Snowden's Secrets 'Belong To The People Of The US' & He's A Traitor For Giving Them What They Own?

from the no-place-for-logic dept

Over the past few years, we’ve found that Rep. Mike Rogers, the head of the House Intelligence Committee, has an incredible knack for spewing pure bullshit in defense of whatever he’s supporting, rarely even bothering to make sure his statements are internally consistent. Still, his statements on Meet the Press this weekend take that nonsense to a new high. Rogers goes off on Snowden — who he has already declared “is a traitor” — arguing in favor of the “theft of government property” charges against Snowden by making the following statement:

“He has taken information that does not belong to him — it belongs to the people of the United States.”

Right. This information that “belongs to the people of the United States,” which has been totally hidden from us, was actually finally given to the people of the United States — to whom Rogers admits it belongs — by Snowden. And, for that, he’s a traitor? How, exactly, does that work? By Rogers’ own argument, the information, before Snowden leaked it, was improperly withheld, thanks to people like Rep. Mike Rogers, from the people who own it. Thus, by Rogers’ own logic, isn’t it actually Mike Rogers who is the traitor in that he withheld crucial information that “belongs to the people of the United States”?

Of course, Rogers didn’t stop there. No, no. He continued with his internally inconsistent, and blatantly ridiculous argument by saying that (1) terrorists now know what we’re up to and are changing what they do, and (2) so little information has been revealed that everyone thinks they know what’s happening, but don’t. That makes no sense. If (1) is true, it suggests that the actual details of the program have been revealed and thus wrongdoers now know our methods. But, immediately, he changes course and says that no one really knows what’s going on — in which case he shouldn’t be concerned about terrorists changing what they do, because it shouldn’t stop the successful programs that no one knows about.

We have seen that bad guys overseas — terrorists who are committing and plotting attacks on the United States and our allies — have changed the way they operate. We’ve already seen that. To say that’s not harmful to the national security of the United States, or our safety, is just dead wrong…

[….] This is the problem with having a thousand-piece puzzle, taking three or four pieces, and deciding that you’re now an expert on what that picture looks like. You’re gonna get it wrong. They’re getting it wrong and it’s dangerous.

So, let me get this straight. The revealed information means that reporters only see a few pieces of the puzzle so they’re getting the story “dead wrong.” But… the terrorists, who are reading these stories, are somehow, magically, getting the full picture (the one the reporters are getting dead wrong) and miraculously changing how they act to now avoid NSA surveillance dragnets? How’s that work? Answer: it doesn’t. Rogers is spewing bullshit.

We don’t ask for much from our elected officials, but is it really too much to ask that they make statements that are internally consistent within the brief block of time they open their mouths to yap about some subject on which they’re supposedly “in charge”?

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Comments on “Snowden's Secrets 'Belong To The People Of The US' & He's A Traitor For Giving Them What They Own?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: He's one of those special people...

Actually, everyone has the ability to “successfully” divide by zero, but it’s only the truly enlightened among us (such as Mr. Rogers) who have the ability to derive a “real” result from such a calculation.

Welcome to Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Different Mister Rogers, different neighborhood.

Anonymous Coward says:

“He has taken information that does not belong to him — it belongs to the people of the United States.”

So there are two groups currently residing in America, “people of the United States”, and “terrorists”. The “people of the United States” are the small group in power that already had access to that information, and the “terrorists” are the 300 million or so people who didn’t.
So, the 99% are terrorists, and the general US populace is the target of the War on Terror? I guess that’s why they were so anxious to pass the NDAA.

Anonymous Coward says:

I have no representation

I have no representatives in either of the intelligence committees, nor do I have representatives in the gang of 8. None of my congressional representatives received the supposed briefing about the one acknowledged instance of FISA court push back.
For Mike Rogers to say that congress is doing oversight, is exasperating. What he means is the small select part of congress that includes him is kept in the loop (or at least the part of the loop that the executive decides to share with him).

RyanNerd (profile) says:

Ever see the British sitcom: Yes, Minister?

[The Prime Minister believes that he gave a clear, simple, straightforward and honest answer.]
Sir Humphrey: Unfortunately, although the answer was indeed clear, simple, and straightforward, there is some difficulty in justifiably assigning to it the fourth of the epithets you applied to the statement, inasmuch as the precise correlation between the information you communicated and the facts, insofar as they can be determined and demonstrated, is such as to cause epistemological problems, of sufficient magnitude as to lay upon the logical and semantic resources of the English language a heavier burden than they can reasonably be expected to bear.
Hacker: Epistemological ? what are you talking about?
Sir Humphrey: You told a lie.
Hacker: A lie?
Sir Humphrey: A lie.
Hacker: What do you mean, a lie?
Sir Humphrey: I mean you? lied. Yes, I know this is a difficult concept to get across to a politician. You? ah yes, you did not tell the truth.
Hacker: You mean we are bugging Hugh Halifax’s telephones?
Sir Humphrey: We were.
Hacker: We were? When did we stop?
Sir Humphrey: [checks his watch] Seventeen minutes ago.

Unfortunately our civil servant here in the US in charge of intelligence seems to be lacking in that regard.

Rapnel (profile) says:

They’re all simply trying to “control the message” via a nice game of shoot the messenger. The actual problem is being successfully marginalized – yet again.

Anyone that gives more of a fuck about Snowden than what he’s revealed has been successfully tooled.

The idiots flail their arms and deign outrage because they’ve all been straight-up proven to be the pocket-flush mind-fucks that they are. “Traitor!” See how easy that is? No effort – no real work to be done – redirecting outrage with seven measly letters and successfully throwing a meaty bone to the smart people who have no problem swallowing it whole. Idiots – It’s becoming apparent that I’m surrounded by and led by bricks and idiots.

Anonymous Coward says:

“He has taken information that does not belong to him — it belongs to the people of the United States.”

It can be argued that the will of the people of the United States, as expressed through their representatives and laws, was that this information, belonging to them, should be kept secret from them, as part of keeping it secret from everyone.

Rapnel (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Total communications surveillance.

It can also be argued that the above is against the law no matter how many new laws are passed to try and make it legal.

There can be no just law that would legalize this government to aim for, much less achieve, a surveillance state. It, quite simply, can not exist. And yet, what have we now? A surveillance state thus total constitutional subversion, “yes man” oversight, executive coup and a broken republic. A genuine “me first” nation. Outstanding.

R.H. (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Even if, ‘we the people’ are actually that stupid, the argument is that the fourth amendment doesn’t allow for the levels of surveillance currently being performed by the American government. Therefore, the ‘will of the people’, as defined by you above, would say that this surveillance program never should have existed to be revealed in the first place.

It’s too bad that it would be nearly impossible to prove standing or injury, unless the government REALLY screws up, to try and get these programs overturned in the federal court system.

Anonymous Coward says:

This is supposed to be a contradiction:

(1) terrorists now know what we’re up to and are changing what they do, and

(2) so little information has been revealed that everyone thinks they know what’s happening, but don’t

But it could be that the operational, procedural information that is useful to terrorists and the background intelligence that could justify the program are two very different pots of information.

Niall (profile) says:

Re: Re:

It’s possible, but the fact is, everyone in the world ‘knew’ that the US was spying on everything they could, but actually discussing it got you accused of tin-hattery. Now, it’s out in the open. Possibly, the only way the ‘terrorists’ are doing anything differt is that they can’t pretend that they don’t know that the US is spying on everything – and the US knows that all other national governments know ‘officially’.

Anonymous Coward says:

NSA Snooping

Only an idiot would assume that the NSA was not snooping on various communications channels. Any foreign government should not be surprised. Nor would I be surprised if the Russians, Chinese, etc. are attempting the same on the US. In fact I believe they are doing this. The only question is how effecient are these activities.

I remember asking a nuclear bomb expert why the basic information about making a nuclear weapon was not classified. He told me you can not classify science only engineering. The same principle holds here; electronic survelliance by numerous governments is occurring but what they do not want known are the technical details.

Anonymous Coward says:

He was an employee of the United States Government. As such he is bound to secrecy. Regardless if he finds what his employer is doing is wrong. He should have quit his job if he didn’t agree with it.

I don’t agree with what the government is doing. However, if you do the same kind of thing on the street you are a RAT! Rat’s are normally exterminated.

Anonymous Coward says:

there are a lot of traitors involved in this shambles, all of whom need to be arrested, charged, taken to court and then imprisoned for betraying the people, not just of the USA but of many countries throughout the world. however, Snowden IS NOT ONE OF THEM!!! and dont forget, those that are defending what the government has done are just as guilty as those that actually had a hand in this deception!

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Maybe this is just a bad habit of lawyers.

As ours is an adversarial justice system, lawyers get into the habit of parsing out any concession that might be advantageous to the other side, even if it provides better context for their own position. They even lie on the basis that it is the responsibility of the other side to catch that lie.

But when trying to inform the public, it just makes them look stupid and out of touch.

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