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Forum Post: 10 Dumbest Pundit Reactions to NSA Revelations ~ And More Knowledge

Posted 10 months ago on June 13, 2013, 3:57 a.m. EST by WSmith (5271) from Cornelius, OR
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

They may not know what they're talking about, but they have strong opinions nonetheless.

June 12, 2013 | AlterNet / By Evan McMurry

NSA leaker Edward Snowden may be a rebel-heartthrob to the EFF crowd, but his whistleblowing is grating the ears of the politicians and pundits who built the intelligence-gathering apparatus Snowden unveiled. These folks haven’t spent the past dozen years expanding the parameters of government surveillance just to have some ingrate let us all in on it, and their responses have ranged from calling Snowden a dimwit to calling for his head. From Fox News to the Wall Street Journal, here are the most cringe-inducing reactions.

1.) Jeffrey Toobin

Jeffrey Toobin’s quick and vicious takedown in the New Yorker set the tone for attacking Snowden as a naïve nincompoop. “Any marginally attentive citizen, much less N.S.A. employee or contractor, knows that the entire mission of the agency is to intercept electronic communications,” Toobin wrote. Never mind that even many legislators were in the dark as to the size and scope of the NSA’s operations—Snowden was one warrant short of a wiretap for believing we hadn’t just assumed the highly classified intrusion into our lives.

But Snowden graduated into a “grandiose narcissist” when he leaked the information to Glenn Greenwald, as opposed to writing a calmly worded memo, or perhaps going on a hunger strike from the donuts in the breakroom. “Our system offers legal options to disgruntled government employees and contractors,” Toobin wrote. “They can take advantage of federal whistle-blower laws; they can bring their complaints to Congress; they can try to protest within the institutions where they work.”

Given the Obama administration’s relentless pursuit of whistleblowers, recommending Snowden avail himself of intra-agency avenues of complaint makes Toobin, not Snowden, the naïf in this scenario.

2.) Fox News Analyst Ralph Peters

For all that, Toobin represents the intellectual opposition to Snowden. The other option is to blast Snowden as a traitor—which, if you’re Fox News analyst Ralph Peters, means the gallows.

“It’s sad, Brian,” Peters told Brian Kilmeade on Monday morning. “We’ve made treason cool. Betraying your country is kind of a fashion statement. He wants to be the national security Kim Kardashian. He cites Bradley Manning as a hero.”

“We need to get very, very serious about treason,” Peters went on to say, as if it were teen sexting. “And oh, by the way, for treason, as in the case of Bradley Manning or Edward Snowden, you bring back the death penalty.”

That’s a high price to pay for being the Kardashian of anything.

3.) Wall Street Journal Editorial Board

Fresh from their stint valiantly battling the New York City bike lobby, the brain trust at the Wall Street Journal composed a thank you note to the NSA. Literally: “Thank you for data-mining” was their headline; a heart-dotted "i" was probably removed somewhere along the way.

“The existence of the program was exposed years ago and such surveillance is a core part of the war on terror, if we can still use that term,” the op-ed read, simultaneously shrugging over the hitherto-unknown scope of the program while throwing an elbow at Obama.

Their op-ed was written with such starch, in fact, it’s easy to miss that the editors don’t really know what they’re talking about. “If the NSA's version of a computer science department operates like the rest of FISA, the government is cautious to ensure that its searches are narrowly tailored and specific protocols are reviewed by FISA judges,” the board wrote.

That’s one hell of an “if,” and as Edward Snowden just proved, there’s a lot we don’t know about what the government does and how it goes about doing it.

4.) David Brooks

Brooks brought the Brookspeak on how Snowden was just an example of these punk Millennials:

Though thoughtful, morally engaged and deeply committed to his beliefs, he appears to be a product of one of the more unfortunate trends of the age: the atomization of society, the loosening of social bonds, the apparently growing share of young men in their 20s who are living technological existences in the fuzzy land between their childhood institutions and adult family commitments.

If you live a life unshaped by the mediating institutions of civil society, perhaps it makes sense to see the world a certain way: Life is not embedded in a series of gently gradated authoritative structures: family, neighborhood, religious group, state, nation and world. Instead, it’s just the solitary naked individual and the gigantic and menacing state.

If you live a life unshaped by the mediating institutions of civil society, perhaps it makes sense to see the world a certain way: Life is not embedded in a series of gently gradated authoritative structures: family, neighborhood, religious group, state, nation and world. Instead, it’s just the solitary naked individual and the gigantic and menacing state.

Brooks, as always, is on the cusp of an intriguing point; namely, that regardless of Snowden’s stated motives, he acted selfishly by prioritizing his conscience over the effect these leaks would have on others.

Alas, smart phones didn’t invent solipsism, and Brooks seems unable to conceive of the role a decade-long expansion of secret government apparatuses might have played in poisoning the trust Snowden allegedly disdains. Set against the backdrop of spying and secret torture memos and warrantless wiretaps, the social bonds Brooks so reveres start to look like the forces of conformity, and Snowden’s forfeiting of them a sacrifice, not a disavowal. It’s precisely because the ties of society are so strong that people like Snowden, who overcome them when they see wrongdoing, are exceptional. Who else is gonna do it?

5.) Thomas Friedman

Unable to find a cabbie to tell him what he wanted to hear, Friedman largely outsourced his column to David Simon, creator of "The Wire," who has been critical of Snowden. Together they spotted the real scandal: Snowden substituting an abstract ideation of transparency for the palpable need to disrupt terrorist plots. “Pardon me if I blow that whistle,” Friedman said, in a rare example of a non-mixed metaphor.

But Friedman missed the same gobsmackingly obvious point his colleague Brooks did. Both men were able to scowl at Snowden’s revulsion for the national surveillance apparatus only because Snowden revealed it to them. It’s easy to say we, as a society, should be grateful for the government’s increased ability to monitor terrorist activity—when we’re aware of it. But until Snowden handed his documents to the Guardian and the Washington Post, Brooks and Friedman didn’t even know to what they were nobly submitting.

6.) Dianne Feinstein

Feinstein pledged to hold as many surveillance hearings as us plebes could buy tickets to, with the one catch that nothing would be said in them because everything relevant to the programs is quadruple-classified. “That’s what makes this so hard,” she lamented to George Stephanopoulos.

7.) John McCain and Lindsey Graham

McCain found himself unable to so much as describe the program he nonetheless claimed we needed or the terrorists would win. Under pressure from Candy Crawley on Sunday to detail the various layers of congressional and judicial oversight, McCain alluded to the FISA court, and just as quickly refuted himself by saying that the court had approved every one of the government’s almost-2,000 warrant requests.

“So is it a rubber stamp court?” Crawley asked.

“I don’t know,” McCain said, thus concluding his grand contribution to the discourse of privacy vs. security.

McCain’s BFF Lindsey Graham, meanwhile, would like to have a looksee into your snail mail. “If I thought censoring the mail was necessary, I would suggest it,” Graham said Tuesday, referencing the period during World War II when mail crossing the Atlantic was censored. The military allusion is no accident: Graham wants the United States on permanent war footing against Islamic extremists, real and imaginary. The wartime suspension of civil rights is not a bug to him, but a feature.

8.) Richard Cohen

An unimpressed Richard Cohen followed the Toobin template to a T, mocking Snowden for “expos[ing] programs that were known to our elected officials and could have been deduced by anyone who has ever Googled anything,” before deriding him as “a cross-dressing Little Red Riding Hood.”

But he went Toobin one further by dismissing the slightest expectation of privacy as completely unobtainable in modern life, anyway, so no biggie about its violation:

I long ago sacrificed a measure of privacy for convenience. One click will do it. I also made the same sort of deal for security. I assumed the government was doing at least what Google was doing.

Snowden can’t be a hero, in Cohen’s estimation, because Cohen has already ceded what Snowden risked everything for him to retain. That seems like Cohen’s problem.

9.) Glenn Beck

Beck wasted no time interpolating Snowden’s revelations into his eschatological night terrors: something Obama Middle East blah blah chalkboard 1938 something approaching Eye of Moloch etc. Same applies to this as to everything Beck says: nobody asked you.

10.) Barack Obama

“I welcome this debate,” said the president whose administration has done everything possible to keep the public from knowing it should be having one. “I think it’s healthy for our democracy. It’s a sign of maturity.”

Congrats, America, you’ve been bar mitzvahed into the surveillance state.

38 Comments

38 Comments


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[-] 3 points by TikiJ (-38) 9 months ago

Biden saying we shouldnt trust a president who is spying on us....oh the hypocrisy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=iFf5lEaXk7A

How about we just dont trust ANY of them? Its too insane to keep track of who is screwing us more, from day to day. Lets just move on from the entire lot of em.

Is that even possible at this point?

[-] 3 points by NVPHIL (667) 9 months ago

What about the reaction some pundits have towards Glenn greenwald. Both Brian Williams and some fuckhead on CNN, not sure of his name, saying Glenn is an accomplice and charges for "aiding and abetting" snowden.

[-] 0 points by WSmith (5271) from Cornelius, OR 9 months ago

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[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 10 months ago

the war on terror is an excuse for the government to keep secrets

"FILM THE POLICE" B. Dolan ft. Toki Wright, Jasiri X, Buddy Peace, Sage Fran

[-] -2 points by WSmith (5271) from Cornelius, OR 10 months ago

The WOT was a license to redistribute ~ and chaotic smokescreen cover from which WS Banksters could rob ~ the wealth from America to the 1%.

The greatest redistribution/robbery in world history.

[-] 0 points by WSmith (5271) from Cornelius, OR 9 months ago
[+] -7 points by HCabret (-327) 10 months ago

Most people voluntarily give up their information. People arent being bar mitzvahed into signing up for a cell phone contract or a facebook account or an email account or a credit card account.

Why dont the people (if they are truly outraged) boycott the internet and phone companies and other information collecting corporations?

[+] -4 points by WSmith (5271) from Cornelius, OR 10 months ago

Working on it:

http://occupywallst.org/forum/ed-snowden-the-spy-industrys-bernie-madoff-class-w/

Perhaps knowing that these Private Spy Contractors are working with Corporations to Sabotage Public Protest Organizations [ like Occupy Wall Street ] to defuse public descent will get some outraged people organized and motivated!

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[+] -7 points by Theeighthpieceuv8 (-32) from Seven Sisters, Wales 10 months ago

In terms of the structure of your article I am uncertain why you chose to close with an Obama statement; is this statement intended as finality?

[+] -8 points by WSmith (5271) from Cornelius, OR 10 months ago

I didn't write it, or this:

Spot What's Wrong With Rand Paul's NSA Fundraising Email

In an appeal for donations filled with whoppers and conspiracy theories, the senator exploits the surveillance scandal.

—By David Corn | Wed Jun. 12, 2013 9:47 AM PDT

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/06/rand-paul-nsa-fundraising-lawsuit

[+] -8 points by shooz (26733) 10 months ago

Like father, like son.

He gets a lot of kudos from good old (batty as a loon) Alex Jones too, just like papa.

[+] -9 points by WSmith (5271) from Cornelius, OR 10 months ago

And don't forget the unquestioning following of the Unicorn Crowd, ie. TM, Odin, etc.... Who are really here to divide us and empower Corporatocracy as we see in the NSA: http://occupywallst.org/forum/ed-snowden-the-spy-industrys-bernie-madoff-class-w/

[-] 2 points by frovikleka (2563) from Island Heights, NJ 10 months ago

And so says Willy the dem

~Odin~

[-] -2 points by WSmith (5271) from Cornelius, OR 10 months ago

Scorching retort (typically flaccid).

Still waiting (not really) for your big solutions, other than chasing Unicorns off a cliff, I know, that's all you've got.

It's (not) nice of you to come here and TROLL. Lives are being ruined and lost by RepubliCon-1% policies and sabotage. But you don't care, couldn't care less, (don't give a shit) because you work for them.

[-] 2 points by frovikleka (2563) from Island Heights, NJ 10 months ago

With you, few words are needed to make you look...errr...you know not so bri...t

Tell me, do you use that word "flaccid" often

I mean, you even spelled it correctly

~Odin~

[-] -2 points by WSmith (5271) from Cornelius, OR 10 months ago

I've been dealing with you rhetorically flaccid lamers for years. Yeah, correct spelling... wew

You are sharing what great solutions to... anything? Oh, just sliming as usual. No one needs you!

[-] 3 points by frovikleka (2563) from Island Heights, NJ 10 months ago

Quite to the contrary Willy, the World needs a lot more people who are kindred spirits to me, and it has many of them in Occupy

But you wouldn't know that, would you?

As your head is so far up the DNC's ass that you can't see

~Odin~

[-] -2 points by WSmith (5271) from Cornelius, OR 10 months ago

OK, let's pretend that you don't come here just to piss on and slime any and all (real) solutions for our 1% tyranny over the rest of us 99% problem; and that you never go after the RW corndogs who continuously troll here. Just for argument sake.

What are your ideas for solving this problem?

Because if my head is up the DNC's ass, yours is up a Unicorn's ass, and at least the DNC exists and tries to serve the people, while Unicorns do NEITHER.

Your ideas please?

[-] 3 points by frovikleka (2563) from Island Heights, NJ 10 months ago

Having OWS co-opted by the dems is a big concern of mine

I have written many posts on here of the tyranny of the corrupt elite, and have battled with right wingers on here many times, but they are not the ones who could co-opt this movement. That is not to say they couldn't and already have done damage to the growth of this movement. It's just it is not as insidious

I remember the first time i read Chris Hedges, and was amazed at how his views were so simular to mine

Most notably that our struggle will not be won in the voting booth any time soon

I have also studied past struggles, and I understand the need for a radical element in any movement that is seeking a sea change in the way our political and economic systems are run...or justice

Unlike you i can put faces on people in Occupy who work so hard, and sacrifice so much for the success of this movement. Hence I find you subversive tactics to bring us into the Democratic fold most obnoxious, and totally antithetical to what this grass-roots movement is about

And on a more personal level, i can put faces on two generations of my family that will suffer if we were to fail

~Odin~

[-] -2 points by WSmith (5271) from Cornelius, OR 10 months ago

You failed to give one single idea, what a surprise.

And no matter how many times YOU (erroneously) suggest it, YOU don't speak for or represent OWS or any other Occupy Chapter. You are the "CO-OPTER," you are the saboteur, you are the slimer and troll on this board. I take that back, you are the Spokesperson and CEO of Occupy Unicorns.

All you do is slime and troll real solutions to make the effort fail. And you're too dishonest or stupid to admit it!

As for your apparent rejection or incapability to comprehend politics and our political system, I don't care if it's ignorance or pretense. Dislike and/or rejection of reality, whether it's deliberate or accidental, does not make reality immaterial or go away. Leading OWS people off the cliff of political irrelevancy is sabotage against the left and benefits the right, and is in no way a service or a goal of OWS, the Occupy Movement, or the 99%. But it is a goal and a service to RepubliCons!

You're simply a Fraud and a Troll.

[-] 2 points by frovikleka (2563) from Island Heights, NJ 9 months ago

Smith, from the time you started using your current pseudonym in September of 2012, YOU like bensdad and VQkag2 have been trying to drag Occupy into the Democratic party.....WHY?

I think we both know the answer to that....don't we Willy? You simply want to sap the energy out of Occupy and put it into the corrupted Dem party where this struggle will die

I never claimed to be the #! Occupier, and if anything have played down my role in this movement as I know so many people that do so much more, making incredible sacrifices

Given your circumstances in trying your best to co-opt this movement, i can understand your need to lash out at me....to villify me and anyone else who disagrees with you, as there is not much you could say rationally...intelligently that would support Occupy uniting with the Dems

By carrying on with your quest of trying to co-opt this movement and doing so in such a base way, you are cheapening yourself. Sadly i suspect that is not a big concern for you anymore

And 'ironically' (maybe not) it is exactly that kind of dishonesty and depraved behavior that you purvey, that has brought most of the good people here for the right reasons

In any event, I assure you that i am not a "Fraud." My legacy is too important to me for that to be true

~Odin~

[-] -2 points by WSmith (5271) from Cornelius, OR 9 months ago

I've been posting since posting began, before that I wrote letters with envelopes and stamps.

You are a hopeless idiot!

Progressives, Libs, Dems, want to improve the country with the stupid, unattended, shitty, means we have, which could be made much more effective if more people got involved.

All our problems ~ ALL OF THEM ~ stem from public/electorate in-involvement and voter apathy!

And it is exactly what RepubliCons and their 1% Masters want!!

Where this OWS struggle died was when they allowed the 1% owned media define the movement as a Woodstock Reenactment, with no clear motives. DUH!!!!

The website is very nice, but I'm not sure many important media people pay much attention to it. Much less anybody else.

You see, odin, the is all about IMPROVING America, not ensuring it stay the same! Making you the enemy!!!

[+] -4 points by shooz (26733) 10 months ago

I would have to say, the Alex Jones fans found this thread.

[-] -3 points by WSmith (5271) from Cornelius, OR 10 months ago

I keep asking this and I never get an good answer: Who on the left, the sane side of the political spectrum, the opposite of the crazy RW Hate and Lie mongers (AJs, RLs, GBs, SHs, OhReallys, ad nauseum...) bothers to go on their putrid websites, boards or forums and tells them truths which they would consider slime, slander and trollerie? Who does that? Who?

Where is the equivalency of their constant barrage of hate, lies and utter stupidity on this and other boards? Even if I knew where to go, I wouldn't bother, it would be like crashing a KKK rally (disgusting enough) attempting to scalp Kanye West tickets. We must drive them crazy, over here on the left, the facts have a liberal bias side, continuously pointing out and proving how wrong and dumb they are. Ha!

[-] -1 points by shooz (26733) 10 months ago

Besides downvoting benign comments, they completely ignore threads like this.

http://occupywallst.org/forum/9-ways-ayn-rand-libertarianism-is-screwing-over-to/

[-] -1 points by WSmith (5271) from Cornelius, OR 10 months ago

It must drive them completely crazy!

But who goes to their dark side to downvote them? Nobody, because they are completely insane, so why bother. He!

[+] -8 points by WSmith (5271) from Cornelius, OR 10 months ago

Edward Snowden: How the Intelligence Story of the Age Leaked Out

A full report on how Snowden came to release the NSA documents, as well as why he chose to speak to the Guardian.

http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/edward-snowden-how-intelligence-story-age-leaked-out?paging=off

[+] -8 points by WSmith (5271) from Cornelius, OR 10 months ago

The Private-Intelligence Boom, by the Numbers

—By Tim Murphy | Thu Jun. 13, 2013 3:40 AM PDT

Edward Snowden revealed to the world the startling breadth of the National Security Agency's surveillance efforts, but his story also highlighted another facet of today's intelligence world: the increasingly privatized national security sector, in which a high school dropout could bring in six figures while gaining access to state secrets. Over the last decade, firms like Booz Allen Hamilton, where Snowden worked for three months, have gobbled up nearly 60 cents out of every dollar the government spends on intelligence. A majority of top-secret security clearances now go to private contractors who provide services to the government at stepped up rates.

"I like to call Booz Allen the shadow [intelligence community]," Joan Dempsey, a vice president at the firm, said in 2004, as captured in Tim Shorrock's book, Spies for Hire. No kidding. Here's a look at our mushrooming intelligence contracting sector:

http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/06/national-security-inc-our-private-intelligence-apparatus-numbers

[+] -8 points by WSmith (5271) from Cornelius, OR 10 months ago

The question libertarians just can’t answer

If your approach is so great, why hasn’t any country anywhere in the world ever tried it?

By Michael Lind

http://www.salon.com/2013/06/04/the_question_libertarians_just_cant_answer/

[+] -10 points by john32 (-272) from Pittsburgh, PA 10 months ago

Because it's so counter-intuitive that unless you're a scholar that has studied the intricacies of it people don't understand how it could possibly work. I'm not saying this to be a douche.... I understand how people can look at it and think it's barbaric.

If you look at the data....the more free market (libertarian) a society...the less poverty there is, the less inequality there is, the more the average person makes, the less pollution there is, and the longer people live. Facts.

On a side note....awesome post.

[-] 0 points by quantumystic (1710) from Memphis, TN 10 months ago

so there will be less pollution in an unregulated economy? ha ha ha ha ha wow you guys don't know the nature of the corporation even if you know the nature of man.

[-] 0 points by john32 (-272) from Pittsburgh, PA 10 months ago

It's actually true. If someone here will tell me how to post a graph I'll show you. I can make it a JPEG.

[-] -3 points by WSmith (5271) from Cornelius, OR 10 months ago

Success has actually been demonstrated by Fascism, but we fought wars to free us of that nightmare. And the name is so tarnished.

It's no coincidence that the Koch Bros are self proclaimed Libertarians, the Heirs to the John fucking Birch Society! And Liberty sounds so good.

Just be honest and call it Corporatocracy. Liberty for the corporate world, the ones who have all the Libertie$$!

[-] 0 points by john32 (-272) from Pittsburgh, PA 10 months ago

I'm not a fan of the Koch Bros either. They aren't libertarians...they're neocons...no libertarian would ever throw their support behind Romney.

[-] 1 points by WSmith (5271) from Cornelius, OR 10 months ago

Bring back the strict and enforced public-service corporate charter. Corps aren't people, they're contracts; and money isn't speech, it's a possession.

The Austrian School of economics, Libertarianism- socialist, right, left, poli-nomic Scientology, ending in corporatocracy.

Realize a participatory future, encourage more democratic participation.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 10 months ago

money isn't speech, it's a possession.

more of a number

but that does turn Citizens United Supreme Court erata on its ear

[-] 1 points by WSmith (5271) from Cornelius, OR 10 months ago

The Roberts SCOTUS will live in infamy for their blatantly un-American rightist CU overreach. They might as well have ruled that Episcopalian was the national religion.

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