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Former CIA Chief: Snowden's Leak Is 'a Little Like the Boston Bombers'

Former CIA Chief: Snowden's Leak Is 'a Little Like the Boston Bombers' | Cultural Trendz |

In an interview with Financial Review, an Australian publication, General Michael Hayden, who has served as head of both the NSA and the CIA, made what may be the most jaw-dropping statement of the whole Edward Snowden controversy. Asked if he was a hero or traitor, Hayden said (emphasis added):

He's certainly not a hero. The word traitor has a very narrowly defined legal meaning that he may not in the end quite meet. I personally think Snowden is a very troubled, narcissistic young man who has done a very, very bad thing.

I don't think Snowden spied for the money, and he probably did not spy for the power. He seems to have revealed this information because of his ideological embrace of transparency as a virtue.

It is a little like the Boston bombers. The issue is at what point does Islamic fundamentalism flip-over and become a genuine national security threat? Likewise, at what point does a cultural tendency towards transparency flip-over to become a deep threat inside your system?

They are similar issues.

For those keeping score at home: The Boston bombers, who tried to kill masses of innocent Bostonians by packing sharp metal objects in explosive devices and detonating them at a marathon, are a little like the leaks of Edward Snowden, who revealed that the U.S. government is spying on its citizens.

And Islamic fundamentalists, who believed they were justified in killing 3,000 Americans on 9/11 by flying planes filled with people into the Pentagon and World Trade Center; who are proud of numerous suicide bombings that have killed untold thousands in Iraq, Afghanistan, and beyond; who subjugate women and minorities, murder gays, and transgress against all the values of liberal democracy -- those people are similar to folks who embrace transparency as a virtue.

Every day, the national-security establishment reveals its illiberal radicalism and utter lack of perspective a bit more.

This part of the interview is also incredible:

Do you have any issues with the media reporting of the Snowden leaks?
Gen. Hayden: Yes, our 24/7 constant news networks have really mangled this so story badly that Americans don't quite understand what it is that their government is or is not doing.

Yes, it's the media's fault that the American people don't quite understand the secret programs that the government failed to reveal, refuse to detail, and actively mislead the public about even now.

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Ecuador nixes U.S. trade pact, 'blackmail' over Snowden

Ecuador nixes U.S. trade pact, 'blackmail' over Snowden | Cultural Trendz |

Ecuador said Thursday it is renouncing a trade pact up for renewal by the U.S. Congress because it had become a "new instrument of blackmail" involving the fate of an NSA leaker who has asked for political asylum from the South American country.

Edward Snowden, who was employed by Booz Allen Hamilton as a National Security Agency systems analyst in Hawaii, requested political asylum from Ecuador after fleeing to Hong Kong last month with top-secret documents and court orders on U.S. government surveillance operations.

In requesting asylum, Snowden said in a letter to Ecuador that it was "unlikely" that he would get a fair trial in U.S. courts.

He also noted he could face life in prison or the death penalty if convicted under the U.S. Espionage Act, Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said on Monday.

Snowden, 30, is believed to still be in the transit area of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport where he landed on Sunday after leaving Hong Kong, possibly en route to Ecuador.

Russia has refused to extradite Snowden, whose U.S. passport has been revoked, but also appears reluctant to allow him to enter the country formally.

On Wednesday, Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that if Ecuador grants Snowden asylum, "I will lead the effort to prevent the renewal of Ecuador's duty-free access under GSP and will also make sure there is no chance for renewal of the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act."

The pact, initially aimed at helping Andean countries in their fight against drugs, reduces tariffs on hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of trade in products such as cut flowers, artichokes and broccoli. Nearly half Ecuador's foreign trade depends on the U.S.

Under the terms of the pact, Ecuador exported $5.4 billion worth of oil to the USA last year.

Communications minister Fernando Alvarez told a news conference in the Ecuadoran capital Quito that the pact, which already faced an uphill battle for renewal, had become "a new instrument of blackmail."

He said his country of 15 million people "does not accept threats from anybody, and does not trade in principles, or submit to mercantile interests, as important as they may be."

"In consequence, Ecuador unilaterally and irrevocably renounces said preferences," he said.

Although Ecuadoran officials have said Snowden's asylum request could take weeks to process, WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said on Monday that Snowden was "fairly optimistic'' that Ecuador would grant the request.

In a pointed jab at Washington over Snowden's revelations on data-gathering by NSA, Alavarez said Ecuador offered $23 million per year to the United States to finance human rights training.

He said the money would be aimed at helping "avoid violations of privacy, torture and other actions that are denigrating to humanity."

Last year, Ecuador extended asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is holed up in the Ecuadoran embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden to face questioning on a sexual assault investigation.


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Obama Created Edward Snowden

Obama Created Edward Snowden | Cultural Trendz |

Here’s the problem: Edward Snowden did a great service to American freedom by proving National Intelligence Director James Clapper and NSA Director General Keith Alexander perjured themselves before Congress when they lied about spying on millions of innocent Americans.

Edward Snowden loses credibility as an All-American whistleblower when China and Russia gleefully shuttle him from country to country in anticipation of his reportedly desired destination of Ecuador, a delightful American ex-pat destination.

Whether Snowden shared any information from the alleged four laptops he carries with any of these enemies of the U.S. or not, the perception is that he may indeed have done so while the Chinese and Russians have, at the very least, enjoyed taunting President Obama with Snowden as their thumb-nosing arm candy.

The intrigue of Edward Snowden could not have existed without the iron-fisted rule of President Obama, whose administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers than any other in our country’s history.

An Obama supporter and voter, Snowden himself confessed disillusionment with the President and the spying on millions of innocent Americans, driving him and others to disclose these massive violations of the fourth amendment. Others in the NSA who failed to achieve Snowden’s success have come forth to the press with their support.

This is where the real conundrum comes forth.

Snowden, riding piggyback with the Chinese and Russians on the way to Ecuador, gives his potential prosecutors the optics they seek to demonize him.

However, former NSA employees who traveled the “proper channels” route were stifled, prosecuted and ruined, failing to achieve the remarkable success of Snowden.

Reporters Susan Page and Peter Eisler wrote for USA Today, “Thomas Drake, William Binney and J. Kirk Wiebe belong to a select fraternity: the NSA officials who paved the way.

For years, the three whistle-blowers had told anyone who would listen that the NSA collects huge swaths of communications data from U.S. citizens. When they became convinced that fundamental constitutional rights were being violated, they complained first to their superiors, then to federal investigators, congressional oversight committees and, finally, to the news media.

To the intelligence community, the trio are villains who compromised what the government classifies as some of its most secret, crucial and successful initiatives. They have been investigated as criminals and forced to give up careers, reputations and friendships built over a lifetime.”

That’s the reality of whistleblowing the NSA through proper channels.

Tom Drake, a senior executive with the NSA, awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, and Air Force Commendation Medal, was actually prosecuted, facing 35 years in jail.

Charges were eventually dropped.

All three commend Snowden’s actions. All three and their revelations were generally anonymous until Snowden’s success.

Neither hero to be enshrined nor comic book villain to be banished from the planet, Edward Snowden is simply one of a number of Americans who chose to reveal this administration’s blatant disregard for the Constitution.

Many Americans will form their opinions around the company Snowden now keeps. Many will recognize this was the only way to get the word out.

Here’s a fictional happy ending: Snowden returns to the U.S. and explains in open court how the Obama administration expanded domestic spying programs to the point of digital “Minority Report” abilities (without the “precog” psychics). The President grants Snowden a full pardon, encouraging future whistleblowers. Multiple judges are assigned to oversee eavesdropping, recording and spying on specific suspicious communications with suspected terrorists, outlawing the current collection of the totality of everyone’s communications. Judges’ decisions and orders are required to be preserved. Congress is actually fully informed about these spying programs and has the courage to publicly clamp down on constitutional violations of citizens’ rights.

James Clapper and General Alexander are convicted of perjury for lying under oath before Congress.

Don’t make any wagers on this actually happening.

It’s fiction.

Leadership would be required.    (my emphasis)

By Rick Jensen

By permission Cagle, Inc.

© Copyright 2013 Rick Jensen, distributed exclusively by Cagle newspaper syndicate.

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