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Congressman: ‘Awarding the Pulitzer to Snowden Enablers Is a Disgrace’

Traitor or hero, the debate sparked by the former contractor's leaks has staying power on the Hill and into 2016.

Bridget Johnson


April 14, 2014 - 4:55 pm

WASHINGTON — Congress has left the District for the Passover and Easter break, with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) heading to Afghanistan and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) heading to President Obama’s home base of Chicago to promote school choice.

But today’s announcement of the 2014 Pulitzer Prizes stoked an old debate about whether a former NSA contractor who leaked details about the surveillance programs — among other leaks — is a traitor or a whistleblower. Today, he was the muse of award winners.

“Awarding the Pulitzer to Snowden enablers is a disgrace,” tweeted Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.).

The Guardian and the Washington Post shared the Public Service Pulitzer for the “revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, marked by authoritative and insightful reports that helped the public understand how the disclosures fit into the larger framework of national security” and “helping through aggressive reporting to spark a debate about the relationship between the government and the public over issues of security and privacy.”

The heads of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), have solidly put Snowden in the traitor category, but remained mum about the win.

Even Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a privacy advocate who tore into the White House after the revelations, reserved his felicitations for his hometown paper.

“Congratulations to @Oregonian’s editorial staff for their Pulitzer win!” Wyden tweeted. The paper won for editorial writing.

Other winners included the Boston Globe in the Breaking News Reporting Category “for its exhaustive and empathetic coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings and the ensuing manhunt that enveloped the city, using photography and a range of digital tools to capture the full impact of the tragedy,” Chris Hamby of the The Center for Public Integrity in Washington for Investigative Reporting on benefits denied to coal miners, and Eli Saslow of the Washington Post, who won the Explanatory Reporting prize for “his unsettling and nuanced reporting on the prevalence of food stamps in post-recession America, forcing readers to grapple with issues of poverty and dependency.”

Jason Szep and Andrew R.C. Marshall of Reuters won the International Reporting prize “for their courageous reports on the violent persecution of the Rohingya, a Muslim minority in Myanmar that, in efforts to flee the country, often falls victim to predatory human-trafficking networks.” Stephen Henderson of the Detroit Free Press won the Commentary prize, and the top editorial cartoonist was Kevin Siers of The Charlotte Observer.

The Breaking News Photography prize went to the stunning images captured by The New York Times‘ Tyler Hicks at the Westgate mall in Kenya as the bloody Al-Shabaab siege unfolded in September. Goran Tomasevic of Reuters, who was also shooting photos at the mall, was a finalist for his work on the ground in Syria.

Former Booz Allen Hamilton contractor Edward Snowden, though, praised the recipients of his leaks at the Guardian and Washington Post — including Glenn Greenwald, who has since left the Guardian to start an independent media site — as forging a better future for all.

“Today’s decision is a vindication for everyone who believes that the public has a role in government,” Snowden said in a statement. “We owe it to the efforts of the brave reporters and their colleagues who kept working in the face of extraordinary intimidation, including the forced destruction of journalistic materials, the inappropriate use of terrorism laws, and so many other means of pressure to get them to stop what the world now recognizes was work of vital public importance.”

“This decision reminds us that what no individual conscience can change, a free press can. My efforts would have been meaningless without the dedication, passion, and skill of these newspapers, and they have my gratitude and respect for their extraordinary service to our society. Their work has given us a better future and a more accountable democracy.”

The award comes just a few weeks after Rogers said that Snowden, who has been assured by Moscow that he doesn’t need to leave when his asylum year is up, is now believed to be working for his Russian hosts.

“I see all the intelligence and all the evidence from everything from his activities leading up to this event to very suspicious activity during the event,” the Intelligence chairman told NBC on March 23, adding that in considering if Snowden is engaging in espionage “when you talk to the folks who are doing the investigation, they cannot rule it out.”

“No counter-intelligence official in the United States does not believe that Mr. Snowden, the NSA contractor, is not under the influence of Russian intelligence services. We believe he is. I certainly believe he is today,” Rogers continued. “So now we all agree that he’s under the influence of Russian intelligence services today for the investigators, they need to figure out, when did that influence start and was he interested in cooperating earlier than the timeline would suggest. So you’re talking to a guy who stole information who is now in the arms of intelligence services saying, well, gosh, whatever you guys say is absurd. Only I can define the truth. That’s ridiculous on its face.”

“I do believe there’s more to this story. He is under the influence of Russian intelligence officials today. He’s actually supporting in an odd way this very activity of brazen brutality in expansionism of Russia. He needs to understand that. And I think Americans need to understand that. We need to put it in proper context.”

But the impact of Snowden’s revelations still reverberates across the Hill, and promises to emerge on the 2016 campaign trail, as well.

Lawmakers continue to pursue Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, asking Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate his false testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence last year.

Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Ted Poe (R-Texas), Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), and Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) asked Holder to open a probe in December, and Sensenbrenner noted to Holder this month that he hadn’t  even responded to the request.

“On March 12, 2013, Senator Ron Wyden asked Director Clapper, ‘Does the N.S.A. collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?’ Director Clapper answered ‘No, Sir.’ Wyden pressed, ‘It does not?’ Clapper replied, ‘There are cases where they could inadvertently perhaps collect, but not wittingly,’” Sensenbrenner wrote.

“Now declassified documents reveal that Director Clapper’s testimony was false, and further, that he knew it was false when it was offered. Congress is currently considering proposals regarding intelligence reform. In considering these proposals, we need assurances that we can adequately conduct oversight following new legislation. Congressional oversight, however, depends on truthful testimony. Intelligence officials cannot be permitted to lie with impunity.”

Paul is making the misdeeds of NSA surveillance a cornerstone of appearances, particularly with young people, that could pave his way for a presidential run.

The senator fired up crowds from CPAC to UC Berkeley last month. “I look into the eyes of senators and I think I see real fear,” he told the Berkeley crowd. “I think I perceive fear of an intelligence community drunk with power, unrepentant and uninclined to relinquish power.”

Over the weekend, he told reporters in early primary state New Hampshire that “we can’t have an intelligence community that can do whatever the hell they want.”

“I’ve not heard a peep from her about protecting privacy or civil liberties,” Paul added of potential 2016 Democratic contender Hillary Clinton. “Will she finally see that the American people are upset about this? Maybe, but she’ll be coming quite late to the scene and she’ll be part of an administration that had total disregard for the Fourth Amendment.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
government is waaaaaay out of control. liars telling lies about lies about targeting Americans, and apparently the only thing the ruling class can initiate and agree on is how wrong it was for an American who came across this info. to inform us about their corruption. that's about what one would expect from these lowlifes.

the country is boiling mad at this crew of commies, forgers, thieves, and gosh only knows what else. the little halfwit vermin kenyan finally has his army he was wanting to enforce his agenda, as he stated in his initial campaign. fed hiring of obamabots is off the charts. appointments of like minded traitors to high gov. offices is at unbelievable levels. when his planned cleansing transformation comes, let's be sure we do a thorough job of finishing it, and ridding our country of ALL these traitors and useful idiots. leave none to plague our descendants. it may well turn out to be the greatest thing any Patriot could ever do for their country.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
And it would not surprise me in the least if the N-Stasi-A was lending a helping hand to those BLM Brownshirts serving Dirty Harry in Nevada by peeping at Dirty Harry's opposition's phone calls, emails and credit card purchases.

Either the NSA dies or America dies.

"In the end their can be only one".

Government Under Obama
Politicized and Weaponized
Agency By Agency
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Congressman: ‘Awarding the Pulitzer to Snowden Enablers Is a Disgrace’

Congressman, and I don't care who you are, you are a disgrace. Exposing what the NSA has been doing, or at least some part of it, which is to treat every American like he or she is guilty of being a national security threat until never proven innocent, is a tremendous story whether Snowden be devil or angel, or somewhere in between.

Now as to Snowden himself, he helped to bring to the attention of the American people, and the rest of the world, that the NSA is like the East German Stasi on high tech crack. The Founding Fathers, to a man, would consider the N-Stasi-A to be even far more abhorable than even King George, whom they fought a long and bloody war against. And it's not like those overpaid bureaucrat dullards stop any terrorism anyway for all the billions, probably tens of billions, the N-Stasi-A eats up every year.

Obama has already politicized and weaponized quite a number of federal government agencies and anyone who thinks the NSA is immune from that is not in touch with reality.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (26)
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And, the Pulitzer goes to a Spy!

It is hard to imagine that the Pulitzer Prize went to a genocide obscurantist, but Zaryckji explained that Roosevelt had made it known that his administration would normalize relations with Soviet Russia. The infiltration of Roosevelt’s so-called “Brain Trust” by Stalinist agents is recorded in thousands of declassified documents and subsequent scholarship. Famously described by Whittaker Chambers in his thrilling autobiography, Witness, high level officials, such as Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Harry Dexter White, and senior diplomat Alger Hiss, actively manipulated Washington’s actions towards the Soviet Union, to the benefit of Stalin. For his whitewashing of Stalin’s famine, for his treachery, Duranty was among the most popular journalists in the time of the New Deal.

As explained by Kincaid, the Snowden “revelations” have already caused irreparable harm to the national security interest of the United States. For example, American military officials were caught off guard by the buildup of Russian armed forces at the Ukrainian border. It seems the Russian military has made good use of Snowden’s information, and leveraged it to invade a sovereign country. Until the intelligence holes are identified and secured, it is likely that Russia will continue to hide their military maneuvers, and also know what NATO will do before they actually do it.

In July, this blog noted several obvious tipoffs that Snowden was not merely acting out of a concern for privacy. Among them was an analysis of the countries offering Snowden political asylum, which have strong political and economic interests relating to the FARC, a cocaine-funded terrorist group/political party that was founded with the assistance of the Soviets in the 1960s; and the fact that Russian spy Anna Chapman had tweeted that she wanted to marry Snowden.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
“Awarding the Pulitzer to Snowden enablers is a disgrace,” tweeted Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.)."

Peter King has been very good about investigating and speaking out about Islamic terrorism while a lot of his fellow Congresscritters seem more comfortable looking the other way.

But I don't share his indignation here.

While awarding a Pulitzer for publishing Snowden's revelations does seem a little over the top, how might we otherwise have learned of intelligence agencies' egregious abuse of power ?

And that the Director of Nat'l Intelligence, James Clapper, apparently had no problem lying about it to Congress ? (reportedly, members of Congress interrogating Clapper knew he was lying in public testimony and said nothing at the time)

45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Simple fact is this. The NSA or government has no right to monitor phone calls regardless of reason any more than a police officer has the right to randomly search houses. And our federal court system is now corrupt so it is not up to us to wait politely for our rights to be given back. This is no different than the illegal search and seizure the British used to engage in. Illegal as in against the natural rights of man.
There is something called probable cause. If the government thinks someone is a terrorist or linked to then get a warrant explaining why. Just like a police officer can use probable cause—ie he smelled like weed out of his mouth so I searched his vehicle. You can’t just randomly search or monitor at the government’s whim. And by the way thanks a lot Bush for starting this whole invasion with the Patriot Act.
As I have written, we are becoming accustomed to losing our freedom due to apathy. America has not had a real problem since WW II. Not on a tyrannical type scale. We are too interested in reality TV and Fantasy Football. We have become too fat from the Whopper to run for freedom. Many in America just don’t care. Half of the youth can’t even name the Vice President.
And when you have a nation like that it will be very easy to implement tyranny. As long as there is vodka and a shack nearby. Because it happened before when there was the shack and vodka. And our genetic makeup isn’t any different than a Russian’s.

Charles Hurst. Author of THE SECOND FALL. An offbeat story of Armageddon. And creator of THE RUNNINGWOLF EZINE
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
I have no idea what Snowden's politics are or his intentions BUT what he did revealed just how despotic our government has become. As much as I would love to put this all on the Obamanation, government spying on American patriots precedes him by decades, Snowden put the spotlight on it.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Snowden did what was right. Think what you may, but he opened up the can of worms exposing the spies and alerting Americans.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
This award merely indicates the crass politicization of this Pulitzer committee and the political leanings of its members. The names and street addresses of this Pulitzer committee should be published; they already are part of their local telephone company and its publicly available records and its routine billing information; by extension their Internet addresses are already available

Together they should be indicted by our Justice Department [good luck with getting that past that Holder bottleneck...] as being complicit in National treason.

The Pulitzer prize committee members are preaching to the attached choir of the Washington Post and the New York Times. The archly smug Brits, of course will have to answer for their own "Guardian" newspaper. [Wot a name!]

A Pulitzer awarded for the likes of a Snowden in this current time of our war with Muslims indicates our World being turned upside down.

There is no Shame.

45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
It is an absolute disgrace. We've awarded the highest journalistic award to a spy and his accomplices. How any conservative doesn't view this with disgust is actually frightening. For decades, the Left has defended Alger Hiss, despite mountains of evidence accumulated against him. The Pulitzer committee also awarded the prize to a Stalin apologist, Walter Duranty, who covered up the Ukrainian forced famine, which killed more than 7 million from 1932-33.
Conservatives should not let their hatred of Obama blind them to a very serious situation that has developed in Russia over the last 2 decades. The Soviet infiltration of the New Deal has a counterpart in the Russian nationalist infiltration into the Libertarian movement today.
Don't be fooled by propaganda. Snowden is a traitor, and deserves to be treated like one.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
It may be a disgrace, but it is far from absolute. Who's doing more harm to America: Snowden or the libs who will inundate America with the Third World?

What about libs who've institutionalized a free-fire zone of unchallenged bigotry against whites, men, straights and Christians while forbidding even a hint of criticism against anyone else?

Who bombed Detroit? The Russians, or phantom B-17s that strayed off course from Europe a half-century later?

What harm has race and gender quotas done to America?

What is the agenda of the Congressional Asian/Pacific, black, and Hispanic tri-caucuses? Happiness for all? Or racial advocacy and supremacy?

How much Federal funding does La Raza take in each year? 15 million? 20? Happiness for all? Or the demographic subversion of America?

Frankly, Snowden's a rank amateur when it comes to the suicide cult institutionalized within America.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment

That is an accurate assessment. It's indeed a National disgrace. Our sad problem we face today is that most people who remember those Soviet and Japanese subversive events of the 1930's and onward...specifically Alger Hiss and the Soviet penetrated Department of State....are dead. And, those writing for today's public simply haven't a clue about the wartime fervor of 1942. [...1942?...why?....whut's this "ferver"?]

The attention spans of most news reporters [they're calling themselves "journalists" is just too precious] today don't reach much beyond the Twitter-Tweet range and what can be instantly brought up via the Internet and Google.

We need more of the ilk of Barbara Tuchman and George Kennan. [Who?...]

If it ain't Tweetable, then 'it ain't relevant, man". Must be all "multi-culti, man...gotta joint, man?"

All indescribably sad.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
A bunch of intellectual illiterates masquerading as elites. If someone cut the cord of their teleprompters, they'd be seen by the world as what they are -- clueless.
Amazingly I'm familiar with Tuchmann and Kennan, though in no great detail.
Nothing is put in perspective anymore. Journalism is supposed to put things in context, historical, economic, etc. I don't think these clowns have that background. They're maleducated, and cannot come to any decent conclusions.
To think that William L. Shirer, CBS correspondent, wrote what is still considered to be the classic treatment of the Third Reich, is remarkable. I don't think that many journalists working today could write something close to that authoritative, on Russia, Afghanistan, Syria etc. It would be politically correct rabble, unable to distinguish between friend and foe, and not have a clue about religious or cultural thoughts that contribute to these crises.
Sad? Yes, it is sad. It also pisses me off, which is why I try, in my own (very) little way, to set the record straight, through research and relating history to current events.
What does journalism school teach today? That Alger Hiss was innocent. Sign the paper, get a diploma. Sell your soul and you can work for CNN.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
If the Congressman had done a better job in exercising Congressional oversight on the Executive Branch, reining in rogue agencies, the NSA, the IRS, then Snowden would have nothing to disclose.

Congress is a disgrace, is guilty of dereliction of duty, is guilty of violating the citizens' Constitutional rights.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hero for whistle-blowing the NSA's sinister ploys to spy on us, the US citizens, violating our Constitutional rights.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hey c'mon Pete. It's not like Snowden went to Northern Ireland to support IRA terrorists or anything.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
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