Snowden Is A Hero: NSA Phone Capture And PRISM Are Blatantly Illegal

An editorial in the New York Times points out that the NSA capture of metadata on all US phone calls is blatantly illegal under federal law. Section 215 of the Patriot Act is the statute cited as justification for the NSA metadata captures and PRISM, but it never authorized wholesale capture of phone and Internet data. The language was quite clear, section 215 authorized the F.B.I. to "obtain court orders demanding that a person or company produce “tangible things,” upon showing reasonable grounds that the things sought are “relevant” to an authorized foreign intelligence investigation. The F.B.I. does not need to demonstrate probable cause that a crime has been committed, or any connection to terrorism. "

Nowhere else in federal law is any agency permitted to do the sort of wholesale wiretapping that PRISM and the NSA program represent.

Therefore, the NSA program is blatantly illegal. The persons the Justice Department SHOULD be pursuing are the federal officials responsible for these crooked programs, NOT Edward Snowden, the patriot and hero who blew the whistle on Big Brother.

Snowden broke the law whether these programs are illegal or not. It’s absurd to demand he escape all punishment because he’s An Hero. On the other hand the story makes a good case that the PRISM program is too broad. Nobody’s going to be prosecuted, but it’s a good argument that it should be cut back to what it was originally intended to be.

He’s a deluded fool. What he did was a self-aggrandizing act. If he was actually uncovering illegal activity he could face charges and use that as his defense.

So were Snowden’s acts. He didn’t just speak, he stole classified materials and information and likely illegally disseminated them to foreign powers. He’s a criminal and a coward for running from justice.

Only in Hollywood action movies does one get a free pass for breaking the law because they were working to expose a greater evil. PRISM may have been illegal - but it was also illegal for Snowden to pass classified information to a foreign entity.

I had sympathy for the man at first, but the longer he keeps up with his leaking and his self-aggrandizing and his claiming that the US government is somehow being unfair or persecuting him for wanting to arrest him, the more I want to see him clapped in irons and punished to the full extent of the law.

He is a treasonous right-wing whack job with diminishing options at this point.

Whether the NSA is overstepping their authority is absolutely irrelevant. He disclosed classified information. He is no longer of any value to the target countries to which he applied for asylum.

If he discovered the NSA was breaking the law he should have reported it to some legal authority not leaked it to the press. If he was worried a law enforcement agency would cover it up, he could have gone to a Congressman or some other government official.

“Right-wing”? Haven’t seen even an iota of information to support that. Can you point some out to me?

He’s a brave man who did the right thing for the good of all Americans, not all your nattering about legalities and technicalities can change that.

I need to find the link to an article I read this morning in which contents of his posts on a message board from several years back were published. Brb.

I hardly consider the Espionage Act a “technicality”.

Who needs nattering about silly things like law and “technicalities” when we can have pure emotion as our guide!

Too much stuff published today to find the original material and article, but this one talks about the IRC chat. Not the same material as I read earlier. If I find it, I will post.

I just found that article too. Note this:

TheTrueHOOHA’s last known logon to #arsificial was in May 2009, just over four years ago. The Snowden seen in these chats is not the man we see today. Snowden clearly had to cross some kind of personal Rubicon in order to leave his life behind. His chats reveal his strident beliefs in individualism and a generally libertarian aesthetic, but they also showed real support for the security state.

During the years in which Snowden talked politics on IRC, his doubts grew. “Much of what I saw in Geneva really disillusioned me about how my government functions and what its impact is in the world,” he told The Guardian when he revealed himself. It’s during this time that he first considered revealing US secrets, but he held off.

The chats make clear that what Snowden discovered while working for the government felt so deeply wrong to him that he had a major change of heart. While there was no “one moment,” seeing officials lie about these omniscient spying programs over a period of years pushed him over the edge. “It was seeing a continuing litany of lies from senior officials to Congress—and therefore the American people,” Snowden said in an online chat last week. “Seeing someone in the position of James Clapper baldly lying to the public without repercussion is the evidence of a subverted democracy. The consent of the governed is not consent if it is not informed.”

Hints of this might be seen in Snowden’s later postings to the Ars forums, which began to slow around the time he left #arsificial. One of his last posts, from 2010, was about society’s increasing acquiescence to “spooky types.”

Does it really matter if he’s a deluded fool, or a brave man, or a guy you’d want to have a beer with, or a raging asshole? Does it even matter why he decided to release the classified documents? Maybe it was a selfless act of courage to reveal government ills. But maybe it was a plan to get his name in the papers, or to get back at some coworker for giving him the stink eye, or an elaborate ploy to break up with his girlfriend. Who cares?

The core issue is whether or not whistleblowers should be encouraged, or if they should be stopped. Not a debate about how good or bad a person they are.

The fact that there is also a portfolio of head shots suitable for modeling supports my opinion that he’s a narcissist.

The fact that he has made it clear that he applied for this most recent job for the express purpose of disclosing data about programs that he didnt know about until after he got the job makes the entire thing incredible to me. I don’t think he was acting alone.

And I stand corrected on the right wing comment, but still maintain he’s a whack job.

Alright, so we live in a permanent war on terror in which the government is granted war powers to do all sorts of unsavory things. We’re assured that all of these things need to be kept secret from us. But we can trust them - they have our best interests in mind. Don’t worry, they can’t tell us what they’re doing, but they assure us it’s in their best interest.

And we go along with it, because we’re scared little sheep.

Now tell me this - given the lockdown on the information in a national security state in perpetual emergency, how do we find out when the government is overstepping its power? There’s no real congressional oversight - they brief the intelligence committee in vague terms, and they’re not even allowed to tell other representatives. There’s no overseeing civilian entity - the FISA court is a complete joke. So how do we keep tabs on whether the government who promised to serve us but who has carte blanche to operate in secret is actually acting in our best interest?

Whistleblowers are the only thing we have left. Someone who’s on the inside, who knows what the government is doing, but actually has a conscience and the courage to ruin his life in order to reveal to the public - the people they ultimately claim to serve - what exactly is being done to them.

Snowden gave up a lot in an act of conscience and sacrificed a lot to tell us what is being done to us in secret. That’s a self-sacrificing act, for the benefit of us all. I’m quite perplexed at the people on this board who seem to hate him. Of course he broke the law - because the laws are set up in such a way that the American government is an adversary of its people. That it can do anything it wants to them in secret and we’ll never question it or want to know more, and if anyone reveals abuses we actually attack them. If your desire is to silence whistleblowers, you’re playing right into the government’s hand, and volunteering to allow them to run roughshod over you.

The grandest irony in all of this is that being a traitor is the act of aiding and abetting your enemies. In this case, Snowden tried to tell the American people what their government was doing. Which means that if he’s a traitor, then the American public is the enemy.

Any illegalities can be made retroactively legal later. It’s a nice gig, if you can get it.

I honestly suspect Snowden thought he’d be sitting on the veranda of some South American safe house by now or something similar. I doubt “stuck in the transfer station of a Moscow airport” was part of his noble plans of sacrifice.

Really? Because Snowden never gave me several laptops full of classified security documents in order to save me. Not sure I can say the same about China or Russia. What part of putting that stuff in China’s hands was supposed to be the great sacrifice for my well being?

This guy didn’t just go to the New York Times or something or even some foreign outlet. He gave secrets to nations weren’t not exactly buddies with and is trying to hold the US hostage by threatening to release more security secrets to the world. That doesn’t give me any warm fuzzies for him and I’m so sorry his noble sacrifice isn’t going the way he wanted.

Like that would work.

Seriously, I don’t care about his personality or character. He disclosed informations that every citizen should have known. He did the right thing because the government had done the wrong thing. There should be more people like him, not less. Doesn’t matter if he’s self-agrandizing or whatever, the result is largely positive.

As for being a coward for not facing charges? I know that plenty of people here support “civil desobedience” where you break the law for the good cause, and then bravely go to jail or whatever as a result. I’m not particularly interested in that approach. Family history, maybe, whatever. You broke the law for the good cause and you can get away with it? Then you try to get away with it.