Hillary Clinton: All For Vague, Undefined Surveillance Reform, But Screw That Snowden Guy

from the because-that's-how-politics-work dept

Hillary Clinton is, of course, making her big Presidential campaign book tour, commenting on all sorts of big issues, as she gears up for the real campaign. It's causing some controversy, of course, including her wacky, angry response to Fresh Air host Terry Gross simply asking if she had changed her opinion on gay marriage (Clinton refused to directly answer the question, and when Gross called her on that, Clinton accused her of trying to claim she changed her opinion for political reasons, even though that was pretty clearly not Gross' intent). However, in that same interview, Clinton also took some ridiculous and uninformed shots at Ed Snowden. After Gross pointed out that Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton, had called Snowden an "imperfect messenger" but also suggesting that perhaps the national security state has gone too far, Hillary said:
Well, I usually agree with my husband, but let me say on this point that there were many ways to start this conversation. And in fact, the conversation was starting. Members of Congress - a few notable examples like Senator Wyden and Senator Udall and others - were beginning to raise issues that it was time for us to take a hard look at all of the laws that have been passed and how they were implemented since 9/11.

The president was addressing this. In fact, he had given a speech that basically made that point shortly before these disclosures were made. And of course, I think it's imperative that in our political system, in our society at large, we have these debates. So I welcome the conversation. But I think that he was not only an imperfect messenger, but he was a messenger who could have chosen other ways to raise the very specific issues about the impact on Americans. But that's not all he did.
Of course, this is misleading to wrong. Lots of defenders of the President on surveillance like to point to his speech at the National Defense University a couple weeks before the first Snowden revelation, but that speech did not address the issues now being discussed at all. It mostly focuses on fighting overseas, and actually (a few times) praises the work of the intelligence community and how useful that's been. That was not starting any sort of real debate. As for Wyden and Udall -- they'd been making these points for years and having them virtually ignored by most, in both the press and among their colleagues (we wrote about it, but we don't count).
There were other ways that Mr. Snowden could have expressed his concerns, by reaching out to some of the senators or other members of Congress or journalists in order to convey his questions about the implementation of the laws surrounding the collection of information concerning Americans' calls and emails. I think everyone would have applauded that because it would have added to the debate that was already started. Instead, he left the country - first to China, then to Russia - taking with him a huge amount of information about how we track the Chinese military's investments and testing of military equipment, how we monitor the communications between al-Qaida operatives. Just two examples.
Except, of course, the failure of Wyden and Udall's claims to get any attention made it quite clear that reaching out to Senators wouldn't help. And he did reach out to journalists. But, of course, Clinton's former boss has also been using the Espionage Act against leakers and journalists at an astounding rate. If Obama hadn't been doing so, perhaps Snowden would have been more comfortable just sharing a few documents. However, knowing that there was a good chance he was about to disappear for life, it makes sense that Snowden handed over the whole pile of documents to Greenwald and Poitras. And, yes, this is one of the consequences of Obama's use of the Espionage Act. It encourages leakers to leak big while they can.

If Clinton honestly thinks everyone would have "applauded... because it would have added to the debate," she is either clueless about how people have responded to various similar (less explosive) leaks, or trying to rewrite history in her favor.

And the whole "go to China and Russia" bit is tired, old and misleading. As is the suggestion that he took any of that info to Russia. That's been debunked in the past, no need to do so again.

Still, what's amazing is that a week later, we now get this headline from the Guardian: Hillary Clinton backs overhaul of surveillance powers in NSA criticism, and then, in the article:
"Laws that were passed after 9/11 gave the executive very broad authority ... what has happened is that people have said, OK, the emergency is over and we want to get back to regular order," she said.

"It's a really difficult balancing act, but you are absolutely right that we need to make some changes to secure that constitutional right to privacy that Americans are due."
Wait, what? If it weren't for Snowden, we wouldn't even be having the debate about the PATRIOT Act, and there wouldn't be a discussion about "the emergency is over." Hell, to hear Keith Alexander talk about it, the "threat" is bigger now than ever before. Because fear is the key.

Separately, notice that Clinton doesn't actually back any real proposal for reform, but just sorta dances around the idea that maybe reform is good. It's the ultimate in political nothingness. Stake out a bunch of vague positions without anything concrete that can come back to haunt you later, and do it all while bizarrely attacking the guy who made the issue an issue in the first place. And people wonder why the public is so cynical about politicians.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Baron von Robber, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 9:04am

    /facepalm

     

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

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 9:05am

    Anyone against Snowden

    Will never get my vote!

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 9:32am

    clueless about scope of loot

    Even if the NSA knows exactly what Snowden took, how would "we" know what "they" know, if they don't tell us?

    Sounds like an episode from "Friends."

     

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

  4.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 9:39am

    Re: Anyone against Snowden

    Nor mine. There surely must be a more hideous political family besides the Clintons, but I can't for the life of me think of who that family might be. Nobody lies like a Clinton....

     

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

  5.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 9:40am

    Re: Re: Anyone against Snowden

    Well, there's Dick Cheney.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 9:44am

    She is one angry person

    She doesn't seem to have any tolerance for people who don't fall in line. She is right, everyone else is wrong. But I am sure the left will elect her this time regardless of her attitude or her lies about Benghazi.

     

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

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 9:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Anyone against Snowden

    He will just shoot you in the face and then secure a public apology from you.

    And as much as I think Cheney is just another putrid politician... I am not sure that he is as bad as a Clinton.

     

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

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 9:59am

    Is mainstream media really going to force the mindless two-party voters to choose between Chris Christie and Hillary Clinton? I couldn't think of anyone less qualified to run as POTUS. Why does the media want these two assclowns to further degrade and ruin this country further?

     

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

  9.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 10:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Anyone against Snowden

    The Cheney family, while clearly evil, also doesn't have that Clinton all-encompassing gravitas. Plus, I'm pretty sure Dick Cheney never sexually assaulted someone....

     

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

  10.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 10:06am

    Re: She is one angry person

    Seriously, being interviewed by Terry Gross is like petting a kitten. If you get angry there's something wrong with you.

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 10:18am

    Re: She is one angry person

    Each side has a few yesman yuppies. I think there should be a new law... No family member that was alive during a Presidents time in office should be allowed to server as President. This would prevent Jeb, Hillary, & Chelsea from running.

    I think the idea of Families of Politicians should be abhorrent to any well operating Republic or Democracy because it would help to keep corruption out.

     

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

  12.  
    identicon
    David, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 10:19am

    "constitutional right to privacy that Americans are due"

    What a euphemism for "the government has bluntly spit on the Constitution and is on a downward spiral of hiding the evidence while exacerbating the crimes".

    It's more like "American voters deserve to be bullshitted in a more thorough and less transparent manner in order to make them believe in the virtues of the U.S. government again."

     

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

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 10:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Anyone against Snowden

    I would not be sure that Cheney would understand/perceive that anyone was violated or assaulted unless it was a member of his own family that was the victim.

     

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

  14.  
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    Peter (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 10:29am

    Benghazi

    Strange to see Mrs Clinton defend an agency that caused her a lot of trouble by failing to provide adequate warning before the Al Quaida-attack on the embassy in Benghazi.

     

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

  15.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 10:30am

    Re: She is one angry person

    Nether her "anger" nor the Benghazi nonsense have anything to do with my disinclination to vote for her. I am not a Democrat, but I expect that most Dems would be equally unmoved by those things.

    The reason that I won't vote for her is because she, like her husband, is a hard-line corporatist.

     

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

  16.  
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    Mason Wheeler (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 10:31am

    Re: Re: Anyone against Snowden

    People keep saying, "do you think we're ready for a woman as President?" I answer, "sure, but not that woman." (I'd vote for Elizabeth Warren if she ran, for example.)

    It's a bit scary to realize that we will have registered voters in the next Presidential election who are too young to remember the scandal-plagued Clinton administration or the disastrous election that resulted directly from it. (Remember how Bush Jr. ran on "restoring dignity to the White House"?) Does anyone really want more of that?

     

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

  17.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 10:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Anyone against Snowden

    I'm pretty sure Dick Cheney never sexually assaulted someone

    He did spray someone in the face...

     

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

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 10:47am

    Sit back and play the game.

    Hillary, Bush, Obama, Cheney are all criminals.

    We just need to play the waiting game. They will all be in their 80's at some point and putting an 80 year old away for treason against the citizens is just as refreshing as putting away a 50 year old.

    They will get theirs eventually. We all think we are invincible while we are in charge. But when we are in a wheelchair having our diapers changed, it is a different story.

     

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

  19.  
    identicon
    PRMan, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 10:50am

    Re:

    While he has his issues, I would vote for Chris Christie in a second given that choice.

     

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

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 10:50am

    "The president was addressing this. In fact, he had given a speech that basically made that point shortly before these disclosures were made."

    Ironic that there hasn't been a real debate even since Snowden. There has been Congress/public pushing on one side and the White House/Judicial system pushing back & hiding what they can at the same time. Heaven forbid an actual discussion... that's exactly what the White House and intelligence organizations don't want!

     

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

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 11:14am

    However, knowing that there was a good chance he was about to disappear for life, it makes sense that Snowden handed over the whole pile of documents to Greenwald and Poitras. And, yes, this is one of the consequences of Obama's use of the Espionage Act. It encourages leakers to leak big while they can.

    Indeed. Might as well be hanged for a sheep as for a lamb, as they say.

     

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

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 11:39am

    Re: Benghazi

    That's sarcasm right?

     

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

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 11:47am

    Hey, you know what'd be great? If politicians (from any party) who got elected had to have bombs strapped to their necks that explode if they break their campaign promises. Just a thought.

    (Wonder if Hillary plans on trying to break Obama's record for persecuting people who expose government corruption?)

     

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

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 11:53am

    I've had about enough of these people running for POTUS that have no business being in that office. I'd had enough of NSA, enough of the two party system that is broken, and enough of government being used by the political parties as their personal go to and fetch it.

    I'll not be voting for either party until recognizable changes occur. I'll go for the independent.

     

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

  25.  
    identicon
    bshock, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 12:13pm

    I'm Ready For Oligarchy!

    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Except female.

     

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

  26.  
    identicon
    Personanongrata, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 1:24pm

    Worthless!

    Aside from feeding at the public trough and looking out for her campaign's benefactors best interests Hillary Clinton is absolutely worthless.

     

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

  27.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 2:31pm

    Simple rule of politics:

    Vague claims = Lying and/or dodging the question.

     

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

  28.  
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    Anonsters (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 2:42pm

    Re: Re: She is one angry person

    Petting kittens... grr.

     

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  29.  
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    Padpaw (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 3:07pm

    I would hope wherever she goes people would ask her, "what does it matter". That should haunt her to her grave

     

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

  30.  
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    Padpaw (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 3:08pm

    Re:

    Meant to write "what difference does it make"

     

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

  31.  
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    nasch (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 4:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Anyone against Snowden

    Does anyone really want more of that?

    Better than more Bushes...

     

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

  32.  
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    nasch (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 4:05pm

    Re: clueless about scope of loot

    Sounds like an episode from "Friends."

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fpl4D3_b6DU&t=1m37s

     

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

  33.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 4:06pm

    Re:

    I couldn't think of anyone less qualified to run as POTUS.

    You must not have a very good imagination. ;-)

     

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

  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 4:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Anyone against Snowden

    Define "better". 0_o

    I LOATHED the Bush Administration. ...so I voted for Obama. ...twice.

    Now all I have is regret and difficulty making up my mind as to who was worse.

    THE FALLACY OF VOTING FOR “THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS”

     

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

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2014 @ 5:00pm

    Chelsy Manning leaked a bunch of state cable emails sent by Hillary Clinton. In those emails, she instructs US diplomats to collect biometric samples of foreign diplomats. She's deep in the spy game.

     

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

  36.  
    identicon
    theskyrider, Jun 21st, 2014 @ 8:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Anyone against Snowden

    "It's a bit scary to realize that we will have registered voters in the next Presidential election who are too young to remember the scandal-plagued Clinton administration...."

    We have registered voters that don't even remember the First 9-11 (which was actually on 2-26-93) and Oklahoma City which both happened on Clinton's watch.

     

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

  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2014 @ 12:05pm

    Re: I'm Ready For Oligarchy!

    Well, look how much distance they got out of a black male.
    Pretty obvious that they'll try a white female next.

     

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

  38.  
    identicon
    Pragmatic, Jun 28th, 2014 @ 11:33am

    Re: Re:

    What, Chris "We are committed to a free market society" Christie? He's as corporate as Clinton is.

     

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


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