The Patriot or Traitor question is one that has been lobbed all over the media in recent weeks, and depending on the person’s perspective, the answers have come in predictably direct. If you support the NSA, then you likely also believe that Edward Snowden is a traitor to his country. If you believe the NSA spying program is a horrendous miscarriage of justice, then Snowden is a hero for unleashing the information that could eventually lead to its end. I have argued for some kind of middle ground, where Snowden can be seen as a Patriot, but should stand trial for breaking the letter of the law.
I won’t mince words when I say many of our readers have met this thought with derision. Some of you have had very humbling words my naiveté on the subject of Snowden standing trial. I, for my part, think that I have taken the advice graciously.
Dear readers, I am not naïve to the ways of our corrupt government.
I’ve been watching the limited information about the Bradley Manning trial that has been slowly leaking out over the Internet with a bit of sadness. Manning is the military analyst who leaked a huge portion of government documents through the now famous wikileaks website. While the leak was unfortunate for the government as it revealed some ugly truths about some of the mistakes we’ve made (especially in the use of drones), the data dump did not expose any secrets or information that could directly harm our nation or our military. Even so, Manning now faces lifetime imprisonment for his crimes.
While we may argue the import of the information Manning leaked, I think the greater harm has been seen in the handling of his case. He was buried under layers of bureaucracy for years before his trial, and I assume he’ll be buried again once his sentence is read. Manning has faced the Obama administration’s wrath for his audacity to leak this information, but no one in the Obama administration has faced prosecution for any of the myriad of leaks they have released. Senator John McCain has even called the Obama administration, “grossly irresponsible” for leaking classified information for political gain.
The latest example of the porous nature of the Obama administration is the reasoning for our recent closure of so many foreign embassies. Just last week many of us were in awe of the idea that Al-Qaeda could have rebounded so quickly as to be able to threaten attack on a handful of our overseas embassies. When we expressed our concern about what could elicit such an extreme response, someone in the administration promptly leaked information about the “Conference Call of Doom.” Yet somehow, this leak is not being investigated? Let’s be clear — the leaking of the fact that we can (and have) been able to listen in to Al-Qaeda’s leaders plotting to harm us is vital national security information. The leaking of this will ensure that Al-Qaeda switches tactics and develops new techniques for communicating. This leak is hugely damaging… and yet no one will go to prison or even to trial for this leak. Why? Because it was a political maneuver meant to prop up a feeble and impotent Obama administration.
All of this being said, I can’t say that I have changed my tune on Edward Snowden. I am more certain than ever that he is a hero, a patriot, a man who should be thanked for his service to our nation and our liberty. However, I still stand by Dr. King’s beautiful observation that, “One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.”
I fear that Edward Snowden would not get a fair trial from the oppressive Obama administration – but I’m not sure that’s the point. The point should be publicizing the illegitimacy and the hypocrisy of the Obama administrations war on leaks – when they themselves are the worst offenders.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com