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United States Obtains Final Judgement and Permanent Injunction Against Snowden (justice.gov)
183 points by DyslexicAtheist 18 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 125 comments



It's worth noting that this judgment does not mean Snowden's book can no longer be published; it is only a judgment against Snowden and in favor of the US government for the money made from the book. Also, it is only the civil lawsuit, and the judgment is not connected at all with the separate criminal charges that have been filed against Snowden.


I read the release. It seems that the judgement was awarded basically on the fact that he didn't submit it for pre-publication review. Seems unfair that punitive damages for that would be 100% of book proceeds. Especially, as I understand it, he was neither a government contractor nor releasing any new information at the time the book was published.


I believe that the obligation to submit works for pre-publication review is the result of a contract which he signed in order to get his security clearance. My understanding is that if anyone without a security clearance had written the exact same book, there would have been no judgment.


I believe you're right, mostly because TFA says exactly that:

> In September 2019, the United States filed a lawsuit against Snowden, who published a book entitled Permanent Record in violation of the non-disclosure agreements he signed with both CIA and NSA. The lawsuit alleged that Snowden published his book without submitting it to the agencies for pre-publication review, in violation of his express obligations under the agreements he signed. Additionally, the lawsuit alleges that Snowden has given public speeches on intelligence-related matters, also in violation of his non-disclosure agreements.


My point is that 100% civil forfeiture for violating the agreement doesn't sit well with me considering the information was already "out there". I would have much rather preferred this action be an outcome of a criminal trial ie. Son of Sam law.


Google has the same deal. There is plenty of confidential information readily available on the public Internet but confirming it is still breach of contract and they will sue. I hear Apple is even more zealous about NDAs.


> and they will sue

Can you cite any cases of this? Google suing people first is very rare.


This is civil.

When you sign a clearence they tell you in the required training this is so you cannot profit off of the info you learn, even in fiction.

Has an obvious point of keeping you from having a financial motivation to breach that clearence.


Feelings I'm afraid have little to so with the legal realities at play here. He had choice to sign or not sign. He signed. While not same subject, there are equally intense feelings that arise in marital separation agreements especially when an ex moves out of state possibly taking kids, alimony due to ex if she/he purposely avoided work to get alimony and 81 other things. The courts are not really all that interested in those feelings of unfairness between exs here.


This is not a civil forfeiture action. This is a garden-variety breach-of-contract action. In a civil forfeiture action, the defendant is the property itself.


I think this has been the policy for any/all books published without proper review.


Well, what would you think if he'd violated a private contract, and sold a book containing the information he obtained as a result of the violation? Perhaps a lawyer doing this with respect to their relationship with a client, or maybe someone like Levandowski writing a book about what he learned at Google.


Agree. This judgement seems a pretty pedestrian outcome of not following a contract.


Then he should make it free.


Does he still get proceeds for non-US sales, or does he forfeit those as well?


It’s effectively a censure. Publish and money goes to US gov, or don’t publish in States thereby limiting your target market and lose a lot of sales.


[flagged]


That depends. During the 19th Century, judgement (with an 'e') became more popular in British writing and is now the common form used in British English. In legal contexts (in Britain), judgment (without an 'e') is the proper spelling. This spelling is also the dominant form in the United States.

Thus, perhaps the author of the press release is British.


Yeah maybe it’s a fan of old English spelling, or, alternatively, the DOJ is politicized, the folks in charge are allergic to Microsoft Word, and theye donte proofreade their presse releases.


> Yeah maybe it’s a fan of old English spelling

The word would not have existed in old english.


Are you confusing old English with Old English?


In the US, judgement can be spelled with or without that first e. Judgmental however must have only a single e.


https://www.dictionary.com/e/judgement-vs-judgment/

Says with the E is new, accepted and mostly British.


Judgement is actually a common and accepted spelling of judgment, either is fine. I know this because I erroneously corrected it on Wikipedia in the fairly distant past. :)


[flagged]


Here are some of the reasons I more often read comments before articles now:

1. The site doesn't render at all (I get a blank page) on my main browser because cookies are disabled on it. Reading the article requires copying the URL and switching over to another browser to load it there.

2. The site renders, but despite using uBlock, it's still laden with "Sign up for our mailing list", "accept cookies" (on my cookies-disabled browser), "Buy a subscription!", or, "you can't read any more articles from this site" popups. In the latter case, there's maybe one paragraph of content available.

3. The articles themselves are trash about half the time and on HN specifically it's not unusual to find comments that offer a little more depth on whatever the subject is.

4. Skimming the comments first is a low-effort-high-return signal for whether the article is worth clicking on anyway.

5. I don't care that much about the subject anyway, and all I really want is a two-minute update on the topic before I drag myself back to whatever I'm procrastinating on.

In truth, there's been a concerted effort from a lot of different sites over the last year-plus to discourage me from reading their content directly.


My simpler response to the same question: the signal:noise ratio of the comments is vastly superior to all but the very best and rarest articles. 95% of the value I derive from HN is from the comments.


> ... the signal:noise ratio of the comments is vastly superior to all but the very best and rarest articles.

<rant>

Not for those of us who RTFA and then come to the comments, only to have to sift through numerous comments asking questions or discussing things that were clearly answered in TFA.

That simply leads to the situation where those who don't bother to RTFA end up wasting the time of everyone who does, lowering the S/N ratio for us, eventually causing some of us to then stop reading the articles and skipping straight to the comments, and the cycle repeats over and over. Eventually, we'll get to the point where nobody reads the articles -- and the entire purpose of the comments is (or, at least, was) to discuss what was in the article!

---

Sorry, it's a huge pet peeve and, to me, it's no different than someone asking a large group of people (here, on a mailing list or group chat, etc.) a "simple question" that, with a minute or two's worth of effort they could have easily found the answer to themselves. Sure, they might have saved a minute or two of their time but, when you think about it, what they really did is wasted a minute or two of "n" other's people time.

Or, to put it another way, it shows a complete lack of respect for other people and their time (and basic courtesy in general). I can be fairly impatient, though, so perhaps it's just me.

Anyways, it's 0333 so I should probably just log off HN and go to bed! I'll blame my little rant on exhaustion and lack of sleep. :-)

</rant>


I hear you. Nobody wants to see ignorant questions or comments based on wrong (tho easily-verifiable) assumptions about article contents. But IME, HN moderation does a pretty good job of suppressing that kind of selfish nonsense.


Calm down. I find this kind of hostility way more annoying than someone calling out a part of the article they find interesting.


> The United States’ lawsuit did not seek to stop or restrict the publication or distribution of Permanent Record [...] Rather [...] the government sought to recover all proceeds earned by Snowden

Gotta love America. We're not going after you for whistleblowing on systematically illegal activity by the NSA. We just want your money.


Probably because this was easier to prove and actually have a trial.

It's trivial to show that he didn't seek permission before publish, and violating an NDA is a civil issue. Because trials in absentia are typically not allowed for felonies, I don't think anything can happen with the criminal charges against him until he's physically present.


> We're not going after you for whistleblowing on systematically illegal activity by the NSA.

Yes, the US is doing that. Just not in this lawsuit. As I noted upthread, this lawsuit is only the civil lawsuit; there is a separate criminal lawsuit still in progress.


I'd imagine the book is constitutionally protected speech, whereas profiting from a crime isn't.


In what way will this actually cost Snowden money? Presumably he had already received some royalties already? Is his publisher US based or elsewhere? Will that affect whether they can actually take these royalties?


Doesn't look like this has been asked anywhere on here. Couldn't he just publish internationally for countries who don't care about DoJ injunctions?


My thoughts exactly.

This ruling is limited to the jurisdiction of this court (i.e. the US). They can demand that Snowden not profit of his book in other countries, but they can't enforce their demands in those contries unless they countries agree (or are /made/ to agree) to submit to the jurisdiction of a foreign court.


(Haven't read the judgment or materials, but) this decision seems to be in line with a similar 2001 UK case also involving a spy book and the special remedy of disgorgement of profits [1].

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attorney_General_v_Blake


As much as I agree with Snowden, the USA government will never forgive the betrayal. Snowden acted for the people, not the government, reflecting the reality that the government by and large works for itself rather than the people.

I'm sure it wasn't an easy decision for him to make. I would've done the same in the same position, though, but I am a single male without companies, properties, extended family reputations and so forth to protect so it's easy for guys like us to be so "noble".

My head will probably asplode if Trump pardons him next term.


> As much as I agree with Snowden, the USA government will never forgive the betrayal.

I don't mean to distract from your main point, but IMO the only betrayal was by the NSA/CIA. Snowden was simply upholding his civic responsibilities.


That depends on your point of view. If you are the government, then Snowden absolutely did betray your trust.

Unfortunately it also just happens to be the government that gets to decide what penalties there are for this sort of thing, even though the people were also betrayed by the three-letter agencies.


>If you are the government, then Snowden absolutely did betray your trust.

And having gotten federal clearance in the past, I remember lots of very forbidding language indicating the extensive penalties that would occur if that clearance was violated. Even the guy who got pardoned by Trump, Kristian Saucier, who took a few pictures inside of a submarine where he worked[1], was basically ruined until pardon - prison, not honorable discharge, etc... 63 months of prison!

That's how serious the federales are about enforcing classification and generally, I agree with it. Except in the case of exposing massive unconstitutional abuses of power including the wholesale disregard and contempt for the 4th amendment.

1: https://www.theday.com/article/20180309/NWS09/180309337


No worries and I totally agree with you. Snowden had no other choice after the examples of whistleblower after whistleblower after whistleblower tried to follow the rules in place for disclosing the kind of abuse he observed and instead ended up getting railroaded, ghosted and otherwise ruined.

It also allowed people like Bill Binney to come out to expand further on those revelations.


Snowden betrayed everyone whose lives he endangered by breaking his oath. Over half my annual charitable giving goes to the ACLU and EPIC, but that guy can burn in hell.


Why would Trump pardon him? Biden vs Trump is all you need to know about state of democracy in the USA.


Low odds, but he has suggested that he might: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-politics-snowden/trum...


He's frequently talking for and against any given issue. And he is not trustworthy, so his word doesn't matter.


Trump happens to be a victim of FISA abuse so I wouldn't be surprised.

Downvoters: Here is the Inspector General's report on the FBI's abuse of FISA against the Trump campaign: https://www.justice.gov/storage/120919-examination.pdf

The FBI "persistently deceived a secret court to authorize surveilling a 2016 Trump presidential campaign official".


> Biden vs Trump is all you need to know about state of democracy in the USA.

Why is that all you think you need to know? There are something like 30 other things to vote for on my local ballot that matter and this is true to varying extents in most every place.


It's odd but seems to be quite common for people to know the least about the level of government closest to them. Most Americans know who is the president but I'd bet quite a few have no idea who represents them on their city council or county commission.


Local news has been destroyed. The newspapers who used to send a reporter to every municipal meeting no longer exist. (Well, there may be papers with the same names, but their new owners only budget enough for wire service reprints.) Other media has not stepped up to fill the role. Municipal officials could themselves put everything online, but they don't actually desire public scrutiny so they don't.


I think you will find that the records of most municipal/county meetings are available online. Providing them is required by law in almost every jurisdiction and mostly this is done by making them available online.


I would draw a distinction between video recordings and whatever the meeting's acting secretary happened to note on a one-page form.


My locality broadcasts all public meetings live on local cable networks and streaming on the internet. The videos of these meetings are also available to be watched after the fact. I checked the websites for two of the counties adjacent to mine and they do the same. I'm certain it isn't universal but I'm guessing it is a pretty widespread practice.


Biden v Trump is not a lack of democracy, since voters are able to respond to it in the forthcoming free and fair election.


I'm gonna cut off your arm. left or right?

Now, don't say you had no choice in the matter.


Look. No one is perfect. We all have our faults. But Trump is deeply flawed in many ways. And he hardly has any redeeming characteristics. If you think both are the same then you haven payed any attention or you are just pretending that your are neutral but in reality you love him. And you are definitely not a leftist. Even Chomsky and Bernie have warned us.


My comment was not about the candidates. or the parties. it was about what some people are willing to accept as "no lack of democracy".

OK let's revise the options: I'm going to amputate either your left arm or your right thumb. It's quite obvious that you should rather lose your right thumb. And I gave you the opportunity to make a choice. If you disagree that this is democracy, then you secretly want to lose your left arm. Definitely not a leftist.


I am totally with you that our democracy may be lacking a lot. I really understand that. But democracies are frágil and ours is as fragile as ever. Saying that both choices are the same only benefits the worse choice, and that makes our democracy weaker, not stronger. But our democracy is not dead yet. Our collective votes matter a lot this November.


It's going to blow your mind when you find out there's a longstanding movement of people further to the left of Chomsky and Bernie


You're right that there is a significant difference between candidates this time. But just because one of the teams has made their offering even worse does not validate the overall setup. Trump's exceptional terribleness is just another indicator of just how broken our democracy has become, complete with the sizable amount of people continuing to rally behind him out of spite.

Although pragmatically I do find myself in the novel position of needing to support the status quo corporate authoritarian, as societal collapse is not conducive to freedom.



For more background, read Greg Palast. He's been on the vote theft beat forever:

https://www.gregpalast.com/


Nothing free and fair? So it’s exactly like an election in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, and the outcome is preordained?


Punching a dog or killing a dog is still hurting the dog.


Same reason Trump does anything. To own the libs and get some press.


>Final judgment

>District court

Any lawyers in here that can explain if this means it can’t be appealed?


IANAL but a "final judgement" at District Court level merely means the end of the proceedings at the District Court level. From the District Court level, you have the right to an appeal to the relevant Circuit Court of Appeal. (By contrast, you don't have the right to an appeal from the Circuit Court level to the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court gets to decide which appeals it wants to hear and only a small minority get accepted.)


IAAL, and you are correct.

Generally, the appellate (circuit) courts do not get involved until a case has been completely adjudicated in a district court. There are many orders that a district court may issue while a case is pending, and it would be incredibly taxing on the appellate system if litigants could complain to the appellate courts about every perceived error that emerges during the case in a piecemeal manner. It is in the interests of judicial economy to ensure that all errors are addressed concurrently as part of a single appeal. So the appellate courts will not take a case on appeal until the district court has issued a final judgment disposing of all issues that are in dispute. The final judgment would typically be issued subsequent to, e.g., a motion to dismiss the complaint, or a jury's verdict. Once that final judgment is filed by the district court, then the case is ripe for appeal to the relevant circuit court (depending on which jurisdiction the district court is located). Then, once the circuit court issues its final judgment, that judgment can in turn be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Note that there are some exceptions to the general rule, in which case a litigant can initiate what's called an interlocutory appeal, which just means that you can appeal from a single order while the underlying case is still pending.


> “Intelligence information should protect our nation, not provide personal profit. This judgment will ensure that Edward Snowden receives no monetary benefits from breaching the trust placed in him.”

A second-level breach of trust, huh.

Also:

> 56 specific speeches

Heh.


Here he comments on his reasoning around not submitting: TLDR; why submit a document criticizing an agency to the agency itself for censorship? https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/edward-snowden-h...


He probably should have published a Bitcoin address in the preamble


I don't think Snowden cares.


Even if he's on the payroll of a Russian intelligence service, doubt he's immune to wanting to be compensated for the work involved in writing the book. If he's not on their payroll, whatever work he's doing to support himself in Russia, surely some supplemental income would be welcome.


> In September 2019, the United States filed a lawsuit against Snowden, who published a book entitled Permanent Record in violation of the non-disclosure agreements he signed with both CIA and NSA. The lawsuit alleged that Snowden published his book without submitting it to the agencies for pre-publication review, in violation of his express obligations under the agreements he signed.

> The United States’ lawsuit did not seek to stop or restrict the publication or distribution of Permanent Record. Rather, ... the government sought to recover all proceeds earned by Snowden ...

Even if you ignore all context regarding Snowden, how does this make any sense? The crime is to make classified information available to the public. Therefore, the government ... does not actually care to retract that information but will instead take your money.


I think that is explained toward the end:

> This lawsuit is separate from the criminal charges brought against Snowden for his alleged disclosures of classified information. This lawsuit is a civil action, and based solely on Snowden’s failure to comply with the clear pre-publication review obligations included in his signed non-disclosure agreements.


This might provide some context on the non-disclosure agreements:

https://gizmodo.com/the-cia-has-to-approve-every-script-for-...

"The Americans was created by Joe Weisberg, a former CIA agent. And since he knows all kinds of stuff that the CIA would like to keep secret, they've reserved the right to censor anything they don't like on the show."


For anyone curious, the NDA signed prior to being given access to classified information is publicly available (link below).

Paragraph 5 spells the forfeiture of royalties pretty clearly, among other things.

SF-312: https://www.gsa.gov/cdnstatic/SF312-13.pdf?forceDownload=1


This might be the strongest argument for torrenting a book that I have ever come across.


This might be the strongest argument for monitoring all online traffic that governments have ever come across.


The 'crime' in this case is violation of the non-disclosure without submitting for pre-publication review.

The book may or not contain sensitive information.

It probably does not, otherwise, the government would be pushing to suppress it.

It could simply be a legal decision, in that, they may not actually have the ability or right to block it unless it does contain sensitive information, so this is all they can do. Or it could be possible the CIA/NSA for whatever reason actually want the book to be published. Or perhaps there is some kind of unknown policy that specifically forbids those from doing such things from profiting in such a manner and the policy is just being carried out. Nobody at the CIA is going to care about the money involved.

It is odd though.


> It probably does not, otherwise, the government would be pushing to suppress it.

The information is already released. Pushing to suppress it would be ineffectual while confirming that the book contains sensitive information.


"The information is already released."

We don't know that though. Snowden spent a lot of time doing what he did, and still has a ton of insider information.

Anything he talks about in terms of his experience as a contract is probably subject to the agreement.

If you work for Apple, and then write a book talking about all of the meetings, transactions, decision inputs, criteria for projects, talk about projects that never came to light etc. - they probably would probably sue and try to stop publication.

So it's hard to say exactly what is going on.


No, we know that the book has been published and the information in it has been released. That can't be stopped anymore, because the people who are interested in it already have it. What we don't know is whether the information that was released is valuable or not.

The only thing that trying to stop publication does is confirm to everyone that the information was valuable, giving credibility to it when before we didn't know how credible it was.


1. This isn't about classified vs. not classified, it's an NDA, just like you probably have with your employer

2. They can't prosecute Snowden because he's not in the US, but they can prevent him from profiting from the NDA violation in the US.


Perhaps they don't want to say in the court that Snowden was right. This might matter if things turn around in the future and the key people involved in the surveillance will be tried in a court for "crimes against humanity".


I would guess (hope) non-disclosure does not apply to criminal acts. Right?


[flagged]


Please don't take HN threads further into political flamewar. Nothing new or interesting will come of it.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-08-14/trump-s-n...

Seems to me that he has lost net worth while in office. Even though the biggest losses were this year, there is not a clear trend there to say he is profiting due to his position.


If, hypothetically, I enlist you to commit a crime like robbing a bank, and we abscond with say, $1,000,000 - that is a crime.

If during the getaway we not only lose every dollar but total our Lamborghini, sure, we may have a net loss, but it doesn't make it not a crime.


It would be fair to say that you didn’t profit from the robbery.

A better example would be robbing the bank, keeping the money, but your $3,000,000 mansion burned down. Your net worth has dropped, but you did profit from the robbery.


The crime was, and always was, the first action (transaction?) between the people doing the heist and the bank.

Whatever happened afterward is irrelevant. For at least one instant, in the hypothetical we had $1,000,000 in ill-gotten gains. I assume that's some sort of crime in whatever jurisdiction you are in, and if not, well, there are banks waiting for you friend.


> For at least one instant, in the hypothetical we had $1,000,000 in ill-gotten gains.

Highly debatable. What does it mean to "have" $1,000,000? Is there even such a thing as instantaneous net worth? Being a millionaire for a brief instant with no ability to use the money seems a lot like having $0.

Regardless, this just demonstrates that the bank robbery analogy is flawed. It's not illegal for the president to access the classified national security information. How he uses that information is where the crime may have occurred.

So perhaps a better analogy is armored car drivers transporting the money. They're allowed to possess the money. They're not allowed to do whatever they want with it, like, say, lend it out for profit.


Best to take someone else's Lamborghini to a bank heist.


No one said in this hypothetical we were smart criminals.


Without jumping into the rest of the fray in this discussion, it does seem plausible for someone to profit while still losing part of their net worth, if the loss that they would have otherwise incurred is less than they otherwise would have due to an unfair advantage due to their position.

If a person were to use insider information to sell off their stock just after the value of it began to plummet, they would still be guilty of insider trading regardless of the end result of the stock crash on their net worth.


Is it possible that he would have lost even more without holding the presidency?


If I steal $1 million, and then I lose $3 million, I still stole $1 million.


Not for lack of trying...


You don't refrain from going after criminals because they're incompetent.


January 21st we hope.


January 20th, at noon. John Roberts Jr. gives Joe Biden the oath. Applause. 21 cannon shots. Hail to the Chief plays. Hail to the Chief ends. Cannon fire ends. Applause ends. Biden steps to the podium to give his inaugural address.

"My fellow Americans, it is with the deepest humility that I have accepted your verdict. As President of the United States, I commit to enforce justice, to be fair, and to show empathy for all of you. But first, I have one small detail to take care of."

Cameras are recording everything. The nation is transfixed. Joe Biden slowly turns sideway. He raises his left hand and points at Donald Trump.

"Secret Service, arrest this man."

Four agents clad in black suits, wearing sunglasses and earpieces, grab the former president. Trump, 74, tries to resist weakly, but is quickly carried away. The crowd of political dignitaries behind Biden turns their heads in cadence, following the sight of the former president being taken away from view. Biden turns back to face the National Mall. Applause and deafening cheers. The end.


There’s nothing that says “totally legitimate and peaceful transfer of power” better than the incoming President personally ordering the arrest of his predecessor during the inauguration.


More realistically will be the lawsuits unleashed from the southern district in NY, and I think a couple more from a few states, all for valid things. They’ve been readying them.


This isn't how people are arrested in the United States.


I know. This is my fantasy.


Well I loved it.



[flagged]


The issue here isn’t selling a book about one’s experiences. It’s that people who receive security clearances sign ridiculous life-long contracts that require they have their publications vetted, and Presidents don’t. It’s not a perfect system, but one can see the need for it once you accept the idea that clearances should exist. There’s no equivalent rule for Presidents, nor should there be.

(Also Presidents profiting off of speaking fees is problematic, but the ethical problems with that practice don’t really apply to a President writing a popular book.)


When running on a campaign of "I will put my political opponent in jail" becomes a bit more normalized.

We've had a bit of a trial run for that in 2016, but it quickly fizzled out.


How should I feel about Snowden?

On the one hand, I served in the US military, took an oath, love my country, and value keeping my word. I have little respect for someone who went into a position of trust with intent to betray.

On the other hand, his actions brought to light questionable activity by our intelligence service.

I just don't know. It seems weird but I kinda don't care what happens to him.


The oath is to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. A lot of people seem to be confused about who the real enemies of the Constitution (particularly the Fourth Amendment) are.

Put another way: Hopefully you were taught that it is your duty not to obey an unlawful order from a superior.

I don't know where you got the idea that he began his career with an intent to leak details of the government's illegal actions. According to him, he came across the report that finally led to the decision purely by accident.



But who says legitimate whistleblowers have specific rules under which they must do it? (E.g. they must only enter into employment or servitude with zero suspicion of employer or zero intent to leak information of any wrongdoing observed? Isn't that against the very principles of whistleblowing, and even potentially legal protections under whistleblowing laws?)

His actions are only seen as a 'sin' if you already agree his whistleblowing wasn't warranted.


It's all the same incestuous group of agencies and contractors to me. He was employed by the NSA or CIA (Dell, 2009 or 2011) when he found the report and made his decision. Yeah, he changed positions (and contracting agencies) to collect additional data. He had already long since sworn his oath and received his clearance.

Sure, he likely signed a new contract with BAH. If that's where the line between ethical and unethical behavior is located, I guess my worldview needs calibration.

I see you've been downvoted. I upvoted your comment, since you posted a factual link and contributed to the discussion.


To what are you loyal? The letter of the law, or its spirit? To those in power, or to the principles governing power? To the country, or the things it stands for?

These are ancient questions, so there's plenty of sources to help you weigh your answer.

Snowden thought loyalty to certain principles outweighed loyalty to the system. Ultimately, you'll have to decide whether you see sense in that or not.


I love this answer. It's absolutely spot on.


> I have little respect for someone who went into a position of trust with intent to betray.

It’s clear that he didn’t enter the intelligence field specifically to commit crimes against the US. He grew up in a government family, joined the Army before being discharged due to injury, and then entered intelligence.

Before claiming what he did was betrayal, it’s pretty important to look at the circumstances he acted under and how he disseminated the leaked documents.

Speaking of betrayal, he saw the highest ranking intelligence officials blatantly lying to Congress in oversight hearings because he knew all about the domestic spying. The whole “you can’t handle the truth” attitude that was revealed by the military brass was an absolute disgrace and has deeply damaged trust in the US government.

Snowden also placed numerous boundaries around how the information he gave to the Guardian could be published by having final approval on stories. He expressly forbade fishing expeditions and only permitted journalists to write stories that he deemed were in the public interest and not a threat to personnel or ongoing military operations. You’re welcome to review that reporting and decide for yourself if any of it was published purely with intent to damage US national security. Based on what he walked away with, if his goal was truly to undermine national security, he undoubtedly left major ammunition untouched.

When you took your oath to serve, it was to serve the United States, and not Michael Hayden, John Brennan, etc., correct? If you were in a position to see people like that lying to Congress regarding the oversight of civilians, would you not do something about it? Many before Snowden tried, like Thomas Drake, Bill Binney, etc. They followed the rules and didn’t walk out with receipts, and their lives were completely ruined because of it.


This is about the proceeds from the book, but you used it as an opportunity to say you don't care if he winds up in prison.

I do care. I don't agree with Snowden on everything he says, but I agree with what he's done: whistleblowing on something the public needed to know about, and seeking refuge from an unfair and unconstitutional trial.


All enemies, foreign and domestic. Maybe you can argue the definition of “enemy.” He believed he was witness to a system that was doing damage to the constitutional fabric of America, so those behind the system were acting against US interests, which fits the definition by my lights.


I don't think Snowden got into the military with the intent to betray. In fact, he repeatedly escalated his concerns about illegal behavior to his superiors. Only after those avenues were exhausted did he go public.


But he DID go to work for Booz Allen Hamilton with such intent, by his own public admission [1]

"My position with Booz Allen Hamilton granted me access to lists of machines all over the world the NSA hacked," he told the Post on June 12. "That is why I accepted that position about three months ago."

[1] https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1268209/snowden-...


His quote does not state that he intended to be a whistleblower at that time at all.


> someone who went into a position of trust with intent to betray.

What evidence is there that Snowden went into his position with an intent to betray?


His own admission. [1]

"My position with Booz Allen Hamilton granted me access to lists of machines all over the world the NSA hacked," he told the Post on June 12. "That is why I accepted that position about three months ago."

[1] https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1268209/snowden-...


Why vote down a comment that is a factual, sourced answer with no opinion expressed?


When the State is the enemy of the Constitution and of the People, where is your loyalty?




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