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Tue Jun 18, 2013, 01:58 AM

 

PEER: If Snowden is a traitor for revealing classified info, what is leon Panetta?

Edward Snowden’s recent revelations about extensive NSA domestic surveillance have sparked a debate – “is he a whistleblower or a traitor?”

The legal definition of treason is seeking to overthrow the government or betraying it into the hands of a foreign power. That definition does not seem to fit, but does the term whistleblower?

The legal definition of whistleblower is more complicated. Most legal definitions are for the purpose of establishing an affirmative defense against an adverse personnel action. That definition has little relevance here, except in the unlikely event Mr. Snowden wants to fight to get his job at Booz Allen Hamilton back.

Perhaps, the better term than whistleblower is truth-teller. In the world of government, as in life, telling the truth – especially unpleasant truths – can have big consequences.

One point of contention on the merits of Snowden’s action is his unauthorized airing of classified information. Yet, CIA Director Leon Panetta revealed “top secret” classified information to the Zero Dark Thirty filmmakers, according to an IG investigation.

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/screenwriter_cia_director_leaked_0mjxfoRUMmKOW1nYVYepfN

Unlike Snowden, there is no chance Mr. Panetta will be prosecuted because his disclosures furthered the current administration’s interests. It is, however, a most slippery slope to judge the seriousness of a security breach by its political convenience.

By contrast, the Bush administration fired U.S. Park Police Chief Teresa Chambers for supposedly revealing the “law enforcement sensitive” information that her force was dangerously understaffed. In a 7-year legal battle waged by PEER, Chief Chambers (aka, “the Honest Chief”) was ultimately restored and the right to sound the alarm on breaches in national security was vindicated.

One irony of the Snowden affair is that it highlights how our concern over security has made us less secure. After 9/11, intelligence information was pooled to avoid the compartmentalization that let the al-Qaeda hijackers slip through the cracks. As a result, low-level employees, such as Pfc Bradley Manning and Mr. Snowden (a contract IT guy) had access to vast troves of information. If our “secrets” are known to thousands at every level of an organization they are inherently vulnerable.

As a presidential candidate, Mr. Obama said:

“Often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government is an existing government employee committed to public integrity and willing to speak out. Such acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled as they have been during the Bush administration. We need to empower federal employees as watchdogs of wrongdoing and partners in performance."

President Obama says he welcomes a national debate on surveillance – a debate that could only take place due to the unauthorized disclosures. But there is little official acknowledgement that these revelations exhibited “courage and patriotism.”

Telling inconvenient truths can be as difficult as it is important. Fighting to keep the avenues open for truth-telling is what we do at PEER. Please join the fight.

Sincerely,
Jeff Ruch
Executive Director
PEER
Public employees for environmental responsibility

http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/823/t/0/blastContent.jsp?email_blast_KEY=1277190

21 replies, 1248 views

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Arrow 21 replies Author Time Post
Reply PEER: If Snowden is a traitor for revealing classified info, what is leon Panetta? (Original post)
HiPointDem Jun 2013 OP
avaistheone1 Jun 2013 #1
randome Jun 2013 #18
Tx4obama Jun 2013 #2
HiPointDem Jun 2013 #3
JDPriestly Jun 2013 #6
Tx4obama Jun 2013 #8
JDPriestly Jun 2013 #9
truebluegreen Jun 2013 #15
Coccydynia Jun 2013 #4
TakeALeftTurn Jun 2013 #5
blkmusclmachine Jun 2013 #7
msongs Jun 2013 #10
delrem Jun 2013 #11
Enthusiast Jun 2013 #12
truebluegreen Jun 2013 #16
Hydra Jun 2013 #13
truebluegreen Jun 2013 #17
magellan Jun 2013 #20
historylovr Jun 2013 #14
WillyT Jun 2013 #19
allin99 Jun 2013 #21

Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Tue Jun 18, 2013, 02:08 AM

1. While in reality President Obama has punished so many whistleblowers.

k&r

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Response to avaistheone1 (Reply #1)

Tue Jun 18, 2013, 12:39 PM

18. Wrong.

President Obama has prosecuted leakers, not whistleblowers.

You want to know why he has prosecuted more leakers than previous administrations? Because there are more of them.

Obama has greatly enhanced and expanded whisteblower protections.

He created a National Declassification Center that will issue a report in December of this year.

Many of the leakers he has prosecuted are holdovers from Bush, Jr. days.

Equating leaking with whistleblowing is disingenuous, IMO.



Stop looking for heroes. BE one.


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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Tue Jun 18, 2013, 02:09 AM

2. The question is 'IS HE A TRAITOR'? Not has he committed treason that would be a different question.


Some folks miss that point.

You CAN be a traitor without committing treason.

You have to look at the full definition of the word 'traitor'.

Definition of TRAITOR
1) : one who betrays another's trust or is false to an obligation or duty
2) : one who commits treason

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Response to Tx4obama (Reply #2)

Tue Jun 18, 2013, 02:18 AM

3. so, what's leon panetta, former CIA chief?

 

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Response to Tx4obama (Reply #2)

Tue Jun 18, 2013, 02:31 AM

6. EXCEPT, Article, III, section 3 of the US Constitution states that

Section 3.

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/articleiii#section3


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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #6)

Tue Jun 18, 2013, 02:34 AM

8. Apparently my comment was not clear enough. I think Snowden is a 'traitor'


I did not say he committed treason.

He will probably eventually be stand trial for 'espionage'.

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Response to Tx4obama (Reply #8)

Tue Jun 18, 2013, 02:50 AM

9. For telling the truth?

Espionage for what enemy?

The experts pretty much agree that the terrorists know that the internet is under surveillance.

N. Korea? Iran? Does N. Korea have any connection to our internet? Does Iran? For long?

Iranian internet users could have access to international websites such as Google and YouTube blocked, under little-known government plans to manage the internet.

The Iranian government says its "national internet", currently used for domestic websites including banks and government departments, would improve browsing speeds and data security.

But critics warn it could allow the government to cut off access to foreign sites, restricting access to information and preventing users from sharing information online.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22837506

I think I heard about Iran's plans some time before Snowden made his statements. I may have heard about it on the radio. I could be wrong, but I think so. It was, I think, have been some months ago. I could be wrong, but I think so. I listen to Pacifica sometimes.

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Response to Tx4obama (Reply #8)

Tue Jun 18, 2013, 12:31 PM

15. That you think Snowden is a traitor is immaterial.

Treason is a legal concept. Using a less exact dictionary definition is like climate deniers misusing the scientific term "theory."

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Tue Jun 18, 2013, 02:20 AM

4. Leon Panetta is not a traitor

 

Because his girlfriend is not a pole dancer like Snowden's
Because he is not a high school dropout like Snowden
Because he did not washout of the military like Snowden

Leon Panetta is a traitor because our government said so in WWII, and only those who were suspected of being traitors were gathered up in camps by the government. You have to give up some freedom for security. We gave up Panetta's.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Tue Jun 18, 2013, 02:25 AM

5. It's got nothing to do with National Security concerns

 

It has EVERYTHING to do with whether a leak causes an embarrassment to the government.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Tue Jun 18, 2013, 02:34 AM

7. We're all Germans now.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Tue Jun 18, 2013, 03:32 AM

10. Obama met with IN PRIVATE and shook hands with the chinese premier. is that aiding and abetting? nt

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Tue Jun 18, 2013, 03:40 AM

11. "After 9/11, intelligence information was pooled ...

to avoid the compartmentalization that let the al-Qaeda hijackers slip through the cracks."

I don't like that formulation because in fact the al-Qaeda hijackers *didn't* slip through any cracks.
G.W.B.'s admin had plenty of advance warning, right down to what kind of an attack it would be.

Since we're living the *consequence* of this, it's important to describe the situation correctly.

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Response to delrem (Reply #11)

Tue Jun 18, 2013, 04:18 AM

12. Five separate warnings that they CHOSE to ignore.

Now THAT is treason.

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Response to Enthusiast (Reply #12)

Tue Jun 18, 2013, 12:35 PM

16. Sounds like "aid and comfort to the enemy" to me. nt

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Response to delrem (Reply #11)

Tue Jun 18, 2013, 11:51 AM

13. Rewriting history to their advantage

They claim over and over that they were hampered in their spying by the restrictions put in place over them to protect us from them.

The Boston Bombing really highlighted how terrorism really isn't even on their to-do list. They were flatfooted for days and doing crazy things like shutting whole cities down to capture people that they were already aware of and didn't care about.

Very Orwellian. Molding our perceptions to create policies.

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Response to Hydra (Reply #13)

Tue Jun 18, 2013, 12:36 PM

17. +100

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Response to Hydra (Reply #13)

Tue Jun 18, 2013, 12:46 PM

20. And sadly it works on most

Just as it always has.

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Response to delrem (Reply #11)

Tue Jun 18, 2013, 12:30 PM

14. +1.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Tue Jun 18, 2013, 12:41 PM

19. K & R !!!


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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Tue Jun 18, 2013, 01:02 PM

21. A very smart idiot.

I try to catch him when i see video, half the time he seems drunk, which i know he's not, but the man is incredibly intelligent, just sometimes he is an idiot. Every see him give a non-formal speech? It's downright bizarre.

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