Clinton Finds It “Odd” That Snowden Fled Country and “Puzzled” Why He Needed To Go To Press

225px-Hillary_Clinton_official_Secretary_of_State_portrait_crop228px-Picture_of_Edward_SnowdenFor many civil libertarians, the American political system appears caught in a vicious loop. While Americans are demanding change and hold both parties at record lows, the party elite have changed nothing. (Indeed, a new poll shows the Democrats at a new low and now in danger of losing not just the White House but Congress). The leading candidate for the Democrats is Hillary Clinton (who has also been shown to have low numbers in recent polls). The Republicans are pushing another Bush. For many libertarians and civil libertarians, Clinton is a non-starter. She supported the wars under Bush as well as the Libyan intervention under Obama. She is the very face of the Democratic establishment for many. That image was reinforced last week at the University of Connecticut, when Clinton discussed Edward Snowden and expressed utter confusion why he would ever do what he did.

Clinton responded to questions about NSA surveillance with the same mantra heard in both the Bush and Obama Administrations: there are people out there who want to hurt us and we were just trying to protect you. She made it sound like she was talking about events 100 years ago:

“People were desperate to avoid another attack, and I saw enough intelligence as a senator from New York, and then certainly as secretary [of State], that this is a constant—there are people right this minute trying to figure out how to do harm to Americans and to other innocent people. So it was a debate that needs to happen, so that we make sure that we’re not infringing on Americans’ privacy, which is a valued, cherished personal belief that we have. But we also had to figure out how to get the right amount of security.”

The campaign has begun. We did nothing wrong because we were fighting terrorists but we will look for the right balance . . . and by the way, I am delighted that we are having this debate (even after the Administration fought to prevent any disclosure of the programs that led to the debate).

It was Clinton’s comments on Snowden that are likely to outrage many civil libertarians. While not calling him a traitor like others (which would not go over well given the polls showing Snowden as viewed as a whistleblower), Clinton came off as passive aggressive — openly expressing bewilderment that he did what he did when he could have just come to the government with his concerns.

“When he emerged and when he absconded with all that material, I was puzzled because we have all these protections for whistle-blowers. If he were concerned and wanted to be part of the American debate, he could have been. But it struck me as—I just have to be honest with you—as sort of odd that he would flee to China, because Hong Kong is controlled by China, and that he would then go to Russia—two countries with which we have very difficult cyberrelationships, to put it mildly.”

I can understand why our ruling political elite would find Snowden odd. He broke the rules and went outside of a carefully controlled duopoly system of control. He embarrassed many, including Clinton, who sat by quietly as the national security system invaded the privacy of every American citizen. Indeed, for people in the establishment who have spent their lives reinforcing that system, someone like Snowden is more than an anomaly. He is someone who not only broke the rules but threw away his career to make these disclosures. For people like Clinton, he could just as well be a man from Mars.

Just for the record, as many of you know, I represented the prior whistleblower who first revealed this program years before Snowden. He tried to use the system. Happily he was not charged and is doing well. However, as I have testified in Congress, the whistleblower system referred to by Clinton is a colossal joke. First, as Clinton must know (but did not mention), there are exceptions under the whistleblower laws for national security information. Second, the House and Senate oversight committees are viewed as the place that whistleblowers go to get arrested. There is a revolving door of staff back and forth to the intelligence agencies and people like Dianne Feinstein have denounced Snowden as a traitor. For those of us who have practiced in this area, many of us find it “odd” that Clinton would think that Snowden could use that system. While one can still criticize Snowden for breaking classification laws, the suggestion that he could have used the whistleblower system is demonstrably untrue if you are familiar with the laws or the history of such cases.

Clinton added that “I think turning over a lot of that material—intentionally or unintentionally—drained, gave all kinds of information, not only to big countries, but to networks and terrorist groups and the like. So I have a hard time thinking that somebody who is a champion of privacy and liberty has taken refuge in Russia, under Putin’s authority.”

Of course, many would “have a hard time thinking that somebody” who blindly supported the rise of the national security state and multiple wars would hold forth n privacy and liberty. Yet, none of this matters. Lobbyists have been reportedly giving millions to Clinton in speeches while Democratic leaders are already preparing the ground for her to be the next nominee. There is nothing “odd” about that in America’s duopoly.

Source: National Journal

171 thoughts on “Clinton Finds It “Odd” That Snowden Fled Country and “Puzzled” Why He Needed To Go To Press”

  1. Paul,

    The basic question is:

    Should any citizen be punished or killed by the government for following the advertised laws and advertised Constitution – in other words should police power be used to punish or kill citizens complying with the laws?

    Especially federal bureaucrats, like FBI Director J.Edgar Hoover, had a secret “non-public” rulebook – not advertised to citizens. In his rulebook being African-American and wanting voting rights was a “crime” punishable by death.

    Since tyrants like Hoover couldn’t use the legitimate legal system against his secret crime suspects – he participated in programs like McCarthyism, CoinTelPro and Operation Chaos.

    Essentially a powerful bureaucrat used his own individual judgement as to who America’s enemies were – instead of enforcing statutes passed by Congress or a state legislature.

    Today it appears to be happening all over again. Former FBI field agent, Michael German, reported in April of 2014 that the FBI placed “Environmental Rights Activists” as the number one domestic terrorist threat to the United States – although these so-called terrorists have never killed anyone.

    It’s plausible to think that today FBI agents are blacklisting (or disrupting) groups like the Sierra Club – not based on a federal statute – but based on mission creep by a power hungry bureaucrat.

    If a national security agency assassinated Sierra Club members, would you consider that a war crime?

    1. Ross – for there to be a war crime, there has to be a war. Hoover was not concerned about MLK and voting, he was concerned about MLK and backing from the CPUSA. And McCarthy was backed by the Kennedys, who were looking for members of the CPUSA in the Army and the State Dept. I do not think Hoover had anything to do with the death of MLK, however he did bug his bedroom and released the tapes to be played at D.C. social gatherings so they could see that MLK could not keep it in his pants.

  2. Ross – I am having trouble making a connecting between blacklisting, extortion and suicide. Then there is the whole premeditated homicide thing.

    Also would you link something that defines ‘blacklisting’ as a war crime?

  3. Paul Schulte: There has been little press coverage on the war crime of “blacklisting” on Americans and foreigners. The American press seems uninterested in these war crimes.

    Simon Weisenthal, Nazi hunter, viewed blacklisting by the East German Stasi as far worse than the German Gestapo during World War Two.

    Blacklisting is a torture technique that kills innocent Americans and foreigners. The blacklisting victims either don’t know they have been targeted or can’t initiate a complaint in federal court since it’s designed to avoid court oversight.

    The most famous American example is during the Civil Rights era when Martin Luther King, Jr. was blacklisted by several national security agencies where these agencies attempted premeditated homicide against King – torturing King into committing suicide through extortion.

    Where is the press – these are war crimes!

  4. paul

    you missed the point. read the comments. notice how everybody sees everyone else as the nazi while they, or the group of their choice, are the good guy.

    remind you of anything?

    1. pete – that is an interesting article, but nothing behind it. There were a ton of successful people who were Nazis, there were a ton of intellectuals who were Nazis, etc.And once the movement went from a little movement to a big movement, several in that room would have gotten swept in, just to keep pace. The butler, is prime to be a Nazi. And we could not have beaten the Germans at that point. We barely did it later and we had their codes.

  5. Hillary is not the answer, but as Annie suggested early on in the thread, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders look very good to me at the moment. By the way, to be in favor of waterboarding is to be in favor of a criminal act, by domestic law and international law.

    1. rafflaw – the law changes with time, whats criminal this week is legal next week. Don’t get yourself tied to anything. 🙂

  6. Typical Hilary remark. You are supposed to take the evil bitch at her word and relax in her pretend world of ‘nothing but help from government’. I can’t imagine Bill behaving that way.

  7. Paul says

    I didn’t cite Breitbart. If you would read along I cited a law professor at Cornell, another Ivy League college, Prof. Jacobson.

    Paul provided

    The above link to Legal Insurrection has three or four links on the opening page. They ALL go to Breitbart.

    Maybe Paul doesn’t know how the internets works. Maybe he thinks we won’t read his stuff. Understandable – he doesn’t bother to read anything that people have posted in response to his dreck.

    More Yiddish! I must be an anti-Semite.

    1. oy vey! I cited the professor. He cited Breibart. However, if you can overcome the evidence, please do so. So far, I see no offer of proof. Refute!

      BTW, there is only one Internet.

    2. All you seem to do it kvetch, kvetch, kvetch! Start proving, proving, proving. If you have an argument to make, state it and prove it. Don’t spin your wheels complaining.

  8. hahahahahahaha.

    Right!!!! Harvard used a catalog to recruit tenured faculty!!!!! They had never heard of her.!!!!!

    What do you suppose they paid Ms.Warren, this unknown, (except for a big muckedy-muck from the Raygun administration) woman out of OK?


  9. Oh, Paul, Paul, Paul

    Links have links. Those links have links. They use those links to (maybe) support their claims and tell us how they gathered their ‘evidence’.

    I know. It’s all so very complicated …reading.


    The Cherokee “genealogist” had a link, which went to Breitbart, etc. etc. Although somebody eventually got to a Boston Globe source.

    It was all so very impressive…

    I think I’ll go look up this Cornell guy. No doubt he’ll have NO agenda after having named his publication “Legal Insurrection”. Inspires confidence, doesn’t it.

    Cripes. At least Yoo was smart.

  10. I didn’t cite Breitbart. If you would read along I cited a law professor at Cornell, another Ivy League college, Prof. Jacobson.

  11. P.S.: Did you cite Breitbart again!? If I had known that I wouldn’t have wasted my time. You’ve conceded the argument. You lose.

    Come back when you’ve found a source that only makes things up 90% of the time

  12. P.S.: Warren explained that her belief that she was 1/32 part Cherokee stemmed from her family’s oral history, a condition both understandable and forgivable.

    Your guess re: the Kennedy’s would be wrong. Grandpa Joe stole that money fair and square. Since then, many of the Kennedy’s have used their power and influence to make this a better world to live in. It’s a large, diverse family. Not all of them have lived up that legacy, but the Kennedy family has lost more in the service of this country than money could ever replace. Can’t say that about the Cheney’s

    1. RTC – then Warren doubled down when people questioned that story, which would have been overlooked, by saying they were attacking the veracity of her dead relatives. The Cherokees got into this and several Cherokee genealogists got involved, along with her family members. None of them back up her story. No one would have had a problem if she had backed down. She even offered recipes (that it appears she plagarized) to an Indian cookbook. She had herself listed as a minority in an ABA handbook used by colleges and universities to recruit minority faculty.

  13. Paul,

    You and your sources (includes Breitbart) sound like you’re looking for a birth certificate — again. Those are hard to come by for native American populations. Home births and all. It was a silly request when Trump did it, and it’s still silly. That tactic only appeals to the stupid. Registration on the tribal rolls are all important. Those rolls are sometimes tampered with.

    Further, in the article the Cherokee seemed to concede he had no proof. He said something like…… the matter is not over. Now that’s a REAL mushy statement. That was followed by a bunch of assertions without documentation.

    There are huge fights among various tribes as to who qualifies as a member of the tribe. It can go on for generations and It can be very political – one group seeking power over another. Sometimes casinos are involved. I heard a very interesting program on this not too long ago.

    One last word. You treated Annie abominably. I was late to this thread, so I had not seen it until now.

  14. Schulte: Warren’s wealth illustrates that progressives have nothing against it.
    Progressives, by and large, are working to create an even playing field so that everyone may have an opportunity to achieve wealth, not just a privileged class or talented few. Warren, BTW, earned hers, not inherited it.

    I’m less concerned about her indiscretion on a form she filled out many years ago than I am about the fact that her analysis of the economy before the meltdown was spot on and her warnings to congress and the media were largely ignored.

    I am not defending Warren’s exaggeration, I am forgiving it. The difference between her and scores of Teabagging repubs and neocons is that she has made a fullconfession and they have not

    1. RTC – if Warren had owned up to it there would be no problem, but she doubled down on it and it is in her book (she currently is on tour flogging the book). She has never made a full confession and if she has, please post it and I will be glad to back down on this issue.

      RTC – I will remember that progressive love wealth if it is theirs, but not if it belongs to others. However, I guess you don’t like the Kennedys because they inherited. Warren made her money advising on bankruptcies where the workers lost their pensions. She is a real friend of the ‘little man.’

  15. Paul, the Full definition is:

    fawning flatterer: a servile or obsequious person who flatters somebody powerful for personal gain

    Oy! I’m searching for a word that is a little stronger than ‘misinformation’.

  16. Paul S

    Do you read anything that Elaine posts?

    Elaine posts an AP report on the what and the why of the Harvard hire.

    She did it @ 2:51.

    You asked a dumb question at 5:21.

    Is your purpose to only spread misinformation?

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