Obama Is Dedicated To Terrorism, Says Noam Chomsky

Earlier in the week, friend of President Barack Obama and former Weather Underground member Bill Ayers criticized the President for his foreign-policy initiatives, which Ayers deemed to be terroristic. It’s one thing when a left-wing activist with ties to terror in his own background criticizes Obama; but for anyone who was hesitant to agree with Ayers because of his sordid past, celebrated left-leaning polemicist Noam Chomsky has your back.

In a thorough interview with GRITtv host Laura Flanders, the MIT professor and prolific author said that Obama has not just earned the title of “terrorist” — the President has proven time and again that it is “dedicated to increasing terrorism.”

“The Obama Administration is dedicated to increasing terrorism,” he went on. “In fact, it’s doing it all over the world. Obama, first of all, is running the biggest terrorist operation that exists, maybe in history. The drone assassination campaigns, which are just part of it… All of these operations, they are terror operations.”

Chomsky explained that the Administration’s drone policy is strikingly evident as a multiplier of violent extremism.

“People have a reaction, they don’t say, ‘Fine, I don’t care if my cousin was murdered.’ And they become what we call terrorists,” he said. “This is completely understood from the highest level, that as you carry out these operations you’re generating terrorism.”

Later, echoing a belief that anyone familiar with the foreign policy positions of former Representative Ron Paul has heard before, Chomsky surmised: “People hate the country that’s just terrorizing them, that’s not a surprise. Just consider the way we react to acts of terror. That’s the way other people react to acts of terror.”

 

 

If the Federal officials in the United States are dedicated to promoting terrorism in other parts of the world to maintain a military presence, Chomsky forces Americans to wonder: Is there great reason to question what actions the government may take in order to continue to justify its secret surveillance of U.S. citizens and other people throughout the world?

The author — who has penned several works and lectured relentlessly about the evils of top-down media propaganda throughout his career, including his famous Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media — decried the Federal government’s spying on its citizens and people of other countries in a separate interview with The Guardian.

Of the recently exposed National Security Agency data-collection efforts, Chomsky said he wasn’t surprised; but he applauded The Guardian and whistle-blower Edward Snowden for bringing the surveillance to the peak of public awareness.

“Governments should not have this capacity. But governments will use whatever technology is available to them to combat their primary enemy — which is their own population,” he told The Guardian.

“… But it is a little difficult to be too surprised by it,” he said.

What is a big shock to Chomsky, however, is how comfortable he feels younger populations are with the government’s all-seeing surveillance state.

“Polls in the U.S. indicate there is generational issue here that someone ought to look into — my impression is that younger people are less offended by this than the older generation. It may have to do with the exhibitionist character of the internet culture, with Facebook and so on,” he said. “On the internet, you think everything is going to be public.”

The only way to reverse course, according to Chomsky, is for more government whistle-blowers and more serious journalists to blow the cover of dangerous government policies and stir up public debate, regardless of whether Federal officials fulfill promises of transparency.

Unfortunately, suspected terrorists and uncooperative heads of state in the Mideast are not the only people subject to the President’s wrath; and whistle-blowers, especially, have not been treated kindly in Obama’s America.

It’s starting to become clear, even mainstream, as people like Chomsky continue to become increasingly vocal in resentment of the current White House’s actions: The true perpetrators of some of the vilest acts carried out in recent years aren’t all hiding in caves in the Third World.

Most of them are roaming Washington’s marbled halls.

Guarantee Of Secure Border, Congressional Accountability In Return For Amnesty Defeated In Senate… With GOP Help

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) proposed an immigration reform amendment that many of his peers in the Senate deemed pretty out there: It would have forced Congress to prove that existing border security measures were being enforced before granting amnesty to illegal aliens.

The Senator’s “Trust But Verify” amendment was defeated 61-37 by Democrats and a handful of RINOS and at least one RINO in training. GOP Senators voting against Paul’s amendment included Gang of Eight Senators John McCain (Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Jeff Flake (Ariz.) and Marco Rubio (Fla.) along with GOP Senators Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Susan Collins (Maine) and Bob Corker (Tenn.).

The amendment would have called upon lawmakers to assess border security, finish a border fence in five years and establish protections against Federal efforts to require American citizens to carry national identification cards.

“Legalization or documentation of workers absolutely must depend on border security first,” Paul said. “I believe the American people should not rely on bureaucrats or a commission to implement border security.”

Paul also said he believes Congress must “institute border security, not the [Presidential] Administration.”

The Kentucky Senator said of the amendment’s defeat, “My amendment would have added real, verified border security, and made the promises of the bill’s authors credible to the American people. I hope Congress can produce immigration reform that actually solves the problems in our current system. Unfortunately, now, the Senate bill does not.”

He added, “I hope I am able to support a good bill, but it is now clear the House will have to lead the way.”

Federal Reserve: Continuing ‘Accommodative’ Policy, But Change Is Coming

The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday that it plans to continue its “highly accommodative” monetary policies and will begin the process of reducing stimulus and bond purchases later in the year if unemployment rates continue to decline.

The Fed’s announcement was preceded by much speculation from economic analysts that the central bank would effect — or, at least, would lay the groundwork for — economic policy changes to move the economy away from easy money. An improved economic outlook has elicited more frequent suggestions by members of the Fed that the central bank should reduce the pace of asset purchases in coming months.

But fickle market behavior at the mere suggestion of policy changes is indicative of potential economic disaster that could occur should the Fed misstep.

“In determining how long to maintain a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy, the Committee will also consider other information, including additional measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and readings on financial developments,” said a statement from Fed officials. “When the Committee decides to begin to remove policy accommodation, it will take a balanced approach consistent with its longer-run goals of maximum employment and inflation of 2 percent.”

Despite the optimism, the Fed’s projections are not as accurate as many economy watchers would like — a point handily noted by projections Fed officials have made with regard to gross domestic product growth. Whether the Fed’s economists are just really bad at predicting economic outcomes or they intentionally make overly optimistic projections to spur consumer confidence, the central bank has consistently predicted growth that has been almost twice what occurred since 2009.

FBI Director: Yes, We Use Drones Domestically… No, We Can’t Say How, When Or Why

Wackobirds, you are officially vindicated in your worries over domestic drone use: FBI Director Robert Mueller told Senate lawmakers Wednesday that the agency has several drones and has yet to adopt strict policies and guidelines for use of the aircraft.

But according to Mueller’s testimony, the lack of policies to protect American citizens’ privacy has not deterred the FBI’s use of drones for domestic surveillance operations.

During a Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) asked Mueller, “Does the FBI use drones for surveillance on U.S. soil?”

FBI Director Mueller testifies on extending his term in Washington

Mueller’s answer was a straightforward affirmative, though he added that the FBI only “very seldom” conducted surveillance of American citizens on American soil with the unmanned aircraft.

“It’s very seldom used and generally used in a particular incident where you need the capability,” Mueller responded when Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) prodded him on the matter. “It is very narrowly focused on particularized cases and particularized needs.’’

The director said that he wasn’t sure if the FBI had any “official” agreements with agencies like the National Security Agency, the Department of Homeland Security or the Department of Defense to receive assistance and share information collected in the agency’s use of drones.

“To the extent that it relates to the air space there would be some communication back and forth [between agencies],” Mueller provided as a vague answer to a question about interagency drone activity over U.S. soil.

With regard to providing the public any further information regarding FBI justification for drone use and other domestic spy tactics, Mueller gave the impression that transparency is not high on the government’s list of priorities.

“There is a price to be paid for that transparency,” Mueller said. “I certainly think it would be educating our adversaries as to what our capabilities are.”

NSA Claims Spying Warranted, Cites 50 Thwarted Terror Attempts

In full-on damage-control mode, the head of the National Security Agency claimed that more than 50 potential terrorist plots throughout the world were thwarted because his agency has the ability to collect communication information through the program recently exposed by whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

NSA chief Gen. Keith Alexander answered questions on Capitol Hill Tuesday alongside top dogs from the FBI and the National Director Of Intelligence’s office. Alexander promised last week to present a public list of the dozens of terror attacks NSA alleges it stopped at the hearing, but told lawmakers on the Permanent Select Committee On Intelligence that the agency was still working on the document and would have it no sooner than Wednesday.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said that lawmakers want NSA officials to provide Americans with more information about the now public spy programs.

“General Alexander, you and I have talked over the past week about the need to be able to publicly elaborate on the success stories these authorities have contributed to without jeopardizing ongoing operations,” he said, according to prepared remarks. “I place the utmost value in protecting sources and methods, but I also recognize that when we are forced into the position of having to publicly discuss intelligence programs due to irresponsible, criminal behavior that we also have to carefully balance the need for secrecy with educating the public.”

Alexander spent much of the hearing saying that American citizens should not be concerned by the information leaked by Snowden, asserting that the conversation surrounding the data-collection efforts are rife with misinformation and half-truths. Furthermore, according to the official, there is concrete evidence the program is making Americans safer.

“As Americans, we value our privacy and our civil liberties,” Alexander said. “As Americans, we also value our security and our safety. In the 12 years since the attacks on Sept. 11, we have lived in relative safety and security as a nation. That security is a direct result of the intelligence community’s quiet efforts to better connect the dots and learn from the mistakes that permitted those attacks to occur in 9/11.”

The detailed list of terror plots set to be released today will add to declassified government documents NSA pointed to as examples of terror plots that were shut down via data-collection efforts. The examples involved a planned attack on New York City’s subway system and a plot to bomb a Danish newspaper over cartoon depictions of the Prophet Muhammad.

The intelligence official told lawmakers that the NSA was unwilling to release a complete list of thwarted attacks because it would endanger the United States and its allies.

Some NSA critics have pointed out that proof of the Constitutionally questionable data-collection effort’s effectiveness will likely not be made evident by a list of alleged successes in stopping terror. The argument is not a faulty one; it has been demonstrated in the past that government agencies are fond of creating, then stopping, terror plots and using the publicity to justify civil liberties restrictions.

Author David Shipler pointed out in the pages of The New York Times in April 2012 that 14 of 22 major terror attempts on U.S. soil since 9/11 were nurtured by the government.

From the piece:

The United States has been narrowly saved from lethal terrorist plots in recent years — or so it has seemed. A would-be suicide bomber was intercepted on his way to the Capitol; a scheme to bomb synagogues and shoot Stinger missiles at military aircraft was developed by men in Newburgh, N.Y.; and a fanciful idea to fly explosive-laden model planes into the Pentagon and the Capitol was hatched in Massachusetts.

But all these dramas were facilitated by the F.B.I., whose undercover agents and informers posed as terrorists offering a dummy missile, fake C-4 explosives, a disarmed suicide vest and rudimentary training. Suspects naïvely played their parts until they were arrested.

Stay tuned for analysis of the information included on the NSA’s forthcoming list.

Audit The IRS Rally Expected To Be Biggest Tea Party Protest Since 2010

 

Mainstream media is, thus far, characteristically mum on coverage of the event— but what is expected to be the largest gathering of Tea Party activists since 2010 will converge on Washington D.C. Tuesday in protest of the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservatives.

The event, dubbed the Audit the IRS Rally, will occur from noon until 2 p.m. on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.

 

Tea Party Patriots, the event organizers, have lined up an inclusive group of conservative speakers to address attendees, among those who will be present: Glenn Beck, Senator Mike Lee, Representative Michele Bachmann, Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Rand Paul, Jenny Beth Martin, Representative Steve King, Representative Dave Camp, Representative Louie Gohmert, Representative Jim Jordan, Representative Tim Huelskamp, Representative Jim Bridenstine, Representative John Fleming, Representative Tom Graves, Representative Tom Price, Representative Mike Kelly, Representative Matt Salmon, Tea Party Leaders, Dana Loesch, Steve Bannon, Sonnie Johnson, Jim Hoft, Niger Innis and Andrew Marcus.

The organization cites a speech given by Becky Gerritson of Wetumpka Tea Party in testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee as an example of the spirit behind the rally.

She told lawmakers earlier this month:

We are patriotic Americans. We peacefully assemble. We petition our government. We exercise our right to free speech and we don’t understand why our government tried to stop us. We aren’t here as serfs or vassals. We’re not begging our lords for mercy. We are born free American citizens and we’re telling our government that you’ve forgotten your place. It’s not your responsibility to look out for our well being and monitor our speech. It’s not your right to assert an agenda. The post that you occupy exists to preserve American liberty. You’ve sworn to perform that duty and you have faltered.

International Community: American Hypocrites Should Restore Constitution, Champion Human Rights At Home And Abroad

It’s not just Americans who are concerned about the U.S. government’s secret spying programs. An international coalition of nonprofit organizations focused on civil liberties abuses sent a letter to Congress Tuesday urging lawmakers to protect the privacy of U.S. citizens, as well as those of people everywhere.

The coalition also expressed concern over information-sharing between U.S. authorities and the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Canada, Belgium and New Zealand.

Chiding the Federal government for failing to uphold the principals and documents upon which America was founded, the letter points out the hypocrisy in championing human rights on the world stage and simultaneously spying on its own citizens and non-citizens at home and abroad:

The contradiction between the persistent affirmation of human rights online by the US government and the recent allegations of what appears to be mass surveillance of US and non-US citizens by that same government is very disturbing and carries negative repercussions on the global stage. A blatant and systematic disregard for the human rights articulated in Articles 17 and 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which the United States is signatory, as well as Articles 12 and 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is suggested. Bearing in mind that the US must engage in a long overdue discussion about how to update and modernize its policy to align with its own founding documents and principles, what happens next in legislative and Executive Branch oversight in the US will have huge and irreversible consequences for the promotion and protection of the human rights of people around the world.

The group concludes that the only way for the U.S. government to reconcile the contradiction on the global scale is dismantling its surveillance initiatives involving widespread Internet and telecommunications data collection, protecting whistle-blowers at home and creating a watchdog group to ensure a healthy balance between privacy and protection:

We therefore urge the Obama administration and the United States Congress to take immediate action to dismantle existing, and prevent the creation of future, global Internet and telecommunications based surveillance systems. We additionally urge the US Administration, the FBI and the Attorney General to allow involved or affected companies to publish statistics of past and future Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) requests they have received or may receive. We further call on the US Congress to establish protections for government whistleblowers in order to better ensure that the public is adequately informed about abuses of power that violate the fundamental human rights of the citizens of all countries, US and other. We also join Humans Rights Watch in urging the creation of an independent panel with subpoena power and all necessary security clearances to examine current practices and to make recommendations to ensure appropriate protections for the rights to privacy, free expression, and association. The results of this panel should be broadly published.

Among the 50 organizations involved in sending the letter are: the Electronic Frontier Foundation, European Digital Rights, Association For Progressive Communications, Access Now, WebWeWant Foundation, Center for Technology and Society and Thai Netizen Network.

Bill Ayers: Obama Is Conducting Terror, Should Be Tried For War Crimes

Former Weather Underground member and a University of Illinois at Chicago professor Bill Ayers, who received much attention during the 2008 Presidential election for his relationship with Barack Obama, said in a recent interview that the President should be tried for war crimes.

While Ayers criticized the President’s foreign policy and use of drone strikes, he praised Obama’s personal style. Ayers also softened his criticisms against Obama by saying that all modern U.S. Presidents are guilty of war crimes.

“Every President in this century should be put on trial,” Ayers said. “Every one of them goes into an office dripping with blood and then adds to it. And, yes, I think that these are war crimes. I think that they’re acts of terror.”

Here’s a video of the interview from Real Clear Politics:

 

Obama Uses ‘Transparent’ To Describe Secret Court, Secret Data Collection

Based on his use of the word throughout his candidacy for and tenure as President of the United States, it seems Barack Obama could use a refresher in the meaning of “transparent” and its various forms.

In an interview with CBS “This Morning” and PBS anchor Charlie Rose, the President spent some time fielding questions related to the National Security Agency spying scandal. Nothing the President said is particularly surprising in relation to how previous Administrations have attempted to verbally justify clandestine spying on Americans with promise of increased safety.

But prodding from Rose caused Obama to assign “transparency” to some decidedly un-transparent government policies and processes that have recently become public due to a leak.

Here’s an exchange between the President and Rose at one point in the interview, via PBS:

Barack Obama: But there is a balance, so I’m going to get to your — get to your question. The way I view it, my job is both to protect the American people and to protect the American way of life which includes our privacy. And so every program that we engage in, what I’ve said is “Let’s examine and make sure that we’re making the right tradeoffs.” Now, with respect to the NSA, a government agency that has been in the intelligence gathering business for a very long time —

Charlie Rose: Bigger and better than everybody else.

Barack Obama: Bigger and better than everybody else, and we should take pride in that because they’re extraordinary professionals; they are dedicated to keeping the American people safe. What I can say unequivocally is that if you are a U.S. person, the NSA cannot listen to your telephone calls, and the NSA cannot target your emails … and have not. They cannot and have not, by law and by rule, and unless they — and usually it wouldn’t be “they,” it’d be the FBI — go to a court, and obtain a warrant, and seek probable cause, the same way it’s always been, the same way when we were growing up and we were watching movies, you want to go set up a wiretap, you got to go to a judge, show probable cause….

So point number one, if you’re a U.S. person, then NSA is not listening to your phone calls and it’s not targeting your emails unless it’s getting an individualized court order. That’s the existing rule. There are two programs that were revealed by Mr. Snowden, allegedly, since there’s a criminal investigation taking place, and they caused all the ruckus. Program number one, called the 2015 Program, what that does is it gets data from the service providers like a Verizon in bulk, and basically you have call pairs. You have my telephone number connecting with your telephone number. There are no names. There is no content in that database. All it is, is the number pairs, when those calls took place, how long they took place. So that database is sitting there. Now, if the NSA through some other sources, maybe through the FBI, maybe through a tip that went to the CIA, maybe through the NYPD. Get a number that where there’s a reasonable, articulable suspicion that this might involve foreign terrorist activity related to Al-Qaeda and some other international terrorist actors. Then, what the NSA can do is it can query that database to see — did any of the — did this number pop up? Did they make any other calls? And if they did, those calls will be spit out. A report will be produced. It will be turned over to the FBI. At no point is any content revealed because there’s no content that —

Charlie Rose: So I hear you saying, I have no problem with what NSA has been doing.

Barack Obama: Well, let me — let me finish, because I don’t. So, what happens is that the FBI — if, in fact, it now wants to get content; if, in fact, it wants to start tapping that phone — it’s got to go to the FISA court with probable cause and ask for a warrant.

Charlie Rose: But has FISA court turned down any request?

Barack Obama: The — because — the — first of all, Charlie, the number of requests are surprisingly small… number one. Number two, folks don’t go with a query unless they’ve got a pretty good suspicion.

Charlie Rose: Should this be transparent in some way?

Barack Obama: It is transparent. That’s why we set up the FISA court….The whole point of my concern, before I was president — because some people say, “Well, you know, Obama was this raving liberal before. Now he’s, you know, Dick Cheney.” Dick Cheney sometimes says, “Yeah, you know? He took it all lock, stock, and barrel.” My concern has always been not that we shouldn’t do intelligence gathering to prevent terrorism, but rather are we setting up a system of checks and balances? So, on this telephone program, you’ve got a federal court with independent federal judges overseeing the entire program. And you’ve got Congress overseeing the program, not just the intelligence committee and not just the judiciary committee — but all of Congress had available to it before the last reauthorization exactly how this program works.

Now, one last point I want to make, because what you’ll hear is people say, “Okay, we have no evidence that it has been abused so far.” And they say, “Let’s even grant that Obama’s not abusing it, that all these processes — DOJ is examining it. It’s being renewed periodically, et cetera — the very fact that there is all this data in bulk, it has the enormous potential for abuse,” because they’ll say, you know, “You can — when you start looking at metadata, even if you don’t know the names, you can match it up, if there’s a call to an oncologist, and there’s a call to a lawyer, and — you can pair that up and figure out maybe this person’s dying, and they’re writing their will, and you can yield all this information.” All of that is true. Except for the fact that for the government, under the program right now, to do that, it would be illegal. We would not be allowed to do that.

The takeaway: A secret court granting an overwhelming majority of the secret requests for secret surveillance is a transparent program. And, beyond the oversight in place, the public has no need to worry, or be informed of the process, because there is little potential for government abuse.

Why won’t the government use NSA capabilities to the fullest privacy-abrogating potential? Because that would be illegal, sort of like: arming Mexican drug cartels by setting up straw firearms purchases, putting weapons directly in the hands of al-Qaida terrorists in the Mideast, using the Internal Revenue Service to target political foes  and spying on journalists stateside.

But America’s government leaders probably wouldn’t do any of those things either.

Will NSA Whistle-Blower Be Hanged In Public Square As Monument To Federal Omnipotence?

National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward Snowden has been accused of treason by a handful of lawmakers and media pundits for making public the Federal government’s habit of collecting Americans’ electronic communications data.

But Snowden didn’t reveal anything that many Americans were not already aware of or, at least, were suspicious about. The young insider simply blew the whistle in a way that disallowed what is America’s truest equivalent to Oceania’s Ministry of Truth to drown him out.

While George Orwell’s 1984 mind molders worked in a sinister centralized location where they manipulated all mass-produced information to fit the government agenda, the reality of America’s information manipulation apparatus is far less centralized, if only slightly less sinister.

Further compounding his likelihood of being vilified as a seditious terror-enabler has been Snowden’s decision to head for Hong Kong in an attempt to elude government prosecution for as long as possible after he provided NSA information to The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald for publication.

Over the weekend, three previous NSA whistle-blowers, who have spent years informing Americans of the spy agency’s massive collection of citizen data, sat down for a roundtable discussion at the request of USA Today.

Thomas Drake, William Binney and J. Kirk Wiebe are likely three men whom Snowden spent time thinking about before making the decision to make public NSA documents. But his whistle-blowing predecessors largely failed to create a mainstream buzz with complaints of the NSA’s Constitutional abuse. The trio’s failure to garner attention was not because they were failing to present shocking information of totalitarian surveillance; rather, they failed because they — for the most part — followed rules put in place by the system to avoid being snuffed out by the bureaucratic machine.

Each action they took gave government a chance to counteract in the interest of quieting public outrage; and when the power structure tired of attempts to reveal NSA’s actions, the marked men were easily bound and gagged with red tape.

Binney explains why no one within government will ever recognize a problem and enact change by following the structured patch of revealing problems to the chain of command or other government agencies before putting the information directly in the public square.

“We tried to stay for the better part of seven years inside the government trying to get the government to recognize the unconstitutional, illegal activity that they were doing and openly admit that and devise certain ways that would be constitutionally and legally acceptable to achieve the ends they were really after,” Binney said. “And that just failed totally because no one in Congress or — we couldn’t get anybody in the courts, and certainly the Department of Justice and inspector general’s office didn’t pay any attention to it. And all of the efforts we made just produced no change whatsoever. All it did was continue to get worse and expand.”

Of the three men, Drake is probably most familiar with the dangers of trying to reveal problems with government by going through the “proper” channels.

For his efforts of trying to reveal problems stemming from certain NSA data-collection efforts to his superiors and Congressional investigators, NSA management cut funding to programs under his control at the agency, marginalized him and increasingly scrutinized his every action. Having earned himself a scarlet letter within the intelligence community, Drake attempted a different approach and began communicating with a Baltimore Sun reporter with the condition that he would provide the journalist with no classified information.

The Sun story, lacking revelations of classified information, simply documented the NSA’s continuance of a costly, ineffectual intelligence-gathering program — a $1.2 billion failure that reeked of agency fraud, waste and abuse.

Resultant increased public awareness over how American intelligence officials are using taxpayer money served as a catalyst for a separate major story about the NSA in The New York Times, for which Drake was not a source. The story documented wiretapping and all manner of disregard for American privacy from the highest ranks in the NSA. It also sparked a “leak” investigation that gave government prosecutors a reason to go after Drake — who had done nothing but point out matters of unclassified public interest — for making bureaucrats look bad with the original Sun story.

Drake’s house was raided by FBI agents, and he was forced out of his job at the NSA. The former intelligence official took work at a local Apple computer store and dealt with more than two and a half years’ of harassment by government investigators before the government decided to levy 10 separate charges against him. Five of the charges brought against him were justified under the Espionage Act — a 1917 piece of legislation intended to be used against spies.

Eventually, with help from the Government Accountability Project, Drake was cleared of all charges related to the government’s goal of putting him in jail for “the rest of his natural life.” He pleaded guilty to a simple misdemeanor of “exceeding authorized use of a computer” and was sentenced to one year of probation and community service. While, perhaps, the justice system didn’t completely fail Drake in the end, the government he angered effectively dismantled his career and disrupted his life in terrible ways.

But when Drake spoke about Snowden’s actions on Sunday, he made clear why he is a whistle-blower and why he respects his young colleague’s actions. In his view, revelations like those recently made are likely the only way to get the public to realize just how much privacy has eroded with respect to the Founders’ original intentions.

“He’s an American who has been exposed to some incredible information regarding the deepest secrets of the United States government,” he said. “And we are seeing the initial outlines and contours of a very systemic, very broad, a Leviathan surveillance state and much of it is in violation of the fundamental basis for our own country — in fact, the very reason we even had our own American Revolution. And the Fourth Amendment for all intents and purposes was revoked after 9/11.”

Drake continued with regard to how Snowden should be perceived from a legal prospective: “He is by all definitions a classic whistle-blower and by all definitions he exposed information in the public interest. We’re now finally having the debate that we’ve never had since 9/11.”

The three men see torture, incarceration and probable execution at the hands of the Federal government in Snowden’s future — but say it’s a reality that lawmakers have a responsibility to challenge.

“Now there is another possibility, that a few of the good people on Capitol Hill — the ones who say the threat is much greater than what we thought it was — will step forward and say give this man an honest day’s hearing,” Wiebe said. “You know what I mean. Let’s get him up here. Ask him to verify, because if he is right — and all pointers are that he was — all he did was point to law-breaking. What is the crime of that?”