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.

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Comments on “Irony Abounds: Snowden Charged For Spying When What He Really Did Was Reveal Massive Spying”

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50 Comments
el_segfaulto (profile) says:

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).

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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.

The Real Michael says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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!!

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

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.

Shadeyone says:

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.

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