Saturday, July 6, 2013

And the next Scandal up at bat...

This is a political post

"...the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised — and it should be."
~ Eric Snowden

And this statement would be so powerful. Until you realize that that the Obama Administration ends in less than three years, come hell or high water. There is no mechanism in the constitution that would allow him to serve any further. No, the 'evil' Obama Administration will be gone.

Ah, the fake tyranny of it all.

But back to Snowden's statement, which gives rise to the another possibility, one that slightly undercuts my original theory of a him trying to live out a Jason Bourne fantasy. You know, the former security operative on the run with data that could destroy the government? It's very Hollywood. At least he went big with it. But this statement makes me question his stated motivation. If that's his statement at all.

Now, let me be clear.  I in no way support the idea of the broad powers imbued to the NSA for the purposes of our 'safety'. And since going to the FISA court is like asking your two year old if you can have another piece of pie, let's just say the whole legal process to facilitate these actions needs some more explaining. Further, that the government is doing to its citizens and its allies exactly what it accuses China of doing, and having called those manuevers and act of war, is climbing to the height of hypocrisy.

However, when you get right down to it all these sneaky actions are still legal. Perhaps dubiously legal, quasi-legal, maybe just barely good faith legal, but still legal. Well, legal-ish. That's due to the now ironically named Patriot Act. To paraphrase Comedy Central's John Oliver, apparently the government never broke any laws, and we just find it a bit unsettling that they didn't have to.

And while the US government has violated the spirit of the law, but not the letter, our dear friend Mr.
Snowden went ahead and broke it. That he broke the law does not de-legitimize his actions, history will judge if he was right or wrong, but he did break the law here and now. And at this moment he would be the part of the movie Hollywood doesn't show, because after the hero kills forty bad guys and gets the girl, we never see the administrative leave or hearings due to the shooting investigation. That usually happens after the credits.

Snowden is now enjoying the attention and accolades, with some attempting to compare him to the founding fathers. It's a cherry picking argument, but they are doing it. He broke the existing law on the strength of his convictions, just like Ben Franklin. Yeah, Jefferson Davis did the same thing, so it's not cut and dried. Good ole sound bite government Ron Paul likes to believe that charging Snowden with treason would indicate the government considers its own citizens the enemy, but Snowden is a Paul supporter, and those who support him need to stop acting like the news stopped at the border. The world knows. Some of them ARE our enemy. And for a "security operative", him failing to recognize or even consider that there might be some unintended consequences to his actions makes believe our agents are a little less James Bond and more Maxwell Smart. Were the revelations supposed to make it harder for us to deal with our allies? Was the news supposed to compromise legitimate surveillance operations? Was the intent to embarass the government? Is the goal of the messenger to tear down the government and start over?

I've no faith in Snowden. Bradley Manning went all in. Snowden on the other hand seems to believe had the 'right' to expose the government, but the government now must refrain from any pursuit? And his reluctance to go all in has made the story about him, and NOT the actions he's exposed.  If Snowden were truly serious about his self appointed role as whistleblower in chief, he'd have given all the data to the Guardian to print and showed up on the national mall the next day, cameras in tow, begging to be arrested.

The sad part of this all, besides the fact that I now need to request my FBI file, maybe we can work where we can update them like Facebook, is that this is scandal the conservatives have been waiting for. Egg all on the President's face. Except, the previous President authorized it...and Congress gave it the gas. And all Obama did was fail, commit treason and reveal classified information? No, keep a campaign promise to close it down. No, really, that's the argument. He promised. Not so much a scandal per se as Obama slowly becoming a mere mortal. Not a whole lot of talk on that front. He's busy explaining the whole "listening in on you" thing to our allies. Good Luck! 

Now, if whoever is monitoring me can give me a wake-up call around 6am...that'd be great thanks.