“I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions,” but “I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant.” – Edward Snowden
WHEN Glenn Greenwald said there would be more reporting coming in his interview on ABC News “This Week,” he wasn’t kidding. The chilling statement above by Edward Snowden, a former CIA IT analyst working on security, was sent to Greenwald and his UK Guardian colleagues.
I urge you to watch the video with Edward Snowden, which is an interview with Glenn Greenwald that took place in Hong Kong. NPR interviewed Glenn today, who broke the story.
At one point Snowden broke both legs while trying to join Special Forces. He eventually went to work for a private security company that landed him in a military base in Japan. However, it was during his time as a CIA IT analyst that he saw the power the technical operatives had to spy on anyone they chose.
After having high expectations that the election of Barack Obama would change the nature of the U.S. keeping secrets, especially as the CIA operated today, Edward Snowden “watched as Obama advanced the very policies that I thought would be reined in.”
The full story is riveting. An excerpt from Glenn’s piece:
The individual responsible for one of the most significant leaks in US political history is Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Snowden has been working at the National Security Agency for the last four years as an employee of various outside contractors, including Booz Allen and Dell.
[…] Despite his determination to be publicly unveiled, he repeatedly insisted that he wants to avoid the media spotlight. “I don’t want public attention because I don’t want the story to be about me. I want it to be about what the US government is doing.”
Despite these fears, he remained hopeful his outing will not divert attention from the substance of his disclosures. “I really want the focus to be on these documents and the debate which I hope this will trigger among citizens around the globe about what kind of world we want to live in.” He added: “My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them.”
Daniel Ellsberg and Bradley Manning just got some company, with Edward Snowden blowing the whistle on a vast network of spying by the NSA under the Obama administration, with his becoming part of the story a reality whether he likes it or not. Few people stand up for constitutional liberties that matter anymore without making fools of themselves, as the Tea Party satirized so often in the last years. It’s likely one reason people don’t take this as seriously as they should.
Next stop for Edward Snowden? Asylum in Iceland? Only if he’s lucky, because extradition will be attempted and who knows, rendition is another tool I wouldn’t doubt the Obama administration would employ. But right now Snowden seems like he’s remaining in China, so that adds another element to the story.
“I feel satisfied that this was all worth it. I have no regrets.” – Edward Snowden
If nothing else, the parts of the public interested in privacy and freedom understand that the Presidents Club under George W. Bush, then Barack Obama’s leadership, has rendered the notion that the United States is a country of the people a joke.
The question is how many Americans won’t find this funny? It’s incumbent on millennials to pay attention, but will they?
The open debate will allow the public to weigh in. Opinion polls will come in a contagion.
However, public opinion is quite different from constitutionality of the NSA spying dragnet under the Bush and Obama administrations, which have been launched without a clear and present danger as impetus.
Time for libertarians to stand up, or maybe be born after people realize the government’s invading our privacy on the notion that some boogeyman might destroy America.
The result is our politicians are beating them to it.