Is Edward Snowden a calculating and clever scoundrel? Or is he just a naive dumb jerk?
You'll notice that I allow him no favorable categories. As I explained in prior postings, Snowden is anathema to someone like me who actually got federal laws enacted to protect our civil liberties and rights. To an old hand, Snowden is just the flip-side of a Joe McCarthy, the same arrogance and ruthless willingness to do anything to get attention. Ol' Joe and Young Ed just know better than anybody else. And they grab the limelight by playing the easiest instrument in the orchestra: Americans are always eager to hear why they should distrust their own government. Next to baseball, that's the favorite national past- time.
But let's get something straight. Being a real whistleblower was never Snowden's motive. The whistle had already been blown several times in past years. We already knew about NSA's massive collection of phone numbers, first when the Patriot Act and its subsequent amendments were enacted, then again on May 22, 2007, on the front page of USA Today, then again in the intervening years as other media occasionally gave it attention.
It was NEVER A SECRET!
The South China newspaper quotes Snowden as saying he joined NSA just for the purpose of attacking the government's "secret" surveillance. If true, that's a calculating and clever scoundrel at work, though an uninformed one. The surveillance wasn't secret. His apparent reasoning: Make the government look bad by hyping up concern about a program and thus "protect" your fellow Americans whom you believe haven't the good sense to be already alarmed about what's already been in the news. Be the arrogant guardian of the great unwashed. Be a hero. And to hell with national security or the right of the people to have their elected officials make decisions instead of 29-year-old nobodies doing it for them. And to hell with the truth, that nobody is listening in on citizens' phone calls without a warrant.
But if Snowden is so crafty and freedom-loving and just playing for personal glory, why is he running to the arms of all the world's most repressive governments, the ones that censor everything, but specially censor his beloved internet? The ones who spy on everybody big-time and especially on their own citizens? Why is a supposed truth-telling, super-patriot American dancing with the Chinese, the Russians, the Cubans. And possibly Ecuador? This last is the target of severe criticism by human rights groups for its repressive government. And how come he's missed out on those ol sweeties, North Korea and Iran? Or does he also plan to snuggle up to them?
Nobody is listening in on Americans' phone calls unless a court issue a warrant based on reasonable cause for such search. That's no different than standard criminal investigative procedure has been since day one of the telephone. It is 100% anctioned by numerous U.S. Supreme Court decisions. In Russia, China, Cuba, North Korea, Iran and Ecuador, they don't need no stinkin' warrants to listen to your phone calls. They don't need no stinkin' warrants for anything? If they just think you may be possibly a little bit likely to tend to be a threat to the government or are even thinking of being a threat, they just skip right to the chase and haul you off to prison. No rights, no due process.
This is what Snowden has embraced. He's run right to the arms of the devil he tried to paint America as being. Therefore, one can't help but question his motives from get-go. Maybe he wasn't trying to save America at all. Maybe all his hero talk about freedom was just a temporary cover for his previously planned espionage on behalf of America's enemies. It's deemed virtually certain, for example, that China downloaded all that was on Snowden's four laptops. And likely the Russians did also. In the background there may even be the slight smell of money.
So have fun, Mr. Snowden, in your sad, looking-glass version of Shangri-la. Enjoy your repressive new friends. And any ill-gotten gains you may have got.
We don't yet know what you were really up to, but we know one thing for certain. You sure aren't in Kansas any more. And you're certainly not in Oz.
You're in Big Brotherland!