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Edward Snowden - patriot or traitor?

Snowden  

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  1. 1. Is Edward Snowden a patriot or traitor?



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The previews for tonight's interview have been very interesting. Looking forward to the rest.

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He certainly doesn't see himself as a traitor, and I'll say this again as I've said it once before (though not necessarily here): If this guy had pulled off what he did during the Bush administration, he would've unambiguously be portrayed as a hero.

 

To be honest, it's difficult to condemn him or commend him either way.

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He certainly doesn't see himself as a traitor, and I'll say this again as I've said it once before (though not necessarily here): If this guy had pulled off what he did during the Bush administration, he would've unambiguously be portrayed as a hero.

 

To be honest, it's difficult to condemn him or commend him either way.

 

 

Who would have portrayed him that way? The administration or the media?

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Patriot. Our government is excessively secretive.

 

I haven't decided what I think about secrecy, but I think I'm leaning towards approving it as long as it's constitutional.

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Who would have portrayed him that way? The administration or the media?

The media and the general public. Not the administration, geez...  :lol:

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Neither would have been a better option.

 

A patriot is someone like John Adams, or George Patton.  A traitor is someone like Benedict Arnold.  Snowden did not betray America.  He simply informed the public of a grossly mishandled government "spying" operation targeting all of us - under the guise of safety.  I know the "agencies" spy on Americans, but there is a limit to how much power and information they should be able to possess.

 

I have a quote attached to my "signature":

 

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."
Abraham Lincoln
 
Ironic that our most powerful president would say that; but that quote despite its age, is very poignant and rings true still to this day.
Edited by arche_757
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Every country has kept secrets for as long as there's been an organized government.

not everyone needs to know every single thing the country is up to.

I mean, do you let your kids know every single thing that happens at home?

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^The Government is not "Mom and Dad."  We - voting age citizens are not "children."

 

We don't need to know everything, but this conversation - and any you've had with significant others via email/telephone etc. do not need to be stored and possibly referenced by the NSA/CIA others simply because it is possible.

 

Snowden didn't betray anything - he is a whistle blower - at least in my view.  And I did not watch the interview last night, sad to say.

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If he was dealing with DOMESTIC surveillance, I might give him a pass, but he let out a bunch of our on ternational operations.

he's no better than John walker. no, he's pushed back our intelligence program back decades.

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Decades?  Doubtful.

 

I shudder at the thought of what would have happened if he hadn't come forward?  What then?  At what level do we need to have the government trample over our rights before it becomes too much?

 

Exposing the "surveillance" on German Chancellor Angela Merkel (among others) wasn't necessary, but that information would have come out any way.  A simple response from our administration that "We've been spying on all German heads of state since the 1950s," would have been sufficient.

 

Still wouldn't label him a traitor.  Not an outright traitor.

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We may be less safe because of the exposure, but I doubt it. The main thing there were doing wrong was getting information without a warrant. They can still scan the info, it just just has to be anonymous, and if they need the specifics they can get the warrant.

Other than that, I see no setback. Were terrorists seriously freely using their cell phones and laptops trusting that the govt was not spying in them? No. They will function no differently.

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decades isn't really an exaggeration, particularly if those leaks exposed human assets that were necessary to carry out.

Merkel's phone being tapped isn't without precedent, and other countries try to do the same thing to us with varying degrees of success.

like I said, the domestic thing, I might give a pass on, but not the international stuff.

an example of secrets being leaked was when a politician, on national TV said that we were listening to Bin Laden's phone.

within hours, he stopped using his phone.

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It becomes a question of your level of trust in our government. Ricco clearly trusts that our government will do the right thing and while I respect his opinion, I don't share it. Government has historically proven that it will look to increase its power if given the opportunity. Secrecy and fear are the primary tools that it uses to do so regardless of the party in power.

This is an example of that happening. You can certainly argue that surveillance of terrorists is justified, but that isn't where they stopped. They started extending that surveillance to a larger group and that was curtailed only when it was exposed. I'd argue that represents a historical pattern and that demanding openess is the best tool to retain a true democracy.

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I didn't say I trusted it, but you're living in a Fantasy land if you think a any governments don't spy on other countries.

I already acknowledged that I'd give him a pass on domestic spying, but a significant amount of information he's leaked pertains to our spying on other countries.

of course he seeks asylum in a country that is almost a models of a dictatorship, has an epically cruel human rights record, and thinks of nothing about blatantly propping up bona fide regimes.

I see no hypocrisy here.

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I'm all for spying on other countries, just not on the US and its citizens

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I was a political science and history major, so I'm pretty aware of the reality of spying. I agree that spying on other countries is justified, but I do think that it's more of a question regarding spying on allies. For example, should the US spy on Canada? The bigger question though is the question of secrecy. The balance seems to have shifted to marking something classified as the basis instead of only classifying data that truly is sensitive. Democracies are built on the concept of an informed electorate and that's very contrary to the way government functions today. The question that I think we need to be asking is why does the government feel it's necessary to keep so much of what it does secret? The reason that I think Snowden is a patriot is that he saw that the government was doing the wrong thing and he publicized that information. It's arguable that he might have gone too far with the amount of information that he released, but the government also went too far with the amount of data that it was retaining.

I agree with your comments about Snowden seeking asylum in Russia. It would have been preferable to have him stand trial in the US, however that's not a question of patriotism, that's a question of bravery.

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I agree with your comments about Snowden seeking asylum in Russia. It would have been preferable to have him stand trial in the US, however that's not a question of patriotism, that's a question of bravery.

If he went back to the U.S. for trial, they would find him guilty, and he'd pretty much spend the rest of his life in jail.

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I was a political science and history major, so I'm pretty aware of the reality of spying. I agree that spying on other countries is justified, but I do think that it's more of a question regarding spying on allies. For example, should the US spy on Canada? The bigger question though is the question of secrecy. The balance seems to have shifted to marking something classified as the basis instead of only classifying data that truly is sensitive. Democracies are built on the concept of an informed electorate and that's very contrary to the way government functions today. The question that I think we need to be asking is why does the government feel it's necessary to keep so much of what it does secret? The reason that I think Snowden is a patriot is that he saw that the government was doing the wrong thing and he publicized that information. It's arguable that he might have gone too far with the amount of information that he released, but the government also went too far with the amount of data that it was retaining.

I agree with your comments about Snowden seeking asylum in Russia. It would have been preferable to have him stand trial in the US, however that's not a question of patriotism, that's a question of bravery.

then you should realize that allies spying on each other has been common since forever.

Britain was caught spying on us as well as Japan. where us the outrage for that?

again, I agree with the stance of domestic spying, but I don't agree with the huge amount of data he pulled that wasn't relevant.

I mean, what did he think spying agencies do? walk door to door in China asking what they are up to?

would you be equally outraged if Russian intelligence were listening in on you?

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I kind of feel that he does have some nobility in releasing it: he didn't have a particular grudge with the government (as some people in recent times have done), he wasn't doing it for money, and he wasn't actually working for the other side (I think). Doesn't change what he did, but does make him more sympathetic.

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Does that nobility still apply if if people got killed or outed because of what released?

frankly, I think he gave the Russians everything. They aren't known for being charitable.

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I agree I think his motives were purely based on wanting to expose what he viewed as a wrong.  I also agree the international spying issues that came up because of this are messy, but it gives the State Department something to work towards.  Which goes without saying - our foreign affairs/relations the past ~decade-and-a-half have been attrocious.

 

As for Snowden, he would have been prosecuted and spent the rest of his life at Levenworth as a traitor - just look and read some of the things our wonderful elected officials have said about him.  Of course he would run from that.  It will take a while before he would get any sort of fair trail from the government.

 

Which begs another question -- what exactly do we owe the government?  What is the modern definition of a traitor?  When not in a state of war how does one betray his country?  How can you betray your country when your motives are purely driven towards what you percieve as helping your country, through your own sacrifice?

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so you're saying that John walker was a patriot?

and for you young ones, I'm referring to John ANTHONY walker, not John walker lindh.

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then you should realize that allies spying on each other has been common since forever.

Britain was caught spying on us as well as Japan. where us the outrage for that?

again, I agree with the stance of domestic spying, but I don't agree with the huge amount of data he pulled that wasn't relevant.

I mean, what did he think spying agencies do? walk door to door in China asking what they are up to?

would you be equally outraged if Russian intelligence were listening in on you?

You're grouping governments spying on other governments with governments collecting data on private citizens and I'd suggest that those are two very different things. In my opinion, there is a fundamental difference between Russian intelligence monitoring the activities of the CIA and completing systematic data collection of the general American population. Edited by livincinco
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so you're saying that John walker was a patriot?

and for you young ones, I'm referring to John ANTHONY walker, not John walker lindh.

 

Who are you asking?  If me, then no!  Snowden - presumably at this time - is not doing anything for financial gain.  J A Walker did.

 

The USA and USSR were in a semi-state of war for 40something years.  To assume otherwise is ridiculous.  Again, Walker SOLD information, Snowden exposed a domestic surveillance program that collected Unknown quantities of data about ALL OF US without reason or consent of the courts.

 

That is exactly WHAT the government JA Walker sold his information to did against their own citizens!!!!!!!

Edited by arche_757
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If you read some of the interviews they did of spies, they believe that had the same ideological reasoning that Snowden had. If they could make a little extra cash, then why not?

Edited by ricco67

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Does that nobility still apply if if people got killed or outed because of what released?

frankly, I think he gave the Russians everything. They aren't known for being charitable.

Of course, I've taken that as to what he said and what's been repeated. If there were ulterior motives I can't say.

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If you read some of the interviews they did of spies, they believe that had the same ideological reasoning that Snowden had. If they could make a little extra cash, then why not?

 

Therein lies the problem.  IF Snowden released information to Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras and then the Guardian (UK Newspaper)  - and his motives were not influenced by any promise of money - then I think he is ok?

 

Could be an Ellsberg sort of case, but I don't think Daniel Ellsberg fled the country?  Of course at the time we also weren't (to our knowledge) holding people without due process/right to attorney/trial by peers etc.  We are now.

 

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I didn't realize we were living in a harsh dictatorship like Syria or the USSR, I stand corrected.

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Are we not holding people without due process?  We were recording/collecting messages/emails/phone conversations etc and storing those without legal consent.

While not nearly as harsh as the USSR or Syria or other extreme regimes, the fact remains our government crossed a line - and remains across that line probably never to again backup.  A shame.

 

All in the name of keeping us "safe."

Edited by arche_757
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Are we not holding people without due process? We were recording/collecting messages/emails/phone conversations etc and storing those without legal consent.

While not nearly as harsh as the USSR or Syria or other extreme regimes, the fact remains our government crossed a line - and remains across that line probably never to again backup. A shame.

All in the name of keeping us "safe."

I agree.

Snowden did what Bush and Obama didn't do, but were sworn to, protect the constitution. (Not that their motives were wrong but it was the wrong decision)

What's next, taking away our free speech to "keep us safe" or some other reason?

Take away our guns for the sake of "safety"? Oh wait... (For the record I don't own one)

Edited by lockmat
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