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Should Edward Snowden Come Home?
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Drew Conry-Murray
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Drew Conry-Murray,
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6/11/2014 | 11:32:18 AM
Could Snowden Get A Fair Trial?
As a follow-on to my original question of whether Edward Snowden should come back to the U.S. to face the music, do you think he could get a fair trial here?
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
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6/11/2014 | 1:00:20 PM
Re: Could Snowden Get A Fair Trial?
I think he could get a fair trial, and that he'd be convicted of treason. He has gone WAY beyond just exposing a few NSA programs. He broke the promise he made when he was granted a TS clearance and has given information to Russia and others that has damaged our ability to protect our citizens. From watching the recent Brian Williams interview, I think he's delusional and very, very taken with is own importance. I don't see him ever voluntarily returning to answer for his actions.
TerryB
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TerryB,
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6/11/2014 | 1:27:19 PM
Re: Could Snowden Get A Fair Trial?
Interesting Lorna. I watched that interview and had opposite opinion, that he seemed much more normal than I thought he would be. To me, he genuinely seemed to think he was doing right thing and that he was one of few people in a position to do anything about it. He definitely knew if he did this it was going to ruin any chance of normal life. I think he expected the public to come down heavily on his side but think he was smart enough to know that wouldn't keep him out of jail.

He is certainly not a traitor in any traditional sense, where someone was clearly aligned with a known enemy. He was trying to help us, the unknowing public, what was going on. It is certainly a legitimate debate whether he accomplished that or not.

But one argument I reject is examples of "damage done" being things like US getting made fun of by foreign powers for spying on German leader cell phone. If you don't want to be embarrassed, don't be doing things you should not be doing in first place. Serves them right, seems like justice to me.

 
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
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6/11/2014 | 1:51:24 PM
Re: Could Snowden Get A Fair Trial?
The definition of treason is pretty straightforward, and he certainly meets it. He stole a vast amount of classified information after vowing to keep it secret, shared it with foreign governments, including geopolitical adversaries, and damaged US security and relationships. Anyone who didn't think the NSA was watching this data is naive -- the entire mandate of the agency is to intercept electronic communications. What lala land are people living in? 

Wholesale dumping of classified information is illegal and puts all of us at risk. Our system offers legal options to disgruntled employees and contractors -- there are federal whistle-blower laws. They can go talk to their congressperson. They can even very selectively leak data to the press then have the integrity to stay around and take responsibility. He did none of those. 

 

 

 
TerryB
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TerryB,
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6/11/2014 | 2:13:33 PM
Re: Could Snowden Get A Fair Trial?
I'm not debating what legal definition of treason is. My point is that he is nothing like Benedict Arnold or the dude that sold secrets to Russians for years, for money. I have to believe you see the difference. But I agree that won't save him a treason conviction.

I have a problem with general statement he "broke vow to keep secret" and "it was classified". How would anyone know what they have vowed to to keep secret until they see it? If NSA was working with criminals in baby trafficing and it was classified, would you have to keep that secret also? These laws made a lot more sense when you could actually trust the government was trying to do the right thing, worked for the people. Those days are long gone, look no further than the WMD's we never found in Iraq.

People like you are certainly entitled to the view you have, and you may be the majority in this case. To me, it just refreshing to see someone with the guts to do something they thought was right, for no personal gain for themselves. I'd like to think I'd act like that if circumstances dictated, not bury my head in sand. My favorite analogy here is Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. If you helped the Jews, you were a traitor and a criminal. Which side was right back then, those who allowed the Nazi government to execute their "laws" or those who tried to help?

As far as naive that NSA was collecting data on scale they were, how would anyone on outside expect that? To be honest, I was surprised they had the talent to do it.
rrizzo12601
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rrizzo12601,
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6/12/2014 | 9:58:16 AM
Re: Could Snowden Get A Fair Trial?
I do not know what your definition of treason is, but here's the one I found in Webster's: "treason: the crime of betraying one's country, especially by attempting to kill the sovereign or overthrow the government."

Since when did Snowden attempt to kill the president, or overthrow the government. These are more the actions of the Teabag Party, not Snowden.

Perhaps you mean sedition. Sedition is conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the authority of a state or monarch. This is more like Snowden's crime, not treason. I wish that people would learn the definitons of these two words.
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
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6/12/2014 | 10:25:08 AM
Re: Could Snowden Get A Fair Trial?
The relevant part of the definition is "the crime of betraying one's country" -- "attempting to kill the sovereign or overthrow the government" are examples, not limiters. He clearly betrayed the trust his country put in him when giving him access to Top Secret material by stealing that data and giving the Chinese and Russion intelligence services access to it.
SD_GS500E
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SD_GS500E,
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6/12/2014 | 1:18:03 PM
Re: Could Snowden Get A Fair Trial?
"The crime of betraying one's country"...let's think about that.  Who did Snowden really hurt?  Was it the population of the United States, or was it a few high ranking officials.  Last I heard, the country was defined by "We, the people".  "We, the people" are the very folks he was trying to protect.  Frankly, I find the whole notion of calling him a traitor for attempting to secure the civil rights of the U.S population quite hippocritical, but it is just my opinion.
EdH461
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EdH461,
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6/12/2014 | 11:22:04 AM
Re: Could Snowden Get A Fair Trial?
I think thats the crux of it it. Regardless of the wrong (or right) of what the NSA does or did. Snowden took an oath and broke it. If he is a true whistleblower then avail yourself of those laws AND the protections that acompany them. His actions speak volumes.  He yelled "Fire" in a crowded church and put others at risk, damaged our relations with other countries and then snuk off out of the country. As to whether or not he could get a fair trial? I think so, especially now, all eyes will be on it. But as to his "peers" in the information security community, he is widely NOT thought of as an information security professional.
rrizzo12601
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rrizzo12601,
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6/12/2014 | 9:54:47 AM
Re: Could Snowden Get A Fair Trial?
Snowden would NEVER get a fair trial anywhere, unless you consider a Kangaroo Court, fair.

He has very few peers in the area of network security, so he could not be judged by jury of his peers.

It also seems that the administration is out to get him, and if they want him, they surely will get him. They have the means to do so, and probably already have a plan. 

His actions may invoke a charge of sedition, but by no means treason. If his actions are seditous, than how about the many others who have acted in the same manner, regarding the current administration? Those who feel that taking a "second amendment solution," or other seditous means, should also be under the same microscope as Snowden. 

AFAIC - History will see Snowden as a hero. He stood up to power, and outed their scheme to collect data on each and every person that they can. This action by the NSA is the REAL crime here, not the person reporting the crime. Snowden should not get jail time, he should get a medal!
SD_GS500E
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SD_GS500E,
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6/12/2014 | 1:15:17 PM
Re: Could Snowden Get A Fair Trial?
Without a doubt, Snowden will be denied a fair trial.  The current state of the U.S. government is bordering on dictatorship.  Our President, if we can even call him that anymore, has broken federal laws that he signed into law himself.  If anyone is guilty of treason, it is the man that is currently sitting in the white house.  This is the first president to ever assassinate U.S citizens without a trial.  I see know way, with the current administration, and probabaly future administrations, that anyone that goes against the government will be granted the rights guaranteed them by the constitution.
ClareCM
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ClareCM,
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6/11/2014 | 12:50:45 PM
Great topic
I haven't read the book yet but I am looking forward to it.  My initial impression is that Snowden has already sacrificed quite a bit to get the information out about how much the government spies on us. So right now I'm on the "hero" side of the debate.  But I feel like I need to know more about whether some of the information Snowden leaked could endanger important operations, so I'm glad to learn more about this topic.  I do agree that coming back to the U.S. would make him more of a martyr.
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
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6/11/2014 | 6:02:13 PM
Snowden is no hero but makes an even worse traitor
To me Snowden actions smack more of a tradition of civil disobedience than traitorous activity. I have no doubt he meets the legal definition of traitor, but something more fundamental is at stake than whether he could be convicted on the charge. We have tolerated breaking the law up to a point when it had the possible outcome of resulting in a social good. (Martin Luther King was a traitor to J. Edgar Hoover.) To me, it's better for citizens to know the full scope of their government's surveillance than to know one violator has felt the full wrath of the law. Snowden shows signs of being, if not delusional, at least narcissistic, to me as well as Lorna, and he remains a very poor example to future generations. One of the rules of civil disobedience is that you stick around to take the consequences of your actions. Snowden didn't. But history is likely to conclude he struck a necessary blow to preserve individual freedoms, not undermine them. 
Drew Conry-Murray
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Drew Conry-Murray,
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6/12/2014 | 2:01:33 PM
Re: Snowden is no hero but makes an even worse traitor
I like the way you frame it, Charlie. Snowden may meet the legal definition of traitor, but there's a moral or social justice component to his actions that, in my eyes, justify what he did. This isn't to necessarily excuse him from the consequences of his actions, but the unbridled NSA surveillance of American citizens is vastly more harmful to our democracy than Snowden's exposure of it.
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
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6/12/2014 | 2:34:56 PM
Re: Snowden is no hero but makes an even worse traitor
Let's unpack just a piece of that, this idea that "unbridled NSA surveillance of American citizens is vastly more harmful to our democracy than Snowden's exposure of it."

What's harmful to democracy is when we cease valuing the primacy of the rule of law.

The information the NSA is gathering is (to a significant degree) exactly what we happily give up to Google, Apple, Amazon, etc. The metadata on phone calls is stored by the phone companies, and the legality over ownership and expectation of privacy of data turned over to a third party is far from clear. Americans freely elected the politicians who enacted and expanded the Patriot Act, which as you may recall, expressly "allows government agencies to gather "foreign intelligence information" from both U.S. and non-U.S. citizens."

We got *exactly* the government actions we asked for via our elected representitives. If you don't like it, tell your representatives to repeal the Patriot Act or vote for the new "USA Freedom Act" seeking NSA reforms.

Had Snowden made these revelations in a limited and responsible manner, then stayed around and dealt with the fallout, he'd be a whistleblower -- civil disobedience, as Charlie says. He didn't. He stole vast amounts of data, broke his employment contract, fled the country, and damaged our national security by sharing reportedly very sensitive data with Russia and China. That makes him a criminal and a traitor.

Comparing this to civil rights struggles is insulting. I am not saying it wasn't good to have this conversation. But the ends do not justfy the means.
Daniel (Dan)C152
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Daniel (Dan)C152,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/13/2014 | 11:16:26 AM
Snowden, Edward
This should take to sentences.

What consequences: where is the consequence, for Benghazi, allowing these Americans, paraded around, tortured and killed, while the White House watched, it live eating popcorn!

Consequences: President Nixon, was impeached for just wiretapping two phones in the democratic campion office, in the Watergate building. When, The NAS under Obama; wiretap the entire WORLD.

What consequences: the USA does not negotiate with terrorist! Obama did, along with the other person, what is his name. Mr. Puppet Hagel. Lie number 1, his health was bad, yeah! Lie number 2, we only had a certain window time, yeah! Obama & Hagel need to learn an important lesson in negotiating "leverage" the key to successful negotiating. USA released five high-risk terrorist. From an inhumane prison, in Cuba that Obama was going to close in 2006, well it still there. One-for-One!

What consequences: when the attorney general (Eric Holder) A freshman at Columbia University in 1970. Attorney General Eric Holder participated in a five-day armed occupation take–over the ROTC building. USA would consider this an ACT OF TERRORIST ACTION TODAY!

What consequences: Killing, phony lists, a five-month wait to see a doctor, one-year wait for prosthetics. These are criminal acts, and since everybody covered it up or participated are guilty of racketeering. These acts could have happen if ALL VA Staffers, doctors and from the Secretary to the janitor.

Please spare me the bullshit, someone tell the truth, even if it hurts.

I think we should have a ticker tape parade down Lexington Avenue in NYC for Snowden. Declare it a National Holiday, when an avaerage guy, exposed this administration and NSA for who and what they really are!

WHAT'S NEXT! 


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