Tuesday, December 24, 2013

What Americans Might Not Get About Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden, more or less, in his own words:
It is commonly said of Snowden that he broke an oath of secrecy, a turn of phrase that captures a sense of betrayal. NSA Director Keith B. Alexander and Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., among many others, have used that formula.
In his interview with The Post, Snowden noted matter-of-factly that Standard Form 312, the ­classified-information nondisclosure agreement, is a civil contract. He signed it, but he pledged his fealty elsewhere.
“The oath of allegiance is not an oath of secrecy,” he said. “That is an oath to the Constitution. That is the oath that I kept that Keith Alexander and James Clapper did not.”
People who accuse him of disloyalty, he said, mistake his purpose.
“I am not trying to bring down the NSA, I am working to improve the NSA,” he said. “I am still working for the NSA right now. They are the only ones who don’t realize it.”
What entitled Snowden, now 30, to take on that responsibility?
“That whole question — who elected you? — inverts the model,” he said. “They elected me. The overseers.”
He named the chairmen of the Senate and House intelligence committees.
“Dianne Feinstein elected me when she asked softball questions” in committee hearings, he said. “Mike Rogers elected me when he kept these programs hidden. . . . The FISA court elected me when they decided to legislate from the bench on things that were far beyond the mandate of what that court was ever intended to do. The system failed comprehensively, and each level of oversight, each level of responsibility that should have addressed this, abdicated their responsibility.”
“It wasn’t that they put it on me as an individual — that I’m uniquely qualified, an angel descending from the heavens — as that they put it on someone, somewhere,” he said. “You have the capability, and you realize every other [person] sitting around the table has the same capability but they don’t do it. So somebody has to be the first.”
Read the whole article to get a sense of a man who is nothing like those who want to condemn him imagine him to be. I gauge him to be smarter, more insightful than those he has exposed. How smart does a man have to be to behave like this in front of Congress?

That, right there, caught on tape, is a criminal offense. That James Clapper hasn't been charged and likely will not be charged speaks to something else entirely. But Clapper's statement strikes me as exceedingly stupid. Yes, he may think he's so important that he's above the law, and in a sense that might even be true, but doesn't he get that he, while escaping indictment himself,  has effectively indicted the whole intelligence establishment and brought it low in the eyes of the world?

And, with YouTube, it's always having to say you're sorry for as long as there are servers with that snippet of video to reside on.

YouTube. I wonder if Gen. Keith Alexander, the head of the NSA -- Clapper is National Intelligence Director -- is sorry that he lied so much before Congress. The first 2:00 is enough, but watch as much as you like. It's a masterful performance:

Again, Gen. Alexander, mild-mannered as he is, is a very dangerous man vis-à-vis the rights and freedoms of American citizens. Is he a patriot? I don't think so.

Is Edward Snowden a patriot? Clearly, in my view, he is. And that's what Americans have to come to understand about him, and how stark the contrast is between him and our intelligence puppet masters.

Note. Here's a lengthy video from last year by Democracy Now. Watch it to get a true feeling of the scope of betrayal by our intelligence community, under both Bush and Obama.

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