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Yahoo CEO Says It Would Be Treason To Decline To Cooperate With the NSA 524

Posted by samzenpus
from the tell-us-everything dept.
McGruber writes "During Wednesday's TechCrunch Disrupt conference, Marissa Meyer was asked what would happen if Yahoo simply declined to cooperate with the NSA. She replied 'Releasing classified information is treason. It generally lands you incarcerated.' Meyer also revealed that the 2007 lawsuit against the Patriot Act had been filed by Yahoo: 'I'm proud to be part of an organization that from the very beginning in 2007, with the NSA and FISA and PRISM, has been skeptical and has scrutinized those requests. In 2007 Yahoo filed a lawsuit against the new Patriot Act, parts of PRISM and FISA, we were the key plaintiff. A lot of people have wondered about that case and who it was. It was us ... we lost. The thing is, we lost and if you don't comply it's treason.'"
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Yahoo CEO Says It Would Be Treason To Decline To Cooperate With the NSA

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  • Treason.. or... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 12, 2013 @07:10PM (#44835595)

    Patriotism?

    • Re:Treason.. or... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Penguinisto (415985) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @07:12PM (#44835623) Journal

      Either way it's a crap excuse.

      Treason is the act of sabotage, destruction, sedition, and suchlike. Refusing a search w/o a *proper* warrant is not treason. Secret court generated 'warrants' do not count as being proper by any stretch of common law.

      • Re:Treason.. or... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by PortHaven (242123) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @07:18PM (#44835675) Homepage

        Don't we have to have a declared war to actually have a true charge of treason?

        • Re:Treason.. or... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @07:26PM (#44835753)

          We will always be at war with Terror, citizen.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          We have always been at war with Eastasia.

        • Re:Treason.. or... (Score:4, Informative)

          by mcgrew (92797) * on Thursday September 12, 2013 @07:45PM (#44835913) Homepage Journal

          Don't we have to have a declared war to actually have a true charge of treason?

          Google is your friend [cornell.edu] (but they're scared shitless of the government, too, just like this lady is)

          Article III Section 3.

          Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

          The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.

          • Re:Treason.. or... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Jason Levine (196982) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @09:38PM (#44836591)

            Sadly, the "giving them aid or comfort" part has been expanded to include virtually anything. Do you oppose NSA spying? Well, by doing so you "give aid and comfort" to terrorists since your opposition might disrupt something that could have thwarted the terrorists' plans. If you don't get in line like a good little patriot and keep your mouth quiet, you're a traitor.

            • Re:Treason.. or... (Score:4, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 12, 2013 @10:21PM (#44836877)

              Sadly, the "giving them aid or comfort" part has been expanded to include virtually anything.

              Yeah, I would agree. It could even include the most obvious and blatant things...you know, like supplying arms to other countries.

              Yes Government, ain't it a bitch when that shoe just slips right on the other foot with ease. Tends to make the egg on your face a bit harder to wash off.

        • by jc42 (318812)

          Don't we have to have a declared war to actually have a true charge of treason?

          For the past half century or so, we haven't had to declare war to fight a war, so why would we need such a declaration to charge someone with treason?

          (Trivia question: When was the last time that the US Congress actually declared war? And: How many wars has the US been engaged in since then?)

      • Re:Treason.. or... (Score:5, Informative)

        by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @07:21PM (#44835693)

        Treason is the act of sabotage, destruction, sedition, and suchlike.

        No, it's not.

        From the US Constitution: "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort."

        This is not to suggest that sabotage, destruction, sedition and suchlike might not be crimes. But they're NOT treason in and of themselves.

        Much as some people (both in and out of government) might like to convince you they are.

        • Re:Treason.. or... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Kaenneth (82978) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @07:25PM (#44835727) Homepage Journal

          I'm sure 'Aid and Comfort' can be stretched at least as far as 'interstate commerce' or 'general welfare'

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          That "bimbo" as you put it with whatever infinite wisdom and technical expertise and responsibility you think you have, was talking pragmatically about the consequences Yahoo faces from the government's perspective. She wasn't speaking philosophically or even metaphorically. She probably knows just a little more about the issue than you do being that her company did fight it and lost. She probably is aware of what threats the NSA has made to Yahoo. So how about you give her some slack, or just show a bit of

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by fizzer06 (1500649)
          I'm guessing that providing weapons and training to Al Qaeda would qualify as treason. I mean except when it's our own government doing it, of course.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by cold fjord (826450)

        Refusing a search w/o a *proper* warrant is not treason. Secret court generated 'warrants' do not count as being proper by any stretch of common law.

        Warrants are pretty much always requested in a confidential setting. Experience has shown that when you call ahead to tell people you're getting a search warrant, or their friends tell them, evidence tends to disappear. The only thing that is different here is that the recipients of the warrant can't tell people they received it. Since they aren't the suspects, letting them inform other people that there is an investigation going on about them would interfere with what is a highly sensitive investigation

        • by AHuxley (892839)
          The US law is clear 'pretty much always requested" does not work well in any domestic US legal setting. The defendants legal team (security cleared) still gets to see evidence. They still get to ask questions. Lawyers in the US dont like terms like "apparently legal and proper"
          "Congress passed the laws authorizing" does not undo, loop around, remove or weaken any constitutional rights.
          • So the gouverment can basically CHOOSE the lawyers you can or can't hire by granting or revoking security clearances?

      • by bitt3n (941736)
        Indeed, it's exceedingly difficult to get convicted of treason in the US. The list of people who have been could fit on a postcard [wikipedia.org] and mostly involves things like defecting to the Waffen SS during WWII and similar wartime indiscretions.
  • Well... (Score:5, Funny)

    by slashmydots (2189826) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @07:10PM (#44835599)
    She's fired.
  • Article 3, Section 3, US Constitution.

    Learn it, love it, live it.

    Doesn't this guy have a metric f*ckton of lawyers to explain these little legal niceties to him???

    • Ok, this WOMAN/GAL/GIRL/LADY (pick one) - I was trying to avoid use of the first two words that came to mind when I was writing the post, which were "idiot" and "moron"....

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Here's a link [cornell.edu] to a very credible source. They taught us this in middle school. In fact, there's a state-mandated constitution test in Illinois, don't know about elsewhere.

      This "guy's" name's Marissa Meyer. She's a woman. And she's a tool.

      • by gl4ss (559668) on Friday September 13, 2013 @01:58AM (#44838107) Homepage Journal

        and according the constitution they shouldn't be doing blanket spying in the first place, so what exactly is your point?

        they'll call it treason if they want to. they can call it aiding the (potential, mind you) enemy if they want to. and they includes the court they choose and their actions are backed up by the united states military so what exactly would you do? the only option is to close up shop or give in.

    • by Thruen (753567) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @11:05PM (#44837175)
      Giving aid to the enemy would be considered treason, and what she says at the end of the article is "if you don't comply it's treason." If the target of the inquiry is considered an enemy, as they may in a terrorist investigation, it seems to me not handing over the requested information could be seen as treason. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if this was spelled out in the court case she's referring to. There's really nothing outrageous about the headline, the real problem is the ease with which agencies can force a company to hand over the information. Personally, I don't take issue with them considering it treason if they're requesting information on a dangerous enemy, I just think it's bull that they can use this on just about anyone with no real oversight, in a manner thought unconstitutional by the court in charge of it.
  • by PortHaven (242123) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @07:12PM (#44835619) Homepage

    I hereby, as a prior serviceman who swore an oath to uphold and protect the Constitution, pledge my rifle if Mr. Zuckerberg or Ms. Mayer, CEOs of Facebook and Yahoo respectively, come out with the truth of the extent of violation by the government against the privacy of the citizens of the United States of America. And herby pledge my rifle to the their defense, the defense of the Constitution and freedom of speech if either is arrested, charged and sentenced for treason in regards to the matter of the NSA's unconstitutional espionage on U.S. citizens. This is a reminder that the government is to serve the People, not the other way around.

    ***

    U.S. CONSTITUTION : AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION : ARTICLE IV
    "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

    Government agencies not specifically sent this message that reading this, please

    • by hedwards (940851)

      The problem there is that the courts are typically deferential to the other branches on issues of national security. Basically they're afraid that if they say no and something happens that they'll be responsible.

      The only reason why the high court started saying no to Bush was that Bush started acting like the court didn't have authority over anything he was doing. Had he kept his ego in check, the SCrOTUmS decisions would likely have continued in his favor.

      Ultimately, as long as the SCrOTUmS don't feel like

    • There is a legal proverb that states, "A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client." Have you put yourself on that path? Do you understand the domains criminal law, national security law, and Constitutional law, and their interplay? I see you quote only one amendment, but say nothing about an entire relevant article of the Constitution, nor about relevant court cases that are precedent for the law when it is an issue in the courts. You are on dangerous ground, my friend, dangerous ground. Think

      • The FISC, acting as a Star Chamber as it does, is part of the problem here, so quoting its ruling is begging the question. Secret law is not law.
    • by CODiNE (27417) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @07:54PM (#44836003) Homepage

      Government agencies not specifically sent this message that reading this, please

      Damn they got him before he could even finish his post!

  • by Herman Wiliker (2846615) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @07:12PM (#44835621)
    If a government agency violates the law and demands that you allow them to, it is not treason to hold them accountable. We shall see this play out.
  • How misleading. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dadelbunts (1727498) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @07:14PM (#44835631)
    This spin on this article is amazing. What happens if you decline cooperation is classified information. That doesn't mean that declining to cooperate leads to a treason charge, just that whatever happens if you decline, is classified information. Releasing classified information is a treason charge, but that's a separate issue altogether.
  • Define Treason (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gishzida (591028) <gishzida@NOspAm.gmail.com> on Thursday September 12, 2013 @07:14PM (#44835645) Journal

    It's like asking "what do you mean by sex?" and yet... how is what Snowden did treason? All he has done is reveal the fact that the three branches of our government have basically said "we have the right to spy on you be cause we say so. and if you reveal the fact that we are violating your rights under the constitution they pull the magic "States Secrets" bunny out of the hat that waves its magic wand and gags those that would speak because it is treason... Um... How's that again? Where does it say that "State Secrets" trumps the constitution?

  • by iveygman (1303733) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @07:15PM (#44835649)
    She's not saying that it's treasonous not to cooperate, but rather lamenting the fact that they're being forced to comply.
  • by Specter (11099) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @07:24PM (#44835723) Journal

    No, Marissa, it is not treason:

    "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court."

    That's treason. Releasing classified information isn't treason per se unless it meets one of the Constitutional criteria laid out above.

    • by Overzeetop (214511) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @07:48PM (#44835945) Journal

      So protecting foreign combatants by intentionally masking their communications and refusing to assist the federal government in their apprehension is NOT giving them aid and/or comfort.

      I'm curious...if it were drug runners laundering money through a major US bank, would you consider that assisting them in such a way that would be against the RICO act?

      (note: I'm not siding with the government, or against those who would give the NSA the middle finger - let them do their own legwork, but I'm curious where you draw the line, and how straight that line is)

      • There is treason, there is sedition. There is free speech. One doesn't necessarily trump the other. Snowden, Manning, and others did what they felt was right, and no matter how right, they're ready to go to jail. Not the CEO of Yahoo; she's interested in staying out of jail.

        That's where the reality is. You can cite the Constitution, even legal precedent, but jail is very real.

        Is it a horrid era that allows the contemptous behavior of the government, en masse, against its citizens? Absolutely. But we allowed

  • a historical note: (Score:5, Informative)

    by circletimessquare (444983) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [erauqssemitelcric]> on Thursday September 12, 2013 @07:27PM (#44835763) Homepage Journal

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Writ_of_assistance [wikipedia.org]

    the historical events that served as the basis for the fourth amendment

    and exactly the type of abuse the NSA is perpetrating on the american people

    what we are talking about with the NSA program is a thorough, gross violation of and clear, undeniable contradiction to a founding principle of this country

  • by mbone (558574) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @07:27PM (#44835765)

    It is the only crime defined there :

    Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

    Don't see anything there about not cooperating with the authorities.

    • by organgtool (966989) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @07:45PM (#44835917)
      That's the beauty of a war on ideology: anyone who opposes your ideological values can be branded a traitor.
    • by gmuslera (3436)

      Remember, US is in (cyber) war against all the world (except Israel, as least it seems so for the information given to them), and probably other english speaking countries, despite that the attacked countries realize the situation or not. Helping other countries to realize that they are being unilaterally attacked by US count on their books as treason.

      I just hope that the other countries realize what is the actual situation, and stop giving US in a silver plate the bullets to get shot by them.

  • rather than treasonously reporting government info requests, every time they receive such a request they will make their logo slightly blander. by this time next year, it'll look just like helvetica
  • Mass civil disobedience (followed by public outrage hopefully) could be the answer, even in this case?
    Am i simply being delusional if i hope corporations could do that?
  • by JoeyRox (2711699) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @07:30PM (#44835803)
    We're approaching the end game of fascism in America. The country has had a good run but alas humans can't stop being humans and so this country will crumble under its weight like all countries before it.
    • I've been trying for some time to come up with reasons to disagree with what you've posted. I readily admit I'm not doing all that well. I've one hypothesis and that is that democratic states with all the freedoms such states entail will generally win out over less democratic states because freedom of speech and assembly among other fundamental rights inherently provide efficiencies that less democratic states lack. This idea doesn't necessarily apply to special cases like China today which is playing catc
  • Because someone needs to be swinging from a yard arm or given a blindfold and a cig for how badly Marissa boned Flickr.

  • So what happens if a corporation commits treason? Methinks, like murder, nothing.
  • by Evil Pete (73279) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @11:37PM (#44837403) Homepage

    ... a video I was watching recently. A youtube vid of one of the story arcs of Babylon5, the Earth Civil War [youtube.com]. Something about this statement just brought this to mind. Not stating that this as serious but well it does have dark overtones.

  • by Squidlips (1206004) on Friday September 13, 2013 @09:01AM (#44839687)
    I am sure that the woman who would not let her employees work at home, but has a nursery built next to her office, would he happy to let the NSA listening in on your conversations, but hers.

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