Iran and Edward Snowden

Grind for September 19th
“By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be the boss and work twelve hours a day.”
– Robert Frost

Blame Game

The Headline

The USA blames Iran for attack on Saudi oil facilities

The Grind

Two major oil facilities in Saudi Arabia were hit this weekend by drones and cruise missiles believed to have been launched from Iran.

The surprise attack suspended more than 50% of crude output from Saudi Arabia (5% of the global oil supply) and reduced daily output by 5.7 million barrels.

Saudi’s air defense systems were unable to block the attack because they were pointing south in anticipation of missiles coming from Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The Houthis immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but investigators say there is no evidence the projectiles came from that direction.

Iran denies any involvement in the attack.

The Details

A US team in Saudi Arabia is studying the wreckage to learn more about the origin of the attack. Investigators say they expect to present a “very compelling forensic case” that Iran launched “a complex and coordinated attack.”

Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday said the US was “locked and loaded” in preparation to defends its allies, but lawmakers are calling for caution.

“Any kind of significant action should get the ‘okay’ of Congress,” said Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY). “My worry here is that they will bumble into war, even if they don’t want one. They will bumble into it because they haven’t had a strategy.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit the kingdom this week to discuss the US response.

Not Fair

The Headline

The Justice Department is suing Edward Snowden

The Grind

The Justice Department is suing whistleblower Edward Snowden over his newly released book Permanent Record, claiming the book is a violation of the nondisclosure agreements he signed when he worked for the federal government.

The DOJ also says it is entitled to 100% of the book’s profits.

Edward Snowden is a former CIA and NSA employee famous for stealing and leaking classified information about the federal government’s surveillance programs.

He has been living in Russia since 2013 to evade criminal charges.

The Details

NSA policy prevents all current and former employees from sharing any information they obtained during their employment. The DOJ argues that Snowden should have submitted his book to the NSA and CIA for pre-publication approval.

Federal prosecutor Trent McCotter insists Permanent Record is a national security threat that will undermine public trust in the federal government and argues that Snowden does not deserve the profits.

Snowden’s lawyer, Ben Wizner, insists the book does not contain any information about the government that was not already exposed to the public.

“Had Mr. Snowden believed that the government would review his book in good faith, he would have submitted it for review,” says Wizner. “But the government continues to insist that facts that are known and discussed throughout the world are still somehow classified.”

Ironically, the DOJ’s lawsuit is likely to result in higher sales and increased knowledge of the secrets Snowden divulged in 2013.

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