Snowden asks Putin about surveillance in Russia on televised call-in show


#21

I wouldn't go so far as to say Snowden is a secret Russian/Chinese agent but what do we know?

We know a lot.

We know if he was anything remotely like a secret spy he would have given some or all of the data to them in secret and cashed in. The only way we'd ever know about him is if he'd got caught. Snowden didn't get caught. He's a fucking obvious whistleblower and a hero.

This is the factor that many of his dense detractors completely ignore. If his goal was to be a spy of any sort against the USA, he would have done it in secret and would have been financially set for life instead of a target of the military-industrial complex.

What we know is he's a hero who knowingly put his ass on the line for society (even for the ingrates).

If you've got conspiracy theories beyond the most obvious, then please spare me while I point you to this:


#22

OK, time to get Snowden out of there. There are whole bunch of people that we have to get to safe haven, Assange being another.


#23

Seems like an awfully broad assumption. I'm pretty sure there are a lot of people who regard him as a hero because he identified illegal programs undertaken by the NSA.

Unless you think the government should be excepted from the rule of law I don't see how you can think Snowden is anything but a hero.


#24

I think "whistleblowers" should be encouraged not vilified. Without them the powers that be can literally get away with murder. That said, Snowden is an ex-CIA employee. I don't think I would trust any ex-CIA employee. I can't. Sorry. I wish him well and hope he is for real but he crossed a certain line when he took that CIA job.


#25

That said, Snowden is an ex-CIA employee. I don't think I would trust any ex-CIA employee. I can't. Sorry. I wish him well and hope he is for real but he crossed a certain line when he took that CIA job.

I see your point, but if you look at his motivations for joining they were pretty good and pretty common at the time, in my opinion. There was a lot of mass hysteria in the USA after 9/11 (pumped up vociferously by the media and from the shock of the attacks themselves) and many joined the military, etc. for what they saw as their patriotic duty to defend our nation from an outside attack. That was a different time before the Internet reached the point it has today where much more alternative information is at most everyone's fingertips (if they bother to look).

Look at the Pat Tillman fiasco. He joined the military for what I would regard as very pure reasons and once he started to question things he got fragged. Of course, when the Army investigates itself, it just calls it friendly fire after the cover up got exposed.

Was Pat Tillman a person you'd be suspicious of if he were alive today because he chose to join the military for what he thought was good reasons at the time?

Unlike most who only offer words, Snowden has shown with his actions what kind of person he is and what kind of true patriot he is as well. I wish more people of conscience would get involved in their government and help change it from within like he has. But, sitting on the sidelines complaining from the peanut gallery is much easier, I suppose.

I don't agree with a lot of the tactics and overreach of the CIA, but I also can't hold that against someone like Snowden who chose to do the right thing when it really counted and at great personal cost. I also don't think everyone and anyone who is involved with the CIA or has been involved with the CIA is evil or untrustworthy. It depends on who they are as a person to me.


#26

I think Pat Tillman was a hero. Joining the military though, is a bit different from joining the CIA and Tillman spoke out while still in the field, surrounded by guys with rifles. It didn't take Tillman 8 years to see through the lies.
I'm not saying everyone who has joined the CIA is evil and untrustworthy necessarily, but there are strong ties that bind them to the organization which I just can't dismiss.
I wish Snowden the best and hope things work out. He's in a terrible position.


#27

I think Pat Tillman was a hero.

Agreed. I also think Snowden is a hero as well.

Joining the military though, is a bit different from joining the CIA and Tillman spoke out while still in the field, surrounded by guys with rifles.

I think the motivations were the same and that's what matters to me. And, keep in mind, there was plenty of weapons surrounding Snowden from the entire military-industrial complex when he "spoke out" and there has been multiple calls for his murder, etc. even from more prominent idiots in the USA.

Also, once Snowden made his revelations, he instantly became a prime target for kidnapping and murder for a host of reasons from an entire host of countries (including our own shadow government). The only reason he's still alive and relatively free today is because of his own wits and intelligence and a brave, underground network of fellow patriots and sympathizers like Wikileaks, etc. that are aiding him.

I think both Tillman and Snowden were incredibly brave in their actions each in their own ways and I do appreciate that you do wish Snowden well.


#28

I really do wish him well and i appreciate your intelligent viewpoint.


#29

That's the point of my original comment. He didn't just expose a couple programs and say, "Look, these are illegal." He grabbed somewhere between 10,000 and 1.7 million documents and walked out the door with them. Then he turned them over to a journalist. If all of this material was about illegal programs, then why hasn't he exposed it all? But legal or not, the fact that it's gone makes most of it worthless: if a collection program is compromised then there can be no confidence in the information it provides. Why did Snowden break all this in order to expose a small handful of programs?


#30

Probably because he couldn't sift through so much material on his own and he was never going to get another chance to go back and retrieve important corroborating evidence after he took off. If you're only going to get one go of exposing something, take it all so you'll definitely have whatever you'll need, then get help figuring out which is crucial and which is not.

Think of it like planning to take a very, very long trip. If you could pack your whole house up, you would, why wouldn't you? Who knows what you'll regret not taking? And in terms of needing to prove every small thing Snowden was planning to claim, he was going to need as much evidence as possible.

And as for the info being "worthless", according to our own NSA they weren't using most of it anyway, right? Far as we know, they raked in a lot of funding to make it all happen and never used it to much proper end that older, cheaper, legal methods of espionage don't already cover.


#31

Dave, thanks for the thoughtful reply.

The NSA said that the metadata database (also called "surveillance" by many people) was available to them but not used unless needed to track specific [and foreign] targets. I don't think Snowden took this actual data. What I am referring to is the documents taken by Snowden that contained information about other programs, not the metadata program. Whatever sources of information was detailed in those documents (sources, not information) is now highly suspect if not out-and-out worthless. This most likely includes what you referred to as "older, cheaper, legal methods of espionage." All gone or severely damaged.

At the risk of going down an analogy rabbit hole, this seems to me like disbanding a town's police force because of an over-zealous SWAT team. Some people would no doubt cheer that the entire police force was gone. But a great many people would just like to see the SWAT team either fixed or terminated.


#32

He grabbed somewhere between 10,000 and 1.7 million documents and walked out the door with them. Then he turned them over to a journalist. If all of this material was about illegal programs, then why hasn't he exposed it all?

Because it's not all about illegal programs.

But legal or not, the fact that it's gone makes most of it worthless: if a collection program is compromised then there can be no confidence in the information it provides. Why did Snowden break all this in order to expose a small handful of programs?

Greenwald addressed this in detail and I have links to the issue here:

The gist of it is Snowden doesn't want to harm the United States by releasing non-vetted parts of the leaks without significant review. That takes time.

I am referring to is the documents taken by Snowden that contained information about other programs, not the metadata program. Whatever sources of information was detailed in those documents (sources, not information) is now highly suspect if not out-and-out worthless.

If the point of the leaks was to attack average Americans' safety, then the releases would indeed be worthless. But, the actual point of the leaks is to spur a national discussion of mass, suspicionless spying and other gross, anti-constitutional overreaches concerning spying - which has been a stunning success.

Also, as far as the sources and information being suspect, much of it has already been confirmed to be accurate. The debate has mostly surrounded not the veracity of the leaks, but the content of the leaks and what they mean for a so-called free society with a US Constitution that gets thrown in the trash in the name of "safety". "Safety" we don't even get from mass, suspicionless surveillance in the first place.


#33

And that concept of "safety" belies a deeper, more unsettling truth about the oligarchy: that the waste of dollars on maintaining their power structures undermines the technological progress we could be making instead of the paltry progress we are currently making.

For example, it is well-known that obesity and smoking are epidemic. They exert unparalleled drag on the economy and health status of the nation, trillions of dollars worth. And yet, public health dollars are scarce to fight them and put them back into proportion to the population.

Why? Because those dollars go to supporting the war machine and the business interests of the oligarchy controlling the legislatures that vote on the appropriations.

Until the oligarchs are overthrown, we have only our wits to help us survive. They don't care about you and me. They don't want you to have opportunities and a happy life. They want your compliance and your sweat and money, so that they can have happy lives.

Don't give it to them. Don't play their game. Play your own game, even if it means poverty in an external sense. I could go on and on and on about this, but I'll save it for other threads. There are ways to play your own game and not starve, and also not feed the monsters... gotta get wise to their system and outplay it...


#34

Nothing Putin does in the media is "spontaneous." His whole image in front of the Russian people is created to make him look strong. Those tigers he hunted? He shot it in a cage, and then it was moved outside the cage for the photographs. Multiple animal rights groups knew and complained about it, and then were promptly exited from Russia. And on and on.

Now , I don't have any illusions that our political leaders in the US aren't doing some of the same press style games... but the only reason Ed Snowden gets through is to ask a question he was either told to ask, or Putin expected him to ask. And if it went in a direction Putin didn't like, well.. even LIVE shows aren't really "live." There would be some "connection issues." And then Mr. Putin would say "What I think you're asking me is.." and continue on with his script.


#35

Nothing Putin does in the media is "spontaneous." His whole image in front of the Russian people is created to make him look strong.

Sounds like nearly every US President including Obama.

Those tigers he hunted? He shot it in a cage

Did you not notice the way Dick Cheney "hunted" his birds?

Now , I don't have any illusions that our political leaders in the US aren't doing some of the same press style games...

Good...

the only reason Ed Snowden gets through is to ask a question he was either told to ask, or Putin expected him to ask

You shouldn't speak conjecture with such absolute certainty. Even tricky questions slip through to Obama on occasion and no true free press organization ever gets near him.

And if it went in a direction Putin didn't like, well.. even LIVE shows aren't really "live." There would be some "connection issues." And then Mr. Putin would say "What I think you're asking me is.."

That's a lot of conjecture and fantasy. The truth of the matter is it was live TV. The question was asked about mass surveillance and Putin answered the question like a typical, full of shit politician.

But like many public questions to politicians, sometimes the questions are more important than the answers. A dialog has been started and we've got Snowden to thank for that.

And as far as your other fantasy that Snowden was forced to ask that specific question, it makes little sense. If at some point Snowden decided to expose that down the road, it would be a huge embarrassment for Putin and the Kremlin.

The so-called "reward" wouldn't justify the risk.


#36

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