best effort anyway. Mystic Gods are not heroic since they are all powerful…just mean and angry at puny mankind. The ‘average mind’, found in over 70% of Americans, while smarter than the seriously retarded, have none the less been deliberately retarded by their own government, through TV, pop media, mystic religion, and outright propaganda. Rather than being the ‘land of the free and the home of the brave’, we are soon to be the land of retarded slaves and home to the timid and weak willed…the future is almost here, just a few more years. The ‘chosen ones’ will rule with an iron fist…

  25. .
    One thing’s for sure: Snowden lacks the gene that allows him to recognize irony – if he’d done what he did in the country he ran to, he would be executed.

    The day of his trial.

    • That’s not actually true. Hong Kong still has an amazing amount of autonomy. I was surprised when I visited. Beijing is trying to become influential, but doesn’t always succeed and seems not to just be able to order people around.

  26. Point #8 already underway, regarding PRISM and the activities of the FISA court.

    PRISM is a small, although hardly uncontroversial, piece of this system. The capabilities Snowden referred to….along with the growth trends and architecture he spoke of, which are really more important…… are far more powerful and pervasive.

    The FISA court is also a smoke screen. I’ve heard any number of reporters who know the facts who seem to be unable to look at them critically. Some wise “specialist,” yesterday summarized the courts activities and found their influence laudable. I took notes of HIS facts, then simply looked at them with my own brain actually turned-on. Connect these following dot yourselve:

    – From 1978, at inception, through 2012, roughly 22,000 FISA warrants were issued.
    – During 02 and 03, 70 and 80 applications respectively, were bounced-back by the court for rewriting. (these years would’ve represented a clear skyrocketing of activity).
    – A total of 11 applications in all those years were denied. (OK, our intrepid reporter did not mention that #, probably because it would’ve offended his sources in the administration, but it is a glaring piece of public knowledge).

    I wonder what the average approval/modification/rejection rate of search warrants is among Federal judges?

    MORE IMPORTANTLY, as discussed by Snowden, there are thousands and thousands of analysts authorized to target individuals, at whim, in the US. It MAY or MAY NOT be that they using this capability only with FISA authorization, but I suspect in the fine print of their authorizations they have no such need. Remember Michael Hayden’s dismissal of some allegations along these lines, because the targeting was “a training exercise,” or “we destroyed the records as soon as we were finished.”?

    It really doesn’t matter who is authorized or not authorized. It has to do with meaningful and effective controls. Who is watching the Watchers, and how can such a task ever be managed, knowing even the slightest bit about Human Nature? Snowden himself was NOT authorized to reveal all this stuff yet he did, nor were Karl Rove and Scooter Libby when they made their Fair Game decision to target someone for political reasons.

    If we want to automate this System to take it out of the hands of so many weak and petty human beings, we’ll end-up with an even smaller and more select group of Humans Beings holding all that power, still with all their inherent weaknesses.

  27. A great irony is that Snowden may be able to take advantage of an extradition treaty exemption between China and the U.S. that forbids extradition for crimes of a political character.

    This exemption provision was inserted by U.S. negotiators to protect Chinese wishing to defect to America but may now be used to protect Snowden.

  28. “6. Charges Snowden did not make, such as that the government is engaged in warrantless wiretapping of telephones, will be denied. This is a form of misdirection.”

    Umm. Could you rephrase that?

  29. Snowden has also been put down as an insignificant player. A guy who never even went through high school. A very minor player.

    Well, his employers saw fit to pay him about two hundred thousand dollars a year. And he had some very impressive job titles. And, frankly, listening and watching him speak on TV he appears to be a pretty bright guy, who is not at all unaccustomed to being in the bright lights. Nor does he appear to be small or simple minded.

    Wherever he got his training from he is/was a highly paid computer guru who knew/knows his stuff.

    Diminishing him in that manner (some TV pundits have) won’t work. Or, rather, will work only with those who wish it to work.

  30. Remember when Richard Nixon sent his plumbers to burglarize the office of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist so they could get damaging information on him?

    The real traitors are the ones accusing Snowden of treason.

  31. Any suggestion that what Snowden did is inconsequential is proven false by the official overreaction to its revelation. He is a hero. That being said, we shouldn’t be surprised. And faith that The Law exists for any purpose but to protect the powerful and subjugate the rest is blind faith. also, we didn’t need Snowden’s revelations to have an inkling that anything we write in public, “anonymously” or not, might earn us a spot on an Enemies List somewhere. However, many people incorrectly assumed that their “private” communications were in fact private.

  32. Professor Cole,
    One advantage of massive data mining is that it increases the liklihood the government will find something to talk about (continuously, on all commercial networks) that is supposedly a terrorist plot. This scare talk advances the alleged need to give the defense department more money, to crank up our weapons factories to make more weapons and more money, and to give the congress cover to continue the spying on Americans. I’m in favor of re-tooling all of our weapons manufacturing plants. They need to produce energy-saving products, not weapons to sell to other countries to be used to kill our men and women in uniform.

  33. What I have noted as interesting is that unlike the FBI, CIA, and MI-6, the National Security Agency has rarely been the subject of publicity via Hollywood.

    Maybe the Snowden story will resurrect interest in the box office dud sci-fi thriller entitled “The Box”, in which Frank Langella portrays an NSA agent who rises from the dead and approaches and offers everyday American families the opportunity to press a button on a box in exchange for payment of one million dollars only to discover the adverse implications imposed afterward by mysterious NSA personnel.

    • Hey, get on your Netflix and look up ENEMY OF THE STATE, with Gene Hackman and Will Smith. Not a bad movie, although a bit on the thriller side.

  34. According to sweden’s main paper, Dagens Nyheter, Snowden abandoned his girlfriend, who seems to work as a stripp dancer.

    • Abandon’s a loaded word – in English anyhow. He went to Hong Kong. She stayed in Hawaii. Could be a mutual parting. Could be she doesn’t agree with his politics. Could be they weren’t all that tight. How much do we know from sources that aren’t out to denigrate him and actually know something?

      • Remembering what was done to Daniel Ellsberg, Jim Garrison, Philip Agee, Karen Silkwood, and what is now being done to Bradley Manning, it would not surprise me in the least to see those in certain quarters doing everything possible to dig up whatever they could on Snowden to discredit him.

        Eric Snowden does deserve some type of punishment for what he did so as to act, at very least, as a deterrent to U.S. intelligence contractors and personnel who consider to violate confidentiality clauses and oaths. Many cheered when a Palestinian-American immigrant tossed a pie into the face of Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Levin at a town hall meeting not too long ago, but the 30-day jail term for a federal misdemeanor conviction was necessary to prevent every activist from doing the same thing to a U.S. Congressman.

        Unlike Daniel Ellsberg, a Harvard University graduate and doctorate holder, Snowden appears to have had little formal education and, like Pfc. Manning, was placed in a sensitive position in U.S. intelligence that he should not have been allowed in. Manning and Snowden may have produced positive impacts upon the public interest due to their conduct – but the disloyal manner in which these security breaches occurred cannot and should not be condoned by the President nor the United States Department of Justice. I am rather surprised to see Ron Paul and his son Rand, a member of the U.S. Senate cheer on Mr. Snowden.

        There is no doubt Mr. Snowden will face a long road of legal action that will take years and years to play itself out.

  35. One tactic I’ve noticed is the attempt to smear people with perversion. I’ll be willing to bet that the government finds a “vast porn library” on his personal computer.

  36. White House Petition to grant Snowden a full pardon: link to

    Yes, it’s like telling a mosquito not to bite you, but it can send them a clear message we’re tired of having our rights violated.

    Anyone else feel a revolution in the air?

  37. It was meant to corroborate the post. Questioning somebodys moral is a classic.
    BTW: thank you for the phone interview you gave me back in 2008. I had good use of your ideas about Napoleon in a book I wrote in swedish.

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