Skip to comments.A TRAITOR, AN EAVESDROPPER, AND A MORAL DILEMMA
Posted on 06/15/2013 2:08:07 PM PDT by Lazamataz
Earlier this year, Edward Snowden went to The Guardian, who then published an article on June the 6th that had numerous damning revelations about the National Security Agency.
Edward Snowden broke an oath he had sworn, and revealed that the NSA had committed acts of domestic espionage far beyond anything most people had ever suspected. He revealed that data about the phone calls of millions of Americans, the entire customer base of Verizon, had been collected and stored in perpetiuty. Experts concluded that the same records were likely collected and stored by the NSA, from most or all of the other telephone carriers.
There are no white-hat-wearing good guys in this story.
Edward Snowden violated an oath of secrecy. Some, including the Speaker of the House John Boehner, have called him a traitor. While I cannot go that far, I do consider his actions unacceptable and unethical.
Yet the NSA has systematically violated the privacy of almost every American who use the telephone. These actions are also unacceptable and highly unethical.
And therein lies the moral dilemma. It seems there is no one to root for in this story. On one hand, we have a man who violated his personal integrity and his oath; and on the other, we have an agency who has overstepped the boundaries most Americans find tolerable with regards to privacy.
Few phone calls were listened to, although a small number were. However, much information can be gleaned by a complete record of who a person calls, and how often, and when. This information should never be collected or kept, unless a warrant is issued for a particular person and for a specific law enforcement reason. While a warrant is rumored to have been issued, if it exists, it was done in secret and it is unacceptably broad. It covers all Americans, even the vast majority who are not under suspicion. It amounts to a fishing expedition. It is not how America is supposed to operate.
These actions by the NSA are violations of all of our privacy, on a grand scale, remind us of nothing so much as the East German Stasi -- that secret-police group in the formerly Communist state that kept tabs on the entire population to ferret out the few lovers of freedom and free markets.
Snowden has said a few things about his revelations:
While the actions of Edward Snowden were underhanded and immoral, the actions of our government were even more so -- simply because of the scale and the number of people affected.
There is an underreported aspect to the story of the NSA intercepts: Text messages and electronic text communications are kept in their entirity. This means that if you have sent a password or a credit card via electronic media of nearly any flavor, it now sits in the data centers of the National Security Agency. Furthermore, the ability and the opportunity to abuse this information against political opponents is huge, and this administration has already demonstrated a great propensity to target its political opposition with any tool at their disposal (c.f., the targetting of 'Tea Party' and "Patriotic" 501-c political action organizations).
Congress must rein the NSA in. The President has already said he won't, and the Democrat-controlled Senate cannot be counted on to do the right thing.
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I really don’t care if Snowden is called a hero or a traitor. What he did pales compared to what our government has done to all of us, every last one. Why can’t our leaders quit the BS and acknowledge that all they really have to do it profile, and screw whoever is offended.
Why are folks giving him the Linda Tripp treatment? If NSA hadn’t violated ITS trust to the people, there’d have been nothing for Snowden to report. If Bill kept his pants zipped, there’d have been nothing for Tripp to report.
When does the wrongdoing justify breaking oaths or friendships? You don’t want anyone to tell you your wife/husband is screwing around with your best friend and everyone in town knows but you? Who’s violating what here?
He was right to blow the whistle. He was right to place his oath of allegiance to this nation above his oath to protect secrets which were destroying this nation.
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; 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.
I'm not sure what, if any, oath a contractor might take.
Well.. I almost feel like if a firing squad is called up..I don’t see anyone stopping it until maybe after photos surface on the web. Scary group running all levels of the government. Grateful Snowden leaked about the wrong doings. I was against the Patriot Act when others said it will always be checked through the court system to not break any constitutional laws.
I am a contractor, I did not take this oath.
In 2013 the facts come out that the bad guys have been scarfing data for years.. and we should be newly pissed about it TODAY?
Didn’t we know already?
If I put out this cigarette in the palm of my hand, should
I be outraged because it burns? Or should I have expected nothing else?
Yes, we should be pissed about it.
If nothing else, a contractor with a security clearance will sign documents wherein he agrees not to disclose classified information to unauthorized persons under penalty of heavy fines and imprisonment.
God says in Genesis 11:6, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.”
God mixed their languages to stop them. Perhaps all that knowledge/info. that is/will be in Utah has reached Babel proportions and God has intervened using Snowden to bring it down. God's will be done.
I have often stated that I believe the Antichrist will come in the form of a powerful computer.
Point is that it lies among those things we should already be pissed about.
If I allow an ant bed in my yard, I shouldn’t walk up to it and be freshly angered that there are ants present.
They wear you out with fresh outrages over stuff you already expected.
It desensitizes you.
I’m not saying it doesn’t matter.. just that surely you didn’t expect anything different.
I concur with the poster above saying that in the context of what he revealed it doesn’t matter if Snowden is a hero or villain.
Snowden should have sought whistleblower protection status instead of disclosing secrets to the media. That makes him a criminal under U.S. law.
However, one can understand why Snowden would not trust the government he was exposing to protect him as a whistleblower. I think he decided to take his case straight to the American people and let the chips fall where they may.
Snowden’s actions were criminal under the law and professionally unethical in his line of work, but I’m not sure his actions were immoral. If his motivation was solely to expose government corruption and abuse of power, then I think he acted morally. If he intends to benefit personally from exposing the same, then I think he acted immorally.
I need to see where this goes before I put any labels on Snowden.
He had no recourse other than going public as far as the constitutional rights violations. There was no one to go to in government.
Where he goes wrong is his exposure of our spying on non Americans and essentially demanding that we are violating their “human rights”.
And where he goes even more wrong is threatening to seek asylum in countries that are a threat to us and most certainly are spying on us. Namely China.
I thought that oath he took was to the Constitution, not an agency.
I didn’t expect anything different; however, I preserve and closely guard my outrage, much as someone starting a fire closely guards the hot coal he will start the fire with. It is important to stay angry. Anger is a motivator.
I didn't think so.
I've never been a contractor; always worked for the glorious federal government (NSA, did you catch that clear sign of respect?).
It seems to me that an easy way to get around anyone who might have scruples about their oath to defend the Constitution against enemies foreign or domestic, would be to have contractors do the dirty work.
The clause in their contract to not disclose classified information is just that: a contract, with penalties for not fulfilling it.
At least they won't burn in hell for telling all, just some time in jail and a check to fedgov.
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