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An Outrageous Gesture from the Pulitzer Prize Committee — John Yoo

I’m not surprised that the Pulitzer Prize committee gave the Washington Post and The Guardian US a prize for pursuing the sensationalistic story of Edward Snowden —even though the story is a disaster for the country. Unlike some on both the right and the left, I do not see Snowden as any kind of hero. He should be returned to the United States for prosecution. It is another sign of this Administration’s weakness in foreign affairs that it cannot persuade other countries to turn him over.

I don’t, however, think we need to automatically read the prize as a vindication of Snowden’s crimes. Awarding a prize to a newspaper that covered a hurricane or runs a photo of a grisly crime does not somehow justify the underlying tragedy. Yes, there is a difference here, in that the harm comes from the public release of the material. I’m not sure, however, that the distinction between the event itself and publicity is key.

It would have been different if the newspapers themselves had a hand in facilitating the violation of the law. One would hope the Pulitzer committee would not reward a newspaper for actively assisting Snowden in stealing classified information from the NSA or fleeing justice — that crosses the line from coverage of an event to abetting a violation of American law.

I don’t think, however, that there is anything you can do to stop an Edward Snowden once he steals the information and decides to make it public. If the Post didn’t publish it, someone on the internet would have. See WikiLeaks (at least the Pulitzer Committee didn’t give Julian Assange a prize. Though one now wonders why.)

This Administration, despite its effort to prosecute leakers, is now responsible for the most destructive intelligence setbacks in modern American history. This is in part because, for all the efforts it has taken after the fact, it has not done enough to secure U.S. intelligence at the source. That’s great for Snowden and the Post, but bad for the country.

 

  1. flownover

    The administration is responsible as you say . Surprised ? Just another brick in our wall.

  2. BD

    The Pulitzer and the Nobel are basically awards for those who promote “social justice”.

  3. Skyler

    I think the correct term is “alleged crimes.”

    If the United States was harmed by the exposure of these extra-legal and immoral practices by the government, the responsibility lies with the government, not with the man exposing them.  

    Snowden is not Bradley Manning, a whining, confused, disturbed man wanting attention.  Snowden appears to have been a reasonable and responsible person who saw something wrong and tried to help his country.

  4. True Blue

    I liked the Pulitzer committees choice for fiction though.  Donna Tartt should have won for “Secret History” twenty years ago…

  5. flownover

    Skyler:

    I think the correct term is “alleged crimes.”

    If the United States was harmed by the exposure of these extra-legal and immoral practices by the government, the responsibility lies with the government, not with the man exposing them.

    Snowden is not Bradley Manning, a whining, confused, disturbed man wanting attention. Snowden appears to have been a reasonable and responsible person who saw something wrong and tried to help his country.

     Hey comrade ! Nice analogy. I am guessing you aren’t a citizen.

  6. Carey J.

    If you turn on a light and see rats and roaches scurrying for cover, don’t blame the light.

  7. Albert Arthur

    John Yoo: He should be returned to the United States for prosecution.

     

    Agree.

  8. Albert Arthur

    Skyler: Snowden appears to have been a reasonable and responsible person who saw something wrong and tried to help his country.

     Are you serious? 

  9. Roberto

    Albert Arthur:

    Skyler: Snowden appears to have been a reasonable and responsible person who saw something wrong and tried to help his country.

    Are you serious?

     Snowden is a criminal and a fool, but do not the American people deserve to know how intrusive surveillance by the federal government has become? Should we not have the facts available to us in order to evaluate and debate the issue?

    Would these questions have ever come to light if not for Snowden? Who rules? The kleptocrats of Washington or the citizenry?

  10. Skyler

    Roberto:

    Albert Arthur:

    Skyler: Snowden appears to have been a reasonable and responsible person who saw something wrong and tried to help his country.

    Are you serious?

    Snowden is a criminal and a fool, but do not the American people deserve to know how intrusive surveillance by the federal government has become? Should we not have the facts available to us in order to evaluate and debate the issue?

    Would these questions have ever come to light if not for Snowden? Who rules? The kleptocrats of Washington or the citizenry?

     He’s not convicted yet.  Thus not a criminal.  He uncovered a vast abuse of government power.  Is that a crime?  The jury is still out.  As well should be the Nobel committee, but they have a different agenda than truth or the advancement of knowledge and civilization: They are anti-American and anti-western civilization.  That doesn’t make what Snowden did inherently wrong and I won’t presume him to be guilty until the matter is settled by the American People.

  11. Salvatore Padula

    Skyler: He’s not convicted yet. Thus not a criminal.

     You become a criminal when you commit the crime, not when you are convicted of it. Whether you approve of what he did or not, I don’t see how you can argue that Snowden did not violate the law.

  12. Roberto

    Skyler:

    Roberto:

    Albert Arthur:

     

    Snowden is a criminal and a fool, but do not the American people deserve to know how intrusive surveillance by the federal government has become? 

    He’s not convicted yet. Thus not a criminal. He uncovered a vast abuse of government power. Is that a crime? The jury is still out. 

    He deserves his chance to plead his case in court as you say. Are his actions a crime? I quote:

    The UCMJ has several specific provisions relating to espionage (UCMJ Article 104, aiding the enemy; UCMJ Articl 106a, espionage), the federal “espionage” statute (generally found in 18 U. S. Code §793 et. seq., can be applied through UCMJ Article 134(3), crimes and offenses not capital, and UCMJ Article 92 can be used to prosecute people for violating orders about the security, handling, and custody of classified information (for example Paragraph 4-6(k), Army Regulation 25-2).

    There have been many questionable decisions made in Washington, does that justify Snowden’s actions? Let a jury decide I say. 

    Let him plead his case, if he has the courage.

  13. Roberto

    Salvatore Padula:

    Skyler: He’s not convicted yet. Thus not a criminal.

    You become a criminal when you commit the crime, not when you are convicted of it. 

     Is this your legal opinion sir?

  14. Salvatore Padula

    Roberto:

    Salvatore Padula:

    Skyler: He’s not convicted yet. Thus not a criminal.

    You become a criminal when you commit the crime, not when you are convicted of it.

    Is this your legal opinion sir?

     It’s not a legal question, it’s a logical one. Conviction doesn’t cause you to act in a way which violates the law. It is a recognition that your prior actions were in violation of the law.

  15. Umbra Fractus

    Skyler: Snowden is not Bradley Manning, a whining, confused, disturbed man wanting attention. Snowden appears to have been a reasonable and responsible person who saw something wrong and tried to help his country.

     I was not aware that Vladimir Putin was a representative of the American People.

  16. Roberto

    Salvatore Padula:

    Roberto:

    Salvatore Padula:

    Skyler: He’s not convicted yet. Thus not a criminal.

    You become a criminal when you commit the crime, not when you are convicted of it.

    Is this your legal opinion sir?

    It’s not a legal question, it’s a logical one. Conviction doesn’t cause you to act in a way which violates the law. It is a recognition that you prior actions were in violation of the law.

    I do indeed suspect that is the case here. However my preference is that for someone who acts as an officer of the court there would be a suspension judgement prior to making such a claim. Personal peccadillo.

  17. Albert Arthur

    Roberto: Let him plead his case, if he has the courage.

     He does not.

  18. Guruforhire

    If you don’t want whistleblowers, don’t behave poorly.

    Its not like Snowden has any expectation of a fair trial.

  19. Klaatu

    Snowden is a traitor and a coward.  He took it upon himself to decide what national security secrets are worthy of protection and which are to be shared with our enemies.  That is a power he did not rightfully possess.
    There is nothing honorable, or even reasonable in the actions he took.
    He should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and executed if (when) convicted.  (And I do not even support capital punishment as a general rule)

  20. Skyler

    Roberto:

    He deserves his chance to plead his case in court as you say. Are his actions a crime? I quote:

    The UCMJ . . . 

     Snowden is not subject to the UCMJ as far as I know, so I don’t know what relevance the UCMJ has in this matter.

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