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Many of us have been outraged at our government by Snowdon’s revelations that the NSA is data mining our personal information. We shouldn’t be surprised; the Bush administration declared as much in 2001, when it hysterically rushed the PATRIOT Act through Congress virtually over night.
What? Oh, you thought they were targeting Muslim extremists when they received congressional approval for Title III roving wiretaps? Not as long as a suspicious Methodist remains on this planet, my friend.
At first, Edward Snowdon seemed like an obnoxious little brother. You know he’s a little creep but you’re not about to stand by while the bullies in the neighborhood beat him up.
Then at least some of us woke up.
Questions must be answered before we cast Snowdon in bronze and place him on the Washington mall. None of this mitigates government wrongdoing, if it exists, but we must not broad-brush our intelligence community either.
For whom did Snowdon procure this information? And how has he financed his stay in the luxury hotels of Hong Kong? And, now, his equally extravagant flight for asylum in Venezuela or Ecuador via Russia and Cuba? And why China, Russia, Cuba and Ecuador or Venezuela anyway?
Why not Sweden? I mean, other than the IKEA furniture.
This is where conservatives and libertarians should break ranks in their Kumbaya chorus with the Left. Snowden must answer for his conduct before we can know whether or not he is the patriot so many claim. My sense is that he is not, but he may have indeed broken our laws and at the same time upheld our Constitution.
Anyway, here is why I am dubious of Snowdon as a patriot:
First, he did flee to China, our most aggressive and hostile cyber enemy. No getting around it: Hong Kong is China, China is communist, and China refused to cooperate with U.S. efforts to return him. What did China get out of this?
Now he has departed Hong Kong with four laptops chocked with Top Secret U.S. intelligence, and we do not know how much of that information is a legitimate threat to our national security. Even a tinfoil-hat wackadoo like Nancy Pelosi knows that much.
But even if we did know this, we should insist that Snowdon return to answer to us. That information belongs to us.
Distrust of government is inherent in human nature and as intrinsic to the American psyche as any trait that defines us as a people. It was not only built in to our Constitution, it was the reason for our Constitution.
However, while we should always distrust our government we must trust our system of government. Edward Snowden clearly does not believe that, but you and I must, or we will cease to be a republic and a people. One lousy president cannot destroy us, but loss of faith in our system of checks and balances can.
We must track down Edward Snowdon, bring him back to the U.S. and try him before a jury of his peers. Then we will know if his actions were noble, or if he is just another common traitor.
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