Is Edward Snowden a Traitor, Patriot or Something Else

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Edward Snowden

Photo of Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden, the former CIA contractor who leaked the information about PRISM, is now the topic of conversation. Is he a patriot standing up for America or a traitor who put our country in danger?

The government claims their snooping helps keep us safe and has averted several terror attacks.

Candidate Obama harshly criticized then-President Bush for the Patriot Act and for data collection of Internet US-overseas communications. President Obama has risked being called a hypocrite by adopting the policies of George Bush and taking them much further.

President Obama also said a couple days ago that the entire Congress knew. Rand Paul certainly didn’t know and most of Congress didn’t know. Unless they were asked to be briefed, they weren’t told.

We all know that last year Mr. Obama held a clandestine meeting with the upper echelon of Silicone Valley. We never found out what was discussed but it is logical to assume that there is a connection to the turnabout by the tech gurus. They fiercely protected privacy rights of their users in the past, or said they did, but have now embraced giving information to the government freely.

It is hard to trust this government when they say PRISM is undergoing careful oversight by Congress and the FISA court. We have seen how they can be trusted in the case of the AP records grab, the Rosen case, and the IRS targeting.

The government is collecting a billion phone records a day. They can go back in time whenever they choose and use these records to go after any citizen. Trusting the courts to protect us is difficult after seeing how Eric Holder went judge shopping to find one who would issue a secret warrant on the false premise that Rosen was a co-conspirator for reporting a leaked story.

Snowden worked for four years as a U.S. defense contractor at the NSA according to the Washington Post. Snowden says that he could no longer live with the dismantling of our Constitution on a daily basis at the NSA.

Snowden is currently holed up in a hotel in Hong Kong and has asked them for asylum. Hong Kong, which is part of Communist China, is one of the safest places for Snowden right now. Extradition from Hong Kong would be difficult. It is, however, part of Communist China and it makes one wonder about Snowden.

Snowden is understandably fearful. He told the Guardian, “”I could not do this without accepting the risk of prison. You can’t come up against the world’s most powerful intelligence agencies and not accept the risk. If they want to get you, over time they will.”

Snowden leaked the information to an anti-American reporter for the Guardian, a liberal UK newspaper. We don’t know why he chose them.

Snowden said Obama betrayed his original promises to protect our privacy rights.

Given that, nothing he has leaked so far has hurt anyone that we know of. The information leaked shouldn’t have been a leak. We should have known.

I am not a Libertarian but many Republicans are now portraying right-wing Snowden supporters as Libertarians because they are largely in agreement with the left-wing on the snooping issue.  Is that the case, are we adopting a Libertarians stance if we agree with Snowden?  Or is it the case that the government has crossed one bridge too far?

Does this issue have to be partisan? It seems to have bipartisan approval and disapproval. For me, it is not partisan. I want the government to protect me and do see value in a limited use of the Patriot Act, or at least I did, but when the 4th Amendment is completely ignored, it is time for people to drop the partisan bias and look squarely at the issue, study the facts, and make a determination.

Snowden had access to an extraordinary amount of data as a freelance contractor because the government is focused on collecting and sharing everyone’s information at a frenetic pace without the real safeguards they claim are in place. The more information they collect, the greater the number of people who will have access to the data.

I don’t know if Snowden is a hero or a traitor but I am glad he leaked the information. It seems to be something the public should know about. The government has grown too large.

The government officials, both right and left, are saying that this leak is very dangerous but the only obvious danger so far is that it makes the government look abusive.

That being said, Snowden did violate an oath. On the other hand, he is a whistleblower leaking information the public should know about.

James Clapper said we are getting the story wrong. That could be the case. We’re listening!

We simply don’t have enough information at this time but it is hard to understand why the government has the right to collect and store everyone’s Internet information.

The government couldn’t even respond to two warnings from Russia about Tamerlan Tsarnaev. They didn’t notice e-mail exchanges between Anwar al-Awlaki and the Ft. Hood terrorist, Nadal Hassan. Somehow we are supposed to believe they will do a good job with securing our e-mail and video exchanges.

What do you think? I don’t know what to think.

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