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Vattel

(9,289 posts)
Sun Jun 1, 2014, 11:01 AM Jun 2014

An attempt to get the facts straight on the release of the Snowden email by the NSA

Here is my attempt to summarize the events surrounding the released email from Snowden to NSA lawyers. Please correct me if I have made a mistake (as I often do).

Prior to the release of the email, Snowden claimed that in emails to NSA lawyers, he was "raising concerns about the NSA’s interpretations of its legal authorities.” According to Snowden, one specific concern was that some high officials in the NSA believed that classified executive orders could override federal law. In the email the NSA released, Snowden asked NSA lawyers about this very issue. Specifically, he asked about training materials which seemed to him to contradict the principle that federal law overrides executive orders. Someone from the NSA’s Office of General Council responded that executive orders do not override federal law, which makes it look like Snowden’s concern was satisfied.

But Snowden also claims that he expressed his concern about the NSA’s understanding of its legal authorities in correspondence “with the Signals Intelligence Directorate’s Office of Compliance, which believed that a classified executive order could take precedence over an act of Congress . . .” We are not in a position to know if that claim is true. Hopefully, the NSA will release more emails (assuming they exist), but I doubt the NSA would want the public to know that some high NSA official believed that executive orders could override federal law and that Snowden questioned that belief. So we end up in a strange situation. If Snowden is lying, there are no additional emails to release, but we have no way of knowing that there are none. And if Snowden is telling the truth, then the NSA probably won’t release the emails that would vindicate him. Either way, we may well end up being left in the dark.

Personally, I doubt that Snowden is lying about corresponding with the Signals Directorate’s Office of Compliance about this issue. But I am not in a position to know for sure.

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An attempt to get the facts straight on the release of the Snowden email by the NSA (Original Post) Vattel Jun 2014 OP
Has there been any discussion about Control-Z Jun 2014 #1
Quite a bit but not a very intelligent discussion. Luminous Animal Jun 2014 #2
Does he have them, do you know? Control-Z Jun 2014 #5
I don't think he has ever had them. Luminous Animal Jun 2014 #7
There are those of us who simply do not find it credible that in his stealing, he msanthrope Jun 2014 #13
That is a good summary. Luminous Animal Jun 2014 #3
You might well be correct. Vattel Jun 2014 #6
Exactly! Luminous Animal Jun 2014 #8
If he wasn't originally planning to seek asylum Blue_Tires Jun 2014 #10
Based on his 1st interview when he revealed his identity, Luminous Animal Jun 2014 #15
I'd loved to have overheard that conversation Blue_Tires Jun 2014 #19
He was not "bound for Moscow". Moscow was a layover to elsewhere... Luminous Animal Jun 2014 #25
sounds likely to me. grasswire Jun 2014 #4
Kick. Luminous Animal Jun 2014 #9
The NSA might release more emails if they have them Leme Jun 2014 #11
if they don't know what documents he took... grasswire Jun 2014 #12
we know it is somewhere, if sent by internet Leme Jun 2014 #17
No. That's not a good summary. Where in your timeline did ES meet with GG and then steal msanthrope Jun 2014 #14
I am not trying to summarize the whole Snowden saga. Vattel Jun 2014 #21
No. nt msanthrope Jun 2014 #23
What did I say that is false? Vattel Jun 2014 #24
Now you are moving the goalposts...in your OP, you use the word "mistaken." Now you are msanthrope Jun 2014 #26
Okay, what did I say in my OP that is mistaken? Vattel Jun 2014 #27
You are mistaken in presuming that Snowden is telling you the truth in "why" msanthrope Jun 2014 #29
I'm not finding the part where I made such a claim. Vattel Jun 2014 #30
Every single time you wrote "Snowden claims." Thus, you focus not on facts msanthrope Jun 2014 #32
I didn't say that his claims are true. Vattel Jun 2014 #37
Again--you focus on claims, not on facts. Why not list facts? nt msanthrope Jun 2014 #38
I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you are joking. Vattel Jun 2014 #39
The NSA will release the emails in a timely fashion. joshcryer Jun 2014 #16
they can't discredit him now grasswire Jun 2014 #18
There has been no conversation or reform. joshcryer Jun 2014 #20
ridiculous. grasswire Jun 2014 #35
It's a pointless diversion, no one is serious. joshcryer Jun 2014 #36
Whether top NSA officials believed Vattel Jun 2014 #22
The implication is that the NSA put EO above law. joshcryer Jun 2014 #33
Consider this: truedelphi Jun 2014 #28
That individual is Marcy Wheeler and yes, she is doing great work on Snowden and the NSA. Luminous Animal Jun 2014 #34
I think Snowden gave his copies of correspondence to Sasquatch... randome Jun 2014 #31

Control-Z

(15,684 posts)
5. Does he have them, do you know?
Sun Jun 1, 2014, 12:29 PM
Jun 2014

Or is someone holding them for him possibly? If he has them, wouldn't making then public help to settle some arguments?

 

msanthrope

(37,549 posts)
13. There are those of us who simply do not find it credible that in his stealing, he
Sun Jun 1, 2014, 01:31 PM
Jun 2014

forgot to take evidence of his "whistleblowing."

Luminous Animal

(27,310 posts)
3. That is a good summary.
Sun Jun 1, 2014, 12:22 PM
Jun 2014

And here is my theory as to why Snowden did not download his emails...

I don' think Snowden originally intended to seek asylum. If you have read the book, the decision to leave his hotel and seek a safe house in Hong Kong was made at the last minute with assistance from human rights attorneys that he had never met or spoken to before.

He didn't take the emails because he never anticipated his current position.

 

Vattel

(9,289 posts)
6. You might well be correct.
Sun Jun 1, 2014, 12:32 PM
Jun 2014

But Snowden has not claimed that he explored all the ordinary whistle-blower channels, or that he would be shielded by whistleblower laws. He knew his goals required him to go public, and he knew that the emails in question wouldn't help him avoid prosecution or conviction under the Espionage Act. So he might have seen no urgency in preserving them.

Blue_Tires

(55,445 posts)
10. If he wasn't originally planning to seek asylum
Sun Jun 1, 2014, 01:16 PM
Jun 2014

somewhere, that was a shocking lack of foresight or even common sense...

What exactly did he think was going to happen once he lifted the last files and took an extended sick leave?

Luminous Animal

(27,310 posts)
15. Based on his 1st interview when he revealed his identity,
Sun Jun 1, 2014, 01:38 PM
Jun 2014

and also reading the book, I think he expected to be arrested. I don't think he meant to seek asylum, at all. And thus his line about not hiding from justice.

When the press descended on Hong Kong, 3 human rights attorney's based in Hong Kong, volunteered their services. Snowden accepted and he was taken to a safe house. I believe that is when the strategy of asylum was hatched.

Blue_Tires

(55,445 posts)
19. I'd loved to have overheard that conversation
Sun Jun 1, 2014, 01:56 PM
Jun 2014

with the three human rights attorneys and how that ended up with a flight bound for Moscow...

grasswire

(50,130 posts)
4. sounds likely to me.
Sun Jun 1, 2014, 12:23 PM
Jun 2014

I suspect that Snowden has copies, and has baited NSA. I suspect that this email was the least damaging to NSA and that's why they "found" it.

Snowden is in the catbird seat. There's nothing they can do aside of assassination. But he already had considered that possibility and was willing to take the risk for love of country.

edit to add: I doubt he has hard copies with him. They're probably stashed somewhere.

 

Leme

(1,092 posts)
11. The NSA might release more emails if they have them
Sun Jun 1, 2014, 01:23 PM
Jun 2014

whether Snowden has them or not. Just to get ahead of the story.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
but I think the BIG story... NSA surveillance, is not being covered.

grasswire

(50,130 posts)
12. if they don't know what documents he took...
Sun Jun 1, 2014, 01:31 PM
Jun 2014

....they might be better be more afraid of what he COULD release.

The great preponderance of the documents has NOT been released, some of it because it would be too harmful in some way. Lawyers and journalists have culled that stuff out.

But it's still there, in someone's hands.

 

Leme

(1,092 posts)
17. we know it is somewhere, if sent by internet
Sun Jun 1, 2014, 01:46 PM
Jun 2014

it may be encrypted... but it is somewhere. Unless the phone company deleted it. Or someone hacked the phone company and deleted it.

 

msanthrope

(37,549 posts)
14. No. That's not a good summary. Where in your timeline did ES meet with GG and then steal
Sun Jun 1, 2014, 01:37 PM
Jun 2014

documents?

 

Vattel

(9,289 posts)
21. I am not trying to summarize the whole Snowden saga.
Sun Jun 1, 2014, 01:58 PM
Jun 2014

Just part of it. Do you at least think that what I do include in my summary is accurate?

 

msanthrope

(37,549 posts)
26. Now you are moving the goalposts...in your OP, you use the word "mistaken." Now you are
Sun Jun 1, 2014, 02:29 PM
Jun 2014

using the word "false." I'd prefer to comment on the former.

 

msanthrope

(37,549 posts)
29. You are mistaken in presuming that Snowden is telling you the truth in "why"
Sun Jun 1, 2014, 02:48 PM
Jun 2014

he sent the email, and you have presented this uncritically as a "fact." Thus...you are not focusing on facts so much as subjective explanations for actions.

It would be more useful if you simply listed when actions took place, and then began a conversation about "why."

But that's not very helpful to ES.

 

msanthrope

(37,549 posts)
32. Every single time you wrote "Snowden claims." Thus, you focus not on facts
Sun Jun 1, 2014, 03:11 PM
Jun 2014

but on claims. Why not list facts? Start with actions.

joshcryer

(62,300 posts)
16. The NSA will release the emails in a timely fashion.
Sun Jun 1, 2014, 01:40 PM
Jun 2014

They will time it in a way to discredit Snowden.

We know Snowden did not bring up specific concerns because he's not in jail. He had to have brought up vague queries.

grasswire

(50,130 posts)
18. they can't discredit him now
Sun Jun 1, 2014, 01:49 PM
Jun 2014

Dream on.

Oh, they could fabricate something, or assassinate him.

He still would have achieved his goal of starting a national conversation.

I doubt they want to make him a martyr.

grasswire

(50,130 posts)
35. ridiculous.
Sun Jun 1, 2014, 04:33 PM
Jun 2014

You're talking about it, I'm talking about it, the media, the Internet, the networks are talking about it, Congress is acting to restrain the NSA........yada yada yada.

Because of Snowden.

joshcryer

(62,300 posts)
36. It's a pointless diversion, no one is serious.
Sun Jun 1, 2014, 05:16 PM
Jun 2014

It's checkbook journalism at it's finest. Pure punditry, personal attacks, no true civic discussion. We have fools falling for the narrative actually saying Wyden, the guy who actually broke the story, has less integrity than equivocating Snowden.

This is not substantive, we all agree the NSA needs to be checked (I'm on record to abolish it, until terrorism is as dangerous as walking down the street it's not an actual civil issue the government should bother with).

But we are doing nothing to check it. And why? Because we're too distracted "discussing." All the while clicks ramp up on profit ventures designed specifically to make money on outrage.

 

Vattel

(9,289 posts)
22. Whether top NSA officials believed
Sun Jun 1, 2014, 02:00 PM
Jun 2014

that classified executive orders could override federal law is a pretty specific concern. Why do you think raising such a concern would have landed him in jail?

joshcryer

(62,300 posts)
33. The implication is that the NSA put EO above law.
Sun Jun 1, 2014, 03:20 PM
Jun 2014

If he said "I believe mass data collection by PRISM is illegal," he goes straight to jail, as he was not privy to that information.

It's simple deduction. If he said anything specific he goes to jail. There was nothing specific.

truedelphi

(32,324 posts)
28. Consider this:
Sun Jun 1, 2014, 02:44 PM
Jun 2014

I happen to regard many of merrily's statements highly, including this one:

DU'er "merrily" --
Yes, leaking does lead to making secret govt conduct an issue and yes that is due to actions of the govt.



he was not careful to limit his leaks only to things he thought were wrong.



Greenwald has said otherwise, that Snowden gave them to journalists he believed could, better than he could, evaluate because they have more experience doing that. And Greenwald has described his own process very carefully.

I am not saying Greenwald is correct. I am saying there is more than one version of your claim that Snowden was negligent.

And I have yet to see anything posted here that proves that anyone got information damaging to the US that they did not already have, other than the general populace. Every poster I've asked for a link on the China story--and I have asked three so far--has disappeared from the thread after I made the request.

However, on balance, I would rather have had the disclosures than not, even if some info leaked to nations and groups that have their own intel outfits.

I have no brief for Snowden or Greenwald. I not only do not know what their motives were, I don't care. It's irrelevant to me. I challenge stuff posted here only because I never like propaganda and resist it when I see it. The disclosures and the acts and omissions of my government, acting on my dime, however, are very relevant to me.
####

An individual over at "emptywheel.net" is doing credible (and incedible!) work on the Snowden issue, and that site should be a must read for anyone sorting through the issues:
http://www.emptywheel.net/2014/05/30/snowden-a-classified-executive-order/


http://www.emptywheel.net/2014/05/29/snowdens-emailed-question-addresses-one-abuse-revealed-by-his-leaks/

http://www.emptywheel.net/2014/05/29/nsas-training-programs-are-a-mess/

 

randome

(34,845 posts)
31. I think Snowden gave his copies of correspondence to Sasquatch...
Sun Jun 1, 2014, 03:01 PM
Jun 2014

...who piloted them to the Moon in a U.F.O. captained by Elvis.

For those who think he's simply 'biding his time' (you didn't say that, Vattel), I predict severe disappointment 'whiplash' the longer this goes on.
[hr][font color="blue"][center]The truth doesn’t always set you free.
Sometimes it builds a bigger cage around the one you’re already in.
[/center][/font][hr]

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