Friday, 28 March 2014

McCain Accuses Snowden of Working for Russia

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In a statement published March 26 in the Washington Examiner, Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) says there is “no doubt” that National Security (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden is “working for Russia.”

Heaping hyperbole on unsubstantiated accusations of treason, McCain calls the Snowden leaks “our real problem.”

“I know that Mr. Putin is hospitable, but he usually wants somebody to pay the rent," McCain added, as quoted in the Examiner.

McCain’s not alone in his hysteria, however.

The NSA’s congressional water carrier Representative Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) blamed the situation in Crimea on Snowden’s alleged treachery. As reported by NBC News:

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers said Sunday former National Security Agency contractor and fugitive Edward Snowden is “actually supporting in an odd way this very activity of brazen brutality and expansionism of Russia. He needs to understand that. And I think Americans need to understand that.”

“I see all the intelligence and all the evidence from everything from his activities leading up to this event to very suspicious activity during the event,” Rogers said. “And so when you talk to the folks who are doing the investigation, they cannot rule it out,” he added during the appearance on Meet the Press on March 23.

Actually, it has been ruled out.

Rogers should spend less time searching for reasons to support the scrapping of the Fourth Amendment and more time reading official investigations into Snowden’s suspected cooperation with a foreign nation.

Both Rick Ledgett, the NSA official in charge of investigating Snowden’s activities, and the team performing the same task at the FBI have stated publicly there is no evidence that Snowden was in some joint venture with anyone overseas.

Specifically, the NSA has said:

The NSA's internal review has determined about 98 percent of the scope of the material that Snowden had accessed, and officials have found no evidence that he had help either within the NSA or from adversary spy agencies.

And, from the FBI:

According to senior government officials, F.B.I. agents from the bureau’s Washington field office, who are leading the investigation, believe that Mr. Snowden methodically downloaded the files over several months while working as a government contractor at the Hawaii facility. They also believe that he worked alone, the officials said.

Not surprisingly, neither McCain nor Rogers has responded to requests from The New American and other media outlets to provide evidence of their libelous accusations.

Time magazine reports receiving the following explanation from Rogers’s office:

Chairman Rogers receives regular classified briefings on the status of the criminal investigation into what the former NSA contractor stole and the intelligence assessments about the impact of that theft to America’s national security.

Never obliged to let the facts stand in the way of fascism, in June 2013, the Obama administration has charged Snowden with espionage.

According to the criminal complaint filed by the federal government against Snowden in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, the former NSA networking contractor was charged with theft, “unauthorized communication of national defense information,” and “willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person.”

The last two counts are violations of the Espionage Act of 1917.

The Washington Post story on the filing of the espionage charges against Snowden reported that the district court was chosen by the Justice Department because Snowden’s former employer, Booz Allen Hamilton, is headquartered within that jurisdiction and it is “a district with a long track record of prosecuting cases with national security implications.”

With the formal filing of the charges against him, Snowden became the eighth person to be charged under the Espionage Act by the Obama administration.

In his statement to the Washington Examiner, McCain indicated that the timing of Snowden’s revelations points to his participation with Putin, saying, “he will be releasing information at appropriate times where it has the most significant impact damaging to the United States.”

There is one glaring weakness with this aspect of McCain’s theory: Snowden doesn’t determine when documents are published. 

Sometime last summer, Snowden sent an enormous cache of documents to Glenn Greenwald (then of The Guardian), and to reliable reporters at other outlets including the Washington Post, Germany’s Der Spiegel, the New York Times, and others.

If we are to accept McCain’s portrayal of Snowden as a conscious agent of the Kremlin, then every one of these publications is, by association, in league with Moscow to damage the United States. Or, as Rogers claimed, to harm our “Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines.”

The truth is, the information gleaned from the Snowden stash is then reported by those publications at their leisure, without guidance or permission from the source.

In fact, Greenwald disclosed Sunday “some facts about how NSA stories are reported,” among which are:

First, “Edward Snowden has not leaked a single document to any journalist since he left Hong Kong in June: 9 months ago.”

Second, “Publication of an NSA story constitutes an editorial judgment by the media outlet that the information should be public.”

Third, “Snowden has made repeatedly clear that he did not want all of the documents he provided to be published.”

Speaking particularly of claims of congressmen that Snowden has harmed this country, Greenwald adds:

If you’re a US government official, or a devoted loyalist to the US government, then it makes sense that you’d be angry that has been revealed. Political officials always want their deceit to be concealed rather than exposed, while jingoistic government loyalists (even when they call themselves “journalists”) want the same thing. But if you’re an actual journalist, or a whistleblower with a conscience, or a citizen who would rather know the truth than be misled by your own government, then this is an easy call. Either way, though, the call in this case — to inform rather than suppress — was made by the reporters and editors of the media outlets which chose to publish this story, so anyone who is angry about it should direct their anger to them.

Greenwald is correct: Americans should demand that their elected representatives “direct their anger” to those who continue cooperating with the construction of a surveillance state that apparently has access to nearly every form of electronic communication. 

If McCain were less concerned with maintaining his grip on power and more concerned with upholding his oath of office, perhaps he wouldn’t have been censured by the Arizona Republican Party.

If McCain, Rogers, and others on Capitol Hill were less concerned with green-lighting the de facto repeal of the Fourth Amendment and more concerned with checking the NSA’s “gradual and silent encroachments” on the right of all people to be free from unwarranted searches and seizures, Edward Snowden would be working as a programmer somewhere and we wouldn’t be in a situation where the entire country is being watched around the clock and every monitored activity is recorded and made retrievable by agents who will have a dossier on every American.

Though the hour is late, there is still hope. Beginning today, Americans can refuse to reelect any lawmaker who has voted to fund the NSA or any other federal agency whose existence is not specifically permitted by the Constitution. We can unite, as our forefathers, in the ennobling cause of the end of tyranny and the promotion of those unalienable rights granted to us — and revocable only — by our Creator.

Joe A. Wolverton, II, J.D. is a correspondent for The New American and travels nationwide speaking on nullification, the Second Amendment, the surveillance state, and other constitutional issues.  Follow him on Twitter @TNAJoeWolverton and he can be reached at

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