Chilling Effects: James Clapper Tells Congress That Journalists Are Ed Snowden's 'Accomplices'

from the wtf? dept

While there have been some occasional nutty attempts to paint journalists reporting on the documents that Ed Snowden revealed as being somehow legally at risk for doing so, for the most part, US officials have recognized that we do respect the freedom of the press in this country. This has been in stark contrast to the UK, where a whole investigation is ongoing into The Guardian's role in reporting on the documents. However, that changed this morning, when Director of National Intelligence James Clapper appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee to deliver his "Worldwide Threat Assessment."

In his prepared statement, Clapper made it clear that he views the journalists who have copies of the documents as "accomplices" to Snowden -- who has been charged with violating the Espionage Act. As he said:
Snowden claims that he's won and that his mission is accomplished. If that is so, I call on him and his accomplices to facilitate the return of the remaining stolen documents that have not yet been exposed to prevent even more damage to U.S. security.
While some may claim that this is just a passing phrase, this is a written statement from James Clapper to Congress, meaning it was vetted many, many, many times, and the word choices are clear and specific. As Glenn Greenwald has noted, the implication is not at all subtle. The Obama administration has now officially stated that it views journalists reporting on Snowden documents as "accomplices" to a crime:
Who, in the view of the Obama administration, are Snowden's "accomplices" The FBI and other official investigators have been very clear with the media that there is no evidence whatsoever that Snowden had any help in copying and removing documents from the NSA.

Here, Clapper is referring to "accomplices" as those who can "facilitate the return of the remaining" documents. As Snowden has said, the only ones to whom he has given those documents are the journalists with whom he has worked. As has been publicly reported, the journalists who are in possession of thousands of Snowden documents include myself, Laura Poitras, Barton Gellman/The Washington Post, The New York Times, the Guardian, and ProPublica.

Is it now the official view of the Obama administration that these journalists and media outlets are "accomplices" in what they regard as Snowden's crimes? If so, that is a rather stunning and extremist statement. Is there any other possible interpretation of Clapper's remarks?
That is absolutely crazy. Even more ridiculous is that ODNI's public affair director more or less confirmed the point:
The office's public affairs director Shawn Turner said in an email that “director Clapper was referring to anyone who is assisting Snowden to further threaten our national security through the unauthorized disclosure of stolen documents related to lawful foreign intelligence collection programs.”
Of course, just last year (prior to the Snowden leaks), there was a bit of a scandal when it was revealed that the DOJ was claiming to courts that certain journalists were accomplices in order to spy on them to get access to their sources. That controversy resulted in Attorney General Eric Holder promising new guidelines to stop targeting journalists. And, just today, Holder told Congress that those new rules are already in effect.

Clapper's choice of words here was deliberate. Even if the government doesn't go after any of the journalists with Snowden's documents, the message today's statement made is loud and clear: we can go after you and charge you criminally. And that's an incredibly chilling message in a country that is supposed to respect the freedom of the press.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2014 @ 1:48pm

    One Clapper will have to come to terms with is that the Guardian is a BRITISH newspaper, and therefore ONLY subject to BRITISH laws. Neither the Guardian, nor any of its staff are subject to American laws.

    The Guardian is not subject to prosecution of the U.S., though the British, last I heard, and looking at whether any of their laws are broken.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2014 @ 2:02pm

      Re:

      but Snowden is, and you'll find in fact they can be subject to American laws, and international laws.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2014 @ 2:05pm

      Re:

      Umm, ever heard of extradition? While it might not be used against the Guardian on the whole, it might be used against Glenn Greenwald, which would be shocking, IMO.

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      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 29 Jan 2014 @ 2:11pm

        Re: Re:

        Not really that shocking at all, the UK deported someone over for copyright infringement, shipping over someone who's helped air out the dirty laundry of the US and UK spy agencies and those that support them wouldn't be surprising at all.

        Now, Greenwald getting a trial before being locked up and given a taste of 'enhanced interrogation' to get him to hand over the rest of the files, that would be surprising.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2014 @ 5:43pm

        Re: Re:

        Greenwald is working for a BRITISH newspaper and LIVNG in BRAZIL. So his reporting is ONLY subject to BRITISH and BRAZILIAN laws, with the British looking to see what of their laws have been broken. The British have jurisdiction, but the Americans have NO jurisdiction over a BRITISH newspaper.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2014 @ 5:46pm

        Re: Re:

        However, Brazil does not have an extradition treaty wiht the United States, so, as long has he stays in Brazil, the US cannot touch him.

        It is believed that at least one of the Alcatraz escapees, from 1962, Frank Morris may have settled in Brazil. Morris knew that the U.S. had no extradition treaty with Brazil.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2014 @ 10:01pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "...as long has he stays in Brazil, the US cannot touch him."

          Sure they can. Seal teams can extradite (or execute) without treaties.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2014 @ 3:31pm

      Re:

      problem being is that David Cameron is obama's lickspittle lackey and when Obama says jump, Cameron says how high (and gasps and wheezes and goes red in the face first of course)

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2014 @ 1:49pm

    The real terrorist

    Clapper, his collaborators and political supporters are the real terrorists and traitors. The law means nothing to them at all.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2014 @ 1:58pm

    "...stolen documents related to lawful foreign intelligence collection programs."

    Damn they stole those to? Luckily they only want those back and the ones that are in the interest of the public, the ones about unlawful programs, can be freely "stolen".

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 29 Jan 2014 @ 1:58pm

    When you're out Nixon-ing Nixon himself... yeah, you might be just a titch mad with power.

    Also can't believe they're still trotting out the '...related to lawful foreign intelligence collection programs.' line, considering pretty much everyone that doesn't have an invested interest in the continuation of the NSA's activities seems to be admitting that the programs are anything but 'lawful', or at the very least shouldn't be.

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  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 29 Jan 2014 @ 2:02pm

    Why should this be surprising?

    This is coming from the same folks who think it is okay to, in their official capacity, say things like Mr. Snowden should be hanged and a trial should be skipped, etc.

    The people who say this have the capability and huge budgets to do things like this, with no oversight. And they are known to lie to congress and everyone, abuse their positions of power, and ignore the constitution.

    So why would now be surprising for tyrant wannabees to suggest that journalists are accomplices?

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 29 Jan 2014 @ 2:07pm

      Re: Why should this be surprising?

      'tyrant wannabees'

      People in positions of great power, answerable to no-one(if they were, it would have happened by now), willing and able to do whatever they feel like... I'm not quite sure 'wannabees' is appropriate there, though the tyrant bit certainly fits.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2014 @ 2:14pm

        Re: Re: Why should this be surprising?

        definition of tyrant fits well with Snowden as well..

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2014 @ 2:16pm

          Re: Re: Re: Why should this be surprising?

          How exactly does that warped sense of logic work?

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

        • icon
          Rikuo (profile), 29 Jan 2014 @ 2:43pm

          Re: Re: Re: Why should this be surprising?

          A tyrant (Greek τύραννος, tyrannos), in its modern English usage, is a ruler of a horrible and oppressive character[1] who is an absolute ruler unrestrained by law or constitution, and/or one who has usurped legitimate sovereignty. A tyrant usually controls almost everything.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyrant

          Let's see...does Snowden tick any of those boxes?
          No. At absolute worst, he may (may!) have broken a law, but that would make him a criminal. If you still want to label him a tyrant then, that would mean labelling all criminals as tyrants also.

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        • identicon
          Baron von Robber, 29 Jan 2014 @ 3:10pm

          Re: Re: Re: Why should this be surprising?

          Is Snowden ruling his domain of his hotel room with impunity?

          Does he make his mouse move with every movement of his iron fist?

          Is he waterboarding his laundry?

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2014 @ 6:25pm

          Re: Re: Re: Why should this be surprising?

          You're such a fucktard, darryl.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2014 @ 2:38pm

        Re: Re: Why should this be surprising?

        Oh they answer to someone. Just not the right someone. They answer to the corporate entities that line their pockets and help them spend their huge budgets.

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        • icon
          DannyB (profile), 29 Jan 2014 @ 2:52pm

          Re: Re: Re: Why should this be surprising?

          I'm not sure that NSA cheerleaders and insiders actually answer to anyone, or any corporations.

          Are any corporations lobbying for increased NSA spying?

          (Of course, the MPAA/RIAA-holes might decide that they want increased spying.)

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          • identicon
            DCL, 29 Jan 2014 @ 3:43pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Why should this be surprising?

            When I read "NSA cheerleaders" I imagined a line of beautiful women wearing ski masks in short skirts doing dance routines.

            Too much NFL I guess.

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            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 30 Jan 2014 @ 4:34am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Why should this be surprising?

              Considering the mental image that could have popped into your mind from reading that line, I'd consider yourself very lucky.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 30 Jan 2014 @ 2:02pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Why should this be surprising?

            You don't think all of those big corporate defense contractors that get fat defense contracts paid out of the NSA budget with people like Rogers, King, and Feinstein don't have a say in what is going on? If the NSA didn't make them happy all that whopping budget they have goes bye bye and people like Rogers, King, and Feinstein start criticizing the NSA instead of defending them because they are paid to.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2014 @ 2:11pm

      Re: Why should this be surprising?

      its not at all surprising, NSA has been waiting for this day for awhile, Snowden was going to fuck it up, the papers were going to fuck it up, and go too far. Now that information that is really sensitive, and not related to internal US mete-data, as soon as some idiot made a mistake and release information, that goes too far, then NSA has all the ammo it needs to screw Snowden to the wall.

      You talk about oversight, what oversight was applied to what Snowden stole? or what the news papers releases from those stolen documents?

      it might of been considered 'honorable' for Snowden to show how Americans meta-data is collected (actually already known), but to make available to the public (via newspapers) operational information and names of key people in operations is too far, that will annoy a lot of normal people who would of otherwise have been on your side.

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      • icon
        AricTheRed (profile), 29 Jan 2014 @ 2:23pm

        Re: Re: Why should this be surprising?

        "You talk about oversight, what oversight was applied to what Snowden stole? or what the news papers releases from those stolen documents?"

        uh, his concience, which traitors like Barack, Clapper, Feinstein, and Alexander seem to be lacking especially when you consider the following from 5 U.S. Code § 3331 - Oath of office
        "An individual, except the President, elected or appointed to an office of honor or profit in the civil service or uniformed services, shall take the following oath: “I, AB, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.” This section does not affect other oaths required by law. "

        Or the presidential Oath of Office...
        "Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:— “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

        Many would indicate that quite a few folks involved with the current NSA scandal have broken their oaths.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2014 @ 2:25pm

        Re: Re: Why should this be surprising?

        Prove that the name of a "key" person in an operation was revealed. I saw the name of what is likely some training person that put together training materials two years ago about how a particular surveillance program worked. I didn't see anything about a key person in any operation.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2014 @ 2:28pm

          Re: Re: Re: Why should this be surprising?

          And for the record "names" and "people" are by plural. What other name has been revealed?

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      • icon
        Namel3ss (profile), 29 Jan 2014 @ 3:42pm

        Re: Re: Why should this be surprising?

        I guess it was inevitable that the NSA trolls would eventually come to TD.

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      • identicon
        Pragmatic, 30 Jan 2014 @ 8:13am

        Re: Re: Why should this be surprising?

        Remember Valerie Plame?

        Of course not.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2014 @ 2:11pm

    NSA; the upcoming new American 911 Nazi party.

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

    • identicon
      David, 29 Jan 2014 @ 5:40pm

      Re:

      Well, that's basic numerology. Start with NSDAP, then take letters according to the Constitutional Amendments fascists want to see pulled.

      That gets you the NSA. Of course, I am being facetious here: the NSA cannot really be compared to the NSDAP since it not a political party and rather serves the function of the Gestapo.

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    • identicon
      alan turing, 29 Jan 2014 @ 11:59pm

      Re:

      ...nobody took the hint, thread still propagating...

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2014 @ 2:15pm

    Can we arrest and try him already?

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

    • icon
      Rikuo (profile), 29 Jan 2014 @ 2:47pm

      Re:

      Well no you can't. Snowden is living in Russia and the US does not have an extradition treaty with Russia. Sure, the US could send in some sort of squad to kidnap him or fly a drone over to assassinate him but that would violate all sorts of international laws. Violating the law to punish an alleged lawbreaker is...well...kinda missing the point, don't you think?

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    • identicon
      Steve Austin, 30 Jan 2014 @ 2:30pm

      Re:

      Arrest your own candy ass you F'N loser. Snowdens a hero and he should have revealed EVERYTHING not parts of it and really exposed the corrupt NSA faggots

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  • icon
    AricTheRed (profile), 29 Jan 2014 @ 2:16pm

    Anyone on that short list of collaborators needs to...

    ...be real careful if they do any journalism in areas of the world where the US or its allies are operating armed drone aircraft. The current regime has already demonstrated its willingness to assassinate its own citizens without due-process, a trial, or likely even an indictment, so I guess a few more "criminals", some red-coats, or some kraut collaborators being turned in to pink mist with a Hellfire missile would be no big deal either.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2014 @ 3:36pm

      Re: Anyone on that short list of collaborators needs to...

      Obama has already 'accidentally' ordered several drone strikes on journalists not caring whether or not the person they claimed to be after was present or not.

      This is how we get so many 'xxxxx leader of XXXX organizatio is dead' but it later turns out to be a pakistani wedding etc in which a journalist/publisher opposed to Obama just 'happened' to be present.....(and dead center target for the drone's missiles)

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    • icon
      BeeAitch (profile), 31 Jan 2014 @ 5:50pm

      Re: Anyone on that short list of collaborators needs to...

      "Oops!"

      Was the first thing to come to my mind.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2014 @ 2:16pm

    hilarious clapper is even still around. How did they not fire this guy yet.

    His credibility is zero. The man is morally bankrupt.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2014 @ 2:17pm

    There goes the first amendment right out the window. Whistle-blowing has officially been declared illegal, and any journalists who report on corruption are accomplices of the whistle-blower.

    The dictator has declared it so.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2014 @ 2:24pm

    Funny how it never occurs to Clapper that the NSA stole all that data. IT'S ILLEGAL. No amount of claiming it is legal will make it so.

    What Clapper really wants along with the administration is to shut up the leaks. They are embarrassing to an agency that has went beyond it's mandate. I distinctly recall Senator Wyden stating:

    When the American people find out how their government has interpreted the Patriot Act, they are going to be stunned and they are going to be angry.”


    Well, they've found out and true to his words, we are. No amount of threat will make that go away. The NSA's mandate is not domestic, it's foreign. I can not twist that in any way to come out to be legal to collect the metadata (if that is all they do which is certainly at this point open for speculation) of the domestic phone calls and internet communications of the average American. In fact I'm having a real hard time understanding exactly why it is the NSA and not the FBI doing this. Not that it would be any more acceptable if they were.

    Clapper deserves to be fired from his job for lying to congress or if you wish for lying to the American public. But the buck shouldn't stop there either. This needs to go both up the line and down the line removing all who approved the various things the NSA is doing as well as those who authorized this. I understand that the Patriot Act was done during a time of great stress and a haste to show they were doing something. The results of that haste and how poorly it was thought out and handled are apparent today.

    It is time to remove the real enemies of the people and they appear to come from inside our own government.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2014 @ 2:34pm

      Re:

      Firing (even all of them) would not be enough. They would just take cushy jobs for big defense contractors and be replaced by others that would pick up where they left off. No, they need to be indicted, arrested, and prosecuted.

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    • identicon
      kimsarah, 29 Jan 2014 @ 2:43pm

      Re: Accomplices

      Clapper and his criminal accomplices had better be careful what they wish for. Better yet, feed him a little more rope.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2014 @ 2:31pm

    and i'll bet a dollar to a pinch of shit they will as well! if there isn't something done about the way these people who keep condoning what the NSA has done, what it has actually become and how it and other 'security forces' are being run, then we get what we deserve. God help us!!

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2014 @ 2:33pm

    Does this mean Mike's an accomplice if OOTB ever does anything illegal?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2014 @ 3:38pm

      Re:

      OOTB can't do anything illegal. Mental health statutes provide that OOTB doesn't know the difference between right and wrong and should just be heavily medicated and put in a nice safe padded cell. (one with only hollywood-approved content piped in obviously)

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  • icon
    SolkeshNaranek (profile), 29 Jan 2014 @ 2:34pm

    Clapper's mouth and other parts

    I wonder if Clapper's ass ever gets jealous of all the shit that spews out of his mouth?

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  • icon
    Jay (profile), 29 Jan 2014 @ 2:42pm

    First the 4th Amendment, now the First...

    Just... Wow... After decimating the 4th Amendment in the past 30 years, we now see the dismantling of the 1st.

    We might as well burn the Constitution and make a democracy that actually works.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2014 @ 2:54pm

    The office's public affairs director Shawn Turner said in an email that “director Clapper was referring to anyone who is assisting Snowden to further threaten our national security through the unauthorized disclosure of stolen documents related to lawful foreign intelligence collection programs.”

    Since the programs the have thus far been revealed are unconstitutional, they are unlawful and thus there are no accomplices.

    BTW, why is Clapper not in jail for contempt of Congress yet? That one is unlawful.

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  • icon
    Internet Zen Master (profile), 29 Jan 2014 @ 3:45pm

    Umm...

    Hold on a minute.

    What exactly would they be criminally charging Greenwald et al. with, since Snowden clearly was able to do this alone. I mean, they can't exactly arrest the reporters for publishing articles on the NSA documents. They lost that battle back in Nixon's day against the New York Times over the Pentagon Papers. So what exactly would they be criminally charging these "accomplices" (the reporters) for again?

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    • identicon
      Russ, 30 Jan 2014 @ 10:06am

      Re: Umm...

      They lost the right to warrantless searches and seizures back in the 18th century. Doesn't stop them now, does it? Why would you think they'd accept a more recent ruling they don't like?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2014 @ 4:46pm

    "Snowden claims that he's won and that his mission is accomplished. If that is so, I call on him and his accomplices to facilitate the return of the remaining stolen documents that have not yet been exposed to prevent even more damage to U.S. security."

    And no mention of rights violations again i see, always seem to forget that bit dont they

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2014 @ 5:21pm

    Precurious lines threatened to be crossed, by the guy who has already crossed them, yes lets all listen to the words of a guy who not "witingly" but totally "witingly" lied to congress....."witingly"

    What the fuck does witingly mean, how the fuck do you SPELL witingly

    Rehetorical question

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  • identicon
    @b, 29 Jan 2014 @ 5:36pm

    Their threat works more like schoolyard bullying:

    If today you keep publishing leaked docs that LATER a court declares were "unauthorized" for public disclosure, then all you well-meaning journalists get dragged to court as accomplices.

    It means..... next time keep our secrets secret or we can make your life hell.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous, 29 Jan 2014 @ 5:37pm

    We are all Ed Snowden, muthaf***a.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2014 @ 5:49pm

    I did see a "homebrew" dramatization once where Snowden tried to get a reporter for a Hong Kong newspaper to take the story. Had they chosen to run in, that would have ONLY been subject to CHINESE laws, since Hong Kong is a territory of China. Had this Hong Kong newspaper ran the story, they would have been not subject to any U.S. laws

    The folks at that Hong Kong paper, had they ran it, would have been not subject to any U.S. laws, as the U.S. would have had NO jurisdiction over a newapaper in China.

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  • identicon
    FM HIlton, 29 Jan 2014 @ 6:04pm

    One wrong

    Perhaps Mr. Clapper would like to reassess his statement.

    Because I'm pretty sure the NSA broke some pretty heavy-duty laws in the process of stealing all of our data.

    Including the one that means we are allowed our privacy, and illegal search and seizure. 4th Amendment and all that crap, you know. What about the right to confront one's accusers, which is violated with the National Security Letter? Due process? What about that one?

    There's no law above the Constitution, even one that Mr. Clapper would like to invoke on demand.

    Or does it not occur to him that there are more important laws to be obeyed than the NSA's heavy-handed Big Brother act.

    Perhaps they should all read the document, it might surprise them that they're the ones actually breaking the law, and Clapper is actually suggesting scrapping the 1st Amendment as well.

    It was written a long time ago, true, but the words and beliefs behind it have never gotten old.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2014 @ 6:29pm

    Wait: what exactly Snowden "stole", Mr Clapper?
    He copied. Can you see the difference?

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    identicon
    Mike, 29 Jan 2014 @ 6:40pm

    Now that's funny right there. The liberal MSM can suck up to the Dems all day long and the Dems love them for it. Just don't let the MSM cross "that" line!!!! Liberals are the scourge of the Earth. Seems we have to rediscover that from time to time.

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    • identicon
      Pragmatic, 30 Jan 2014 @ 8:17am

      Re:

      Like Republicans are any better. I understand they're trying to get us all fired up for a war against Iran. How do you view that as a policy? And who is going to pay for it?

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    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 30 Jan 2014 @ 8:41am

      Re:

      People who think that the "MSM" is liberal are the scourge of the earth. It is not -- it doesn't give a rat's ass about "liberal" or "conservative". It's corporatist.

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  • identicon
    Hans, 29 Jan 2014 @ 7:05pm

    When is he telling the truth?

    Means a lot from the man who's admitted to lying.

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  • identicon
    Androgynous Cowherd, 29 Jan 2014 @ 8:04pm

    What "lawful" collection programs?

    The office's public affairs director Shawn Turner said in an email that “director Clapper was referring to anyone who is assisting Snowden to further threaten our national security through the unauthorized disclosure of stolen documents related to lawful foreign intelligence collection programs.


    How convenient for Snowden and the reporters, then, that the collection programs they're exposing have been found by PCLOB and multiple judges to be not lawful.

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

  • identicon
    Zem, 29 Jan 2014 @ 9:43pm

    At Last Sound Logic

    At last he tells the truth!

    "to prevent even more damage to U.S. security."

    but what he doesn't say is that twice 0 is still 0.

    That's the great thing about security, no matter how embarrassed and humiliated the spooks are, you and I are still just as safe as yesterday.

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

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 29 Jan 2014 @ 10:41pm

    I don't know why anyone is surprised by this, when pretty much everyone in the government and associated agencies has very clearly demonstrated that the Constitution means nothing to them.

    In fact, can we drop the pretense that it somehow limits what the government can do? Who's going to impose any consequences on them? The courts? Most of them side with the government and if they don't, the government either just claims some bullshit reason for why they don't have to comply or they ignore the court's decision completely. If the case somehow makes its way to the supreme court, the chances are about 90% that the yes-man judges will rule in the government's favor.

    The American people? What are they going to do, vote them out of office? They'll just take high-paying corporate jobs and be replaced by interchangeable politicians who are just as corrupt, if not more so. It's not like you can believe anything they say during their campaign. Widespread protests? Hello martial law and the start of a military dictatorship.

    Face it, the US government is hopelessly broken. They have virtually no limits on what they can do and short of armed revolution, there's nothing anyone can do to change that.

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

  • icon
    xz11111000000 (profile), 29 Jan 2014 @ 11:19pm

    Snowden et al ARE returning the documents

    One at a time.

    Gesh, Jimmy, have patience!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2014 @ 11:24pm

    Remind me again WHY THE HELL does he still have a job after lying to Congress? What message does that send to future NSA employees? That they can just lie with impunity to Congress and get away with it, maybe even with a salary increase by the end of the year?

    Christ. If Congress is serious about uncovering this mess and also future messes like these, where the agency is committing illegal crimes without telling Congress about it, then it better damn punish the people responsible already. Otherwise nothing will ever change.

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

  • identicon
    kevin, 30 Jan 2014 @ 5:11am

    re

    What a lot of the people in the states that are whining about the newspaper are forgetting is that the Supreme Court ruled that news papers have the right to publish in the pentagon papers trial

    "Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government. And paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to die of foreign fevers and foreign shot and shell."
    —Justice Black[26]

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

    • identicon
      Rekrul, 30 Jan 2014 @ 2:30pm

      Re: re

      What a lot of the people in the states that are whining about the newspaper are forgetting is that the Supreme Court ruled that news papers have the right to publish in the pentagon papers trial

      And if such a case were tried today, the Supreme Court would probably rule that the press had no right to publish such documents.

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

  • icon
    Un (profile), 30 Jan 2014 @ 11:20am

    Free to write what you want

    Not to preach, but I need preamble to make my point.

    Freedom of the press and of speech gives the right to write about anything and let society decide whether they wish to read.

    Freedom of the press does not grant the right to possess property of another taken against their will or the right of refusal to return the property.

    Anyone holding copies of documents not yet released has the freedom to write anything further about them that they wish.

    The Clapper statement does not limit what members of the press can say about the documents, it asks for them back. Enough has already been said about the absurdity of that idea.

    The press don't have immunity. They're people subject to not only the rights they're given but also the boundaries imposed on all of society. Possession of stolen goods is a topic covered by the boundaries of our laws.

    No matter what anger exists toward the practices exposed, we shouldn't overly generalize the protections granted to journalists because we abhor the related events.

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


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