Bring Snowden back, find balance for the U.S. intelligence

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  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    June 26, 2013 9:27 a.m.


    Treason is defined by law. Being a traitor is an entirely subjection perception. Snowden has been formally charged with theft of government property and violation of the Espionage Act by unauthorized communication of classified intelligence to an unauthorized person. He now acknowledges he acquired his position with his ultimate objective being to inform the public of what he alone determined to be illegal.

    Keep in mind that no military or civilian employee of the Federal Government is invested with such discretionary authority. But here we have a private contract employee who acquired his position under false pretenses citing the Constitution as his justification for acts he commits outside of any scope of authority he feels answerable to.

  • OKWalker Duncan, OK
    June 25, 2013 7:40 p.m.

    Legally, the government can only classify programs that affect "National Security." National Security is defined by reference to foreign threats. Spying on American citizens in violation of Constitutional protections violates the Supreme Law of the land. Government agencies cannot legally classify programs that violate Constitutional protections. It is not treason to disclose violations of the Constitution. Therefore, the initial claims of treason by Senators, Congressmen and President were way off mark. That they then secured an indictment for Snowden's arrest and extradition improperly was a clear and unconstitutional threat. That Snowden acted to protect himself from the trumped up claims of violations of the laws governing classified information by currying favor with foreign governments, creates a very complex legal situation. I do not believe it is as simple as suggested by the DN editor. I rather think the common law of self-defense justification would rule. Snowden therefore should go free. Moreover, anytime a government agency classifies programs that jeopardize or breach Constitutional protections, the responsible parties should be held criminally liable to the same extent that disclosures of the classified information of unconstitutional programs would impose.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    June 25, 2013 2:55 p.m.

    "But Snowden clearly crossed a line when he began seeking refuge from nations at cross-purposes with the United States and began leaking information about how the U.S. spies on those countries." I've wondered just what my position on this issue was. But you have put your finger on it. It is one thing to inform the citizenry on domestic spying (I opposed Bush's whole setup), but it is another to provide such information to other countries. That is a line Snowden should not have crossed and it will cost him plenty.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    June 25, 2013 1:45 p.m.

    2 bits,

    "IF he really just wanted to change the policy... he would have gone to one of the many whistle-blower protection programs...."

    A whistle-blower believes in the system. He uses the tools the system provides to enforce its own integrity. Those do not include committing acts of theft and betrayal that have made Snowden a celebrity fugitive from the law. Those choices mark altogether different paths than that of a whistle-blower.

    Naturally, Snowden’s defenders want to believe their guy is just a conscientious citizen standing up for Constitutional rights. That’s more than I can swallow about Snowden whose actions seem to me more like those of an anarchist or a political subversive.

    If he had chosen to stay here and face the music, that would have showed real courage, what many would now be calling standing on principle.

  • Fareed San Francisco, CA
    June 25, 2013 1:32 p.m.

    The Russians will send him back to Hong Kong, if Snow-Job and his handlers can't find anyone to take him in the next 24 hours. The Chinese whose financial markets were shaken directly or in directly, with Snow-Jobs extended presence in Hong Kong, will send him back to Hawaii.

  • Fareed San Francisco, CA
    June 25, 2013 1:30 p.m.

    The Russians will send him back to Hong Kong, if Snow-Job and his handlers can't find anyone to take him in the next 24 hours. The Chinese whose financial markets were shaken directly or in directly, with Snow-Jobs extended presence in Hong Kong, will send him back to Hawaii.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    June 25, 2013 11:08 a.m.

    David King,

    Thanks for your thoughtful and reasoned post.

    David, I don’t know if or how many Americans Snowden may have put at risk but it’s not a concern to sneer at. Nor do I know if or how many groups or individuals out to do harm to America may have been tipped off on how to adjust to beat the security systems devised to prevent attacks. But I guarantee that if another 911 type catastrophe happens again, the narrative will once again turn on a dime. It happened after Pearl Harbor as well as 911 when we had to pick ourselves up off the floor and pay the price of complacency.

    I wish the world we live in weren’t like that. But I grew up with the so-called cold war when vigilance was essential and was practiced by Presidents of both political parties.

    How do we protect our basic rights and liberties without letting our guard down? I don’t have all the answers but I know that it can be done. I’ve seen it happen.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 25, 2013 11:00 a.m.

    David King,
    I think anybody who knew about the Patriot Act knew there was at least a POSSIBILITY that these programs existed.

    Too many people assumed since Obama was a Democrat, and Democrats opposed the Patriot Act more than Republicans did... that he wouldn't use it. Obviously that was a bad assumption.

    IMO Snowden bringing attention to the problems the over-reach called "The Patriot Act" CAN allow... was a good thing. But his exposing our anti-terrorism secrets and other National Security secrets to Russia and China... puts him squarely in the "bad guy" category for me.

    If he really wanted to be seen as a "good guy".... he should have leaked as little as possible to expose the program to a US News Agency or an official whistle-blower protection program, instead of running to the Chinese intelligence people and the Russian Intel people with his computer full of top secret data and National Security Program details.

    Though I don't like the Patriot Act over-reach... he's not a "Hero".

  • David King Layton, UT
    June 25, 2013 9:50 a.m.

    Here is what is troubling to me. Were it not for Ed Snowden, how many of us would have known that these programs (the collection of telephone metadata and PRISM) even existed? Why are our officials so upset that we know? Has anyone been put in danger with the release of this information? I can't see how. But the programs ARE controversial, and many of us believe they violate our basic 4th amendment rights, which were supposed to protect us from general searches and wholesale confiscation of records. So how many programs exist that we don't know about yet? And how can we trust the government is following the law when they lie about programs they believe are completely legal?

    On another note, it's sad to see some turn this into a partisan issue. My thanks to the principled people on the right and the left who have stood against abuses of our civil liberties no matter who is president.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    June 25, 2013 9:11 a.m.

    "..."It is difficult to separate the need to extradite Snowden from the legitimate need for a broad national discussion over the collection of data on U.S. citizens, but that distinction must be made...." (DN editorial)

    Discussion over balancing rights of privacy with national security has been ongoing since long before we heard of Edward Snowden. It’s hard to see how his flight to evade criminal prosecution drama puts the issues front and center. Snowden strikes me as a know it all kid who lacks the intelligence to see he’s not brilliant.

    In his grandiose mind, he may have believed he was doing the right thing. But that’s no justification for stealing government documents he was entrusted to be a guardian of. Those documents at this very moment may already have been downloaded onto computers in Russia, China, and who knows where else.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 25, 2013 9:11 a.m.

    IF he really just wanted to change the policy... he would have gone to one of the many whistle-blower protection programs instead of running to the Chinese and the Russians. How does exposing our security systems and capabilities to the Chinese change US policy?

    Some will say, "If he went to a Government whistle-blower/witness protection programs, he would probably lose his job". Well... he kinda knew he was going to loose his job when he ran blabbing to China and Russia, don't ya think?

    Now it's been revealed that he wanted the job at the NSA so he could expose secrets. That's not a "Hero" in my book.

    Delta, PA
    Take the blame-Sarah-Palin, and the blame-the-Tea-Party rhetoric down a notch. I consider myself to be a TeaParty sympathizer... and I'm not calling him a "Hero". So saying all TeaParty people think he's a Hero doesn't work.

    You claim "Tea Party will do all they can to overthrow the US government". That's not true. You're just full of MSNBC talking point Coolaid. I wish you knew what TeaParty people REALLY wanted.

  • SEY Sandy, UT
    June 25, 2013 8:33 a.m.

    Another bit of irony: had this very scenario taken place while President Bush was still in office, Democrats would have been howling in outrage over "police state" tactics of administration officials. Those same people who supported Bush/Cheney now criticize those very same policies when adopted by a president who happens to be a Democrat. It's all about supporting "their guy" whether Republican or Democrat.

  • SEY Sandy, UT
    June 25, 2013 7:46 a.m.

    One thing is certain: the Desert News editors are consistent in their support of the policies and pronouncements coming from the de facto president of the United States 2001-2009 Dick Cheney. We're now seeing the 4th term of that presidency.

    To call this act of civil disobedience "treason" is enough to make the likes of Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry spin in their graves. No lives have been endangered, no secrets have been sold for personal gain and Snowden himself has expressed only selfless and patriotic motives. The main effect has been to confirm government abuses of the 4th and 5th amendments to or constitution. This is highly embarrassing to both the Bush and Obama administrations, and properly so. I hope Snowden stays out of reach of out government's tentacles long enough to persuade Americans of the need to force government to make drastic reforms in their out-of-control spying programs.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    June 25, 2013 7:11 a.m.

    The government wants to silence anyone who exposes the scandals that are occurring. The government does not want us to know what they are doing to us. The government knows that any nation friendly to the United States would turn over anyone who exposes the lawlessness inside the government.

    There is no reason that Snowden would ever go to a government friendly to the United States. He would be tried for treason. Obama and his minions would tell us that they had "solved" the problem when all that they had done would have been to silence anyone who told us that the government was spying on us without a warrant.

    Snowden would not be safe in any country friendly to Obama. Obama can only blame himself. His administration ordered the spying. The criminal acts have not stopped nor does Obama plan on stopping the spying. Who should be investigated, Obama for allowing the spying or Snowden for telling us that Obama's administration is spying on us?

  • ocmyst Silver City, NM
    June 25, 2013 6:50 a.m.

    Liberals are more interested in the concept of Justice rather than strict "Law and Order" as stated in this article. That the "Law" does not always mean justice in this country needs to be understood. I know Snowden will be railroaded to prison for the rest of his life in this country if he goes to trail and the NSA will go on violating the constitution. So may he land safe

    This drama is so dripping in irony; that he is is charged with spying as the NSA spys on everyone on earth makes us look just silly in the eyes of the world.

  • K3HY Delta, PA
    June 25, 2013 5:39 a.m.

    No matter how many times Sarah Palin's Tea Party calls someone that runs to a communist country denouncing the US, a 'hero', the dictionary calls them traitor.
    The Tea Party will do all they can to overthrow the US government, even if it means praising someone who defects to a communist country and denounces the US government.

  • O L M Pittsburgh, PA
    June 25, 2013 5:16 a.m.

    "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."