Why Do Our Senators Keep Calling Ed Snowden 'Eric Snowden'?

from the and-if-they-can't-get-that-straight dept

Three times in the past two weeks, Senators debating surveillance reform on the Senate floor have referred to Ed Snowden* as "Eric Snowden." This includes Senate Intelligence Committee boss Richard Burr, the NSA's own Senator Barbara Mikulski and Senator Dan Coats. All three of them have spoken out angrily about Snowden's revelations. Mikulski has called him "Eric Snowden" multiple times (in that speech, as Dave Maass points out, she also claims that NSA employees "work 36-hour days" and "10-day weeks" -- so perhaps Mikulski's issues go beyond just remembering people's names...).

Yes, people make mistakes, but it seems fairly bizarre that three separate Senators, all of whom are seen as staunch defenders of the surveillance state, can't even get Snowden's name right. It makes you wonder what other details they don't really pay much attention to. And, of course, it's not just a recent thing. The Guardian has an article noting that a bunch of others have made this mistake as well going back further than just the past couple of weeks, including Senators Lamar Alexander and Rand Paul, and one-time Presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Either way, it must be interesting times for people actually named Eric Snowden. Kevin Collier, over at DailyDot, has put together a fantastic interview with one of a few Eric Snowdens out there, asking him how he feels to be called a traitor to the country by Senator Richard Burr. The interview is hilarious as the 70-year old sculptor in New York seems to handle the situation in the best possible way. Here's just the opening snippet, but really, go read the whole thing:

So Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.) just said that you, Eric Snowden, are a traitor.

Eric Snowden: Well, you got that right, I’m a traitor. What’s he gonna do about it?

And Sen. Barbara Mikulski—

Oh, from Maryland.

That's her. She said, and she’s referred on the floor to “Eric Snowden” several different times in the past few weeks—

That is so odd! Maybe I have a bunch of fans, a fan base I wasn’t aware of.

Meanwhile, another Eric Snowden (this one works at Adobe) seems perplexed by all of this:
It's a bit of excellent comic relief to a bizarre situation. But, really, the question remains: why do our elected officials, who are supposed to be experts, have so much trouble remembering Snowden's name?

* Some people have asked why we refer to him as Ed, rather than the more regularly used "Edward" and it's as simple as this: he always appears to refer to himself as "Ed" from the very first video interview that he conducted with Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras. Thus, we refer to him as Ed, even as pretty much every other media outlet calls him Edward.

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  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 3 Jun 2015 @ 1:53pm

    They can't seem to get any other basic facts right on this subject. Why be so surprised when they get this one wrong too?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Jun 2015 @ 1:58pm

    I'm surprised the government's media mouthpieces haven't started calling him Edward Joseph Snowden to try to associate him with the three-name-referenced assassins such as John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, Mark David Chapman, and James Earl Ray.

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

    • icon
      lucidrenegade (profile), 3 Jun 2015 @ 3:39pm

      Re:

      ... or Barrack Hussein Obama.

      Always got a chuckle out of that one during the 2008 campaign. Always from some right wing nut-job / Faux News.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 3 Jun 2015 @ 3:45pm

        Re: Re:

        I originally was going to mention that, but I think that one was technically due to the middle name being Hussein and what associations they could make to dictators/Muslims/foreigners/terrorists/etc. that all chain together in the minds of rapid conservatives.

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

      • icon
        rab (profile), 3 Jun 2015 @ 6:00pm

        Re:

        ... or Barrack Hussein Obama.

        Always got a chuckle out of that one during the 2008 campaign. Always from some right wing nut-job / Faux News.


        But that's his actual name... what's so funny about that?

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

        • icon
          Sheogorath (profile), 5 Jun 2015 @ 12:34pm

          Re: Re:

          I believe lucidrenegade was stating that there was humour in which news outlets were useding the President's full name, not the name itself.

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

  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 3 Jun 2015 @ 2:04pm

    Erik Snowden! A name that will live in infamy with the likes of Jody Stalin, Adam Hitler, Charlene Manson and The Rock Obama!

    -

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Jun 2015 @ 2:11pm

    And how many Ed or Edward Snowdens are there in the world?

    I imagine all of them have been cringing since this episode began. I wouldn't be surprised if any petitioned to legally change their name.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Jun 2015 @ 2:19pm

      Re:

      I wouldn't be surprised if any petitioned to legally change their name.


      To Chelsea?

      Personally, I think many Ed Snowdens are probably quite happy to be associated with a whistleblower. Since it's just the executive branch who's got it in for him, the name probably doesn't cause any issues at airports etc. -- just more work for the TLAs to track movements.

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

  • identicon
    Chris Brand, 3 Jun 2015 @ 2:18pm

    Could be a printing error

    in the script they're all reading from.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Jun 2015 @ 2:22pm

      Re: Could be a printing error

      The thought crossed my mind too. I'd be curious to know if any conservative think tanks have made the same mistake.

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

    • identicon
      That One Other Not So Random Guy, 3 Jun 2015 @ 2:29pm

      Re: Could be a printing error

      We have a winner!!!

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

    • identicon
      Lurker Keith, 3 Jun 2015 @ 3:33pm

      Re: Could be a printing error

      I don't know if it was an error (I don't doubt there's a script, since multiple people keep making the same "mistake"). If someone's clever enough over there, they could have intentionally botched the name to prevent people from getting proper Google results.

      Now I said clever, not smart. Had they been smart, they'd realize that wouldn't work, because Google adapts & Eric would still link to the real Edward stories.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Jun 2015 @ 2:28pm

    I'm sure this Eric Snowden troublemaker is in cahoots with Buffcoat and Beaver.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Jun 2015 @ 2:32pm

    more to the point, why do they keep calling him 'traitor'? if anything, they have betrayed the people they were elected to protect and work for, whereas Snowden has done his best to bring what those lying fuckers in the government, the Senate and the Courts have been doing for decades, contrary to what they said they were doing and contrary to what they should have been doing! a prime example being the total bullshit spouted yesterday by McConnell!
    what really needs to happen is for these old fuckers to be ousted from their cushy little numbers and some fresh blood elected! perhaps then the antiquated ideas will be tossed and some new input happen to remove the cold war attitude that is present at the moment!!

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

  • icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 3 Jun 2015 @ 2:41pm

    It seems obvious to me

    it seems fairly bizarre that three separate Senators, all of whom are seen as staunch defenders of the surveillance state


    The mistake has an obvious source: it must have been on the sheet of talking points that the NSA provided to them. What would be bizarre (in a good way) is if they even looked at any information other than those talking points.

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

    • identicon
      alex, 3 Jun 2015 @ 2:54pm

      Re: It seems obvious to me

      Totally agree.

      Most Senators are only the mouth pieces of those that provide them money, protection and/or assurance of re-election. I'd bet that not Ten of them have really read/remember/understood/accepted/believed in the Federalist papers, Rights of Man, Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

      We should just move on.. nothing more to see except a footnote to the ongoing corruption and incompetence of the US Congress.

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

  • icon
    GMacGuffin (profile), 3 Jun 2015 @ 2:56pm

    Godwin

    It's all a subtle psych. Eric sounds like Erich and there were some Nazis named Erich (e.g., Traub, Priebke), so when people hear "Eric Snowden" they will subconsciously think of Nazis and be subliminally repulsed.

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

    • icon
      Nom du Clavier (profile), 3 Jun 2015 @ 3:27pm

      Re: Godwin

      It's obvious they're practitioners of magic and wishful thinking. "Give something a name and you give it power."

      Therefore misquoting his name would take away part of his power, afraid he might otherwise go bump in the night...

      /s

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Jun 2015 @ 3:41pm

    When they talk shit about him they use the correct name.

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

  • icon
    nkman (profile), 3 Jun 2015 @ 3:43pm

    I think we need to broaden the search

    We need to arrest anybody who's E. Snowden! Public safety demands it. Perhaps he's now Ellen Snowden. Traitors are well known for having sex change operations.

    In any case getting rid of them all is necessary "Pour encourager les autres"

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

  • icon
    Rapnel (profile), 3 Jun 2015 @ 4:30pm

    petulance

    they're likely doing it on purpose feeling they're somehow getting one over. like a child or a bully might. it's a means of belittling their, uh, targets.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Jun 2015 @ 10:13pm

      Re: petulance

      Maybe his superiors in the intelligence service has mentioned a dislike for being called Eric? Trying to goat people to act irrationally or trying to slowly tear them down psychologically is the first rule of "minimalisation".

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Jun 2015 @ 5:20pm

    why do our elected officials . . . have so much trouble remembering Snowden's name?

    every one of them an aggy at heart.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Jun 2015 @ 5:42pm

    So if they're not looking for Ed Snowden, can he leave Russia free of harassment?

    /sadsarc

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Jun 2015 @ 6:52pm

    Remember, the United States kills people based on metadata

    NSA representatives have admitted they kill based on metadata. NSA defenders cannot even get basic metadata (first name!) right about a well known public figure. Somehow this does not inspire confidence in the defenders or the NSA.

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

  • icon
    Spaceman Spiff (profile), 3 Jun 2015 @ 7:22pm

    Well...

    Well, idiots will remain idiots. This is just proof that most Congresspeople (Senators and Congresspersons) are idiots, and don't know what the fark they are talking about!

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

  • identicon
    Zem, 3 Jun 2015 @ 7:36pm

    It's because he is a viking.

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

  • identicon
    Mocaman, 3 Jun 2015 @ 10:50pm

    Where are the Snowdens of yesteryear?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Jun 2015 @ 11:02pm

    Plot twist, his real name is Eric.

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

  • identicon
    HoleTurth, 3 Jun 2015 @ 11:37pm

    The real question is why Erik aka Eric has been referred to as Ed? What is so significant about "ED"? Could it stand for "End of Democracy" perhaps? Could it be "Eternal Doom"? Think out of the box comrades and look for the hidden motives...

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2015 @ 1:29am

    They all got the same photocopy of the same paper with the same talking points to repeat...

    (they do not read their emails, they have someone to print it for them)

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2015 @ 3:24am

    I have heard a few talk radio host on conservative shows refer to him as Eric as well. Maybe they are listening to too much radio.

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

  • icon
    Bt Garner (profile), 4 Jun 2015 @ 3:59am

    Puppets can only say what the person with their hand up their ass is making them say. Perhaps we are seeing that many puppets all have the same 'puppeteer.'

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

  • icon
    Kevin Picott (profile), 4 Jun 2015 @ 5:12am

    At least he's not being referred to as "Edward Joseph Snowden". Then he'd be part of the three-name conspiracy; John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, James Earl Ray, Mark David Chapman...

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

  • identicon
    Shadow Firebird, 4 Jun 2015 @ 5:27am

    The most optimistic reading I can give this is that none of them can be bothered to obtain their own informed opinion, and instead they just copy each other?

    Even *without* any conspiracy, this is bad enough.

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

  • icon
    bratwurzt (profile), 4 Jun 2015 @ 6:13am

    Or maybe this is a ploy to avoid defamation lawsuit... ;)

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

  • icon
    ericcl (profile), 4 Jun 2015 @ 6:24am

    On behalf of the Association of Erics International, Ordo Universalis, I do hereby accept Eric Snowden into our ancient and hallowed Order, with all the rights and responsibilities incumbent upon him. Keep up the good work, brother Eric.

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

  • identicon
    alan turing, 4 Jun 2015 @ 9:31am

    ISIS ISIL

    It's kinda like that. A subtle slap in the face. A passive aggressive poke.

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

  • icon
    bmarsh (profile), 4 Jun 2015 @ 9:44am

    Ed vrs. Eric

    In the immortal words of Miss Emily Latella:

    It's "Eric" Snowden, not "Ed?"

    never mind...

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

  • identicon
    Tim, 4 Jun 2015 @ 3:14pm

    Mike, your "70-year old sculptor" link is broken.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2015 @ 8:52pm

    A clue as to how clueless our government is.

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

  • identicon
    Agent K, 5 Jun 2015 @ 11:40am

    36-hour days / 10 day weeks is Galactic Standard Time? Silly humans.

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


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