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  #1  
Old 06-25-2013, 12:13 PM
Lantern Lantern is offline
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What will happen to Snowden?

Apparently he is now at the Moscow airport and Putin has said that he won't be extradited.

What's his next step? Ecuador ? Iceland ? Some embassy in Moscow?

He possibly has valuable information that several governments would like. That gives him a certain amount of bargaining power. His international celebrity also protects him somewhat.

OTOH he is an even more sensitive and urgent case for the US government than Assange who wasn't a US citizen and hadn't worked for the NSA. They will be using all their considerable power to nab him. They want to set an example for the next person who might think of doing this.

I have no clue how this is going to end. If I had to guess, he may end up in some kind of limbo like Assange.

Since this is GD, feel free to debate what should happen to Snowden if you wish.

Last edited by Lantern; 06-25-2013 at 12:14 PM..
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  #2  
Old 06-25-2013, 02:00 PM
BrokenBriton BrokenBriton is offline
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tbh, never mind the population of the US, he's doing most countries a huge favour by informing them of what this rogue state is up to; didn't you want to know you were subject to mass surveillance contrary to what the boss of the NSA said to elected leaders?

Ffs, who is paying and serving who here?
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  #3  
Old 06-25-2013, 02:19 PM
PastTense PastTense is offline
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I think he will find a government which will give him legal protection, perhaps Ecuador.

But those of us who have read too many spy thrillers can easily see an "independent contractor" kidnapping and torturing him for whatever information he has and selling that information (and/or him) to a hostile government.
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  #4  
Old 06-25-2013, 02:57 PM
Lantern Lantern is offline
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From the WaPo:

Quote:
“They think he copied so much stuff — that almost everything that place does, he has,” said one former government official, referring to the NSA, where Snowden worked as a contractor for Booz Allen Hamilton while in the NSA’s Hawaii facility. “Everyone’s nervous about what the next thing will be, what will be exposed.”

Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian columnist who has published a series of stories based on documents provided by Snowden, said he has exercised discretion in choosing what to disclose. Snowden, too, has said he was selective in choosing what to disclose.

“I know that he has in his possession thousands of documents, which, if published, would impose crippling damage on the United States’ surveillance capabilities and systems around the world,” Greenwald told CNN. “He has never done any of that.”
I find this hard to believe but there it is. Is the US government so seriously incompetent that they allow a junior contractor access to massive amounts of sensitive information? Why would they do that?

If it is true, it does raise the stakes considerably. I think the US may cut a deal with Russia though they will have to offer a lot in exchange.

Last edited by Lantern; 06-25-2013 at 02:58 PM..
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  #5  
Old 06-25-2013, 03:04 PM
davidw davidw is offline
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Originally Posted by Lantern View Post
He possibly has valuable information that several governments would like. That gives him a certain amount of bargaining power. His international celebrity also protects him somewhat.
What bargaining power? What's to stop Russia from throwing him into a hole until they've finished copying all of the information he has, then booting him out of the country? (which is what China is rumored to have done)?
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  #6  
Old 06-25-2013, 03:05 PM
tralfamidor tralfamidor is offline
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Since Russian-US relations have deteriorated to Cold War levels, Putin will no doubt provide Snowden with not only permanent refuge, but also a nice dacha with lotsa vodka and a cute blonde or two to replace his abandoned pole dancer girlfriend back in Hawaii. They won't be able to give him white sand beaches and ocean breezes, unless he likes the 20-below kind. But you can't have everything.

The Snowden brouhaha provides all enemies of the US a wonderful opportunity to rub its nose in the litterbox. Putin probably wet his pants in joy when he found out that Snowden was coming to Russia.

The legal aspect is that we will try to invoke our extradition treaty with Russia. They will come up with some reason that it doesn't apply (such as Snowden's own contention that he has broken no law). We will be very upset and turn purple. Putin will laugh. We will give up. (We might make a feeble attempt to whack him, but that might burn up some useful assets.)
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  #7  
Old 06-25-2013, 03:09 PM
Lantern Lantern is offline
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Originally Posted by davidw View Post
What bargaining power? What's to stop Russia from throwing him into a hole until they've finished copying all of the information he has, then booting him out of the country? (which is what China is rumored to have done)?
For example, he could claim to have sensitive information that would damage Russia which would be revealed by WikiLeaks if anything happened to him.
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  #8  
Old 06-25-2013, 03:56 PM
Martin Hyde Martin Hyde is offline
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We don't have an extradition treaty with Russia at all so I very much doubt they'll need to come up with a reason it doesn't apply to Snowden.

I predict Snowden makes it to Ecuador most likely, or possibly reroutes to Iceland. My understanding is Assange has advised him to go to Ecuador because Iceland is "not as favorable" for people like them as it was in the past. I imagine Snowden would probably prefer Iceland, not for the climate or anything (Ecuador is nicer and having lived in Hawaii Iceland would be an adjustment), but Ecuador is a really poor country and even with money it's unlikely he'll have all the creature comforts of an OECD type country such as Iceland.

I also doubt he has anything all that amazing on the NSA. To be honest what he released was important because I think the public needed to know about it, we needed some sort of public debate on it because the system we have in place (the Congressional Intelligence Committees / FISA) that are supposed to be the check on clandestine executive action have frankly done nothing but rubber stamp and ignore everything the executive has wanted to do for decades. But if you actually had read some of the laws that authorized this stuff, not only was none of this unexpected it was basically something you should have realized was going on from the laws themselves.

Every country in the world does wire intelligence, including monitoring overseas net traffic. The NSA program in theory is no different from NSA surveillance programs they've ran for years. I fear too many people here are too emotionally invested to hear reason on it, but in all honesty it's just business as usual at the NSA. The only hitch is domestic communications, which are supposed to only be collected "incidentally" and discarded unless they can be clearly linked to something are not properly scrutinized or controlled in terms of what the NSA is doing with them. That's the one big concern I have with it all, but the fact that the NSA has a program to monitor large amounts of foreign internet traffic that passes through the major U.S. internet companies? The more I learned about it the more I became pretty happy the NSA was monitoring that stuff, I'd like to know what a signals intelligence organization with a massive operating budget was for if not for exactly that.
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  #9  
Old 06-25-2013, 04:08 PM
Lantern Lantern is offline
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The US government has voided Snowden's passport. Would any international airline allow him to board a plane ?
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  #10  
Old 06-25-2013, 04:10 PM
Martin Hyde Martin Hyde is offline
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Originally Posted by Lantern View Post
The US government has voided Snowden's passport. Would any international airline allow him to board a plane ?
Yes. It has been said he's been issued Ecuadorean travel documents.
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  #11  
Old 06-25-2013, 04:17 PM
Lantern Lantern is offline
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OK but I would have thought you would also need a valid passport to board a plane.
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  #12  
Old 06-25-2013, 04:20 PM
Martin Hyde Martin Hyde is offline
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OK but I would have thought you would also need a valid passport to board a plane.
No, not necessarily. Why would you think that?
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  #13  
Old 06-25-2013, 04:23 PM
Lantern Lantern is offline
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My experience is that the the airline checks your passport and also your visa on an international flight. If your passport is void I don't know if "travel documents" are enough.
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  #14  
Old 06-25-2013, 04:27 PM
Martin Hyde Martin Hyde is offline
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To expand on my short comment, not everyone can even actually get a passport all that easily. For example I knew a lot of people in the Vietnamese community who were allowed to come over here in the late 70s/early 80s because of connections with the United States during the war that put them in danger if they had stayed in Vietnam.

They came to the United States and many became permanent residents, but not citizens. Permanent residents cannot be issued an American passport, if you're a U.S. permanent resident you typically need the passport from your country of citizenship plus your green card to facilitate your easy reentry into the United States (and a special reentry form if you plan to travel away from the United States for over a year as a permanent resident.) This situation isn't all the uncommon, while not typical it is not rare. There are many people who for a variety of reasons cannot get a passport from their country of citizenship, and are not citizens of their country of residence. Most of them are in special legal categories that exempts them from some travel requirements. (They have a travel form that verifies refugee status and etc, and it functions a lot like a passport.)

Generally speaking such "stateless" refugees have travel documents issued by the country that granted them asylum/refugee status that are sufficient to allow them to travel internationally, and they can do so typically at will.

Last edited by Martin Hyde; 06-25-2013 at 04:28 PM..
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  #15  
Old 06-25-2013, 04:30 PM
Gagundathar Gagundathar is offline
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Is this the proper venue to discuss whether what Mr. Snowden was, in fact, illegal?
If not, then please Moderator, move it with my apologies.

If his actions were illegal was it, in your considered opinions, ethical nonetheless?

Those of us who have a smattering of knowledge of computer systems, networks, databases and such details that make this magical screen carry my words to unknown people all around the planet were all pretty much certain that the NSA was monitoring ALL internet traffic for keywords years before the 9/11 event.

The shear volume of data has always been the chokepoint in effective surveillance. Discrimination of targets is the only way to handle the data, because even with billions of dollars of budget and thousands of sigint personnel, you can only scoop so much gold out of the gravel.

So, until recently, we had a modicum, a figleaf of privacy left, even if it was only statistical in nature.

As our newer generations of users have driven the system to interconnect 'friends' using social networking, the task has been made an order of magnitude easier. Now, we have people who indiscriminately broadcast their every action, whim, random notion or object of desire to everyone in their list of hundreds of 'friends'. And none of it EVER disappears. This is a challenge for the maintenance of the ethical balance between freedom and security.

It is reassuring to see a public debate about these issues. They do affect us all, and if we choose to accept constant surveillance then we should expect a valid and trustworthy overseeing authority that handles disputes between the NSA and the citizenry. Of course, I also want a pony, but I just thought I'd put it out there.
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  #16  
Old 06-25-2013, 04:33 PM
suranyi suranyi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Hyde View Post
To expand on my short comment, not everyone can even actually get a passport all that easily. For example I knew a lot of people in the Vietnamese community who were allowed to come over here in the late 70s/early 80s because of connections with the United States during the war that put them in danger if they had stayed in Vietnam.

They came to the United States and many became permanent residents, but not citizens. Permanent residents cannot be issued an American passport, if you're a U.S. permanent resident you typically need the passport from your country of citizenship plus your green card to facilitate your easy reentry into the United States (and a special reentry form if you plan to travel away from the United States for over a year as a permanent resident.) This situation isn't all the uncommon, while not typical it is not rare. There are many people who for a variety of reasons cannot get a passport from their country of citizenship, and are not citizens of their country of residence. Most of them are in special legal categories that exempts them from some travel requirements. (They have a travel form that verifies refugee status and etc, and it functions a lot like a passport.)

Generally speaking such "stateless" refugees have travel documents issued by the country that granted them asylum/refugee status that are sufficient to allow them to travel internationally, and they can do so typically at will.
Yes, to take an example from my own family history: My mother escaped from Hungary at the time of the failed revolution of 1956 and ended up in a refugee camp in Austria. From there she eventually emigrated to the U.S. For that travel she obviously didn't have a passport from Hungary, or from any country. She had special refugee travel papers created by Austria, which were accepted by the American authorities.
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  #17  
Old 06-25-2013, 04:36 PM
Lantern Lantern is offline
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OK I guess it makes sense that political refugees wouldn't require passports to leave their country. But has Ecuador actually given him asylum/refugee status ?
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  #18  
Old 06-25-2013, 04:57 PM
Oakminster Oakminster is offline
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My guess is that Snowden catches two in the head within 5 years.

Last edited by Oakminster; 06-25-2013 at 04:57 PM..
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  #19  
Old 06-25-2013, 05:09 PM
jackdavinci jackdavinci is offline
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My guess is that Snowden catches two in the head within 5 years.
I don't see the point in this. The damage is already done, and that would just martyr him.
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  #20  
Old 06-25-2013, 05:52 PM
WillFarnaby WillFarnaby is offline
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He will be turned in to US authorities and kept in a cramped cell until trial. A few people will support him but the vast majority of the people will regard him as a traitor or won't care either way. He will be sentenced to death for treason.
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  #21  
Old 06-25-2013, 06:08 PM
Der Trihs Der Trihs is offline
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I don't see the point in this.
To make it clear what happens to whistleblowers.
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  #22  
Old 06-25-2013, 06:21 PM
Martin Hyde Martin Hyde is offline
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Originally Posted by Lantern View Post
OK I guess it makes sense that political refugees wouldn't require passports to leave their country. But has Ecuador actually given him asylum/refugee status ?
I don't know that anyone knows for sure, but WikiLeaks has claimed he has Ecuadorean travel documents. Cite That's straight from Assange so trust it as much as you trust him, he says Snowden has "refugee documents of passage." If Ecuador wants to make him a refugee, as a sovereign State with the involvement of their President pretty prominent in this they could bang out such documents for him that would be accepted internationally pretty damn quickly (in minutes.) So it isn't that unlikely that he has them.
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  #23  
Old 06-25-2013, 07:31 PM
QuickSilver QuickSilver is online now
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It's not at all clear to me what "secret" information Snowden has that makes him such a great liability to the US. I hear the talking heads on the news generating much heat on the subject, but not very much light.

I'm left to speculate...

If I had secret information, the type that would truly expose some real national secrets, would I head off to Hong Kong or Moscow? I would if I was intending to defect there because of some idealogical convictions. I would not if I was trying to keep secrets secret and out of the hands of those who certainly would not have my best interests at heart and would not think twice of throwing me in a some far off gulag as soon as they extracted the passwords to the information I was carrying.

Snowden may have done a stupid and rash thing in collecting this information and sharing it with some western journalists, but running off to Russia with secrets seems too stupid even for him. So my feeling is that he has no deep dark secrets on his laptops. He has piles of marginally useful meta-data about phone calls and internet traffic gathered by the NSA. As others have mentioned, I doubt very much China and Russia aren't gathering the very same kind of info at home. Furthermore, I doubt there has ever been so much as a discussion about whether or not it's intrusive with respect to their own population. Just the idea that they would consider privacy rights is laughable.

So the US media is making lots of noise and the US gov't remains quite mum about this whole thing. Remarkably, not even the usual congress flunkies are talking much out of turn on the subject. Are they? Have I missed something of substance from the US authorities on the subject of Snowden recently?

I suspect that the NSA knows exactly what Snowden copied. Unless he was some sort of magician, his account is all over the activity log on the NSA computers. What he accessed and when. It's unlikely he'd still be walking around a free man if he had anything vital on those drives. His immediate capture/elimination simply isn't worth the effort because what he's got isn't significant enough to risk far more important assets.

The US authorities will get to him when they get to him. Business as usual until then.

That's if I'm left to speculate....
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  #24  
Old 06-25-2013, 09:01 PM
jackdavinci jackdavinci is offline
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Originally Posted by Der Trihs View Post
To make it clear what happens to whistleblowers.
Would that not just be super obvious, and cause annoying attention on the policies of the organization?
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  #25  
Old 06-25-2013, 10:14 PM
Martin Hyde Martin Hyde is offline
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Yeah, I imagine internationally the biggest bombshell Snowden had was his stuff about the NSA hacking Chinese computers. The Chinese have been openly hacking American government and corporate computers for years. We've literally caught them in prolonged, (as in weeks and weeks) attacks from Chinese universities that have significant military presence and in attack patterns that are simply obvious of a State actor. China just waves it away and says, "we have no idea what's going on." The idea that they were doing this and we weren't doing the same thing back is ludicrous.

And what's China or Russia going to do with some "proof" on the international stage that we've been hacking them? They'll use it to justify their own hacking or whatever. But how does that even matter? They weren't going to stop hacking us regardless of whether we were hacking them, so it's all a moot point.

The biggest deal was the way in which domestic "incidental" communication was collected and stored and analyzed. What Snowden did that served a purpose for the American people I think was show that the oversight of this stuff is terrible and needs to be improved.
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  #26  
Old 06-25-2013, 10:56 PM
AK84 AK84 is offline
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He will get asylum in Moscow. Like Philby or Blake. He worked for the CIA and NSA. Quite valuable.
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  #27  
Old 06-25-2013, 11:16 PM
clairobscur clairobscur is offline
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Originally Posted by Lantern View Post
OK I guess it makes sense that political refugees wouldn't require passports to leave their country. But has Ecuador actually given him asylum/refugee status ?
It doesn't matter. A country can let in whoever she wants. Random people like you and me need passports because the country we're entering wants to know who exactly we are and which country we are citizens of. We might need a visa for some countries because they want to decide whether or not to let us in.

But if the country already knows who we are and for some reason wants us to come, we won't need any passport or visa. The travel documents are for the airline, the country you're currently staying in, etc...so that they would know for sure you're actually allowed to enter the country you want to fly to.

You only need a passport if the country you're heading to wants you to show one (which obviously is true 99.9999% of the time).
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  #28  
Old 06-25-2013, 11:54 PM
Lantern Lantern is offline
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I know that Ecuador can let in whoever it wants. My question was more about airline procedure and what paperwork airlines require before letting someone on. I wouldn't be surprised if the US government is putting pressure on various airlines not to let Snowden on.

Quote:
And what's China or Russia going to do with some "proof" on the international stage that we've been hacking them? They'll use it to justify their own hacking or whatever. But how does that even matter? They weren't going to stop hacking us regardless of whether we were hacking them, so it's all a moot point.
I think the point is that knowledge of specific NSA operations and capabilities would compromise them and allow China,Russia and others to block them. If the WaPo piece is accurate, people are seriously worried about this.
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  #29  
Old 06-26-2013, 12:06 AM
Lantern Lantern is offline
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Some interesting details about the files.

Quote:
Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian journalist who Snowden first contacted in February, told The Daily Beast on Tuesday that Snowden “has taken extreme precautions to make sure many different people around the world have these archives to insure the stories will inevitably be published.” Greenwald added that the people in possession of these files “cannot access them yet because they are highly encrypted and they do not have the passwords.” But, Greenwald said, “if anything happens at all to Edward Snowden, he told me he has arranged for them to get access to the full archives.

I also found this interesting if rather hard to believe:
Quote:
Last week NSA Director Keith Alexander told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that Snowden was able to access files inside the NSA by fabricating digital keys that gave him access to areas he was not allowed to visit as a low-level contractor and systems administrator.
I have always thought of the NSA as the gold standard in technological capabilities. Did they really allow a single contractor to access valuable information by just "fabricating digital keys". What next ? Do they use "123456" as their password.
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  #30  
Old 06-26-2013, 12:29 AM
brickbacon brickbacon is offline
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Originally Posted by Martin Hyde View Post
Yes. It has been said he's been issued Ecuadorean travel documents.
I doubt he ends up in Ecuador, and if he does, he won't be there long. Harboring him, especially if he actually has damaging information, will mean disastrous trade sanctions for them. Forty-two percent of the goods they export go to the US, and I think the treaty moderating a lot of that is up next month. No way they take the risk of losing all that just to stick their thumb in our eye.
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  #31  
Old 06-26-2013, 12:34 AM
JKellyMap JKellyMap is offline
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I heard today that he apparently (by his own admission?) sought and landed his job specifically with the intent of doing something like this. If that's true, my guess is the US authorities will deal with him more aggressively (both in terms of seeking his extradition, and throwing the book at him once he's here) than they would have otherwise, for two reasons: 1. He has now also embarrassed them regarding their ability to vet job-seekers for security clearance; and 2. He can't quite call himself as much of a whistle-blower if he didn't know the details about what he would find until he found them -- more of a self-appointed Ellsberg wannabe (I like Ellsberg, BTW).
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  #32  
Old 06-26-2013, 12:38 AM
Der Trihs Der Trihs is offline
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Originally Posted by jackdavinci View Post
Would that not just be super obvious, and cause annoying attention on the policies of the organization?
I doubt anyone in authority would care much. In fact they'd want it to be obvious, to create the desired fear.
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  #33  
Old 06-26-2013, 12:41 AM
JKellyMap JKellyMap is offline
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I know that Ecuador can let in whoever it wants. My question was more about airline procedure and what paperwork airlines require before letting someone on. I wouldn't be surprised if the US government is putting pressure on various airlines not to let Snowden on.
Good question... But Ecuador's President Correa might be so eager to demonstrate his thumb-his-nose-at-the-US leftist South Amercan bona fides (in the wake of the vacuum created by Chavez' death) that he would send a private or government jet to pick up Snowden. (But, see the caveat regarding trade agreements someone else mentioned.)

(And I say this as someone generally in favor of left-leaning Latin American governments...but not in favor of useless anti-US gestures.)

Last edited by JKellyMap; 06-26-2013 at 12:42 AM..
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  #34  
Old 06-26-2013, 12:56 AM
David H Singanas David H Singanas is offline
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Originally Posted by Lantern View Post
From the WaPo:

I find this hard to believe but there it is. Is the US government so seriously incompetent that they allow a junior contractor access to massive amounts of sensitive information? Why would they do that?

If it is true, it does raise the stakes considerably. I think the US may cut a deal with Russia though they will have to offer a lot in exchange.
I don't think the U.S. government is incompetent in this case.
It is the contractor who is incompetent.
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Old 06-26-2013, 12:57 AM
BrokenBriton BrokenBriton is offline
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I saw an ABC News piece last night - grave-faced white men with unusually deeeep voices - that was extraordinarily biased, like full blown govenment propaganda. Was it was a parody? Anyway, this is an extract of an interview with a guy called Thomas Drake who was also charged under the Espionage Act in 2010 for revealing Trailblazer:

Quote:
INTERVIEWER: Not everybody thinks Edward Snowden did the right thing. I presume you do…

DRAKE: I consider Edward Snowden as a whistle-blower. I know some have called him a hero, some have called him a traitor. I focus on what he disclosed. I don’t focus on him as a person. He had a belief that what he was exposed to—U.S. actions in secret—were violating human rights and privacy on a very, very large scale, far beyond anything that had been admitted to date by the government. In the public interest, he made that available.

INTERVIEWER: What do you say to the argument, advanced by those with the opposite viewpoint to you, especially in the U.S. Congress and the White House, that Edward Snowden is a traitor who made a narcissistic decision that he personally had a right to decide what public information should be in the public domain?

DRAKE: That’s a government meme, a government cover—that’s a government story. The government is desperate to not deal with the actual exposures, the content of the disclosures. Because they do reveal a vast, systemic, institutionalized, industrial-scale Leviathan surveillance state that has clearly gone far beyond the original mandate to deal with terrorism—far beyond.
http://www.newyorker.com/online/blog...re-you-on.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Andrews_Drake

Last edited by BrokenBriton; 06-26-2013 at 12:58 AM..
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  #36  
Old 06-26-2013, 12:59 AM
Terr Terr is offline
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Originally Posted by tralfamidor View Post
The legal aspect is that we will try to invoke our extradition treaty with Russia.
There is no extradition treaty with Russia.
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  #37  
Old 06-26-2013, 01:00 AM
kaylasdad99 kaylasdad99 is offline
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Originally Posted by David H Singanas View Post
I don't think the U.S. government is incompetent in this case.
It is the contractor who is incompetent.
Someone within the U.S. Government awarded the contract without adequately vetting the contractor, then.

Last edited by kaylasdad99; 06-26-2013 at 01:00 AM..
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  #38  
Old 06-26-2013, 01:01 AM
Terr Terr is offline
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My experience is that the the airline checks your passport and also your visa on an international flight. If your passport is void I don't know if "travel documents" are enough.
Yes, "travel documents" are enough. I traveled internationally on "travel documents" a few times back when I was in a situation when I had no country's citizenship (or in fact even permanent residency).
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  #39  
Old 06-26-2013, 01:28 AM
David H Singanas David H Singanas is offline
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Originally Posted by AK84 View Post
He will get asylum in Moscow. Like Philby or Blake. He worked for the CIA and NSA. Quite valuable.
President Putin has said Mr. Snowden has not gone thru customs and is not
technically in Russia because Sheremetyevo is an international airport.
How is it that sovereignty can be suspended? If Russian law does not apply
to occupants of the airport, what laws apply? UN laws?
Secretary of State Kerry should pursue this question. If a bomb was detonated
at Sheremetyevo, I am rather sure that Russian authority would apply in an
absolute way.
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  #40  
Old 06-26-2013, 01:37 AM
BrokenBriton BrokenBriton is offline
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It's quite a shame someone can't remain in their own country having done such a great servcie for the people against a lying, decietful gov agency.
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  #41  
Old 06-26-2013, 05:57 AM
Martin Hyde Martin Hyde is offline
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Originally Posted by Lantern View Post
I think the point is that knowledge of specific NSA operations and capabilities would compromise them and allow China,Russia and others to block them. If the WaPo piece is accurate, people are seriously worried about this.
But they shouldn't be. China has thousands of extremely smart computer scientists that we're almost sure have been hacking into American corporate systems for years and waging low level information warfare against government system under direction of the military.

We are most likely doing similar stuff to them. And they've not really been able to stop us nor have we been able to stop them. I'm not an IT person but the fact is, it is very difficult to completely harden any connected system. And the NSA eavesdropping basically uses compliant technology companies to monitor private communications over their networks. There isn't actually any real protection from that other than not using those networks.

For States, I imagine Russia and China do not conduct government business that demands secrecy over Facebook PMs or gmail. The only people this would affect are international terrorists that do use such systems, but they have to use something. They don't have an internal network for communications like a State player does. So maybe after this none of them use anything from Google/Facebook/Microsoft/Apple/etc, that is probably the real harm, but I wager a lot of them still end up using those systems. The smart terrorists we've known for years send PGP encrypted emails that, at least as far as I know, can't be broken by any form of decryption techniques. So the terrorists being foiled based on their Facebook PMs are probably the "lower tier" idiot terrorists like the Tsarnaevs and the Fort Hood shooter, and given the way such individuals behave I'm going to guess they'll still use some easily monitored system for communicating.
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  #42  
Old 06-26-2013, 06:05 AM
Martin Hyde Martin Hyde is offline
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Originally Posted by kaylasdad99 View Post
Someone within the U.S. Government awarded the contract without adequately vetting the contractor, then.
Well, in truth it shows a few things a lot of people in the know have known for a long time. Namely that the rigorous security clearance process that is a nightmarish headache to go through just creates a class of highly employable contractors. You get security clearance while in the military and you can get a job making substantially more than you'd make without one.

There are thousands of jobs that require a security clearance to get hired, but it's impossible to get a security clearance if you aren't with the military or an intelligence agency or work a job that requires one. The chicken-and-egg situation is resolved with lots of ex-government guys taking those jobs. When they apply and indicate they have a security clearance then whenever their new employer has to renew the clearance they can be quite certain the individual will pass, since they had held a clearance previously.

Snowden's career high income was $200,000/yr and he was making $122,000 at Booz. As a system administrator, look at various websites like salary.com or the BLS-sys admins make decent incomes but those numbers put him basically at the top of the top 1% of people with that job title. That's all because of the stupid security clearance job market we've created. It's stupid because as has been demonstrated, all that painful security clearance stuff ultimately doesn't mean a lot.

We have so many jobs now that require a security clearance that we couldn't easily fill them with purely government employees, so we vastly overpay companies like Booz Allen to fill them for us. (It's easier to overpay a contractor than it is to hire a permanent Federal employee.) Even if we did fill them with all government employees (substantially ballooning the size of the Federal workforce--which isn't intrinsically bad since all those contractors are really just Federal employees who aren't on a Federal payroll) I doubt very seriously we'd be able to do any better job performing security clearance background checks on them. For one, we don't even do all of those ourselves, there are a few big firms that handle most of those background checks (so we've outsource a lot of the security clearance process.) The firm Booz Allen used is one of the ones regularly used by the Feds.

Some audits and investigations have found some of these firms we've outsourced security clearances to have employees who either through laziness or a push to get as many clearances done as fast as possible, will falsify details of their work. Claim they went to interview a reference they never did, claim they traveled to a county to do a court house records search they never did etc. So it's unlikely these companies do a very good job.
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Old 06-26-2013, 08:23 AM
Lantern Lantern is offline
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Originally Posted by Martin Hyde View Post
But they shouldn't be. China has thousands of extremely smart computer scientists that we're almost sure have been hacking into American corporate systems for years and waging low level information warfare against government system under direction of the military.
The point is that Snowden may have information about NSA operations that other intelligences services don't know about perhaps using new technologies. I don't imagine Snowden would have detailed information about these operations but even the knowledge of their existence could be useful. For example say the NSA has broken some Chinese encryption technology that they believe is secure, knowledge of that fact alone would be useful even if Snowden doesn't have the details. The NSA has spent so much money over the decades that they are probably years or even decades ahead of any other intelligence agency. Just knowing what they are up to is valuable.
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  #44  
Old 07-03-2013, 01:11 PM
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http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013...-latin-america

The plot thickens. The Bolivian President was forced to land in Vienna because France, Italy, Spain and Portugal did not allow him to fly through their airspace. The suspicion is that the US put pressure on them because they thought Snowden was on the plane. Latin American countries are furious.

Meanwhile, like I suspected, Snowden seems to be stuck in a limbo, still perhaps at Moscow Airport. The Russians won't give him up but they don't seem to want to give him asylum either and neither does anyone else apparently. If that story about the Bolivian President is true I am guessing the US government is putting pressure on international airlines not to let Snowden board a plane.
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  #45  
Old 07-03-2013, 01:54 PM
madmonk28 madmonk28 is online now
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I don't think Snowden has much value to any other governments, he wasn't some highly placed official, he simply had access to a bunch of files which I assume have been copied by both the Chinese and the Russians. Mostly he's just a pain in the ass for whatever country he is in, his only value is to piss off the US, so maybe Venezuala or Cuba would want him, but I suspect he'll eventually end up back in the US.
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Old 07-03-2013, 02:28 PM
Martin Hyde Martin Hyde is offline
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I suspect he spends a long time in the Moscow airport and then eventually some country is willing to offer him asylum and gives him papers that allow him to leave the Russian airport and travel to his destination country.

I think President Obama is willing to push some to try and get Snowden back, which is why he's in limbo right now. But once a country gets up the nerve to extend formal asylum or at least give him protective travel documents I don't see Obama doing anything extraordinary to prevent it. Ostensibly there are really heavy handed ways he could put pressure on the asylum granting country, or even entities like foreign airlines or etc, but I just don't think Obama will go all that far down that route. I don't think he should, either. Snowden's already done his thing, I don't think he's a very reputable figure and I think he's materially different from more honorable "leakers" like Ellsberg, but he's not worth making a big deal and international brouhaha over.
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Old 07-03-2013, 04:28 PM
campp campp is offline
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So is he hunkered down in a row of chairs somewhere? He sleeps there with his hand across his laptop, and eats at the food mall? I can't quite picture this scenario.
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  #48  
Old 07-03-2013, 05:23 PM
Bozuit Bozuit is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David H Singanas View Post
President Putin has said Mr. Snowden has not gone thru customs and is not
technically in Russia because Sheremetyevo is an international airport.
How is it that sovereignty can be suspended? If Russian law does not apply
to occupants of the airport, what laws apply? UN laws?
Secretary of State Kerry should pursue this question. If a bomb was detonated
at Sheremetyevo, I am rather sure that Russian authority would apply in an
absolute way.
I'm not sure of the full details, but I think it's pretty standard that when you land at an international airport after travelling from a different country, you're not considered to have entered the country the airport is in until you've gone through customs etc.
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  #49  
Old 07-03-2013, 06:36 PM
coremelt coremelt is offline
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IMO, he may be offered asylum in Bolivia or Venezuala but he won't be able to make it to the country in question. Even if he is given refugee documents, after what has just happened with Morales plane, no airline will agree to carry him. And as we just saw, even if he gets a private plane lined up, airspace will be closed to him over europe. He doesn't really have the option to turn around and fly the other way round the world to south america either. The commercial flight options to reach south america from Asia require changing planes in Japan or the US. Getting a private jet to fly from Moscow to south america via the pacific seems like his only option, if he could find countries to let him refuel, AND if he can find a billionaire to pay for it. Not likely.

Snowdon's realistic options now seem to be:

a) re-applying for asylum in Russia, begging them for asylum and promising to keep his mouth shut. (even if Russia said yet, it doesn't seem like Snowdon could actually stick to this from what we've seen).
b) get smuggled into the embassy of Venezuela or Bolivia or Ecuador in Moscow and live there for as long as they'll take him.
c) staying where is now (presumably in back rooms of the transit area out of public view) for as long as he can in order for a few more leaks to come out until Russia kicks him out. Get on a plane to the US to face the charges.
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  #50  
Old 07-03-2013, 06:54 PM
hansel hansel is offline
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d) The U.S. decides to pay whatever price Putin is asking, so that American bounty hunters can fly into Sheremetyevo on a private plane, knock Snowden on the head, and fly him back to 'Murica.
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