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RETIRED Super Stealth Moderator
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Discussion Starter #1
I've been waiting for someone, anyone, to open up a thread here to discuss Snowden.

since nobody else has, I'm letting the genie out of the bottle...

by the definition from the laws of the US government, he is not a traitor. so what is he - a hero? a whistleblower?

how is what the NSA been doing affecting how people view the US government?
 

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A few questions related to Snowden's disclosure and my opinions on these issues:

Is Edward Snowden a traitor, a patriot, a whistleblower or a fame-whore? Yes. I think his possible disclosure of information to the Chinese (information on hacking the NSA perpetrated against Chinese-owned servers and computer networks) if it proves to be true indicates that he is a traitor without question.

That said, what he revealed isn't anything really new, just that the extent of spying on American citizens is quite a bit more broad than anyone knew (read about Echelon and the bugging of all calls in the DC Metro area in the 60's, 70's and 80's).

Are these activities effective? Maybe. It didn't seem to stop the latest thing in Boston, but it could very well be stopping things that we never hear about, and is likely denying those who wish to do harm to America the most efficient and convenient means of communication, which gives the US an advantage.

What is the harm in these programs, really, if you aren't doing anything wrong? I believe that in doing what we are doing we cede the moral high-ground on human rights when we deal with other nations, and that's bad. The irony is not lost on me that the nations that are currently supporting this guy are, for the most part, nations with terrible records on human rights and censorship.
 

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I think it's fine that he's a whistleblower (though I think everybody was under the presumption that -somebody- was spying on us anyway), but leaving the country with four laptops of sensitive data is a problem.

And it's also curious that he went right onto the front porch of biggest international threats, that's not cool.
 

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The government should continue to monitor activities as they do, the only folks affected are those that should be affected. The arguments to the contrary are a symptom of the spoiled culture we live in, where we feel these type of activities are REALLY an affront to our liberties. Get real.

Snowden should be returned to the U.S. and beaten within an inch of his life. JK, but he should be given the legal process equivalent which will result in life in prison. We let tool bags like this play with us, what kind of message does that send? Should have never happened, but forget nip-it-in-the-bud now, use some Roundup.

Hard to tell if the methods are effective or not. How would we know? It's all top secret stuff, correct? That analysis is like many other topics, the internet age has turned us all in to seemingly active participants in very complex processes. We're not involved and never will be. What we think we know is even created by the government and media.
 

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mixed feelings..

One8T took the words out of my mouth..

The government should continue to monitor activities as they do, the only folks affected are those that should be affected. The arguments to the contrary are a symptom of the spoiled culture we live in, where we feel these type of activities are REALLY an affront to our liberties. Get real.

I find it funny that people feel they are so important as to think the government is actually monitoring them. Gimme a break..
 

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My pornstar name came up "Jay the Snork."
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I doubt I will have enough accurate and complete information to form a final opinion any time soon. I have leaned toward all of the options offered (traitor, patriot, whistleblower, fame whore) at some point since the story broke. I really don't have an answer though, and I am not interested in doing the years of extensive, in-depth research it would take to reach a reasonable conclusion.

In other words, I will wait a few years and let people more interested and knowledgeable than I am do the research and write the inevitable books. Then maybe I will decide.
 

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Lefties have rights, too!
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While he hasn't said anything publicly that is useful to the "other side" I wonder what has been discussed behind doors. Perhaps more disturbing is what happened in Hong Kong, the reaction of the Chinese, and how Putin is having fun with this situation.

IMHO, the amount of information that the gubament compiles on us pales in comparison to the information Google, credit card companies, and others collect with every key stroke or purchase we make each day.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
This NY Times Opinion piece seems to show what the NSA is doing is against constitutional law.

The law under which the government collected this data, Section 215 of the Patriot Act, allows 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.
Even in the fearful time when the Patriot Act was enacted, in October 2001, lawmakers never contemplated that Section 215 would be used for phone metadata, or for mass surveillance of any sort. Representative F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., a Wisconsin Republican and one of the architects of the Patriot Act, and a man not known as a civil libertarian, has said that “Congress intended to allow the intelligence communities to access targeted information for specific investigations.” The N.S.A.’s demand for information about every American’s phone calls isn’t “targeted” at all — it’s a dragnet. “How can every call that every American makes or receives be relevant to a specific investigation?” Mr. Sensenbrenner has asked. The answer is simple: It’s not.
The government claims that under Section 215 it may seize all of our phone call information now because it might conceivably be relevant to an investigation at some later date, even if there is no particular reason to believe that any but a tiny fraction of the data collected might possibly be suspicious. That is a shockingly flimsy argument — any data might be “relevant” to an investigation eventually, if by “eventually” you mean “sometime before the end of time.” If all data is “relevant,” it makes a mockery of the already shaky concept of relevance.
The government knows that it regularly obtains Americans’ protected communications. The Washington Post reported that Prism is designed to produce at least 51 percent confidence in a target’s “foreignness” — as John Oliver of “The Daily Show” put it, “a coin flip plus 1 percent.” By turning a blind eye to the fact that 49-plus percent of the communications might be purely among Americans, the N.S.A. has intentionally acquired information it is not allowed to have, even under the terrifyingly broad auspices of the FISA Amendments Act.
How could vacuuming up Americans’ communications conform with this legal limitation? Well, as James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, told Andrea Mitchell of NBC, the N.S.A. uses the word “acquire” only when it pulls information out of its gigantic database of communications and not when it first intercepts and stores the information.
If there’s a law against torturing the English language, James Clapper is in real trouble.
Leave aside the Patriot Act and FISA Amendments Act for a moment, and turn to the Constitution.
The Fourth Amendment obliges the government to demonstrate probable cause before conducting invasive surveillance. There is simply no precedent under the Constitution for the government’s seizing such vast amounts of revealing data on innocent Americans’ communications.
The government has made a mockery of that protection by relying on select Supreme Court cases, decided before the era of the public Internet and cellphones, to argue that citizens have no expectation of privacy in either phone metadata or in e-mails or other private electronic messages that it stores with third parties.
 

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I'd bet the NY Times would have complained almost daily for weeks if it was the Bush administration. Too many folks in the media have no convictions at all, they're just fans of their chosen party.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'd bet the NY Times would have complained almost daily for weeks if it was the Bush administration. Too many folks in the media have no convictions at all, they're just fans of their chosen party.
they do a decent job of slamming Obama. I'm inclined to agree with them - especially since one of Obama's resume' entries is a specialist in Constitutional law.
 

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they do a decent job of slamming Obama. I'm inclined to agree with them - especially since one of Obama's resume' entries is a specialist in Constitutional law.
They do but they'll most likely drop the issue. Constitutional lawyer? I'm still amazed we made someone president who's resume amounts to being a neighborhood organizer and voting present in the senate. I hope our standards are higher in the future and we actually pick someone who can lead, even if I do disagree with where they want to lead us.
 

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I agree with the articles Jay posted above; what the NSA has been doing is unconstitutional and a gross violation of the American public’s liberties. Personally I find this appalling and believe there should be an internal investigation of the NSA to find how this illegal program became started and operated, and people should be held accountable. The government is designed to have checks and balances and this has completely skirted that, giving the NSA the ability to illegally survey people without any warrant or even remote probable cause. If this program had been approved through normal legal means I would personally disagree with it, but I would understand that it was implemented through proper means and not under secrecy.

This issue makes me think of a quote from Benjamin Franklin, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

My impressions of Snowden: He is a hero to the American public for whistle blowing of an unconstitutional program, he may be a traitor depending on what he has shared with other countries (I don’t know much about this yet), and he just comes across as a bit of a media whore personally
 

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I agree with the articles Jay posted above; what the NSA has been doing is unconstitutional and a gross violation of the American public’s liberties. Personally I find this appalling and believe there should be an internal investigation of the NSA to find how this illegal program became started and operated, and people should be held accountable. The government is designed to have checks and balances and this has completely skirted that, giving the NSA the ability to illegally survey people without any warrant or even remote probable cause. If this program had been approved through normal legal means I would personally disagree with it, but I would understand that it was implemented through proper means and not under secrecy.

This issue makes me think of a quote from Benjamin Franklin, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

My impressions of Snowden: He is a hero to the American public for whistle blowing of an unconstitutional program, he may be a traitor depending on what he has shared with other countries (I don’t know much about this yet), and he just comes across as a bit of a media whore personally
They can start the NSA investigation right after they complete the IRS investigation and study of the constitutionality of the federal tax system. Ben Franklin and his friends would choke on their vomit if they saw the evolution of the federal tax system.

For you Rusty.:thumbup:
 

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they can start the nsa investigation right after they complete the irs investigation and study of the constitutionality of the federal tax system. Ben franklin and his friends would choke on their vomit if they saw the evolution of the federal tax system.

For you rusty.:thumbup:

amen! right after that they can study the welfare system and it's abuses.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
They can start the NSA investigation right after they complete the IRS investigation and study of the constitutionality of the federal tax system. Ben Franklin and his friends would choke on their vomit if they saw the evolution of the federal tax system.

For you Rusty.:thumbup:
amen! right after that they can study the welfare system and it's abuses.

OT, but worth it for a moment.

hats off to the Rusty comment. ;)

hope you guys don't think they have to do this in a serial fashion. Bill, welfare fraud has been systemic since it started, and usually the fed govt is pretty good about going after it. do they resolve each and every single instantiation? no. do they try to do a good job with cutting welfare fraud to a minimum? they try.

please, let's get back back OT, guys - this thread is about Snowden and the NSA programs. if you want to start a thread about welfare fraud/abuse, or the IRS, please feel free to do so.
 

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I'll wager vwb5t's third testicle, somewhere there is an SF 312 with Mr. Snowden's signature on it, making him, in my opinion, a felon.

Also:
While he hasn't said anything publicly that is useful to the "other side" I wonder what has been discussed behind doors. Perhaps more disturbing is what happened in Hong Kong, the reaction of the Chinese, and how Putin is having fun with this situation.

IMHO, the amount of information that the gubament compiles on us pales in comparison to the information Google, credit card companies, and others collect with every key stroke or purchase we make each day.
The more disturbing aspect of what Tom has stated is if Mr. Snowden's background is taken into account with both the CIA and NSA; what type of information he has had access to regardless of compartmentalization.

And I'm glad Tom also touched on the everyday aspect of "open" or "overt" collection practiced by many major corporations 24/7 in relation to his second statement.
 
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