House Members Renew Call For The Capture Of Snowden As “Traitor” and Spy

228px-Picture_of_Edward_SnowdenMembers of Congress are shocked, shocked this week. No this Claude Rains moment was not over the hundreds of billions spent on unpopular wars or the creeping economy or the evisceration of civil liberties in America. No, that stuff is just fine. What had members struggling in front of reporters to avoid being sick in the halls of Congress was Edward Snowden. Yes, it is the latest classified hearing and the latest unclassified outrage to convince Americans that it is Snowden that they must fear despite polls saying that Americans fear their own government as much or more than terrorism. Thus, House Armed Services Committee members left the meeting and called again for Snowden to be captured and thrown in prison for life, if not executed. I previously wrote a column that a strong argument could be made for a presidential pardon, but the renewed effort to turn public opinion likely reflects a growing international view of Snowden as a whistleblower.

Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), chairman of the Armed Service panel’s Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee and also a member of the House Intelligence Committee said that he and his colleagues “left the briefing disturbed and angered” over the scope of damage done by Snowden (which went beyond the NSA program). That may indeed be true and the damage is a legitimate concern. However, the members have shown little concern over those NSA programs and continue to advance “reforms” that do little to address the attack on privacy and civil liberties. They also have done little to address the lack of any real avenue for whistleblowers like Snowden. The congressional oversight committees have long been viewed as little more than rubber stamps for the intelligence committee and no sane whistleblower would put his case and future in the hands of these committees.

Thornberry declared that Snowden is a spy since his “actions were espionage, plain and simple.” While the Obama Administration and congressional allies tried to paint Snowden as a spy earlier on, no one has bought that allegation. There is currently no evidence that he acted to assist, or acted at the behest of, a foreign government.

Nevertheless, Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) read a statement that “Ed Snowden isn’t a whistleblower; he’s a traitor.” McKeon demanded that Snowden be “brought to justice.” Of course, the ultimate punishment for the crimes described by Thornberry and McKeon would be death.

There is a clear effort to ride out the concerns over civil liberties, preserve the NSA programs, and change the public persona of Snowden. Part of that effort is to redirect attention away from the unpopular NSA programs and focus on other security losses. I happen to agree with the concerns over the damage but I also cannot ignore the abuse that Snowden brought to light. It would be more convincing is these members showed the same disgust and voices the same demands for action over the loss of civil liberties as they do over the loss of intelligence.

61 thoughts on “House Members Renew Call For The Capture Of Snowden As “Traitor” and Spy

  1. He then broke into the agency’s system and stole the admittance test with the answers

    NSA today announced that this standard admittance test has been discontinued.
    From today onwards, NSA will only hire people who can demonstrate that they have the skill levels required to break into NSA systems.
    “The old admittance test was not difficult enough. We have some doubts about the new standard too.” said a spokesperson

  2. http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304626804579363651571199832

    Mr. Snowden was a security guard with the NSA, moved into its information-technology department and was sent overseas, Mr. McConnell said. He then left the agency, joined another company and moved to Japan. But Mr. Snowden wanted back in with the NSA. He then broke into the agency’s system and stole the admittance test with the answers, Mr. McConnell said. Mr. Snowden took the test and aced it, Mr. McConnell said. “He walked in and said you should hire me because I scored high on the test.”

  3. These so called representatives represent no-one except other traitors of the people in government like themselves. I suggest we allow them to resign from every position of power & if they do it quickly enough we won’t have to hang them. How can anyone be so out of touch! The days of the military being on the side of the people just a little bit ended between WWII & the Korean war. The USA needs a 10 year moritorium on foreign wars; if it can keep it up that long it may realise how unnecessary they are & that going to war spells FAILURE to communicate. Snowden is as popular with the people as JF Kenedy was. Are these nonrepresentatives ready for that kind of assassination today? I disagree with the last commentator: I think he’ll live a long life but not in the USA.

  4. The powers that be will not be able to capture and return Mr Snowden to the US so they will do the next best thing – seek him out and execute him wherever he is. It might be a year or 5 years but I am sure he is sitting on a death sentence. This is what will potentially dissuade others from revealing secrets in future and disappearing to foreign lands to save themselves.

    Once the Government labels their citizens as spies and traitors, killing them as if they were some kind of enemy attacking you in war becomes in their thinking, I have little doubt, very justifiable conduct.

    So I fear Mr Snowden is not long for this world.

  5. For my part, Mr. Snowdan did the American people a great service in revealing this insiduous plot to invade the privacy of its citizens under the quise of national defense. What he deserves, is a medal.

  6. I believe that Snowden will move to Germany in due time. Merkel is mad at the U.S. for spying on her own phone calls and other communications. The Germans are closer to this Stasi civil rights regime than almost any other nation on the planet. The Russians just left the East side twenty four years or so ago. Germans are thus more sensitive to this Stasi/Nazi behavior. Germans will embrace him. The problem is that the U.S. Stasi forces might kill him If he leaves Russia.
    There are better photographs of Snowden than the one used on the blog today. This is one that the government trots out to make him look more like a weeny.

  7. “Either they are stupid or they think that we are”

    Randyjet. Perhaps I am too cynical, but considering the other narcisstic, arrogant behavior I see coming from the political class, my only conclusion is that many of them think we are the stupid ones.

    They have shown contempt for the Constitution, the governing document of a government that is intended to be ‘of the people, by the people, for the people’. Showing contempt for it demonstrates a contempt of us. Politicians who have contempt for the people they supposedly serve is a dangerous development.

    Strong words, but they really have my dander up.

  8. Elaine,
    Loved the Snuggly Bear video, in a dark humor way. It illustrates the cognitive dissonance of our government’s words and actions beautifully. It made me ache inside, though, at thought of this razor-sharp depiction of what I grew up thinking was ‘the land of the free’. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Spying is a four way street, leave Snowden in Russia or China. The damage is done and like the olden days of the Cold War which is still on but now more people are involved due to technology. he made his bed and the Russian gave him a matress.

  10. Rep. Buck is on the House Armed Services subcommittee on Intelligence. We are intelligent and do not buy into his treason. Yes, his treason. None dare cal it that. Buck is not very intelligent. His grandfather was adjudicated an imbecile in 1927. Then Justice Holmes ruled that three generations of imbeciles are enough. Buck v. Bell. Sterilization did not work in 1927 and we have this idjit on our Congressional Committee.

  11. Darren Smith

    The political class has betrayed the citizens of the US more than Edward ever could have.
    ===============
    Yep.

    They lack the kind of class it takes to even care to know what the law is in a given context.

  12. Bron

    Did Snowden sell what he has to a foreign government or make it available to them? If he did, that isnt good.

    If he is sitting on it for a future negotiation with the government, better but still criminal.

    How do we know this isnt some sort of elaborate intelligence scam to sneak a backdoor into Russian and Chinese defense networks.
    ==================
    The old IBM “FUD” try eh (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt).

    Why are you not comfortable with the reality that what the military NSA is doing is a crime?

    I pointed out in my last reply to you, which you have not answered, that the military NSA has no legal authority under FISA to do anything.

    The civilian FBI is the designated agency in Section 215.

    Further, under Possee Comitatus statutes, what the military NSA is doing is defined by law as a crime:

    The Posse Comitatus Act

    Section 1385 of Title 18, United States Code (USC), states:

    “Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.”

    (Will The Military Become The Police? – 3). History shows us that is extremely important for democracies not to mix military with civilian activity.

    Furthermore, whistle blowing is one of the earliest founding principles of our nation that is still with us:

    On July 30, 1778, the Continental Congress created the first whistleblower protection law, stating “that it is the duty of all persons in the service of the United States to give the earliest information to Congress or other proper authority of any misconduct, frauds, or misdemeanors committed by any officers or persons in the service of these states.”

    (Whistleblowers According To The Early Americans).

    • Darren, yes we have been betrayed by the political class; however, Snowden has provided a valuable service by exposing the illegal activities of our government.

      What I think is ironic is having the NSA spying on not only members of congress but on the Supreme Court—I bet they know who has what in off-shore banking accounts.

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