The Slatest

Slatest PM: The “Petting a Phoenix In China” Edition

A young girl holds up a cut out image of Edward Snowdens face at the start of the protest rally to support Snowden in Hong Kong

Photo by Jessica Hromas/Getty Images

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Snowden’s Unusual Q-and-A: Washington Post: “Edward Snowden, who acknowledged leaking top-secret documents about extensive U.S. surveillance of telephone calls and Internet communications, claimed in an unusual live chat Monday that he sees no possibility of a fair trial in the United States and suggested that he would try to elude authorities as long as possible. The U.S. government has ‘openly declar[ed] me guilty of treason and [said] that the disclosure of secret, criminal and even unconstitutional acts is an unforgivable crime,’ he said. ‘That’s not justice, and it would be foolish to volunteer yourself to it if you can do more good outside of prison than in it.’ … Snowden’s remarks came in a question-answer session on the Web site of Britain’s Guardian newspaper. … The spectacle of Snowden using the Internet to defend himself and level new accusations was the latest chapter in the unfolding story.”

The Quote of the Day: On whether he has or will provide classified info to the Chinese in exchange for asylum, Snowden said: “This is a predictable smear that I anticipated before going public, as the US media has a knee-jerk ‘RED CHINA!’ reaction to anything involving HK or the PRC, and is intended to distract from the issue of US government misconduct. Ask yourself: if I were a Chinese spy, why wouldn’t I have flown directly into Beijing? I could be living in a palace petting a phoenix by now.”

Tweet of the Day: @AdamWeinstein: “Guys, quit joking; this dude worked for the NSA. He might know something about Chinese phoenixes that we don’t.”

Majority Want Snowden Prosecuted: USA Today: “A majority of Americans say the person responsible for leaking top-secret documents about U.S. surveillance of phone and Internet records should be criminally prosecuted, a new USA TODAY/Pew Research Center Poll finds …. By 54%-38%, those surveyed say [Snowden] should be prosecuted. Most Americans say the programs have helped prevent terrorist attacks, by 53%-41%, a point pressed by top administration officials including Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. … There is an almost even split on the most fundamental question. By 48%-47%, Americans divide over whether they approve or disapprove of the programs as part of the effort to fight terrorism. By another narrow margin, 49%-44%, they say the release of classified information serves rather than harms the public interest.”

More NSA Coverage from Slate

Happy Monday, and welcome back to The Slatest PM. Follow your afternoon host on Twitter at @JoshVoorhees and the whole team at @slatest.

SCOTUS Strikes Down Ariz. Voter ID Law: New York Times: “Arizona may not require documentary proof of citizenship from people seeking to vote in federal elections there, the Supreme Court ruled in a 7-to-2 decision on Monday. … Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority … said a federal law requiring states to ‘accept and use’ a federal form displaced an Arizona law requiring various kinds of proof of citizenship. The federal law, the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, allows voters to register using a federal form that asks, ‘Are you a citizen of the United States?’ Prospective voters must check a box for yes or no, and they must sign the form, swearing under the penalty of perjury that they are citizens. The state law, by contrast, required prospective voters to prove that they were citizens by providing copies of or information concerning various documents, including birth certificates, passports, naturalization papers or driver’s licenses, that are available only to people who are in the state lawfully.”

Crime: Another “Accidental” Shooting. Another Child Dead. Another State Claims, Wrongly, That No One Is at Fault.

Iran’s Next President: NBC News: “President-elect Hassan Rowhani struck a markedly conciliatory tone Monday, and held out the prospect of improved relations with the United States. When asked by NBC News what he thought of the American congratulations to him and the Iranian people, as well as an offer to hold direct talks with Iran, Rowhani smiled and answered that the question was complicated. ‘Iran and America’s relationship was like a wound that has not healed; we must not look back but forward,’ the moderate cleric who scored a surprise victory over the weekend said at his first news conference. The United States and Iran should ‘look to the future,’ he told journalists gathered in the packed auditorium in an affluent north Tehran suburb. His press team did not restrict questions from journalists.”

Weigel: Good News! We’re Supposed to Like the New President of Iran!

Putin Talks Syria: Associated Press: “Russian President Vladimir Putin told President Barack Obama on Monday that their positions on Syria do not ‘coincide’ but the two leaders said during the G-8 summit that they have a shared interest in stopping the violence that has ravaged the Middle Eastern country during a two-year-old civil war. Obama acknowledged in a bilateral meeting with Putin in Northern Ireland that they have a ‘different perspective’ on Syria but he said that both leaders wanted to address the fierce fighting and also wanted to secure chemical weapons in the country. The U.S. president said both sides would work to develop talks in Geneva aimed at ending the country’s bloody civil war.”

“Modern Day Plantation”: ABC News: “The owners of 7-Eleven franchises in New York and Virginia created a ‘modern day plantation system’ in which undocumented workers were furnished with stolen identities and forced to work 100 hours a week for a fraction of their wages, according to a federal authorities. Ten stores in New York and four in Virginia were seized today as part of the federal investigation which found the undocumented workers from Pakistan were given identities stolen from children and the deceased, according to federal prosecutor Loretta E. Lynch.”

Mid-Flight Scare: Reuters: “A passenger who screamed that he had poison aboard a plane that was headed for New Jersey’s Newark airport on Monday was taken into custody by FBI agents when the plane landed, law enforcement officials said. United Airlines Flight 116 was en route from Hong Kong to Newark Liberty International Airport when a passenger ‘became disruptive,’ the carrier said. ‘A passenger got up and started screaming something to the effect that there was poison’ on board, said FBI Special Agent Luis Rodriguez. He said the passenger was taken into custody and transported to a local hospital for evaluation. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control ‘cleared the plane,’ Rodriguez said. He said witnesses were being interviewed by the FBI and Port Authority Police detectives.”

Greece’s Public Broadcaster Back in Business (For Now): BBC News: “A Greek court has suspended a government order to close state broadcaster ERT - a move that triggered mass protests in the country last week. The top administrative court said ERT could resume transmission until a new national media body is set up. The ruling came as Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and his coalition allies held crisis talks on the issue. Mr Samaras, who says ERT is corrupt, had reportedly offered to restart a trimmer version of the broadcaster. On Monday, the court - the Council of State - upheld Mr Samaras’s plan to replace ERT with a new broadcaster later this year but backed the position of the other coalition partners that the signal must be restored in the interim. It ordered the government to restart ERT broadcasts on a temporary basis.”

A Few More Quick Hits From Slate

XX Factor: Sesame Street Creates a Muppet Whose Dad Is in Jail. Way Too Many Kids Relate.

The Slatest: The FBI Thinks It May Finally Know Where Jimmy Hoffa’s Body Is Buried

XX Factor: Miss Utah Said Something Really Dumb. Is It OK to Laugh at Her?

Brow Beat: Jay-Z Has Already Sold 1 Million Copies of His New Album

Moneybox: SCOTUS Rules Against Big Pharma On Payoffs To Stop Generic Competition

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