James Clapper Giving Speeches To Students, Begging Them To Stop Thinking Of Ed Snowden As A Hero

from the desperation-sets-in dept

A few weeks back, I read a Washington Post story "Inside the admissions process at George Washington University" and noted this interesting tidbit towards the end:
GW also asks students to list a role model and two words to describe themselves. As for herself, Freitag said, she would list “Martha Stewart/Tina Fey” and “sassy/classy.” This year, she’s seeing a lot of Edward Snowden citations.
I had thought about writing it up, but decided it was a pretty small thing, really. It's not secret that, as a group, younger people have a much more favorable impression of Snowden than older people.

However, apparently it set off alarm bells in James Clapper's head. He recently gave a keynote speech at the GEOINT conference, and used the opportunity to vent about stupid kids and their stupid love of that stupid Ed Snowden. And apparently he's going to be doing a lot of that.
“An admissions officer from George Washington University told The Post that for the admissions’ essay question, ‘Who’s your personal hero?’ the admissions officer observed that she was seeing a lot more of Edward Snowden citations. And the idea that young people see Edward Snowden as a hero really bothers me. So I thought I needed to talk about Snowden at Georgetown and Georgia and I am going to do the same elsewhere at colleges and universities.”
His attempts to do so in the speech, not surprisingly, really seem to fall flat. He claims that "despite being a geezer" he gets why you stupid kids like Snowden:
“I understand that a lot of young people see Snowden as a courageous whistleblower standing up to authority. I personally believe that whistleblowing in its highest form takes an incredible amount of courage and integrity. But Snowden isn’t a whistleblower,”
To prove this, Clapper comes up with an example of a whistleblower that he thinks "did it right." The army reservist who alerted others to the photos of Abu Ghraib prisoners being abused. And that guy is a whistleblower too. But just because one whistleblower did things one way doesn't discount the experience of other whistleblowers. And the reason so many people look up to Ed Snowden and see him as a hero is that, unlike the Abu Ghraib situation, with the NSA setup, basically the whole system was stacked against him. Clapper insists Snowden had legitimate paths to go down.
"Snowden said he felt NSA’s surveillance program was being used to violate privacy and civil liberties. If that was his concern, he had a lot of options on where to go with it. He could have reported it to seniors at NSA, which he didn’t do,”
Of course, Snowden claims that this is a lie and that he did raise concerns through the proper channels, only to have them ignored.
“There’s an inspector general for NSA and another one for the entire intelligence community. My office has a civil liberties and privacy protection officer. Snowden could also have gone to the Justice Department or the Congress. And as we’ve seen Snowden is superb at finding information so I think he could have tracked those people down had he given it a little thought,”
Of course, the inspector general for the NSA has since made it clear that if Snowden had complained to him, he would have shut him down and insisted there was nothing to worry about. Okay, so what about the one for the entire intelligence community? You mean the one that has rejected Congress' request to investigate the NSA? Congress? Considering how much difficulty Senators Wyden and Udall had in getting anyone to listen to them over the past few years, that was clearly a dead end. The Justice Department has also been equally complicit in the whole thing, since the NSA works hand in hand with the FBI, and the DOJ itself is the one that goes to the FISA Court to request these secret interpretations of US law.

It's pretty clear that the options Clapper listed were not options at all if you really believed that the intelligence community was in the wrong (as over half of the American public now believes). And of course, that's what Clapper really means here. He would have been much, much happier if Snowden had gone down a path that would have completely buried his concerns, making sure there was no debate about the US's creeping surveillance state, dismissal of the 4th Amendment and increasingly secret interpretation of laws to spy on everyone. And I'm sure he would have been a lot happier to never have had the fact that he flat out lied to Congress revealed.

Clapper also repeated the old saw that because of the leaks, those darn terrorists are changing how they communicate:
“We’re beginning to see changes in the communications behavior of our adversaries, particularly and most disturbingly terrorists, a trend that I anticipate will continue. And as a consequence our nation is less safe and our people less secure.”
Of course, as Kevin Gosztola points out, the same claim has been made for nearly a year, so it's a bit bizarre to have Clapper say now that they're just "beginning" to see changes. Even more to the point, these claims are almost certainly bullshit anyway. Elsewhere, when no press was around, Clapper has admitted that the NSA isn't actually concerned about terrorists changing their communications practices, saying that they can track them just fine. Furthermore, the idea that any of the revelations really changed how terrorists view their communications habits seems unlikely. As we've pointed out a few times, it's pretty clear that terrorists were well aware of our intelligence capabilities over a decade ago, and have acted accordingly.

The only new thing that has really been shown is how the US uses these same techniques across nearly all American citizens, as well as friends and allies.

Finally, as Gosztola points out, Clapper's real guffaw-inducing statement in the speech is to argue that his "major takeaway from this whole experience though has been the need for transparency" followed by him taking credit for "the decision to declassify more than 2000 pages of documents beginning last summer because the best way to deal with the misconceptions that had resulted from the leaks was to increase transparency." Except, as we've pointed out a few times, nearly all of the documents he's released have not been because of any major epiphany by Clapper, but because of lawsuits from the EFF, ACLU and others, something Clapper's office almost never admits (though, the last few releases have sometimes acknowledged it -- the last one only acknowledged it on Twitter, though).

And trying not to gag while reading this:
But the same transparency that reassures our citizens comes with a cost. It hurts our capabilities because our adversaries go to school on that very transparency. But when we boil it all down, we felt I felt we needed to pay that cost. Even if it meant losing some sources and methods, we need to engage in the kind of national conversation that free societies have - to correct misunderstandings that lead to false allegations in the media and to counter misperceptions that the IC work force is violating civil liberties. So we made the painful choice to declassify critical documents in the interest of being more transparent
Yeah, right. There's a reason people think Ed Snowden is a hero and James Clapper is a lousy liar. And this little tour to try to convince students otherwise isn't likely to change that.

Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Apr 21st, 2014 @ 11:15am

    Wrong audience, wrong time

    It's almost tragically funny, that he apparently thinks that the students he's talking to are just as stupid and gullible as the politicians he's used to dealing with, as well as somehow missing that any of them can, quite easily, check his statements for accuracy(potentially in almost real time, should they wish) with a simple search online.

    This might have worked a few decades back, before the internet and it's ability to allow people to fact check things easily really took off, and the 'prestige' of having someone like this visit and give a talk was enough to overwhelm people and just have them accept what was being told, but now? Truth is the only thing they're interested in, and it's something he's in extreme short supply of, so I don't imagine the reception to his 'talks' are going to be too warm.

     

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    kenichi tanaka (profile), Apr 21st, 2014 @ 12:16pm

    Snowden is no hero. He's a champion of constitutional rights and freedoms. Perhaps James Clapper should realize that. Oh, I forgot, Clapper is not very intelligent.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 12:16pm

    It would be a lot easier to trust what he was saying if he wasn't a liar.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 12:19pm

    #cancelclapper

     

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    Baron von Robber, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 12:19pm

    Maybe

    Maybe if Clapper taps his red ruby slippers while chanting, "Snowden isn't a hero and I'm not a liar." it will come true.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 12:20pm

    “We’re beginning to see changes in the communications behavior of our adversaries, particularly and most disturbingly terrorists, a trend that I anticipate will continue. And as a consequence our nation is less safe and our people less secure.”


    This isn't exactly untrue when you realize just who is considered a terrorist and that the general public has started changing the way they communicate as a direct result of the leaks.

     

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    Jay (profile), Apr 21st, 2014 @ 12:36pm

    Solution

    If Clapper wants people to stop lauding Snowden as a hero, he should stop treating him as a criminal.

     

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    Nom, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 12:39pm

    "I understand that a lot of young people see Snowden as a courageous whistleblower standing up to authority"

    That's not quite right.

    People don't see him as a courageous whistleblower standing up to authority. They seem him as a courageous whistleblower standing up to corruption.

     

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    VisionOne (profile), Apr 21st, 2014 @ 12:39pm

    In other news, James Clapper dislocates his shoulder after repeated attempts to pat himself on the back.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 12:40pm

    Re:

    Yes, this statement shows who they are really spying on. They weren't catching terrorists, not even the Boston bombers. They are too busy spying on citizens, government leaders, etc. to be bothered with terrorists. Just wait until they start using this info on their political adversaries; assuming they haven't already.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 12:45pm

    "“We’re beginning to see changes in the communications behavior of our adversaries, particularly and most disturbingly terrorists, a trend that I anticipate will continue. And as a consequence our nation is less safe and our people less secure.”"

    Then why is the government more concerned about whistleblowers than about spies?

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140311/18125326537/intelligence-community-villifies-whistle blowers-like-snowden-while-barely-mentioning-actual-spies.shtml

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 12:45pm

    Re:

    At this point it anyone who doesn't agree with the government.

    Though one could argue statements made by people such as Chris Inglis cause more damage than Snowden's leaks.

    "In Iraq, for example, the National Security Agency went from intercepting only about half of enemy signals and taking hours to process them to being able to collect, sort and make available every Iraqi email, text message and phone-location signal in real time, said John "Chris" Inglis, who recently retired as the NSA's top civilian."

    Source: http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-alexander-nsa-20140331,0,3369988,full.story

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 12:46pm

    Re:

    (that is, if the concern here is that it gives terrorists and our opponents insight into how to evade our counter terrorist measures).

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 12:48pm

    the only thing i can say about Clapper over this is 'PATHETIC'!
    he knows exactly what Snowden did to bring the issues to the attention of his superiors and when he did he was ridiculed and ignored! he is a patriot, not a terrorist or a traitor! but it all boils down to the NSA shouldn't have been doing any of this shit to begin with!!

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Apr 21st, 2014 @ 12:53pm

    Re:

    Exactly so, the people who they consider 'enemies and potential terrorists', namely the public, are changing their behaviors in light of discovering just how eager agencies like the NSA are to spy on them.

    Those that non-government people would consider terrorists have known, or strongly suspected, the spy agencies capabilities for years now, the only ones who are only now changing their behaviors are those too incompetent to be any real threat in the first place.

     

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    Randall_S, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 12:54pm

    Traitor? Or hero? - - evidence now shows one to be true

    What would you have done with the information if you had it in your hands??? Betray your country, and sacrifice Ukraine?

    http://nyyrc.com/blog/2014/04/if-you-were-ed-snowden-what-would-you-do/

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 12:57pm

    Re: Wrong audience, wrong time

    "he apparently thinks that the students he's talking to are just as stupid and gullible as the politicians he's used to dealing with"

    Clearly you haven't visited many college campuses or talked to many college students because if anything most of them are just as gullible as their parents who voted these politicians into office. Access to the internet does not make people more intelligent or think more critically. Google "filter bubble" if you don't believe me.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 12:57pm

    Re: Wrong audience, wrong time

    "he apparently thinks that the students he's talking to are just as stupid and gullible as the politicians he's used to dealing with"

    Clearly you haven't visited many college campuses or talked to many college students because if anything most of them are just as gullible as their parents who voted these politicians into office. Access to the internet does not make people more intelligent or think more critically. Google "filter bubble" if you don't believe me.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 1:02pm

    Re: Traitor? Or hero? - - evidence now shows one to be true

    Yep, evidence shows him to be a hero.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Apr 21st, 2014 @ 1:06pm

    Re: Traitor? Or hero? - - evidence now shows one to be true

    "What would you have done with the information if you had it in your hands??"

    I like to believe that had I been in Snowden's shoes, I would have done the patriotic thing and done what he did. To be honest, though, I'm not sure that I would have been selfless enough to sacrifice my entire life to expose the wrongdoing, like he did.

     

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    Internet Zen Master (profile), Apr 21st, 2014 @ 1:12pm

    Clapper you moron

    If you're trying to discredit Snowden, just stop. People don't believe you, and every time you talk about Snowden makes people side with him more, even after the whole 'getting Putin on record about Russian surveillance' incident from last week.

    Hell, given Snowden's strong idealism, he's more likely to discredit himself by accident than if the NSA's former boss goes around telling millennials to stop treating him like a hero and try to turn public opinion against the whistleblower.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 1:23pm

    There is some crap in my lap, I think I have the Clap, there is a skeeter on my peter, whack it off.
    Snowden 2016.

     

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    AricTheRed (profile), Apr 21st, 2014 @ 1:28pm

    I recently applied to George Washington University...

    “An admissions officer from George Washington University told The Post that for the admissions’ essay question, ‘Who’s your personal hero?’ the admissions officer observed that she was seeing a lot more of Edward Snowden citations. And the idea that young people see Edward Snowden as a hero really bothers me. So I thought I needed to talk about Snowden at Georgetown and Georgia and I am going to do the same elsewhere at colleges and universities.”

    Instead of an essay I submitted a multimedia remake of the perennial South Park musical rendition of Kyles' Mom is a Bitch.

    Mine was titled Snowdens' Boss is a Bitch.

    Maybe I'll actually get in?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 1:29pm

    I would expect no less, from an alleged felonious liar.

     

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    Tice with a J (profile), Apr 21st, 2014 @ 1:41pm

    I desperately need a T-shirt that has Snowden's picture on it, captioned with "Team Edward", and then I need to wear it where Clapper can see me.

     

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    Personanongrata, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 1:41pm

    Wile E. Coyote James Robert Clapper Jr. super genius.

     

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    Personanongrata, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 1:45pm

    ooops the Wile E Coyote portion of my earlier comment was supposed to be HTML strike tagged but the HTML strike tag here at techdirt has been disabled.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 1:46pm

    Is he doing this "Tour" at the expense of taxpayers?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 1:48pm

    What did Clapper expect?

    They behave like the autocratic regimes people were trained to hate and would rather not live under. How would they not interpret someone working against their interests as a hero?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 1:50pm

    Why are institutes of higher education inviting unrepentant, admitted (even if they are not convicted) to address the students attending their institution?

     

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    Loki, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 1:50pm

    Re: Wrong audience, wrong time

    The problem is that he still lives in a world where people relied on a small handful of media sources (Fox, CNN, New York Times, Washington Post) that most conformed to their personal bias. By knowing the general leaning of your target audience you could tailor your message.

    A lot of younger people, and some of older ones who've been online a good decade or more, don't do that as much anymore. We'll often check a dozen different sources, getting details that are often included or left out depending on the personal bias or the media outlet.

    For example, I ran a newgroup about a decade ago and one of my members posted a story about a program being used under the Bush Administration from a very left wing media outlet. I posted a similar article from a non-US more middle ground media outlet that included a few details the left wing outlet left out, mainly that this program had actually been created, and used several times, under the Clinton Administration, and that Bush was merely using, and slightly expanding, a program Clinton actually created.

    Clapper and his kind simply don't know how to deal with a culture that cross references their sources and don't simply rely on one point of view thanks to the ease with which the internet has made it possible to do so.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 1:53pm

    Fair enough

    Fair enough, Mr. Clapper - I'll stop thinking of Edward Snowden as a hero once you admit that you're a corrupt, no-good, lying sack of shit.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 1:56pm

    Re: Traitor? Or hero? - - evidence now shows one to be true

    Snowden has absolutely nothing to do with the situation in Ukraine. Betraying the authoritarian leaders that are abusing the people and the Constitution is not betraying the country, it's helping it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 1:56pm

    Old white corrupt guy defends his lawn against loud kids and their lousy music.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 2:18pm

    Clapper is filth

    He's a coward.

    He's a liar.

    He's a traitor.

    I think the students know that.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 3:17pm

    Why should anyone believe anything from a self admitted perjurer? So far, I got Snowden telling the truth all the time and the government constantly lying or misdirecting to keep from that truth.

    No one is mistaking Clapper for a hero that's for sure. Given a choice between the two, I'll take Snowden any day of the week as the hero figure. Clapper doesn't even enter into the a mention in that list.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 3:38pm

    ""Snowden said he felt NSA’s surveillance program was being used to violate privacy and civil liberties. If that was his concern, he had a lot of options on where to go with it. He could have reported it to seniors at NSA, which he didn’t do,”" Which means that he along with his concerns would have been buried. Yet another old man locked in the the concrete of "patriotism".

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 3:57pm

    Problem: Lost all credibility; everyone who knows anything about you hates you for lying to everyone about major issues to the point of committing perjury.

    Solution: Lie to everyone even more! Surely that'll solve all the problems caused by your previous nonstop lying!

     

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    John American (profile), Apr 21st, 2014 @ 5:25pm

    Snowden is a traitor and his supporters are misguided.

    Perhaps he should try talking to people more receptive and understanding of the NSA's mission. That is, people that are more closely linked to defense contractors, the military, and other entities that understand the true gravity of Snowden's traitorous actions.

    If I had to list a hero for that university, it would be the person that ends up bagging Snowden. If I worked at their admissions department, I would immediately round-file every entry that used Snowden as a hero.

    If anything, I wouldn't get myself in the situation where I would have information that I was not entitled to have. However, I would be more than happy to turn him in so that he could not harm the country.

    With all due respect, those that support Snowden are those that oppose the United States. They know nothing of the classification system, the consequences of not following it, nor have any credibility to speak on matters of national security. These supporters only care about secrets if they're used to harm the United States, as repeatedly done through Snowden's misappropriated information, Greenwald's acceptance of stolen property, as well as other misdeeds against the US. Such people, for the nation's safety, should be denied clearances - reserving them for more loyal US citizens.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 5:53pm

    Re: Snowden is a traitor and his supporters are misguided.

    You're right, I know nothing about the classification system. But I've read the US Constitution, and there is nothing in there about subjugating the rights of the people for any amount of security.

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 6:12pm

    Re: Snowden is a traitor and his supporters are misguided.

    The issue Snowden took up, was the absolute trashing of the Constitution to do all the actions that the NSA and like are doing.

    These are crimes against this nation and these people you like to mention. Politicians can pass any sort of law, it does not make it legal nor constitutional. This is why there are courts to determine if they are valid laws.

    When it reaches a point where you have a secret court, deciding secret issues, with no other party to represent the people nor give counter on why it should not be so, and result in secret laws and secret precedences no one in the public can know about, you have hit upon a government conspiracy, plain and simple to violate laws of the land.

    I can have no respect for people of this caliber, so willing to ditch the oath they gave to defend this country against enemies both domestic and foreign.

     

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  42.  
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    Nom, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 6:14pm

    Re: Snowden is a traitor and his supporters are misguided.

    Sweet. I love dissenting opinions. Thanks for sharing.

    Anyway, some would argue that what the US government was doing in secret was harming the American people. It certainly seems Senators Udall and Wyden seemed to think so. And they would seem to have credibility on the matter.

    Of course, the way Snowden handled the situation may not be the best, but he was not the first person to try and bring to light potential abuses of the system. He is just the one that got some results. As the army taught me, "a good plan now is better than a great plan tomorrow." To do that, he had to go outside the system. That is something the others did not do, and while they made ripples, it was not enough for the issues to be addressed in a meaningful way.

    Personally, I was surprised the level of ignorance people had in regards to the first few issues Snowden brought to light. I thought they were common knowledge. I suppose that is because he had a mountain of proof while those before him had only a handful of evidence. IE they were not loud enough.

    Is Snowden a Hero? Is he a Traitor? I cannot say, nor do I particularly care. But his effects are undeniable. I cannot say whether they are more positive than negative. That is something which will be determined with time.

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 6:17pm

    Re:

    Are you purposely lying, is it you are just totally uninformed, or is it you are a bot trying to defend the indefensible?

    Snowden has said several times he did try to take it to his superiors. He's even challenged the NSA to totally deny he has attempted to do so as there remains proof in the form of emails.

    Funny you aren't talking about that and it totally throws your point in the trash can.

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 6:46pm

    How stupid does Clapper think people are? "He could have reported it to seniors at NSA, which he didn’t do,”

    Really?

    Mr. Snowden, who is arguably an intelligent man, held a high paying job, had a girlfriend, close to his family, and lived in freaking Hawaii didn't try to go through channels and report to seniors? His first instinct was to go "hey, how about I download all these documents, fly off to Hong Kong to talk to a journalist, essentially become a fugitive for the rest of my life and never get to go back home."
    Yeah, that sounds like a good plan. So much easier than say, reporting the abuses to senior officials at the NSA. Bet he's facepalmed himself so many time thinking "Why didn't I think of that first? Stupid, stupid, stupid."
    Clapper is a freaking disgrace not only to his position but to his country. He needs to be removed from office (in handcuffs.)

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Apr 21st, 2014 @ 6:47pm

    Re: Re:

    Which means that he along with his concerns would have been buried. Yet another old man locked in the the concrete of "patriotism".

    You missed the second half, the AC there is not agreeing with Clapper, they're pointing out yet another of Clapper's lies, that of 'if Snowden had gone to the proper people, things would have been fixed rather than buried'.

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Apr 21st, 2014 @ 7:10pm

    You are part of the problem

    Repeat after me:

    'See no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil'.

    With a mindset like you seem to have, you seem to be exactly who the government as it stands loves, someone who does what they're ordered to, never questions, never thinks or asks themself, 'Am I doing what's best for the country and it's people, or just what's best for the government?'

    'Harm the country', I keep hearing this, yet I have yet to see any evidence that what he's done has harmed the country, and in fact it looks like the direct opposite, his actions have helped the country, in pointing out abuse of government authority, the massive spying on the people, the intentional sabotage of security measures meant to protect people, and the whole-scale violation of people's rights.

    No, the only 'harm' I've seen is against the secrecy the government has been so enamored with for so many years. Light is finally being shed on secret courts, passing secret rulings based upon secret laws, and government agencies flaunted the laws and Constitution like it was some sort of game, lying all the while to those who were supposed to be providing checks to their actions.

    There is no such thing as 'too much harm' when it comes to such agencies and programs that show such utter and complete contempt for the people they are supposed to be representing and protecting, as they are an affront to the very concept of justice and true law, so if Snowden's actions lead to the destruction of such anti-american, anti-justice programs and practices, all I can say is, 'Good'.

    Let's be perfectly clear here, the government is not the country, especially when they've reached the point where they consider the public the enemy, as they so clearly have.

    With all due respect, those that support Snowden are those that oppose the United States.

    On the contrary, those that support Snowden and what he's done support the country more than you ever will. They want to see it rid of such toxic 'secret courts' and 'secret laws', rid of such gross violations of the rights of the people, and see the country return to what it once stood for, what it should be able to stand for, a place where the rights of the people are held in the highest regard, not tossed into the gutter as soon as they become inconvenient.

     

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  47.  
    identicon
    bshock, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 8:27pm

    I think I'd rather stop thinking of James Clapper as a free man who has never been convicted of major crimes against the American people.

    Come on, Barack, help us out here.

     

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  48.  
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    JMT (profile), Apr 21st, 2014 @ 8:29pm

    Re: Snowden is a traitor and his supporters are misguided.

    "With all due respect, those that support Snowden are those that oppose the United States."

    With all due respect, that's an extraordinarily stupid accusation. According to recent polls, half the US population is against what the NSA is doing, and most of them wouldn't have had a clue about the sheer scale and over-reach of their actions if it weren't for Snowden.

    "They know nothing of the classification system, the consequences of not following it, nor have any credibility to speak on matters of national security."

    Sorry, but the average intelligence of the readers here is too high for an "I know more than you so shut up!" appeal to authority to carry much weight in an argument.

    "These supporters only care about secrets if they're used to harm the United States, as repeatedly done through Snowden's misappropriated information, Greenwald's acceptance of stolen property, as well as other misdeeds against the US."

    We'd love it if you could provide any evidence whatsoever of the harm and misdeeds you refer to. You sound just like plenty of other blowhards claiming all sorts of shocking consequences, but can't actually point to any real proof. Y'know who else would like to see this evidence? The USG, coz they can't find any either.

     

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  49.  
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    Rekrul, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 8:54pm

    I really wish I could be one of those students. I'd stand up and say;

    "I absolutely agree with you! Snowden is a disgrace! Violating the Constitution, lying to Congress... Oh wait, that was you. Never mind."

     

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  50.  
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    Rapnel (profile), Apr 21st, 2014 @ 8:55pm

    The schools let this guy in like that? Smack dab in the middle of higher ed institutions when he should probably be facing charges for being smack dab in the middle of the story of the century?

    .. oh yeah, wasn't there something about letting military on university grounds as an equal access sort of thing? I didn't know it applied to liars and thieves. I guess they didn't do an internet search on him first.

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 9:30pm

    Re:

    I would be tempted to organize a crowd of supporters to boo and jeer him off the stage.

     

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  52.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 9:33pm

    You guys are missing the real story. James Clapper is jumping into stand-up comedy. His unique political satire will leave students rolling on the floors during his up and coming comedy tour.

     

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  53.  
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    Robert, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 10:58pm

    Re:

    It is illegal to obey an illegal order. Snowden exposed criminal activity as he was required to do by law. James Clapper obeyed and issued illegal orders and that makes him a criminal attempting to defend his criminality in order to avoid prosecutions, along with, "THOUSANDS", of others, from Unlce Tom Obama on down.
    Again mass criminal activity being hidden behind a lie of patriotism, you most definitely are not a patriot when you break the laws of your fellow citizens, the prime law being it is illegal to obey an illegal order let alone issue one, when you do you are just another criminal, a quisling and pathetic minion.

     

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  54.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 21st, 2014 @ 11:09pm

    Re: Snowden is a traitor and his supporters are misguided.

    I find it odd that John American is the only one here really taking the same sort of stance as Clapper. It's like having blinders on that can't see the forest for the trees.

    Look around and world opinion and compare that to the world opinion of the 50's. It's sure changed a lot and went downhill the whole way.

    It's so bad, that the US can't send it's diplomats to stand up for human rights because they have already violated it so bad that the UN is investigating some of it for crimes against humanity.

    It's terrible that what was once a bedrock stance for protections of human rights is now a hypocritical stance that says do as I say, not as I do.

    Nation's safety? Please. I put my ass on the line in the military to stand up for our way of life. That way is not what I see our government now doing. So when you speak of the nation's enemies, look close at who considers the public it represents as the enemy. You have no need to spy on your friends and the US government violates that every day. It doesn't take a wizard to see what's wrong but it does take someone willing to look.

    I hear all this crap about how Snowden helped the terrorists. Only thing is they were already well aware of what the US was doing. Why did it take so long to find Bin Laudin? He was off the communications net long before Snowden showed up. Why are the terrorists taking the SIMs cards and mixing them up to disguise who has what phone? This too happened before Snowden showed up. They had already figured out how they were being targeted with drones. These terrorists are not dumb. They can add 2+2 and come up with 4.

    All Snowden did was reveal to the public, what the US government is hiding from them. No one has died as a result of the revelations. The only person I can find telling the truth is the material from Snowden. The truth isn't in our security agencies.

    I'm have a hard time seeing a lot of difference between Russia and the US right now when it comes down to the methods. It makes me suspect there is much more we aren't and haven't heard. Stuff that would bring it even closer to whom we are not supposed to be like.

     

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  55.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2014 @ 1:14am

    Every time I hear about Clapper I think of Janos Slynt from Game of Thrones.

     

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  56.  
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    Ralph Trusty, Apr 22nd, 2014 @ 5:19am

    Re: Wrong audience, wrong time

    the smart ones need to just get up and walk out in mass

     

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  57.  
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    Ralph Trusty, Apr 22nd, 2014 @ 5:42am

    Re: Snowden is a traitor and his supporters are misguided.

    we all have the right to know what is going on behind the closed doors or we will end up slaves.its not the united states that i fear its the money that is killing it that scares me most.the idea that they know best is and will always be wrong on a epic scale.the rules are there for a reason but if you let the politicians change them whenever that want and just call it national security.almost all of the classified stuff is damaging to the people in charge so they cant let anyone see it the problem comes when there is no over-site.

     

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  58.  
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    Keith, Apr 22nd, 2014 @ 7:09am

    Our adversaries are changing their communication:

    - now they are beginning to talk to college students.

     

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  59.  
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    Harold K, Apr 22nd, 2014 @ 7:18am

    Personal Hero

    Edward Snowden is more of a patriot than James Clapper.

     

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  60.  
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    Just Another Anonymous Troll, Apr 22nd, 2014 @ 8:25am

    History is written by the victors

    Hero or traitor? History is written by the victors. If the US government continues to screw over the public, they will get voted out/lynched, and new people will take over who hopefully have enough brains in their head to stop treating us like an enemy. Snowden's America wins, and he's a hero.
    On the other hand, if the US managed to get him and execute him, people will be less likely to stand up when they see something wrong for fear that it will be censored and they share Snowden's fate, Clapper's America wins and Snowden is a traitor.

     

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  61.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Apr 22nd, 2014 @ 8:59am

    Re: History is written by the victors

    There's a third possibility. If the US gets and executes (or imprisons for life) Snowden, then he becomes a martyr. This could actually encourage further whistleblowing and more active resistance to the tyranny.

     

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  62.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2014 @ 9:08am

    Clapper's next stop

    Anybody know how to find out where Clapper plans to deliver his next round of propaganda? Perhaps a little advance publicity could generate an appropriate response from an audience of college students...

     

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  63.  
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    RadialSkid (profile), Apr 22nd, 2014 @ 12:17pm

    Re: Snowden is a traitor and his supporters are misguided.

    Funny how any article on Techdirt that mentions Snowden inevitably attracts one or two two posters badmouthing him, generally with brand new accounts.

    Please let your coworkers know that in the future, they don't have to register accounts to post here, especially if they're only going to post once.

     

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  64.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2014 @ 12:57pm

    Re:

     

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  65.  
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    nasch (profile), Apr 22nd, 2014 @ 2:38pm

    Re:

    Snowden is no hero. He's a champion of constitutional rights and freedoms.

    How does that make him not a hero?

     

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  66.  
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    nasch (profile), Apr 22nd, 2014 @ 2:44pm

    Re:

    Why are institutes of higher education inviting unrepentant, admitted (even if they are not convicted) to address the students attending their institution?

    I think you left a out of that sentence.

     

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  67.  
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    Pragmatic, Apr 24th, 2014 @ 5:42am

    Re: Snowden is a traitor and his supporters are misguided.

    Perhaps he should try talking to people more receptive and understanding of the NSA's mission. That is, people that are more closely linked to defense contractors, the military, and other entities that understand the true gravity of Snowden's traitorous actions.

    You gave your game away when you put contractors at the front of the list of "people more receptive and understanding of the NSA's mission." That's because the NSA and the surveillance state is a piggy bank for contractors, isn't it? No FUD, no bread.

    Such people, for the nation's safety, should be denied clearances - reserving them for more loyal US citizens.

    Like, who — "the least untruthful answer" Clapper? Loyalty to what? Citizens of the US take pride in its Constitution and the Bill of Rights. You people have been undermining them.

    Traitors you may not be — that's narrowly defined, but there is no doubt that you've broken your oath to defend and uphold the Constitution. There are no get-out-of-jail-free clauses in it, no exceptions to be made. You want to surveil me? Get a damn warrant! It's called "due process," which you totally appear to hate being enforced.

     

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  68.  
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    The Wanderer (profile), Sep 2nd, 2014 @ 4:49am

    Re: Re:

    Oh, so close to Insightful - if only you hadn't included a racist smear...

    Attack Obama for what he is and does all you want, but outside of very rare circumstances, his skin color and ancestry have nothing to do with it.

     

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


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