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back to article Obama says US won't scramble jets or twist arms for Snowden

NSA whistleblower Ed Snowden can fly the friendly skies all he likes, President Obama has said, since the US won't send out jets to intercept his flight or engage in diplomatic arm twisting over extradition. "I'm not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker," Obama said at a press conference during an official …

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Lull into false sense of security

Look at how hard they chased Gary McKinnon, someone who did them very little damage; other than showing than exposing USA sysadmin incompetence by not changing default passwords.

If I were Snowden I would remain on my toes.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Lull into false sense of security

Gary Mcinnon deliberately trashed servers, issuing recursive delete commands, hardly the "just looking for aliens" he claims and certainly not "doing no damage".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Lull into false sense of security

Oh no he didn't !

(go on, respond with the obvious - I dare you...)

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Meh

One dark night

He will be walking from a bar to his apartment in Ecuador, he will hear a brief crunch of gravel.....

He wakes up to find himself in an unfamiliar hotel room, there is a knock on the door.

He opens to do to be confronted by two rather large police officers.

'Good Morning Mr Snowden, welcome to Florida, please come with us, we have a few questions we need to ask you.'

Statement regarding his capture, 'Acting on annoymous information that Mr Snowden had returned to the US we attended.....'

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Pint

Re: One dark night

Almost perfect.

Except "...we attended....." sounds very 'UK Bobby-speak' to me.

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Happy

Re: sounds very 'UK Bobby-speak' to me.

Yep. Though I liked "annoymous"

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Facepalm

Blimey...

$70,000 per hour and a one month rebuild *every* 300 hours flying time? Lockheed really saw them coming didn't they.

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Re: Blimey...

Bear in mind that for this particular jet, 300 hours flying time can add up to roughly 400,000 miles.

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Re: Blimey...

Do Lockheed own Warranty Direct?

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Re: Blimey...

Cor, these prices are incredible, you are right! For 1 hour in the air in an F-22, a family of 5 can live for a year comfortably - very comfortably, with money to spare - in a nice house somewhere not at all crummy. To buy and run toys like this F-22, you need to have a massive country, with millions of minions living there whom you can milk for taxes. Then you can then run your F22s AND have an NSA to keep tabs on the taxpayers and make sure they continue to behave properly, or else...or else "the terrorists will get them".

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Devil

Re: Blimey...

And your point is? Mig 31 when it came out needed major overhaul after a tenth of that. Su 27 was not any better either. Series of upgrades and improvements have upped its numbers but not by much. This is the reality of military jet aircraft - the technology is pushed to the limit.

As far as overhaul as a part of strategy - german tanks in WW2 needed normal (even by todays standards) maintenance intervals. Compare that to T34 which needed new tracks after 300 km off-road, 500 km on-road, needed all of its fluids changed atfer 500km as well as a major service to top it up. So who won at the end?

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Re: Blimey...

however .. the F-22 at the Miramar Air Show last October was AWESOME

probably China .. and definitely Russia has images of young Snowdon's HDDs and .. errr .. *acquired* the keys by now ..

WTF was he thinking ? .. "I'll just go to ret. KGB Col. Putin .. he'll ensure my safe passage !"

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Re: Blimey...

>A single hour of flight in an F-22 costs $68,362 and the aircraft requires a month's rebuilding after 300 hours in the air. Curse you, Congress!

Yeah, but wouldn't any time an F-22 spent 'escorting' a passenger jet be time that pilots would otherwise spend in training? Also, I would imagine that an F-22 is overkill for such a task- surely there is a cheaper, slower (but still fast enough) 'plane for the job?

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Re: Blimey...

Yes, most of the US air defence requirement is handled by F16's, and if they feel like projecting a bit more force they also have F15C's. Both are mature aircraft and should be cheaper to run than the F22 (esp. the F16).

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Thumb Up

Re: Blimey...

Modern cars have recommended service intervals of approx 10,000 km, which even driving at an average 100 km/h is a service every 100 hours. Of course the manufacturer's "recommended service intervals" are more frequent than is strictly necessary, just as I would think that Lockheed's recommendation of a one month rebuild *every* 300 hours flying time is more than strictly necessary.

Also, yes it's a rebuild rather than changing oil / spark plugs / filters, but then again it's (a) an airplane, so safety / reliability limits are a lot tighter than for a car (b) it's a military airplane so their safety / reliability limits will probably be even tighter than for civil aircraft * (c) it's a bleeding-edge high-performance machine, not your run-of-the-mill jet, it *purposely* sacrifices longevity for performance. Formula 1 cars replace their engines completely after 4 or 5 races, even including practice sessions and qualifying that's not more than 3000km, or approximately 15 hours running time.

I think 300 hours for a high-performance warplane is pretty OK.

* Any commentard** out there who knows anything about service / replacement schedules for commercial airliners' engines?

** with affection, of course :)

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Mushroom

Re: And your point is?

...something along the lines of dodgy social justice and misaligned priorities?

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Re: Blimey...

10,000 km service intervals on a modern car? wtf are you driving? mine has 30,000km or every two years, and I believe that is fairly typical. Also, the usual average speed is closer to 50 km/h than 100, so by that math, mine needs as service after around 600 hours of driving.

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Thumb Up

I absolutely detest Obama...

...however I agree with his statement, assuming it proves to be true. Wouldn't be the first time a politician lied but I will give him the benefit of doubt. Twisting another country's arm or scrambling some jets is just overkill. Please don't tell my friends that I complimented Obama.

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Re: I absolutely detest Obama...

Oddly I usually support him, but in this he's being a prat. Maybe we should form a team?

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FAIL

Misplaced confidence

"But Obama told the press that he was confident that the surveillance programs were conducted properly under the law and with full judicial oversight."

So is Obama gullible, is he lying, or is he making those "not technically a lie" statements? I think #3, he is creating phrases that sound like they mean something they don't. I'm glad I didn't vote for Obama.

1) The programs were not and are not being conducted properly. I suppose by his definition, "conducted properly" just means the equipment is not malfunctioning?

2) "Under the law" apparently doesn't mean legal. The NSA did submit their nonsensical legal arguments to FISA several years back, *AND FISA REJECTED THEM*. These programs are being conducted illegally and unconstitutionally.

3) They have juducial oversight, but there is no judicial control -- the FISA judges overseeing these programs have already said the NSAs proposals several years back were illegal, and the NSA went ahead and did them anyway.

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Re: Misplaced confidence

I am not sure that I know what FISA rulings you refer to by your #2 and #3, but I'll offer

4) It does not really matter if it is legal or whether there is (high level) oversight. Everything that, say, the late USSR did to its citizens back in the 20th century was legal according to their laws. Same was most likely true for East Germany and for NORKs and or South Africa, and for China, and feel free to add your own examples. If such massive surveillance is consistent with the current laws the laws should be changed - the society will be healthier as a result.

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Devil

Obvious?

Even my non-techie wife said to me this morning, "did anyone think the NSA wasn't doing this?". I get that "public proof" is a big deal, but I just kinda figured the Chinese are trying to hack the US, the US is trying to hack the Chinese, and both are keeping tabs on traffic on their networks.

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WTF?

Wait a minute...

First, he's a leaker, now he's a hacker? Did I miss when some huge revelation came up that said that Snowden had hacked his way into systems he should have not have had access to? I was under the impression that he had access to systems he probably shouldn't have had access to, due to poor oversight, not due to hacking skillz.

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Joke

@NukEvil

That's probably part of Obama's latest political move; trying to make the word "hacker" to sound as negative as possible. Then, when he can eventually announce "We got the hacker" he probably expects everyone to be cheering again.

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Big Brother

Re: Wait a minute...

"Hacker" is a word used by the U.S. Justice Department when they want us to be afraid of someone who used a computer to do something they don't like, and might otherwise not seem intimidating. For example, if you changed the wallpaper on your boss's computer without his approval, he will tell his computer-illiterate superiors you hacked his computer (true story).

Also, when any Democrat says "Inspire a healthy debate" what they really means is "Hey, doing the right thing is too unpopular, so I'm not going to do anything in the hopes everyone will forget about it" (also see "punt")

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IT Angle

Master hacker me

After I changed my own wallpaper on the company laptop, my (very) computer illiterate boss started telling everyone i was a hacker. Worst bit was that everyone started coming to me with their IT problems and expected me to fix the photocopier.

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Trollface

Re: Master hacker me @Peter 45

Damn, so you had to do some work then? It's OK mate, we all try to pretend we're not sys admin, but the fact we're here reading el reg is implausible deniability

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Re: Wait a minute...

He is a "hacker" because it changes the narrative away from the connotations of the word "leaker". "Hacking" is evil. "Leaking" information means that what he says might be (gasp) true?

Do you suppose Obama is taking advice from the UK spinmeisters?

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Re: Wait a minute...

'He's just a 29 year-old hacker'

No, that's what he USED to be - when he worked for the NSA. Now he's a conscientious whistleblower, alerting citizens to ways in which their own government has been illegally violating the privacy they (perhaps foolishly) thought they enjoyed.

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Re: Wait a minute...

"Do you suppose Obama is taking advice from the UK spinmeisters?"

Let me rephrase that for you.

"Do you suppose Obama ever speaks a single word (even to his own family) that hasn't been painstakingly crafted by the US spinmeisters?"

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Boffin

Re: Wait a minute...

No, Frederic, Mr Obama probably doesn't require the service of UK spinmeisters (not that they would necessarily be rejected - what's a «special relationship» for, if not to help each other bug and bugger the rest of the world ? - modern PR grew up in the good old US of A under the tender mentorship of an Austrian, who, along with his parents, emigrated to that country at the tender age of one year, i e, one Edward Louis Bernays....

In the US, bullshit both talks and walks (and snoops and bombs and ...)

Henri

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Boffin

Re: Wait a minute...

modern PR grew up in the good old US of A

No, PR grew up in the Roman Empire as a way to placate the Rome's mob. Tell them what they want to hear and they will stay clam and vote for you.

Fast forward to the British Empire, PR Mark II

Great Britain under Tony Blair, created PR Mark III, the Modern PR

United States under Bill "is that my cigar" Clinton created PR Mark IV

United States and Barack "it's not my fault" Obama created PR Mark IV, V, and VI

And now please direct your attention to China...

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h3
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I think if you are asking someone else to do something to you then you should at an absolute minimum not be doing the same thing yourself to them or anyone else. (At least when you are implying that is a decent and civilised way to behave).

Everything China is doing now was done by America against the UK in the early part of its existence.

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Devil

"part of an international community and they should be abiding by international law"

Paging Mr Pott and Mr Kettle-Black...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "part of an international community and they should be abiding by international law"

What's our Trevor got to with it?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "part of an international community and they should be abiding by international law"

Current international law on the subject is based on Human rights and freedoms as formulated in section 7 of the Helsinki declaration of 1975 (the predecessor of Eu charter of human rights, etc).

At the time Brezhnev, Cheushesku, etc all signed it (grudgingly) and after that pulled back on section 7 claiming it to be burgeouasie drivel and propaganda. In the following 25 years people suffered and died for these rights.

Could all the people killed by Securitate and Stazi for these idealistic ideas suppose at the time that Brezhnev, Suslov, Kadar, etc were all actually right?

It is all drivel and propaganda. I do not know which circle of hell do the gerontocrats reside nowdays, but one thing I know for sure - they are giggling madly at the moment.

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I wonder how much truth is in it.....may be its just being said so that he can deny responsibility if something happens to Snowden. Or he will just send a drone.

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Anonymous Coward

How about a little 'Extraordinary-Rendition' then ....?

Whatever about spying and Prism.....Extraordinary Rendition is an horrific crime against human rights! CIA agents are still wanted in Italy et al to answer for those crimes!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extraordinary_rendition#Italy

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Silver badge

its a back pedal due to the published incompetence of the HK extradition request vs the John Kerry "diplomatic consequences for people hiding him" rant that he foolishly was allowed to televise. John Kerry gets high and mighty whilst the reality is the US tried to roughshod over other peoples laws and statutes then got bitchy and stompy when they wouldnt comply until they filled in the paperwork correctly.

In the same was you leave Assange on the sofa, Snowdens chances of getting to Ecuador around US airspace is pretty slim. Once in US airspace they simply request the civil airline to land. Get snowden off and send the plane on its way again. Much simpler than banging diplomatic drums.

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Translation

What he says: "I'm not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker"

What he means: "I have many scapegoat minions ready and willing to scramble jets to get the little bugger who embarrassed my administration and questioned my authority."

What he says: "I'm not going to have one case with a suspect who we're trying to extradite suddenly be elevated to the point where I've got to start doing wheeling and dealing..."

What he means: "John Kerry, clean up in aisle 8 please, John Kerry, clean up in aisle 8."

What he says: "I'm sure there will be a made-for-TV movie somewhere down the line."

What he means: "Do you think they'll be able to get Will Smith or Denzel to play me?"

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@Eddy

Quite frankly I think the real issue here is media coverage. So I would translate that first sentence into: "I'm not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker, as long as the media is hot on his trail".

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Re: Translation

or

We don't have to, our "friends" already have him.

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Re: Translation

Will smith already starred in the movie 15 years ago. It's a little late although you have to wonder if Enemy of the State was one of the DVDs Obama gave to the British prime minister when he got into office....

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Flame

Re: Translation

No, he means exactly what he says. There's just no point in chasing Snowden down. It's not like there's anything more you can prevent him from leaking.

The only interest the bureaucrats have in Snowden at this point is as an example to others. In that respect, they want to make him as uncomfortable as reasonably possible, and I'm pretty sure that objective has already been achieved. He's not like Kim Dotcom, who lives in extravagant luxury on his dubiously acquired millions - Snowden is begging support from dubious governments who might at any moment decide to stop giving it, and he can never go home again.

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Holmes

Re: Translation

I guess the first statement means he knows that Snowden isn't a hacker and he knows he's 30.

A 30 year old whistleblower? Totally scrambling jets.

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Re: Translation

I disagree. This is all about getting him back. When you embarrass a politician, logic, reason and sense go out the window. All they care about is revenge, no matter how over the top. An embarrassed politician is very dangerous.

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Re: Translation

"Snowden is begging support from dubious governments who might at any moment decide to stop giving it, and he can never go home again."

That's right. He can't ever go home again - at least not until a majority of US voters are honest, decent people like Snowden. Oh, and until the wishes of a majority of voters have some influence on US government policy (which I suspect would be a lot longer).

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Holmes

I doubt they would scramble F-22's to intercept. The aged F-15 would be more than sufficient.

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Trollface

Until it breaks in half!

Likely an F16. Between $5k- 27k /hour on those so a bargain!

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