WASHINGTON, June 23, 2013 – What are we to believe about Ed Snowden, the man with the conscience?
Snowden, whose arrival on a media star in Britain’s Guardian a month ago, started a firestorm. He has many in America taking sides in a debate over whether it’s OK to expose anything at all about our government’s activities.
Apparently, Snowden, who was supposedly under tight surveillance by our Red Chinese police allies in Hong Kong, was somehow able to slip the dragnet. An employee of the Russian state airline, Aeroflot, is said to have mentioned that Snowden left Hong Kong on a one-way ticket to Moscow on Sunday. Speculations are guesses as to what he will do. Remain in Russia or, after a stopover, head to Cuba where other persons seeking Political Asylum from prosecution in the US, such as former Black Panther Assata Olugbala Shakur, aunt to Tupac, have successfully found haven.
Or, possibly travel on to Ecuador, who has offered asylum to Julian Asange.
Snowden, an employee of consulting firm Booz, Allen, Hamilton, went public with information that the National Security Administration (NSA) maintains and date-farms a gigantic database of Verizon customers’ cell phone activity records.
While not surprising to any fan of what gets done in the name of national security, his action was deplorable to many, many people. Heroic to others.
First, his revelation was inconvenient for Booz, Allen. They have a fat contract, and this kind of thing makes both the contracting process itself and the firm’s vetting public issues. Nobody wants their cozy contracts scrutinized. Not the consultants; and certainly not the government, which doesn’t want the citizens to know anything about anything
The revelations are inconvenient for ‘Big Government.” Our internal spy agencies hate it when their routine work is exposed. Officials, from press flacks to the Senate, are saying that our national security was seriously breached by Snowden’s loose talk. Many people, maybe naively, suspected anyone in the government was making and keeping databases on regular citizens, until that very moment.
They told us they weren’t. Many other assumed they were.
And lastly, Snowden has put a lot of formerly in-the-shadows government bigwigs on the hot seat. If Snowden’s revelations are true (and there is very little serious rebuttal), then our government’s officials routinely lie to Congress, and to us. This angers Congress for two reasons: nobody likes being lied to; and nobody likes being made out to be a naïve fool.
Even Congress, which happily swallows one such whopper after another, has some pride.
Snowden’s revelations make for a different kind of scandal. This is not about a crackpot video that set off a random attack in Benghazi. This isn’t about not violating the Fourth Amendment. This isn’t about how our Attorney General had nothing to do with, or recollection of, the authorizations he signed.
This isn’t about how the government emphatically denied compiling databases on tens of millions of citizens (except maybe inadvertently). This is about a private citizen who, for whatever motives, blew the cover off a program that any prudent person would not be surprised about.
This is not so much about what they did, but how they lied.
But what of Edward J. Snowden? Why did he not stand and defend his actions? Why did he run off to China? Why didn’t he just come home to America, where criminals get the best legal help and liberal judges that the taxpayers can afford? What, really, will he be doing in Moscow? Was Moscow his original intended destination? Did the Kremlin invite him, or did he seek Putin’s Paradise on his own?
Now that Snowden has the admiration of America’s diplomatic enemies and public support from patriots like Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, where will he actually start his political career?
And what of the Chinese, and the Russians? Why did they/do they harbor him, if he’s said all he’s going to say? And what about our President’s gift for dealing with our friends, the Chinese and the Russians? What happened to that?
It’s clearly time for a little Secretary of State John Kerry magic. It will be very, very interesting to see what he does.
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