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UK's The Guardian newspaper has published a new nugget of information from Edward Snowden:

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, in an interview on Saturday and then again Tuesday afternoon, vehemently denied media claims that he gave classified information to the governments of China or Russia. He also denied assertions that one or both governments had succeeded in "draining the contents of his laptops". "I never gave any information to either government, and they never took anything from my laptops," he said.

The extraordinary claim that China had drained the contents of Snowden's laptops first appeared in the New York Times in a June 24 article. The paper published the claim with no evidence and without any attribution to any identified sources.

Unless there is a good reason to believe Snowden is a liar, this puts the often-wrong NYT in an interesting position, but as we remember from Judy Miller, this will probably do their credibility no harm whatsoever.

If the media is going to make a claim that information was transferred from Snowden to other governments, they are going to have to provide evidence for that claim. The burden of proof is on the claimant.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I guess people just figure that if you are in (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Inland

    the clutches of a bear or a lion, you'll oblige their reasonable requests.

    I certainly see Snowden as a whistleblower, and not as a traitor. However, I don't see he has many options in the Russian space he finds himself in.

    “I’m able to fly, do what I want, essentially. I guess that’s what freedom is — no limits.” Marybeth Onyeukwu -- Brooklyn DREAMer.

    by chuco35 on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 02:50:33 PM PDT

  •  not like he has to directly (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    doc2, dpinzow

    US's press freedoms have lapsed recently but they're still far better than that of China and Russia's.

  •  There is the fact that he lied in his (7+ / 0-)

    non-disclosure statement, apparently deliberately if indeed he took the job in order to disclose the information.

    There is also common sense that the Chinese and Putin would desire the information.

    You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

    by sewaneepat on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 02:51:44 PM PDT

    •  Depending on the encryption involved (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lunachickie, CroneWit, corvo

      it may be impossible to retrieve anything from the laptops without Snowden's cooperation, regardless of how much another party desires it.

      What's the evidence that he intended from the outset to unlawfully release information? If he went in prepared to disclose illegality upon encountering it, it's not unlawful to expose a crime in progress.

      You may not be able to change the world, but at least you can embarrass the guilty.
      - Jessica Mitford

      by Swampfoot on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 02:59:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The evidence is his own words (4+ / 0-)
        "My position with Booz Allen Hamilton granted me access to lists of machines all over the world the NSA hacked," the Post quoted him as saying in a story published Monday. "That is why I accepted that position about three months ago."
        Also, he didn't expose any illegality or any crimes, in progress or otherwise. He exposed legal practices that he happens to disagree with.

        He said himself that the reason he took the job was intentionally to gain access so he could steal and expose classified information. To do so, he signed a legally binding agreement to protect private and secret information. He lied.

      •  That's a legal argument that (0+ / 0-)

        Snowden has zero interest in making.  If he wanted a judge or jury to consider it, he would return.

        "We're now in one of those periods when the reality of intense pressure on the middle class diverges from long-held assumptions of how the American bargain should work" --James Fallows

        by Inland on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 03:10:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  how would he do that? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          corvo

          He needs a valid passport just to get out of the transit area. He doesn't have one.

          (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

          by PJEvans on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 03:20:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The US government would be happy to send (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Inland, FiredUpInCA

            a plane to pick him up.

            You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

            by sewaneepat on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 03:27:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Russia would honor the request of (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sewaneepat

            Snowden to be handed over.

            "We're now in one of those periods when the reality of intense pressure on the middle class diverges from long-held assumptions of how the American bargain should work" --James Fallows

            by Inland on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 03:29:43 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  He can come back anytime he wants to (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sewaneepat, FiredUpInCA
            The State Department revoked Snowden's passport when he fled Hong Kong for Moscow last month, but U.S. officials said Wednesday that won't keep him from returning home.

            "He's not marooned," said Nanda Chitre, the top spokesperson at the Justice Department. "He's not stateless. He's a U.S. citizen. No one has revoked his citizenship. His country is ready to take him back and issue a travel document so he can return to this country."

            Of course they will arrest him when he gets here. But he can come back here and make his case, if he chooses to do so.
      •  A large point of the diary, (9+ / 0-)

        if I'm reading it correctly:

        What's the evidence that he intended from the outset to unlawfully release information?
        If the media is going to make a claim that information was transferred from Snowden to other governments, they are going to have to provide evidence for that claim. The burden of proof is on the claimant.
        The NYT made up a claim to suit their own narrative. And that claim is the basis for a lot of animosity toward Snowden. But, as the diarist notes, thinking back to Judith Miller? Who is surprised that the Times is making shit up?
      •  He told the South China Morning Post that that (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CS in AZ, FiredUpInCA

        was why he took the job. Of course, he could be lying.

        http://www.scmp.com/...

        And Putin is such a nice man that if Snowden said no, I'm sure he said , "oh, okay."

        You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

        by sewaneepat on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 03:17:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  He already told a newspaper in China (0+ / 0-)

        what the U.S. was doing. All that was left was the how.

        Do you think they were just going to leave it at that? After all, he was in their country when he did it.

        All they needed was the password to the encrypted drives. I have a feeling they didn't have to wait too long before he decided to go ahead and give it to them. If he is a tough as you think he is, he would have stayed here to fight it out and not run away to a Communist country who would love to have those secrets he was carrying.

        Also, why was he carrying four laptops? Hasn't this guy heard of external hard drives? The only reason that you need laptops is to show stuff off, stuff like applications and how they work. He probably built a virtual lab in at least one of those laptops, filled with applications that demo hacking techniques he has learned over the years.

        Look, it's not that I disagree with everything that he has said, I just don't like how he did it. It smells fishy to me. The list of countries he has used to escape are the top countries on the hit list of the greatest offenders of Human Rights Watch. That doesn't bother you?

  •  hee hee (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sewaneepat, CS in AZ, Inland
    Unless there is a good reason to believe Snowden is a liar...
    I bet you can think of one if you try really hard.
    •  Well, I can't. Maybe you could spell it out (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Swampfoot, corvo, k9disc

      This kind of ad hominem gets thrown around casually. No human being is truthful about everything. But nothing in Snowden's biography tells me that he's a liar.  

      So, why don't you spell it out. And while you're at it, maybe you could list all the times in your life you haven't told the exact truth.

      •  Uh, he lied on his non-disclosure agreement (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        yorkiedoglover, tytalus

        and according to his own words, he lied on purpose in order to release the information. Now, you may think he was justified but you can't possibly think he is not a liar.

        You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

        by sewaneepat on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 03:32:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We do not know this (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Swampfoot

          We know that he broke his non-disclosure agreement. But unless you happen to have a copy of the agreement and can point to a specific provision which he knowingly violated when he signed it, you don't know jack.

          Now, even if he knowingly lied on his non-disclosure, if he did so in order to prevent a crime, then he is not a liar. No more so than the firefighter who breaks down your door to save your house from being consumed by fire is a burglar.  

  •  No, he just gave classified information to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FiredUpInCA

    a Hong Kong newspaper, not the Chinese government! Of course. So the Chinese government can't read newspapers, apparently.

  •  Would Snowden even know? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JackND

    Is it impossible to copy all the files in his laptops without him knowing it?  

    Notably, he still doesn't tell us what was on them or why.

    "We're now in one of those periods when the reality of intense pressure on the middle class diverges from long-held assumptions of how the American bargain should work" --James Fallows

    by Inland on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 03:05:18 PM PDT

    •  It's possible to copy everything (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lunachickie, corvo

      but if it's encrypted strongly enough the material will be useless.

      It seems probable that a man of his occupation would utilize very strong encryption.

      You may not be able to change the world, but at least you can embarrass the guilty.
      - Jessica Mitford

      by Swampfoot on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 03:11:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Who says? Not Snowden. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sewaneepat

        Why would he be so good at encryption that the PRC couldn't hack it?  

        "We're now in one of those periods when the reality of intense pressure on the middle class diverges from long-held assumptions of how the American bargain should work" --James Fallows

        by Inland on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 03:18:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  go read up (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          graycat13, Swampfoot, corvo

          on things like public-key systems. He should have a private key that's memorized and not stored anywhere but inside his head.

          You're also forgetting that the Chinese have had hackers running around in our defense networks for some years. They don't need Snowden's information; they already have it.

          (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

          by PJEvans on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 03:22:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The PRC wouldn't know they already have it. (0+ / 0-)

            That's why they would want to look.  

            All this presumes that Sniwden isn't lying, and I'm not convinced by far.

            "We're now in one of those periods when the reality of intense pressure on the middle class diverges from long-held assumptions of how the American bargain should work" --James Fallows

            by Inland on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 03:27:49 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  What makes you think they would need to hack it? (0+ / 0-)

          He is in their country. Do you really think that he said, "I won't give this up at all."?

          Remember what George Herbert Walker Bush said about the Chinese, "Sometimes, they just don't care."

          •  That would be my guess, and (0+ / 0-)

            It's not like China is going to contradict him, so it's an easy lie.

            "We're now in one of those periods when the reality of intense pressure on the middle class diverges from long-held assumptions of how the American bargain should work" --James Fallows

            by Inland on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 05:53:21 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Yea, clicking a mouse to encrypt a file is super (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Swampfoot

          tough. Only super spies are good at encryption.

          You guys are amazing.

          Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

          by k9disc on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 09:25:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Wellll (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CS in AZ, sewaneepat, FiredUpInCA, tytalus
    Unless there is a good reason to believe Snowden is a liar
    It's very difficult to know what statements of his are true, given the history of his statements.

    “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

    by Catte Nappe on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 03:05:56 PM PDT

  •  Greenwald also picks and chooses what he (0+ / 0-)

    "reports" about the poll. What does that say about his intellectual honesty?

    You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

    by sewaneepat on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 03:07:02 PM PDT

    •  Man, (9+ / 0-)

      the "Kill The Messenger" meme just never grows stale for some of you, does it?

      •  Noting message is cherry picked = (4+ / 0-)

        Killing the messenger. How dare we?   It's right up there with contemplating whether Snowden could ever lie.  Lese majeste.

        "We're now in one of those periods when the reality of intense pressure on the middle class diverges from long-held assumptions of how the American bargain should work" --James Fallows

        by Inland on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 03:20:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Lol. In a diary saying the NYT can't be trusted (3+ / 0-)

        because of Judith Miller who is not involved in this story and you said the same thing in a comment above, it is precious that you talk about killing the messenger.

        But if the honesty of the particular reporter who is the author if the article is of no concern to you, that is your problem.

        You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

        by sewaneepat on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 03:23:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  What's precious here (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          atana, Swampfoot, corvo

          is your cherry-picking of the concept of "killing the messenger".

          To wit:

           Greenwald also picks and chooses what he "reports" about the poll. What does that say about his intellectual honesty?
          Do you contend that the statement in block-quotes isn't "killing the messenger"?

          A simple yes or no will be fine.

          •  I don't trust Greenwald because of (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            CS in AZ

            various instances of his selectively reporting. I don't hold that against other reporters at the Guardian. You don't believe anything the NYT says that you disagree with because of one reporter who has nothing to do with the article in question. See the difference.

            I wouldn't believe anything Judith Miller says either. And for the same reason I take everything Greenwald says with a teaspoon of salt. If distrusting people I know are not intellectually honest is killing the messenger, so be it. I call it common sense.  But I don't condemn other reporters for someone else's dishonesty as you do.

            You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

            by sewaneepat on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 03:44:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  The diary made an ad hominem (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sewaneepat, CS in AZ

          attack on the NYT here...just because they were wrong in one case does not mean they are wrong in all cases. Every story is different

        •  well they've also (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sewaneepat

          gotten indignant at the slightest slander sent Ed's way, while at the same time trashing Obama with vitriol that would make even a teabagger blush.

          "It's almost as if we're watching Mitt Romney on Safari in his own country." -- Jonathan Capeheart

          by JackND on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 04:23:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Actually if you'll read what I said (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CcVenussPromise, corvo

          you will see that I made no ad hominem attacks against the NYT, only that the Miller affair showed that their credibility from the point of view of the pundit class was undiminished.

          The only thing I said about NYT is that if they make a claim of laptops being rifled through, they should provide evidence of it. Full stop.

          You may not be able to change the world, but at least you can embarrass the guilty.
          - Jessica Mitford

          by Swampfoot on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 04:28:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Of course he would say that no matter what he (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sewaneepat, JackND

    did.

    •  without fear of contradiction. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FG

      No matter what, china isn't going to say, "hell yeah we got lots of good stuff."

      "We're now in one of those periods when the reality of intense pressure on the middle class diverges from long-held assumptions of how the American bargain should work" --James Fallows

      by Inland on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 07:33:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If he did turn over the data would he admit it? nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG

    Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    by thestructureguy on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 04:23:50 PM PDT

  •  I guess it depends on the definition of "gave" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sewaneepat, JackND, dpinzow

    Did he print out and hand over the classified information he has in his possession to the Chinese and Russian governments in exchange for temporary transit?  I doubt it.  

    Did the Russian and Chinese governments copy data from his laptop while he was in their countries?  Well, hell yes.

    The man has to sleep sometime.  He has to take a shower.  Maybe he has sex.  I dunno, but is his laptop at this side at all times?  Was it never x-ray-ed at any airport?  Was it ever out of his sight and control at any point in the past many weeks?  

    My money is on Putin.  If it was there, he got it.  

    What would surprise me is if Snowden is naive enough to believe that the Russians and the Chinese wouldn't have copied his laptop and busted the encryption.  You know all of his hotel accommodations are wiretapped and videoed. He is under constant surveillance.  Because he fled to countries that do that as their stock in trade.  Unabashedly.  Without media scrutiny.

    I am not sure why he didn't flee to Ecuador in the first place.

    "Out of Many, One Nation." This is the great promise of the United States of America -9.75 -6.87

    by Uncle Moji on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 04:48:17 PM PDT

    •  You are speculating. Which is fun. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo, k9disc

      I was lamenting the lack of actual evidence.

      You may not be able to change the world, but at least you can embarrass the guilty.
      - Jessica Mitford

      by Swampfoot on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 04:54:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, you did speculate that he possibly (0+ / 0-)

        encrypted all his laptop files to make them useless, and that probably someone with his knowledge would utilize strong encryption.  

        We agree he has laptop files that contain stolen US government information.  We agree that his portable laptop has been to China and Russia, both of whom also have knowledge of strong encryption, and teams of geeks with knowledge of strong encryption.  With what one might say, their own whole NSA spy networks.  What a find!  A portable laptop with top secret information in the hands of a 29 year old mid-level analyst who sleeps and bathes and is stuck in their countries!

        The moon is made of blue cheese!  
        There is a potential for life to have existed on Mars!

        Both are speculations.  

        You seem to want to believe the best of the Russians and the Chinese.  This isn't about Snowden's naivete or his ability to encrypt, this is about the Russian and Chinese governments.  Trust whom you like.  I don't trust my government or the governments of Russia or China not to cheat or steal.

        "Out of Many, One Nation." This is the great promise of the United States of America -9.75 -6.87

        by Uncle Moji on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 08:28:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Greenwald is Snowden's de facto attorney (0+ / 0-)

    Greenwald has advised Snowden from the very beginning. Now he talks to Snowden, reports it in The Guardian, and states Snowden has not turned over any information to the Chinese or Russians. If he were to actually admit such transfer of information he would be guilty of treason. I have a hard time believing the Russians or Chinese would just sit by and let Snowden retain possession of his computers 100% of his "stay" in Hong Kong or Moscow. He may not have willingly given his computers to the Chinese and Russians, but by placing himself within their legal jurisdiction he might as well have handed the computers to our "friends". It is still treason. Now Greenwald says Snowden's best option is another one of our close friends, Venezuela. Sure, why not. Caracas is a short flight from Rio so Greenwald can advise his client face to face.   Greenwald has aided Snowden. If Phil Rosen can be charged a co-conspirator then why not Greenwald. Maybe he can claim Attorney-Client Privilege.

  •  He might not have "given" it to them (0+ / 0-)

    They "took" the information from his four laptops. All of it.

    How exactly are our privacy rights in the Fourth Amendment improved by his action of going to China and Russia, where his four laptops were drained off all of their contents (some so sensitive that Der Spiegel refused to publish the contents).

  •  Says the fugitive running from trial. (0+ / 0-)

    Anonymous sources are dubious, but a guy on the lam is not exactly credibility incarnate.

    Sign the petition to demand a law-abiding Supreme Court.

    by Troubadour on Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 06:49:58 PM PDT

  •  And I never gave (0+ / 0-)

    the pickpocket my wallet, either. And I had it in my possession all the time, until I didn't.

    I bet he only gets in a fight if the opponent only agrees to the Marquess of Queensberry rules, too.

    Rube.

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