back to article Want Edward Snowden pardoned? You're in the minority, say pollsters

Despite the best efforts of the internet, US citizens favor the filing of criminal charges against Edward Snowden, say researchers. A poll [PDF] of 2,069 American voters carried out by research firm Morning Consult found that 53 per cent of the public want Snowden to face trial, and those who support the whistleblower make up …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where did they conduct the poll, that bastion of copyright sensibility called Texas ?

    1. RedneckMother

      @ 6x7=42

      Hey, hey, hey! Take it easy - not all of us Texans are so ill informed, or supportive of gummit spying.

      I believe Snowden to be a true patriot. He did the only thing he could do to expose the Constitutional violations (he was a contractor, wasn't protected by whistle blower laws, and tried to raise flags with his superiors).

      I only wish that US lawmakers, who have sworn to uphold the Constitution, would DO SO.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @ 6x7=42

        Aren't these self-same lawmakers supposed to carry out the will of the people...

        Bit of a bind if the poll is a genuine measure of public opinion.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @ 6x7=42

          Of course it isn't accurate. Polls only reflect the opinions of those dumb enough to answer.

          If 26% of stupid assholes support him, Snowden is a winner.

          Congress's approval rating is still under 10%, isn't it?

          1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            Happy

            Re:AC Re: @ 6x7=42

            "....If 26% of stupid assholes support him...." As the article pointed out - ".....Feelings against Snowden only increased with educational level......" - it does explain a lot about Snowjob's fervant supporters on these forums.

          2. LucreLout Silver badge

            Re: @ 6x7=42

            @AC

            Of course it isn't accurate. Polls only reflect the opinions of those dumb enough to answer.

            Yes, sort of like the pre-election polling Britain. If you employ people to phone others and ask questions during working hours, those who answer the phone will mostly be people that don't work. Hence the predictions for a Labour win when what happened in reality was rather different.

            I have to say though, 26% of Americans answering the home phone in daylight hours want Snowden pardonned. I'm genuinely surprised it's that high, and while I may be the only one, I'm quite encouraged by that.

            Were I Ed, I'd be staying in Russia, even after a pardon; It'd only take a single "patriot" to hold a grudge, and there's really no way, absent witness protection, that they could ever hope to keep him safe. Presidents have been shot.

        2. P. Lee Silver badge
          Big Brother

          Re: @ 6x7=42

          >Aren't these self-same lawmakers supposed to carry out the will of the people...

          >Bit of a bind if the poll is a genuine measure of public opinion.

          When being a populist pedagogue: "following the will of the people."

          When doing something nobody wants: "showing leadership" or "in the interests of national security."

          Objective values and principles? Wassat?

        3. parkerd

          Re: @ 6x7=42

          These self-same "lawmakers" are supposed to manage defense and justice and nothing else according to the only piece of paper that gives them any legitimacy at all - The Constitution for the United States. Their proper name is "public servants".

          I don't know anyone willing to pay some soulless geek to endlessly snoop through every detail of their lives.

          Snowden is my hero but no one asked me to participate in any poll.

          Sincerely,

          David Parker

      2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

        @Redneck ... Re: @ 6x7=42

        Many have a loose definition of what it means to be a 'whistleblower'.

        Snowden isn't a whistleblower.

        Maybe an FSB agent, if my Russian friend has it right...

        Sorry but if we look at the facts, he took a job with the intention of stealing any and all documents he could because he thought the US Govt. was evil. The irony, apparently lost on many is that he's sitting in a city in Russia, which has a worse track record on Human Rights and spying on *everyone* than the US.

        Where the KGB/FSB whatever they are calling themselves these days... makes the US Govt and CIA look like amateurs. (Which they are... )

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: @Redneck ... @ 6x7=42

          Finally we can live in a world where a proud American can make the boast - we aren't quite as bad as the KGB.

        2. JonP

          Re: @Redneck ... @ 6x7=42

          ...he took a job with the intention of stealing any and all documents he could... [Citation needed].

          ...is that he's sitting in a city in Russia... He's not in Russia by choice.

          Erm what's left... nothing.

          He's a hero (IMO) - a proper one, not one of those namby pamby media ones.

        3. SolidSquid

          Re: @Redneck ... @ 6x7=42

          You realise he's stuck in Russia, right? The US cancelled his passport, meaning short of either getting an official pass from another country which he's travelling directly to (which would only happen if they were giving him asylum), the only place he can go to right now is back to the US. Yes Russia has a worse track record, but it was supposed to be a temporary stop before he moved on somewhere else

          edit: Also, after what happened with Manning just grabbing anything (it was one of the main arguments against her in court), Snowden only grabbed information on things he thought were illegal. In the case of the NSA, the courts in the US apparently agreed in at least one case

          1. Jaybus

            Re: @Redneck ... @ 6x7=42

            And he just happened, on his flight from the US, to end up in the loving arms of a sympathetic FSB agent? Please. I call bullshit.

        4. AbelSoul

          Re: Maybe an FSB agent, if my Russian friend has it right...

          You have a Russian friend?

          Oh, well, I guess that settles it.

      3. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: RedneckMother Re: @ 6x7=42

        "....He did the only thing he could do to expose the Constitutional violations (he was a contractor, wasn't protected by whistle blower laws, and tried to raise flags with his superiors)....." Not true in the slightest. Apart from the fact he had options for pursuing matters through the correct channels, Snowjob has long-since admitted he went for the job with the intent to gather classified information and "expose it" (http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/06/24/edward-snowden-nsa-leaker-russia-cuba-flight-asylum-ecuador/2451403/), in deliberate breach of both his contract and the law.

        1. parkerd

          Re: RedneckMother @ 6x7=42

          Wonderful except for the fact that the scum that calls itself government has no business at all spying on we the people. The scum that calls itself government are totally inept if not complicit in every "terrorist" "attack" this country has experienced so far, including Pearl Harbor.

          War is exceptionally profitable for those who build ships and planes and control "government". Iraq is oil rich, and Halliburton (among many other corporations) has collected billions from the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. As many suspected, Afghanistan is mineral rich as well as being in the path of desired oil pipelines out of Russia.

          I am as patriotic as I can be and that is why I demand reform and limiting the federal government to the constraints of it's legitimizing boundaries - The Constitution for the United States. Socialism works for ants and bees - not we the people.

          Sincerely,

          David Parker

    2. BillG Silver badge
      Angel

      Where did they conduct the poll, that bastion of copyright sensibility called Texas ?

      Actually according to the Dallas Morning News, Texans overwhelmingly want Snowden pardoned. It's the people that voted for Obama that want him in jail - how dare Snowden defy the Anointed One!

      53 per cent of the public want Snowden to face trial,

      Obama won in 2012 by 51% of the vote. Obama goes on national TV and says Snowden belongs in jail. Do you think those that idolize him will disagree? Do you???

    3. justthinking

      Very slanted poll

      By their admission they polled only registered voters who have to be much more attuned to the rule of law. That is what government is all about isn't it. Now go poll people who do not vote and see what happens. And the media types wonder why we do not pay more attention to them.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Remember

    Half are below average.*

    *Yes, I know, it's really half are below the median. But most people think they know what "average" means but are unsure what "median' means.

    1. breakfast
      Coat

      Re: Remember

      Now you're just being mean.

      1. Bluto Nash

        Re: Remember

        BadumpTISH!

  3. ma1010 Silver badge
    Boffin

    What if they had had polls in 1776?

    I sort of suspect the numbers against the rebels in 1776 would have looked similar to today's numbers against Snowden. Most folks would likely have been opposed to "those so-called patriots" who wanted to rebel against their rightful king and against those troublemakers in "that self-styled Continental Congress."

    However, at times issues aren't settled by voting with one's mouth or pen. In some situations, people vote with their actions, possibly even putting their lives on the line. There were a lot of loyalists in America back then, but most of them didn't feel strongly enough to fight for their beliefs, whereas enough of the rebels felt strongly enough to go "all in" for what they believed and brought about the American Revolution. Snowden certainly went "all in" for what he believed and, as a result, has become most likely a permanent exile. It can be costly to make a stand, and most of us just don't have what it takes (I include myself in this number).

    I'm morally sure that the seriously dedicated rebels who founded this country were a minority of the total population of America. Most folks probably just wanted all the commotion to end and things to get back to normal. They probably wished those rebels would just stop all their trouble-making. But Americans have a lot to thank those troublemakers for. I think we have a lot to thank Snowden for and should respect him. Yes, he's a lawbreaker. So were all the leaders of the American Revolution.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What if they had had polls in 1776?

      Or as someone once said back then "We must all hang together, or we shall all hang separately".

  4. My-Handle

    The sad fact is...

    ...that what Edward Snowden did is unquestioningly against the law. He wouldn't stand a chance in a US trial because of that simple fact. The real question here is whether what he did was right (I personally believe it was), and whether the law was being used to abuse the rights of the people (and not just US citizens). This has gone beyond what the judicial system can cope with, as it is bound to uphold the law (whether or not the law is morally right). To top it off, the US legal system doesn't give a stuff about what non-US citizens think, despite the fact that non-US citizens were likely the majority of the victims in this case.

    I would call for US leaders to pardon Snowden, or at least for countries like my own (UK) to do so in the US's stead, so that he had somewhere other than Russia to go (should he want to) and so that some pressure would be put on the US to follow suit. Sadly, I doubt this will happen anytime soon.

    1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

      @My-Handle ... Re: The sad fact is...

      Since you want to talk about the law...

      There are two issues.

      The theft of the data, and then the publication of the data.

      The theft is illegal. No question about it.

      He went in to the job with the sole intent of stealing any and all docs he could get.

      Then you have the issue of publishing...

      There was a SCOTUS case in 1971 that basically shielded the newspaper for printing Ellsberg's released documents during the Vietnam war. The SCOTUS decision was based on the probative value to the public ...

      This gave some cover to Wikileaks, but to a point. Snowden? Not sure.

      So anyone who calls Snowden a hero or a whistle blower has it wrong. Sorry, but what exactly did he blow the whistle on? Compare and contrast his actions with Ellsberg. Ellsberg had access to the information. Snowden didn't. So Ellsberg didn't break the law(s) by stealing the information. He didn't have to.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @My-Handle ... The sad fact is...

        No data as been stolen. None. Not a single bit.

        You can rest assured that the data's rightful* "owners" still have unfettered possession of every last bit of it. So you needn't worry your pretty little head about such things for a moment longer.

        *since you want to talk about the law, you may want to look into that.

      2. SolidSquid

        Re: @My-Handle ... The sad fact is...

        Sorry, what do you mean Ellsberg had access to the information and Snowden didn't? Snowden was given full access to all the data he copied by the US government when he was employed there, he didn't hack or bypass anything

        Also SCOTUS kicked out the charges against Ellsberg because of government misconduct in preparing the case against him, not because of some decision about the probative value of the case

    2. LucreLout Silver badge

      Re: The sad fact is...

      @My-Handle

      what Edward Snowden did is unquestioningly against the law. He wouldn't stand a chance in a US trial because of that simple fact.

      Agreed. And I think a lot of those rushing into the debate are doing so with far too much emotion and nowhere near enough reason. Snowden broke the law, for which there are a well advertised range of penalties. He did so knowing what those penalties would be.

      The real question here is whether what he did was right

      It is important to understand that the law is not concerned with right and wrong. It is not concerned with the provision of justice. The law is only concerned with itself - what is legal and what is not. Sad, but true.

      Snowden is guilty. There is pretty much zero doubt about it, because he has more or less said as much himself. The real question then, is to what extent he should be punished, and after that punishment ends, how can he be protected from retribution.

      Snowden acted in good faith. I believe he considered what he was doing to be the morally correct course of action, and he seems not to have attempted to leverage that into a higher standard of living for himself. The counterpoint is that there is no doubt he has caused his country a great deal of embarrasment and fiscal loss or expense.

      We, the normal folk in the world, simply don't have enough evidentiary standard information to determine how much benefit or harm his actions have brought to society, to us, and so we're not in a position to weigh where on the punishment scale is appropriate to his actions. I think Ed is a good man, but he's no hero to me. He did what he thought was right, knowing he could never go home. Big balls, and worthy of respect. But there's no pardon coming, and I'm pretty sure he would never have expected there would be. Stay safe Mr Snowden, stay in Russia.

  5. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Sadly I can believe it. But then a lot of Americans believe the world is 6000 years old and evolution is less likely. Apparently a National Geographic survey found 77 percent of all Americans “believe there are signs that aliens have visited Earth”, and according to a recent Harris poll only 68 percent of all Americans believe that Jesus is God or the Son of God.

    If we simply took the majority's views as always right then the world is flat and slavery is something that is good for business so keep it going.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "slavery is something that is good for business"

      Sorry, but you can't argue that slavery is not good for business, just ask any economist.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: "slavery is something that is good for business"

        Sorry, but you can't argue that slavery is not good for business, just ask any economist.

        Slavery is less efficient than capitalist wage-slavery. That's a well-supported economic thesis. So yes, you can argue that, and economists have.

        But thanks for playing.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let's just say

    the kind of people that have a listed daytime phone number and will sit around answering questions from an unsolicited phone call are not Snowden's demographic.

    1. DanDanDan

      Re: Let's just say

      Employment status:-

      Employ: Private Sector 668 32%

      Employ: Government 151 7%

      Employ: Self-Employed 154 7%

      Employ: Homemaker 236 11%

      Employ: Student 68 3%

      Employ: Retired 481 23%

      Employ: Unemployed 166 8%

      Employ: Other 140 7%

      N 2064

  7. Mark 85 Silver badge

    A few questions....

    First.... who paid for the poll?

    Second... how many who answered have actually read and understood what he released?

    Every answer begets more questions... and this is no exception.

    For the first question, pollsters want us to believe their polls to be accurate but depending on who's paying for the poll will point to which way the questions are slanted.. and yes, they are slanted.

    As for the second... I have my doubts about the knowledge and wisdom of the American people and I am one.

    Disclaimer: I'd be questioning the result no matter how this poll comes out. I also question the polls showing Trump and Hillary in the leads for the same reasons.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A few questions....

      I wonder how the figures are running for alien abductions

  8. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Interesting

    I suspect 'Morning Consult' has a dog in this race - having had a brief look at their on-line profile.

  9. goldcd

    I'd like to see a trial.

    Not as I'd want to see him convicted of anything though.

    Just we currently have two sides who haven't been forced to confront each other - and without confrontation, there's no decision, and we're left in limbo.

    The NSA did something illegal Ed exposed, +1 Ed.

    The NSA did something legal and secret Ed blurted, +1 NSA.

    Tot up the scores at the end, and the loser gets a jail sentence.

    I quite like the idea of the NSA director actually exposing himself to the same potential consequences.

    1. Ilmarinen

      Re: I'd like to see a trial.

      The problem is that none of them will suffer any significant consiquences. Only little people get a thrashing. The "reptilians" * get away with a gentle admonishment and full pension, "lessons" are "learned" (the better to hide future wrongdoing) and it all carries on as before.

      * no, I'm not David Ike - but it is a good shorthand IMO :-)

    2. DiViDeD Silver badge

      Re: I'd like to see a trial.

      Actually, a trial wouldn't help. Snowden is guilty of misappropriating and making public confidential data. As the law stands, that is what he would be tried for, and the inevitable verdict would be 'Guilty, throw away the key'

      Defendants are not allowed defences in terms of Public Good, or even that the documents revealed unlawful or criminal behaviour. The only evidence the court would consider is whether or not he took the data and whether or not he made it available to unauthorised persons (that's me and thee, basically). It would be a star chamber, and at the end Snowden would be locked away for the rest of his natural.

      Yes, it stinks, yes it's a legal process specifically dezigned not only to protect, but to validate and enable the guilty.

      Those interested in the subject should seek out a copy of Daniel Ellsberg's excellent HopeX talk on the subject of whistleblowing.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: I'd like to see a trial.

        I'm not convinced that Ed published anything. Didn't he make the information available to journalists who did that all on their own?

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Sir Runcible Loon Re: I'd like to see a trial.

          "....Didn't he make the information available to journalists who did that all on their own?" Yes and no. The sharing of such data with unauthorised individuals is the illegal act, whether they are journos or not. Snowjob himself is also alleged to have gained access to some of the data by fooling others into giving him their passwords, which implies he was also not authorised to have the data in the first place, which would seem an act of espionage. He also lost his claim to not having said anything to anyone except journos when he started doing video links to the whacktivist conventions and discussing his "revelations".

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. DiViDeD Silver badge

            Re: Sir Runcible Loon I'd like to see a trial.

            Matt, Matt.

            Delighted as we all are to see you back, applying your incisive wit and cogent objectivity to the issues which so vex those of us possessed of mere mortal abilities, really!

            Snowjob? Runcible Loon? Describing HopeX as a Whacktivist convention?

            This is not the sort of mindless grandstanding we expect from you.

            Oh hang on, THAT Matt Bryant?

            As you were.

      2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: I'd like to see a trial.

        Actually, jury nullification would be the ideal outcome, but you can be sure the jurors would be vetted to ensure they have no idea what the term means. As such, it's a good way to get out of jury duty, if you need to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jury_nullification_in_the_United_States

  10. Flexdream

    Axis of weasel

    Wouldn't stay in communist China, couldn't reach communist Cuba, claimed asylum in Putin's Russia. Snowden seems to like places which have little regard for privacy, freedom or dissent.

    1. Steven Roper

      Re: Axis of weasel

      Snowden seems to like places which have little regard for privacy, freedom or dissent. Snowden seems to like places that don't suck on America's balls and thus would sell his arse to them at the first opportunity. FTFY.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Steve Doper Re: Axis of weasel

        "....Snowden seems to like places that don't suck on America's balls and thus would sell his arse to them at the first opportunity...." Yeah, which happen to be those places which have littler egard for privacy, freedom or dissent.

        1. Steven Roper

          Re: Steve Doper Axis of weasel

          I think the last time I heard someone call me "Doper" was in middle school, sometime around the onset of puberty. Ah, childhood memories. I guess that reveals your mental age, if not your true one.

          And of course we all know that America is that great bastion of love for privacy, freedom and dissent, no?

  11. XonEarth

    Would you believe?

    And how many still believe Iraq had weapons of mass destruction to justify the U.S. invasion? Cheney keeps lying about it. It is our CIA torturers' control of mainstream media which misinforms conservatives. Snowden is now greatly appreciated by a majority world wide for his bravery in exposing this ever-expanding, illegal surveillance of all citizens and nations. Our NSA lied to Congress and continues to lie about its disgusting crimes against humanity.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: XonEarth Re: Would you believe?

      "And how many still believe Iraq had weapons of mass destruction to justify the U.S. invasion?...." Please go do some actual reading instead of rebleating whatever they have been spoonfeeding the flock - http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/10/14/world/middleeast/us-casualties-of-iraq-chemical-weapons.html

      1. Graham Marsden
        Facepalm

        @Matt Bryant - Re: XonEarth Would you believe?

        > Please go do some actual reading

        Certainly. From the article *YOU* linked to...

        [quote]

        The United States had gone to war declaring it must destroy an active weapons of mass destruction program. Instead, American troops gradually found and ultimately suffered from the remnants of long-abandoned programs, built in close collaboration with the West.

        [/quote]

        And

        [quote]

        The discoveries of these chemical weapons did not support the government’s invasion rationale.

        [/quote]

        And:

        [quote]

        After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Mr. Bush insisted that Mr. Hussein was hiding an active weapons of mass destruction program, in defiance of international will and at the world’s risk. United Nations inspectors said they could not find evidence for these claims.

        Then, during the long occupation, American troops began encountering old chemical munitions in hidden caches and roadside bombs. Typically 155-millimeter artillery shells or 122-millimeter rockets, they were remnants of an arms program Iraq had rushed into production in the 1980s during the Iran-Iraq war.

        All had been manufactured before 1991

        [/quote]

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Marsbarbrain Re: @Matt Bryant - XonEarth Would you believe?

          "....American troops gradually found and ultimately suffered from the remnants of long-abandoned programs...." Ah, but your contention is that there were NO weapons of mass destruction at all, and the fact that troops were still injured by them shows they were viable and dangerous weapons. Weapons do not stop being dangerous simply because they are stored or hidden, if Saddam really had no interest in his WMDs he would have taken the chance to destroy them all under UN supervision long before 2003. Thanks for proving my point.

          "....American troops began encountering old chemical munitions in hidden caches and roadside bombs...." 2,500 chemical rockets in one hidden cache is not a few "old chemical munitions". Indeed, after the invasion the Allies found complete factory complexes dedicated to biological and chemical weapon production which had not been decommissioned or destroyed as Saddam had committed to after 1991 and were illegal under the Chemical Weapons Convention.

          ".....All had been manufactured before 1991." And are still dangerous today. Even the artillery shells, though they might have degraded to the point where they are not be able to withstand the shock of being fired from an artillery piece, they can still be used in IEDs or simply farmed for their deadly chemicals. Trying to pretend chemical or biological weapons become harmless if they are left on the shelf for a few years is the height of deliberate stupidity. But, even more stupidly, your insistence that their stockpiling after 1991 is of no note is in complete ignorance of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which made the caches illegal.

          1. Graham Marsden
            WTF?

            Re: Marsbarbrain @Matt Bryant - XonEarth Would you believe?

            Taxi! Follow those goalposts...!

      2. AbelSoul
        Facepalm

        Re: XonEarth Would you believe?

        @Matt:

        Ironic use of the FAIL icon, given the content of your linked article?

        Cheers for lightening the mood, intentionally or not.

  12. Camilla Smythe

    Polls

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEVlyP4_11M

    Apparently your average 'American' knows fuck all about Snowden but have a bit of a problem with someone else looking at their Willie Pictures.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you only watch Faux News and CNN....

    The interesting thing about this poll (regardless of its validity) is that it underlines one of the big fat problems with the security vs privacy "debate".

    Side One: we don't want you to pry into everything we say or do..

    Side Two: if we don't, terrorists will kill your children....

    And even though it is a false debate (see http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-terrorism-statistics-every-american-needs-to-hear/5382818) a majority of the US voting public probably buys it, either tacitly or very actively. They are of course the same people who think Ed should swing from a gallows or rot in a cell for the rest of his natural life.

    If they actually knew (or were told) what this "debate" is costing the world in economic, civil and human terms, that could change. It makes these whistle-blowers very dangerous people indeed (and Snowden is not the first to raise these issues on grounds of conscience). There are vested interests who have a lot to gain from the continuation of security theater and non-stop global conflict.

    IMHO, this is the primary reason Snowden needs to be pardoned (or perhaps even given a medal). He has actually opened more people's eyes to what is happening and spawned some real debate in what is left of the free world. Even this polling firm referred to him as a whistle-blower.

    As long as the mainstream media and MIC are allowed to keep fanning the flames of the WOT, people will remain scared and keep voting for more fear. But if the media begin telling a different story, that could all change. Fence-sitters might move over, hardliners might soften their views. I for one will listen to this new story and hope more people do the same.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: AC Re: If you only watch Faux News and CNN....

      ".....If they actually knew (or were told) what this "debate" is costing the world in economic, civil and human terms...." Glad you brought that up! I assume you can provide some actual proof of the "harm" you want to claim the "eeeeeevil NSA" is supposedly doing to "all of us"? What's the bet - just as always before when such grandiose claims of "harm" are made in these forums - you are unable to actual provide any quantifiable evidence of any harm whatsoever?

      1. Esme

        Re: AC If you only watch Faux News and CNN....

        Well, Matt, seems this Snowden chap found evidence of mass criminal activities, distributing and placing malware, intercepting phone conversations - all illegal in the EU without a court order. Invasion of privacy on a grand scale, too - not nice. Without Snowden there wouldn't be much evidence of the NSA's wrongdoings, and that;s why Snowden ought to be recognised as a hero, for bringing their illegal activties - and those of GCHQ- into the public view. And being a peeping Tom, whether on an individual basis or as state-sponsored cybercriminals maynot cause quantifiable harm, but that doesn;t get away from the fact that it's still morally wrong. Or do you subscribe to the notion that if you don;t have to bring in the insurers no harm done?

        1. Graham Marsden

          @Esme - Re: AC If you only watch Faux News and CNN....

          > Or do you subscribe to the notion that if you don;t have to bring in the insurers no harm done?

          Ah, but you see Matt wants you *personally* to prove to *his* standards that you have suffered "harm" from this and, if you can't, he can declare victory!

          It seems he's finally found a set of goalposts he likes...

          1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

            Re: @Esme - AC If you only watch Faux News and CNN....

            In the end, there are times when you must break the law, because the law is unjust.

            I can't say for certain that what Snowden did was altruistic, but the fact is that the NSA was (and probably still is) invading privacy on a horrendous scale. Yes, he broke the law, but in doing so he shined a light onto the dubious practices* involved. The world now knows what the NSA (and other, similar, organisations) get up to. This is a good thing.

            Yes, I understand that the "government"** must sometimes act in secret to do it's job. However, they must act responsibly, and there must be oversight. There must also be a way for anyone who uncovers something wrong to report that and have it investigated in an impartial manner.

            If what I read about Snowden is true, he uncovered those dubious practises, tried to raise it with his superiors and was ignored. This may or may not be true. No matter the true reason behind the leak, as long as he had done his utmost to raise the matter internally, it was justified to leak the material. AFAIK if he had been an employee, he would have been protected by whistleblower laws. He should be in this case.

            I have seen comments on here saying that Snowden intended to leak info when he started the contract. As far as I am concerned, this is irrelevant: He uncovered something wrong, tried to report it, was ignored, so leaked. This course of action was the right course of action, and he should be honoured, not vilified.

            * I think I am being generous, there. I would say illegal and morally reprehensible.

            ** I include police, security services, armed forces etc. under that umbrella term.

            1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
              Boffin

              Re: Dr. Mouse Re: @Esme - AC If you only watch Faux News and CNN....

              "....I have seen comments on here saying that Snowden intended to leak info when he started the contract. As far as I am concerned, this is irrelevant...." It may be irrelevant to you, but in court it shows intent to commit an illegal act and intent to conceal that act from the authorities, both of which will go a long way to securing a conviction. Moan all you like about the law, Snowjob has provided what amounts to a written confession of his crimes through his dealings with Greenwald and Poitras, and if it goes to court that will all be presented as evidence of his guilt. It's like someone admitting to planning and carrying out the murdering a "not very nice" individual - in court the fact the victim was viewed by yourself as "unpleasant" will not be a defence against the planned act of murder.

          2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Marsbarbrian Re: @Esme - AC If you only watch Faux News and CNN....

            ".....It seems he's finally found a set of goalposts he likes..." Seeing as you routinely fail to meet any request for proof in any discussion it's not hard to see why you are happier making snide remarks about the matter than actually providing any of the requested proof.

            1. Graham Marsden

              Re: Marsbarbrian @Esme - AC If you only watch Faux News and CNN....

              "requested proof" != "proof that Matt Bryant will accept"

        2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Esme Re: AC If you only watch Faux News and CNN....

          I'll take your rambling answer as admittance that you actually have zero proof of the claimed "harm". This is my surprised face, honest.

          "....their illegal activties...." And you have any actual court decisions to back up that claim of illegality? Ah, thought not.

          "....it's still morally wrong...." LOL! Next you'll claim it's "not fair" too? Sorry, that denial of reality is simply childish in the extreme. There is a lot of perfectly legal but "immoral" or "nasty things" done by governments and non-goverment players all over the World, and there will continue to be long after you, I and Snowjob have faded into history. Pretending that if we're all lovely and cuddly and trusting on our side will stop others from doing those "immoral" and "nasty" practices, just because it wouldn't be "fair", is - in my honest opinion - obtuse in the extreme.

    2. Deryk Barker

      Re: If you only watch Faux News and CNN....

      "Side Two: if we don't, terrorists will kill your children...."

      Hah! Fooled them - I don't have any children.

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: If you only watch Faux News and CNN....

        "Hah! Fooled them - I don't have any children."

        Ha! Fooled you! They don't have any Terrorists!

  14. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Distorted news coverage

    I think the reason you see the poll results you do, is due to distorted news coverage in the US. The TV "news" coverage mentioned Snowden pilfering files, going to Russia, and lots of coverage of various talking heads saying he "needs to be brought back to the US and brought to justice" or some such. No mention that he went to Russia as a last resort, no mention of the NSA's illegal spying programs to provide context as to why Snowden did what he did, and no quote from Snowden or any supporters (just plenty of quotes from government talking heads.) Furthermore, while there have been plenty of revelations and confirmations based on the Snowden files, the old media has scrupulously made sure to not mention any of these.

    If I only got information from the old media, I suppose I'd favor taking Snowden back and putting him on trial too, since the coverage has been SO slanted, both of Snowden himself and of the illegal NSA programs* themselves.

    *When some NSA lawyer made a nonsense circular argument claiming their illegal programs are legal (they seriously had a lawyer argue "These programs are legal because I say they are", with no point of law pointed to to support the claim), the old media made sure to cover "NSA programs are legal" rather than covering the fact this nonsense argument was IMMEDIATELY debunked.

    1. Kevin 6

      Re: Distorted news coverage

      can't argue this last thing I saw on snowden completely ignored what he really did, but made him sound like some russian spy. Sadly it wasn't fox news either. Gotta love the 6, and 10 o'clock nightly propaganda show

  15. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    He is a whistleblower

    "So anyone who calls Snowden a hero or a whistle blower has it wrong. Sorry, but what exactly did he blow the whistle on?"

    Illegal NSA spying programs. Nobody really needed to know the EXACT specifics of the NSA spying programs, but the fact of the matter is the NSA et. al. (instead of simply saying "no comment" or "it's classified"), would flat-out LIE about the scope of their spying capabilities, and about the scope of future plans. Some programs, nobody knew about publicly before the Snowden files. Some programs, there was public info already but many dismissed it as pure paranoia due to the scope of it until the Snowden files confirmed it. Snowden explicitly said this, perhaps you got your news off TV only if you never heard about it.

    " Compare and contrast his actions with Ellsberg. Ellsberg had access to the information. Snowden didn't. So Ellsberg didn't break the law(s) by stealing the information. He didn't have to."

    So, what then do you think the point is of having whistleblower protection laws? Whistleblowers almost always have violated corporate security, ignored company NDAs and confidentiality clauses, and often times broken laws that prohibit leaking out proprietary corporate information, when they whistleblow against companies. I seriously don't see the difference here. If you want to claim Snowden didn't whistleblow, come up with a different argument, the argument "it's not whistleblowing if you break the rules" is basically nonsense.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: He is a whistleblower

      When I (amongst others) blew the whistle on BT & Phorm I technically broke the law to do so and ran a very real risk of coming off a very poor second to BT's in-house attack dogs.

      As it was, the then boss, Ben Verwaayen decided to play the incident down and I was let off the hook and it never went as far as getting the Police involved (for me at any rate).

      My point is, the rules around whistleblowing are difficult to follow, especially when the company has a history of covering things up.

      For me asking questions, about the development of the DWP database in India and 'had they redacted the information before sending a copy outside of Safe Harbour', was enough to get me moved quietly onto another project - what does that tell you about the culture of these places?

      I should note that once I was out of BT and trying to get legal protection, it was next to impossible to get clear information on what those whistle-blower protections were. In the end I was lucky BT didn't decide to roast me over the coals, because the system wasn't exactly geared up to protect me I can assure you.

      1. LucreLout Silver badge

        Re: He is a whistleblower

        @AC

        For me asking questions, about the development of the DWP database in India and 'had they redacted the information before sending a copy outside of Safe Harbour', was enough to get me moved quietly onto another project - what does that tell you about the culture of these places?

        Safe Harbour regs are all but worthless. All the big companies that have a presence in India et al simply have those people dial into virts held within the EU. The data never leaves, it just gets exposed.

        That sort of gaming the system is endemic, and absolutely requires that legislators up their game significantly.

    2. LucreLout Silver badge

      Re: He is a whistleblower

      @Henry

      Whistleblowers almost always have violated corporate security, ignored company NDAs and confidentiality clauses, and often times broken laws that prohibit leaking out proprietary corporate information, when they whistleblow against companies.

      Agreed, mostly. You need to consider to whom the whistle gets blown.

      Take a whistleblower in say, Goldman Sachs. They find wrong doing, and they go to management. That doesn't work, they go to the regulator. They don't go to JP Morgan with the data.

      Should Snowden have blown the whistle? Sure, he was acting in good faith. But maybe he should have sent the data to the Senate and Congress, rather than the Guardian? If that doesn't yield results, then go public. Who knows, maybe he did. Sadly the whole affair is short on facts and so very long on opinion.

  16. joed

    Scared yet?

    When everyone is dependent on feds handouts (in one way or another) nobody will express opinion that disagree with the party line. Democracy can't exist in the environment where power brokers have almost complete (and increasing) access to sensitive information. And don't think of politicians as power brokers - there's a "vanilla folder" for every puppet.

    BTW, I've expressed no opinion with regard to the subject;)

    1. Identity
      FAIL

      Re: Scared yet?

      Honestly, we do not have a democracy in America. It was meant to be a republic ("What sort of government have you given us, Mr. Franklin?"

      "A republic, madam, if you can keep it.")

      Unfortunately, we could not — it's now an oligarchy; some might argue a kakistocracy.

  17. W Donelson

    90% of Americans have never heard of Snowden, but have an opinion anyway.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I think I've found the problem...

      A poll [PDF] of 2,069 American voters...

  18. Nick Kew Silver badge

    How to conduct a poll

    Time to invoke the splendid Sir Humphrey, who explains how to ensure the result you want:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0ZZJXw4MTA

  19. scrubber
    Mushroom

    I want him in court...

    ... so the judge and/or jury can throw the case out with prejudice and set a legal precedence.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I want him in court...

      As if!

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He told us the truth....

    So jail him....

  21. NormDP

    Snowden doesn't deserve a pardon; he deserves a commendation. It is Obama and all the others who need the pardon.

  22. Graham Marsden
    Holmes

    If you asked the question...

    ... I have no doubt that you would find a significant number of Americans who were in favour of burning witches...

  23. lambda_beta
    Linux

    Texas

    Isn't that the state where the governor (Perry) rented a stadium (with public funds) to hold a prayer meeting for rain during their drought a few years back?

    However, it didn’t work!

  24. unitron

    Pardon is not possible...

    ...I'm pretty sure, unless and until he gets convicted of something after a trial.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pardon is not possible...

      Ah! You're forgetting about Ameᴙican Яeveᴙsal... or "exceptionalism" as they like to call it...

      In Ameᴙica the pardon comes before the summary conviction.

  25. Charles Manning

    Who is Edward Snowden?

    Look at 7 minutes 40 sec in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEVlyP4_11M

    It would seem a healthy number of American don't know who Edward Snowden is, so they'd have to be lead in the interviewing. Without seeing the script it is hard to know if the survey has merit.

    It could have been something like this:

    "Do you think Edward Snowden should be pardoned?"

    "Who is Edward Snowden?"

    "He is this guy who admits that he spied on the NSA, then he went to Russia."

    "Give him the chair."

  26. Martin Maloney
    Facepalm

    Birds of a feather

    What good does it do to construct an all-pervasive surveillance system to keep the citizenry compliant, if the citizenry doesn't know about it?

    Snowden is neither a hero nor a traitor. Rather, he is a psyop.

    Want proof? Just like that other phony, Assange, he fails the 9/11 litmus test.

    1. Identity
      WTF?

      Re: Birds of a feather

      See icon

      1. Martin Maloney
        Facepalm

        Re: Birds of a feather

        Snowden's revelations are not a threat to national security. The purpose was to scare us ordinary citizens, to keep us in line, by telling us that the NSA monitors every aspect of our lives.

        It's called a psychological operation – psyop for short.

        Does anyone really believe that, in pre-Snowden days, a person intent on committing a terrorist act didn't already assume that his phone was tapped, that his emails were intercepted, etc. and thus took measures – effective or not – to evade surveillance?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Questions and questions...

    "Do you support or oppose the US government pursuing a criminal case against Edward Snowden for leaking classified information about the way the NSA conducts its intelligence gathering?"

    Do you support or oppose pursuing a criminal case against the US government for mass spying on their own citizens by the NSA, which goes against the Constitution of the US, as shown in the documents leaked by Edward Snowden?

    See the difference?

  28. justthinking

    Very slanted poll

    When you poll registered voters you are getting a very slanted opinion because these are the people who believe that laws really change how we live. Then you talk like this is how all of us think. Is it any wonder that people who really care about progress do not pay that much attention to the media.

  29. Brent Beach

    The poll, while shameful, is probably correct.

    Obama has been very weak in his support of whistleblowers across the board. He has hunted down and prosecuted more than any former President (http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/mar/16/whistleblowers-double-standard-obama-david-petraeus-chelsea-manning)

    With no major political figure left who supports disclosure of illegal government activity, it is not surprising that the people don't support it.

    The US is behaving like a state with a bunker mentality rather than a global superpower.

    A sure sign of its decline.

  30. Sprismoid

    Fast Eddie?

    Is that a reference to the original Fast Eddie of Motorhead fame. I have good memories of working with him and Fastway in the 80s on the soundtrack of the spoof horror movie Trick or Treat and other stuff..

  31. Brian Allan 1

    What Snowden did was probably illegal; however, someone had to do it AND the world may be a lot safer, I hope, from US spying! The US has NO right to spy on friends and foes with impunity.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If US law stated that eating babies was patriotic, 90% of Americans would want to hang anyone who didn't.

  33. Oddjobzz

    Broken the Law? .. I'm guessing yes ...

    But at what stage in the lifecycle of our modern society are we going to start drawing a distinction between "the Law" and "right and wrong"?

    There has always been a gap between the two, but it grows ever larger!

    Like many polls, this one would likely be very different if those taking part were given complete and accurate information in a form they were able to understand and having Obama jump on the establishment line really doesn't do anyone any favours.

    I was very excited when Obama was elected and had very high hopes on many fronts. Turns out he's disappointed on pretty much all of them.

  34. Nehmo

    Put Snowden on the $20!

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