The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age
    Michael Maiello's picture

    Is Wikileaks the End of Snowden?

    I've been an Edward Snowden fan because I believe, without much doubt at this point, that anything he's done that his critics call out as "bad' such as releasing information about legitimate U.S. intelligence operations against overseas targets or seeking refuge with Vladimir Putin are either forgivable or understandable within the context of him giving the American people the knowledge they needed in order to give consent to their own government.  That domestic surveillance practices were curtailed or changed in the wake of his revelations is just proof to me that they were not actually acceptable to the people as previously practiced and there's no reason to believe they ever would have changed had Snowden not put the information out there.

    Basically, I think that if a few other intelligence eggs were broken in the making of this omelette, I can live with that and forgive it.

    If living with Putin is the alternative to jail in the US (or an unfair trial where a public interest defense is not even allowed to be raised), I can also forgive that.

    If it were up to me, Snowden would be pardoned, brought home and giving obnoxious TED talks for a living by now. The conventional wisdom was, around six months ago, that President Obama was Snowden's only long-shot chance for a pardon because Hillary Clinton is just never going to go there.

    Now Wikileaks, which is not the same thing as Snowden (but is associated with him in the public mind, at the very least), has become an outlet for Russian intelligence to release dubiously important hacked information that seems ineptly designed to help elect Donald Trump president, I wonder if any Democrat is going to entertain the notion of a Snowden pardon, ever. Because that's Snowden's only hope. A Republican isn't going to do it.  Gary Johnson is never going to be President.  Jill Stein is not ever going to be President.

    Is today's minor Wikileaks drama condemning Snowden to further years of exile? I'm thinking yes.




    "Now that Wikileaks, which is now not the same thing as Snowden " -fixed that for ya.

    Somehow I think Hillary can differentiate between Snowden, Assange, Wikileaks. We'll see. Certainly Putin won't receive any grace, nor St. Julian.

    Maybe Hillary can step in for both Snowden and Bradley/Chelsea Manning.

    I think she can tell the difference, but I don't this she's inclined towards Snowden's cause.  Nor is Obama, really. But she seems less inclined.

    Sorry for the typos! Work post.

    I am lost on the issues involving this accused pedophile. hahahah

    I just know that he shat upon Alex Jones. hahahahahahahahah

    But, I hereby render unto Mike M the Dayly line of the Day for this here Dagblog Site, given to all of the shirtless Mike, from all of me to all of him. hahahah For this here line:

    If it were up to me, Snowden would be pardoned, brought home and giving obnoxious TED talks for a living by now. The conventional wisdom was, around six months ago, that President Obama was Snowden's only long-shot chance for a pardon because Hillary Clinton is just never going to go there.

    I dunno, this line got to me like your lines get to me all the time.

    Just an after thought, but when I end up in Hell, I shall have to listen to TV shows like Chrisley andFox News and car people.....


    Maybe we all end up in hell....


    Shucks, a Richard Day award!  It has been a good day.

    Some Dagger said it was scarier that a self righteous borderline anarchist and mere private contractor could walk off with millions of secret documents than that the documents existed. 

    My view is the mass data collection was a digital equivalent of a typical defense boondoggle like the F-35 aircraft. The FBI couldn't even identify the Boston marathon bombers who they had interviewed 2 years previously, and who they had video of at the scene. Costs billions, poorly designed and doesn't work well.

    Snowden seemed to believe he alone knew how 'secretly' our government should operate, that huge crimes were being committed and that  the free world needed him, The Great Leaker, to expose heinous digital subterfuge by the rogue US and British governments by copying and dumping everything 'top secret'  he could get his hands anyone in the world who wanted it.

    Snowden notably currently lives under the protection of a journalist-murdering tyrant who is engaged in the sabotage the American election on behalf of Donald J. Trump. Not sure that enhances one's perception of Snowden's judgment or erudition on the subject of how to run a country.

    Snowden gave the documents to the Guardian and the Washington Post and asked them to decide what was in the public's interest to know. They also gave the government the opportunity to make their case as to why certain information should not be disclosed in the interests of protecting the identity of agents in the field. He did not dump everything top secret to anyone in the world who wanted it. Get your facts straight. 

    There is ample evidence Snowden intentionally or unintentionally spread his files to enough places and individuals that both Russia and China got possession of them, damaging US and UK security.  The facts are he is being hosted by Putin for a reason, and it isn't charity.

    I admire Snowden ,am grateful for what he achieved and  don't believe he should be pardoned.

    The government can't function if individual government employees can decide for themselves what it's doing is wrong so they are going to stop it. On  this occasion Snowden was right. Maybe the  next leaker will be too . And the one after that . But sooner or later it will be irrelevant because the Government won't be  doing anything wrong- or anything right either- because it will be incapable of functioning.

     Snowden should be allowed to live as a free american citizen . And indeed honored for his courage and his wisdom in understanding that the NSA's unauthorized invasion of everyone's privacy was wrong and should be stopped.


    First he should be formally tried, with the best possible defense. And if the jury finds him guilty, punished. Perhaps sentenced to 20 years in the sort of prison that Madoff is in .

    And then , four year later, if he has come to sincerely understand the serious consequences of what he did, paroled .

    On condition he accept an appropriately  paid Government position leading discussion  groups on the

    importance of honoring one's  oath of loyal service.








    He's done. It will be impossible to pardon a leaker with ties to Russia after this.

    It is possible that Vladimir Putin is entirely sincere, if ineffective, when he says he wants no damage to be done to America as a result of Snowden's sojourn. It is all possible. But unlikely. At any rate I find it scandalous that Snowden's defenders are so blithe about his arrival and stay in Moscow. People who are so highly (and I would say unreasonably) suspicious of Western governments become bizarrely trusting where the interests and abilities of Vladimir Putin's regime are concerned.

    From The Snowden Operation by Lucas.

    Among the possibilities Lucas gives evidence for is that Snowden was a naive dupe of Russian intelligence. He notes Snowden revealed no single instance of a NSA crime against any individual:

    Even if Russian intelligence is not involved, I cannot see the heroic virtues, in the Snowden affair which others have celebrated. Nobody has proved that the NSA or GCHQ committed grave and deliberate breaches of the law. In the big scandals of the 1960s, the FBI illegally bugged American citizens and tried to blackmail the government's political opponents. For example, it wanted to make Martin Luther King commit suicide, by threatening him with the exposure of his adultery. No comparable examples have been produced now, and I do not believe any will be. Nobody has produced individual victims of illegal NSA activity. There is no evidence of wilful, systematic breaches of the law by the NSA, or of contempt within its ranks, at any level, for judicial and legislative oversight. There is no modern counterpart of J Edgar Hoover, the brooding madman who brought the FBI to its darkest hour.

    Yes, they've proven NSA and GCHQ committed grave breaches of the law, hiding activities, even bouncing things back and forth between them to circumvent the limits of foreign and domestic eavesdropping, and playing whack-a-mole with operations shut down by Congress or the IG only to spring up somewhere else under another name.

    It's not personal like Hoover's FBI, but it's just as outrageous. It has ruined lives, even if it could be much worse in the hands of someone much more vindictive than either Bush or Obama. And it's huge, spidering into every nook and cranny of our modern digital lives, cross-correlating all the little pieces that they were told weren't to be cross-correlated, and forcing telcos and ISPs and HW/SW multinationals like Microsoft/Google/Apple to cooperate while giving them a National Security Letter so they can't even discuss the matter without committing a crime.

    and pretty much a column a day over the years from


    Do you have the name and illegal conviction or even violation of rights of a single individual as the quote says don't exist? The name of a person who was harmed, threatened or blackmailed with the data collection ? "There was no contempt for judicial oversight, no systematic breaches of law at any level".

    As he notes existed in the hundreds under J Edgar.

    Ah, but they don't identify where they've used the information - defendents don't even know they've been rickrolled...


    So guilty defendents are trying to get a judge to toss incriminating evidence. Old story. Been around forever.

    Not a reason to runoff with a million sensitive US and UK documents to the care of a political opponents/journalist killing tyrant, while shouting 'freedom'.

    Nice try. Maybe "non-guilty entrapped defendents are discovering too late how they were entrapped and how the government withheld evidence".

    Emptywheel describes how the assumptions used to track someone are faulty, and how if it's a Muslim male even a mistake will then keep them on their radar/eavsesdropping list for years later:

    Etc, etc. Considering the continuing revelations of say black suspects in Chicago whisked secretly to a dark holding cell out of contact to family, lawyers, et al, I'm not sure why you trust a program that was designed to be secretive and cover its tracks so most suspects would never even know it had been used on them *NOR IN WHAT WAY*. Hard to counter false evidence if you don't even know which evidence was falsified. Plus *MOST PEOPLE GO TO JAIL FROM PLEA BARGAINS, NOT CONVICTIONS* - if they have a Kafkaesque case thrown at them that they can't even get their heads around because the threads are all secret, they might easily plead guilty to crimes they didn't commit *TO AVOID WORSE PENALTIES*. All the power is with the state, zero with the suspect. That's supposedly why we have a Constitution including a Bill of Rights.

    Selective prosecution, another problem with mass unauthoriized surveillance - there's dirt on everyone, but a few clever chaps with the dirt will decide who to charge - Muslims, blacks, in the old days gays, etc.

    There is strong evidence Snowden was duped by Russian intelligence, which, as we have seen, works closely with Wikileaks. Willingly or unwittingly. For both Wikileaks and Snowden.

    The quantity and quality of his leaks go far beyond what was needed to highlight the issues you mention, which were and may still be legal. Anyway, the issue you raise were perhaps just the hook that snared the naive self righteous egomaniac Edward to go rogue. Everything Putin has said on this, see above, is standard Putinesque disinformation.

    You can look up Snowden Russia, dupe, etc if you want. No US or Russian intelligence defector has ever NOT been compelled to divulge everything they know to the other side. Snowden is kept in an undisclosed location in Moscow certainly under tight FSB control. 

    The book I cited above, by an author/journalist with the UK Economist magazine, former Moscow bureau chief,  writer on intelligence and his Snowden book, which is short and sells for only 99¢ at Amazon Kindle store, has a last chapter on the hypothesis of Snowden as a Russian dupe. I have nothing more to say on this.


    The US was stopping planes headed to South America, so Snowden really couldn't go no further. Anyway, I don't need Snowden to point out the possibilities of hurting individuals with mass surveillance - it was known at the time laws and directives were put into place to prevent just that, the ones that NSA, FBI, et al keep circumventing with impunity (even as other people who report on it go to jail)

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