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Overnight Open Thread (6-12-2013) | Main | Thursday Morning News Dump
June 13, 2013

Top Headline Comments 6-13-13

Happy Thursday.

So. ...So. Now that we've got that out of the way, a question keeps popping up in whenever Edward Snowden's claims get questioned. It is important, easy to answer, and gets right to the heart of the problem with Snowden's claims: "If you don't believe Snowden's claims, how do you explain the U.S. government's determination to prosecute?"

Easy. He provided classified information to journalists. At a minimum, we know he provided the PRISM slides -- which, if you will recall, were marked Top Secret -- and the secret Verizon warrant to Glenn Greenwald. Greenwald also said Snowden gave him "thousands" of other documents. So there's no doubt Snowden broke the law (as well as his oath). Of course he should be prosecuted.

My skepticism extends to the claims he makes that go beyond the content of the PRISM slides. His claims are utterly uncorroborated and, indeed, have been resoundingly denied by everyone in a position to know. I have no reason to believe the word of Snowden, a man I had never heard of before last week. I have no reason to believe the word of Clapper, a man with his own credibility problems. Quite simply, I'm not willing to devote my attention to half-formed, possibly half-baked accusations. There'll be an investigation. Let it do its thing.

Besides, the secret phone warrants is a much juicier scandal. First, the existence of the program has actually been confirmed and we definitively know it targeted Americans. Second, and here's the horrifying part, it might even be legal. Which brings me back to the point I made when these scandals broke: the fix isn't going to merely be whacking NSA on the nose and telling it to follow the law. The law appears to be the problem. If you want to fix this, the ultimate goal has to be putting NSA and the FISA court on shorter leashes, which will take congressional action.

In the meantime, I believe there are just a few other things on our plate. The EPA scandals are my area of emphasis because I dislike that particular agency's actions over the years more than most and, as with the IRS, we have evidence that the EPA's actions were taken to intentionally disfavor conservative groups and to benefit liberal groups. That type of corruption is far more likely to result in a correction than a simple nonpartisan, bureaucratic "oops." Why do you think the Democrats spent so much time lying about the IRS scandal just being the fault of some rogue agents in Cincinnati?

In other news, SCOTUS will release opinions at 10 AM in one or more cases argued this term. Possible topics include: affirmative action in college admissions, the Voting Rights Act, Prop 8, DOMA, and gene patents.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 06:30 AM

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