“The public needs to know the kinds of things a government does in its name, or the ‘consent of the governed’ is meaningless. . . The consent of the governed is not consent if it is not informed.” – Edward Snowden
The Story of Edward Snowden has been told many times in 2013 by numerous notable authors, each revealing a bit more information about this enigmatic character, and many reflecting the American and world political views of the same. Dec 31, 2013, just two days ago, Ruth Marcus, Opinion Colmnist for the Washington Post, refered to Mr Snowden as : Smug, self-righteous, egotistical, disingenuous, megalomaniacal, overwrought, and generally insufferable. In another Opinion from the very same Washington post, Eugene Robinson writes: There are really just two possible choices for person of the year. I want to say Pope Francis, but I’ve got to go with Edward Snowden.New York Times Opinion Pages: Considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight. He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service. It is time for the United States to offer Mr. Snowden a plea bargain or some form of clemency that would allow him to return home, face at least substantially reduced punishment in light of his role as a whistle-blower, and have the hope of a life advocating for greater privacy and far stronger oversight of the runaway intelligence community.
FACT: On Dec. 16, in a lawsuit that could not have gone forward without the disclosures made possible by Snowden, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon described the NSA’s capabilities as “almost Orwellian” and said its bulk collection of U.S. domestic telephone records was probably unconstitutional. The next day, in the Roosevelt Room, an unusual delegation of executives from old telephone companies and young Internet firms told President Obama that the NSA’s intrusion into their networks was a threat to the U.S. information economy. The following day, an advisory panel appointed by Obama recommended substantial new restrictions on the NSA, including an end to the domestic call-records program.
The profile of "The American" is changing. 200 years ago, the NSA would represent the equivalent of the British autocratic rule, settlers of the new world fought and died to be free of. In truth, our current form of government would appear to our founding fathers as dangerously socialist, and far removed from the self-governing nation they sought to afford themselves and future generations, when crafting the constitution. I have often wondered what their reaction would have been to sweeping laws like "Seat Belts" for adults, or the debates over prayer in schools. Indeed, the "American" attitude has changed...or has a large portion of the population simply gone silent? The fact that Americans, for the most part have not been neutral on Mr Snowdens actions, speaks volumes about the division in our nation. His many detractors are fearful of the looming terrorist threat to our nation, and grateful for the protection they feel is provided by a watchful government. His supporters have grown tired of watching their rights to privacy undermined by new legislation every year, by a nearly condescending government that feels it is better equipped to make "important" decisions than we are. Our summary of the man we consider to be one of the greatest American heroes of this century, will be written with the same passion and patriotism we believe led Mr Snowden to make the extraordinary choices that changed our world...and his, forever. Edward Snowden voted Guardian person of the year 2013 The following are quotes from the rare interviews Edward Snowden has granted the media since his historic decision to publicize the indiscretions of the NSA.
In his interview with The Post, Snowden noted matter-of-factly that Standard Form 312, the classified-information nondisclosure agreement, is a civil contract. He signed it, but he pledged his fealty elsewhere. “The oath of allegiance is not an oath of secrecy,” he said. “That is an oath to the Constitution. That is the oath that I kept that Keith Alexander and James Clapper did not.” People who accuse him of disloyalty, he said, mistake his purpose. “I am not trying to bring down the NSA, I am working to improve the NSA,” he said. “I am still working for the NSA right now. They are the only ones who don’t realize it.”
“All I wanted was for the public to be able to have a say in how they are governed,” he said. “That is a milestone we left a long time ago. (Barton Gellman interview, published Dec. 23, 2013)
In an interview with Time conducted via e-mail in early December, Snowden explained his answers to those big questions, even as he allowed for the fact that the U.S. public he sees himself serving may not ultimately agree. The privacy of regular citizens, he believes, is a universal right, and the dangers of mass surveillance litter the dark corners of the 20th century. “The NSA is surely not the Stasi,” he argued, in reference to the notorious East German security service, “but we should always remember that the danger to societies from security services is not that they will spontaneously decide to embrace mustache twirling and jackboots to bear us bodily into dark places, but that the slowly shifting foundation of policy will make it such that mustaches and jackboots are discovered to prove an operational advantage toward a necessary purpose.” Snowden’s hope, he continued, is that the disclosure will force five distinct civic bodies—the public, the technologist community, the U.S. courts, Congress and the Executive Branch—to reconsider the path ahead. “The President,” Snowden wrote, “could plausibly use the mandate of public knowledge to both reform these programs to reasonable standards and direct the NSA to focus its tremendous power toward developing new global technical standards that enforce robust end-to-end security, ensuring that not only are we not improperly surveilling individuals but that other governments aren’t either.”
On Dec. 16, in a lawsuit that could not have gone forward without the disclosures made possible by Snowden, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon described the NSA’s capabilities as “almost Orwellian” and said its bulk collection of U.S. domestic telephone records was probably unconstitutional. The next day, in the Roosevelt Room, an unusual delegation of executives from old telephone companies and young Internet firms told President Obama that the NSA’s intrusion into their networks was a threat to the U.S. information economy. The following day, an advisory panel appointed by Obama recommended substantial new restrictions on the NSA, including an end to the domestic call-records program
While Edward Snowdens birth and brief childhood in North Carolina is a tremendous source of pride for us at Green Chapel, we do not believe it is particularly relevant to his acts as an American Patriot.
Edward Joseph Snowden, Born June 21 1983 in Elizabeth City, North Carolina