The New York Times Editorial Board Backs ‘Edward Snowden, Whistle-Blower’

snowden-378233-edward-snowdenThe New York Times Editorial Board evidently thinks it’s safe to be openly liberal in New York now that we have an unabashed left-wing Mayor, Bill de Blasio. In this opinion piece in today’s “paper of record,” the Times calls for leniency with respect to Edward Snowden, who they notably dub a whistleblower, not a traitor or other epithet bandied about by the likes of Matt Drudge and Fox News Channel:

… Considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight. He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service. It is time for the United States to offer Mr. Snowden a plea bargain or some form of clemency that would allow him to return home, face at least substantially reduced punishment in light of his role as a whistle-blower, and have the hope of a life advocating for greater privacy and far stronger oversight of the runaway intelligence community.

Mr. Snowden is currently charged in a criminal complaintwith two violations of the Espionage Act involving unauthorized communication of classified information, and a charge of theft of government property. Those three charges carry prison sentences of 10 years each, and when the case is presented to a grand jury for indictment, the government is virtually certain to add more charges, probably adding up to a life sentence that Mr. Snowden is understandably trying to avoid.

The president said in August that Mr. Snowden should come home to face those charges in court and suggested that if Mr. Snowden had wanted to avoid criminal charges he could have simply told his superiors about the abuses, acting, in other words, as a whistle-blower.

“If the concern was that somehow this was the only way to get this information out to the public, I signed an executive order well before Mr. Snowden leaked this information that provided whistle-blower protection to the intelligence community for the first time,” Mr. Obama said at a news conference. “So there were other avenues available for somebody whose conscience was stirred and thought that they needed to question government actions.”

In fact, that executive order did not apply to contractors, only to intelligence employees, rendering its protections useless to Mr. Snowden. More important, Mr. Snowden told The Washington Post earlier this month that he did report his misgivings to two superiors at the agency, showing them the volume of data collected by the N.S.A., and that they took no action. (The N.S.A. says there is no evidence of this.) That’s almost certainly because the agency and its leaders don’t consider these collection programs to be an abuse and would never have acted on Mr. Snowden’s concerns.

In retrospect, Mr. Snowden was clearly justified in believing that the only way to blow the whistle on this kind of intelligence-gathering was to expose it to the public and let the resulting furor do the work his superiors would not. Beyond the mass collection of phone and Internet data, consider just a few of the violations he revealed or the legal actions he provoked…

[continues in the New York Times]

Disinfonauts interested in the U.S. Government’s harsh treatment of whistleblowers may wish to check out Robert Greenwald’s documentary, War on Whistleblowers.

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  • PrimateZero

    Well it’s quite a surprise to see the NY Times editorial board sounding like the so called “liberal media” we hear about. I wonder what happened? Usually the Times is just another tool for the establishment.

    • emperorreagan

      My impression of the Times (largely based on snippets I’ve read in history books, not an exhaustive study) is that while they are establishment apologists, their editorial bent isn’t rigid and will shift with public sentiment (albeit lagging far behind).

      And of course, once public passions wane it will snap right back to the standard establishment cheerleader editorial tone.

      • denverover

        The power in the city changed and the NYT changed it´s tune. They shift with the power, not public sentiment. Where were they when the “public” was being arrested for marching there in the past few years and the police were violating the laws and attacking the people….on the side of the power, not the people.

        • emperorreagan

          What positive shifts actually do occur in the application of power are directly proportional to public sentiment and the threat to system stability. Those shifts in power lag public sentiment thanks to features built into this system (high cost of entry, term length, etc.).

          Those shifts, too, are taken back at the first opportunity.

          Sometimes it’s as little as someone taking office, as was the case with Obama’s rhetoric on the wars & prison. He talked the game people wanted during his campaign, but ultimately had no designs on carrying through on anything.

          Sometimes it takes decades, as propaganda associating the social safety net with welfare queens worked to poison people’s sentiment towards programs previous generations fought for.

          • denverover

            You are correct to a certain degree. But as long as the power is in place that is where the NYT puts it´s backing it doesn´t matter what John Q. Public is saying in the streets, not until TPTB change their tune. The NYT is not on the side of stopping the war in Afganistan and bringing the troops home yet, but the 64% polls, indicates the public wants it.

    • denverover

      They still are a tool for the establishment. If Snowden believes this is really the country starting to back him via the MSM he´s not as smart as I gave him credit for. If he ever allows himself to be taken by the USA he will never see the light of day, these criminals in power do not forgive, they do not forget, they do not change their stripes, they are skunks and will always be skunks, don´t you forget it.

  • Juan

    Not that I ever trusted the NYT, but if their editorial board is supporting Snowden, this naturally makes me VERY suspicious of Snowden and his motives.
    If they are on board, to me, this makes the possibility that the Snowden affair is a limited hang out op seem much more probable.

    • Adam’s Shadow

      I think it directly ties in with what emperorreagaon said below about “shifting with public sentiment”: the NYT sees that many people in the mainstream (not just the “kooks” on sites like Disinfo) are realizing that our govt. is up to nefarious shit pretty much 24-7, and that exposure of these crimes is morally correct behavior. They just see where the wind is blowing and are trying to ride that current, I think.

      • Juan

        Yeah, we really have no way of knowing for sure if the guy is “legit” or if he’s just another scam by TPTB. We have to sort through so much outright bullshit, that many times we are left relying on what we know about how certain parties have traditionally behaved and our intuition to makes sense of what may or may not be going on.

        • Adam’s Shadow

          Which is exactly what the elite and the powerful count on: that we are so busy trying to just survive and live a decent life, and that we are constantly trying to sort through massive amounts of social, cultural, and political bullshit, we end up mentally, physically, and spiritually exhausted. And then we end up with faux scandals like the guy from “Duck Dynasty” acting racist and homophobic (as if it’s some surprise), or who’s fucking who in Hollywood, and we miss the fact that the “liberal” Obama administration conducts illegal drone attacks on a regular basis, spies on the entire goddamn world, and quietly sends dozens of Hellfire missiles and Scan Eagle drones to Nouri al-Maliki.

          • echar

            I question whether this burnout narrative is intentional or just a byproduct. If a person has chosen success, then these things made of symbols may hold no power over them. It’s those that choose for a mole hill to be a mountain that get what they are looking for, from my perspective.

          • Juan

            Yeah, I know, it’s infuriating. Especially when supposed “liberals” continue to support Barry and his continuation of the shrub policies.
            I had a liberal call me crazy because I suggested that Barry was as much of a lying mass-murdering psychopath as the shrub.

        • echar

          One this is certain, it’s been made crystal clear that they have the ability to see virtually everything.

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  • denverover

    The Guardian is now saying to grant amnesty to Snowden…………..Give me a break, this is a false flag operation by the elite. They´ll grant him amnesty on one thing and put him in prison for life on a different charge. STAY GONE EDWARD ! !

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