Former NSA Senior Counsel, Lawfare’s Joel Brenner Sees Snowden As A Coward By E. Pratt Whitney

Lawfare is an anti-civil liberties publication funded by Brookings. Regular contributors to this virtual organization are invariably well-educated, well-spoken, and well-oiled “national security experts” who get off on institutional authority, indefinite detention, and presidents arbitrarily shooting missiles up the ass of their fellow citizens and innocent, unknown foreign nationals who sport facial hair and wear funny hats.

Regular contributors to Lawfare excel at using political language to rationalize, sanitize, institutionalize, legalize, and normalize the unconstitutional; all for the benefit of their incestuous corporate funders in the Risk Management Industrial Complex.

Example? The Fifth Amendment states:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial.

The guys at Lawfare — who love tanks so much they think in one — read the foregoing simple command as provided by we the people and an awkward pause lingers until somebody farts something like:

If the accused enjoys the right to a public trial, what if we never accuse the poor bastard?

Then someone goes:

Then we could just kill him. Put that up on the board.

Next thing you know the Attorney General of the United States shows up at Chicago’s Northwestern University School of Law, as Eric Holder did in 2012:

Due process and judicial process are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security. The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process.

No accusation. No judicial process. No lawyer. No trial. The only thing you’re due is a missile. Isn’t that clever?

All of which brings me to regular Lawfare contributor, Joel Brenner, who obtained his Juris Disingenuous at the once respected, Harvard Law, and, at various times since, has been affiliated with NSA, FBI, CIA and the rest of the alphabet. Brenner throws down herein:

Unless the disobedient citizen takes the legal consequences of his unlawful action – he’s nothing but a criminal or a rebel….You tell me, dear reader, how young Mr. Snowden measures up to Socrates, Thoreau, Ghandi, and King.

So, you have to be Jesus now to challenge the surveillance state?

We’ll get to Thoreau, right after we pause for this message from recent history — yesterday in fact — two quotes — one by the twice elected President and former editor of the Harvard Law Review, and the other from a 29 year old, former high school dropout with a G.E.D.

Can you guess who said what?

“I don’t have any problem with what the NSA has been doing.”
“The consent of the governed is not consent if it is not informed.”
The first is Obama in agreement with codependent journalist, Charlie Rose. The second is Edward Snowden live-chatting with independent journalist Glenn Greenwald and the world. Which of these two speakers do you suppose recently reviewed the Declaration of Independence?
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
Snowden knows he may eventually be branded a felon.  His objective is to bring some deserving others down with him; people like the Director of National Intelligence turned perjurer, James Clapper; the individual who more than any other inspired Snowden to come forward. Last week, a third Harvard lawyer — Larry Lessig — had this to say about Snowden in an interview with Bill Moyers:
He came out publicly, he explains his reasons, doesn’t seem to be benefiting financially from this. He’s going to suffer enormous personal costs for doing what he did. Those are the things that traditionally have marked somebody as the right kind of civil disobedient. And let’s be clear. The penalties which he faces for what he has done are extraordinary. Today these guys face life imprisonment, maybe the death penalty. So when somebody comes forward and explains him or herself in a very clear way about what’s motivating it’s hard not to be moved by that.
The Joel Brenners of the world look around Washington D.C. and think they see the establishment. But in the United States, as Edward Snowden knows, the people are the establishment. Snowden writes in his chat:
Journalists should ask a specific question: since these programs began operation shortly after September 11th, how many terrorist attacks were prevented SOLELY by information derived from this suspicionless surveillance that could not be gained via any other source? Then ask how many individual communications were ingested to achieve that, and ask yourself if it was worth it. Bathtub falls and police officers kill more Americans than terrorism, yet we’ve been asked to sacrifice our most sacred rights for fear of falling victim to it.
Snowden is asking you to think, even if you don’t have a tank. One wonders whether, as a spy, Snowden was hiding in plain view at Barnard College in May 2012, when President Obama told graduates:

It’s up to you to hold the system accountable and sometimes upend it entirely.

So magnificently meritorious are the ideals that define Snowden’s understanding of what it means to be a citizen of the United States — ideals that have been under assault for more than a decade by the Democratic and Republican National Committees and their multi-national corporate masters — the best Joel Brenner can do is feebly attempt to distinguish Edward Snowden from the great Dr. Martin Luther King.

Is Snowden a traitor like Dick Cheney says, or is he a citizen who falls just short of being Martin Luther King?

I’m so confused!

Putting off for another day the question of whether Brenner also intended to imply that what Dr. King suffered at the hands of James Earl Ray were “legal consequences,” it is possible — perhaps even likely — that Snowden’s victimless actions may be proven to run afoul of some Federal law. It is precisely for that reason, that Thoreau — who wrote: “Any fool can make a rule and any fool will mind it” — would give up his bottom bunk to have Snowden as his cellmate.

As for the fascists represented by Joel Brenner, without so much as raising a fist, Edward Snowden has already made you his bitch.

Better Than Perjury: How James Clapper Punk’d Ron Wyden, Ed Snowden And The Global Commentariat By E. Pratt Whitney

When not otherwise engaged in the wholesale revocation of the Fourth Amendment, Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, can be seen playing "Mike The Cleaner" on TV's "Breaking Bad."

When not otherwise engaged in the wholesale revocation of the Fourth Amendment, Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, can be seen playing “Mike The Fixer” on TV’s “Breaking Bad.”

Who doesn’t love a good joke?

On March 12, Senator Ron Wyden asked former Booz Allen executive turned Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper a simple question and, under oath, Clapper replied with a simple answer.

WYDEN: Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?

A Congressman bit. A Senator bit. We all bit. Myself included.

On Monday, Ed Snowden fingered Clapper as a man who inspired him to step out from under his propeller hat for the benefit of his fellow citizens and the Bill of Rights.

 Seeing someone in the position of James Clapper – the Director of National Intelligence – baldly lying to the public without repercussion is the evidence of a subverted democracy.

Glenn Greenwald uploaded Edward Snowden on June 11; the same day Senator Ron Wyden uploaded this:

One of the most important responsibilities a Senator has is oversight of the intelligence community.  This job cannot be done responsibly if Senators aren’t getting straight answers to direct questions. When NSA Director Alexander failed to clarify previous public statements about domestic surveillance, it was necessary to put the question to the Director of National Intelligence.  So that he would be prepared to answer, I sent the question to Director Clapper’s office a day in advance.  After the hearing was over my staff and I gave his office a chance to amend his answer.  Now public hearings are needed to address the recent disclosures and the American people have the right to expect straight answers from the intelligence leadership to the questions asked by their representatives.

No way Clapper flunks a take home test. So why “No, Sir?”

On June 8, shortly after The Guardian published the formerly top-secret Verizon court order, James Clapper summoned codependant journalist, Andrea Mitchell, down to Tyson’s Corner for an interview.

I responded in what I thought was the most truthful or least most untruthful manner.

Sure seemed like the money quote. On the other hand, you’ve got world-class deviants like former White House Press Secretary, Ari Fleischer, out there offering, “world-class media management for today’s high-profile world.” The Fleischer’s of the world get paid a lot of money to throw people off the trail with dog whistles like “least most truthful manner.”

A second pass at the record coupled with some deep research reveals the true money quote:

MITCHELL: Can you explain what you meant when you said there was not data collection on millions of Americans?
CLAPPER: To me collection of U.S. Persons data would mean taking the books off the shelf, opening it up and reading it.
MITCHELL: You did not mean archiving the telephone numbers?
CLAPPER: No. When someone says ‘collection’ to me, that has a specific meaning, which may have a different meaning to him (Senator Wyden).

That “specific meaning” can be found in the 1982 Department of Defense Procedures Governing The Activities Of DOD Intelligence Components That Affect United States Persons — Explanation Of Undefined Terms, § C2.2.1, p.6 — get a load:

Collection. Information shall be considered as ‘collected’ only when it has been received for use by an employee of a DoD intelligence component in the course of his official duties….Data acquired by electronic means is ‘collected’ only when it has been processed into intelligible form.

Wyden asks…

Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?

…when he should have asked:

Does the NSA aggregate any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?

Intercept? Archive? Chronicle? Analyze? Boolean search? Vacuum? Ingest? Inhale? Tap? Suck up? Absolutely. Collect? “No, Sir.”

All this time we thought Clapper was using plain language, when in fact he was communicating in the least most untruthful manner not inconsistent with a 31 year old “explanation of an undefined term.”

Who needs perjury when you’ve got good ol’ § C2.2.1? Remember the landlines on Seinfeld? 1982 was seven years before that.

Taking stock of his years with the New York Times, Chris Hedges writes:

When you allow an institution to provide you with your identity and sense of self-worth you become an obsequious pawn, no matter how much talent you possess. You live in perpetual fear of what those in authority think of you and might do to you.

Dianne Feinstein proves Hedges’ theory to George Snuffleupagus:

There is no more direct or honest person than Jim Clapper.

“Direct or honest”? Which is it, Dianne?

Clapper. Wyden. Mitchell. Feinstein. Ed Snowden — wanted for exposing a program he thought was top-secret, but that the President insists is transparent — is the only one not institutionalized. Not yet.

CHARLIE ROSE: Should this be transparent in some way?
BARACK OBAMA: It is transparent

Jonathan Turley stands in awe:

It is no easy task — particularly to convince a free people — to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget, whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself.

Ralph Nadar is more to the point:

Has there ever been a bigger con man in the White House?

The con man is right — “it is transparent” — but only because Ed Snowden cared enough to let us in on the joke.