The Fact That The US Intelligence Community So Readily Admits To Fantasies Of Killing Ed Snowden Shows Why They Can't Be Trusted

from the scary-shit dept

We've mentioned things in the past like former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden "jokingly" talking about how he'd like to put Ed Snowden on a "kill list" while simultaneously suggesting that the NSA should be a part of determining who to target. While some would dismiss this as a tasteless "joke" it seems like he's not the only one in the intelligence community with such thoughts. We just recently noted that reporter Steven Levy, who spent over two hours interviewing NSA officials, had said that they appear to have a real and passionate hatred towards Snowden.

Now, Benny Johnson, over at Buzzfeed, has been able to get a bunch of intelligence community and military officials to comment anonymously, but on the record, about how much they want to kill Snowden, often including full descriptions of how they'd do it -- and the fact that they don't see any reason to support things like basic due process. The quotes are chilling.
“In a world where I would not be restricted from killing an American, I personally would go and kill him myself,” a current NSA analyst told BuzzFeed. “A lot of people share this sentiment.”

“I would love to put a bullet in his head,” one Pentagon official, a former special forces officer, said bluntly. “I do not take pleasure in taking another human beings life, having to do it in uniform, but he is single handedly the greatest traitor in American history.”

[....] “His name is cursed every day over here,” a defense contractor told BuzzFeed, speaking from an overseas Intelligence collections base. “Most everyone I talk to says he needs to be tried and hung, forget the trial and just hang him.”

[....] “I think if we had the chance, we would end it very quickly,” he said. “Just casually walking on the streets of Moscow, coming back from buying his groceries. Going back to his flat and he is casually poked by a passerby. He thinks nothing of it at the time starts to feel a little woozy and thinks it’s a parasite from the local water. He goes home very innocently and next thing you know he dies in the shower.”
While it may be understandable that those still on the inside of the intelligence community and the military have this emotional reaction to Ed Snowden, it actually helps to demonstrate exactly why the NSA cannot be trusted. NSA officials like to talk about all of the training everyone in the intelligence community has, and how it's "in their DNA" to protect the Constitution and the American way. The NSA official in charge of dealing with the Snowden leak even told Levy that if there was any abuse of the NSA's data, there would be "lines at the Inspector General's office here, and at Congress as well--longer than a Disneyland line." And yet... here are lots of those very same insiders who clearly are overcome with an emotional, rather than logical, response to the situation. They appear to have no problem tossing aside ideals like freedom, due process -- or even the 4th Amendment which Snowden was trying to restore support for. And instead of all that: they just want blood. They want to kill. They don't want a trial.

Do people like that sound like the kinds of people you can "trust" to not abuse their power? Do they sound like people you can "trust" to not spy on people they don't like? They've already admitted that they're willing to kill someone they don't like just because they don't like him.

The article is chilling not just because of what these employees of the American public are openly discussing doing to someone who sought to inform the American public -- but because it shows the lengths they will go to to trample the American ideal and the Constitution, which they took an oath to uphold. They are directly admitting that all of that, all logic, all reason goes right out the window when someone pisses them off.

And that's the very reason why the NSA needs to be reined in. The people working there seem to be bloodthirsty and emotional, prone to lashing out and dismissing the very basis of the Constitution. After hearing those statements, I don't see how anyone in the NSA can possibly claim that the American public can "trust" them not to abuse the system. They appear bloodthirsty and eager to abuse the system.


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  1.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Jan 17th, 2014 @ 6:16am

    So, what you're saying is...

    The NSA and the like are run by a bunch of hormonal teenagers.

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Jan 17th, 2014 @ 6:30am

    Re: So, what you're saying is...

    Hormonal frat boys I'd say, mad as can be that someone left the 'club' and exposed to the world their 'secret rituals'.

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 8:09am

    No one can be trusted with power. You're tacitly implying: gov't bad / corporations good.

    Actually, ANYONE WITH POWER IMMEDIATELY GOES MAD. It's the central fact of human nature -- making this item "dog bites man" -- and limiting and diffusing power should be the primary focus, including especially the nearly irresistible economic power of corporations. You focus on gov't and rarely worrying about corporations, as the silly assertion of this weekend: "Google is voluntary. NSA is not." -- No, at rather low point, corporations have coercive power. Read your own site, Mike, just a few items prior, about "Coercive Control" rendered through corporations having "extra-judicial" powers. And try to be consistent, damn it: ALL POWER IS INHERENTLY BAD AND GOES TO WORST.

    "Google's CEO went to Abu Dhabi this week and preached. He sermonized about Google's exceptional virtue -- its indifference to profit and supreme trustworthiness. His speech should have been shocking. Except that delusional self-righteousness is now routine at Google."

    http://gawker.com/5491756/six-delusions-of-googles-arrogant-leaders

    Where Mike sez: "Any system that involves spying on the activities of users is going to be a non-starter. Creeping the hell out of people isn't a way of encouraging them to buy. It's a way of encouraging them to want nothing to do with you." -- So why doesn't that apply to The Google?

    04:07:50[f-50-5]

     

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    Me, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 8:13am

    This might be the first thing I've ever read from Buzz Feed that actually has a point and worth passing along.

    These NSA employees are PSYCHOPATHS. They don't deserve our trust. They haven't earned our trust. We shouldn't HAVE to trust them, under the Constitution. The Founders set up a system with check and balances for exactly this reason.

     

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    Michael, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 8:17am

    Wow

    “I think if we had the chance, we would end it very quickly,” he said. “Just casually walking on the streets of Moscow, coming back from buying his groceries. Going back to his flat and he is casually poked by a passerby. He thinks nothing of it at the time starts to feel a little woozy and thinks it’s a parasite from the local water. He goes home very innocently and next thing you know he dies in the shower.”

    The FBI needs to find this guy, buy him a ticket to Moscow, get him a passport, a syringe, and then arrest him for platting to kill someone.

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 8:17am

    Re: No one can be trusted with power. You're tacitly implying: gov't bad / corporations good.

    ^^^ Adding:

    Gov't should protect The People against corporate power, and historically HAS with anti-trust and regulation.

    That's all been nearly dismantled, though, by loony "libertarians" who end up being pro-fascist, "privatizing" what used to be public commons. Gov't should be set against corporations, most particularly large ones, to harass and limit and see that they're actually honest, not just claiming to be. It's just another separations of powers as in the Constitution, setting one power group against others in order to protect We The People from unlimited power in a "free market". You can be oppressed by economic tyrants too: Techdirt runs items on it every day! But you can't make exceptions for ANY power center and let it grow without limit or regulation, not even your precious Google.

    Just be consistent on the principle that ALL power is inherently bad, it's the KEY point to the freedom and fairness in civilization.

    Libertarians are sneaky traitors in the class war who coax the poor into giving up all their weapons until like taking on helicopter gunships with bare hands, defeat is certain.

    04:17:03[f-290-3]

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 8:26am

    You can't Trust...

    Any government or entity that feels how they protect you should be a secret.

    Secrets are great for hiding things... good for dictatorships, but bad for a free people.

     

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    blaktron (profile), Jan 17th, 2014 @ 8:32am

    Harboring murderous thoughts about an American citizen should be grounds for loss of security clearance. It would certainly be grounds for not getting one should those errant whims come up in the psych screening...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 8:34am

    Re:

    More like professional paranoid's, they really do believe everybody is out to get them. They believe secrets should be kept absolutely, and that revealing them is is an act apostasy worthy of death.

     

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    any moose cow word, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 8:35am

    Would you trust any of these people NOT to kill an American? Say an order comes down from some unknown person in the chain of command that an American citizen is a terrorist suspect and there happens to be a drone within range of his current cell-phone position. Would you trust any of these men not to give the approval to have him killed or even give the strike command to the drone themselves, regardless of the civilian casualties?


    The fact is they have already done this on foreign soil. The only thing stopping them from doing so here is a willing administration. The military has already shone they have no qualms with killing anyone, including American citizens, without trial.

     

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    BentFranklin (profile), Jan 17th, 2014 @ 8:36am

    Clearly they feel betrayed. They feel Snowden betrayed America because they feel they are America. They don't realize how far from the true spirit of America they have strayed.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 8:40am

    Re: Re:

    Welcome to the world of the military complex: Everything is black or white and consequeces are always live or die.

     

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    beltorak (profile), Jan 17th, 2014 @ 8:44am

    Who watches the watchers

    I find it curious and upsetting, given that the primary aim of the NSA et al is to keep anybody from having secrets from them; to remove the cloak of anonymity from the common person so they know who is thinking what. And yet all these people from the NSA who gave their opinion to buzzfeed did so anonymously.

    A law for thee, but different for me.

     

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    FM HIlton, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 8:45am

    NSA's power base

    One has to remember this:

    The NSA is a military-run organization. That is, the guys who are in charge of it are military generals, admirals and the like.

    It is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense.

    Their employess, for the most part, are also either ex-military or current. Contractors are usually also aligned with the military, and the mind set of 'kill the enemy' comes from that mindset: "Shoot to kill anyone who doesn't look friendly."

    So, they're thinking in combat terms. Not that it makes it any better, but more understandable.

    However, I do agree with the statement that anyone thinking about killing fellow Americans should be subject to discharge immediately and not allowed to ever hold any kind of security clearance in the future.

    This is not Russia, from what I can remember. We do have laws to govern our behavior-even though the NSA seems to thumb their noses at them.

    They'd best behave better or else face a Congressional hearing on what they've been doing. For real.

     

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    Anonymous Sneaky Libertarian, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 8:48am

    Re: Re: No one can be trusted with power. You're tacitly implying: gov't bad / corporations good.

    Sorry to disappoint you dude, but if you look at the mantra for libertarian, they want a smaller government, that's reigned in by the constitution. There is no chance that a free market without limits would work. Right now, we have a government that creates a new pile of laws every time something goes wrong. WE NEED THE LAWS AND LIMITS ON CORPORATE AMERICA!
    What we need are fewer simpler laws, but WE NEED THEM ENFORCED. We had laws that made the crash in 2000/2001 illegal, and the only one that got hung was the one that pissed off the NSA. Joe got what he deserved, the problem is no one else did. The same with the 2008 housing crash. How many of the Corporate officers in charge of the corporations involved got thrown in the klink? 1 I believe. He wasn't a top level officer.

    What needs to change is the way we vote for our representatives in government, how long they stay, and what jobs they can take after serving their single stay in office.
    We need to also put and enforce limits on who, how, and where Lobbyists can ply there trade. Corporations should not be allowed to fund any political cause, and should not be allowed to create or support any PAC's.
    And on the subject of PAC's, they should have the same limits as lobbyists, and they should not be allowed to endorse specific candidates.
    Also, many good candidates have been ruined by last minute slander campaigns. The laws against this are never enforced. This needs to change.

    Remember the 4 boxes. The Soap Box, the Ballot Box, the Jury box, and the other box.
    Also, We should break up the corporate media networks. They now control what we say and what we hear. They've turned this country into a really big stupid flock of Sheep, including you.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 8:51am

    Re: No one can be trusted with power. You're tacitly implying: gov't bad / corporations good.

    I am completely against your statement. Power is a tool. How it is used determines if it is good or bad. Just looking at different people through out history shows that.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 8:58am

    Protip:

    If someone causes you a lot trouble and you feel like killing them, try to shrug off the impulse.
    Do NOT nurture that feeling for months until it develops into an obsession.
    And most importantly, always remember that "I want to murder that guy so much I've started drawing up plans for how to kill him" is not the sort of thing you should mention to a reporter.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 9:02am

    Sounds like terrorist talk

    Sounds like these people are terrorists. They are the same as Taliban, Al Queada & other groups attempting extra-judicial murder of Americans.

    Why are they still free and employed? I thought we had a 'War on Terrorism'?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 9:04am

    Will Snowden meet the age requirement for President next election cycle? If so, I'm requesting a write in ballot.

     

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    krolork (profile), Jan 17th, 2014 @ 9:13am

    We need a revolution.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 9:17am

    So the NSA takes part in 2 Minutes Hate.
    Has 1984 been placed in Non-fiction yet?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 9:20am

    surely this makes those people cowards as well as unintelligent! if they were anything else, they wouldn't be doing what he has exposed in the first place

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 9:27am

    I suppose you have never said "I'd like to shoot the SOB" who just about ran you and your family off the road. People say things like this all the time, but this does not at all mean they are bloodthirsty. It is one thing to resort to phrases like the above is exasperation, and quite another to actually carry them out. I have not as yet heard of a "kill him on sight" posse being formed.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 9:31am

    Re: Re: So, what you're saying is...

    Yeah, but how much of this is because he's male?

    Would the hatred and death wishes would be anywhere near as strong if the target were an Edwina Snowden?

    Damn straight they wouldn't.

     

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    silverscarcat (profile), Jan 17th, 2014 @ 9:49am

    Re:

    2020, sadly

     

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  26.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 17th, 2014 @ 9:51am

    Re:

    I suppose you have never said "I'd like to shoot the SOB" who just about ran you and your family off the road.

    No. But, then, I'm not a violent psychopath.

    And, even if I did say that at that moment of extreme stress, that's entirely different than saying the same thing months later to a reporter.

    That you don't understand that is astounding.

     

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  27.  
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    DannyB (profile), Jan 17th, 2014 @ 9:55am

    Re:

    Most people who offhandedly say things like that do not have the capability and large budgets to carry it out, secretly and covertly, and be guaranteed of getting away with it.

    People in this position should:
    1. be mature enough not to act like hormonal teenagers
    2. understand laws and the constitution
    3. act with a much higher standard of responsibility in what they say and do than people who offhandedly say idle threats

    If you want to make offhanded idle threats against someone who many regard as a hero, who has self sacrificed to start this debate, then resign your position of responsibility and make all the idle threats you want. Choose one.

     

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    Sunhawk (profile), Jan 17th, 2014 @ 10:17am

    Re: Wow

    Nah... pass the news along to the Russians; they'll take care of him *real* good...

    And really? The **greatest traitor**? Not only overly dramatic, that line alone indicates someone who I want nowhere near my country's intelligence mechanisms.

    Citizens who reveal abuses of governmental power to the public are practically the diametric *opposite* of traitors in my mind; in my books doing so is a heroic act... particularly considering the extremely grave consequences of putting egg on governmental faces in such a manner.

    In Snowden's case, he's almost certainly sacrificed a life in the country both he and I was born and raised in and (if quotes like these are any indicator) quite possibly his *life* for the public good. It's quite unlikely that he'll be able to spend time with friends and family any time soon.

     

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    Sunhawk (profile), Jan 17th, 2014 @ 10:19am

    Re: Re: No one can be trusted with power. You're tacitly implying: gov't bad / corporations good.

    Having government as a check against privately-controlled centers of power (generally in the form of corporations these days) is of critical importance to liberty.

    Yes, the government is almost always the greatest locus of power around in a society, so should be regulated the strongest... but it's by far not the only such loci.

     

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    Sunhawk (profile), Jan 17th, 2014 @ 10:25am

    Re: Protip:

    To be honest, I consider wanting anyone dead for more than a passing moment to be a warning sign.

    Sure, you may find yourself in a situation that requires you to take a life - but in such cases that implies necessity for some concrete goal (for example, keeping yourself un-perforated by a knife). Desiring someone's death for the end result of simply that is... not something I want in my public servants.

     

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    Sunhawk (profile), Jan 17th, 2014 @ 10:29am

    Re:

    Will Snowden meet the age requirement for President next election cycle? If so, I'm requesting a write in ballot.


    Nope: he's 30 (Now I'm feeling old...), so you'll have to wait until 2020.

    And, hell, unless he does something massively inappropriate within the next six years or a really remarkably candidate arises... I'm seriously thinking I might write him in for that election. To my mind he's demonstrated an attachment to principles and a willingness to sacrifice from himself that I appreciate in a chief executive.

    That it would make heads explode all up and down the NSA's ranks would be a nice bonus, too...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 11:04am

    Re: Re:

    In other words, they have 6 years to find him guilty of a felony.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 11:21am

    Re: Re:

    You mean people have never let their hair down talking with reporters? Where the heck do you think reporters get grist for their sensationalized reports? Plus, does anyone seriously believe that persons as a general rule telegraph to reporters their intent to commit a crime if the opportunity presents itself?

    The NSA may be deserving of criticism, but, quite frankly, articles like this do nothing to foster constructive dialogue.

    Jeez...

     

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    art guerrilla (profile), Jan 17th, 2014 @ 11:29am

    Re:

    ...*and* the stupid shits don't even realize that breaking down, doing an end-run, or simply ignoring the protections afforded to Snowden (or anyone) is signing THEIR OWN death warrant (AND -in fact and in deed- *i* think they have already done so):

    the VERY INSTITUTIONS/people who have the most extreme powers and capabilities to ENFORCE THE LAW, are advocating breaking the law -and actually breaking the law- in a non-trivial manner for petty revenge fantasies...

    um, did it occur to those einsteins that when they establish the illegal/immoral practices they have, that NONE OF THEIR LIVES ARE SAFE FROM ALL OF US ? ? ?

    they have dispensed with law and morality for their convenience; how long before we turn those same 'principles' (sic) on them ? ? ?
    fuckin' 'tards...

     

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    art guerrilla (profile), Jan 17th, 2014 @ 11:50am

    Re: Re: Re:

    you mean supposedly 'trustworthy', 'serious', 'professional' li'l masters of the universe go ON THE RECORD just -you know- blueskyin' about ASSASSINATING US citizens and that is just supposed to be bar talk ? ? ?

    urine idjit (or enn ess ehh bot)...

    come the revolution, i know which side you'll be on...
    traitor

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 17th, 2014 @ 11:54am

    Re: Re: Re: So, what you're saying is...

    Sure they would. Only the fantasies would include rape prior to the murder.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 11:59am

    Re:

    the only thing stopping them is media attention and foreign governments that could start a media campaign if they did.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 17th, 2014 @ 12:00pm

    Re:

    I suppose you have never said "I'd like to shoot the SOB" who just about ran you and your family off the road.


    I know I've never thought such a thing, let alone said it. I would seriously worry about someone who, in a moment of stress, immediate expresses a desire to murder.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 17th, 2014 @ 12:04pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    You mean people have never let their hair down talking with reporters?


    I count on it! Those are the moments when you learn something about what they are really thinking. A we've learned that here.

    The point isn't that this is indicative of a plan to murder Snowden. The point is that this sort of thinking, all by itself, reveals a great deal about what is wrong with the NSA.

    It also reveals that at least these particular people are incapable of behaving in a professional manner even when they are speaking to a reporter. Since these are people who are entrusted with extraordinary power, such a lack of professionalism is intolerable.

     

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    dcfusor, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 12:32pm

    John, I think that says it all - they think they ARE America, and that we (the majority) don't count. In fact, Snowden didn't threaten my security or privacy one bit - our adversaries already knew nearly all of what he revealed.

    Yes, he hurt *them* - the NSA, who may have to take a few for the team, aw shucks. I think they've earned that one.

    Hurting "the intelligence community" != hurting America or it's security, necessarily. They used to do some good work, I'm not so sure any more if we all wouldn't be better off with some major restructuring. And that's how and why they are so butt-hurt about Snowden - they might have to do that and some fiefdoms wouldn't survive.

     

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    art guerrilla (profile), Jan 17th, 2014 @ 1:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: No one can be trusted with power. You're tacitly implying: gov't bad / corporations good.

    The King's reign was reined in by the torrential rains.
    /pedant off

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 2:19pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Stories like this one have me asking if the members of the government in charge of these large data collection programs can't keep their own murderous thoughts a secret, what makes anyone think all of our collective data is safe in their hands?

     

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    John85851 (profile), Jan 17th, 2014 @ 2:53pm

    Swear an oath to uphold the Constitution... nah, I'll pass

    So how is it that people who are sworn to uphold the Constitution find it so easy to violate all the amendments? You would think they'd be first in line to demand Snowden be given a fair trial with legal counsel. Instead, they brand him a traitor and want him executed without a trial.

    But like everyone is saying, if people at the NSA see nothing wrong with violating the 4th amendment, why not break the 6th amendment and any others that will help their cause? And like any other fanatics, there's no reasoning with them: Snowden is a traitor and he must die.
    The other question is whether these people think he should be killed as a punishment for what he's done or to send a message to any other would-be whistleblowers?

     

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    socrates2, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 3:23pm

    Friend,

    You finally understand why the insecure, the cowardly, the sadistic and inner-disempowered join bureaucracies and power organizations: to abuse those who choose not to join these "power institutions." It may not be in their individual DNA, but a lifetime of conditioned self-loathing shows anyway.
    Hence, the reason why these organizations need serious civilian and civilized oversight.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 3:27pm

    NSA family = Charles Manson(aka murders of the Manson family)

    Yep I see it know, the government keeps getting creepier and creepier year after year.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 4:00pm

    Re: Wow

    They should also throw in a 3.5 ounce container that way they can add the terrorist charge.

     

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    JMT (profile), Jan 17th, 2014 @ 5:05pm

    Re:

    "People say things like this all the time...

    I don't know about the kind of people you hand around with, but I've never had a conversation with anyone, let alone multiple people, using the sort of language quoted above. What they're saying a long way from normal angry responses. For you to not be even a bit worried about these people's attitudes say a lot about your own...

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 5:28pm

    Re:

    Newsflash, jackass: people get arrested for making threatening remarks like that. What gives the NSA a free pass? "Boohoo, Snowden tattled on me"?

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 9:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: So, what you're saying is...

    Not to mention all sorts of misogynist bashing they'd add. Calling said hypothetical alternate universe heroine a slut, whore, ugly, and whatever twisted shit their sick minds can conjure up. And then they'd probably put the cherry on top of the sexism by claiming she was proof that women are too emotional to be involved with the intelligence community.

     

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  50.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 9:09pm

    Re: Re:

    With all of the conspiracies revealed sadly you're probably better off assuming the worst and accepting them as working hypothesises.

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 9:14pm

    Re: So, what you're saying is...

    Hey that's an insult to hormonal teenagers everywhere! The worst teenage peepers have nothing on the NSA.

     

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  52.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2014 @ 9:47pm

    I have video of all the police driving while taklking on the cell phones, including the chief, of and under sheriff and sheriff. who do I turn that into?

     

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  53.  
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    Prokofy Neva (profile), Jan 18th, 2014 @ 7:31am

    Snowdenistas are Far Worse

    Oh, nonsense. Some reporter corners an NSA officer in a bar and goads them into saying something intemperate -- say, that's the sort of gotcha that happened with Rolling Stone and McChystal, remember?

    But what some NSA individual spouts in his off hours isn't policy. There are checks and balances on that individual, starting first with his own agency, with numerous regulations, FISA courts, Congress, regular courts -- and the media. Everything related to Snowden has proceeded exactly by the books -- lawful extradition requests -- even very late in the day giving him plenty of time to run. He was never forced to flee to Russia and had weeks before his passport was revoked.

    Meanwhile, the Snowdenistas themselves spout violent nonsense and what recourse do we have against them?

    The other day a Tor developer told me on Twitter "Congress should go die in a fire." Really? Where's all the pearl-clutching from Mike about that?

    More chilling, Jacob Appelbaum said in his 30c3 speech in Germany that he believes (wrongly) that NSA data collection is "like" the British writs of assistance, and the early Colonialist rebels shot them over this. Really? What's that supposed to mean? And yet no one blinked an eye.

    Assange and Appelbaum called on sysadmins to rise up, sabotage their computers and/or leak more classified files. This is coercive, and leads to reckless violence, including placing troops in harm's way and revealing agents who are pursuing enemies legitimately. Appelbaum says he thinks it would be ethical to leak all these names of what he views as representatives of some lawless state and is only barely restrained from some ethical journalistic notion that is increasingly threadbare.

    All of that is much, much more troublesome than some guy from the NSA in a bar spouting off. These are anarchists willing to use lies, force, and sabotage to change a system from a liberal democracy to a communist commune.

    And for all we know, to take up another hypothesis, these bar leaks may in fact be part of a psy war technique to create a climate of intimidation to force Snowden to come home, with Myasnick is them helping. Happy?

    Jillian York proudly told everyone she heard some NSA guy say something like this (God knows why she was meeting him in the first place) and she reported him. Good little KGB-style informant.

    I see what kind of country you'd make America, Mike Myasnick, with all this talk -- like the Soviet Union. No thanks.

     

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  54.  
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    Laura Burmeister, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 7:43am

    Who are we compared to them?

    This unpretentiously hateful attitude towards Snowden in the public arena does not only reveal the sickness within the NSA and the US government, with everyone who is serving it, but it also reminds us of who we are in this world. Personally, I believe we carry some resentment within us admitting that whatever content we are adding to this discussion about Snowden and the NSA wrongdoings, it simply does not matter.

    We are not important enough to make a decisive move that would change the system. A system in which we as citizens are 'under'-served and controlled merely existing to provide for the very few.

    For me real question lies within our capabilities and possibilities- if there are any? Or if we can give up now, continuing to have this conversation in the public sphere but without eliciting any meaningful results.

     

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  55.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jan 18th, 2014 @ 8:18am

    Thanks for the chuckle 'comrade'

    You might want to read the article again(and the source article as well), it wasn't a NSA grunt blowing off steam in a bar, it was several individuals talking about how much they wanted to kill or see Snowden dead.

    Out of the four examples shown, you've got a 'current NSA analyst' talking about how if he could get away with it he'd kill Snowden personally, a 'Pentagon official' talking about blowing Snowden's head off, a 'defense contractor' talking about how Snowden should be killed without a trial, and the final one practically fantasizing about poisoning Snowden.

    Still, the rest of your comment was quite funny, and the communist angle is always good for a laugh, given the red scare has been over with for a few decades now, meaning it's rather lost it's punch.

    A few gems I noticed:

    ' There are checks and balances on that individual, starting first with his own agency, with numerous regulations, FISA courts, Congress, regular courts -- and the media.

    Yeah, if there's one thing that has been made abundantly clear through this whole mess, it's that for the NSA and anyone who works there, there is no 'checks and balances'(or at least they don't believe there is or should be).

    The agency itself lies like crazy to cover up abuses, or just categorizes them as something else, the few regulations that are even remotely public they've been found to violate extensively, to the point you almost have to wonder if they think it's a contest or something, the FISA 'court' might as well be just another branch of their agency, given they approve everything put in front of them, and only know what the NSA tells them, and as for the public? They wouldn't know, or be able to protest against, the NSA's actions were it not for Snowden.

    'Everything related to Snowden has proceeded exactly by the books'

    Well, except for that one time they grounded a foreign president's plane because they thought Snowden might be on it.

     

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  56.  
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    IWPCHI, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 2:05pm

    NSA doesn't need to be "reined in" it needs to be destroyed, root and branch

    The NSA doesn't need to be "reined in": it needs to be overthrown along with the US capitalist class that spawned it. The US Government - wholly owned subsidiary of the US capitalist class - has many vicious organizations like the NSA: the CIA, the Pentagon, Defense Intelligence Agency, etc. They all have the same "solution" to all the world's problems: send an assassin and/or drop a bomb on them.
    These scum need to be put in jail where they all belong. They do not represent the interests of the US working class; they represent the interests of the tiny US capitalist class that seeks to run the world as if it was their very own piggy bank. There is no more despotic ruling class on earth than the US capitalist class; and there is no more despotic government on earth than the US Government. This is not opinion, it is fact, and the historical record will bear this out quite well - if one is inclined to review it. Unfortunately, most Americans are not interested in learning the truth about "their" despotic gov't, and they resent being told about it as well. They prefer to pretend not to know - just like the "good Germans" under the Hitler regime. This will all end VERY badly for the citizens of the US; they can look at photos of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Tokyo and Berlin in 1945 if they'd like to know what the future will be like in the US if the US working class continues on their present political trajectory.

    Workers of the World, Unite!

    Independent Workers Party of Chicago

     

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  57.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2014 @ 9:04pm

    Re: NSA doesn't need to be "reined in" it needs to be destroyed, root and branch

    For a second there you had me believing this might actually represent a sincere belief. As I read it it became only too clear that it is satire. I can think of no rational human being who would advocate moving back the hands of time to Russia circa 1918.

     

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  58.  
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    M. Alan Thomas II (profile), Jan 18th, 2014 @ 9:08pm

    I think there's a small but important difference between "want to" and "are willing to." Anyone can be angry and have a fantasy; only nursing hatred and being willing to act on it is over the line. I'm not sure that we can distinguish between the two on the basis of the linked article, especially as it's not clear to what extent the author was soliciting the fantasies.

    Yes, I think that it's worrisome that someone we're supposed to trust as beyond reproach would discuss any such thing rather than remaining entirely on the rational path, and I think that it should be held against them. But I don't know that it supports this article's stronger inferences regarding their actual willingness to kill.

     

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  59.  
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    Andrew P, Jan 19th, 2014 @ 6:43am

    I'd like Obama to

    I'd like to see Obama publicly put Snowden on the kill list, and openly order that if captured he be executed immediately. In fact, Obama should announce a megadollar reward for anyone who brings back Snowy's severed head. The public will love it, and it will help make Obama more honest.

     

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  60.  
    identicon
    Alex, Jan 19th, 2014 @ 7:49am

    Response to: blaktron on Jan 17th, 2014 @ 8:32am

    instead of saying "an American", it should be replaced with "a human being"...
    No one has the right to take the freedoms, rights, life of another human being, period.

     

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  61.  
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    praguebob (profile), Jan 19th, 2014 @ 9:42am

    Trust the NSA?

    Even if I thought the NSA was somehow protecting America (which I certainly do not), how could I ever trust a security agency that has such lax SECURITY that it allowed Ed Snowden to walk out with so much sensitive information? Reminds me of the true story of the Falcon and the Snowman, anyone remember that? That episode also involved the NSA being compromised from within, and in truly idiotic fashion. I suggest everyone read James Bamford's books on the NSA, starting with the first one from the early 1980's (which I read back then), in "The Shadow Factory" he reveals most of what Ed Snowden "leaked" but several years before! Wake up people.

     

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  62.  
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    earl, Jan 19th, 2014 @ 9:25pm

    Response to: Anonymous Coward on Jan 17th, 2014 @ 9:27am

    There is a difference between saying something in the heat of the moment, and writing and submitting something months later for an on record publication.

     

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  63.  
    identicon
    earl, Jan 19th, 2014 @ 9:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: So, what you're saying is...

    Are you serious? By what basis do you proclaim this?

     

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  64.  
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    Charvi3 (profile), Jan 20th, 2014 @ 2:15am

    Why Snowden Isn't Just a WhistleBlower

    This man...put people that were undercover for the government in danger along with their families...who knows a lot of them could have been murdered by now...this makes him worse than a WhistleBlower...for sure...so, he needs and should be tried for Treason....there are a lot of people that are undercover in the government and as far as I can see he has put them in jeporady...no doubt...that is very serious and inhumane..

     

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  65.  
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    Seegras (profile), Jan 20th, 2014 @ 6:32am

    Re:

    Yes, this happens. I understand that.

    But if you're saying this about somebody who just uncovered YOUR abuses of power to the public, then indeed, it does make you unfit for belonging to a government agency.

     

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  66.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2014 @ 7:35am

    Re:

    "But I don't know that it supports this article's stronger inferences regarding their actual willingness to kill."

    The point of the article seems to have gone over your head. Let me repeat at least the title for you: "The fact that the US Intelligence Community so readily admits to fantasies of killing Ed Snowden shows why they can't be trusted."

     

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  67.  
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    Pragmatic, Jan 20th, 2014 @ 8:32am

    Re: Re: Re: No one can be trusted with power. You're tacitly implying: gov't bad / corporations good.

    Uh, the people I keep meeting who self-identify as libertarian are either hippie dreamers who consider taxation as theft by state-sanctioned force and want rid of all government, good or bad, or pro-corporate dreamers who fondly believe that the market will deliver what the people require, living in denial that the evidence points in the other direction.

    @ Anonymous Sneaky Libertarian, I agree with your stance on this for the most part, it's just that there's no such thing as a free market. It's constantly being distorted and segmented by corporate interests, monopolies and oligopolies. The rest, though, I agree with.

     

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  68.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jan 20th, 2014 @ 6:47pm

    This again...

    Name them. If he's really exposed people like that, and put them in danger, name them.

    That whole schtick, the 'Their actions put lives in danger!' was tried with Manning too, and in the end it proved to be a complete and utter lie, nothing more than an empty emotional argument to try and sway the public and judges against the whistleblower.

    Put simply, no one who's been paying any attention believes you lot when you cry 'Wolf!' anymore, because you've proven that you can't tell the difference between a legitimate threat to lives, and one that threatens nothing more than your authority, pet programs and cushy jobs, and that you are willing to constantly lie about the second, by claiming it's the first.

     

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  69.  
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    nasch (profile), Jan 20th, 2014 @ 9:21pm

    Re: Why Snowden Isn't Just a WhistleBlower

    This man...put people that were undercover for the government in danger along with their families.

    Got a reference for that?

     

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  70.  
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    JCDavis, Jan 21st, 2014 @ 6:18am

    Re:

    I not so sure they haven't assassinated Americans on American soil. The death of Michael Hastings who was investigating the director of the CIA is VERY suspicious.

     

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  71.  
    identicon
    Tab, Jan 21st, 2014 @ 11:56am

    Re: Wow

    Why would they do that? The FBI wants Snowden dead, too.

     

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  72.  
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    John Francois, Jan 21st, 2014 @ 11:06pm

    Wow...

    And that's the very reason why the NSA needs to be reined in. The people working there seem to be bloodthirsty and emotional, prone to lashing out and dismissing the very basis of the Constitution. After hearing those statements, I don't see how anyone in the NSA can possibly claim that the American public can "trust" them not to abuse the system. They appear bloodthirsty and eager to abuse the system.


    Essentially what this article is suggesting is that no one at the NSA can be trusted because a few low-ranking analysts made comments (most likely in jest) which were quoted out of context in another article. Leaping to the conclusion that the entire organization is comprised of bloodthirsty, mentally unstable individuals is completely unreasonable.

    And the comments for this article amount to little more than a juvenile circlejerk.

    I understand that many of you live in your mother's basement and are angry at your own lack of motivation and the disappointment that you have experienced in your lives, so naturally, you take it out on the faceless government organization of the minute, but really- I expected a little more cognitive acuity coming from you, or at least the ability to recognize bad arguments and media sensationalism when you see it.

    Shame on you Tech-dirt. All you are doing here is rabble-rousing and stiring up more negative sentiment toward the NSA for the sole purpose of generating traffic on your website and increasing ad revenue.

     

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  73.  
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    Charvi3 (profile), Jan 22nd, 2014 @ 12:30am

    LOOK AT OUR GOVERNMENT CLEARLY

    I pray that I don't get thrown out this time as I was commenting on the real issues that are surrounding...the NSA and who they are affliated with...try the CIA...which belongs to the "Secret Society" the "Skull & Bones" which like the "IIIuminati Group"...which are Satinsits Groups that have been controlling a lot of things within out government...the NSA is within the group CIA which is in the group "Skull & Bones"...to think there are only three presidents that didn't belong to these groups the first is FDR...the second one was Harry Truman and the third one is, Obama, and what people that are within Congress...the House and The Senate...who belong to these groups..rule..so, the President has to be very careful as to how he handles things or they could kill him like they did Kennedy...the truth don't have to defend itself...that is why, dear, Dianne Fienstine says it is professional...she is stating that...because she cannot go out of boundaries either..to think of this...that Thomas Jefferson..and a friend of his began the Satinists Group...the IIIuminati..which...so many people that are rich belong to...that is why...people like Rick Perry....has not helped the middle class nor the poor or the needy. this is within our own government...is the reason...they are not doing anything to that creep, Snowden, which by the way...I think he should be brought back to this country to be charged with treason...but, the NSA who is affliated with the CIA won't let that happen...because they are within that Satinitic Group the "Skull & Bones" and that is where his protection lies..but, to think that this idiot has endangered all the undercover agents lives and their families lives...really gets next to me...but, remember...how Rand Paul....who belongs to the group the NoZe Group who are anti-
    Christs...believes the reason we are all having our problems is the fact we are not worshiping the rich...these Secret Societies only are for the rich...and they will protect people within their Societies...and the NSA is within the CIA which is part of the group..."The Skull & Bones"...and by the way your Mafia controls all of the Utility Companies...and part of that is the computers that you are on everyday...that is part of the communication systems...plus the Gas and the Electric Companies...so, what is new...any President that doesn't belong to these groups have to watch how they handle things believe me or they would be killed by them...just like JFK was killed by the group..."The Skull & Bones"...old man Bush belongs to it and so did Lyndon B. Johnson...who had a hand into that...so, just go along and do the best you can each day to know that our government is full of different kinds of people and they don't believe in Jesus Christ or God...we have to go along with the system as is...so, that is why a lot of people like us...who would ever do such a thing we would be going to jail for real...but, Snowden, is with the NSA which is part of the CIA...and that is why nothing is being done...

     

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  74.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jan 23rd, 2014 @ 12:25am

    Re: Wow...

    ...a few low-ranking analysts made comments (most likely in jest) which were quoted out of context in another article.

    Joking that you'd like to spray-paint someone's car, or that you'd like to replace their shampoo with hair dye, that's 'jesting'. Talking about how much you'd like to kill or see someone killed... that doesn't even come remotely close to 'jesting', and the fact that you think it does shows a lot about you(in particular likely background and/or current employment).

    As for the 'low-ranking analysts' bit, copy/pasted from above comment to save time:

    'Out of the four examples shown, you've got a 'current NSA analyst' talking about how if he could get away with it he'd kill Snowden personally, a 'Pentagon official' talking about blowing Snowden's head off, a 'defense contractor' talking about how Snowden should be killed without a trial, and the final one practically fantasizing about poisoning Snowden.'

    The rest of the comment, where to begin... 'juvenile circlejerk', 'live in your mother's basement', 'angry at your own lack of motivation and the disappointment that you have experienced in your lives'.

    Gee, now where have we heard that kind of 'argument' before? Oh yeah, when that hack and NSA cheerleader Mike Rogers was trying to dismiss criticism against CISPA by claiming that people concerned about the privacy implications were teenages living in their parents' basements, and so 'didn't count'.

    It was an insulting, pathetic, and downright childish 'debate tactic' then, and it still is, and the fact that you resort to it says plenty about you, none of it good.

     

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  75.  
    identicon
    marty, Jan 24th, 2014 @ 6:29am

    They are childish,self centered, and think they are entitled to a huge wage,at taxpayer expense. I say fire them all.

     

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  76.  
    identicon
    Harold, Feb 15th, 2014 @ 4:37pm

    Re: So, what you're saying is...

    Edward Snowden is a Traitor , Who needs to be Captured , Interrogated Castrated and Eliminated , Likewise Julian Assange another peice of Shit , these people think their some how Heros of the World , they are nothing more than Sub - Versive Traitors , who effect National Security and Libertys we all enjoy in the West , Edward Snowden and Julian Assange -( will be Captured ) - one Day soon - Maybe even by Me ********

     

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


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