Now Isn’t That Just Special

Now Isn’t That Just Special July 2, 2013

Kathy Shiffer, who blogs at Seasons of Grace, published a letter to the American people from Edward Snowden in Edward Snowden, Reluctant Refugee, Pens an Open Letter.  

It turns out that Mr Snowden is living in an airport terminal in Russia. That’s a hard life. But it probably protects him from one of the fears that Ron Paul voiced.

“I’m worried that somebody in our government might kill him with cruise missile or a drone missile,” Dr Paul has said.

So long as Mr Snowden keeps his residence inside a Russian airport terminal, he’s probably protected from American missiles. Such an attack on a Russian airport might have consequences.

This comment from New American gives a feel for the incredibly bi-partisan nature of the carrying on against Edward Snowden:

The Obama administration is considering charging confessed NSA-surveillance leaker Edward Snowden with illegally passing classified documents. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) called Snowden a “traitor.” Senator Dianne Feinstein (R-Calif.) said the 29-year old whistleblower is guilty of “treason.” And, inveterate warmonger Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) tweeted, “I view Mr. Snowden’s actions not as one of patriotism but potentially a felony.” Adding, “I hope we follow Mr. Snowden to the ends of the earth to bring him to justice.”

As my gay friends would say, isn’t that just special?

We have Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senator Dianne Feinstein, together at last. They can’t agree on anything that would move this country forward, but they do agree that telling the American people that the government has put all of us under surveillance makes a man a “traitor,” and “guilty of treason.”

Why? Why would they stop their hate-off against one another long enough to get together in a new hate-off directed at this 26-year-old? Maybe it’s because they signed off on putting the American people under surveillance. Edward Snowden didn’t “betray” the American people. They did. Edward Snowden just let the rest of us know about it.

Mr Snowden has this to say in his letter:

In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised — and it should be.

To read the rest, go here.


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40 responses to “Now Isn’t That Just Special”

  1. Amazingly I agree with Boehner and Feinstein. This kid didn’t do anything noble. He violated the trust placed in him over a minor issue that has passed legal review. Sorry I’m not a Libertarian. Ultimately the public doesn’t need to know everything. I hope they put this jerk on trial and he spends a good long time in jail with other traitors.

  2. Nobody’s gonna assassinate Snowden. What would be the point? Killing him would do more harm to the government’s credibility than anything Snowden ever leaked.

    I, for one, think he will live long enough to languish in irrelevant obscurity, having thrown away everything for fifteen minutes of fame. He will grow old as a nobody in a second-world country, or a first-world prison. Something tells me that is the thing Snowden fears the most.

  3. What “minor issue” are you referring to, Manny? Sure, the public doesn’t need to know everything, but the knowledge that everything we do is being surveilled doesn’t qualify as something we need to know in your opinion?

  4. Lacking an entry visa, Edward Snowden is unlikely to be sleeping out in the open terminal. The Moscow airport has a hotel, which is reportedly very nice…. except for one wing of the hotel which is entirely within the transit section of the airport. That wing of the hotel is officially not Russian territory and is where travelers without a Russian entry visa are confined.

    A reporter for the Associated Press flew to the airport, after deliberately arranging for a lengthy layover. He hoped to possibly spot Snowden. However, travelers without visas are pretty much forced to remain in their rooms. The guard might permit them to pace up and down the hallway, but don’t count on it.

    The reporter, of course, didn’t see anyone in the wing who wasn’t an employee, but judging from food trays deposited outside of rooms, there seemed to be a few dozen occupants of that wing of the hotel.

  5. Holy Cow, Manny! I totally agree with you!! So far, no country is granting him “asylum”.. Even Putin is ready to get him out of the airport. 🙂

  6. I would differ with you on that one- I believe it is indeed the public’s right to know everything and then some.

    The purloined letter is the hardest one to find.

  7. To be honest, I’m flummoxed that anyone would see the United States government putting the entire population under surveillance as anything other than a police state move. How, exactly, do you explain this to yourselves? Is it because of partisan loyalties, or is it a reluctance to admit that you backed a poorly written piece of legislation with the Patriot Act?

    I’ve actually voted for bad pieces of legislation and had to admit later that I had been wrong. That is far better than to keep on defending something and perpetuating its harm. As for party loyalty, I have also backed things I regret now out of party loyalty. Being a Christian changed me on that. The first loyalty is God, then family, then country. Political party has a firm grip on last place.

  8. The minor issue of the government collating your phone calls. The phone companies have always done it. That’s how they work up your monthly bill. So what if the government tracks that. It’s no different than the phone company and if it helps toward stopping terrorists than I’m all for it. I find the body scans at the airport way more intrusive.

  9. Which party loyalty are you referring to. No one has ever claimed I was loyal to Obama’s party. And if this is such a huge violation of liberty, then will you support an effort to impeach Obama over it?

  10. I think the difference is that the phone company would require a warrant if the government wanted to see who someone was calling and receiving calls from.

    I wouldn’t go through the body scan thing at the airport. I’m too afraid the machine would malfunction and accidentally fry me with radiation. Although the groping that went on when I declined wasn’t my favorite 2 minutes of my life. The scanners are gone now due to privacy concerns.

  11. Manny, you are talking like an idiot and a collaborationist. Of course Obama should be impeached, as he should have been a thousand times over – use of torture, kill list, drones uses against American citizens, etc. And who the Devil do you trust to do it? A Congress full of his accomplices on both sides? Wake up, for God’s sake.

  12. Fighting the herd with Congress and the whole press on your side. Yeah, right.

  13. Obviously Putin, the former spy and current murderer, does not like anyone revealing this sort of thing. So far, he has had at least 150 journalists and nobody knows how many laymen murdered for this sort of thing. And now he is very happy to have something to hold over Obama and stop all those silly Americans talk their ineffective talk about freedom of speech and right to life.

  14. Your confidence in the intelligence and high moral standards of your government does not do you credit.

  15. Mr.Snowden is well-named: a noble watchman (ead + ward) in a valley of snow (Moscow, obviously). Of course we know that heroes come in all shapes and sizes, but it is as though the good Lord, casting for this drama, had decided to give it a recognizable, old-fashioned, almost archetypal form: a hero out of Buchan or Agatha Christie, fair-haired, Anglo-Saxon, fresh from college and with naive but unbreakable ideas on proper behaviour and fair dealing, discovers rottenness and high treason at the highest levels and finds himself flying to the ends of the earth while trying to reveal the criminality at the top to a blissfully slumbering public. And the instinctively idiotic reaction of most people on this post shows what he is up against.

  16. By “collating” phone calls, you mean recording the conversations, right? As far as I’m aware, the phone companies only knew the length of the calls previously. Even if you are right, I consider the federal government different than the phone company. The phone company can’t do anything to me other than cut off my phone.

    And it isn’t just the phone….seriously, we all read 1984 in high school, right? And we all said, “That’s some scary crap…thank God we don’t live in a society like that!” Well, now we do live in a society like that, and a lot of people just shrug their shoulders? I’m with Rebecca here – flummoxed.

  17. I’m not surprised Snowden is finding it hard to find a place to rest his head. No one really wants to get on the bad side of the U.S.A. right now, plus they might find drones flying over their country if they give him asylum.

  18. Manny, this is the 4th Amendment. The reason I suggested blind party loyalty is because I can’t fathom why people as intelligent as you and Pagansister would so blithely throw it away. I realize the corporate press and all of Congress is attacking Mr Snowden. But we the people have a right to know what he allowed us to know. The ones who have attacked our freedoms are our elected officials.


    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.

  19. Fabio, I allowed this because I think you mean well. But please do not attack other commenters, least of all Manny.

  20. Why do you have to insult when you disagree? It really kills any desire to have a discussion.

  21. Rebecca, have you ever been given the responsibility of maintaining classified information? Do you have a security clearence? If you do you will know there are things that the government doesn’t allow for the general public because there is a national interest in keeping it close hold. The public doesn’t need to know the capabilities and vulnerabilities of our weapon systems. There are a number of prudent people in the process of classifying and declassifying it in the system that amkes the judgement on whether it’s worth the cost of classifying. You can make the claim that the 4th amendment is violated all the time for national secuirity reasons. The government collating phone numbers is not a big deal to our liberties. It’s so minimally invasive that in a benefit analysis would say that it’s worth it for national security reasons. So I hope that’s a better explanation of why someone as “intelligent” as me would support it. Hey a super Liberal like Obama who argued against it for his election purposes went and changed his mind after being elected.

  22. A collaborationist? LOL. Come on. Hey I believe Obama should be impeached over the IRS invasions but not this. There are judges in the process as well as career national security personnel who use their prudence to assess whether this is in the national security interest. I have to trust the judgements of all involved. You on the other hand are trusting a 28 year old who doesn’t have a college education nor ever held another job.

  23. Is the press on my side? Actually they were so for Snowden at the beginning I was completely shocked. But I think once the full scope of this came out I think the press has begun to see it my way. There’s a balance out there on this issue.

  24. The reason why I said that he “talked like” an idiot and a collaborationist, is that I did not expect him to. People can actually behave in ways that contradict their deepest natures, for various reasons; but it does nobody any good to pretend that subserviency to political power and tolerating illegality from above are anything but bad and cowardly things. My ancestors, like yours, suffered and died for liberty. I have a grandfather who was knighted for his part in World War One and a great-uncle who was murdered by the Nazis. A poor return if we who are their heirs tolerate this sort of thing at home.

  25. If I had wanted to insult, I’d have said that he was an idiot. What disappoints me is that I know that he is not, and to hear him repeat the odious talking points of press crawlers and government shills is a very sad experience.

  26. Fabio, I agree with you about Putin—I personally think he is running the country in a similar manner to the former USSR–as his experience was as a KGB dude. I don’t think we, USA, are being run in a KGB manner, however.

  27. Rebecca, I see your point regarding some of this, but on the other side, isn’t it possible that the reports that many possible dangerous incidents, similar to the Boston Marathon tragedy, may have been averted are true? If what is reported is accurate, the laws were followed regarding that investigation into the now dead brother, and nothing wrong was found that they could act upon. As it turned out, this may have occurred due to following the laws. I’m for following the laws, of course, but in some cases, they stand in the way of possible, and I mean possible, dangerous activities, IMO.

  28. He also changed his mind on gay marriage and gun control. I think that speaks to how much we can trust his assurances, which actually speaks against trusting his assurances on this. Do not put your trust in princes, young Manny.

  29. 1. You seem to be thinking that, if these claims are true, then putting the American people under government surveillance was the only way to accomplish that. I doubt that.
    2. You seem to be thinking that there is no danger in having the government surveil the entire American people. Do you think that there is some moral barrier in the people who run torture camps overseas that will stop them from going at us, as well? You completely disallow the greatest evil of all: a bad and corrupt government with totalitarian powers.
    3. You seem to be thinking that the claims that this surveillance has prevented other terrorist attacks are true. Perhaps they are. Perhaps they aren’t. The people making these claims have lied to the American people so much and so consistently there is no way whatsoever to know if they are telling the truth about this.
    4. I’m going to bow out of this discussion and let the rest of you think it through. I have to change the hard drive on my computer, which, since I haven’t done it quite like this before, may take awhile. Then, I have to do some work on my real job.

  30. Even though all the data is electronic, I find it hard to believe anyone can extract anything useful. There’s just too much. Even using profiling software, there’s too much data.

    I’m not sure what to think about how the information came out. I can’t decide if Snowden is a true traitor or not. I think Obama’s administration needs to fight the accusations that “Obama” is “listening” to your calls when they aren’t listening and it started 7 years ago.

  31. Just a question, Rebecca—do you trust those in charge in OK, the governor, the attorney general etc. and sometimes, those other elected members of your Representatives and Senators? I know you are one of the elected folks, and for many years you have represented a certain area. Does your state of OK have any things going on to make sure those in your state are secure from outside attacks? Is anything considered classified information in OK? Were you this worried when GW Bush was attempting to run this country—getting us into Iraq as revenge for 9/11, because they had “WMD'” which I never believed, and he was VERY wrong, but since he had everything wrapped up in just 2 weeks—-(obviously he was a lot premature there) his “leadership” tends to make me happy we now have a man in the White House who at least does his own thinking, unlike GWB, who let Cheney do it! He was all for torture, if I remember correctly. I am certain that the time this country was fighting in WW 2, (the War of my parents) the government wasn’t telling the American people everything, nor did it during Korea or the ill fated Viet Nam (my generation’s war). Some things have to be kept secret/classified for many reasons. Personally, I have nothing on my phone that would be interesting to anyone. When the 4th Amendment was written, and I’m glad it is there, things were a little less complicated in this world. Somehow Snowdon is no hero type IMO. You have a poor opinion of President Obama, and his changing his mind on some issues. Name a president that has NOT done that. I can’t think of any.

  32. Another point to add to Rebecca’s is:

    Even if you trust the current bunch of crooks that are running Washington DC, do you think that these government powers of complete surveillance, drone warfare, etc. just might be a problem for some future group of even bigger crooks?

  33. I’m not sure what opinion has to do with this. It’s really a matter of whether or not America is going to continue to be free or lurch into a police state situation where citizens are under government surveillance.

    But given the question, I wouldn’t trust any human being, including every elected official I know, myself and my mother with the kind of power the government has taken for itself in this matter. Do you honestly think that being elected frees a person from the corrupting effects of ego and power?

    The reason we have the 4th amendment is because the people who wrote it had lived under the corrosive power an over weaning government. But in those days the kind of power that modern technology has given governments to get into people’s lives and the level of surveillance that is possible now were not even science fiction.

    We need the 4th amendment now than they did then. The difference is that we’ve lived in freedom for so long that we no longer value it and willing to allow it to be taken from us without protest.

    Do YOU actually trust the government to this extent Pagansister? If you do, it’s only because the Constitution has put a hedge around you that has kept you safe, and you’ve begun to think that this safety is both inevitable and inviolate. Tear down that hedge and cast yourself on the goodwill of those in power, and you will inevitably place yourself under a tyranny.

  34. Do I trust the gov’t in this current situation? I would like to say “yes” and I would like to be proven right but we will see how things go down. Snowdon is still a traitor IMO. Perhaps a little off subject, but watching the events in Egypt, tossing out the “democratically elected president” after one year, and their fight to have a democracy, and not be run by a religious group etc., I think how much we complain, argue, fuss etc. and find fault with some of our leaders and representatives and yet I believe we are still the best country on the planet and have a lot to be grateful for. (must be the 4th coming out in me.)

  35. I had the same thoughts watching what is happening in Egypt. I also think the same when reading and hearing about how Christians are being persecuted by Obama. There isn’t anyone preventing me from going to Mass. When my family sits down for devotions every day, we aren’t whispering and doing it in hiding.

    I disagree with all that are saying that people will be rounded up for concentration camps. All the similar related discussions that center around being persecuted in the United States is very disrespectful to the people in the world that really are being persecuted.

  36. Sus_1: You’re right in so many ways that if we in this country (USA) think those who follow whatever faith they follow are being “persecuted” need to take a look at other countries. Yes, here we can still attend our worship centers, pray at home without fear or if we choose, not follow any faith at all—our right as citizens of this country. IMO one cannot define religious persecution by what happens in our country. Incidents unfortunately happen to some some places of worship here, but nothing like we hear about in some other countries.