8.05.2013

The Phenomenon of Taking Both Sides in the NSA Scandal

Should Ed Snowden be accused of treason by the very people expressing contempt for NSA overreach?


by James Towe

I’m perplexed at the concern expressed by certain pundits over the National Security Agency’s data collection overreach. Yet, in the same breath, they support the government’s espionage charge against Edward Snowden. Mr Snowden might have violated the ‘law’, but the NSA mocks the Constitution with a massive overreach of the powers granted by the Patriot Act. 

Think of the newest revelations in the context of traditional mail. Imagine the outrage if we found that the government opened our letters and mortgage payments to ensure we weren’t terrorists? It simply would not be tolerated. 

Of course, only Mr Snowden knows why he released these documents at his own peril. Personally, I care less about the motives and more about the eroding privacy rights that he so rightly exposed. 

My impression is that the leaks have bruised some egos in Washington, and little more. I’m not buying the claim this event has damaged national security. Who really thinks the terrorists communicate openly with easily traceable IP addresses and personal email accounts? I feel fairly confident the bad guys were all too aware that they were being spied upon. The real victims are the millions of normal, unsuspecting Americans, all in the name of security.

When it comes to American security services advancing surveillance with scary programs like XKeystore, I would prefer it be within the parameters of the Fourth Amendment. Your government reading the personal emails of innocent citizens while drones hover over residential areas cannot be allowed in America’s future.