back to article Obama says US won't scramble jets or twist arms for Snowden

NSA whistleblower Ed Snowden can fly the friendly skies all he likes, President Obama has said, since the US won't send out jets to intercept his flight or engage in diplomatic arm twisting over extradition. "I'm not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker," Obama said at a press conference during an official …


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  1. alain williams Silver badge

    Lull into false sense of security

    Look at how hard they chased Gary McKinnon, someone who did them very little damage; other than showing than exposing USA sysadmin incompetence by not changing default passwords.

    If I were Snowden I would remain on my toes.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lull into false sense of security

      Gary Mcinnon deliberately trashed servers, issuing recursive delete commands, hardly the "just looking for aliens" he claims and certainly not "doing no damage".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Lull into false sense of security

        Oh no he didn't !

        (go on, respond with the obvious - I dare you...)

    2. LarsG

      One dark night

      He will be walking from a bar to his apartment in Ecuador, he will hear a brief crunch of gravel.....

      He wakes up to find himself in an unfamiliar hotel room, there is a knock on the door.

      He opens to do to be confronted by two rather large police officers.

      'Good Morning Mr Snowden, welcome to Florida, please come with us, we have a few questions we need to ask you.'

      Statement regarding his capture, 'Acting on annoymous information that Mr Snowden had returned to the US we attended.....'

      1. JeffyPoooh

        Re: One dark night

        Almost perfect.

        Except "...we attended....." sounds very 'UK Bobby-speak' to me.

        1. Blitterbug

          Re: sounds very 'UK Bobby-speak' to me.

          Yep. Though I liked "annoymous"

  2. Ian 3


    $70,000 per hour and a one month rebuild *every* 300 hours flying time? Lockheed really saw them coming didn't they.

    1. Steve Knox

      Re: Blimey...

      Bear in mind that for this particular jet, 300 hours flying time can add up to roughly 400,000 miles.

    2. We're all in it together

      Re: Blimey...

      Do Lockheed own Warranty Direct?

    3. Anomalous Cowshed

      Re: Blimey...

      Cor, these prices are incredible, you are right! For 1 hour in the air in an F-22, a family of 5 can live for a year comfortably - very comfortably, with money to spare - in a nice house somewhere not at all crummy. To buy and run toys like this F-22, you need to have a massive country, with millions of minions living there whom you can milk for taxes. Then you can then run your F22s AND have an NSA to keep tabs on the taxpayers and make sure they continue to behave properly, or else...or else "the terrorists will get them".

      1. 0_Flybert_0

        Re: Blimey...

        however .. the F-22 at the Miramar Air Show last October was AWESOME

        probably China .. and definitely Russia has images of young Snowdon's HDDs and .. errr .. *acquired* the keys by now ..

        WTF was he thinking ? .. "I'll just go to ret. KGB Col. Putin .. he'll ensure my safe passage !"

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Blimey...

          >A single hour of flight in an F-22 costs $68,362 and the aircraft requires a month's rebuilding after 300 hours in the air. Curse you, Congress!

          Yeah, but wouldn't any time an F-22 spent 'escorting' a passenger jet be time that pilots would otherwise spend in training? Also, I would imagine that an F-22 is overkill for such a task- surely there is a cheaper, slower (but still fast enough) 'plane for the job?

          1. Andrew Newstead

            Re: Blimey...

            Yes, most of the US air defence requirement is handled by F16's, and if they feel like projecting a bit more force they also have F15C's. Both are mature aircraft and should be cheaper to run than the F22 (esp. the F16).

    4. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Blimey...

      And your point is? Mig 31 when it came out needed major overhaul after a tenth of that. Su 27 was not any better either. Series of upgrades and improvements have upped its numbers but not by much. This is the reality of military jet aircraft - the technology is pushed to the limit.

      As far as overhaul as a part of strategy - german tanks in WW2 needed normal (even by todays standards) maintenance intervals. Compare that to T34 which needed new tracks after 300 km off-road, 500 km on-road, needed all of its fluids changed atfer 500km as well as a major service to top it up. So who won at the end?

      1. Blitterbug

        Re: And your point is?

        ...something along the lines of dodgy social justice and misaligned priorities?

    5. James Micallef Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Blimey...

      Modern cars have recommended service intervals of approx 10,000 km, which even driving at an average 100 km/h is a service every 100 hours. Of course the manufacturer's "recommended service intervals" are more frequent than is strictly necessary, just as I would think that Lockheed's recommendation of a one month rebuild *every* 300 hours flying time is more than strictly necessary.

      Also, yes it's a rebuild rather than changing oil / spark plugs / filters, but then again it's (a) an airplane, so safety / reliability limits are a lot tighter than for a car (b) it's a military airplane so their safety / reliability limits will probably be even tighter than for civil aircraft * (c) it's a bleeding-edge high-performance machine, not your run-of-the-mill jet, it *purposely* sacrifices longevity for performance. Formula 1 cars replace their engines completely after 4 or 5 races, even including practice sessions and qualifying that's not more than 3000km, or approximately 15 hours running time.

      I think 300 hours for a high-performance warplane is pretty OK.

      * Any commentard** out there who knows anything about service / replacement schedules for commercial airliners' engines?

      ** with affection, of course :)

      1. KjetilS

        Re: Blimey...

        10,000 km service intervals on a modern car? wtf are you driving? mine has 30,000km or every two years, and I believe that is fairly typical. Also, the usual average speed is closer to 50 km/h than 100, so by that math, mine needs as service after around 600 hours of driving.

  3. rcorrect
    Thumb Up

    I absolutely detest Obama...

    ...however I agree with his statement, assuming it proves to be true. Wouldn't be the first time a politician lied but I will give him the benefit of doubt. Twisting another country's arm or scrambling some jets is just overkill. Please don't tell my friends that I complimented Obama.

    1. Martin 71

      Re: I absolutely detest Obama...

      Oddly I usually support him, but in this he's being a prat. Maybe we should form a team?

  4. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Misplaced confidence

    "But Obama told the press that he was confident that the surveillance programs were conducted properly under the law and with full judicial oversight."

    So is Obama gullible, is he lying, or is he making those "not technically a lie" statements? I think #3, he is creating phrases that sound like they mean something they don't. I'm glad I didn't vote for Obama.

    1) The programs were not and are not being conducted properly. I suppose by his definition, "conducted properly" just means the equipment is not malfunctioning?

    2) "Under the law" apparently doesn't mean legal. The NSA did submit their nonsensical legal arguments to FISA several years back, *AND FISA REJECTED THEM*. These programs are being conducted illegally and unconstitutionally.

    3) They have juducial oversight, but there is no judicial control -- the FISA judges overseeing these programs have already said the NSAs proposals several years back were illegal, and the NSA went ahead and did them anyway.

    1. T. F. M. Reader

      Re: Misplaced confidence

      I am not sure that I know what FISA rulings you refer to by your #2 and #3, but I'll offer

      4) It does not really matter if it is legal or whether there is (high level) oversight. Everything that, say, the late USSR did to its citizens back in the 20th century was legal according to their laws. Same was most likely true for East Germany and for NORKs and or South Africa, and for China, and feel free to add your own examples. If such massive surveillance is consistent with the current laws the laws should be changed - the society will be healthier as a result.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Matt Piechota


    Even my non-techie wife said to me this morning, "did anyone think the NSA wasn't doing this?". I get that "public proof" is a big deal, but I just kinda figured the Chinese are trying to hack the US, the US is trying to hack the Chinese, and both are keeping tabs on traffic on their networks.

  6. NukEvil

    Wait a minute...

    First, he's a leaker, now he's a hacker? Did I miss when some huge revelation came up that said that Snowden had hacked his way into systems he should have not have had access to? I was under the impression that he had access to systems he probably shouldn't have had access to, due to poor oversight, not due to hacking skillz.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      That's probably part of Obama's latest political move; trying to make the word "hacker" to sound as negative as possible. Then, when he can eventually announce "We got the hacker" he probably expects everyone to be cheering again.

    2. BillG
      Big Brother

      Re: Wait a minute...

      "Hacker" is a word used by the U.S. Justice Department when they want us to be afraid of someone who used a computer to do something they don't like, and might otherwise not seem intimidating. For example, if you changed the wallpaper on your boss's computer without his approval, he will tell his computer-illiterate superiors you hacked his computer (true story).

      Also, when any Democrat says "Inspire a healthy debate" what they really means is "Hey, doing the right thing is too unpopular, so I'm not going to do anything in the hopes everyone will forget about it" (also see "punt")

      1. peter 45
        IT Angle

        Master hacker me

        After I changed my own wallpaper on the company laptop, my (very) computer illiterate boss started telling everyone i was a hacker. Worst bit was that everyone started coming to me with their IT problems and expected me to fix the photocopier.

        1. Tom 11

          Re: Master hacker me @Peter 45

          Damn, so you had to do some work then? It's OK mate, we all try to pretend we're not sys admin, but the fact we're here reading el reg is implausible deniability

    3. Frederic Bloggs

      Re: Wait a minute...

      He is a "hacker" because it changes the narrative away from the connotations of the word "leaker". "Hacking" is evil. "Leaking" information means that what he says might be (gasp) true?

      Do you suppose Obama is taking advice from the UK spinmeisters?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wait a minute...

        "Do you suppose Obama is taking advice from the UK spinmeisters?"

        Let me rephrase that for you.

        "Do you suppose Obama ever speaks a single word (even to his own family) that hasn't been painstakingly crafted by the US spinmeisters?"

      2. mhenriday

        Re: Wait a minute...

        No, Frederic, Mr Obama probably doesn't require the service of UK spinmeisters (not that they would necessarily be rejected - what's a «special relationship» for, if not to help each other bug and bugger the rest of the world ? - modern PR grew up in the good old US of A under the tender mentorship of an Austrian, who, along with his parents, emigrated to that country at the tender age of one year, i e, one Edward Louis Bernays....

        In the US, bullshit both talks and walks (and snoops and bombs and ...)


        1. BillG

          Re: Wait a minute...

          modern PR grew up in the good old US of A

          No, PR grew up in the Roman Empire as a way to placate the Rome's mob. Tell them what they want to hear and they will stay clam and vote for you.

          Fast forward to the British Empire, PR Mark II

          Great Britain under Tony Blair, created PR Mark III, the Modern PR

          United States under Bill "is that my cigar" Clinton created PR Mark IV

          United States and Barack "it's not my fault" Obama created PR Mark IV, V, and VI

          And now please direct your attention to China...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wait a minute...

      'He's just a 29 year-old hacker'

      No, that's what he USED to be - when he worked for the NSA. Now he's a conscientious whistleblower, alerting citizens to ways in which their own government has been illegally violating the privacy they (perhaps foolishly) thought they enjoyed.

  7. h3

    I think if you are asking someone else to do something to you then you should at an absolute minimum not be doing the same thing yourself to them or anyone else. (At least when you are implying that is a decent and civilised way to behave).

    Everything China is doing now was done by America against the UK in the early part of its existence.

  8. Graham Marsden

    "part of an international community and they should be abiding by international law"

    Paging Mr Pott and Mr Kettle-Black...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "part of an international community and they should be abiding by international law"

      What's our Trevor got to with it?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "part of an international community and they should be abiding by international law"

      Current international law on the subject is based on Human rights and freedoms as formulated in section 7 of the Helsinki declaration of 1975 (the predecessor of Eu charter of human rights, etc).

      At the time Brezhnev, Cheushesku, etc all signed it (grudgingly) and after that pulled back on section 7 claiming it to be burgeouasie drivel and propaganda. In the following 25 years people suffered and died for these rights.

      Could all the people killed by Securitate and Stazi for these idealistic ideas suppose at the time that Brezhnev, Suslov, Kadar, etc were all actually right?

      It is all drivel and propaganda. I do not know which circle of hell do the gerontocrats reside nowdays, but one thing I know for sure - they are giggling madly at the moment.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How about a little 'Extraordinary-Rendition' then ....?

    Whatever about spying and Prism.....Extraordinary Rendition is an horrific crime against human rights! CIA agents are still wanted in Italy et al to answer for those crimes!

  10. ahitagni

    I wonder how much truth is in it.....may be its just being said so that he can deny responsibility if something happens to Snowden. Or he will just send a drone.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      its a back pedal due to the published incompetence of the HK extradition request vs the John Kerry "diplomatic consequences for people hiding him" rant that he foolishly was allowed to televise. John Kerry gets high and mighty whilst the reality is the US tried to roughshod over other peoples laws and statutes then got bitchy and stompy when they wouldnt comply until they filled in the paperwork correctly.

      In the same was you leave Assange on the sofa, Snowdens chances of getting to Ecuador around US airspace is pretty slim. Once in US airspace they simply request the civil airline to land. Get snowden off and send the plane on its way again. Much simpler than banging diplomatic drums.

  11. Eddy Ito


    What he says: "I'm not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker"

    What he means: "I have many scapegoat minions ready and willing to scramble jets to get the little bugger who embarrassed my administration and questioned my authority."

    What he says: "I'm not going to have one case with a suspect who we're trying to extradite suddenly be elevated to the point where I've got to start doing wheeling and dealing..."

    What he means: "John Kerry, clean up in aisle 8 please, John Kerry, clean up in aisle 8."

    What he says: "I'm sure there will be a made-for-TV movie somewhere down the line."

    What he means: "Do you think they'll be able to get Will Smith or Denzel to play me?"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Quite frankly I think the real issue here is media coverage. So I would translate that first sentence into: "I'm not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker, as long as the media is hot on his trail".

    2. Tom 35

      Re: Translation


      We don't have to, our "friends" already have him.

    3. chris lively

      Re: Translation

      Will smith already starred in the movie 15 years ago. It's a little late although you have to wonder if Enemy of the State was one of the DVDs Obama gave to the British prime minister when he got into office....

    4. veti Silver badge

      Re: Translation

      No, he means exactly what he says. There's just no point in chasing Snowden down. It's not like there's anything more you can prevent him from leaking.

      The only interest the bureaucrats have in Snowden at this point is as an example to others. In that respect, they want to make him as uncomfortable as reasonably possible, and I'm pretty sure that objective has already been achieved. He's not like Kim Dotcom, who lives in extravagant luxury on his dubiously acquired millions - Snowden is begging support from dubious governments who might at any moment decide to stop giving it, and he can never go home again.

      1. Mad Mike

        Re: Translation

        I disagree. This is all about getting him back. When you embarrass a politician, logic, reason and sense go out the window. All they care about is revenge, no matter how over the top. An embarrassed politician is very dangerous.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Translation

        "Snowden is begging support from dubious governments who might at any moment decide to stop giving it, and he can never go home again."

        That's right. He can't ever go home again - at least not until a majority of US voters are honest, decent people like Snowden. Oh, and until the wishes of a majority of voters have some influence on US government policy (which I suspect would be a lot longer).

    5. breakfast

      Re: Translation

      I guess the first statement means he knows that Snowden isn't a hacker and he knows he's 30.

      A 30 year old whistleblower? Totally scrambling jets.

  12. TheUglyAmerican

    I doubt they would scramble F-22's to intercept. The aged F-15 would be more than sufficient.

    1. Aldous

      Until it breaks in half!

      Likely an F16. Between $5k- 27k /hour on those so a bargain!

  13. Edward Snowden

    Nah nah nah!!!


    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: Nah nah nah!!!

      How come this user (just registered and with only one post) has a bronze badge?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nah nah nah!!!

        Kinda obvious isn't it?

        It's because he's a 'hacker'.


      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nah nah nah!!!

        It appears that the NSA has hacked into El Reg and removed Mr Snowden's bronze badge.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ...soon he'll just be a dead 29 year hacker casue the only good hacker is a dead hacker.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hopefully...


      He's 30 now.

  15. Kit-Fox

    Irony isnt much understood in the US is it ?

    1 - Not a Hacker, not a Cracker, not even a script kiddie. Snowden bloody well had at the time perfectly legal access to the systems he was using & we can only assume in his capacity as a 'systesm administrator' that he also had legal access to the data too.

    2 - But he claimed that he hadn't personally spoken to Russian President Vladimir Putin or Chinese President Xi Jinping about Snowden, saying he "shouldn't have to." - Yes Obama, you shouldnt have to call them, just like they shouldnt have to call you & tell you not to spy on thier private citizen 'net usage. Spying on the security services/government of foreign nation is one thing, spying and recording as much as you can about every nations private citizens 'net usage is another

    3 - any other government considering giving Snowden refuge to "recognize that they are a part of an international community and they should be abiding by international law," - Yes of course Obama, does that mean you also have to recognise the the USA lives in an internation community as well ?? If I were you Obama, I wouldnt be throwing the first stone, those who live in glass houses & all that :P

    oh well

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: Irony isnt much understood in the US is it ?

      I thought the stuff he published was above his paygrade?

  16. ma1010

    I’m pretty old now, and I must say the world has changed a lot, and not totally for the better. I’m an American, and when I was a kid, guys were always fleeing from the Communist regime in Russia or China and coming to America where they were safe and able to speak freely and reveal the horrible things the Russian or Chinese government was up to.

    Today, people are fleeing America for the crime of revealing the horrible things the American government is up to and seeking safety in China, Russia or South America.

    What’s gone wrong with my country?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      re: What’s gone wrong with my country?

      At least you started with Ben Franklin and honorable intentions

      We started worse than we are now and need the Germans to force us to obey a human rights act - and half our 'leaders' are campaigning to get out of that

    2. veti Silver badge

      For an answer to that question, I refer you to Isaiah Berlin's seminal lecture on 'Two Concepts of Liberty' (1958).

      America's grasp on the distinction between 'positive' and 'negative' liberty was never that strong (Joe McCarthy was a big exponent of 'positive liberty' in his day), but - speaking as an outside observer, y'understand - I think the stage where this point was abandoned completely was sometime during the Reagan administration. And no president since then has said or done anything to suggest that they understand the distinction at all.

    3. Mick Stranahan
      Thumb Up

      What’s gone wrong with my country?

      If you find out please let us know in the UK - the same thing seems to have gone pear shaped here.

    4. Charles Manning

      I call the NRA's bluff

      OK, I **like** guns and all - I have some myself, but I call the NRA's bluff that Americans need their guns to protect Liberty from a tyrranical government.

      If the Americans really need, and would use, their guns to protect liberty then why have they not done so yet? They do **nothing** - let alone present arms - to protect liberty.

      The second amendment is not there for hunters, nor for weekend rambos or gun collectors - it is there for one purpose only - protecting Liberty. Yet so long as you let the NRA have their guns they keep quiet and don't actually use them for what the second ammendment intended.

      Or put another way, the purpose of the second amendment is to arm the citizenry specifically for the protection of Liberty - all liberty - not just the libery to own a firearm. When the NRA only bleats about the right to bear guns they are missing the whole point of the second amendment.

      So I ask the question. How much further does Liberty have to slide before the Second Amendment proponents actually use those arms in a way they are supposed to be used.

      I call their bluff. So long as they get to keep their guns they will do Sweet Fuck All. Might as well just have spiked guns like civil war re-enactors.

      If you use the second amendment as an excuse to collect guns, but then renege on the obligation to protect liberty then you are being morally fraudulent.

      It saddens me that I made almost the identical post during Bush's first term in office and things have only become worse since then.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I call the NRA's bluff

        "...I call the NRA's bluff that Americans need their guns to protect Liberty from a tyrannical government."

        Actually, their main failing is that they are so dreadfully old-fashioned. When the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were written, most thinking people believed that the main threat to freedom came from governments taking away rights and repressing citizens by outright force. So, if the US federal government were to march an army around the USA trying to subjugate everyone, an armed citizenry would be an admirable defence against that. They could hide behind trees and shoot the soldiers in the back, just as they had recently done to the British.

        What the NRA, and others who support the right to bear arms, have overlooked is that there is more than one way to skin a cat. Dictatorship through open violence was tried in the 1930s, and to a decreasing extent the rest of the 20th century. But Goebbels, the Soviets, and others soon realised that the techniques of the US PR and marketing industries ("Madison Avenue") could be used to great effect to lull citizens into a sense of false security. They could even be persuaded to vote for their own enslavement! Guns are no defence against that kind of subtlety.

        Today, as a result, the US federal government has the most powerful armed forces the world has ever seen - utterly dwarfing those at the disposal of Hitler, for instance - and few American citizens have ever noticed that this drives a coach and horses through the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Why would they, when they are "served" by a Supreme Court that decides that political cash contributions are "free speech", and that corporations are people, with all of the rights of people but virtually none of the duties? Citizens are still allowed to have weapons, but only those who are clinically insane would try to use them to fight the federal government. After all, before you even start thinking about the army, the marines, the air force, the navy, and the national guard, Homeland Security alone has enough bullets to shoot every single American several times.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    "I'm not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker"

    But then when they DO scramble jets to get Snowden, Obama can come back and say truthfully A) "he's 30, not 29" and B) "Edward Snowden is not a hacker". Well played, Mr. quasi-fascist President, well played!

    (Frickin' government! It's almost enough to get me running down the street screaming about the arrival of the Lizard-men. The government doesn't have any Lizard-men, do they?)

    1. Fink-Nottle

      Re: "I'm not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker"

      He's probably right. Doesn't the separation of powers mean that a command to scramble jets would be a consequence of a Judicial decision rather than an Executive decision?

      1. Charles Manning

        Judicial vs Executive

        As Commander In Chief of the armed forces, Obama has the right - and the duty - to act if there are reasonable grounds to beieve the safety of the USA or its people are in danger. No Judicial oversight needed.

        In this case, it could be argued that state security has been placed at risk and that risk is being made worse the longer Snowden is at large.

    2. Captain DaFt

      Re: "I'm not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker"

      " The government doesn't have any Lizard-men, do they? "

      If you mean reptile-like aliens from outer space, or the bowels of the Earth, or an alternate dimension, or where ever the loonies claim they're from this week, then no.

      If you mean psychopaths with the empathy and feelings of a cold blooded lizard, Bad news; All the governments and most coporations are full of'em!

      1. Anonymous Coward

        "Bad news; All the governments and most coporations are full of'em!"

        Aaaaauuuuugggggghhhhhh!! Lizard-men!!! Lizard-men!!!! THEY'RE HERE!!!!!!!! AAAAAAAUUUUUUGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        (Mine is the white coat with the wrap-around sleeves......)

        1. A J

          Re: "Bad news; All the governments and most coporations are full of'em!"

          It is well known that David Cameron is a lizard.

          1. yakitoo

            Re: "Bad news; All the governments and most coporations are full of'em!"

            That is not really fair on lizards.

            1. Danny 14 Silver badge

              Re: "Bad news; All the governments and most coporations are full of'em!"

              arent the lizards stealing our water?

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: empathy and feelings of a cold blooded lizard

        That's a very hurtful thing to say.

        Just because some of choose to be environmentally sensitive and use the sun's heat to naturally warm our bodies - rather than waste 90% of our food trying to heat our surroundings to 37C all you mammals get all superior

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: empathy and feelings of a cold blooded lizard

          Reminds me of one of those great Far Side cartoons. The one with a courtroom scene, and the crocodile/alligator standing up in the dock replying to the prosecutor (with a noticeably cross expression), "Of course I did it in cold blood, you fool! I'm a reptile!"

    3. Eddy Ito

      Re: "I'm not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker"

      Have you folks learned nothing from the "capture" of Bin Laden? Obama doesn't scramble jets, he's more the helicopter assault type.

    4. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: "I'm not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker"

      Of course not. Seal Team 6 uses Black Hawks with hush kits.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm not going to be scrambling jets

    "The President was true to his word, as the aircraft passenger carrying the 29 year old hacker has been forced down by the US jets, routinely patrolling this area..."

  19. Mitoo Bobsworth

    Isn't it wonderous

    How the media focus of this event has been shifted from the issue of real concern, i.e. the content of the NSA documentation.


    Props to the messenger Snowden for some genuinely courageous actions, but more focus on the message would be appropriate now.

    1. mhenriday

      Re: Isn't it wonderous

      Not wondrous at all, alas, but the name of the game - damage control - from the very beginning. Consider how discussion of the WikiLeaks revelations turned into a discussion of how often Julian Assange changed his socks. That's the way PR is done when it's done by professionals....


  20. mIRCat
    Black Helicopters

    Trust no Juan.

    I like what I hear, but experience has taught me that Mr. Obama is still just a politician.

    Be careful who you trust.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    > "I'm not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker,"

    Thank f*ck for that.

    The fact that he even thought that this was on the table sufficiently to mention it, scares the hell out of me.

    He might have been joking, he might not have been.

    Just sayin'.

    1. g e


      Is the scariest word in the world.

      Roughly translated it means 'We sure do got some biiig guns an we is a-comin fo ya, right or wrong' or possibly 'we goan be a-havin us a lynchin party yeah!'

      Yes, that really is how the rest of the world thinks of the USA as a nation.

  22. chris lively


    Basically, the US has been publicly humiliated in trying to nab Snowden. Certain senators have made public statements that have made life difficult for the state department.

    The only thing they can do is back peddle. By calling him a hacker, they are trying to publicly down grade the situation so that his continued ability to elude the NSA/CIA is no more newsworthy than catching another member of Anonymous. Don't think for a moment that there isn't a bullet ( probably many ) with his name on it.

    The US needs to get this out of the press as soon as possible so that they can focus more clandestine resources on him. As it stands, State is going to have a tough time negotiating with the Chinese and Russians on anything for awhile.

    I expect a few things to happen. First, it's going to be awhile before we hear about any Russian or Chinese hackers. The Feds now have a vested interest in not publicizing those. Rhetoric around this subject will similarily be toned down. A lot of that was put out by the US cyber command to increase their budget anyway. Second expect to hear that Snowden died in a car wreck sometime in the next 12 months. It won't be front page.

    1. chris lively

      Re: Normal

      Oh, and one more thing.

      Expect Obama or one of the top democrats to make a speech saying we need some new completely unrelated law that is contentious. Something likely to be completely defeated by Republicans but will dominate the media for the next week or so. I'd lay money on an expansion to the Health care program. That subject tends to bring out a lot of loud people.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Normal

        If it really was Obama's volunteer IT ninjas that won it over the Republicans disasterous big business consultants. Then after Aaron Schwartz and Snowden he's going to have a hard job finding developers to help the democrats next time - in fact he may have a hard job paying anybody who is any good

    2. mhenriday
      Big Brother

      Re: Normal

      «Second expect to hear that Snowden died in a car wreck sometime in the next 12 months. It won't be front page.» Like one Michael Mahon Hastings, you mean ?...


  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At what point did this chap become a hacker?

    He'll be a terrorist next!

    Then he'll be a politician.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "He'll be a terrorist next!

      "Then he'll be a politician."

      There's a difference?

  24. We're all in it together

    Stop to think

    The world is run by security agencies and covert departments we know very little about. All of them distrust each other. The politicians around the world are a sideshow that keep Joe Public focused on issues that affect them. We currently are living in austerity Britain where for the first time in years we're feeling financial pressure, a lack of job security, and a realisation that there is sod all we can do about it -alledgedly.

    But that pales into insignificance as to what the security agencies know about us. We are watched, monitored and assessed 24/7/365. This is how "terrorists" are stopped in their tracks. How do you think they found Bin Laden? The same way they stopped various other plots around the world. Constant surveillance be it web, phone, or other types of intelligence.

    Presidents and Prime ministers are there to make decisions. Decisions placed in front of them with "balanced" arguments that go in the agencies favour - that's why we had the Iraq war.

    A self perpetuating machine of which we have no say. And the really spooky thing is that if any of us ever got into the world like Snowden did more than likely we would have followed orders and carried out the daily job without whistle blowing. He had a conscience whereas many don't.

    1. fajensen Silver badge

      Re: Stop to think

      How do you think they found Bin Laden?

      I think one instance of "they" simply* looked up the address of where another instance of "they" sent Bin Ladens payslip! Can't meet the corporate growths targets on "war on terror" support without growing terrorism, can we?

      *) Possible, some hacking was involved.

  25. This post has been deleted by its author

  26. sisk
    Black Helicopters


    He said nothing about scrambling CIA assassins to arrange an accident.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Note:

      So any Brits or Canadians called Snowden better watch

  27. All names Taken

    Deo Gratias

    Imagine asking the same question to 6 people.


    (a) all six people give different answers


    (b) all six people give the same answer

    which suggests a land of the free.

    Dissent is good.

    Dissent to politics is what competition is to commerce no?

  28. stragen001

    "President Obama has said, since the US won't send out jets to intercept his flight or engage in diplomatic arm twisting over extradition"

    <Admiral Akbar>

    It's a trap!

    </Admiral Akbar>

  29. redhunter

    Just Obama's attempt to minimalize one of his recent scandals. In other words he's saying, "move along, nothing to see here." And, of course, the media is more than happy to wag there tails, do as their master beckons, and start calling Snowden a "hacker" from this point on.

  30. LinkOfHyrule
    Paris Hilton

    They've already made a movie about him aint they?

    It wasn't a Hallmark channel made for TV cry-fest though it got a full cinema release... that one where Tom Hanks lives in an airport!

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fighter jets not required

    I suspect the plane will have a mysterious malfunction forcing it to make an emergency landing after which it'll quickly take off again, one passenger lighter.

    1. Captain DaFt

      Re: Fighter jets not required

      Headline, July 2:

      "Bolivian president’s plane redirected due to fear Snowden was aboard"

      You Sir, get a belated upvote for being prophetic!

  32. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    The Rabid US Media

    El Pres does not have to 'scramble' the jets. The constant 'This man is the most evil person on the planet' reporting that I see on CNN (I'm in the Middle East at the moment) will make sure that some trigger happy 'top-gun' flyer will get his 15mSecs of fame by forcing any aircraft that is carrying Mr Snowden to land at a US controlled Airbase be it in the US, or even in Germany, UK, Japan, Turkey etc etc.

    Just listen to the rhetoric being spouted on (and in) the US Media. Anyone would think that he has

    - killed all the children in the US

    - Raped all the women

    - Stolen everything in Ft Knox

    Or all of the above.

    The US Media are on a good old fashioned Witch-Hunt here. They are not going to stop until they have 'Got their Man'. The US Gov and especially El Pres can go hang themselves for all they care. Do they even consider that he might only get 10yrs in jail? Nope. To them, he is an enemy of the state and must be eliminated at all costs.

    I just wonder how much of this is due to a little pressure from Capitol hill? More than a little methinks.

    Black Helicopters for obvious reasons. They were much in evidence when El Pres came this way in April and again when the French El Pres was here earlier this week.

    1. Salts
      Big Brother

      Re: The Rabid US Media

      @ Steve Davies 3

      Just out of paranoid interest, I am also in the middle east this week and my gmail is at a crawl but downloads are no problem at all, tin foil hat needed?

      Have to notice with a smile my gmail also correctly reports the last three countries I last logged in from.

  33. John Savard Silver badge


    The paragraph at the end of the article, about the sequester and the cost of scrambling jets, reminded me of the movie THX-1138.

  34. g e

    "I'm not going to be scrambling jets"

    No. That's what minions are for.

    'He' will be on the Whitehouse lawn sipping 'Camommiilytea' with a smug grin safe in the knowledge of how those expensive-per-hour jets are bringing a 'traitor' to 'justice'.

    Presumably Justice is a small town in Arkansas/Cuba/Egypt or something, rather than the dictionary definition.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This went well then

    So we have a program rejected as illegal which is being run by the state. A whistle who trashed his life to do what he considers the right thing. And then we have the outcome- nothing.

    This is impressive. The president is happy to leave this running. Maybe they have good reason, but still it is deemed illegal and it opens the possibility for future abuse of power. The people will leave it alone for all their talk of the right to overthrow the gov when they act against the people have been demonstrated as a pile of wet fish. And that leaves the international community. That is a guaranteed zip even though this program is theoretically aimed at them.

    I might be wrong but I dont think the US population have a clear vision nor a united idea. What is the limit? Here in the UK we are probably more useless but this is ment to be the whole point of the US.

    My predicted end result is that snowden is forgotten about over time. The US capture him about then. Snowden ends up in jail with nobody knowing or caring any more as they accept the status quo of surveillance.

  36. Rhino
    Big Brother


    Wow! America hacks Chinese servers! Never knew that!

    Wow! America spies on Russia! Never knew that!

    Wow! Britain AND America has to spy on elements within their own countries because of 'internal terrorism'! Err...never...knew that...

    It's been happening since people used writing to communicate. Letters, phone calls, emails and mobile phone calls, have been 'intercepted' by security services since time immemorial. No information is safe if it's shared. What's the saying? Three can keep a secret if two of them are dead. Unfortunate, but true. By the way, I *do* know that espionage such as that outlined in the opening lines takes place...and Western nations have it done to us. It's life Jim...but perhaps not as we'd like it.

  37. wolfetone Silver badge

    Maybe Obama can have a quick word with the Queen to get the guys who were involved in a particular car crash in Paris 1997 to sort Snowden out?

  38. Miek

    Labelling Snowden a Hacker is the first step in the smear campaign against him. He's in no way a "Hacker" but, in order to demonise this chap in the public eye, they first need to get media articles using these words to describe him.

  39. MrMur

    "Arm twisting" - he never said that - he said he wasn't going to horse trade for him.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It is not a felony

    Of course Obama says everything is squeaky clean in the police state.

    Look at the flip side. Suppose the snooping on Americans was found to be felonious. All those NSA personnel become criminal accessories to a felony, and would lose both their jobs and their pensions, and promptly begin to write books on all the other dirt in the police state machine.

    But there is a silver lining to the scenario. All those congress creatures that knew of the shenanigans would be punted. Not only that, but someone would squeal as to the true location of Jimmie Hoffa. Lets face it, Americans are more interested in locating Jimmie Hoffa and finding out where Elvis is presently living (of course he did not die, that was CIA misinformation!) than any government snooping-- at least as long as the snoops don't spill the beans to the IRS.

  41. Don Quioxte

    Obama won't twist arms for Snowden.....suuuuure he won't!

    "The Obama administration sent a thinly veiled economic threat to this South American country on Thursday when it indefinitely delayed a decision to eliminate tariffs on imports of roses worth about $250 million a year. The move created leverage over the leftist government seen as likeliest to grant National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden political asylum that would protect him from U.S. criminal charges."

    The President says one thing, then twists arms behind the scenes. I may be a Democrat, but I';m not a *dumb* Democrat!

    1. Colin Bain

      Re: Obama won't twist arms for Snowden.....suuuuure he won't!

      Of course, Spain and Portugal simply refused the official airplane of the head of state of a South American country on their own whim!

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