Snowden: Traitor Or Patriotic Whistleblower?

Edward Snowden exposed the NSA’s program of massive monitoring of American citizens’ electronic communications. Unless you’ve been living in a cave in Tora Bora, you already knew this. His actions, and his subsequent efforts to find a country to protect him from prosecution in this country, have been getting a lot of ink and air time in the news, as well as snowdenhaving effects on our international relations, most recently being credited with Obama’s cancellation of his scheduled summit with Putin.

Opinions on Snowden’s actions seem to fall pretty decisively into one of two camps:

Opinion 1:  Snowden’s a criminal at the least, and very possibly a traitor. He revealed national intelligence secrets, in clear violation of the law and his oath to maintain secrecy. His actions possibly aided our enemies, fundamentalist terrorists. The monitoring he revealed is all perfectly legal, as authorized and defined by the Patriot Act.

Opinion 2:  The NSA monitoring program is a gross violation of Americans’ right of privacy, and Snowden was right in revealing the extent of the monitoring, even though he broke the law to do so. That is the very essence of being a whistleblower. Others in position of authority – particularly knowledgeable elected officials – should have done so long ago. The American people have a right to know if their government – which works for them – is actively spying on them.

I’m firmly in the camp of those who hold Opinion 2, and I’ll tell you why.

First of all, there’s absolutely no evidence of which I’m aware that shows this program to have done anything at all to fight terrorism. On the one hand, we’re told that such indiscriminate “monitoring” is a powerful tool to fight terrorism, while at the same time we shouldn’t worry because there’s so much data being acquired that our own individual privacy is not at risk because there’s simply too much garbage to wade through by the NSA.

Well… which is it? Is there “too much data”, or is it a powerful tool? It sure can’t be both. Either the data is useable, or it’s not. If it’s not, then there’s no valid reason for the program to continue. If the data is useable, then what’s to prevent the government from using it against law-abiding citizens on the merest of whims, any time they feel like it?

Supporters of the program point to the requirement that FISA courts have to approve warrants, but in my earlier essay I already tore that particular rationalization to shreds. It’s laughably meaningless, as the FISA courts function in complete secrecy. A secret court to approve secret warrants to conduct a secret surveillance of private individuals. Why do I not find that reassuring?

Terrorists aren’t stupid. Think about it. In this day and age, even the low-IQ drug dealer on the corner knows to use “burner phones” – one-time-use disposable cell phones – for their communications. Are we supposed to believe that terrorists are dumber than some punk standing on a ghetto corner? That one doesn’t even pass the giggle test.

If I were a terrorist, I’d use my cell phone to talk up a whole bunch of fictitious attacks I was planning… say, on American embassies in a bunch of Middle Eastern countries. I’ll bet I could get the American government to react to that. Maybe they’d close down a bunch of those embassies for a while… maybe even 19 of them. Then, when nothing happened, they’d sure look foolish, wouldn’t they?

Oh, hey… didn’t we just close down a bunch of…

Never mind…

In all these years of having this kind of surveillance program in place, why have we never heard of any examples of how it foiled some terrorist plots? I know, I know… because it would “reveal operational details…”.

Uh huh…

I’ve been highly skeptical of the Patriot Act from its first proposal years ago. Even the name is bothersome, as if it’s somehow “unpatriotic” to be concerned about its potential for abuse and violation of fundamental rights of American citizens.

There’s another aspect to the Snowden affair to consider, too. Granted, he violated the law by revealing those secrets. But if a law is unconstitutional, and/or exceeds its authority or violates citizens’ rights on a wholesale scale, is there an obligation to make that known and oppose it?

NurembergIn the post-World War 2 trials of the Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg, the principle was firmly established that hiding behind the law, or in their case “orders”, didn’t relieve individuals from their responsibility to do what’s actually right.

In this case the right thing to do would have been to have a public debate on such a massive and intrusive program, and get it all on the record. But that never happened… UNTIL Snowden blew the whistle.

I’d like to think that I’d have the guts to do the same thing if I were in his place.

© Brian Baker 2013

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58 comments on “Snowden: Traitor Or Patriotic Whistleblower?

  1. Gunny G says:

    Snowden acted correctly. I was wrong about Bush 43 and the Patriot Act. It and he violated the Constitution and in comes this douchebag and runs with the ball with Eric Witholder blocking for him. I’ll NEVER be on the wrong side of history and Snowden isn’t either. He has guts to stand up to the murderous thug in the White Mosque.

    • BrianR says:

      Thanks, Gunny. Yeah, that about sums it up.

      A law can be enacted with all the best intentions in the world, and maybe even work as originally envisioned for a while. But at some point some other lunatic will assume power and inevitably — INEVITABLY — abuse it.

      The Founders realized this, which is why they tried to put so many limits on governmental power.

      I’m actually working on an essay discussing this.

  2. Buck says:

    Wow! Good essay! I have previously been unable to form an opinion on the Snowden affair. Your presentation has given me some insight and an opinion I previously did not have..

  3. clyde says:

    I’m with Option # 2 as well. This Patriot Act is NOTHING it’s name suggests. Especially when a communist tinhorn wannabe is running the show. I say Snowden did the right thing, BUT he should have laid low, and released this shit anominously. Don’t know what I would do,given a similar circumstance, none of us would unless we were to be there. I would like to believe I would have done what Snowden has, but would have kept my head down, as it were. Excellent essay, pard. Take a bow.

    • BrianR says:

      Clyde, thanks also for those very kind words.

    • The Dumplin says:

      Clyde, I am one courageous gal, but I have to be honest. I am not sure I would have the courage to do what Mr. Snowden did. He knowingly sacrificed so very much in order to stand strong for his country.

      Regarding him releasing the info anonymously, I think he would have been taken down very early, never to be heard from again. I have found, on a personal level, that when one is dealing with those that walk in darkness that have this level of power, it is best to be visible and loud. One can never be sure. Look at what happened to Michael Hastings.

      The Dumplin

  4. thedrpete says:

    An enemy of the U.S. Government is a friend of mine.

    • BrianR says:

      Hahahahaha!

      Wow, that was about as concise as it gets.

    • The Dumplin says:

      HaHa! That IS concise.

      The thing I urge all to remember is that there are many good people in government that are trying to do the right thing. Much of the time they are cut off at the knees because the dark ones are interspersed and because it is a multi-teared operation.

      The Dumplin

      • thedrpete says:

        Among many things I urge all to remember (or at least note) is that if a good person is today working for the U.S. Government, and if said person is not doing a Snowden, that person is proof that (a) good persons can choose and behave badly, and (b) that once-good persons can morph into now-bad ones.

      • BrianR says:

        No doubt. That’s certainly within the realm of human nature.

    • AfterShock says:

      An ally in the fight to shine the light of truth on the U.S. Government is a friend. I cannot second guess Snowden’s methods, many men have — from the perspective of various Administrations –met fortuitous deaths. Perhaps as public records seemed to indicate, they knew too much.

      Hillary Clinton for instance framed the White House travel director Billy Ray Dale to get rid of him in favor of Clinton cronies.

      When Hillary was about to be indicted for her role in the Whitewater real estate scandal, the only direct witness against her (and Bill for that matter), Jim McDougal, died suddenly of a heart attack while incarcerated for his role in the affair. The Clinton’s were never prosecuted.

      And let’s not forget the Gary Condit/Chandra Levy scandal, of course an illegal alien scapegoat was found some 8 years later ostensibly to take the rap and clear Condit. If only O.J. had the power to find an illegal alien scapegoat for his crimes.

      These liberals are ruthless. Regular channels so far as it concerns whistle blowers mean nothing to them, life means nothing to them. Their only concern is the acquisition and maintenance of power and the total destruction of anyone that stands in their way. I believe Snowden acted in the only way he felt would save his life while exposing the government’s rape of our rights and liberty.

      • BrianR says:

        Shocky, as you know I’ve never been real big on conspiracy theories. Mainly because they never stand up; there’s always some blabbermouth who lets the cat out of the bag.

        But as events have continued to transpire over the last number of years, I’m wondering if I have to rethink that position. I mean, c’mon… who’da thunk THIS stuff would have gone on, right?

        Who’d have ever believed Fast & Furious? The Benghazi cover-up? All the rest of the malfeasance and outright criminal actions going on, all under the flag of an elected administration?

        A-frikkin-mazing…

  5. Buck says:

    Clyde: Possibility he could not have released the info anonymously.

  6. Nee says:

    I hailed him as a hero, but then had some doubts and then swung back. Although Snowden’s motives appear noble, will we know for sure? Someday. It begs the question: are we willing to die for the convictions we hold dear? And on that, you bet your sweet bippy! Not everyone can be that way but like you, I hope I would do it.

    We were JUST talking about all the info that is “not” necessary but collected and in that vein, get rid of any “not spying on us” programs ASAP. Chances are ears to the ground and other things serve better than using the whole of America’s formerly private info. The pendulum is going to swing back to paying for our privacy because everyone will not forgo interwebs and all that can be done so efficiently now along those lines. It will create jobs, too, much to the chagrin of the (P) resident in chief.

    • BrianR says:

      Yep. Y’know, I have an intel background. Obviously pretty dated, but ELINT (electronic intel) is NEVER as reliable as HUMINT (human intel). It just isn’t. GIGO (garbage in, garbage out).

  7. The Dumplin says:

    Brian, thank you for a very good essay.

    Honestly, I just recently came back to blogging on theslickdumpling.com. I thank you for the kind comment on my Snowden piece.

    I set my keyboard aside many months ago because I have had a couple of serious personal situations that made me hyper aware of what has been happening in our government. I saw up close and personal, that for every two good people working in government, there is one that works on the dark side. I had to think long and hard about whether I am willing to put myself out there to speak truth and try to enlighten others.

    I am back. So, the answer is ‘YES’.

    Thank you for your praise. Yesterday was my first day back, it means a lot to me.

    The Dumplin

    • BrianR says:

      Dumplin, I’m really glad, then, that you’re “back”. I read several of your other essays, and you write very good articles. I intend to be a regular visitor, and I’d like to add you to my Blog Roll.

      I highly recommend any of those blogs if you’re interested in reading material written by like-minded, intelligent (and sometimes inflammatory) bloggers. Good people.

      I’m also glad you decided to “put yourself out there” for another reason. Not to blow our own horn, but it’s people like us — who AREN’T — afraid to tell the truth, who are one of the big hopes for the salvation of this country.

      Welcome back to the front lines.

      • The Dumplin says:

        Brian, I will be honored to be added to your Blog Roll. I will be reading all on your list. I enjoy learning from others and I do believe that diversity of point of view and life experience are the foundation this amazing country was built on.

        I am not really about politics because I am not sure that party matters much any more. I am about standing strong with others, even those with differing perspectives, for the purpose of making sure our constitution remains intact and is adhered to.

        Divide and conquer — From my perspective, it is critical to always keep in mind that the method of manipulation used by the Third Reich may very well be used against us. If we are busy fighting amongst ourselves, we are taking our eye off the ball. This is when those that want to shred our constitution, for personal gain, are dancing in darkness. We must shed light on them. Sunlight is still nature’s best disinfectant.

        Remember in Kruschev’s U. N. speech when he said that America will fall without a shot being fired? I suggest that we, the citizens, will ultimately be responsible if that happens. This is OUR country. While there are some freedoms left, we must quit taking her for granted. We must reclaim her and restore her foundation.

        The only secret left is the truth.

        Please excuse my passion. I just cannot help myself.

        The Dumplin

      • BrianR says:

        “I am not really about politics because I am not sure that party matters much any more. I am about standing strong with others, even those with differing perspectives, for the purpose of making sure our constitution remains intact and is adhered to.”

        LOL!

        Well, then, welcome to the club! You’ll be joining a group of dissident constitutionalists who think pretty much the same way. I think you may feel right at home.

        Your entire comment was absolutely excellent, as far as I’m concerned. If I had to sum up my own perspective, I’d hope I would have done it just like that.

    • thedrpete says:

      FYI, Dumplin, any federal minimum wage law (supported elsewhere by you) is both unconstitutional and serious violation of the unalienable right to liberty. Further, such laws ignore both the laws of economics and human nature, with the usual attendant “unintentional consequences” devastating to those the laws are said to help.

      • BrianR says:

        Did you mean to post that here? It looks like a continuation of the debate you guys were having at her place.

  8. garnet92 says:

    I’ll take door #2 as well. I wonder when we would’ve found out about the NSA capturing our communications without Snowden’s spilling the beans. And now Barry says he “welcomes” a discussion – yeah, right. We wouldn’t have any inkling of the NSA’s program without Snowden. Even at that, we’ve probably only touched the tip of the iceberg as far as what they have and how they’ll use it – political dirty tricks, anyone? The federal government, especially under Barry’s control, simply can’t be trusted.

  9. Buck says:

    The thing that left me in limbo was the question, “What was Snowden’s intent?”
    Was he wanting to hurt the United States?
    Or was he wanting the citizens to know what was going on behind the curtain?

    • BrianR says:

      We’ll never really know, Buck, as we can’t read minds. That’s why motive isn’t considered an essential “element” of the evidence presented in criminal trials.

      It may be inferred (perhaps incorrectly) but we never KNOW what someone else is thinking. All we ever really have is what they may decide to TELL us.

      And people have been known to lie…

  10. Buck says:

    Aftershock:
    “These liberals are ruthless.”
    Yep. Just like child predators only the children are probably more aware of the evil intent than are the LIV’s.

  11. Buck says:

    I have never thought the Nuremberg convictions of those claiming to follow orders was totally correct.
    In the Lieutenant Calley trial he was not allowed to call Capt. Medina. Then he was ORDERED not to bring up Yamashita v United States wherein the general’s defense to atrocities in the Philippines was, as commanding officer, he could not possibly be responsible for the actions of every private in the field. Thus Calley took the full brunt and Medina and Westmoreland were not even mentioned.

    • BrianR says:

      Interesting.

      The military Code of Conduct at the time required that a soldier refuse to follow illegal orders. The problem, of course, was that it was never clear WHO defined the illegality of orders.

      Essentially, if you disobeyed orders on the basis of the Code of Conduct, I guess you had to be ready to prove your case at a court-martial.

      As to My Lai, I think Medina got a free pass. He was the company-grade officer in charge, and Calley was operating under his direct supervision. At the very least, he was in a position to start proceedings against Calley, and he didn’t.

      As to Westmoreland, I don’t think any responsibility attaches. He’s too far up the chain of command, and can’t be held responsible for every single action of every troop somewhere down the chain of command. The difference between Westy and the Nazis is that Westy didn’t encourage illegal behavior; the Nazis certainly DID, as a matter of policy.

      • thedrpete says:

        This is personal, so of no import here. In November of 1963 I refused to obey an order from my superior. I was court marshalled, tried, vindicated, and the orderer was demoted by four grades. From the time of the arrest to the time I left the base, I was close to losing my life on four occasions.

      • BrianR says:

        Actually, that sounds like a fascinating story. I’d love to hear it, either here or at your own blog.

  12. Sgt Relic says:

    Right on target as usual, Brian! I will admit to fence-sitting for a time when this story first broke. Like many here, who have served in military, held high security clearances, and lived under the UCMJ; I’ve engaged in the inevitable barracks debates about what constitutes a “lawful order”. As I recall, consensus was that either way, they’re gonna’ put you in jail!

    There is no question in my mind that he violated his oath. However, the enormity of the crimes being committed wholesale against the rights of the American people does make him a classic whistleblower. Since the track record of this administration regarding whistleblowers is not a good one, I can see why he would go elsewhere to drop this bomb.

    He couldn’t play “deep throat”. What media in this country is going to run with a story like that?

    IMO, the lawlessness of this administration and its so-called DOJ has created the atmosphere that caused him to feel the need to seek asylum with our not-friends in Russia; thereby forfeiting the opportunity to contain the revelation of anything that might have been of any real value in this program.

    There is a chill wind blowing in this country and it’s only going to get colder.

    • BrianR says:

      Sarge! How ya doing? Long time, no see. Thanks for the kind words.

      I couldn’t agree more with what you wrote. And I, too, remember those barracks debates about who defines the “lawful order”. I just now responded to one of Buck’s comments on exactly that topic, particularly as to Calley and My Lai.

      BTW, are you going to start blogging again?

      • Sgt Relic says:

        I’m doing 100% better, thanks for asking! For the last couple years, typing has been near on to impossible for me. Too many years of pounding keyboards and crunching code really extracted its pound of flesh. LOL! I hated to admit defeat but it was just too painful to type.

        I tried using the talk to text stuff briefly….no joy on that front. The good programs are too expensive and the freebies are not good. Long story short, hot wax and physical therapy, coupled with time, finally produced a reasonable result.

        So yes, I may return to blogging in the near future. Meanwhile, it was good to cease being a lurker here. BTW, how long am I sentenced to moderation for my unauthorized absence? HaHa!

      • BrianR says:

        LOL!

        I approved this comment within minutes of receiving the email notification!

        Unfortunately for you, I don’t just sit at my computer waiting for them to show up.

        Well, I’m glad to hear you’re back; you’ve been missed. And I look forward to hearing/seeing more of you.

    • clyde says:

      Sgt., GREAT to see you out here again! Welcome back, brother.

  13. Buck says:

    Brian:
    “As to Westmoreland, I don’t think any responsibility attaches. He’s too far up the chain of command, and can’t be held responsible for every single action of every troop somewhere down the chain of command.”
    This was Yamashita’s argument exactly. The court said yes, he was responsible for every soldier.
    They hung Yamashita.

    • BrianR says:

      There’s a huge and significant difference. The Japanese had an “official” policy of abuse, torture, mistreatment of prisoners, ignoring the Geneva Conventions, beheading POWs, etc. So when there is such a policy, those at the top responsible for implementing it are also responsible for the actions of every single soldier all the way down the line who carries out that policy.

      Westy — and the US military — had so such policy at all. Quite the contrary; we were supposed to “win their hearts and minds”.

  14. Buck says:

    Okay, back to the original subject.
    Funny (ha ha) thing. When weasels in the administration outed President Bush’s confidential plans or administration wrong doings the whistle blowers were hailed as “brave” heroes……
    Now the administration persecutes (not prosecutes) whistle blowers….

    • BrianR says:

      Well, yeah. Didn’t you get the memo? Leftists don’t have to adhere to the same standards as others. They’re “special”.

  15. Grey Neely says:

    Your last reply to Buck tells the story Brian. It approaches the famous line from the comic strip “Pogo” (We is all equal, it’s just that some of us are more equal than others.).

    I have always held that Snowden’s actions came under your “Opinion No. 2”. For a multitude of reasons, however, the feds MUST punish him. Snowden blew the whistle on the entire Democrat Party’s portion of the federal government and their illegal actions. To protect the Democrat Party, Snowden must be punished as an example. Because it now appears that what he blew the whistle on are only the tip of the iceberg.

    The only solution? Sadly, I must conclude that the same actions that occurred in 1775 are the only solution.

    • BrianR says:

      We’re seeing this same approach becoming generalized, too. What about the Benghazi whistleblowers? Being threatened with sanctions if they talk; names being changed in official reports, etc. Same thing with IRS workers. Same with ATF agents over Fast & Furious.

      There’s definitely a pattern of corruption here, to levels we’ve never seen in the history of this country.

  16. CW says:

    I’ve been on vacation, Brian, so I’m a bit late to the party. You’re asking a very good question here. I’ve thought a lot about it myself and my own conclusion is that it’s option #3: Snowden is both a hero and a traitor. That’s because even though government is ostensibly for the people, it is perpetually vulnerable to corruption by the individuals who have power at any given time.

    Government is supposed to exist for our use and protection. That was what the Founders had in mind, although it is abundantly clear from their writings that they fully understood the inevitable risk from corrupt or stupid individuals. To the extent that we have the right to form a nation with a common national defense and certain common interests to protect, anyone within that nation who messes with that is a traitor. To the extent that the individuals within government abuse their power, anyone who messes with that is a hero.

    Snowden may have blown the whistle on the U.S. government for blanket, indiscriminate spying on Americans, but he also went further than that, which is why he is now the darling of so many on the Left. Snowden has reportedly provided secret documents to foreign sources revealing U.S. spying operations on European Union officials and hacking operations against Chinese networks. He’s been working in conjunction with Julian Assange of Wikileaks – no friend of the U.S. Anyone who believes that international intrigue exists and that other countries sometimes undermine the interests of the U.S. in order to advance their own interests should understand that Snowden is potentially playing a dangerous and/or destructive game by presuming to decide – on behalf of all of us – what information we are entitled to keep secret as a nation. As a citizen, I didn’t give my okay to be spied on, but I also did not transfer my right to Edward Snowden to judge what information we, as a nation, should hold secret.

    I don’t understand why Snowden couldn’t have restricted his whistle-blowing to just those gov’t activities that encroach on the rights of U.S. citizens, and so I don’t trust him. I find it very strange that he claims to be so outraged by Big Brother tactics in the U.S., which is a very valid criticism, but then he seeks asylum in China and Russia, of all places. Why is he not offended by the Big Brother tactics those nations are famous for? To me it’s a bit like a football player who knows his coach is spying on the other team, so he hands the team’s entire playbook over to the media. He’s throwing the whole team and it’s ownership under the bus in order to expose the coach.

    • BrianR says:

      I haven’t read anything about Snowden taking actions other than revealing the scope of the NSA program. I don’t know anything about him working with Assange. And frankly, at this juncture, I’m not sure I’d put much credence in ANYTHING the government claims in their efforts to discredit him. The government doesn’t have much credibility with me anymore.

      As to where he went to find asylum: if you’ll remember, he tried to go to several other countries first. Many countries have extradition treaties with us, so they’re immediately ruled out. Several others simply refused entry to him. He didn’t have many other options… if any.

      “As a citizen, I didn’t give my okay to be spied on, but I also did not transfer my right to Edward Snowden to judge what information we, as a nation, should hold secret.”

      Yes… and so? What’s your alternative solution, then?

      As I wrote, we certainly should have had a public debate on this stuff before it became active. Our public officials should have been doing something about it. Neither of those things happened. So then what?

      • CW says:

        “The latest revelations attributed to Mr. Snowden were reported by the German outlet Der Spiegel, which claims leaked documents show the U.S. spied on European Union officials in Washington, New York and Brussels. Reaction was swift from European allies, who said the allegations could scuttle ongoing negotiations on a proposed major trans-Atlantic trade treaty…….Mr. Assange acknowledged Sunday that WikiLeaks, which gained notoriety after revealing highly classified documents, private State Department cables and other information, is in touch with Mr. Snowden and working to ensure the secret material in his possession eventually comes to light.”

        Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jun/30/julian-assange-there-no-stopping-edward-snowden-mo/#ixzz2cPzIe6H0

        “Today we get the news that NSA leaker Edward Snowden has shown top secret US documents to a pro-Beijing Hong Kong newspaper, revealing that the US has been hacking Chinese networks for at least four years.”

        http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/42122_Edward_Snowden_Reveals_Secret_US_Hacking_Programs_to_China

        My solution to the Snowden dilemma is that he could have revealed what he knew about the government’s mass data collection on U.S. citizens in general terms, without leaking specific documents or information about intelligence gathering on outside entities. He could have done that secretly, had he wanted to.

        We had a debate about the Patriot Act when it first became law and when it’s been renewed. What hasn’t been part of the debate is the reality of the abuse of power that’s taken place under its auspices. But the whole concept of “debate” in this context is kind of funny (I mean in an ironic sort of way). Are we going to debate whether or not the government must act within the law? Because according to the author of the Patriot Act, Jim Sensenbrenner, the law does not give authority for the kind of widespread data mining that’s been going on.

        http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/06/06/author-patriot-act-says-phone-records-collection-excessive/

        I agree with you that our elected officials should have been doing something about this. Frankly I don’t understand why there isn’t more outrage directed at them, particularly when this would have been a timely topic before the last presidential election.

      • BrianR says:

        “My solution to the Snowden dilemma is that he could have revealed what he knew about the government’s mass data collection on U.S. citizens in general terms…”

        And it would have been blithely dismissed, by the administration and the lackey press, as the paranoid ramblings of a lunatic. Generalities with no substance nor detail. Tin-foil hat ravings.

        “He could have done that secretly.”

        How do you reveal something “secretly”?

        “We had a debate about the Patriot Act when it first became law and when it’s been renewed”

        No we didn’t. Not about spying on American citizens like this. Never happened.

        “I agree with you that our elected officials should have been doing something about this.”

        But they didn’t. So… what happens THEN, lacking a Snowden?

  17. CW says:

    What are your thoughts about the claims that Snowden leaked documents relating to U.S. spying on European officials, the hacking of the Chinese and the relationship with Wikileaks? Does none of that concern you? Shall we give everyone a pass when they share the nation’s classified information as long as they also share information we like? I think that’s a question that needs to be addressed.

    As for the saying we didn’t debate spying on American citizens like this, we didn’t specifically debate that aspect of it because it was never intended to be this way under the law according to the man who wrote the law. So it’s a little like saying we never debated delaying parts of Obamacare until 2015. We didn’t debate it because they did it illegally, after the fact. I know there were people who disagreed with the Patriot Act from the get go. If you Google “Patriot Act slippery slope” you’ll get over 2 million hits dating back 10 years where people expressed concerns about gov’t overreach and unconstitutionality.

    >>”But [our elected officials didn’t act]. So… what happens THEN, lacking a Snowden?”

    That’s why I said he’s both a hero and a traitor.

    >>”How do you reveal something “secretly”?”

    Isn’t that what “Deep Throat” did?

    • BrianR says:

      First of all, you keep asking questions … while NEVER answering mine.

      Did you notice that?

      Re your first paragraph: AGAIN, I have absolutely NO confidence in ANYTHING the government claims about Snowden at this point. It just sounds like a bunch of excuses to me; obfuscation and misdirection. The usual Obozo sleight-of-hand. “It was low-level (insert flogging dummy here) who did the (criminal activity)!!!”

      The issue on the table FIRST is the government’s spying on American citizens, on a massive and illegal scale. Answer THAT before trying to lead the discussion down an irrelevant and tangential road, government hacks.

      Re your second paragraph: First of all, I was one of those who opposed the Patriot Act for its potential for abuse… which we now learn is EXACTLY what’s happened. But you’re going in circles here. “… we didn’t specifically debate that aspect of it because it was never intended to be this way under the law according to the man who wrote the law.” And we still wouldn’t know about it UNLESS SNOWDEN HAD SPILLED THE BEANS. Which is EXACTLY my point!

      “>>”How do you reveal something “secretly”?” Isn’t that what “Deep Throat” did?”

      Oh… so you’re only talking about keeping his IDENTITY secret. Meh. Okay. I don’t care, as long as the facts came out. Actually, the argument CAN be made that by sacrificing his own career, he put more on the line than someone like Deep Throat, who presumably kept on working in his government job.

      He may have actually lent his claims more credibility. As you say (as I did in my essay) he violated the law and his oath to break the news. Does someone who did that deserve to keep his job?

      Again, a tangential issue I don’t really have much interest in.

      If we’re going to start handing out punishment left and right, how about we start with all the government hacks, from the top right on down, who let something like this obscene program exist? But that’s NEVER gonna happen. If they get to skate… so does Snowden.

    • BrianR says:

      It occurs to me, with some of your questions, that you’re conflating issues, where I’m not.

      My essay regarding Snowden deals only with his revelations about the domestic spying. He might have done all KINDS of things in his life, but they’re not of interest to me regarding this subject.

      I’ve known soldiers who were absolute boneheads in real life — cheated on their wives, had bad debts, were drunks, whatever — but did great things on the battlefield. That made them good, maybe heroic, soldiers. Were they good people? Maybe not. Did they break other laws? In some cases. Was that relevant to their performance under fire? Nope.

      I didn’t write an essay assessing Snowden as a person. I don’t know him and never will. I wrote about his actions relating to this specific issue.

      ________________________________

      BTW, good discussion!

  18. Buck says:

    Brian, CW:

    An epfiph…epife…a light bulb just came on in my head.
    What if Snowden really did only leak NSA spying on US citizens and the Obama regime, which has been giving our secrets to our enemies in one way or another, used him as a scapegoat to reveal further secrets to our potential enemies???

  19. Buck says:

    Read the first post from whatsisname here.
    Once again a lib moron gets it wrong:
    “Huh…NOW the Right is concerned about civil-rights…”
    Dumb shit.
    He should research which side was responsible for passage of the 1964 Civil Right Act.
    No further eyestrain needed.

    • BrianR says:

      Yeah, I know. Hell, go all the way back to the Civil War. Who was President, and what was it all about? Republican Lincoln, slavery. It’s just the usual drivel from lefties; intellectually dishonest if not downright ignorant; spouting slogans and sound bites. Just like any opposition to the Liar-In-Chief is “RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACIST!!!”.

      Meh. SOP.

      • BrianR says:

        Well, I guess the socialist moron didn’t believe me. He submitted some more of his inane rants, so I spammed him and deleted all his previous comments.

        I can’t understand what in the world gives those nimrods the idea the rules don’t apply to them, and that they can be as rude, ill-mannered, and arrogant as they please and somehow there are no consequences for it. I guess they see a lot of that in the rest of the world, which cowers in fear of being labeled “racist” or some other nonsense.

        _______________________________________________

        So, Abrams, if you do check back, you’ll see that all of your idiotic comments are gone. You have nothing to contribute to a conversation, so I won’t be approving any more of your loony rants. You’ve been marked as spam at my blog. The filters should just kick your stuff out, but if somehow it misses, I have a record of your IP address and screen name, and won’t be approving your ramblings anymore.

        Buh-bye…

  20. Buck says:

    And don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

    might give you a brain concussion………..

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