Quote of the Day

“Certainly, many of the Snowden-fueled disclosures following the original NSA revelation have been gratuitous and harmful; those, and his sheltering in Russia rather than arguing his case in a U.S. court, raise doubts about his motives. But the original NSA leaks were justified because U.S. intelligence officials had misled the public and members of Congress about the program. There’s no value of ‘oversight’ if the overseers are being fed lies.”

Dana Milbank, WaPo

Quote of the Day

“Snowden has enough information to cause harm to the U.S. government in a single minute than any other person has ever had.  The U.S. government should be on its knees every day begging that nothing happen to Snowden, because if something does happen to him, all the information will be revealed and it could be its worst nightmare.”

Glenn Greenwald

Snowden Stuck

Edward Snowden is still at the airport in Moscow and doesn’t seem about to leave any time soon.

Ecuador says their decision on granting him asylum could take two months, which is how long it took them to decide on Wikileaks’ Julian Assange, who lives at the Ecuador Embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden.

Ecuador says they could protect Snowden sooner if he got to their embassy in Moscow, but Russia won’t let him leave the transit area of the airport because he doesn’t have a visa to enter Russia.

Meanwhile, the U. S. is still trying to convince the Russians to turn Snowden over.

I Doubt We’re Up to This Moment

This feels like a big moment to me, these Edward Snowden leaks, a moment when we have to make decisions that aren’t based, for either Dems or Republicans, on how we feel about President Obama.  I don’t feel that we are up to it.  After 9/11, I believe that members of both parties in Congress acted in good faith, really just wanting to do the right thing so that we wouldn’t get attacked again.  You can say they went too far with the Patriot Act, but if they did, I believe their motives were honest, maybe based too much on raw emotion, but not based on partisan politics.

I believe our current Congress has a lot more crazy people in it than the Congress sitting in the fall of 2001.  I have much less confidence in them to even try to act out of principle, much less reach the right result.

I worry that we can’t have a real debate because some Dems will rally uncritically around the President simply because he is so hated by the other side and so under siege on the IRS, Benghazi, Obamacare, AP/James Rosen, immigration, etc.     I worry that the libertarian wing of the GOP, the Rand Paul types, will use this as an excuse to make some of their more outlandish theories and beliefs part of the mainstream.

This is a moment ripe for a shift in thinking and policy one way or the other, either to accept and ratify all this post-9/11 stuff for the foreseeable future or to say, “Whoa, this tradeoff doesn’t make sense” and roll some of it back.  I just hope that the wrong people don’t control the outcome of that shift.