During his first presidential campaign, Barack Obama promises to create the most transparent government in history. He must have been using Orwellian doublespeak because a transparent government, upon learning about criminal activity within itself, would move to punish the corrupt individuals within the system not the person who brought the corruption to light. In fact Obama’s website still has the following posted:
Protect Whistleblowers: Often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government is an existing government employee committed to public integrity and willing to speak out. Such acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled. We need to empower federal employees as watchdogs of wrongdoing and partners in performance. Barack Obama will strengthen whistleblower laws to protect federal workers who expose waste, fraud, and abuse of authority in government. Obama will ensure that federal agencies expedite the process for reviewing whistleblower claims and whistleblowers have full access to courts and due process.
For a man who promised a transparent government and protections for whistleblowers it’s pretty ironic to see his administration charged Edward Snowdan with spying:
The US justice department has filed criminal charges against a fugitive ex-intelligence analyst who leaked details of a secret surveillance operation.
The charges against ex-National Security Agency (NSA) analyst Edward Snowden include espionage and theft of government property.
In May, Mr Snowden fled to Hong Kong after leaking details of a programme to monitor phone and internet data.
The US is also reported to be preparing an extradition request.
Fortunately, for Mr. Snowden and transparency, the government of Hong Kong told the United States government to pound sand by buying Snowden some time to vacate their country:
HONG KONG — A former National Security Agency contractor wanted by the United States for revealing highly classified surveillance programs has been allowed to leave for a “third country” because a U.S. extradition request did not fully comply with Hong Kong law, the territory’s government said Sunday.
Hong Kong’s government did not identify the country. Snowden, who has been in hiding in Hong Kong for several weeks since he revealed information on the highly classified spy programs, has talked of seeking asylum in Iceland.
Where in the world is Mr. Snowden? By the sounds of it, Ecuador:
Mr Edward Snowden, the American whistleblower who exposed evidence of a global surveillance regime conducted by US and UK intelligence agencies, has left Hong Kong legally. He is bound for the Republic of Ecuador via a safe route for the purposes of asylum, and is being escorted by diplomats and legal advisors from WikiLeaks.
Mr Snowden requested that WikiLeaks use its legal expertise and experience to secure his safety. Once Mr Snowden arrives in Ecuador his request will be formally processed.
I wonder what this will do to the United States attempt to arrest him? Ecuador has demonstrated an unwillingness to play ball with other nations by giving Julian Assange asylum in their embassy in Britain. It seems unlikely that Ecuador will hand over Snowden, which means the charges of spying are a moot point, unless the United States decides to declare war on Ecuador (I wouldn’t put it past them).
There’s also a great deal of irony in the United States government charging Snowden with spying after he revealed the United States was spying on everybody. This double standard shouldn’t surprise anybody, it’s inherent in statism.