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View Poll Results: Should Snowden be freed?

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  • Yes

    34 80.95%
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  1. #141
    LL P. Stewie Beorn's Avatar
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    Thank God this former Senator has some sense.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisf...edward-snowden

    Mr. Snowden,

    Provided you have not leaked information that would put in harms way any intelligence agent, I believe you have done the right thing in exposing what I regard as massive violation of the United States Constitution.

    Having served in the United States Senate for twelve years as a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, the Armed Services Committee and the Judiciary Committee, I think I have a good grounding to reach my conclusion.

    I wish you well in your efforts to secure asylum and encourage you to persevere.

    Kindly acknowledge this message, so that I will know it reached you.

    Regards,
    Gordon J. Humphrey
    Former United States Senator
    New Hampshire

    After I contacted Sen. Humphrey to confirm its authenticity, he wrote to me [emphasis added]:

    Mr. Greenwald,

    Yes. It was I who sent the email message to Edward Snowden, thanking him for exposing astonishing violations of the US Constitution and encouraging him to persevere in the search for asylum.

    To my knowledge, Mr. Snowden has disclosed only the existence of a program and not details that would place any person in harm's way. I regard him as a courageous whistle-blower.

    I object to the monumentally disproportionate campaign being waged by the U.S. Government against Edward Snowden, while no effort is being made to identify, remove from office and bring to justice those officials who have abused power, seriously and repeatedly violating the Constitution of the United States and the rights of millions of unsuspecting citizens.

    Americans concerned about the growing arrogance of our government and its increasingly menacing nature should be working to help Mr. Snowden find asylum. Former Members of Congress, especially, should step forward and speak out.

    Regards,
    Gordon Humphrey
    Take the weakest thing in you
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  2. #142
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    I agree that an intelligence agency would not reveal a lot of what they are doing. That seems to make sense. Do you think they should do something different?
    Yes, I think we should know about all of the programs they're running. We don't need to know specific details (algorithms, names of spies, etc), but we should know a lot more than we do. Otherwise we have 1) no way of knowing whether or not they're actually doing their job (slacking off) and 2) whether or not they're violating the Constitution in the process. If they're slacking off, they should be fired. If they're violating the Constitution, they should go to prison.

    Those cameras at your work and on the streets - they see you picking your nose you know. Satellite cameras are watching us too.

    Truthfully, I do understand what you mean and I don't much like it either.
    Yep, but those are outside of my home, not inside. If those cameras were pointed inside my home, I would be quite upset.

    In the military and intelligence community, there is very strong culture of compartmentalization. When you say a million people have access to classified information, that million doesn't have access to all of it. It's need to know.
    With all systems, the longer this goes on, the sloppier it gets. It's just easier for the people managing the system to give people access to more than they need. That way they have less work to do.

    As far as the scenario about states starting to use information to deny welfare because of an email that the NSA collected years ago, that doesn't seem like a plausible scenario. One of the core principles in privacy is to use data for the purposes for which it was collected. The secondary usage scenario you mention would again be a political disaster and harm both the intelligence community and government officials. The US is a democracy. If people don't like what's going on, officials get voted out of office and that's their job so they don't like getting fired.
    Well, I already described a scenario whereby state and local police could get access to this data in the future. Drugs. The drug trade has already been linked to terrorism. Give the DEA access to this information and they'll be helping in the War on Terror. And once the DEA has access, we might as well let state and local police have access, too. They're also fighting the drug war. This won't happen overnight, but over a few presidential administrations. I expect the next president to give the DEA access to these records.

    Best point you've made so far. 1984. Well that's the risk. I think we don't know what checks and balances, controls, and other mechanisms are built in to protect the stuff and prevent it from being abused. It's never perfect and mistakes always happen. For now, I'll take a leap of faith that they're more interested in protecting against a terrorist planting a nuclear device in a major city than they are in having a grudge against me and and my family. I would think they have more important things to do.
    The NSA isn't likely to be interested in what anyone on this forum is doing. But when (not if) state and local police have access, that will be a different story. Don't piss off your local cops. They could totally fuck up your life.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  3. #143
    Filthy Apes! Kalach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    Those cameras at your work and on the streets - they see you picking your nose you know. Satellite cameras are watching us too.
    And increasingly subject to automated pattern detection too. You know why people keep on about the human pilots of drones? Because at some point, there'll be drones with "lethal autonomy".

    Meanwhile...

    In the military and intelligence community, there is very strong culture of compartmentalization. When you say a million people have access to classified information, that million doesn't have access to all of it. It's need to know.
    It's not, actually. Since 9/11, and the trauma of missed intelligence, the deal is inter-agency sharing. And part of how the NSA works now depends on other agencies doing what it is not legally allowed to. The payoff is shared intel. I forget where I read it recently, but intelligence is called a "team sport" now.

    As far as the scenario about states starting to use information to deny welfare because of an email that the NSA collected years ago, that doesn't seem like a plausible scenario. One of the core principles in privacy is to use data for the purposes for which it was collected. The secondary usage scenario you mention would again be a political disaster and harm both the intelligence community and government officials.
    You mean like, say, the NSA accidentally collecting US citizen data, and being allowed to use it anyway?

    The US is a democracy. If people don't like what's going on, officials get voted out of office and that's their job so they don't like getting fired.
    Like General Keith Alexander?

    Best point you've made so far. 1984. Well that's the risk. I think we don't know what checks and balances, controls, and other mechanisms are built in to protect the stuff and prevent it from being abused. It's never perfect and mistakes always happen. For now, I'll take a leap of faith that they're more interested in protecting against a terrorist planting a nuclear device in a major city than they are in having a grudge against me and and my family. I would think they have more important things to do.
    Or there could be laws.

    A good one might define what is an actionable terrorist threat. Or who you're at war with. That the technology exists to (begin) plotting the movements and maybe even the intentions of assailants isn't by itself authorisation enough for action. You'll need a philosophy and a bunch of moral decisions rendered into laws and codes.
    Bellison uncorked a flood of horrible profanity, which, translated, meant, "This is extremely unusual."

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  4. #144
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalach View Post
    What a remarkable collection of socialists you guys turned out to be. The government works better if they know more rather than less? And what they can know is bigger than it used to be? How did you manage to grant the government that kind of authority? Compared to your past history, this authority is new.

    You miserable communists. No wonder you think all this is okay for the rest of the world too.

    Because socialism is a dirty word?

    If you will excuse me ill take your advice and go make some pie so you mens can talk.



    Oops wait coriolis isn't a man, but she's making really "substantial" arguments based on Hollywood films.

    Thanks so much for reminding me of my rightful place here.

  5. #145
    Filthy Apes! Kalach's Avatar
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    Your rightful place is anywhere you like, proposing adequate institutions. So far you seem to have said, gosh, look at the crazy foreigners being all concerned, don't they know everything's just fine? As an institution, this is called willful disinterest. Or perhaps optimistic ignorance. There may be other approaches to oversight and accountability.
    Bellison uncorked a flood of horrible profanity, which, translated, meant, "This is extremely unusual."

    Boy meets Grr

  6. #146
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalach View Post
    Your rightful place is anywhere you like, proposing adequate institutions. So far you seem to have said, gosh, look at the crazy foreigners being all concerned, don't they know everything's just fine? As an institution, this is called willful disinterest. Or perhaps optimistic ignorance. There may be other approaches to oversight and accountability.
    Nah I am usually on Europe's side so none of this applies.

    Please try again.

  7. #147
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    Yes, I think we should know about all of the programs they're running. We don't need to know specific details (algorithms, names of spies, etc), but we should know a lot more than we do. Otherwise we have 1) no way of knowing whether or not they're actually doing their job (slacking off) and 2) whether or not they're violating the Constitution in the process. If they're slacking off, they should be fired. If they're violating the Constitution, they should go to prison.
    You know it's funny, as I was reading all that stuff he talked about, my reaction was those things all made sense. It was comforting to me to know they were doing them and it confirmed much of what I had already guessed. My view is they're actually trying to protect us so I really don't have a problem with anything I've read. If they weren't doing some of those things then I'd say they weren't doing their job.

    I don't think the average citizen's should know what the intelligence community does. I believe that would seriously undermine their effectiveness, which I generally believe to be in our collective self interest. I do agree that some things should be done moving forward to help make sure that power isn't abused because there will be a possible natural evolution towards that over time. I'm just more worried about other things right now than the abuse of power.

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  8. #148
    Senior Member JivinJeffJones's Avatar
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    I'd also be concerned about possible behind-the-scenes uses of such power in the future. Political opponents of particular policies or NSA power in general being quietly threatened with damaging/embarrassing "leaks" and suchlike.

    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    I can say with a level of certainty that there are quite a number of active members on this forum that are part of botnet. Worry about that.
    Any information in that regard you could share with us?

  9. #149
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    You know it's funny, as I was reading all that stuff he talked about, my reaction was those things all made sense. It was comforting to me to know they were doing them and it confirmed much of what I had already guessed. My view is they're actually trying to protect us so I really don't have a problem with anything I've read. If they weren't doing some of those things then I'd say they weren't doing their job.

    I don't think the average citizen's should know what the intelligence community does. I believe that would seriously undermine their effectiveness, which I generally believe to be in our collective self interest. I do agree that some things should be done moving forward to help make sure that power isn't abused because there will be a possible natural evolution towards that over time. I'm just more worried about other things right now than the abuse of power.
    I just don't live in fear of terrorism. You're more likely to be struck by lightning than killed in a terrorist attack. Yet here we are spending tens of billions of dollars on programs like these and we're not even sure they work. I don't believe terrorism is something we have to stop no matter the cost, but that's how it is treated.

    And you take the position that we shouldn't even know about these programs, so we can never even know if they're working. Unlike the free market, there is no financial incentive for the NSA to be efficient/produce a working product/etc. And with all of this secrecy, the NSA can just say everything they're doing works and we can never check their work to see if what they're saying is true. They could be the most incompetent organization on the planet and we would have no way of knowing. I'm sorry, but I don't think you're ever going to convince me that we're better off being ignorant.

    Something you should never forget, since the beginning of the 20th century governments have killed more of their own citizens than foreign invaders, including both armies and terrorists. Who is really more likely to take your freedom or your life from you? A terrorist or your own government? If you answer terrorist, you're ignoring evidence and reason.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  10. #150
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    As far as the scenario about states starting to use information to deny welfare because of an email that the NSA collected years ago, that doesn't seem like a plausible scenario. One of the core principles in privacy is to use data for the purposes for which it was collected. The secondary usage scenario you mention would again be a political disaster and harm both the intelligence community and government officials. The US is a democracy. If people don't like what's going on, officials get voted out of office and that's their job so they don't like getting fired.
    The public cannot know whether they like what is going on unless they are aware of it. That is a significant part of the point. Accountability to the voters requires transparency. Moreover, the authorities have proved themselves more than capable of stirring up other issues as a distraction, when people start to show too much interest in the man behind the curtain. The checks and balances that should curtail abuses of power are inadequate when those in power can manipulate the public by controlling information.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    I just don't live in fear of terrorism. You're more likely to be struck by lightning than killed in a terrorist attack. Yet here we are spending tens of billions of dollars on programs like these and we're not even sure they work. I don't believe terrorism is something we have to stop no matter the cost, but that's how it is treated.
    You are more likely to become a victim of identity theft, or get into trouble at work because of injudicious photos on Facebook (even if posted by others). Terrorist acts are criminal acts, and should be treated like any other crime, without all the hollow chest-beating, flag-waving, and alarmism.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

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