There’s a Big Difference Between the Actions of Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden

manning-snowdenLast week I wrote an article calling Bradley Manning a traitor, which caused quite the uproar within the liberal community.  It even led to my appearance on HuffPost Live where I discussed Bradley Manning’s impact on the United States.

Well, over the last week we’ve also had the story from The Guardian involving the NSA and their tracking of the phone records and various internet activities of Americans.  I’m sure you’ve heard about it.

And just yesterday the person who leaked the information about the NSA’s secret tracking was revealed, by his own request.  His name is Edward Snowden, and he’s a former CIA employee and current employee for defense contractor Booze Allen Hamilton.

For the record, I don’t think Mr. Snowden should be prosecuted, and I certainly don’t think he’s a traitor.  I wouldn’t call him a “hero,” though his actions are indeed bold.  He chose to reveal his identity and made it clear that he doesn’t believe what he did was wrong.

And I agree with him.

I can already hear it, “But, how is what he did any different than what Bradley Manning did?”

Well, first, he’s a civilian.  Like I said in my article about Mr. Manning, when you enlist in the military you are beholden to a completely different set of rules than that of ordinary citizens—especially when you’re deployed to war.

Second, Manning took hundreds of thousands of pieces of information and dumped them into the hands of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.  Snowden took a specific issue which he found troubling and gave it over to a very reputable media outlet (though a foreign one, still very reputable internationally).  It wasn’t a reckless dump of information such as that done by Manning.

Supporters of Manning usually only look at what was revealed, not what he did.  If you’re going to be any kind of whistleblower as a member of our military, you have to be very careful and very calculated—two things Mr. Manning was not.  And you damn sure don’t hand it over to a foreigner.

He leaked 750,000 pieces of classified information.  Just because nothing that he leaked directly resulted in the death of any of our brave men and women in our military, doesn’t mean that it couldn’t have.

The information released by Mr. Snowden wasn’t anything that could possibly risk lives.  There was virtually no chance that anyone would die because Snowden leaked information about the NSA tracking the phone records and various internet activities of millions of Americans.  At the time of Manning’s leak, he had no real way of knowing what ramifications there could be once the information he exposed was shown the light of day.

Like I said in my discussion on HuffPost Live, laws don’t suddenly become nullified just because the results of breaking them weren’t catastrophic.  Imagine if something Manning carelessly leaked out did result in the deaths of thousands of Americans, would his supporters still call him a hero?  I highly doubt it.

What Snowden did was identify a possible violation of our Fourth Amendment (which many would argue has been nullified by the Patriot Act) and exposed what he felt was a massive government overreach into the private lives of Americans.

But let’s be clear about this, the government isn’t recording our phone conversations.  They’ve been tracking who you call and duration of those calls—that’s it.  And they’re probably not too concerned about the pictures of your dinner that you posted on Instagram, either.

Now the general feeling I get from most people I talk to is that they pretty much figured the government had been doing this all along.  I did a very unscientific “poll” on my Facebook page, Right Off A Cliff, asking, “Do you care that the government has been collecting the phone records of Americans?”  I allowed 200 people to respond before cutting it off and 54% didn’t care while 46% did.  Again, this isn’t a scientific poll by any means, but it does go along with the general comments I’ve gotten from most people.  About half are “outraged” and the other half simply assumed it was happening anyway.

Snowden had a clear goal in exposing this information—to get Americans talking about this issue.  In his interview with The Guardian he stated:

“I really want the focus to be on these documents and the debate which I hope this will trigger among citizens around the globe about what kind of world we want to live in.”

If you read the whole interview, he clearly understands the ramifications of his actions.  He carefully planned what he would release and had a careful plan once he released it.  And he clearly did it with a purpose—one I happen to agree with.

Because there needs to be a debate in this country about what is and isn’t allowed in our national security.   And unfortunately, as it stands now, there are far more questions than answers on this issue.

On one hand, you have the argument that the government tracking the phone records and internet activities of Americans without reasonable cause clearly violates our Fourth Amendment.

However, a thought that’s come to my mind is a reflection on presidential candidate Barack Obama, who was insistent on more transparency within our national security if he were to become president.  The key part here, of course, was that he was only a candidate for the presidency—he hadn’t been elected and assumed office as of yet.

So I’ve wondered if as an outsider, not knowing what presidents know about our national security, did what he find out when he became president change his mind?  After all, how do we know the information they’ve collected in some of these questionable ways hasn’t prevented horrific tragedies like that of 9/11, or even worse?  We’d never know for sure if some kind of attack was prevented, because it didn’t happen.

I had a professor in school who had previously worked for the Department of Defense.  He often spoke about the fact that what Americans think they know about threats and our national security isn’t even the tip of the iceberg.  He also said that if people knew what he did, or heard what he’s heard, that many would understand why secrecy is so important.  He implied frequently that it’s naive for people who’ve never worked in defense or intelligence to assume they know what’s going on, when they’re making judgments mostly blind to any and all facts.

Even the most liberal or liberty-minded person would have to admit this is fairly accurate.  What we know about our intelligence is mostly assumed based on data and information that’s often objective.

But Edward Snowden’s actions, while quite possibly criminal because he did remove sensitive information illegally from the federal government, have helped to stir the debate on government surveillance of Americans.  That’s exactly what he hoped would happen—and it’s something the White House has said it “welcomed.”

The question is, will President Obama take the debate seriously?  I really hope so.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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  • ray2hill

    I enjoyed reading you convoluted explanation but do not buy your equally convoluted theory. Both are patriots and heroes deserving of the support and praise of the rest of us. When you grow up life will be less confusing. Things will even out and your now pompous ego will show fewer stretch marks…

    • SadieBoyd

      thank you, ray…thinking the same

    • Quill

      Perfect response Ray…..

    • Eric

      Couldn’t disagree more. They are both traitors and more than likely, Mr. Snowden will be locked away for a very long time. It is not his job to be the moral police. Those who are outraged over the actions and the NSA and call scum like Manning and Snowden heroes are the ones who should be monitored 24/7/ Like I always say, those most concerned about their privacy are the ones with the most to hide.

      • If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom — go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!

      • CherMoe

        Exactly WHOSE job is it? Have you ever read the Constitution? Other than the 2nd Amendment regarding your ownership of guns, that is?

      • Shouldn’t we be up in arms over any violation of the amendments in the bill of rights be it the first, second or fourth?

      • I Once Was Andrew

        What we really should do is rewrite the Constitution so that our rights are protected in the world we currently live in rather than the world of the 18th century.

      • I wouldn’t go that far. Perhaps education on what the constitution actually means as apposed to the distorted version the government is following.

      • ray2hill

        Eric, I suppose you have never actually used the Constitution of The United States but I have (see 107 S Ct 2502) and that was but one of four successful suits with a fifth pending. The arrogance of power is a greater threat to real liberty than any foreign or other domestic threat. That arrogance is fed by the support like yours. You are NOT a patriot but a slave in waiting for the next crumb to fall from the table of the oligarchy.

      • That court case is priceless good on you for defending the constitution. This country needs more action like that.

      • So all must think like you and if they don’t they are “Not a Patriot”, As far as I know I and all of us have a right to our opinions. I actually agree with Eric.

      • ray2hill

        Well Brett, have you used the constitution?

      • James Whitman

        You say that ” It is not his job to be the moral police ” then who’s job it ?

        He is a big HERO

  • SadieBoyd

    I would hardly call Manning’s decision reckless. He was well aware of the consequences to him, which places him more bold than Bolden. This article from Clifton seems self serving and reads like an advertisement.

    • AlienFactor

      Manning was reckless. He did not have direct knowledge of the contents of the documents he turned over, had no clue what was in most of them, had no concern for the potential harm that their release could cause. He grabbed classified documents en masse, using no discretion whatsoever. Maybe if he had sifted through the documents and passed on only a select number after reviewing them individually and finding a compelling reason to release each, maybe you could argue that he did not act in a reckless manner.

  • jeczaja

    You are a German citizen who discovers that your government is systematically executing disabled people, gay people, Jews and political opponents. You get that information out to the world. Are you a traitor or a hero? That depends entirely on which side of the Nazi regime you’re standing on.

    • Travis Flemming

      the first thing you jump to is a nazi comparison?

      • Dissenter13a

        It makes the point that you duct-tape hoarders don’t get. We are not to be loyal to our government, but the charter that makes us a republic.

      • I Once Was Andrew

        When the government is secretly spying on all of us and covering up the murder of innocents, I’m gonna go with, uh… yeah.

      • Desertmer

        Its an accurate comparison – what’s the problem? We aren’t allowed to remember history and possibly learn how to make better decisions?

  • John Adney

    while members of the u.s. military may not have died as a result of manning’s actions – to our knowledge – his leaks did however directly lead to the killing of some of our collaborators overseas. this fact of course strengthens the distinction you’re making here, one that i broadly agree with.

    considering the way we treat people these days, i do however have to wonder what snowden is doing revealing himself before he has safely escaped to another country.

  • Disgusted

    He is a traitor and should be prosecuted for treason and should get the firing squad. If you don’t think so too it proves you don’t care about our national security and must favor the muslim pigs attacking this country. When it comes to true national security the gloves are off so we don’t have another 911. Enough is enough

    • Dissenter13a

      Wrap yourself in the duct tape, as opposed to the flag. I would accept the risk of a few more terrorist attacks — you are more likely to be killed in a tornado or via lightning strike — if the benefit is that our fascist plutocracy is restrained by the rule of law.

  • Scott Bennett

    a few problems with trying to make the distinction between Snowden and Manning. Firstly, Manning tried to release his information to the more “mainstream” media, but they rejected it or weren´t interested. Secondly, not only did Snowden steal government property, but trying to make a distinction between him as a civilian and a member of the military is somewhat specious, in that Snowden obviously has (or now had) a security clearance, meaning that he explicitely agreed to abide by very military-like conditions of non-disclosure / confidentiality. I my mind they both deserve prosecution. If you think that the government is doing something wrong, you first try and follow the appropriate channels – you do not bare all to whatever media outlet will hear you.

    • I Once Was Andrew

      What exactly are the “appropriate channels” for ending NSA surveillance of all American citizens? What exactly are the “appropriate channels” for reporting that the government has studiously ignored hundreds or thousands of war crimes committed by its own military?

      How, as a low-level nobody whose opinion counts for nothing, do you fix from within something that’s so deeply corrupted?

      • Scott Bennett

        so instead, whenever anyone who has a secret or top secret clearance thinks that something is against their conscious or maybe not kosher they should simply run to their nearest newspaper, internet blog, TV station etc and spew their guts, releasing whatever they think justified? Hmmmm. Then why bother with a military, intelligence department, police network, FBI, NSA, CIA or anthing of the kind? Of course your way would be better, seeing as you probably support the arming of every American; then if anyone invades your privacy in any way you could simply shoot them.

      • Holy….. You’re not very bright are you…
        Lets debunk this from bottom to top. First you seem to be an anti-gun/gun grabber from this statement “seeing as you support the arming of every American…” The founding fathers all expressed the idea that a person should be armed because I was, is, and always will be the individuals best bastion against tyranny and oppression from any source.

        If the government is violating the constitution it needs to be exposed and summarily dealt with in every instance. In the case of the AP and the phone/Internet record being seized with out a warrant, that is a direct violation of the fourth amendment regardless of what FISA or the patriot act say as they both have provisions that violate the constitution. And as far as the evidence that was leaked in the manning or the snowden case it’s all info that could have been requested through the freedom of information act.

      • Scott Bennett

        yes, as a not very bright graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center (which law school was it you graduated from again?) I can relatively affirmatively state that the Founding Fathers did NOT state that a person should be armed; rather, if you read (and understood) the Constitution you would notice that the Second Amendment calls for a “well-regulated militia” not the blanket arming of all citizens.

        Secondly, if a law is unconstitutional – say the Patriot Act – the appropriate forum to address that is in the courts, which determine constitutionality and thus uphold or invalidate such laws. I don´t remember any legal challenges to it heretofore, so I am assuming that no one seriously until now thought it illegal.

        And do you really thnk that information currently classified as “confidential”, “secret” or “top secret” is easily available through a FOIA request?

      • The second amendment reads; a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

        In this context well regulated refers to training and organizational structure of the militia. It’s been historically established that the people are the militia. Please read the federalist papers it clearly details this.

        The right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed. That is pretty clear that they intended the people( that’s you and I) to have arms. The US v Heller also supports the fact that it is an individual right protected by the constitution.

        Apparently you need to brush up on consitutional law.

        There are nine exemptions to FOIA does any of the informations released fall under those exemptions?

        People have been asserting that both FISA and the patriot act are unconstitutional you just haven’t been paying attention because they have been contesting it since 2001.

      • Dissenter13a

        You can’t have a corporate right without a corresponding individual right.

      • What are you getting at?

      • Dissenter13a

        The collective right to RKBA only exists of account of the individual right.

      • All the rights listed are individual rights. Why would anyone argue that they are not?

      • Scott Bennett

        the text of the Second Amendment is: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”. When one examines this Amendment grammatically, the main sentence would then read – without the ancillary material, “A well regulated Militia shall not be infringed.” This Amendment asserts the right of the people to have a militia to act as their protectors. Further, when one puts this Amendment into historical perspective, one realizes that the militia in question was the forerunner to the military of an independent state. Unless you are considering seceding, there is already an established “militia”: it is called collectively the US military and locally your law enforcement officers.

        And in any stretch of the definition of the term “regulated” it can also mean “contained” “governed” “controlled” etc. Your definition is only one of many – and a reach at that. And the Federalist Papers were only one viewpoint at the time, and as far as I am aware have never become the binding law of the land.

        Please do not cite case law to me until you learn to Shepardize. Otherwise it is useless. And until you have sat through several semesters of constitutional law, please do not try to condescend to me stating that I “need to brush up” on it.

        And two final points: 1) seeing as I have not have access to the full amount of the information which has been released upon which to make such an assessment as to whether it falls under FOIA or not (have you?) I cannot answer that question. And 2) if these Acts haven´t been contested since 2001, how unconstitutional can they then be (or were they then held to be)?

      • Dissenter13a

        Why Shepardize in a legal system where precedent is not binding? I can see that you are pretty wet behind your ears, Junior.

      • Scott Bennett

        “Precedent is not even binding”? That comment is too ignorant to deal with. I take it for you that “wet behind the ears” means educated, intelligent, and well-informed.

      • Dissenter13a

        When you get out into the real world, you are going to learn that if a judge doesn’t want to give you relief, even Marbury v. Madison isn’t precedent. As for your baseless belief that judges follow precedent, take a look at this dissent: Williams v. Dallas Area Rapid Transit, 256 F.3d 260, 260-61 (5th Cir. 2001) (Smith, J., dissenting from den. of reh. en banc). Judges on our courts of appeal flip SCOTUS the bird every day because they know that they don’t do error-correction.

        Assume, arguendo, that a federal district judge was taking bribes to pay for his endless parade of high-class whores and that the Bush Administration knew it. A hidden camera in the bedroom showing a generous tip would seal the deal, and an extended stay in the Greybar Hotel would not be an appealing prospect. And let us say that a high-powered local exec cut a lucrative deal with the feds to let them tap our telephone calls at will, but backed out because his legal team told him it was illegal. Now, if that judge was asked to determine whether the executive could introduce evidence regarding this contract in the insider trading lawsuit that the feds brought against him in retaliation for his reticence, you would expect that judge to keep that evidence—which probably would have exonerated the exec—from the jury. In essence, these are the salient facts of United States v. Nacchio, 519 F.3d 1140 (10th Cir. 2008), rev’d and vacated in part on rehearing en banc, 555 F.3d 1234 (10th Cir. 2009).

        Scott, when you get out in the real world of practice, you’re going to find that the highest and best use of the United States Reports is as kindling, and that the Harvard-trained judge you are appearing before just used the Bill of Rights as a makeshift tampon. Unless you have a well-heeled client, even the circuit courts are certiorari courts. Panels in the Ninth Circuit may issue 150 rulings per three-day session, Alex Kozinski, Letter (to Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr.), Jan. 16, 2004 at 5; Perfunctory Justice: Overloaded Federal Judges Increasingly Are Resorting to One-Word Rulings, Des Moines Register, Mar. 26, 1999, at 12 (fifty federal appeals decided in two hours in Eighth Circuit). As our circuit judges never actually bother to read the opinions issued under their name, to say nothing of the briefs submitted, for most ordinary Americans, the “Court of Appeals” is a fresh-faced kid out of Harvard who has never tried a case in his life. And as Kozinski concedes, the work product is about what you expect from pampered and lazy Harvard legacies: it is “sausage,” unfit for human consumption. Basically, if you want to practice “law,” you had better learn how to perform fellatio on judges, as Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89 (2007), is a lot closer to what really happens out in the real world. And if you won’t be persuaded by me, perhaps you will listen to Dershowitz:

        “[My point is] about the disillusionment that comes with learning that some justices actually cheat. You probably already suspected that some lower court judges play favorites with lawyers and litigants who supported their election or appointment. But Supreme Court justices? That came as a surprise even to a lifelong cynic like me. …

        Trust no one in power, including—especially—judges. Don’t take judicial opinions at face value. Go back and read the transcript. Cite-check the cases, You will be amazed at how often you will find judges “finessing” the facts and the law.”

        —Alan Dershowitz, Letters to a Young Lawyer

      • Scott Bennett

        on of the first things you are trained to do is to take a fact pattern and build a logical argument from it. Here you have failed. You argue that because there are some judges who do not follow precedent – as required in the Common Law system – that there is no such thing as precedent. That is akin to arguing that there are some people who have murdered others that there is ergo no law against murder. Your view of the legal system is cynical in the extreme – to the point of paralysis. Do you truly mean to tell me that if someone you sign a contract with the bilks you out of $100,000.00 that you would not take them to court to try and recover your money? After all, according to your world view it would be pointless. What alternative do you have then? Perhaps to shoot that person and take back your money? Do will live in a lawless, Wild West vigilante society then? Just because the system is far from perfect does not mean that it does not exist. Just as if I think that a law dutifully enacted is either stupid or unconstitutional does not mean that I may unilaterally ignore it and break it. The only choice in a civilized society is to petition for that law to be changed – and in the American society that is through the democratic process. Only in an autocratic or tyrannical society can one individual make such determinations unilaterally.

        You´ve pointed out several times your many years of experience in the “real world”. It sounds to me that those were disappointing, bitter, and depressing.

      • Dissenter13a

        I’ve earned the right to be cynical. Until you grasp how things work in the real world, you are going to be blind-sided by your irrational idealism.

        If you won’t take it from me, then take it from Judge Posner of the Seventh Circuit. He asserts–and correctly!–that appellate judges often take indecent liberties with both facts and precedent, in an often-transparent effort to conceal the fact that they are not so much interpreting the law as they are writing it to suit their personal preferences, “constantly digging for quotations from and citations to previous cases to create a sense of inevitability about positions that they are in fact adopting on grounds other than deference to precedent”—a process he colorfully characterized as “fig-leafing.” Richard A. Posner, How Judges Think 144, 350 (Harv. U. Press 2008). Justice Elena Kagan lauded Judge Posner as the “the most important legal thinker of our time.” Elena Kagan, Richard Posner, the Judge, 120 Harv. L. Rev. 1121, 1121 (2007). Posner admits that judges lie about judging, “parrot[ing] an official line about the judicial process (howrule-bound it is) … though it does not describe their actual practice.” Posner, How Judges Think at 2.

        When a judge has his mouth open, he is lying. By way of example, as the Galveston Daily News editor Heber Taylor caustically observes in ‘connecting the dots’ regarding disgraced United States District Judge Samuel B. Kent:

        “In 2001, there was grumbling about favoritism in Kent’s court on Galveston Island. The Southern District removed 85 cases from the court. The attorney on all 85 was Richard Melancon, Kent’s close friend and the host of the reception for the judge’s wedding.

        The judicial system looked into it and moved the cases. The judges in charge told the public the reason was a heavy caseload.”

        Heber Taylor, Judicial Discipline Needs a Full Probe, The Galveston County Daily News (TX), May 15, 2009.

        The World Justice Project rated our legal system as the worst in the Western world. And it has earned it.

      • Scott Bennett

        “When a judge opens his mouth, he is lying.” Well, if that is true then everything you´ve just quoted is a lie and can be summarily disregarded.

      • Dissenter13a

        If you want to get THAT technical, neither Posner nor Kagan actually SAID anything. How in the hell did you even get into Georgetown???

      • Scott Bennett

        so if you want to follow that then, it is only when judges are verbally discoursing that they are lying and not following precedent. Everything that is subsequently written – per your argument – is then the absolute truth and follows precendent. That´s how I got into Georgetown.

      • Dissenter13a

        You had to settle for Georgetown because you couldn’t distinguish between literal and figurative speech? LOL! Gotcha.

      • Scott Bennett

        of course I can when said speech logically/correctly by a rational – non-delusional – individual. What law school was it you graduated from again? I seem to have forgotten…

      • I really am interested in the thing you have been bringing to the discussion here and would greatly appreciate some insight on them I’ve but cracked the door it seems in my research on this topic and would like to hear more from you on them to perhaps expand my knowledge and horizons more than I have already.

      • Article 16 of the us constitution clarifies well regulated to mean exactly what I stated in my original post. The militia is the people not the standing army or police they were very clear that it was the civilian populous not the professional standing army to which they were vehemently opposed to. I won’t even quote more case law since dissenter13a already has done so. Also the federalist papers were contemporary to the writing of the constitution so your assertion otherwise is also false.

        If you haven’t seen the information he released your assertion that he is a traitor or that he released improper information is baseless speculation at best

      • Scott Bennett

        well thanks for clearing that up. I see that all of those legal scholars who have been debating this issue for decades are obviously either less informed than you are, or less intelligent. Had I known it was that easy, I would have spared myself those three years. I mean, who knew that Constitutional interpretation was so easy? And thank you for not quoting more case law; I don´t think I could´ve taken it.

        As to the information released: if it was classified as anything to be held under confidentiality, even if it was the statement: “The sky is blue and tomorrow in the canteen we will be serving hot dog” the mere fact that it has been classified means that its release is a crime. There is no question of, “Do I think this is deserving of confidential treatment or not?” No. You agreed when you went under the extremely invasive clearance procedure (another thing which I have done) to obey that decision and to not release it to the public – or your family, friends, etc. There is no leeway.

      • Dissenter13a

        “With disarming candor Justice John Marshal Harlan (grandfather of the present Justice Harlan) told a class of law students: ‘I want to say to you young gentlemen that if we don’t like an act of Congress, we don’t have much trouble to find grounds for declaring it unconstitutional.'”

        Alphaeus T. Mason, The Supreme Court from Taft to Warren vii (La. St. U. Press, 2d ed. 1968).

        As for the putative constitutionality of the Patriot Act, I’m sure you sleep better at night knowing that out of over 1700 requests for FISA Court approval of surveillance, not a single one was denied. You do know what a Potemkin village is, no?

        When I graduated from law school–I learned to Shepardize the hard way–I was infected with the same delusions I see in you. You will learn….

      • Scott Bennett

        so according to your reading of the Nuremberg aftermath there is no accountability to any nation, officer, government etc. if it disagrees with one´s own interpretation of what is “just” or in the US constitutional? Can you then explain to me exactly where this then stops at anything short of anarchy? If I were to take your court analogy and apply it to every day life, then I can assert that anything I want to do is for the benefit of the “People” and do what I like. I do believe that Timothy McVeigh set that bomb in Oklahoma because he wanted to “wake the American people up” and expose what he claimed were “crimes” against the “People”. I guess you thought he should have not only never been arrested but thrown a thank you party? Sorry, but until you can present a coherent plan in the alternative we all have to live with the society we´ve been given with only two choices: 1) violent overthrow of that society, or 2) doing our utmost to change it from within. In the first camp you have the Alex Joneses and Teapublicans of the US, in the second you have rational people. I´ll self-identify with the second camp, thank you.

      • Dissenter13a

        “Changing it from within is” what Manning and Snowden did. Civil disobedience can be a societal duty, but it is up to us to have the backs of principled whistle-blowers like Jesselyn Radack, Thomas Tamm, Manning, and Snowden. With freedom comes responsibility.

      • I took the advice of constitutional law professors on it and you are just mad you’re wrong, and had it happen here after claiming to be a lawyer from Georgetown. Your argument about what he released is all supposition and assumption because you haven’t even seen the material he leaked and have no clue if it falls into the realm of any of the nine exemptions in the FOIA.

      • Scott Bennett

        first of all, if your language here is any indication, I highly doubt that you know any Constitutional law professors. Secondly, it is irrelevant whether or not I have seen the information or not. The release of classified information by an individual in this manner is criminal and prosecutable (and if you don´t want to listen to me just turn on your TV and listen to actual experts). Thirdly, this goes beyond freedom of speech arguments; ask any of your “professors” if they have ever had a security clearance and if so what the penalty is for breaching it. I had a secret clearance so know what I am talking about.

      • My my prose has nothing to do with who I know. And the fact that you’re now resorting to ad hominem attacks is telling indeed. You flat admitted to not seeing and of the information he released so your assertion that its classified is baseless and you know it. Well the deputy NSA guy I saw in an interview said little to nothing about anything being classified and the NSA director flat lied to congress in a video. So yeah I been watching. And I would take your word for it cause you said you hadn’t seen the material. I never made the argument about it being freedom of speech. My argument is on the grounds of the fourth amendment.

      • Scott Bennett

        if he hadn´t released confidential information then this whole thing would be a non-issue, would not be in the media, and there would be no talk of extradition. And neither newspaper would have cared about him one way or another. Had he released the upcoming menu for the NSA´s potluck lunch none would care.

        And you are arguing that he has been unconstitutionally searched or had property seized?!?! Or are you trying to argue that he has a right to act as counsel for the American peopleto assert those rights on our behalf? Because I never consented to that.

      • No not that he was but that the information the government was getting from companies was seized illegally. I don’t think he is trying to argue anything, rather he is a whistleblower who exposed facts that are suspect, and that whether he broke the law in doing so remains to be seen.

      • Dissenter13a

        Judges are just politicians, who had to spend a lot of time on knee-pads to get their gigs. If Judge Vinson is what “judicial oversight” is, it is worse than useless.

      • Unfortunately that’s probably true.

      • Dissenter13a

        Your ignorance is overwhelming, Scott. I can say what the Framers said because I have read it in their own words. And what makes you think that judges can be trusted?

      • Scott Bennett

        um, you haven´t the grounds to talk about ignorance. First of all, whether you have read the Framers´ “own words” or not, it does not mean that you have any idea what those words mean, what they meant in historical context, or how they should be interpreted in a legal context. Please leave the discussion here to your intellectual superiors.

      • Dissenter13a

        And your J.D. from Georgetown gives you that? Sorry, compadre, but if you are trying to pull rank, I’ll see your puny J.D. and raise you a second graduate degree and (judging from your photo) a few decades of actual life experience.

        Riddle me this, Junior: Is it even possible to have a “right” without an effective remedy for its breach? I’ll even give you a hint: Ashby v. White [1703] 92 E.R. 126, 136 (H.C.); accord, Poindexter v. Greenhow, 114 U.S. 270, 303 (1884).

        What did the Framers say? Start here: “When men enter into a state of society, they surrender up some of their natural rights to that society, in order in insure the protection of others; and, without such an equivalent, the surrender is void.” N.H. Const. art. 3. The Lockean social contract, codified. Your BAR-BRI-level understanding of ConLaw comes through.

        Scalia already did the heavy lifting in Heller. The well-regulated militia clause is prefatory at best, because natural law gives you an absolute right to kill a tyrant, and no sane free man would give that right up. John Adams avers: “open, avowed resistance by arms, against usurpation and lawless violence, is not rebellion by the law of God or the land.” John Adams, Novanglis No. 5, as reprinted in, John Adams and Jonathan Sewall, Novanglus and Massachusettensis 45 (1819) (1774).

        What kind of law did you say you were practicing? Tax law?

      • Scott Bennett

        one should be careful when throwing about quotes, for “When men enter into a state of society, they surrender up some of their natural rights to that society, in order in insure the protection of others; and, without such an equivalent, the surrender is void.” could – and should – quite rightly be used against a so-called “right” to bear arms: ie., in order to have a safe and secure society one must surrender one´s “right” (or as many loonies put it “God-given right”) to bear arms. You can see how that argument could be made, right? And even at that, you take what some indivduals have said, and spin it out to be the be-all and end-all law of the land. The Framers were hardly unanimous in their opinions (or were you with your advance years there?) and even after the founding of the new nation differences of opinion abounded, leading even, in some instances, to death.

        And, again, the original Colonists viewed the taking up of arms as justified because their then government – the British Crown – had turned against them and used weapons against its own citizens, killing them even when unarmed. So what they were doing was defending themselves. As far as I know there have been no recent incidents of US governmental agents shooting unarmed Americans, or have I missed that report? (Or are you a true Alex Jones believer – in which case this argument is pointless?)

      • Dissenter13a

        “You can see how that argument could be made, right?”

        Not in proper context.

        The absolute right to assassinate a tyrant in defense of lives and liberties has been recognized by Anglo-American law since before Magna Carta. Bishop John of Salisbury wrote that “[t]o kill a tyrant is not merely lawful, but right and just … the law rightly takes arms against him who disarms the laws, and the public power rages in fury against him who strives to bring to nought the public force.” John of Salisbury, Policraticus, Bk. iii, ch. 15, reprinted in, The Statesman’s Book of John of Salisbury lxxiii (John Dickenson trans., Russell & Russell, 1963) (1159). Aquinas concurred, observing that a violent response to tyranny is not merely permissible, but predictable: “[M]en remove themselves from a tyrant as from cruel beasts, and to be subject to a tyrant seems the same as to be mauled by a cruel animal.” Thomas Aquinas, De Regimine Principum, in St. Thomas Aquinas: Political Writings 15 (R.W. Dyson trans., Cambridge Univ. Press 2002) (1267). Other famous concurrences include that of John Milton, The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates (1650) (justifying the execution of Charles I) and Jean Petit (the Duke of Orleans).

        Cicero asserted that it was “morally right to kill” tyrants, as they are “monsters … in human form [who] should be cut off from … the common body of humanity.” 3 Marcus Tullius Cicero, De Officiis, 299 (T. Page and W. Rouse, ed., W. Miller, trans., 1921) (44 B.C.E.). Greek states, observes Xenophon, would “bestow great honour on him who kills a tyrant.” Xenophon, Hiero, A Dialogue on Royalty, as reprinted in Xenophon’s Minor Works 55 (J.S. Watson, trans., 1898) (ca. 370 B.C.E.). And while the erstwhile Saul of Tarsus advised his followers to submit to the rule of Rome, Christian theologians since Augustine have consistently held that “what is done unjustly, is done unlawfully.” St. Augustine, City of God, Book XIX, Ch. 21 (J. Healey trans. 1610) (ca. 415 A.D.). The paradigmatic definition of tyranny is given by John Locke:

        “AS usurpation is the exercise of power, which another hath a right to; so tyranny is the exercise of power beyond right, which no body can have a right to. …

        Where-ever law ends, tyranny begins, if the law be transgressed to another’s harm; and whosoever in authority exceeds the power given him by the law, and makes use of the force he has under his command, to compass that upon the subject, which the law allows not, ceases in that to be a magistrate; and, acting without authority, may be opposed, as any other man, who by force invades the right of another.”

        John Locke, Second Treatise of Government §§ 199. 202 (1695) (emphasis added). See also, The Declaration of Independence, para. 4 (U.S. 1776). Concurrence among the Framers reads like a Brandeis brief, and is unanimous. See e.g., Mass. Const. Art. XXX; Thomas Jefferson, Letter (to Isaac Tiffany) (Apr. 4, 1791) at 1 (“Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law,’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the law,’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual”).

        If you knew your Greek history, you would recognize the pattern as one very similar to the demise of the Thirty Tyrants’ rule of Athens.

        The right to defend one’s liberty and property is just as much of a justification for violent resistance as the right to defend one’s life. And to have a right, you must have some effective remedy.

      • Scott Bennett

        it is a pity you did so much research on this only to be shot down by a simple question (or is this part of a secret treatise you´ve been working on for years, à la the Unibomber?): who exactly is this tyrant you think should be killed? The President? The head of the NSA? IRS? Or simply everyone who works for the US government? Or are you planning a new revolution, intent on setting up your own country? (I hate to delude you – even more – but there is basically no more empty land upon which to found a new country.) And if you knew your history, you would know that for all their civilization and culture, the ancient Greeks and Romans were essentially brutish peoples, at war with each other and anyone else basically every summer, who settled their disagreements ultimately with arms. I would hope we´ve progressed a tiny bit in the millenia.

      • Dissenter13a

        The issue is how to interpret the Second Amendment. I’ve already done the research for another matter, so it wasn’t hard for me to copy-and-paste.

        If you’ve read Locke, he answers the question for you. So does the DoI. Madison alludes to it in the Federalist. If you had had the benefit of a broader legal education — all LS teaches you is how to pass the Bar — you might not make a fool of yourself as you have.

        The one thing I know is that, once you’ve had a taste of the real world, your elevated arrogance quotient will fall accordingly.

      • Scott Bennett

        First of all, no one answers any questions for me. I research issues and answer my own wuestions. Secondly, I don´t know what law school you went to, but the one thing that law schools do NOT teach you is how to pass the bar. Thirdly, I have workied with the legal systems of several countries and have had more experience that you seem to think (appearances can be deceiving). And if having a “taste of the real world” would make me as cynical and bitter as you, then perhaps I can do without – or have a different taste. (Oh, and you do not seem to be worried about your internet discourse being monitored, perhaps because everyone has been told that Americans – within the US – are not targeted. These discussions, however, have been taking place with someone outside of the US. Just something to think about if you believe that the government is doing what is being claimed)

      • Dissenter13a

        You have more experience than I seem to think and you have NEVER seen a judge disregard precedent directly on-point? Yeah, right.

        I have proof to support my cynicism. You have bluster.

      • Scott Bennett

        the point that I have been trying to make, but which you in your fanaticism seem hell-bent on refusing to acknowledge, is that, yes, there are some judges who ignore precedent, who are corrupt, ignorant, incompetent, etc, but that does not then make ALL judges so.

      • Dissenter13a

        How much arsenic makes water too poisonous to drink?

        Enough American judges are openly contemptuous of precedent to make it impossible to rely on. While you may be familiar with other countries’ legal systems, you don’t seem to have enough familiarity with ours to see the problem and how pervasive it is. I would say, based on direct experience, that Tiger was more faithful to ex-wife Elin than federal appellate judges are to stare decisis. Let us just say that the bad 98% makes it bad for the remaining 2%.

        Judges will follow precedent when it takes them where they wanted to go in the first place. But if a fair reading of the law commands a decision they despise, the entire United States Reports will not dissuade them from their goal. Have to go, so Happy Trails! Enjoy living in a country governed by law, as opposed to men.

      • James Whitman

        who exactly is this tyrant you think should be killed? The President? The head of the NSA? IRS?

        On a ship it is the Captain regardless if he had nothing to do with what ever it was.

        So who is the Captain in the US ?

      • James Whitman

        What happen to the Whistleblower in the watergate case which brought Nixon’s government down ?

        The US is spending much more resources and political power on trying to capture Snowdon than they did to capture the people responsible for the 9/11 which killed 3800 innocent people.

        Obama was labeled by the Irish parliament as ” a war criminal “

      • I Once Was Andrew

        This is two weeks late, but I just saw it now and I had to address it because… wow.

        1. Nope, I absolutely do not support “the arming of every American.” I hate guns, and your assumption that I’m a gun nut makes me think less of you.

        2. A lawyer should know the difference between “conscious” and “conscience.”

        3. No one’s saying confidential information should be released willy-nilly. But when the government is concealing war crimes and secretly breaking constitutional rights (hi there, privacy!), don’t the people have a right to know? After all, isn’t this supposed to be a government BY the people, FOR the people? I’m as liberal as they come, but even I know that you can’t just give the government a blank check to do whatever it wants. What Snowden exposed was a system without checks and balances, and our government is supposed to be built on those.

      • James Whitman

        Well said where to go to report that your own government is perhaps the biggest war criminals in the World, where to go to report that your government is invading your privacy ?

  • Dissenter13a

    Allen doesn’t get this because he is a legal ignoramus. Pfc. Bradley Manning swore out a solemn oath to uphold and defend the United States Constitution, as opposed to concealing the criminal actions of his superiors. Under the international war crimes law that we basically wrote and incorporated into our laws, a soldier has a duty to reveal war crimes and if necessary, go outside of the chain of command to do so. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are just as guilty as the execrable Shrub and Cheney.

    • Desertmer

      Well said and 100% true.

    • LiberalSkeptic

      I do feel torn about these cases. Manning had a duty to inform superiors, and when he wasn’t happy with their response, he could have found a way to go over his direct supervisors without disclosing thousands of documents to Wikileaks, a small minority of which contained evidence of the war crimes he wanted to expose. And that’s problematic because he couldn’t have read all of those documents to know what he was exposing. I do completely believe that war crimes must be exposed by soldiers who witness them, but I have confidence that if Manning had tried harder, he would have found the right channels to go through… and if I’m wrong and he was presented no other choice but to go to the media, then he needed to hand over just the evidence exposing war crimes and no more.

      In Snowden’s case, I wouldn’t presume that he could predict either the consequences of any damage he could do to national security, so I don’t give him a free pass either… it makes signing a non-disclosure and getting a security clearance worthless to say it’s alright to hand out classified documents just because you, as an individual, are horrified. Such is the intelligence world.

  • Nora-Adrienne Deret

    I had a cousin who had been on the O.S.S. during WWII. He turned down an offer to join a fledgling alphabet organization at the end of the war and happily returned to his unit in Military Intelligence. He always told us (at family gatherings) that his brain would remain classified even after he died. It did! I’ve been googling him for years looking to see if anything new shows up.

    While our world today is so digitized it makes you scared out of your wits, I have found that I no longer trust any government official to have the well being of the electorate anywhere in his or her thoughts. I don’t care what the sound bites say, somehow they are really lying. Transparency only means they’ll show us what they want us to see.

    • Virginia Ann Ullrich-Serna

      The same is true for my husband. He worked in military security in the 80s and to this day the only thing you can find on him is the find a grave record and the Veterans info for his grave.

      • Nora-Adrienne Deret

        We know that he was a liaison to the German Underground and that he had a part at Neuhrenburg. He was also a Town Marshal and helped with the camps since he spoke Yiddish as well as German. His last posting was at Ft. Meade the home of M.I. And he could dance a mean Polka. LOL

  • I Once Was Andrew

    It’s not treason to show that the government is secretly breaking the law. It’s patriotism. PERIOD.

  • CherMoe

    Sorry, but I disagree. The military should not be allowed to go unregulated and commit murder. I think there’s a difference between torture & murder and “war” against people who have harmed us. Bradley Manning is an upstanding AMERICAN who chose to defend the Constitution of our country and expose criminal actions within the military. If there were a “rogue” military shooter, he/she would be prosecuted. Bradley Manning is being made an example of, because he messed with the brass. It’s kind of like the banks and Wall St. causing the financial collapse in our country …. many were guilty and only one prosecuted … Bernie Madoff. Know why? Cause he fleeced RICH people. The bankers who cheated the poor and middle class got away with it. It’s always the people at the top who are protected, and there’s always a “fall guy” chosen to take down instead of the big shots. IMO.

    • Anon from CA

      You need to not speak of that which you don’t know of. Make military friends. Talk to people in the MI community. Ask what they think of Bradley Manning, balance your view and get your head out of your crazy conspiracy theory BS. Bradley Manning didn’t release secrets that attacked some high up military brass, he released secrets that compromised the safety of ground US and NATO forces. He was a damned fool and a traitor. Get your head checked.

      • Dissenter13a

        Most of ’em are Bachmann-Crazy Overdrive.

  • Biff

    “Just because nothing that he leaked directly resulted in the death of any of our brave men and women in our military, doesn’t mean that it couldn’t have.” What kind of reasoning is this? If this were a journalist courtroom I would send you off for life.

    • I Once Was Andrew

      Right? It’s not like he revealed troop positions or security information. What an empty argument. It’s really strange coming from Clifton, although not necessarily surprising, considering his love of the Democratic establishment.

    • LiberalSkeptic

      I don’t see your hang-up here. If I release thousands of documents to the media without having read them, I have no idea if what I’m disclosing will end up causing others harm; therefore I should not disclose documents that could potentially cause anyone harm.

  • Ian

    “I, (name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

    That is the enlistment oath, as specified under 10 USC § 502. A soldier’s loyalty is to the Constitution. He or she is bound to follow lawful orders only. Given the circumstances, it appears that Manning was following his oath when he decided to release evidence of war crimes.

    • Anon from CA

      Bradley Manning is a traitor and deserves to be treated as such. His actions have caused immeasurable damage to US and NATO forces

      • Dissenter13a

        He has practically convicted certain people of war crimes, but if Eric Holder were doing his job, Manning’s heroics would not have been necessary.

  • I Once Was Andrew

    “Edward Snowden’s actions, while quite possibly criminal because he did remove sensitive information illegally from the federal government, have helped to stir the debate on government surveillance of Americans.”

    Okay, so just to be clear: releasing classified data to stir the debate on government surveillance of Americans is good, but releasing classified data to stir the debate on government murder of innocents is treason.

    Makes total sense.

    • James

      Have you actually read the diplomatic cables Manning released? Had Manning stopped with just the video of the helicopter attacks on innocents- he could be praised as a whistleblower; however, to blindly release diplomatic cables (many of which are quite candid about sources and methods used for gathering intel) without a thought to the repercussions is NOT honorable. And while they haven’t been linked to the deaths of any American servicemen/women- they have been linked to the deaths of our foreign collaborators- or do you not care about them? What made what Manning did wrong was not the action of revealing classified documents- it was his methods and the extent. It would have been one thing to send the video file to a news media source- it is another matter entirely to send over half a million files (unchecked) out into the world. (And let’s not pretend- there is little way that Wikileaks would have the resources necessary to ACTUALLY ensure that none of the cables contained information that might lead to the death of SOMEBODY).

      • Dissenter13a

        I’ve read a number of them. They evidence crimes against humanity.

  • Joshua Neptune

    I have to disagree completely. To not look at the outcome of a act is not justice at all. We are not robots, that is what makes us uniquely different than any other species on Earth, we can reason and look past concrete/ black and white. If we are judging Bradley Manning on the actions and not the outcomes that is a sad day for society. Someone who fires a shotgun and is charged with wreckless discharge should not receive the same punishment as a murderer.

  • Desertmer

    So Allen we just trust all those caring and morally responsible people that always occupy the White House and Congress and the CIA, NSA and all the other covert operations out there that they have ‘our’ best interests at heart???? What are you – frigging NUTS???

  • Rachel’s Hobbit Hole

    I very much agree with your assessment of both actions. What Manning did was reckless and could have had catastrophic results. What Snowden did did not endanger a single person. Heck, it probably hasn’t even endangered a single *political career*. I would be more sympathetic to Manning if he had given thought to what he did, rather than handing over a data dump. Not a popular sentiment amongst progressives, but i wholeheartedly concur.

  • THE ENTIRE CASE IS SO INTERESTING, AND I LOVE HEARING THE CERTAIN DEBATE OVER THIS STORY AND THE RIPPLE EFFECTS. AS A PREVIOUS WHISTLEBLOWER MYSELF IN THE MEDICAL FIELD RELATED TO UNETHICAL MEDICAL CARE- I KNOW THAT THE PUBLIC DOES NOT KNOW WHAT TRULY GOES ON AND KNOW THE HEAVY RESPONSIBILITY TO HAVE TO STEP UP AND DO THE RIGHT THING FOR THE PUBLIC GOOD- IT IS A HORRIBLY DIFFICULT PLACE TO HAVE BEEN PLACED IN. WHEN WE SAY “WHY DID SOMEONE NOT DO SOMETHING?” WHEN SITUATIONS COME TO LIFE- THIS IS THE REAL DEBATE. WHY? BECAUSE IT IS A HARD THING TO DO, THE PERSONAL COST- HUGE! I AM HEARING SO MUCH DISCUSSION ABOUT HOW THIS MAY HAVE PUT OUR COUNTRY IN DANGER- I SAY NO IT IS THE ROOT PROBLEM THAT DID THAT-LACK OF TRANSPARENCY. UNTRUTHS FROM CLAPPER AND OTHERS TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND THE WORLD, WHEN QUESTIONED.PERSONALLY I KNOW WE DO NOT KNOW ALL THAT THE PRESIDENT AND HIS STAFF KNOW ABOUT THE “BIG PICTURE” WHAT IS REALLY HAPPENING TO KEEP US SAFE. I ALSO WOULD BE WILLING TO HAVE MY PHONE CALLS TRACKED, EMAILS ETC OR WHATEVER TO BE SAFE IF I WAS ALLOWED TO CHOSE- BUT TELL ME THE DAMN TRUTH SO I CAN MAKE AN INFORMED DECISION IN THE COUNTRY WHERE DEMOCRACY IS WHAT WE VALUE. VERY DISAPPOINTING SO MUCH OF WHAT IS BEING LEARNED VERY THOUGHT PROVOKING DEBATE! LOVE JOURNALISM.

    • Caps isn’t cruise control for cool. Next time move your pinky finger a half inch to the shift button.

    • Dissenter13a

      Been there, done that — whistle-blowing is not fun. But at least, I can sleep at night.

  • Michael Nosal

    This man leaked information pertaining to the NSA, whose first two words are NATIONAL SECURITY. Leaking information on anything that deals with the security of our nation has the potential of putting our nation at risk. That sounds like treason to me.

    “He is a civilian”?

    ” …he’s a former CIA employee and current employee for defense contractor Booze Allen Hamilton”

    As of August 2008, what was formerly Booz Allen Hamilton’s parent company (which used the Booz Allen name itself) divided in two. The Booz Allen Hamilton moniker was retained by the half focusing on U.S. governmental matters, with Booz & Company taking sole control of its commercial strategy and international portfolio.

    Edward Snowden revealed information and supporting documentation of a supposed Booz Allen Hamilton-contracted mass digital surveillance project called PRISM.

    Snowden fled to Hong Kong seeking asylum issuing a statement “I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded… That is not something I am willing to support or live under.”

    So, he leaked information in regards to national security and FLED the country. Why would he do that unless he knew that what he had done was treasonous.

    • John Cross

      he fled to hong kong to avoid being recorded? I didn’t realize China was such a bastion of liberty.

      • Dissenter13a

        The enemy of my enemy is my friend….

  • John Cross

    I agree. There are whistleblowers and then there are people who just want to make a mess because they are upset at whatever. Manning was the latter. If he had just released the videos he was supposedly upset about, fine, But he didn’t. He was angry at the system for personal reasons, had a hissy-fit, and took it out by data bombing the system. Just imagine if every US official encharged with secret information felt they could release any information they wanted whenever they felt like it. We might as well give up right now. And the next idiot who starts bleating that “you can’t give up your liberty for security”, let me ask you this: how can you have ANY liberty without the security to defend yourself if necessary?

  • AntieQ

    When one has sworn to uphold the Constitution and the government has violated that document, who has betrayed whom?

  • JohnSmith

    Simply by being human we have responsibility. To ourselves. To each other.

    Joining the military does not strip you of your responsibility, any more than it removes your humanity.

  • I think manning had a moral obligation to uncover and produce proof of war crimes I do not think he had a right to dump nearly 750.000 thousand documents which possibly endangered our service members and other Americans.As for Snowden hes a civilian he should have never had access to these files if they wanted them secret but more then that it does not appear at this point to endanger lives or be a massive file dump where you have no idea what you’ve done who you have exposed or who may die from your actions..

    • Dissenter13a

      It took that much to prove his case, unfortunately.

      • No it didn’t he admits to not even having read most of them.

      • Dissenter13a

        Didn’t have to.

  • DonC-3132447

    Andrew Snowden a hero? I doubt it. I’m wondering how someone without so much as an Associates Degree in Information Technology (IT) can get a job working for a NSA contractor, being paid $200,000.00/year. Add to that the fact that he says he had access to information on everyone up to and including the President? How did he get a top secret security clearance when he wasn’t even able to adapt to military life? All of this sounds a bit phony to me. I think the Guardian could end up very embarrassed when this individual is proven to be delusional. Of course if he is proven to be delusional the “Black Helicopter” group will scream, “COVERUP”.

  • Anon-from CA

    Ok, allow me to say this: If you have any idea what all this is truly about, what regulates what the government is allowed to collect on and what they are not, and if this truly affects your daily habits, raise your hand. If not, STFU. This stuff is fairly related to my everyday life and allow me to tell you, the CIA and NSA do not give a crap that you are downloading music and movies illegally, they don’t care about porn(as long as it’s not kiddie porn) and they’re not counting your 1-900 number calls. They don’t care. Anything that is being collected is not being analyzed, they only care about you talking to possible threats to the security of the US. If you’re not perusing their websites and sending them money, STFU and go about your daily lives. Let those of us who have sworn an oath to protect you no matter the cost worry about the rest of it. We don’t give a shit about your dirty laundry. Know that unless you are in contact with terrorist, we CANNOT ANALYZE THE CONTENT OF YOUR COMMUNICATIONS. Your rights are still protected. Period. End of story. As long as people still get away with attacks like the Boston Bombing under the radar, there is still privacy that the government isn’t infringing upon. When all crime and attacks stop, then you can assume that the government has just gone ahead and broken all of it’s own rules

    • Dissenter13a

      I grew up in the Watergate era. Trust but verify.

  • nobody

    I do not buy your argument that Manning was a traitor because of something that MIGHT (but did not) happen. Manning exposed crimes against humanity, at great personal risk and as a result he was abused and tortured beyond anything his supposed crimes might have deserved.

  • southside mike

    he may be a civilian but he signed a NON-DISCLOSURE agreement and violated the law by disclosing what he knew.

  • Aimee Barfield

    I disagree with you strongly about Snowden. I think the information that has already come out about him has proven he did not do this out of a sense or right or wrong. The more we learn about the Snowden, hopefully the more will see this is true. I doubt it, people always go with and believe the first narrative, they never listen to or care about the follow up.

  • James Whitman

    But Edward Snowden’s actions, while quite possibly criminal because he
    did remove sensitive information illegally from the federal government,
    have helped to stir the debate on government surveillance of Americans.
    That’s exactly what he hoped would happen—and it’s something the White House has said it “welcomed.”

    So what is all the fuss about ?

    Edward Snodwon is my HERO and I sincerely hope he will find a good and safe place to live, he had the guts to show the World, what kind of Country you are living in.

    What is the big difference between China and the US ?
    In China it is 100% transparent, and everybody know that government is listing and monitor your emails, censorship and more all is known to the public.
    In the US I only see the statue of Liberty which was put there for what ?
    I her Bush saying that the US is a free Nation, but spying on your people is that a free nation ?

  • James Whitman

    The US is heading the same way as China, where also there is no privacy, but the big difference is that China let the people know it. The US have the 4 & 5th amendment which now looks as it is useless.

    Freedom of speech in the US is more or less like China, the Navy seal who said on Facebook something about Obama was fired and for a short time his facebook profile was revoked, how can that happen in the US ?

    In China the people know not to interfere with the political system and they normally don’t, but they are happy as it is, be course the know where they are.

    Now the the US have in the past given asylum to make Chinese activist which the Chinese government also consider dangerous to the State, and the US have refused to extradite them, then how could it possible be that the US now put so much pressure on the Chinese government who consider that Snowdon is no more that the Chinese activist the US is protecting ?

    It would have been nice if the Chinese have given Snowdon asylum in China or Hong Kong, as the Chinese have nothing to fear from the US, it is the other way round the Chinese have much more on the US, than the US have on China, so the US should be careful with the Chinese.

    I’m 100% not Chinese, I’m West European only I don’t agree with the US.

    If he was Chinese and had done the same to the Chinese I’m 100% sure that the US would have given him immediate asylum.