The NSA whistleblower has disappeared

Edward Snowden, the man who leaked the story about the NSA's far reaching data gathering is supposedly holed up in Hong Kong and seeking some kind of asylum in Iceland.

I know what you're thinking, so let's get that out of the way right off the bat. If the NSA (CIA, FBI or any of a dozen top secret groups) want Snowden dead, he'll be dead.  He can run, as they say, but he can't hide.  If what he says is true, or even partially true there's a good chance that he's going to have an unfortunate accident somewhere in the not-too-distant future.  They really don't want whistle-blowing at that level to give off even a whiff of being a good idea.

For me, it was a vindication, of sorts. I send out a Monday morning newsletter called Trenz and Frenz, mostly boring numbers and market stuff.  Last Monday, June 3 to be exact the body of the email to which I attach said newsletter explained how the government was now capable of storing every single digital footprint of everyone in the United States for about 17 cents a day. Needless to say, many were skeptical of that Orwellian scenario.

Where, then does that leave Edward Snowden?  Is he the Karen Silkwood of our time or more like a Julian Assange, driven to shout at the top of his lungs that the king has no clothes ?  Or is the man, as some have put forth a traitor to his country and a betrayer of confidences best kept secret?

Scores of defendants and witnesses testified in Nuremberg that they were innocent of any crimes because they were only following orders.  That dog don't hunt no more.  Everyone's responsible for their actions regardless of the context.  The question, then is whether or not 29-year old Snowden was engaged in activities which he felt were morally or ethically wrong and he felt compelled to pull the curtain aside and expose the wizard (of Oz).

We can all agree that murdering innocent men, women and children is heinous, no matter whose orders you're following.  Wire-taps and data gathering are not such clear-cut violations.  I've heard both sides of the argument and find myself hard-pressed to completely accept the precepts of either side.  More importantly and something everyone should consider is that I have no idea what I would have done if I wore Mr. Snowden's shoes.

Like everything else, this too is falling along party lines.   John Boehner and Lindsey Graham are calling Snowden a traitor.  Ron Paul praised Snowden for speaking out.  Vladimir Putin's press secretary, Dmitry Peskov said that Russia will consider granting Snowden asylum, if asked. Can you imagine being Putin's press secretary?

Yesterday the NSA released a statement saying that Edward Snowden had been terminated and that his salary was $122,000 a year.  Snowden had previously indicated that he was making about $200,000 a year.  Is the NSA just trying to paint him as a liar or did Snowden exaggerate his salary to make himself seem more important?

If I worked for the NSA, I would have access to that information at my fingertips.

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