Ex-CIA Director Calls For Snowden To Be “Hanged By His Neck Until He Is Dead”

R_James_Woolsey220px-Karl_Morgenschweis_prays_for_Franz_StrasserFormer CIA Director James Woolsey has one wish for the holidays: for Edward Snowden to be tried for treason and “hanged.” That was Woolsey’s response to the suggestion of amnesty for Snowden.Of course, the National Intelligence Director can commit perjury and CIA officials can lie to Congress without nary an investigation let alone prosecution. Intelligence officials can run a torture program in violation of treaties and international law without punishment. CIA officials can openly destroy evidence so that it cannot be used against them in a criminal case and continue in office without penalty. The CIA director can even reveal classified evidence to a filmmaker working on a pro-torture movie. All of that is perfectly correct, but Snowden must die.

Woolsey was appearing with former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Hugh Shelton when he proclaimed that Snowden “should be prosecuted for treason. If convicted by a jury of his peers, he should be hanged by his neck until he is dead.”

228px-Picture_of_Edward_SnowdenOf course, Woolsey’s attitude toward holding CIA officials accountable is a bit more generous. When Congress demanded repercussions after the Aldrich Ames disaster on Woolsey’s watch, he refused and said “[s]ome have clamored for heads to roll in order that we could say that heads have rolled. Sorry, that’s not my way.” No, your way is hang whistleblowers while shielding intelligence officials.

After the Snowden disclosures, Congress has pledged reforms. The White House has admitted abuses. Now a federal judge has declared the entire program to be unconstitutional. Yet, Woolsey wants Snowden dead. Welcome back to America’s Animal Farm.

126 thoughts on “Ex-CIA Director Calls For Snowden To Be “Hanged By His Neck Until He Is Dead””

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    1. It is very risky for Woolsey, and Bolton to be talking about hanging people from the neck until dead. From my observations of the US reaction to Snowden’s revelations, there are about at least 290 million US citizens who are NOT pleased at all about these things. The only folks who might come to their defense are mostly in the area within the Beltway, and Congress critters are NOT noted for their personal or political courage, So if the heat gets hotter, those folks will toss them to the mob of US citizens who may well be showing up on their doorsteps with a soaped rope, not for Snowden, but for them.

      If I find out the time and place, I will be joining in the pitchfork mob of outraged villagers.

  2. An old opinion piece by Ellsberg that’s worth revisiting, given my view of what’s transpiring in the U.S.:


    Snowden made the right call when he fled the U.S.

    By Daniel Ellsberg, Published: July 7


    Many people compare Edward Snowden to me unfavorably for leaving the country and seeking asylum, rather than facing trial as I did. I don’t agree. The country I stayed in was a different America, a long time ago.

    It was, in effect, a global expansion of the Stasi, the Ministry for State Security in the Stalinist “German Democratic Republic,” whose goal was “to know everything.” But the cellphones, fiber-optic cables, personal computers and Internet traffic the NSA accesses did not exist in the Stasi’s heyday.

    As Snowden told the Guardian, “This country is worth dying for.” And, if necessary, going to prison for — for life.

    But Snowden’s contribution to the noble cause of restoring the First, Fourth and Fifth amendments to the Constitution is in his documents. It depends in no way on his reputation or estimates of his character or motives — still less, on his presence in a courtroom arguing the current charges, or his living the rest of his life in prison. Nothing worthwhile would be served, in my opinion, by Snowden voluntarily surrendering to U.S. authorities given the current state of the law.

  3. @AP – OK I guess I don’t see the “whole picture” but that’s not usually the case with me. However, I’m trying to see your POV but comparing what Obama and his spooks are doing to what the Stasi/KGB was doing was like comparing apples to oranges. They were having neighbor spy on neighbor, planting listening devices everywhere, arresting people on the flimsiest of charges, imprisoning arguably innocent people, some people were summarily executed, etc.

    Somehow I think you and the many that are thinking like you are exaggerating the circumstances. I say General Alexander was NOT lying about not listening to your phone calls and I gave you the tools to prove it to yourself. I said he is spying HEAVILY on foreigners, and why not? They spy on us and if it’s in the US national security interest, why not?

    Alexander can’t share with you, Judge Leon, or the American public his success stories because they are CLASSIFIED TOP SECRET. If you could see them you could know the benefits of the NSA spy program.

    Of course I am NOT speaking for the CIA. And I would not say one word in defense of them if you wanted to vilify them, I encourage it. JFK, Senator Church, and Congressman Leo Ryan (all deceased now) were right about at least 50% of the CIA (the bad part Bush and his Yale buddies are in charge of). Rolling them into another agency like DIA, NSA, or some evolution of that may be the right thing to do now. They were NEVER supposed to be a paramilitary intelligence gathering entity. Truman wanted them to be a simple intelligence clearing house.

    Obama is allowing them to run wild because of his past dealings with them before he was a Senator. He is letting quasi-sociopaths, like John O. Brennan (an ex-Bush man) to run the show. John is giving him BAD advice. The Predator Drone program is now immoral and pretty much obsolete in it’s present form. They need to rethink it so at least the collateral damages (or CD) are minimized. It’s just a quick & dirty lazy method of dealing with a very sticky subject. I still believe a USN Seal Team on the ground could do the job of a drone more efficiently and without needless CD.

  4. “The Cold War Period is my forte. And USA today is NOTHING like East Germany.” -sonofthunderboanerges

    Well, then, you’re not seeing the whole picture. Time will tell.


    Yeah, if we want to get all uppity about extradition send Cheney et al to Spain then get back to me, LOL -lottakatz

    Yep. (I’d love to host that send-off party. (-: )

  5. @AP – Trust me AP, The Cold War Period is my forte. And USA today is NOTHING like East Germany. There’s a reason why Mr. Putin claims to like Mr. Obama’s NSA spy program. Because it takes the focus off of what he was doing in East Germany when he was in KGB manipulating the Stasi. Putin is STILL trying to manipulate US by using his SVR goons to spy on US. Why do you think he’s helping Snowden. Like Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN) said in the “Hunt for the Red October” – “The Russians don’t take a dump, son, without a plan!”

  6. So I guess it all boils down to this:

    Is General Alexander lying through his “thin anemic lips” (a rude Bamford-ism) or is he telling the truth to CBS’ Mr. Miller here at?:


    If you are not a natural polygraph like Dr. Phil, then get yourself a VSA (voice stress analyzer) on the Internet. Most are freely available as Freeware or Shareware. Or order the Israeli device call TRUSTER. Not very expensive and quite accurate.

    Alexander says he is NOT listening to Americans phone calls or Internet traffic, deliberately. He says if his intelligence analyst do by accident they are instructed to abort immediately. If he must do so to an American in CONNUS (Continental USA) he must get a warrant from a federal magistrate before proceeding. And then he turns it over to FBI for follow-up (not CIA – thank God!).

    However, he admits he is in a gray area over meta-data thing. It is legal as it is NOT illegally searched & seized by his hackers (and yes he has those too). Is it ethical or moral for him to retain that data perpetually? Maybe not but that’s the $64,000 question isn’t it. Someone will need to decide which it is. Mr. Obama has that unpleasant task now in his review process.

    GW Bush started this mess for all the wrong reasons. Then things got a bit scarier since 9/11, as Mr. Woolsey is trying to point out in the video above. But according to SecDef William Cohen (Clinton Admin) there are eco-terrorist out there with gadgets of mass destruction you’ve NEVER heard of and arguably they have been using them but the MSM doesn’t know how they work so they report natural disasters conventionally (i.e. tornadoes in the winter is normal?)

    But it’s not all about terrorism though. There are other bad guys more scarier then terrorists that have OTHER nefarious plans for USA which have nothing to do with terror but equally as destructive to our comfortable way of life. Why do you think the Bush’s and Sun Y. Moon are buying up MILLIONS of acres of land in Paraguay (SA)? Something BIG is up and the NSA is trying to get to the bottom of it. But they are going to have to “break a few eggs to make this omelet”.

    I would say the CIA is assisting NSA but who knows they may be behind it too. I trust the DoJ and the FBI but not the CIA, in the least. It’s unfortunate that Mr. Obama is required to trust them (like trusting a Fox to watch over your chickens). I agree that the DRONES are becoming ostensibly unnecessary now. But who keeps pushing it? DCI John O. Brennan the alleged concept inventor of the program when he worked for Jose Rodriguez in the GWB admin. What DCI Porter Goss was doing to prevent this stuff is anybodies guess. Most likely nothing.

    They call me:
    SOTB 🙂

    So don’t get me wrong I get all of your pain. But I think it’s a necessary evil. Keeping meta-data is Alexander’s only possible peccadillo here. Not all this other stuff you guys keep alleging. Run him through a VSA and find out if he’s lying…



  7. AP, thanks for the Chomsky piece. Yeah, if we want to get all uppity about extradition send Cheney et al to Spain then get back to me, LOL

    If I had a functioning fireplace I’d be doing exactly the same thing 🙂

  8. lottakatz, Keen insights, per usual. Thanks.

    “Snowden should receive the Medal of Freedom, as should Asange and Manning. If we lived in a moral country they would too.” -lottakatz

    Agreed. Someday, I predict.

    “Sounds like East Germany to me.” -lottakatz, again

    Yep. (We’ve become more like East Germany than many yet realize.)

  9. http://mondoweiss.net/2013/07/chomsky-says-snowden-should-be-honored-for-telling-americans-what-the-government-was-doing.html

    Noam Chomsky, speaking this weekend at the Geneva Press Club this past July:

    My own opinion is that Snowden should be honored. He was doing what every citizen ought to do, telling. [Applause] He was telling Americans what the government was doing. That’s what’s supposed to happen.

    Governments as I mentioned before always plead security no matter what’s going on. The reflexive defense is security. But anyone who’s looked at– first of all, you take a look at what he exposed. At least anything that’s been published, it’s not any kind of threat to security, with one exception, the security of the government from its own population. And in fact if you look at anyone who’s spent any time poring through declassified records– I have, I’m sure many of you have– you find that overwhelmingly the security is the security of the state from its own population and that’s why things have to be kept secret.

    There are some cases where there’s authentic security concerns. But they’re pretty limited.

    The plea of the US government in this case for the surveillance and so on, is that it’s security against terror. But at the very same moment the US policy is designed in a way to increase terror. The US itself is carrying out the most awesome international terrorist campaign, ever, I suppose– the drones and special forces campaign. That’s a major terrorist campaign, all over the world, and it’s also generating terrorists. You can read that and hear that from the highest sources, General McChrystal and scholars and all, so on.

    Of course the drone campaign is creating potential terrorists, and you can easily understand why. I mean, if you were walking through the streets of Geneva and you don’t know whether five minutes from now there’s going to be an explosion across the street that’s run a couple thousand of miles away and it will blow away some people and who ever else happens to be around– you’re terrorized. And you don’t like it. And you may decide to react. That’s happening all over the regions that are subjected to the Obama terror campaign.

    So you can’t seriously on the one hand be not only carrying out massive terror but even generating potential terrorists against yourself and claim that we have to have massive surveillance to protect ourselves against terror. That’s a joke. It should be headlines.

    Then comes the interesting question of extradition. The US has just announced again that they’re going to punish anybody who refuses to extradite Snowden.

    At the same time the US is one of the leaers in refusing extradition. Bolivia is an interesting case. The US has imposed pressure at least… to try to block the Bolivian plane because they want Snowden extradited. For years Bolivia has been trying to extradite from the United States the former president who’s already indicted in Bolivia for all sorts of crimes. The US refuses to extradite him.

    In fact it’s happening right in Europe. Italy has been trying to extradite 22 CIA agents who were involved and in fact indicted for participating in a kidnaping in Milan. They kidnaped somebody, sent him off I think to Egypt to be tortured. And agreed later he was innnocent…

    Extradite the people involved, the US of course refuses. And there’s case after case like this… There are a lot of cases where the U.S. just refuses…

    In fact one of the most striking cases is Latin America, again, not just Bolivia. One of the world’s leading terrorists is Luis Posada, who was involved in blowing up a Cubana airliner which killed 73 people and lots of other terrorist acts. He’s sitting happily in… Miami, and his colleague Rolando Bosch also a major terrorist… is happily there… Cuba and Venezuela are trying to extradite them. But you know. Fat chance.

    So for the U.S. to be calling for others to extradite Snowden is let’s say a little ironic. Again, these ought to be headlines.

    End of Chomsky’s remarks

  10. SOTB, when I read “the security or national interests of the United States” I think first of the Constitution, the first ten amendments thereto and a couple of others actually, and the citizens that document serves. The moral center of our nation, the center we have, and continue to, send our nations children to bleed for.

    If Google collects and sells my information I opt out of Google membership. Likewise if any other site collects and sells my information I weigh the benefit I accrue from their use against my lack of privacy and make decisions thereon. The Constitution does not protect me from their intrusion. I don’t misunderstand the nature of the Bill of Rights to include some Jesus-driven bigot’s ‘right’ to be on a reality TV show or my employer’s right to tell me to ‘zip-it’ while on the job.

    The Constitution is about the government’s relationship with the citizen and the greatest virtue of that document is those parts that set forth what the government can’t doe to citizens without jumping through hoops to insure that the relationship doesn’t become abusive.

    The employer or Google can’t access my emails or phone calls and noting that I sent a $10.00 donation to a knitting circle that knits skull-caps for newborns and have sent such as humanitarian aid to Gaza and put me on a no-fly list. My Space may make me infamous for some dickish thing I did and posted about but they can’t audit my taxes for a badly framed joke in an email that contained key words. Depending on how loosely written an otherwise do-nothing Congress’ newly minted law is it won’t have Reddit sifting through 5 years of my electronic/telephone conversations to see what I’ve been up to and making a retroactive case that has the FBI question me or search my home under a secret administration letter.

    That commercial sources actively act as handmaidens to an ever expanding security state doesn’t mitigate anything. They are quislings and collaborators. That they gave it up with faint, if any, dispute doesn’t lessen the crimes of the principles.

    To collect the data generated by your citizens just in case you might need or want to search it later and/to target current and future opponents or dissenters is in my imperfect understanding a violation of the Bill of Rights. It distorts the citizens relationship with free speech rights and guts the provisions of due process and warrant-less searches. I can only suggest that you read about what NSA has been collecting and what it plans to collect. “Meta-data” is the wool they’re pulling over your eyes. If you plan on gardening this next year and doing some canning I suggest that if you need a new pressure canner you don’t search or buy on line, that you pay cash at a big box store and try to avoid the security cameras in the store and parking lot. It’s just that simple to call attention to yourself.

    In other words, once you have eaten the heart out of a country, and our Bill of Rights is just that, what’s left? Why should any citizen die for a patch of land where good jobs are scarce and you have to second-guess the virtue of every electronic transaction you make or word you utter? Sounds like East Germany to me.


  11. @Philo Beddow – I’m somewhat familiar with most of the peccadilloes of CIA executive staff from “shoplifting” to burning documents about illegal chemically enhanced behavioral modification programs practiced on innocent American citizens. However, no one has yet come forward to pointing out what Woolsey did. So he made a very rude statement about a guy who betrayed his government and evidently made him look bad as he was the VP of Snowden’s company, Booz Allen. Now why would you want to effectively “castrate” Jim?

    Here’s the guy in action protecting his country that you want to castrate (and for what?):

  12. @LottaKatz – Lessee’ 16 people got this award from President Obama recently. Namely President Clinton, Opray Winnfrey, etc. Now Snowden’s claim to fame was to sign a non-disclosure agreement under penalty of jail and promptly violates it. According to Ledget (NSA guy prosecuting the Snowden case), Snowden NEVER consulted with any one on his misgivings and feelings toward the NSA. There have been many NSA whistle-blowers before him John Perkins, Wayne Madsen, Russel Tice, but none of them did so careless actions that Snowden did.

    Ledget says Snowden is “sitting” on millions of pages of illegally downloaded papers that could seriously damage our national security if they fall into the wrong hands (i.e. Putin?). And in your Wikipedia posting it says: “It recognizes those individuals who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States…” Hmmmm…

    Then when you really peel away all of the hype you actually see that innocent American citizens where never the target of NSA telephone audio surveillance, foreigners were. Metadata collection on Americans is the only GOTCHA but that was obtained CONSTITUTIONALLY as the true owners of the metadata gave it up freely never requiring a search warrant.

    Of course Alexander may have over-reached on this but what choice did he have if the commercial stewards of the metadata (i.e. Verizon, AT&T, etc.) would have lost it or otherwise made it useless to the intelligence community. Alexander needed a central repository for it and his NSA UTAH DATA CENTER was the best candidate. Of course Mr. Obama is going to re-think this now due to the incessant privacy-nut cry.

    I personally don’t see any future Medals for Snowden… Unless you mean “metal” like handcuffs or iron bars?


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