Jul
07
2013

Of *course* Ed Snowden needs a lawyer.

(H/T: Hot Air Headlines) The man keeps publicly committing acts of espionage against the USA: what he needs right now is somebody who can do the first job of a lawyer… which is to tell his or her client to shut up, early and often. And he especially needs a lawyer, because things aren’t working out otherwise for either Ed Snowden OR Glenn Greenwald.

…Snowden’s argument isn’t doing particularly well in the court of public opinion, which seems more inclined to the government’s view that Snowden is a fugitive from criminal justice and therefore subject to various authorities of law enforcement. Several supporters organized rallies on July 4 in cities around the US, but total turnout was around 3,000. The biggest rally, in Washington DC, weighed in at an estimated 400.

Yeah, turns out that the American people may not be particularly thrilled at the thought that somebody might feel entitled to burn the NSA’s foreign operations in the service of a fringe transnational fantasy ideology.  Go figure.

Moe Lane

PS: Barack Obama will not be President of the United States forever, Ed Snowden.  And the next one will not forget your name.  So just save everybody some time and bother and turn yourself in now.  I’m sure that you’ll be able to get publicity for your cause out of the trial.  And, hey: maybe you’ll luck out with the judge.

19 Comments

  • Crawford says:

    Wait… Isn’t Greenwald a lawyer? Why doesn’t HE represent Snowden? I’m sure it will turn out as well for him as it did for Greenwald’s last high-profile client.

  • acat says:

    Wait.. While I agree that Snowden doesn’t get a pass on *anything* just because he brought NSA data mining against U.S. citizens to light .. let’s not *ignore* the data mining just because Snowden is a bad actor.
    .
    I know, it reeks of nuance.
    .
    Mew

  • bobby b says:

    You know, so long as Snowden was leaking the oh-so-vital-nationally-important secret about how departments and branches of our federal government were and are tracking and recording and profiling and categorizing you and me and millions of Americans like us, I’m inclined to cut him a whole pile of slack on that “treason” idea.

    To justify calling someone treasonous, there ought to be no real contest when it comes to determining whether it’s he or the government employees who have been most treasonous.

    Once you’re exposing treason, your duty of loyalty and/or deference to the exposed government employees becomes a bit attenuated.

    • Moe_Lane says:

      As far as I can tell, Snowden has yet to reveal any conspiracy to violate domestic surveillance law by the NSA, or anybody else. He certainly HAS burned various and sundry legitimate foreign surveillance operations conducted by the NSA, though. That counts as at least espionage in my book. Very possibly sedition.

      • bobby b says:

        I’m applying my own filter to these events, of course. The spying on us by our own government employees – which is what Snowden started out revealing – might well constitute a valid and necessary part of a complete “domestic surveillance law” system – meaning, it might be legal – but, damn, it shocks my conception of what the United States of America is, or at least what it’s supposed to be – so much so that my mind takes it in and reflexively prelabels it as treason in its own right.

        If they can do all of these intrusive and audacious things to me in my own name and still claim legality, then we’ve not been paying nearly enough attention.

        When the worst consequence to a disclosure is that it makes it harder for the government to convict ME of some illusory federal crime, we’ve not compromised national security in disclosing it. I’d argue that we’ve buttressed that security.

      • acat says:

        Until, Moe, you can show me where pulling *every* phone record is, in fact, legal .. we will need to disagree on this.
        .
        (and no, an over-broad FISA warrant that ought to get the requesting agency slapped down does not cut it)
        .
        Mew

        • Moe_Lane says:

          Feel free to disagree with me all you like, of course. But I will still be waiting with some interest to see when – or if – Snowden is ever going to reveal something that the NSA’s done that broken a domestic law.

          • jbird says:

            I’m going to disagree. NSA shouldn’t be collecting the “meta-data” of phone records on the entire country. Now I’m not in law enforcement, but it seems like a gross violation of the warrant process. I understand if it’s a suspected Taliban commander calling me from Lahore, but it’s not. For what crime exactly am I being investigated? What probable cause is there that I committed this crime? But then as with the Rosen affair, this administration seems to have a pattern for little regard of the warrant process. If this is legal, maybe Congress could take a break from their inanities and do something useful in correcting that oversight.

          • Moe_Lane says:

            jbird: NSA isn’t collecting the data; they’re acquiring it from the phone companies that are themselves collecting it. And, again, I have yet to hear about how the NSA is doing this outside of actual counter-terrorism investigations and using FISA warrants. Seriously: notably absent from the NSA situation are any actual horror stories. It’s all this might happen and that could be available and it may occur that the other thing comes about. And I find it REALLY difficult to believe that Snowden/Greenwald have a bombshell of actual NSA lawbreaking and just haven’t revealed it yet. They weren’t shy about burning our foreign operations.

          • jbird says:

            A lot of people didn’t believe the IRS could be toying with conservatives or that an alphabet soup of federal agencies would show up at the door of the True the Vote lady either.

          • Moe_Lane says:

            The difference there is that we have actual horror stories for the IRS/True the Vote situations. The “NSA is getting access via FISA warrants to do specific traffic analysis on phone metadata as part of their counter-terrorism investigations” does not, to me, represent a horror story.

          • acat says:

            Warrants are supposed to cover individuals or situations, with clear limits, Moe.
            .
            The FISA court has ordered the telcos (and the ISPs etc. etc.) to bend and spread ’em at the whim of the NSA.
            .
            You are welcome to say this is all legal .. my opinion is that the warrants granted by FISA are overbroad and therefore illegal but I am not a lawyer.
            .
            I would hope we can agree that placing this much information about citizens in *anyone*’s hands – let alone a government agency that for practical reasons exists behind a security curtain – is a Bad Idea.
            .
            Related: http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/obama-use-google-and-campaign-model-make-govt-smarter_738762.html
            .
            Mew

          • qixlqatl says:

            “Acquiring” < "collecting"? 8( Please explain this distinction without a difference….and why I should continue to support a GOP that *agrees* that obtaining the information at secondhand by bullying telcom companies is okay while obtaining it first hand by spying on the telcoms is not? What IS the difference, pray tell?
            .
            My personal belief is that the GOP is about to be handed a MAJOR 'setback' in the '14 midterms, because they are going out of their way to convince their base that they are (at least) not to be trusted. What the hell are we supposed to believe the GOP is actually going to do?
            .
            Are you going to tell me I should support the GOP because they are .00000000001% “better” than the donks? I tell you, all I see from the GOP is “We want the same thing as the donks, only JUST A LITTLE BIT SLOWER…..”
            .
            If that’s all I get, my money and my vote stay in my pocket or go to a third party…. except in the case, of MARCO RUBIO, that lying, backstabbing POS: him, I’ll support the democrat against, because he BETRAYED the people (including ME) who helped put his BACKSTABBING ass over the top. His amnesty bill takes a machete to the careers of construction guys like me. But doesn’t the GOP establishment just LOVE them some RUBIO?
            .
            If the GOP want’s my support, they can drive a STAKE through the heart of that lying cockroach’s political career. And I don’t expect that to happen……..

          • Moe_Lane says:

            Sure: the telcoms collect everything about your telephone call that they legally can collect. This doesn’t actually include the contents of the call, but it does include who you called, how long you called, where you called from, the phone number that you called from, and I’m sure a host of other information. Then the NSA comes along and tells a FISA court the parameters of the data that they need for traffic analysis for a particular investigation. The FISA court typically grants them that request; the NSA then acquires that data from the telcoms.

            And I will not have a problem with that until I start hearing credible, specific accusations that the NSA has engaged in politically-motivated attacks on domestic opponents of this or any other administration, or that it has been actually eavesdropping on domestic calls instead of requesting metadata, or other actual crimes. And I don’t mean “violated a law that nobody’s ever heard of because we keep passing things without reading either them, or past law.” Sorry, man, but this is where I am right now.

          • acat says:

            Well .. it looks like the Supremes will at least take a sniff at the FISA warrant issue.
            .
            http://www.scotusblog.com/2013/07/challenge-to-global-phone-taps/
            .
            Mew

          • Moe_Lane says:

            Well, that’s why they’re there. Do not be surprised if the Court comes back with a No, we were already aware of the situation, though. Walter Russell Mead had some thoughts about how to tweak the FISA courts; I will probably blog about it later this morning. Right now I got kids to feed. 🙂

        • acat says:

          And if FISA were granting warrants asking the telcos for information about specific phone numbers, that would be fine… but that’s not what is happening.
          .
          Mew

          • jbird says:

            I think there’s a difference between a private company collecting data from my voluntary usage of their product for marketing purposes (frequent buyer clubs, online ads, grocery store discount cards, etc) and the government collecting that data. I’m already uncomfortable with the facebook ads that seem related to certain posts or the ads based on my e-mail. Would it be ok for the NSA to be tracking what every American purchases at the store? Every site he or she visits? Presumably anyone who purchases a disposable cell, buys certain items at the hardware store, and googles jihadi news. Let’s monitor everything all the time!

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