Moreover, Snowden did not come across the data accidentally after going to work as a Booz Allen contractor, but has said he purposefully took the job in order to gain access to secrets and then to leak them. He did not come across documents that then made him reconsider his earlier point of view. His goal from day one was to interfere with the effort of our intelligence apparatus to protect our national security. As Ellsberg writes, in his case, his authorized access to top-secret documents “taught me that Congress and the American people had been lied to by successive presidents and dragged into a hopelessly stalemated war that was illegitimate from the start.”
One can argue, as I would, with Ellsberg’s assessment of the nature of the war in Vietnam. But he is correct when he writes that it was only after his work at the Rand Corporation and for the Pentagon that he changed his point of view and became disillusioned with U.S. foreign policy and how it was carried out. Ellsberg did not take his job in order to gain access and leak secrets.
Finally, Ellsberg ends by going way beyond moral equivalence between the United States and the old totalitarian Soviet Union. He repeats the canard that our nation has become “the United Stasi of America,” referring to the hated secret police of the old East Germany — the so-called German Democratic Republic — whose powers way exceeded that of Hitler’s Gestapo.
Therefore, to Ellsberg, any nation Snowden goes to is worse than the two regimes that have offered him sanctuary, and he advises him not to return to the United States. After all, to Ellsberg, who freely speaks out as he wishes, we are living in the equivalent of a totalitarian system as bad as Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia. So if that is true, living in Chavezista Venezuela or Daniel Ortega’s Nicaragua means living in relative freedom. Viewing Snowden as a protector of the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution, he warns that Snowden even faces assassination from U.S. Special Forces
Daniel Ellsberg’s defense of Edward Snowden reveals more about Ellsberg’s frame of mind than it is a compelling defense of Snowden’s treachery. Daniel Ellsberg reveals himself to be a man who has moved from acting out of conscience — as he did decades ago — to becoming just another far leftist conspiracy monger who believes our nation to be close to totalitarianism and run by monsters. He has no faith in the people and its institutions, which have served us well since our Founding. He believes that those who seek to keep our nation safe are our enemies, and that our real enemies are our friends.
Like Edward Snowden, Daniel Ellsberg is no hero, and the advice he gives should be ignored.