NSA can't find any emails from Snowden, then it can (convenient, no?)



It makes you wonder. Is the Snowden(Surveillance by the NSA) dust up a conflict over intelligence and security or it this just plan politics? It’s starting to look like just plan politics. That would significantly undercut argument for total surveillance. It would actually be a definite argument to kill all these programs.

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Everything is politics.

Really, was there any doubt?


They have to make him look as though the entire release had ulterior motivations. That he is a Russian spy and that they exist, with all of the surveillance, to protect us from people just like him. If he wins the larger argument that what they are doing is wrong, and not that he did this because he wanted fame, or to satisfy the Russians or personally benefit himself, then all they are left with are the revelations that what they have done to citizens is wrong, with no sideshow villain. As long as he remains the villain/ criminal then they have done their jobs to divert attention from their own actions. In that sense, it is the oldest political trick in the book, such as mudslinging, but underneath, it really is about carrying on the level of surveillance unimpeded and without challenge. So it’s about both.


“Geez Sarge, it sure seems like this war might violate the Geneva Conventions… Shut up private.”

It’s insulting to expect me to believe that a complaint raised by a third-party contractor with no legal training, about the constitutionality of policies that are sanctioned at the highest level and undergird nearly every program the institution engages in, would be given a critical analysis by anyone, much less those actually in charge of determining its legality.

The idea, that an infantryman’s complaint about the constitutionality of a military operation is institutionally meaningful, is absurd.


So, if I’m getting this right, never question authority? Know your place in all things? Was that what you were saying?

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If I don’t approve of the next war, do I need to write a letter to the president before I have a moral license to engage in civil disobedience? No, clearly not.

There are lots of ways to question authority, some are meaningful and others are an utter waste of time. I would encourage you spend what little time you have as effectively as you can.

My point in the comment above was that it shouldn’t be seen as damning that Snowden didn’t bring up his objections through “official channels” since no reasonable person can be expected to believe that that would have been anything other than a waste of everyone’s time.

This wasn’t a single mission or policy made anywhere near Snowden in the chain of command. We’re talking about a fundamental element of the mission of the entire organization. There are certain policies and actions that it would have make sense to complain about, for instance an overzealous supervisor making specific demands that seemed to contravene express policies or traditional behavior. Not this. Not official policy that had been expressly sanctioned by the highest level of authority in the organization. It is insulting to tell us that official channels existed for addressing this kind of complaint.


Okay, totally didn’t get it, thanks for clarifying and sorry.

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No worries.

I am really hoping that someone will come along and give me a reason to believe that there do exist official channels capable of handling this kind of complaint in anything other than a completely cursory way. I’d rather live in that world than this one…


It’s such a shock how an organization that manages to surveil a nontrivial percentage of all global communications in real time can’t search its own email…


Or even only the from-to/when meta-content.

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For that first part, that he is a villain, I’ll add a piece on how they are doing it. He will be charged under the Espionage Act. So all responses that they make will be to further their cause that he violated the act. If those responses mean lying about the breadth or availability of emails or other communications, then so be it, if it supports their premise that he violated the Espionage Act. If it means painting him as a Russian spy, then so be it. If it means Kerry goes on national television and calls him a dummy stupid dang darn dummy dumb-hole, nya nya nya nya nya nya pffffffffttttttttt, then that too. They will do any and every goddamn thing they can think of to paint the picture that he violated the Espionage Act. (For purposes of being the distraction from the actual truth, that you already adequately described.)

But I’ll stick to my own script - they and everyone else who thinks he’s a traitor need to prove the specific harms.


Right! Because all he would have had to do was lodge a formal complaint through channels, and they would have stopped all of it, just like that!

Though they seem to have gotten away with lying to congress for so long, they probably think we’re all chumps and will take their word for it.

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The worst part is that, most likely, any whistleblower protection that he might have kicks in only when he has exhausted all avenues for redress within the official channels. Such exhaustion depends on a final determination that the complaint is without merit. As long as the authorities fail to return such a determination, he cannot lawfully take the matter public. And there is nothing to keep the authorities from simply exercising a dilatory pocket veto.

In short, the argument that “he didn’t take it through channels” remains available and will always remain available. “He complained, and his complaint remains under investigation. We anticipate making a final determination after his conviction and execution.”


Lot’s of official channels for such discussion, but the entrance fee is only affordable by the 1%…


Honestly, let’s be truthful here, these guys have an almost limitless budget and therefore almost limitless powers. The NSA is so bloated they think that they can throw money at any attention raised and ensure the mainstream news media either ignores the issues or twists it completely. And many will suckumb to the patriotic lies. Trying to think about a way to leave this on a positive note.


The whole point of civil disobedience is accepting that the authorities can send you to prison for it. That your moral stance is worth the imprisonment and that you still have the higher moral ground even as a prisoner. That’s why Gandhi and Mandela are revered; they accepted their punishment.

I hate to break this to you but Mandela was captured, in disguise, while shuttling between safe houses.

I hope that doesn’t diminish your respect for him, because you’d be a fool to allow it to.


I’d take it a step further… jhBadgerFace is a ridiculous person. Ghandi did NOT accept his punishment! He resisted with every fiber of his being, to the point of nearly starving himself to death on many occasions. He organized, he resisted, and he never relented. Ghandi was THE MAN. He wasn’t some passive milk toast sitting in a prison cell. He was the fuckin BOSS of India. Scratch that, the MOTHERFUCKIN BOSS of India.

Read some history and LEARN, BadgerHead. Don’t just spout off useless, baseless untruths on the Internet cuz you feel God owes you the right to say stupid stuff! Educate yourself.



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The whole point of what Gandhi did was to accept punishment as part of his resistance. That’s also the whole point of hunger strikes; to bring public attention to the punishment. This is what civil disobedience/passive resistance entails; not pushing back but making the authorities ashamed.

Mandela is sort of a different case because it isn’t clear if he really saw himself as being for civil disobedience (even if others did see him that way) as opposed to simply being a revolutionary, where no rules hold.