Friday, May 30, 2014
My take on Ed Snowden
Because I'm such a harsh critic of the federal government the way it's currently operated, including the last few years of Bush lest you think this is an anti-Obama screed, I had sort of sided with Ed Snowden though not whole-heartedly. But after watching his interview with Brian Williams, I came away more convinced that Snowden did what he did out of a sense of patriotism and idealism and not of malice or hostility toward his country, government, or employers. Here are the money quotes for me, from the interview.......[emphasis mine]
Snowden on government overreach......
"The problem — that we're confronted with, the — the challenge that — that we are facing is not the working-level guys — you know, some — some moustache-twirling villain who's out to destroy your life. It's the fact that senior officials are investing themselves with powers that they're not entitled to and they're doing it without asking the public for any kind of consent."
Snowden on the 4th amendment......
"The Fourth Amendment as it was written -- no longer exists. ... Now all of our data can be collected without any suspicion of wrongdoing on our part, without any underlying justification. All of your private records, all of your private communications, all of your transactions, all of your associations, who you talk to, who you love, what you buy, what you read -- all of those things can be seized and held by the government and then searched later for any reason, hardly -- without any justification, without any real -- oversight, without any real accountability for those who do wrong. The result is that the Fourth Amendment that was so strict -- that we fought a revolution to put into place -- now no longer has the same meaning that it once did. Now we have -- a system of pervasive pre-criminal surveillance -- where the government wants to watch what you're doing just to see what you're up to, to see what you're thinking even behind closed doors."
I agree that you can't sacrifice the liberties and privacy of the people in order to get more security. If preserving those constitutionally guaranteed rights that we enjoy means that we are slightly less secure, I can live or die with that.