OK, so here we have Edward Snowden. A Contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA) and a former employee of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). He leaked information concerning the government’s role in spying, watching, and otherwise collecting data on the citizens of the United States. Few of us Did NOT suspect the feds were listening… but we didn’t have the proof, and we didn’t expect the large-scope of whom was getting observed and what was being collected. It turns out to be EVERYONE is a victim. The government is literally watching everyone and collecting information on, where people are when they are talking on their phones, who they are talking to, how long they talked to them, their Internet usage and history. It sounds like a third-rate Police State as opposed to the Land Of The Free.
Snowden would eventually take time off of work, and leave the country with information that could prove what he was saying. He did an interview with the Guardian (a UK-based paper) and informed the world of the US Government’s predominant spying/tracking program, PRISM? This program observes and records the innocent actions of innocent people, in case they may one day become a terrorist. Why did he feel the need to take proof, because there is no doubt, the story would’ve went NOWHERE if there was no proof.
Now, Snowden, Obviously, has property/information that doesn’t belong to him and that information is the sole property of the US Government (Which is owned in-turn by the American People). He also broke rules, regulations, agreements, and laws, when he took this information. And for his actions, he’s been called both a hero by some, and a traitor by others. When asked what he thinks, he refers to himself only as “An American”. But, I don’t think he would argue that what he did was ILLEGAL by the laws of the US Government. This is, in fact, why he ran from the United States. He is NOT deluded, and is aware this is a crime. His justification, however, is worth our investigation.
He single-handedly informed Americans what their government is doing! He did not do it in order to benefit financially, but because it was the right thing to do [in his mind]. He’s been called a Spy, Anti-American, Evil, Traitor, and far worse by many-a congressman and politician (including a former Vice President). But I ask, if he was a Spy, why would he go public? Why wouldn’t he just sell the wealth of information he apparently took and live off the money? He could still be working in his job, selling more and more information with no one knowing whom he is. Well, this is why, most Americans, aren’t falling for this government line of logic! He is no Spy! He may not be a Whistle-blower as he claims, because he didn’t go through the proper US Government “Whistle-blowing” process, which leads through the government itself. The established Whistle-blowing process NEVER works, and always ends with the Whistle-blower financially ruined, Universally attacked, professionally finished, perhaps in jail, and living in a form of exile (and this is when he is 100% right).
Snowden’s Actual Crime?!?!
He told information that government didn’t want Americans to know. Not because it was important to keep Americans safe (as they claim), but because it was information that government very well KNEW, that Americans would NOT approve of. He informed Americans, that their government is treating them like they are ALL Criminals and/or Terrorists. If he released some secret statistics on the number of attacks government prevented, we wouldn’t be having this conflict (and government would’ve already leaked that information)!
Obviously, EVERY country would say that the act of releasing their secrets was a crime. Hell, if a North Korean Citizen informed visiting international media of what life is really like, they’ve committed a crime by North Korean Government standards (and would likely never be seen again). If a German were to inform the world of what the Nazi’s were doing during WW2, that was also a crime (and that informant would likely never be seen again). Obviously, Government’s want to keep their secrets secret. This clashes with the concept that; Government’s ALL tend to declare their activities legal, while the act of informing people of that Government’s “legal” activities, is illegal.
What Would We Do?
The question for us all is; What would we do, if we believed our government (which is not infallible or sacred), was doing something illegal, but wanted to keep it secret? Would we accept it as the government is justified in ANY actions it takes, simply because it is declares its information secret? Or do we have a responsibility to inform as many people as possible of what is going on when something is wrong?
Obviously, If the US government was committing an act of Genocide, we’d expect someone working for government to let everyone know, even if government considered it a secret. But let’s be more practical; If the government was spying on its citizens so that it could know –where they were, –when they were on their phones, –who they were talking to, or –what they were emailing to others. We’d expect someone in government to let us know about this overreach because it is an infringement on the Constitutional rights of the individual… And hence, Snowden.
It is Ironic to watch Politicians defend Government, while government infringes on the rights of the individual. Why is it, that every politician, without meeting Edward Snowden, suggests that he is an evil, misguided, traitor, who should be convicted of Espionage, even though they have no proof that he’s shared this information with any governments’.
If you heard of an Individual who dropped out of high school, had no college, was good with computers, worked for the CIA, Had a Top Secret Clearance, and worked for the NSA, we’d all assume, that he must be doing something right with his life and must be a pretty smart guy. And we’d probably be correct. By all accounts, Edward Snowden is a person whom many would’ve considered an intelligent, Patriot, prior to his getting on the bad side of the US Government.
… But should we focus on Snowden? Or should we focus on A government that assumes all Americans are Terrorists and feels comfortable vacuuming up their information despite their Constitutional Rights? Should we be worried (or angered) when government ignores the majority of Americans when they say that they do not want Government doing this? Is this Edward Snowden’s fault? Well, it may sound crazy, but:
I think at this point, I trust my privacy with Snowden more than I trust the US Government.
And Then There’s Us?
…And by “Us”, I mean that, We Americans must decide a few things. We must decide the role of our government [for the people, by the people… right?!]. Remember that quote by Thomas Jefferson?:
Do we want freedom even though someone might die, or do we want to be slaves (even though someone will still die). How much do you want to give for the idea of safety? We’ll have the discussion sooner or later, because that is the nature of things! I can assure you, that the day that 7, 8, 10, 20, or 30 million Americans are adamant… that this behavior stops; It will stop!