I write this as a left-of-centre liberal with a strong mistrust of corporations and big government. But I also have a major issue when fellow liberals look at life with Guardian-tinted spectacles. Liberals who follow fashionable causes without really thinking. Now this may lose me some friends, but I think Edward Snowden should be in prison. Not eaten by dogs, but in prison.
I fully accept that the NSA have been involved in domestic ‘phone and email tapping for years as have the telecom and tech. companies. That is probably illegal and it is up to the US authorities to deal with it. I also believe that there are big terrorist threats out there. I am not in the business of saying here why the terror threats exist, but the CIA et al have some very brave people in Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan who are risking their lives to keep the bad guys away. By exposing some of the communications practices that the spooks use, Snowden has probably put them at risk. That is unforgivable.
Let’s think about this.
When Snowden joined up he will have signed a secrecy agreement. He has broken it and got away with it. Others may do the same. If you worry about corners being cut, don’t be a spy. They have to cut corners – it’s a nasty fucking world out there.
As I say above, the NSA are out of line on their domestic behaviour and need to be brought within the law. ES could have shared that information with the many liberal and libertarian politicians both Rep and Dem who could have helped him drive the cause forwards yet advised him how to protect those that needed protecting. This is a noble cause in many ways but the data is in the hands of a naive coward with a scatter gun attitude to information.
I think whistleblowers tend to be cowards. Assange springs to mind. Accused of sexual offences, he hides in the embassy of a country that will do anything it can to annoy the USA. Julian you have been accused by Sweden, hardly a country with a record of corruption and poor transparency. If the Swedes think there is case, then the evidence is likely to be pretty strong. And no, the Swedes won’t hand you over to the Americans, it’s Sweden. Snowden has also bolted. Firstly to Hong Kong, not a nice little British outpost any more but a fully integrated part of China, and now to Russia. Both countries with a great history of openness and freedom of speech. Not. The Russians also will do anything that pisses off the Americans.
Oddly, Snowden has not leaked anything from the US files about Russia.
The information he has leaked is enough to totally reset the American public’s relationship with the state. It has also re-energized that old but vital liberty vs security argument. This is valuable data.
He has also leaked a lot of information that is highly detrimental to US and global security, and that is not acceptable.
Critical information that needed to be handled with discrimination. In weak hands.
Edward you are probably a good guy, so come home and face the music. You knew the risks but when it came to it you ran scared. You also fucked it up.