Edward Snowden Charged With Espionage By US Government

from the and-off-we-go dept

This isn't a huge surprise, but the Washington Post is reporting that US federal prosecutors have filed a sealed criminal complaint against Edward Snowden charging him with espionage under the Espionage Act, along with theft and conversion of government property -- and have asked Hong Kong authorities to detain him. Just this morning, we were discussing the Obama administration's war on whistleblowers, prosecuting six different whistleblowers under the Espionage Act, twice the number of all other presidential administrations combined. Now we're up to number seven apparently. Update: The complaint has been unsealed (also embedded below).

Did Snowden break the law? Possibly -- but charging him with espionage is ridiculous, just as it has been ridiculous in many of these cases. Snowden wasn't doing this to "aid the enemy" but to alert the American public to the things that the administration itself had been publicly misleading to downright untruthful about. His actions have kicked off an important discussion and debate over surveillance society and how far it has gone today. That's not espionage. If he was doing espionage, he would have sold those secrets off to a foreign power and lived a nice life somewhere else. To charge him with espionage is insane.

In terms of process, the Washington Post explains:
By filing a criminal complaint, prosecutors have a legal basis to make the request of the authorities in Hong Kong. Prosecutors now have 60 days to file an indictment, probably also under seal, and can then move to have Snowden extradited from Hong Kong for trial in the United States.

Snowden, however, can fight the U.S. effort to have him extradited in the courts in Hong Kong. Any court battle is likely to reach Hong Kong's highest court and could last many months, lawyers in the United States and Hong Kong said.
It also notes that while the US and Hong Kong have an extradition treaty, there is an exception for "political offenses."

While this certainly was not unexpected, it's still a disappointing move from the administration. The crackdown on whistleblowers does not make the US look strong. It makes our government look weak, petty and vindictive in the face of actual transparency. It's shameful.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 4:25pm

    Under seal? Yah, right, can't have the public knowing what the particulars are.

    This whole thing is going to be a kangaroo court if they ever get their hands on him.

    Obama has abused the Espionage Act to the point it is worthless for the original intent it was to be used for. Snowden did not aid the enemy. Snowden told the public what it's government refuses to acknowledge; that it is breaking the spirit of our laws. The embarrassment factor is not aiding the enemy. The government would not have to worry about embarrassment were it not continually doing things against it's citizens best interests.

     

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  2.  
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    Rekrul, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 4:29pm

    Obama is the biggest enemy to the United States.

     

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  3.  
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    Jake, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 4:30pm

    They don't seriously think he's still in Hong Kong, do they?

     

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  4.  
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    Jay (profile), Jun 21st, 2013 @ 4:30pm

    Of course he was aiding the enemy. If the enemy is the American public, and for that matter, the rest of the world.

     

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  5.  
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    CK20XX, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 4:31pm

    Re:

    Snowden DID aid the enemy though. The enemy is the United States citizens.

     

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  6.  
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    Nigel (profile), Jun 21st, 2013 @ 4:33pm

    this gives "Get the fuck off my lawn" an entirely new meaning.

    Nigel

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 4:37pm

    Extradition versus deportation

    From p.2 of the Washington Post article (linked above):
    Snowden, however, can fight the extradition effort in the courts in Hong Kong.
    But, as other articles have pointed out in recent weeks, extradition is not the only option the US has here.

    An article in USA Today quoted a former FBI official saying that the US has the option of revoking Snowden's passport, and requesting that Hong Kong deport him back to the US.


    U.S. explores criminal charges against Snowden”, by Kevin Johnson and Zach Coleman, USA Today, June 10, 2013

    Tom Fuentes, a former FBI assistant director who once headed the bureau's international division, said that authorities essentially have two options in seeking Snowden's arrest and return to the United States: a revocation of his U.S. passport or extradition.

    Both options, Fuentes said, would require U.S. authorities to first file criminal charges against the leak suspect and secure the cooperation of Hong Kong officials.

    To revoke Snowden's passport, the Justice Department would have to issue a criminal complaint and present it to the State Department for purposes of voiding the suspect's passport. Notice of the revocation, meaning that the suspect would then be illegally in the country, would be sent to Hong Kong authorities who could then deport him back to the U.S.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 4:41pm

    Re: Extradition versus deportation

    I'm sure with either option his next step is to request political asylum.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 4:41pm

    The filing of espionage charges and the pressure to extradite him from HK assures that he can not stay there. Given that he can not stay in HK or return to the US the only places he has a chance of evading jail is in a country that is not frendly to the US. Do I hear a big welcome to China, North Korea, Mongolia, Russia, or the Ukraine?

     

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  10.  
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    David, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 4:43pm

    Multiple amendments trampled

    Even Kafka would turn over in his grave at the U.S. government's prosecution of someone who blew the whistle on First and Fourth Amendment violations -- and the secret charges against him, violating in addition the Sixth Amendment. Now we can see how easily fascism came to Europe.

     

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  11.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jun 21st, 2013 @ 4:45pm

    Re:

    Or Iceland. He's even got a private jet waiting.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 4:46pm

    Re:

    Hong Kong IS China although the local government enjoys much more freedom than the rest of China due to the fact that clamping down on it would be a political nightmare for the Chinese government.

     

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  13.  
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    Roman, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 4:58pm

    unless

    "Snowden wasn't doing this to 'aid the enemy' but to alert the American public to the things that the administration itself had been publicly misleading to downright untruthful about."

    The only conclusion that can be reached here is that the Obama regime views the American people as the enemy.

     

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  14.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jun 21st, 2013 @ 5:04pm

    Re:

    I hear New Zealand is nice this time of year...

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 5:08pm

    Hey Mikey,

    Does it just not occur to you that since you're making a legal claim such as your claim here that this is not espionage that you should back it up with an actual discussion of the law?

    Seriously. That's fine if you don't think it's espionage. But it's bullshit to just arrive at that conclusion based on faith rather than looking at the actual law and doing the analysis.

    Can you actually back up your assertion, or is this just more faith-based FUD?

    I'd love to see your legal basis for saying this is not espionage. And if you have no such basis, I'd to see you admit that you don't.

    But we know that you can't be that honest.

    Besides, you’re too busy blocking TOR exit nodes, desperately trying to keep anonymous dissidents from criticizing you, right?

     

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

  16.  
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    crashoverride, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 5:10pm

    This is clearly not a whistleblower case. As the facts continue to come out its pretty obvious that Snowden was a pawn of the Chinese government. He was fed documents by the Chinese government in order to create such an embarrassment and distraction as to to prevent Obama from discussing Chinese spying efforts as planned. Their are many publically stating how one of the USA most gaurded and top secret programs was not available to such a low level tech a 29 year old dropout.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 5:11pm

    The NSA is furiously sifting through information to get some dirt on any of the Supreme Court Justices in Hong Kong, so they can get a ruling in favor of the US. The NSA will show them what American justice is all about.


    Also: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/21/us-usa-security-snowden-iceland-idUSBRE95K0WT20130621

     

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  18. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 5:12pm

    Hey Mikey,

    Does it just not occur to you that since you're making a legal claim such as your claim here that this is not espionage that you should back it up with an actual discussion of the law?

    Seriously. That's fine if you don't think it's espionage. But it's bullshit to just arrive at that conclusion based on faith rather than looking at the actual law and doing the analysis.

    Can you actually back up your assertion, or is this just more faith-based FUD?

    I'd love to see your legal basis for saying this is not espionage. And if you have no such basis, I'd to see you admit that you don't.

    But we know that you can't be that honest.

    Besides, you’re too busy blocking TOR exit nodes, desperately trying to keep anonymous dissidents from criticizing you, right?

     

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

  19.  
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    Nigel (profile), Jun 21st, 2013 @ 5:29pm

    Re:

    You are not a dissident you are a complete pussy. There is a big difference.

    Niel

     

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  20.  
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    The United States of America, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 5:29pm

    It was fun while it lasted.

     

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

  21.  
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    Keroberos (profile), Jun 21st, 2013 @ 5:33pm

    Re: Re:

    This is so true.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 5:46pm

    Re: Re:

    +1

    Good one Nigel


    Also, I wanted to say, on this thread:

    Charges of Spying!?!

    Who's spying on Whom???

    The charge of spying just oozes with irony.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 5:52pm

    Re:

    So was Bush. It is the government as a system that is at fault.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Brandt Hardin, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 5:55pm

    A Patriot

    Snowden is a hero and a patriot in my book. We live in an age where the civil liberties our forefathers fought so hard for are being eroded by the day. Freedom of Press, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Assembly are mere ghostly images of their original intent. We’ve woken up to an Orwellian Society of Fear where anyone is at the mercy of being labeled a terrorist for standing up for rights we took for granted just over a decade ago. Read about how we’re waging war against ourselves at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/09/living-in-society-of-fear-ten-years.html

     

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  25.  
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    A Fellow Patriot, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 6:01pm

    Its time to end this.

    If they bring him to America, it is our duty to free this man (by force if necessary). I am a Husband, Father to three and a Pastor. I cannot in good conscious continue to see this country go down this path. These revelations are a threat to ALL American's. The last two administrations have violated the Constitution and bring injustice to any rule of law this once great nation had. It's not enough for these folks to be impeached or even unelected. ALL of them that were involved need to be brought on charges for violating their oaths of office (which is considered a treasonous act). This is a sad day for America.

     

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  26.  
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    Eponymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 6:06pm

    I guess this administration's motto should be the reverse of the cliche:

    'If you want to hide everything, you must be doing it all wrong'

     

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  27.  
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    Mike Brown (profile), Jun 21st, 2013 @ 6:14pm

    Re:

    What, they didn't have dictionaries where you went to school?

    See the problem here is that we seem to be living in a culture where it's okay to alter the meaning of words to suit nefarious purposes, like trying to make trumped up charges stick. Copying DVD's or what have you is "stealing," pointing out that our government is violating the Constitution is "espionage." Pretty soon, disagreeing with moronic posts like yours is "hate speech"?

     

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  28.  
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    Eponymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 6:20pm

    Re:

    Has it not occurred to you that these stories are out there as a character assassination to discredit what he has released by making the story about him and not the NSA spying programs? Also how does him being a dropout merit any type of impeachment on his credibility for the fact that he was hired by the CIA, the NSA, and then Booz Allen Hamilton contradicts the implication of his being a "29 year old [loser]" you try to make. Either that, or if he really is a loser you unintentionally bring up a valid point that our covert agencies and contractors are idiots for hiring someone of his calibre and set themselves up for this fiasco. Either way you're not really making the valid point you think you're making!

     

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  29.  
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    Alana (profile), Jun 21st, 2013 @ 6:25pm

    Re: Re:

    Nice and FREAKING COLD.

    It's winter over here!

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 6:29pm

    Re: Re:

    Iceland
    Not likely:
    1. How is he going to get there?
    2. The country is to small to resist US demands to turn him over. If they do not comply a company of marines is sufficient for persuasion.

    HK can resist because it is now part of China with the additional feature that HK is not under Chinese law unless China wants HK to be which in this case China may be very content to have plausible denial-ability. If he becomes too hot to handle in HK China can always send him to Mongolia where again China would have denial-ability.

    Under any circumstances though he is not returning to the US as to do so equals sound proof box in a psychological ward for the rest of his life. Better for him to defect and spill everything than come back.

     

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  31.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 21st, 2013 @ 6:36pm

    Updated with complaint

    The complaint has been unsealed. We've added it to the post. Not much info in there, obviously. The expected indictment document will be where the really interesting info is.

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 6:55pm

    The definitions of espionage and treason

    "Espionage is the crime of spying on the federal government and/or transferring state secrets on behalf of a foreign country. If the other country is an enemy, espionage may be treason, which involves aiding an enemy. The term applies particularly to the act of collecting military, industrial, and political data about one nation for the benefit of another. "

    "Espionage is a part of intelligence activity, which is also concerned with analysis of diplomatic reports, newspapers, periodicals, technical publications, commercial statistics, and radio and television broadcasts. In recent years, espionage activity has been greatly aided by technological advances, especially in the areas of radio signal interception and high-altitude photography."


    Reference: http://definitions.uslegal.com/e/espionage/

    The United States does more espionage in its' diplomatic missions than Edward Snowden ever did.

    They're charging the wrong guy with the wrong crime. I'm sure there are a few others we could point at with the far more serious crime of treason, as this definition goes:

    "A person commits the crime of treason if he levies war against his state or country or sides to its enemies, giving them aid and comfort. Treason is a crime under federal and some state laws. Treason is made a high crime, punishable by death, under federal law by Article III, section 3 of the U.S. Constitution: "Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort."

    Under this article of the Constitution, no person shall be convicted of treason, unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court. Treason requires overt acts such as giving sensitive government security secrets to other countries, even if such countries are not enemies. Treason can include spying on behalf of a foreign power or divulging military secrets.

    The majority of states outlaw treason in their constitutions or statutes similar to those in the U.S. Constitution. There have been only two successful prosecutions for treason on the state level, that of Thomas Dorr in Rhode Island and that of John Brown in Virginia."


    Snowden is a whistleblower, not a traitor, but the government can't understand legal stuff. God only knows if they've ever read the Constitution, either.

     

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  33. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 7:20pm

    Re:

    Hey Mikey,

    Does it just not occur to you that since you're making a legal claim such as your claim here that this is not espionage that you should back it up with an actual discussion of the law?

    Seriously. That's fine if you don't think it's espionage. But it's bullshit to just arrive at that conclusion based on faith rather than looking at the actual law and doing the analysis.

    Can you actually back up your assertion, or is this just more faith-based FUD?

    I'd love to see your legal basis for saying this is not espionage. And if you have no such basis, I'd to see you admit that you don't.

    But we know that you can't be that honest.

    Besides, you’re too busy blocking TOR exit nodes, desperately trying to keep anonymous dissidents from criticizing you, right?


    Sorry. Mike's not "doing journalism" just now. As you noted, it is more faith-based FUD. Just like how Aaron Swartz was innocent, Fat Bastard committed no crimes and Bradley Manning did no wrong. This guy is in deep shit. If he isn't already at the Chinese embassy learning Mandarin right now, he's fucked.

     

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  34. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 7:22pm

    Re: Its time to end this.

    A pastor advocating freeing him by force? Where are you a pastor, the Church of Scientology?

     

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  35. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 7:25pm

    Re: Re:

    You are not a dissident you are a complete pussy. There is a big difference.

    Niel


    At least he can spell his own name. And by the way, calling someone a pussy from another continent is hardly an act of courage.

     

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  36.  
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    steell (profile), Jun 21st, 2013 @ 7:27pm

    Stop the Spying!

    I started a White House Petition to end the spying at https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/stop-spying-american-citizens-governmental-agencies-and-th eir-foreign-counterparts/chsSJxgQ

    It's not much, but it's a start.

    Do what you believe is right.

     

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  37. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    horse with no name, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 7:33pm

    benefits

    Whatever benefit that exists in releasing this information to the American public (the whistleblower theory) is lost in the amount that it helps and aids the enemy.

    The benefits to the American people are questionable. In simple terms, much of it doesn't matter, much of it is spectacular but legal, and most of the rest of it leads to congress critters claiming they didn't know what they approved and heard about already.

    For the enemy, it's confirmation of the methods and systems being used by NSA, a good solid list of things that the NSA claims to have heard, as well as a nice warning to the enemy not to use certain things in the clear that they perhaps though was safe before.

    Benefit to the enemies of the US outweighs the benefits to the US public by far. Hence, the charge of espionage.

    As for extradition, it is very likely that the US will revoke Snowdon's passport (they can do that) and Hong Kong of whereever he is holed up will pretty much have to arrest and detain him for not having a valid travel document, and likely expel him from the country on a flight to the US without an extradition hearing.

    His only hope is to join the self-exiled Assange in an embassy somewhere. Then you know he's guilty as they come, because like Assange, he just doesn't want to have to face justice.

    (day 5 of my comments being held for moderation... the Techdirt Censorship campaign continues... and NO, my IP isn't a TOR exit).

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 7:37pm

    Re: The definitions of espionage and treason

    Furthermore, since the United States consists of it's people rather than it's government, an reasonable argument can be made that the unconstitutional actions of those within the NSA taken against the people of the United States could constitue treason itself.

     

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  39.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jun 21st, 2013 @ 7:47pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Considering the 'heat' he's facing if taken back to the US, I'm sure NZ would be quite nice in comparison.

     

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  40.  
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    JMT (profile), Jun 21st, 2013 @ 7:49pm

    Re:

    "Does it just not occur to you that since you're making a legal claim such as your claim here that this is not espionage that you should back it up with an actual discussion of the law?"

    I don't see Mike making a legal claim, I see a statement of
    common frickin' sense, something you seem to be drastically lacking in.

    And ironically you cannot offer any argument, legal or otherwise, against what Mike's said. Nothing of any substance, just personal attacks as usual. Pathetic.

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 7:52pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Dude, if he were right in front of me I'd still call him a pussy. That doesn't make anyone brave, it's just pointing out the man has no balls.

     

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  42.  
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    corwin155 (profile), Jun 21st, 2013 @ 8:09pm

    lies

    The NSA lies to congress , ever American.
    and this guy tells the truth and he is a terrorist, spy and baby raping commie.
    are we charging head of the NSA for telling lie's to congress.
    No
    Sieg Hiel OBMAMA
    better pledge to the new fascists now before some one in NSA says im a threat to united police state

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 8:18pm

    Re: Re:

    Did Snowden break the law? Possibly -- but charging him with espionage is ridiculous, just as it has been ridiculous in many of these cases. Snowden wasn't doing this to "aid the enemy" but to alert the American public to the things that the administration itself had been publicly misleading to downright untruthful about. His actions have kicked off an important discussion and debate over surveillance society and how far it has gone today. That's not espionage. If he was doing espionage, he would have sold those secrets off to a foreign power and lived a nice life somewhere else. To charge him with espionage is insane.

    If you can't see Masnick claiming that the charge of espionage is baseless in the above passage, I suggest you get it translated into your native language for further study.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 8:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And I'm pointing out that Nigel looks pretty fucking weak too (as usual).

     

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  45.  
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    AlphaCrucisRadio, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 8:56pm

    CFAA violation

    I think what they will ultimately get him on in the end is violation of the CFAA. They could make the case that of "exceeding authorized access", by plugging thumb drives, or whatever external device onto the computers and downloaded them.

    And if he stays in Hong Kong or goes to Iceland, I think that is the one charge they will use to extradite him, even if have to give up the espionage charge

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 9:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Snowmen on the other hand has gigantic industrial sized titanium balls and apparently more integrity in his little finger than the entire government of the United States. Aiding the enemy? Specifically, what enemy was he aiding and how exactly did he aid them?

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 9:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Damned auto-correct.

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 9:16pm

    Re: CFAA violation

    What about the NSA exceeding authorized access of domestic communications data? If you really want to bring the CFAA into it then they don't get a pass on claiming they "unwittingly gathered some data" that they weren't supposed to. They exceeded authorized access and should go to jail, directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200.

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 9:40pm

    Re: Re:

    I'm not seeing a whole lot of difference in this regard.

     

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  50.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jun 21st, 2013 @ 9:43pm

    Did they forget to release the indictments of the architects of this spying in the first place?
    Constitution, Bill of Rights, Laws all have been violated by deed, word and action...
    But the man who brought proof is the bad guy, not the people who are violating everything they claim to be protecting.

     

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  51.  
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    The Baker, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 10:25pm

    Snowden wasn't doing this to "aid the enemy" but to alert the American public t...

    Who is the biggest threat to government status quo??
    That is their enemy.

     

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  52.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2013 @ 10:51pm

    Re: Re: CFAA violation

    I think the CFAA charge could be used in order to make a deal with Hong Kong, or anyhwhere else he might flee. I think in the end they might make a deal to drop the espionage charges, which would make it easier to extradite him, and get him on CFAA.

    You watch, prosecutors will end up, in the end, making a deal not to persue espionage charges, in order to get him back.

     

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  53.  
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    Seegras (profile), Jun 22nd, 2013 @ 3:08am

    Re:

    I wouldn't say Obama; he's certainly one of the bigger enemies of the people of the United States; but there's a whole lot of bureaucrats, policy-makers and people in the government (and people formerly in the government) that qualify just as much. Dick Cheney and Henry Kissinger come to mind..

     

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  54.  
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    Seegras (profile), Jun 22nd, 2013 @ 3:10am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah, I also can't see the political difference between George W. Bush junior and this Obama Bush. New Bush, same as the old Bush.

     

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  55.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2013 @ 3:43am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Iceland resisted the IMF and the UN for many years over its sovereign debts. I'm pretty sure they can hold off the Keystone Kops monstrosity the US calls "Government".

     

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  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2013 @ 4:05am

    To convey information with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the armed forces of the United States or to promote the success of its enemies. This was punishable by death or by imprisonment for not more than 30 years or both.

    that sounds like what he did.

    It's nice Masnick think he knows the law, but really HE DOES NOT..

     

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  57.  
    identicon
    Doug Hayden, Jun 22nd, 2013 @ 6:38am

    The government *sees* the populace as the enemy....

    ...which is why they feel justified in charging this man with espionage...

     

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  58.  
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    The Real Michael, Jun 22nd, 2013 @ 7:22am

    Re: Re: Its time to end this.

    The alternative is to sit by and do nothing while our government has its way with Snowden (by force, ironically enough) and the abuse of our rights continues until we're left with no other resort.

     

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  59.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Jun 22nd, 2013 @ 7:26am

    Re: Re: The definitions of espionage and treason

    They swore an oath to uphold the Constitution and are willfully violating that oath. These people aren't imbeciles -- they know full well what they're doing is treasonous.

     

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  60.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Jun 22nd, 2013 @ 7:41am

    Re:

    If our government were only going after our enemies then why would they need to violate every American's 4th Amendment right in order to do so? Only once we assume that the American people are the enemy does the logic fit the equation. Snowden exposed government treason against the public, whom they're supposed to work for and protect, not violate, and now they're out to get him.

     

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  61.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2013 @ 7:59am

    Where is the Fourth Estate?

    It is my impression that our government was set up with a certain balance between the branches; Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. The founders also felt it necessary and proper for there to be one more checkpoint in the system, the Fourth Estate, or in other words the press. They felt it so necessary that the press was pointed to specifically in the First Amendment.

    It appears to me that our Fourth Estate has totally abdicated their constitutionally protected RESPONSIBILITY. We can argue (possibly forever) as to why they have abdicated this responsibility. Is it money, political pressure, threat of repercussion from agents of the Government, something else, all of the above?

    I might point out that not all the press has so abdicated, merely the mainstream press. For me, this issue (along with Bradley Manning and Wikileaks, and the many many other instances of government doing the doublespeak twisting and turning of law to suit their needs) should be the MAIN topic of conversation in the press. ALL of the press. This coverage should not stop until the issues are resolved to the satisfaction of the PEOPLE of the United States.

     

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  62.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2013 @ 8:17am

    Re: Snowden wasn't doing this to "aid the enemy" but to alert the American public t...

    then why did he take it to a UK newspaper ??

     

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  63.  
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    jeffm325 (profile), Jun 22nd, 2013 @ 8:19am

    NSA has Quantum Computers

    "....once quantum computers go into widespread use by the NSA, the CIA, Google, etc., there will be no more secrets kept from the government...." excerpted from here:
    http://www.naturalnews.com/040859_Skynet_quantum_computing_D-Wave_Systems.html

     

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  64.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2013 @ 8:24am

    I do not see a charge of "Aid the enemy" in his charge sheet..

    Stealing Government property

    Unauthorised communication of National defence information

    Wilful communication of classified info to an unauthorised person.

    It is going to be hard, (no impossible) to find him innocent on any of those charges.

    Clearly he DID those things, we all know it, so what is his defence going to be.. ?

    Saying you did it for the public good is only mitigation, but not a defence. Here he has no defence, unless he wants to claim insanity.

     

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  65.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2013 @ 8:31am

    " Snowden wasn't doing this to "aid the enemy" but to alert the American public to the things that the administration itself had been publicly misleading to downright untruthful about."

    they are not charging him (yet) for that they are charging him for theft of Govm't property,

    Unauthorised communication

    and giving classified information who does not have the authority to have it.

     

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  66. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2013 @ 8:33am

    Government does not have to prove "Aid the enemy"

    They just have to prove he stole it, and that he made it available to other people, and other unauthorised persons.

    They DO NOT have to prove "aiding the enemy" so once again Masnick is wrong.. (How can a GOD be wrong ?? )

     

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  67.  
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    harbingerofdoom (profile), Jun 22nd, 2013 @ 8:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    you arent seeing a difference because there IS NO difference.

    opposing sides of the same coin

     

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  68.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2013 @ 8:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Its time to end this.

    Maybe it is time for states to exercise their dual sovereignty and step forward to offer asylum from the federal government to him. Obviously, this sort of gesture would be purely, a politically symbolic statement from the states about the overreach of the federal government but if it were to happen, it could be a powerful statement by the people.

     

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

  69.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2013 @ 9:04am

    Re: Re: Re: The definitions of espionage and treason

    Exactly.

     

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

  70.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2013 @ 9:09am

    Re: Re: Snowden wasn't doing this to "aid the enemy" but to alert the American public t...

    The Guardian is a news source with subsidiaries in BOTH the US and the UK so to say it is a UK newspaper is a little misleading. Even if you take your position at face value, since when is the UK "the enemy?"

     

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  71.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2013 @ 9:18am

    Re:

    Furthermore when a law passed by Congress violates the Constitution the courts have but two choices. Strike down the law or amend the Constitution to allow the law to persist. However, neither has happened because the government claims sovereign immunity or national security in order to kill the case before it can ever make it through the court system. THEY.KNOW they are violating the Constitution and should it be allowed to progress, the law you speak of will likely be struck down. Conflicts in the law are not supposed to be allowed to persist, yet that is exactly what is happening here.

     

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  72.  
    identicon
    DP, Jun 22nd, 2013 @ 11:23am

    Vote with your feet

    Well......you lot over the pond DID vote for this load of tossers (as we say here in the UK). Before anybody tells me that I also voted for OUR equally inept so-called politicians, I have never voted for anyone in my life, so it must have been everybody else!

     

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  73.  
    identicon
    Gary Mont, Jun 22nd, 2013 @ 12:41pm

    NSA Eavesdropping

    "...Snowden wasn't doing this to "aid the enemy" but to alert the American public..."

    It is obvioulsy assumed that "the enemy" these whistleblowers are presumed to be aiding, is not "the American Public", of course.

    However, the charges being laid against all of those who "...alert the American public..." say otherwise.

    If the American Public is indeed the enemy of the corporate state currently ruling America, then these charges are indeed appropriate.

     

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  74.  
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    Nigel (profile), Jun 22nd, 2013 @ 1:44pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Its called a typo and I use my real name when I say something pleasant or otherwise. I can stand by what I say. Not so much for our fact free detractors around here.

    Nigel

     

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  75.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Jun 23rd, 2013 @ 5:43am

    Re: Re:

    Courts don't amend the constitution. What they do is say, "Nah, that doesn't violate the constitution", which is what allows the law to persist.

     

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  76.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Jun 23rd, 2013 @ 6:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Its time to end this.

    What would that accomplish besides the division of our nation by region? Remember, united we stand, divided we fall. The people need to stand TOGETHER and demand change in government, because they're the ones causing all this trouble to begin with, first by violating our rights in secrecy and then by targeting citizens who expose their dirty deeds.

     

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  77.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2013 @ 7:16am

    Re: Re: Re:

    They don't amend it by writing new laws. Only Congress can do that. They declare which law is applicable effectively nullifying the other.

     

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  78.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2013 @ 7:20am

    Re:

    There is no theft. They still have it. He just copied it. That is infringement, not theft. The theft of government property charge is bogus. If the law said infringement on government property was a crime and they charged him with that, maybe but it doesn't and they didn't so it's still bogus.

     

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  79.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2013 @ 7:26am

    Re: Re: Re:

    And as the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, it is highly unlikely that a lesser federal law would be allowed to nullify the 4th amendment which means exactly what I said. If these cases were allowed to proceed, the courts would likely strike those laws down as unconstitutional, and THEY KNOW IT which is why they do everything in their power to kill the cases every time one is brought.

     

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  80.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2013 @ 7:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Its time to end this.

    It would be a legal statement by the people of those states in much the same way as many states have passed marijuana legalization laws and have publicly stated that they are not going to devote state resources to enforce the federal statute in direct contradiction to the federal laws against it.

     

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  81.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2013 @ 7:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Its time to end this.

    I agree that the people need to stand together to demand a change in the federal government. I was merely speaking of using dual sovereignty and states legal systems as a means to make a powerful statement of those demands. Imagine if several states came out and publicly stated that the federal government would receive NO assistance whatsoever from state or local law enforcement should he be found within the borders of that state as officially from a state perspective he had been granted asylum in that state according to the will of the people of that state and their statutory laws. I'm not saying that they would devote resources to opposing the federal government, just provide no assistance.

     

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  82.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2013 @ 9:48am

    He's run away to Russia, trying to get to Cuba or thereabouts.

    He's screwed,, but it will take much longer for that to happen now.

     

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  83.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2013 @ 12:55pm

    Re: Vote with your feet

    If you didn't vote (or stand for election yourself) you mut have got the government you deserve.

     

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  84.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2013 @ 1:46pm

    Re:

    I heard he was heading to the Ecuadorian embassy.....

     

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  85.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2013 @ 1:49pm

    Re: Extradition versus deportation

    You forgot option 6, they have some secret drones they could deploy!

     

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  86.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Jun 23rd, 2013 @ 10:27pm

    Re: Extradition versus deportation

    Actually this idea oabout passports is a myth. It is NOT illegal to be inside any country without a passport if you had entered the country legally in the first place (Snowden has). If a passport is revoked it only means you can not enter via international passport controls another country though you can still apply to enter as a refugee, asylum seeker, etc etc. A passport is only a identifying document that is easiest to use.

    The problem here is that passports are not what people think they are, they are only a part of the process of entering, staying and traversing multiple territories. Other things like Visa's especially also come into play.

    The USA in this instance is basically going to find themselves pissing up a rope, and show themselves if they revoke his passport that they are vindictive and also that legally he cannot then enter the USA due to his USA passport being revoked.. oops.. so deportation from HK can not even occur.

    Actually I suspect with the amount of international outrage from all levels that the leaking of these documents has driven towards the US Govt that asking for extradition from the HK Govt might be the least of the USG's problems, especially since the treaty can be overridden not just by the 'political asylum' defense but also directly by the intervention of the Chinese Government itself... which is probably more likely. Personally I'd recommend the guy start talking to the Chinese govt and offer his services there is no way he will ever be able to enter the USA or any so called 'friendly to the USA' nations anymore ever and it seems based on current norms that China might be a place with strangely more freedom and better opportunities for him.

     

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  87.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Jun 23rd, 2013 @ 10:35pm

    Re: NSA has Quantum Computers

    Quantum computing has been around for about a decade, quantum tunneling for networks about half that time. Quantum computing for decryption and other cryptography aren't as good as you and other people think they are and still need over a million years to decrypt high end encryption systems (and are stuffed on one time pass systems) .

     

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  88.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jun 24th, 2013 @ 3:27am

    Re: The definitions of espionage and treason

    "Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort."

    Considering the United States exists because of their people and not in spite of them we could conclude that Obama and the current administrator fit under the definition of treason as they are waging war against the American people. Right?

     

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  89.  
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    Niall (profile), Jun 24th, 2013 @ 4:38am

    Re: Extradition versus deportation

    That sounds like a rather dodgy way to end-run around the extradition process. Of course, had he remained in Hong Kong, they could have found a way to keep him there legally which would have invalidated the US efforts to cheat the rule of law.

     

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  90.  
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    Niall (profile), Jun 24th, 2013 @ 4:41am

    Re: Re:

    I bet he gets all his 'facts' from Faux or Free Republic. Certainly sounds like he's hitting all the talking points on the checklist.

     

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  91.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2013 @ 4:43am

    Re: Re: NSA has Quantum Computers

    Never mind the fact that encryption techniques keep getting better and harder to break as well.

     

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  92.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), Jun 24th, 2013 @ 4:44am

    Re: Re:

    Well, with fact- and Constitution-free louts like yourself overpopulating your fascist hole of a country, I'm not surprised. Your granddaddy who fought a war against dicks like you must be spinning in his grave. I know mine should be!

     

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

  93.  
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    Niall (profile), Jun 24th, 2013 @ 4:47am

    Re: Re: Re:

    It's called a personal opinion, idiot. He's allowed to have them, by a crapped-on document called the First Amendment to the US Constitution.

    Show us where Mike claims he has legal standing to make a legal statement on the issue and your whinings might actually be intelligible.

    Not that it matters, because whatever he says - even if he says the sky is blue - you'll contradict him.

     

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  94.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), Jun 24th, 2013 @ 5:30am

    Re: benefits

    Don't spam then.

    Oh look, I responded to a 'held for moderation' comment. Effective censorship? Not really.

    Espionage is not 'benefit to enemies of the US' more than benefit to the people, or else we could just charge Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld with aiding and abetting Al Qaeda by acting as the world's biggest recruitment agency for them. Espionage is a specific crime - calling this espionage is as accurate as calling infringement 'theft'.

    Also, hiding from a corrupt government is now 'admitting guilt'? What exactly is Assange 'guilty' of? So you believe that the US should never offer (political) asylum to anyone as they are 'guilty' back home, especially because they fled to you for safety? Riiight.

     

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  95.  
    icon
    Niall (profile), Jun 24th, 2013 @ 5:33am

    Re: Re: Snowden wasn't doing this to "aid the enemy" but to alert the American public t...

    Wasn't it an American journalist at the Guardian?
    Isn't the Guardian available online in the US?

    And tell me... how much have the US media been lapdogs of whichever party is in power? It wasn't US media investigating the falseness of claims of WMD. They all rolled over and said "kick us, Bush, and send our sons and daughters off to die for Haliburton".

     

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


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