RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment
Print

Cohen writes: "What are we to make of Edward Snowden? I know what I once made of him. He was no real whistleblower, I wrote, but 'ridiculously cinematic' and 'narcissistic' as well. As time has proved, my judgments were just plain wrong."

Edward Snowden reading a newspaper in Moscow. (photo: Guardian UK)
Edward Snowden reading a newspaper in Moscow. (photo: Guardian UK)


Edward Snowden Is No Traitor

By Richard Cohen, The Washington Post

22 October 13

 

hat are we to make of Edward Snowden? I know what I once made of him. He was no real whistleblower, I wrote, but "ridiculously cinematic" and "narcissistic" as well. As time has proved, my judgments were just plain wrong. Whatever Snowden is, he is curiously modest and has bent over backward to ensure that the information he has divulged has done as little damage as possible. As a "traitor," he lacks the requisite intent and menace.

But traitor is what Snowden has been roundly called. Harry Reid: "I think Snowden is a traitor." John Boehner: "He's a traitor." Rep. Peter King: "This guy is a traitor; he's a defector." And Dick Cheney not only denounced Snowden as a "traitor" but also suggested that he might have shared information with the Chinese. This innuendo, as with Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, is more proof of Cheney's unerring determination to be cosmically wrong.

The early denunciations of Snowden now seem both over the top and beside the point. If he is a traitor, then which side did he betray and to whom does he now owe allegiance? Benedict Arnold, America's most famous traitor, sold out to the British during the Revolutionary War and wound up a general in King George III's army. Snowden seems to have sold out to no one. In fact, a knowledgeable source says that Snowden has not even sold his life story and has rebuffed offers of cash for interviews. Maybe his most un-American act is passing up a chance at easy money. Someone ought to look into this.

Snowden's residency in Russia has been forced upon him - he had nowhere else to go. Those people who insist he should come home and go to jail lack a healthy regard for the rigors of imprisonment. After a while it can be no fun. Snowden insists that neither the Russians nor, before them, the Chinese have gotten their grubby hands on his top-secret material, and indeed, this fits with his M.O. He has been careful with his info, doling it out to responsible news organizations - The Post, the New York Times, the Guardian, etc. - and not tossing it up in the air, WikiLeaks style, and echoing the silly mantra "Information wants to be free." (No. Information, like most of us, wants a home in the Hamptons.)

My initial column on Snowden was predicated on the belief that, really, nothing he revealed was new. Didn't members of Congress know all this stuff and hadn't much of it leaked? Yes, that's largely true. But my mouth is agape at the sheer size of these data-gathering programs - a cascade of news stories that leads me to conclude that this very column was known to the National Security Agency before it was known to my editors. I also wrote that "No one lied about the various programs" Snowden disclosed. But then we found out that James Clapper did. The director of national intelligence was asked at a Senate hearing in March if "the story that we have millions or hundreds of millions of dossiers on people is completely false" and he replied that it was. Actually, it was his answer that was "completely false."

Snowden is one of those people for whom the conjunction "and" is apt. Normally, I prefer the more emphatic "but" so I could say "Snowden did some good but he did a greater amount of damage." Trouble is, I'm not sure of that. I am sure, though, that he has instigated a worthwhile debate. I am sure that police powers granted the government will be abused over time and that Snowden is an authentic whistleblower, appalled at what he saw on his computer screen and wishing, like Longfellow's Paul Revere, to tell "every Middlesex village and farm" what our intelligence agencies were doing. Who do they think they are, Google?

But (and?) I am at a loss to say what should be done with Snowden. He broke the law, this is true. He has been chary with his information, but he cannot know all its ramifications and, anyway, the government can't allow anyone to decide for himself what should be revealed. That, too, is true. So Snowden is, to my mind, a bit like John Brown, the zealot who intensely felt the inhumanity of slavery and broke the law in an attempt to end the practice. My analogy is not neat - Brown killed some people - but you get the point. I suppose Snowden needs to be punished but not as a traitor. He may have been technically disloyal to America but not, after some reflection, to American values.

e-max.it: your social media marketing partner
 

Comments   

A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

 
+39 # reiverpacific 2013-10-22 10:21
"I suppose Snowden needs to be punished but not as a traitor. He may have been technically disloyal to America but not, after some reflection, to American values." (quote).
Well, with allegedly "Moderate Supporters" like Cohen, Snowden would be well advised to stay put.
The Washington Post is after all, part of the owner-media cabal and has to pay at least a measure of lip-service to it's masters in government and their corporate King-makers.
The "Laws" broken by Snowden were begging to be broken and were NOT in the public interest. Indeed his revelations allowed our Oregon Senior Senator Ron Wyden to openly criticize and begin investigations into the National Spy Agency's activities and seek to limit them, which his former "Oath of office" prevented him from pursuing as "state secrets".
In his pre-revelation deliberations, Snowden wisely chose Greg Greenwald and The Guardian UK to be his source of initial and exclusive disclosure, as he knew that no US News medium would touch them, including initially the New york times as touted by this author.
So who the fuck cares what Cohen thinks or "knows what to do about" this truth-giver? He appears to lend himself powers of self-appointed mediation, betrayed by maintaining that some form of punishment is due Snowden instead of the Congressional Medal of Honor -or a people's equivalent.
I proudly bear a bumper-sticker on my Van "Snowden-Assang e" 2016, which gives the reactionaries in my area apoplexy, part of my sacred duty.
 
 
+1 # tigerlille 2013-10-30 00:14
I guess this is off topic, but I am very careful about what I put on my car, as I prefer not to be driven off the road and shot down like a rabid dog by someone in the throes of road rage. My bumber sticker is totally wonderful, yet does not seem to provoke a reaction of rage. It reads: I believe in the separation of state and hate.
Simple, classic, yet not offensive (I think) to right wing religious reactionaries. No implied criticis of your bumper sticker, riverpacific.
 
 
+43 # jwb110 2013-10-22 10:25
Nor is he disloyal to the American people. The NSA is not collecting "American Values". It is spying on the very people who pay their salaries. The NSA has overstepped any and all of the "Values" "and" certainly the very boundries of the Constitution. Who deserves to go to jail now?
It is merely a suggestion and I see no reason to not clean house on American soil first before attacking someone who seems to be not so much telling the truth but showing the truth to the US and also the World. SInce when does doing something to stop a Secret Police attacking fellow citizens an Actionable Offense? Just because Obama, the NSA and DIck Cheney say it is doesn't make it so.
 
 
+19 # reiverpacific 2013-10-22 17:54
Quoting jwb110:
Nor is he disloyal to the American people. The NSA is not collecting "American Values". It is spying on the very people who pay their salaries. The NSA has overstepped any and all of the "Values" "and" certainly the very boundries of the Constitution. Who deserves to go to jail now?
It is merely a suggestion and I see no reason to not clean house on American soil first before attacking someone who seems to be not so much telling the truth but showing the truth to the US and also the World. SInce when does doing something to stop a Secret Police attacking fellow citizens an Actionable Offense? Just because Obama, the NSA and DIck Cheney say it is doesn't make it so.

Right!
Cheney-gang is one of the biggest traitors ever spat out of the US plutocrat-spawn system.
 
 
-19 # jsheats 2013-10-22 10:41
I think this is very well stated. Those who want the story to be a simple fairy-tale "good and evil" are simply ignoring reality (and I suspect Mr. Snowden would be the first to agree). He DID break the law. Perhaps it was analogous to a "justifiable homicide". But no state, including whatever entities the critics might want to have organizing our social interaction in the place of the ones we have, can live on whim: this is what is meant by the "rule of law".

For sure, our existing entities ignore that law all too frequently (especially when there is big money to be made doing so). But that doesn't make it right to do so elsewhere. Lynch mobs are wrong, whether the victim is innocent or guilty.

It seems clear to me that Mr. Snowden did something very courageous, and which will ultimately lead to much good. To idolize his act and say it recommends him for high office (even in bumper-sticker jest) is simply not thoughtful or intellectually useful.
 
 
+31 # Artemis 2013-10-22 11:34
Just wonder if you are concerned about your government breaking or skirting the law...oh, and international law on a daily basis?
 
 
-32 # George D 2013-10-22 13:57
I was nodding in approval until I came to the last paragraph. Courageous? I think you have misguided and stupid confused for courageous here.

I used to think this forum had more intelligent folks than others but lately I see that I misjudged that. Americans, even in the RSN forums, seem to not have any regard or understanding of the meaning of words. Worse; They seem to be unable or too lazy to try to correct that understanding with a simple Google search.

1. : one who betrays another's trust or is false to an obligation or duty
2: one who commits treason

Snowden IS a traitor; He did indeed break a trust and was false to his obligation and duty, as was defined by the position in government that he sought out. The fact he doesn't fit the second (yes; the SECOND) definition perhaps, doesn't mean we ignore the first.

I don't buy for a second that Mr. Snowden is a "hero" was "courageous" and did the country "good" with his actions. And whether he says so or not (why would I trust a traitor and a liar?) he did carry Top Secret information to, and through, other countries, probably resulting in them getting their hands on the data. He was detained after all.
Do you people REALLY think his possessions were NEVER in the hands of other governments?

No; I suspect Snowden saw himself as the next Julian Assange and had a very misguided and quite ignorant method of trying to achieve that goal.
 
 
+13 # PGreen 2013-10-22 17:12
There is another angle to your perspective, the obligation by all officials and military personnel not to commit crimes against humanity. US surveillance on its own citizens, the world public, and allied governments (as now revealed to be partly for the purposes of industrial espionage and the competitive advantage of US corporations--n othing to do with security or terrorism) is probably illegal (certainly unethical) and caused quite a worldwide clamor--one that can still be heard. Should the actions of the NSA be considered in that light, as crimes against humanity? If so, then Snowden followed his legal obligations, and it is his superiors that should be considered traitors. Given that US authorities will never apply the ethics of Nuremburg against themselves, perhaps we should insist that our government submit to the judgement of the United Nations, to the highest international authority. Maybe if most nations find that the US acted within its rights and ethics in unleashing the NSA, we can revisit the notion of traitors. But, I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for that decision.
Really, we should have known better. It a bit hypocritical to criticize Snowden for spying on the US government on behalf of the world, when the US is spying on the world for the benefit of a few oligarchs.
 
 
-1 # jsheats 2013-10-22 20:31
PGreen: I appreciate your perspective, and the way you've stated it. I would reply, however, that spying by nature is outside the definition of "legal" or "illegal" in international affairs. Acts which actually harm others were the subject of the Nuremburg trials, and there is no doubt that the U.S. (military and extramilitary agents) has committed such acts. But while we can say we think the spying ought to be reigned in, and that in a real democracy the cloak-and-dagge r practices of the past should be eliminated, I can't see any basis for saying that spying itself is a crime against humanity.

That is why my reaction is mixed. I will repeat that I think he has courageously exposed practices which should be the subject of public debate; let's see where the debate takes us. But it's not the same as, for example, exposing the massacre at My Lai - that was a real act which harmed people, and falls under your definition of crimes against humanity.
 
 
+2 # PGreen 2013-10-23 11:49
I don't think that spying is the same thing as genocide--thoug h perhaps it leads up to it in some cases. But a violation of international law--certainly. Is that a crime against humanity? I wonder what the UN would say...?
We have a tendency to view these things through the romanticized eyes of popular media, James Bond movies and such. Spying is a classic example of what we condemn in others that we do ourselves. If these activities were not illegal, there would be no reason to keep them secret.
Moreover, these activities are primarily actions taken by governments against people, frequently their own people. By such means, the powerful are consolidating their domination over the many. Our social paradigm may not include condemning such government (and private) activities outright, but perhaps it should. That's why they need to be aired publicly.
It is unfortunate, but bad laws that support a particular way of doing things almost never change without being broken first. Someone must have the courage to sit at the lunch counter and proclaim that, "all are created equal."
 
 
-1 # George D 2013-10-23 13:12
There's always "another angle" to a topic; Just watch Fox News or Hannity or listen to Rush. Or read the Bible. Yes; Anything can be argued with enough of a reach or a false premise.

It really gets back to a few basic definitions and how you view your place in the world.

I consider myself "the government" (or a tiny piece of it) and although I certainly didn't like being part of the GWB version of "my government" I don't consider myself a "citizen of the world".

ALL governments spy on each other. Anyone that doesn't believe that is extremely naive.

Is spying a crime? I would say it's more of a tactic. And to assume it's always harmful is also misguided. Sometimes learning that a government ISN'T the threat you think it might be, can avert a war. That's one of the main, criminal acts of the GWB (Cheney) regime. They KNEW Iraq wasn't a threat but chose to ignore "intelligence" that told them so. Then they demanded Sadaam announce he DIDN'T have WMD's, perhaps knowing that he couldn't do that, for fear of attack from his neighbors. And so he was trapped.

Yes; It's a tangled web but it's life, and outing OUR government to the world does more harm than any imaginable amount of good I can think of.
 
 
0 # PGreen 2013-10-23 21:25
"outing OUR government to the world does more harm"

Interesting. I'm not sure how you mean this. Shouldn't we consider one yardstick, one set of rules for all to follow, if we want others to treat us fairly? As in "outing ANY government.." Not that I agree with you that transparency is harmful. Desirable, more often.

Though I could be wrong, I suspect that an unconscious belief that rules and ethics apply to others but not to me might be the foundation of a desire to seek "dominion over the earth." That belief may no longer be affordable.
 
 
-1 # tigerlille 2013-10-29 23:43
Follow the story. His top secret information did not travel out of the country.
 
 
0 # John S. Browne 2013-10-30 19:08
I don't see how that could be, because Glenn Greenwald said that Snowden handed everything over to him IN HONG KONG. I'm not criticizing that; and, since Snowden didn't share ANY of the stuff with the Chinese, or Hong Kong, government(s), as far as I'm concerned it's perfectly fine. He couldn't take the chance of trying to turn the stuff over to Greenwald until he was out of the U.S., and was very smart to not turn it over until he was out of the country. Perhaps he might have successfully gotten the stuff to Greenwald by meeting him in the U.S.; but, with Greenwald probably being monitored by the U.S. government even then, it was too risky. In addition, for all Snowden knew (and perhaps he did know he was), he was being closely monitored by the U.S. government as well, and might have been nabbed before he left and/or could leave the country. He obviously was relatively sure that he could trust Greenwald, so he was quite smart to wait until he got to Hong Kong and could meet Greenwald there to hand everything over to him then. Greenwald, aside from his being a journalist and working for the Guardian, was also a very good choice because he is a lawyer, or a former lawyer, as well as a very strong proponent of liberty and freedom.

The thing I wonder, if I'm right that Snowden handed everything over to Greenwald in Hong Kong, is how he got it all past TSA search scrutiny without being nabbed on his way out of the U.S. on his was to Hong Kong. Was it his NSA cred that did it?
 
 
+15 # reiverpacific 2013-10-22 16:17
Quoting jsheats:
I think this is very well stated. Those who want the story to be a simple fairy-tale "good and evil" are simply ignoring reality (and I suspect Mr. Snowden would be the first to agree). He DID break the law. Perhaps it was analogous to a "justifiable homicide". But no state, including whatever entities the critics might want to have organizing our social interaction in the place of the ones we have, can live on whim: this is what is meant by the "rule of law".

For sure, our existing entities ignore that law all too frequently (especially when there is big money to be made doing so). But that doesn't make it right to do so elsewhere. Lynch mobs are wrong, whether the victim is innocent or guilty.

It seems clear to me that Mr. Snowden did something very courageous, and which will ultimately lead to much good. To idolize his act and say it recommends him for high office (even in bumper-sticker jest) is simply not thoughtful or intellectually useful.

O' ah do apologize foh offendin' yo' high an' intellectual self massuh!
Laws and history are written by powerful crooks to tighten their grip on that power, unless specifically forced to change them by critical mass and are, like the current attitude to the constitution, interpreted and manipulated at their every whim, like those idolized by followers of religious histories based mostly on myth.
And they need conformists and finks to keep it that way.
I'll wear my sticker with more pride now.
 
 
-6 # bigkahuna671 2013-10-22 21:34
And you don't think the people who blindly believe Snowden's a hero aren't conformists? I'd rather be the nonconformist who questions his motives then the conformist who blindly follows behind others who are just as blind. Isn't that what all those fools in the Tea Party do? If they disgust you because they follow clowns like Bachmann, Walker, Perry, Limbaugh, Hannity, O'Reilly, and King (both of them) without question, then it should be the same for those who follow ANYONE without question. this lack of consistency in the thought patterns of RSN followers is confusing and makes me wonder if they just follow the crowd or if they're truly as Progressive as they say.
 
 
+3 # reiverpacific 2013-10-23 10:23
Quoting bigkahuna671:
And you don't think the people who blindly believe Snowden's a hero aren't conformists? I'd rather be the nonconformist who questions his motives then the conformist who blindly follows behind others who are just as blind. Isn't that what all those fools in the Tea Party do? If they disgust you because they follow clowns like Bachmann, Walker, Perry, Limbaugh, Hannity, O'Reilly, and King (both of them) without question, then it should be the same for those who follow ANYONE without question. this lack of consistency in the thought patterns of RSN followers is confusing and makes me wonder if they just follow the crowd or if they're truly as Progressive as they say.

The intrinsic difference is that I, and most like me, have examined the story from many perspectives, considered the publishing sources and the motives of the subject, then made our choices based on what we gather from proven, in-depth dissemination points like Glen Greenwald and "The Guardian, a much more credible source than the trash-filled US owner-media.
Ergo, I'm assuming that you're siding with that arch-crook, coward and traitor Cheney and his ilk, who made a profession of blatant falsehood including starting two wars on a big fib.
I chose NOT to base my support for ANY cause on "official" US or UK government shills' words. After all they're the very PROVEN crooked, lying, spying manipulators Snowden did us the favor of exposing.
I march in step with NO-ONE unproven.
 
 
+1 # soularddave 2013-10-27 20:25
Quoting jsheats:
To idolize his act and say it recommends him for high office (even in bumper-sticker jest) is simply not thoughtful or intellectually useful.


I think the bumper sticker idea *is* useful. It indicates in a public way that the bearer of such a slogan isn't going along with the status quo and buying into the denunciation of whistle-blowers .

There's value in these revelations, painful as they may be. Personally, I had already sensed some of the "revelations", but am amazed at the scope and duration of the "spying" that they represent. I'm embarrassed for my country, and totally annoyed by the wasted money they represent.
 
 
+29 # Saberoff 2013-10-22 10:44
Don't think so Richard Cohen.

Although your line "Maybe his most un-American act is passing up a chance at easy money. Someone ought to look into this" is hilarious (Borowitz should study the thought process) but "..Snowden needs to be punished..." is wrong headed. Punished for what? Exposing the traitors of Hoi polloi?

Snowden should be hailed as a hero for his actions.

Think it over (again) Rich.
 
 
+40 # tm7devils 2013-10-22 10:46
To see wrong and not report it is an actionable offense. Manning and Snowden should both get the Medal of Honor(putting their lives at risk for our country) and a Nobel prize means nothing if these two are not nominated and share the win.
I am thoroughly ashamed of my country (read government) with leaders who have lost their moral and ethical footing.
 
 
+27 # Texas Aggie 2013-10-22 11:55
To see wrong and not report it is an actionable offense.

Bingo! And that is why it isn't Mr. Snowden who needs to face charges, but the people he outed.
 
 
-15 # bigkahuna671 2013-10-22 20:00
Texas Aggie, I'm a big fan and usually support you, but I believe that if we are to truly trust Snowden's doing this as a service to all of us and not for other reasons, he should stand up to his accusers and face them down. Running and hiding doesn't cut it with me. If I have a bone to pick with anyone, I pick the damned bone. If he'd stand up to his accusers, with all the people who seem to be supporting him at his "Six," then he'd not only gain my trust but, quite possibly, my support.
 
 
-4 # bigkahuna671 2013-10-22 20:41
I love the negative fools who don't even seem to understand what I've written yet blindly believe everything about Snowden without at least questioning his motives. If you can question others, why can't we question him? Some of the writings here seem to follow that same tack, blindly believing he's a hero without questioning his motives. I repeat, if he'd stand up to his accusers, stare them down, I'd respect him more and might support him. Otherwise, he's just another coward who's playing hero. A true hero stands up for what he believes, he doesn't run to Hong Kong or Moscow!!! I learned from my Jesuit teachers, question everything, don't take anything for granted, then and only then can you really find the truth. I take nothing for granted and that includes the so-called heroism of Snowden. Bradley Manning showed a lot more courage, even if idiots found him guilty. He'll get his reward eventually, but for now, he's got the respect of most Americans. You see, he stood up and was counted!!!
 
 
-6 # bigkahuna671 2013-10-22 21:38
And they don't have the courage to write why don't agree, they just click away because I didn't follow the line that Snowden's God's gift to Mankind. Show some guts and quit hiding like a coward...hmmmm, like Snowden who is shopping at G.U.M. in Russia while sharing his stolen info. Oh, that's right, he's a hero and would never do that, right?
 
 
0 # reiverpacific 2013-10-23 10:25
Quoting bigkahuna671:
And they don't have the courage to write why don't agree, they just click away because I didn't follow the line that Snowden's God's gift to Mankind. Show some guts and quit hiding like a coward...hmmmm, like Snowden who is shopping at G.U.M. in Russia while sharing his stolen info. Oh, that's right, he's a hero and would never do that, right?

Check my response to your blinkered post.
And don't take yerself so damn seriously! Ain't none of us as important as you seem to think you are.
 
 
+1 # Sandy 2013-10-27 14:14
Quoting bigkahuna671:
Texas Aggie, I'm a big fan and usually support you, but I believe that if we are to truly trust Snowden's doing this as a service to all of us and not for other reasons, he should stand up to his accusers and face them down. Running and hiding doesn't cut it with me. If I have a bone to pick with anyone, I pick the damned bone. If he'd stand up to his accusers, with all the people who seem to be supporting him at his "Six," then he'd not only gain my trust but, quite possibly, my support.


Give me a break, you've watched too many Schwarzenegger or John Wayne movies. This is David and Goliath. By what means could Snowden possibly 'stand up to his accusers and face them down' other than how he is currently doing it?
 
 
+2 # soularddave 2013-10-27 20:55
With Manning as an example of what happens to whistle-blowers , I don't think I'd try to stand up against those who have been exposed. Besides, Mr. Snowden isn't accusing anyone of anything. He merely released documents that illustrate actions on the part of others. People can draw their own conclusions based on whatever information they choose to digest.
 
 
0 # tigerlille 2013-10-29 23:50
I suspect that Snowden will do quite nicely without your support. He is not seeking yours or anyone elses approval. Acts of conscience are not subject to the democratic process. He is at peace with his decision and subsequent actions. Maybe you should find someone to judge who gives a damn.
 
 
+17 # Artemis 2013-10-22 11:09
Jeez. A half-recognitio n of something, and then, "I suppose Snowden needs to be punished but not as a traitor." A real step backwards.
A good many of us recognized from the start most of what you belatedly acknowledge here, not because we are anti-anything.. ..but because it all makes perfect sense when you put 2 and 2 together, based on the information we have been assembling since years (your job, actually) and our observation of the way America increasingly see itself and acts on its notion of being superior to the rest of the world and able to act as it sees fit (paranoid).
Justice is about recognizing real harm and taking steps to curb it. There is as yet no proof of any real harm. You may consider it harmful for the US that Brazil and France and other countries are horrified about having their personal phones and email exchanges tapped, but actually, the harm was done by the US, not the discovery of the harm.
Mr. Cohen, go back to the drawing board and think a bit further. Give yourself some more time. We all need to consider what the notions of 'traitor' and 'leaker' and 'breaking the law' mean in the context of creating a more democratic and equal world, particularly when the US itself is dramatically and excessively breaking every law in the book all the time.
 
 
+15 # fishmother 2013-10-22 11:39
One of the great fears/enemies of many governments worldwide is the truth, and so it takes a lot of courage to expose the activities of governments that take for granted their right to break the laws they hold other nations accountable for. America has a history of holding itself exempt when convenient or as those who conduct or condone everything from lies to torture claim as necessary. Clearly Snowden has done just that, and handed the Obama administration a problem it thought could be sloughed off on the previous administration. And though the Cheney gang may have set a new low in government integrity, Obama, who ran on the promise to forgo war and torture, seems to have picked right up where Cheney and his puppet Bush left off. As a citizen and a voter who pulled the Obama lever twice, I am grateful to see the illusions and fiction shattered. I admit that I have been a skeptic when it comes to trusting the Powers That Be other than the legitimately fictitious “West Wing,” which I consider a government to strive for. As for Snowden, Manning, and Assange, though I wish the later were someone less annoying, I think we the people owe them a vote of thanks for remembering that America is supposed to be a nation of the people, by the people, for the people, not for the government.
 
 
+3 # Walking_Turtle 2013-10-22 11:46
"He broke the law, this is true."

Fact: Mister Snowden, by virtue of hie own good conscience and free-will allegiance thereunto, merely abrogated an infandously CORPORATE-BENEF ICIAL and CRIME-FRIENDLY MERE STATUTE or nineteen, my friend. Mister Snowden did NOT violate COMMON LAW - that which is embedded in the very SOUL of all Genuine Humankind and historically reflected in the now-deprecated (sad to realize) Magna Carta.

Um, does anyone in any management position @ WaPo even REMEMBER what Habeas Corpus IS? I fear not. Your corporate employer was recently acquired by the CEO/founder of Amazon.com, though. I gather that THAT man just MIGHT not be another mad-eyed Imperial NeoKhazarian ZioFascist. MAYBE that shift'll help balance the standing WaPo Editorial Policy.

Not vitriol, that above paragraph, my friend. Mere Hard Words selected with great care with which to succinctly - and above all ACCURATELY - denote a historically and supremely UGLY World Subjugation Agenda issuing from ever-so-wistful and power-mad lineal descendants of a fallen historic Empire: Old Khazaria.

THAT and the consequent criminal necessity to keep the Rest of Us like mushrooms - that is, in the dark and fed BS 24/7/366 - that is the REAL problem.

So if your mea culpa is genuine, well and good! WELCOME to the Truthkeeping Community! Keep up the GOOD work and the GOOD FIGHT! Elsewise, once and for all: GO HOME. GO HOME NOW!

Heaven love you. And that is all. 0{:-|o[
 
 
+7 # Texas Aggie 2013-10-22 12:00
It is to be hoped that Mr. Cohen's apology is sincere and is an indication that he is turning over a new leaf and in the future won't be carrying water for the powers that be. If it is truly sincere, his apology is an indication that there is some hope for the Villagers. Let's hope so.
 
 
+12 # engelbach 2013-10-22 14:07
Richard,

Your late arrival at the truth says more about you than about Snowden.

Your declaration that he should be punished also reveals that you really haven't fully arrived.

You're the kind of friend that makes one say, as Cyrano did, "Here comes, thank god, another enemy."
 
 
+15 # MidwestDick 2013-10-22 14:37
All the signers of the declaration of independence broke the law.
Finally they are getting punished, posthumously, by seeing their efforts come to naught
Snowden, too, is receiving that punishment. All the crimes he blew the whistle on continue to be committed as if nothing happened.
 
 
+9 # treadlightly 2013-10-22 15:51
Say what !!?? Punished?? The most effective strike anyone has managed to deliver against an ever increasingly out of control government needs to be punished?
Wrong.
Applauded and admired and often imitated.
 
 
+2 # Annietime13 2013-10-22 16:49
Please reread the last paragraph of ,,,,,,,,Artemis
And the whole blog of,,,,,,,,,, Fishmother (the next blog)
Great stuff

And UP TOP ,,,,,,,,the,,,, ,,, Reiverpacific blog

This gives RSS ,,,,,,,(finally ),,,,,,,,a way to broke?? A fundraiser !!!
And get Rich!!!

REIVERPACIFIC,, ,,,,,,
WHERE CAN I GET A BUMPERSTICKER !!!!??????????? !?
 
 
+4 # reiverpacific 2013-10-22 17:59
Quoting Annietime13:
Please reread the last paragraph of ,,,,,,,,Artemis
And the whole blog of,,,,,,,,,, Fishmother (the next blog)
Great stuff

And UP TOP ,,,,,,,,the,,,,,,, Reiverpacific blog

This gives RSS ,,,,,,,(finally),,,,,,,,a way to broke?? A fundraiser !!!
And get Rich!!!

REIVERPACIFIC,,,,,,,,
WHERE CAN I GET A BUMPERSTICKER !!!!???????????!?

I'll see if I can get an extra one but we'll have to correspond out of the RSN milieu.
If I can get enough people sincerely interested, I can probably get my source to produce more.
It's guaranteed to raise reactionary blood-pressures wherever shown which alone is worth the effort.
Stay tuned.
 
 
+4 # John S. Browne 2013-10-22 21:11
I warn you, though, that it is also VERY dangerous. Cops in the U.S. have been known to pull people over, and then trump up a way to falsely arrest and brutalize the accused, simply for a bumber sticker that they didn't agree with, that they falsely believed to be "treasonous", and/or because the bumper sticker was associated with someone and/or those falsely considered to be "traitors". So, just because your bumper stickers speak nothing but the truth, does not mean that it won't potentially be used as an excuse in this increasingly totalitarian political climate all across this country, including with state and local police. Therefore, if you're willing to put your life and/or physical liberty on the line for the truth of a bumper sticker, more power to you, but please be mindful that you're potentially putting yourself in danger. We have to be willing to do so for the truth, and in standing up against the totally unconstitutiona l police state that the U.S. is increasingly becoming, but we should be completely aware that putting our safety on the line is what we're doing when we take certain actions, like putting bumper stickers on our vehicles that the authorities aren't going to like. Such abuse of authority under color of "law" is happening more and more all across the nation; and, undoubtedly, it is only going to increase even more until it is rampant, if it isn't already. But, even when it is already rampant, it will still get worse and worse, so be prepared for it.
 
 
+1 # Annietime13 2013-10-22 22:25
Dear John,

Please scroll up and read PGreen

So much fear in the atmosphere, it is palatable, do we take a chance
And try to break through it?
Or do we keep accepting and live our bi polar half lives.

This seems such a small satiristic ,,,,,,(new word?))
Possibility.
But then ,
You may be right,

One does remember it took much courage to be Edward Snowden and Michael Hastings, Michael Hastings, Michael Hastings

It seems the spying for corporations is already a crime against humanity, and the wrong people are being threatened.
 
 
0 # John S. Browne 2013-10-23 12:10
Did you fully read my comment, "Annie"? I made clear that we have to be willing to put our lives on the line, and therefore take chances. So I was NOT saying that people shouldn't put such bumper stickers on their vehicles. I was simply saying that we should be aware that there is a danger inherent in doing so these days; and, when some people are made aware that doing so is dangerous, which they may not have been aware of before, they may choose not to do it. They should know all the facts so they can make a completely-info rmed decision.

Though I believe in standing up no matter what, and I do so such that I am probably on watch lists and being monitored (I've already been falsely visited by DHS seven years ago for a completely false claim), even though everything I do is nothing but constitutional, legal and non-violent, and nothing but my rights and duties under the First Amendment, etc., to do. But, nevertheless, knowing what I know about the danger of putting such bumper stickers on vehicles, if I still owned a vehicle and drove (which I don't because of my serious physical disabilities), I would choose NOT to put such bumper stickers on my vehicle(s) because the potential threat of harm from same just isn't worth it in my estimation (another reason that I don't drive anymore).

So, I am not shirking my responsibility( ies) to put myself on the line for liberty and freedom, but I'm not asking for trouble any more than absolutely necessary either. I've weighed it out.
 
 
0 # John S. Browne 2013-10-23 12:20
But, if some people choose to take the chance of such harm at the hands of the police for bumper stickers, more power to them, as I already said.
 
 
+1 # reiverpacific 2013-10-23 10:29
I've been an ACTIVE activist for most of my life in different countries, have the jail-time and scars to show for it and I'm not stoppin' now.
I'd probably never be allowed into this country these days as you infer.
But thanks for your concern anyhoo.
 
 
+2 # Lorraine B. 2013-10-23 11:31
Hey, everyone knows that Assange can't run since he isn't a US citizen... how about Snowden-Manning in 2016? Now THAT would really torque 'em!
 
 
+1 # soularddave 2013-10-27 21:17
I don't think either shall have attained the age of 35 years by the time inauguration day rolls around.

Sorry.
 
 
+3 # soularddave 2013-10-27 21:06
I had printed, at one time, bumper stickers that seemed humorously critical of, shall we say a "government agency", and my family, friends, and neighbors got visits by agents of that agency, and then they came calling on me.
Its a long and involved story, but it does illustrate the waste of resources that the government is willing to squander in pursuit of containing dissent.
 
 
+8 # Trojan Horace 2013-10-22 19:26
The authors original remarks about Snowden were intemperate, uncalled for and unprofessional. This badly written, apologia does little to persuade me that Richard Cohen deserves journalistic oxygen, period.
 
 
-8 # elucidated1 2013-10-22 20:09
To suggest that Snowden is not a traitor sounds great if he would have released documents in the US. Instead, he went to Hong Kong with four hard drives of stolen classified data and decided to have multiple press conferences DURING the time the US President is meeting with the Chinese Premier. Priceless. Got narcissist?
 
 
-1 # tigerlille 2013-10-29 23:58
I repeat, he has stated that he did not leave the country with those documents in his posession. Therefore, no foreign government could have accessed them on his hard drive(s). His actions were very well thought out.
 
 
0 # John S. Browne 2013-10-30 19:10
I don't see how that could be, because Glenn Greenwald said that Snowden handed everything over to him IN HONG KONG. I'm not criticizing that; and, since Snowden didn't share ANY of the stuff with the Chinese, or Hong Kong, government(s), as far as I'm concerned it's perfectly fine. He couldn't take the chance of trying to turn the stuff over to Greenwald until he was out of the U.S., and was very smart to not turn it over until he was out of the country. Perhaps he might have successfully gotten the stuff to Greenwald by meeting him in the U.S.; but, with Greenwald probably being monitored by the U.S. government even then, it was too risky. In addition, for all Snowden knew (and perhaps he did know he was), he was being closely monitored by the U.S. government as well, and might have been nabbed before he left and/or could leave the country. He obviously was relatively sure that he could trust Greenwald, so he was quite smart to wait until he got to Hong Kong and could meet Greenwald there to hand everything over to him then. Greenwald, aside from his being a journalist and working for the Guardian, was also a very good choice because he is a lawyer, or a former lawyer, as well as a very strong proponent of liberty and freedom.

The thing I wonder if I'm right that Snowden handed everything over to Greenwald in Hong Kong, is how he got it all past TSA search scrutiny without being nabbed on his way out of the U.S. on his way to Hong Kong. Was it his NSA cred that did it?
 
 
-2 # sophiacat1 2013-10-22 23:58
Fear not-- all will be well.
 
 
+1 # Annietime13 2013-10-23 15:33
Dear John Brown,

I'm afraid everything you've written is painfully obvious .

I think everyone who writes here is committed and trying for the Truth
And aware of possible consequences .

We are simply trying to find a way to roll the ball uphill.

Forgive me mentioning you name,
JOHN
That was my first DEAR JOHN LETTER.
Just couldn't help myself!!
 
 
-2 # John S. Browne 2013-10-23 17:07
I wish that you'd write me a real "Dear John Letter", because I don't want anything more to do with you; so, here I go writing you a "Dear 'Annie' Letter" instead. I'm the one "breaking up" with you, not vice versa. So please go away from replying to ANY of my comments. Thanks.
 
 
+2 # oakes721 2013-10-25 10:24
We continually confuse heroism with the heroin-like addiction provided by the popular corporate media which sugar-coats the fact that we are all just following orders of our pushers who holds our next fix. Snowdens' revelations threaten these drug lords as well as those they've supplied for so long. The news junkies protect their source. A hero has removed a cornerstone from the facade of a crumbling foundation.
 
 
+2 # Annietime13 2013-10-25 17:42
Michael Hastings, Michael Hastings, Michael Hastings,,,,,,,
 

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.

RSNRSN