Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
CIA planned rendition operation to kidnap Edward Snowden (wsws.org)
492 points by kushti on Jan 30, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 202 comments



Seeing as how the US has an extradition treaty with Denmark (and most/all? of Europe) I'm having a hard time understanding why this is being described as a "rendition operation". I think a lot of what Snowden did was good and just, but I don't see the US government attempting to arrest him abroad as being nefarious. I don't think it's a serious expectation to hold to demand that the government not try to arrest him. That's why whistleblowing is brave.

Whistleblowing protections that extend to what Snowden did would effectively convert the entire classification system to a set of recommendations as opposed to laws (a wholly different demand which I think is patently childish as a demand).

I'm all for a pardon or some kind of reduced charges due to the motivations and the subject matter of the disclosed material, but can someone explain to me the justification of being outraged over enforcing laws in accordance with US law, treaties, and host country laws? They're not even using controversial legal mechanisms like the PATRIOT Act or FISC.

EDIT: I've left my initial post in tact (I'm bad and I should feel bad) but I'd like to amend my confusion about the use of the term rendition in case anyone else shares it. After years of hearing "extraordinary rendition" shortened to "rendition" I've basically overwritten the latter with the former. Rendition is actually just the legal transfer of a suspect from one jurisdiction to the next, still outside of a legal linguistic context I find the use of the term to imply the later and I take it as trying to bait outrage.


Generally there's this thing called "due process", if they were just planning on putting Snowden on a CIA plane I really can't see how that's supposed to be okay.


If the CIA wanted to grab him, they could, regardless of where he is.

The fact that it might ruffle a few feathers diplomatically is hardly something the CIA considers when they handle operations like the one they're describing. Also, if they did grab him, trust me, he wouldn't be heard from again. Considering Snowden has an army of governments after him, it would be easy for the CIA to run a disinformation campaign to keep people guessing who really kidnapped him.

It would be easy for the CIA to rotate him between several of their "black sites" around the world and basically let him wither and die in one these miserable places.


It'll look pretty bad when the headline is "Six CIA operatives killed, three captured in Moscow trying to abduct Snowden"


I'm probably foolish for doubting we'd ever see such a headline.



I really doubt that the Russians would kill CIA operatives.

At least as long as the CIA operatives are not crazy enough to run an armed operation in Moscow.


I assumed snatching Snowden would imply an armed op, and even without weapons trying to physically grab him could very well results in Russians shooting.

But yeah, I seriously doubt they'd kill anyone unless they needed to.


Spies generally operate under diplomatic cover and are returned to the embassy after being caught since they have "diplomatic immunity." Then they fly home, have their alias changed, and never return to that country. Killing a diplomat, spy or not, would cause some huge issues between the two nations involved. So, no, countries are not likely to ever kill spies.


There's a difference between spies & gun-toting operatives. Spies usually work under diplomatic cover, but operatives (think seal team six) probably don't get their passports stamped when they enter a country.


Wouldn't they just use hired proxies ?


It probably isn't that easy to find competent people to do that.


I doubt this. It's likely the FSB has him under constant surveillance.

Moreover, even if the US managed to grab him, it'd be easier to manufacture a bogus story explaining how he suddenly ended up in custody. After that, he'd just be sent off to ADX Florence for life.


Not in Russia, probably not in Iran or North Korea. Challenging in China.

They could likely assassinate him in most places, although in NK/RU/CN/IR it would likely involve a lot of collateral damage, although probably not global thermonuclear war.


If the CIA wanted to grab him, they could, regardless of where he is.

Umm, no. That's not quite how things work.


They could do it, it would absolutely destroy our geopolitical relations with important countries in the process, which is hopefully why they didn't try.


? An ex KGB guy was assassinated in London with radioactive poison and lived to name the killers.

That ruffled the feathers until a few years later when it was all swept under the carpet.

Now the disagreement is over Ukraine and Syria. So Russia is in the bad books again for the killing


The UK isn't a major superpower though. Russia sees the UK as the poodle of the United States, and although it loves it's poodle, poodles can easily be replaced. Putin was sending a very specific and threatening message to any Russian dissidents living in the UK. You aren't safe even if you thought you were. Shut up.


Haha, best characterization - "loves its poodle, but"


Hardly swept under the carpet. It's an ongoing diplomatic headache. Just a couple of weeks ago, a public enquiry (which Litvinenko's widow had pushed for) publicly announced that Litvinenko was most probably murdered by the FSB with Putin's approval.


People would continue to ask questions. These things come out after a period of years. Look at UK's experience of 'the troubles' for examples.


If the CIA wanted to grab him, they could, regardless of where he is

In Russia? Spetsnaz would eat them alive. Maybe Mossad could pull it off but no way the CIA.


What does Spetsnaz do with this? It's the same as you would say that Delta would prevent some crime in US soil.


Domestic counter-terrorism is a Spetsnaz mission too https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vympel


They could never keep it secret. If they had got him the pressure on the CIA to prove they didn't do it would be immense, let alone we can be damn sure if Russia could prove it then Putin would waste no time. Then the pressure would be right back on the Obama Administration to produce him, alive.


Life isn't an action movie. Killing (in?)famous people without getting caught or creating repercussions isn't a simple sure thing, unless you're bombing shepherds with drones.


While I agree life isn't an action movie, perhaps the long list of Iraqi scientists being assassinated or the even longer list of Russian, North Korean or Chinese dissidents being done away with seems to be a very simple thing for those oppressive, murderous regimes to do without much interference.

And what has anybody ever done about it? Maybe sent out a few strongly worded memos, if anything at all.


None of those people have anything remotely like the global profile Snowden created with his actions. It's not really comparable to a no-name nuclear scientist getting assassinated.


Fair point, but it doesn't really say the manner in which they planned to put him on a plane, so I would give benefit of the doubt to using the extradition agreements in such a high profile case. It's not like the death penalty would be sought (I think the last execution under the Espionage Act was the Rosenbergs) so they'd have no problem meeting the requirements of the extradition treaty.

Edit:

>> Why would you give that particular benefit of the doubt?

If it's a) legal, b) gets the job done, why on earth would you make an unforced error when you know everyone on the planet would be watching how you handled this? I'm not relying on the better angels of men here, I'm relying on self interest, path of least resistance, and government laziness. Each on their own has rarely failed me and never all three at once.


There's a very good chance the DK<->US extradition treaty could block the extradition of Edward Snowden.

>Extradition shall not be granted in any of the following circumstances:

>6. In respect of a military offense.


It's a civilian criminal offense. The fact that he was a defense contractor doesn't make it a military offense. That would have to be a charge under the UCMJ.

@ryanlol: I very much hope that laws and treaties are never interpreted via "common sense". Tech is not the only field with a technical argot, and it is good that specific words have specific meanings. If laws were enforced by "common sense" then every time you had an interaction with a contract or government agency would be subject to the whims of whatever moron happened to have power over you that day. Even though that is sadly frequent in practice, it shouldn't be, it isn't law that it be so, and I feel much better that we at least aspire to better.


Maybe in the US. Scandinavian courts use common sense much more liberally (sometimes even too liberally) than US ones.

>@ryanlol: I very much hope that laws and treaties are never interpreted via "common sense". Tech is not the only field with a technical argot, and it is good that specific words have specific meanings. If laws were enforced by "common sense" then every time you had an interaction with a contract or government agency would be subject to the whims of whatever moron happened to have power over you that day. Even though that is sadly frequent in practice, it shouldn't be, it isn't law that it be so, and I feel much better that we at least aspire to better.

You can hope, but as someone who has a plenty of experience with Scandinavian legal systems I'll have to assure you that's sadly not the case.

Anyway, here I am sitting with a money laundering conviction for receiving a wire transfer of some 6000 euros from a Chinese bitcoin exchange. The prosecutor could never find _anything_ explaining the origin of the money, but as an unemployed person convicted of (not financially motivated) hacking crimes the judge figured it was "common sense" that the money had to be the proceeds of a crime.


Well why could you not explain what the money was for? I mean you don't randomly receive 6000 euros from no one that you don't know. They must be paying you for something, and there would be a trail somewhere of what that was for. Just because there is no body, does not mean someone can not be convicted of murder. There must be some evidence. In this case the evidence was money, and you have to explain why it's in your bank account.


>Well why could you not explain what the money was for?

I possess a non-trivial amount of bitcoins, I sold some. It's really impossible for me to figure out what I got those specific bitcoins for, especially since this was around when bitcoin was at around $1k a pop so selling 7 or so was absolutely nothing for me.

According to Finnish law money laundering is activity where someone receives, spends, transforms or transfers illicitly obtained (this is a bit difficult to translate but the law specifically says "acquired by crime") property to cover up or disappear the origins of the property.

Logically you shouldn't be able to be convicted of this without proof that the crime actually happened, but apparently not here. Lighter sentences seem to make it easier to wrongly convict people, especially when it's extraordinarily rare for them to actually end up in prison.


Money is generally considered fungible, and if you really kept a stash at said exchange there's no "those 7 specific coins". You must however be able to explain where everything originated, and the sums have to tally up. Otherwise you risk having to prove that the shiny new car wasn't given to the petty criminal by this kind gentleman whose name was conveniently forgotten.


We're talking about bitcoins that went from literally worthless to $1000.

Expecting some sort of bookkeeping might be reasonable with real money, but not with imaginary internet money.


You're the guy from the Lizard Squad thing last year, right? Did this case happen before other investigations you've been involved in? If not, was your background used as "evidence" that the bitcoins might have been illegally aqcuired?


Yeah. This case was long before anything else, and only actually got to court last year (These investigations take several years here). And no, my background wasn't used as evidence as I was a first time offender.

And FWIW the investigation regarding me and LS was dropped a few months ago.


You must be processing a lot of money to feel $6k in the very brief period Bitcoin was $1k a pop is nothing. I think most people would remember that. And how is it really impossible to know what you got the Bitcoins for? Don't you have a registered business and submit taxes?

Are you saying that you provided to the court evidence of your legitimate business which accepts or transacts Bitcoins for services that it is impossible for you not to know about, in the process of which you acquired 7 or so Bitcoins (transactions for which will be on the blockchain), and then you sold them for a higher price at a Bitcoin exchange (transactions for which you should have receipts and email correspondence for) and they didn't accept it?

You don't have to answer any of this, obviously, it's just hard to believe there isn't more to it than what you're saying.


He might have just gotten into bitcoins early on.


Even if we accept nobody kept receipts or records in the early days of Bitcoin, aside from the blockchain, I can't think of a reason why someone running a legit business would find it "really impossible" to remember what they were selling.

Even if he couldn't really remember what his business was selling, he would still have receipts, records and/or emails demonstrating that the source of the 6000 Euros was a legitimate Bitcoin exchange, as a result of the massive increase in price.


Oh I know what I've been selling, but I can't really identify specific transactions. Nor do I have receipts, why would I? Most of the transactions are exploit sales over OTR/XMPP, possibly shady but not illegal.

This was also before the tax authority clarified on their stance on bitcoins, before that everyone was under the impression that you wouldn't have to tax your coins until you exchange them to real currency.

And that's ignoring all the coins I mined way back, it's literally impossible to attribute that transaction to any specific source.


Damn, sorry to hear that. It is however a solid argument for specificity of both requirements and interpretation and for relying less upon the judgement of individuals.

Outside of our discussion here, I honestly hope everything works out in the best way it can for you. On the bright side it's not a hacking conviction in the US?


> so I would give benefit of the doubt to using the extradition agreements in such a high profile case.

Why would you give that particular benefit of the doubt?


And was there an extradition agreement (I mean the actual specific paperwork or court decision for Snowden's case, not just the abstract international agreement)? Shouldn't the U.S. get that in order before they send an actual plane? I am not U.S. taxpayer, but it's at least a waste of money otherwise..


Unless they did something else and used Snowden as a distraction.


It's also possible that UK police really wanted to do something else at Ecuadorian embassy, and Assange was just an useful cover.

I don't think secret services feel the need to justify their operations in this manner. On the other hand, people who pay for it..


yes


@js8: http://www.mcnabbassociates.com/Denmark%20International%20Ex...

If my explicit reference to it was not enough to convince you then you can go read it.


Due process in regard to which laws. I presumably would be a violation of Danish law, but under American law it isn't. It's more of an insult to Denmark than anything else. Which is why it's not typically done.

But if the CIA just dragged him back to America and turned him over to the US Marshals it wouldn't impact his charges.

There is no recognized right to be a fugitive.


The american law is not applicable in non US territories.


An Australian who never been to USA was extradited and subsequently jailed for breaking USA law: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hew_Griffiths

Afterwards, he was banned from USA.


It scares me that it's becomming applicable where ever they want it to be.

Soon we'll have to arrest everyone for drinking alcohol, because that's against laws in some countries, we'll have to arrest all women for driving, because that's against the law elsewhere, etc. etc.

The list is endless, and, IMO, pointless.


> The american law is not applicable in non US territories.

This is inaccurate in a number of ways. Certain American laws are, on their face, restricted in territorial applicability (others are explicitly not, others are neither explicitly limited nor explicitly unlimited and the application requires reference to principles beyond the individual law in question), and, particularly, certain protections of the Constitution have been held unenforceable against the government in the context of certain actions outside the territory of the United States.

But you can't correctly make a blanket statement that US law is not applicable outside of US territory.


US National laws are restricted to US Nationals, and the territory of the USA. Now, for laws that could apply outside of these boundaries, you are partially right, but these are covered by treaties, agreements, cooperation efforts, decrees and stuff like that between the USA and its friends.


> US National laws are restricted to US Nationals, and the territory of the USA.

No, they aren't (unless you are using "US National laws" as a label you've made up for laws that are restricted to US Nationals and the territory of the US.)


aren't they trying to extradite Kim Dotcom to the US because he broke US law?


Extradition is based on treaties/agreements between countries, and they go both ways to make sure criminals cannot escape just by crossing borders. As for Kim Dotcom, his actions may fall under US jurisdiction as some of its customers and servers were in the USA, and whatever he was potentially infringing (copyright among others?) is protected and recognized by international treaties.

For online businesses it's a lot more risky as your customers and operations may be located anywhere.


It applies to US citizens who are wanted in the US for crimes.


In the US, sure. Not anywhere else in the world.

(I'm not sure where you got the idea that citizenship bears any relevance at all here)


Read 18 USC, then you'll understand the relevance.


Who was talking about American law?


Why should the CIA care about Danish law?


Diplomatic relations.

US LEAs might have a hard time harassing people like me if EU countries stopped coöperating with them.


Generally actions done to your citizens abroad will cause less retribution than actions done to host nation citizens in host nation. Even better if there is any level of plausible (or even implausible) deniability.

Russia pretty much got away with murdering Litvinenko in London; if they'd done that to a natural-born UK citizen in the UK with no other ties to Russia, and unambiguously, there would have been much more serious consequences.


Russia pretty much got away with murdering Litvinenko in London

Well, up until now. It was so clearly a political decision to ignore it when it happened and now that relations with Russia have deteriorated it's been investigated and the obvious conclusion reached.

The CIA could have someone with 'CIA' on their jacket shoot a UK citizen on the street in broad daylight and the UK would avoid investigating it if it was politically inconvenient to do so.


Chances are this already happened.


Wasn't a UK citizen illegally rendered, detained at Guantanamo and released after many years without being charged? I haven't heard of any enquiries/investigation s into that episode by the government across the pond.


Italy indicted 26 CIA agents including multiple station chiefs https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Omar_case

Jeffrey W. Castelli, Rome station chief received a 7 year prison sentence

Robert Seldon Lady, Milan station chief received a 8 year prison sentence


>> I haven't heard of any enquiries/investigation s into that episode by the government across the pond.

I'm referring to Her Majesty's government: Italy isn't the US's poodle the way the UK is, the thread was discussing the non-action of the UK government due to political inconvenience


>I'm referring to Her Majesty's government: Italy isn't the US's poodle the way the UK is, the thread was discussing the non-action of the UK government due to political inconvenience

I get that, but figured it would still be worth noting that other EU states have previously done this.


Kidnapping is quite different from extradition. Likely I'm not understanding the situation correctly, but I'd think an extradition should require some type of oversight/consensus whereas a rendition skips straight to confining the subject.


> ... extradition should require some type of oversight/consensus whereas a rendition [kidnapping?] skips straight ...

Since the Danish government agreed to let the plane sit there and there is an extradition treaty between the two countries I expect there was oversight and consensus.


> I expect there was oversight and consensus.

Right. Except if there was an extradition treaty and they planned on relying on it, they wouldn't need a plane on the ground and a paramilitary team ready to go?


> Right. Except if there was an extradition treaty they wouldn't need a plane on the ground and a paramilitary team ready to go?

You would if the Danes didn't want to go apprehend him themselves (I wouldn't if I were them, the news clip would look bad). If he were already in custody there would be no need for a plane and a team, though presumably he would get on some plane at some point if apprehended just as a matter of practicality.


> the news clip would look bad

Not as bad as the one where foreign military forces just run around Denmark kidnapping people and imposing their (martial) law over Danish land? I doubt it.

You might not remember those months. US officials forced a foreign diplomatic plane to land on European soil and basically acted like enraged bulls (or rather angry but headless chickens) for weeks. The Danes would have had to do what they were bloody told to do, regardless of how they might have looked in a news clip, because that's what the almighty US wanted at that time, end of story.


What if the plane wasn't only for Snowden? I can't imagine a team of trained paramilitaries standing by for a few months, just for one person. In fact, did the plane leave empty?


I don't really get your point. If someone is going to be apprehended on your soil that basically has to be by your nationals. Agents of another nation are not capable of placing or moving someone in custody they are just criminals engaged in a kidnapping unless the situation matches some extraordinary one covered in a specific treaty.

It would be fascinating if Denmark and the US have such a treaty, and if that is recent then I would wonder if that doesn't subject Denmark to penalties by other members of the EU and/or other nations in the Schengen treaty. It certainly should.


Criminal complaint against Snowden is from political crime.

Political crimes against one country are not automatically crimes in other countries. EU countries don't send Chechen fighters to Russia when Russia charges them. US is not going to send head of the CIA's Germany station back to Germany to be charged for spying.

ps. EU parliament passed a resolution (mostly symbolical) that called on European Union member states to “drop any criminal charges against Edward Snowden, grant him protection and consequently prevent extradition or rendition by third parties, in recognition of his status as whistle-blower and international human rights defender”.


> Whistleblowing protections that extend to what Snowden did would effectively convert the entire classification system to a set of recommendations as opposed to laws (a wholly different demand which I think is patently childish as a demand).

Can you elaborate a bit on this? For instance, if Snowden's leaks had been targeted so that they only showed illegal programs[0], do you believe that advocacy of a whistleblowing protection that would have covered the leaks would be "patently childish"?

[0] It is possible that Snowden's leaks were that targeted. I don't know, because I did not follow them closely enough to know.


Yesterday there was this revelation about Snowden documents including materials about spying on Israeli military operations.

That kind of undermines the "carefully targeted leaks" argument. It also is odd that this leak comes out a day later.


I'm not the person you are replying to but:

While I probably wouldn't prosecute someone for whistle-blowing on a clearly illegal program, there is a good reason why it shouldn't be allowed in situations were top secret information is concerned.

The average government worker has no qualifications or capability to determine what is or isn't legal. People think the Iraq war was illegal. Should someone have leaked military intelligence about the invasion? People think the atomic bombings were illegal. Should someone have leaked the Manhattan project.

Conservatives and liberals tend to disagree strongly with the legality of all sorts of stuff. And then you have conspiracy theorists, idealists and extremists.

And if you run into a situation where someone finds something truly nasty a pardon or prosecutory discretion will fix the it.

Practically, Snowden leaked a lot of stuff that is completely legal.

The only significant illegal thing he leaked was teh Verizon meta-data collection for everyone. But even then some courts and judges still think it's legal.


> The average government worker has no qualifications or capability to determine what is or isn't legal.

Sorry to godwinize, but that's the Nuremberg defense in a nutshell.

> Should someone have leaked military intelligence about the invasion?

Chelsea Manning did just that, and a lot of people are very grateful she did.

> Should someone have leaked the Manhattan project

Do you think the Manhattan project succeeded only because of its secrecy? The Germans had their own parallel program, they simply lacked the practical and intellectual resources to ever complete it. The Japanese were even further back and would have likely surrendered, had they known that their cities could be vaporized in an afternoon. The project secrecy cost millions of Japanese lives.

> Practically, Snowden leaked a lot of stuff that is completely legal.

Like breaking American companies' own encryption channels and practicing mass-surveillance on American citizens via legal loopholes across 5-Eyes (so Brits spy on US, US spy on Brits, and then they exchange notes)? Totally legit?


>> The average government worker has no qualifications or capability to determine what is or isn't legal.

>> Sorry to godwinize, but that's the Nuremberg defense in a nutshell.

The reason that the Nuremberg defense isn't a valid defense is because the acts that were being committed were so clearly without question grossly unconscionable.

Demanding that every member of the intelligence community constitutionally examine the project they're working on is a ridiculous demand. Most of them literally lack the mental tooling to do so. I don't mean they're stupid, I mean that they would first need to go read up on all the relevant case law and legal theory. While it would certainly be personally fulfilling for many of them and raise the level of discussion with regards to the legality of certain programs, I hardly think you can consider that a reasonable requirement. Additionally I don't think you can call most surveillance programs so ethically deranged on their face that any reasonably good but casually constructed set of ethics demands non-participation.


Your 5 eyes "loophole" wasn't in Snowden's leaks, so even if it were true, and even if it were illegal, the fact that Snowden didn't leak it means he doesn't get to claim whistleblower status on that point.


Nuremberg defense didn't work because they were active participants. Someone like Snowden can merely quit their job or otherwise refuse to assist.

Manning is rightfully serving 35 hard years in jail because she was butthurt about the military. She's a great a reason why it shouldn't be allowed.


The Nuremberg defense "didn't work" because it was not morally justifiable, nothing to do with being active or passive - the whole trial literally created law out of moral imperatives. I urge you to educate yourself on the German post-nazi discourse.

Also, quitting your job is not an answer, evil does not stop if you ignore it.


I believe the term is "malum in se" vs "malum prohbitium". Some crimes, especially murder are so wrong and universally so that it is a worse crime than one that is just wrong because the law says so.


Considering that the government by definition determines what is and isn't legal, and Snowden was leaking information about government programs, don't you think it's a bit limiting to expect him to only leak "illegal" programs? Surely you recognize that it is at least conceivable for there to be legal government programs that are atrocious and ought to be made public.


Basically Whistleblowing laws are in a tough spot with regards to classified info (remember, such laws also protect people calling out corruption etc that have no classified info). IANAL nor am I an expert on whistleblowing law, however, it is my understanding that such laws as they relate to classified are generally meant to allow individuals to go talk to congress and let congress know that their agency has gone off the rails.

Obviously this protects the government from a rogue piece of itself more than it protects the people from a rogue government. However, I am disinclined to take the fully cynical view of this since I have yet to concoct or hear a plan which was capable of a) maintaining a legally enforceable classification system, b) permitting ethically and patriotically motivated unilateral public disclosure of unconstitutional activities. Perhaps this is a failure of my imagination (I suspect that if there is an answer it relies in finding a way around needing the second requirement).

I think that the current best solution to the problem is where we are currently (I said best, not good). That is to hope that in the event of sufficiently egregious abuses an individual will set aside personal risk and expose said programs. In the ideal Disney version we as a society recognize that they did this in service to the constitution and fulfillment of their oath and urge the president to pardon the risk taker. Maybe call it the Jefferson Strategy, after the quote about the tree of liberty needing to be watered with the blood of patriots. Maybe, in order for the republic to stay healthy, we need people brave/stupid enough to be executed or die in jail as the modern equivalent to the rebellion Jefferson was referencing.

This plan has several failure modes. First is a false positive. This is the mode where someone for whatever reason believes that they're being a whistleblower and just dumps a bunch of documents that hurt US foreign policy but don't really expose any wrongdoing. You basically have to believe that all US foreign activity or all secrecy is inherently bad to say that that the Manning dump moved us forward as a democracy. Note, I'm not defending her treatment or sentencing or whatever, but the dump was pretty devoid of any gross U.S. wrongdoing (we can argue about the chopper video elsewhere). This failure mode is dangerous but probably won't end the republic. It is increasingly damaging per occurrence though because someone can take far more documents than they could ever read. This has a negative potential effect on the accountability of the leaker since they can take now and sift later. I wonder if this will lead to a cycle of more "example making" and leakers putting out more docs per dump since they know they'll be made examples of anyways.

The other failure mode is that everyone stays silent, which is also not ideal, but large orgs have issues with secrecy even without relying on self-sacrificing affirmative decisions, so I'm not worried about this one over the very long run.

Edit:

There's no way to shape policy to recognize ahead of time that it's ok to leak illegal programs (such a policy would need to be ok with the existence of legal programs in the first place). It's similar logically to saying that it's OK to torture people who know about terrorist plans. You can't really know ahead of time for sure that they know what you want to know, so making a moral exemption on such a basis is inherently flawed and you should refer back to the general case of "don't torture people" (in this case, the general case is "don't leak classified").

I was primarily directing the "childish" comment towards the idea that we ought to get rid of the classification system entirely. It's a nice utopian ideal, and I can see and even maybe agree with the logical arguments that secrecy in any form in government is an inherently corrupting feature. What I can't see however is how to conduct the business of government (diplomacy, intelligence, and military specifically) in any fashion without it, and I'm left with the impression that a sober view of the situation has to accept secrecy in some instances and look to mitigate its corrosive effects rather than to complain about its existence.


> You basically have to believe that all US foreign activity or all secrecy is inherently bad to say that that the Manning dump moved us forward as a democracy.

Not quite. You could believe that US foreign policy is a net negative in the world, and thus leaking any randomly sampled set of documents is likely to be a net positive.


> You basically have to believe that all US foreign activity or all secrecy is inherently bad to say that that the Manning dump moved us forward as a democracy.

I think this hyperbole is no more helpful to the conversation than your original one ("patently childish").


Name an illegal US activity that was unmasked via the Manning dump.


> Name an illegal US activity that was unmasked via the Manning dump.

I replied separately that this was not the point of my post, but I will reply here in a separate reply (so as no to conflate things) about illegal activities exposed by Manning.

It looks to me that the Manning dump includes more details about the US interrogation methods at Guantanamo than were previously publicly revealed, and I think there is a strong argument that some of the interrogation methods used at Gitmo were illegal under existing US laws against torture.


Alright. I guess it's not really an original revelation but a followup of some value. I'll meet you halfway and call it arguable.


> Name an illegal US activity that was unmasked via the Manning dump.

That was not the point of my post. I did not say or imply that that illegal activities were unmasked by the Manning dump.

I am saying that your prediction that people who think the Manning dump moved democracy forward necessarily believe that basically all secrecy is bad is unhelpful to a conversation about what the whistleblowing laws should be. For instance, some people may think that US foreign policy should all be public while domestic criminal investigations can be private. Some people might believe that the Manning dump was illegal but that some illegal activities (like lunch-counter sit-ins or suffragettes chaining themselves to the White House fence) move democracy forward.


I fully misunderstood your point, very fair. I shouldn't have made such a broad stroke. I hadn't considered the other configurations of public/secret.

I would like to say however that I am on the side that believes that some illegal acts move democracy forward, I just don't believe that the Manning dump did that, primarily on the basis of not having revealed illegal behavior. As your other post notes it did add a bit to the torture debate (I had previously not known this), but I personally think that the added info wasn't worth the damage to DoS operations, but drawing that line is clearly a fuzzy process.


> I would like to say however that I am on the side that believes that some illegal acts move democracy forward, I just don't believe that the Manning dump did that, primarily on the basis of not having revealed illegal behavior. As your other post notes it did add a bit to the torture debate (I had previously not known this), but I personally think that the added info wasn't worth the damage to DoS operations, but drawing that line is clearly a fuzzy process.

If you didn't know about the Gitmo thing, which was a very prominent part of the leak that took me literally 10 minutes to discover today by using Wikipedia, what else might you be missing in your understanding of the leak? How can you conclude that it didn't "move democracy forward" without having a strong understanding of its contents?

I know I won't be able to draw a conclusion about the helpfulness of the leak to democracy without much, much more study.



There's more to right and wrong than strict deontology. What's legal or illegal is only a very fuzzy approximation of what's ethical or moral.

So demands like "name an illegal activity" are missing the deeper moral/ethical point, regardless of whether there are illegal activities in the dumps (I'd also say it's bad form to make such a demand in the middle of an Internet thread where it's highly unlikely that your fellow commenters have the time to review thousands of diplomatic messages/documents/videos/whatever).


I was addressing a policy and legal question of whistleblower policies. A standard of "exposes an illegal program" seemed to have been the standard that was effectively being used (I would also suggest it seems a reasonable standard). Since I was dealing with that I limited myself to the legal and the policy, which I guess I hinted at and I hoped was obvious but I didn't explicitly state.

Wrt the bad form, the Manning dumps have been out for longer and are much more public than the Snowden leaks; they've been combed pretty damn thoroughly. Suggesting that my comment requires original research of the documents is disingenuous.


I was addressing a policy and legal question of whistleblower policies.

Talking about legal policies without considering the greater moral framework in which they exist is disingenuous; it implies there is nothing important other than policies.

Suggesting that my comment requires original research of the documents is disingenuous.

At the least it requires research of the reporting on the Manning dumps. An any case, I maintain that a one-line demand for something with borderline relevance that may require extensive research is in bad form.

And I don't know how I forgot, but the Manning data included the footage used for the Collateral Murder video, which "may depict a war crime" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/July_12,_2007_Baghdad_airstrik...). So there's your illegal activity.


>> Talking about legal policies without considering the greater moral framework in which they exist is disingenuous

And torpedoing productive policy discussion with increasingly vague discussion is also so. What help is hand waving about the unfortunately approximate relationship between policy and ethics?

Your comment suggests a question about the relationship (without asking one) as if it were a wise counterpoint. OK, now what? It's not as if any reader of that comment was prior unaware of the inexact correspondence between law and morality. Am I required to solve that relationship in the general case before proceeding with policy? How about only in the problem space of agreements (such as the classified NDA)? Or do I also need to resolve that relationship in all cases concerning the relationship between individuals and society and the state?

Your argument approaches that irritating stoner kid in sophomore year who could get to "But in the end can we even say anything is wrong?" from anywhere. If there is specific bit of ethics or morals that should be addressed then bring it up, otherwise is it just a general call for remembering to think ethically? If so, then thanks I guess?

The video was investigated openly and was ruled an accident. Like it or hate it it's been determined not a war crime, though it has become something of a form of snuff film for people who really want to find US warcrimes.


> And torpedoing productive policy discussion with increasingly vague discussion is also so. What help is hand waving about the unfortunately approximate relationship between policy and ethics?

Two points: 1. You're not the only person who can decide the scope of a conversation on an Internet forum. 2. Accusations of "torpedoing" and "hand waving" are unfounded. Here's the thread so far, in which you seem to be the one waving hands:

    > > > > [BWStearns] You basically have to believe that
    all US foreign activity or all secrecy is inherently
    bad to say that that the Manning dump moved us forward
    as a democracy.

    > > > [jbapple] I think this hyperbole is no more
    helpful to the conversation than your original one
    ("patently childish").

    > > [BWStearns] Name an illegal US activity that was
    unmasked via the Manning dump.

    > [nitrogen] There's more to right and wrong than
    strict deontology. What's legal or illegal is only a
    very fuzzy approximation of what's ethical or moral.
    So demands like "name an illegal activity" are missing
    the deeper moral/ethical point, regardless of whether
    there are illegal activities in the dumps...
I think it's pretty clear that I was addressing this comment thread. To put it beyond all possible misinterpretation, I'm saying that moving forward as a democracy is about more than what's strictly legal or illegal. The only question that should matter when evaluating a whistleblower is this: does the information serve the public interest? I'd argue that bar should be extremely low, primarily for the reason that the people of the US cannot make informed decisions without being informed. Also relevant is https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11004830

> Your argument approaches that irritating stoner kid in sophomore year who could get to "But in the end can we even say anything is wrong?" from anywhere.

Your argument approaches that irritating paternalizing of government rhetoric in which "sober" analysis can only come to one conclusion, that the "current best solution to the problem is where we are currently". I've been discussing in good faith, at worst omitting implied context to save space and time, and you're resorting here to what comes across as thinly veiled ad hominem.

There is plenty of interesting and productive conversation to be had about secrecy and whistleblowers, but this thread has become too long, too narrow, and bordering on too personal for me to desire to continue here.


Fair criticism that I might have started to be a dick. Sorry about that.

On the productive side, do you have any suggestions regarding a way to make a whistleblower law that increases the odds of "good whistleblowers" without just saying "we're done enforcing classification"? Our disagreement over whether or not Manning's dump does anything for democracy is actually a great illustration of why it's hard to make such laws/policies.

Criticizing me for not figuring out a better solution isn't suggesting a better solution. I honest to god want to hear one. Hell, I'll throw out something I can at least lie myself into seeming like a good idea:

A leaker, believing public disclosure of classified material to be necessary in order to uphold their oath to the constitution, is not subject to the Espionage Act if they immediately submit themselves to the authority of the Supreme Court where a [unanimous|8|7|6|5] vote decision is required to press charges of [insert relevant non-espionage act crimes here, stealing gov't property, clearance violations, etc], and if so which charges to press.


If you want to preserve classification, I'd work on the training and motive side, rather than what happens after a leak. Prevent the leaks by preventing activity that motivates leakers. Punish anyone who sells information for direct cash or commercial favors. Make it clear what information will result in immediate physical harm if leaked, and don't abuse the classification system to hide embarrassing, negligent, corrupt, or criminal behavior. Don't engage in mass surveillance.

In general when I solve a problem I try to go as close to the source as possible, and/or look at a layer of abstraction that isn't often considered.


War crimes.


The words "CIA" and "kidnap" are key here. That's their torture flights program that allegedly dropped the torture part. Best to assume that due process isnt involved if CIA is doing a clandestine op.


Furthermore, this is not even to that point. The article only claims that they PLANNED such a rendition. Government agencies have plans for thousands of scenarios! I can only imagine how people would feel if they knew the details of the likely hundreds of contingency plans in place to handle a wide variety of natural disasters and exchanges of nuclear weapons, among others.

The real question is what was the likelihood that this plan would be executed, and who makes that call (Obama I'd assume?). The CIA probably had 3 flavors of extradition on Obama's desk as soon as they had any idea where he was - that's their job.


I think the bigger news here is that an european state agreed to it, considering that gross abuses by the US aren't really anything new.


The US people would be better served having the top Fed prosecutors go after bank fraudsters (from the petty ~$1000 robocalling crooks to the big cats like Jamie Dimon) or cyberterrorists than Snowden. Moveover, any police action against Snowden will be heavily colored by those in the Fed who hate him-- it would simply be feeding the wolves.


It isn't "trying to bait outrage."

Kidnapping is a crime. There are CIA agents that have been tried in absentia in Italy for that crime. Our government planned to commit a crime to get at Snowden. We should, instead, investigate and prosecute the planners behind this intended crime.


> Whistleblowing protections that extend to what Snowden did would effectively convert the entire classification system to a set of recommendations as opposed to laws

Snowden as a CIA contractor or even if it was a CIA employee doesn't have whistleblowing protections.


Forget about if the cia could kill him or not...do you really think Russia doesn't keep constant watch over him? If he suddenly went missing you don't think the Kremlin would go nuts? How about if they found out it was the cia that took him inside their borders? Ha! Putin is crazy...who knows what he would do then... Cut off all gas to Europe?


The CIA has no jurisdiction outside of the USA. Do you not understand that?


What? The CIA has no juristriction anywhere. What they do is illegal in all the countries they spy on and they are forbidden by law from spying in america.


The original danish article (link below) has a comment section. One user asks where the documentation is for saying that the flight was intended for S. The author replies, that he specifically asked the Ministry of Justice for information on the flight for, and information on rendition of, S. and that these documents where then released (partly censored). Which is also written in the article itself.

https://www.denfri.dk/2016/01/usa-sendte-fly-til-danmark-for...

S. has since then made a tweet on this article, which is probably why all the other posts are now to be found on other sites from all over the world.


Are you afraid something bad will happen if you type Snowden's name?


I assumed it was a reference to Kafka's The Trial


And why am I getting downvotes? Are you afraid of the truth?


I'm not the one downvoting you, and none of your comments are that controversial, so I don't know, and no.


Obviously. God will strike me down. With drones.


Obviously. Look, I disagree with virtually all of what the CIA is doing, but day one Snowden was pretty up front about this. "There is a CIA field office close to here, bet those guys are working overtime" or something to that effect. Thats what you do in this situation. The CIA isn't dumb, their failure mode is thinking everyone else is. If they could have got him cleanly, they wouldve.


Right? It seems like one of those standard planning exercises that governments have for just about everything. Plans for if Canada invades the US, plans for a hypothetical US invasion of the UK, etc, etc, etc. I'd actually be surprised if someone who was such a high-profile target for the espionage community didn't have plans drawn up for their quick retrieval if needed under some circumstances.


There are plans for hypothetical scenarios, and then there is the enacting of the initial stages of the plan by stationing a plane and team and securing the cooperation of a host country.



I put together a few "ADS-B receivers" recently (using Raspberry Pis, RTL SDRs, etc.) and, for a few days afterwards, was watching all of the aircraft in my vicinity pretty intently.

I live a few miles from the Monroe County, Indiana, airport, KBMG, and (on 16 November 2015) saw a small airplane go over my house that had just taken off from there (heading east at altitude 2700 feet). I looked up the tail number, N721AL, and saw that it was registered to the US Department of Justice.

A little bit of Googling (the tail number) turned up an article [0] entitled "Track 115 Aircrafts the FBI uses for surveillance". I was left wondering why they'd be performing any such surveillance in my area (if that is, indeed, what they were doing), as we're not exactly a "hot spot" of criminal activity, but I suppose no one is exempt.

[0]: http://blog.enigma.io/track-84-aircrafts-the-fbi-uses-for-su...


Nice to see a fellow Hoosier on HN - I went to school at IU and lived in Monroe County for several years. Anyway, the plane could have been involved with the Crane naval research center: http://www.navsea.navy.mil/Home/WarfareCenters/NSWCCrane.asp...


Shame there's not a carfax like service for planes that used something less mutable than a tail number. After that last flight, it was almost certainly sold to some CIA front company, given a new number, and sent back into the air.


People seem to be pretty good at finding these things.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rendition_aircraft


ICAO codes can change (although they usually don't) but may be a little more "static".



Is there a more reliable source for this than a fringe political site?


This seems to link to the original Danish source: https://boingboing.net/2016/01/30/danish-government-let-amer...


This is the original source (in danish): https://www.denfri.dk/2016/01/usa-sendte-fly-til-danmark-for...



The landing permit itself as referenced in the Danish article: https://www.denfri.dk/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/overflight_...


I have a prediction: Snowden will come back on his own. It'll be under a different administration than this one for sure, and it might be many years from now. But considering his level of patriotism and bravery, I don't see him staying away for forever. When he feels he has a chance at justice, he'll answer up for what he did.


> Snowden will come back on his own.

The fact of the matter is: Western society (US and EU) has let down Snowden hard. We haven't done anything to pressure our politicians (who depend on us!) to protect him like he deserves. We don't deserve people like Snowden. And he sure must has felt that by now.

So if he comes back, I doubt his level of patriotism will have been able to survive our sorry collective attitude.


If Bernie somehow wins... probably not TOO far into the future. I'm guessing he'll let Bernie get through at least one full year in office... because let's be honest (Sorry Bernie!) some of his stances are the kind of stances that see you get snuffed.


CIA wouldn't be doing their job if they didn't have plans. I'm sure they have plans for plenty events more unlikely than the president asking them to go get Snowden.


Yes. It's their job to have a plan, and it's the CIA's job because it's not the Department of Agriculture's job or the Treasury Department's job. It's just a bureaucracy.


Last comment 534 days ago? Are you serious?


Some of us like reading and understanding other people's sentiment more than contributing what is most likely irrelevant opinions and general noise? Just because HN, Reddit, /., etc are built around the premise of commenting doesn't mean one has to comment to participate.


Yeah because shills don't prep in advance, right? Lmfao.


N977GA has a chequered history. It was originally ordered by the US Air Force for use as a general's flying gin-palace. But then, shortly after 9/11, it lost its military livery and acquired civilian registration as N596GA. Under that designation it was employed in CIA "renditions" - or kidnappings. In 2011, the "black" jet switched roles again, transferring from the CIA's contractor to use instead by the Department of Justice (DoJ).


Just a question that seems to always cross my mind when I think of individuals like Snowden (and I am not a strong believer that everything I see in the media is rooted in some conspiracy theory): Why are many so confident that he is operating independently and not just redirecting blame towards himself as part of a larger CIA operation? i.e. PRISM may have already been leaked at the time anyway so CIA, then manufactures a "scapegoat".

Sure there is some interesting stuff that has been uncovered, but I cannot help, but wonder if his hero image is being burned into the psyche of every rebellious, "hacker" teen out there just to promote a viral effect of some kind. I am in no way condemning Snowden and the like (I really want to cheer him on) but I am, at the same time, not going to be totally convinced that I should be following what he or his constituents share with the masses.

As a side, I am ready "Classified Woman" by Sibel Edmonds and the same question came up regarding her background. Just thought I would throw this out there since it has been on my mind for some time. I am wondering if anyone has here similar thoughts.


There's a no way of knowing the answer to your question, but ultimately, it shouldn't really matter.

There are people who say that Snowden leaks are a CIA operation against the NSA, born out of patriotism. There are others who say that he acted on direct orders from Obama, who had found it impossible to rein the intelligence agencies in, and needed to foment public support. We can judge by how the political actors have been behaving since the leaks. Our children will be able to read about it once internal documents are declassified.

It is never good to idolize a person, and to put them on a pedestal. We all have flaws. Snowden has done us all a tremendous service, at a great personal peril, and it seems he will live to tell the story. We should all be so lucky. But he is a flawed man, just like we all are. People are quick to create cults around heroes, and then they are disappointed when their idol doesn't live up to their standards. It is sad, really. If you want to know who Snowden is, go to Moscow and buy him a cup of coffee; that's as close to the truth as you're ever gonna get.

In the end, the ideas Snowden stands for are important and valid regardless of who brought them to the fore.

EDIT: Ron Fournier made the same point slightly more eloquently, back in 2013: http://www.sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/must-read/why-i-dont-...


Good points. I will definitely keep that in mind.


So if Snowden isn't the whistleblower, then who is the Snowden behind him?


My thought had to do more with if he had been operating under someone else's orders within the U.S. govt to intentionally play the role of a fabricated whistleblower. However, I can see how that might be a stretch based upon some of the compelling information released.

Sibel Edmonds seem to have some apprehension regarding Snowden's and his constiuents roles. Her stance is what triggered my doubts.

Some of her views on are not necessarily directed at Snowden himself, but they do raise some questions.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ekhmXG_41Bc


we need to get rid of US military bases across Europe.


Most of Europe would not be okay with that - the US currently massively subsidizes the defense costs of European military forces with its bases. And it's not just the actual US forces there - it's logistics and training as well. For example, France likes to do peacekeeping operations in Africa. They can do so effectively because the US provides the airlift capability through their bases in Europe.

Basically, if the US bases go, the capabilities of much of the European military forces go bye-bye. They're optimized for using American logistical support, (because they have no reason to develop their own) and all of that comes through American bases in the region. I'm sure that some political parties in Europe would be completely okay with losing that capability, but most people agree that there is one thing worse than a strong military, and that's a weak military that costs the same amount of money as a strong military.


All the more reason. We Europeans should be able to manage this ourselves.


You would have to gut social programs to pay for it, which people may or may not be okay with.

Just to provide some numbers - the USAF's budget is $170 billion per year. For comparison, that's about the cost of Britain's entire NHS. A very large amount of that goes to airlift capability - plenty of money is spent on air superiority, but the USAF's primary mission in this era of asymmetric warfare is logistical support.

Basically, the attitude of most European governments is "If the US is willing to pay for it, why should we reject their help?"


> You would have to gut social programs to pay for it

Probably not that much. We need defense force, we don't need to "police" the world (which really means imperialism). We don't need nuclear capabilities.

Also, the relation between defense and social spending is tenuous at best. Both scale linearly with the size of the economy. Defense spending can actually be beneficial in creating jobs and improving technology.


>Probably not that much. We need defense force, we don't need to "police" the world (which really means imperialism). We don't need nuclear capabilities.

It's not us you'll have to convince of this, it's your government. They tend to be a bit prickly about such things, no matter how enlightened the general populace is.


Maybe this should get brought up every time the Internet scoffs at America's weak social programs.


This is one of the reasons why leftists are pretty much universally for massive cuts in military spending. Which makes sense - you can't have both.

The Europeans would have to cut their own social programs if they wanted to do any peacekeeping / humanitarian aid operations - all of that is contingent on American logistical support. Hell, my guess is that they would castigate a more leftist, benign American government; it would make things a hell of a lot harder for a lot of people.


Lefists? Is that what we are now, leftists and hawks?

I'm a liberal, and I'd take massive cuts at the war department even without re spending it all on entitlements.

And we don't need such a huge military for humanitarian work either.


Not sure I'm getting the connection. Doesn't the Strategic Airlift Capability https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategic_Airlift_Capability have 3 planes?

Is the cost for that 4.5 x higher than Delta Air Lines annual revenue? ($37.7 billion 2013)

I'm sure most of the cost of USAF is on other things...


The US operates 5,638 military aircraft, including 222 C-17A Globemasters, 261 C-130H Hercules planes, and 104 C-130Js.

The Strategic Airlift Capability has 3 C-17s.

The SAC is, frankly, a symbolic gesture to say, "Yes, we're going to include everyone." The bulk of the heavy lifting is done by standard USAF planes.


As an American.. if a friendly country (England, France, Canada) could do something to lower our defense spending by 10%.. even if that meant a few bases on our soil.. YES. I would not like more English troops than American troops on my soil, but a few thousand men to lower my deficit spending? Sign me up.


What's your citation of European public opinion? If you're from the US, would you be happy if a foreign power occupied your homeland with garrisons? Would you accept their self-serving benevolent rhetoric, given their constant militant behavior (which among other things created a refugee crisis)?


Their opinions may not be in favor of American bases now, but my guess is that they will change in a hurry when the host countries realize how much it costs to maintain their own defense.


> Most of Europe would not be okay with that

Do you have any opinion polls to back that up?


No, but I do know that there was a bunch of outcry when the US started closing bases in Europe to save money. All of that came from governments, though. I'm not sure what the actual people think.


> All of that came from governments, though. I'm not sure what the actual people think.

I think it is important not to say "Most of Europe would not be ok with that" when what one means is "European governments would publicly object to that". The US government, for instance, does many things that the public at large disapproves of, and public governmental statements are not necessarily representative of what the government is actually advocating behind closed doors.

In otherwords, without public opinion polls, we are at least two levels removed from knowing whether "Most of Europe would not be ok with that."


FWIW, a quick google shows that 51% of likely US voters in 2012 wanted all US troops out of western Europe. (http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/gene...) So the US appears strongly against occupying western Europe with garrisons... if we identify "the US" by its people rather than government.


Every military base is a US military base in Europe. Also what do they have to do with this, there's no mention of them in the article.

The problem is not that the US has planes in Europe. The problem is that most European countries would not hesitate to aid the US in capturing Snowden.

What we need is the European Union to grow strong enough so it can push back and have enough breath to spare so that it can spend energy on secondary concerns like freedom and integrity.


> we need to get rid of US military bases across Europe.

What would stop the CIA from sending over the Gulfstream jet and paramilitary team using civilian airports?


Sending in a paramilitary team against the will of the receiving country is often considered an act of war.

We could do something that would be considered an act of war in order to kidnap somebody explicitly protected by the target country. But these things have been known to go poorly.


> We could do something that would be considered an act of war in order to kidnap somebody explicitly protected by the target country. But these things have been known to go poorly.

I don't disagree with that. However, the US sometimes takes military actions that cause frustration and anger from other nations that we are not explicitly at war with. Some that come to mind are the OBL raid, Iran Air 655, attacking that Doctors Without Borders hospital, and destroying that Sudanese pharmaceutical factory.

Is Snowden "explicitly protected" by countries other than Russia right now?


> would be considered an act of war

So it doesn't count when FVEY attacks[1] another country's communication infrastructure - possibly just to have relay boxen so that infrastructure can be commandeered whenever it is useful?

[1] (one example) https://theintercept.com/2014/09/14/nsa-stellar/


Hopefully fighter jets.


Wouldn't stop the CIA from using a cover and doing it covertly. Plenty of jets fly in and out of Europe.


What does the I in CIA stand for again?


Illegality


> Hopefully fighter jets.

How would the owners and operators of those fighter jets know which flights were CIA flights?


There is no "firm evidence" in the documents as this article claims. There is no reference to Snowden there.


Not true. The original article (https://www.denfri.dk/2016/01/usa-sendte-fly-til-danmark-for...) mentions that the Author asked the Ministry of Justice for information on S.

The documents released (partly censored) may not mention S. but were released as an answer to this request.

The Author is Peter Kofod. The online newspaper "Den Fri" direct translation: The Free, is mostly focused on surveillance and fascist tendencies. Anyone can write as a guest (by going through the board of editors). Peter Kofod writes weekly. Or even more often.


The documents released were in response to Peter Kofod's request for information about the airplane itself.

"Justitsministeriet kan ikke oplyse, hvorvidt ministeriet er i besiddelse af materiale omfattet af den del af din anmodning om aktindsigt, der angår korrespondance mellem danske og amerikanske myndigheder vedrørende Edward Snowden."

Translated: "The Department of Justice can not say whether the Ministry is in possession of material of your request for access to documents relating to correspondence between Danish and US authorities regarding Edward Snowden."

https://www.denfri.dk/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/begrundelse...


Not sure that this source is entirely credible. There is no link to the documents or to the original journalistic source. I also find it hard to believe that the CIA couldn't spoof a new tail number or just buy a new jet if they really wanted to keep this quiet. It doesn't really pass the common sense test. Unless the documents are produced and they are extremely compelling this seems more like conspiracy theory than good journalism.


What a high-quality country America has become. "Extra-legal" renditions, torture, imprisonment without trial, spying on the entire planet, including all of its own citizens... any wisps of democracy left the air long ago in Washington.


Planes are fungible. Are we supposed to believe that the CIA has zero other reasons to want a plane in Europe? It's just about Snowden?


Both Clinton and Trump have made it pretty clear via their attitude towards Snowden that he is in for death/torture somewhere within their presidency.

I'd like to think Americans would protest but apparently most of the country has already forgotten or not cared anymore about the NSA, it's like it never happened, no-one even mentions it anymore in the mainstream.


That's a certainty. His value declines over time, and eventually the Russian's ask will hit the number that the US is willing to pay.


> it's like it never happened, no-one even mentions it anymore in the mainstream.

IIRC, the whole idea of gradually releasing documents instead of dumping them all at once was to avoid this. Although, I haven't seen any new documents in quite a while. I wonder what happened. Are the rest of them not as important as the ones already released?


> Are the rest of them not as important as the ones already released?

Likely. There is also a question of framing overall discourse. For example, Der Spiegel and The Intercept recently posted some documents from that pile, showing how the US hacked Israeli feeds from jet fighters to monitor possible attacks against Iran. The original piece was extremely balanced, highlighting the conflicted relationship and conflict on policy choices and overall strategies.

The Guardian picked it up with a piece that was very much pro-Israel, drumming up support for Israeli hawks (at a time when they are extremely isolated on the international stage).

Whenever this sort of material enters the discourse, you have to be very careful if you want to avoid other people framing it in the "wrong" way. I don't blame Greenwald's people for taking their time.


The phrase "US ruling elite" is used a couple of times in this article. It's refreshing to me because we don't use that term much here in the United States, likely because we (are supposed to) believe in democracy.


You gotta be kidding. Here is how it works in reality. CIA operatives get the budget to kidnap Snowden. They organise "leak", but nothing was done in reality, they just wrote down that money.


> Snowden embodies a new generation of educated and technologically-trained workers and youth who are increasingly hostile to the existing social order.

Aye, we're practically swimming in those.


So "kidnapping" isn't a crime anymore?


Why is this even news? Does it actually surprise you all that the CIA would have a plan to catch Snowden?


So, after the innumerous crimes and injustices commited by CIA abroad and home, since nothing was done to the agency, it means it now turned into a free pass? Justice, like a lot of other stuff in our societies that basically are just common agreements, is actually pretty fragile, if it's not upheld things tend to go down. There's consequences and stuff.


I believe the point was that usually every foreign intelligence agency plays exactly as nasty game as diplomacy allows. As we are living the era of U.S. hegemony, we can assume CIA is playing as nasty as humanly possible.

So the news in this case would be that there is some evidence that CIA actually did a thing that was expected of them. They either are not very competent, or they don't care because they get away with it anyhow.

They probably also have a plan to assassinate Snowden. But currently the costs outweigh the benefits.


The only criminal in this whole story is Snowden. Literally, no one else broke the law here. You need to screw your head back on.


Don't mistake legality for morality. By a lot of people's estimations, they're exactly reversed in this situation with Snowden breaking secrecy laws by exposing "legal" surveillance.

Plus, it's not even clear the government is acting legally here. An excellent case can be made that mass surveillance violates the Fourth Amendment, and if the CIA planned anything other than bringing Snowden back to a public trial in the USA, that would be a violation of the Sixth Amendment.


It's awkward to even have to compose a reply to that answer! Some people reaaaally need to affirm to themselves that everything is fine whatever happens, for some reason. Small minds.


Read up on the history of the CIA please.


Well, duh.


Well, duh




Registration is open for Startup School 2019. Classes start July 22nd.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: