Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A tale of two criminals

It's worth considering two criminals who stepped into the public spotlight this week, both involved in the NSA telephone and internet scandal.

Consider first Edward Snowden, 29, a systems analyst who worked for the CIA. Snowden illegally released a trove of information documenting herethefore secret federal government surveillance of phone and internet activity of hundreds of millions of Americans. He says he has a horror of the danger that the growing security state poses to our privacy and liberty. He said : "I don't want to live in a society that does these sort of things".

Consider next James Clapper, 72, Director of National Intelligence. He is a retired Air Force lieutenant general, and has held many senior intelligence jobs. Clapper lied under oath to the Senate Intelligence Committee on March 12, 2013. Senator Ron Wyden asked Director Clapper "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?" Clapper replied "No sir".  On June 6, 2013 Director Clapper admitted that the NSA collects telephone data on hundreds of millions of Americans. Clapper called Mr. Snowden's revelation of the truth about NSA spying on Americans "gut wrenching" (he was referring to the revelation, not to the spying). Clapper referred to his own perjury as telling the Senate "the least untruthful answer". At a black-tie banquet last Friday night, Clapper quipped “Some of you expressed surprise that I showed up. So many e-mails to read!”

Both men committed felonies. One will likely face severe legal consequences. The other seems to be in considerably less jeopardy.

One man broke the law to tell the truth. The other man broke the law to tell a lie.

Can you guess which one had to flee the country?

30 comments:

  1. If we had a classified hypersonic attack plane, would a general be committing a felony if he testified in a public hearing that we didn’t have one? I don’t think so. Perhaps if the congressmen took the time to go to the classified briefings they would know better than to ask questions that either force the witness to lie, or reveal the existence of a classified program.

    -KW

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    1. You've become quite the fan of unbridle executive power, government spying, and secrecy of late. Why the change of heart?

      JQ

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    2. As I said before, nukes. If we cancel these types of programs and a nuke goes off in Manhattan some months or years later, we’ll be kicking ourselves in the ass. After a successful terrorist attack, you often hear officials say we failed to connect the dots. Programs like this are big dot connecting operations.

      You would have had to have been living under a rock not to know about these types of programs already, but I’m glad their existence has been confirmed. Now that this is more out in the open I hope our representatives can give these matters the attention and oversight they deserve. I would rather these programs being somewhat less effective due to knowledge of their existence, then to have them cloaked in total secrecy or abandoned altogether.

      -KW

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    3. He's become a fan lately because it's his man Obama who's doing it and he's a blind Obama supporter. Anything Obama does is fine because it's Obama who's doing it. KW is a soulless hack.

      Ben

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    4. @KW:

      [If we had a classified hypersonic attack plane, would a general be committing a felony if he testified in a public hearing that we didn’t have one? I don’t think so.]

      It's perjury.Clapper lied to us-- the Senate Committee is our representative. If Clapper felt that he could not reveal a secret program in public under oath, he could have asked the Committee to switch to a secret session-- it's done routinely when congressional testimony begins to hit on classified information.

      Clapper just lied. That's ok with you. It's not ok with me.

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    5. In the Bush years, we called your type of defense fear-mongering. If we don't violate our civil liberties, a nuke's gonna go off in Manhattan and then you'll all be sorry. Like I said, soulless hack.

      Ben

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    6. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyJune 12, 2013 at 8:20 AM

      Popeye, you can't "connect the dots" when you don't look at the "dots". For example, the government could have tracked Nidal Hasan's communications and travel. He worked for the DoD, for Pete's sake. His lunatic writings were in the public domain and DoD Power Points. But they were ignored per official DoD policy.

      Hasan massacred American service men and women at Ft Hood, shouting "Allahu Akbar" during the crime.

      And the Lackwit Administration is calling it "workplace violence".

      You can't fix stupid. Stupid has to be pink slipped.

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    7. You've become quite the fan of unbridle executive power, government spying, and secrecy of late. Why the change of heart?

      He's a left-wing atheist. They're almost always in favor of totalitarianism. They also always lie about being in favor of it, up until the point that they achieve it.

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    8. Clapper had no excuse whatsoever. He was told a day ahead of time that he'd be asked questions of a classified nature, and chose with premeditation to commit public perjury rather than hold his hearing in secret. He should be in prison. Period.
      http://hotair.com/archives/2013/06/11/wyden-i-gave-clapper-that-question-a-day-in-advance-of-his-untruthful-answer/

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  2. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyJune 12, 2013 at 8:04 AM

    "Can you guess which one had to flee the country?"

    You make a damn good point, Egnor.

    And I have a followup:

    ABC News’ Jonathan Karl reports: Director of National Intelligence James Clapper raised some eyebrows today at a House Intelligence Committee hearing when he called described the Muslim Brotherhood as a “largely secular” organization.

    I guess Clapper can't even read Wikipedia: "The Brotherhood's stated goal is to instill the Qur'an and Sunnah as the 'sole reference point for ...ordering the life of the Muslim family, individual, community ... and state.'"

    Now... can you guess which intelligence expert is out of a job?

    Obviously, the days of a "Brain Trust" in the White House are long gone.

    BTW, for those who like a little fun, visit the Troll the NSA website and send an e-mail with "high-value" keywords. If we all get put on the Terrorist Watch List we can paralyze the DHS and Big Janet will deflate.

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    1. Gee Admiral, now your encouraging your fellow conservatives to undermine national security by paralyzing the DHS. What are you, some kind of traitor in league with the terrorists, or just a fucking idiot?

      -KW

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    2. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyJune 12, 2013 at 8:27 AM

      I am encouraging all Americans to paralyze the DHS until this bullshit stops.

      Popeye: "What are you, some kind of traitor in league with the terrorists, or just a fucking idiot?"

      I'm neither, and those are not the only two choices:

      The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging the constitutionality of the U.S. government surveillance program that collects the telephone records of millions of Americans from U.S. telecommunications companies.
      --- WaPo (6/11/13)

      Lawsuits are good, too. Paralyze the Administration with court proceedings.

      We all need to do our part.

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    3. He's just a fucking idiot.

      Hoo

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    4. Good site, Admiral. Posting to Facebook.

      And, unsurprisingly, all the atheists on this thread are in favor of Orwellian surveillance states just as soon as one is achieved.

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    5. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyJune 12, 2013 at 9:25 AM

      Whassamatta, Mathoo? So grumpy. Swallow an indigestible integral this morning?

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    6. A traitor is someone who betrays his country on it's most basic ideals, or someone who sells secrets to the enemy.
      Snowdon did neither.
      He may have committed a 'crime' and certainly breached a contract, but that is not treason.
      He is what is known as a 'whistle blower'.
      A whistle blower is a person who 'blows the whistle' (as in a foul) on something. A person who sheds light on some sort of nefarious or illegal practice. They draw attention to some issue that will cause general outrage among the right circles - in this case the populace.
      Calling Snowdon a traitor is a gross misuse of the term.
      If he had secretly defected to an enemy nation and supplied the specific details (ie technology and design) of the snooping systems so that they could be compromised and/or hijacked by the enemy for money or position in that bloc, he would be a traitor. Releasing the general concept to the press is NOT the same. The Guardian is NOT an enemy nation and the American people are not an enemy bloc... or at least they should not be perceived as such.
      If indeed this system is what they claim it is (an 'anti-terror' mechanism) then the release of it's existence should BENEFIT the security apparatus.
      Consider: Do the agents of the TSA hide the fact they are going to scan you when boarding a plane? Does the DoD hide the fact that they have ICBMs or Missile defence systems? No. They do not print or publish the codes or blueprints for these devices, and Snowdon has done no such thing. He has simply released that this network of Orwellian technology exists and is being used. Used to gather information on EVERYONE and with almost ZERO oversight.
      Again, consider: This guy was a contractor. He had access to YOUR personal information. Who else does? If he can do this, what is to stop OTHER people with less scruples from 'outing' operatives and military personal who run afoul of who-ever? What is to prevent moles from sabotaging such a system? What is to prevent tyrannical abuses? A panel of judges in a secret court?
      GIVE ME A BREAK!
      This technology requires real oversight and operational transparency. Anything less is a gross abuse of what the nation (the USA) is all about. What do we call a regime that undermines the basic freedoms of the citizens and the ideals of the nation itself, in order to consolidate power into secretive cabals?
      Look it up.

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    7. "He may have committed a 'crime' and certainly breached a contract, but that is not treason."

      And in so doing, avoided breaking his higher priority contract to "protect and defend the Constitution"

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    8. Adm.

      The process of jamming has already gone viral up this way. Almost half to the emails I have received in the last 48 hours have attached paragraphs on the end that are a collection of words such as 'Liberty', 'Tea party', 'militia', and the like. Nothing that could be connected to Jihadist groups etc. but words that are obvious political flags.
      The idea, as I understand it, is to make them so prevalent that they are removed from the 'watch list' in order to tighten the focus of Big Brother on the enemy rather than on the political opposition to the current regime.

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    9. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyJune 12, 2013 at 9:45 AM

      Crusader, this Administration does, in fact, see a major segment, nearly half, of the American citizenry as the enemy:

      If Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, 'We're gonna punish our enemies...
      --- Barack Obama, Univision interview, 2010

      In addition, the President is a big fan of revenge, suggesting revenge as a motivation to vote:

      Voting is the best revenge.
      --- Barack Obama, Springfield OH (2012)

      The President is also paranoid, hearing "voices":

      Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems; some of these same voices also doing their best to gum up the works.
      --- Barack Obama, OSU Commencement (2013)

      This is not the man who should be surreptitiously nosing into and recording the communications and travel of all Americans.

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    10. The Admiral and conservatives can’t even keep their scandals strait, DHS had nothing to do with the IRS scandal. So go ahead Idiots, flog away impotently on your keyboards pretending you’re somehow attacking the government.

      -KW

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    11. Just another day at the asylum.

      Hoo

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    12. KW,

      I am sure you will not understand what I am about to relate (there is always hope!), but this is for the benefit of the literate folks who read/comment on here.
      You need to read my comment again, KW.

      I did not espouse the jamming nor suggest I am a willing participant. I simply related an observation. I am in the 'business' myself and could/would not engage in such activities. I have not been passing these 'jams' along, but I have been receiving them by the dozen.
      Nor did I say it was an effective means of countering any sort of real surveillance mechanism.

      I worked in Signals (SIGINT at Branch) for a long time upon returning from the theatre. A real system (to detect enemy and treasonous communications) is not only a necessary counter-measure (akin to missile defence in a 'cyber' sense), it is also an extremely fine tuned mechanism. It has a very specific focus.
      If the machinery is what the folks at the NSA claim it is, then Snowdon did nothing to compromise it and the civilian efforts illustrated above are indeed impotent (harmless) and can be safely ignored.
      The howls of 'treason' are what make me wonder about the nature of the beast. How can it be treason to disclose the EXISTENCE of such a system?

      My own nation has a very advanced system (as do most). It is public knowledge we do. It intercepts foreign communications (inbound/outbound) and analyzed certain key 'meta data' signatures, many of which have been determined by human intelligence.
      If a noted source or possible problem is located, a warrant is quickly issued in a high court (not a secret court) and the information is retrieved. There are FOUR oversight committees involved, and even then it is controversial. It is currently (and has been for a few years) a matter of OPEN parliamentary debate.
      Further, it is run by the military with a military mandate. Not by our civilian intelligence people, who carry a very different mandate.
      We are completely free to discuss and acknowledge it's existence, location(s), COST, and mission.
      The details of the actual technology itself, of course, are classified as what you would describe as 'level three'.
      Is that transparency stupid? Does it put Canadians at risk, in an effort to protect their charter rights?
      In answer to that I would ask another question: How many 9/11's has Canada suffered... ever? We sit at the top of the most hated list of our enemy, but somehow we have managed to balance stability, security, and basic freedoms.

      If that system was turned on the Canadian people under orders from a secret court and the actions were made public by an agent or contractor, it would be the PM out of a job (we can do that here, it's called a 'vote of no confidence') and a general election would be forced - not the oversight committee or military personnel who 'blew the whistle' being accused of treason. They would probably lose their clearance and quite possibly their job. But treason charges from POLITICIANS? LOL
      Not bloody likely.

      We did, however, just catch a real 'traitor'. A naval intelligence officer was caught selling actual secrets about NATO technology (Sonar systems) to the Russians. He is now facing charges (trial) under the espionage act. He was, of course, discovered by HUMAN intelligence - not a gigantic glorified spam filter checking EVERY transmission of data and transaction.

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    13. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyJune 12, 2013 at 11:42 AM

      No one is going to "jam" the NSA with a keyword avalanche. And, trust me, the notion of "paralyzing" the DHS with keywords is just an amusement, wishful thinking, on my part. I wish we could, yes. Oh, how sweet it would be. It would be nice - lovely - to see that imbecilic dirigible running the DHS have a political Hindenburg event and get run out of DC on a rail.

      But nobody short of a US government entity is going to dent the NSA, the CIA, or the DoD. Trust me, if the Chinese can't do it, nobody can. These ignorant leftists have little faith in our national intelligence assets and the ingenuity of our technical people.

      But I'm laughing my ass off at these so-called "Progressives", a name which signifies the inverse of progress, twisting and turning, sneering and whining, bitching and complaining, questioning patriotism because now, now... their guy, Mr Lightworker, Mr Almost-a-God, has been exposed as a cheap, lying, fraud with neo-totalitarian instincts. In fact, all the things they accused George Bush of doing.

      DISSENT IS THE HIGHEST FORM OF PATRIOTISM

      Now where have I heard that? You know who invented the word "monkeywrenching"? The left. Yeah, that would be the same ignorant bag of gits who are complaining now.

      The people the left hates and despises are moving. It's not just paid "protesters" anymore. Nobody is expressing their patriotism by shitting in a public park. The right is organizing. And even the the ACLU (along with several other political organizations) have filed suit. More are on the way. Rand Paul is claiming he's going to file a class action suit.

      But don't stop whining, guys. Because I love it. I thrive on it. Your hate is like ch'i. I bask in it.

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    14. But don't stop whining, guys. Because I love it. I thrive on it. Your hate is like ch'i. I bask in it.

      That about sums you up, one-trick pony.

      "Hate," though, is a stretch. I don't think KW, bachfiend, or I hate you. We perceive you as a harmless dork. Your rants aginst feddle gubmint are funny to observe, but that's about it.

      Hoo

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    15. "The Admiral and conservatives can’t even keep their scandals strait, DHS had nothing to do with the IRS scandal."

      Yes, clearly the inability to see any common logical thread between an oppressive invasion of private citizens' privacy by the federal government and an oppressive invasion of private citizens' privacy by the federal government is a sign of leftists' intellectual superiority.

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    16. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyJune 12, 2013 at 12:18 PM

      You don't think so? Well, when you've made up your mind, Mathoo, get back to me. I see you've become the Official Spokesman for the team.

      And, BTW, IMO backfire is actually a pretty smart guy. I don't agree with a lot - most of what - he says, but if you look back at the content of his posts and yours (or Popeye's), you'll see a stark difference. It all about IQ points he has, and you don't.

      No, the Official Team is Popeye, Mathoo, and Troi. The Tres Amigos.

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    17. "But nobody short of a US government entity is going to dent the NSA, the CIA, or the DoD."
      100% agree, Adm.
      But it is, at least, the folks finding some sort of humorous venting. It shows just how widespread the sentiment AGAINST such a system is.
      That is encouraging.

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    18. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyJune 12, 2013 at 3:24 PM

      I agree. It is encouraging and should be encouraged.

      American citizens, as well as citizens in Europe and elsewhere, need to vent their rage at a regime that abuses their natural rights with such a cavalier, privileged attitude.

      It's not as if the terrorists had any illusions about being tracked and monitored, or were ignorant of the value of keywords and phrases in digital communications. These revelations have changed nothing for them.

      It was the naive, gullible American people who believed that lying, treacherous excuse for a President when he said:

      [The Booosh] Administration also puts forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we demand. I will provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to track and take out the terrorists without undermining our Constitution and our freedom.

      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.

      --- B. Obama, Woodrow Wilson Center (2007)

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  3. Let’s not forget Snowden fled to China. Some patriot. It’s no wonder they can’t find him, he’s probably spilling his guts to the commies right now. Traitor.

    -KW

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    1. Yeah KW,
      He wants to 'defect' to Iceland. We all know what a hardcore enemy of the US Iceland has always been. Right up there with Iran.
      I mean, it's just horrifying stuff.
      And as you note, now the Chinese KNOW you have an intelligence program and not only that, that you have a signals intelligence program. What a shock that must be to the reds. They would never, after all, even conceive of spying on their own people - let alone their enemies! Also, they know nothing about computers or computer components.
      I don't suppose it has even crossed your mind this could be cointel or a ruse? Nah... what mind?

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