Edward Snowden

Man, you talk about a crazy situation. Ed has really taken his inner Bob Marley to heart and stirred it up. I’ve read a lot of opinions from all over the world by former intelligence operators, civil libertarians, journalists, and the masses and I still can’t wrap my head around it. So, lets break it down and see if we can figure some things out. 

Edward Snowden worked for Dell computers for 3 years and it looks like while he was there he hacked into NSA systems without authorization. He even left electronic footprints to prove he was there. It was while he conducted these hacks that he discovered the irregularities at NSA. So instead of reporting them to the proper authorities, he decided to get a job with another NSA contractor to get the evidence to support his findings.  A criminal, in the commission of a crime, (hacking into NSA computers is a major crime in case you forgot) somehow stumbled across information that the US was also breaking the law by collecting information on all US emails and electronic communications. So instead of manning up and admitting his crime for the greater good of the country, Patriot Snowden obtained a Top Secret clearance under false pretenses so he could gather more evidence. Again, furthering his criminal actions and ignoring the multiple ways the United States has enacted Whistle Blower Protection acts dating back to 1777. Never you mind he wouldn’t actually qualify for Whistle Blower status since he has admitted he went into the situation for the express purpose of stealing this information. Amazingly, in just 3 months, Snowden was able to collect enough evidence that proved what he already knew. Finally, some actual evidence of criminal acts by individuals within the US Intelligence community; evidence that shows the government is spying on US citizens! The holy grail of conspiracy theorists and libertarians alike! Justification that all of Snowden’s illegal actions were ok and that he acted with our best interest in mind. So he ran to the proper authorities and turned over his findings right? No, it turns out he was too scared of his own government’s reaction to his findings to trust anyone in authority to do so. So he turned to our venerable fourth estate, the men and women of journalism who live for this kind of scoop? Another Pentagon Papers in the works? Iran-Contra, possibly? No, it turns out Edward holds our journalistic standards in low regard as well, evident by this quote in an interview just a few days ago: “After 9/11, many of the most important news outlets in America abdicated their role as a check to power — the journalistic responsibility to challenge the excesses of government — for fear of being seen as unpatriotic and punished in the market during a period of heightened nationalism, which was a good business decision for them…”  What did this fine patriot do then, you may ask?

Well, we all know the answer. Edward ran to the most obvious place to hold a press conference of this sort. China and Russia. How is this a good thing? Edward Snowden is indicative of just how far off course America has drifted. People in this country have a tremendous amount of freedom, despite what they are led to believe. I read the masses on the Book of Face and in comments on articles talking about the oppression and repression of our rights and citizenry and I laugh. Because of our freedoms, people like Glenn Beck, Alex Jones and the like can spin up any crazy shit they want to. They have created a culture of fear in America regarding civil liberties and privacy. I personally think it is unwarranted fear. We are the most free society on the planet. But because of their freedom to use scare tactics and fear mongering on the airwaves of America they have somehow convinced a large segment of the population that our freedoms are oppressed. How ironic. The result is we now have a culture of people who think that Russia and China offer our people a better opportunity at freedom then our own country. I am shaking my head. If Alex Jones took his show to Russia they would execute his ass in the middle of Red Square on live TV as reminder of what happens when you tell people the government is oppressive or that you should arm up and revolt before it’s too late. If he was in China he would just disappear. Why do you think these countries are lining up with Snowden? It’s an embarrassing situation for us and the world wants to see our high and mighty face with a little egg on it. The last time I checked, when a person joined a government agency under false pretenses, collected secrets about the government intelligence methods and then defects to Russia while revealing this information, it was called espionage. I don’t care what the secrets were. I don’t care that Edward Snowden found out the United States collects metadata on all electronic communications in and out of the county. I hope they do so they can go back and get what they need when they need it. I’m glad there is a mechanism in place to collect and store the data so it can be parsed through after or in conjunction with an ongoing terror plot investigation. Edward Snowden had years of opportunity to set justice in motion and he didn’t. He ran to China and then to Russia, where he felt it was better to live in an airport lobby for a month than come home and be a man. I can understand his initial fears at not being taken seriously by the media or being Jose Padilla’d but it’s pretty clear that those days are over. The scrutiny of the world media on this incident is too strong for the United States to do anything unorthodox. Come home and explain yourself to the American people. We deserve the opportunity to hear you explain yourself to a jury of your peers. Let them decide if you’re a criminal or a patriot. I mean, the revelations that the US government is actively engaged in spying on US citizens warrants it’s day in court.  We need to examine the materials you stole and determine the extent of this blatant disregard for our most basic civil liberties in the appropriate forum Edward. Wait, the airwaves were full of the revelations this week. The examination found thousands of violations were made by NSA employees. That was the cry across the media and journalistic outlets yesterday. THOUSANDS OF INCIDENTS screamed from the headlines. Thousands of incidents where the NSA intercepted email or telephone calls were discovered based on Patriot Snowden’s deep throat, one man, illegal covert op against the United States. An op he took on without any authorization, sanction or assistance from any legal authority whatsoever. Imagine if the entire country was populated by Patriots like Ed who could break whatever laws they wanted to reveal information about the inner workings of our most secret programs. Damn the man!

Lets look at the numbers. An audit of the material provided by Edward Snowden found that the United States government improperly intercepted 2,776 communications in 2012. That’s a startling number, but not in the sense you might think. There are roughly 144 billion emails sent a day worldwide and untold billions of phone calls. That translates to a number to big for me to mess with per year. If you use 144 billion calls (a low estimate by anyone’s count) it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.05 trillion communications a day. So what these numbers reveal is that our “incompetent and distrustful” government got their job right 99.099999999999% of the time. I mean, if only 2,776 out of roughly a 365+ trillion communications are inadvertently or mistakenly intercepted then I’m ok with that. If you can find me another industry or business model that gets it right that much I’ll invest every dime I have. What else did Snowden’s thefts find out? The government has a program in place to store the metadata of all electronic communications. Big deal.  Metadata is pretty mundane stuff and generally does not contain any actual data. In fact, it’s definition is data about data. It’s data that describes data. So your message to your weed dealer might show up as “email” or “text message”  in the report to the NSA. Along with the other 144 billion pieces of email and 200 billion phone calls and text messages they collected that day. Now, the audit did find some improper activity by NSA, but it also found how the activity was identified and corrected in house  prior to Edward Snowdens’ leaks and prior to the audit. It also revealed the NSA employ civil libertarian and civil rights monitors to make sure when they make mistakes, or even worse, when someone actually abuses his authority the incidents are not swept away. No agency, organization or person gets it right all the time, that’s just human nature. Every industry has an expected and accepted rate of failure or loss. Now, I’m no advocate of domestic spying, but I have also felt the sting of losing a lead on a case because the cell phone company didn’t store the records for more than 3 days. Utilizing court orders and Subpoena’s to get to this information and parse it out in an investigation is one of the single best tools law enforcement has been able to exploit in this digital age. The GPS of a cell phone can be mapped out to show a person’s movements on a map. This is very handy when the murdering murderer that we all have to arm up against tells you he was at home watching Sponge Bob with his bong but his cell phone GPS says he was pinging off the tower next to the crime scene. If it wasn’t for the Patriot Act (which I have read top to bottom) we wouldn’t be able to do this because the cell companies used to destroy these records after 3 days. The biggest issue this theft has so far shown is the cooperative efforts between corporate America and the Government when it comes to storing this data for future access and use under the rule of law. Look, if these numbers are true, and we have no reason to doubt them, then it seems the actions of this “hero” should be applauded. After all they revealed how serious the people of our intelligence community take their careers and the law. The thousands of people who have dedicated their lives to keeping this country safe from foreign and domestic threats are the real American hero’s in this story. Not a man who broke laws and lied to the American people. Not a man who spent 3 whole months “collecting evidence” before calling everyone and everything in the United States untrustworthy and seeking asylum with our enemy. The real mystery about Edward Snowden is how this ass clown has convinced half the country HIS actions are heroic. I’m still shaking my head. 


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