Meet Edward Snowden — gun nut, Obama hater, foe of Social Security, fan of government spying

8871_edward-snowdenT. Steelman says liberals who think they know what makes NSA leaker Edward Snowden tick should think again.

HERE are a few excerpts (but, I must warn you that there’s a lot of vulgar language in the rest of Steelman’s piece):

At this point, the Edward Snowden saga seems to be running out of steam. The latest is that Venezuela and Nicaragua (out of at least 27 countries he asked) have offered him asylum so the story is almost at an end for now. The U.S. government will probably keep trying to extradite him so that they can prosecute but that may be years in coming. IF he  manages to find asylum in the first place.

Through this whole business, I’ve remained of two minds about Snowden’s tale. While I am certain that what he has reported is true, I’m unsure of motivation. With what I have just read, though, I think I’m getting a clearer picture. One I will try to paint for you.

Snowden used to post on a website called Ars Technica: it’s a site for professional techies (“alpha geeks” is what the site says). He frequented the Internet Relay Chat rooms quite a lot, shooting the breeze with whoever happened by. This began when he was stationed in Geneva in 2007: an IT guy for the CIA in a foreign land, he probably enjoyed this little bit of home. His posts – under user name TheTrueHOOHA – from that time show someone who is decidedly unworldly: he complained about almost everything in Switzerland, from the price of food to the women. Over the years, he changed from an insulated, opinionated American into an opinionated, snarky ex-pat. One of the biggest changes in his opinions is what he thought of leakers. Back then, he was not a fan…He also had no problem with Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program…

He was gung-ho for it when Bush was president. Which brings up an interesting point: his opinion of such programs abruptly changed when Barack Obama took office. In the chat room, which Ars Technica calls“Officially unofficial” – the online equivalent to “the back room occupied by drinkers who feel the front (of the bar) is just too stuffy for them,” Snowden felt free to speak his mind even if everyone in the room would disagree with him. And he could be ugly about it….

His disdain of President Obama and his policies was apparent and he bitched about them with “increasing frequency.”…

Snowden is a gun nut as well as an Obama hater. He also has been an outspoken advocate of the very thing he has become famous for revealing, cheering the security state network and insisting that it needed funding, even in the face of draconian budget cuts…



  1. Robert

    I think the gist of the commentary above just goes to show, there’s no anonymous behavior anymore. If they can resurrect Edward Snowden’s post they can do the same to all of us.

    As Steelman has noted, I too firmly believe what Snowden has revealed is the truth. What is unclear is his motivation. Would he have been this much of a risk taker in revealing this information under a different president? Say, one more aligned with his ideologies?

    Regardless of Snowden’s motives, I’m glad to know what I’ve always said was being done was in fact the truth. The sad part is nothing is going to change. Even the two senators trying to make the abuse of gathered information an issue are getting flack.

    This kind of snopping is going to make people very guarded in how they communicate. Is this the future you want? A future that you have to wonder if what you say, no matter how benign you think it might be in the moment, can come back to haunt you and be twisted into some sordid conjecture?

    Just remember, we may not always have the current kind of presidency and form of government we have. I’m sure all the Democrats and liberals remember how intimidated we felt under GWBush’s rule. Especially when Ari Fleischer told us we needed to be careful about what we said.

    I’m telling you, this kind of invasion of privacy is going to make people aware of themselves in a way that you’re going to be very uncomfortable with. It’s going to make you think twice about revealing information in a phone call that you may think you’re only telling your spouse or a trusted individual. For example, where the extra house key is hidden. Just remember, you may not be a target for investigation now, but what if you don’t hold the right thoughts in the future. You got to think past today on these kinds of subjects. What if we get a presidency of someone who wants to know everyone who has spoken unkindly of them? How easy will it be to round them up?

    We’ve seen in the past, East Germany for instance, of what it’s like to live where everything you say is weighed against how friendly or hostile you are to the current power structure. Think real hard about this new climate you’re enabling with your complicity. The Total Information Awareness system has been the goal all along. Long before 911 happened.

  2. DWornock

    At the very least, Pat Cunningham’s article is full of slanted information. The orders from on high have come down to destroy the credibility of Edward Snowden and Pat Cunningham is obeying orders and obviously has that agenda. His use of the words vulgar language and the meaningless term “Gun Nut,” clearly demonstrates his agenda is to bad mouth Edward Snowden.

    I noticed there are no direct quotes or references that the reader can examine so his claims as tgo what Snowden said cannot be verified. I have no doubt that Pat Cunningham is willing to lie and certainly stretch the truth to please his bosses. And, if by chance someone does find what Snowden actually said and points out that Pat Cunningham was lying, no doubt just like the NSA lying to Congress he will claim, “That is my interpretation of what Snowden said.”

  3. DWornock: Darn! You’ve found me out!

    Yes, I do “take orders from on high.”

    I feel so ashamed!

  4. Steverino

    From the time Snowden flew the coop the administration obtained all the information one could hope for on fast Eddy from his birth weight, bottle or breast fed, school marks, activities, friends etc. If he ever comes back voluntarily or in chains he will prosecuted as a spy.

  5. DWornock

    I appreciate that you feel shame. However, I also understand that you have a difficult choice. Sacrifice a bit of integrity for a high income and the good life or risk losing your job and being blacklisted in an economy with very few job opportunities. And, what difference would it make? There are a dozen people living on a few crackers a day that would jump for the opportunity to do you job and please the bosses.

  6. DWornock: You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.

    I’m a retired journalist who blogs from home as a free-lancer, and I’m paid a mere pittance for my labors.

    Nobody tells me what opinions I can express here. I’m my own boss. The only constraints on what I write relate to potential libel and language unacceptable for a family newspaper.

    So there, Mr. Smarty-Pants!

  7. DWornock

    Pat Cunningham, there is not a bit of truth in you. Family newspaper–What nonsense. Per Wikipedia, Rockford Register Star is the Rockford, Illinois, metropolitan area’s primary daily newspaper.

    The Register Star is the fifth highest circulation Illinois newspaper. As of September 2006, the newspaper’s Sunday circulation was 70,300—the 163rd largest in the United States.

  8. DWornock: You’re not making any sense. What do circulation figures have to do with whether the Register Star is a family newspaper?

    Newspapers of general circulation are commonly known as “family newspapers.” This paper is no different in that regard.

    More to the point, what does any of this have to do with your bogus claims that I earn a “high income” with this blog, or that I might be “blacklisted” if I don’t hew to the ideological dictates of my “bosses”‘?

  9. DWornock

    Pat Cunningham, the fact is Rockford Register Star is one of the five largest newspapers in Illinois. Your use of the term “Family newspaper” implied otherwise.

    You may claim otherwise but the fact is that every article by mainstream media including the Register Star about Edward Snowden is written to be critical of him. This is demonstrated by calling him fugitive instead of the more accurate term whistleblower, calling him a coward instead of pointing out that he sacrificed a high paying job and put his life to the line to expose NSA crimes, and calling him a lawbreaker instead of pointing out his oath to the Constitution and that all statues repugnant to the Constitution are invalid.

    You may claim that you are not following orders and that your motives are different. However, the fact is you bias article is character assassination and that is good journalism.

  10. DWornock: Arguing with you is like arguing with a 10-year-old.

    Anyone who says that “every article by mainstream media including the Register Star about Edward Snowden is written to be critical of him” simply doesn’t know what he’s talking about. There have been countless opinion pieces in the mainstream media that have praised Snowden as a hero.

    Now, feel free to blather on, but I’m done trying to talk sense to you. I’m not going to waste any more time on such a fool’s errand.

  11. Ricardo Quesos

    It’s real grotesquery when media flunkeys of the national security state like this Pat Cunningham pretend to liberalism and the moral high ground while doing Big Brother’s dirty work (only for their man Obama of course, not for Bush).

    In fact Mr Cunningham should be flattered that his piece came across as mere servility to the corporate/regime power structure: joining an official propaganda campaign of character assassination of an enemy of the state is actually less reprehensible if it is following direct orders from above or driven by slavish devotion to a deified Leader rather than being freely-willed, conscious wrongdoing.

    The real story here is the overt, world-wide criminality of the monstrous US spying and surveillance machine. That machine is an affront to any ideals of freedom. It is as totally immoral, lawless, hypocritical, dangerous and out of control as the rest of the rogue US empire’s global repressive apparatus, including its relentlessly aggressive armed forces and its CIA state terrorist network of kidnappers, saboteurs, torturers and assassins.

    Attempts to divert attention from the spying scandal to the alleged personal failings of the whistle-blower mark Mr Cunningham as a cog in the corporate propaganda wing of that same repressive machine. If Mr Cunningham really is unconscious of the ignoble role he is playing as a cog in the official vilification propaganda campaign against Snowden, that reflects better on his personal morality only to the extent that it reflects worse on his intelligence.

  12. Ricardo: Congratulations!

    You’re rant is mostly overwrought nonsense, but at least it’s better stated than the drivel in this thread from DWornock.

  13. DWornock

    Pat Cunningham says, “There have been countless opinion pieces in the mainstream media that have praised Snowden as a hero.”

    Oh really? Please educate me and provide links.

  14. DWarnock: One last thing: It took me about three minutes to collect those links. Why couldn’t you do the same thing?

    Oh, right! You don’t even understand the common definition of “family newspaper.” Internet research is probably beyond your ken.

  15. DWornock

    Thank you for the links. I do admit that contrary to my earlier belief some mainstream articles have been favorable to Snowden. I might have found some of these articles if I had done web, rather than news, searches or if I had started my searches before he was in Russia and/or if I had not limited my searches to news within the last 24 hours and one time within the last week.

    Actually I do recall reading several articles where Daniel Ellsberg or Michael Moore spoke favorably about Edward Snowden. However, as I recall, rather than just reporting the news like in the link you provided the authors added their negative comments. For example one articles titled, “Daniel Ellsberg Tries to come to Edward Snowden’s Defense—and Fails!” See:

    Regardless, not all mainstream media articles are character assassination articles; especially the earlier ones and hopefully not all the more recent ones.

  16. Ricardo Quesos

    Mr Cunningham, I wish I could congratulate you in turn for your reply but unfortunately it was completely empty of rational argument, containing nothing but a trivial sneer. (Perhaps that emptiness is not surprising, given that your best response would have been a silent blush of shame for your piece followed by a bit more self-consciousness and a bit less smugly fatuous arrogance in future.)

    I can’t even comfort you that your banal reply was well stated, since it exhibited the elementary solecism of “you’re” misused to mean “your.”

    Now you have wasted enough of my time.

  17. Pat Cunningham a lacky for the powers that be. Outrageous! I have known Pat since 1966 when his brother Tim and I were roomates at Marquette University. Pat had left that stellar institution of higher Ed about a year before I got there. But even then his reputation hung around the campus for quite a while. His math teacher, a fine old professor, thought he was the dumbest student she ever had, but she liked his spunk. She liked him plain and simple. Tim had a lot to live up to. Pat was sort of the John Belusi of Marquette.
    He has all his life been an iconoclast, free thinker, and nobody’s fool. He always thought for himself and questioned the accepted beliefs of his time and was always a critical thinker. You may disagree with what he writes, but to attack his motives is just plain knee jerk drivel.

  18. To make sure there is no misunderstanding. Pat was the dumbest student in Math. Not politics, literature, philosophy, history etc.

  19. Jeff: You’re too kind.

  20. Ricardo Quesos

    Mr van Davis, it seems to have been a commendable personal loyalty that jerked your knee and stimulated your outraged response, but that sub-cerebral spasm did interfere with your reading comprehension.

    In fact my post did not attack Mr Cunningham’s motives, but rather his discourse.

    It was explicitly agnostic about the thinking that motivated Mr Cunningham to serve as a cog in the official propaganda campaign against Mr Snowden. Motivation isn’t the main point in any case. What matters is a cog’s actual enmeshment in the machine, not what it’s thinking as it spins.

    So the grotesquery lies in what Mr Cunningham wrote, not in his possible motives. It’s right there in the fact that he was to be found “liberally” rubbishing the empire’s current two-minute hate figure, i.e. working alongside its most loyally reactionary media mouthpieces. Mr Cunningham’s critical, liberal pose was actually no obstacle to following the official propaganda line of attacking not the scandalously omnipresent surveillance regime but rather the man who blew the whistle on it … and his attack even relied unselfconsciously on published surveillance of that man’s years-old, originally anonymous conversations.

    That’s hardly Mr Cunningham “thinking for himself,” let alone “questioning the accepted beliefs” of this grim time in the benighted and conformist US milieu … beliefs like the ludicrously over-hyped fear of “terrorism,” like the official US cult of national chauvinism or like the resultant unquestioned imperialist arrogance that makes respect for international law and the laws and interests of other peoples a non-issue for the rogue empire as it rampages all around our planet.

  21. Isn’t it interesting that none of the criticisms in this thread are aimed at the author of the article to which I linked (and from which I excerpted a few passages)? Instead, the barbs are all aimed at me.

    Another interesting thing is that nobody has effectively refuted the points made in the article at issue. Nobody has shown that Snowden didn’t really say the things attributed to him in the article.

  22. Robert

    Pat, I think what these posters are saying is you tend to provide articles that back the status quo on this subject or as Ricardo says, “following the official propaganda line of attacking not the scandalously omnipresent surveillance regime but rather the man who blew the whistle on it”…

  23. Wow, I do like your writing Mr. Quesos. You certainly contribute to the high level of political discourse on this blog site. I think I understand what you are saying about “the grotesquery lies in what Mr. Cunningham wrote, not in his possible motives.” I get your point. Let me just say this: Why grotesque? That’s a strong word and doesn’t apply (in my humble opinion). Mr. Cunningham makes a good point. He often surfs the net and finds interesting items, gems, articles, etc. and sends them on to the rest of us. You, Mr. Quesos, are way too intelligent to fall into the trap of blaming the messenger.
    I find it interesting and valid to learn something about Snowden that I did not know before. It all adds to the mosaic, to the big picture, etc. of better understanding the whole issue.
    Outside of stepping on each other’s toes, metaphorically speaking – scratching on each others powerful egos (I do know Pat after all) – frankly I don’t think you’re that far apart on this issue.

    Mr. Quesos, you eloquently write critically about the situation in America today – ” beliefs like the ludicrously over-hyped fear of “terrorism,” like the official US cult of national chauvinism or like the resultant unquestioned imperialist arrogance that makes respect for international law and the laws and interests of other peoples a non-issue for the rogue empire as it rampages all around our planet.”

    That is well written and if you have followed Pat Cunningham’s blog over the years, you would know that he would be in agreement. Pat certainly is critical of the “over-hyped fear of ‘terrorism’,” the cult of national chauvinism, the “unquestioned imperialist arrogance that makes respect for international law and the laws and interests of other peoples a non-issue for the rogue empire as it rampages all around our planet.” Mr. Cunningham would agree with all that and he would throw in such items as – the dumbing of America, the stupidity of our national leaders, the insanity of the Republican Party, and, yes, he has been highly critical of democrats as well. Pat is an equal opportunity critic.

  24. Robert: Any argument that the article to which I linked in this post supports “the status quo on this subject” is just plain silly.

    As I noted in a previous comment in this thread, much of the coverage of Snowden in the mainstream media has characterized him as a hero.

    Ricardo is full of crap with his stuff about “following the official propaganda line.” There simply is no official propaganda line concerning Snowden. His supporters and detractors come from both the left and right of the political spectrum.

  25. Robert

    Pat, I’ve been reading many of the comments made about Snowden not just here, but on the many sites that provide stories about him and the NSA snooping apparatus. Although I don’t have specific numbers, my cursory evaluation is most posters don’t support Snowden and think he’s guilty of treason. I think to some degree, that was also evidenced here on Applesauce. (If the NSA outfit is as huge as we’ve been told and employs 100s of 1000s of contractors to provide the workings of their system, one has to wonder if many of Snowden’s detractors (not all but many) are people who work in that industry trying to justify their income. Let’s face it, if this conversation was about dissolving unions, I’d have to think many of the people who would post on that story line would be people who benefit from the unions, so why can’t I compare that phenomenon to the Snowden situation?)

    It seems most buy the story this NSA program is protecting us, but the NSA has provided absolutely no evidence to support their claims other than anecdotal claims they’ve stopped about 50 attacks and then clammed up using national security concerns as their default. But none of those 50 attack preventions never seemed to make it to the news from my observation.

    What Snowden revealed about the extent and overreach of the NSA program supports what many who always suspected what Snowden revealed was occurring, but didn’t have a whole lot of evidence to support their suspicions other than the few leakers whose claims were dismissed or downplayed. It amazes me how people want to believe this is all about securing our nation when everything about it says it not. It’s about knowing everything about all of us should we ever pose a threat to the people in power.

    People who think up such events as 911 aren’t going to be planning them over the internet. All this program has done is provided a vehicle for the likes of the FBI to troll around chat rooms and find loose cannons (mostly young people and misfits) that they can cajole into being that person they befriend and then groom to be the very culprit they make sensational headlines with when they arrest him for being stupid enough to play into their sting.

    This NSA surveillance state and the corresponding cloud data storage servers that will eventually replace our hard drives isn’t about catching terrorist, its about keeping a thumb on all of us and our activities but its being sold to us as a way of keeping us safe from terrorist. And if any of us ever acheive enough influence to change the direction that the corporations who own and run the surveillance state programs are taking us, they’ll be demonized with all the data they can grab from their systems and defeat any change that isn’t in their favor. That’s what this repackaged Total Information Awareness program is all about.

    Why is it so difficult for people to extrapolate that? Managers in business have to extrapolate extenuating circumstances all the time, why can’t what people like myself see this program as being for, do the same and not get labeled all the nasty things that people who don’t buy the official story get called? We’re lied to all the time by elected people representing our supposed best interest.

  26. Robert

    PS – Let’s not forget that many of the 911 hijackers had set off some bells and whistles by agents who were tracking their activities and their concerns were blown off. Why should we believe that information being posted on and over the internet and through our phones wouldn’t be met with the same disposition? I keep saying, if there were ever 2 people who should have been caught by this supposed NSA system in place to catch terrorist, those 2 brothers in Boston are the poster boys for its failure.

  27. Robert: You’re off on one of your paranoid conspiracy theories again, as evidenced by your reference to “a vehicle for the likes of the FBI to troll around chat rooms and find loose cannons (mostly young people and misfits) that they can cajole into being that person they befriend and then groom to be the very culprit they make sensational headlines with when they arrest him for being stupid enough to play into their sting.”

    That is utter nonsense.

  28. By the way, this thread is getting boring.

    The rest of you are welcome to blather away to your hearts’ delight, but I’m moving on.

  29. Robert

    Pat, BS…utter nonsense NOT… I suggest you look up the case of Mohamed Mohamud. You’re extremely naive if you think these type of politically charged blogs aren’t visited by the NSA and FBI. That’s how they find candidates for further review and investigation… I suggest you read a book by Trevor Aaronson, The Terror Factory. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/01/terror-factory-fbi-trevor-aaronson-book

    Have you had anything published in Mother Jones or other well known magazines? Or put on an event that gets shown on PBS Sunday book reviews?

    What’s a matter, are you afraid if posters knew the FBI and NSA trolled around on politically charged boards, you’re blog site wouldn’t get the patronage you like to boast about?

  30. DWornock: Darn! You’ve found me out!
    Yes, I do “take orders from on high.”
    I feel so ashamed!

    You sound about as ashamed as James Clapper.

  31. BRAVO to Mr. Cunningham for having the backbone and integrity to “swim against the stream.” It has become fashionable in media circles to engage in hero worship of Snowden, so Mr. Cunningham’s post was refreshing in that it published some of the REALITY about Snowden, instead of just regurgitating more of Snowden’s claims. Snowden pretends to be a noble whistle-blower, but he has been behaving like a selfish weasel. Anyone who pays attention to the fine-print details of what Snowden has said and done cannot escape noticing that he has been acting like an egotistical jerk –a self-aggrandizing opportunist angling for his 15 minutes of fame and fortune, and selling our safety down the river to get it. It’s time for journalists to do their job and UNmask Snowden. He has been shoveling manipulative HYPE for weeks and far too many (naive ignorant foolish) people fell for his SPIN hook, line and sinker. They should not be so gullible.

  32. Robert

    Jana, I’m confused. How has Pat swam against the stream? What Pat does, for the most part, is put out articles with a brief comment that often times doesn’t take a position yea or nay. Maybe I’m mistaken, but all Pat lays claim to on this thread is “T. Steelman says liberals who think they know what makes NSA leaker Edward Snowden tick should think again.” All Pat did was create a controversy by posting Steelman’s thoughts on Snowden, not his. You showed your cards more than Pat did. In all honesty, I don’t know what Pat thinks about the Snowden incident. Maybe he can refresh our curiosity.

  33. Brian Opsahl

    Snowden commited high treason…that’s the law. He should spend the rest of his life in jail if he is convicted…what don’t you guy’s get…?

    He is hiding for a reason…and that is TREASON.

  34. Doaa Alnajjar

    A petition is created on WhiteHouse.gov by the Egyptians against Obama policies,
    and we ask for your support. If this petition gets 100,000 signatures by September
    15, 2013, the White House will review it and respond! If a petition gets enough
    support, the Obama Administration will issue an official response.

    You can view and sign the petition here:


    “To Obama: Get your hands out of Egypt!

    To the good US people: Your taxes are supporting Brotherhood terrorism in Egypt.

    WAKE UP Obama! We are not Syria.

    You helped install Brotherhood, creators of Al-Qaeda & Hamas, in our country
    after 25th January revolution, and we’ve had 2 revolutions to take them off
    & you called that Military Coup!

    And now, you are supporting brotherhood terrorism in Egypt & arming them in Afghanistan with the US tax Dollars in both cases! Isn’t the Brotherhood’s motto “Jihad is our way”? Is that the “democracy” US supports?

    Dear the good Americans:

    We, the Egyptians, have nothing but love to you. But our country is being destroyed
    with Obama’s policies and your Tax Dollars.

    If you can’t raise a revolution against him, just like we did 3 times against our
    corrupted regimes, then at least ask him why he spent all those billions on
    Brotherhood and led you to budge crisis? “

    End of Petition.

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