Nominee to lead NSA:  Snowden not necessarily a traitor
March 11th, 2014
03:57 PM ET

Nominee to lead NSA: Snowden not necessarily a traitor

By Laura Koran

President Barack Obama’s nominee to lead the beleaguered National Security Agency told lawmakers on Tuesday that Edward Snowden has placed lives at risk by leaking classified information, but stopped short of calling him a traitor.

Vice Adm. Michael Rogers told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee that Snowden caused significant damage by releasing information about the NSA’s surveillance programs, but when asked by Sen. Joe Machin, a  West  Virginia Democrat, whether he viewed Snowden as a traitor, Rogers said, “I don't know that I would use the word ‘traitor.’ But I certainly do not consider him to be a hero.”

Rogers also would not categorize the damage Snowden’s revelations have caused as “irreparable,” but was clear in condemning the former contractor.

Rogers further pledged that he would emphasize transparency and accountability if confirmed to lead the NSA.

“We have to ensure strict accountability on the part of the National Security Agency.” he said. “We have to make sure that we do in fact follow those processes appropriately and that when we make a mistake, if we fail to meet those requirements, that we're very upfront about the how and why.”

On Monday, Snowden appeared via video uplink at South by Southwest from Russia, where he has been granted temporary asylum.

In his remarks, he defended his actions, saying, “I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution. And I saw the Constitution was being violated on a massive scale.”

Snowden also turned the tables on current and former NSA directors Keith Alexander and Michael Hayden, who he said were the real enemies of security.

“[Alexander and Hayden] have harmed our Internet security and actually our national security,” said Snowden, “because so much of our country's economic success is based on our intellectual property. It's based on our ability to create, and share, and communicate, and compete.”

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soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Maxmilian Nemec

    Snowden did the right thing, for me, he is a hero

    March 24, 2014 at 1:04 pm | Reply
  2. j man

    Snowden is a cowardly traitor, who should be treated as such. If he really is the crusader he claims to be, will he speak out against Russian aggression in the crimea? Will he address human rights issues in Russia? This seems more serious than the NSA knowing that you like looking at online porn.

    March 19, 2014 at 11:22 am | Reply
    • D

      Since when is Russia our problem?? Our government can't even take care of our country yet you're worried about Russia? Why are we sending $3 Bil to Ukraine when we can't even feed or care for our own nation?

      March 21, 2014 at 12:53 pm | Reply
      • Robert A.

        It's not that you can't. It's that you won't.

        March 26, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
    • Disenchanted

      The British called S. Adams, G. Washington, B. Franklin, T. Jefferson and all the members of congress traitors and terrorist. Now you call Snowden a traitor, he is in good company. That kid through away a 5 figure income to expose NASA, he's the patorit! What kind of government listens to your phone calls, monitors the internet, keeps taps on your bank account and brings war on it's people? The US governemnet does, I should've joined the weathermen in the seventies, instead of the USAF. Had I known what my governement was was going to become, I WOULD HAVE!

      March 25, 2014 at 1:52 pm | Reply
  3. ladyjag

    Nomatte what most of you think this man is a traitor. Lets hope h stays in Russia, since relatons kind of tense, he n be in a bad postion. I think they should keep him. He is Traitor, not a whistle blower, if he was a whistle blower he would never have lleft US soil he knew he was wrong.

    March 18, 2014 at 12:32 pm | Reply
  4. Krthu Fsdfhjk

    Russian porn watcher above.

    March 17, 2014 at 12:33 pm | Reply
  5. jwhgcyugfr

    fd تحذير
    قد تكون مراقب
    هل تستخدم امريكا و اسرائيل الانترنت بمواقعه ( يوتيوب, فيس بوك, تويتر,غرف الشات..) للتجسس!
    warning you may be watched
    do usa & israel use the internet ( youtube, facebook, twitter, chat rooms,ect...)to collect informations,,,,can we call that spying ?do they record&analyse everything on the internet?
    they ask for ur name,age,gender,occupation,place of work,ur mobile number.............ect, can they harm you using these informations?!
    تحذير
    قد تكون مراقب
    هل تستخدم امريكا و اسرائيل الانترنت بمواقعه ( يوتيوب, فيس بوك, تويتر,غرف الشات..) للتجسس!
    warning you may be watched
    do usa & israel use the internet ( youtube, facebook, twitter, chat rooms,ect...)to collect informations,,,,can we call that spying ?do they record&analyse everything on the internet?
    why they ask for ur name,age,gender,occupation,place of work,ur mobile number.............ect, can they use these informations in a way that may harm you?!
    تحذير قد تكون مراقب
    هل تستخدم امريكا و اسرائيل الانترنت بمواقعه ( يوتيوب, فيس بوك, تويتر,غرف الشات..) للتجسس!
    warning you may be watched
    do usa & israel use the internet ( youtube, facebook, twitter, chat rooms,ect...)to collect informations,,,,can we call that spying ?do they record&analyse everything on the internet?
    they ask for ur name,age,gender,occupation,place of work,ur mobile number.............ect, can they harm you using these informations?!

    March 17, 2014 at 7:15 am | Reply
    • Ramonito Carro

      God is watching us anyway: His people with their IED are on their way to get us. So many of these people are in the Mosque and are pretending to be "peaceful" but are actually terrorist "sleepers".

      March 21, 2014 at 5:09 pm | Reply
  6. George Haley

    Vice Admiral Michael Rogers is quoted, saying Snowden caused "significant damage"....to whom? Perhaps damage to the rogue activities of the NSA.

    March 16, 2014 at 2:52 am | Reply
    • Bobert

      You don't understand how it could be damaging for all the countries that we've been spying on to know we've been spying on them and how we've been doing it?!

      March 16, 2014 at 3:34 am | Reply
  7. hmmm.....

    Snowden IS a traitor....he ran straight to the Chinese...when that failed, to Russia.

    Maximum he would have lost his job had he stayed, and perhaps a ban from jobs dealing with the gov..(big deal..)

    I find it funny hes had a wiki leaks advisor with him every step of the way.....was this all supposed to take pressure off Assange?

    March 15, 2014 at 4:17 pm | Reply
    • Bobert

      If he would have reporting the wrongdoing to the correct office, nothing would have happened to him and he would have been protected under the whistleblower protection act, but he instead went to a foreign country with information about the NSA's spying on the American people, but also legitimate spying on other countries, that is the definition of treason.

      March 16, 2014 at 3:37 am | Reply
      • Rich

        Since when did reporting wrongdoing in the government become Treason????? You guys sound like you would have turned Paul Revere in as a traitor. There was a reason Kennedy took away the powers of the CIA. They were corrupt and acting as if they were above the law.........we have the same type of people in those positions now......corrupt piles of manure that ought to be thrown in prison!

        March 16, 2014 at 4:57 pm |
    • Rich

      Snowden was the one person who finally did something about it. There were several people in higher positions in the NSA that attempted to follow protocol and did the whistleblowing by the book. Their computer equipment was confiscated by the FBI and their security clearances were revoked. Their careers were ended........because they attempted to do the right thing. Snowden knew what had happened to them.....and reacted accordingly. Where can you go when everything in your country is being censored????? I personally (and many other techies) knew about the whole SUPERCOMPUTER thing long before Snowden blew his horn. I was posting You-Tube videos about this waaaay back in 2008-2009.......when they first started their spying they were very incompetent.......and it was easy for a techie to figure out what was going on. The fool is not Snowden....the fool is YOU!

      March 16, 2014 at 4:47 pm | Reply
      • hmmm....

        Several others? who were they? ..... one or more would have gone to the media after failing to make headway.

        No....Snowden probably was a Wikileaks plant from the start.....he was certainly no Paul Revere.

        He ran to HK because Snowden and his handlers had thought they could get him a much better job there and drum up global sympathy for their leader in exile. this had Nothing to do with helping the American people...think about the information he leaked and who know how many people he compromised.

        March 19, 2014 at 2:21 pm |
    • Gop USa

      He deserves nothing but a rope and a tree to hang him with, he deserves a traitors death

      March 16, 2014 at 10:36 pm | Reply
      • JJJ88

        Then get one ready for James Clapper for lying to congress about spying on the american people. A fact that wasn't known until Snowden blew the whistle.

        March 16, 2014 at 11:09 pm |
    • Eric

      I read your comments and I say hey this guy sure has his head up his a**
      What are you naive or just stupid ?

      March 20, 2014 at 11:11 pm | Reply
  8. Chris Asking Questions

    but didn't President Obama and others in his administration call him a traitor? now an Obama nominee is saying he's not necessarily a traitor?

    March 15, 2014 at 8:12 am | Reply
    • Bobert

      No one actually said he might not be except the headline to this story. It's more of the media creating a news story.

      March 16, 2014 at 3:38 am | Reply
  9. Jkjgd Fghm

    you like cheesy taco

    March 12, 2014 at 3:53 pm | Reply
  10. smyth annony

    cnn, fox, msnbc, every major corporate network sold war via WMD's and all were proved fools, no that's not right, propagandists. The corporate pravda media won't allow truth, only war for profit propaganda. No wonder they want Snow'mans head, he exposes them all as liars for a cause, the cause of war, murder, death and bloodshed all for profit.

    March 12, 2014 at 3:26 pm | Reply
  11. Donald George MacDonald

    After the United States Revolutionary War ended in 1783, brave and patriotic citizens continued to serve in the military and bravely sacrificed their lives in 19 more wars. 19 more wars, all of which occurred in foreign countries with the exception of the War of 1812, and the Civil War and American Indian Wars when we turned our guns upon our own people.

    And in the U.S., we sit with our eyes blankly staring and with our mouths agape every 4th of July and say, "ooh and aah" as we again celebrate our “bombs bursting in air.”

    In the U.S., almost from birth we are taught to sing our National Anthem written, of course, about and during a war, the War of 1812.

    In the U.S., almost since birth we sing most loudly, always in unison and cheer as fighter jets perform low flybys.

    In the U.S., we sing about “the perilous fight” and “rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air.”

    In the U.S., our majority of citizens require or pressure even our youngest children to promise to obey our government which is after all, the same when we "Pledge Allegiance to the Flag.”

    March 12, 2014 at 9:23 am | Reply
    • Donald George MacDonald

      And the leaders of nations, movements and religions know that they need media compliance to help indoctrinate the malleable masses.

      And the media eagerly complies and parrots sensational indoctrination by the leaders to the malleable masses.

      And the media eagerly complies and parrots, knowing sensational indoctrination increases readership and profits.

      And the media complies and parrots the leaders’ sensational indoctrination, but the reasons for increasing media collusion and complicity with the leaders are far more sinister than mere compliance.

      And the sinister complicity and collusion between the media and leaders of nations, movements and religions have been orchestrated to further indoctrinate the malleable masses.

      And the complicity and collusion have been orchestrated to provide fears so the malleable masses self-justify and endorse our leaders' competing and expanding political influences and territories and economic power by using, or threatening to use, their modernizing military strength and invisible weapons.

      March 12, 2014 at 9:24 am | Reply
      • Donald George MacDonald

        And our majority of citizens only parrot to others that U.S. global military strength and expansionism and weapons productions and weapons sales will make us safer when instead the opposite is surely true.

        And even our most patriotic and brave soldiers will not be able to protect us from our foreign blunders.

        March 12, 2014 at 9:29 am |
    • smyth annony

      ratical(dot)org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.html#c1
      " CHAPTER ONE

      War Is A Racket

      WAR is a racket. It always has been.

      It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.

      A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.

      In the World War [I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows.

      How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?

      Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few - the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill. "

      March 12, 2014 at 3:15 pm | Reply
      • bitty31985

        Yes Bravo!! Proud to say Smedley Butler is from my home town :)

        March 14, 2014 at 2:36 am |
    • George Haley

      Pledging allegiance to the flag of the Republic is absolutely not the same as pledging to obey a government.

      March 24, 2014 at 12:51 pm | Reply
  12. PeaceMom

    Snowden became a criminal when he shared information with other countries. Period. Whatever good may come from his speaking out is moot because of that.

    March 12, 2014 at 5:35 am | Reply
    • Really

      What country he shared information with? You have no clue. He only shared the info to Media, News, Journalist

      March 12, 2014 at 1:11 pm | Reply
  13. worldlypatriotusaveteran

    Snowden has no policy-making experience, whatsoever.

    Snowden has never attended any training, formal or informal, regarding national security, intelligence operations, foreign affairs, or leadership.

    He has never held a position higher than computer analyst.

    Why would anyone listen to his recommendations regarding the national debate on national-security requirements and privacy?

    Oh, I forgot....Snowden is a fugitive felon who violated numerous laws regarding disclosure of classified information, theft of government property, and espionage. So, I guess that makes him a renown expert.

    March 11, 2014 at 7:17 pm | Reply
    • bitty31985

      Give our regards to your handlers at the NSA; disinformation magician

      March 14, 2014 at 2:37 am | Reply
    • growsome

      it takes guts, balls, brains, to do what Snowden did. And the majority of Americans agree with him, and are grateful that the National Secrecy Agency (NSA) has been exposed. Imagine where our privacy would be without his actions.

      March 14, 2014 at 4:38 pm | Reply
  14. Michelle

    Whether you agree with Snowden or not, there is no question that he has brought a lot of important discussions to the forefront that may have not been revealed outside of the security and tech community for some time. I am undecided myself but feel its better to be informed on what is being said so I tuned into the live stream from SXSW and we took note of the key takeaways from Snowden's side of the story: http://www.asecurelife.com/edward-snowden-speaks-at-sxsw-2014/

    March 11, 2014 at 6:29 pm | Reply

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