CISPA's Sponsors Can't Keep Their Story Straight: If Snowden's Leaks Are False, How Do They Harm America?

from the keep-trying dept

We already discussed how bizarre it is to see NSA defenders trying to claim both that this story is nothing new and a huge danger to America, but that kind of thing continues. Witness two of Congress' biggest NSA defenders, Rep. Mike Rogers and Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger -- the two sponsors of CISPA -- try to claim that Snowden was both lying and exposing secrets that harm us all.
"He was lying," Rogers said. "He clearly has over-inflated his position, he has over-inflated his access and he's even over-inflated what the actually technology of the programs would allow one to do. It's impossible for him to do what he was saying he could do."

"He's done tremendous damage to the country where he was born and raised and educated," Ruppersberger said.
So, um, if he's lying and the information he leaked is not true, then how is he doing "tremendous damage" to the country? I guess the "damage" could be to our reputation as a freedom loving country that respects the 4th Amendment and basic rights to privacy, but that doesn't seem to be what Ruppersberger is claiming.
"Some people are saying that he's a hero. He's broken the law," Ruppersberger said. "We have laws in the United States for whistle-blowers, for people that think there's an injustice being done. All he had to do was raise his hand. ... Under the whistle-blower law, he is protected. Yet he chose to go to China."
Er... except we've seen exactly what happens to NSA whistleblowers who go that route. They get completely ignored and then charged with trumped up claims of leaking secrets anyway, and threatened with over 30 years in jail. It's pretty clear that just "raising his hand" doesn't work and actually puts you even more at risk. Furthermore, the current "whistle-blower" law is rarely used and even more rarely successful, with whistleblowers almost never winning their cases.
"I hope that we don't decide that our national security interests are going to be determined by a high-school dropout who had a whole series of both academic troubles and employment troubles," Rogers said.
Yup. The best Rogers can do is try to smear the guy, rather than respond to what he actually leaked, which is apparently all lies, but threatens us all. Sorry, Rogers, but the story doesn't hold up.


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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 1:20pm

    Yup. The best Rogers can do is try to smear the guy, rather than respond to what he actually leaked . . . .

    That's right out of your playbook, Mikey. Attack the person while ignoring the merits of what he or she is saying. No wonder this stuff gets you all worked up. You would fit right in with these guys.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 1:24pm

    What does it say

    "I hope that we don't decide that our national security interests are going to be determined by a high-school dropout who had a whole series of both academic troubles and employment troubles,"

    What does it say about:

    - The organization that hired him
    - The government employee who approved his security clearance

    Surely if he's as an underachiever as they're making him out to be, there's a high degree of incompetence involved for those who decided to allow him access to all of this.

    When are THOSE idiots going to be identified as "national security risks?"

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 1:31pm

      Re: What does it say

      Around the same time as Haliburton are decried as a National Security risk.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 4:33pm

      Re: What does it say

      It says a lot about the person making the statement, it confirms they have no legs to stand upon.

      When you have no substantial argument(s), the standard fall back position is character assassination. Attack your opponent's character, friends, accomplishments rather than address the issue. This is SOP, sadly it works on some people.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 1:25pm

    One particular thing that worries me about all this is that "a high-school dropout who had a whole series of both academic troubles and employment troubles" gets a job at the NSA.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 8:11pm

      Re:

      Those sorts of people do not work for the NSA. Do you think it took a person of inadequate skills and incompetence to do what he's done? No, probably not, and neither would the NSA. The incompetent people are sitting in Congress I'm afraid. The responsible people are sitting on their ass.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 1:30pm

    Er... except we've seen exactly what happens to NSA whistleblowers who go that route. They get completely ignored and then charged with trumped up claims of leaking secrets anyway, and threatened with over 30 years in jail. It's pretty clear that just "raising his hand" doesn't work and actually puts you even more at risk. Furthermore, the current "whistle-blower" law is rarely used and even more rarely successful, with whistleblowers almost never winning their cases.

    So Mike, are you saying that whistleblowers should just not even try to report whatever wrongs they perceive through proper channels first? Are you OK with people just deciding for themselves what should remain classified? Do tell (although, of course, you won't).

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 1:34pm

    "I hope that we don't decide that our national security interests are going to be determined by a high-school dropout who had a whole series of both academic troubles and employment troubles,"

    I'd trust most high school dropouts more than most congressmen

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 1:45pm

      Re:

      You know, I had a crazy idea the other day. What if congress worked like jury duty? It'd be difficult to implement (some sort of videoconferencing system?), but I'd love to throw out the idea of congressmen having "political careers", being lobbied/getting job offers from the companies they regulate, etc.

      I mean, how many times have we seen congressmen proudly admit that they have no understanding whatsoever of the subject they're writing laws about? Clearly, no experience is necessary to be a congressman. Congressmen are also not exceptionally wise or mature, as anyone who watches C-SPAN can tell you. Maybe I'm missing something, but offhand, I don't see any reason why they couldn't be replaced with laymen.

       

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        nasch (profile), Jun 18th, 2013 @ 7:41am

        Re: Re:

        What if congress worked like jury duty?

        I think you would have straight up cash for votes bribery rather than the campaign contributions we get now, so not much difference there, except more people would be bad at it so they'd get caught. So that might be an improvement. The people who don't take bribes would be voting generally from a position of benign ignorance rather that ignorance plus political self interest. Unclear how that would turn out.
        The question is, who would the staffers be? If you left it the way it is now then they would be the ones with the real power, the ones taking the bribes, and the ones running Congress. The congresspeople would be figureheads. If you made the staffers randomly selected as well then they would mostly be bad at their jobs. Proposed legislation would probably be a mess. It would accidentally conflict with existing laws, would not contain what it needed to have to accomplish what it was supposed to, fail constitutional scrutiny, etc. I think on the whole it would be a disaster, just a different sort of disaster than the one we have now. Interesting idea though.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 1:50pm

      Re:

      What are you some sort of jerk?

      This is the third time you have posted the same stupid incompetent dribble.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 2:08pm

        Re: Re:

        What you have more trust in the US Congress?

        Say it ain't so.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 8:28pm

        Re: Re:

        I liked the jerk's incompetent dribble better than your competent(?) dribble. I'm sure the jerk is not the first to have that horrible sense of something being not quite right.

        Oh, right, because you like voting for the same. fucking. thing. year. after. year. I forgot.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 1:36pm

    Well, those two senators are hopping mad, aren't they?
    Something tells me they know a detail or two about the leaked items that have yet to be released. That, or they've been coached by someone who does.
    Just a liiittle bit too eager to discredit Snowden, there. Not sure why they're bothering; anyone paying attention to what's going on is going to know offhand that Obama has attacked more whistleblowers than all the previous presidents put together.

    Then again, I suppose that if the people in charge were actually competent, we wouldn't even be having this discussion in the first place, would we?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 1:55pm

      Re:

      Well, those two senators are hopping mad, aren't they?

      Ed Snowden has committed the ultimate crime, made congress look stupid.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2013 @ 12:41pm

      Re:

      Well, as long as we're doing ad-hominem attacks, Mike Rogers is married to a former president and CEO of Aegis LLC. Aegis LLC is the American branch of the global Aegis Group, and its headquarters are a few miles from CIA headquarters in Langley. Aegis does consulting, programming, and technology for intelligence and counter-terrorism work. It's not clear if they worked on any of the actual NSA programs at issue, but they're absolutely involved in similar projects.

      In other words, when people say that Rogers is "in bed with" the intelligence and spying communities, they mean it literally.

       

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    Lord Binky, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 1:41pm

    If these are his statements after being prepared, I'd much rather have the highschool dropout making the decisions.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 1:45pm

    Employment Troubles

    How exactly is making $122k a year and living in Hawaii considered "employment troubles?"

    Not for nothing, but that sounds like one helluva gig.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 1:51pm

    Actually, I disagree completely with the thesis of this article, even though I strongly support Snowden and regard the two Senators' words as a calumny.

    Obviously a person could lie, and yet leak a lot of sensitive documents at the same time. For example, he could lie about things he'd witnessed that went beyond the scope of the documents. An unstable or unprincipled person would be the most likely to do this. The alien enemy would be able to profit from the revelations in the documents while filtering the spoken claims.

    Not that the Snowden leaks tell real enemies (terrorists or rival states) anything they didn't already know. The actual effect of the leaks is to inform the public and shift the debate. That's what's criminal, in the eyes of the government.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 2:00pm

    Quote:
    "I hope that we don't decide that our national security interests are going to be determined by a high-school dropout who had a whole series of both academic troubles and employment troubles," Rogers said.


    Fuck me, this coming from Mr. Buck Rogers there LoL

    The guy is an ex-cop sitting on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (Chairman) and his wife Kristi Clemens Rogers, was previously President and CEO of Aegis LLC, a contractor to the United States Department of State for intelligence-based security services. Does any more of his relatives work for companies that he is chairing a committee?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Rogers_(Michigan_politician)

    I take the troubled dropout word over his any day.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 2:12pm

    "I hope that we don't decide that our national security interests are going to be determined by a high-school dropout who had a whole series of both academic troubles and employment troubles," Rogers said.

    not a bad comment from someone who was all for getting more and more surveillance implemented, just because his spouse is in that game.

    Snowden is, in my opinion, nothing less than a hero and the more you hear about him doing harm to his country, the more you know what he has said is true and those decrying him are liars, not worthy of the positions they supposedly hold of representing the people!

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 2:13pm

    I'm going with Snowden being CIA to take a shot at NSA.

    One still has to account for the secrets this guy (supposedly) has. Good speculation:

    http://www.activistpost.com/2013/06/did-cia-give-nsa-documents-to-ed-snowden.html

    Naomi Wolf: My Creeping Concern That The NSA Leaker Is Not Who He Purports To Be

    http://www.cryptogon.com/?p=35659

    Still more possible:

    Multiplying scandals to hide the one scandal that could sink Obama

    http://rinf.com/alt-news/breaking-news/multiplying-scandals-to-hide-the-one-scandal-that-co uld-sink-obama/42448/

    At least don't fall for the first story ya hear.

    And gotta admire Mike for tying it back to CISPA!

    Take a loopy tour of Techdirt.com! You always end up same place!
    http://techdirt.com/
    Where Mike fights CISPA without mentioning major data sources Google and Facebook.
    10:12:49[l-145-4]

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 2:14pm

    It sounds less like he's saying 'These state secrets being public harm national security efforts... oh and they are false' and more like he is saying 'The falsehoods spread throughout the country as to the nature, scope, etc, of NSA spying are undermining people's faith in government, causing widespread panic and disruption, and causing severe turmoil in government as investigations are levied attempting to investigate these falsehoods.'.

    Basically, I think he's saying 'One kid lied about it all and caused all this trouble'.

    He's lying, but that seems to be what he's saying.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 4:42pm

    Funny how members of congress make use of selective outrage.
    1) Lie to Congress - ok
    2) Lie to American public - not ok
    Ohhhh, wait a sec .... they do that all the time

     

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    Paul Renault (profile), Jun 17th, 2013 @ 5:30pm

    Rogers and Ruppersberger have learned from the Scientologists..

    ..one of their techniques, whenever some do-gooder published their advance and expensive books on the 'Net, they would: 1) drag the do-gooder to court, charging them with copyright violations; 2) claims that those weren't the real books anyway.

    Scummy, unprincipled, and dishonest tactics then. Scummy, unprincipled, and dishonest tactics now.

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Jun 17th, 2013 @ 5:37pm

    Wait... a... second...

    I think I just figured out who the guy who keeps going on and on about milk is...

    It's The Milkman from Psychonauts!

    http://youtu.be/GR-FwptzdOQ

    Fixation on government secrecy, obsession with all things milk, it makes perfect sense now!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 17th, 2013 @ 11:32pm

    So you dont understand, but WE DO !!

    So, um, if he's lying and the information he leaked is not true, then how is he doing "tremendous damage" to the country?

    do you Masnick HONESTLY not understand that?? really !!!!

    Apart from it being very sad you can not get your head around this, it is far worse that you expect therefore that no one else can work it out.

    There does appear to be a lot of "if I cant understand it, then no one can"!!!

    Fact is, it's not that hard, most can see this is not 'opposed' or self-contradictory statements.

    Just because it's your opinion, does not make it right, yes you have a right to express your opinion, but that does not make it right or a fact.

    The fact you cant understand something does not mean others with normal levels of intelligence and reasoning can understand something you admit you cannot.

    I guess, you not understanding something is no barrier for you when it comes to commenting on it.

    You probably don't understand that much about quantum mechanics either, that does not mean all transistors or CPU's will suddenly stop working!

     

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      Michael, Jun 18th, 2013 @ 5:27am

      Re: So you dont understand, but WE DO !!

      If he were lying, they could easily prove it.

      Show people.
      If something is to sensitive for security purposes, show our Congressional representatives - there are certainly a few that would be happy to look at the program in detail and tell the American public if there is a problem.
      De-classify interpretations of the law.
      Allow tech companies to give us the numbers of orders they have received.

      The NSA is not doing any of this.
      Even if Snowden is lying about some things, enough of what he has said has been confirmed by the NSA to make the program suspicious enough to warrant a VERY close look and they do not want to give anyone that look.
      That is a problem.

      Instead of explaining their actions, they are jingling their keys in one hand about anti-patriotism and terrorism and using their other hand to try to get the lid back on the cookie jar.
      It will be a very sad day if enough of the citizens of this country look at the keys long enough to allow them to get the lid back on.

       

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    Chuck, Jun 22nd, 2013 @ 1:55pm

    He was lying about what he was capable of doing

    He was lying about what he was capable of doing. There are 7 billion people on this planet. To suggest that a guy like Snowden could casually tap into any chat session, phone call or email at will is laughable. So that part he was lying about. But he evidently had documents that he shared showing that we spied on Russia and China.....when and how. That's pretty fuckled up if you ask me.

     

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      nasch (profile), Jun 22nd, 2013 @ 2:58pm

      Re: He was lying about what he was capable of doing

      There are 7 billion people on this planet. To suggest that a guy like Snowden could casually tap into any chat session, phone call or email at will is laughable.

      I don't think he was claiming to be able to spy on any of 7 billion people at will. It sounded to me like he was saying he could tap anyone's phone line in the US or intercept internet communications. The exact reach of the system on the internet is not clear and broadly not very important. If he could do even half of what he claimed that is horrible.

       

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