Irony Abounds: Snowden Charged For Spying When What He Really Did Was Reveal Massive Spying

from the that's-not-how-it-works dept

Andy Borowitz, who writes popular satirical pieces, has a great one entitled, "U.S. Seemingly Unaware of Irony in Accusing Snowden of Spying," in response to the news from late last week that Edward Snowden has officially been charged under the espionage act. Like all great satire, it works because the underlying point is so true. Edward Snowden isn't a spy. He exposed massive spying by the US government. And yet he's the one charged with espionage?
At a press conference to discuss the accusations, an N.S.A. spokesman surprised observers by announcing the spying charges against Mr. Snowden with a totally straight face.

“These charges send a clear message,” the spokesman said. “In the United States, you can’t spy on people.”
It does seem quite ridiculous that the response to exposing massive spying to the public is to be accused of breaking a law designed to catch spies. But that's what you get when the government is so hell bent on spying on everyone and not letting anyone know about it.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    rw (profile), Jun 24th, 2013 @ 5:54am

    My forehead is getting really sore from all the self-inflicted head slapps.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Gothenem (profile), Jun 24th, 2013 @ 5:54am

    Obligatory?

    In Capitalist America, spies reveal things to you!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), Jun 24th, 2013 @ 6:18am

    Wow...

    The cognitive dissonance on display here is just awe inspiring... I hadn't thought about this until I read this article but how much more can the public and the government delude themselves that this is okay?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Jun 24th, 2013 @ 7:13am

    Re: Wow...

    The only explanation is that the paradox absorbing crumple zones have expanded to occupy all space within various government official's heads.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2013 @ 7:38am

    Re: Re: Wow...

    That's an awful lot of space.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jun 24th, 2013 @ 7:39am

    Shhh don't give it away!
    I'm waiting for that perfect moment when they are whipped up into a frenzy and then point out they need to charge themselves as well.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2013 @ 7:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Wow...

    It's an awful lot of hot air

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2013 @ 7:48am

    Government bodies are so caught up in their own terminology that they're unaware of the disconnect between them and the populace. They haven't been "spying" on "domestic targets", they've been conducting "surveillance activities" against "probably foreign targets". To them, Snowden can't be a whistleblowing, because to them they haven't done anything that would warrant blowing a whistle, so they rationalize it by saying he must have just been spying for China or Russia or whoever.

    The worst part? That there are enough US citizens who actually believe in their bullshit that they can keep getting away with it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2013 @ 7:55am

    Plot Twists

    his story is developing more twists and turns than a roller coaster. Cory at boing boing is reporting that Snowdon has disappeared. Lots of disappointed journalists on the flight to Cuba.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2013 @ 7:56am

    Re:

    Reading the various articles strewn about the web though, it seems clear that there's a good chunk of people that don't buy into the crap the government keeps trying to feed people. I think a lot of people realize that what Snowden did, is good.

    Maybe that's just the sort of people that read the sites I regularly hang out at though. However, they aren't all sites like techdirt, which have a particular bias to them. It does give hope, I like to think. I don't think the government will sway so easily from it's position, but it gives hope to see so many people standing up and calling them out on their BS.

    It doesn't seem enough though. I can only imagine that this will get drawn out and people's interest will wane as we get into the more mundane aspects of it. The biggest part to get angry about, to get really noisy about, has passed. Unless the Government does something really harebrained, I imagine they'll slip under the radar, only noticed by the more watchful people.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2013 @ 8:00am

    It's official...

    We can now officially refer to this administration as the "pot and kettle" administration.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2013 @ 8:02am

    Let's clear the message up...

    “These charges send a clear message,” the [NSA] spokesman said. “In the United States, you can’t spy on people.”

    ....You can't, but we can!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2013 @ 8:07am

    Re: Re:

    That, I think may be part of the reason that the information is being released a little bit at a time. It's a slow burn that builds and builds into a raging inferno instead of a big explosion that makes a lot of noise but then goes away really quickly. That is the aim. It also allows the government in their attempt to defend each individual claim as it is released, implicate themselves further when another claim is released adding fuel to the fire. It is only a matter of time before the heat becomes to big for the government to handle.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jun 24th, 2013 @ 8:11am

    N.S.A. spokesman surprised observers

    By existing? For an organization this opaque, having a spokesperson at all is surprising. I wonder how much vacation time that position offers...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jun 24th, 2013 @ 8:13am

    Re: Plot Twists

    In related news, the US Marine Corps is reporting that they seem to be missing several AMRAAM missiles.

    A spokesperson from the DOD has stated:

    We are not sure what happened to them, but we are absolutely positive that they have not fallen into enemy hands.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jun 24th, 2013 @ 8:14am

    Re: It's official...

    or the xbox administration.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2013 @ 8:16am

    “These charges send a clear message,” the spokesman said. “In the United States, you can’t spy on people.”

    ARE.YOU.F$$$$$$.SERIOUS.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2013 @ 8:17am

    ... Oh, it's satire. Even the government wouldn't say something THAT stupid. (They'd phrase it so it takes a few seconds to see the stupidity.)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Jun 24th, 2013 @ 8:18am

    Re: Re: Plot Twists

    If you're not sure what happened to them, how can you be absolutely positive they're not in enemy hands?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2013 @ 8:23am

    “These charges send a clear message,” the spokesman said. “In the United States, you can’t spy on people.”

    I spit out my coffee onto my keyboard...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2013 @ 8:25am

    “These charges send a clear message,” the spokesman said. “In the United States, you can’t spy on people.”

    I spit out my coffee onto my keyboard...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jun 24th, 2013 @ 8:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Plot Twists

    Oh come on.
    I really needed a sarc-mark on that comment?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2013 @ 8:28am

    Re:

    Probably as much as the Maytag Repairmain.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2013 @ 8:28am

    Re: Re: Re:

    That's a great thought on the subject and I hope you're right. As information has been released, it does seem to paint a worse and worse image about the NSA and this government.

    In some small part, I want to see more released that shows how the NSA has abused their power over American companies to "spy" on foreign people/countries. It seems the American people will only get so enraged, it'll only go so far. Those not of this country though, they tend to get a bit more rowdy, much like the American's should be. Granted, I can only imagine most governments are trying to do the same. They probably look at what the NSA has done with envy.

    I do find it funny, the situation with Hong Kong and their reply to the American government. They (The American government) seem to have been running around dipping their toes in everyone's pool, much to everyone's disdain. Now they're asking those same people for help in apprehending the person that exposed their toe dipping ways. I can't imagine the world's governments are all too eager to help the Americans out.

    How'd that come across from HK? Oh yeah. We would like to help you out, just get us that additional information, oh and while you're at it, perhaps you could tell us a little more about how you've been cyber spying on us? That'd be great.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    icon
    el_segfaulto (profile), Jun 24th, 2013 @ 8:29am

    Re: Wow...

    Since 2001, the U.S. government has used the boogeyman of 'terrorism' to justify any number of human rights atrocities and unprecedented spying upon its own citizens. I used to find it ironic that they told us that the terrorists hated us for our freedoms, now I see it as a brilliant stratagem! If we have no more freedoms, the terrorists won't hate us and will stop trying to kill us (despite the fact that you're statistically 4 times more likely to be struck by lightening than hurt in a terrorist attack).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    icon
    DeadBolt (profile), Jun 24th, 2013 @ 8:30am

    “These charges send a clear message,” the spokesman said. “In the United States, you can’t spy on people.”

    As retarded a statement as that is, I just know that they will now push for MORE spying powers/laws (not that they've actually followed the law before, but are awfully fond of using said laws when it feels like it)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2013 @ 8:30am

    Re:

    Maybe they're working with the keyboard and coffee industry to sell more keyboards and refills of coffee. Oh, the dastardly plot. No one would have expected it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2013 @ 8:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Plot Twists

    Some of us got it. :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Jun 24th, 2013 @ 8:32am

    This all makes me wonder if there's an alterior motive involved, part of a greater conspiracy to instigate an uprising and stage a war between government and people so as to justify a UN-led invasion, to "protect" the American people, and remove our sovereignty in the process.

    Remember this quote:
    "Today Americans would be outraged if U.N. troops entered Los Angeles to restore order; tomorrow they will be grateful! This is especially true if they were told there was an outside threat from beyond whether real or promulgated, that threatened our very existence. It is then that all peoples of the world will pledge with world leaders to deliver them from this evil. The one thing every man fears is the unknown. When presented with this scenario, individual rights will be willingly relinquished for the guarantee of their well being granted to them by their world government."
    - Henry Kissinger in an address to the Bilderberger meeting at Evian, France, May 21, 1992.

    Think about it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Jun 24th, 2013 @ 8:33am

    I am sure the irony is completely lost on your government.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    icon
    crashsuit (profile), Jun 24th, 2013 @ 8:43am

    WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2013 @ 8:44am

    What?

    Are you sure this isn't from "The Onion"?!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2013 @ 8:44am

    Re:

    In related news, Nike has just announced plans to manufacture a special line of edible foot ware specifically and exclusively designed for the US government at the special request of the FDA. It seems that the FDA was concerned about the elevated health risks arising from the ingestion of toxic substances due to the frequent repetitive oral insertion of foot ware products by government employees. A new federal policy will accompany the products requiring them to be worn by any federal official or government employee tasked with making a statement in public or to the press.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jun 24th, 2013 @ 8:45am

    Re: Re: It's official...

    but I didn't see the red ring before it failed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2013 @ 8:47am

    Re: What?

    Or the spokesman could have been a Yes Man.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    icon
    Rikuo (profile), Jun 24th, 2013 @ 8:53am

    Re: What?

    I wouldn't be surprised if the Onion ran that as a video on their channel on Youtube, with a banner saying "This is actually real, this isn't one of our usual parodies, this guy really is NSA"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
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    art guerrilla (profile), Jun 24th, 2013 @ 8:56am

    here's the thing...

    *IF* manning, snowden, kiriakou, klein, etc, etc, etc, are 'traitors' (they are NOT); and saint obama, clapper, et al are 'patriots' (*snicker*), then put me on the side of the 'traitors'...

    I AM BRADLEY MANNING.

    (^ world's strongest man!)

    art guerrilla
    aka ann archy
    eof

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2013 @ 9:00am

    Re: Re: What?

    The Onion might as well just fire all their writers as now the government is providing their material for them directly.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    FM Hilton, Jun 24th, 2013 @ 9:25am

    It'd be hilarious (and it is, really) if one didn't realize that the damned government doesn't do jokes.

    They don't have a sense of humor.

    Fire all their script writers, right now, and send in someone who really knows how to write comedy!

    I bet Jon Stewart's forehead is very sore today.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2013 @ 10:06am

    G-man speak with forked tongue.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Davol, Jun 24th, 2013 @ 10:12am

    We Need World Government

    Ya see? This is why we need a one-world government so we can declaire world-wide martial law and obediently stay in our houses while the experts go look for this Edward Snowden fellow. They will find him inside whatever boat he's hiding in. They know now to look inside boats.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2013 @ 11:09am

    Re: Obligatory?

    ...for a price.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2013 @ 11:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Wow...

    Not really - the space is infinite. See also: Einstein, Hawking.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    icon
    Liz (profile), Jun 24th, 2013 @ 12:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Wow...

    "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

    - Albert Einstein

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2013 @ 12:57pm

    Re:

    To be fair, a national security agency is one of the few agencies we expect NOT to be transparent.

    Of course, as americans we also should expect that we have some protection from the goverment but we all know howe that turnedx out

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    PRMan, Jun 24th, 2013 @ 2:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: It's official...

    The red ring was Obama's first four years. Amazing that everyone missed it (not that the Republican would have been much different).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2013 @ 2:17pm

    any charge that throws the suspicion on to the one who did nothing wrong is better than no charge at all. the government here is going to dream up whatever it can! it is going to be shouting the loudest just to drown out the voices accusing it of wrong doing! you know they have no case at all when they throw the most ridiculous of charges around. had they not have done anything wrong, they wouldn't have had to lie like this. it's exactly the same with the dragging on Dotcom case. there is nothing for him to answer, so they keep manufacturing charges. when that didn't work good enough, they get the HDDs of evidence wiped! more than anything else, that was done to protect the gutless arse hole that ordered the whole shameful raid. i bet the name was in there somewhere!! typical work of a coward!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
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    Uriel-238 (profile), Jun 25th, 2013 @ 4:18am

    You missed the best bits!

    The American people have the right to assume that their private documents will remain private and won’t be collected by someone in the government for his own purposes.

    Only by bringing Mr. Snowden to justice can we safeguard the most precious of American rights: privacy,

    All allegedly said with a straight face.

    Courtesy of the New Yorker.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Shadeyone, Jun 25th, 2013 @ 7:34pm

    Premeditated Spying

    From an Ars article on Snowden
    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/06/assange-snowden-is-en-route-to-ecuador-and-in-a- safe-place-for-now/

    In addition to the conference call, another new piece of Snowden information came to light this morning. According to the South China Morning Post, Snowden wanted a job with Booz Allen specifically so he could gather evidence on the NSA surveillance.

    “My position with Booz Allen Hamilton granted me access to lists of machines all over the world the NSA hacked,” he told SCMP on June 12. “That is why I accepted that position about three months ago.”

    That would probably qualify as espionage. If you move to a position planning on taking what you can from there, that would fall under premeditated. In that case, they can charge him, irony or not.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    George, Jul 6th, 2013 @ 10:55pm

    We All Spy - Deal with It

    This government spying scandal is only the beginning. As a private citizen - i can easily spy on you (and vice versa). online resources like this make it easy for me to dig into your past. And you can't stop me.
    If i can do this, what's to stop the government from doing the same thing?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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