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Obama refuses to barter over Snowden (aljazeera.com)
32 points by monorail 1459 days ago | hide | past | web | 24 comments | favorite

Interesting comments so far ... I'm more incensed that Obama called him a hacker. There was absolutely no hacking as he had a security clearance to work with (and apparently copy) the data he was responsible for.

Demonize him and also case your state for requiring internet monitoring in a single blow. It's done very intentionally.

While he might not be a hacker in our minds, whether he was permitted to access the documents he did is still up for debate. If he accessed them without permission, that would be enough to qualify him as a hacker under some definitions.

It's still a pretty wild stretch of the term. By that notion, trespassing through an unlocked door would make me a locksmith.

Or perhaps a cracker if you believe in the original usage of the word.

Just having security clearance doesn't mean that he absolutely didn't necessarily do any 'hacking' to get the data - he may well not have had direct access to the data in question, clearance or not.

If he's really refusing to barter, he must not want Snowden back that much.

More likely, this is Obama's equivalent of Reagan's "We do not negotiate with terrorists"... just a lie for the cameras.

The corrolary to your argument would seem to be that Obama is negotiating with Russia for Snowden's release. It strikes me as more likely that he is not. The whole issue is a domestic nightmare, having turned Obama from "good guy" to "bad guy" in the eyes of many (notably the primary demographic of this site).

He doesn't want a trial for this guy. He just wants the issue to go away. The security damage has already been done, if you believe the bit about Snowden having distribute d encrypted copies of the documents, etc...

And the fact that Snowden brought everything he had into Russia, and you have to be a complete idiot to believe Putin's line that nobody from the Russian government or intelligence has talked to Snowden about it, or gotten a copy yet.

I suspect Snowden has the data encrypted meaning that copies are not of much use anyone without the key. If you are suggesting that Snowden gave up the encryption keys to Russia or China, that is a very serious accusation without any proof behind it.

It would also undermine everything Snowden has done so far, so unless they tortured him or he is completely insane I seriously doubt he did that.

To be clear, I'm not saying that he's given out the keys to any country. However, I'm not sure that really matters right now.

Realistically, the data in there probably isn't all that time-sensitive. It's not like we're in an active war with Russia and Snowden took copies of an upcoming US invasion plan with him there. In that case, two things would matter: if the Russians had the data, and whether they had cracked the encryption. However, in this case, the data Snowden has is useful as a general "What do they know" exercise. This is data that will remain interesting for the Russians and Chinese even if it takes months to crack. So, at this point, it is a problem for the US if the Russians are just in possession of it, even encrypted. It's just another bargaining chip that they have.

How long has it been since Snowden has been seen?

If Snowden is in Russia, and he has encrypted data, and he himself knows the decryption key... then I wouldn't have boundless confidence in a 29-year-old's ability to resist the persuasive power of the Russian 'deep security state' to obtain his keys.

Given amnesia- and compliance-inducing drugs, Snowden might not even be sure he's given up the goods... just wake up one morning a bit more groggy and 'jetlagged' than usual.

Why 29? Is it easier to resist persuasive measures when you are older or younger than 29? Seems pretty irrelevant to me.

I think it's fairly obvious Obama used "29 year old" to imply immaturity and chip away at his credibility thereby. (esp since he is 30 now, surprising how different "30 year old hacker" sounds than "29 year old hacker"..)

Snowden surely knows more about various aspects of spycraft and national-security-coercive-techniques than I and many other older people.... both from his Army training and later jobs. But still, extra awareness and wariness comes with age.

Holding other things constant, an older Snowden would be relatively more likely to have...

• ...known what kinds of tricks and pressures (including non-consensual drugged interrogation) he might be subjected to

• ...received official training, initial or refresher, in resistance

• ...planned well for worst-case outcomes, like not being able to stay above-ground in law-and-order Hong Kong, but rather winding up at the mercy of Russia

I don't know for sure whether in general, older or younger people are better at resisting interrogation. I suspect the 'dark arts' for coercing compliance have evolved over a longer term than any person's lifetime, and prey on any one person's limited experience, so I tend to think they'll work better with the younger... but it's an interesting question.

I do suspect an older person would be more likely to protect himself beforehand, for example by not traveling with the most truly US-interest-damaging data, or encrypting data with a better cipher, or even encrypting data in a way he couldn't, alone under coercion, decrypt.

Indeed. Obama can play the diplomatic equivalent of "We do not negotiate with terrorists" (like "We do not negotiate with allies", I guess), as a machismo stance while Snowden conveniently walks free until he's forgotten by the mainstream American media and stops being a political problem.

The problem with this approach is that it doesn't buy Obama much with the people he's disappointed on this issue. But it does get the matter out of the public eye and prevent additional embarrassment.

I don't think there is any security damage, no matter what they claim. There is embarrassment because of the wrongdoing being revealed.

The cat is out of the bag, really catching snowden at this point is just to serve as an example for others, not in strategic value of its own...

China already has whatever they wanted from snowden, Russia already has whatever they wanted from snowden, Encrypted copies of his data are in the hands of probably dozens of journalists and ambasadors, and the story is already on the news...

And if they wanted to make an example of Snowden, the last place they want him is in an American court of law, with cameras and stuff. Gitmo or some other extra-legal incarceration isn't much better, if it's public.

The best example would be for him to be disappeared. Let his encrypted secrets come to light, so it's obvious that he's either dead or getting tortured somewhere, and that the American government simply doesn't care about diplomatic niceties when it comes to silencing whistleblowers. That would be a lesson to the wary.

Yeah but at that point people might actually start to care, which would be the worst of all for them.

Keeping the NSA's program(s) running would be easier if they keep Snowden out of the news.

Fighting with Russia for him would just draw more attention to it.

"What's more, Ecuador offers the United States economic aid of $23 million annually, similar to what we received with the trade benefits, with the intention of providing education about human rights" well played, Ecuador.

I wish some European states would have that much courage.

However, at least here in Germany this is unthinkable, given the number of human rights violations we still have to fix here in our own country.

>>it took two months for the country to make a decision in the case of Julian Assange, the founder of whistleblowing website Wikileaks, and that Snowden's case would take at least as long from the time the request was filed.<<

Snowden might be in Russia for some time.

The headline should be "Obama says he refuses to barter over Snowden". And every time a politician says something, that's just PR. What matters is what politicians do.

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