The short answer is that Snowden is both a traitor and a hero. There is no question that Snowden broke the law, releasing classified information to those who are not authorized is a felony. The U.S. Government has every right and the responsibility to go after him and prosecute to him to the fullest extent of the law.
That said I am glad that Snowden did what he did. One of the things that must be remembered in all of this everything this government does is done in the name of average Americans. We all have a vested interest in what this government does. This is true about both domestic and foreign policy. We have a Bill of Rights and a Constitution. Both of those of documents intent was to give the power to the people and to reign in the power of a centralized government. We are losing those rights more and more every single day. Snowden has only confirmed what many around the country already knew. This government is taking more and more control over our daily lives.
We have been hearing for days now that this is a "legal" program. A program that has been authorized by congress and is put in front of a court. That is supposed to make me feel better? We have plenty of evidence that congress passes laws all the time that they have no constitutional authority all the time. One very simple example is the Violence Against Women act. I am in no way in favor of violence against women, but is there any state that doesn't have laws against this already? Why in heaven's name would spousal abuse a federal issue? Every state has the right to request a fugitive from another state. If the laws are not strong enough in one state then people should be working on the state level to strengthen those laws. Not forcing every police department across the country to deal with cumbersome federal regulations and completely ignoring the fact that Tribal Courts have more power over non Native Americans, even though these courts do not have to give constitutional rights to anyone that is in that court.
The opposition's first concern is that the power given to tribal courts would strip non-reservation residing offenders of their constitutional rights. Tribal courts are not bound by the laws of federal and state governments, and do not offer to defendants legal protections such as the First and Fifth Amendments or due process. Additionally, offering tribal courts jurisdiction over sex crimes would set a precedent for their jurisdiction when other crimes are involved.
So, it is of no comfort that congress has authorized this. It is of no comfort that President Obama is basically saying "Trust Me". I don't trust that man as far as I can throw him. He certainly hasn't proven that he has my best interests at heart.
One of the things that I find so infuriating about this whole thing is that it was just a few weeks ago that President Obama gave a speech on terrorism where he said this:
Today, the core of al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan is on a path to defeat. Their remaining operatives spend more time thinking about their own safety than plotting against us. They did not direct the attacks in Benghazi or Boston. They have not carried out a successful attack on our homeland since 9/11
If that is true why exactly are we expanding the programs? I have been against The Patriot Act from day one. I agree with the founders who warned us that giving up security in the name of liberty would give us neither. I don't dismiss the dangers of terrorism and Islamic extremism. What I question is how effective are these programs? I say not so much.
The path to his capture, according to the public records, began in April 2009, when British authorities arrested several suspected terrorists. According to a 2010 rulingfrom Britain’s Special Immigration Appeals Commission, one of the suspects’ computers included email correspondence with an address in Pakistan.
The open case is founded upon a series of emails exchanged between a Pakistani registered email account email@example.com and an email account admittedly used by Naseer firstname.lastname@example.org between 30 November 2008 and 3 April 2009. The Security Service’s assessment is that the user of the sana_pakhtana account was an Al Qaeda associate…”
“For reasons which are wholly set out in the closed judgment, we are sure satisfied to the criminal standard that the user of the sana_pakhtana account was an Al Qaeda associate,” the British court wrote.
Later that year, according to a transcript of Zazi’s July, 2011 trial, Zazi emailed his al Qaeda handler in Pakistan for help with the recipe for his bombs. He sent his inquiry to the same email address: email@example.com.
An FBI agent, Eric Jurgenson, testified, “I was notified, I should say. My office was in receipt of several e-mail messages, e-mail communications.” Those emails — from Zazi to the same firstname.lastname@example.org — “led to the investigation,” he testified.
Here are some sad truths, the Fort Hood Shooter was a terrorist. A terrorist that we should have been able to stop before his killing spree. The reason we did not was due to political correctness. To this day this is not even called an act of terrorism but work place violence. The Russians turned over information on one of the Boston Bombers, yet we did nothing. Are these programs worth the loss of our liberties when it is obvious that when given the information on a silver platter they are still able to go ahead with their dastardly deeds.
One of the biggest problems is that we are still not willing to follow a simple tried and true criminal investigation tool; profiling. We have seen recently a Muslim turn over a fellow Muslim
Both the Prime Minister and the leader of the Opposition took a moment in the House of Commons on Tuesday to thank the Muslim community for its role in thwarting an alleged terror plot against a Via Rail train.
“I’d like to begin by thanking law enforcement officials, as well as a brave religious leader from the Toronto Muslim community who, as we learned yesterday, helped to prevent a potentially devastating attack on Canadian soil,” NDP leader Tom Mulcair said as he opened question period.
If we start working with these communities maybe they will start communicating more and realize we are only interesting in rooting out terrorism and want to leave law-abiding citizens alone to live their lives.
I, for one, am not willing to give away my liberties for a false sense of security. I want my civil liberties to left alone. There are plenty of ways to thwart terrorism without our government gathering information on virtually every American and have a huge database that can be used and abused in ways that we really don't fully understand.
The government has shown us over and over again that they can't be trusted and have abused their power. The IRS ring a bell for the naysayers?
Snowden is both a hero and criminal. Snowden has raised an issue that needed to be raised. How much of your privacy are you willing to turn over to clandestine government agencies? Where does it end? This isn't a left or right issue. This is an issue that should matter to all Americans. To those that are willing to do this in the name of security, just remember your chance of being killed by terrorist is even less likely than being struck by lightning. Yes we have dangers to deal with, but those dangers are relatively remote. The powers of big government are not.