Editor’s Note: I’ve decided to cross-post together these four PJ articles about the NSA PRISM surveillance program. My colleagues J. Christian Adams, Bryan Preston, Ron Radosh, and Richard Fernandez each deliver compelling analyses and I agree with their conclusions. I’ve been disappointed as many conservatives and Republicans have sought to minimize the severity of what PRISM is, even siding with Democrats to support the program while encouraging focus on the IRS and other Obama scandals. They’re wrong.
At this point the Ron Paul radical anarchist Edward Snowden who initiated this story in the most irresponsible means possible has overextended his 15 minutes of fame. He has ceded any scrap of moral authority he may have once had. Everything about him is a distraction from what really matters. In the coming weeks let’s hope the sad tabloid story about him and his personality can pass and we can get to the serious discussion about the necessity of limiting the powers of government surveillance. – David Swindle
I feel compelled to revise my earliest comments on the NSA Prism leaker, the man we now know as Edward Snowden. My first draft on Snowden, before we knew who he was, and more importantly, his travel plans, said:
The whistleblower who blew up PRISM is an American hero who joins others who have kept the republic alive like Joshua Chamberlain and Harold Agerholm — which probably means the corrupt and dastardly attorney general will prosecute them.
That conclusion deserves revision, which I’ll get to in a moment. But the rest of the original piece still stands, including:
Yesterday we crossed a line. What once seemed kooky is now happening. I figured this would be a fight for a future generation, but it is ours. The frightening future has arrived. The American government has never done anything as sinister as PRISM.
Prism is invading constitutional liberties and appears to have accomplished next to nothing, except invading our constitutional liberties. And for revealing this massive institutional invasion of freedom, whether treasonous or not, we are better off.
Loving the sinner and hating the sin is a concept familiar to many. With Snowden, the reverse is appropriate. We should be thankful we know about Prism, but should pursue the scoundrel to the ends of the Earth. Unfortunately, that means a journey to countries known more for the oppression that Snowden purports to disdain.
For starters, Snowden’s first destination, Hong Kong, is under the effective control of the Red Chinese, the same gang that kills Catholics and hacks America regularly.
Then he exercises doubly bad judgment by boarding an Aeroflot flight to Moscow for refuge. Putting aside Aeroflot’s safety record, Russia is now a nation more known for oppression of political opponents than transparency.
Of all the foreign intelligence services, is there anyone who would want to “debrief” Snowden more than China and Russia?
Not content to visit only a pair of oppressive regimes, Snowden’s plans also included Cuba, Venezuela and Ecuador.
Simply, Snowdon is a fool. He professes to care about liberty, then flees to nation which opposes it. He professes to care about transparency, then flees to nations with active secret police. Snowden is a traitor to the nation, even if his treason might help save it.
Ultimately, this story is not about Edward Snowden. It is about the government behavior he revealed.