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Right or wrong

June 29, 2013

The recent revelations from Mr. Snowden about our government and data mining has sent people in this country in a tizzy. Some think he is a hero while others have called him a traitor, either way M....

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Jun-29-13 2:54 AM

OK Chuck: What's the point? My view is that Snowden was cleared for "Secret" information for which he made a pledge not to divulge. He broke that pledge and should be prosecuted.

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Jun-29-13 3:19 AM

There was a time that I had "Confidential" clearance. Each "Secret" project that I worked on required its own seperate clearance. To this day I would not and will not divulge confdential information to which I was privy. Snowden broke that trust and the confidence to which he was entrusted. I reiterate: Bring him home. Or: Kill him. No more games.

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Jun-29-13 5:51 AM

Richardson, I agree. I too had security clearances at several levels both in the service and as a government contractor. As part of that clearance you understand the responsibilities and penalties. This case is cut and dry. He breached that clearance and should be prosecuted. Regardless of how we feel about the information he indulged and how it effects our lives, we can't have people entrusted with classified information acting in the manner he did.

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Jun-29-13 7:08 AM

I agree with Richardson and Gysgt on this one.

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Jun-29-13 7:32 AM

It seems former President Jimmy Carter sees it differently:

"He's obviously violated the laws of America, for which he's responsible, but I think the invasion of human rights and American privacy has gone too far"

"I think that the secrecy that has been surrounding this invasion of privacy has been excessive, so I think that the bringing of it to the public notice has probably been, in the long term, beneficial."

He also supports Ecuador if they choose to give asylum to Snowden. I personally am troubled by the information that Snowden leaked regarding the government's program of obtaining data on it's citizens, however, this does not excuse the fact that he knowingly and willingly divulged classified information.

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Jun-29-13 7:40 AM

"Or: Kill him"


What are the charges that would justify killing Snowden; treason, being a cyber-terrorist, aiding terrorists, etc? I would think that he needs a trial instead of sending a drone or scrambling some jets to take his life.

I think this is a case where some of our foreign policies have lead to the stalemate with Russia on extraditing. Putin may be using this as a nice bargaining chip.

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Jun-29-13 8:15 AM

Snowden could be considered a traitor simply on the basis that he revealed secret information.

But Snowden could also be considered a whistleblower who revealed secret programs that are more harmful than helpful.

From Bush through Obama, CIA directors, NSA directors, etc all testified before Congress and stated that the gov't does not spy on Americans or collect information.

They have been lying to us for years about these programs while building a database of information that has the potential for incredible harm.

There is a reason the NSA built a $2 billion data center in Utah.

If Snowden gives classified details to Russia, China or Ecuador, then he may be considered a traitor.

But if he remains true to only revealing the outline of the data being collected, he may be considered a whistleblower.

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Jun-29-13 8:24 AM

Erik there is not a distinction between the two when it comes to revealing classified information. Also recent reports are saying that Snowden acquired the job in order to gather the information he was seeking to expose, which means he deceived the system when obtaining the security clearance for the position.

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Jun-29-13 8:56 AM

From Wikipedia Snowden said he had taken a pay cut to work at Booz Allen,and that he sought employment in order to gather data on NSA surveillance around the world so he could leak it. The firm said Snowden's employment was terminated on June 10 "for violations of the firm's code of ethics and firm policy."

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Jun-29-13 9:10 AM

People with clearances to do this kind of work take an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution along with an oath to maintain the secrecy they’re cleared for. Snowden claims to have been put in a position where he couldn’t do both and became a whistle blower. Since all government officials take an oath to defend the Constitution, that oath appears to be compromised if they’re infringing upon our privacy rights without probable cause and due process; this goes well beyond Snowden.

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Jun-29-13 9:16 AM

Mr Reeder, would your letter have been framed much differently durring the Bush years? If so, you should think about why.

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Jun-29-13 9:19 AM

Phil I completely agree. I think the people that instituted this program and policy also have fault regardless of the patriot act or court orders. The fact that this very same PRISIM program that was scrapped in 2007 for a variety of issues including being unreliable and privacy issues, somehow got resurrected. But two wrongs don't make a right and the manner in which Snowden acquired this data and released it, is criminal.

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Jun-29-13 9:21 AM

Who is really the traitor here, a government that is working outside the bounds of its constitutional authority or a guy who leaks data on its wrongdoings to the public? Unless, as eriklatranyi has stated, "Snowden gives classified details to Russia, China or Ecuador, then he may be considered a traitor." If he has not every American should be looking at him as a national hero for showing that our government is operating lawlessly and has become illegitimate. Nobody is bound to follow an unconstitutional law. "If a law is arbitrary to the constitution, if it renders you subject to illegal or unconstitutional laws and acts it is in fact, null and void." One of the most serious mistakes made today is in the assumption that just because congress passes a piece of legislation and the president signed it, the violations of rights and liberties, the assaults on the Americans under the guise of national security are justified or legal.

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Jun-29-13 9:21 AM

We also must remember that it is settled law that an unconstitutional “law” is not law. “The general rule is that an unconstitutional statute, though having the form and name of law, is in reality no law, but is wholly void, and ineffective for any purpose; since unconstitutionality dates from the time of its enactment, and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it. No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional law and no courts are bound to enforce it.” [16 Am. Jur. 2d, Section 177; later 2d, Section 256]

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Jun-29-13 9:57 AM

" Who is really the traitor here, a government that is working outside the bounds of its constitutional authority"

You know Carl, the founders set up a system of courts to determine the Constitutionality of laws. Individual citizens don't get to make that determination, judges do.

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Jun-29-13 10:06 AM

" Who is really the traitor here,"

Indeed. On one hand we have an individual of unknown motives or mental stability, that STOLE 4 laptops full of classified data that didn't belong to him. And where did he run with that stolen classified data? To China of course. From there he headed to Russia. So there are the top two superpowers in the world, that both govts that are adversarial to the US. And the next scheduled stop on his freedom tour? Why Cuba of course, then Venuzeula.

Yeah, there's no chance he's a "traitor" eh Carl?

This isn't brain surgery you know. Someone motivated by privacy rights doesn't flee the US for China then Russia.

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Jun-29-13 10:11 AM

" Mr Reeder, would your letter have been framed much differently durring the Bush years? If so, you should think about why."

Sure it would have, and I'll be happy to tell you why. Because President Bush asserted the authority to actually wiretap the phone calls of American citizens without a warrant. op Justice Dept officials threatened to resign over Bush's program, and his response was to lie to them, then continue the program anyway.

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Jun-29-13 10:16 AM

Carl, while I too feel the government is out of bounds in their methods of collecting data, the fact still remains that he obtained the position under false premises to knowingly steal this classified material. If we make an exception for him, where do we draw the line? Are we suppose to ignore the law whenever someone has the opinion that a wrong is being done? We are talking about people that handle highly sensitive material and there really shouldn't be a cushion there as to who can release what material depending on their beliefs and convictions. I can appreciate that many of us are glad this information came to light, but the bottom line is, his methods were criminal and he should be prosecuted.

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Jun-29-13 10:19 AM

Here's what I'd like to know. What did Snowden have to give the Chinese to get them to let him go? Did he maybe let them image some, or all of the drives in exchange for being able to leave?

And what's on the drives? He claimed to have access to the name of every covert US intelligence asset in the world, as well as the location of every CIA station. I find those claims exceptionally difficult to believe, as that type of info would be highly compartmentalized to protect it. But what if he has some of that info, and now the Chinese and Russians have it too? US lives could be in danger.

I don't know how any patriotic American can call that anything but treason.

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Jun-29-13 10:30 AM

CHayes I wouldn't concern yourself too much about the data that Snowden is boasting he has. That's not how security clearances work. Clearances and data for the most part are compartmentalized, which means he only had access to the data that involved the program he was working on. From what I read in his bio he wouldn't of had access to much of the stuff you are talking about. I think he is traveling to the places he is because he knows we can't touch him there.

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Jun-29-13 10:33 AM

I wonder if Snowden had any classified info about US military installations in Afghanistan or anywhere overseas for that matter? And if he did, I wonder if its sitting on a drive in Beijing or Moscow right now?

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Jun-29-13 10:36 AM

None of us know the actual facts concerning Snowden’s case, so we’ll have to see how it plays out over time. However it turns out, it doesn’t change the fact that government may not be working within it’s constitutional limits.

The fourth amendment: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

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Jun-29-13 10:40 AM

Once again CHayes, that's not how it works. Regardless of what he took, everything works on a need to know basis and Booz Allen would only have access to information for projects they were awarded. I had several levels of clearances while I worked in the service and DOD and handled highly classified material, but that doesn't mean I had carte blanche to all material, nor did the companies I worked for.

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Jun-29-13 10:43 AM

I'd like to agree with you on Snowden's access Gunny, but his job was a systems administrator, so who knows what he was able to get.

My nephew is a Captain in the Army, and if he gets sent back for a second tour in Afghanistan, I'd like to be able to be sure that some knucklehead didn't leak security info about an FOB he would be stationed at to the wrong people, but how can we be sure. Because of this guys administrator's access, I'm not convinced that even the govt knows what he stole.

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Jun-29-13 10:50 AM

Once a hacker compromises a system, he typically has increased access to systems networked with the compromised system. That being said, what better place could there possibly be for a hacker trying to steal govt secrets, than inside an NSA facility? We may never know the extent of this breach.

I disagree with the Presidents handling of this situation. I think he should have sent a team of operators into HK to find this guy, throw a pillow case over his head, and stuff him on a jet bound for the US.

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