On Edward Snowden

With the Edward Snowden movie coming out the conversation regarding his motives has been rekindled. I see a lot of people referring to him as a traitor because he didn’t go through proper channels to stop the National Security Agency’s (NSA) indiscriminate violation of our privacy.

What may people seem to have forgotten is that we already know what happens when whistleblowers go through proper channels. William Binney did exactly that. He went to his superiors and eventually went so far as to try to get the Senate involved.

What did he get for his efforts? A lot of stonewalling with a great big side of nothing. Okay, that’s not entirely accurate. He did get to experience seeing armed federal agents threaten his family at gunpoint and then being kidnapped by them.

Repeating the same thing over and expecting different results is often referred to as a sign of insanity. Knowing what happened to Binney what other recourse did Snowden have? Should he have just shut his mouth? If so, what recourse do the people have against an overreaching government?

The history of the NSA and its whistleblowers needs more consideration when considering Snowden’s actions.

Spies are Treated Better

Edward Snowden is not only a hero but he’s a pretty witty hero as well. After being accused of working as a Russian spy Edward Snowden made and excellent point:

Snowden, in a rare interview that he conducted by encrypted means from Moscow, denied the allegations outright, stressing that he “clearly and unambiguously acted alone, with no assistance from anyone, much less a government.” He added, “It won’t stick…. Because it’s clearly false, and the American people are smarter than politicians think they are.”

If he was a Russian spy, Snowden asked, “Why Hong Kong?” And why, then, was he “stuck in the airport forever” when he reached Moscow? (He spent forty days in the transit zone of Sheremetyevo International Airport.) “Spies get treated better than that.”

It’s true, if Snowden were a Russian spy he would have been met at the airport by several state agents and escorted to whatever headquarters he worked for. Instead he sat around in an airport while he awaited news of whether or not he would be granted asylum in Russia.

He also makes a valid point about the intelligence of the average American. The great state propaganda machine assumes we’re all idiots that will happily lap up anything it publishes. While there are quite a few people who do trust the propagandists they are, I believe, in the minority.

The Propaganda Machine is Getting Slow

Edward Snowden has been disseminating information about the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance apparatus since June 5th of last year. In all of that time the state’s propaganda machine has been making feeble attempts to combat these leaks. These attempts have ranged from trying to label Snowden a traitor to claiming the state’s surveillance apparatus is necessary to keep American’s safe. Over seven months after Snowden began his heroic efforts the state’s propaganda machine is finally putting some real effort into attempting to discredit him:

Washington – Edward Snow­den, who leaked classified National Security Agency documents, might have been working for Russian spy services before he left his job as an NSA contractor last year, the heads of the House and Senate intelligence committees said Sunday.

“I don’t think it was a gee-whiz luck event that he ended up in Moscow under the handling” of Russia’s state security service, said Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., chairman of the House panel.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, was asked whether she agreed with Rogers that Snowden may have had help from the Russians. “He may well have. We don’t know at this stage,” she said.

Neither Rogers nor Feinstein offered evidence that Snowden had been working with Moscow. Both lawmakers said their committees would continue to pursue the suspicions.

It’s a little late to start playing this game. Attempts to discredit somebody need to occur very soon after he or she beings whatever deed warrants discrediting. After a short time frame any attempts to discredit the person appear shady. Such delays make it appear as though you had to invest time into fabricating stories and evidence instead of relying on readily available facts.

The damage Snowden has done to the NSA’s credibility is done. There is nothing the state can do to repair its reputation. Any attempts, other than completely dismantling the NSA, reek of desperation and inability to take responsibility. I’m sure we will be presented with evidence that Snowden was secretly working for the Russians soon but we know that any such evidence will be a pathetic fabrication meant to discredit a great man.