John Kerry Admits That The NSA Has Gone Too Far; Will He Take Back His Labelling Ed Snowden A Traitor?

from the can-we-move-that-needle-over-to-whistleblower dept

Secretary of State John Kerry is among the many politicians who rushed to call Ed Snowden a traitor — though, to be fair, he said “traitor to the oath he took to his fellow employees, to the duty he took freely by his own choice.” That’s not quite the same as saying he’s a traitor “to the US,” but it’s still pretty strong. And yet, now, after more and more information has come out about the NSA’s activities, thanks entirely to Snowden’s leaks, even Kerry is admitting that the NSA has “gone too far.”

“In some cases, I acknowledge to you, as has the President, that some of these actions have reached too far and we are going to make sure that that doesn’t happen in the future.

“There is no question that the President and I, and others in government, have actually learned of some things that have been happening in many ways on automatic pilot because the technology has been there and the ability has been there over the course of a long period of time.”

So, Secretary Kerry, can you at least now admit that Snowden was a whistleblower?

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Comments on “John Kerry Admits That The NSA Has Gone Too Far; Will He Take Back His Labelling Ed Snowden A Traitor?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

John Kerry Admits That The NSA Has Gone Too Far

Read as: John Kerry wants to still have a career after this administration ends.

I voted for Kerry once, I voted for Obama twice, and I just unsubscribed from the Democrats email list this morning when they came asking for money. I won’t support anyone that is not as outraged as I am at the Edward Snowden revelations.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Read as: John Kerry wants to still have a career after this administration ends.

According to Wikipedia, John Forbes Kerry was born December 1943. So he’s around 70 now.

He’s been Senator, and now Secretary of State. What does he want to do next? I don’t think he’s going to run for the top slot again. If he’s not going to take another shot at the presidency, then maybe Governor? What does he do next?

Or he could become a Supreme Court Justice, I guess. But you don’t need the popular vote for that job.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Still a criminal

? still willingly and with forethought committed a crime?

The DNI, James Clapper, intentionally gave his ?least untruthful? answer while under oath. The answer was false, and he knew it.

Lying, under oath, before Congress is still a crime. (Just ask Roger Clemens).

You willing to apply the same harsh standard ?the law is the law? to the DNI, James Clapper?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Still a criminal

“Whistleblowing isn’t a crime.”

Spilling the inner workings of your employer is most definitely a crime.

That the crime was useful in exposing wrongdoing is an entirely different issue. I am not entirely sure where does that leave Snowden, but I’m pretty sure he’s a criminal by any reasonable interpretation of the law.

But, then again, by any reasonable interpretation of the law, most heroes are. If it was easy being a hero, everyone would be one.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Still a criminal

To clarify with an example:

If a police officer kills an armed suspect that was about to harm innocents, he is guilty of homicide.

However, the law has safeguards for these kinds of situations: if the level of force was appropriate given the circumstances, he will not go to jail for this, despite being guilty of homicide. Let me reinforce this point: what he did was illegal, and he is guilty, but the law has a special case to handle this that says that he is not to suffer sanctions.

Snowden is in the same situation. What he did was illegal. He’s guilty. I dunno if the law has safeguards for this case. In my opinion, it should. Even if it doesn’t, I assume that the president has authority to pardon him? If so, he should exercise that authority.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Still a criminal

Spilling the inner workings of your employer is most definitely a crime.

No, that’s not quite right.

AFAIK, violating a non-disclosure agreement with a non-government affiliated company is a civil matter. The company can sue you for monetary damages and that’s about it.

Snowden’s case is a bit different though, since I assume he signed a non-disclosure agreement with the United States government, similar to this one, and violating that does expose you to criminal charges.

out_of_the_blue says:

No is all that needs be written for this feeble question.

Kerry’s admission will happen same day as Mike admits Google should worry us all.

Say, speaking of Google: they’re now claiming that the barges are “luxury showrooms” for VIPS! — ‘Cause nothing says class like welded steel shipping containers! — It’s silly on the surface, because unless constructed only a shell, each “showroom” is about the size of semi-trailer, the MANY inner ones would be claustrophobic at best, moving around a pain — and is there an elevator to get to the fourth-story “party deck”? — What a hoot! Now we KNOW they’re hiding something!

jackn says:

Re: No is all that needs be written for this feeble question.

what, you don’t believe in a free market?

That’s the beauty of it. See, google isn’t an elected entity, so if you don’t like ’em, don’t use ’em. I feel the same about att, ms and appl. I don’t like them, so I don’t give them my business. One thing I wouldn’t do is spam off-topic articles. That’s just rude.


RD says:

Re: No is all that needs be written for this feeble question.

“Say, speaking of Google:”

No one was. You are just trying for the eleventy millionth time to hijack yet another topic to stroke your massive hard-on for Google. Don’t like Google? Don’t use them. They do not have the force of law or the weight of government power to insert themselves into your life, or deprive you of any of your freedoms or rights.

Kindly GFY.

Anonymous Coward says:

you all know the rules. the higher up the ladder you are, the bigger lying ass hole you can be and get away with it. when you’re a peon, you get the blame and the consequences for even the lowliest of mistakes. anyone that thinks anyone of power in the USA is going to admit to being wrong or even being just embarrassed, is wishfull thinking. Snowden will be blamed for anything and everything that does/doesn’t happen for years, when in reality he should be decorated as a hero. let’s put it this way, out of him, Clapper, Alexander, Hayden, Feinstein and even Obama, i know who i would trust the most!!

DeadBolt (profile) says:

So, Secretary Kerry, can you at least now admit that Snowden was a whistleblower?

What? Get a politician to go back on his stated word and apologize?

Can I get some whatever illegal substance it is that you’ve been smoking?

Oh, it’s not illegal anymore?

Well you still won’t get an apology out of him, but he might change how “we” supposedly missinterpreted meant what he said to something that makes him look a bit less of an arse to everyone

ottermaton (profile) says:

"Report" is all that needs done for this feeble-minded poster

I am so sick of OOTB poisoning every thread on this site that I’ve taken to not even reading, much less responding, to his non-sensical rants. I just hit the “Report” button. He has more than earned it.

What makes the whole situation even more annoying is that people keep responding to him, like it’s gonna make any difference whatsoever. All you’re doing is giving him the attention he so clearly and desperately craves and can’t get anywhere else.

So, as of today I’m going to start hitting “Report” on everyone who responds to him. It’s become clear that just reporting OOTB won’t stop him because he’s getting what he wants: attention. I’m aiming to cut off that attention.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: "Report" is all that needs done for this feeble-minded poster

I think Mike should implement something in the site code that if a post gets enough report votes the whole post tree gets hidden instead of just the initial post.

I disagree with this and I always have. I’ve seen plenty of threads that were kicked off by a reported comment that went on to be very informative discussions.

I also disagree with ottermaton’s initial statement that every response to Blue should be reported. Incorrect, uninformed and stupid speech (like most of what Blue spews) shouldn’t be repressed, it should be countered with more speech and now ottermaton wants to repress that speech too.

Sometimes Blue NEEDS to be corrected. Not for his benefit, but for everyone else who is reading his comments.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: "Report" is all that needs done for this feeble-minded poster

I’ve seen plenty of threads that were kicked off by a reported comment that went on to be very informative discussions.

Yes, but I’ve also seen many threads where the quantity and quality of inane blue-battles were such that I stopped bothering to read the comments on the post at all. Perhaps there was an informative discussion somewhere in the inane warfare, but it’s as good as invisible to me at that point.

I favor thread-collapsing because Blue all too often wins in his goal of completely derailing the discussion.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 "Report" is all that needs done for this feeble-minded poster

I favor thread-collapsing because Blue all too often wins in his goal of completely derailing the discussion.

I guess I really don’t see the problem with discussions going off on tangents. I’m guilty of that fairly often myself. Some of the best discussions here have often had nothing to do with the articles themselves.

I know there are a lot of people that get annoyed with off-topic comments, but I’m not among them. I kind of like going off on the tangents. You can learn quite a lot that way. Just my 2?.

Anonymous Coward says:

What too far really means

?Obama halted NSA spying on IMF and World Bank headquarters?, by Mark Hosenball, Reuters, Oct 31, 2013

President Barack Obama has ordered the National Security Agency to stop eavesdropping on the headquarters of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank as part of a review of intelligence gathering activities?.?.?.?.

Spying on international bankers? That’s ?too far.?



Spying on American citizens? Not far enough. Look at the Feinstein bill.

Anonymous Coward says:

Of course not, we still shoot the messenger!

Of course not, we still shoot the messenger!

I can’t believe how many people I’ve met in real life (not just people being idiots on the Internet) who think like this:

“The NSA’s spying is outrageous and must stop/be brought under control. But Snowden is still a filthy traitor who must be thrown in jail forever, we can’t have him endangering our national security and giving our secrets to foreign countries.”

That above paragraph is basically what I get from those people.

Jasmine Charter (user link) says:


The oath for the military says that they will defend America (not the America government) from all foes – foreign and domestic.

If the government has turned turned on the people – who do you side with?

I think Snowden made the right choice. I may not agree with how he went about it, but let’s face it… if he made too much noise through the official channels, he’d end up black bagged somewhere.

Pedant says:

Re: Oath?

I seem to recall ES did once try using official channels to draw attention to something. And he learnt quickly where that got him.

To me, here’s a hero.
People like him and Ladar Levesen (sorry if misspelt) both.

But then at the end of the day risking a relatively civilised US prison sentence is not as brave as (say) signing up to be an Iraqi policeman because you want the best for your country,

horse with no name says:

The correct answer is:

No, Kerry won’t change his opinion, because Snowdon is no whistleblower.

If Snowden wanted to play whistleblower, he would have highlighted one or two cases, released perhaps information on those. He didn’t have to datadump the agency so guys like you could spend their free time scanning every document hoping to find something.

Datadump != whistleblower

Once you learn that, the rest of your stuff might make some sense!

(oh, and post held for moderation… because Mike doesn’t like my opinion!)

FM Hilton (profile) says:

The simple answer

Kerry is probably in his last job. After this, he gets to do anything he wants, but he does want to be remembered by everyone in Washington as a ‘team player’.

Which means in essence, he will never admit that Snowden was a whistleblower, or even right to do what he did.

That’s against the rules of Washington. You never make your boss look bad.

And so, Kerry will toe the company line. “Snowden is a traitor and he should be tried for it.”

That’s public. What he thinks privately is another matter, one which we’ll never hear about.

I rather like to think he’s smarter than that-and he would actually agree that Snowden is a hero, but not loudly.

Anonymous Coward says:

A “whistleblower”? To some degree, perhaps, but via a mechanism that under the circumstances is highly questionable.

What about “traitor”? Some of what has been disclosed has nothing to do with whistleblowing and undermines longstanding and legitimate intelligence activities. Only one living in a parallel universe dedicated to utopian ideals would laud such activity. In these circumstances “whistleblower”? Definitely not. “Traitor”? The jury is out, but it is not looking like a nomination to sainthood is in his future.

FM HIlton says:

Re: Repeating the same old lies

A traitor is:
“3. One who violates his allegiance and betrays his country; one guilty of treason; one who, in breach of trust, delivers his country to an enemy, or yields up any fort or place intrusted to his defense, or surrenders an army or body of troops to the enemy, unless when vanquished; also, one who takes arms and levies war against his country; or one who aids an enemy in conquering his country.”

Now, according to this actual and real definition, Snowden is not a traitor. He did not profit from his activities, and they have nothing to do with longstanding or legitimate intelligence activities.

Unless you consider spying on your friends, neighbors, and colleagues a legitimate action. What did he surrender to which enemy? The American public as the enemy?

I’d call the NSA’s actions illegal, but that’s just me. Also the matter of the Constitution happens to be involved.

He might not be a hero, but what he did was a damned sight better than what the NSA is doing-plus a lot more noble and moral. At least he sleeps better at night.

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