Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
United States Crime Government The Media Your Rights Online

The New York Times Pushes For Clemency For Snowden 354

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "The Editorial Board of the New York Times has weighed in on the criminal charges facing Edward Snowden and writes that 'Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight..' 'He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service. It is time for the United States to offer Mr. Snowden a plea bargain or some form of clemency that would allow him to return home, face at least substantially reduced punishment in light of his role as a whistle-blower, and have the hope of a life advocating for greater privacy and far stronger oversight of the runaway intelligence community.' The president said in August that Snowden should come home to face charges in court and suggested that if Snowden had wanted to avoid criminal charges he could have simply told his superiors about the abuses, acting, in other words, as a whistle-blower. In fact, notes the editorial board, the executive order regarding whistleblowers did not apply to contractors, only to intelligence employees, rendering its protections useless to Snowden. More important, Snowden told The Washington Post that he did report his misgivings to two superiors at the agency, showing them the volume of data collected by the NSA, and that they took no action. 'Snowden was clearly justified in believing that the only way to blow the whistle on this kind of intelligence-gathering was to expose it to the public and let the resulting furor do the work his superiors would not. ... When someone reveals that government officials have routinely and deliberately broken the law, that person should not face life in prison at the hands of the same government,' concludes the editorial. 'President Obama should tell his aides to begin finding a way to end Mr. Snowden's vilification and give him an incentive to return home.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

The New York Times Pushes For Clemency For Snowden

Comments Filter:
  • Incentive? (Score:2, Troll)

    by Calydor ( 739835 )

    give him an incentive to return home.

    "Gee, that's a nice family you have here. Would be a shame if something ... happened ... to it."

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      And that, sir, would make them no better than China, the country we keep accusing of violating the most basic human rights?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Luckyo ( 1726890 )

        They are already worse than China in terms of some of the human rights. After all, they destroyed one such right, right to privacy already. And they are doing it while accusing China of possibly doing it.

        So that particular bridge has been burned down long, long ago.

        And if you think that CIA doesn't use the "lest something happens to your family" just as much as other intelligence agencies, I have land on the moon to sell you.

        • by cusco ( 717999 )

          Always good to keep in mind that the Washington Post was headquarters of Project Mockingbird, and that the NYT had the largest membership in Project Mockingbird of any news organization (including the television networks). They're certainly not going to say something like this out of the goodness of their non-existent corporate heart. If Snowden comes back to the US he'll be targeted by some 'lone nut' fall guy, or end up in a small plane over a wooded area. I'd be surprised if he's not protected by Spet

          • The CIA these days prefers a trumped-up sexual assault charge over a bullet. Less messy and just as effective. Just ask a former IMF chief who dared to question the supremacy of the U.S. dollar [].

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 02, 2014 @09:59AM (#45845019)

    and the Medal of Honor, just for starters. Snowden has done more for this country than our "Nobel Peace Prize" winning President!

    • by rvw ( 755107 )

      and the Medal of Honor, just for starters. Snowden has done more for this country than our "Nobel Peace Prize" winning President!

      You don't have to use quote. It tells us more about the prize than about your president. He didn't ask for it I guess. As I see it, Bush and Cheney are much more to blame, but I guess any president has to account for the failures of his predecessor.

      • and the Medal of Honor, just for starters. Snowden has done more for this country than our "Nobel Peace Prize" winning President!

        You don't have to use quote.

        Well, you can, but it would be more appropriate around "winning" rather than "Nobel Peace Prize."

    • by sconeu ( 64226 ) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @12:52PM (#45846751) Homepage Journal

      Snowden is not a member of the US Armed Forces, and is therefore inelgible for the Medal of Honor.

      The equivalent civilian award is the Medal of Freedom.

  • by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @10:01AM (#45845041) Journal
    Make damn sure you get it in writing, sigh=ned by a pretty important son of bitch. Or two.
  • by nitehawk214 ( 222219 ) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @10:06AM (#45845097)

    The NSA admit they were wrong? Hell, when has anyone in government admitted they were wrong?

  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @10:08AM (#45845105)

    They shouldn't have broken the law. Yes the courts have ruled it all legal but everyone knows that to be a farce.

    They shouldn't have persecuted Snowden. What has that accomplished?

    They shouldn't have doubled down on their right to spy because that has caused an international incident.

    And now their corporate partners are all turning on them one by one.

    Give up, NSA. Have the national discussion you should have had a generation ago. We'll talk about it.

    If we decide as a nation to go down that path... so be it. But we won't. Which means you'll have to operate within more limited rules and capabilities. And as much as that might vex you or put the public at greater risk such is the price of living in a free country.

    What you have done is wrong. What snowden did violated the law but served the interests of the American people. We owe it to him to shield him and any like him.

    If we don't stand up for men like Snowden then what chance do any of us have when the feds come for YOU.

    • by BobMcD ( 601576 ) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @11:06AM (#45845667)

      You're right on many points, but as it stands, the NSA has every reason to persecute Snowden. It's a deterrent.

      If he gets pardoned then leaks become more likely in the future. If he gets executed, on the other hand, they'll be less likely.

      So in simple 'less work for us to do' terms, the NSA really does need to take a toughguy stance on leakers.

      We the people, on the other hand, have exactly the opposite interest.

      • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @01:03PM (#45846917)

        As to the deterrent... for what? Is this something you want to deter?

        To the contrary, I want to encourage this sort of behavior.

        Understand, I make a distinction between treason and whistle blowing. This is whistle blowing.

        If the police department starts raping women in the jail cells and then covering it up... do you want to deter people that try to inform the public of it?

        Yes. The relationship is valid. The NSA has been wantonly breaking the law on a vast scale. And what is more the judicial branch is enabling it. Does the rape become more valid if the judge is okay with it? No. Its actually worse and worthy of increasingly outrage until the issue is resolved.

        As to leaks, leaks are almost never punished. The white house, congress, the pentagon, the CIA all leak things all the time that they're not supposed to leak. There was a big flap lately about the CIA leaking things about seal team 6. The leak was ultimately traced to the white house. Anyone go to jail for that? Nope. So what you're doing is not punishing leakers. Leakers don't get punished. What you're doing is punishing a whistle blower. The guy that calls RAPE. You want that silenced.

        Sound like a good idea? I don't see how it could be anything but an encouragement for FURTHER corruption.

        As to the interest of the NSA versus the people. I think you're confused here... the NSA works for us. Where our interests conflict we take precedence without exception. If the NSA is under any illusions on that issue then why are we paying them with our tax dollars and why are we giving them special extra legal authorities? If they want to go rogue that's fine. They can see how far they get with no money and no extra legal rights. They'd be a non-entity in a week.

        So no. They have no conflicting interests that I need to respect. If anything, the public has an interest in treating what interests they have outside of their duty with utter contempt.

      • by tonywong ( 96839 )
        Isn't that the whole point of having a democracy that is free and transparent? Doing illegal acts on a large scale and lying about it *needs* to be reported, especially when the bad actor is your own government. And if the government will not do anything about it internally, then it needs to be taken to the public.

        Otherwise governments have no disincentive to act against the individuals that the government is supposed to 'protecting'.

        Snowden did not reveal any operatives' names nor did he leak the data to t
  • In perspective (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Akratist ( 1080775 ) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @10:14AM (#45845165)
    We have a president who, after promising the most open administration ever, has done a complete 180 and tried to limit press coverage, access to records and administration officials, and so on. He has offered pardons to fewer people than any other president. That doesn't sound like a welcoming environment to come home to, when you get right down to it. That said, I've always had mixed feelings about Snowden. To be honest, China and Russia probably know much about what is going on, because they do the same things themselves. In addition, it's not unlike the Wikileaks dump...people in Iraq and Afghanistan know what's going on's the American people who are kept in the dark. On the other hand, we want the "American standard of living," which is no different from the "British Way" back in the 1800s, and so on. We're not a bucolic merchant republic any more. America is a global empire, the Rome of our day, and maintaining that position requires an awful lot of "off the books" action. People scream for more security, lower gas prices, salute the flag all over the place, and don't want to deal with paying taxes to maintain military hegemony, the rabid pursuit of dissent, or the corruption which invariably accompanies a concentration of power.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RoLi ( 141856 )

      a "complete 180"? What are you talking about?

      Obama was secretive right from the start in his campaign. He closed down all documentation from his supposed studies in university. (Which proves that he has pretty powerful forces behind him - not every candidate can get such kind of secrecy.) What does the public know about Obama? Not much. All his supposed friends he describes in his book turned out to be fictitious, nobody has ever seen him in the universities he supposedly went, nobody knows why he used two

      • by jbolden ( 176878 )

        Google "Obama Harvard" there are tons of images including from television appearances. There is an interview in 1991 with Frontline which is one of the most prestigious news / documentary programs in the United States.

        And if you want someone who remembers him: Robin West who co-authored an article with him. She's real: []

      • > supposed studies


        > All his supposed friends he describes in his book turned out to be fictitious

        Again, really?

        > nobody has ever seen him in the universities he supposedly went


        And people wonder why our country is such a mess. Don't you see you are
        part of the problem. You are part of the reason that a government can get
        away with what they do. You parrot obvious lies encouraging more misinformation.
        Fight misinformation, don't help it spread.

        I get it. You don't like Obama. Say so

  • "When someone reveals that government officials have routinely and deliberately broken the law, that person should not face life in prison at the hands of the same government,"

    hang on... errr... if it's been pointed out that GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS have broken the law, remind me again why it's *edward snowden* that's being pursued for criminal acts?

  • Well, it took a few years as a young man to realize that all those special laws with all those good moral purposes, well - they never actually apply to you.

    Learn this. Marriage, for example bad idea today for men. Was maybe okay for your grandparents but things change and a person must look around and see what actually applies (and fits) for them.

    Snowden and Manning are examples of the same thing. One is in jail and tortured for years, the other one knew the score and had the resources to take the smart ste

    • You mean those 40k new laws that became active Jan 1 were not all needed? We have forgotten that we need the bare min number of laws so that we can live together.

    • by Quila ( 201335 )

      Snowden get's a pardon only after Manning, as far as I'm concerned, not until.

      Even if manning got a pardon for his actual whistleblowing, you're still left with hundreds of thousands of classified documents he indiscriminately released, for which there can be no reasonable whistleblowing defense.

  • What about Julian Assange and Bradley Manning? Perhaps these two also should be let go to Russia?

    Like in Dostoyevsky's "Crime and punishment" to Siberia? There will be a grand bridge construction project near Yakutsk, here: []

    The English language and IT teachers are badly needed at schools there. The nature is harsh, -37 C now, but magnificent. What a waste to keep those two young bright men locked up.
  • Unimpressive... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @10:31AM (#45845299) Journal
    While such a position is surprisingly non-toadying for the NYT, fuck 'clemency'. 'Clemency' is the merciful withholding of some portion of a deserved punishment. Since Snowden deserves a hero's welcome, rather than any punishment, 'clemency' is an insult.

    If there's anyone who is in a position to be begging for 'clemency' it's the Oh-So-Very-Serious-and-Responsible spooks currently whining about how much damage Snowden has allegedly done to their hitherto impressive record of completely and utterly unverifiable or demonstrable terrorist hunting.
  • Won't happen ... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by garry_g ( 106621 ) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @10:33AM (#45845321)

    Snowden embarrassed too many people to get off the hook that easy ...

    Of course, if the tables were turned, e.g. somebody had published the same sort of information about any other's country intelligence agencies, the U.S. most likely would be the first to thank them for blowing the whistle on unlawful acts ... two standards ... 'nough said.

    • He has pointed out several other instances of other countries complicity in the US complete spying.

      And our own.

  • by sshir ( 623215 ) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @10:38AM (#45845397)
    For all those morons calling Snowden a traitor: consider this scenario.

    Reviewing circumstances of that Petraeus scandal in the light of Snowden's revelations, it's pretty clear that NSA knew about CIA director affair, and more importantly kept the fact to itself (if, of course it wasn't a parallel construction [] by FBI, which is easy for them to check)

    Now what we have? We have that NSA had dirt on a top CIA official, a popular political figure, with very probable presidential candidacy on the horizon. And what it did with that info? It kept it's chips to itself to cash-in at the most opportune moment! And the whole infrastructure at the NSA is built in such a way (intentionally!) that unless NSA wants to, nobody can say with absolute certainty what they knew and when they knew that.

    In my books that is a direct threat to the republic.
  • Do they really think that will happen? He blew the cover on the country's illegal spy program, most people in the government wanted him dead. You hear that, dead! They wanted him back in the country so they could kill him for treason. I'm really surprised they didn't order a drone strike on him and claim nothing happened. They'll never grant him clemency. They revoked his citizenship and the only way the government will let him back in is in a box. Sure, the program breaks the law. The government has alread
  • by sl4shd0rk ( 755837 ) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @10:44AM (#45845441)

    Snowden is probably better off in Russia. Does NY Times have the balls to start talking about bringing charges against the NSA ? 2,776 incidents of unauthorized collection of legally protected communications []

  • by ILongForDarkness ( 1134931 ) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @10:44AM (#45845443)

    I haven't been following it too closely but my understanding was that everything that Snowden was complaining about were data collection activities that the courts had allowed and just that Snowden (and probably the majority of the public) thought was excessive. If I'm right with that than I'm not sure if you can claim whistle blower status if there is no crime being done. The law might need to be changed or interpreted differently but that doesn't undo the fact he didn't have the right to disclose legal actions.

    Sometimes doing what is right isn't what is legal and sometimes doing what is right costs you dearly (example parent fighting off an attacker so their kids can get away and end up dying/convicted of manslaughter because of it). Actions have consequences some positive some negative. You weight the options and make the choice then live with both.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 02, 2014 @11:17AM (#45845777)

      I'm not trying to be an asshole here, but if you have to ask "did they break the law?" then you are absolutely right that you haven't been paying attention.

      The courts and congress, prior to Snowden's leaks, did allow it. You are correct there. But what they allowed was not the same as what the NSA was actually up to. They flat-out lied to get authorization for some things, then went off and did others so when/if they got caught, they could say, "But we were told we could do that!" It is a well-documented fact at this point that the NSA lied to both the courts and congress. That, in itself, is not legal.

      Then, we have the fact that they are definitely violating the 4th amendment. They are not "just" collecting "metadata." They have the content of every phone call or email you make, your browsing history, etc. and they intend hold it for at least 15 years. As American citizens have the right to not be unreasonably searched without warrant, they have violated the constitution in billions of instances over the last decade.

      First amendment rights have also been under attack. Some members of the media have stated that they've been under pressure (not clear if it's from their employers or otherwise) to not run any anti-NSA stories. Some businesses, such as Lavabit and Silent Circle, have had to shutdown because of ridiculous legal pressure to completely legal businesses simply because they did not want to provide all of their information in bulk and instead said they would comply with the law and turn over any information related to suspects. In the case of Lavabit, the FBI demanded they turn over their SSL public & private keys; this is not needed to unencrypt stored information on users, but instead to create a MITM attack on their network. I got a bit off-topic here, but the point is simply that people are forced to behave differently, including limiting their speech, out of fear of government backlash. It is a clear violation of the first amendment.

      Then, we have the fact that the NSA is participating in hacking and distributing malware []. You know what that's called? Computer fraud. And it's very illegal. If you have some time to waste, go ahead and watch this presentation from 30C3 [].

      But, most importantly, remember that government propaganda is legal now [] so keep an eye out for their bullshit.

    • I haven't been following it too closely but my understanding was that everything that Snowden was complaining about were data collection activities that the courts had allowed...

      The courts used to allow slavery.

  • by tekrat ( 242117 ) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @10:48AM (#45845477) Homepage Journal

    Let's be clear; the NSA has not broken the letter of the law, simply because there are judges, and a government backing those judges, that deems what the NSA is doing is appropriate and legal.

    However; the NSA has certainly broken the spirit of the law, and certainly, those Americans that created the bill of rights and particularly the 4th Amendment to the Constitution, would be appalled at the government over-reach and how a government of the people and for the people has been corrupted into something else, something that smacks of evil.

    So, whether you think Snowden is a hero or a traitor seems to hinge on whether you agree with the spirit or the letter of the law.

    And the New York Times is foolish to appeal to the government to consider the spirit of the law, because it's the lawyers and accountants who have corrupted that law by many decades of "loopholing" the letter of the law, finding every legal out they can to avoid paying taxes or winning a case -- to the point where the spirit of the law is no longer a consideration, which is also why every piece of legislation is now thousands of pages long, and not four pages.

    It's unfortunate that we no longer have a justice system in this country, which would observe the spirit of the law, we have a LEGAL system in this country, which only observes the letter. And by the letter of the law, Snowden is guilty of his crimes, which is why if you're looking for justice, you have to leave this country.

  • by Thud457 ( 234763 ) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @11:32AM (#45845939) Homepage Journal
    Who the hell's on the writing staff for reality these days?!!
    These damn character names would embarrass Ian Fleming.

    First we've got a guy building ICBMs right under the government's nose with the ridiculous name "Elon Musk".
    Now we have a lily-white uber-hacker with the eponymous name "Edward Snowden".
    I'm sure "Julian Assange" must be a ludicrous double entendre in some language, but I haven't tracked it down yet.
  • It would have been better if the NYTImes had negotiated a joint statement with FoxNews and other news outlets that they ALL consider Snowden a whistleblower. By coming first (yay! we're first! ) they may have enhanced their reputation with a few liberals as defenders of civil liberties but they also invoked the "NYTimes is wrong about everything ! " reflex in a lot of conservatives. In fact, from what I've seen conservatives are just as outraged about the NSA spying scandal as are liberals.

"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972