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Snowden Reveals US Spies On EU

Discussion in 'Alley of Dangerous Angles' started by Chandos the Red, Jul 1, 2013.

  1. Vorona

    Vorona Shadow-Whisperer

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    From what I understand, as soon as a person is considered an "enemy combattant" rather than "citizen," that person no longer has the right to a fair trial. I'd be very glad to be proven wrong if that's not the case, although having it happen even in Gitmo is too much for my liking, and I agree it should be closed. I also don't know if it's happening much yet, but just the fact that there's a procedure in place worries me . . . again, though, I could be wrong. I don't see any reason to get rid of fair trials: If they're really guilty, why is the government afraid of a trial?

    Of course, I don't know how people are labeled "enemy combattants," but still, it's ripe for corruption, even if it's designed to be "fair."
     
  2. damedog Gems: 15/31
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    I see no reason why I should err on the side of trusting my government, given the current evidence of how they use their newly-granted powers and how most nations have used them in the past, and I haven't seen any relevant arguments to say that I do. Asserting that I should trust my government and therefore what they do is valid is begging the question.

    Speaking of Guantanamo- Many, and I mean many, of the Guantanamo detainees were found innocent or released without charge, while some have been found innocent years ago and still remain. Some have been as young as 14. I shudder to think how many injustices would have happened if any pretense of what we traditionally see as evidence-based law would be thrown out the window in their cases. No, I do not think it is rational to trust the government with even *more* unaccountable power. They've shown how they act upon it already.

    It takes some serious butchering of the Fourth Amendment to justify these kind of things. Imagine going to a judge before these previous crimes became legal and trying to convince him you have to tap every Americans phone, email, and social networking activity, and your probable cause is that they *might* be associated with terrorism in some way, but you have no actual evidence to say they do. :rolleyes:
     
  3. coineineagh

    coineineagh I wish for a horde to overrun my enemies Resourceful Adored Veteran

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    Snowden probably expected some outrage and questions from European allies, but instead they worked double-time to try to arrest him with those nauseating Bolivian aeroplane antics. I hope they never catch him, but they probably will. Government serves only those in power, accommodating their paranoia by bending any rules in the way. Other folk only have their interests served if it suits governments to give the appearance of caring and considering them. Revalations like Snowden's have no actual impact, but they really annoy governments, by threatening the facade they seek to maintain. As if the rest of us didn't know about it. Leave the guy alone, I say. His main failing was naivete - a lack of awareness of the reality of the world we live in.
     
  4. Montresor

    Montresor Mostly Harmless Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder

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    While the people of many countries admire Snowden for revealing that the US government spies on its allies, I don't think many governments want to offer him refuge. After all, if he betrayed* the US government, he might also betray his next host when/if he discovers some of their dirty secrets.

    Snowden's history on Internet forums** explains why governments might think of him as kind of a loose cannon.

    * About "betrayal" and "treason": I am convinced that according to the law Snowden has committed treason against the government of the United States. However, I am not convinced that he has morally betrayed the people of the United States (quite the contrary, in fact). Government and people are not synonymous, not even in countries where the government is elected by the people.

    ** Another reason this comes out now could be that "someone" is throwing dirt back at Snowden, in order to make him appear unstable.
     
  5. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I think the only reason governments will not offer him asylum is they don't want to get on the bad side of the US. Nobody would trust Snowden with classified information again, so there's really no way for him to get it in the future.
     
  6. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    Look, I have a security clearance. My job requires it. I recently accepted a new job with another company, and one of the main prerequisites of getting that position was that I already had an active security clearance. (There's quite a bit of paper work to get a clearance transferred to a new company, but it's nothing compared to the process of getting a clearance in the first place.)

    When you accept a security clearance, you agree to not release information to anyone without the same or higher level clearance than yours, and even then it's only on a need to know basis. There is no caveat that you can give out this information if you think it will be of benefit to the citizens of your country.

    While Snowden's actions may be morally justifiable, the fact remains he broke an oath he took. It's true that the information he released was not particularly damaging to US interests. It's not like he ID'ed operatives that were working in other countries. But that's also not the point. How can he be trusted with any information, if it is apparently up to his discretion what is worth releasing? We can be thankful he didn't know more. But he's clearly not the type of person who should have even been given a clearance.

    If the information he gained was so distasteful to him, he should have resigned his position. I like to think of myself as a person who prides himself in doing the right thing. Taking a principled stand on something you think is wrong is something that I would normally support. But doing the right thing also means giving your word that you will (or will not) do something is also important - keeping you word is also doing the right thing. He had to know that his actions would have consequences. (He probably didn't expect things to go this far, but he had to expect a reaction.)

    I do not think Snowden's actions rise to level of high treason, but he broke an oath he swore to uphold, and did so willingly. I have a hard time feeling sorry for him, as he alone is to blame for his current predicament.
     
  7. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I certainly don't feel sorry for the guy either. Once you swear that oath you either abide by the oath or accept the punishment for violating it. His motivation for committing the crime is really only a consideration for the punishment phase of his trial -- he's guilty as all hell, but then Ollie North got away when he was guilty as well.

    On a side note -- what reasonable person actually believe allies don't spy on each other? What a ridiculous assumption. As a country you never know when an alliance will change (for whatever reason) and you have to be prepared in order to protect your citizens (from whatever threat -- physical, nuclear, financial, etc.). There has always been spying between allies and there always will be.

    Snowden was an idealistic naïve fool. Sometimes people do get punished for being stupid -- and it's a beautiful thing to see (much like the aggressive driver that cuts you off and you see him a few miles later in the ditch).
     
  8. Splunge

    Splunge Bhaal’s financial advisor Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    But it’s a balancing act – taking a principled stand vs. keeping your word. So in the Snowden case, it’s pretty debatable, but there could be other more extreme situations (for example, coming across plans for, say, another holocaust) where it’s not. In either situation, though (and as you state), you need to realize there will be consequences to breaking your oath.

    A bit off-topic, but what is the process for information flowing down? Surely there must be situations where people with lower clearance need to know classified information that you have, but the way you describe it, there is no means for them to obtain such information.

    And as a further aside, how does someone with the last name of "Idiot" even get clearance in the first place? :p
     
  9. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    There is no means for an individual not cleared to receive the information. If individuals need the information to perform their duties, they must get the proper clearance first.

    And if they cannot get the clearance for whatever reason, they lose their position (or it wouldn't have been given to them in the first place) if it really relies on their needing to know classified information.
     
  10. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    Most facilities that deal with classified material have separate sections of the building where you need a different keycard to access. Everyone in those areas, even the administrative assistants, get clearances because they may have a need to deal with classified information, even if they don't see it routinely in their day-to-day activities. Just because you have a clearance doesn't mean everything that comes across your desk is classified. Hell, I've gone weeks without working on something that needed a clearance. If there's even a reasonable chance you'll deal with classified material, you need to get a clearance. At least that's the policy of the government and every private company I've ever been associated with it.

    So the situation you describe is pretty rare. If you work in the area of the building that deals with and works on classified material, you already have the clearance. I've never run across a situation where I needed to give information to another member of my team that required a clearance and they didn't have one.

    You pass a polygraph.
     
  11. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    So you suppose the EU would double cross the US? Possible, I guess, although that would be really crazy too -- on their part. The bottom line is that you can't trust anyone? Reminds of the three guys in the Treasure of Sierra Madre. Or is that the three guys in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales who go looking for Death?
     
  12. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I think both of those are great analogies.

    It doesn't necessarily mean the EU would double cross the US; it could be one member of the EU turns on another ... say Germany decides to invade Poland or some other really off-the-radar thing like Croatia and Slovenia not wanting to play nice. Most likely would be a financial implosion of one country that causes a domino effect on the EU and leads some of its members to "influence" the offending nation. If something like those were to happen we (as a country) would probably need to choose sides and the intelligence gathered during peaceful times would aid during war.

    I understand why we would spy on allies, it's not a nice thing to do but I'm sure they spy on the US as well (and would be fools not to).
     
    Chandos the Red likes this.
  13. Nizidramanii'yt Gems: 10/31
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    Spying is only ok it the goal is to improve your own country by using their thought-off resources. That's just the way it works apparently.

    I do understand they take offense. It feels like being backstabbed. Why not just ask for the information. "Ally" is a broad term nowadays, apparently. It looses its relevance in times where there are no enemies.
     
  14. Drew

    Drew Arrogant, contemptible, and obnoxious Adored Veteran

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    Not quite. Not every government organization will require a polygraph -- most people in Military intelligence, for example, will not be asked to take one. I didn't need to take a polygraph to get my clearance, but I did need to take (and pass) one when they stationed me at NSA Fort Meade. A polygraph is not required to work for NSGA, even though the clearance required is the same.

    That aside, anyone foolish enough to believe that our allies are not spying on us is probably too stupid to be trusted with a security clearance. What was leaked shouldn't have been news to anyone, particularly to our allies. We want to know about potentially dangerous developments within allied nations before they happen instead of after, so we monitor our allies. Our allies will want the same, so they will monitor us.

    An old quote from my Navy days sticks with me even today --

    "In God we trust. In all others, we monitor." Sage advice.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2013
  15. coineineagh

    coineineagh I wish for a horde to overrun my enemies Resourceful Adored Veteran

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    I'm not sure whether it reflects well or not if you have a security clearance. Doesn't that mean that you took an oath with foreknowledge that you'd be given insight into some dirty secrets, and you vow to help keep it secret?
    I guess it's the difference between lawful and chaotic views. Don't get me wrong - I understand the need for consistency and reliability. I just wouldn't agree to a security clearance if it meant I'd have to keep dark secrets. Is the lure of positions of power and wealth so strong that people are lining up to abandon their principles so easily, or is there no moral conflict among those people in the first place??
     
  16. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Coin: He could have resigned in protest and then, without disclosing confidential information, notified others (press, congressman, etc.) of the US monitoring our allies. Snowden would not be a fugitive and there would still be the same lack of concern about the US monitoring our allies. He would probably be equally disillusioned.
     
  17. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I'm not sure why you think someone with a clearance would necessarily find anything dirty in the classified information they need to perform their jobs.
     
  18. WurstBane

    WurstBane Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted Veteran Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    This Snowden incident has really opened my eyes how ****ed up world we are living. Guy following his conscience and heart gets into a trouble. My grandfather fought two wars against Russia and after war he went to policeacademy, his first job after graduation was to bring "war criminals", ie. wartime
    politicians to "justice" and he refused, wich meant long time unemployment. He didn't regret, afterwards he told me "always follow your conscience and you will sleep well". If he only new how times have changed...

    What the hell went wrong with U.S.A? All this Quantanamo crap and all put the shame on whole western world. U.S were good guys once. I personally won't buy anything that comes from U.S. ever again. Every movie, game, whatever I'll pirate it or live without it. I know it isn't much but I'll follow my conscience.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2013
    coineineagh likes this.
  19. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    [​IMG]
    We have should a "dislike" for post like that. :mad:
     
  20. Gaear

    Gaear ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful

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    You'll follow your conscience by stealing software? :p
     
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