A young man, Edward Joseph Snowden, not yet 30, intentionally made it his responsibility to inform his country of the scale and scope of post-9/11 American electronic surveillance in the United States and around the world (Verizon, Prism, Boundless Informant, Fairview and Blarney).
Barack Obama, US president, sought accommodation with the status quo surveillance state to keep the country secure. He said the program was within the law unless violations are uncovered.
At issue is not whether the law is being followed. It is justice which had compelled Snowden to leak to the news media detailed information about the extent of the government’s electronic spying directly abroad and indirectly on Americans under the aegis of the Patriot Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) with full cooperation from the country’s telephone and internet technology companies.
It is a false analogy to compare previous legal cases, as Charles Krauthammer has done in his Washington Post Op-Ed, to National Security Agency (NSA) activity. It is one thing to read metadata and entirely another to store it on a blanket basis for further intelligence use.
The Boston Marathon bombings have proven that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, a foreigner in the United States in contact with foreigners abroad, was self-radicalized to successfully carry out the bombings with his American brother Dzhokhar. His telephone and internet records may not have been under the scrutiny of US intelligence despite the costly FISA and Patriot Act NSA programs, notwithstanding Russian inquiries to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Even if Tamerlan was targeted, information about him was not sufficiently shared between the federal government and local authorities in Boston to prevent Tamerlan and his brother from carrying out the attacks. The government failed once again as it did in Benghazi, Libya on 9/11/2012, and on 9/11/2001 and before, yet Americans are being asked by their president to accede to some encroachment into their 4th Amendment right in exchange for greater security.
Did the security industrial complex (SIC) buy more security after 9/11? Any data about marginal benefit from SIC?
In America we don’t look over our shoulders to see who is watching us. It is worrisome if in the exercise of our constitutional rights if those watching us is our government for lest the minor encroachment end up as an abusive and totalitarian Orwellian state in the name of security.
As the young Mohandas Gandhi tells his priest friend in Richard Attenborough’s film Gandhi while walking down a racially charged street in South Africa, there are unjust laws just as there are unjust men.
We do not make laws in America with full faith and trust in our government but in skepticism of it.
It is possible that Snowden’s leak is a white psychological operation (PSYOP) of US intelligence and Snowden is a clandestine Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operative on US government payroll.
Edward Snowden, if not a white psyops intelligence operative, is a classic whistleblower and must be afforded protections under law.
Snowden began the public debate about the balance between privacy and security which Obama welcomes. It is a pity that that debate was not initiated by those whose job it is to do so: the political establishment. Instead of calling Snowden a traitor the whistleblower must be fully pardoned and welcomed home to testify before the United States Congress about America’s intelligence Vietnam, a war we cannot win without losing the character of our country.