Obama Approves Releasing Classified Information to Attack Snowden for Leaking Classified Information

Kudos to Shane Harris who, unlike a number of other reporters, brought the appropriate skepticism to Mike Rogers and Dutch Ruppersberger’s attempt to fearmonger Edward Snowden’s leaks. Not only did Harris use the correct verb tense — “could” as opposed to “has” — to describe documents describing the activities of the Armed Services that have not yet been released (and note, implicitly Rogers and Rupp are saying the risk is to forces in the field but not within the domestic US). But he repeatedly noted Rogers and Rupp’s complete failure to provide any evidence:

But the lawmakers — who are working in coordination with the Obama administration and are trying to counter the narrative that Snowden is a heroic whistleblower — offered no specific examples to substantiate their claims.


The lawmakers cited no articles or specific documents to support that claim.


But the spokesman did not say what, if any, conclusions the task force had reached about actual damage caused by documents Snowden took, regardless of whether they’ve been disclosed or not.

My favorite part of Harris’ piece, however, is the way he makes clear that Rogers and Rupp are selectively releasing classified information — with the Administration’s approval — to complain about Snowden releasing classified information.

A congressional staffer who is familiar with the report’s findings said that the lawmakers chose to make some of its contents public in order to counter what they see as a false impression of Snowden as a principled whistleblower who disclosed abuses of power.

“Snowden has been made out by some people to be a hero. What we need to do is really look at the effect of his leaks and see that what he’s done is really harm our country and put citizens at risk. The purpose [of releasing some findings] is to clear the record and show that he’s not a hero,” the staffer told Foreign Policy.

The staffer said that the administration approved the information that the lawmakers disclosed in advance.

Because some leaky pigs are more equal than other leaky pigs.

15 replies
  1. P J Evans says:

    If it’s okay for the government to leak classified information – without, apparently, declassifying it first – in order to support their illegal activities, then whistleblowers ought to get the same latitude.,or, at the very least, legal protection from retaliation by superiors, including those working in the WH.

  2. thatvisionthing says:

    Some are more equal than others… What he said:


    GLENN GREENWALD: And the final thing I want to say is, you know, all this talk about amnesty for Edward Snowden, and it’s so important that the rule of law be applied to him, it’s really quite amazing. Here’s Michael Hayden. He oversaw the illegal warrantless eavesdropping program implemented under the Bush administration. He oversaw torture and rendition as the head of the CIA. James Clapper lied to the face of Congress. These are felonies at least as bad, and I would say much worse, than anything Edward Snowden is accused of doing, and yet they’re not prosecuted. They’re free to appear on television programs. The United States government in Washington constantly gives amnesty to its highest officials, even when they commit the most egregious crimes. And yet the idea of amnesty for a whistleblower is considered radical and extreme. And that’s why a hardened felon like Michael Hayden is free to walk around on the street and is treated on American media outlets as though he’s some learned, wisdom-drenched elder statesman, rather than what he is, which is a chronic criminal.

  3. jayackroyd (@jayackroyd) says:

    What gets me is the don’t even notice anymore that they’re saying, over and over again, that the vast majority of super secret eyes only burn before reading stuff isn’t particularly sensitive.

  4. milkshaken says:

    The problem is that Snowden is threatening the Global Domination project of the power elites in US and UK.

    The Anglo-Saxon superiority is on the wane, both in the technology sector and finance sphere. The national debts are becoming hard to service, the military machine is not even able to deal with insurgency in a rural third-world country like Afghanistan and Yemen. The universal surveillance and the data dominance has been viewed as absolutely key for the survival of the rich and powerful. That is why there has been such a cosy symbiosis between national security bureaucrats and the technology companies, and military contractors- and Snowden totally blew it apart! Now it is again “each bureaucrat/company/nation for itself” – though the one thing they can all agree on is the hatred for the source of these revelations…

  5. thatvisionthing says:

    And I recall Bradley Manning…

    That’s right, if only Manning had been less careful about harm, if only he had leaked higher-classified material, if only he were more like Bob Woodward or Leon Panetta, he might not be screwed now.

    (Topics Marcy covered in this June 2013 interview: http://correntewire.com/marcy_wheeler_interviewed_june_5_on_manning_woodward_panetta )

    Also recall Michael Moore’s predictive post comparing in advance Manning’s sentence to those of military criminals before him. He went through a list of crimes and sentences and concluded:


    My guess is Bradley Manning will spend more time in jail than all of the other soldiers in all of these cases put together. And thus, instead of redeeming ourselves and asking forgiveness for the crimes that Spc. Manning exposed, we will reaffirm to the world who we really are.

  6. thatvisionthing says:

    From 30c3:


    Jacob Appelbaum: But basically the way that this works is that they have this huge passive set of sensors, and any data that flows past it, they actually look at it. So there was a time in the past where surveillance meant looking at anything at all. And now the NSA tries to basically twist the words of every person who speaks whatever language they’re speaking in, and they try to say that it’s only surveillance if after they collect it and record it to a database and analyze it with machines, only if I think an NSA agent basically looks at it personally and then clicks “I have looked at this” do they call it surveillance.

    Fundamentally I really object to that because if I ran a TURMOIL collection system – that is passive signals intelligence systems collecting data from the whole planet, everywhere they possibly can – I would go to prison for the rest of my life. That’s the balance, right?

    Jefferson talks about this. He says, you know, “That which the government is allowed to do but you are not, this is a tyranny.”

    There are some exceptions to that, but the CFAA in the United States, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, you know, it’s so draconian for regular people, and the NSA gets to do something like intercepting 7 billion people all day long with no problem, and the rest of us are not even allowed to experiment for improving the security of our own lives without being put in prison or under threat of serious indictment, and that I think is a really important point.

    So the TURMOIL system is a surveillance system, and it is a dragnet surveillance system that is a general warrant dragnet surveillance if there ever was one.

    And now we shot the British over this when we started our revolution. We called them “general writs of assistance.” These were generalized warrants which we considered to be a tyranny. And TURMOIL is the digital version of a general writ of assistance system. And the general writ of assistance itself, it’s not clear if it even exists, because it’s not clear to me that a judge would understand anything that I just said.

    (A checks and balances reference!)

  7. bloodypitchfork says:

    @thatvisionthing:quote:” My guess is Bradley Manning will spend more time in jail than all of the other soldiers in all of these cases put together. And thus, instead of redeeming ourselves and asking forgiveness for the crimes that Spc. Manning exposed, we will reaffirm to the world who we really are.”unquote

    Indeed. Daily. We will reaffirm to the world who we really are.

    This country can’t face what they really are. PERIOD.

  8. ArizonaBumblebee says:

    I find all of this so depressing. Where the hell is our hope, change, and transparency president? Was all of that a con job as Ralph Nader once suggested it was? This president gave a pass to the torturers. He also gave a pass to the criminals on Wall Street. He’s even given a pass to the NSA officials who have lied to or misled Congress. But he won’t give a pass to a former contractor for the NSA who has exposed potentially illegal and unconstitutional activity. And even worse, this isn’t restricted to national security. The ACLU has reported that there are literally thousands of men, many of whom are African-American, who are rotting in prison for non-violent crimes. In one case, a man is serving a life sentence for stealing a jacket worth $159, or some such amount. The President could put an end to this injustice by pardoning them or commuting their sentences, but he won’t. When President Harding became president, he pardoned Eugene Debs to rectify a vicious prosecution by President Wilson’s Department of Justice and then invited him to the White House for lunch. Can anyone envisage President Obama doing something that magnanimous with someone like Snowden? With the passage of time President Obama is acting more and more like Dick Cheney’s cousin.

  9. der says:

    Changing the narrative. With the book and interviews about the Media 8 and their revealing cross-dressing J.Edgar’s COINTELPRO the government can’t have the clueless rabble connecting the dots. So ….

    Don’t you love farce?
    My fault, I fear.
    I thought that you’d want what I want…
    Sorry, my dear!
    And where are the clowns
    Send in the clowns
    Don’t bother, they’re here.

    Led by fools. Christie’s Fort Lee is small theater with the same story line. And equally bad acting.

  10. bevin says:

    Giving staff permission to leak classified information in order to discredit opponents, is the Chicago equivalent of the Jersey trick of permitting aides to shut down highway lanes to discredit opponents.
    It’s too bad the public seems indignant about one and indifferent about the other.

  11. TedWa says:

    Obama’s “panel of investigators” of the NSA were all insiders, despite Obama saying that there would be an independent review of NSA policies. And even then his own insiders say the NSA is breaking the law ! I’d imagine that if true independent investigators did this review the results would be much much worse and names would be named – including Obama. Alexander and Clapper belong in jail and Obama following close behind. The NSA is using Obama’s twisted logic before the FISA courts for these Constitution violating acts. Never forget, Obama added American citizens to the NDAA.

  12. Mass Independent says:

    Obama’s goal is to restore the faith of the American people in the NSA. What a joke. A hopeless task, from a hopeless POTUS (who is voted for once). I now often debate ObamaBOT Dems online, and they are as blind to his actions as Bush’s fans were to his. And they reject both any dialog, or criticism of their God Obama. A nation of idiots, center & right.

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