Monday, June 10, 2013
Edward Snowden Hero or Self Centered Criminal?
Snowden is a 29-year-old former CIA technical assistant and current employee of Booz Allen Hamilton. Like Daniel Ellsberg and Bradley Manning, Snowden has publicized material from one of the world's most secretive organisations – the NSA and the CIA. Snowden justified his actions from Hong Kong where he is staying by stating, "There are all sorts of documents that would have made a big impact that I didn't turn over, because harming people isn't my goal. Transparency is."
Snowden is believed to be the source about NSA secretly collecting phone data from millions of Verizon customers mentioned in the Washington Post. Specifically, Prism, a NASA program that allows the agency to collect data from some of the country's largest Internet companies. Snowden claims he went public because he couldn't "... in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they're secretly building." While this may sound noble, it seems to be a selfish, criminal act designed on obtaining ten minutes of fame. Champion of privacy or self centered criminal seeking refuge in Hong Kong?
Expect charges to be filed against Snowden for violating the Espionage Act.
Update 6-19-13: Put President Obama in the group of people not ready to call Snowden a patriot or a hero. Our President says lives have been saved by the surveillance programs run by the National Security Agency. Specifically, President Obama claims that at least 50 threats in the U.S. and overseas have been averted because of phone records and Internet information the agency has gathered. These programs are limited in scope and subject to judicial scrutiny according to the Executive Office.
Is the U.S. striking the right balance between national security and civil liberties?