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“Edward Snowden Blows It Big Time”: Crossing A Major Line To Further His Own Self-Aggrandizement

While it was inevitable that there would be those who support and those who condemn the initial disclosures of Edward Snowden—the 29 year-old former NSA contractor who disclosed the agency’s telephone and electronic communications surveillance programs—the tide of public opinion may be rapidly turning against Snowden…and with very good reason.

Spilling the beans to his fellow Americans over the depth of surveillance being carried out by the National Security Agency within the borders of the United States is one thing—disclosing the nation’s covert activities involving spying on other nations is something else entirely.

Last week, Snowden turned over documents to the South China Morning Post revealing that the United States has been hacking into Chinese computers—a revelation that came at a particularly embarrassing moment for the U.S. President who was busy castigating his Chinese counterpart for China’s constant intrusions into our own computer banks for various purposes, including the theft of American intellectual property.  If that wasn’t enough, the Guardian newspaper followed up with a report provided by Snowden revealing that the Americans and British spied on various delegates attending the G20 conference in 2009, choosing to disclose this bit of information right before the start of this year’s G8 conference held in the U.K.

Anyone think much got accomplished at the G8 after that little gem was brought into the light?

Even more disturbing is what appears to have motivated Snowden to expand his leaking beyond the borders of the United States and into the world of foreign espionage.

Despite making a pretty good living for quite a few years through his employment as a small cog in the gears of government surveillance activities, Snowden declared, during a live chat with the Guardian on Monday, that he believes that “all spying is wrong.” And because it is Snowden’s personal judgment that all spying is wrong, he also believes it appropriate that he reveal our covert activities to affected foreign governments without a shed of concern for what the rest of his fellow Americans might think about this.

I don’t recall there being an election where I voted to assign my proxy to Edward Snowden so that this 29 year-old guy—who I never heard of before two weeks ago—could determine, on my behalf, what this country should or should not be doing when it comes to its covert, overseas spying program.

So, how is it that Mr. Snowden has decided that it is appropriate to appoint himself the arbiter of judgment and morality when it comes to such issues? How is it that Snowden has determined that he is providing me with some patriotic service when I neither asked him to do so nor agree that disclosing information on foreign spying is, in any way, a service to his nation or to me personally?

With his decision to move beyond informing his countrymen of surveillance activities that allow the government to track our telephone calls and emails, Edward Snowden not only crossed a major line but gave us all reason to feel considerable concern about his motives and purposes.

In discussing the rationale for his disclosures on foreign spying, Snowden said:

“When NSA makes a technical mistake during an exploitation operation, critical systems crash. Congress hasn’t declared war on the countries — the majority of them are our allies — but without asking for public permission, NSA is running network operations against them that affect millions of innocent people. And for what? So we can have secret access to a computer in a country we’re not even fighting? So we can potentially reveal a potential terrorist with the potential to kill fewer Americans than our own Police? No, the public needs to know the kinds of things a government does in its name, or the ‘consent of the governed’ is meaningless.”

There appears to be no shortage of logic fails in Snowden’s remarks.

If the public knows the details of what our government is doing when it comes to spying on foreign governments—as Snowden suggests is necessary—then it wouldn’t be covert spying activity, now would it? Spying is not particularly effective when everyone knows the target and nature of such a program.

And while Ed Snowden may have decided that all spying is wrong, I strongly suspect that the overwhelming majority of Americans would very much disagree with his assessment and might appreciate his not complicating our lives in furtherance of his own self-aggrandizement and the soothing of whatever crisis of conscience he may be experiencing.

What should further concern us all is not just that Edward Snowden has decided that we must now live with his judgments and moral determinations when it comes to how we conduct foreign policy, but that those judgments are based on a shocking degree of naiveté as Snowden doesn’t seem capable of grasping that in the world in which we live, our allies are not always our friends.

Snowden also appears to have missed civics class on the day when it was explained that the United States is a Republic where we elect people to make decisions on these matters and then judge the effectiveness of those decisions by deciding who we will keep in office and who we will turn away.

The bottom line here is that I really don’t care if Ed Snowden thinks all spying is wrong and neither do most Americans. This being the case, I have considerable difficulty with his decision to disclose the nation’s secrets to foreign governments just because he could.

I do care what the President thinks about our foreign spying operations just as I care about what Congress and the Judiciary think. It is their opinions and practices that I can either support or reject when I show up to vote. And while I may appreciate Mr. Snowden’s decision to inform his countrymen of surveillance programs involving spying on Americans, there is no claim nor evidence that spying on foreign entities crosses any legal lines and, therefore, it is incredibly wrong for Snowden to reveal data involving our spying programs outside the country .

Until I cast a vote for Edward Snowden to make such determinations for me, I would very much appreciate it if he would shut up and get over whatever psychological complexes are driving him to make these decisions on my behalf. He is doing neither me nor the country any favors.


By: Rick Ungar, Op-Ed Contributor, Forbes, June 20, 2013

June 24, 2013 - Posted by | Foreign Policy, National Security | , , , , , , ,

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