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NSA Leaker Snowden: Hero or Traitor?

Edward Snowden is the 29 year old computer geek with the hot girlfriend that just informed the world that Obama was spying on every phone call and every email and much, much more of every citizen in the United States.

And the accusers and defenders crawling out of the woodwork seem to defy logic. On the one hand, we have John Boehner the Republican Speaker of the House and Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein lining up arm in arm to brand Snowden a traitor and we have Rand Paul, the TEA Party’s favorite Republican on the same side as Democrat Dennis Kucinich.

Talk about your odd couples!

So which side do you fall on? Is Snowden a hero or a traitor?

Well, he is no traitor in the legal or classic sense. He was aware of and (apparently) worked on the program known as Prism, or a piece of it, that is even now still collecting every bit of data on every American citizen that it can find.

Most Americans assume that the 4th Amendment to the US constitution protects us from the prying eyes of the government unless we are in the process or under investigation for some illegal act. But the Prism monster does not care if we are saints or sinners, it simply gathers our data, analyzes what is there and notifies someone if it finds anything one would have to assume.

It also gives the government a stockpile of data that would often be purged or deleted after a time that they can hold on to and mine forever. After the fact.

My opinion of Snowden is that he did not divulge anything of substance, just the fact that the government is gathering information without a warrant and in secret. The claim is that there is more that will be revealed, so until that is known, the final assessment of Snowden cannot be made.

But more Americans were shocked to find out they were being watched even though they are under no suspicion and there is no specific permission from the courts to target them.

But from what Snowden has said, I have to scratch my head and wonder of the talking heads on the TV are actually listening to the man. Most seem to think he wants to justify leaking the information because it was a criminal act by the government in some attempt to escape punishment. Bur from what I heard him say, he already considered the consequences. In his mind it was more important to get this information out there than worry about his freedom or safety.

Snowden understood his options. He did betray the trust of his employer and as someone who has held high security clearance in the past (when my employer was the Navy) releasing that information under any circumstances is a betrayal. But when the secret reaches a point that you calculate that keeping it is more of a burden on your conscience than breaking your word, spilling the beans may actually be an option. I know in my case that it would take a lot for me to betray that oath. And I have no idea if the revelations Snowden exposed would rise to that level for me.  Ithink not, but he has said there is more. Much more.

I am fairly certain that if I were in Snowden’s shoes, what he has released so far would still be my secret.

Snowden has made the calculation. That seems pretty clear. He simple cannot live with the secrets he holds and pretend nothing has changed. So once he reached the decision that he had to release his secrets, the only question was the consequences.

Perhaps it would have been more honorable to have let the secrets out and then turn himself in rather than run. More people would have respected that choice. But when you reach the point that you have seen what is in the belly of the government beast and found it intolerable as Snowden has, running and finding asylum is a logical step. He knows he can never come back home. And if he does, he will be locked up, probably for life.

Or worse.

Th secrets he knows has caused him to lose faith in America, and many of us get that. In most of the circles  I run in these days, trust in government is in short supply and dwindling. The rash of scandals only serve to solidify the mistrust. When a government of the people, by the people and for the people starts spying on the people that empower it, the government does not trust the people. So how can the people trust such a government?

Snowden could have just left and gone elsewhere but he chose, in leaving, to try to expose and ultimately stop this behavior by the government against it’s people – it’s owners.

I will reserve my final judgement on Mr. Snowden until all the data is released. If the worst he did was let the world know that Barack Obama, the man who criticized George Bush for invasions of privacy, is far worse than his predecessor, then I see no real damage to America, and hopefully, his sacrifice will lead to tighter control on the government and the right to privacy that we are supposed to enjoy.

But at this point, Edward Snowden is a hero.


About Tom White

Tom is a US Navy Veteran, owns an Insurance Agency and is currently an IT Manager for a Virginia Distributor. He has been published in American Thinker, currently writes for the Richmond Examiner as well as Virginia Right! Blog. Tom lives in Hanover County, Va and is involved in politics at every level and is a Recovering Republican who has finally had enough of the War on Conservatives in progress with the Leadership of the GOP on a National Level.

18 Responses to “NSA Leaker Snowden: Hero or Traitor?”

  1. Cal says:

    When you said this: “I am fairly certain that if I were in Snowden’s shoes, what he has released so far would still be my secret.”

    You already betrayed your lawfully required, never expiring unless renounced, oath the position you occupied required.

    Keeping secrets of government or military corruption does not “Support and Defend the US Constitution”, it assists traitors and usurpers in undermining it.

    The lawfully required oath from you was to “SUPPORT AND DEFEND THE US CONSTITUTION” before the orders of the US president or officers above you – as ex military. It is even listed in that order of importance with “presidents and officers orders” lumped in one sentence together almost as an afterthought within the oath; with the most words dedicated to the support and defense of the US Constitution, and WHO you are to defend her from: DOMESTIC ENEMIES and foreign enemies. (* oaths below)

    Why is it set up that way? Because the US Constitution defines our governments – a limited federal govewrnment, the states, and “We the people”. It further breaks up the fed gov into three branches, and the states still have their guaranteed “republican form of government”(though constantly under attack by those serving in the fed gov)which also broken up into the same three branches. The people elected or gov employees are put into place in the federal government or in each states government are to carry out each branches constitutionally assigned duties – each state has a constitution which recognizes the US Constitution and all that is in PURSUANCE THEREOF it as the **supreme law of this land.

    Basically if you destroy the Constitution of the United States of America, you destroy America. If you need me to go further into that let me know.

    The three branches of our government, the military, all law enforcement, the heads of the States, all federal employees are required to take an Oath to support and defend the Constitution and NOT an individual leader, ruler, office, or entity.

    *That Oath: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”

    *Military Oaths: “I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

    *”I, _____ (SSAN), having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God.”

    *National Guard: I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the State of (STATE NAME) against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the Governor of (STATE NAME) and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to law and regulations. So help me God.

    *Marines: “I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

    Article VI, Clause 2 of the US Constitution: “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”

    The Constitution of the United States of America and all laws, bills, treaties, etc that are IN PURSUANCE THEREOF are the Supreme Law of this land, NOT those who serve within the federal government. The Supremacy Clause of Article VI does not declare that laws passed by the federal government are the supreme law of the land. What it says is that the “laws of the United States made in Pursuance” of the Constitution are the supreme law of the land – when they are carrying out the duties of the US Constitution assigned that branch and when the WAY they carry out those duties are in Pursuance thereof it. In PURSUANCE thereof, not in VIOLATION thereof.

    The meanings of the words in the Oath might help. “I”- an individual, person, citizen, one member of the whole, officer;
    “do” – perform, accomplish, act, carry out, complete, achieve, execute;
    “solemnly”- somberly, gravely, seriously, earnestly, sincerely, firmly, fervently, with thought and ceremony, legal word;
    “swear (or affirm)” – vow, pledge, promise, guarantee;
    “that I will” – a positive phrase confirming present and future action, momentum, determination, resolve, responsibility, willpower, and intention;
    “support” – uphold, bear, carry, sustain, maintain;
    “and defend” – protect, guard, preserve, secure, shield, look after; “the Constitution of the United States.”

    Significantly the oath is to support and defend the Constitution and not an individual leader, ruler, office, or entity. This is because the Constitution is based on lasting principles of sound government that provide balance, stability, and consistency through time. A government based on individuals – who are inconsistent, fallible, corruptible, and often prone to error – too easily leads to tyranny on the one extreme or anarchy on the other.

    The Preamble to the Bill of Rights makes the limiting nation of the US Constitution VERY clear.
    Congress of the United States
    begun and held at the City of New-York, on Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.
    THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.
    RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.
    ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.

    • Tom White says:

      I said “fairly certain” for a good reason. And you pointed out in quite a lot of detail why I should divulge the information. And you are correct. A government that would spy on everyone is, in my book, an enemy. A domestic one.

      Technically.

      I say “technically” because I could easily justify releasing such information by believing the NSA and the government were domestic enemies. But the problem is, who exactly is a domestic enemy? A tax evader? Someone who tries to convince others that we should not pay income taxes because they are unconstitutional?

      Are domestic enemies a militia that decides to take over the IRS or other government agency because they are not abiding by the Constitution?

      Just deciding that because I believe something is unconstitutional that is actually is would be quite a leap.

      One could make the case that government cameras in public areas are unconstitutional. We have a right to privacy, right? So am I within my rights to destroy them?

      And I am still fairly certain I would NOT have revealed the secrets Mr. Snowden did, although I was not in his shoes. It is also within the realm of possibility that I would have done exactly the same thing. But for an old school Sailor like me, breaking what my superiors clearly think was my duty to protect would be a really hard decision.

      What Snowden did took a lot of courage. And at the end of the day, it took more courage to spill his guts than to remain silent.

      I suppose that another way to put it would be “Do I have the courage to risk everything?”

      And I really can’t answer that from the outside looking in. We would all like to think that “Give me liberty or give me death” is a literal mantra within each of us.

      And at the end of the day I have no idea if I would have the courage to do what Snowden did. And I won’t know unless I am in that situation. Snowden has changed his life forever. I am sure he wrestled with these demons and defeated them.

      I am not sure about the outcome if I battled the same demon.

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Tom White Says:

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