NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is not only a terrible boyfriend (LEAD STORY!) he's also a little thing called a traitor for leaking classified documents he was paid $200,000 a year to protect. There has been lots of praise bestowed on this "hero" who sacrificed his personal and professional life in the name of government transparency. I get the criticism of PRISM and the value of what he did. I do. What I don't get? Why he felt entitled to make the US a target of international outrage and then seek asylum in China, a nation who would love to extract information from an American with high-level security clearance. Why not just send Korea a fruit basket with our nuke recipes while you're at it, bud? Go big or go home!
Do I like being spied on? Not really. I have nothing to hide, but I understand that's not the point. What I want to know is a) Where was this outrage from conservatives when Bush was illegally breaching the constitution and then forcing retroactive laws that protected him and (here's a complete timeline) b) Where is the outrage when the rights of other citizens are breached every day i.e. profiling? I guess rights violations only matter when you're a rich white guy who wants to surf the Internet for porn in peace.
I just don't believe in total internet freedom to begin with. Apparently Snowden has these stickers all over his laptop about keeping the internet anonymous. Really? So if some bomber and his online Jihad buddies want to plot on their message boards under screen names like DieAmerica, that's cool, because internet?
I think it was Bill Maher who said not long ago that every village has an idiot. The difference is now, the idiots can find each other in large numbers on the internet. Say one of these groups wants to plan a mass shooting - we're just supposed to say, "Yeah! Internet freedom! Research those weapons! Have your privacy, Mr. Scary Social Recluse With An Agenda!"
All I'm saying is the government can pick through my Amazon order history and my baby name Google doc all day long if it means a safer world. We learned after 911 that there is a price to safety. If you're behaving, who gives a crap? The only real problem I see is the human element. I had a problem in college with the university's head IT guy sneaking into my campus email to lift info about me to lure me on dates. I figured that out too late and yes, it was creepy. I don't really need any perverts mining my personal photos in the name of Uncle Sam. BUT. Was exposing this type of thing worth putting my country at risk? Actually, no.
Snowden could have stopped with exposing the spying of Americans, but he had to take it the whole enchilada and show the globe what we're monitoring. I don't think it was smart and it was far from right. Where are the patriots now? Where are people actually interested in national security? Does no one else see a major problem with exposing our government's indiscretions on a global scale?
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to scrub my eBay bid history. This is embarrassing.
UPDATE: I have been given permission to reprint an email I received about this post:
Conversation started Tuesday
I just read your latest about Eric Snowden. Totally agree with it. I am a intelligence officer for the Army and have worked in NSA realm, I cant believe what this guy has done. The American public does not always have a right to know when it comes to national security. The amount of information that guy knows about US intelligence practices is unmeasurable. The fact he wants asylum in China, you might as well call it treason. They would love to get their hands on the information he knows. This is why this guy would hold a top secret security clearance, he is not supposed to talk about what he knows or what he sees. They define a top secret clearance as, It could cause "exceptionally grave damage" to national security if made publicly available. makes me sick to my stomach. I would have commented on your article, but I do not want the world to know I am a intelligence officer.
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