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You are here: MacNN Forums > Community > MacNN Lounge > Political/War Lounge > Edward Snowden: Hero Or Traitor?

View Poll Results: Is Edward Snowden a hero or a traitor?
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Hero 6 votes (46.15%)
Traitor 3 votes (23.08%)
Undecided 4 votes (30.77%)
Voters: 13. You may not vote on this poll
Edward Snowden: Hero Or Traitor?
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Snow-i
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Jun 10, 2013, 10:53 AM
 
Edward Snowden.

Do you all feel that he is an American Hero, standing up for the values this country was founded on or a traitor to the state for betraying the intelligence community, as our government views him?
     
BadKosh
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Jun 10, 2013, 11:24 AM
 
As a contractor, he violated his oath of secrecy, and will be hammered for it. Its a shame the system seems inept. Why couldn't they catch the Boston Bombers?
     
ghporter
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Jun 10, 2013, 02:07 PM
 
Heroes don't "leak" classified information. And they certainly don't go public about it (i.e. fishing for book deals...).

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
subego
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Jun 10, 2013, 02:42 PM
 
I'm leaning towards the hero, but he's a spy, and I don't trust spies.
     
reader50
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Jun 10, 2013, 02:47 PM
 
Heroes step up and do what the rest of us only dream of. Fighting evil, often hopelessly. He'll be crucified, while the un-American practices he exposed will continue. And the architects of those policies will continue to draw paychecks on us. Promotions possible all around after Snowden is captured, locked away for life, or executed.

The same will happen with Bradley Manning. Prison or death sentence, while those who carried out the war crimes he exposed continue to prosper. As well as those who gave the orders.

Both knew the consequences, and did the right thing anyway. Courage in the face of hopeless odds. Maybe they'll get their Congressional medals someday, and hopefully they won't be posthumous.
     
subego
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Jun 10, 2013, 03:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
Heroes don't "leak" classified information. And they certainly don't go public about it (i.e. fishing for book deals...).
If you were in his situation, how would you go about it?

Is this information which should be kept from the public?
     
Snow-i  (op)
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Jun 10, 2013, 05:23 PM
 
I believe he is a hero.

I don't think giving up a $200k job and a girlfriend in hawaii, not to mention being unable to return to any aspect of his life in the US is self-serving in any way. It's on us now to effect the change required to root out the corruption in our government. Maybe one day he can come back - after we've rid ourselves of the cancer that has become our government. Whatever happens, it's going to be a long road to get this country back on track.
     
subego
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Jun 10, 2013, 05:29 PM
 
Well, that's part of the problem. You can never really know what self-serving for a spy actually is.

It doesn't look like he's being self-serving, but... he's a spy.
     
subego
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Jun 10, 2013, 05:30 PM
 
When a spy says "trust me", don't.
     
Chongo
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Jun 10, 2013, 05:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
I believe he is a hero.
That what Alex Jones said.
     
subego
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Jun 10, 2013, 06:03 PM
 
MURDER PILLS! was the case.
     
Shaddim
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Jun 10, 2013, 06:03 PM
 
Where's the "Idiot" choice? Seriously, anonymously send copies to every major news outlet, someone will run with it. No, he wanted the attention to feed his ego, and it'll get him imprisoned or killed.
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
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ebuddy
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Jun 10, 2013, 08:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
Where's the "Idiot" choice? Seriously, anonymously send copies to every major news outlet, someone will run with it. No, he wanted the attention to feed his ego, and it'll get him imprisoned or killed.
I'm kinda here on this one. I'm not going to contribute to the poll. He's closer to hero than traitor IMO, but he's gotta go to jail. You just can't violate trust at that level.

He's also an idiot for disclosing the information in the manner he did, but there's so much that doesn't add up here I don't know where to start. Maybe with the fact that he was a high school dropout, GED, Community college dropout, candidate for a Green Beret program who injured himself so badly in training that he was discharged... and then the CIA in an advisory capacity within 6 years?!?
ebuddy
     
subego
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Jun 10, 2013, 08:37 PM
 
I guess character assassination is probably the least of his assassination worries.

(Not directed at you, ebuddy)
     
Snow-i  (op)
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Jun 10, 2013, 08:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
When a spy says "trust me", don't.
That's kinda how I feel about the federal government.
     
subego
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Jun 10, 2013, 08:41 PM
 
Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
That's kinda how I feel about the federal government.
The federal government generally means well though, within the limits of its capacity, of course.

With spies it gets more complicated.
     
BadKosh
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Jun 11, 2013, 07:47 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
The federal government generally means well though, within the limits of its capacity, of course.

With spies it gets more complicated.
Where is the evidence for your claim? IRS? Nope. DoJ? LOL...NO! EPA? Never.
     
ghporter
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Jun 11, 2013, 11:06 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
If you were in his situation, how would you go about it?

Is this information which should be kept from the public?
First, I'd be less likely to get into a position where I raked in a bunch of cash doing something I would have quickly found to be repulsive. As a contractor, Snowden made plenty of money on those jobs. Finding that it was that particularly repulsive, I would not have stayed with it enough to have anything worth leaking. That's not even a "hero" move, but rather an ethical move, as opposed to Snowden sucking in as much money as he could, and then after he wasn't getting paid anymore divulging highly classified information.

Let's talk about "Deep Throat," the leak source in the Nixon/Watergate scandal. He turned out to be Mark Felt, the number 2 guy at FBI at the time, and he risked his career AND the wrath of J. Edgar Hoover, not to mention Nixon, as well as jail time to point out the efforts of the president's staff to subvert the Constitution. He didn't cash in, he didn't "go public." And, he provided information about an assault on the foundation of our liberty. Compare that to Snowden going to the Guardian and spilling the beans about programs that he says are a threat to our freedom. The Constitution puts limits on what the president can do. These do not address monitoring communications - there isn't even anything about privacy in the mails in the Constitution. Further, how "shocking" is it that, in today's culture, the government is searching for possible information about terror plots in any way possible? Not nearly the same sort of thing as Mark Felt's talking to Washington Post reporters about the president's staff arranging plainly criminal acts for the benefit of the president's reelection campaign.

Now, what would have happened if Mark Felt had been exposed as Deep Throat during the scandal? He'd at least have lost his job and maybe gone to prison, but that retribution itself would have been pretty obviously directed by the White House, and even in going to prison he'd have publicized that the president's staff was crooked. And Watergate would still have gotten plenty of Congressional attention. Making it blatantly obvious to potential conspirators that yes, NSA may just be watching them online, has the effect of encouraging such potentially dangerous people to find new and better ways to hide their communications. Now, instead of using this expensive and complex system of monitoring to, as I mentioned earlier, look for possible links to outside agents or home-grown terror plots, the smarter bad guys will slink back into hiding for a while and everything the systems Snowden leaked had done so far is down the tubes.

What are the risks to your privacy and mine because of this (hardly surprising) monitoring? Has ANYONE been hauled before a judge because of secret intercepts that showed they downloaded pr0n, helped others get around DMCA or were building networks of kiddie-pr0n producers? I don't think so. The government hasn't found a way to block the actions of drug cartels bringing both drugs and violence into the country, it still takes a lot of hard, unpleasant cop work to find the kiddie pornographers, and MPAA and RIAA are the ones who squeal about DMCA. I don't like that this sort of monitoring is necessary, but I think that at least a good bit of it IS needed. FBI and CIA had all the pieces of the 9/11 conspiracy well beforehand, yet they didn't have them all lined up to make sense of them because the clues to how the information they had were pretty much held by the other agency. Getting ALL the information about possible plots might keep us from having yet another national day of mourning, and at a cost of knowing that someone is watching just about all forms of communication FOR OUR BENEFIT.

Bradley Manning screwed up too. First, knowing that WikiLeaks was supposed to be a platform to show Western governments, and particularly the U.S. government in the worst possible light, he violated an oath or two. Second, the huge pile of information he gave Assange was totally random and without context. Did anyone benefit from knowing that diplomats aren't particularly nice in private communications? And what benefit did anyone obtain from learning all the context-free details in those communiques? Aside from making diplomatic relations between the U.S. and some other nations a lot more difficult, all he did was provide evidence that big governments do what they feel is needed to support their interests. Note that not a single thing that was released appears to show that supporting "big picture" U.S. interests was actually harmful to individual Americans. As it turns out, Manning apparently went to all the trouble of downloading all that information and transmitting it to Assange out of spite because he wasn't treated really nicely by others. He enlisted knowing that he would have to conceal his sexual orientation, and it is hard to believe that he didn't know that many thousands of others had also done so and served honorably. Instead, he took the whole "don't ask, don't tell" thing personally, and it looks to me that he went even farther and childishly tried to harm the United States. He gets no sympathy from me, and if it can be shown that his actions actually did aid active enemies of the United States and he is convicted of treason, the court will do so only if the case is so solid (and publicly releasable) that nobody will be able to say it's retribution.

For the record, Manning took an oath at least once or twice to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic." To know if something the government is doing counts an being an "enemy of the Constitution," you have to read and understand the Constitution. Keeping things between diplomats secret, hiding ways we gather information to support combat actions, and generally making it hard for groups and individuals who want to harm not just the U.S. Government but every individual American really doesn't sound like going against the letter and spirit of the Constitution to me. Often distasteful, secret activities are also often critical to defending our liberties. In contrast, Mark Felt provided information about an active conspiracy to subvert the Constitutional process for selecting the President of the United States. That WAS identifying an enemy of the Constitution, and puts his actions in a totally different league.

Do I think we all need to know that these particular programs exist? No. I think that most thinking and aware adults should have pretty much assumed that something like this was in play anyway. Publicizing details simply makes it more difficult for the people we pay to protect us from doing that job, and it costs us, both individually and as a nation, a lot of money, while improving our privacy not at all.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
subego
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Jun 11, 2013, 11:56 AM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
What are the risks to your privacy and mine because of this (hardly surprising) monitoring?
What are the risks? Complete and total destruction of said privacy.
     
Snow-i  (op)
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Jun 11, 2013, 01:12 PM
 
Yeah Glenn - since all of this is classified and the oversight is a single judge where he only has to provide opinion when he turns down a search warrant request, we don't know how this is being used. For all we know, this was also being used to target political opposition groups. I don't understand how you can believe that while some government organizations are demonstrated to be at this administration's beckoning (IRS, EPA, Justice Department, etc), the NSA and these other intelligence agencies which have no oversight by the public are somehow less likely to be compromised.

What are the risks to your privacy and mine because of this (hardly surprising) monitoring? Has ANYONE been hauled before a judge because of secret intercepts that showed they downloaded pr0n, helped others get around DMCA or were building networks of kiddie-pr0n producers?
Even if that happened, it would be classified to protect the existence of this system, no? They wouldn't get a fair trial because the public would not know of the existence of this program, and for all we know they could start fabricating evidence to serve their interests and no one would be able to do a thing about it.

There are no checks and balances for a program like this and that is why it is incompatible with a free society.
     
subego
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Jun 11, 2013, 05:50 PM
 
You know, I want to add that finally, people are starting to argue our safety isn't as important as our freedom.

None of us were in the best frame-of-mind immediately following 9/11, but I shook the "lets move without thinking" part after a couple months.

Maybe not everyone could shake this off as quickly as me. I don't consider myself anything special. The only thing I have going for me is civil liberties are my number one hot button.

That said. Two months may be too quick, but 12 years of muddle-headedness is more than we will ever recover from unless we have a future SCOTUS determined to roll it back.
     
ghporter
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Jun 11, 2013, 06:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
Yeah Glenn - since all of this is classified and the oversight is a single judge where he only has to provide opinion when he turns down a search warrant request, we don't know how this is being used. For all we know, this was also being used to target political opposition groups. I don't understand how you can believe that while some government organizations are demonstrated to be at this administration's beckoning (IRS, EPA, Justice Department, etc), the NSA and these other intelligence agencies which have no oversight by the public are somehow less likely to be compromised.



Even if that happened, it would be classified to protect the existence of this system, no? They wouldn't get a fair trial because the public would not know of the existence of this program, and for all we know they could start fabricating evidence to serve their interests and no one would be able to do a thing about it.

There are no checks and balances for a program like this and that is why it is incompatible with a free society.
Even with having a lot of it classified, there would be plenty of public evidence of such trials. Take a look at the espionage trials we've had over the last several years; some items of evidence were withheld from the public (sometimes) but the trials themselves were out in the open. And there is NO WAY that any number of people could simply "disappear" here in the U.S. without a lot of hue and cry, so completely secret trials are also not a terribly credible issue. The checks and balances are there, but even if we distrust the "secret judge," there are a lot of other people along the way that could legitimately "blow the whistle" on abuses like those you mention. No, I don't blindly trust every member of the government to take good care of me (head pat...), but I know that MOST people in public service positions ARE there to protect the public, legitimately and honestly.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
subego
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Jun 11, 2013, 06:59 PM
 
How are you defining "abuse" in this context?

If you're not supposed to be privy to a particular piece of data, isn't becoming so abuse enough, or does it actually need to be used (and traced that it's been used) to be an abuse?

All I know about the law says it's the former. All these laws have protocols for how you need to stop paying attention the moment it becomes clear it's not relevant to your case.

The usual check on this is this information gets ultimately used in a criminal trial, where the information collection procedures are put under scrutiny.

That's the big thing about FISA. It's not for collecting information for prosecution, it's about gathering foreign intelligence.

Now, I'll admit I haven't read the 2008 amendment, but I have gone over the original law with a fine tooth comb. The protocol for that is you have to forget you heard the information... riiiight.

The check on this is if someone uses it, they get in trouble... riiiight.

Who exactly is watching to see if information which was never meant for a criminal trial is "used"? It's a bunch of other ****ing spies, that's who.


This is why I lost my shit back in 2K6 when Gonzales claimed the NSA program was begun because FISA didn't give them enough power.
     
ghporter
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Jun 11, 2013, 09:24 PM
 
How about a Supreme Court decision from 1979 on telephone records?

In essence, telephone call records are not "private," according to a broad ruling by SCOTUS. These records are kept by telephone companies for billing purposes; they are available to any phone company employee with access to the proper record keeping computer system, so the court held that there is no "reasonable expectation of privacy" for telephone records. The court held that there is a strong distinction between call records and listening to calls, which is not, apparently, part of PRISM.

I cannot find any case law on the general principle of the level of privacy accorded to IP records for Internet traffic.

In any case, the whole concept that one's privacy is devastated by having your called numbers scanned for patterns, as if that was really any different from your phone company scanning those same records for network analysis, is flawed. There has been no breech of privacy if YOUR information is not publicized, and this kind of data analysis is about as anonymous as you can get unless a pattern that is suggestive of actions in violation of national security is found. Just like your ISP probably looks at your usage patterns to decide whether or not you are potentially abusing their service to pirate movies, the NSA no doubt goes through billions of records without finding anything - and thus no connection is made to you individually. Ever.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
turtle777
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Jun 12, 2013, 12:53 AM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
Heroes don't "leak" classified information. And they certainly don't go public about it (i.e. fishing for book deals...).
Even if this "classified information" was obtained illegally and obviously violating the Constitution ?

Seriously, this is misguided patriotism.

-t
     
Tiresias
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Jun 12, 2013, 01:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
Even if this "classified information" was obtained illegally and obviously violating the Constitution ?

Seriously, this is misguided patriotism.

-t
Vilayanur S. Ramachandran once asked Jean Baudrillard,

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Jun 12, 2013, 02:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by BadKosh View Post
Where is the evidence for your claim? IRS? Nope. DoJ? LOL...NO! EPA? Never.
Logic.

He said *generally* meaning the bulk of the government means well. A couple of bad apples ruin the bunch, I get that, but if they were literally all or mostly bad apples we'd be living in complete and utter anarchy.

I would still say the government is corrupt, this is all relative to something, but I don't have an issue with the literal interpretation of what he wrote.
     
besson3c
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Jun 12, 2013, 02:15 PM
 
At least this data center in Utah is going to create a ton of jobs


(yes, that was sarcasm)
     
Tiresias
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Jun 12, 2013, 02:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
At least this data center in Utah is going to create a ton of jobs


(yes, that was sarcasm)
     
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Jun 12, 2013, 02:30 PM
 
     
Tiresias
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Jun 12, 2013, 02:31 PM
 


It's like the man said... "Woudn't you?"
     
Tiresias
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Jun 12, 2013, 02:32 PM
 
     
ghporter
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Jun 12, 2013, 03:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
Even if this "classified information" was obtained illegally and obviously violating the Constitution ?

Seriously, this is misguided patriotism.

-t
The classified information includes the existence of a large-scale program, and its name. And the Supreme Court has already ruled (1979, see my previous post) that telephone records are not "private."

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
subego
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Jun 12, 2013, 03:52 PM
 
I think Jamie Oliver put it well:

We're not saying you broke the law, Obama. We're saying its a little surprising you didn't have to.
     
besson3c
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Jun 12, 2013, 03:58 PM
 
This is changing the topic a little bit, but as has been pointed out by a few entities such as the Daily Show, it sure is weird if you oppose background checks on guns but are for the NSA activities. I would love it if somebody could explain this position.
     
ghporter
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Jun 12, 2013, 04:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
This is changing the topic a little bit, but as has been pointed out by a few entities such as the Daily Show, it sure is weird if you oppose background checks on guns but are for the NSA activities. I would love it if somebody could explain this position.
Sorry, I can't. It makes my head hurt.

In part, the background check thing is based on the incompleteness of the NICS system, even this far down the road-not all states report everything that needs to be in the system (Virginia withheld the VaTech shooter's mental illness diagnosis, which would have disqualified him immediately from buying firearms) and that many states are "slow" to say the least about updating the information they do provide. Of course these same people who are against checks because NICS isn't really working are also completely against changing it from an unfunded mandate on the states to even slightly funding it... Which makes my head hurt even more.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
ebuddy
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Jun 12, 2013, 07:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
This is changing the topic a little bit, but as has been pointed out by a few entities such as the Daily Show, it sure is weird if you oppose background checks on guns but are for the NSA activities. I would love it if somebody could explain this position.
Why would that be any stranger than what is likely to be Stewart's own conflicted position; supports 6+ page questionnaires, long delays to exercise a constitutionally protected right, and intrusive background checks, but opposes the NSA sweep? Or is he only outspoken about those issues he believes his demo will think is cool?

I think the conflicted politicians believe the NSA is more interested in tracking terrorists than infringing the privacy rights of American citizens and they trust FISA oversight. On the other hand, they believe background checks are born of a desire to infringe gun rights of American citizens and violate privacy rights in the process while leading to a possible registry of presumed dissidents. I also think it has something to do with the fact that the NSA behaviors are a little more contemporaneous and complex while gun ownership has been an integral part of American identity since its founding.
ebuddy
     
turtle777
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Jun 12, 2013, 08:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
This is changing the topic a little bit, but as has been pointed out by a few entities such as the Daily Show, it sure is weird if you oppose background checks on guns but are for the NSA activities. I would love it if somebody could explain this position.
Complete strawman.

WHo has seriously taken this position ? And no, politicians don't count, because they probably lie about it.

-t
     
besson3c
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Jun 13, 2013, 05:05 AM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
Complete strawman.

WHo has seriously taken this position ? And no, politicians don't count, because they probably lie about it.

-t

Lindsey Graham, apparently, but I guess he doesn't count. I don't know if his positions are a thing, or if he stands alone, although it sounds like ebuddy sees it this way too?
     
ebuddy
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Jun 13, 2013, 06:59 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Lindsey Graham, apparently, but I guess he doesn't count. I don't know if his positions are a thing, or if he stands alone, although it sounds like ebuddy sees it this way too?
If you're asking, the answer is no. I don't see it this way. I think the NSA is too broad in its canvassing of phone records. I also think Snowden is giving up too much information, fancying himself an Assange of sorts.

What's most bizarre of all this is citing the conflicted positions in one direction as if "weird", while failing to acknowledge their own conflict in the other direction. It works both ways right? I'm sure Stewart had quips for the rednecks who oppose background checks for gun sales, but opposes the NSA activities?
ebuddy
     
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Jun 13, 2013, 12:37 PM
 
I don't know. He isn't hosting the show anymore for starters, but I don't mentally document his position on everything.

I also think that most people against background checks do not base this belief on some intellectual argument about the constitution they are capable of defending, it is just a general mistrust of the government, which does make this belief pairing odd.
     
ebuddy
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Jun 13, 2013, 06:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
I don't know. He isn't hosting the show anymore for starters, but I don't mentally document his position on everything.

I also think that most people against background checks do not base this belief on some intellectual argument about the constitution they are capable of defending, it is just a general mistrust of the government, which does make this belief pairing odd.
It would be equally odd either way right?
ebuddy
     
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Jun 14, 2013, 10:40 AM
 
Some of you are saying that this information could be used against you.

I'm open-minded about this (prepared and willing to have my opinion changed) but I can't imagine how that would play out.

Can anyone give a practical example of how the phone and internet records of an average, law-abiding citizen could later be used to screw them over?

Suppose one day I make an enemy with access to that information. Fine. That is possible. But what can he or she do with it?

"The records prove that in 2013 you phoned your mother the day after her birthday. What a terrible son you are!"

"It appears that on June 4, 2013 under a YouTube video entitled "Worst Anthem Ever" you wrote the comment, 'It doesn't matter who's singing the American Anthem it sounds like shit because like every anthem on earth it's jingoistic schmaltz." This is very unAmerican."

And so on...

I mean really, I don't see how this stuff could be used to harm anyone. But maybe you can enlighten me.

And I understand get that—regardless of the threat—the principle of the thing may still upset people. But my reply would be PRISM is about using metadata (numbers, call durations) to look for terrorists and no one is listening to your phone calls and ya'll just need to calm down.

Consider the following proposition:

The NSA is trying to protect you.

Just because that is the official party line doesn't mean it's not true. There's healthy cynicism and then there's paranoia.

I pasted this with minor edits from a lounge thread because the house that shenanigans built has not answered it. (^___^)
     
Snow-i  (op)
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Jun 14, 2013, 08:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by Tiresias View Post
Some of you are saying that this information could be used against you.

I'm open-minded about this (prepared and willing to have my opinion changed) but I can't imagine how that would play out.

Can anyone give a practical example of how the phone and internet records of an average, law-abiding citizen could later be used to screw them over?

Suppose one day I make an enemy with access to that information. Fine. That is possible. But what can he or she do with it?

"The records prove that in 2013 you phoned your mother the day after her birthday. What a terrible son you are!"

"It appears that on June 4, 2013 under a YouTube video entitled "Worst Anthem Ever" you wrote the comment, 'It doesn't matter who's singing the American Anthem it sounds like shit because like every anthem on earth it's jingoistic schmaltz." This is very unAmerican."

And so on...

I mean really, I don't see how this stuff could be used to harm anyone. But maybe you can enlighten me.

And I understand get that—regardless of the threat—the principle of the thing may still upset people. But my reply would be PRISM is about using metadata (numbers, call durations) to look for terrorists and no one is listening to your phone calls and ya'll just need to calm down.

Consider the following proposition:

The NSA is trying to protect you.

Just because that is the official party line doesn't mean it's not true. There's healthy cynicism and then there's paranoia.

I pasted this with minor edits from a lounge thread because the house that shenanigans built has not answered it. (^___^)
Same way the IRS and EPA have been used to target individuals and groups. Simply cross reference the phone records of those groups to figure out who you need to audit, or who you need to leak to the press certain details of your private life, or who you need to put on the "terrorist watch list" to keep tabs on.

You could tell who your target's friends are, and threaten them. You could tell which doctors, hospitals, banks, car dealers, outpatient clinics, etc. You can tell which attorney's one might have consulted with. You can tell how often someone's kids call them, where they are, and how often they speak. You can tell whether a husband and wife live together, are seeing other people, are having affairs, etc. You can tell what companies one talks to for consulting and extrapolate where one's trade secrets may be (and who to go after to get them). You can tell who investigators talk to if they're getting close to something bad you've done. You can keep tabs on their location, contacts, etc etc. You can identify where and who your opposition in elections are talking to. All without a warrant, without any judicial oversight at all (not even a secret court), and without anyone knowing who you're tracking (not even the phone company).

The list for abuse goes on indefinitely. They don't need to listen to the calls to get the information they need to do some very bad things.

Obama would be severely limited in his overreach and political targeting if he didn't know who was associated with his admitted enemies. You can fill in the blank for any dict...administration.

Given the recent corruption in the IRS, EPA, and State department - it's not a question of if it has been abused but instead when it was or when it will be. If it has, we'll never know.
     
Snow-i  (op)
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Jun 14, 2013, 08:36 PM
 
     
besson3c
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Jun 14, 2013, 08:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
It would be equally odd either way right?
If you mistrust government, then you should be against spying. If you aren't necessarily against spying in the name of security, then gun background checks in the name of security should be your cup of tea.
     
ebuddy
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Jun 15, 2013, 09:41 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
If you mistrust government, then you should be against spying. If you aren't necessarily against spying in the name of security, then gun background checks in the name of security should be your cup of tea.
I think the argument has gone something like; "the NSA activities are good because they are designed to identify and stop terrorists and they work, see examples ______ and ______." The gun control measures are unpopular because "they are designed to infringe on gun rights and do not work, see examples ______ and ______." Gun control is not viewed by its detractors as motivated in the interest of "national security" whereas they believe the NSA activities are.

You'd think someone who supports a $5000 fine for killing a certain type of bird would have an issue with late term abortions, but it doesn't work that way in politics. Never has. Conversely, if you trust government to handle everything from your health care to your education and housing and a periodic census to ensure the government is adequately provisioned for these obligations, supporting the NSA activities should be your cup of tea right? Apparently not. It only appears strange if you're looking at the world through the prism of partisanship seeking gotcha moments in the opposition.
ebuddy
     
ebuddy
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Jun 16, 2013, 09:33 AM
 
Originally Posted by Tiresias View Post
I mean really, I don't see how this stuff could be used to harm anyone. But maybe you can enlighten me.
The answer to this is actually very simple. It's either useful information or it's not. The act of collecting the information itself is harmless, using the information is not. For example, if it's useful information for work against terrorists (the cost both monetarily and in political capital suggests it is) it's useful information for work against anyone deemed a terrorist. Herein lies the problem. A study commissioned by the US Dept of Homeland Security profiled right-wing extremism as including "those who are reverent of individual liberty". A leaked training manual used in the State and Local Anti-Terrorism Training (SLATT) program for law enforcement, funded by the DoJ lists political bumper stickers expressing opposition to the UN or support for the bill of rights as indications of potential terrorist activity. A MIAC report out of Missouri went so far as to include those with Ron Paul bumper stickers, people who buy gold, or fly the American flag! Given the recent revelations of how the IRS targeted groups with names that included buzzwords like "patriot" and "liberty" and distributed that information to political detractors, yesterday's "paranoid" is today's news headline. I don't see a line here which is why the fact that the NSA-intercepted communications were not isolated to intercontinental communication is so bothersome.

You say it's harmless, but if this were true no one would support it on the grounds that it's worth it if it could bring some harm to legitimate terrorist organizations.

And I understand get that—regardless of the threat—the principle of the thing may still upset people. But my reply would be PRISM is about using metadata (numbers, call durations) to look for terrorists and no one is listening to your phone calls and ya'll just need to calm down.
It's either useful information to ultimately bring harm to a terrorist organization or it's not. Enlighten me on why so many resources and political capital would be spent on a program that is ultimately harmless to legitimate terrorist organizations?

Consider the following proposition:
The NSA is trying to protect you.
Can you name any overreach by a centralized authority throughout history that wasn't predicated on the above?

Consider the following proposition:
Some might want to protect you from terrorists. Or Jews, black people, religion, contrarian views, and dissent.

Just because that is the official party line doesn't mean it's not true. There's healthy cynicism and then there's paranoia.
I can't think of a single overreach by a centralized authority that wasn't preceded by someone deemed "paranoid-delusional" for decrying it, can you? Yesterday's paranoid becomes today's news headline.
ebuddy
     
subego
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Jun 23, 2013, 06:15 PM
 
I'm starting to think Snowden is getting help.
     
BadKosh
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Jun 24, 2013, 10:23 AM
 
He has 4 laptops and is in Russia. Was going to Cuba. Anyone think he's still a hero?
     
 
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