Dear Amy Ephron:
I must say I am a tad offended and surprised that Huffington Post published your shallow, simplistic piece of fluff. Before addressing the Ed Snowden debacle, I must admit that your inclusion of yourself amongst "left leaning Journalists" made me almost fall to the floor in gales of laughter. A screenwriter/"novelist" a journalist does not make. The insertion of "left" made it even funnier. Blogging for Huff-Po also does a journalist not make.
Let me get this straight. Apparently from the get go, you didn't think Snowden qualified as much of the "whistleblower" he thought he was. I gather it was common knowledge amongst “a lot of left-leaning journalists and executives at various phone and Internet companies and Senators and Congressmen". Those are way too many “ands” and a few flaws in your argument Amy. Let’s start with the “left-leaning journalists”. I gather that Glenn Greenwald doesn’t qualify as a “left leaning” journalist. He certainly didn’t get the memo leaking Prism and metadata trolling program to said left leaning journalists (apparently by people equally bound under law to not leak classified information) with the proviso these left leaning journalists not disclose this bombshell to the unsuspecting American populace – the people the government was spying on. Where Amy, even in your world of Movie land, does this make any sense? You have a whole lot to say about Ed, who gave up his entire life to inform the public what their government is doing, but nothing for those who allegedly leaked it the “left leaning journalists”? No castigation or pointed commentary in their direction?
You mention that Senators and Congressmen (pretty politically incorrect term there Amy) were aware of the NSA programs Ed Snowden leaked. I guess you missed the Guardian article where James Clapper admitted that his response “no” to Senator Ron Wyden’s question "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?" was "clearly erroneous". That would indicate that Congress was not fully informed. If they were, why would Clapper admit to telling tall tales? Amy, this is the Director of the NSA admitting that he lied to Congress, specifically to the Intelligence Committee in regard to spying on American citizens. You believe that, although Clapper himself lied when questioned on the program you treat as “common” knowledge to Congress itself, they knew the scope and depth of these programs? If what you say is true; members of Congress were aware of these programs, doesn’t it make them co-conspirators to this assault on civil liberties? Doesn’t it stand to reason that “various phone and Internet companies” we're either forced to participate with handing data over to the NSA or they were complicit in these gross violations of privacy? It leaves very little wiggle room Amy. These executives either were forced to cooperate or did it willingly. They were participants in this. As for self described “left leaning journalists like you, aside from real journalists like Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill and Trevor Aaronson, people who actually do their job, it appears you only function is to provide the American public with noise, aiding and abetting a government out of control.
The "leaks" you claim “are potentially way more damaging to your fellow citizens and the U.S. standing in the world “. The only risk of disclosure Amy was the potential wrath of the American public. This put no one at risk, but merely further embarrassed the self described "most transparent and accountable" government, which continually fails miserably in the one thing they tout, accountability and transparency?
So Amy Ephron, please explain to me why Ed Snowden with deliberate intent and foresight took a job at Booz Allen Hamilton in order to collect information confirming the existence of these programs that are undemocratic and unconstitutional? Whether Ed Snowden came upon this information unwittingly or sought it out, the end result remains the same. The American government, that of promised hope and change, has partaken in the greatest assault on civil liberties and constitutional rights than his predecessor, George W. Bush and perhaps any other President in history.
While you mock Ed Snowden, perhaps a little self reflection is in order. Amy, life doesn't follow a movie script. Sorry Amy, Ed didn't provide you with the perfect script where the protagonist unwittingly becomes involved with an unscrupulous individual or organization. To his shock and dismay he unwittingly uncovers an evil plot that if successfully put in motion would lead to irrevocable harm to millions. After the mandatory struggle with his own sense of morality, he publicly discloses the plot, exposing the evil empire. It would have made a nice movie. Your letter seems to suggest that if this abovr narrative played out, you would have continued to support Mr. Snowden. What though, I must ask, has changed? The American government subverted the Constitution in order to spy; yes that's what it's called – spying, on not only its foresworn enemies, but also its allies and own citizens.
This is exactly where the problem with "journalism" lies. Rather than engage in a much needed and meaningful conversation regarding the continued assault on the Constitutional rights and civil liberties of American citizens, we get noise. We get distraction, sensationalism, anything to divert we, the people, from the only power we have, which is to think. If we actually sat down and looked at the true issue at hand; the actions of this Administration, we would be rendered speechless. If we did that, actually looked at the path this government has taken and processed it without the noise and distraction provided by people like you, the wrath of the American people would me unparalleled. You see, Amy, the government is no longer afraid of the people. They rely on the mainstream media to not do their job and provide cover for their douchebaggery. They don't even have to try very hard to lead you, people like Lawrence O'Donnell, King of the Soapbox, to lead Americans away from the scene of the crime to instead shoot the messenger.
You question Ed Snowden's motives, an individual who has given up everything for nothing in return, speaks more about you than Ed Snowden. It speaks to your own failure to understand that some people truly are willing to give up everything to right a wrong, expose something truly nefarious, personal consequences be damned and attempt to set us back on the road towards the free, democratic nation it claims to be.