Tuesday Reads: The Snowden-Greenwald Show

Sean Connery reads newspaper

Good Morning!!

Edward Snowden is still the top news story this morning. It’s starting to look as if he made a mistake by going to Hong Kong, unless his goal was to gain asylum from the Chinese government. Hong Kong is apparently not interested in fighting an extradition request from the U.S. But it’s also possible he saw Hong Kong as a springboard to other places in Asia where he could hide.

Matt Schiavenza writes at The Atlantic:

In a comment about the case published this morning, my colleague James Fallows brought up a salient point about Hong Kong: it isn’t a sovereign country, and remains very much a part of the People’s Republic of China — a country which notably lacks free speech or any right of political dissent. And while Hong Kong has a different currency, political structure, and legal system from the mainland, divisions between the two are actually far murkier than Snowden’s explanation indicates.

Hong Kong is to some extent in control of its own legal decisions

But in the case of Edward Snowden, which is likely to involve an extradition request by the United States, the Basic Law is less clear. Hong Kong, unlike China, has an extradition arrangement with the United States. But China has the right to intercede in an extradition request if Beijing has an interest in “defense or foreign affairs.” In other words, if China wants to detain Snowden as a useful intelligence asset, Hong Kong couldn’t legally do much about it. And that illustrates an important part of Hong Kong’s current situation: its free speech and political dissent really only go as far as Beijing lets it.

According to Schiavenza,

it’s become increasingly clear that Snowden’s decision to go to Hong Kong was a serious miscalculation. The idiosyncratic territory may in some ways be a libertarian paradise of free speech, robust media, and low taxes, but is in no way independent of China. If Snowden’s ultimate goal were to damage the United States government as much as possible, then going to a Chinese territory would make some sense. But this obviously isn’t what he wanted; in The Guardian interview, Snowden disagreed with Glenn Greenwald’s characterization of China as an “enemy” of the United States by stressing the healthy trade relationship between the two countries. Aiding China — whose record of state surveillance and abrogation of civil liberties is inarguably worse than the United States — would go against the entire moral foundation of Snowden’s decision to leak the NSA secrets.

I’m still not convinced yet about Snowden’s motives. One thing I have concluded is that he’s a very narcissistic young man. I can’t believe he chose to leave without even explaining to his girlfriend and his family. He also chose to tell his story to a high narcissistic writer, Glenn Greewald. More on that later.

From USA Today: Edward Snowden’s travel options

HONG KONG — Whether Edward Snowden misjudged the odds of extradition from Hong Kong before revealing his identity here as the man who exposed secret U.S. surveillance programs may be irrelevant.

The National Security Agency contractor may have chosen to surface in the city for the same reason so many companies from the U.S. and other countries choose to use it for a regional base: It’s the best gateway to much of the world’s largest continent….

Hong Kong is connected to 180 cities in dozens of countries by some 850 flights a day. As the city’s investment development agency says on its marketing web site, “Easy and efficient regional travel is key to Hong Kong’s success as a regional centre.” Many of these countries have loose entry requirements for Americans.

He could go to Vietnam, the Phillippines, or any number of other Asian countries. Or perhaps he could go to Russia, which has already offered to consider a request for asylum from him.

USA Today also notes that Snowden has been “contacted by ‘countless people’ offering to pay for ‘anything [he] might need.'”


Meanwhile, an entity called “The Q Group” is trying to hunt Snowden down before he finds a safe harbor. From The Daily Beast:

Even before last week’s revelations by The Guardian newspaper that the National Security Agency (NSA) was collecting call records from telecommunications companies and had the ability to mine user data from major U.S. Internet companies, the NSA was already on the trail of the leaker, according to two former U.S. intelligence officers with close ties to the agency….

The people who began chasing Snowden work for the Associate Directorate for Security and Counterintelligence, according to former U.S. intelligence officers who spoke on condition of anonymity. The directorate, sometimes known as “the Q Group,” is continuing to track Snowden now that he’s outed himself as The Guardian’s source, according to the intelligence officers….

The security and counterintelligence directorate serves as the NSA’s internal police force, in effect watching the agency’s watchers for behavior that could pose an intelligence risk. It has the authority to interview an NSA contractor or employee’s known associates, and even to activate a digital dragnet capable of finding out where a target travels, what the target has purchased, and the target’s online activity.

Are there more bombshells coming from Snowden? Glenn Greenwald says there are. According to TPM,

According to Greenwald, Snowden has provided the archives of “thousands” of documents and “dozens” are newsworthy. Greenwald has suggested in recent days that more revelations are imminent, saying Monday during an interview on MSNBC that “there’s a lot more coming.”

Dozens of hit out of thousands of documents doesn’t sound like a very good ratio to me, but I’m not a reporter.

On Glenn Greenwald, it seems the general consensus is that people either love him or hate him. Personally, I don’t hate him but I find him annoying and part of my suspicion of Snowden probably stems from my mixed feelings about Greenwald. In my opinion, he cares only about his own pet issues and disdains anyone who cares passionately about, for example, women’s rights, the environment, or the plight of people with less money and fewer choices than he has. I guess he’s a libertarian, but again only in terms of his own pet issues.

Anyway it seems there are lots of Greenwald haters out there. One is Willard Foxton of The Telegraph, who today has a piece called The problem with Glenn Greenwald and the creepy cult that surrounds him. Foxton isn’t quite sure why he can’t stand Greenwald.

Maybe it’s because of the enormous, turgid pieces he writes, complete with 500-word updates when people challenge him. Maybe it’s the run-ins he had with other British journalists while he was fanatically defending Julian Assange.

Maybe it’s the petty stuff, like the fact he insists on special rock-star privileges, like policing the comments beneath his articles himself and his reluctance to let his pieces be edited, prior to the NSA/Prism disclosures. Maybe it’s the things that suggest he’s a little odd, like self-searching his own name so he can pounce on people criticising him, or the accusations he’s used internet sock puppets to go after people anonymously.

Maybe it’s the devotion of his legion of fans who consider him to be the greatest and most fearless journalist on earth, who hate anyone who dares disagree with their idol. The last time I criticised him I got a barrage of online abuse – including memorably a 24-slide PowerPoint presentation explaining how the American security services had “got” to me, and how Greenwald was their number-one target. Maybe, as his adoring public have suggested, I’m either a homophobe or in the pay of the CIA. Perhaps both.

That said, I’m honest enough to admit that maybe it’s because I’m jealous of the success he’s had, and the stories he’s broken. I’m not the only one. You can practically hear the disdain in the New York Times’s tone here, where it describes him as a “blogger” for a “British News Website” (The Guardian).

What I think is more likely is I dislike him because he has built a huge platform with opinion writing, and now he’s blurring the line between opinion pieces and straight reporting. That huge platform he’s built means sources come forward to him from his vast base of followers, with real hard news stories, and then he insists on reporting them.


In line with the “creepy cult” notion, the Guardian actually published this fan-boy article about Greenwald today. Bizarrely, it asks readers to describe how they feel about Greenwald with a fill-in-the-blanks questionnaire! You have to see it to believe it.

Another writer who seems to strongly dislike Greenwald is Bob Cesca, who critiqued Greenwald’s scoop early on. He offered a few more comments on the Snowden/Greenwald story yesterday. Here are three of them.

–Once again, it’s nearly impossible to have a nuanced position these days. I bent over backwards to repeat my ongoing opposition to the growing surveillance state, and made it abundantly clear that my intent with the column was to question some of the problems with the reporting and why there were such glaring omissions and errors. But there’s an increasingly evident overlap between the kneejerking on the far-right and the kneejerking on the far-left (I will make an effort to point it out whenever I can) and too many people tend to blurt things out without reading or grasping what’s being said. Consequently, criticizing Greenwald makes me an Obamabot. End of story. The left is sliding into a very dangerous place right now, and I’ll definitely report back on this one.

–There are some questions emerging regarding Ed Snowden’s story. Why did someone who was disillusioned with Obama’s record on national security continue to work for Obama’s national security apparatus — for more than four years? Why did he escape to Hong Kong when it’s clearly not the free speech haven he claimed it was? If he prefers to seek asylum in Iceland, why didn’t he go there before the story went public? How did he attain the access to be able to “wiretap anyone?” I assume we’ll get answers to some of these questions. Maybe?

–Marc Ambinder wrote a blindly complicated article for The Week in which he explained what PRISM is. It’s essentially a program that analyses data. It doesn’t retrieve the data, it merely compiles it. He also explained that the way the NSA can have “direct access” is via servers that mirror the tech giant servers. So if the NSA requests information from Facebook about an account in Pakistan, Facebook creates a mirror that clones the real time date from that account. But that mirror site has to be hosted on a server and all of the tech giants denied giving the NSA access to their servers. More questions.

We’ll have to wait and see whether Snowden’s revelations are truly groundbreaking or not. But as Cesca writes, the “war on terror” must come to an end. If what’s happening now helps that happen, I’ll certainly cheer loudly. But I suspect the U.S. government will react by simply doubling down on its current policies.

I’ll end there. Now what are you reading and blogging about this morning? Please share your links on any topic in the comment thread.

99 Comments on “Tuesday Reads: The Snowden-Greenwald Show”

  1. mjames says:

    IMO, the focus should be on what the government (really, the CIA) is doing. Not on personalities.

    I’ve seen three attacks so far (not all here) on the revelations:

    1. They are not revelations. This is no surprise. This has been going on forever.
    2. If you have nothing to hide, there is nothing to worry about.
    3. Snowden is not a true whistleblower. He is a high school dropout. His motives (and GG’s) are suspect.

    The government is collecting data on all of us, to be used whenever it wants. There is no system of checks and balances. Once again, we learn that we have lost any semblance of freedom and privacy in this country. Without our say. Without our knowledge. In blatant violation of the Constitution. That is the story.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Anyone who was paying attention already knew the government was surveilling everything about us. And anyone who lived through the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s should know that isn’t new either. Those are just a simple facts.

      Until we learn any new blockbuster revelations, the story will continue to be Snowden’s motives and whereabouts and what is going to happen to him. And of course Glenn Greenwald will continue to insert himself into the story and threaten to take it over completely.

      • Fannie says:

        I think you hit it on the head BB. Hell did everybody forget about the cold war, and Edgar Hoover? Our government has been collecting information for years and years. Some of that information doesn’t really exist, and is not accurate, but they are still the “collectors”. I lived through the hippie, civil rights movement, student movement, and I walked in protest, and marched to stop the war in Vietnam.

        What I am somewhat wondering since Iraqi Freedom, and all these contractors, and the so called security elites, and intelligence agencies, and the US Army…………is just who is in control? And I wonder about Edward Snowden’s background, and if the recruiters thought that he “qualifies” to be a part of the intelligence community, then we are in deep doo do.

        And maybe if Glenn is so hungry, maybe he ought to go after the men who are “guilty of war crimes”………………isn’t this where it all started when Bush set out to destroy Al Qaeda, and used fear as his instrument to sell us on the fucking wars? Isn’t he the one who started the
        enemy list, and all the secret list he needed to destroy the middle east, but instead it turns out to be destroying the USA. I agree the war on terror must end, and there will never be mutal trust between us and other countries, it got fucked up but good.

    • I don’t think this is an either-or thing.

      I think Fallows synthesized–both the need to pay attention to the CIA and the weirdness surrounding Snowden–really well, in the piece BB linked to yesterday in the comments (also discussed by one of The Atlantic writers BB quoted in her post above).


      1) I believe what I wrote two days ago: that the United States and the world have gained much more, in democratic accountability, than they have lost in any way with the revelation of these various NSA monitoring programs. That these programs are legal — unlike the Nixon “Plumbers” operation, unlike various CIA assassination programs, unlike other objects of whistle-blower revelations over the years — is the most important fact about them. They’re being carried out in “our” name, ours as Americans, even though most of us have had no idea of what they entailed. The debate on the limits of the security-state is long overdue, and Edward Snowden has played an important role in hastening its onset.

      2) Among the strongest arguments against a surveillance state is that it depends on the subjective judgment of its millions of employees (a) to be applied without over-reach or abuse, or (b) to exist at all. One 29-year-old has just demonstrated the second point. Edward Snowden didn’t like the way the system worked, and so he has effectively blown it up. The bigger problem may be with the first point, option (a) — people who think there should be more intrusiveness or prying. The Founders’ fundamental concern, often distilled as “If men were angels…”, was to avoid giving anyone powers that, in the wrong hands, could be abused. The surveillance state is giving too many people too much power — either to destroy its workings, as Snowden has tried to do, or to abuse and extend them.


    • cygnus says:

      I so agree. There is a flavor of kool-aid the general public has learned to drink that causes an unexamined demand that anyone in the public eye must be Perfect, by some undefined standard, if what they are saying or doing is to be taken seriously. No one is perfect, omniscient, or without flaws–especially in moments of great risk and when going against the status quo. Picking apart their personalities is a great strategy to undermine anything of value they may be attempting to put forward.

      I’m not sure how we get “narcissist” (buzzword?) based on the limited info we have…especially regarding Snowden’s friends and family, who for all we know he was protecting in ways that have not (of necessity) been mentioned.

      The overarching importance of focus here as you said, mjames, is that it is time for US citizens to snap out of the delirium, the doldrums, and recognize that it takes courage and conviction to restore the checks and balances and freedoms that we value and wish to preserve.

      That many have known for a decade or more about the snooping does not annul the importance of acting now. Whether one prefers or not the personalities of Snowden, Assange, Manning, Ellsburg–is that really necessary to acknowledge the value that is on offer in their actions?

      The people who left Germany early were probably considered paranoid or hysterical at the time.

      “Turnkey totalitariansism” is a phrase that should chill us all to the bone.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I didn’t use the word “narcissist.” I called Snowden and Greenwald narcissistic. That’s my personal impression of these two people, and I stand by it. No one else has to agree. I could list all my reasons, but I don’t think I need to–it’s just my personal opinion/reaction. I tend to be interested in personality (after all, I spent years studying the subject) and I’m not going to stop doing that–it is part of my own personality.

        As for U.S. citizens waking up and taking action, I can’t control that. It doesn’t seem as if anything will make it happen. In fact polls show a small majority of Americans support the mass surveillance state. I wish I could change that, but I can’t. I can only deal with reality as I see it and use what abilities I have to communicate my disgust with what is happening.

    • Beata says:

      I totally agree, mjames.

      Anyone who was playing attention already knew about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, what was done to Hillary in 2008, the craziness of Michele Bachmann and Pat Robertson, and any number of other things that continue to be analyzed and discussed.

      So why are Snowden’s revelations simply “nothing new” and why are the messengers ( both Snowden and Greenwald ) so quickly attacked and judged? I feel I don’t have enough information yet to understand the current story but I do remain shocked that our government is collecting so much data about its own citizens. I hope that shock never abates.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I agree. I’m certainly never going to get used to the idea that Big Brother is watching our every move. On the other hand, I reserve my right to evaluate people in the public eye.

        Yesterday I listened to Glenn Greenwald on NPR and some of the listeners who called in shocked me almost as much as the knowledge I’m being spied on.

        One woman called in and say Greenwald should “stop foaming at the mouth” and “take it down a notch” because the government has our best interests at heart and they are only trying to protect us. A man said that government spying is as natural as the rain falling from the sky and you might as well try to stop the rain as the surveillance. Both of these people sounded young. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

      • bostonboomer says:

        BTW, why did Snowden feel he had to bash Bradley Manning?

        Just one of my many reasons for calling him narcissistic. I believe he chose to do his leaking in specific ways that would call more attention to himself. Note that he claims to have been shocked by what the NSA was doing as far back as 2008, but said nothing. I doubt if anyone held a gun to his head and forced him to work for the CIA and NSA.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    It seems that Snowden exaggerated his salary.

    Contractor fires Snowden from $122,000 per-year job

  3. bostonboomer says:

    George Zimmerman trial heads into second day after judge denies request for delay

  4. bostonboomer says:

    13 Potential Whitey Bulger Trial Jurors Have Criminal Records

    But that’s nothing compared to the prosecution witnesses, which mostly consist of vicious murderers.

    • Fannie says:

      BB, at some point, it would be interesting to compare the mafia organization to the NSA (Edward Snowden) situation……………..both are part of the “enemy” list created by our government……………….the intelligence part of recruiting those with criminal records as an instrument of justice. It’s just so “extraordinary” as a citizen, as your duty.

  5. Excellent post, BB. And, I love the graphics 🙂

    Honestly libertarian more often than not seems like selective libertarianism on the part of self-proclaimed libertarians. Reminds me of PLUB–prolife until birth.

    In fact, a lot of the Ron Paulie cohort is overrun with PLUB, Ron Paul himself makes no sense on the subject, and none of their spokespeople on the issue of reproductive health are really women…. (just strange men with medical degrees that don’t seem worth the paper they’re printed on, beady eyes, and pointy heads… funny that.)

    Libertarian just seems like conservatism/rightwing “against, against, against” (government…etc) mentality taken to its absurd extreme… so you’ll get constant diagnosis of problems (on a person’s individual pet issues) but rarely solutions/anything they are affirmatively for…. this sometimes works out in their ability to be able to see govt in bed with business or calling out the war machine. But not really very consistently.

    Just look at the one thing libertarians are for….? (Most are for weed… and against women’s rights…)

    • bostonboomer says:

      I have to admit, I pretty much lost all respect for Greenwald after he wrote that column praising Ron Paul. Now we learn that Snowden donated to Ron Paul. Ugh!

  6. cygnus says:


    “Of course, to those swinging through the revolving door between the government and its defense contractors, it must be difficult to draw a distinction between their changing roles. James R. Clapper, the chief intelligence official in the Obama administration, who is now investigating this security lapse, was himself a top Booz Allen executive. And it should be of little surprise that John M. McConnell, currently vice chairman of Booz Allen, was previously the chief intelligence official in the George W. Bush administration. It’s crony capitalism at its patriotic best.”

  7. What do Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning and the Steubenville hacker have in common?

    I’ve been trying for a while now to convince the geek activists and hackers in my life that the fight for the principles of free speech, the fight against surveillance and the fight for a society where whistleblowers are protected, is a feminist fight. Steuvenville isn’t the only case where the internet has pursued justice for rape victims where the state was unwilling to do so. There is a growing awareness that commitment to openness and transparency as organising principles necessarily involves a commitment to a new kind of sexual politics. Patriarchy doesn’t like it when you tell its secrets, and neither does the government.

    I totally agree with this article and it disturbs me greatly to see that others don’t see it, but I suppose it is similar to get used to daily beatings/verbal abuse by an abusive by some one close to you. When it is a country, Bowen described it his theory under Basic Concepts:

    Emotional Process in Society. The strength of the emotional forces in society may make differentiation difficult or impossible. When togetherness forces in society are strong, anxiety is high and problem behavior is pervasive. Extreme behavior sequences, such as violence and destructive political leadership, are more likely to occur when the anxiety level of the emotional process in society is high than when less anxiety exists in society.

    Whistleblowers are by their nature individuals who are not fused, but rather in individuation (differentiation) states and therefore can grasp to critical point of oppression and control by a system or leadership. The idea of living free and not being controlled (monitored) I believe is what motivated them to act. We can see candidate Obama and President Obama (Obush) here and come to our own conclusions of where we want to be and if we choose to see the truth or accept the conditions. Obama has not only accepted the conditions, but has gone beyond that which he said he opposed and supposedly motivated him to change that very system he now protects (to oppress) and expands.
    Candidate Obama debates President Obama on Government Surveillance

  8. RalphB says:

    In Which Sportswriting Jesus Answers My Prayers

    First Instant New England Football Joke:

    Q: Why did Tim Tebow sign with New England?
    A: So he could watch God play quarterback.

    BB, Charles Pierce on Tebow in Boston 🙂

    • bostonboomer says:

      Fortunately, he’s only going to be the third-string QB, and the Pats haven’t carried a third QB for the past few years. He’ll likely be released before the season starts. One of the Pats coaches is the former Bronco coach, so Belichick is probably doing him a favor. Fans here in NE aren’t happy!

  9. ojmo says:

    Nice touch, using the Bond pics 🙂 Nothing like a little guilt by association to go with the character assassination! Well done!

    • bostonboomer says:

      Huh? Guilt by association? Character assassination?

      • ojmo says:

        Huh? Not character assassination? According to you, Snowden and Greenwald are both “narcissistic.” Greenwald you “find…annoying” because he “cares only about his own pet issues and disdains anyone who cares passionately about, for example, women’s rights, the environment, or the plight of people with less money and fewer choices than he has.” –stated without a shred of evidence and about someone who writes a column on “vital issues of civil rights, freedom of information and justice,” meaning he specializes in writing about legal issues. Do you really believe Greenwald “disdains” anyone who cares about the issues you name? On what grounds?

        Then you inform us “there are lots of Greenwald haters out there,” and go on to liberally quote Willard Foxton, “who today has a piece called The problem with Glenn Greenwald and the creepy cult that surrounds him.” Foxton doesn’t like Greenwald’s “turgid pieces,” his “fanatically defending Julian Assange”, calls him “petty”, and seems to have a problem with the fact that Greenwald updates his columns when he receives relevant new information. And assertions of Greenwald’s perfidy in “self-searching his own name so he can pounce on people criticizing him” (funny-that’s exactly what I had to do to find your reply to my comment) or “or the accusations he’s used internet sock puppets to go after people anonymously” are of course exactly that–accusations–and doubtless your intrepid Greenwald-hater Foxton would have sniffed out the truth if there was any reality to it. And since he’s so outraged at the “devotion of his legion of fans,” maybe Foxton really is “either a homophobe or in the pay of the CIA. Perhaps both.” Maybe–in any event, you chose to repeat this drivel. And although Foxton admits he’s “jealous” of Greenwald’s success, he claims he really dislikes Greenwald because “he has built a huge platform with opinion writing, and now he’s blurring the line between opinion pieces and straight reporting.” How? Doesn’t that remain to be seen? The last line you quote from Foxton is simply incoherent as far as I can tell; he seems to be upset that Snowden took his “hard news” story to Greenwald instead of him.

        Then you go on to quote Bob Cesca’s “critique” of Greenwald’s scoop. Cesca, although not as patently infantile as Foxton, seems the most upset that readers aren’t simply accepting his version of the story; he claims he’s “bent over backwards to repeat my ongoing opposition to the growing surveillance state”; well, maybe he did, I don’t know, all I know is that as soon as what might be some actual proof came along, Cesca tells us the NSA story is comprised of “shoddy and misleading” reporting by Greenwald and the Washington Post and tells us there’s “new contravening information emerging.” True or not, Cesca refutes Greenwald/WaPo by referring to columns by other reporters; for some reason these guys’ words are supposed to be taken as gospel, while Greenwald, Snowden, and the Post are suspect. Meanwhile even the title of Cesca’s article, “NSA Bombshell Story Falling Apart Under Scrutiny; Key Facts Turning Out to Be Inaccurate,” is false. Then I read Marc Ambinder’s “blindly complicated article for The Week in which he explained what PRISM is.” All the article says is that PRISM is the name of a data collection tool. It does not say what it does–Ambinder asserts that’s classified. All the article does is describe Ambinder’s understanding of the NSA’a data collection process, and assumes that PRISM, whatever it is, works the same way. In other words, a huge red herring.

        So now that I’ve reread your little hatchet job, boomer, I don’t think there were any actual verifiable facts in the whole post; just distortions, lies, misstatements, and speculation. So yeah, character assassination. But thanks for stopping by the blog. You should do it more often–you might get an idea of what the word “progressive” means, if you’re interested in that sort of thing.

        • RalphB says:

          The story is hyped and overwrought, like your comment, and has been modified from the original on the WaPo website. That’s shoddy in that they did it without acknowledging it and Greenwald is still pimping the original as perfect. Calm down already.

        • bostonboomer says:


          I hope you feel better now that you got that off your chest.

          My dislike of Glenn Greenwald is based on his arguments in favor of Ron Paul for President. He supported Ron Paul despite Paul’s opposition to equal pay for women, abortion rights, civil rights, and women’s equality generally. That makes Greenwald a libertarian in terms of some issues while dismissing the need to support other important issues such as women’s rights, minority rights, and the environment.

          Nevertheless, I still applaud Greenwald’s efforts to expose the surveillance state and Obama’s disgusting drone assassination policy. That doesn’t mean I have to enjoy Greenwald’s writing style, which I agree with Foxton is turgid. I don’t agree with everything Foxton said.

          This post is a collection of links from the morning’s news. I don’t necessarily agree with everything at those links. They are provided to stimulate discussion at this humble but friendly blog.

          BTW, you haven’t provided any “actual verifiable facts” in your “little hatchet job” either, but if it helped you get some of the poison out of your system, that’s probably a good thing.

          As for visiting your blog to learn about the meaning of the word “progressive,” no thanks. I’m not a progressive; I reject that weasel word. I’m quite satisfied to be a liberal. So, no, I’m not particularly interested in “that sort of thing,” but thanks anyway.

          • ojmo says:

            Your post was a collection of links from the morning’s news? Oh. And the excerpts from those links you chose to so extensively quote directly in your post? You don’t necessarily agree with everything at those links. Gotcha; you just want to stimulate discussion. Humble but friendly blog? Sure, whatever. And of course the tone of my comment is overwrought, even though I only echoed back to you what you wrote yourself.

            And since I only listed the ad hominem attacks in your collection of links, I thought there was no need for “actual verifiable facts”; your words were the facts, and spoke for themselves. But now I understand you dislike Glenn Greenwald because he argued in favor of Ron Paul for President. Okay, if that’s what you think he did. You’re wrong, and it even says so right in the post you linked to, but whatever. You generated a lot of verbiage in your collection of links, boomer, and spewed a lot of venom, and I don’t think you’re going to stop your attacks, but then of course, I’m the angry one, right?

          • bostonboomer says:

            I have no idea if you are angry, but you are most certainly a pompous ass.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Just checked your website. Terry Schiavo? Really?

  10. dakinikat says:

    having a difficult time getting pass the Sean Connery eye candy BB!!! I will read the post … I will read the post ….

  11. bostonboomer says:

    Is anyone other than me wondering why Snowden left or lost his job at Dell? Then he gets a new job at Booz Allen AFTER he starts negotiating with Greenwald. Dell is refusing to say anything. I wonder what that’s about?

    • Definitely eyebrow raising, imho. I find it really creepy that these are our whistleblowers nowadays..that doesn’t diminish the culpability of the surveillance state. It’s just…feels kinda like…’With whistleblowers like these….who needs enemies’

      • I saw something, a tweet from someone, that said if Glenn Beck and Michael Moore both call Snowden a hero, there is something definitely wrong with the dude.

        • RalphB says:

          I’m in complete agreement with that tweet. I have no idea what to call him yet and I don’t trust the media to cover this story at all. They are too ignorant of what it entails to get it close to right.

    • BB, I am still trying to figure the basic stuff surrounding this entire thing out.

    • Fannie says:

      BB, it’s about a DEAL that we will never know about.

  12. Y’all want something to read while taking a “shitter” break, My “Faith” In Obama « The Dish

      • Yeah, but like I said, it makes for crapper reading:

        …judging political events in real times does require some grip on the character of those in office, and the inevitable compromises that requires, and I remain an admirer of Obama’s temperament, pragmatism and small-c conservatism. And I don’t think that abstract ideological issues can ignore the role of human beings and their prudential judgments over time. A conservative will always recognize that there is no substitute for character in political leaders and that representative government requires some basic form of – sorry – minimal trust if it is to function at all. Skepticism is not anarchism; real conservatives like strong, but limited, government. That’s why, though I have serious libertarian leanings, I still call myself a conservative. That’s why I see more insight in, say, David Brooks’ column today, than many on the libertarian right or civil liberties left.

        Small c conservatism…ha that is a laugh…and the Brooks thing…pfffft.

        • Well if its Sully, it is already synonymous with crap…no ones really surprised by his unyielding faith in Obama anymore are they? If Obama kicked a puppy, Sullivan would make up stories about the puppy’s suspicious immaculate conception and accuse the puppy of exterminating the human race…. Just sayin’ 😉

  13. NW Luna says:

    Horrific that this is still happening. I hope she wins big — and the sadistic cops who didn’t believe her get thrown off the force with huge fines.

    Woman sues after Lynnwood police didn’t believe she was raped

    In August 2008, a stranger broke into the apartment of an 18-year-old Lynnwood woman, gagged her, bound her hands with a shoelace and raped her. When the woman reported the attack to Lynnwood police, she says detectives Jerry Rittgarn and Sgt. Jeff Mason didn’t believe her. Claiming police coerced her into recanting her story, the woman was charged with false reporting and fined $500 when she later tried to insist the rape did happen.

    It wasn’t until 2½ years later, when former Washington state resident Marc O’Leary was arrested for several rapes in Colorado, that Lynnwood police reopened their investigation. Among the items Colorado detectives found in O’Leary’s possession were photographs of the woman and her ID card.

    O’Leary was convicted of three rapes in Colorado and two in Washington, including the Lynnwood attack and the rape of a 63-year-old Kirkland woman, and is serving a 327-year sentence in a Colorado prison.

    The victim of the Lynnwood attack last week filed a federal civil-rights lawsuit against the city of Lynnwood, claiming detectives disregarded evidence of the assault, bullied her into saying it didn’t happen and then threatened to have her thrown out of her apartment when she insisted it did. Also named in the suit are Rittgarn, Mason and Lynnwood Police Chief Steven J. Jensen. The woman, identified in the lawsuit by the initials D.M., says she was forced to undergo counseling when Lynnwood police told managers of the at-risk youth program where she was living in 2008 that they didn’t believe she’d been raped, according to court documents.

  14. BB, I don’t know if you have seen this: U.S. Hacked Al Qaeda Magazine Inspire — Daily Intelligencer

    U.S. Government Screwed With Al Qaeda Magazine After Boston Bombing

    • NW Luna says:

      Knee-jerk reaction — it’s Al Qaeda! Seems more like the Boston bombing brothers did not have specific links to AQ.

  15. roofingbird says:

    I had wondered if this was part of Snowden’s motivation:


    You will recall that the ACLU did start a suit and was told by the court that they didn’t have standing to sue, because they couldn’t show damage or proof of invasion. They couldn’t prove it because the stuff was classified and couldn’t be admitted into court.

  16. roofingbird says:

    David Brooks had an interesting article today, though I know most of you don’t like him much. Even if I didn’t agree with all of it , I thought it well articulated, except for the last paragraph which was pap.


    Dandelion Salad has a list of lefty sites:


    I thought this was interesting:


    If you sign it do you go on the list?

    I must say I am a little tired of the whole no ed, too much money thing no matter how much it was. Society has long since recognized aptitude and skills sets over degrees for most professions. The tech world is a place where that fits. It’s not all that much money for a male in today’s world, (A woman might be earning $94 thou.) and at 29 he is old enough to have spent 10 years in Iraq AND have 2 kids.

  17. bostonboomer says:

    Newsweek reprints its cover story from July 27, 1970: Is Privacy Dead?

    • cygnus says:

      wow. cool link.

    • Fannie says:

      Right on………..MOD SQUAD.

    • janicen says:

      Interesting how the phone has a cord. Remember them? It’s significant because I think it has implications for the necessity of changes in surveillance procedures. Back then, if law enforcement wanted to monitor a criminal’s conversations, they had to identify the phone and get a subpoena for a specific time period and purpose. How can that happen now? Criminals not only have cell phones, but they have untraceable burner phones that they use once and throw away. In response law enforcement is making use of technology to sweep through communications and listen for key words or phrases. It’s frightening but it also seems to be the only way law enforcement can have any chance of stopping crimes or terrorist acts before they happen.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I might be able to live with the meta-data collection, but not when low-level people like Edward Snowden have access to everything. He claimed he had the names and personal information of everyone who worked at the NSA and the locations and other info about every CIA outpost in the world. I really don’t believe that, but if it’s true we’re all in trouble.

        • janicen says:

          I guess, in an IT sense, like Ralph said, it’s possible but at the same time, it is the NSA and from people I have known who work there, they are pretty damned obsessive so it seems unlikely. My brother used to be a systems engineer and consultant for a major IT firm who did work for some of the world’s biggest banks and he used to say, “Sure, I have the access where I could steal millions but to what end? I know I would get caught or even if I didn’t I would always think I could so what kind of life would that be?” So I think IT people have extraordinary access, but I also think in this day and age that people at NSA have thought of all of that and have some safeguards. Like I have said previously, I know people who have worked at NSA and they are just regular people who honor their oaths and contracts and hope to hell they have a job after six months. I honestly think Snowden thinks he was a lot more important that he actually was.

          • RalphB says:

            I have a friend who has worked as a consultant, designing and writing software, for the CIA/NSA over 15 years, Professionally, he’s one of the very best people I’ve ever known.

          • bostonboomer says:

            Well, we now have an example of someone who took a job as an NSA contractor AFTER he had begun negotiating with reporters to leak classified information. I think we need more assurances than that most of these guys are honest and trustworthy.

  18. bostonboomer says:

    LA Times: Analyst overstated claims on NSA leaks, experts say


    • RalphB says:

      I believe I may have mentioned some of that before. I also do not believe they have near real-time direct access to internet company data or direct access at all. Since they are using the FISA process, there are a lot simpler ways to do it which would fit in the budget number which was listed for Prism.

  19. bostonboomer says:

    A thoughtful post by Josh Marshall. He expresses a lot of what I’ve been feeling about Snowden.

  20. bostonboomer says:

    ACLU Files Lawsuit Challenging NSA’s Patriot Act Phone Surveillance

    In the wake of the past week’s revelations about the NSA’s unprecedented mass surveillance of phone calls, today the ACLU filed a lawsuit charging that the program violates Americans’ constitutional rights of free speech, association, and privacy.

    This lawsuit comes a day after we submitted a motion to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) seeking the release of secret court opinions on the Patriot Act’s Section 215, which has been interpreted to authorize this warrantless and suspicionless collection of phone records.

    Last week, The Guardian released an order issued by the FISC that compelled a Verizon subsidiary—Verizon Business Network Services (VBNS)—to hand over, on an “ongoing, daily basis,” details for every phone call placed on its network for a prospective three-month period. Collecting those details—”metadata” that reveals who people talk to, for how long, how often, and possibly from where—allows the government to paint an alarmingly detailed picture of Americans’ private lives. The FISC order cited Section 215 as its legal basis, yet the breadth of the authority it granted to the government is simply incompatible with the text of the statute.

    As an organization that advocates for and litigates to defend the civil liberties of society’s most vulnerable, the staff at the ACLU naturally use the phone—a lot—to talk about sensitive and confidential topics with clients, legislators, whistleblowers, and ACLU members. And since the ACLU is a VBNS customer, we were immediately confronted with the harmful impact that such broad surveillance would have on our legal and advocacy work. So we’re acting quickly to get into court to challenge the government’s abuse of Section 215.

    This time they have standing.

  21. RalphB says:

    TPM: Facebook Joins Google, Asks Gov’t Permission To Publish More National Security Request Data

    Facebook echoed Google on Tuesday by asking permission from the federal government to include more information about national security requests it receives so as to debunk speculation that it allows the National Security Agency unfettered access to user data.

    “We would welcome the opportunity to provide a transparency report that allows us to share with those who use Facebook around the world a complete picture of the government requests we receive, and how we respond,” said General Counsel Ted Ullyot in a statement. “We urge the United States government to help make that possible by allowing companies to include information about the size and scope of national security requests we receive, and look forward to publishing a report that includes that information.”

    More info for the no direct access side.

  22. RalphB says:

    Computer World: How to keep the feds from snooping on your cloud data

    A cottage industry is growing up around virtual padlocks that consumers can place on cloud services so that the vendors themselves can’t get to the information — even if the government requests access.

    And in recent years there have been a lot of those government requests for access from storage-as-a-service providers.

    For example, Google regularly receives requests from governments and courts around the world to hand over user data. Last year, it received 21,389 government requests for information affecting 33,634 user accounts. Sixty-six percent of the time, Google said it provided at least some data in response.

    During the same period, Microsoft received 70,665 requests affecting 122,015 accounts — more than three times as many requests for information disclosure as Google. Only 2.2% of those requests resulted in Microsoft turning over of actual content; 1,558 accounts were affected. Another 79.8% of the requests resulted in disclosure of subscriber or transactional information affecting 56,388 accounts.

    In case anyone is interested in insuring some privacy, this is a good article from last month. Note the information on what the government is doing in fact.

  23. Fannie says:

    I called a medical specialist office for an appointment, and good god almighty, they knew everything about me, and switched me over in a flat second……………what the hell does that tell you about your own data that is collected in health care and insurance.

  24. RalphB says:

  25. Pilgrim says:

    Daniel Ellsberg gives as his opinion that Snowden’s leak is of major importance.

    • Pilgrim says:

      His interesting piece in the Guardian is provocatively entitled “Edward Snowden: Saving us from the United Stasi of America.”

    • Pilgrim says:

      Speaking for myself, personally, I cannot but think of the prophecies of George Orwell when I listen to Snowden’s remarks.