OKWalker,Treason is defined by law. Being a traitor is an entirely
subjection perception. Snowden has been formally charged with theft of
government property and violation of the Espionage Act by unauthorized
communication of classified intelligence to an unauthorized person. He now
acknowledges he acquired his position with his ultimate objective being to
inform the public of what he alone determined to be illegal.Keep in
mind that no military or civilian employee of the Federal Government is invested
with such discretionary authority. But here we have a private contract employee
who acquired his position under false pretenses citing the Constitution as his
justification for acts he commits outside of any scope of authority he feels
Legally, the government can only classify programs that affect "National
Security." National Security is defined by reference to foreign threats.
Spying on American citizens in violation of Constitutional protections violates
the Supreme Law of the land. Government agencies cannot legally classify
programs that violate Constitutional protections. It is not treason to disclose
violations of the Constitution. Therefore, the initial claims of treason by
Senators, Congressmen and President were way off mark. That they then secured
an indictment for Snowden's arrest and extradition improperly was a clear
and unconstitutional threat. That Snowden acted to protect himself from the
trumped up claims of violations of the laws governing classified information by
currying favor with foreign governments, creates a very complex legal situation.
I do not believe it is as simple as suggested by the DN editor. I rather think
the common law of self-defense justification would rule. Snowden therefore
should go free. Moreover, anytime a government agency classifies programs that
jeopardize or breach Constitutional protections, the responsible parties should
be held criminally liable to the same extent that disclosures of the classified
information of unconstitutional programs would impose.
"But Snowden clearly crossed a line when he began seeking refuge from
nations at cross-purposes with the United States and began leaking information
about how the U.S. spies on those countries." I've wondered just what
my position on this issue was. But you have put your finger on it. It is one
thing to inform the citizenry on domestic spying (I opposed Bush's whole
setup), but it is another to provide such information to other countries. That
is a line Snowden should not have crossed and it will cost him plenty.
2 bits,"IF he really just wanted to change the policy... he
would have gone to one of the many whistle-blower protection
whistle-blower believes in the system. He uses the tools the system provides to
enforce its own integrity. Those do not include committing acts of theft and
betrayal that have made Snowden a celebrity fugitive from the law. Those choices
mark altogether different paths than that of a whistle-blower. Naturally, Snowden’s defenders want to believe their guy is just a
conscientious citizen standing up for Constitutional rights. That’s more
than I can swallow about Snowden whose actions seem to me more like those of an
anarchist or a political subversive.If he had chosen to stay here
and face the music, that would have showed real courage, what many would now be
calling standing on principle.
The Russians will send him back to Hong Kong, if Snow-Job and his handlers
can't find anyone to take him in the next 24 hours. The Chinese whose
financial markets were shaken directly or in directly, with Snow-Jobs extended
presence in Hong Kong, will send him back to Hawaii.
David King,Thanks for your thoughtful and reasoned post.David, I don’t know if or how many Americans Snowden may have put at
risk but it’s not a concern to sneer at. Nor do I know if or how many
groups or individuals out to do harm to America may have been tipped off on how
to adjust to beat the security systems devised to prevent attacks. But I
guarantee that if another 911 type catastrophe happens again, the narrative will
once again turn on a dime. It happened after Pearl Harbor as well as 911 when we
had to pick ourselves up off the floor and pay the price of complacency. I wish the world we live in weren’t like that. But I grew up with
the so-called cold war when vigilance was essential and was practiced by
Presidents of both political parties.How do we protect our basic
rights and liberties without letting our guard down? I don’t have all the
answers but I know that it can be done. I’ve seen it happen.
David King,I think anybody who knew about the Patriot Act knew there was
at least a POSSIBILITY that these programs existed.Too many people
assumed since Obama was a Democrat, and Democrats opposed the Patriot Act more
than Republicans did... that he wouldn't use it. Obviously that was a bad
assumption.IMO Snowden bringing attention to the problems the
over-reach called "The Patriot Act" CAN allow... was a good thing.
But his exposing our anti-terrorism secrets and other National Security secrets
to Russia and China... puts him squarely in the "bad guy" category for
me.If he really wanted to be seen as a "good guy".... he
should have leaked as little as possible to expose the program to a US News
Agency or an official whistle-blower protection program, instead of running to
the Chinese intelligence people and the Russian Intel people with his computer
full of top secret data and National Security Program details.Though
I don't like the Patriot Act over-reach... he's not a "Hero".
Here is what is troubling to me. Were it not for Ed Snowden, how many of us
would have known that these programs (the collection of telephone metadata and
PRISM) even existed? Why are our officials so upset that we know? Has anyone
been put in danger with the release of this information? I can't see how.
But the programs ARE controversial, and many of us believe they violate our
basic 4th amendment rights, which were supposed to protect us from general
searches and wholesale confiscation of records. So how many programs exist that
we don't know about yet? And how can we trust the government is following
the law when they lie about programs they believe are completely legal? On another note, it's sad to see some turn this into a partisan
issue. My thanks to the principled people on the right and the left who have
stood against abuses of our civil liberties no matter who is president.
"..."It is difficult to separate the need to extradite Snowden from the
legitimate need for a broad national discussion over the collection of data on
U.S. citizens, but that distinction must be made...." (DN editorial)______________________________Discussion over balancing rights of
privacy with national security has been ongoing since long before we heard of
Edward Snowden. It’s hard to see how his flight to evade criminal
prosecution drama puts the issues front and center. Snowden strikes me as a
know it all kid who lacks the intelligence to see he’s not brilliant.In his grandiose mind, he may have believed he was doing the right
thing. But that’s no justification for stealing government documents he
was entrusted to be a guardian of. Those documents at this very moment may
already have been downloaded onto computers in Russia, China, and who knows
IF he really just wanted to change the policy... he would have gone to one of
the many whistle-blower protection programs instead of running to the Chinese
and the Russians. How does exposing our security systems and capabilities to
the Chinese change US policy? Some will say, "If he went to a
Government whistle-blower/witness protection programs, he would probably lose
his job". Well... he kinda knew he was going to loose his job when he ran
blabbing to China and Russia, don't ya think?Now it's been
revealed that he wanted the job at the NSA so he could expose secrets.
That's not a "Hero" in my book.K3HYDelta, PATake the blame-Sarah-Palin, and the blame-the-Tea-Party rhetoric down a notch.
I consider myself to be a TeaParty sympathizer... and I'm not calling him
a "Hero". So saying all TeaParty people think he's a Hero
doesn't work.You claim "Tea Party will do all they can to
overthrow the US government". That's not true. You're just full
of MSNBC talking point Coolaid. I wish you knew what TeaParty people REALLY
Another bit of irony: had this very scenario taken place while President Bush
was still in office, Democrats would have been howling in outrage over
"police state" tactics of administration officials. Those same people
who supported Bush/Cheney now criticize those very same policies when adopted by
a president who happens to be a Democrat. It's all about supporting
"their guy" whether Republican or Democrat.
One thing is certain: the Desert News editors are consistent in their support of
the policies and pronouncements coming from the de facto president of the United
States 2001-2009 Dick Cheney. We're now seeing the 4th term of that
presidency.To call this act of civil disobedience "treason"
is enough to make the likes of Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry spin in their
graves. No lives have been endangered, no secrets have been sold for personal
gain and Snowden himself has expressed only selfless and patriotic motives. The
main effect has been to confirm government abuses of the 4th and 5th amendments
to or constitution. This is highly embarrassing to both the Bush and Obama
administrations, and properly so. I hope Snowden stays out of reach of out
government's tentacles long enough to persuade Americans of the need to
force government to make drastic reforms in their out-of-control spying
The government wants to silence anyone who exposes the scandals that are
occurring. The government does not want us to know what they are doing to us.
The government knows that any nation friendly to the United States would turn
over anyone who exposes the lawlessness inside the government.There
is no reason that Snowden would ever go to a government friendly to the United
States. He would be tried for treason. Obama and his minions would tell us
that they had "solved" the problem when all that they had done would
have been to silence anyone who told us that the government was spying on us
without a warrant.Snowden would not be safe in any country friendly
to Obama. Obama can only blame himself. His administration ordered the spying.
The criminal acts have not stopped nor does Obama plan on stopping the spying.
Who should be investigated, Obama for allowing the spying or Snowden for telling
us that Obama's administration is spying on us?
Liberals are more interested in the concept of Justice rather than strict
"Law and Order" as stated in this article. That the "Law" does
not always mean justice in this country needs to be understood. I know Snowden
will be railroaded to prison for the rest of his life in this country if he goes
to trail and the NSA will go on violating the constitution. So may he land
safeThis drama is so dripping in irony; that he is is charged with
spying as the NSA spys on everyone on earth makes us look just silly in the eyes
of the world.
No matter how many times Sarah Palin's Tea Party calls someone that runs to
a communist country denouncing the US, a 'hero', the dictionary calls
them traitor.The Tea Party will do all they can to overthrow the US
government, even if it means praising someone who defects to a communist country
and denounces the US government.
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and
effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and
no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or
affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the
persons or things to be seized."