Edward Snowden, a former CIA contractor turned National Security Agency leaker, is hiding out in Hong Kong. Former congressman Ron Paul fears that the United States will try to kill Snowden with a drone missile. He couldn't be more wrong.
Drones are slow, somewhat clumsy planes, and the armed ones aren't stealthy. It could not be done secretly; the Chinese military, already watching the Pacific for any sign of hostile movement, would see the drone on radar from miles away. Then, without hesitation, the People's Liberation Army Air Force would scramble some of its 1,100 fighter planes. In the meantime, Chinese anti-air missiles based in a valley north of Hong Kong would lock onto the target, and attempt to destroy the drone. The drone would then be shot down by either plane or missile, probably over water, and the U.S. would find itself on the brink of war with China.
None of this should be surprising. Drones are not designed to fight aircraft. When the U.S. deploys drones, it's either because the American Air Force already controls the skies, or because the host country has agreed not to shoot down drones. American drones frequently strike targets in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA).
Pakistan, with hundreds of fighter aircraft and an air defense system, could choose to shoot down the drones but actively doesn't. There are complicated reasons behind this—U.S. aid money, military support, internal politics, and a general ambivalence towards FATA all contribute, but the truth remains: If Pakistan wanted to stop drone strikes by shooting down U.S. drones, it could. China, which doesn't have the same incentives or long, tenuous working relationship with the U.S., would make a different choice if the U.S. tried to conduct a drone strike on sovereign Chinese territory.
Accidentally killing innocent civilians, so long a criticism of the American targeted killing program, would become a terrifying certainty in Hong Kong. FATA suffers more drone strikes than anywhere except Afghanistan, and has a rough population density of 300 people per square mile. Hong Kong, by contrast, has 17,000 people per square mile. It's unlikely a drone, flying above Hong Kong at 30,000 feet, could even locate Snowden in a population that dense.
If a drone could find Snowden, it's reasonable to assume that that hundreds of innocent people would be killed or injured in the missile attack, which almost certainly constitutes an act of war between the U.S. and China.
Hong Kong is probably an unsafe place for Snowden because of other reasons, but death by American drone strike isn't something he has to worry about there.
Thank you captain obvious. Of course the US would never use a drone strike in a city like Hong Kong. These weapons are used primarialy against elements of the Taliban and Al Qaeda who are activily engaged in acts of war against US troops and civilians. As for Mr Snowden there is really no more reason to take him out. The damage to the program has already been done. He can't do anymore harm to national security. He will be charged accordingly. Personally I am not sure he did the wrong thing here. These programs have a huge potential for misuse and scare the crap out of me.
You need to sharpen your irony skills.
The fact that we even have this concern shows that the government is out of control. It should be a wake up call to everyone. You could be next on the hit list. Better stay in line or they'll take you out.
"How long have we been at war with Eurasia?"
"We have always been at war with Eurasia."
Everyone knows the government doesnt want to piss off China or use drones to kill Americans. Which would literally be a wet dream for conspiracy nuts (Obummer Killing Americanz with DRONES! WTF Mate!, de facto proof he is an Illuminati inter-dimensional lizard!)
But that doesnt mean Snowden wont just die in a totally freak accident like a car crash or an unknown disorder he had...
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Ha Ha Ha! Its not as if you could just casually fly an aircraft in enemy airspace and hit any target you choose! That's IMPOSSIBLE!
Oh, wait... Well, its not possible anywhere except for in the U.S anyway.
Like Wanamingo said, killing him (drone or not) would be totally counterproductive; he spilled the beans already so theres no reason to silence him. Thus, he shouldn't have to fear for his life in Hong Kong. What he should be afraid of is extradition to the US to face treason charges....thats the only way the U.S. can make an example of him and minimize public outcry. Hell, the U.S. should be interested in keeping him alive if anything. His death in any other way will make it seem like a government-mafia execution, and regardless if its true or not, the public won't be happy.
You don't rat on the NSA if you're an NSA member. I'm guessing. As he is a CIA/NSA person of interest, and former employee, his hiding is obviously proof that his life is in danger. He would know better than us what will happen to him. I wonder what makes someone want to defect to China!? Lol. Wow.
"Do not try and bend the spoon. That is impossible. Only try and realize the truth - there is no spoon."
Chinese poontang can make you do some crazy stuff. This guy leaked because of some other reason. I don't believe he leaked info because it was the right thing to do. I believe he got tangled up in some contrived problem. He's just a pawn who got played.
@Moose2823: In the US, the death penalty is an applicable punishment for treason. The Obama administration has already shown they don't care much for due process when it is difficult to extradite the accused. If he had gone to a country with a less-than-modern air defense, he would have been called a terrorist and taken out. He chose Hong Kong for this very reason. They have an extradition treaty, but he can fight extradition. You can't fight a hellfire missile.
This guy is not a violent active terrorist in need of immediate elimination. He is considered a possible spy and\or traitor. It is far wiser to capture the guy and find out exactly all he knows and all who he told. If caught and possibly punished he will never receive the death penalty for treason, but sit in a small locked cell instead, so the USA government can always interview him over and over again, anytime.
Some of the time I tend to agree with Dr. No (Ron Paul). This time he has really flipped out.
Maybe NSA ought to keep an eye on their employees. The stripper girlfriend ought to have been a clue maybe???
No matter, popsci and almost every other site is tracking us at this moment. Putting little pieces together to sell me stuff or just track me.
EMAIL, CHAT, PHONE, CAMERA, GPS\CELL PHONE TRIANLIATION and more..... Are all following YOU!
YES AND IN REAL TIME TOO!
Almost all data is non important but is saved anyways, just incase it needs reviewing later or it is encrypted and needs a little time to crack the code with 1000s of working super computers.
I saw on 60 Minutes, years ago, a Drone no bigger than a humming bird that might well be used to deliver a dose of something lethal like a cold virus that rapidly results in death—apparently—from natural closes.
Of course, it would be simpler for room service to deliver him a big plate of sleepy-time, bundle him up, and haul him off in a laundry cart never to be seen or heard from again without another big leak.
I don't exactly understand the fuss over what this guy has done. To my knowledge, he hasn't leaked anything highly classified like the names of covert operatives or the plans for a nuclear weapon.
ANYONE with half a brain knows that this sort of surveillance has been occurring for decades. That includes our enemies.
Our enemies aren't going to learn anything from this that they didn't already know.
People who carry out terrorist attacks very likely come to this country ASSUMING that they will be monitored.
The only reason they would be upset by this surveillance is because they can't speak freely about their plans.
That doesn't stop them from scheming and plotting though.
No one has stopped to think about the fact that killing an American citizen, with or without a drone, and without due process of law would be very much illegal... and something Obama would do if he had a middle eastern accent.
Honestly, I think a drone strike would drive home this guys agenda that the government is way out of control. This, is why they won't do it. He'd be a big brother martyr.
Bouckaert makes an interesting comparison: "It's very clear from the faxes that the Hong Kong authorities at the time co-operated very closely with both the CIA and MI6 in bringing Saadi back to Libya, where he was later tortured and sentenced to death..."
This is the same light he casts upon Snowden. If the United Sociopaths get their hands on him, he will be tortured and sentenced to death. In all likelihood, they will pin a bum rap or red herring on him that has nothing to do with the case in order to get him extradited.
The operative question other similar concerns aside, treason an here remains "Is he worth the bother?"
Really, this was the best ideal for a story ? A monkey smoking pot would have better sense than to use a drone to fly in Russia to kill that fool and start WW3.