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US Charges Edward Snowden With Espionage 442

Posted by timothy
from the hey-the-paperwork-takes-a-few-weeks dept.
cold fjord writes "Further developments in the controversy engulfing Edward Snowden and the NSA. From the Washington Post: "Federal prosecutors have filed a sealed criminal complaint against Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked a trove of documents about top-secret surveillance programs, and the United States has asked Hong Kong to detain him on a provisional arrest warrant,... Snowden was charged with espionage, theft and conversion of government property ... The complaint was filed in the Eastern District of Virginia, a jurisdiction where Snowden's former employer, Booz Allen Hamilton, is headquartered, and a district with a long track record in prosecuting cases with national security implications...it is thought that he is still in the Chinese territory. Hong Kong has its own legislative and legal systems but ultimately answers to Beijing, under the so-called "one country, two systems" arrangement. The leaks have sparked national and international debates about the secret powers of the NSA to infringe on the privacy of both Americans and foreigners. Officials from President Obama down have said they welcomed the opportunity to explain the importance of the programs, and the safeguards they say are built into them. Skeptics, including some in Congress, have said the NSA has assumed power to soak up data about Americans that were never intended under the law."""
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US Charges Edward Snowden With Espionage

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 21, 2013 @07:11PM (#44074865)

    To know that's what was going to happen.

  • by hawguy (1600213) on Friday June 21, 2013 @07:16PM (#44074893)

    I thought that only those with something to hide needed privacy?

  • by zlives (2009072) on Friday June 21, 2013 @07:17PM (#44074907)

    its to protect the innocent secret government programs that might become victims of false accusations.

  • by Rick Zeman (15628) on Friday June 21, 2013 @07:17PM (#44074913)

    I thought that only those with something to hide needed privacy?

    Because:
    Officials from President Obama down have said they welcomed the opportunity to explain the importance of the programs

    Oh wait....

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Friday June 21, 2013 @07:20PM (#44074927)

    Because:
    Officials from President Obama down have said they welcomed the opportunity to explain the importance of the programs...

    But only to secret judges on secret courts.

  • by MrEricSir (398214) on Friday June 21, 2013 @07:22PM (#44074941) Homepage

    I thought that only those with something to hide needed privacy?

    You mean like the Orwellian surveillance program the government has been hiding?

  • by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Friday June 21, 2013 @07:26PM (#44074969)

    Obama Obama Obama. Enough with this partisan nonsense. Watch the documentary 'Enemy of the State', what 16 years old now or more, this surveillance is nothing new. You don't get to call yourselves the land of the free when you're being monitored around the clock in case you might say or do something upsetting to your betters. And no I don't care if terrorists are the excuse, if you're going to put the USA on a pedestal, hold yourselves to a higher standard than totalitarians.

  • by Rene S. Hollan (1943) on Friday June 21, 2013 @07:27PM (#44074973)

    If Obama's arming of al-Qaeda friendly rebels in Syria isn't "adhering to their enemies, giving them aid...", I don't know what is.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 21, 2013 @07:29PM (#44074995)

    Only if you consider American citizens enemies of the American government.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 21, 2013 @07:34PM (#44075047)

    but I'm relatively indifferent to spying on foreigners.

    Even foreigners have rights. If we're not at war with them and the countries they live in very likely aren't going to harm the US, they should not be spying on anyone, and should also have to prove that the individuals they wish to spy on are most likely dangerous.

  • Double standards (Score:5, Insightful)

    by damicatz (711271) on Friday June 21, 2013 @07:38PM (#44075077)

    Obama has openly admitting to planning to arm Al-Queda associated rebels in Syria. That is the DEFINITION of treason. Edward Snowden has not given anyone weapons. He has merely aired Obama's dirty laundry. If this country was run by the people rather than a bunch of plutocrats, Obama, Bush, Cheney, et. al would be on trial for crimes against humanity.

    How people voted for this guy is beyond me. I knew Obama was a liar from day one. Democrats and republicans work for the same causes and the same people; any perceived differences are merely staged for the benefit of the American voters and never go deeper than the surface. It is classic divide and conquer and the end result is that this country is effectively run by a two-party dictatorship that stays in power by manipulating and rigging the elections to exclude competition and creating staged conflicts on trivial issues like gay marriage (which *IS* a trivial issue compared to the fact that this country is descending into a police state). When it comes to the things that matter, both parties act in lockstep and it is NOT to the benefit of the American people or to the cause of freedom. The only people the Republicrat party answers to is their corporate masters.

  • by SJHiIlman (2957043) on Friday June 21, 2013 @07:39PM (#44075095)

    There is almost certainly classified information to protect in the case.

    I don't think that's the point. The point is that a number of people (not pointing at anyone in particular) have said something along the lines of, "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear." These same people would probably argue that while the government is trying to hide something here, that hiding things isn't necessarily bad, which is inconsistent.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 21, 2013 @07:41PM (#44075113)

    He exposed crimes against the American people perpetrated by the US government. He is the exact opposite of a traitor.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 21, 2013 @07:43PM (#44075127)

    You clearly have never worked for the government. Don't blame malice when clearly incompetence is at work here.

  • by amiga3D (567632) on Friday June 21, 2013 @07:44PM (#44075139)

    That's not the petition to pardon Snowden, that's the volunteer list for hidden cameras in your dwelling.

  • by EmagGeek (574360) <gterich@@@aol...com> on Friday June 21, 2013 @07:44PM (#44075141) Journal

    Report a crime, go to jail.

  • by runeghost (2509522) on Friday June 21, 2013 @07:46PM (#44075149)
    So, is the government going to go after the "anonymous" officials who spoke about the case without authorization? That, plus the sealed complaints make these charges against Snowden rather ironic.
  • by X0563511 (793323) on Friday June 21, 2013 @07:50PM (#44075189) Homepage Journal

    Yea well, if the NSA doesn't have a positive ID on you (and they don't try very hard) you get the foreigner rules applied [eff.org] to you.

    Enjoy.

  • by Luckyo (1726890) on Friday June 21, 2013 @07:56PM (#44075245)

    And it's okay, because many foreigners are equally indifferent to your rights as well.

    Which leads to the current situation, where NSA outsources spying on you to foreign entities, who in turn outsource spying on their citizens to NSA. Result: you have NSA have all the spy data on yourself, through this outsourcing. It's awesome just how your selfish assholery comes and bites you square in your face. And you still remain ignorant of it.

  • by hawguy (1600213) on Friday June 21, 2013 @08:00PM (#44075285)

    Obama Obama Obama. Enough with this partisan nonsense. Watch the documentary 'Enemy of the State', what 16 years old now or more, this surveillance is nothing new. You don't get to call yourselves the land of the free when you're being monitored around the clock in case you might say or do something upsetting to your betters. And no I don't care if terrorists are the excuse, if you're going to put the USA on a pedestal, hold yourselves to a higher standard than totalitarians.

    I think the Obama bashing is coming out because Obama said he was going to bring about change that America needs and he even spoke out specifically against secret spying on citizens. No one (well few) think that a Republican in the Whitehouse would be any better since nearly all of the opposition against the Patriot Act renewals has come from the democrats.

    http://www.cfr.org/us-election-2008/obamas-speech-woodrow-wilson-center/p13974 [cfr.org]

    That means no more illegal wire-tapping of American citizens. No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. No more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war. No more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient. That is not who we are. And it is not what is necessary to defeat the terrorists. The FISA court works. The separation of powers works. Our Constitution
    works. We will again set an example for the world that the law is not subject to the whims of stubborn rulers, and that justice is not arbitrary.

    This Administration acts like violating civil liberties is the way to enhance our security. It is not. There are no short-cuts to protecting America, and that is why the fifth part of my strategy is doing the hard and patient work to secure a more resilient homeland.

    Yet not only is he aware of the secret spying programs, he is actively defending them.

  • Yea well, if the NSA doesn't have a positive ID on you (and they don't try very hard) you get the foreigner rules applied [eff.org] to you.

    Enjoy.

    Plus, I take it from GP's stance that you don't mind at all if foreigners (most of the world) are spying on you, even if that involves foreign intelligence agencies sharing such wide-net intel with the FBI, Customs, and Secret Service (or Homeland Security) on request.

    So even if you aren't considered a foreigner due to them not being able to guarantee you're actually a US citizen, this is still a bad precedent to set.

  • by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Friday June 21, 2013 @08:03PM (#44075323)

    Yet not only is he aware of the secret spying programs, he is actively defending them.

    If it had happend on the watch of any previous president they would have done the same thing. The game isn't us against the terrorists, it's us against the new aristocracy.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 21, 2013 @08:06PM (#44075355)

    With the trial of Private Manning underway, and Snowden now indicted, it looks like it will be a summer full of heated discussion.

    Here is a discussion topic that seems to be somewhat overlooked at the moment.

    Why did a low ranking army private like Manning have access to the high level info that he leaked? Why did a low level private contractor like Snowden have access to the high level info that he leaked? Sure an army private or low level contractor may need access to some secret info to do their jobs but both seem to have had access to or knowledge of way too much.

    Because if you want to know the truth, it's the grunts who have to spend all day long with their hands down in the dirty stuff.

    The brass are "too important" to be bothered with such details. They only really care about the Executive Summaries. Plus, they're usually part of the problem, so don't expect them to rush to be part of the solution.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Friday June 21, 2013 @08:23PM (#44075481)

    Same story, different day. They are speaking publicly, but not everyone is listening, paying attention, or caring.

    Actually, pretty much anyone who has been paying attention to the leaks has seen those "disclosures" and also seen just how flimsy they are - full of carefully parsed wording meant to mislead, statements that contradict public testimony in the trials and even a refusal to answer the question of how much the NSA participation was key rather than ancillary to stopping the plots.

  • by SailorSpork (1080153) on Friday June 21, 2013 @08:34PM (#44075541) Homepage
    You mean the pre-order list for the Xbox One with always-on Kinect?
  • by SteveFoerster (136027) <steve&stevefoerster,com> on Friday June 21, 2013 @08:51PM (#44075651) Homepage

    You know your civil liberties are in trouble when you're desperate enough to pretend that involving the UN wouldn't be an even bigger anti-freedom clusterfuck.

  • by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Friday June 21, 2013 @09:05PM (#44075749)

    Only if you consider American citizens enemies of the American government.

    Apparently you confuse the Taliban, al Qaida, the People's Republic of China, North Korea, Iran, Syria, et. al., with American citizens. You tell the world and everybody knows, including the very terrorists against whom you are trying to protect the American people. He could have gone to the inspector general or Congress, but didn't. Who knows what the damage will be?

    The Inspector General and Congress are part of the problem.

    Terrorism isn't dangerous on its own. It never was and never will be. The point of terrorism is to provoke a disproportionate response that harms the target more than the terrorists would be able to do directly. The world's terrorists' primary partners are western governments. The United States have spent over a trillion dollars in the last 10 years to "fight terrorism," with absolutely no indication that they're doing anything other than breeding resentment and planting the seeds for greater terrorism in the future. If you want to know why world leaders are willing to spend so much money to "fight" something that causes similar physical harm to bee stings, look at who received those trillion dollars and their relationships with governments.

    Additionally, it's extremely unlikely that anything Snowden shared about spying will have any impact on our espionage efforts against "terrorists." So far it's all been information about spying on Americans and foreign noncombatants. Furthermore, everyone who's cared to pay attention in the last twenty years already believed the strong but indirect evidence of exactly this sort of spying. In other words: the terrorists already knew about these programs, or something like them. The only people who see this as a revelation are naive American citizens and our allies, and the only thing in jeopardy is the NSA's unjustified unaccountability.

  • you know, I'm really upset and concerned about spying on me because I feel it violates my 4th amendment rights and is a slippery slope, but I'm relatively indifferent to spying on foreigners. Isn't that the point of the CIA/NSA anyway?

    Yes it is. That is their whole point, and it should be only the whole.

    I'm from Ireland, so it's actually OK for the NSA to spy on me and my communications. Americans should actually expect that the NSA is up to this and indeed a few shady activities abroad. That is what a spy agency is for, and should be paid for,

    However, a spy agency is not for spying on domestic citizens. The NSA and CIA are absolutely not supposed to monitor domestic US citizens. That is not what they are for, or what they should be paid for.

    This isn't very complicated. The NSA is an intelligence weapon, and can be compared to a missile or bomber. Americans might argue about targets, but most will agree that the US should have missiles and bombers and should use them abroad when nessessary. Most Americans would be outraged to discover that those missiles were being used at home on US citizens, and should be equally outraged that the NSA is being used at home as well.

  • by Jeremy Erwin (2054) on Friday June 21, 2013 @09:27PM (#44075869) Journal

    no, the judges aren't secret. The courtroom is one of those faraday cages, though.

    from wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

    Judge[13] Judicial district Date appointed Term expiry
    Reggie Walton (presiding) District of Columbia May 19, 2007 May 18, 2014
    Rosemary M. Collyer District of Columbia March 8, 2013 March 7, 2020
    Raymond J. Dearie Eastern District of New York July 2, 2012 July 1, 2019
    Claire Eagan Northern District of Oklahoma February 13, 2013 May 18, 2019
    Martin L.C. Feldman Eastern District of Louisiana May 19, 2010 May 18, 2017
    Thomas Hogan District of Columbia May 18, 2009 May 18, 2016
    Mary A. McLaughlin Eastern District of Pennsylvania May 18, 2008 May 18, 2015
    Michael W. Mosman District of Oregon May 4, 2013 May 3, 2020
    F. Dennis Saylor IV District of Massachusetts May 19, 2011 May 18, 2018
    Susan Webber Wright Eastern District of Arkansas May 18, 2009 May 18, 2016
    James Zagel Northern District of Illinois May 18, 2008 May 18, 2015

    Roger Vinson, the guy who rubber-stamped the leaked Verizon order, is no longer on the court-- his seven year term expired.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 21, 2013 @09:29PM (#44075877)

    FYI, the petition to pardon Snowden is just a few thousand short of the 100,000 mark as of midday on Friday. There is still time to sign. Probably a waste of time, but
    it might be worth it.
    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/pardon-edward-snowden/Dp03vGYD [whitehouse.gov]

    And what do you want to bet the response will be, "We cannot comment on an ongoing criminal matter."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 21, 2013 @09:40PM (#44075937)

    but how do you know they aren't going to harm the US

    You need to prove that they're likely going to, which is more or less the same thing they have to do to get a warrant for such matters.

    There is no need to be 100% certain of anything, so I'm not sure why you asked that question. The same thing could be said about normal civilians, which would lead to us spying on them to find out if they're actually dangerous (which is what we already do in some cases, and it's morally wrong).

    Instead we had to try to brute force it.

    We should have never been playing world police to begin with.

  • by manu0601 (2221348) on Friday June 21, 2013 @09:53PM (#44075987)

    Snowden swore an oath when he took his security clearance. It is essentially the same one sworn by soldiers.

    The first thing he does is swear to protect the constitution against all enemies both foreign and domestic. And finally to follow the orders of his chain of command and perform the duties of his position.

    Snowden was put in a position where following the last part of the oath would violate the first part, and following the first part would violate the last part.

    I am not an expert of US laws, but in reasonable countries, there is a hierarchy of laws. An oath cannot be enforced against a law, and a law cannot be enforced against the constitution.

  • by artor3 (1344997) on Friday June 21, 2013 @10:21PM (#44076107)

    It looks to me like he kept his promise, and people just didn't pay attention to what that promise was...

    That means no more illegal wire-tapping of American citizens.

    Because it's been made legal.

    No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime.

    But anyone they want to spy on is, by definition, "suspect".

    No more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war.

    Sure, you can protest misguided wars and not be tracked for that. But there's probably other stuff they can track you for.

    And so on. Obama voted for warrantless wiretaps just months before being elected in 2008. It was covered right here on Slashdot! [slashdot.org] If you're suprised by his stance now, it's only because you hadn't been paying attention.

  • by cold fjord (826450) on Friday June 21, 2013 @11:24PM (#44076373)

    In the empire of lies, truth is treason. -Ron Paul

    Interesting counterpoint to that of celebrated statesman, Sir Winston Churchill [winstonchurchill.org], who recognized the importance of secrecy in wartime, and the value of deceiving the enemy..

    "In war-time, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies." -- Winston Churchill

     

  • by dgatwood (11270) on Saturday June 22, 2013 @02:43AM (#44077007) Journal

    I voted for Obama because:

    • I was absolutely certain that McCain would continue those programs (illegal wiretapping, Gitmo, etc.), whereas there was at least some small possibility that Obama might have actually fulfilled his campaign promises to dismantle them.
    • By the second election, I was reasonably certain that both Romney and Obama would continue those programs, and no other viable candidates were running.
    • I was absolutely certain that Romney—a person who made his fortune by buying companies, stripping them bare, laying off the staff, and outsourcing jobs to other countries while continuing to trade on the brand's reputation—was the worst possible choice for President during an economic downturn, even if Obama wasn't a great choice.

    It had nothing to do with "total s**t that Obama's people threw at Romney" and everything to do with Romney seeming instantly untrustworthy from the very first minute. By contrast, Obama struck me as someone who was unlikely to be able to keep his promises, but not entirely because he didn't want to. My opinion of him has gradually degraded, mind you, but Romney immediately struck me as a stereotypical used car salesman.

  • by fyngyrz (762201) on Saturday June 22, 2013 @02:52AM (#44077023) Homepage Journal

    No. I believed *Romney* when he said he loaded his dog on the roof of his car, and kept him up there until he was covered in his own shit. I believed *Romney* when he said the 47% would never take personal responsibility and care for their lives. I watched in horror as Romney went to England, and in a canned, pre-arranged situation any moron could have handled, managed to say exactly the wrong thing to the wrong people at the wrong time. I heard him say "Corporations are people" when I know damn well they are not. I listened in amazement when he demonstrated that his science knowledge stopped at about 3rd grade, when he plaintively queried why they can't open the windows in an airplane when it's on fire. I laughed when he said "Syria is Iran's only ally in the Arab world. It's their route to the sea" demonstrating his geographical knowledge was right "up" there with his science.

    By the time the ballot box rolled around, I was quite sure that Romney was a complete idiot and a tool.

    Under Obama, some good things got done; he had failed at others, and particularly so when blocked by the republicans in congress. But we got consumer credit reforms, we got a reverse in the jobs mess the republican administration had presided over, we got a marked improvement in gay rights, and most importantly, we got the ACA, which, while not what Obama had asked for -- congress really mangled it -- is at least a step in the right direction.

    So my choice was more of the latter, or pick the man who hadn't a clue, and no idea what do do when sent off with a clue in his pocket. The decision was easy.

    Now, compare my post to yours. There are some differences. You might want to think about that.

  • by kermidge (2221646) on Saturday June 22, 2013 @03:02AM (#44077041) Journal

    There were computers before World War II? In what sense, and what kind? I mean, I know there were adding machines, and a more complex type, the comptometer. Further, there were slide rules and specialized types such as the is-was. But computers? You mean the analog firing solution mechanisms such as used for main batteries on capitol ships? The rudimentary TDC? Tabulating machines? What?

He's dead, Jim.

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