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The Contender
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Was Edward Snowden justified?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/23/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 week ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 247 times Debate No: 97309
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (1)




Hello I will be arguing against Snowden and saying that he was not justifyed. I am on the Con side mostly because I don't care about the NSA keeping records of my phone calls because Im not a terrorist. Giving up my phone call privacy is worth Saving lives and preventing terrorist attacks. This is one of the few disagreemets I have with the Green Party.


Contention 1: Rule of law

The details of the documents leaked by Mr. Snowden are shown by BBC in January of 2014 where they report that not only was phone data taken from the constituency in the US, but also abroad as well through EU offices, many allied with the US including a base in Brussels, a prominent city in Belgium. Even the French were surveyed as well, for no purpose (1). James Ball of The Guardian in October of 2013 furthers this point by showing that the NSA has also surveyed dozens of world leaders and politicians through Senior officials in Washington giving up these contacts (2). This shows corruption on a massive scale within Washington that are federal agencies and the White House. This is not ethical. Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic writes in September of 2013 and explains that the original purpose of the NSA was to spy on foreign threats. Their purpose was not to spy on foreign democracies and certainly not the American people (3). This violates the spirit of law and the ethics that were set out by our founding fathers. Read over the 4th amendment which bans unreasonable searches or seizures, and, per the Legal Information Institute, is defined as a search with no warrant or probable cause to be searched in the first place (4). The right to privacy needs to be respected as it is the entire reason the US exists in the first place. We were fighting the British monarchy that got rid of the rights of American citizens to only end up in a similar situation in the future. Who happened to uncover this? Snowden. Without this information, we can’t see the internal corruption of Washington, and we would not know that rights were being violated. Realize that rights, here and abroad, were suspended, and that the NSA and congress are being scrutinized for it, resulting in change. We see this happening through president-elect Trump whose entire campaign has railed against an undemocratic system.

Contention 2: Effectiveness

Realize that the NSA program that spies on people is not effective at stopping terror from happening in our borders. The NY Times in April of 2015 that the original secrecy of the program prevented analysts from receiving the information or were even informed about the project (5). NBC News even reports in December of 2013 that not a single terror attack was stopped because of the NSA data collection program (6). This means we threw money at a problem and violated people’s rights for nothing. This needs to be shown to the public because it puts a check on politicians, and makes it less likely that they will act like this again since it reaps no results. Since then, it has been a popular stance for politicians, spanning from Ted Cruz to other senators, to be against this type of spying, a net positive for the people.

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Debate Round No. 1


Snowden helped the terrorist by warning them to communicate in an other way. Snowden said that after the war on terror there would just be another excuse to invade americans lives,well There is a difference between an excuse and a good reason and saving lives is a good reason. ( information gathered from The 4th amendment says UNREASONABLE searches and seizures NSA's actions to find terrorist's to save lives where not unreasonable. Privacy is good and we should not have every moment of our lives observed but my phone calls are not everything I am very willing to give up my phone call privacy if it means that the NSA will be able to prevent terrorist attacks.



R1: Terror communication

My opponent has not provided any specific evidence to confirm this theory. Not only this, but terrorists have always been communicating through discrete ways. Frank Gardner writes for BBC in November of 2013 showing how terrorists use methods such as disposable SIM cards, message boards, and even “spy rocks” or fake rocks that contains a transmitter which would allow terrorists to leave messages (1). Realize that these tactics prevent any action on the part of the NSA to track this type of data. This is furthered by Ellen Nakashima of the Washington Post in January of 2014 where she reports that an analysis of 225 cases a White House appointed review group shows that the NSA program had no discernable impact on terrorism and, even more shocking, even the little evidence that was collected from the NSA program could have been turned up from conventional court orders (2). This shows that terrorists using other, more secure systems of messaging means that the program is ultimately useless as the NSA has no ability to monitor it. Ultimately, there is no evidence pointing toward terrorists using different mechanisms to transfer data besides the ones they already do now.

R2: Reasonable search

Again, my opponent has not provided any evidence as to the data collected from the American people being reasonable. Johnathon Stray of ProPublica in June of 2013 shows that the NSA tracks the metadata of phone calls indiscriminately by tapping over 200 cables and monitoring most internet traffic (3). This produces large swaths of information on innocent individuals, which is illegal. I brought up the 4th amendment and probable cause, however, my opponent states that collecting information to foil terrorist plots are not unreasonable. I have already proven the ineffectiveness of the program because of their inability to track information as shown by the Washington Post (2). However, allow me to refute my opponent further by explaining probable cause. The Legal Information Institute explains that probable cause, while never being specifically defined, is a valid reason for a search or any arrest to occur (4). Remember though that the NSA collects data indiscriminately from tapping and mass auditing. The fourth amendment prohibits this, and my impact of people paying closer attention to the issue and politicians being forced to adapt to pro-privacy views still stands.

R3: My opponent

Finally, my opponent talks about his opinion. He does not mind that the government is searching his phone because he does not do anything illegal. However, the federal government breaking constitutional law is a dangerous precedent to set, and with the executive branch becoming more and more powerful, we need to guarantee that people’s rights are still respected.

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Debate Round No. 2


Sorry it took so long for me to respond . Whether or not its a violation of the 4th amendment depends on if you think the spying is reasonable. I will agree that many off the terrorist groups already use ways to communicate that can not be prevented by the NSA phone records, but there are other criminal groups that do not use these methods. Other unorganied crime groups can be detected useing phone call records. I am willing to give up my phone call records if it means that the NSA can stop major illegal activity.


R1: Communication

My opponent is still grasping at straws when it comes to his case. He claims that other criminal organizations use phone calls to contact other criminals. However, he has still yet to provide specific data that proves his point. Allow me to say this, though: there is no reason to use phone calls to transfer any information with readily available technology that is safe, cheap, and untraceable. With this, my opponent’s point does not stand.

R2: 4th amendment

Yet again, my opponent grasps at straws. Not only does he have no data to back up his claim that the 4th amendment is not being broken with Snowden’s findings, he literally concedes with me by saying the following:

“Whether or not its a violation of the 4th amendment depends on if you think the spying is reasonable. I will agree that many off the terrorist groups already use ways to communicate that can not be prevented by the NSA phone records, but there are other criminal groups that do not use these methods.”

He agrees that spying being reasonable or not is the main determining factor as to whether it is a violation of the 4th amendment or not. I have already answered this argument by showing how ineffective the NSA programs used to monitor these calls are at stopping crime, so this point does not stand either.

R3: Dropped arguments

Realize that one of my arguments have been dropped entirely, meaning that you can extend this across the debate. My opponent has never refuted my point about the injustice of spying on neighboring countries.


All my points are extended, my opponent has no arguments left as they are all refuted, and my opponent has even conceded one outright. This is a clear victory for the Pro side. I thank my opponent, this was interesting.

Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by whiteflame 4 days ago
>Reported vote: Bennett91// Mod action: Removed<

6 points to Pro (S&G, Arguments, Sources). Reasons for voting decision: Pro used sources and had less spelling mistakes. For arguments Con gives brief arguments that are easily refuted by Pro. Con dropped the part about spying on allies, and Snowden did not help terrorists nor show the NSA spying on everyone justifies itself.

[*Reason for removal*] (1) Sources are insufficiently explained. The voter is required to explain how the arguments given were relevant to the debate, even if only one side provided sources. (2) S&G is insufficiently explained. Having fewer spelling mistakes is not sufficient reason to award this point; the voter is required to explain how the writing of one side made it difficult to understand that side"s arguments. (3) Arguments are insufficiently explained. Pointing out what one side failed to do is not analysis of the strength of either debater"s arguments. Dropping or failing to argue certain points can be part of the explanation for why one side is winning, but that"s not enough by itself.
Posted by blamonkey 1 week ago
If you can't post a case before the time limit ends, then you can pass and I will do the same so we have an equal number of rounds. Please don't just forfeit though, it seems I can never go an entire debate without that happening.
Posted by blamonkey 1 week ago
I respect the point you make here in the comments, but next time include it in the debate.
Posted by liam2002 1 week ago
Why did Edward have to reveal all of it, why couldn't he just reveal the part about the USA spying on other nations?
Posted by liam2002 2 weeks ago
I know my second debate was mostly a copy of my other debate, but I want to present the same reasons
Posted by blamonkey 2 weeks ago
I don't know if I can change your opinion, but I will accept the debate.
Posted by liam2002 2 weeks ago
I want my opinion to be changed if you can.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Bennett91 4 days ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
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Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro used sources that where accessible and credible to prove his claims - Con did not - Con's claims being unverifiable hurt his creditably. For arguments Con gives brief arguments that are easily refuted by Pro. Con's responses were an average of 4 sentences based on his mere opinion - he even says "Whether or not its a violation of the 4th amendment depends on if you think the spying is reasonable." Well I do think it's a violation, and Pro points out the legal arguments that would entail why it's a violation to which Con does not rebut. Con dropped the part about spying on allies, and without sources Con can't prove Snowden helped terrorists nor show the NSA spying on everyone justifies itself.