NSA Defenders Reject Appeal For Clemency That Ed Snowden Never Made; But Here's Why US Should Give Him Amnesty

from the get-it-figured-out dept

So, the AP and a few other news sources this weekend wrote articles talking about how US government officials, including the White House and the heads of the two Congressional intelligence committees, Senator Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Mike Rogers had all rejected Ed Snowden’s “plea for clemency.” Given the players, that’s not too surprising, but there’s one big problem. Snowden never made a plea for clemency. So the whole thing is bogus. It appears to be based on a bunch of bad reporting, starting with the AP, who said the following:

Snowden made the plea in a letter given to a German politician and released Friday. In his one-page typed letter, he asks for clemency for charges over allegedly leaking classified information about the NSA to the news media. “”Speaking the truth is not a crime,” Snowden wrote.

Okay. Of course, since that letter was released, we can read the whole thing, and if you can find where he made a plea for clemency, let me know. It’s not very long. And, there’s nothing in there even remotely asking for clemency. Or anything like it. It’s just Snowden pointing out, accurately, that “to tell the truth is not a crime,” and we need more truth telling from the government.

But, of course, Feinstein and Rogers couldn’t resist some grandstanding on all of this. Feinstein’s response was particularly funny because she said that Snowden could have just reported the issue directly to her committee, where they would have buried it. Remember, Feinstein and the Senate intelligence committee have been arguing pretty much all along that everything that Snowden revealed is all perfectly legal — even as the public and many officials are outraged by what happened. Anyone who thinks that Snowden reporting it would have done anything other than hindered any future job prospects for Ed Snowden hasn’t been paying attention.

That said, Yochai Benkler, has a great piece over at The Guardian arguing why the US should grant Snowden amnesty, which is slightly different from clemency (which, again, he never asked for). Amusingly, Benkler uses the example of Congress in 2008 giving telcos retroactive immunity for their actions in helping the NSA as a model for how Congress can give Snowden similar amnesty, noting (correctly) that we already have a model of this in place. As for why? Well, considering how many things even our own government is claiming Snowden has revealed that show the NSA has gone too far certainly suggest that his leaks have been useful in exposing massive government wrongdoing by some, and terrible incompetence or ignorance by others.

Snowden hasn’t asked for clemency, but if the US government is smart, it should grant him amnesty, and get him involved in the process of cleaning up the mess that the NSA (not Snowden) has created.

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Comments on “NSA Defenders Reject Appeal For Clemency That Ed Snowden Never Made; But Here's Why US Should Give Him Amnesty”

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out_of_the_blue says:

HEY. I see a GENERAL amnesty coming. -- For the NSA.

“get him involved in the process of cleaning up the mess” — Here’s my guess at the end game (which actually leaves NSA entire, don’t get excited): deal worked out to “rehabilitate” Snowden, and after some tedious theater in Congress, everyone promises to be more careful next time; pardons and lack of indictment all round. (Then they all go party together on a Google barge, having put yet another over on the stupid US public.)

Anonymous Coward says:

The day they give anybody amnesty I will be surprised, mostly because anybody who found any faults and showed it was possible to do something wrong was persecuted some even may have been jailed for doing what they were told to do.

Red Cell

Lets face it those people in power today don’t have the balls to own up to their own shortcomings in public, which would be fine for private citizens not for public political figures in that case it is something to be abhorred and condemned.

Maybe a 12 steps program for burned politicians may help?!

Now if it was one of them, the story would be different.

Scooting the law

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Nor will there ever be.

The whole “We the people” was nothing but way to put out propaganda when the topic suited them. Nor is it the first to be ignored. Others that they really wanted to deal with didn’t always reach the required voting amount to be answered.

Believing this petition will be answered is akin to believing in magic fairy dust.

Violated (profile) says:

Amnesty for Snowden simply won’t happen when Obama loves his secret unaccountable Government that can get away with piles and piles of crap simply because they public don’t know.

So those people who leak secrets are the greatest threat to Obama’s secret Government where Obama only wants to see Snowden crucified to discourage others from doing the same.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You’re focusing things way too narrowly there, the problem is far more than just one individual, it’s the system itself, which has reached the point where it sees any threat to the status quo as a danger to be crushed, and will use, make or break any law to do so, with the excuse that it’s ‘for the greater good’.

Violated (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Had Obama been innocent then he would have welcomed Snowden exposing their law abuse but doing as he has only makes him King turd of this crap pile.

You do indeed have to wonder how unaccountable the Administration is these days when even Congress’s oversight committee were clueless as to the true operation of the NSA. So would the President do much better?

Well Congress is supposed to set the laws the Administration operates under, or more correctly abuses, meaning they should have the power to reign them in. That conclusion then makes me wonder if these members of congress actually know what they are doing.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Oh I’m not saying he’s innocent, far from it, but focusing on a person, rather than the system, distracts from the true scope of the problem, and makes them nothing more than a scapegoat, intentional or not, while the system carries on as usual.

He’s partly to blame to be sure, if for no other reason than willful ignorance about the problem, but the troubles are far more reaching than just his incompetence/corruption, and have been around and getting worse for far longer than he’s been sitting in the WH, so focusing too much on him is a case of ‘missing the forest for the trees’.

Anonymous Coward says:

it’s never gonna happen! the likes of Feinstein and Rogers, having been caught out and exposed, not just over what they have been up to but also as the type of people they are, are too embarrassed, like others in government, to ever give Snowden anything! he did nothing wrong! the ridiculous example from Feinstein of what he could have done has been spouted so many times as to be thin as tissue now. we all know where Snowden would be now, had he followed her course, locked up for a gazillion years, bankrupted and with a record as long as your arm with no chance of getting it expunged and no chance of a job either.
it’s such a shame that Feinstein cant be put in the same position as Snowden was and see what would happen to her. if sh thinks she would be treated differently, yeah, probably, but the word would be out and she would have to disappear!

Beech says:

Alternate Shocking Story

Local bully Biff McGerkin held a press conference today stating that schoolyard associate Jimmy Smith would not be forgiven for his heinous crime of tattling.

“I fully support an accountable administration of bullying in this school,” McGerkin stated, “but we can’t have these kinds of leaks. If Jimmy thought there was a problem with the requisitioning of lunch money from third parties he should have followed the abundant procedures in place to bring it up to me. Telling Ms. Lipinski about broke the oath Jimmy pinky swore to ‘Stop Snitchin’.’ His violation may have serious ramifications for the entire bullying complex and we can’t afford to turn a blind eye to it. We refuse to offer forgiveness based on his petty reasoning of ‘Doing the right thing.'”

In a further statement, McGerkin stated that he would pursue the maximum sentence against Jimmy, which could include a Swirlee for tattling, and a moderate to severe indian burn for aiding nerds.

Anonymous Coward says:

I think the whole thing started with Germany wanting Snowden to personally testify before their law makers. Snowden is pretty smart and it isn’t likely he will just come when Germany has extradition with the US. There was mention of guaranteeing him immunity to any requests and the possibility of demanding asylum once on German soil. This was the big reason Snowden was denied refuge in many countries.

US presence is strong all over Germany and he would be a fool to set foot in it. I also think a lot of this is the US hoping to give him ideas that won’t work.

Anonymous Coward says:

John F. Kennedy after the Bay of Pigs invasion fiasco public expressed his displeasure with the CIA and their double speak, all the way to creating new agencies and support that is where the SEAL’s come from.

Keith Alexander is probably the one who conceived and lobbied, but sure others share guilt in it that they approved of it and are allowed themselves to serve as doorknobs for the spooks.

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