Washington super-lawyer Plato Cacheris is representing Edward Snowden in talks with the Justice Department, seeking a plea deal that would let Snowden come home. If anyone can get Snowden a decent deal, it’s Plato.
The House passed the USA FREEDOM Act today, which is supposed to fix the PATRIOT Act and rein in the NSA, but falls far short of what we need to get our rights back. The vote was 303-121, with 179 Republicans and 124 Democrats in favor. The bill now goes to the Senate, but I doubt it will get fixed enough to keep this from being a huge wasted opportunity to restore our privacy.
Here’s James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin), the chief sponsor of the bill: “Let me be clear: I wish this bill did more. To my colleagues who lament the changes, I agree with you. The privacy groups who are upset about lost provisions, I share your disappointment.”
Here’s Zoe Logren (D-California), who supported the bill that came out of the Judiciary Committee, but voted against the final bill: “This is not the bill that was voted out of the Judiciary Committee unanimously. Regrettably, we have learned that if we leave any ambiguity in the law [on bulk data collection], the intelligence agency will run a truck through that ambiguity.”
Companies like Microsoft, Google, Twitter, and Facebook had supported the original bill, but did not support the final version, believing that it contains a loophole for government surveillance of our Internet data.
The bill also dropped the provision creating an independent public advocate at the FISA court. It removed provisions about public reports from the government about its targeting activity and FISA court requests.
The bill requires phone companies to keep records for 18 months, with the NSA having to get a court order to access those records.
“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
Guardian US and The Washington Post have won Pulitzer Prizes for their reporting of Edward Snowden’s NSA disclosures.
Okay, here’s a weird one for you. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Michigan), Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, is blaming Crimea on Edward Snowden: “He’s actually supporting, in an odd way, this very activity of brazen brutality and expansion of Russia.”
Oh, please — If Snowden were still toiling away quietly for the NSA in Hawaii, Pootie-Poot would still have taken Crimea.
“Considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight. He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service. It is time for the United States to offer Mr. Snowden a plea bargain or some form of clemency that would allow him to return home, face at least substantially reduced punishment in light of his role as a whistle-blower, and have the hope of a life advocating for greater privacy and far stronger over-sight of the runaway intelligence community.”
NYT Editorial, “Edward Snowden, Whistle-Blower”
I think our Founding Fathers would sign off on this.
Russian prez Vladimir Putin is warning Edward Snowden not to do anything that would harm U. S.-Russian relations.
Because, you know, that’s Putin’s job!
“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.”
“That moral decision to tell the public about spying that affects all of us has been costly, but it was the right thing to do and I have no regrets.”
Snowden has asked for temporary asylum in Russia until he can go to one of the Latin American countries that has offered him asylum.
If I were sentencing him here in the U. S., I think I would have a hard time doing more than a slap on the wrist.
Both Nicaragua and Venezuela have offered Edward Snowden asylum. Not exactly Iceland, but one of them may have to do.
Update — And now Bolivia has joined in.