Monday, December 16, 2013

NSA wants a deal with Snowden...?

Supposedly, the NSA wants to offer amnesty to Ed Snowden in return for the documents he took. This is a strange offer on a number of levels.

First, by what right does the NSA offer amnesty? They're not the Justice Department. They're not the State Department.

Second, the documents are electronic. I believe they were distributed widely enough to offer Snowden protection; otherwise, the guy would be dead by now. Any number of copies may be out there. In the modern age, what does the phrase "Give back the documents" truly mean?

Third, the Russian government almost certainly has the Snowden cache. By what standard is it all right for Putin to have access to those cyber-pages while the American taxpayer (who paid for them) can't see them?

Fourth, if the NSA is willing to play "Let's make a deal" now -- after all the stuff that has come out -- what the hell could possibly be in those as-yet unrevealed documents? My (educated) guess: We will learn that the NSA is storing the content of all of our communications, not just the metadata -- and that the government has employed some iffy rationales to allow the FBI to make use of that material. (We already know that they "launder" the data to disguise its origin.)

Fifth, why is everyone so angry at Glenn Greenwald? Snowden's still in charge of the documents -- or at least, the NSA seems to think he's in charge.

And they should know. They're the NSA.

(By the way, I'll have more on the Greenwald/Edmonds/Pando thing soon...)

Added note: The grand excuse for giving the NSA the right to scoop up your mail is the fight against "terrorism." But many commentators used the word "terrorism" to describe the most recent high school shooting in Colorado, even though that tragedy seems to have been a revenge murder gone awry. All criminality (real or merely potential) may be classified as terror if you are willing to elasticize your definitions.

Added added note: Almost needless to say, Snowden would be an idiot to take the deal (presuming he really does have a way to return all copies of that document cache). Quite simply, they'll kill him as a warning to others. It'll be a staged suicide -- one of those incredibly obvious theatrical set-pieces, a la Danny Casolaro. Every mainstream media personality will pretend that a disconsolate and depressed Snowden took his own life -- "He couldn't stand to be out of the spotlight!" "He felt an incredible burden of guilt for the harm he did to his country!" But the reality of the situation will be an open secret; everyone in the District (and in Fort Meade and Bluffdale) will know precisely what happened.

No, if I were Ed, I'd learn Russian, dress warmly, develop a taste for borscht and find an attractive Muscovite to date.
Joseph; There is some infighting within the agency.

"Snowden was important. He accelerated the debate"

Yup. Hayden just said it on MTP.

"I wouldn't negotiate amnesty with him. It might encourage other Snowdens'

Well, he is an ass-backwards bureaucrat, sho he sees no inconsistency in his perverted and corrupted thought stream.

I can understand why some think he's not a hero, but this internal and external debate would NOT be happening with his actions.


The Snowden story smelled fishy from the get-go. He’s a school dropout with unlikely credentials, a six-figure income and access to NSA secrets. Yeah, right. Crackpot Webster Tarpley suggests Snowden’s release of NSA documents is a “limited hangout operation” to push Obama toward attacking Syria. This latest turn of events, amnesty for Snowden, is so absurd that it has me thinking maybe Tarpley is on to something. The US response to NSA spying is telling. First, Obama tightened security clearances on workers. Coincidentally, the Navy Shipyard shooting made his efforts even more imperative. Then, as if on cue, Congress revisited FISA legislation and surprise, surprise, they legalized data mining the NSA had been doing illegally all along. Thank you, DiFi. Maybe I wear a bigger tinfoil hat than you do, but the Snowden saga is beginning to look like one big NSA-CYA, CIA-fiasco.
Edward Snowden is an intelligent young man, far too intelligent to fall for this obvious trap by a fascist police state which dangles a phony line labeled "amnesty." As you say, who is the NSA to offer any such deal? If legalities still meant anything, our toothless and non-functioning Justice Department or the corrupt State Department, riddled with spies and other compromised individuals, would offer the deal.

"Terrorism" now means whatever the US government or any individual working within it doesn't approve of. Say something we don't like? You're a terrorist. The Gestapo could only have dreamed of such all- encompassing powers.

To Mr. Snowden: imagine yourself dressed in an orange jumpsuit with a black cloth bag over your head, down on your knees, handcuffed behind your back. Imagine yourself imprisoned for decades, monitored 24/7 and tortured, both physically and psychologically by sadists who are experts at their jobs, tortured until you are insane. That's America now. Don't come back here, ever. Stay in Russia, find an attractive person who wants to have sex with you, live, prosper, be happy. America is dead to you now. Don't ever come back as long as you live. Bon chance.
"No, if I were Ed, I'd learn Russian, dress warmly, develop a taste for borscht and find an attractive Muscovite to date."

Wish I had a bunch of national secrets to trade....
To say the "Russian government almost certainly has the Snowden cache" is rank and utter speculation.

It is also an NSA talking point.

Also, NSA isn't offering amnesty. One NSA official expressed a personal opinion. His boss disagrees.

But you are right, Snowden can never come home. That may also be the case for Greenwald.
Michael, you are right. I did speculate, and I should have labeled my speculation as such.

On the other hand, that really does seem the way to bet.
Not to beat a dead horse, but this thought occurred to me after I posted, and of course this is speculation:

I think it entirely possible that Snowden has NONE of the documents, that he turned over the computer with his NSA cache to that Wikileaks lady just before he accepted asylum and left the airport. I mean, after all, what does HE need them for now anyway? Also, the Russians made "no more leaking" a condition of his asylum.

That theory makes more sense in my mind.

Actually, Michael, I'd like to return to something you said originally -- the bit about Snowden giving the goods to Russia being an NSA "talking point."

Okay. Let's go with that. So the NSA is saying that Russia probably already has that stuff. That's the story.

My original question therefore still stands. By what standard can the NSA tell us that it's all right for Putin to see that material but not for US to see that material?

You and I paid for those documents. Putin didn't. (Well, I guess right now he's paying for Eddie's room and board...)
Ivan Ivonavich says:
Life in Russia is not for young Americans.

I am at a loss to cite one western defector to the Soviet Union or Russia who managed to adapt psychologicaly and thrive.

The new reality for Mr. Snowden is house arrest and surveillance for life.

Of all defectors Kim Philby seemed to fair best medicating himself with excess drink and suicide attempts.

Even the Master Spy Philby, built of stronger stuff than this man I suggest, was crushed by the drab confinement that was his life.

His wife belatedly said Philby was utterly disappointed when the reality of life in Russia and the Russian political system became apparent.

Like a good socialist in the gulag, he comforted himself by saying : Communism was a good idea; it was the people [Stalin e alia] who carried it out wrong.

To any student or scholar of Russian studies, the notion of a young American man finding happiness there is highly improbable if he were free let alone under a lifetime guest of the FSB.

He lasted longer than I thought - I gave him 3 weeks.
The reason the NSA would want the documents back from Snowden while not being as concerned about Putin having them is that we as Americans are the true targets of the surveillance. We represent the potential threat to the existing socioeconomic and political hierarchy, so as long as they (the "establishment") can convince us that all of this surveillance is about containing foreign terrorist threats as opposed to letting us realize that it's about keeping tabs on any fledgling challenges to the existing order, they're happy.
the guy enlisted in the military, so how intelligent could he really be? enlist, one must first have accepted as true a narrative based on twisted half-truths and out-n-out lies...that narrative includes the idea of ww2 as "the good war" fought by the "greatest generation" to stop "hitler" who was a "monster" and therefore no longer a human being; none of which was true then, but remains valuable propaganda today...any military person, past or present, has bought into this crackerbarrel full of fetid fecal matter...i'm glad that something finally struck him as being too far-fetched to swallow without a gag reflex...but if this is an example of the best and brightest we've got, we're doomed to a handful of generations as a species, and no more
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