Edward Snowden is a strange case. On one side, he’s an American Hero, as far as I’m concerned – putting the best interest of his country ahead of his own self-interest, and blowing the whistle when he saw an agency of the government violating the Constitution, and exposing what is a crime being committed against our country. The NSA needed to be exposed. What they were doing was wrong, and the cost to benefit ratio was waaaayyy skewed. If you want to live in a free country, you just have to accept the fact that you won’t be 100% safe. That’s the way the cookie crumbles. You also need to accept that you need fear a government with power over you far more than you do some terrorists with a pressure cooker. A warrant to collect metadata on every call made within the US does not follow the letter of the following phrase, much less the spirit:
“no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
Note the specificity. Note that the letter of this amendment does not allow a government agency to pull a warrant for “everything and everybody,” as the NSA is currently doing. They need to pull a warrant for a specific place, a specific person, and a specific thing. They are breaking the law, and I am thankful that Edward Snowden was brave enough to stand in opposition to that and inform the American people what the NSA was doing to their country.
I understand that at least for right now, this data isn’t being used against "the people."
But it will. Absolutely, positively will be used against the people. There is no other option.
Consider this – how will an incumbent ever be unseated when he has all the dirt on his opponents, and all he needs to do is have some “anonymous tipster” tip him off that his opponent visited porn websites and made calls to a couple brothels?
Or the next time CPS comes to your house on a welfare check because your bitch neighbor wanted to get back at you for mowing your lawn too early on a Sunday morning, and when you stand before the tribunal after they found an unflushed toilet in your home*, they present to the court that you’re an unfit father because you visit S&M chatrooms and like to look at lesbian porn. There is absolutely no doubt that once the people get used to this monitoring, that the scope of it will be expanded, and the purpose of it will shift to domestic criminal cases. None whatsoever, and if you don’t believe that, you’re a damn fool.
On the other side, he’s a treasonous piece of shit who shared this information with the Chinese and now, the Russians, thereby committing a crime against our country, himself.
So I’m really torn about this guy. On one hand, I thank him, but on the other, he is a traitorous bastard. So I’ll wait for a bit to see how this unravels before I choose a side. I'm not really sure what his plan is, or what the upshot is for him, yet. If it turns out he did this for selfless reasons to serve his country (and no, the NSA is NOT America, and turning against the NSA, who are committing crimes against America is NOT treason) then I'll be against any attempt whatsoever to try him for any crime. But I'm afraid that his reasons for doing this are far from selfless - this reeks of self-aggrandizing, money seeking behavior to me, at least right now.
*This actually happened to my folks – well, minus the whole S&M and lesbian porn thing. They pissed off their neighbor somehow or another back when I was a toddler, and she decided that she would call Child Services on them and report that Dad was abusing us. CPS showed up at the door, threatened their way into the house, and did a welfare check. One of us boys had used the toilet and forgot to flush, and based on that, the CPS worker wrote down that the living conditions in the house were unclean and unfit, and my folks had to spend the next 6 months proving that they were fit parents, all because of a bitch neighbor and a 3 year old son that forgot to flush the toilet. The house was not unclean in any other way – my mom was a stay at home mom, and was fastidious about cleaning the house every day.