John R. Houk
© June 24, 2013
I wrote a blog post on June 10th entitled “I Consider Snowden a Hero-Whistleblower – For Now”. The “For Now” part has elapsed. During his stay in Hong Kong Edward Snowden provided some of those secret NSA documents over to the South China Morning Post (SCMP). The SCMP is a Hong Kong newspaper. Hong Kong is a former British Colony forced to be returned to Communist China when the lease agreement was up. Hong Kong operates autonomously BUT is still under the Red Chinese government. Hello Mr. Snowden! Communist China is not exactly on friendly terms with the USA. In fact our American government has been complaining about Chinese hackers committing cyber war against the USA. So what does Snowden do?
Snowden tells Chinese press the USA has been hacking China for years. Essentially Snowden placed his Country in an awkward position publicly. Personally I doubt Red China is so gullible and stupid not to know that we would allow a challenger to our National Interests and National Security to have an anti-American agenda go unchecked. So when Snowden reveals to the international public that which China already knows, then Snowden is providing our unspoken enemy China a diplomatic international coup against the USA. That moves Snowden from Hero-Whistleblower thinking of his fellow Americans privacy to Treasonous-Dog revealing classified info to foreign nations.
The media has managed to follow Snowden from Hong Kong to Moscow (link last updated at this post as 1:41 PM ET). Most of the media believed Snowden was going to board a Russian passenger Aeroflot jet bound for Venezuela then Ecuador. Nobody knows what has happened except Snowden did not board the Aeroflot jet. Personally I believe Mother Russia is talking to Edward Snowden to get some NSA Intel just as China has managed to do:
Experts said it was likely that the Russians were questioning Snowden, interested in what he knew about U.S. electronic espionage against Moscow.
"If Russian special services hadn't shown interest in Snowden, they would have been utterly unprofessional," Igor Korotchenko, a former colonel in Russia's top military command turned security analyst, said on state Rossiya 24 television. (Excerpted from: Snowden not on flight to Cuba, whereabouts unclear; by MAX SEDDON; Associated Press; 6/24/13 1:22 PM EDT)
DEFINETLY Edward Snowden has evolved from a NSA Hero-Whistleblower exposing that our government has been spying on all Americans to a cowardly traitor that has become a double agent style spy for China and Russia. As an American traitor á la Benedict Arnold and Bradley Manning, Snowden needs to be captured and prosecuted. If a guilty verdict is given his punishment should be according to the damage he has accomplish giving classified information to China and Russia. I don’t know what that information is but if it was critical as in Julius and Ethel Rosenberg giving nuke secrets to the old USSR so that the USA would not have a monopoly on Atomic Weapons. The act was treasonous and the Rosenbergs were convicted of a Capital Crime on April 5, 2013 and were fried in the electric chair on 1953.
Below are two articles exposing Edward Snowden’s wretchedness:
Report: Snowden took job to gather NSA cyber evidence
Edward Snowden Blows It Part 1 & 2
Report: Snowden took job to gather NSA cyber evidence
By Zach Coleman, Kevin Johnson and Doug Stanglin
1:19 p.m. EDT June 24, 2013
Snowden revealed an NSA program that collected telephone records for millions of Americans.
HONG KONG -- NSA leaker Edward Snowden says he took his job with the National Security Agency for the sole purpose of obtaining evidence on Washington's cyberspying networks, the South China Morning Post reported Monday.
Snowden, who was in Hong Kong before fleeing to Moscow this weekend, told the newspaper that he sought a position as an analyst with the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton so he could collect proof about the NSA's secret surveillance program ahead of planned leaks to the media.
"My position with Booz Allen Hamilton granted me access to lists of machines all over the world the NSA hacked," he told the Post in a June 12 interview that was published Monday. "That is why I accepted that position about three months ago."
In his interview with the Post, Snowden divulged information that he claimed showed hacking by the NSA into computers in Hong Kong and mainland China.
"I did not release them earlier because I don't want to simply dump huge amounts of documents without regard to their content," he said. "I have to screen everything before releasing it to journalists."
Asked by the Post if he specifically went to Booz Allen Hamilton as a computer systems administrator to gather evidence of surveillance, he replied: "Correct on Booz."
His intention was to collect information about the NSA hacking into "the whole world" and "not specifically Hong Kong and China," he said.
The documents he divulged to the Post were obtained during his tenure at Booz Allen Hamilton in April, he said.
He also signaled his intention to leak more of those documents at a later date.
"If I have time to go through this information, I would like to make it available to journalists in each country to make their own assessment, independent of my bias, as to whether or not the knowledge of U.S. network operations against their people should be published," he said.
Snowden's current whereabouts are a mystery after he failed to show up for a Moscow-Cuba flight to Cuba on Monday.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is assisting Snowden's run from U.S. authorities, told reporters Monday that Snowden is "healthy and safe" in an undisclosed location awaiting word on his request for asylum by Ecuador.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday that it is the administration's assumption "that he is in Russia."
He also said that officials in China and Hong Kong were notified in plenty of time to block Snowden's departure from Hong Kong. He said the incident "unquestionably" damaged U.S. relations with China.
Although Assange himself is holed up in the Ecuador embassy in Britain to avoid extradition to Sweden, he spoke to reporters Monday to offer the latest on the twists and turns of the 30-year-old analyst who has been charged in U.S. federal court with espionage after acknowledging that he was the source of materials detailing surveillance programs by the U.S. National Security Agency.
Snowden revealed an NSA program that collected telephone records for millions of Americans and a separate operation that targeted the Internet communications of non-citizens abroad who were suspected of terrorist connections.
He initially fled to Hong Kong, then flew to Russia on Sunday in an apparent roundabout trip to Ecuador.
The Russian news site RT reported that Aeroflot had earlier confirmed that two seats had been booked in Snowden's name for Monday's flight to Cuba. But an Aeroflot representative who wouldn't give her name told the Associated Press that Snowden was not on Flight SU150 to Havana. AP reporters on the flight also didn't see him.
"Snowden has gone through registration, but did not physically board the plane and has remained in the transit zone," RIA Novosti quoted an official at Sheremetyevo airport as saying.
Assange would not be specific on Snowden's location but said he is "unlikely to return'' to the U.S., at least under the current administration.
"We are aware of where Mr. Snowden is," Assange told reporters. "He is in a safe place and his spirits are high. Due to the bellicose threats from the U.S. administration ... we cannot reveal what country he is in at this time.'
Assange declined to say whether he has spoken personally with the former defense analyst. At the same time, he said Snowden has "expressed no regret in his decision to reveal this important information to the public.''
Assange also said that Russian officials did not have advance notice of Snowden's arrival in Moscow and claimed that Snowden had not been debriefed by Russian security officials.
Assange, also the subject a U.S. investigation into the disclosure of secret American diplomatic cables, said the charges against Snowden are "an attempt to intimidate any country to stand up for his rights to tell the truth.'
Russia is under increasing pressure from the United States to block Snowden from further travel.
Snowden, whose U.S. passport has been revoked, fled Hong Kong apparently to avoid a U.S. extradition request and to get asylum eventually in Ecuador. In June 2012. Ecuador gave refuge at its embassy in London to Assange, who is wanted in Sweden for questioning in connection with a sexual assault investigation.
Ecuador Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino has confirmed that Snowden had requested asylum in his country and pledged that his request would be considered in the shortest time possible, according to televised remarks carried by the Latin-American channel Telesur.
RIA Novosti reported at about 2 a.m. Monday morning that Ecuador's Ambassador to Russia, Patricio Alberto Chavez Zavala, was seen leaving Sheremetyevo's transit zone with several people getting into his car.
Interfax reported that Snowden has not been able to leave the airport because he does not have a Russian visa. He was accompanied by WikiLeaks representative Sarah Harrison, a British citizen who does have a Russian visa, according to Interfax.
Earlier the White House urged Russia to consider "all options available," according to National Security Council Spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden.
A Russian security official indicated on Monday that Moscow had no basis to extradite Snowden.
"Snowden has not committed any unlawful act on Russian territory," RIA Novosti quoted an unnamed security official as saying Monday morning. "Russian law enforcement has no order to detain him, so there is no basis to do so."
A Kremlin spokesperson said Monday that the Russian government had no advance knowledge that Snowden was traveling to Moscow, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, told the Journal that Russia wouldn't intervene in the Snowden matter by holding him or returning him to the U.S. to face charges.
"It is not a question for us," Peskov told the newspaper. "We don't know what his plans are and we were unaware he was coming here."
The South China Morning Post meanwhile reported that Snowden had provided information to show that the NSA had hacked into the Hong Kong system of Pacnet, which runs undersea telecommunications cables around the Pacific, and into 63 computers and servers at Tsinghua University in Beijing, one of China's most elite schools.
"The NSA does all kinds of things like hack Chinese cellphone companies to steal all of your SMS data," Snowden told the newspaper.
Snowden, who was employed by Booz Allen Hamilton as an NSA systems analyst in Hawaii, fled to the Chinese territory of Hong Kong last month with top-secret documents and court orders on government surveillance operations
Under Hong Kong's mini-constitution, the city is allowed a high degree of autonomy from mainland Chinese authorities until 2047. It also has its own legal and financial system, a holdover from the British colonial rule that ended in 1997.
Snowden was allowed to leave Hong Kong just hours after Obama administration officials announced they filed a formal petition with Chinese authorities seeking Snowden's arrest and return to the United States.
A Russian lawmaker commented on Monday that the Snowden affair would have little effect on Russia-U.S. relations.
"It won't improve these relations, but it won't harm them," RIA Novosti quoted Leonid Kalashnikov, first deputy head of the State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee, as saying. Kalashnikov added that Russia should give Snowden citizenship and asylum. "Why should he fly to Ecuador? This isn't about a political refugee, but about a humanitarian one."
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers said the U.S. government must exhaust all legal options to get Snowden back.
"Every one of those nations is hostile to the United States," Rogers, R-Mich., said on NBC's Meet the Press.
In New Delhi, Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that the U.S. had put several countries on notice that Snowden is wanted by the U.S. legal system on three felony counts
He also took a jab at China and Russia, where Snowden fled to avoid arrest.
"I wonder if Mr. Snowden chose China and Russia as assistance in his flight from justice because they are such powerful bastions of Internet freedom," Kerry told reporters. "And I wonder if, while he was in either of those countries, did he raise the questions of Internet freedom, since that seems to be what he champions."
China's Foreign Ministry distanced itself from any role in Snowden's departure from Hong Kong, saying Monday the territory had the right to make its own decision.
In a routine briefing with reporters, the spokeswoman said Beijing has "always respected" Hong Kong's ability to deal with such matters through its legal system.
She also raised Beijing's concerns about cybersecurity in light of Snowden's allegations, saying that the Chinese government has brought the issue up directly with Washington.
"We are seriously concerned about the cyberattacks that the relevant U.S. government agencies carried out on China as have been recently reported," she said. "This demonstrates again that China is a victim of cyberattacks."
Hong Kong lawmaker and lawyer Albert Ho, whose firm had been representing Snowden in an effort to clarify his legal situation with the government, said he suspects authorities in Beijing were calling the shots.
Ho said an intermediary who claimed to represent the government relayed a message to Snowden saying he was free to leave and should do so.
Ho said he didn't know the identity of the intermediary and wasn't sure whether the person was acting on Hong Kong's or Beijing's behalf.
"The entire decision was probably made in Beijing and Beijing decided to act on its best interests," Ho told reporters. "However, Beijing would not want to be seen on stage because it would affect Sino-U.S. relations. That's why China has somebody acting in the background."
Johnson reported from Washington; Stanglin from McLean, Va.
Contributing: Anna Arutunyan in Moscow; Associated Press
Edward Snowden Blows It Part 1
By Rick Ungar, Contributor
6/20/2013 @ 10:00AM
While it was inevitable that there would be those who support and those who condemn the initial disclosures of Edward Snowden—the 29 year-old former NSA contractor who disclosed the agency’s telephone and electronic communications surveillance programs—the tide of public opinion may be rapidly turning against Snowden…and with very good reason.
Spilling the beans to his fellow Americans over the depth of surveillance being carried out by the National Security Agency within the borders of the United States is one thing—disclosing the nation’s covert activities involving spying on other nations is something else entirely.
Last week, Snowden turned over documents to the South China Morning Post revealing that the United States has been hacking into Chinese computers—a revelation that came at a particularly embarrassing moment for the U.S. President who was busy castigating his Chinese counterpart for China’s constant intrusions into our own computer banks for various purposes, including the theft of American intellectual property. If that wasn’t enough, the Guardian newspaper followed up with a report provided by Snowden revealing that the Americans and British spied on various delegates attending the G20 conference in 2009, choosing to disclose this bit of information right before the start of this year’s G8 conference held in the U.K.
Anyone think much got accomplished at the G8 after that little gem was brought into the light?
Even more disturbing is what appears to have motivated Snowden to expand his leaking beyond the borders of the United States and into the world of foreign espionage.
Despite making a pretty good living for quite a few years through his employment as a small cog in the gears of government surveillance activities, Snowden declared, during a live chat with the Guardian on Monday, that he believes that all spying is wrong (SEE UPDATE AT END OF ARTICLE).” And because it is Snowden’s personal judgment that all spying is wrong, he also believes it appropriate that he reveal our covert activities to affected foreign governments without a shed of concern for what the rest of his fellow Americans might think about this.
I don’t recall there being an election where I voted to assign my proxy to Edward Snowden so that this 29 year-old guy—who I never heard of before two weeks ago—could determine, on my behalf, what this country should or should not be doing when it comes to its covert, overseas spying program.
So, how is it that Mr. Snowden has decided that it is appropriate to appoint himself the arbiter of judgment and morality when it comes to such issues? How is it that Snowden has determined that he is providing me with some patriotic service when I neither asked him to do so nor agree that disclosing information on foreign spying is, in any way, a service to his nation or to me personally?
With his decision to move beyond informing his countrymen of surveillance activities that allow the government to track our telephone calls and emails, Edward Snowden not only crossed a major line but gave us all reason to feel considerable concern about his motives and purposes.
In discussing the rationale for his disclosures on foreign spying, Snowden said:
“When NSA makes a technical mistake during an exploitation operation, critical systems crash. Congress hasn’t declared war on the countries — the majority of them are our allies — but without asking for public permission, NSA is running network operations against them that affect millions of innocent people. And for what? So we can have secret access to a computer in a country we’re not even fighting? So we can potentially reveal a potential terrorist with the potential to kill fewer Americans than our own Police? No, the public needs to know the kinds of things a government does in its name, or the ‘consent of the governed’ is meaningless.”
There appears to be no shortage of logic fails in Snowden’s remarks.
If the public knows the details of what our government is doing when it comes to spying on foreign governments—as Snowden suggests is necessary—then it wouldn’t be covert spying activity, now would it? Spying is not particularly effective when everyone knows the target and nature of such a program.
And while Ed Snowden may have decided that all spying is wrong, I strongly suspect that the overwhelming majority of Americans would very much disagree with his assessment and might appreciate his not complicating our lives in furtherance of his own self-aggrandizement and the soothing of whatever crisis of conscience he may be experiencing.
Edward Snowden Blows It Part 2
What should further concern us all is not just that Edward Snowden has decided that we must now live with his judgments and moral determinations when it comes to how we conduct foreign policy, but that those judgments are based on a shocking degree of naiveté as Snowden doesn’t seem capable of grasping that in the world in which we live, our allies are not always our friends.
Snowden also appears to have missed civics class on the day when it was explained that the United States is a Republic where we elect people to make decisions on these matters and then judge the effectiveness of those decisions by deciding who we will keep in office and who we will turn away.
The bottom line here is that I really don’t care if Ed Snowden thinks all spying is wrong and neither do most Americans. This being the case, I have considerable difficulty with his decision to disclose the nation’s secrets to foreign governments just because he could.
I do care what the President thinks about our foreign spying operations just as I care about what Congress and the Judiciary think. It is their opinions and practices that I can either support or reject when I show up to vote. And while I may appreciate Mr. Snowden’s decision to inform his countrymen of surveillance programs involving spying on Americans, there is no claim nor evidence that spying on foreign entities crosses any legal lines and, therefore, it is incredibly wrong for Snowden to reveal data involving our spying programs outside the country.
Until I cast a vote for Edward Snowden to make such determinations for me, I would very much appreciate it if he would shut up and get over whatever psychological complexes are driving him to make these decisions on my behalf. He is doing neither me nor the country any favors.
UPDATE: A few readers have expressed concern over my statement that Snowden believes that all spying is wrong. The following is his quote on the subject and the interpretation by Time Magazine which mirrors my own. I’ll leave it to the reader to decide if this is what he is saying or not. I certainly think it is.
Zeke Miller, comparing the perspective of Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, writes in response to the answers Snowden provides in his 90 minute Q and A on the Guardian’s website:
“Both men suggest that much, if not all, American spying abroad is wrong, including the spying on allies and foreign leaders that perhaps every government has practiced for decades, if not centuries.” Miller continues, “There were other clear echoes of Assange’s past remarks in Snowden’s responses Monday. Both men suggest that much, if not all, American spying abroad is wrong (emphasis added) , including the spying on allies and foreign leaders that perhaps every government has practiced for decades, if not centuries.
I recommend reading Miller’s column to see how and why he correctly reaches this opinion.
No Doubts – Snowden is a Traitor
John R. Houk
© June 24, 2013
Report: Snowden took job to gather NSA cyber evidence
Copyright Gannett 2013
Edward Snowden Blows It Part 1 & 2
I am Forbes' official 'token lefty,' as the title of the page suggests. However, writing from the 'left of center' should not be confused with writing for the left as I often annoy progressives just as much as I upset conservative thinkers. In addition to the pages of Forbes.com, you can find me every Saturday morning on your TV arguing with my more conservative colleagues on "Forbes on Fox" on the Fox News Network and at various other times during the week serving as a liberal talking head on other Fox News and Fox Business Network shows. I also serve as a Democratic strategist with Mercury Public Affairs.
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Unrequested editing in last two articles: John R. Houk