AMERICA’S ANIMAL FARM: SNOWDEN AND THE SQUEALER

AF cover 4Below is my column today in USA Today on the criminal complaint against Edward Snowden. I have been criticizing the charge under the Espionage Act as abusive and a mistake by the Administration. President Barack Obama has been criticized for years for his use of the controversial 1917 Act. He is responsible for six of the nine total indictments ever brought under the Act. More than all presidents before him and putting Richard Nixon to shame. He has used the act against sources for journalists and only recently was criticized for the attacks on the free press under his Administration. I do not question the basis for prosecution of Snowden for the disclosure of classified information or any theft of such documents. However, the effort to put him away for life does raise an interesting contrast with prior cases, which is the subject of today’s column (slightly expanded from the print version).

As Edward Snowden travels the globe looking for refuge from U.S. law enforcement, the self-proclaimed leaker has finally done what wars and economic crisis failed to do. He has united both Democratic and Republican leaders in an increasing shrill chorus calling for his head. Many of these politicians insist that Snowden must be put away for life or even face the death penalty.

Criminal embarrassment

Yet, what unites both parties in anger does not appear to be the alleged breach of security but the greatest crime of all: embarrassing the establishment. Snowden embarrassed Congress and the White House by discussing not only massive secret surveillance of our citizens but also false statements given to the public by our leaders. For that, he might have to pay with his life.

For many, the recent disclosure of massive warrantless surveillance programs of all citizens by the Obama administration has brought back memories of George Orwell’s 1984. Such comparisons are understandable not only with the anniversary of the book occurring the very week of the disclosures but the Administration’s “doublethink” interpretations of common terms like “transparency” and “privacy.” According to President Obama, the secret surveillance program is not only entirely “transparent” but something of a triumph of privacy.

Yet, another Orwell book seems more apt as the White House and its allies try to contain the scandal: Animal Farm.

Orwell wrote the fanciful account of a farm society of animals at the end of World War II during a period of authoritarian power and government propaganda. The farm government proclaimed equality of all animals but, as the pig Squealer explained, “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” As our leaders joined together on television to bloviate about the need to capture and try the “traitor” Snowden, they were affirming a system of laws that seems to apply to the governed exclusively.

‘Least untruthful’

Consider the charges against Snowden: Official Washington insists that “justice must be done” in the face of a clear criminal act. Yet, when one of their own commits a crime related to classified information, it is difficult to get Attorney General Eric Holder, many members of Congress or the president to even acknowledge it.

For example, there is a clear crime that has been documented and virtually confessed to in this scandal: perjury. Not by Snowden, mind you.

When National Intelligence Director James Clapper appeared before the Senate, he was asked directly, “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” Clapper responded, “No, sir. … Not wittingly.”

We now know that was a lie. Moreover, many of the senators who heard that testimony knew it was a lie because they admitted later to knowing about the NSA program to gather data on every citizen. Later, Clapper said that his testimony was “the least untruthful” statement he could make. Yet, of course, that would still make it an untrue statement — which most people call a lie and lawyers call perjury. Indeed, when Roger Clemens was prosecuted for untrue statements before Congress, he was not told of the option to tell the least untrue statement on steroid use.

Where are all of our law and order advocates in the face of the admission that Clapper lied to the Senate and the public? The Justice Department routinely prosecutes people for relatively small misrepresentations in testimony. This was a whopper. A premeditated, knowing lie. Yet, Holder has not even ordered an investigation into the possible perjury. Ironically, the attorney general himself recently gave testimony that was widely viewed as false on the surveillance of journalists and the treatment of journalist investigation as a criminal conspiracy.

Slap on the wrist

Even when the governing elite is caught violating the same law as Snowden, it is considered a minor transgression. Snowden is alleged to have stolen government classified documents and removed them from secure locations. Prosecutors will likely seek a lengthy sentence for that act alone.

But in 2005, Samuel “Sandy” Berger, a former White House national security adviser to Bill Clinton, faced that same charge after he intentionally removed and destroyed copies of a classified document. Not only that but Berger then lied to investigators — a separate crime regularly prosecuted by the Justice Department. Yet, no one called for his long incarceration. Instead, he was allowed to plead guilty to a single misdemeanor with no jail time. That’s right, not a day. Just a fine and a three-year suspension of his security clearance. In other words, the deal allowed Berger to walk and even allowed him to reacquire a clearance after just three years.

Of course, none of our politicians is nearly as open and honest as Squealer. There will be no sign proclaiming the different treatment of the governing and governed classes. They prefer the barnyard to return to its previously sleepy existence once the offender has been put away.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University and a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors.

June 24, 2013

94 thoughts on “AMERICA’S ANIMAL FARM: SNOWDEN AND THE SQUEALER

  1. “These decrees of yours are no different from spiders’ webs. They’ll restrain anyone weak and insignificant who gets caught in them, but they’ll be torn to shreds by people with power and wealth.”
    Anacharsis

  2. As an observer from afar, your Constitution thing has proved a particularly inept document.

    You have political courts.

    You have near systemic voting process failure with yet more political intervention.

    You have resident Traitors in “elected” office, oddly enough called Senators. (Hint from the latin: senex).

    You meddle everywhere learning nothing.

    You have Government criminals that wander around free-as-birds. (Chaney).

    You have a whole class of financial criminals that are still trying to ruin the world.

    You have arrived at the military industrial complex a late leader warned about.

    Yet, a few good people willing to say that something is very very wrong could be droned out of existence, consequence free. Admit it, you can imagine reading about Daniel Snowden being shot at by a drone and many of the population wouldn’t stop reading about Kim Kardashian.

  3. Yet, what unites both parties in anger does not appear to be the alleged breach of security but the greatest crime of all: embarrassing the establishment.

    That is the duty of whisteblowers … to show them to be crooks and liars.

    So they can be removed from office.

  4. Great article. Keep writing. I am amazed at the non interest by the vast majority of citizens that are affected by this spying. A shrug of the shoulders and on with the latest buzz of which celebrity looks the frumpiest in their swim suite.

    The sad thing is all the lying by our top (un)leaders is an education for future despots. Just get up their and sweet talk with lies and as long as you have the “press” in your pocket, your on your way.

  5. Bastille Day quickly approaches….Let the Congress Folks serve cake….. Thank you Mr. Snowden…Thank you….

  6. One of the things that I find interesting about the Snowden case is how some members of the MSM have gone after Glenn Greenwald who broke the Snowden story in The Guardian:

    David Gregory To Glenn Greenwald: ‘Why Shouldn’t You Be Charged With A Crime?’ (VIDEO)
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/23/david-gregory-glenn-greenwald-crime_n_3486654.html

    Excerpt:
    “Meet the Press” host David Gregory asked columnist Glenn Greenwald why he shouldn’t be charged with a crime for working with NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

    Greenwald was on to discuss his source’s Sunday morning flight from Hong Kong to Moscow. (It is unclear where Snowden will ultimately land, though reports have suggested he is headed to Venezuela.) At the tail end of the conversation, Gregory suddenly asked Greenwald why the government shouldn’t be going after him.

    “To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn’t you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?” he asked.

    Greenwald replied that it was “pretty extraordinary that anybody who would call themselves a journalist would publicly muse about whether or not other journalists should be charged with felonies,” and that there was no evidence to back up Gregory’s claim that he had “aided” Snowden.

  7. Elaine,

    Here’s Michael Hastings last email….

    Michael Hastings’ Panicked, Final Email
    By Daniel Politi, Slate
    24 June 13

    ournalist Michael Hastings wrote an email to his colleagues hours before he died last week in which he said his “close friends and associates” were being interviewed by the FBI and he was going to “go off the radar for a bit.” The 33-year-old journalist said he was “onto a big story,” according to KTLA that publishes a copy of the email that Hastings sent at around 1 p.m. Monday June 17. Hastings died at around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday morning in a fiery one-vehicle car crash. Staff Sgt. Joseph Biggs, who knew Hastings from Afghanistan, supplied a copy of the email to the network.

    “It alarmed me very much,” Biggs, who was blind-copied on the email, said. “I just said it doesn’t seem like him. I don’t know, I just had this gut feeling and it just really bothered me.” The FBI has denied Hastings was under investigation. But WikiLeaks published a message on Twitter last week that said Hastings contacted the organization’s lawyers hours before he died, “saying the FBI was investigating him.”

    The email with the subject “FBI Investigation, re: NSA” reads:

    Hey [redacted] the Feds are interviewing my “close friends and associates.” Perhaps if the authorities arrive “BuzzFeed GQ,” er HQ, may be wise to immediately request legal counsel before any conversations or interviews about our news-gathering practices or related journalism issues.

    Also: I’m onto a big story, and need to go off the radat for a bit.

    All the best, and hope to see you all soon.

    Michael

  8. Michael Hastings’ Panicked, Final Email
    By Daniel Politi, Slate
    24 June 13

    ournalist Michael Hastings wrote an email to his colleagues hours before he died last week in which he said his “close friends and associates” were being interviewed by the FBI and he was going to “go off the radar for a bit.” The 33-year-old journalist said he was “onto a big story,” according to KTLA that publishes a copy of the email that Hastings sent at around 1 p.m. Monday June 17. Hastings died at around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday morning in a fiery one-vehicle car crash. Staff Sgt. Joseph Biggs, who knew Hastings from Afghanistan, supplied a copy of the email to the network.

    “It alarmed me very much,” Biggs, who was blind-copied on the email, said. “I just said it doesn’t seem like him. I don’t know, I just had this gut feeling and it just really bothered me.” The FBI has denied Hastings was under investigation. But WikiLeaks published a message on Twitter last week that said Hastings contacted the organization’s lawyers hours before he died, “saying the FBI was investigating him.”

    The email with the subject “FBI Investigation, re: NSA” reads:

    Hey [redacted] the Feds are interviewing my “close friends and associates.” Perhaps if the authorities arrive “BuzzFeed GQ,” er HQ, may be wise to immediately request legal counsel before any conversations or interviews about our news-gathering practices or related journalism issues.

    Also: I’m onto a big story, and need to go off the radat for a bit.

    All the best, and hope to see you all soon.

    Michael

  9. anonymously posted,

    I’m not one to believe in most conspiracy theories–but I do find the recent death of investigative journalist Michael Hastings to be one that I’d like another journalist to investigate:

    Email from Michael Hastings before crash mentions FBI probe
    By Andrew Blankstein and Brian Bennett
    June 21, 2013
    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-hastings-crash-emails-20130621,0,2806628.story

    Excerpt:
    In an email sent hours before his death in a single-car L.A. crash, journalist Michael Hastings wrote that his “close friends and associates” were being interviewed by the FBI and he was going to “go off the radar for a bit.”

    According to the email, sent to KTLA, Hastings wrote he was working on a “big story” and was going to disappear. He told his colleagues that if the FBI came to interview them, they should have legal counsel present.

    The subject of the email was “FBI Investigation re: NSA.” Hastings sent the email to his colleagues just before 1 p.m. Monday and blind-copied his friend, Staff Sgt. Joseph Biggs.

    Biggs supplied the email to KTLA and said he and Hastings met when the journalist was embedded with Biggs’ unit in Afghanistan in 2008, KTLA reported.

    Hastings, 33, died about 4:30 a.m. Tuesday when his 2013 silver Mercedes slammed into a tree in Hancock Park and burst into flames. The car was going so fast, the engine was found more than 100 feet away from the crash, authorities said.

    Since Hasting’s death, wild conspiracy theories have bloomed on the Internet, implying he was murdered by powerful forces wanting to silence him.

    Hastings was researching a story about a privacy lawsuit brought by Florida socialite Jill Kelley against the Department of Defense and the FBI.

    He was scheduled to meet with a Kelley representative next week in L.A. to discuss the case, according to a person close to Kelley. Hastings wrote for Rolling Stone and the website BuzzFeed.

    He was best known for a 2010 Rolling Stone profile that led to the resignation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

    On Wednesday night, the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks published a message on Twitter that Hastings had contacted a lawyer for the organization hours before his car smashed into a tree on North Highland Avenue in Los Angeles.

    The message read: “Michael Hastings contacted WikiLeaks lawyer Jennifer Robinson just a few hours before he died, saying that the FBI was investigating him.”

  10. AY,

    I just left a comment about the Hastings story–but it got lost somewhere. I’ll try again:

    Email from Michael Hastings before crash mentions FBI probe
    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-hastings-crash-emails-20130621,0,2806628.story
    By Andrew Blankstein and Brian Bennett
    June 21, 2013, 12:29 p.m.

    Excerpt:
    In an email sent hours before his death in a single-car L.A. crash, journalist Michael Hastings wrote that his “close friends and associates” were being interviewed by the FBI and he was going to “go off the radar for a bit.”

    According to the email, sent to KTLA, Hastings wrote he was working on a “big story” and was going to disappear. He told his colleagues that if the FBI came to interview them, they should have legal counsel present.

    The subject of the email was “FBI Investigation re: NSA.” Hastings sent the email to his colleagues just before 1 p.m. Monday and blind-copied his friend, Staff Sgt. Joseph Biggs.

    Biggs supplied the email to KTLA and said he and Hastings met when the journalist was embedded with Biggs’ unit in Afghanistan in 2008, KTLA reported.

    Hastings, 33, died about 4:30 a.m. Tuesday when his 2013 silver Mercedes slammed into a tree in Hancock Park and burst into flames. The car was going so fast, the engine was found more than 100 feet away from the crash, authorities said.

    Since Hasting’s death, wild conspiracy theories have bloomed on the Internet, implying he was murdered by powerful forces wanting to silence him.

    Hastings was researching a story about a privacy lawsuit brought by Florida socialite Jill Kelley against the Department of Defense and the FBI.

    He was scheduled to meet with a Kelley representative next week in L.A. to discuss the case, according to a person close to Kelley. Hastings wrote for Rolling Stone and the website BuzzFeed.

    He was best known for a 2010 Rolling Stone profile that led to the resignation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

    On Wednesday night, the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks published a message on Twitter that Hastings had contacted a lawyer for the organization hours before his car smashed into a tree on North Highland Avenue in Los Angeles.

    The message read: “Michael Hastings contacted WikiLeaks lawyer Jennifer Robinson just a few hours before he died, saying that the FBI was investigating him.”

  11. http://blogs.computerworld.com/security/22381/eff-sticker-your-laptop-insider-threat-warning-sign

    Excerpt:

    The Defense Department strategy dated June 2012 states, “Hammer this fact home . . . leaking is tantamount to aiding the enemies of the United States.”

    But it’s not only about leaking; it’s about identifying threats before they can leak. For example, the Department of Education “informs employees that co-workers going through ‘certain life experiences . . . might turn a trusted user into an insider threat.’ Those experiences, the department says in a computer training manual, include ‘stress, divorce, financial problems’ or ‘frustrations with co-workers or the organization’.” Meanwhile, “an online tutorial titled ‘Treason 101’ teaches Department of Agriculture and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration employees to recognize the psychological profile of spies.”

    Kel McClanahan, a Washington lawyer who specializes in national security law, said of the Insider Threat Program, “It was just a matter of time before the Department of Agriculture or the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) started implementing, ‘Hey, let’s get people to snitch on their friends.’ The only thing they haven’t done here is reward it. I’m waiting for the time when you turn in a friend and you get a $50 reward.”

    “Protecting democracy is killing it,” wrote the ACLU’s Privacy SOS. “Who is the enemy the Obama administration says Snowden is aiding? It’s hard to arrive at any other conclusion but this: the enemy is us.”

  12. Elaine, I would hardly say “The press” has gone after Greenwald. He has gotten kudos in most circles. Don’t you realize Howdy Doody of MTP is Obama’s errand boy. Geeez! He was just doing what he was told to do.

  13. Yes, Nivk I would say the press has gone after greenwald…. One suggested that he be tried under the aiding an enemy statute….. That’s pretty clear to me….

  14. The FBI says Hastings wasn;t under investigation. He said he thought he was and contacted a lawyer. That comes down to a he said she said. Given the proclivities of the FBI it would not be surprising if they were doing something but it is a rush to judgment to say Hastings was under investigation. Just a thought.
    (I think I have written about this before but the powerful get away with crme even when their power is not at the same level.
    Peter J Jannetta committed perjury in a medical malpractice case. Said in A in 2 depositions and then B on the stand. On appeal the Pa. Superior court called his testimony perjurious.
    What was the outcome, after being forced into a settlement I said I did not want? He was named Sec’t of Health nominee by Gov, Ridge. Despite my letters to all 50 senators and Gov. Ridge telling them of the perjury he was, I believe unanimously, confirmed for the job (Peter J Jannetta, 1995-1996)
    Power corrupts, etc.

  15. ap/Elaine,

    They are still working on the filters apparently. I’ve seen a new filter error popping up more frequently over the last week or so that says something along the lines of “Askimet is having a problem with X comments. They will be placed in moderation for XX minutes until the problem is resolved.”

    Just FYI.

  16. SWM, Andrew Ross Sorkin is another Obama butt boy. This genre are either keeping quiet hoping to maintain some integrity, or doubling down. Now, I still don’t know what to make of Snowden. I’m certainly not ready to genuflect, although I can’t think of anyone for whom I would genuflect. But, I would much rather all these efforts at extradiction be focused on Roman Polanski than Edward Snowden.

  17. http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/5/552a
    5 USC § 552a – Records maintained on individuals

    (2) Any officer or employee of any agency who willfully maintains a system of records without meeting the notice requirements of subsection (e)(4) of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and fined not more than $5,000.

    http://dpclo.defense.gov/privacy/SORNs/component/nsa/index.html

    Do you see an acknowledged NSA system of records that looks like it is holding citizen emails and phone records?

  18. AY, As far as I know it was only Howdy Doody, in that clip posted, that suggested Greenwald should be prosecuted for aiding and abetting. And, Greenwald shoved it up Howdy’s prissy ass. Greenwald is considered a hero in virtually all circles from what I can tell. Of course, there’s the jealousy thing of Greenwald getting so much attention, but that’s just seven deadly sins stuff.

  19. All of these threats against Snowden by the gov’t is driving him right into the hands of the “enemies” of the US. If he is presently in Russia and the US is threatening to put him away for life, it makes it a pretty good incentive for him to say “screw you guys” and stay in Russia and sing like a canary.

  20. raff, They were certainly slow on the Boston Bomber. I’ve lost count, have the number of plots dismantled by this NSA project hit triple digits yet?It started @ one, but had hit 50 in matter of days.

  21. SWM, No..I think he just went from the “double down” for the supreme leader to the “hoping to maintain integrity” crowd. I love watching the rats scramble.

  22. Nick,

    You got one friend here…. Lol… Count your blessings…. But, watch yourself… It can turn in seconds… I’m surprised you haven’t been labeled a mysogynist yet… Soon…

  23. nick,

    I wrote:

    “One of the things that I find interesting about the Snowden case is how some members of the MSM have gone after Glenn Greenwald who broke the Snowden story in The Guardian”

    Please note that I said “some members of the MSM…” Some members of the MSM also went after investigative journalist Michael Hastings–who was killed recently in an auto accident–after his story on Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal was piblished in Rolling Stone magazine.

    Gregory is a tool for most of the folks in power–not just the current president.

  24. Greenwald: Beltway media types are ‘courtiers to power’
    By Erik Wemple,
    Published: June 24, 2013
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/wp/2013/06/24/greenwald-beltway-media-types-are-courtiers-to-power/

    Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald yesterday clashed with “Meet the Press” host David Gregory, who’d asked Greenwald the following question: “To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn’t you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?”

    The elbow that came right back at Gregory was sharpened by the contempt that Greenwald harbors toward the media types that live and work around here. “I think it’s pretty extraordinary,” Greenwald said to Gregory, “that anybody who would call themselves a journalist would publicly muse about whether or not other journalists should be charged with felonies.”

    When asked by the Erik Wemple Blog for his thoughts on how the rest of the media has greeted his stuff, Greenwald responded:

    “Media reaction to our scoops has been mixed. Many journalists have taken them very seriously, been quite supportive of the reporting I’ve been doing, and have with particular vigor defended our free press rights to report this.

    “But it is true that the Guardian generally, and me in particular, are outsiders, not members of the Beltway establishment media clique. I’ve purposely made myself an outsider by very aggressively and harshly criticizing not just the culture itself but the most prominent members of it, including David Gregory and Andrew Ross Sorkin, who this morning suggested on CNBC that I be arrested.*

    “Some of what is driving this hostility from some media figures is personal bitterness. Some of it is resentment over my having been able to break these big stories not despite, but because of, my deliberate breaching of the conventions that rule their world.

    “But most of it is what I have long criticized them for most: they are far more servants to political power than adversarial watchdogs over it, and what provokes their rage most is not corruption on the part of those in power (they don’t care about that) but rather those who expose that corruption, especially when the ones bringing transparency are outside of, even hostile to, their incestuous media circles.”

    “They’re just courtiers doing what courtiers have always done: defending the royal court and attacking anyone who challenges or dissents from it. That’s how they maintain their status and access within it. That’s what courtiers to power, by definition, do.

    “So yes, some establishment journalists have been hostile to our reporting, usually by ignoring the substance in favor of personalized attacks (is Snowden a narcissist? Am I engaged in “advocacy journalism”?). But truly: if I weren’t upsetting the David Gregorys and Andrew Ross Sorkins of the world, I’d be very alarmed, as it would be proof that I wasn’t engaging in meaningful adversarial journalism against their political and financial masters.”

  25. Media Attacks Journalist Glenn Greenwald for Reporting Edward Snowden Story (Video)
    http://www.opposingviews.com/i/politics/foreign-policy/war-terror/media-attacks-journalist-glenn-greenwald-reporting-edward
    By Michael Allen, Mon, June 24, 2013

    Excerpt:
    NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has been charged with treason by the Obama administration, but managed to elude the U.S. government with help from Hong Kong and Russia.

    While Snowden appears to be outside the grasp of U.S. authorities, some in the mainstream media are now turning their fire on journalist and lawyer Glenn Greenwald who originally broke the Snowden story in The Guardian, an award-winning UK news publication.

    On Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” host David Gregory asked Greenwald: “To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn’t you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?”

    “If you want to embrace that theory, it means that every investigative journalist in the United States who works with their sources, who receives classified information is a criminal, and it’s precisely those theories and precisely that climate that has become so menacing in the United States,” responded Greenwald, according to Mediaite.com (video below).

    Later, Greenwald skewered Gregory on Twitter: “Who needs the government to try to criminalize journalism when you have David Gregory to do it?”

    Today on ‘Morning Joe,’ host Joe Scarborough praised and criticized Greenwald for being defensive to the suggestion that he had “aided and abetted Snowden,” noted Mediaite.com.

    “I’ve given Glenn great credit because he went after the Bush administration, but he’s also obviously going after the Obama administration,” said Scarborough. “He’s a very, very independent person. He’s just been extraordinarily defensive in these interviews that I’ve seen. Which has been disappointing.”

    Ironically, Scarborough himself has a history of being short-tempered on the air.

    Also this morning, CNBC host Andrew Ross Rokin suggested that Greenwald should be arrested, noted RawStory.com (video below).

  26. Ok Elaine, relax! If you had used a “couple” or “few” I would not have written what I did. But “some” implies to me more than just a select few. We apparently don’t have a substantive disagreement since you’ve clarified your point. You do seem a bit edgy toward me, however. Welcome back and I hope this is just a flash in the pan..like you’re Bruins!!!

  27. nick,

    The word “some” means an unspecified number. That’s what I wanted to say. I don’t know how many members of the MSM have criticized Greenwald. I try to be careful with the way I use words.

    Oh, good grief! First, some of us intimidate people who comment because we disagree with their point of view. Now I’m being “edgy.” Next thing you know you’ll accuse me of having PMS!

    ;)

  28. ap,

    I LOVE Charlie Pierce. He’s one of my favorite political writers. I always enjoy reading his posts–including the ones he writes about the “Clan of the Red Beanie.”

  29. ap,

    Thanks for the McClatchy link.

    Elaine,

    Thanks for the Andrew Blankstein and Brian Bennett link regarding Hastings … no big shock if the conspiracy theories turn out to be true

    SwM

    I think Greenwald has it right as he compares reporters like Gregory and Snorkin to court courtiers … “They’re just courtiers doing what courtiers have always done: defending the royal court and attacking anyone who challenges or dissents from it. That’s how they maintain their status and access within it. That’s what courtiers to power, by definition, do.”

  30. Matt Taibbi Calls Andrew Ross Sorkin The ‘Most Credulously Slobbering Financial Reporter On The Planet’
    Posted: 08/01/2012
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/01/matt-taibbi-andrew-ross-sorkin_n_1730599.html

    Excerpt:
    Matt Taibbi isn’t letting CNBC host and New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin off the hook for letting Sandy Weill off the hook.

    Taibbi, the Rolling Stone writer famous for his scathing profile of Goldman Sachs slammed CNBC for the way its pundits treated former Citigroup chairman and CEO Weill last week when he told Sorkin on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that it might be time to “split up investment banking from banking.”

    Weill is perhaps the founding father of the too-big-to-fail banking system and is responsible for creating the Citi behemoth by combining Citibank, Travelers and Salomon Brothers in the 1990s. Taibbi criticizes Sorkin for not explicitly calling out Weill on his stunning about-face.

    Instead of hitting Weill with “some version of, ‘Dude, are you high? You invented Too Big To Fail!’” Taibbi notes that Sorkin, who is editor-at-large of the Times’s DealBook site, follows up Weill’s epic pronouncement with a “triple-qualified” question that didn’t even hint at the ex-CEO’s huge role in creating an environment that encouraged banks to become gigantic and discouraged lawmakers from stopping them. Not to mention that Weill’s position circa 1990, which he walked back on live television, set the financial system up for a major crisis.

    Taibbi, pulls no punches in his blog post, calling Sorkin: “The single most credulously slobbering financial reporter on the planet.”

    This isn’t the first time Taibbi’s picked a fight with the DealBook editor. In a blog post from last year titled “The Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin Gives Goldman A Rubdown,” Taibbi slams one of Sorkin’s NYT columns, arguing that it “reads like it was written by the bank’s marketing department.” Taibbi also points out that Dealbook signed a sponsorship agreement with Goldman in November 2010.

  31. In America, there are TWO sets of Laws:
    One set is reserved for the Poliyical Elite…
    … The other set is used to prosecute Just-us.

  32. Insider Threat: Government Employees Urged to Tattle On Coworkers In Effort to Stop Classified Leaks
    Published on Jun 25, 2013
    http://www.democracynow.org – As the media focuses almost exclusively on Edward Snowden’s possible whereabouts, more details on the Obama administration’s crackdown on whistleblowers have come to light. A new investigative report has revealed the administration’s crackdown on leaks extends far beyond high-profile cases like Snowden or the Associated Press, to the vast majority of government agencies and departments — even those with no connection to intelligence or national security. For nearly two years, the White House has waged a program called “Insider Threat” that forces government employees to remain on the constant lookout for their colleagues’ behavior and to report their suspicions. It targets government officials who leak any information, not just classified material. All of this leads McClatchy to warn: “The [Insider Threat] program could make it easier for the government to stifle the flow of unclassified and potentially vital information to the public, while creating toxic work environments poisoned by unfounded suspicions and spurious investigations.” We’re joined by the reporter who helped break the story, Jonathan Landay, senior national security and intelligence reporter for McClatchy Newspapers. Landay also discusses his reporting that revealed how drone strikes carried out in Pakistan over a four-year period ran contrary to standards set forth publicly by President Obama.

  33. Gee, I assumed all you old farts were postmenopausal. Are you putting together a synchronized swimming team for the Olympics? One of the funniest bits ever was Martin Short and Harry Shearer doing a synchronized swimming team.

  34. Now, Matt Taibbi is edgy! His old man, not so much. Taibbi is a good reporter but allows his emotions get the best of himself at times. I think many Rolling Stone scribes are always trying to be the next Hunter Thompson. Just ain’t gonna happen.

  35. Elaine M.
    1, June 25, 2013 at 10:24 am

    “I am shocked, shocked to know there is gambling going on in this establishment.”

    Notice the trend:
    Which Corporate rum media news/infotainment programers have had actual NSA whistleblowers on to discuss what they know? Why is it ONLY the pontificators of anti-American sentiments that get the air waves as IF suppressing the free press and whistleblowers of State Crimes is Patriotic Duty? Why is it that ONLY alternative media will carry the REAL whistleblowers to discuss what they know? Craven Fascists in need of an ever more propaganda network… NO?

  36. Elaine
    Blousie,

    Of course David Gregory is a “tool” and a “courtier”.

    How else would you get away with creating video evidence of yourself, broadcast to millions, showing yourself violating a criminal statute banning possession of a high capacity magazine and almost immediately receive a letter from the DC Deputy Attorney General relieving you of any concern that you would ever be prosecuted for the crime you so publicly and probably ignorantly committed. Does seem to shine a new light on his shrill bleating attack on Mr. Greenwald.

  37. “You do seem a bit edgy toward me, however. Welcome back and I hope this is just a flash in the pan..like you’re Bruins!!!”

    Translation in the interests of clarity.

    “Elaine you are not supposed to prove me wrong which you just did……..don’t let it happen again even though I’m such a lovable guy and by the way I’m just ballbusting when I write: Gee, I assumed all you old farts were postmenopausal. Are you putting together a synchronized swimming team for the Olympics?”

    Stay classy and lovable Nick. :)

  38. Thanks, Mikey. I will continue, but it’s pretty easy because I am classy and lovable. But, you know that. And I know an awful lot about sports and movies. Now, who took the first shot between you and I today?? Hell, what does it matter, life’s too short to sweat the small shit. As a show of affection I’ll make sure I reciprocate generously. Got to keep laughing, right my dear friend! I’ll see if I can relate some anecdotes, I know you love ’em. Ciao.

  39. nick,

    Just because one may be a senior citizen–it doesn’t mean one is also an old fart. As you know, I have not lost my “edge” yet. I don’t need no stinkin’ Viagra to keep me young!

    IMHO, synchronized swimming–like the luge and a number of other sports–should not be included in the Olympics.

  40. “Now, who took the first shot between you and I today?”

    Oh excuse me little Nicky. I realized that under Nick’s rules no-ones allowed to interfere when you do your individual attacks, because of course you’re just ballbusting. Why bother discussing anything when ballbusting is such fun. So just to get back to the subject of this thread are for or against Snowden and why. Also when you met him in Russia what was he like? I’m sure you’ve got an appropriate anecdote.

  41. “I hear Nick drank Snowden under the table in Moscow.”

    Elaine,

    They were drinking Dos Equis and Nick was telling Snowden why he Nick was “the most interesting man in the world”. Snowden fell asleep.

  42. Good ball bust, Mikey. I’ve never been to Russia. But I am concerned about your more negative than usual demeanor. Hemmorrhoids?

    Elaine, I don’t drink vodka except for a Cape Codder when I’m on the Cape. I do have stories from a counterespionage FBI agent friend of mine who had to go toe to toe w/ Soviet operatives when working undercover. I’ll hold off because Mikey will just challenge an interesting anecdote because he’s insecure, having few himself. Anyway, I think I’ve told the story here previously and I don’t want to become my Uncle Lawrence, an anecdote referenced yesterday. I’m still sensing that edginess, moving can be difficult. Finally, what about wrestling, which was just eliminated from the Olympics. I think that was a horseshit decision.

  43. Another good one, Mikey. Maybe this is how we need to relate. You actually kind of look like the “most interesting man” which is obviously not a ballbust. He is one good looking dude. NTTAWWT.

  44. “But I am concerned about your more negative than usual demeanor. Hemmorrhoids?”

    No negativity Nick, actually I’m feeling relaxed and happy. Not having anal problems is probably why scatology bores me. Do let me know though when you come up with an interesting anecdote, I’ve been waiting for something interesting from you with bated breath.

  45. And wouldn’t you say that your comments are provoking? Maybe not fighting words… But intended to incite? We already have one drama mamma on here… Do we really need 4 or 5? It kinda takes away from the focus…. Don’t you agree?

  46. With few exceptions, journalists in this country have been generally useless since 9/11. And the NSA revelations completely shredded the already torn hopes I had for this President and his administration. I’m done defending this bunch.

  47. Mike A,

    I worked in the legislature long enough to know that even the good guys get corrupted by the system….however I was not a fan of Obama from the start….. I would have voted for either of the Johns until palin came along…. Then I voted for Ralph the first time and Jill the second one…

  48. JT: You are a jackoff for calling Snowden a “squealerWell, come on all of you, big strong men,
    Uncle Sam needs your help again.
    He’s got himself in a terrible jam
    Way down yonder in Vietnam
    So put down your books and pick up a gun,
    We’re gonna have a whole lotta fun.

    And it’s one, two, three,
    What are we fighting for ?
    Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn,
    Next stop is Vietnam;
    And it’s five, six, seven,
    Open up the pearly gates,
    Well there ain’t no time to wonder why,
    Whoopee! we’re all gonna die.

    Come on Wall Street, don’t be slow,
    Why man, this is war au-go-go
    There’s plenty good money to be made
    By supplying the Army with the tools of its trade,
    But just hope and pray that if they drop the bomb,
    They drop it on the Viet Cong.

    And it’s one, two, three,
    What are we fighting for ?
    Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn,
    Next stop is Vietnam.
    And it’s five, six, seven,
    Open up the pearly gates,
    Well there ain’t no time to wonder why
    Whoopee! we’re all gonna die.

    Well, come on generals, let’s move fast;
    Your big chance has come at last.
    Now you can go out and get those reds
    ‘Cause the only good commie is the one that’s dead
    And you know that peace can only be won
    When we’ve blown ’em all to kingdom come.

    And it’s one, two, three,
    What are we fighting for ?
    Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn,
    Next stop is Vietnam;
    And it’s five, six, seven,
    Open up the pearly gates,
    Well there ain’t no time to wonder why
    Whoopee! we’re all gonna die.

    Come on mothers throughout the land,
    Pack your boys off to Vietnam.
    Come on fathers, and don’t hesitate
    To send your sons off before it’s too late.
    And you can be the first ones in your block
    To have your boy come home in a box.

    And it’s one, two, three
    What are we fighting for ?
    Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn,
    Next stop is Vietnam.
    And it’s five, six, seven,
    Open up the pearly gates,
    Well there ain’t no time to wonder why,
    Whoopee! we’re all gonna die.
    “.

    Here is where you sit JT:

  49. The sentences in my above comment were not in order. I meant to say that JT was at a false place in time and that Country Joe and the Fish described his false place.

  50. AY, I’ve had ~7 ballbusts I’ve let go this evening. Am I a better man for doing it? I sure the f@ck don’t feel better. I’m doing this for you and all the folks who are tired of the horseshit. Because, I’m also tired of it. “Then only two remained.”

  51. nick,
    I have been here but not commenting. Just watching the show. I see what you did there. Your self-congratulations are noticed.

  52. http://rt.com/usa/snowden-greenwald-encrypted-copies-227/

    Snowden hid copies of secret NSA documents in case something happens to him

    Published time: June 25, 2013 19:37
    Reuters / Tatyana Makeyeva

    A trove of classified documents supplied to The Guardian newspaper by NSA leaker Edward Snowden has been copied and shared with several people around the globe, journalist Glenn Greenwald told The Daily Beast on Tuesday.

    Article continues…

  53. Bravo, JT! The two-tiered US justice system is to the point where a common shoplifter can spend 10 years in jail for robbing a $20 pair of jeans, but the criminal bankster cartel members are rewarded handsomely for robbing the country of billions of dollars. HSBC being the more blatant act where a fine paid by the shareholder was the punishment for crimes much more dangerous and deadly than the whistleblowing of truth-teller Snowden.

  54. Want to talk about the IRS? Waukesha County Circuit Court. Twelve person jury trial. The judge was an idiot. The dumb as* called a twelve person jury trial for abject stupidity. His stupidity.

    Some fat, stupid, dumpy supervisory revenue agent who was born in July, 1963 accused me of wanting to make contact. I had to go to court in Waukesha County four times. I had to go to court eight times in other courts before that.

  55. For David Gregory to ask why Greenwald should not be charged with a (felony) crime is ironic. It was David Gregory who committed a felony in D.C. by being in possession of an illegal 30-rd magazine. Despite multiple witnesses and video evidence, he was not charged after a cursory investigation. A less well-connected citizen would be enjoying the amenities of D.C. jails. Clearly, Mr Gregory thinks of himself as one of the animals “more equal” than the others.

  56. […] I previously wrote a column how our country seems to have developed separate rules for the ruling elite and the rest of us. There is no better example than the lack of response of the Senate to the admitted perjury of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper before Congress. While the Justice Department has prosecuted people for the smallest departure from the truth, including testimony before Congress, no one in the Senate is calling for an investigation, let alone a prosecution, of Clapper. For his part, Attorney General Eric Holder is continuing his political approach to enforcing the law and declining to even acknowledge the admitted perjury of Clapper. Now, in a truly bizarre moment, Clapper has written a letter of apology like an errant schoolboy to excuse his commission of a felony crime . . . and it appears to have been accepted. What is curious is that we do not have letters from senators like Dianne Feinstein apologizing to doing nothing when they were all aware that Clapper was lying in his public testimony. Welcome to America’s Animal Farm. . . . . For its part, the media is cooperating. Few are addressing the obvious perjury or past cases prosecuted on far less. After all, Clapper is one of the ruling elite and not the great unwashed public. The result is perjury by permission, a new exception to criminal acts for the governing elite. […]

  57. Zvyozdochka (@Zvyozdochka)
    1, June 25, 2013 at 7:34 am

    “…As an observer from afar, your Constitution thing has proved a particularly inept document…” —

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    well, some uvvus ken that right well, eh? Lysander Spooner did, early on.

    personally i rather prefer the articles of confederation, wh wuz replaced–without authorization–by our constitution. a couple args against the articles is they didnt fund the federal govt well enuf, and things moved too slowly, to which i say A-men and Hallelujah !

    Those are two things we def.ly need to help us corral this obscene Godless and unAm-Murkin mess we’re refusing to deal with in this, our age.
    We are indeed living in Kakistan, North America!

    appreciate your comments Zvyoz’….
    tnx for dialoguing !!

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig4/spooner1.html

  58. When Sweden and the World gives Snowden the Nobel Peace Prize, Obama can give his back in protest! Then we can break diplomatic ties with Sweden and put the entire country under surveillance until we can instigate a Swedish Spring Revolution and send in CIA weapons to overthrow their Socialist government.

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